Title: That Empty Corner Bar Feeling
Rating: PG-13
Fandom: CSI NY
Theme set/prompt: Home Life/Single for 10whatifs
Summary: He didn't want to be the guy who sat in the corner bar, regretting all the mistakes he made, all the words he couldn't say.
Beta: Thanks so much to butterfliedgsr for looking this over for me!
Author's Notes (optional): I haven't seen last night's episode yet, so anything that might have happened then isn't in here, but otherwise it's another post-RND fic

He wanted to be that guy. Her guy.

He wanted the pain to just go away, but that was how this whole mess started, wasn't it.

He wanted to be there for every kiss, every secret smile, and every tear. For every time she would bite her lip in concentration, or every time her eyes would sparkle when she found a key piece of evidence. He wanted to joke with her on cases they'd work together on and for that newfound awkwardness between them to disappear. He wanted to be in the same room with her again, without feeling like he was waiting for the floor to shallow him whole. He wanted that forgiveness he knew he didn't deserve.

He wanted to take her out for beer and pizza, or maybe wine and French cuisine. Whatever she wanted. He probably wouldn't even complain too much about pulling that one suit he has out from the back of the closet to go to the opera with her, especially if it meant she was with him again.

He wished they were spending their days off together again. He wanted to watch her yell at the football referees or cheer along with her favorite baseball team (even if she did prefer the Braves to the Mets). He wanted to cook her omelets and teach her how to make a really good eggplant parmesan. He could see them drying dishes together in the kitchen, while talking about anything and everything. He wanted to be the guy she could share that stuff with.

He wanted to take her to meet his mother and would suffer through whatever threatening speech her father would muster up this time. He could only think what her father must be saying about him now. He was sure that every bit of it was true, and then some.

He wanted to propose in that hallway, replacing the memory of her walking away with something good instead. Or maybe he would do it in their office; that was a memory that most definitely needed to be erased. But he just couldn't forget about that look on her face, couldn't stop hearing her words on repeat, tearing at his soul. He didn't want her to let him go.

Not when he could see her in white, with his ring on her finger. It wouldn't even matter that their mothers would probably want to invite five hundred of their closest family friends. Right now he give anything to have that with her. To pretend to care about flowers and the cake and china patterns. He'd suffer through all the little details, (keeping the suggestion that they just elope in Vegas to himself) as long as she was there with him and happy.

He wanted to be the one who got that first dance with her. He wanted every dance with her. He wanted to be there for their first anniversary, and their twenty-fifth, and their fiftieth. For there children, and their grandchildren.

She would make a wonderful mother, the perfect wife. She would have made him so happy (she did make him that happy; she used to anyways). Now all he has left is the 'if only'.

He would have been that guy who carried the ultrasound picture around in his back pocket, showing it off to anyone who lingered around him long enough. He wanted to hold that little baby they made for the first time and pretend that that the kid didn't have him wrapped around its finger already. But she would know better, of course. She always did.

He wanted to be around for his kids' first step, and his second, and his ten thousandth. For every first, big and small. He would coach tee-ball, and witness for every sporting event, every minor school function, every frustrating homework problem. He wanted to be the guy they could depend on.

He wanted to watch their children grow-up with her, from little kids who would greet him at the door with smiles, to teenagers who would be too embarrassed to be seen with him. He wanted to threaten his daughter's boyfriends and then one day, try to hide his tears, as he would walk her down the aisle. He wanted the title of husband and dad, friend and lover, much more than he wanted the whiskey double in front of him.

He didn't want to be the guy who sat in the corner bar, regretting all the mistakes he made, all the words he couldn't say. He didn't want to be the guy that stayed there only because he had nothing better to go home to. He didn't want the be the guy he was.