CSI: Don’t Cry Daddy: one shot|
A/N: This was inspired by Elvis’s “Don’t Cry Daddy” which I happened to be listening to on my way to work awhile ago. I finally got it finished, needing to take a break from editing my novel Servants of Darkness. It’s a little emotional, but I hope you like it!
“I’m sorry, Griss. But I couldn’t find a sitter,” Greg heard the familiar voice from his lab and his head shot up.
“You can’t bring her in here.”
His eyes found Nick standing out in the hall wearing jeans and a leather jacket arguing with their boss. In his hands was a baby carrier. Underneath a blue blanket with galloping horses racing across it a beautiful baby girl slept soundly.
“I’m sorry,” Nick apologized. “I didn’t know what else to do. I need the hours. I can’t take more time off.”
“I know that. But you still can’t bring her here. Babies don’t belong in a crime lab. You should know that.”
Greg sighed before stepping out into the hall.
“Nick! Get in here!” he shouted.
The other man looked up at him, seeming frozen to the ground when he saw him.
“Go,” Griss commanded.
Nick moved toward Greg who retreated into his lab. When Nick entered, already looking tired and haggard, Greg pointed toward an empty spot on the floor near his main desk.
“Put here there.”
“Nick, you don’t have an option. And you know I’ll take good care of her. Put her down and go to your scene.”
“Are you sure?”
Greg gave him a look that said he wasn’t going to answer the question. Nick sighed, setting down the carrier, and left the lab, taking the assignment slip from their boss.
“This isn’t a daycare center, Greg. Can you get your work done with her here? And keep her safe from all these chemicals?”
“Sure, Griss. Don’t worry. Remember, I watched Lindsay that time Catherine thought she was dealing with a kidnapped girlfriend who turned out to be dead all along? When she gave that finger to Sara at the diner?”
“Yes, Greg, I remember.”
“I’ve got this, Boss. ”
“Just make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
When he was gone, Greg looked down at the sleeping baby. “It’s too bad you’re asleep, Dakota, cause I could give you a head start on chemistry and the periodic table. Well, when you wake up, I suppose.”
He smiled at her and readjusted her blanket so he could better see her pretty face. In her sleep, she was blowing bubbles out of her mouth.
“Oh! Dakota! Are you blowing bubbles?”
He grabbed a napkin and wiped them away, making sure not to wake her up.
“Not a daycare center, Greg,” Grissom reminded him on his way back down the hall.
Greg got right to work, making sure to run the boss’s samples first.
“Uh, Greg? What’s that smell?” Sara asked an hour later when she came in for her results.
Greg was on the phone, waiting, while it rang.
“Stokes,” Nick finally answered.
“How’s Dakota? Do you need me to come back?”
“Relax hun, I just need her diaper bag. She’s mostly just slept while she’s been here.”
There was a long pause on the other end before Nick spoke again, “the bag’s in my locker, sorry. And don’t call me that.”
Nick sounded exasperated. “Right. 20,32,19.”
“Thanks. I’ll see you when you get back. Take your break with me?”
“Only because you’re babysitting.”
Greg hung up and turned to face his other colleague.
“Sorry Sara. That smell would be Dakota. I have to go get her diaper bag.”
“Go. Go. I can wait. That smells nasty. Better you than me dealing with it.”
Greg jotted down a quick note to stick to the inside of Nick’s locker: After work, we need to talk. And there will be no escape this time.
“I don’t know why you volunteered to babysit for Nick. I certainly wouldn’t and you don’t strike me as the type. I mean, I know you watched Lindsay that once, but she was older. You and a baby... I just don’t see it.”
“You wouldn’t understand,” Greg said simply as he got up and took baby Dakota with him to the locker room.
What she didn’t understand was a confusing mess better left unsaid to those who weren’t on the inner loop. But when they got off shift, he would force Nick to talk about it. He had to.
