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26 June 2007 @ 07:56 am
Souls Mate Eternal [CSI; Nick/Sara]  
TITLE: Souls Mate Eternal
FANDOM: CSI
PAIRING: Nick/Sara, Grissom/Catherine(-ish), Cath/Sara (friendshippy)
SPOILERS: "Grave Danger" (5x24)
RATING: PG
SUMMARY:


*****

"You're looking better today, Mr. Stokes," the middle-aged nurse commented while readjusting the IV bag above his bed. "The ant bites have reduced nicely in size." She turned then to look down at him, quirking an eyebrow upward in question. "Are you feeling any better?"

"I feel pretty good, yeah," Nick replied, voice still slightly hoarse but still laced with that charming drawl. "My back still hurts like hell and my muscles are really sore, but other than that I feel great."

"Well, good."

Nick glanced up hopefully. "This means I get to go home, right?"

She hummed a chuckle. "Nice try, Tex. You've been through quite an ordeal, so as you well know, we're going to need to monitor you awhile longer."

Nick fought the urge to pout, knowing that with this nurse, it probably wouldn't do any good... and looked down at the thermal blanket covering his legs. He glanced up again when she spoke.

"I hope you won't take offense when I tell you this, Tex..."

He chuckled at the look on the nurse's face. "Tell me what?"

"Well... I gotta say, your fiancee's kinda been getting on our nerves."

Nick, in the middle of taking a sip of water from his bedside tray, nearly expirated his drink all over the nurse. "Excuse me?" he spluttered.

"Your fiancee. Pretty girl, tall, dark brown hair. That's her, right?" Without waiting for a response, she continued. "She's been badgering your doctor about what treatments to use for your ant bites. Says she knows an entomology specialist or something."

He couldn't help the grin that spread across his face. "Well, she does."

"I know. She's been reciting chapter and verse on the types of ants that bit you, and the proper medications that should be administered. I've never seen Dr. Colton want to throw himself out of a window before, but hoo boy... your gal sure brought it out in him."

Another chuckle escaped Nick's lips, and he shook his head. "That's Sara," he sighed, more as a means of inward confirmation than anything else.

"Sara, huh? She's a cute gal, Tex. Hang on to her." After a pause, the nurse turned to smirk at him. "Real mouthy, too. I like that."

Nick smiled and she patted his arm before grabbing her supplies and bustling out of the room. No more than five seconds after she left, Sara entered the room with a courtesy knock on the door. Upon stepping inside and seeing him awake, she was positively beaming. "Hey, you're up."

The smile on her face was contagious, and Nick soon found himself mirroring that expression. "Yeah, guess so. Come on in." As he watched her make her way toward his bed, he smirked, adding, "I mean, we are getting married and everything, so..."

Sara immediately cringed. "Sorry."

Nick held up his hands. "Hey, don't be. I'm flattered. And, just to refresh my memory, how did I propose?" His smirk soon morphed into a shit-eating grin, and he laughed as a fire glinted in Sara's eyes.

"You may be lying in a hospital bed, but that doesn't mean I won't kick your ass."

He nodded. "I know it," he sighed, and patted the mattress beside him, scooting over to give her room. "Have a seat, partner."

She obliged, and for a moment the two sat staring at each other, Nick's eyes roaming Sara's face while her eyes wandered the bumps on his arms left behind from the ants. "Your bites are looking better," she softly commented.

"Well, you've got yourself and your badgering to thank for that, according to the nurse."

Sara rolled her eyes, smiling. "Am I gonna have to chase down this nurse?"

"Probably." After another moment of silence passed, Nick centered his gaze on her chocolate eyes and quietly posed his question. "Why did you tell the staff you were my fiancee?"

She shrugged one shoulder, leaning one hand on the mattress on the other side of Nick's outstretched legs... her eyes flitting everywhere but to him. "That was the only way I could stay after visiting hours."

"Why did you want to stay?"

