A/N: The author of this work does not, in any way, profit from the story. All creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s). CSI:Crime Scene Investigation is the property of CBS.|
His shoes are vibrating. Literally; Nick feels the thumping rhythm of a deep bass pounding through the soles and into his feet. He shakes his head but keeps walking through the crowded club, descending a short staircase and arriving in another world, darker still and somehow oppressive.
The basement is dingy, with low ceilings and lighting that flickers in a random pattern, casting the concrete walls in an eerie green glow. He doesn’t like it. He prefers the cool clean interior of the lab where life is quiet and ordered. The job demands he enter places he normally wouldn’t tread so he squares his shoulders and begins walking down the hallway.
It seems excessively long, stretching before him with myriad rooms ranging on either side. Doors are open or closed at random; some rooms are occupied while others are empty. Above the music Nick hears a cacophony of sound he tries to ignore.
He frowns as his hearing sharpens suddenly, as though the very thought of ignoring the noises brings them to the fore of his senses. From behind closed doors he hears a moan, a scream of ecstasy, a long low groan that trails off into a whimper. All the sounds of a seedy sex club echo off cold walls to reverberate in his ears.
A sudden noise startles him, he turns and sees nothing; the hallway is empty. Again, then again the sound carries into the hall. It’s the unmistakable crack of a whip in the air, the dull thud of leather hitting flesh followed by a low moan. Nick looks away as though he can escape the sound by averting his eyes.
Bemused now, almost hypnotized by the lights flickering overhead he continues to his destination. Counting doors as he walks his head swings left then right, he’s trying not to see anything but inevitably sees everything.
He stops in his tracks as a scene unfolds in a room midway down the hall. Frozen in a tableau the occupants are motionless as Nick stares from the open doorway.
A man faces the door kneeling on the cold stone floor, head bowed, arms outstretched and bound in chains. His jeans are ripped and stained, his bare chest dripping with mingled sweat and blood.
A woman, tall and haughty with short hair teased into spikes, stands behind the man. Dressed in black leather that reveals more than it conceals she remains poised, whip at the ready.
Nick doesn’t know how long he’s been staring. Before he can tear his eyes away the man raises his head, piercing blue eyes meeting his own. Nick hears a voice in his ears but the captive man’s lips aren’t moving.
“I’m just a slave…here…at the mercy of a girl.”
Nick turns to look behind him, unsure who has spoken. The hall is still empty. Slowly he swings his head back to look into the room, strangely unsurprised to see the tableau has changed.
The woman now stands with her bare back to the door, obstructing Nick’s view of the kneeling man. He doesn’t notice, doesn’t care. Nick is transfixed by the butterfly adorning the woman’s back. The creature is blue, vibrantly, painfully so and it stretches from one shoulder blade to the other.
Maybe it’s the light, or the way the woman is posing but it seems as if the butterfly is hovering above her skin instead of lying embedded within it.
He shakes his head and blinks, turning away and starting forward only to yelp as Sara appears in front of him. He laughs nervously, unsure how long he has been staring and embarrassed to be caught out.
He is about to speak when she gives him an infinitesimal shake of her head. Her expression seems more sorrowful than ever and Nick understands why. He almost feels sorry for the people who frequent this place. He knows their bodies are misinterpreting what their soul’s desire. They’ve got it all wrong. Coming here, they imprison their hearts, feeding only what the flesh requires. He knows it is not enough, never enough. What is desire without tenderness? What is lust without love, sex without intimacy?
Nick opens his mouth to tell Sara what he understands. She raises one finger to her lips, emitting a soft ‘shhh’. Nick wonders how he hears it over the music but complies, staying silent as he follows Sara into the next room. ~~~
The lab lights seem bluer than ever and Nick blinks against their sudden vibrancy. He frowns, unsure of his own thoughts. He feels like he’s been walking around in a daze all day. Glancing down at the evidence table he looks again at all the gear he confiscated from the club. He’s holding some kind of implement in his hands and he hopes he never figures out what it’s used for.
Nick pushes aside his own discomfort and continues his swabbing. Expertly he swipes a cotton bud over the sharp shiny metal, sets the instrument down then drips phenolphthalein onto the swab. He has no doubt it will come up positive for blood.
He’s astonished when the swab turns a brilliant blue.
He stares at it for a minute, picks up the bottle of phenolphthalein and stares at that for a while too. Eventually, his face creased into a mask of puzzlement he leaves the room, bottle and swab in hand.
The lab is unusually quiet, the halls empty, a strange hush over the building. Nick is becoming more and more bewildered as he wanders around, looking for someone, anyone who can tell him why the hell the phenolphthalein turned blue.
Nick turns a corner and is suddenly relieved to see Grissom standing in the corridor. His supervisor is staring down at an object he’s holding in his hands. At Nick’s approach Grissom looks up then turns the object so Nick can see it.
A butterfly lies beautifully mounted on black velvet, stunning in all its outstretched glory, filling the box frame with its beauty.