Several hours later Nick came back from his crime scene, ready for his break, even more worn out than when he’d first walked in. He picked up Dakota’s bag and carrier and went to the break room without a word to Greg, who followed him like a well trained puppy following his master.
When Nick sat down with his girl cradled in his arms suckling on her bottle, Greg’s heart melted and when he saw Nick’s eyes he was both happy for him and saddened. His friend loved the girl with every fiber of his being but Greg also saw pain in his beautiful brown eyes and he was the only one who truly understood the pain and its true source. It wasn’t from Megan’s death, like everyone else thought, though she was a large part of it.
“I got your note, G,” Nick said, breaking him out of his thoughts. “And we talked about this already.”
Greg took his lunch from the fridge and sat down near him.
“No, we did not. I said I’d be there for you at the funeral. You haven’t said much to me since. We need to talk.”
“Hey boys,” Catherine said, walking in. “Nick? Why the glum face? Look at her, she’s adorable! And trust me, you got the best babysitter. If anyone can hold a baby’s attention, it’s Greg.”
“The truth is, she’s been sleeping most of the night. She’s easy to watch over,” Greg said brightly, so as not to alert her to their personal issues being discussed.
“Look, Nick, I know things are rough right now, but...”
“Cath, don’t. I don’t want to hear it. I’m sick of it.”
“I’m sorry, you’re right, you don’t need another mouth talking about Megan.”
“Least of all Greg. Would you please get him to shut up?”
“What on earth is going on here?” Catherine turned a slightly icy stare in Greg’s direction.
“Nothing,” Greg said, grabbing his sandwich and standing up. “Nick,” he turned to the CSI. “Drop her off when you’re ready. And I WILL see you after work. We can’t ignore this any longer or one of us will explode and I’m afraid it won’t be me.”
He left the room and went back to his lab to finish his food.
Half an hour later, as he was running the samples Warrick had brought in, Nick came by and dropped his daughter off without a single word. The rest of the night was spent matching DNA samples, teaching Dakota some of the periodic table before tickling her and listening to her giggle, and showing her off to anyone who came in.
He wished he could tell them she was his. Those who hadn’t seen her before, namely the lab techs, had fallen in love with her instantly and there had been a constant stream of adults babbling at the baby all night. He wanted her to be his so bad it almost hurt. In fact, it did hurt. And it had nothing to do with his vanity either. No, the pain ran straight to his heart and he wondered if possibly he could explode from it right along with Nick. But he couldn’t. Someone had to look out for Dakota if Nick combusted. So he held it in, smiling, and babbling right along with them while handing out DNA results.
When their shift was over, Greg darted out of his lab to catch Nick before he left. The CSI didn’t say anything while he changed into clean clothes. Greg sat on the bench and watched Dakota wave her tiny arms and smile up at him in a grin that was so similar to Nick’s it made him smile too, despite the upcoming conversation.
Finally, her father spoke, “I don’t have time to go out this morning, Greg. I have to get her home to bed. I’m sorry.”
“I’ll follow you home.”
“Greg...” Nick warned, but the lab tech had already picked up Dakota’s carrier and left him to grab his duffle.
After getting her buckled into Nick’s truck, Greg followed them to Nick’s new apartment. He hadn’t seen it yet. He remembered the other apartment he’d had before he’d been with Megan officially, when Dakota had been born, and he couldn’t help but compare the two. The first was much nicer, but Greg knew that with everything that had happened, Nick couldn’t afford it anymore. At least not on his own with Dakota to look after.
Inside, the new place was small, though neatly kept, even if it was a little dingy. Greg didn’t miss the pained look cross Nick’s face when he entered the tiny place, as if he was ashamed of it and hadn’t wanted Greg to see it.
He waited patiently on the couch with a coke while Nick gave Dakota a bath and got her ready for bed. When he finally emerged from the bedroom he shared with her crib, the lines on his face were deeper, sharper, than they ever should have been. He sat down in one of the other chairs apart from Greg.
“I don’t know what to say. We talked about this. You were there when Megan called about Dakota.”
