CSI
Back Home Tonight by shamelessOne [Reviews - 1]

The day drags on, lost words of the dead echoing in his mind. Why are you talking to me, I'm not dead, I'm here, alive, I didn't die down- down there, no, I'm here. Alive. I can feel it. I know I can, he screams at them, but they don't listen. They never have before.

Everyone still treads lightly around him, though he's been back at work for only a little more than a week, so he's suspects it's to be expected.

Someone touches his arm, gripping tighter than necessary and he flinches, backing away and turning to look who snuck up on him. They didn't sneak up on you, you idiot! You're standing in the middle of the hall! Not in your home. Not in a dark, quiet parking lot- and he tells the voice to shut the hell up the moment he looks into Warrick's green eyes - darker now, ridden with guilt and plagued by it.

"Sorry, Nicky."

Everyone says that more often now. Nicky. He doesn't like to think that it's because he almost died, that they almost lost him, but maybe it's just because he's so fragile now. Not that he'll never admit that to anyone.

"No problem, Warrick. Just a bit jumpy." He succeeds in trying to not flinch at his own words.

"I was just gonna suggest you head home. Get some sleep. Grissom also told me to tell you that you've got tomorrow off." Warrick gives a soft laugh at that, punching his shoulder lightly, playfully, but falters when he does flinch, for real this time.

He moves past Warrick, straight out of the building, and when he reaches the Denali, he rests a hand on the hood. He waits for the nervousness to pass, annoyed at himself that he can't even get in his car with having a minor panic attack.

------

He puts the car in the driveway without having to stop for the first time since his ordeal. He takes a breath, giving himself a shaky smile for the achievement.

He steps through the front door, hands shaking from exhaustion, both mentally and physically.

He leans against the bedroom door, disguised within the shadows, watching as Greg walks out the adjoining bathroom, fingers raking through damp hair.

He smiles fondly as Greg plops down on their bed, grabbing the book on the nightstand and burrowing himself deeper in the comforter he had insisted on bringing out, complaining about the 'sudden change in weather', though it had been a minor one.

Greg's eyes waver between the words in front of him and the clock next to him, then with a sigh, turns his head questioningly at the door, then jumps in surprise as he finally notices him standing there.

"Hey," Greg says, a smirk twitching at the corners of his mouth, and he smiles back, sauntering towards the bed. He climbs in next to the now laughing Greg, pressing a kiss to his cheek in greeting.

He presses his face into the welcoming space between Greg's shoulder and neck, warm and inviting, safe and comforting. Stretching against Greg and reaching down blindly for the edge of the comforter. Finding it, he pulled it up to his chin, sighing contently.

"You can keep reading, Greg." He says, and knows Greg recognizes the lie by the way he lets out his next breath; concerned, but unwilling to show it. The only reason he wants Greg to keep reading, really, and he's ready to admit this fact, is because he wants to fall asleep with the light on and his protector by his side.

He does.

------

Consciousness arrives quickly, sleep peaceful for the first time in a long time, and he's thankful they both have the night off. Maybe he'll learn how to live again.

Sleep doesn't come easily anymore. His mind is restless and anxious as soon as his eyes closed, no matter how exhausted he is. During the first week at the hospital, he rested only with the help of the drugs administered every few hours.

Greg was by his side throughout the process.

He drags himself out of bed after minutes of unsuccessful attempts of dozing off again, untangling his fingers from within Greg's, dropping a kiss on the sleeping man's cheek.

The shower knob is turned to the hottest setting when he steps in, and he sighs at the soothing heat, and all he wants now is to wash all the bad memories down the drain. He's not sure if it works or not. He hopes so.

His muscles are still weak after being on his back for so many hours. His legs tremble as he steps out of the comforting steam-filled bathroom and into the kitchen, no noise falling from his footsteps, and it unnerves him, so he turns on the radio. A new station.

Different than the one he used to listen to. Never that one. Not now. Not after.

An hour later and he hears Greg walk into the living room where he's sitting on the couch, feet folded under him and a pillow clutched to his chest as he watches the news. Another missing person. It's not me, not again. I'm here, he's beside me now. I know he is. I'm here. I'm alive.

I'm not down there. No, I'm not, I can't be.

He can see Greg sit next to him out of the corner of his eye, and feels a hand touch his chin, bringing his eyes away from the screen and into Greg's. Sees soft amusement and just love shining there, and he smiles a sad smile, leaning forward to pull Greg against him.

Hot lips meet his, and he surges forward, urgent and full of need and just fulfillment. Happiness. Love. Life.

"Wanna get outta here?"

It's whispered against his ear and he nods, eyes closed, heart beginning to thump wildly in his chest. Greg stands up again, disappearing down the dark hallway.

He doesn't have the strength to get up just yet to face that darkness. Again. Not just yet.

He blinks, surprised as he looks down the hall to see Greg standing next to the light switch. A finger twitches towards it.

He sees tears in Greg's eyes as light floods the house, counteracting the darkness.

He won't let himself cry as he rises on steadier feet. Stronger now, just look at me now.

He walks in, greeted by one of his shirts being flung at his head and an amused grin on Greg's face. He frowns, confused, and notices it's one of his nicer shirts that they usually save for going... oh. Right.

It's one of his tighter shirts, one that 'hugs him in all the right places' as Greg had put it so elegantly months ago when they bought it. Together.