“Lycaeides melissa samuelis,” Grissom says, almost reverently. He turns the box slightly so the light falls on the butterfly, its blue wings illuminated and glinting as though the creature is still alive.
Nick looks back at Grissom then wordlessly holds out the bottle and swab. Grissom frowns, giving Nick a look that says somehow he is to blame. Nick stares back, belligerent and surprisingly Grissom backs down.
The older man turns and inclines his head towards his office. Nick follows silently, thinking to himself he is having a decidedly strange day. ~~~
A day which is over in an instant it seems, and Nick is mildly surprised to find himself immersed in a hot bath, bubbles floating around him. The translucent froth glistens in the dim glow of the candlelit bathroom. He sighs, relaxes, and leans into the body behind him, loving the feel of a pair of arms wrapped around him, long legs encircling his waist and resting along his own muscled thighs. A pair of hands rest on his shoulders before sliding down his chest. Lips nibble at his ear and he moans in pleasure.
The water sloshes as one hand leaves his chest to reach for a bath scrub, scrunched and feeling almost like plastic. Nick likes it better than a sponge though, which is why he bought it in the first place.
The blue scrub is soon covered in soap and slicking up and down his torso in long languid strokes. Nicks head rests on the shoulder supporting him as sure hands glide up and down his body. He’s lulled by the alternating texture of soft soapy hands and the roughened scrub on his skin. His senses seem heightened, his breathing suddenly loud in the quiet room.
He tilts his head slightly as those same lips leave his earlobe only to gently bite the skin just under his ear. Nick stirs, his own hands curling inwards as his partner lavishes attention on that particularly sensitive spot. All too soon the sensation ceases as lips and teeth move further down his neck. Nick lets out a soft sigh; his body is tingling even as his mind is drifting. Briefly he closes his eyes then opens them when soapy fingers begin to circle his nipple, teasing it so it pebbles, then flicking so it hardens.
He looks down at his body, floating in the water and it seems as if he is anchored only by the arms and legs wrapped around himself. He feels safe and cocooned, so thoroughly relaxed that he is not surprised when a butterfly flutters into the room, flitting from corner to corner. He has no idea how it got in, and his only thought is to hope it finds its way out again.
The creature flies nearer to the bath and Nick finds himself willing it to fly free. It flits closer to Nick, as though it can read his mind and has decided to be contrary. It dances above his face and Nick is incredulous to feel a slight stir of air, a tiny gust coming from the beat of the butterfly’s wings. He holds his breath, captivated by its beauty and fragility.
Closer it comes, ever closer to the pair of lips still kissing his neck until Nick feels the sweep of wing across his throat.
The butterfly’s wings drag across his skin, cutting like a dull blade and Nick starts up, thrashing against the arms that hold him, one hand clutching at his throat as his blood pours out in great red waves, spilling into the bath like a waterfall.
Nick opens his mouth to scream, to call for help, to breathe while the blood pours out and over his hands. He heaves himself up from the bath.
And wakes to find himself sitting up in bed, the room dark and quiet around him. He gulps for air, instinctively feeling his throat and letting out a short bark of laughter in sheer relief to find himself unharmed. It’s been a dream. The club, the lab, the bath…it’s just a dream.
Drawing his legs up he hooks his arms around his knees and sits, collecting his wits and willing his heart rate to return from its frantic pace and settle into a more natural rhythm. It helps to have the even, steady breathing of his partner beside him and Nick finds himself matching the inhalation and exhalation of air, calming…soothing.
When he is sure he has shaken off his panic Nick turns to look at the sleeping form beside him. His dream has been full of imagery, and while he doesn’t understand it all - Sara’s appearance and the sex club for a start - he thinks he knows exactly what the dream means.
He is in love.
Knowing that fills him with a kind of freedom, the way butterflies fly vibrant and free.
This love has been hovering over him for awhile and descended on him so gradually that it is a part of him now. It’s embedded deeper than a tattoo could ever be and he knows it is just a matter of time before it sears itself inextricably into his heart and soul.
He welcomes the welding of this love and his soul. His love is precious, something he treasures and cherishes. He can’t help but want to keep it safe while at the same time putting it on display.
And love, once it touched him, allowed him the freedom to spill his innermost self; his dreams, his secrets. His fears and desires. He has shared them all and he is free.
Nick takes one last deep breath and smiles before lying down and turning in to his lover. An arm is thrown about his waist, a sleepy voice murmurs in the darkness. Nick sighs as a soft pair of lips drop butterfly kisses on his shoulder.
As he floats back down into slumber his last thought is to wonder.
Why the hell did the phenolphthalein turn blue? ~~~
A/N: Of course you know who Nick is in love with!! This story takes place shortly before 'Forget the World'.
I recommend you Google ‘Karner Blue’ to get a visual of the butterfly if you are so inclined. This story was inspired by the song ‘When the Body Speaks’ written by Martin Gore as performed by Depeche Mode.
Comments and reviews are most welcome. Do you want a new chapter with the full interpretation? :D Trust me, every little detail has meaning!