A/N: Hellloooo everybody! I have been swamped lately, but I will try my hardest to update. This is a nice little post finale CSI. However, some spoilers and it's totally AU. Meaning...no Vartann. No offense to anyone, but I find him extremely annoying, so Tony Vartann shall not be showing up anythime soon, unless I want to cause bodily harm to him. :) Enjoy.

Nick Stokes struggled to get his button down, short sleeve shirt on. He was trying not to bump into his wounded shoulder. He was pulling the shirt on when his hand grazed the bandaged wounds. Nick gritted his teeth and dropped his hand.

"Hey Nicky, need some help?" Catherine Willows was standing in the doorway to Nick's hospital room. Nick winced,

"Hey Cath. Yeah, if you wouldn't mind." Catherine took the shirt from Nick's hand and gently eased it over the gauze. She buttoned the shirt up and handed Nick his wallet and cell phone. He took them and slipped them into his jeans pocket. Catherine sat on the chair next to Nick's bed as he pulled on his shoes.

"I'm glad you're okay Nicky. The lab wouldn't be the same without you." Nick smiled.

"I'm glad I'm okay too. You know, I play dead really well." Catherine narrowed her eyes.

"As long as you really aren't dead…Nick I …never mind." Nick quickly signed himself out and they made their way to Catherine's Denali. Catherine paused outside the hospital entrance. Nick stopped and turned.

"Hey Cath, you okay?" Catherine nodded, but couldn't stop the tears escaping her eyes. Nick hurried over to her and wrapped his good arm around her shoulders. Catherine and Nick stood there in front of the hospital for five minutes. When Catherine pulled away, she looked embarrassed,

"I'm sorry Nicky. It's just, this whole case has been so crazy, so different from anything we've ever had to handle and I couldn't lose you. With Grissom in Paris and Warrick dead and Sara back only temporarily, it feels like the CSIs are getting picked off and I just don't want you to be next." Nick put his good arm on Catherine's shoulder,

"I will try my hardest to stay right here. Trust me; I do not want to get shot again. I'll be right next to you, as a friend and as an assistant supervisor." Nick smiled. Catherine wiped her eyes.

"I feel like an idiot. You got shot and I'm crying." She gave a half-hearted chuckle and Nick shook his head,

"Don't feel stupid for having feelings. We've been side-by-side for over ten years. I would probably cry if you got shot." Catherine wrapped her arms around Nick's waist and squeezed gently.

"Thanks Nicky. I…I wouldn't know what to do without you." Nick rested his chin on top of Catherine's head.

"Me too, how about you and I-"Nick interrupted his own sentence with a huge yawn. "Whoops, sorry 'bout that. The docs have me on some nice meds." Catherine smiled,

"Then we better get you home. I wouldn't want to have to carry you to the car."They walked to the car in a comfortable silence, one that only comes from being completely in sync with the other person. Once in the car, Nick struggled with the seat belt for a minute, until Catherine buckled it for him. Nick grinned sheepishly,

"Thanks. I guess this is gonna take some getting used to." Catherine laughed gently.

"Don't worry about it. We're all here to help you." Catherine pulled out into the empty road and sped off. Nick yawned again and Catherine smiled at the noise. They stopped at a red light. Catherine turned her torso so she was facing Nick.

"Do you need anything? We're right near the store." Nick smiled,

"Nah, I have gauze at the house and plenty of food, but thanks Cath. It means a lot that you care." Catherine lifted her hand from the steering wheel and placed it on Nick's forearm,

"Nicky, we'll always be there if you need it. Just like we know you'll be there for us if we need it." By now they had reached Nick's house and Nick unbuckled his seat belt.

"Thanks for the ride Cath. I'll talk to you tomorrow?" Nick asked, sounding tired. Catherine smiled and nodded.

"Yeah, get some sleep Nicky. You need it. The murder and mayhem will be around when you get back." Nick walked to his door and when it was open he waved to Catherine, who swallowed her fear and parked the car. She climbed out and jogged up the front walk. Catherine opened her mouth,

"Nick, I have to say something. I…I… You're my rock and I need you around. I…it's been awhile since I've said anything like this, but I really like you Nick. I want to give us a try." Nick stood still for a minute before his face broke out into a smile.

"Come here." Nick pulled Catherine into a careful embrace.

"I've wanted to hear that for a long time now Cath. Maybe I should get shot more often." He joked. Catherine hit Nick lightly in the chest.

"Don't even kid about that. I don't ever want to go through that again. You had better stay in one piece from now on." Nick smiled,

"I'll try. Hey Cath,, you wanna watch a movie? It can be our first unofficial date until I'm back to normal." Catherine looked at watch,

"I'd love to, but I've got to go file the case reports before day shift gets in. I'd hate to run into Ecklie. I'll come back later though. Get some rest." Catherine kissed Nick's cheek and jugged back to her car. Nick opened the door to his house and went in. Nick took a pain pill and lay down on his couch. His last hazy thoughts before falling asleep were of Catherine.