Author's Note: So this wasn't really planned or anything, but you know those story ideas, how they come out of absolutely nowhere...and poke and prod you until you write them. Unbetaed, but proofread by yours truly. Spoilers through 9.10. Anything up to and including that episode are fair game.

Disclaimer: If I owned the characters, let's just say that the show would be a lot different and leave it at that. Alas, I'm a broke college student, and I don't own them. All recognizable characters belong to CBS and the lovely producers.


Nick sat down at his computer desk, took out a fresh legal pad and uncapped a generic blue ink pen. Pressing the tip of the pen into the paper, he began to write, slowly at first, then picking up speed, pouring out his feelings with every word.

Dear Sara,

Does that sound too formal? "Dear Sara," it makes us sound like we're acquaintances or business partners, not friends. I've never been too good with this whole letter-writing thing. My parents always were on my case about writing thank you letters when I was a child; it's one of those things I thought I had left behind when I became a CSI, and moved to Las Vegas. That is, I thought I had left it behind until you left. Now, this is my one respite, writing you these letters.

Things have changed a lot since you left after Warrick's funeral. The entire feel of the lab feels different. You know that we were a team, united, for more than eight years: Catherine, Warrick, Grissom, Greg, you and me. Together, we survived so much. Me, being buried alive, and you, well, we both know all too well what you survived. I don't need to remind you of that. A new CSI, Riley, has joined the team. She's nice and everything, and smart, and a competent CSI, but she's no you.

Oh, Sara. I miss you. There, I said it. There are so many things...so, so many things...I wish I could have told you while you were here, or, hell, even before you left the first time. I know you had things to work out, and I understand that. I just...I just wish you could have turned to me with what was troubling you. Of anyone on the team, you know I would have understood the most. Even if I didn't have the wise words of wisdom to comfort you and guide you onward, I would have been there for you, and if you came back again...I'd still be there for you even then.

I sometimes wonder, in the long, sleepless stretches when I lay in my bed alone and count the plaster specks on my bedroom ceiling, how our lives would be different if I had been honest with both myself and, more important, you. If I had told you that I was...for lack of a better phrase, interested in you romantically, would you still be here in Las Vegas, joking around with Greg and me, solving cases like the brilliant CSI that you were? Would you have run to the safe haven of Grissom's embrace, as you did, changing nothing at all? Or, dare I dream for a moment, would you possibly be laying beside me, counting the plaster specks along with me? I should have told you how I felt. And now, I'm stuck pining after the girl who stole my heart with her gap-toothed smile and big brown eyes. You.

Grissom resigned the other day, and left the lab. I imagine he's going to find you, wherever you are, and you two will live as happily ever after as two former CSIs can. I hope he treats you well, like I would have...

Love always,

Nick

Nick smiled weakly as he read over the letter again. Walking over to the kitchen, he took a candle from one of the cupboards, a candle he frequently used for power outages, and lit it with a lighter from his jacket pocket. With the lit candle in one hand and the letter in the other, he walked to the sink area and placed the candle in the sink, careful to avoid letting the flame touch the stray drops of water.

Once the candle was in a satisfactory position, he lowered the letter gently onto the flame. As he watched the letter confessing his deepest feelings for his best friend burn to ashes, he let out a small sigh and said, just barely above a whisper, "This one's for you, Sara. They always are." Bowing his head slowly, he collected the ashes from the tray, and blew out the candle.

-fini-