“I know that, Nick. But I’m here because of what happened before she called.”
“Yeah, she and I were having a one night fling when the condom broke!”
“Nicky, calm down. You know exactly what I mean, or did you honestly forget about the months between that and when Dakota was brought into your life? When your phone rang that night you were in my livingroom, the same place you’d practically moved into. I don’t think you’d even set foot in your own place for at least two weeks.”
“Greg, you know why we can’t be together.”
“No, I don’t! Nick, you said it yourself you and Megan never loved each other. She’s gone. Her funeral was many months ago. And I’ve spent the time watching you spiral downhill ever since then. Believe me, I have nothing against Megan. The car accident was a tragedy and I thank God every day that Dakota’s still alive. But how can you be there for her when you’ve got no one there for you? And look at you. You’re falling apart at the seams.”
“She’s not your burden to bear.”
“You don’t think I could love her just as much as you do? You don’t think I do?”
“How could you?”
“You obviously don’t know me as well as I thought you did. I love you. How many times did I tell you that while we were together? You know I meant it every time and nothing’s changed. She’s a part of you. How could I not love her too?”
“I don’t understand. I screwed up, and she’s here. And I chose Megan over you that night she called. How can you still want to be part of my life after that?”
Greg couldn’t believe what he’d heard. He shook his head.
“Don’t EVER say you screwed up!” his voice rose several octaves, surprising himself as well as Nick, who’s eyes were now wide and staring. “That’s like saying Dakota’s nothing but a screw up baby and why don’t you just dump her on a random doorstep to get rid of her? How many babies have you found in dumpsters on the job because no one wanted them? Huh? I don’t want that to be her. Mistakes can be good things too, you know. She’s sweet and adorable. She’s the best kid anyone could hope to get. Parents are jealous around the whole world, babe.”
Nick lowered his head to stare at the hands clasped tightly in his lap as his eyes welled up with tears.
“Besides, I never expected any less from you. The moment you told me her reason for calling, I knew you would do the right thing for Dakota. If you had chosen me over her, then I would have been worried.”
Nick looked back up at him, a little in shock.
“Come on, you know me. I’m not going to hang you out to dry just because you suddenly have a daughter. That would be cruel and I’m not cruel to those I love. I know you Nick, and I know what you’ve been putting yourself through. I want to be there for you. I don’t care what you say. I want to because I love you and that won’t ever change.”
Nick’s tears finally ran down his face.
“I’m sorry,” he choked out.
“Don’t apologize for me breaking your tough shell. I won’t, because we both know you needed it.”
The other man looked scared, as if he didn’t want Greg to see the emotions crossing over his face.
“Nicky, let’s not have to start all over again. In the few months we had before Dakota we got so far. I don’t want to loose that just as much as I don’t want to loose you.”
Greg found himself on his knees in front of Nick, his hand cradling his boyfriend’s face. His thumb wiped Nick’s tears away and he could feel him trembling.
“I didn’t think you would care,” his voice was so soft Greg almost couldn’t hear him. “That you would even want to.”
“That’s because you didn’t ask.”
There was a long pause before Nick let out a shaky breath, “I really botched things up, didn’t I?”
“Mistakes happen. I’ll forgive you as long as it doesn’t happen again.”
“I promise, it won’t,” Nick said without hesitation, meeting his eyes in determination.
Greg leaned in then and gently brushed his lips against Nick’s. He remembered the other man’s needy kisses from many months ago and knew this one was different, as Nick closed his eyes and pulled him closer into the deep kiss of someone who’d missed true love for too long, savoring the taste of Greg’s mouth on his tongue. When they both ran out of oxygen it was clear Nick didn’t want to let go, that perhaps he even couldn’t.
When he forced himself to distance their mouths, he looked around the room and Greg knew he was looking for Megan to show up at any moment and remind him she was still there, that he was only dreaming about Greg.
“It’s ok,” he whispered, making sure his eyes met Nick’s.
