OK, firstly - final chapter's up! Secondly, sorry for the delay in posting - particularly to those who have been so patiently waiting for the next chapter. Thirdly, thanks for all the great reviews of this story - sorry to Nicky for not updating sooner and a big thank you to kraven for reviewing even before the final chapter! LOL. I had to finally wrap this story up. Anyway - please, read on....


Grissom was up early the next morning, having succeeded in only getting snippets of broken sleep for the rest of the night. He had mostly remained awake, tossing and turning, listening to unfamiliar sounds of an unfamiliar house. He had heard Nick on a couple of occassions but he had resettled back into sleep by the time Grissom had gotten up to check on him.

He prepared himself coffee and cereal for breakfast and settled back on the sofa with an old newspaper he had found on Nick's kitchen table. It was several days old but filled in the time nicely until Catherine arrived.

Grissom and Catherine chatted over another cup of coffee before he finally tidied up the sofa and headed home.

There had been no sight nor sound from Nick, so Catherine knocked quietly on his bedroom door before opening it a fraction and popping her head inside. She smiled to herself. He was spread out over the bed wearing long, printed pyjama pants and a T-shirt, bed covers tossed about, his head lost under a pillow. He was clearly still in a deep sleep.

Catherine made her way back out to the living area to wait until he woke. She picked a book off a shelf and settled on the sofa.

It was almost two hours later when Catherine finally heard movement coming from Nick's room, followed shortly afterwards by the door opening and a shabby Nick appearing, yawning and rubbing a hand through his ruffled hair.

He padded out to the kitchen and flicked the kettle on. Catherine rolled her eyes and called out a 'hello'.

Nick's head appeared and he grinned a reply.

"Sorry, Cath." he mumbled, his accent still sleep affected. "Didn't see you there. Forgot I've got babysitters again."

Catherine frowned a little at the last comment. She pushed to her feet and headed to him. She rested a hand on his shoulder.

"We're not babysitting you, Nick. We just worry..." but the rest of her sentence was cut short with a wave from Nick.

"It's fine, Cath. I appreciate it. Just feel a little..." he shrugged, lost for words, "y'know." he finished lamely.

Catherine smiled and pulled him into a hug. He responded by wrapping his arms around her and hanging on tight.

"Hey." said Catherine as she brought a hand up to rub his shoulders, "It's OK. We'll get through this, Nick. The hard parts done. OK?"

She felt his head nod against her as he continued to hang on.

Catherine held him for several more moments until she felt him finally pull away.

She respected his privacy when he turned away quickly - not making eye contact.

Nick cleared his throat and went back to making his mug of coffee.

"What time is my shrink appointment?" he asked, trying hard to sound casual.

Catherine checked her watch.
"We've got just over an hour." she said. "You'd better have some breakfast and grab a shower, then we can head out."

Nick nodded again and poured out some cereal into a bowl.

"Awesome." he said, the playful sarcasm in his voice mirrored with a smile.

Catherine waited patiently in the waiting room of the psychologists office. Nick had been in his session for almost an hour. He had been quite resigned to the fact that he was back in therapy. Catherine suspected that he was, deep down, relieved to have the option of getting his life back on track with some more counselling support and extra techniques to conquer his remaining demons.

Finally, the door opened and Nick came out, smiling and talking quietly to his psychologist before stopping and shaking his hand. He looked relaxed and Catherine was pleased to see a glimpse of his old confidence. The psychologist gave Catherine a smile before heading back into his office while Nick went to the front desk and made a followup appointment.

When he was all set, Catherine came to his side and slid an arm around his shoulders. She gave him a gentle squeeze - happy to see his old smile back again. It had been a long time, she realised, since she had seen it - a genuine smile, not forced.

He smiled down at her and returned the squeeze and together they walked out to the car park. Nick paused for a moment as the morning sun hit his face. He felt the warmth.

He would be OK.

It had been a long journey - and he still had a way to go - but, with the support of his friends, and the ongoing psychological support from his counsellor, Nick finally felt he was getting back in control.

There was light at the end of the tunnel.

And it felt good.


I hope you like it and that not too many are disappointed that nothing much happens in this chapter - just a closer. Thanks for reading and will start working on the next story as soon as I can. Thank you!!