Title: Wanna Swing
Disclaimer: All rights belong to CBS and their writers.
Summary: Nick starts to show signs of aging and realizes that he never got to fulfill his biggest dream.
Notes: I wrote this story for the twelfth round of Nick Fic Song Challenge on TalkCSI. I would like to hear what you think about it. English is not my first language and so I need your words to improve my skills.
Nick starts to show signs of aging and realizes that he never got to fulfill his biggest dream.
"Hey, wanna swing?"
He opened his eyes, looked around, and found himself sitting on a wooden park bench surrounded by trees and a big playground. It was already afternoon, and he had no idea how on earth he was able to sleep through all the noise around him.
Children were laughing and shouting and their moms were sitting on park benches similar to his, chatting about their kids and men. It was a sunny day, perfect for being outside and enjoying the time and the fresh air. And he slept through it…
A few feet away from him was a little girl baking delicious sand cake with her mom. A few boys were building a knight's castle and trying to figure out how to build a bridge out of the fine sand. Nick could hear the laughter of children playing hide and seek in the park. What a peaceful sight to wake up to.
But why wasn't he in his bed at home?
Nick hated the sound of his alarm clock, especially when it rang only four and a half hours after he went to bed exhausted from a very tiring double shift. Throwing one arm over his eyes, he fumbled for the offensive ringing object on his bedside table. He sighed deeply as the ringing stopped. He was not quite ready to get out of his bed yet.
What happened over the past years? A few years back he had no problem with work schedules like that. Five hours sleep in two days would be okay for a while, at least until he had his next day off to sleep. And now? He felt exhausted when he went to bed, and that didn't change over the few hours of sleep he got.
I'm getting old, Nick said to himself, and with one last sigh he got out of bed. Slowly he went to the bathroom. Why was his back hurting so much? And why the hell did he feel like he walked like a grandfather? Why was he feeling so tired all the time?
He had a hard stressful job which was not only physical but psychical consumptive. It made him look tired, and all he could do to keep himself strong and on full speed to do his job properly was sleep as much as he could and enjoy his off time outside doing sports or taking walks when he was too tired for jogging.
Standing in front of his bathroom mirror he wished he had avoided looking at the face staring back at him. The man in the mirror looked overtired and had more crinkles around his chocolate brown eyes than a few years back. And what was that? Great…more grey hairs! Just what I need to build me up, Nick muttered to himself while heading for the shower. No need to hide it, Stokes. You're getting old.
Nick thought he had a bad start to his new work day, but after another hard and very emotional shift he found himself thinking he should have stayed in bed in the morning.
A case where a father killed his wife and two children just because he was stressed from work and sick of them left Nick deep in thought and sitting on the bench in front of his open locker. He knew what it meant to be stressed and to feel tired. He himself felt like that more often than not, and this guy told HIM of all people that the lazy police had no idea what it meant to have a stressful job…a job so stressful that it makes you aggressive and makes you hate every noise your wife and children make once you're back home. The man couldn't stand the laughing of his children anymore, and he hated his wife asking him how his day had been. It had been too much for him and the result was lying in Doc Robbins morgue. The once happy family was waiting for their last journey to a place where children were allowed to laugh and be happy just like they should have been here.
Nick would never be able to understand how people could be sick of their loved ones. He never had a real family to come home to and would love to hear children laughing through his house when he came home from work.
His work hours and limited free time had prevented him from having a family of his own. But he could for sure say that he would love to come home to them. They would help him keep his job at a distance, something he wasn't always able to do on his own. He would give them a hug and tell them he loved them every time he came home from work and when he had to go again.
Nick had always wanted a family, but things didn't work out the way he wanted and now he found himself living for his job, fighting for victims who weren't able to fight for themselves anymore, with no chance to live his own dream.
Every time he saw moms and dads with their kids on his job or outside of it he realized what he missed. And so years passed by and he got older and older just like his dream. Now he was getting all grey haired and old and highly doubted he would ever have a family on his own.
With a deep exhausted sigh he stood up and grabbed his jacket out of his locker. Another day was over and he was another day older. His back really troubled him in the past weeks, and after a shift like the one today his feet hurt too, not to mention the headache that plagued him more often than not.
Dead tired, he made his way home. But after grabbing something to eat he went back outside. This was one of those days where he needed to calm down before going to bed; otherwise he would never be able to sleep. He decided to go on a walk since he was, like so often lately, too tired to take a jog.
It was still dark outside and the streets were empty, just like Nick wanted them at the moment. He decided to walk through the nearby park. Breathing in the fresh air, he tried to relax as he walked at a slow pace along the path, listening closely to the birds sitting in the nearby trees who were starting their early morning concert right before sunrise.
It was getting to be morning, and soon the world around him wouldn't be as peaceful as it was now. He sat down on a bench right beside a playground that would be full of life soon. Right now it seemed kind of lost, so completely without children who played on it.
At the moment Nick felt equally as lost. Today he had finally realized that his dream, which included playing with his children on this playground, would most likely stay a dream. He wasn't getting any younger and work wouldn't get less stressful. Maybe he was meant to be living alone. His destiny was helping other families and kids who got hurt.
While watching the swings swaying in the slight warm summer breeze he thought about how his life would be with a family to come home to. It was just a dream… and with those thoughts in his head he closed his eyes and fell asleep, too exhausted to prevent it.
