Title: God's Eyes

Author: Michmak

Summary: A conversation between Grissom and Nick, taking place after "Who Are You"

Disclaimer: The only characters I own are the ones I create for the purpose of this story. All the rest? Not mine.


Grissom found Nick in his usual spot, up on the roof, staring blankly at the stars. Beneath them, Greg was busy bustling around in the lab, his music ungodly and louder than it should be. Catherine had gone home earlier at Grissom's insistence to spend the remainder of the night with Lindsey. Sara and Warrick, oddly enough, had gone out to grab a drink with Brass and Officer Tyner, the hothead Warrick had almost come to blows with earlier that afternoon - the man who had, until a couple of hours ago, been their main suspect in an OIS.

It had been a mere hour and a half ago that Nick had had a gun pointed at his head. Mrs. Hendler had been escorted to the police station and arrested for murder and threatening an officer of the court; Mr. Hendler was in shock, waiting for a lawyer.

Grissom wondered how guilty the husband must feel, knowing his wife had murdered his girlfriend five years ago, and just dumped the body in a fresh poured foundation. He wondered as well at what reasons a man would have for marrying a woman he didn't really love when the one he really wanted disappeared.

His gaze rested on Nick for a few minutes, sitting huddled in his thin coat, back against some venting, head thrown back, face staring into the midnight sky. Sighing softly, he stepped over some piping and moved towards Nick.

"Hey," Grissom's voice was soft, and he handed Nick the silver thermos he had been carrying, "Brought you some coffee."

Nick shut his eyes against Grissom's voice, before quickly opening them and taking the thermos. He let his hands cup around it, enjoying the heat of the metal, hearing the gentle slosh of liquid. "How'd you know I was here?"

Grissom looked at him seriously, hunkering down beside him and resting his back against the same wall Nick was leaning against. "Where else would you be? You always come to the roof when something is bothering you or you need to think."

The two men sat in silence for a moment, before Grissom jerked a thumb at the thermos, "You gonna hold that, or open it and pour me a cup?" He sighed in appreciation as Nick opened the thermos, taking an appreciative whiff of the dusky aroma of Greg's special Hawaiian Blue. "So."

"So." Nick's voice was grim as he passed the thermos to Grissom, keeping the cup for himself.

"Mrs. Kendler is probably processed by now."

Nick cocked an eyebrow at Grissom, "You came up to the roof to tell me that?"

"No, actually, I came up here to see how you're doing."

"You a psychoanalyst as well as an entomologist now, Grissom?" Nick tried to keep his tone light, but Grissom could still here the underlying edge in it.

"C'mon Nicky. I was there."

"Yeah, you were there. I was there. Mrs. Kendler was there."

Nick was looking up at the stars again, keeping his eyes firmly fixed to the sky. Beside him, he could feel Grissom shifting, the soft sigh escaping him totally out of character from the Grissom he knew.

"My mother once told me that the stars were God's eyes, looking down on the universe," Grissom offered suddenly, apropos of absolutely nothing.

Nick snorted, "If there even is a God, do you really think he's still interested in humanity?" Grissom tried not to wince at the defeated tone in Nick's voice, carefully construing his response in his head before he replied.

"You are."

"And what the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"You're still interested in people. Despite the stuff you see every day; you're still interested."

"It's my job, Grissom," Nick sighed.

"No, Nick. It's not your job. Your job is to process crime scenes and find evidence to either prove or disprove theories until we can close the case. Whether it's a murder, or a rape - missing persons case, like the last couple of days - your job is to find evidence. You don't need to be interested in people to do that."

"How can you say that?" Nick straightened up slightly, turning his head sideways to look at Grissom. The older man was still leaning back against the wall beside him, nursing the thermos of coffee he held. His blue eyes met Nick's brown for a brief moment, before flashing up to the heavens. Nick's gaze automatically followed.

"I say that because it's true," Grissom sighed, "when Mrs. Hendler pulled that gun on you this evening, you were scared."

"Damn right I was scared. I thought she was going to blow my head off." Nick's retort was bitter.

"And she might have. But you know what else I noticed, Nicky? You were concerned. Not only for yourself, but for her as well. You told her you would listen to her. You felt empathy for her, even though she was pointing a gun at your head."

Nick didn't respond, but Griss felt his sigh. He smiled. "That's what makes you a good CSI, Nick. You care about the people you investigate. You felt sorry for Mrs. Hendler - on some level, you still do. So, why are you still interested in people if they're so bad?"

Nick shrugged, "I guess I'm just a big Boy Scout."

"Don't do that. Don't sell yourself short, Nicky. You're a good man - one of the best I know. You're an optimist."

"That's just a nice way of saying naïve fool," Nick snorted.

Grissom was silent for a moment. "I don't think you're naïve, or a fool. I think you're sensitive."

"And that's a great masculine trait."

"You'd rather be all testosterone and grunting insensitivity? Some wild frat boy?"

Grissom shot Nick a semi-amused glance, smiling when Nick suddenly grinned, "I was a wild frat boy."

"And did you like yourself better than, or do you like yourself better now?"

Nick sighed, "Point taken."

Once again, a companionable silence fell between the two men, before Nick spoke again. "You ever have a gun pointed at you before?"

"Yeah," Grissom sighed, "a long time ago - my third year as a CSI. We caught a prostitute murder; turned out the detective heading the investigation was the guy that did it. He got parole and came after the CSI in charge of his case - namely, me."

Nick whistled, "Intense. What happened? What did you do?"

"He ended up eating his gun. First and only time I ever cried on the job."

"But you cried?"

"Yeah. I could never figure out why he did it - why he killed the girl, why he pulled a gun on me, why he killed himself. I'd worked with him before on several cases - he was a good man caught up in a terrible situation, and he couldn't cope. But in the end, he chose to shoot himself. I'll always be thankful he didn't shoot me."

"I do feel badly for Mrs. Hendler," Nick admitted. "I wonder what was going through her head when her husband blurted out he still loved the victim? I mean, here she is - five years after murdering the girl, still seeing her blood everywhere. She's built a life for herself, perhaps put it out of her mind. Maybe she's starting to feel a little safe - 'no one's found the body yet,' she's thinking, 'maybe they never will.' But then the unthinkable happens. The body is found; identified. Everything we find leads back to her husband. She knows he didn't do it, just like she knows he's still in love with the girl she killed - and still, she loves him enough to try to save him. Her whole life for the last five years built on quicksand."

"I don't know what she thought shooting you would have accomplished," Grissom inserted, "but in her mind, it made sense."

Nick smiled grimly, "She would have shot me, you know. She was ready to do it when you came in. You saved my life."

Grissom just smiled, "Had to. Every team needs an optimist, and they are hard to find - especially ones trained in the forensic sciences. We'd have a hard time replacing you, Nicky."

"Thanks Grissom."

"No problem," Grissom jumped when his pager went off, scowling as he read the message scrolling across it. "Mobley. Wants to talk to us."

Nick grinned, "Maybe he wants to tell us what a good job we did on closing that case."

Grissom grunted as he rose to his feet, smiling slightly at the ease with which Nick jumped to his own. Clapping a hand on the younger man's shoulder, he grunted, "Optimist."

Heading towards the stairwell together, he smiled when he heard Nick's slight huff of laughter. Nick paused at the door, taking one last look up into the night sky.

"God's eyes, right Gris?"

"Right, Nicky."