CSI: Walking on Broken Glass: one shot|
A/N: I tossed this idea out on The Fort and people seemed to like it so much that I finally wrote it out. So, here it is, in all of its angst glory. BTW, this is my first story from Gil’s pov, so I’m a little unsure of how it turned out, but I think his reactions are true to his real character. Let me know what you think. Also, Stacy, when I needed a name, yours was the first one I thought of, hope you don’t mind! WARNING: Anger issues abound and very slight abuse does take place. Ok, enough of me and my blabbering... enjoy!
“Where did you take her?!”
Grissom’s head shot up when he heard one of his CSIs shouting in the hallway not far from his office. He took his glasses off and saw Nick Stokes, hands on his hips, face flushed and angry, yelling at someone he couldn’t see.
“You really want to have this conversation here? At work?” and that was Greg Sanders’s voice, one of Grissom’s other CSIs.
His curiosity piqued, he stepped out into the hall to see what was going on.
“Ah, guys? Why are we arguing about a case?”
“Damn it, Greg! I don’t care where the hell we are! Where did you take Samantha?! How could you do this to me?! I love her!”
“I’m not stupid, Nick. I know you do. But right now... you can’t be near her. This case is getting to you.”
“Of course it is! You know why! I can’t help that!” Nick sighed. “I shouldn’t have told you about that stupid babysitter. I never should have opened my big mouth. But no, I had to tell you.”
“You’re supposed to tell me about things like that. You’re supposed to be able to trust me with that information. And I’m glad you did. Because if I didn’t know about that, I sure as hell wouldn’t be standing here, right now, arguing with you! I’d be long gone. Probably to New York or Canada. Far away. Don’t you get that?”
By now, lab techs and other members of the team were poking their heads out of the labs along the hallway to see what was going on. Everyone looked just as confused as Grissom felt. He had no idea how to break up the argument because he had no idea what it was about in the first place and they didn’t seem to know or care that he was even there.
From what he could tell, Greg was the calmer of the two. Nick was down right angry and while Gil could detect a slight anger in Greg’s voice, it wasn’t nearly as heated.
“I want her back, Greg. You can’t do this to me.”
“Yes, I can. And you’re already too late. You’re not getting her back. Not until you calm down and realize what could have happened, what you could have done.”
A deeper anger flared in Greg’s brown eyes, and his stance confused Grissom. The way he held his hands behind his back it appeared as if he were trying to hide something or someone. But there was nothing there.
“Ah, boys, you should really stay out of each others love lives. You’re coworkers, remember? Sharing girlfriends is probably not a wise thing to do,” Gil tried to break in again.
Somewhere he heard a snort before he realized it was Nick, looking at him as if he had three heads instead of one. The anger fled from Greg in an instant and a pained expression replaced it.
“What case are you working? If I have to split you two up, I can put Warrick...”
“The Doublano case. The little boy who was kidnapped from his home and raped.”
Grissom nodded. “Alright, Catherine can work with you on that one, Greg. Nick, I’ll put you with Warrick. You can take over processing...”
“I want my daughter back, Greg.”
Dead silence fell over the entire hall. No one dared to breathe. Greg seemed well aware of everyone watching them, but he had eyes only for Nick.
“This isn’t what you wanted last week,” he said in a near whisper. “For the last five years. But since you don’t seem to care right now, there’s nothing I can do about it. You’ve got friends here the same as I do, some of them are in uniform at the other end of the hall, watching this. And in a moment, I’m not sure they’ll want to be friends anymore. But, whatever. If you want to sacrifice everything, go right ahead,” his voice was almost cold, but Grissom could tell there was no hate in his words, though he couldn’t be sure exactly what it was he was hearing. “I’ll take her as far as Norway if I have to. I will protect her from anything and everyone who threatens her life and if staying here after this argument will threaten her life because of what the entire police department’s going to know, then the two of us are out of here, and you’ll have to deal with the consequences of your actions alone.”
“Greg?” Grissom moved to better face the other man as the rest of the lab continued to look on. “If what I’m hearing is correct... kidnapping is...”
Anger flashed back into Greg’s eyes again, making Gil take a step backward.
