CSI
A Matter of Perception by Claire_D [Reviews - 2]

A Matter of Perception

He's trying so hard to stay clam, to look as unfazed and as detached as possible. Maybe he's trying a little too hard, looking a little to casual but he's scared, he's terrified that they can't find Nick, or that when they do it will be too late. They can't find his boyfriend, partner, the love of his life, the man he's supposed to grow old with. The image of Nick on the screen is ingrained into his mind. The way he's fighting to get out.

Catherine contacted Nick's parents, the team doesn't know that earlier that day both he and Nick had submitted changes to the their next of kin and emergency contacts, so that now it is each other. Jill Stokes knows, he isn't sure about Judge Stokes, but he doubts it. Greg isn't in the room with his parents while they're at the lab. He cannot face them but Jill leaves their meeting and Greg sees her but before he can go over, Judge Stokes goes to his wife.

Catherine does what she has to do, the only way she thinks she can help. Later that day, Greg can't remember quite when, Catherine tells him what she did. Tells Greg, because she knows about them, he had been trying so hard to stay and look calm but she tells him that she knows and for a minute his mask slips. They hug and he lets himself draw comfort from her, as best he can, with Nick still being in that box.

He's almost desperate when he finds that trigger wire and Warrick flips, he hates that it's 'OK' for Warrick and Catherine to be overly emotional. But knows that if he allows himself to be anything but outwardly calm, there's no going back and he wouldn't be able to help at all. Then he thinks he's found something, interrupting his thoughts and Warrick and Catherine's discussion. It's a dip in the floor, and they find that lid, each digging furiously. Greg hangs back, not believing that they might find him but their hopes are crushed and it takes so much will power for him to stop the tears.

He doesn't want to watch the video; he can't bear to see Nick and everything that is happening to him.

"I guess he's got about 90 minutes left"

Greg's head hits the floor and he's pleased he was already on his back 'cause he can't bear the idea that things are getting even worse. He regains his composure and they try to pinpoint a location. Then they're off, they're so close to finding him. The team is almost frantic, and his calm composure is really slipping. They search the area and Catherine finds him, they're so close. Four men dig, and he's sure his hands are shaking as they hold the torch. The stop digging for a few seconds and Greg is ready to grab a spade and do it himself when Warrick starts again. He can't believe that Nick's there, Greg races for the fire extinguisher and crouches next to the box doing what little he can to help get Nick out. Warrick's determination is more the Greg could have managed; he can't bear to here Nick scream like that, Greg is so thankful to Grissom for keeping Nick calm and calling him 'Pancho'. Grissom is a better father to the two of them than he would ever admit.

Greg is desperate to hold his hand with the others, but he directs the digger and they pull Nick out of there. His knees start to buckle as he sees Nick on the ground, but grabs onto Catherine for support. He wants to be in the ambulance with Nick but Warrick and Catherine get there first, and no one knows so they don't consider him. Greg is numb as they watch it drive away, not hearing what Grissom says or feeling as Sara pulls him to the car.

Nick is so brave that day he goes to see Kelly Gordon, and Greg is right there in the car waiting for Nick to come out of the prison. They sit in the prison car park and Nick cries, holding onto Greg so tightly. They both need support, and only each other can provide that.

The End

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