Every couple has their own problems. But when Nick gets buried alive he and Archie try to solve theirs.
Shape Of My Heart Chapter 01
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters nor do I know the actors portraying them.
Author's note: I do not mean to imply Nick or Archie are gay, I just suddenly had this story in my head and thought to write it done. Again: if you do not like homosexual stories then please do not read this. Also keep in mind that I've never written anything like this before so it might be full of things that are incapable in 'real' life but just bare with me; it is fiction after all.
Author's note 2: I do not know what kind of glasses Archie uses, but in my story he need glasses to read not for distance.
Author's note 3: This is the sequel to "Just a dive in the wind" and plays 2 years after "Just a dive in the wind". It is advised to read that story first.
Author's note 4: I am concentrating on Archie's feelings when Nick was taken because you can see Nick's emotions in the episode "Grave danger".
Begun at: 1 May 2006
Ended at: 7 May 2006
Archie slammed his locker shut. He and Nick had been in a fight earlier and he was still angry about that. He wasn't angry they fought just that he couldn't apologize to Nick before work started. But they were running late and had to hurry up. He took a deep breath before he left the locker-room and went to the break room to get some coffee. Thankfully there was still some coffee left which Archie gratefully took. With the mug in his hand, he left the break room and went to the A/V lab, and started working on a case.
He saw Ecklie pass his lab and quickly got up to speak to him. “Ecklie!" He yelled and jogged to catch up with him.
“Archie," Ecklie said. “Just the person I need…"
“For what?" Archie asked raising an eyebrow in confusion. He had wanted to ask Ecklie if the board was still going to fund him.
“We cannot fund you project." Ecklie simply stated.
“Aww, come on. You can't unfund me now. I'm committed to presenting the paper at SWAFS next month!" This cannot be happening,Archie thought.
“If it means that much to you, pay your own way. Show a little dedication to your discipline," Ecklie smirked, pissing the technician off.
Dedication? Archie thought He should some dedication to his co-workers for once! “Yeah… Tragically, my banking account isn't as dedicated as I am," He only stated.
“One word. Plastic," The assistant director stated.
Sometimes Ecklie just pisses him off, this was one of those times.
“What… How 'bout you kick me a little overtime under the table, huh?" He asked, playfully, hoping Ecklie would get the hint.
“Over my dead body!" Ecklie almost yelled and stopped. Oh, oh Archie thought Here it comes. “Have you been to Grissom's office? You think the City of Las Vegas pays for his entomology library, his insect collection, his shrunken head collection? No. Take initiative, people notice."
Archie was left staring at Ecklie's disappearing figure in disbelieve. He couldn't believe it. â€œUgh! Asshole,â€Â he mumbled as he furiously walked back to the A/V lab. He buried himself in his work to get a hold on his fury but it didn't work. He saw Nick pass the lab and his thoughts returned to their argument. Suddenly, he wasn't as furious as he was before.
Their fight had been about Nick not wanting to tell his parents about them. He didn't know why Nick wouldn't tell his parents about their relationship. If something would happen to Nick, he would not be able to be there for him, too afraid that his's parents would find out. It was one thing he did not want to go through.
Nick had accused Archie for not telling their colleagues and it was true. Archie didn't want the lab to know because he couldn't bare the thought of being the laughing stock of the day. Because he knew if Nick and he would share an intimate moment he would embarrassed himself, once asked about that previous moment. He'd gone through it at college and knew it was bound to happen at the lab as well.
But still Archie was sorry about pressuring Nick so much. He knew Nick grew up in a family who strictly believed being gay meant that you are a sinner. He also knew it was hard on Nick for telling his parents their only son is gay, not only that he has been in a relationship for the past 2 years.
Archie looked through the glass at Nick. His eyes followed Nick and Warrick who were talking; he could not make out what they were talking about. He longed to tell Nick he was sorry about their fight earlier today but he could not. Not when Warrick was around.
Archie sighed and got up, ready to ask Nick if he had a moment but sat back down again when Catherine joined the two men. I'll apologize after shift he thought as Nick disappeared from out of his sight. He sighed once more and went back to work, maybe it would get his thoughts of, of Nick and the anger he felt for Ecklie for a moment.
As Nick passed Archie's lab, the urge to look at the technician was very strong but he fought it off. He knew that if he looked at him now he'd rush into there and tell him he was sorry about their fight earlier. He hated when he and Archie fought and wanted to make it up to him. But he knew he couldn't do that at the lab, he'd wait till they were at home.
The Texan CSI left the lab and went to the crime scene. He turned on his radio and sang along to the country song. Maybe by singing he'd get Archie out of his thoughts, even for just a minute. He arrived at the crime scene and turned of his radio and his ignition then got his briefcase and walked over to the officer. He talked to him and then went to work letting the officer know he could take a break. As he processed the scene he found a bagged cup and walked over to it before he knew it something was pressed against his mouth and everything went black…
Archie paced around the A/V lab. It had been over an hour ago since he'd learned that Nick was taken from the crime scene he'd been working on. How could this happen? he thought as he kept pacing. Nothing bad will happen to him, right? he kept asking himself. Nobody would hurt his Nicky… right?
He looked at his watch and saw that it was just 5 minutes later than the last time he looked at it. The team will find him, he thought trying to reassure himself. They will find him…. His gaze fell on the pile of paperwork he still had to get through but knew at this moment he couldn't keep his mind of Nick, he would let it rest for now.
His pacing continued as his thoughts raced. All he wanted at this moment was to see Nick walk past the A/V lab, smile and nod at him and then go on with his work. But that did not happen. How much he willed it… Nick never came.
