Title: Time To Say Goodbye
Pairing: Greg Sanders/Don Flack
Fandom: CSI: Vegas/CSI: NY
Table: Angst, mission_insane
Prompt: 8, Heartsick
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the lovely Greg Sanders or Don Flack, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.
***Don propped himself up on his elbow, looking down at the young man sleeping beside him. He knew that he had to tell Greg about the decision he'd made -- but it wasn't going to be easy. He knew that he would deal Greg a wound that might never heal.
But if that meant his boyfriend would be safe, wasn't the pain worth it in the long run? he asked himself. He was sure that if Greg stayed here in New York, and they continued to see each other, that his young lover would be put in the line of fire again.
They'd managed to dodge a bullet this time -- and he was lucky that he hadn't lost his job on the police force because of it. But at least Greg was safe, and there didn't seem to be another immediate threat on his safety. At least, none that Don could see.
That didn't mean that he would always be safe, though. Don knew that the only way to be assured of Greg's safety was to break it off with him, to make sure that he was away from New York, and living somewhere that Don's enemies could no longer get to him.
That meant ending their relationship -- and that would rip Greg's heart out. It would do the same to him, Don thought, closing his eyes and pushing that painful thought away. Living without Greg in his life would be the hardest thing he'd ever had to do.
The last thing he wanted was to go through his life with the regret of wondering what might have been -- but at the same time, he knew that he couldn't risk Greg's life any longer. For Greg's own good, they had to say goodbye and go their separate ways.
Don could already feel his heart clutching in his chest at the thought of letting Greg go; it was the last thing his heart wanted to do. It wanted them to be together forever, to grow old loving each other, to entwine their lives completely and never stray from each other.
But he knew that realistically, they didn't have a future. Not if he wanted to ensure that Greg was safe. Of course, he could turn away from that, and he could let Greg risk his life every day by simply being with him. He could overlook the dangers.
No, Don told himself, gazing down at the young man beside him. He couldn't do that. He couldn't let Greg risk his safety. As much as he loved Greg, as much as he wanted them to be together, he knew that if they were, it could only result in tragedy.
He would rather spend the rest of his life alone than be under the stress of knowing that his boyfriend could be killed one day to exact some kind of twisted revenge against him. And he wasn't going to let that happen. He wasn't going to put Greg in that kind of a position.
It would kill him to let Greg go; he was already heartsick over it. But he also knew that at some point in his life, he would look back and know that he had made the right decision. And so would Greg. They would hurt for a while, but they would both get past that pain.
At the moment, however, it was a knife in his heart, twisting so painfully that he almost wanted to cry. The only thing that kept him from doing so was not wanting to wake Greg; the younger man hadn't been sleeping well lately, and Don wanted him to get some rest.
How would he feel when he woke up in the morning and Greg wasn't beside him, when the man he loved was thousands of miles away from him and he knew that there was no hope of them being together again? Don didn't want to think about that; the pain was already too acute.
Not having Greg in his life would leave a huge hole in his heart; it would be a very long time before he would let anyone into his heart again, if ever. He would never try to replace Greg; that wouldn't be possible. He might eventually love again, but never in the same way.
It was time to say goodbye, to being the process of distancing himself from what his heart cried out for. It was going to be hell for him, but Don knew that he had to do it -- even if it meant alienating Greg from him forever, not only as a lover, but as a friend.
He hoped that wouldn't happen; the thought of losing Greg's friendship made him even more heartsick. But he was determined to do this, no matter how much it hurt both of them. In the long run, it would be better for Greg. All he cared about was the young man's safety.
Yes, it was time to say goodbye -- but Don knew that he couldn't cut the cord and set the two of them adrift and alone all at once. He had to break it to Greg gently, and make sure that his boyfriend knew he was doing this for what he felt were the right reasons.
It wasn't that he wanted to be free. He didn't. He just wanted to be sure that Greg would be free to live his own life, and safe from the dangers that he would continually encounter if he stayed with Don. He didn't want the man he loved exposed to those dangers. Not any more.
And maybe, just maybe, he was doing this for himself as well. He didn't want to live with the constant fear that something would happen to Greg because of him. It would affect how he did his job, and in the end, it would adversely affect their relationship as well.
This was the best thing for them -- but it was still going to be the hardest thing he had ever done, and he knew that his heart would be ripped to tiny shreds before it was over. He only hoped that his heart would be able to mend in the future, and that Greg's would as well.
For he had no doubt that this would hurt Greg as much, if not more, than it would hurt him. He'd had other relationships; he'd said goodbye to people he had cared about before. He was Greg's first lover -- and his first love. It was always hard to lose that love, that first innocence.
The thought of Greg resenting him, even hating him, for what he felt that he had to do tore at his heart, but it wasn't going to change his mind. Better that Greg hate him than that he end up in an early grave because Don didn't have the courage to do what he knew had to be done.
He was already heartsick at the thought of hurting the young man he loved so deeply, but he had to. In time, he hoped that Greg would thank him for what he had done, and that he would realize it had been the right thing, even though it had hurt at the time.
Would he himself ever recover from this kind of pain? Don didn't think so; he was sure that he would love Greg for all of his life, even if he found someone else to be with. Greg might not be his first love, but he was the one against who all others would be measured.
It was time to say goodbye now, to start the process. But he found that he couldn't distance himself quite yet, that he wanted to keep the closeness between them for as long as he possibly could. He wasn't quite ready to back away yet, wasn't ready to lose what they shared.
Slowly, carefully, he bent down to brush a kiss across Greg's cheek, feeling tears well up in his eyes as he did so. How many more times would he be able to do this? And how would he get through all of the empty days ahead when he didn't have Greg by his side?
His heart broke just thinking about it. Don raised a hand to wipe away the tears that were starting to trickle down his cheeks, knowing that it would do no good to cry. The decision had been made, and he was going to see it through, no matter how much pain it caused him.
But for now, he still had some precious time with Greg. He slid his arms around the young man's waist to pull him close, lying down again and closing his eyes. It wasn't quite time to say goodbye yet, and he intended to enjoy every moment he had with Greg while he still could.
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