CSI
Better Than This by QueenOfTheUniverse [Reviews - 6]

CSI: Better Than This: one shot

A/N: This is just a short one shot that came from the song “Head Lock” by Imogen Heap. I know it’s angsty, but I just had to write it. Once my fantasy novel’s written, I promise a story without angst! Anyway, enjoy, and let me know what you think! Please, and thanks!

+

“Where is he?” Greg wondered aloud as he paced the parking lot by the front door of the lab.

“Where’s who?” Nick asked, the door to the lab closing behind him.

“None of your business,” ice dripped from Greg’s voice when he spoke though he hardly looked at the older CSI.

“So your boyfriend’s supposed to pick you up from work and he’s late,” Nick sighed a tired sigh. “Again.”

“What did I just tell you? Can’t you leave well enough alone?”

“Greg, come on, he’s always borrowing your car, he’s always late picking you up, by hours. He never answers your phone calls or calls you back. Even when you’ve had a shitty night at work. He’s always out when you get home, getting drunk at some club. I don’t want to think about what else he could be doing there without your permission.”

Greg spun around and fixed Nick’s slumped shoulders and dark, bloodshot eyes with an icy glare.

“Nick, I’m going to give you one second to clear out of here and leave me alone. Got it?”

“You know you’re better than this, Greg,” Nick tried, his voice betraying just how deep the tiredness actually was.

“Butt out. Now.”

Nick took a small step away before changing his mind.

“You can do better than him. I know you can. So, why don’t you?”

“Yeah, yeah, I can do better. His name’s Nick Stokes, but he just doesn’t get it!”

Greg looked livid, as if without a moment’s hesitation, he would take someone’s head off.

“I tried to do better than Jack, but I got myself shot down. You were there, you know what happened! You don’t have to ask! And now, now, it’s like you’re not even there half the time! You walk around like you’re dead, like a ghost that’s inhabiting your body for a short period before it moves on to the next world! You avoid me so much that you requested to Grissom we never work a case together ever again! Do you know how that feels?!” Greg paused for a moment. “I thought I was in love once, with the perfect man. But I was wrong. Because he refused to give in to what his heart wanted. I know what he wanted, because he told me once, but then he wouldn’t let go. Too straight laced to ever consider going out with me, no matter how much he might actually be wanting it. Can’t go against the conservative family, can you Stokes?! Well, that’s fine with me. I was transferring out of here anyway. Might as well save you all the trouble of avoiding me so much. Now leave me the hell alone!”

Nick stood there, dumfounded, his eyes wide in shock. Greg spun back around and crossed his arms, fuming, intent on waiting for his boyfriend to pick him up, no matter how long he had to wait.

“Greg, come on, I’ll drive you home and we can talk along the way. Please?” it sounded as if Nick was almost begging.

“Talk?! You want to talk?! Are you out of your effing mind?!”

Nick suddenly grabbed Greg’s wrist and pushed him up against the concrete wall, thrusting his lips to the other man’s. Greg pushed him away, his eyes wide, and smacked him across the face.

“Get away from me, Stokes! I’ll walk, thank you very much.”

He turned away before he could see Nick’s reaction and began walking in the direction of his apartment.

+

Greg sat down on the bed, his heart wrenching in two different directions. He could already feel the tears filling his eyes and slipping down his face. Why did love have to be so hard?

The front door opened then, and the sound of excited giggling entered the livingroom.

“Aw, no, don’t worry, baby, he won’t be home for hours. He works odd hours,” Jack’s voice said, almost seductively.

“Mmmmm...that’s good to hear,” came another man’s voice.

Greg’s head shot up, and his heart rate soared. Without bothering to brush his tears aside he ran to the livingroom to find his fears confirmed. His boyfriend, the man who was supposed to love him, even if he was always late picking him up, was on the couch straddling another man in mid-kiss. Neither of them seemed to realize he was there.

Slowly he walked forward and picked up his car keys from the coffee table. Jack turned when the keys jangled and slid into Greg’s pocket. He stared openmouthed for a split second before Greg decked him in the jaw and he fell to the floor.

“Get the hell out of here! Now!”

The other man just stared between the two, smartly keeping his mouth shut.

“But Greg....but...this isn’t...it’s not what you....I swear...Greg....” Jack pleaded, looking up at Greg in shock.

“No,” Greg fumed. “I’ve just had the shittiest day of my effing life and I come home to this! You were supposed to pick me up hours ago! And there are no excuses anymore cause I don’t give a shit. Get out. I don’t ever want to see you again. Ever. I’ll leave your crap on the front lawn when I get around to it.”