One by one the team came back and he wanted to run to them and ask them if they found anything out. But he knew he could not do that. They needed to do their job and he couldn't be in the way, so he willed himself to stay put. As the time past, too slowly for Archie liking, he heard something in the hallway. He saw the team went to the reception and heard it was a package concerning Nick. He held his breath as he saw Grissom leave with the package in his hand. His eyes never left Grissom as the package was processed. At times like these he was happy the different labs were only separated my glass walls…
He saw the team walk up to his lab after the exchange of some words. He again held his breath. “Archie, we need to use the computer" Grissom said and Archie just nodded, not able to say anything. He stepped aside and saw how Grissom played the tape. He almost cried out when he heard a song on the tape. He's screwing with us He thought as Catherine said it.
Grissom took hold of the memory stick and plugged it into the hub which was attached to the computer. He pressed on the removable disk and it showed a folder. After pressing the HTML file it opened up a browser with an address; 184.108.40.206.5/vid/index.asp.
ONE MILLION DOLLARS IN 12 HOURS.
This is about money? Archie thought astounded. They took his Nicky for money?!
OR THE CSI DIES.
Archie thoughts screamed “no" when he read that. Nick is NOT going to die! he thought miserably.
DROP-OFF INSTRUCTIONS TO FOLLOW.
AND NOW FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE…
“YOU CAN ONLY WATCH"
The word ‘watch' was a clickable button. Grissom clicked on it and it showed Nick on the screen with, there under a counter counting back from 12 hours; the hours, minutes, and seconds showed.
Nick was lying in, what seemed like a box, maybe made out of glass. From the looks of it he was buried. He was looking around and not long after started screaming and pounding on the top of the coffin, which probably meant that Nick had just found out that he was buried.
Archie wanted to walk to the scream, telling Nick to calm down; everything will be alright as long as he calms down… but he didn't… He just silently prayed his lover would be alright. He fought back the tears that were threatening to come done.
“I don't think he can see us," Catherine said, after Grissom went to sit on a chair behind them.
“How can we be sure it's a live feed?" Sara asked.
Archie wished Sara hadn't said that; his thoughts began racing again. What if Nick's already dead?! Oh, God! He couldn't stand that thought.
“We gotta assume it is," Warrick said, unknowingly calming Archie's nerves a down a little.
Archie head Grissom talking about how much oxygen Nick had left in the box and Catherine saying that there must be an external source somewhere but he did not really listen to them. His eyes were glued to the screen and almost popped out when the visual disappeared.
“We lost the feed," he said and watched how Warrick pressed ‘watch' again. Nick's image returned to the screen and Archie let out a soft relieved sigh.
“Looks like a live feed to me," Warrick said “I'd say we keep the light on."
“Archie, try to trace the signal of the web cam and let us know when you're done." Grissom said and after Archie nodded left the room.
Archie took a seat on the chair in front of the computer and took a deep breath which he released. The feed disappeared again. He pressed ‘watch' and noticed it was a different IP address… Or did he just imagine that? He wrote the IP address down and waited till the feed to disappear again. After pressing ‘watch' he compared the IP addresses and saw that indeed the IP addresses were different. He swallowed. This is going to be more difficult. He thought miserably but went to work on tracing the signal.
He was glad he had to trace the signal and that he could do this without having to watch Nick all the time. It just tore him apart seeing Nick so helpless and miserable. His eyes travelled over the screen for a moment “All will be well, Nicky," he promised and traced Nick's face with his finger.
On the screen, Nick had settled down and swung his arm over his eyes.
“Just hold on," Archie whispered and let his hand fall back to the keyboard. One way or another, he needed o trace that signal down.
Grissom and Catherine came in, with what Archie assumed were Nick's parents. “Archie may we have a moment?" Catherine asked and he nodded stepping away from the screen, letting Nick's parents have their moment. The technician could very much imagine how they felt. It tore him apart seeing Nick in this state, imagine what they'd feel? Watching their youngest son so helpless… He was glad, however, that they were here for Nick, showing their support and he wanted to say something to them. The problem was he did not know what.
Eventually, Mrs Stokes left the room crying and after saying a few words to Nick's image on the screen Mr. Stokes left the room in search for his wife. Catherine nodded to Archie and he went back to work.
After twelve hours the feed showed the location where the money was supposed to be dropped. Archie wrote it down and gave the note the Grissom. Thankfully after the address was shown the feed went back to Nick. As Grissom left the lab with the money, Archie went back to work on tracing the signal.
The technician found out that the signal was running through an anonymizer, which meant that every time he'd press the “watch" button, you'd get a different Internet Service Provider address. This meant that it would take him even longer to trace the signal.
After a while Archie saw how the team rushed out of the lab and knew something was wrong. Not long after Hodges walked in. “Hey man," he said as he entered the lab. “The guy just blew himself up," Hodges shook his head “They still don't know where Nick is…" Hodges left to tell the rest of the lab.
Archie processed this new information. He stood up and ran to the restroom where he threw up the little he had drank that night. He walked over to the sink where he drank some water and washed his face. Why is this happening? he thought. He realised that no one was in the A/V lab now, no one to watch over Nick, and he rushed back. His eyes fell on the screen and noted that more sweat was forming on his forehead. Please God, don't let him run out of oxygen, he silently pleaded.
Warrick came in and asked how Nick was doing. Archie almost wanted to scream out “He's buried alive… How do you think he is doing?" But decided against it.
“Hard to say. About the same I guess." After throwing up the little coffee he had drank over the night, he knew he needed some more caffeine in his system. He looked over at Warrick and realised Warrick wouldn't leave Nicky alone.
“I'm gonna get some coffee," he said and got up. Warrick nodded as Archie left the A/V lab. He walked into the break room and headed straight for the coffee machine. After getting a mug and filling it with coffee, he went to sit on the couch in the break room. He placed his mug on the table and let his head rest in his hands.
