A CSI Fan Fiction
By Danny Franx
Dedicated to Natasha, without whom I would have no idea who these people are.
Come on in, it's way too cold outside,
And come close to me and I will hold you tight
We'll close our eyes, you and I
And we'll escape from our lives
Escape – Halo
The rain is just starting as I leave the lab. Heavy fat drops that smash into the ground, kicking up the dust that the wind blew in from the desert this afternoon. I pull my jacket a little more securely around and make a run for the Tahoe. The cold weather has come a little early this year and the truck's warm interior is more than welcoming.
Swiping my hand down over my face through the droplets of rain that had settled there, I try desperately to clear the cobwebs left by the triple shift I've just pulled. It's been a rough one. The engine sputters and turns over. Glancing past the now rapidly beating wipers that are struggling valiantly to keep up with the rain now sluicing down the wind shield, I look across at the well-lit lab and I can't help but sigh a little.
I'm exhausted, but at least I'm going home, unlike some people. You got into work at the same time as me yesterday, and you're still trapped within the transparent walls of the DNA lab. The sheer number of samples we gathered today created one hell of a backlog and you, being you, have stayed behind to help them get a handle on it all.
I knew I was being optimistic, when Griss told us to take the next two days, that we would get to spend that time together. I don't know if Griss knew exactly what was going on, just that something was. One look at you tonight and the strain etched into every line of your face was obvious to anyone, and I got leave, too, so I imagine I looked just as bad.
Someone exits the lab and breaks the trance I'd fallen into. I have to get home, really need to get myself some sleep, but I know right now that I won't succumb for a while yet. Hope will sustain me for a little while at least. I've got to get out of this parking lot. Sitting here staring at the lab isn't going to bring you out any sooner. The traffic swallows my car, sweeping me towards home. Its interesting, doesn't seem to matter what time of night it is there always seems to be a constant stream of traffic to pull into; it was never like this back home. Dallas was a busy city but come eleven the whole place just seemed to slow down. Here, when the sun sinks behind Mt Charleston, the city just speeds up.
Before I know it, my driveway looms into view and I wonder how I got this far without crashing. My attention certainly hasn't been on the road. The icy rain assaults me the second I'm out of the car. I think this might actually be sleet. It seems to splat down on my exposed neck with more force that the rain, lingering in place for a moment before tracking down under my collar.
I'm fumbling my keys in my haste to get the door open and get out of this foul weather, missing the slot a couple of times before—joy. The door swings open and the warmth pours out to meet me, carrying with it all those homely smells. The scent of the coffee I made more than twenty-four hours ago lingers in the air, mixing with the spicy aroma from the wood that I know is stacked by the fire place, chopped from the old cedar tree in the yard.
My backpack drops to the floor; I'll sort it out later, and I shut out what looks to be the harshest winter Vegas has seen since I've been here. The wind is whistling round the house and the rain is hammering against the windows, making me feel colder than I actually am as I kick off my boots and head into the den.
I'm going to light a fire, then I can curl up here and read a book as I wait hopefully for you to call. Stacking the fire, I can't keep the smile off my face as I think about the weekend we cut down the tree. It was early October, almost six weeks ago now. I can't believe it's been that long since we spent the whole day together, waking up with you in my arms and falling asleep with your messy blond hair tickling my chin as you made a pillow of my chest.
You were all enthusiasm that day, when I told you that I had to cut down the tree before it fell down and took my roof with it. You even went to go and rent the chainsaws. When you came back, you were wearing that ridiculous checked shirt and humming to yourself. I couldn't get you to stop singing that damn Monty Python song all day. It still amazes me that I found it so entertaining. In the past, that kinda thing would have driven me insane but by the end of the day you had me singing along with you. Your humour, your smiles, they're so infectious.
The feeling of loss is there immediately; smiles will be hard to come by tonight. Today's case will have seen to that. It's going to be hard to find any joy at all. Out there are twelve people who aren't as lucky as us, who aren't going to get to see their loved ones tonight, who have already seen them for the last time; it's such a senseless waste. When I rise from my crouch, my jeans are stiff and I realise I'm still wearing my damp work clothes.
The bedroom is dark, lit only by the light blue glow from the alarm clock, but I don't bother with the light; some how this warm gloom is comforting. I know I shouldn't like the, dark but I do. Another smile; you always delight in telling me when something I do is weird, as if it redresses the balance somehow.
Damp clothes discarded, I rifle through the basket of clean, unfolded laundry and extract a pair of sweats and my Texas A&M shirt. It's not the most flattering outfit, I admit, but it's comfortable. That's what's needed right now, the reassurance of the familiar. I look at the bed and it seems to call to me, singing me a siren's song. I leave the bedroom quickly before I can begin to succumb; sleep won't come for me tonight until you are next to me.
As I wait, my thoughts drift; I say that like it's an unusual occurrence, though we both know it isn't. Hell, my mind's been drifting since I left work tonight. I feel lonely without you here and this immediately makes me feel guilty—I will get to see you again. Gossett didn't take you from me, not like he did for so many others. It seems that no matter how hard I try, no matter how regularly I am presented with the absolute dregs of humanity, I still can't understand why some one would do this.
