Author's Note: This my first CSI: New York story, though not my first story on here. It's an idea I've had bouncing around for a while, and I figured I'd do something slightly different from my normal stories with it. It'll be a two-shot - the first part, this part, is Danny/Aiden, and the second part, which I will post sooner or later, will be Danny/Lindsay. Read and review, reviews make my day.

All recognizable characters belong to whoever created them; I'm not lucky enough to own the CSI franchise or any of the characters in it. All I own are my computer, some CSI DVDs, and my own thoughts. Direct spoilers for season two episodes "Grand Murder at Central Station" and "Heroes," at least in part one.

It had been their tradition, since long before either of them could remember. Away from the glare of the crime lab, they'd make time to catch up with each other over a nice dinner once a month. Occasionally, she'd cook for him, whenever they had a particularly difficult month. She said that it soothed her, after all of the depressing aspects of being a CSI, to throw ingredients together and create a meal from the simplest of things.

Over time, the simple, friendly dinner dates had developed into something more romantic in tone. He couldn't remember when the shift had occurred. Was it when she had been fired? Dinner became more meaningful when they weren't seeing each other practically every day, that much he knew, but he figured the shift had been something gradual, occurring over the span of many years of mutual friendship and respect. Although he felt that she had been holding back somewhat since her firing, they had never been more open and honest with each other.

Neither of them fought it when it came without warning one warm spring evening, over a dinner of her chicken parmesan at her apartment. The lamp light caught her dark hair just right, and he realized that he was in love with his best friend. Reaching out to touch her hair, she turned suddenly, to feel his hand on her cheek. She nodded her consent, though, inwardly, she knew there would be no need to give consent. He would not dream of ever doing anything that she did not want.

The chicken parmesan grew cold as they grew acquainted with each other's lips. Both of them realized, through slow, steady kisses illuminated in the dark, that this was what both of them needed. Once upon a time, she had joked that he was out of her league, but as he ran his fingers through her hair and whispered sweet words into her ear, she realized: he had moved up into her league. As they walked outside and said their goodbyes, he promised to clear his schedule for the next weekend, to make up for the ruined dinner that night. She agreed, and they separated into the night, like two ghosts, flitting along the streets of New York City.

Thoughts of the impending dinner date, along with all of the implications that came along with it, were what kept Danny Messer and Aiden Burn happy and focused through the next week, anticipating what the weekend would bring.

It all changed in that one afternoon, as he felt his heart being ripped out of his chest when he saw on the screen just who the Jane Doe was. He never knew, or she wouldn't tell him, the full extent of what she was doing now that she wasn't working for the crime scene unit anymore, and surely, he thought to himself, he would have stopped her if he had known she was tailing DJ Pratt. Then again, he also thought, she wouldn't have stopped. She wanted justice, and was willing to stop at nothing to get it. He couldn't help but be selfish, though, and wish that there had been some other way of getting Pratt behind bars without her having to play the martyr role, and then she could still be alive and with him.

That weekend, on the night that they were supposed to meet for dinner, he picked up a bouquet of wildflowers from a street vendor - noting that each one was as vibrant and diverse as she was - and sat vigil beside her freshly-dug grave, whispering the words he wished he could have told her in life. Fighting back more tears, he gently laid the bouquet over the headstone and walked into the night, fading in amongst the crowd, just one in a million. He wasn't sure if he could love again, after all, his heart was buried with the vibrant, sexy girl named Aiden Burn. He couldn't fathom what his life would be like, now that she was gone.

-to be continued-