How could this happen to his Nicky? Why did this happen to Nick? He's been through enough already with the stalker and everything and now this? Archie wanted to cry out. He remembered how Nick lay in the coffin… How helpless he looked. Never before had he wanted to be at home with Nick more then ever. How he wanted to lay in their bed reading, listening to the shower turning off. Nick walking into their bedroom and softly laying next to him. Then Nick would take the book from Archie and read out loud to him… How he wanted that to be true right this moment…
Archie heard Warrick yell; “You son of a bitch," and he feared the worst… No, please don't be dead, he thought. Thankfully he heard Warrick laugh and say “You're still alive." He closed his eyes and took a deep breath and released it again as he shook his head. He then quickly walked back to the A/V lab and after he was acknowledge by Warrick he went back to trace the signal.
Archie saw that the normal white/yellow light was out and now showed a green glow. “What happened?" He asked and Warrick told him what happened. “I better get back to the crime scene," Warrick said getting up and left the room.
Archie merely nodded as he was too focussed on Nick for a while. Nick was laughing which was a good thing, Archie noted. He smiled as well “We will find you, Nicky," he said to the screen and placed his hand on Nick's face again. “We will find you!" His hand left the screen and landed on the keyboard as he went back to the trace. He felt he was getting closer. He got a hold on the pattern and tried to narrow the signal down. So far he was in the United States. Well… he thought It's a good thing he did not leave the country.
He finally narrowed it down to the state of Nevada, but still this was not enough. He needed to get closer. He knew it was impossible to narrow it down to the right location but he needed to get closer. Grissom walked into the A/V lab and sat down next to him.
“Archie, what did you find out?" Grissom asked.
“From what I've heard from Warrick, Nick shot the lamp and is constantly leaning to the right. There is a van. I figured the light and van must have been running off the same battery," Archie explained to Grissom.
“Well at least Nicky's keeping it together. That's good. What about the web cam trace?"
“The signal's running trough an anonymzer. Different ISP each time you click the button. I think I got a handle on the pattern. I'm getting closer, to a few miles radius." Archie answered Grissom's question.
“Did you find anything out?" Archie asked, a little uncertain. He just needed to know they were getting closer to Nick.
“Nothing yet." Grissom said sadly. “Everyone's doing the best they can," Grissom said, partly complimenting Archie. As Archie nodded, Grissom went to sit on the chair behind the laptop as Archie went back to trace the signal.
Sara joined them and went to sit next to Archie. She filled him in on what they had found out so far and Archie filled her in what he had found out. Archie watched how Nick got hold of the tape recorder and talk to it. He's saying goodbye He thought horrified. No, please Nicky. Don't say goodbye. We're getting closer to you. We'll find you…
On the screen, Nick looked downward and he looked very scared. He started screaming and twisting around. “He's going into convulsions. He's losing it" Sara yelled. “What's going on?" She asked and Archie wondered the same thing. Calm down Nicky, please just calm down, he silently prayed. He saw movement beneath Nick and prayed it was not what he thought it was. He turned to look at Grissom who confirmed his fears.
“Ants! My God, he's being eaten alive," Grissom said and Archie almost chocked. His hands started shaking and he felt like he couldn't breathe. “Leave my Nicky alone!" he thought trying to chase away the ants by willing them away from his Nicky. But it did not help. He saw how Nick covered his nose and ears and lay completely still.
“That's it Nicky. Stay still. They won't bite. As much." Grissom said and Archie almost cried out. He felt so helpless. How he wished there was something else he could do.
Grissom talked to the screen trying to take a snapshot of the ant that was crawling on the web cam. Archie wanted to wipe away all those ants that were crawling on Nick's face. They are everywhere. He thought as Grissom suddenly yelled “Gotcha!" and quickly left the room with the printed screenshot.
Not long after Grissom left he was called in by Grissom and after one glance back at the screen, and silently telling Nick everything will be fine, he went to the break room, where a map of the area was placed on the table to share their foundingâ€™s.
“Fire ants! Very rare in Nevada. They don't like our soil. The only places you'll find them around Vegas are in plant and tree nurseries."
“There's eleven nurseries in the greater Las Vegas area," Catherine said over her shoulder as she was looking at the computer that showed the nurseries in Las Vegas.
Archie stepped forward “Okay," he said “I've got the web cam trace down to here," he said and circled the area on the map.
“And the data from the black box in Walter Gordon's truck gave us a 23 mile travel radius," Greg said and circled the location on the map as well.
“Okay, I've got two nurseries within the two overlap area," Warrick said and marked the two places with an x.
“Wait," Sara said “Kelly Gordon, the daughter, worked with plants. Hold on," she said and walked out of the room.
They were getting closer and Archie knew it. Sara, hurry the fuck up he thought as she stopped to read the file. He never used any kind of that language but he was almost ready to pop. He needed Nick back… NOW!
“Guys, Nick is here" she said and pointed to one of the marked x's.
“Alright, let's go found Nick and bring him back," Grissom said “Archie, you stay here and watch over Nick. Let us know the minute something changes. We'll keep you updated as well," Grissom said and Archie felt disappointed. He wanted to go and find Nick with them. He saw the others leave and all Archie could do was, watch them leave and start his previous pacing again. He walked back into his A/V lab and stared at the screen. “Hold on, Nicky. just lay still, they are coming," he whispered to the screen. “Just hold on…"
Archie sat down on the chair and placed his hand on the screen tracing Nick's face. You'll be fine, just hold on, he thought as he kept his gaze focussed on Nick.