“It’s not kidnapping. And Grissom, if he does stay here, promise me you won’t put him on anymore cases involving children. He’s got a short fuse when it comes to children being hurt by those who are supposed to protect them.” Greg turned back to Nick. “Funny thing though, considering what you almost did last night when you put that hole in the livingroom wall.”
Nick slapped him hard across the face and Greg spun around from the force of the impact. There was a collective gasp from the gathered crowd.
“Shit! Nick, what the hell’s wrong with you?”
Warrick moved to Nick’s side to intervene and hold him back. But before he could, Greg was facing Nick again and hardly seemed fazed by what had just happened.
“Hurt me all you want, Nicky. I’m not telling you where she is. You can at least be glad I didn’t leave her with a last minute babysitter. It’s my job to protect her, and even if that means I have to protect her from you, I’ll do what I have to, to ensure her safety.”
“If we’re talking about Nick’s daughter, then it’s still kidnapping. Where is she?” Grissom found himself asking, still in shock over the news that Nick even had a daughter in the first place. How did he not know this?
“Are you ready for this?” Greg quirked a serious eyebrow at Nick. “Are you ready? Because this is it. I can’t keep this under wraps any more. Probably no more than you could control your emotions last night when you started throwing things in the living room.”
Nick said nothing, millions of emotions flickering across his face as he watched Greg turn to everyone else out in the hall.
His voice carried loud and far, intending for everyone to hear him, “I own two documents which will prove that I didn’t kidnap his daughter. I bet none of you figured out that your perfect ladies man Texan is actually gay.”
Eyes popped out of heads.
“I bet you didn’t figure out that he’s been in a committed relationship for five years. That for three of those five years he’s actually been married.”
Cops shook their heads at the end of the hall, as if to clear the horrible image of Nick with another man from their heads. Lab techs just stared.
“Sure, I flirt with everyone. It’s in my nature. But I bet you never noticed how I stopped after awhile, how I only flirt with one person now. Because there’s only one man in this world who could ever hold my heart the way he does.”
The other CSIs did a double take, looking between the two men, and Grissom was no exception. How the hell had he missed this?! He wanted to be able to give a quote, something famous said by someone ages ago, but no quotes came to mind that fit the situation and no words came to his mouth.
“Files were not changed. There was no need to tell anyone. We knew you’d have the same reaction you’re having now. We knew it would affect everything from our jobs to our normal lives outside of work. We didn’t want Samantha’s life to reflect our coworkers hatred of us so according to our files, he’s still Nick Stokes, and I’m still Greg Sanders. But, really, our last names are hyphenated. Sanders-Stokes. And so is Samantha’s. So, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I did not kidnap his daughter. I’m protecting OUR daughter. And no, I won’t go into details. I’m not that low.”
“I think you both need to come to my office. We need to talk about this. Everyone else here... I suggest you get back to work.”
No one moved.
“No. We’re done here. Everyone knows the truth now. Nick, come find me when you’ve worked out your anger issues and I don’t mean just after you’ve finished this case, because we both know your issues don’t end when the case does. You understand me? Get help.”
Nick just stared at him.
“In the meantime, I’ve got a blanket to deliver to my daughter who’s a little upset and scared right now because I forgot to pack it when we left last night. Grissom have you got a case for me? I don’t think I should stay on this one with him.”
“I don’t think either of you should stay on it. Warrick, Catherine, you’re taking over their case,” Grissom glanced at the two CSIs, Catherine having moved to stand beside Warrick. “As for you and Nick, in my office, NOW.”
“Better get a move on, Nicholas.” Greg stepped around Nick and headed for his office.
Reluctantly, and still flaring with anger, Nick followed him.
“Back to work people. This is not something to gawk over.”
When the three of them had taken their seats behind a closed door, it was obvious Nick was tense while Greg looked more at ease and comfortable. Gil couldn’t believe everything he’d heard. He knew they were close, Warrick had commented a long time ago about Nick finding a new best friend, but he hadn’t thought much about it back then.
“When were you going to tell me about this?”
“Probably never,” Nick said, defiance written on his face. Silence filled the room until he got the hint and explained, “we couldn’t risk it. I’ve heard stories from PD... guys who were found out...” his anger deflated and his voice turned to a whisper as he looked at his hands clasped together in his lap. “I didn’t want that to be Greg. I didn’t want our daughter to suffer because we worked with a bunch of homophobic jerks.”