He pulls the garment over his head, a silly smile pulling at the corners of his mouth, and reaches in beside Greg for one of his nicer pairs of jeans.

One of the ones Greg picked out, again saying 'hugs in the... right place' and this time with a mischievous wink that made him blush deeper that day.

He looks over his shoulder as he walks into the bathroom for the second time that morning, a real smirk planted on his face, and he laughs at the hungry expression on Greg's face.

"Hurry up! It might go faster if you stop checkin' out my ass, G. Just a suggestion."

He swings his hips more as he makes the rest of the journey, letting out another laugh as he hears Greg mutter to himself.

"You should talk."

Yeah, they're just fine.

------

The bouncer grins at Greg, greeting him with a slap on the back, familiarity laced in their pleasant words. The burly man gives him a smile, acknowledging him with a nod over the flowing crowd behind him as they move through the doors.

The hallway leading to the bar and dancefloor is dark, and the moment he bumps into someone whose face he can't see, he grips Greg's arm a little harder, pulling him back and closer. Greg offers his other hand and he gladly takes it, giving Greg a small smile in return, who grins and turns around again.

------

A few hours later and his whole body is vibrating with adrenaline and too much alcohol.

Greg's pulled him onto the dancefloor more than any other time they've been here, but he's also consumed more alcohol than he usually would. It's acceptable, in his case. It is to him, anyways. He needs this. To feel alive.

The music pounds in time with his heart, and he closes his eyes and just lets the beat take him.

He opens his eyes and notices some of the lights have died down, instead leaving the neon colors to stand out and make themselves known, and for a second all he can see is green. Green light. Not again. God no.

Then Greg's hands are on him, and he sure as hell hopes that it's Greg and not some stranger like before. The soft touch seeks out the tension in his body and drags it out, and he knows it's Greg.

Greg's always there to save him.

------

They make their way down the hall, and he collapses on the bed with a low moan as lips find each other again.

One of his hands travels under Greg's side, the other trailing up his thigh, and then they both find skin.

Soft, flawless skin, quivering under his touch and he lets out his own shiver.

Want more. Now.

Their movements are frantic as they remove each other's clothes.

His hand seeks out Greg's, squeezes hard before their slick chests meet, and he lets out another groan of approval before kissing Greg, long and deep.

A connection made.

He leans back against the headboard, chest heaving as he watches Greg push two fingers deep inside himself. Holds himself back from covering the mouth gasping for air with his own. Willpower he didn't think he had anymore.

He doesn't recall closing his eyes, but the next thing he knows, Greg's giving him a heated kiss, full of want and lust and need and it says so many other things he can't identify. Usually that would scare him, but not tonight.

He covers Greg's body with his again, stretching them flat against the bed. He's confused when Greg pushes him back off him, but then understands as he rolls over, facedown, waiting for him to make the next move, trusting him completely. He swears his heart stops a beat, then starts faster than before. Trust. Something he still hasn't learned again. He's finding it now, though. On this night.

True love breaks through all barriers.

His breathing is ragged against Greg's shoulder blades, and he presses sloppy kisses on the scars there, eyes clenched shut but a tear escapes, not entirely unwanted.

Fumbles with the wrapper next to him on the bed, and it's not the first time they've done this since he was found, but it's never been like this.

Slides inside Greg in one thrust, and he gives a throaty groan as Greg trembles beneath him, whispering his name with a broken voice.

A sob slips past his guard, but he doesn't hold back a second, or a third, just lets his emotions run free as he moves in out of Greg, their hands twisted together again, and it only brings them closer. Connects them deep down inside, and that thought is all it takes for him to come, harder than he's ever remembered. Sucks on the sensitive skin on the back of Greg's neck until the other man comes, beneath him still.

They stay like that for a minute, until he rolls onto his back, but not a second later his heart clenches, eyes snapping open, and only darkness greets him. Not again, not now, no please, not now. Not here. I'm not here. I'm not there. Not again. No. He reaches a hand out to the last place Greg was, and when all he feels is cold, empty air, true panic flares and he can't tell what is real and what is not.

Then familiar hands are on him again, holding his face, trying to bring him back to reality. He faintly registers the words said frantically into his ear - Nick! Nicky, come on, come back to me, you can do it, just like before, you can do, I know you can. Baby, come home to me. Then he opens his eyes and the darkness is gone, replaced with soft light, and he pulls Greg against him, a whimper falling from his lips. Greg's rolling him over now, onto his stomach, the only position he can sleep in now. Never on his back. Not anymore.

He's still trying to catch his breath as Greg wraps a warm arm around his waist, the other hand sliding through his sweaty hair, whispering reassurances to him, and he allows that voice and those words lull him into sleep.

He's home.

Let me go home
I知 just too far from where you are
I wanna come home

And I feel just like I知 living someone else痴 life
It痴 like I just stepped outside
When everything was going right
And I know just why you could not come along with me
This was not your dream
But you always believed in me

Another winter day has come
And gone away
In even Paris and Rome
And I wanna go home
Let me go home

And I知 surrounded by
A million people I
Still feel alone
Let me go home
Oh, I miss you, you know

Let me go home
I致e had my run
Baby, I知 done
I gotta go home
Let me go home
It'll all be alright
I値l be home tonight
I知 coming back home

- Michael Bubl, "Home"
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