It was about half an hour later when suddenly the screen went black. Oh, no! he thought and desperately looked around, trying to see if anyone knew what was going on out there. He reached for his phone to inform Grissom, but he saw Hodges on the phone and walked over to him first.
“Hey, boss……That's great. W-wait. Don't…don't hang up. Just…just listen… Those dimples on the bottom of the prototype? GCMS found traces of semtex on each one…" Hodges said into the phone as Archie's heart sank. “No, I am not kidding…" Hodges said into the phone before he hung up.
This couldn't be happening. Wasn't burying Nick enough? He had to place explosives under the coffin as well!
“They found him," Hodges said to everyone who wanted to hear.
Archie nodded and quickly left, before he lost it. He went into the bathroom and splashed some water on his face. Be alright, be alright, be alright Archie thought over and over again as he dried his face with a paper towel. He couldn't take much more of this.
He left the bathroom and went into the break room where he made some coffee and once done purred himself a cup. He then went sit on couch, slowly sipping his coffee. He felt drained and was bound to collapse any minute now. He prayed that Nick was alright, that the ants didn't hurt him to much and that the explosives didn't go off. All that he cared for was that Nick would be alive. Nick… Archie felt dizzy and sick when suddenly his cell phone started ringing. “Hello," he said into the phone after picking it up.
“We found him," Catherine's voice said on the other end. “He's asking for you." She then gave Archie the address to the hospital and hang up the phone.They found him… He's alright, he thought and closed his eyes.
Archie then got up and quickly ran into the locker-room to get his jacket and car keys and then he was off to the parking lot and to the hospital. As he entered the hospital he quickly ran to the reception. “Which room is Nick Stokes in?" he asked the receptionist. After she gave him the room he was off.
He found Warrick and Catherine sitting on the chairs in the hallway. He nodded to them and walked over to the room Nick was in. “The doctors are still working on him," Catherine said. “You cannot get in yet."
Archie nodded and looked at Nick through the window. “You're safe" he thought as he closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them tears were trying to come down but he did not let them. “You're safe," he whispered and then turned from the window and collapse in the chair. He buried his head in his hands as Catherine went to sit next to him.
“Are you okay?" she asked and Archie just nodded.
He straightened up for a moment to look at Catherine and Warrick. “I guess you know," he said, stating the obvious.
“I suspected for some time now," Catherine explained. “But wasn't certain until Nick asked for you in the ambulance."
“I didn't know," Warrick said, casually.
“I'm sorry we didn't tell you before…" Archie began but stopped remembering he had fought with Nick about the same thing that fatal morning. A sob escaped him and he felt Catherine's hand on his back, trying to sooth him. “I'm sorry," he said. “Nick and I fought about this that morning," he only said and both, Warrick and Catherine just nodded. They were already having a hard time with all this and couldn't even imagine how Archie was feeling.
The door to Nick's room was opened and they saw nurses and a doctor leave the room. The three of them stood up as the doctor walked over to them. “Are you family to Mr. Stokes?" He asked them.
“We are his colleagues," Catherine answered. “We'd like to know how Nick's doing, I'm his supervisor."
“Normally we do not give this information out to colleagues only to the family members but I will make an exception," the doctor said. “Mr. Stokes has a lot of bug bites, which needs to be treated. His legs don't corporate properly yet, which is usual in this situation. We'd like to keep him for a few days."
“Can we see him?" Warrick asked.
“Only one of you at the moment," the doctor said and then left them.
They agreed that Archie could go in and Archie left them. He opened the door to Nick's room and walked in. He rushed to the bed and took hold of his lover's hand. His eyes travelled to their hands and Archie noted the ant bites on his's hand. He wanted to release it but Nick hold his hand tighter so he couldn't. His eyes travelled to the Texan's eyes and he noted how relieved he looked. So much different than when he was lying in the coffin.
The technician licked his lips trying to control his emotions but he couldn't. “I thought I'd lost you," he said as tears were now making their way down.
“I thought I'd lost you too…" Nick replied, as tears were, as well, making it way down his face.
The younger man buried his head in his lover's neck as they cried in each other's arms. “I'm so glad they found you," he whispered. “I love you… I love you so much," he said and placed a kiss on the Texan's lips.
“I love you too," Nick said and run a hand over the younger man's face. “I'm sorry," he whispered. Archie looked confused so he continued. “Our argument… I'm sorry."
“No! I'm sorry." Archie said and gave Nick a soft smile. “I better go, you're parents should arrive soon."
“Archie…" Nick began, he didn't want Archie to leave and he knew Archie didn't want to leave.
“No, Nick. I know what this means to you. I better go before they get here so they won't notice anything," the younger man said, and swallowed.
“Arch," Nick said, sounding so childish. “Please, stay. Stay till I am asleep. Please, don't leave me…"
Nick sounded so desperate that Archie could not resist. He nodded and tucked Nick in.
“Sweet dreams," Archie said as Nick closed his eyes. He had noticed how drained his lover looked and hoped he would get some sleep. Indeed he found sleep fast and Archie kissed him again and then with one last glance filled with sadness he left the room. He went to sit on the chair next to Catherine and closed his eyes.
“You weren't in their long…" Catherine observed.
Archie opened his eyes. “His parents will arrive soon. He hasn't told them yet and I don't think it proper for them to find out this was," he explained as Catherine just nodded. “That is one reason I did tell my parents!" Archie said almost getting angry. He wanted to stay by Nick's side, but how could he do that without Nick's parents finding out about them? “He's asleep now," he chocked out finally all his emotions were getting out.
Catherine hugged the technician as he again cried. As they pulled apart they saw Nick's parents walk past them and went into Nick's room. Archie stood up and looked at Catherine. “Will you keep me updated on how he's doing?" he asked.
“You're not coming back?" Warrick asked, confused and mildly shocked.