His girl dumped him, that's hard. We all know how hard it can be when relationships end. But how does someone go from wanting their girlfriend back, to shooting up the diner where she works? Fourteen people, all dead; no-one in the diner got out alive, not even the kids, just the shooter. Not that he'd lasted long, by the time we'd followed the trail of evidence back to his home, he'd already saved the State of Nevada a whole ton of money. No closure for the victims families, though.
I need to do something; I can't keep sitting here reliving the case. I need a drink. I've already filled the coffee pot and am on the verge of pulling the bag of Blue Hawaiian that you finally got me addicted to from the fridge when I think that injecting my system with a few thousand volts of caffeine this time of night is probably not the smartest idea I've ever had. I grab the milk instead and am just measuring it into the saucepan when I hear a shuffling sound coming from the direction of the front door, followed by an unobtrusive knock.
It can't be you; it's still too early, isn't it? To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what the time is. One glance through the spy hole though confirms I let the time slip away from me more than I realised, and I yank open the door.
You're so beautiful; I know I don't tell you that often enough. Your blond hair is dark and plastered to your forehead as the rain runs down your face in rivulets and your water logged clothes stick to you like a second skin. Yet you're still the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. The smile on your face is sad, a twisted parody of the smile that usually graces your face.
"Hey," is all you can manage.
I step aside and you allow yourself to be pulled inside before I once again shut out the night.
Your sneakers squelch and squeak against the tiled hall floor as you step further into the dimly lit house and relieve yourself of the offending articles. You shudder violently with the cold and I nudge you in the direction of the bathroom so that you can divest yourself of sodden clothing and warm up. I am not even at the bedroom before I hear the shower sputter to life. I root through the couple of drawers that your clothes seem to have taken over, trying to find you something warm and comfortable. There's a pair of sweatpants already waiting on the bed when my fingers alight on something very familiar; I wondered where that had gone.
When I reach the bathroom, the door is open and a copious quantity of citrus-scented steam is flooding the hall way. Something's off though, and as I place the clothes on the counter top, I try to identify the contrariety. You are silent. No singing, no humming, no whistling, no stream of frivolous chatter encompassing everything and nothing, just the sound of the water hitting tile and skin, and an occasional sigh. I want nothing more than to take the pain away.
The milk is warm, just a minute or so to go when your hands slide around my waist and you press your face to my shoulder, causing me to jump slightly.
I feel you smile against my back and I smile, too. I told you your smiles were infectious.
"Grab some mugs, will you?" I ask, and you shuffle away. Immediately I feel the loss of your warmth against me and I have the fleeting desire to call you back.
I glance across at you as you retrieve the mugs and I'm smiling again. I don't know how you do it. I shouldn't be able to smile tonight. One look at you though, wearing my old Dallas PD sweatshirt, and I'm grinning. It swamps your lithe frame and you have to roll the sleeves back a couple of times just to see your hands. It was big on me but somehow it looks right on you. Something possessive and warm rises up inside of me at the sight of you in my clothes and I know that I'm never going to as k for that sweatshirt back.
In front of the fire, we tangle ourselves on the couch. You sit between my thighs, leaning back against my chest. My arms circle your waist, holding you firmly against me as I bury my face into the soft, blond, lemon-scented curls at the back of your neck. The wind is still howling and the rain still battering the windows and it suddenly occurs to me that you were a lot wetter than me when you got to the door and I can't fathom why. I ask.
"Well, Nicky, it's raining out there," you comment, trying half heartedly for a joke.
"I know that, you know what I'm asking," I respond lightly, then for good measure, "Don't be facetious."
"The car broke down a couple of blocks over, I jogged here," you explain and I roll my eyes.
"So that's it, looked like you'd been swimming, why didn't you call me to come get you?"
"I almost did go swimming; you should see the puddle that's collected at the bottom of the road. I had to wade through it and it's gotta be at least four inches deep," you explain with a touch of flare. "And as for you picking me up, don't be ridiculous. I'm not calling you to pick me up from two blocks away, it's only rain." You're right, of course. I know I'm overly protective; you're always setting me straight on that.
We fall into silence, listening to the crackle and pop of the fire, and I know it won't be long now. The elephant has been hovering at the edge of the room since you got here but there's no way to point him out to you, you have to see him on your own.
"Sometimes I wonder." Your voice is soft and melancholy as it cuts through the silence and you hold my attention, the way you always do. "How many times are we going to be able to cheat death?"
It's my turn to shudder now as you attack the problem straight on; that's always been your way. It can take you forever to realise something, but once you do, you face it bravely. It always makes me feel proud.
"I mean, as much as I hate the term, there but for the grace of God, Nicky! We should have been there."
You are right, of course. We hadn't said anything to Griss, it would have seemed indulgent at the time, but I still remember the look of abject horror on your face when Grissom handed us the assignment. The breakfast with Charlie and Justin had been a last minute thing. You'd only suggested it the day before, so when it got to six am and I still had at least two hours of paperwork to do, you'd pushed it back.
