As I Watch Over Him
by Peggy Schultz
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Category: CSI - Slashed
Characters: Greg Sanders
, Nick Stokes
, DramaWarnings: Death of canon character
I left him, but I couldn't let go of him so instead I watch over him.
Disclaimer: CSI belongs to CBS. The story belongs to me. I am not making any money from this. :(
As I watch over him I am painfully aware of how much I hurt him when I left him. It has only been 12 hours and he looks as if he has endured a lifetime of suffering in the short amount of time. Since none of our friends knew of our relationship they do not realize that my departure is affecting him so much worse than it has affected them. He is sitting in my favorite spot on the couch in our house; one of my college sweatshirts wrapped tightly in his arms as he stares at the blank television screen. He looks so lost. In the entire two years of our relationship I had never seen him cry before. I had suspected he had shed tears alone after the lab explosion, but I know he does not like to show weakness. It hurts me to know I, alone, am the cause of his tears now.
As I watch over him I notice how much our separation has affected him. It has been three weeks since we parted ways and in that time I have noticed that he doesn't smile very much anymore. When he does smile it is forced. I miss his smile; I remember I could get lost in that smile. Just the slightest grin could brighten up my day, but now the world seems so dark and dreary without that smile. I remember the first time he smiled at me, it was his first day working for the Las Vegas Crime Lab, and I was immediately drawn to that smile. I only hope I have not permanently caused that smiles departure, for that would be a tragic injustice.
As I watch over him he seems to be getting worse as time passes instead of better. It has been almost seven weeks now since I left him and he rarely leaves the house except for work. He used to love his job as a Criminalist. The lab was where we first met, when I first saw that almost forgotten smile of his, where I first realized I was attracted to him, and where I realized I was in love with him. When we first met we were so different. We had different tastes in music, sports teams, clothing, even hairstyles; but I think our differences were part of what drew us to one another. There was something special about him; it drew me to him like bees to honey. It was something more than his brilliant smile or his chocolate brown eyes. I still don't know what exactly it was; I am not even certain it can be studied scientifically, but I felt it all the same.
As I watch over him I can't help but notice of how much his physical appearance has changed in the two months I've been gone. He no longer seems to care about his appearance, his hair has grown longer, and he hasn't bothered to shave in the past three weeks. If it was not for his almost shoulder length hair it would seem he is trying to look like Grissom with that beard that has been forming on his beautiful face. He rarely eats anymore; the other day he ate only once during the double shift he had and turned down Catherine's invitation to go out to dinner with her and the rest of the team. He had noticeably lost weight. Even his skintight jeans that I loved to see him wear are no longer so tight. I am not the only one who has noticed his physical changes. Warrick Brown yelled at him the other day and told him he needed to stop acting like he's the only one affected by my loss. He told him he was my friend too. While Warrick yelled and tried to get him to see he is not alone in his grief, he snapped and told him he didn't understand what he was going through, what he lost, and how alone he is now. When Warrick yelled back that he wouldn't be alone if he would let them help him, he cursed at him and yelled that Warrick had never cared about him before and there was no reason to start now. I hate knowing he is pushing everyone else away. It is not good and I fear he is slowly trying to kill himself although I don't think he even consciously realizes he is doing it.
As I watch over him it has been six months since I was taken away from him. He is gradually eating a little better, but it has more to do with the fact that our friends make sure he eats at work now; they can be very persuasive when they want to be. But I am more concerned about him now than ever before. He has begun to talk to me as if he knows I am near by. He talks to me as if I never left him, as if everything was as it was before I left him. He tells me about the cases he worked recently even repeats the stories Catherine tells them about Lindsey. But it is only in the silence of our house and only to me that he will really talk to. He is not the man I fell in love with anymore, although I still love him with all my heart. He has changed so much since I've been gone. He hasn't even gotten rid of my things yet. I think he is afraid to let them go or even put them in boxes as if removing them would make my loss permanent. But it is permanent; I left him for good this time. I can't come back to him no matter how much I want to.
As I watch over him eight months later he still does not accept what happened. His unwillingness to accept my death hinders both of us from moving on. He is unable to live his life and move on from the accident that tore us apart. And I am hindered from joining my grandfather in heaven. His undying love for me is also a hindrance. It makes me feel guilty for leaving him without warning and without saying goodbye I wonder if I am as much to blame for remaining with him, since I don't want to leave him. I can't help but wonder if it would have been better for us if I had been sick and we had had time to prepare and say goodbye, but yet I know if he would have had to watch me suffer it would have devastated him worse. At least he had the solace of knowing that I died quickly and didn't suffer. It had happened so quickly that I don't even remember it. All I remember is being in my car one moment and the next I was by his side when Grissom came to the scene; he and Catherine were working, to tell them what happened. He didn't want to believe it; he kept shaking his head and refusing to believe it. I think he was in shock and he almost looked like he had merely lost a colleague and not a lover until he reached the sanctuary of our home and lost his grip on his tenuous emotions.
As I watch over him twelve months after my death, I am scared again, I do not fear for him; I now fear for myself. I have not been this afraid since the lab explosion nearly ripped us apart only months after we had first started seeing each other. I have realized that he is gradually getting better. He is shaving regularly; eating even when not at work; he doesn't talk to me anymore; and he has even begun to smile again, a smile that is not always forced. The smile I thought I would never see again. This realization should make me happy, but I am not. I am scared and selfish; because I am afraid I will have to move on soon and in doing so I will have to leave him without keeping a constant vigil over him. I am now following him silently as he walks through the cemetery to see my grave for the first time since the funeral. I realize he is almost ready to let go, but I am not ready yet.
"Nick," he says as he drops to his knees in front of my tombstone. I can see Warrick approaching behind him, but if he knows he is there he is showing no indication of it. "Grissom, made me go and see a shrink three months ago. He threatened to fire me if I didn't go. She says I have to let you go, that she thinks it's what you would want me to do. She says eventually I will fall in love again and your loss won't hurt so much. But I don't want to love anyone else. If it is true that you would want me to let go I will try, for you." Tears are streaming down his cheeks when suddenly he chuckles and that smile that I love so much makes a brief appearance. "I can picture you saying 'Leggo my Greggo'. I never told you Nicky, but I loved it when you called me that. It made me feel like I was yours only and forever. And if that is true, how can you want me to move on and fall in love again?"
He furiously wipes away his tears and I can see Warrick wipe away his own tears as he listens to the love of my life speak to my tombstone. "Nick, if you can hear me I want you to know that I may find someone else one day to spend my life with but, I will never find someone I love more than you. I will love you until the day we meet again when it is my time to join you and we will spend the rest of eternity together."
"And I will wait for you, I will never Leggo my Greggo," I say and wish he could hear me.
As I watch over him I begin to slowly float away. I can see Warrick finally approach him and wrap him in his arms offering him a shoulder to cry on for the first time since the accident a year ago. I can hear Warrick telling him he's sorry, he didn't know about us and asking how long we had been together. I smile now knowing Greg, my Greggo, will be all right now. I also realize that he has helped me to find the courage to move on now, because I now know that we don't need to say goodbye. We will see each other again when it is time for us to walk side by side through eternity as we were meant to.