“It's not that I don't want to, but his parents might be there…" Archie explained. Warrick and Catherine might find it the lamest excuse ever; even he found it lame. He did want to spend every second with Nick, stay at his bedside and just watch over Nick… But Nick's words kept playing in his head ‘I want to tell them when the time is right. When I have a chance to go to Texas and tell them face-to-face'. He respected Nick's wishes and there for decided against coming here, even though it killed him to be away from Nick.
He left the hospital and went to their home. He undressed himself and then went to lie in his bed. Even though he was drained, sleep didn't come soon but eventually he fall asleep dreaming Nick was holding him…
A few days later Nick was released from the hospital and today it was that day. Catherine would pick him up and would take him to their place. Archie had asked Catherine everyday how Nick was doing for he did not went to the hospital to visit Nick. Even though every day it was a struggle not to go.
Archie was pacing around the living room, trying to will the time to go faster but, as always, it did not work. He heard a car come up in the parking lot and walked over to the window. He saw it was Catherine's car and walk outside. He nodded to Catherine in acknowledgement and turned to Nick. A smile was born on his face as his gaze fell on Nick. He saw Nick was talking to Catherine and waited silently. His smile grew bigger when the other man got out of the car. He hurried over to him and kissed him. He took the bag from the trunk and then after nodding again at Catherine led his lover inside.
Nick sat down on the couch as Archie brought in some coffee. After the cups were placed on the table he kneeled in front of Nick. “I missed you so much," he said and kissed the Texan CSI. Their kiss grew more intimate with each passing moment and eventually he was pulled on top of Nick, making both moan.
“I missed you too," Nick replied, when they pulled apart.
Archie took a moment to take in Nick's appearance. The last time he had saw him, he had ant bites all over his body, now they were fading. He raised his hand and traced Nick's face. “Do they still hurt?" He asked him.
“Sometimes…" Nick said honestly. “But never as much as being away from you," he said and kissed the younger man again. “I'm so sorry you couldn't come." He looked into Archie's eyes. “I now understand why you wanted me to tell my parents…"
“It's alright," Archie said and kissed him. “I am just glad you're here now…"
Nick forced a smile.
Archie noticed it and shot him a confused look. “What's wrong?"
“Nothing, just… that I have to go to Texas tomorrow," Nick replied.
“Why?" Archie asked confused. He couldn't believe Nick was leaving already.
“My parents want me over." Nick looked at Archie “And I want to tell them about us…"
Archie needed a moment to take this in. “Are you sure?" He asked.
“Yeah," Nick said nodding his head. “It's about time I did." He said with a soft smile.
A smile was born on Archie's face and he kissed Nick again. “Make me one promise?" Archie asked.
“Come back to me…"
Nick smiled down at him. “Always," Nick responded and kissed him passionately.
“When do you leave?" Archie asked.
“Tomorrow," Nick answered sadly. “For a week." Archie rested his head on Nick's chest. “But tonight… I'm yours."
“Good!" Archie said and attacked Nick's lips again. He then rested his head back on Nick's chest as Nick hold him tighter.
“You look tired," Nick stated. “Have you slept?"
“Not much," Archie replied. “I guess you haven't either?" Nick shook his head to confirm. “You know what I need?" he asked. Nick again shook his head. “I need a shower!" he stated a smile forming on his face.
“I haven't had one today yet," Archie stated.
“Oh, so that's what I smell," Nick joked which earned him a playful smack from Archie. “Well, guess I have to join you then," he simply stated.
Archie looked amused. “And why is that?"
“Because I am not letting go of you tonight." Nick smiled.
Archie smiled as well, “It's a good thing I don't mind sharing," he said and the two of them went to the bathroom where they took a shower together. After showering they went to bed where both soon fell asleep.
The next morning Archie woke up by someone kissing him. “Morning," he said as he opened his eyes to find Nick smiling down at him.
“Morning," Nick replied and kissed the younger man.
“Do you have to go?" Archie asked as he remembered their conversation yesterday.
“I'm afraid so…" Nick said sadly. “I rather stay here in bed with you." He kissed Archie again.
“Then stay…" Archie only said and kissed his boyfriend. He turned them around so Nick was on top of him. Their kiss became more passionate by each passing moment.
Nick moaned into Archie mouth as their erections pressed together. Nick moved his hips against Archie's as his lips travelled down Archie's neck, kissing the sensitive skin.
Archie moaned and buckled his hips. His hands travelled to the other's hips, pressing them onto his, giving them more frictions.
Nick moved his hips faster until both came with the other man's name on their lips. He kissed his boyfriend again and then moved so they were lying on their side, face-to-face.
They took a moment to catch their breath and just gazed into each other's eyes. “I love you so much," Nick said after a while. “And I would hate to leave you, again. But I must do this… for us. I can't keep living a lie." He said eventually as tears were forming in his eyes.
He didn't like lying to his parents and keeping Archie a secret from them had been tough. “I must do this on my own," hiss eyes pleaded with Archie to understand.
Archie nodded. “I know," he simply stated. He knew Nick needed to do this on his own. But he just wished he could be there with Nick if things didn't go the way they hoped.
Nick nodded and smiled weakly. “I… I better get going," he said, “You should rest a little while longer." It was just noon time, which meant it was a few more hours until the technician had to go to work.
“I want to spend the time together," Archie said.
“You'll be too tired at work," Nick smiled, amused.
“I don't care," Archie stated “I'm going to spend every minute with you." He said and kissed Nick.
Nick smiled. “I'm leaving after I take a shower…" He said, he didn't want Archie to exhaust himself.
“Then I'll take a shower with you." Archie said making up his mind.