Jack stood up. “But...but...my car’s still being fixed, what am I supposed to do....”

Greg cut him off, “Walk. You’ve got two legs. And you never seemed to care about how I got around. Now move. Before I call the cops.”

Jack scrambled to his feet and stumbled towards the door, a
bit of blood leaking from the corner of his mouth where Greg had hit him. The other man simply got up and followed him out. Once the door was shut, Greg turned to head back to the bedroom but stopped when he got to the doorway. He sunk to the floor against the wall, hugging his knees as the sobs came pouring out.

He was crying so hard he didn’t even hear the door open again or hear the soft footsteps coming towards him until he felt comforting arms wrap around him. He jerked away and looked up to see a blurred form in front of him. Clearing the tears he found Nick kneeling on the floor, looking ashamed.

“Get out of here. I can’t deal with you again. It’s your fault my heart’s broken and there’s nothing and no one who can fix it.”

“Give me a chance.”

“No. Why the hell would I? Nick, you broke up with me before we were even together. Before we were ever given a chance. I can’t. Now please leave before I have to kick your ass again.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Nick stated. “I know you know I love you. And yes, I’ve been a complete ass turning you away like that. There’s nothing I can do to take that back, as much as I want there to be. I’ve been stupid, putting my own family and everything else before you. I shouldn’t have, because I do love you. I love you so much that it nearly killed me when I hurt you that day. Every time I see you now, I see your broken heart. I see you hating me for the dumb things I said. And it kills me inside, little by little. I know you found Jack because of me, and I don’t blame you in the least. You were trying to get over me and I don’t know if it worked or not but I hope not. Because I know you can do better than Jack. You can. His name is Nick Stokes, and he’s ready and willing to forget the rest of the world and know only you. I love you Greg and I will do whatever it takes to get you back. I promise.”

Nick took a deep breath, his eyes meeting Greg’s and waited for the younger man to speak.

“So that’s it, huh? You want me to take you in just like that? You think it’s that easy?”

“I know it’s not easy. I will do whatever you want me to.”

Greg thought about it for a second.

“Call your family in Texas, tell them you’re gay.”

Nick’s eyes went wide with shock.

“What?!”

“Then call Grissom and tell him we’re dating. Once you do that, I’ll think about it.”

“Greg, you don’t know what you’re asking!”

“Then no, you don’t get me, and my heart stays broken for the rest of my life. Now please leave.”

Greg stumbled to his feet, pushing Nick away from him and went into his bedroom, slamming the door shut in Nick’s face. Leaning against it he looked around him at all of the things he and Jack had shared together. He knew the relationship had been a lie. He’d been using Jack to get over Nick and it had never worked, he’d known it would never work right from the start. And Jack had been using him too for other things, everything Nick had said earlier.

The tears continued to fall from his red eyes. Why did love have to be so hard? Why couldn’t he when he was sixteen have gone to the relationship store and told the clerk exactly what he wanted in a partner and gotten the man of his dreams who didn’t care what others thought about his own sexuality whether they were family or not. Why couldn’t it be that easy? Why were there Jack’s in the world? Why?

There was a sound from the other side of the door and Greg heard Nick’s voice, but he wasn’t talking to Greg, and he sounded different than usual, and not because he was muffled by the door between them. Greg realized Nick was nervous.

“Hi...Mom? Yeah, I need to talk to....Oh, no, everything’s fine at work, yeah, no Mom, I’m not going out with Sara.... No, I haven’t found any other girl yet.....Yes, I tried that recipe you sent last week, it was amazing, yeah. But Mom, listen, there’s something I have to tell you..... What? Johnny’s soccer team won? Hey, that’s cool. Yeah, I’ll call my sister soon, I promise.... I know, I got her message earlier today. Mom, can you please listen to me? This is important.... yes, it is. Thank you. Mom.... um.... well.... yes I know.... there’s just... no easy way to put this....”

Greg’s eyes opened wider and he turned to face the door, his hand on the handle, surprise radiating through him. Was Nick really going to go through with it? Honestly he’d figured Nick would get upset and then leave. He’d never dreamed he would actually go through with it!

“Mom, I’m gay,” Nick finally spit out. “Yes.... I’m serious.... there’s someone I like.... very much....and he....” Greg could hear the quiet sobbing through the door. “No.... he didn’t force me.... I love him.... Mom please.... don’t do this.... I love you too.... please! Mom.... mom.... don’t hang up.... Dad?!.... No.... it’s not what you.... I didn’t mean.... I didn’t mean to hurt Mom. It’s the truth. I am. I found someone... don’t you want to know.... Dad, I love him.... I can’t change that. What?! No! But Dad!”