“God, Greg... I... I love you so much... and I’ve missed you... for so long,” Nick sobbed into Greg’s shoulder, his body trembling, as if a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders and he was finally allowed to let emotions go that he’d been holding inside for far too long.
“Shhh... it’s ok. Everything’s gonna be ok,” Greg soothed, holding him close in his awkward position until his tears had subsided.
“Come on, let’s get you into bed. We still have a lot to talk about but we can do that after you’ve gotten some proper sleep.”
Greg stood up, took Nick’s hand in his, and lead him toward the bedroom where Dakota was already sound asleep in her crib.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” Nick mumbled as Greg helped him undress.
“When I’m still here tomorrow morning, maybe you will. And I promise I’m not going anywhere.”
Nick sank into the bedding as Greg slipped into bed beside him, and wrapped his arms around him. When he turned over to face him, Greg pressed a gentle kiss to his forehead. A shudder ran through Nick’s body as his eyes closed and he swallowed a lump in his throat. The last thing he heard from Nick was a sigh of contentment before the other man fell into a deep relaxing sleep, perhaps the first he’d had in a long time.
When Nick woke up the following morning a deep sadness washed over him in the quiet room. If only his dream had been true, more than a dream. He needed someone to lean on, a life support. He knew things were going down hill for him. He knew he needed Greg, if his ex could accept that Dakota and himself were a package deal.
He sat up straight, suddenly wondering why the room was so quiet, wondering how it was almost five already and Dakota hadn’t woken him up. Looking into the crib he found it empty and his heart leapt into his throat, as fear overtook him.
He jumped out of bed, intent on calling someone at LVPD about the kidnapping. But then he heard sounds coming from the kitchen and when he went to investigate his heart caught in his throat once again and he knew he hadn’t been dreaming.
“That’s called H2O on the periodic table, little one, the stuff that comes from the sink. Though we usually just call it water. But it’s good stuff. Good for you.”
Greg was holding Dakota in his arms as she sucked down the contents of her bottle. The look of love on his face had tears welling up in Nick’s eyes.
“I know I read you some of the table last night at work but it’s a long list,” Greg said, continuing to explain, oblivious of Nick standing in the doorway. “So we’ll start with a few and eventually you’ll be at the head of your class. I usually read the chart in my mind when I can’t sleep, or when something’s bothering me, kinda like counting sheep. Which, I guess has been a lot lately. I’ve been worried about your Daddy. But I think I got him straightened out this morning. At least, I hope so. Hey, you’ve got some pretty good milk there, mind if I take a sip?” Greg attempted a lame joke to cover the sadness of his previous words.
He gently pulled the bottle from her lips and she
let out a cry to say she wasn’t finished. He gave it back.
“Well, alright then. I guess I can see how this relationship is going to work. I bet you have Nick tied right around that little pinky of yours,” he wiggled it a little while she drank on. “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt if you had two men wrapped around your fingers. I’ll take your thumb, if you don’t mind. Or would you rather I take your pointer?” He wiggled each finger as he mentioned it.
A strangled sob escaping Nick’s lips brought Greg’s eyes up to meet his and he was across the floor standing in front of him in an instant.
“I woke up and thought I dreamed last night,” he managed to get out.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t there. She woke up early and I didn’t want her crying for food and a diaper change to disturb you.”
Nick continued, “and then I thought someone had taken her,” he shuddered, reaching out and wrapping his arms around Greg in a fierce hug, careful not to squish Dakota between them. “But when I saw you were not a dream... Greg, I don’t want to loose you either. I can’t.”
“Let me put her down and we can go...”
Nick held him tighter and buried his face in the crook of Greg’s neck, breathing deep and slow to calm himself down. He didn’t speak again until he was sure his voice was steady, “No. I want you both right here, right were I can hold you, and not let go.”
A/N: I’m debating turning this one shot into a series, though I don’t know how many stories there will be, I do have one other in mind. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed and don’t forget to review please! Thanks guys!
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