Nick looked at Archie and shook his head. He knew Archie well enough to know that the look he was giving him meant that he wasn't able to change his mind. “Let's go then," he said and stood up dragging the younger man with him toward the bathroom.
After the shower, breakfast and not to mention a lot of kisses, Nick left with a heavy heart. He would be gone for a week and that would be the longest he'd been from Archie since they've been together.
Archie kicked the door close and headed straight for the bedroom. He was exhausted. He'd never been this exhausted before… He had barely slept in the 4 days Nick was in the hospital as nightmares plagued him and now in the 6 days Nick has been in Texas he hadn't slept much either. On top of it all work had been hard. The case had to break in eight hours and he worked so hard on it, it had worn him down.
He undressed and tossed his clothes on the ground. He placed his glasses on the table and was glad he had taken out his contacts at work and went to bed. His head barely touched the pillow as he fell asleep…
Nick silently closed the door, he knew Archie would be asleep so he was very silent. He had driven home the whole night just to arrive sooner. He placed his bag in the bedroom and smiled at the sleeping figure on the bed. He silently undressed himself and went to lay down next to his boyfriend, hoping he wouldn't wake him up.
Archie stirred and opened his eyes. “You're back already?" he asked; Nick wasn't supposed to be home for another day.
“Yeah, let's talk tomorrow." Nick said, kissing him on the forehead.
Archie nodded already settling in to get to sleep again, resting his head on Nick's chest. “tomorrow," he mumbled and fell asleep.
Nick kissed the top of Archie's head and also fell asleep.
Archie woke up with a smile. He had dreamed that Nick had come back early and… His eyes suddenly rested on a chest. His eyes grew bigger when he noted it was a very familiar chest. He lifted his head to see if he was right and he was greeted with Nick's sleeping form. “You're really here," he whispered and attacked Nick's lips with kisses.
Nick woke up and smiled, kissing Archie back. “I love waking up like this," he stated when they pulled apart.
Archie nodded his head in agreement. “I do to," he settled down in Nick's arms again. He just loved the feeling he got when he was being held by him. “How was your trip?" he asked.
Nick sighed. “The first few days were lovely. I helped my mother out on the ranch, I went bowling with my sisters, who happened to be there as well. It was great," he said smiling. “I lost all the games, but still I loved spending time with my sisters." Nick's smile grew bigger at the memory of that day.
Archie smiled. “Seems like you had a lovely time." He felt, rather then saw, Nick nodded. “Did you tell them?" he asked, uncertain.
“Yes, I did," Nick said but didn't say anything else.
“And?" Archie pressed.
“My mother cried and my father threw me out of the house," Nick said shaking his head. “It's better than I expected. I thought he'd kill me." Nick tried to joke but failed miserably.
Archie knew how much Nick's family meant to him and didn't know what to say to comfort him. Suddenly he felt guilty, he WAS the one responsible for this. “I'm sorry," he said.
“No!" Nick said, hoarsely and turned Archie around to face him. “I know what you are thinking. Don't! You are not responsible for this!"
“I made you tell them. I made you tell your parents. If it wasn't for me you'd still be welcome at home," Archie said interrupting Nick.
“You didn't make me tell them. I wanted to tell them myself. Because I want to spend my life with you. If I didn't tell them I would be living a lie, Archie. I do not want that. I want to be with you and if my parents can't accept that then I do not need them. I only need you. THIS is my home, with you." Nick took a deep breath. “You are my life, Archie and I cannot imagine my life without you."
Archie's eyes were full of tears. “Do you mean that?" he almost sobbed.
Nick let out a laugh. “With all my heart," he replied. “I love you so much," he stated.
Archie smiled through his tears. “I love you too," he said and both leaned in for a passionate kiss.
“You are my world, my life, my everything…" Nick whispered to Archie's lips.
“As you are mine," Archie replied and kissed Nick again. The kiss became more demanding and Nick could only surrender to it. He pulled away before it got to heated.
“I'll call in sick," Archie said not able to leave Nick now. He saw Nick smiled and reached for the phone. “It's Archie Johnson," he said into the phone, all the while his gaze was focussed on his boyfriend. “I'd like to call in sick. Yes, I'll be back tomorrow. No, I think I got the flu or something. Yes, bye," he hang up and smiled at his lover.
“Alone at last…" Nick said and kissed Archie again. Their kiss became more passionate by each passing moment.
Archie broke the kiss long enough to say: “Make love to me." That is exactly what Nick did…
Archie woke up thinking they were having an earthquake, feeling how the bed shake but soon he heard Nick's moan and felt him twisting around. He knew Nick was having a nightmare. He quickly got into action and tried to wake up the sleeping figure. “Nick, wake up. You are having a nightmare."
Nick pushed Archie away in his sleep and woke up, screaming. His eyes looked around the room, terrified, and they landed on Archie.
“You were having a nightmare." Archie stated coming closer to Nick. “Are you alright?" he asked as Nick still looked frightening.
It took Nick a moment for the question to register but eventually he said he was fine. “Did I do that?" he asked seeing Archie rubbing his chest. He had pushed him with a little to much force and it stung a little. Archie nodded and regretted it the moment he nodded. Nick's eyes filled with tears and he quickly hugged Archie. “I am so sorry," he said, his voice breaking. He had never meant to hurt him even in his sleep.
“It's okay," Archie said, comfort showing in his voice. “I am alright. You just surprised me, that's all," he said trying to reassure Nick.
“I am still sorry," Nick said. “Let me see," Nick said, pulling Archie's t-shirt over his head to see how much damage he'd done. There was a red print on his lover's chest but it was already fading.
