CSI
Sunrise by MoodyMuse [Reviews - 3]

SUNRISE by MoodyMuse
PG, Spoilers for Grave Danger
Summary: It’s the end of Nick’s first day back.

***

Nick leans on the railing on top of the building, watching the orange of dawn take a hold of the blue-black of night. He smiles. Today was his first day back at work. Almost six weeks ago he had been buried underground, being eaten by ants and holding a gun to his chin. While that wasn’t precisely what made him smile, the fact that he’s there, admiring the sunrise and having the chance of doing it makes him feel like he could smile for the rest of the year.

The sun pops up from out of the horizon and illuminates the far end of Vegas. Some of the streetlights turn off, but only a few. The street below is still deserted - it’s barely six a.m.

Nick smiles at the ground below. There goes Catherine, easily recognizable by her billowing blond hair, hurrying to her Denali to arrive home before Lindsay wakes up. “Well, there you are” says a voice behind him.

Nick turns and find Grissom standing by the roof door, hands in pockets, gray light making his sandy hair darker instead of lighter. The sky behind him is storm cloud-dark and Nick realizes he’s missing the opportunity of a picture showing the perfect contrast of colors. “Hey Griss” he greets.

Grissom walks to lean on the railing besides Nick, but ignores the sunrise. “You know, I need a nickname”

Nick frowns and looks at him. “What?”

“Well, you’re Pancho. Cisco’s your dad. The G is reserved for Greg. I need a nickname.”

Nick laughs. “Yeah, I have to admit Griss is pretty boring- take one ‘s’ out and it’s Gray in Spanish”

“And a nickname should be so much more than just a color.” Everything is orange now, even Nick’s black t-shirt. He had forced himself to wear a black t-shirt and blue jeans to work that day, (even though Greg had burnt the outfit he’d been wearing that day) because he told himself he could not be scared of an outfit, for crying out loud. “So how was your first day?” asks Grissom, and Nick smiles because he had been counting the seconds until Griss asked that. It took him exactly twelve seconds.

“You make it sound like I’m a CSI One”

“You’re not, though. You have the experience of a CSI Three and yet everybody’s looking at you as if you were the new guy in the lab.”

“I kinda am, though. Everybody kept asking how I was, and how I felt here, and how everybody was treating me. It did remind me of my first day here.”

“Luckily, you won’t have Warrick teasing your accent.”

“Until he feels calm enough to stop overprotecting me. He talked to you about me going to crime scenes on my own, right?”

“Yes. As did Sara, and Catherine and Greg. And I debated it with myself. They worry. It’s their task as friends.”

A moment passes in silence. The orange is now giving in to the proper color of things as the sun peeks out and almost one quarter of it is in sight.

“How are you doing, Pancho?” and they both revel in the way Nick’s nickname stuck to them.

“I’m good.” He answers simply.

Grissom lifts an eyebrow and purses his lips a bit, a trait Nick recognizes from Sara, and he briefly wonders if Grissom knows just how much Sara is rubbing off on him. “Of course I could be better. If I’m in a room, I either have to have a window open or someone I trust with me. Same with my car, I roll the window all the way down. I’m going to freeze in winter, probably.”

“What about ants?” he asks in a serious, professional voice. Insects are his thing, after all.

“Greg has trained me into tolerating ant-talk from someone else, but I can’t bear the sight of them yet.” And he kills a little black one that had been making its way into the rooftop.

“Well, that takes time. You can practice at my office, I have many species.” He grins.

“I’m sure you do.” A pause. Two quarters of the sun are out, and Nick can almost feel its warmth on his skin, still lightly marred by healing blisters and two or three scars. “Greg told me you had a video feed”

“We did” he answers. “But no one watched it but us. And Archie, he traced the signal”

A question has been burning his brain ever since Greg told him. Weirdly, he hadn’t managed to ask Greg about it. “Did my parents see the feed?”

“Yes” Grissom almost whispers, and Nick sighs. “They needed to know you were still alive”

“What was I doing?” he asks with difficulty, because the next time he sees his mum, he’s going to have in his brain an image of her face watching his only son panicking in a glass coffin or maybe being eaten alive by ants.

“Nothing. It was before you shot the light out, you were… waiting, I suppose.”

Nick nods, and stays silent watching the newly born sun illuminate Las Vegas. All streetlights are out now, yet it is still quite dark in the streets. He is tired of questions, of asking them and receiving them, this day –night - has been tiring enough in that aspect. More questions will come, but he begs they won’t today.