I remember you rolling your eyes at me when, ensconced in the toilets away from curious friends, I suggested that I wouldn't be upset if you went without me. You knew that I didn't mean it, though. You knew that I'd been looking forward to catching up with them as much as you had, and you quickly typed out a text informing of them of the new time and the usual place.
McKenzie's has always been your favourite place for breakfast because they serve those weird Irish potato cakes with your cholesterol ridden breakfast. I don't see the appeal myself, but you insist that breakfast isn't breakfast without them.
If I'd been just a little more punctual with my paperwork last night we wouldn't have been sitting in the break room when Grissom came in looking to dragoon us into helping out the already swamped day-shift. Instead, we'd have been lying in McKenzie's diner in a pool of our own blood, just two more DBs waiting to be processed.
I saw you when you realised where the crime scene was. Saw the way the blood drained from your face. Saw the way you grabbed the back of the chair to stop your knees from buckling. In that moment I'd wanted to reach out to you, to pull you close and it left me angry when I realised that I couldn't. Even angrier when I realised that the only thing preventing me was my own fear.
My arms tighten instinctively around you, letting you know I share your fear, but tonight the non-verbal communication isn't enough. There are things I need to tell you, things you need to know, and we've just had a very harsh reminder that sometimes it's just not possible to wait till tomorrow.
"I was so grateful you didn't go without me," I admit. "Then I felt nauseous, y'know, 'cause all those people were dead, all those families torn apart and I was so fucking grateful that it wasn't you."
Tears prickle the insides of my eyelids and I squeeze them closed, trying to prevent them from falling. I feel you shift in my embrace until you are sitting sideways in my lap; I feel your arms circle my neck, followed by the first brush of your soft, warm lips against my own. You pull back and I allow my eyes to open. I'm drawn in by the rich brown of your eyes and I notice that you haven't tried to hide your tears. They cling desperately to your dark lashes and occasionally escape to leave damp tracks down your cheeks.
"I just can't believe we almost lost each other again," you whisper and bury your face in my shoulder.
We stay like that for a period of time that is completely indeterminable to me. It could be hours or minutes; all I know is I don't think I'm ever going to be ready to let go. I'm terrified you'll be yanked away from me, that I'll release you only to discover that you did go to breakfast without me after all. It takes me a while to realise that you're whispering, your lips moving rhythmically against my skin. I listen carefully to hear what you're saying.
"We're still alive and everything's alright." Over and over, like a mantra, and I think I've heard that somewhere before.
"G." My voice catches as I try for your attention. I can't quite believe I'm about to do this. I've been steadfastly avoiding this topic for six months. But right now, in this moment, I know that I'm a fool to have waited this long. You don't move from your position but I know I have your attention as your lips cease their repetition and your head turns into my neck slightly.
"I want you to move in with me." I expected the request to fall from my lips in a rush and I surprise myself with how calm and sure I sound. I feel you smile against my neck before pulling back to look me in the eye.
"I think if we do that, people are gonna figure us out. I admit for CSIs they can be pretty dim, but I don't think that will escape their notice."
Again, I find myself astounded at your strength. I know this is what you want. I know that you want to tell the others, but still you're giving me a chance to back out. I've been stalling for months now, yet here I am offering you what you want and you offer me a get-out, a way to blame this whole thing on heightened emotion and retract: no harm, no foul. Your caution only strengthens my resolve.
"I don't care," I insist. "I want them to know." I can't help but smile at the look of shock in your eyes; it's so rare that I can shock you. I need to tell you my reasons, need you to hear them.
"When we were working the scene today, I couldn't help but think: what if you'd gone without me? Who would they have called? What would our last words, our last touch, our last kiss have been?" The words are pouring out of me; they have a life of their own and I've given up trying not to cry. "I love you, G, I want to be able to hug you when you're miserable. I want to be able to seek your comfort when I just can't deal. I want to be able to wait for you to finish shift without it looking weird. And I need to know that no matter what the day holds, it will be better, because it started and ended with you."
Now you're crying again, too, but you're smiling at least, and it's that amazing smile that can make midnight feel like noon.
"Sap," is all you can manage before once again your lips are brushing mine, and your tongue is tracing my bottom lip. My hands slide up to tangle in dark blond curls and my tongue gives chase to yours, following it into your hot, willing mouth that tastes of peppermint and chocolate.
I need more of you; I need all of you and I shift my weight and send you tumbling backwards onto the sofa. I follow, pinning you beneath me and deepening the kiss. Your hands are sliding under the hem of my shirt and long, nimble fingers are tracing over the planes of my back and catching casually on the waistband of my pants.
Something strikes me, and I pull back, trying to regain control of the situation. I almost come undone when you moan slightly at the loss of contact and you look up at me with a pleading expression, your eyes almost completely black with lust blown pupils.
"You never answered my question," I croak, the desire obvious in my voice and I grin at the confused look on your face.
"Will you move in with me?" I clarify, suddenly feeling insecure and needing an audible confirmation. You grin, and again I am grinning
"You only ever had to ask, Nicky."
As you reach up, claiming my mouth once more, warmth floods through me and I find myself surrendering to you completely. Right here, right now, it's just you and me and the rest of the world drops silently away.