Nick’s emotions switched gears back to the anger he’d been holding all night and he stared Grissom in the eye as if testing his own homophobia.
“I don’t care either way,” he confirmed.“When did... Samantha... enter into the picture?”
“A year ago next month.”
Greg reached into his back pocket for his wallet and brought out two photos.
“G, what are you doing? No...”
“The PD guys are who you need to worry about. So forgive me for indulging myself. You know I’ve always wished we could do this.”
He handed them to Grissom. The first was a professional photo of his two employees, smiling, while holding a cute blond toddler between them. Her smile was sweet surrounded by deep dimples. They looked so happy together, like a real family.
“We had those taken just before her fourth birthday. Greg was tickling her to get her to smile for the camera,” Nick said, a fond look in his eyes at the memory, erasing the tension from his features. “That’s my favorite picture of us.”
“The second one is my favorite.”
“G... no... not that one.”
Gil flipped to the other to find a candid shot of Nick sound asleep on a blue couch with his arm around a sleeping Samantha. When he looked up Greg was grinning and Nick looked embarrassed, but happy.
“These are nice, Greg. I’m happy for you both... but I’m confused about what’s going on with the case?”
Greg’s expression turned sour and Nick’s anger returned, though it was clear he was doing his best to keep it in check this time.
There was a long silence before Greg finally spoke up, “long story short, he’s upset over the case. It got to him and he went a little over the top last night, put a hole in the wall. Sammy got scared. If she hadn’t been there I wouldn’t have left. I tried to talk to him, calm him down, but my usual tactics weren’t working and I didn’t know what else to do. So, I did what I felt was best for Samantha at the time.”
Grissom nodded. “Nick? Have you got anything to add? Greg’s doing all the talking here.”
Nick shook his head. “No. Greg’s right on everything. This case is upsetting me and I did get angry over it last night. Occasionally I can’t control it, but it’s a rare occurrence. I swear. Most times Greg’s real good at calming me down. I don’t know how he does it... but last night... I guess...I don’t know what happened.”
“What am I supposed to do, Nick? I don’t think I can let you out into the field like this.” “I know. I’m sorry. I never meant for this...”
“No one ever means for anything like this to happen. Do you know why this upsets you?”
“And have you sought help?”
Nick sighed. “Beyond Greg? No. But he’s been a big help. I’m so much better than I was since we got together.”
“It’s true,” Greg confirmed.
“I just don’t like to talk about it. It was hard enough when I had to tell Catherine because of a case she and I were working once. I knew I didn’t have a choice in telling him when we decided to adopt Sammy. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. But just having them around, it’s done so much for me.”
“Well, I’m glad you’re getting better, but viewing what I saw tonight I’m going to have to insist you seek help, beyond Greg. Immediately. I can’t have this affecting your work.”
“Ok.” Nick was nodding, though his posture said he didn’t want to. “I guess... being a father now... I don’t want the same thing that happened to me... to happen to her. That thought scares me so much.”
Greg reached out and clasped Nick’s hand in his own as if it were the most natural thing in the world, as if they were not sitting in front of their boss after just coming out to the whole Crime Lab and half of the LVPD. And Grissom never would have guessed they were so close.
Greg’s cell phone rang, diverting Gil’s thoughts from asking Nick what had happened to him.
“I’m sorry guys. I have to take this,” Greg said, checking the caller ID. “Hello... Stacy? What’s going on? Is Sammy... wait... what?”
Nick sat up straight, his eyes locked on Greg, worry beginning to fill them.
“Your mother?” Greg continued as if he hadn’t seen Nick move. “The hospital?... Is she going to be ok?... Yeah, ok... Keep me posted. Wait... you’re where?” Greg looked up at Nick, his eyes growing large. “Oh my God... no, no... it’s not a problem. I’ll be right out to meet you.” Greg hung up.
“What’s going on?”
“Stacy’s mom was just taken to the hospital... possible heart attack. But they think she’ll be ok.”
“And she was watching Sammy?”
“They’re out in the parking lot now.”
“You stay here. I’ll go get her.”
“Don’t even try that shit, Greg. You can’t keep her away from me...” but before he could finish his sentence and before Grissom could comment that children didn’t belong in the lab, Greg was out the door, rushing down the hall.
