Title: Good Enough
Fandom: CSI: Vegas
Series: 1) Bewilderment, 2) Take Me Home, 3) Cynics, 4) Blood Spatters, 5) Hello Mr. Sanders, 6) Hitting The Wall, 7) Capable Of Murder, 8) The Good Boy, 9) Crying Shame, 10) As I Lay Me Down, 11) Stoic, 12) You Tell Me, 13) Mother, Mother, 14) A Simple Smile
Summary: Nick can't handle being care-taker anymore.
***Jillian Stokes remembered how little she enjoyed Las Vegas the moment she touched down. The whole city was a garish mixture of manmade wonder and what she envisioned hell to look like. She called her son.
Nick barely registered the ringing of his cell phone because he was so engrossed in kissing Greg. He even leaned forward when Greg began to pull away – hoping to prolong it a little bit.
"Your cell is ringing."
"No, it's not," Nick protested, nuzzling Greg's neck. It was the kind of petting and cuddling he had wanted to do with Greg even since before everything had happened.
"Nick, your phone," Greg insisted, his tone more serious now – with just enough fear in it to let Nick know that Greg was growing uncomfortable with the intimate touching.
Nick got up and went to retrieve his imposing cell phone. The missed call was from his mother – he wondered if she could already be in Vegas. He called her back.
"What's Greg's address?"
"Are you already here?"
"I said I was taking the next flight out."
"Mama, it's the middle of the night. And I thought you were staying at my house." He regretted saying it instantly; knowing his house was a shameful mess.
"Well, I can't just magically get into your apartment – I'll need keys. And I want to see Greg to make sure he's fed and ok."
"Mama! I cooked for him – we ate – it was good. See, I'm not utterly incompetent."
"Either you give me that address right now or I'll call Mr. Grissom and get it."
Nick thought about how much of a stubborn bitch his mother could be – and he loved her for it. He gave her Greg's address and hung up the phone.
"G. My mom's coming," Nick called as he went back into the living room.
"She's at McCarran – so soon I would suppose."
"What if she hates me?"
Nick was suddenly angry. He realized he hated Greg's new personality. He hated the Greg that was self-deprecating and worried. The Greg that he had fallen for was vibrant and confident. He needed air. He needed to get free of all this. "I'll be right back," he called, leaving a frightened and confused Greg in his wake.
Nick tried to convince himself that he just needed some fresh air and then he would go back inside and take care of his friend. He looked into the darkness and was disgusted with himself – it was Greg that had been through everything – not him. It was Greg that needed him now more than ever – and he was outside – unable to go back in.
Nick cracked open the door enough to be able to yell. "G, I've got to go out. The instructions for the security system are on the fridge and my mom will be here soon!" He tried to make it sound like it was nothing – like they were out of milk. They both knew it was more than that.
Greg heard Nick call to him telling him he was leaving. Greg wanted to scream for him to stay but his mouth wouldn't form words – just tiny squeaks, barely audible to himself. He had seen the look Nick had. How could I have been so stupid? Greg wondered why Nick had even stayed so long – they had only been together one night and they hadn't even made love. Greg began to sweat with worry – he needed to make Nick stay, but he didn't know how – he couldn't be with Nick the way a lover should be – and he couldn't control the panic attacks.
Greg didn't know how much time had passed when he heard the knock at the door, but he was shaking so bad he couldn't make it from his place on the couch. His heart nearly stopped when he heard the knob turn and the sweat began beading down his face and back. He hadn't locked the door, he hadn't set the alarm – and he knew he wouldn't be able to fight off anyone. Where was Nick, where was he, where was he? He nearly blacked out when he was rescued by a cool cloth and a presence of what he could only think of as a guardian angel.
"Calm down, sugar. You've gone and gotten yourself all worked up. Shhhh." Her words were calming and warm – it was the friendliest voice he had ever heard even though he couldn't make out the facial features. He closed his eyes and felt her wash away the sweat – when he opened them again he immediately recognized Jillian Stokes.
"I'm...sorry..." he stammered.
She whispered soft words too faint for Greg to understand as she pushed him onto his back and covered him with a blanket in the comforting way only a mother could.
"I just talked to Nick and he said he left out some pills for you. I'm just going to get them." She rubbed his hand and left the towel on his forehead. A few minutes later she returned with pills, water and a sliced apple. Jillian removed the towel and gave Greg the pills. When he had taken them she handed him the apple.
"So he left then?"
Jillian looked confused for a minute and then realized what Greg was alluding to – Nick hadn't told him anything. "I'm gonna break that boy's neck," she muttered. Greg looked at her – unsure of her meaning. "Ah, sugar he just needed a minute to think some things through. He wants to be strong for you, and he thinks that means not letting you see anything. He'll be back." Jillian hoped she was speaking the truth – Nick had been extremely vague over the phone.
She looked down at Greg – he had finished his apple and was beginning to look drowsy. She picked up his feet and sat down, laying his feet in her lap.
"I can move," he mumbled drowsily.
"Don't you dare," she said, rubbing his legs as she watched him fall asleep. It was well into the early hours of the morning – and she soon drifted off as well.
Nick felt like a bastard, driving away from someone who need him, but he took solace in the fact that his mother was now with Greg – caring for him in a way Nick never could.
He found himself parking at the lab – only vaguely aware that he was driving there in the first place. He made his way through the halls – actively watching out for Catherine – he didn't want to explain to her why he had abandoned Greg simply because things had gotten rough. He found Warrick in the break room pretending to read.
"Hey," Nick said as he walked into the room. Warrick looked like he hadn't slept and he wasn't wearing his wedding ring.
Warrick just looked up at him sadly. "What are you doing here? I thought you were taking care of Greg."
"My mom is taking care of him – I just needed some time away."
"Is he alright?"
"Physically. It's just hard, Rick. He's not Greggo anymore – we had a moment, but it was so brief..."
Warrick put his head in his hands. That was not what he wanted to hear, especially after everything that had happened in his home. "You think he'd mind if I stopped by after work?"
"Of course not – you should just call ahead of time – the medicine makes him sleep a lot."
Warrick sighed. "I've been seeing a councilor here at work. It helps to talk about you and Greg... You know, what happened."
"What about Tina?" Nick motioned to Warrick's naked left ring finger.
"I wanted more. I wanted what you and Greg have – I didn't have that with Tina."
Nick didn't know it was possible to feel even guiltier, but he did. He had something great with Greg and he knew he could have it again. He just needed to be strong for him and he would come around.
"Rick, is the councilor in?"
"Should be. Usually she works days, but she's been on nights since we found Greg – helping the whole staff."
"I'm going to see if I can talk to her now. Thanks Rick – and don't forget that even though I'm helping Greg, I'm still your friend too." He put his hands on Warrick's shoulder and felt Warrick's hand come down on his own.
***Next story in series - Smack.
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