Sweat dripped down Nick's face as he angrily abused the punching bag in the gym. He hadn't visited the gym in a long time, but it was either that or moping about his apartment crying, and he certainly wasn't going to do that. He was a man, he was going to walk away from all of this and be just fine.
Except walking away also meant cheating on Greg, and he didn't feel so man as he professed. Nick was spooked, truth be told, of this whole thing with Greg. After all, he was just sleeping with the guy, fucking his brains out, it didn't really mean that he was attracted to guys like that. Not that there was anything wrong with that. He was a CSI Level III which meant he saw some pretty crazy things. He didn't care who was gay, but he knew he wasn't. He couldn't be. Nick had girlfriends all through high school and college, women swooned after him and his killer smile, he just wasn't attracted to guys. This whole thing with Greg was just a way to kill time. Except not really, especially when he ended up cancelling plans with Warrick and his family to spend some time at Greg's place. Always Greg's place though.
He didn't want to walk around his apartment looking at the bed he fucked Greg on, or the bathroom they both showered in together...
Nick smacked his head against the bag--over and over again. He wasn't thinking. He never was. Everything had to make sense to him, and when it didn't...he freaked. Like this thing with Greg. He never bothered to stop to think, he just felt the chemistry, the feel of Greg's soft spikes (how ironic was it that his spiky hair could be so soft? And smell so good?), Greg's lips on his neck, his mouth, his chest, his--Stop it, he told himself firmly. He had ended it. He marched over to Greg's place and told him it was over, and he was with Sarah now. He told him that their little fling meant nothing and that it'd be best for both of them to just forget it and move on.
It didn't go the way he planned. Somewhere deep inside he had hoped that Greg would throw a fit. The impatient, firey Greg he knew; that maybe he would insist that Nick gave reasons for his backing out. Maybe they would kiss and make up afterwards and he'd just tell Sarah that he simply didn't have the time for the relationship. Part of him hoped that Greg loved him enough for that, even if he didn't. After all, he wasn't gay. He just wasn't ready to end it.
Either way, no such luck for him. Greg had merely stared at him, with those wide brown eyes, his lip trembling so slightly. Nick felt his heart beat loudly. Say something, he thought, desperately. A few minutes of silence reigned before anyone moved. To Nick's surprise, Greg plastered a smile on his face and chuckled softly. "Well, you haven't got any stuff here to worry about," he said with a cheerfulness that was evidently fake.
"Greg..." Nick pleaded, gently.
"Dude, it's cool. Just a good fuck. That's all this ever was to you, right?" Greg questioned, his tone now borderly on slightly hostile. Nick swallowed his response and the urge to run into Greg's arms begging for forgiveness. With considerable effort, Greg strained his face to look calm. "Sorry about that," and he held out a hand, "'Thank you for doing business here at Sanders & Sanders, we hope you enjoy your trip home'" he said in a mock-business tone, and laughed. Nick stared at the hand before reluctantly taking it.
"Look man, I'm sorry..." he tried to apologize.
"Don't be, it's all good, man. You're not gay, I am, never would have worked out, you know?" Greg pointed out, his tone now resembling the serenity of discussing the weather. He winked. "I'll see ya at work, 'kay?" Nick merely noddded before leaving the apartment in a rush, trying not to notice the immediate blast of Marilyn Manson that screamed through the speakers after him.
And if that wasn't painful enough, they had met under personal circumstances only one other time. Greg was running some test for this case that he and Catherine were working on. The details were hazy to him now, but for some reason, Catherine wasn't around and Nick had entered the DNA Lab alone. Or maybe Catherine was there and he simply came in on his own to see Greg. Either way, he went, surprising the both of them.
"I, uh... how ya doing, G?" he drawled, trying to appear calm. Greg raised an eyebrow.
"I'm fine, and you?"
"Good." This was ridiculous. Seeing Greg again was just too awkward, and now the two of them were staring at the other as if they caught each other at a Seasame Street day parade. Mentally berating himself, Nick turned and began to exit the lab when Greg called him back. "Hm?" he asked, pretending his heart wasn't hammering loudly.
"How are...things with you and Sarah?" Greg asked, slight pain visible on his face.
"We're uh, okay. I'm taking her out tonight. Some Chinese restaurant she wants to go to." Nick answered, bewildered. Why had he said so much? Every word out of Nick's mouth was causing Greg pain and he couldn't stand to look at it anymore. "Greg, look man...I think we need to talk-"
"-Actually, we don't." the lab tech interrupted. "Look, I just want to know if you're happy. If you're moving on with Sarah, are you?" Nick gulped again and nodded slightly. Greg turned to his printer, staring vacantly for a minute before nodding himself. "Good then. That's good."
"We're gonna move on, G. And it'll be like none of this happened." he had to get out. He couldn't breathe in here. "Look, I gotta go. I need to talk to Catherine...," he lied, tightening his fists. Greg said nothing and Nick walked out. He thought that was the end. No more conversation about it. It was over, and put behind him.
When he was leaving that night he noticed a scrap of paper stuffed in the side of his locker.
You won't forget me.
You won't forget me. Greg had always known that he wouldn't. That no matter how serious this thing with Sarah got, Nick would always remember, in the heat of the moment, Greg's lips, Greg's face, Greg's voice....everything Greg. It was like an addiction, an obsession. He couldn't stop thinking of Greg, of how he felt, how he tasted. How once upon a time, in a moment of irrationality, he would have given the whole world to make sure Greg was alright, to make sure sure he stayed safely in the lab. He especially couldn't stop thinking about the pure simple fact that he still would. That night after night, he pulled out the Bible that his parents gave him when he left Dallas, and prayed to God that he'd be forgiven and Greg would be alright. That nothing would harm Greg.
That this explosion was just a dream. It felt like one. Running at the sound to see Greg lying there, limp and helpless, broken glass surrounding him. Nick's only consolation was that the sheet wasn't pulled over his head. That meant he wasn't dead.
It was only a few hours since the explosion and already it felt like eternity. Like he had been punching this bag, imagining it was him and his sheer utter stupidity, praying under his breath that Greg made recovered properly. It was too late for Nick to say he was sorry, he knew that now. Too late for Nick to hold Greg in his arms and simply sleep. Too late to make amends and tell Sarah that there was someone else and there was only one face he saw when he was kissing her.
But he knew he would never forget. Never forget loving Greg; never forget Greg.
And somewhere, deep down inside, he knew Greg would never forget him too.