Nick didn’t hesitate to follow his husband and Gil was quick to do the same, knowing the lab was probably still keyed up from their argument earlier.
Out in the reception area several cops watched with disgust as Greg and Nick walked down the hall. A small girl saw Greg and ran to him, her arms open wide for a hug.
But then she saw Nick and stopped. Greg turned to see what she was looking at and saw Nick. He turned back to Samantha.
“Honey, it’s ok. We’re cool, ok?”
She walked into his outstretched arms as he kneeled down to her level.
The look on Nick’s face was devastating as he realized his daughter was afraid of him, that Greg had actually taken the right course of action the day before when he took her away.
“I’m sorry about all this,” a tall woman with long red hair said, as she approached Greg. “But I’ve really gotta run.”
“Stacy, it’s ok. Go take care of your mother, and tell her I said
to get well.”
“I will, thanks,” she nodded at Nick before she left in a hurry.
“I still scared... don’t leave me.” she looked above Greg’s shoulder at Nick but quickly hid her head.
Nick stood, unable to move, watching the scene unfold before him.
One of the cops watching nearby stepped forward, bold enough to say something crass. “What the hell did you do, Stokes? Your own daughter’s afraid of you!... Forget it. I don’t want to know what you queers do on your time off. You shouldn’t be allowed to have children. The things she could be exposed to...”
The hallway went quiet. Gil was aware of Samantha’s reddening face before a sob escaped her small lips. Greg picked her up in one swift motion, giving the cop a murderous glare before turning away to face Nick. Their eyes locked. Emotions flashed across their eyes simultaneously, as if they were having a complete conversation without actual spoken words. Gil almost wished he could tell what they were saying. But at the same time he didn’t want to intrude on something personal and private.
“I can’t believe they let you work here,” another cop stepped up to stand next to the first and the others seemed to back both of them up. “There should have been an announcement. I would have applied to work somewhere else.”
“Would you mind keeping your rude comments to yourself?” Warrick pushed his way through the crowd that had gathered and stood in front of Greg, blocking his two coworkers and their daughter. “No matter what they’ve done, do you honestly want to make it worse with your comments?”
“She’s already ruined. What more could I do?”
“Don’t you EVER talk about my daughter like that!” Nick’s anger came back full force and he readied himself for a physical fight.
Grabbing a tight hold of Nick’s arm, Warrick stopped him from taking another step toward the cop.
“Didn’t you hear what I just said about keeping your mouth shut?” he asked the cop.
“I can say whatever the fuck I want. This is a free country.”
“HEY! There’s a child present. Watch your language. A cop should always be on their best behavior, no matter who you’re talking to. These guys are no different than they were when you worked with them yesterday.”
Gil could only stand and watch, stunned, as Warrick handled the situation with ease, dignity, and force he wished he’d had in that moment.
“Where’d you go to school? They obviously taught you that lying to your coworkers was ok. Ugh. Fags in the department. You make me sick!”
Greg disappeared from the wrath of the police officers, the group of lab techs and CSIs having made a path for him to escape with his daughter clutched tight in his arms.
“What difference does it make who sleeps with whom?” Warrick asked. “You never knew about it before so why should it matter now? What if your whole life you never knew? Nothing else would change. Trust me.”
“Oh, that’s what you think...”
“Look, you wanna take this outside? Let’s take this outside. Work needs to get done here. We’re all on the clock and having a stupid argument over this isn’t what we should be doing.”
The cop snorted. “Right. I’m sure all the evidence is going to hell in a handbasket with them on the cases. No wonder we keep losing to the defense.”
“Let me go, damn it!” Nick struggled to get out of Warrick’s grasp to tackle the uniform but without any luck.
“Ok, that’s it. I’ve had enough of your rubbish. I’m not gonna grant you the satisfaction of continuing this outside. I want you to clear out of here and I don’t want to see you walk back through those doors. Around here we take care of our own. We don’t need you to get in the middle of things.”
“Yeah, well, you need us to help you do your job so...”
“You know what?” a new voice entered the argument. “I’m still in shock over the news myself, but at least I have enough self-preservation and sense not to act out on it, even if I was against it,” David Hodges crossed his arms, probably defending members of the CSI team for the first time in his entire life. “Which I’m not.”