That's how Nick ended up sleeping while sitting on a wooden park bench right beside the playground in a park that was full of life now that the sun was up.
"Hey, wanna swing?"
Oh yeah… that was what woke him up.
Nick looked around to make out who asked him the question he would definitely deny. Not here in front of all those people.
A few meters away from the bench he could see the swings, which were not swaying in the soft breeze like they did the past night. Now lots of children sat on them and moved their legs back and forth to swing higher and higher towards the sun.
But one swing was still. The "owner" of it was a little boy of about 5 years with dark brown shaggy hair and big brown eyes. He had been asking him and was now watching him while one of his little hands was on one of the swing's strings, as if to make sure no one else would claim his swing.
"Huh?" was all he could give the little boy who wore a red Cars t-shirt and old jeans with open knees, a sure indication of too much knee crawling while playing with Matchbox cars.
"Wanna swing?" the boy asked again smiling. "I could push you if you want."
There he stood and asked as if it would be natural to ask a grown man if he would like to swing on a playground full of kids and their moms, with an innocence only a child could muster. Nick was speechless.
"Come on, it's easy. See?" And with that the little boy sat on the swing and showed Nick how to move his legs. He was smiling at Nick and his eyes twinkled in his direction as if to show how much fun it was. His soft dark hair was waving in the wind as he swung higher and higher.
"It's almost like flying!" he shouted. "Try it!" And with that he stopped, and a few moments later he walked over to Nick. He took his hand and tried to move him towards the swings. But Nick just sat there as the little boy leaned backwards with all his strength.
"Hey, not so fast there, buddy."
"But you have to hurry before Gary or Lilly want to swing. Right now they're at the slides. That's your chance!"
Nick smiled at the little boy. "Okay, I'll come with you, but only if you tell me your name"
"Lenny. Come on, let's go!" And with that the little boy tugged on Nick's hand again. Nick got up from the bench and let himself be led to the swings.
"You have to sit down," Lenny told him excited, "and then you can fly to the sun and back."
Nick smiled at that. The boy really had no idea what he expected of him. They would think he was crazy and would call the police. But how could he make Lenny understand?
Crouching so he was on eye level with the little boy Nick tried to change the boy's plans. "Listen, Lenny…why don't you sit on the swing and I'll push you. How does that sound?"
But the little boy just rolled his eyes and said, "I don't need anyone to push me. I'm a big boy!" And with a pout he looked straight into Nick's eyes. Nick knew that look all too well. He had worn it a lot as a child too, to get his parents to do what he wanted. "Why don't you want to swing?" Lenny asked with a look similar to a puppy.
"Well…I'm too old for things like that, buddy."
"You're talking like my dad. He doesn't even want to come to the playground with me."
Nick felt suddenly sad. He would have loved to go to the playground with his kids if he had any.
"I'm sorry. We can play a little if you want."
"I would like to, but why don't you want to swing?"
"It's like I said already, I'm too old. Maybe these swings here don't even hold my weight and I would land on my butt and everyone would laugh at me."
Lenny laughed at that and Nick couldn't help but to laugh with him. He hadn't felt this happy in days, and surprisingly his back pain seemed to be history as well.
"Why don't you try it? I wouldn't tell anyone if you break it, I promise." Lenny lifted his index and middle finger in the air for him to see. Nick smiled at the cuteness and the honesty of the boy who had, like every kid that age, no prejudices towards other people and thought nothing bad of things older people rolled their eyes at.
It had been ages since he had sat on a swing, and it had been even longer ago that he had someone pushing him. And there was this little boy wanting to push him on a swing. This was crazy and cute at the same time and with one last look into Lenny's eyes he knew what he would do.
"Okay, Lenny. What did you say do I have to do?" A big smile spread across the boy's face and he showed Nick how he had to move his legs. Nick felt a blush spread across his face and was sure he was looking like a tomato right now. What will all those people think? As he started to swing, Lenny pushed him as hard as he could with his little arms.
"See, I told you it was easy!"
Nick swung higher and higher until he was too high to get pushed by Lenny, and so the little boy stepped back and watched him swing. Surprisingly, Nick stopped feeling nervous about what people might think after awhile. More and more he felt what made it so fun to swing when he was a child. The feeling of freedom made itself known in his body and suddenly he felt much younger. It was as if he was back at the ranch in Texas sitting on their swing in the garden, his dad pushing him, while he shouted, "Higher, Daddy, higher!"
Life had been so easy back then. There were no problems that couldn't be solved and he could live his dreams. Time flew by so fast and soon he was too old to even recall what pure freedom was.
But that was what he felt at the moment. It was just like Lenny said. It was like flying to the sun and back. Nick felt as if there was a weight lifted from his shoulders and he was finally able to take deep breaths again.
As he hurtled through the air he felt as if he could achieve everything he wanted with the carefreeness he had as a child and seemed to have lost over the years. And who said he couldn't have a family if he wanted one? It was all possible. Life is unpredictable. It wasn't too late. He was still young, at least he felt like it at the moment. Life wasn't over…there were lots of days to come. Every day is beautiful and from now on he would make the best of them, to make sure his dreams would be lived and not die with him one day.
A/N: Thank you all for reading :-) Please leave a review if you liked it or not, I can take critism.
I'd like to thank Smokey for her fantastic beta work. I know it must be hard to go through my 'stuff' sometimes. Thanks for encouraging me to publish this story too ;-)