Greg slowly inched the door open to find Nick on the floor curled up into a ball, with tears running down his face. He walked over and sat down behind Nick so that he could wrap his arms around him and hold him close. Nick hung up the phone without a goodbye.

“I’m sorry I made you do that,” Greg whispered. “That was stupid of me. I should have known how that would play out.”

Nick said nothing, only took several huge breaths of air to calm himself down before he picked up his phone again and dialed another number.

“Who are you calling now?”

“Hi, Griss, it’s me, Nick.”

He was doing it. Doing everything Greg had asked him to do. He was coming out to everyone in the whole world who mattered to him. The thought only made Greg hold onto him that much harder. He now regretted forcing him to make these calls, but he felt elated that Nick would make them just for him. He knew how hard this was for him, and he was going to make sure Nick never regretted his decision.

“Yeah, the case went fine. I left my report on your desk.... Yeah, I know, I’m sorry I’m calling so late. But I need to cancel my earlier request from a few months back. I’ll work with Greg any time.... yeah we’re currently working things out.... um.... but there is one other thing you need to know.... yes, and I promise this won’t get in the way of work at all.... um.... Greg and I are dating?..... Sorry, I mean, yes, we are.... What? You’re serious?..... Thank you,” Nick sniffed. “That means a lot to me... yeah I will.... see you tonight.... yeah, thanks.”

Nick hung up once again and put his phone away before turning his head so that he could face Greg.

“No, you were right” he said. “My family was holding me back from what I wanted most in this world and it was time I faced my fears.”

Fresh tears sprang to his eyes and rolled down his face again.

“What did your parents say?” Greg asked, quietly.

“My Mom....she thinks....you forced me....to be gay,” he said through his tears. “She thinks I don’t....love her anymore....Dad hates me now....for hurting Mom.....won’t talk to me ever again....he disowned me....said he was going to write me out of their wills....he’s probably on the phone with the lawyer already....”

“I’m so sorry,” Greg squeezed Nick. “I promise I will always be here for you, no matter what. I’ll never ask you to do anything like that ever again. You know I love you, right?”

“You asked me to do that to prove my love for you. And you had every right. I know what you went through before, and you had every right not to trust me. I had to do it. I can’t stay in the stupid cramped closet forever. I do love you. I love you very much. I’ve loved you for a very long time and I was the stupid one not to act on it. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. We both made mistakes we’ll regret forever, but we do have a future to look forward to. We are giving us a chance. So can we be happy now? I know you losing your whole family won’t be easy to deal with. But I came out to my parents last year and they’re as supportive as ever. Just wait till you meet my Mom, she’ll adopt you as a second son in no time. I know your family’s not replaceable, but maybe mine can do in a pinch? At least it will give us somewhere to go for Christmas if we’re not working, right?”

“Yeah, yeah, I like the sound of that,” Nick hiccuped, through the rest of his tears.

“And besides, our coworkers are like family too. Well, at least they used to be. What did Griss have to say?”

Nick smiled slightly. “I wasn’t sure how he’d react and I kinda,
you know, made it sound like a question, when I said we were dating, right?”

Greg nodded.

“Well, he said either we were or we weren’t and that I should be sure of myself before saying something like that.”

Greg smiled, knowing it was a Grissom thing to say.

“And he....well, when I said we were... he said.... Greg, he said he was happy for me... for us.... and that he would support us...”

Fresh tears came again, this time from both sets of eyes.

“Are you serious? He said that?”

“Yeah, yeah, he said that.”

Greg stood up, pulling Nick with him over to the couch. He pushed him down onto it and straddled his new boyfriend’s hips.

“You won’t be lacking in family at all Nick. Family means those who care about you, those who love you just the way you are. And I love you Nick. I love you more than anything else in the world. Someone could throw out my entire collection of Marilyn Manson cds and all my funky t-shirts, and all my Blue Hawaiian coffee and I’d still be happy as long as I have you. You’re all that matters to me. And I will always be right here beside you every step of the way. I promise. I love you.”

Greg leaned in then, and brushed their lips together before pulling him into a tight hug.

“I won’t ever let you go again,” Nick said, his voice muffled by Greg’s neck before he pulled away and looked deep into Greg’s eyes. “And I would be proud to be your boyfriend. I feel like the luckiest man in the world to get you. I love you.”
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