“I’ve got a daughter too. She doesn’t have a mother either. So whatever you say to them you’re saying to me too,” Bobby Dawson followed David’s lead.
“Yeah, well, you’re just a single father, working hard to raise a kid, there’s a difference.”
“Hmmm, I suppose, legally, Jack isn’t anything to me. But I’d have to argue that point.”
Heads swivelled in the ballistic tech’s direction before Warrick brought the standoff back on track, “we’ll be talking to your supervisor. Get out. All of you.”
“You can’t kick us out of here!”
“Actually, he can,” Captain Brass’s voice said from behind them. “I caught half of that and you’re all suspended for two weeks without pay. I’ll talk to your supers about it. Now, get going.”
The cops grudgingly left the building.
“Thanks Jim,” both Gil and Warrick said in unison.
“You’re welcome. Nice job handling that, Rick.”
“I was gonna come ask you about that case you’re working but it looks like I’ve got more pressing business to attend to. When I get back, I wanna know everything that just happened.”
“Greg? Where’s Greg?” Nick asked, turning in circles as soon as Warrick let him go.
Several techs pointed toward the DNA lab and Nick took off at a run down the hall.
“I feel like I should go do some damage control.” Warrick started to follow him but Bobby held him back.
“You’ve done enough already. Just give them time alone.”
Grissom turned to the rest of the group. “How many times have I told you to stop gawking and get back to work?”
Now that the cops were gone and the commotion seemed to be over, everyone shuffled to their stations, leaving Warrick and Grissom to watch the family through the glass walls. Greg was rocking Samantha back and forth when Nick entered the room. Her sweet face was red and blotchy as she leaned over to Nick who took her in his arms and held her close as if he’d almost just lost her forever.
“You ok, Daddy?” the lab door, not having closed all the way, allowed the two CSIs to hear the little girl’s voice.
“Yeah, I’m ok, sweetheart. I’m ok. I’m sorry I scared you. I love you. You know that? I wouldn’t ever hurt you. I promise.”
“I know. Love you too. Didn’t mean to get scared. Didn’t want to be.”
“It’s ok to be scared sometimes, honey. It’s just not ok when I’m the one who scares you like I did last night. I don’t ever want to lose you.”
“I forgive you, Daddy.” She burrowed her head in the crook of his neck.
Nick looked up at Greg, his eyes having turned glassy. He reached a hand up to Greg’s face where it held a perfect imprint of his hand.
“I’m sorry, G... I’ll get help... whatever you want... I love you... I never meant to... God... I...”
“I know you didn’t.” Greg took his hand and pressed a kiss into the palm, before pulling him into a warm embrace. “I love you too.”
“Are you ok with this?” Grissom asked Warrick, still standing beside him. “You do work a lot closer to them than those cops.”
“I’m still in shock. When he stopped wanting to hang out all the time... like we used to... I had no idea...”
“But are you ok with this?”
“Griss, I meant what I said to that cop. I just stood up for them. What does that tell you?”
“I’m glad. They’re going to need friends around here.”
“It looks like I’m not the only one.” Warrick glanced toward the ballistics lab. “If they’ve got Brass and Bobby D in their corner, even Hodges, they’ll be fine. I know more people will come out of the woodwork once the shock wears off. They’ve got the support they never thought they’d get.”
“So you’re going to let them stay on the team together? You know it wouldn’t be the same without them.”
“No one knew they were together for a long time. I’d say they’ve proven they can work without personal issues getting in the way.”
“What about tonight?”
“Only one incident out of five years... I’d say that’s pretty good.”
A/N: Someone wanted to see Greg snap in this story, and I did too, though I’m not sure his anger would really be considered “snapping”. But never fear, in my next story “Remember the Name”, Greg is set to snap, and it’ll scare Nick to pieces! Nothing is scarier than an angry Greg screaming in Norwegian when you don’t know what he’s saying...
Also note, I’m avoiding The Fort and all other fanfictions until “Remember the Name” is finished and posted so that I’m not influenced by anyone else’s story, and so that I can actually get it done before next weekend when I’ll be away from my computer and the internet.
To get instant messages when I post a new chapter or story, join my wiki! Www(dot)queenoftheuniverse(dot)wetpaint(dot)com.
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