“See, it's fine," Archie said and kissed Nick. “Want to tell me about it?" Archie asked. Nick's eyes told all Archie needed to know and he took him in his arms. Where else can it be about than being buried alive? “It's okay, you don't have to." They hadn't been able to talk about it but he knew it was always on Nick's mind. Hell, it was always on Archie's mind as well!
Nick closed his eyes, ever since that fatal day he'd been unable to sleep without having nightmares. “It's always about the same. Buried alive," Nick felt Archie nodding. “Only I don't get saved…" He said, breaking down.
Archie held Nick closer waiting till Nick calmed down. “You are save," he whispered in Nick's ear. “You are save."
Nick let out a sob when Archie said that. “I know," he chocked out. “I just…" He couldn't finish. He hated to admit what he was really feeling and to let Archie know he was scared… well, let's just say he could not admit that.
“You're scared," Archie stated. Nick lowered his head and Archie knew he was right. “You've been through so much. It's understandable you are scared, Nick. There is nothing wrong with being scared." He said as he made Nick look at him.
Nick, again, closed his eyes. Sometimes he hated how Archie could read him. “I know," he said when he opened his eyes.
“You know I'll help you overcome this," Archie said looking deep into Nick's eyes.
Nick nodded. “I know," Nick turned around and kissed Archie. “I know." He whispered when he pulled away.
“Rest," Archie said as he saw how tired Nick still was. The nightmares might have worn him down. “I'll watch over you…"
Nick smiled and turned on his side, so his head was rested on Archie's chest and his left leg was entwined with Archie's legs. “I love you," Nick said as he closed his eyes.
“I love you too," Archie said and placed a kiss on top of Nick's head. Soon he felt Nick relax and knew he had fallen asleep. Archie just lay there watching over Nick as he slept.
When Nick was in the shower the next day Archie decided to make some food. As he passed the living room he went to get the mail. He took the mail with him to the kitchen where he placed it on the kitchen table. As he waited on the toast he read his mail.
Damnit he thought as he read the transcript of his bank account. I'm in minus already! This was not good. He still had to pay some bills.
Nick noted how lost Archie looked when he entered the kitchen and sat down opposite him. “What's wrong?" He asked as he took a toast.
“Nothing," Archie mumbled as he as well took a toast.
“Archie, please. Confide in me."
Archie looked into Nick's eyes and saw the pleading note in them. “I know we never talked about it but I… uh… I'm kind of running out of money and I still need to pay some bills…"
“Why didn't you tell me sooner?" Nick asked.
Archie looked down at his plate. “I thought I could manage," he admitted.
“I can help pay the bills," Nick said and took hold of Archie's hand.
Archie looked into Nick's eyes. “I'm sorry," He said not knowing what else to say.
Nick smiled. “Don't be. You should have said something sooner though. You're paying for two men now not one." Nick kissed the palm of Archie's hand.
“I know. I just thought I could manage. But I have to pay for my travel expenses myself as Ecklie unfund my paper which I need to present soon," Archie babbled.
Nick stood up and turned Archie's chair around so he could kneel in front of Archie. “It's alright," Nick said and kissed Archie. “We better hurry though," Nick said glancing at the clock. “I never meant to sleep this late." He smiled as he pulled Archie up. They had slept most of the night and day away and now needed to go to work.
“You slept most out of us," Archie grinned.
“I did not. I was just resting my eyes," Nick said, trying to sound convincing but failed.
“Yeah right," Archie said, dramatically and rolled his eyes.
“I'm gonna get you for that," Nick said and started chasing Archie into the bedroom. Once Nick got a hold on Archie he tackled him onto the bed and begin tickling him.
Archie squirmed around, laughing. “Stop," he yelled between laughs.
Nick stopped and lay on top of Archie making sure his weight was rested on his arms. He leaned down and kissed Archie. “I love you," He stated.
Archie smiled. “Say that again," He almost commanded. He loved it when Nick said that he loved him.
“I love you," Nick said again smiling, and placed a kiss on Archie's lips.
They got up and got dressed. Together they left the apartment. Nick walked over to his car and saw that Archie did the same. “You're not driving your own car?" Nick asked surprised. In the 2 years they've been together they decided to drive their own cars so nobody would get suspicious.
“Nope," Archie only said and smiled getting into the car.
“You're not doing this because I told my parents, are you?" Nick asked as he, as well, got into the car.
“No," Archie said and turned to Nick. “I'm doing this because I want to," he said and kissed him.
Nick shook his head when they pulled apart and started the engine. With one last smile at Archie he drove off towards the lab.
They arrived at the lab, the whole while Nick kept asking Archie if he really want to do this. Archie quickly got out of the car and walked over to Nick's side. He took Nick's hand and together they walked inside the lab. “We don't have to do this now…" Nick said nervously.
Archie smiled at him. “Aren't I suppose to be the nervous one?" He asked.
Nick laughed. “Yeah, well… I guess I'm being nervous for the both of us," he replied. “Don't you think it's too soon?"
Archie stopped. “Nick, we've been together for two years now…" He only stated.
“I know I just meant…"
“I know what you meant. Don't you know how hard it was for me not to show my emotions when we saw you in that coffin?" he chocked out. “How hard it was to watch my every move, just so nobody would notice I felt more for you than friendship?"
“Archie…" Nick said not knowing what to say. He had heard from his parents that they were able to see him in that damned coffin but he had not thought about, how Archie would have felt.
“It's alright," Archie just said. “We should get going, we do not want to be late."
Nick wanted to say something but he didn't know what, so he just did the best next thing. He kissed Archie pouring all his feeling into that one kiss, hoping Archie would understand that he was there for him, if he needed to talk.
Archie nodded at Nick, feeling the unnamed promise in that kiss and together they walked inside.
Both of them were extremely nervous especially when they were getting glances from their co-workers.
