Fandom and Pairing: CSI, Nick/Greg
Claim & Prompt: "laconic", post-ep
Warnings: Spoilers for 3x22, "Play with Fire"
Notes: Inspired by the song "Cold, Cold Water" by Damien Rice. Apparently his is the only music that can inspire me.
Summary: Just the usual "Play with Fire" post-ep stuff. I don't really think there's anything special or groundbreaking here, but I had a little free time and decided I should probably really write something for this challenge (finally). And, yeah, it will probably be obvious after reading this that I haven't written for the boys in quite a while, heh.
Cold, cold water surrounds him now, which is ironic because he’s actually on fire. He must be on fire because even though he’s laying on the floor on his stomach and he can only raise his head a few inches, he can see bright orange flames and broken glass and thick clouds of smoke. He can hear the fire alarms and people yelling and he watches as dozens of feet run past him. Vaguely, he wonders why no one’s stopping to make sure he’s okay.
He lays there for several more minutes, although it seems much longer to him, until a second, much smaller explosion rocks the lab. A pile of papers that had been neatly stacked on top of one of the tables in the lab goes flying and he groans. Now, on top of all this, he’s going to have to redo all that paperwork. Small pieces of white paper, their edges tinged with black, and some still on fire, drift lazily through the air. It’s an eerily beautiful sight until one of the pieces still on fire lands inches from his head.
It’s getting dark and blurry and nearly impossible to focus on anything in particular. He’s really tired, he decides, so he lays his head down on the floor and a piece of glass digs its way into his cheek. He doesn’t really care, though, because he’s surrounded by cold, cold water and it feels so, so good.
The scene that greets him on his awakening isn’t much different than the one he’s just left. It’s blurry and it’s dark and there’s a lot of orange and red and he panics because he thinks he’s still there on the floor of the lab, waiting for someone to rescue him. A strong hand grabs his and squeezes tightly, a reassuring voice tells him to calm down, tells him he’s okay.
He blinks a few times and the scene in front of him slowly begins to swim into focus. He’s in a small room and most of the lights are turned off but just enough are still on to illuminate a corner by the door. Brightly colored balloons and flowers cover a small table in the corner and he realizes that they must have been what he mistook for flame.
His back hurts like a son of a bitch and he guesses that’s probably why they have him laying on his side. He moves his head enough so he can get a glance of the stranger holding his hand. Only, it’s not a stranger. It’s Nick. Nick, who looks like he hasn’t slept in days, is standing there, a concerned look on his face. Greg looks down at their hands and back up at Nick, who blushes and mutters something about not wanting to grab Greg’s shoulders and not knowing where it was safe to touch him.
Greg just nods dumbly as Nick lets his hand go. He feels cold, suddenly, which is good because his back still feels as if it’s on fire. His brain is getting foggy and he can’t find the strength to concentrate on whatever it is Nick’s saying. Of course, it doesn’t help that Nick is speaking so delicately, so softly, as if just his voice will break Greg. He closes his eyes as Nick continues to ramble, and part of him says that it’s important, what Nick’s saying, that maybe he should listen, but the feeling of cold spreads and he feels as if he’s surrounded by cold, cold water... feels as if he’s drowning...
It figures that the only time he’d ever have one of those cool flying dreams where you can soar through the air like a bird and go wherever you want to, where you can be completely and absolutely free, it would morph into a nightmare where he’s soaring through Hell, where bright orange flames lick at his face and he ends up crashing hard into the ground.
He wakes up suddenly, and before he even realizes what he’s doing, he’s sitting straight up. Not even the intense pain of the burns on his back being stretched, not even this pain beyond imagination can cause his voice to work, however. His mouth is open and his face is contorted into a look of absolute terror and he’s trying with all his might to yell for help, but he hasn’t talked in days and he can’t even remember the last time he had a drink.
Nick walks into the room with a cup of coffee and unceremoniously throws it on the table as he rushes over to Greg’s bed. He takes his hand again, squeezes tight, tells him he’s okay, tells him he’s safe. He sits in the uncomfortable wooden chair that came with the room, the one he moved next to Greg’s bed after the first nightmare, and he continues to whisper reassurances until Greg’s breathing returns to a somewhat normal pace. And even after, Nick will continue to talk, will speak with the hushed urgency of someone who doesn’t want anyone to know what he’s saying, not even the person to whom he’s speaking.
And Greg is drowning again, falling into the endless cold, cold water. Nick starts to let go of Greg’s hand, but Greg squeezes it and refuses to let Nick let go. The cold envelopes him, and he knows the feeling all too well, knows what’s coming next. He succumbs to it, just lets it take him, because at least he’ll get a few hours respite from the unbearable pain before the next nightmare awakens him.
He lets the water surround him with only a hand to hold on to.
He’s been asleep for hours, for days, really, and even though the doctors keep saying he’ll be okay, Nick still worries. He keeps his bedside vigil, relishes the feel of Greg’s hand in his. So much to say, so much he wants to say, so much he needs to say. So much he knows he’ll never have the courage to say.
“Greg, can you hear me now?”
What’s left to say? He’s told him everything over the past few days, spilled his soul to someone who will never remember, has said everything there is to say, except, maybe, the most important thing. He takes a deep breath and wills his hands to stop shaking, lest it wake up Greg. He stares at his feet until it all finally comes out in a rush of words that even he’s not sure make sense.
“Don’t you know I love you and always have?”