Title: Country Confessions 3: You've Always Been a Friend To Me

Author: BuffyAngel68

Rating: FRT (Once again, for language. Hey, with all the frustration and waiting I'm forcing these two to endure...)

Summary: Greg is eager to respond to Nick's emotional request, but a FTF is just not in the stars yet.

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PAUSE OFF: RESUME ACTION

"Archie! Arch, where is he?!" Greg demanded, skidding to a stop just inside the break room.

"Who?"

"God, don't do this to me! We're both such idiots you had to concoct this elaborate set-up, I get that. Just tell me where Nick is!"

"I swear, I don't know. Probably out in the field working a scene. Gris would know better than I would. Wherever he is, though, I'd bet Nick's keeping a laptop somewhere close."

"Again?" Greg moaned. "I am *so* over the typing thing! I have to talk to him, see him..."

"Until end of shift, it's the best you can do. He'll be watching, I guarantee it. Keep opening up, buddy. The second he possibly can... he'll come find you."

"Arrgh... Man! Okay, okay. But I don't have another break for three hours."

"Greg, you've been waiting how long, now? Trust me, a little more time won't matter.."

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* You and I, we're buddies,
And we've been since we first met.
Me and you, well, we've both been through Our share of laughter and regret.

Lord knows we've had our bad days And more than once we've disagreed But you've always been a friend to me *

I'm sending this one straight to you, Nicky. I want so bad to be able to see your eyes when I say some of this stuff, but... like you always tell me, it is what it is, so here goes. You're my absolute best friend. Ever. You said you knew something was different and special when you met me and that made me go back and look at that day again. You know what? I knew it, too. Your eyes and your smile... they said right off that you'd seen things I never had and you understood things I didn't. Man, I wanted to, though... all I could think was that if I could just talk to you, I could learn so much. Turned out I was right.

Since then we've both had to get past a lot of nasty stuff and really hard times. Sometimes, I swear you and I are the universe's designated whipping boys. Explosions, inquests, stalkers and whacko dads out for revenge... between the two of us, we've pretty much seen the worst anybody could throw at a guy. And we survived it all by having each other's backs. You know, after I wrote about the night I played Weird Al for you, I remembered... you did something sorta like that for me. They were still rebuilding the lab after it went boom and Gris had noticed my hands shaking. He was massively nice about it, but I was totally panicked, thinking he had doubts about my ever being able to do my job again. You sat me down on your couch and talked me through it... made me see he wasn't like that. That all you guys, including Grissom, believed a hundred and fifty percent that I'd be just fine. I've never forgotten that.

* You can be so stubborn.
Sometimes I think you just like to fight.
And I hope and pray I live to see the day When you say I might be right.

And sometimes I'd rather kill you Than listen to your honesty But you've always been a friend to me *

It hasn't always been perfect or happy with us, of course. What friendship is, right? I mean, when you get upset or mad about something and you don't feel like telling me what it is, your first instinct is to find a tiny issue, some stupid, meaningless thing, and pick at me over it. And boy, did I learn fast not to react or complain. The one time I did, you got your teeth in and just wouldn't let go. After two weeks I was ready to say the hell with it and never talk to you again, but I guess you saw that in my eyes or something, 'cause you finally backed off. Two days later you spilled what was really wrong, and we worked it out together. I've never been so relieved in my life. The next time you pulled that shit, I just smiled and agreed with you. I know it didn't make you feel any better right then, but the storm blew over a lot faster and it forced you to talk a lot sooner.

After the Demetrius James thing, when you found out how I lied to my mom... you got so mad and I seriously thought we were over as friends. I tried to keep you away from the hospital at first. My fake reason, the one I gave everyone else, anyway, was that I didn't want you seeing me so banged up. Really, it was 'cause I just couldn't face you... or the truth. Family means everything to you and I just knew you'd rip me a new one over it and make me do the right thing. Which you did. That was so hard to listen to, you know? So damn hard. If I'd had the strength to haul off and smack you one... still, I finally realized I had to be grateful. You were the only one who cared enough to do it, to hurt me a little so I'd suck it up and push through the bigger pain. You were right, of course. She forgave me on the spot. I still think it was the bandages and the bruises...

* You've always been, time and again The one to take my hand.
And show to me that it's okay to be Just the way I am.
With no apologies. *

Okay, so it's no huge secret that I'm a little... left of center. That's just me. I never thought there was anything wrong with just being myself as long as my job didn't suffer. Then I started getting flak about toning it down at work. Gentle flak... but still flak. 'This can a career, not just a job if you start showing how mature and professional you can be.' 'Do your work with a little less bouncing off the walls and playing around.' I guess I must've been looking a little down and discouraged or something. You took me out for breakfast and goaded me into telling you about it, then you made a deal with me. You'd help me find ways to be crazy off the job if I could calm down and focus more while I was in the lab. You said you loved the silly side of me and it would kill you to see it go away, but you didn't want my potential to move up at work to go down the drain either. You got me into paintball, took me to theme parks, showed me wild and weird parts of Vegas I never knew existed... all so I could do the one thing I wanted the most, the thing I never told anybody, not even you. You read me somehow, gave me what I needed... and I finally impressed Grissom enough to get into the field. That guy I saved in the alley that night may never know it, but he owes his life to you, too. I was there for him because you were there for me.

I can be as loopy as I want to with you and I never have to say 'don't mind me, I'm usually in better mental health than this.' Not once have I ever had to say I'm sorry for being a goof in your presence. The freedom to be completely who I am... that's a gift nobody else could've given me... and I'll never be able to thank you enough, Nicky. Never.

* Yes you've always been And you will 'till God knows when Yes you've always been a friend to me. *

You are my best friend, Nick, and that won't ever change, but if you're ready for the next level in this freaky, impossibly hard video game called our lives... then so am I. Find me after shift, the minute you're free to talk, and we'll go someplace private and figure this out. Just know that if that journal was nothing but you trying to soothe me or lift my spirits... you will experience pain the likes of which you have never, ever known.

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END part 3