Grissom seems to pick up on it, because he stays silent, shoulder to shoulder with Nick. Grissom rarely stays this close to someone for so long. It’s as if he needs solid evidence that Nick is there, that he found him in time, that he didn’t open the box to see Nick blow his brains out.

That simple shoulder-to-shoulder touch Grissom needs says more to Nick that Grissom could ever say with words, and touches a fiber deep inside him. He suddenly has the need for Grissom to call him Pancho all the time.

“You know I’m not afraid to lay under the blankets?” he says suddenly. “You know when it’s really cold, you crawl under the blankets so you’ll warm quicker? These last few days that have been kinda cold, I used the blanket. I thought I’d be terrified, seeing as it is a small space but I’m not. I didn’t realize that until Greg pointed it out.”

Grissom frowns, and looks at Nick. “Greg?”

Nick smiles one of Sara’s high wattage smile. “Greg” and Grissom understands.

“Before or after?” he asks, because he’s worried that a relationship started at this moment in Nick’s life might not be the healthiest thing ever.

“Before.” Nick answers, and ponders about it. “And after”

“It says a lot about you, actually” says Grissom.

“That I’m involved with Greg?” he smirks, preparing for the day Warrick finds out about it , because he is sure he is going to be teased about it more than his accent in Las Vegas did.

Grissom laughs silently. “No, that you’re not afraid. I’m amazed, actually. It says of how brave you are. How strong.”

“Normally I’d have answered I’m not strong. And I would’ve believed it. But now… I guess I’ve tested my limits.”

“You didn’t reach yours”

“I almost did” he says, and his voice trembles a bit here, because he will always feel the cold steel of the gun against his chin, far worst that when Crane pointed the gun at him.

“Can I ask you something?” Grissom says. Nick nods. “In the tape…”

Nick’s blood runs nearly cold. He was certain death was near when he made that. “You heard it?”

“I watched as you made it. I can read lips.” Nick nods. He had forgotten that. “You didn’t say anything to Greg. I didn’t think anything of it in that moment because I didn’t know you were involved, but…”

Nick’s mouth turns a bit upwards. “You want to know why I didn’t say goodbye to my boyfriend.”

Grissom motions with his hands. Nick has taken the words out of his mouth. “In the tape” Nick begins “I spoke to those I speak to everyday, but said to them what I never utter. Or at least, I attempted to. I tell Greg I love him all the time, and he knows that. He didn’t need to hear it from a dead man’s tape”

Grissom smiles, and if he never has any children, at that moment he doesn’t care, because he now knows just how proud you can be of a son. Or, of someone that feels like your son.

The door to the roof opens, and Sara and Greg emerged. “Of all the places to hide.” She says.

Greg smiles relieved, but only Grissom catches this. He suddenly wonders just how good at hiding their relationship Nick and Greg are, that not even he picked up on it. Then again, that is romantic relationship territory, where his experience is limited. Just ask Sara about it, she could monologue about it for hours.

“What are you doing up here?” asks Greg, who gravitates to Nick as if Grissom and Sara weren’t there.

“Watching the sunrise.” He almost reaches to hug Greg but months of the habit of hiding tell him not to. Grissom knowing about them is too recent to register in his mind, and Sara doesn’t know. He opts for supporting his arm on Greg’s shoulder.

“Did I miss anything?”

Nick shrugs and smiles. “Big ball of fire. Pretty colors. I’ll tell you about it later”

Greg squints. “I see bags under eyes. Come on, I’ll drive you home” says Greg, as if they hadn’t left Nick’s truck at home when they arrived together last night.

They say goodbye, and Grissom and Nick exchange a special smile that no one but them see. It says a lot to each other while comfortably saying nothing.

Sara watched Nick and Greg’s exchange quietly, frowning. He leans on the railing besides Grissom, her back to the raised sun. “Is there something going on between those two that I missed?”

Grissom ponders his answer. “That is for them to answer”

Sara smiles, and to Grissom she suddenly seems brighter than the sun behind her. “Which is a confirmation without words. Thank you.”

She raises herself and begins to walk. Grissom stops her, grabbing her elbow. “Wait. Watch.”

Sara turns and looks at the sun. “The sun is already up”

“Sometimes the best part comes after the sun is up” he says.

Sara crosses her arms. “For example?”

Grissom watches the horizon. “There’s light.” He turns to Sara. “Now I can see”

Sara smiles her crooked smiles and takes his hand. “Let’s go home. Tomorrow is not going to be any easier”

Grissom allows Sara to lead him. As he catches the last glimpse of the morning sun before the roof door closes, he somehow thinks tomorrow can be easier.

They’ll just have to see.
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