They finally made it inside the locker room and Nick breathed a sigh of relieve. Archie sat down and held his head in his hands.
“Are you alright?" Nick asked concerned and sat down next to Archie.
Archie took a moment before he answered. “I'm fine," he said. “I just don't like it when people stare."
“Then why did you…" Nick started to but Archie interupted him.
“Because I wanted to," he said. “I needed to…" He turned to Nick and kissed him full on the lips.
“Whoops… Sorry," Warrick said, grinning as he walked in on them.
Nick and Archie pulled away. “It's alright," Nick said smiling. “You okay?" Nick asked as he turned his attention back on Archie.
“Yeah, I'm fine." Archie replied, “I'll see you later." He said and after giving Nick one last kiss he left the lockerroom.
“Is he okay?" Warrick asked confused.
Nick sighed. “I'm not sure." He said honestly.
Warrick nodded in understandment and let it rest. “Let's go," he said after he got his stuff in his locker. Nick nodded and together they walked off.
Archie stretched and looked at his watch. He saw it was just 5 more minutes untill his break. He stood up as he yawned. It had been a tiring 4 hours and he was in need of some cafiene. He slowly made his way to the breakroom knowing that Bobby, Jaqui and Hodges would be there. He was not in the mood for the interviewing they'd do when he'd enter the breakroom. He also knew that if he didn't do it today they'd bug him until he'd give in.
He left the A/V lab and walked toward the breakroom. He could see that Jaqui, Bobby and Hodges were already there. He swallowed before he entered the breakroom. “Hey guys…" he said as he walked toward the coffee machine. He poured himself some coffee and sat down on the couch, next to Bobby. He had felt the gaze of the three lab techs in his back and mentally prepared himself, once more.
“So…" Jaqui begin, not quite knowing where she would begin.
Archie lifted his eyes to look at Jaqui and waited till she'd continue.
“You and Nick, huh?" Hodges stated the obvious.
Archie's gaze shifted from Jaqui to Hodges and he just nodded.
“How long have you two been together?" Jaqui asked joining in the conversation.
“2 years," Archie answered smiling. “Since the stalker incident."
“That long?" Jaqui almost yelled “And you didn't tell us?"
Archie lowered his eyes, he knew this question was coming. “We just wanted to keep it to ourselves" he mumbled. “We didn't want it to interfere with our work, that is why we didn't tell anyone."
“Yeah, but for two years?" Hodges asked.
“We do not need to share everything, Hodges," Nick said walking in. He had heard most of what Archie said and could see how uncomfortable Archie was. “Especially our private life."
Archie sighed greatfully when he had heard Nick's voice. He watched how Nick walked to the coffeemachine and poured himself some coffee and he watched how Nick sat down next to him.
“We do not need to hear about your private life, Nick. You could have told us you were together," Hodges said.
“We could, but we decided against it. Now let it rest," Nick said, clearly showing he was annoyed.
Hodges shrugged and let it rest, for now.
Archie looked over at Nick and saw he was looking at him as well. He nodded his head, in a silent thank you and smiled when Nick took his hand in his own.
“Archie, have you got the results yet?" Catherine asked walking into the breakroom after spotting Archie.
Nick laughed as he let go of Archie's hand. Never a moment of peace, he thought.
Archie nodded, standing up. “Yes, I got what you wanted," he said and left with Catherine to retrieve the required results from the A/V lab.
“Archie, I'd like to have a word with you before you leave," Grissom said, after spotting Archie in the lockerroom.
Archie nodded. After closing his locker he followed Grissom to his office. He spotted Nick and knew were this conversation was going to head to.
“Please, sit," Grissom said as he sat down on the chair behind his desk.
Archie sat down on the chair next to Nick.
“I assume you know why I've called this little meeting," Grissom stated and both men nodded. “I assume this will not interfere with your work?"
“Griss, we've been going steady for over two years now. If it would interfere with our work, wouldn't it happened sooner?" Nick said, smirking.
“Two years?" Grissom said genuinely surprised. How come he had not seen it?
“Yeah, it happened after Crane," Nick said, nodding. “We didn't want to tell anyone before because we had our reasons. But after…" Nick stopped not able to talk about being buried alive just yet. “We didn't want to hide our relationsip any longer."
Grissom nodded. “Since you are not Archie's supervisor or the other way around I cannot hold any objections to it. However this is work. Your private business stays at home."
Both, Nick and Archie smiled. “Of course," Nick said.
“You can leave now," Grissom said, a smile spread on his voice.
The two lovers got up and after a short goodbye to Grissom left the crime lab and drove off towards home.
Once they were home Nick headed to the couch and Archie headed to the kitchen. It was their coming home ritual, to take something to drink before they went to bed. Only today, Nick had other plans. “Babe, come sit with me," he said before Archie disapeared into the kitchen.
Archie looked genuinely confused, but did what Nick asked. “What's wrong?" he asked as he sat down next to his lover.
“I just wanted to talk about somethin," Nick replied.
“Okay," Archie said, surprised. “Talk."
“I know I haven't been very considerate with your feelings on this whole being buried alive thing but I just want to let you know that I am here for you, if you want to talk." Nick stated, honestly.
“I know," Archie responded.
Nick took Archie in his arms and kissed him. “I think I'll have something else to drink, this morning," he stated, a glint of mischief shinning in his eyes.
Archie looked up at the older man. “Really? And what is that?"
“You'll find out," Nick stated. “But it involves you, naked on the bed in less than five minuted." He grinned, wickedly.
“Really?" Archie smiled.
“Yeah, baby," Nick said, imitating Austin Powers and pulled his lover up with him into the bedroom.
Even though not all their problems were solved, they had each other, they loved each other and love conquers all.
7 May 2006