Through the haze of pain and the painkillers surfing through his system, Greg slowly became aware of a warm hand wrapped around his own, strong fingers rubbing the back of his left hand. As he focused more he felt different but just as welcome fingers carding gently through his hair.
"I killed a man," he whispered, not opening his eye.
"No Greg," a calm, soft voice said, the fingers in his hair slowing to a massage. "You acted to save another human being without thinking of yourself. You were alert enough to get us evidence even after everything that happened to you. You're very brave."
"How can you say that?" Greg asked. "I ran over a man. I killed him."
"Yes, you did," the voice said, just as softly. "And you made a conscious decision to do so. But if you hadn't the victim would have died and the suspects would have continued their killing spree." The hand moved down to cup his cheek gently. "It's not an easy decision to make under any circumstances. I am proud of you. We both are."
"What's going to happen now?" Greg asked.
"You're going to get better," another voice drawled, his Texas accent thick through his grief. "Then we're going to take you home and love you like you deserve."
A tear rolled down Greg's battered face. "How can you love me after everything that's happened? I'm a murderer."
"Greg, open your eyes," Gil Grissom ordered softly. "Look at us."
The young man in the hospital bed slowly opened his left eye, the right one still swollen shut. His gaze landed first on Nick Stokes and then on his supervisor, Grissom. Nick was the one holding his hand. The Texan smiled gently and tightened his grip slightly.
"Hey," Nick said, his brown eyes full of love and wet with tears. "I'm ready for you to come home. The bed's all cold without you and Gil's hogging the covers."
Greg turned his head carefully and met the concerned blue gaze of his older lover. He could see the love shining from the intense eyes. While Greg still wasn't good at reading the three expressions his older lover chose to show the world, he thought he could see both love and pride.
"I don't deserve it," he said. "I don't deserve your love or respect."
"Listen to me," Gil said. "There are those who will crucify you for what you did. I will never lie to you, Greg. You chose to leave the lab and become a CSI. We have to make hard decisions every time we leave the lab and we might not always like the results of those decisions." Grissom's left hand moved back up to card through Greg's hair again. "This will change you but how it does is up to you. Nicky and I will stand by you no matter what you choose to do. You are a very strong man with a good heart and I know you'll be able to come back from this. If you need time in the lab, in your more familiar world to regain your balance then you have it. But Greg, never doubt yourself, because that is a path to self destruction."
"How can I not?" Greg asked.
Nick leaned forward and kissed Greg gently. "I know exactly what you're going through, Greggo," he said quietly. "When I was working back in Texas, I shot and killed a suspect. It shook me up, man. I kept asking myself how I could make that choice. What gave me the right to decide that my life, and the life of my partner, was more important than another man's life?"
"What did you decide?" Greg asked.
"It took a long time and I'm still not sure I made the right choice," Nick said. "The dude's family came after me, said I murdered their son. I thought they were right but my partner set me straight. Sometimes on the streets it's them or us and there's a split second to choose. But for us to sit and second guess ourselves, man, that can lead to hesitation at work and that's even more deadly. Gil's right; take time in the lab to think through your life, your choices and regain your footing. Maybe you're meant to stay in the lab and be the best DNA analyst Vegas ever saw." He kissed Greg again. "But you're a better man than the one who died because you acted to save another's life. He was bent on taking it away. Greggo, let us in, let us help you."
Gil leaned in and claimed Greg's mouth in a gentle but possessive kiss. "Greg, let it go, release the pain and trust us. Nick and I are here to catch you."
"I, I can't," Greg whispered, his voice breaking. "I don't know if I ever can."
"You will, Greg," Gil said, kissing him again. "With time and love, you will."
And with those words Greg found he was able to cry, not only for himself and the other victims, but the man who died at his hand, and start down the path of both mental and physical recovery. He had his lovers to catch him when he fell.
Summary: I saw Season 7 Fannysmacking last night and just had to work through what I saw in Greg's eyes at the end. **SPOILERS*** I don't own CSI, the characters, or anything related therein.