Her gaze trailed upward and locked on his, searching the sienna irises before her. Moments passed and Nick wondered if he should pose his question again... until he saw the tears filling her eyes. Her mouth began to contort in the beginnings of a sob, and only a few whimpers escaped her lips as she slowly leaned toward him, her head landing on his chest. Without thought, his hand went to her hair, stroking softly, as he leaned back on the pillows, his neck craning to look down at her.

She draped an arm around his middle and glided it upward toward his chest, grabbing a fistful of his hospital gown against her mouth as she burst into tears. Not a word was spoken as Sara cried openly on Nick's chest and Nick held her, his hands sweeping down through her hair then back up again, repeating the cycle over and over in an effort to calm her.

Words weren't needed between them, as was often the case. Nick knew their connection was a deep one, that often deemed speech unnecessary; so he just held her, and she cried. He knew what she was grieving over, and had hopeful musings as to why... so he needn't ask. Minutes turned to hours as the tear-filled silence remained between them... and neither Nick nor Sara realized they were falling asleep until the blackness had swallowed them both.


*****

Nick stirred after what felt like days had passed, feeling strangely well-rested, his chest warmer than he'd ever remembered it being. Then he looked down and smiled, stroking the hair of the brunette sleeping on his chest. He kissed the top of her head gently and kept his lips against her, closing his eyes while inhaling her scent. Tears threatened to fall at the thought that he might not have ever seen her again. The mere notion made him hold her even tighter.

"Nick..."

His head jerked up sharply at the familiar voice calling his name, and he met the knowing gaze of Gil Grissom, who was smiling, just slightly, at him from a chair on the other side of the room. Grissom rose to his feet then and pulled the chair closer to Nick's bed, taking a seat once more and leaning forward, clasping his hands in the space between his knees. "How do you feel?"

Nick paused, giving the question some thought. "Well... I'm still kinda sore, and I'm gonna have to take it easy on my back for awhile, but..." He stole a glance down at his partner before looking up at his boss again and smiling. "Other than that, I feel just fine."

The two men sat in silence for a moment, Grissom watching the sleeping brunette while Nick watched Grissom. "She was amazing on this case, Nick," Grissom finally murmured, blinking slowly.

"How so?"

"She was just... so focused, and yet so distracted at the same time. She was determined we were going to bring you back, though I saw her several times fighting off tears while she thought the worst would happen. At one point, I actually saw her standing at the water fountain, just staring at the water and rubbing her forehead. And she didn't take her eyes off the live feed for hours." He smiled slightly. "I think, subconsciously, she didn't want to leave you."

Nick drew in a slow breath and let it out just as slowly, soaking in this information before looking up when Grissom spoke again. "She was the one that found you. She knew just where you'd be, Nick. She put the final pieces of the puzzle together that led us straight to you."

"Wow. I never figured she would react like... like this." He gestured to her current state, sleeping soundly but with very visible tear tracks leading from her eyes to her chin.

"We were all hurting, Nick. But she..." He chuckled grimly, shaking his head. "She was in the worst condition out of all of us -- on the verge of breaking down, at times." Grissom looked up then and met his protege's eyes. "She was the most afraid of losing you."

"But why? I mean, I'm close with all you guys. Why was she the one so far gone? That's what I'm having a hard time understanding."

"I think you understand perfectly, Nick. Maybe not outwardly, but somewhere in your subconscious, I know you understand."

Nick furrowed his eyebrows. "How?"

Grissom drew in a breath and sighed it out, sitting back in his seat and leaning his elbow against the left arm of the chair, his fingers interlocking in his lap. "Nick, have you ever heard the phrase, 'souls mate eternal'?"

"Of course."

Silence reigned as the two men stared at each other, Grissom with a pointed look on his face and Nick with an expectant one on his. After a moment, Nick raised his eyebrows. "That's it?"

He nodded. "That's it."

Before Nick could question Grissom's cryptic message, his nurse bustled into the room. "Alright, Tex, how about some more of those pain meds?"

Nick grinned charmingly at her, which caused Grissom to chuckle. "Yes, please."

She handed him a small plastic cup that held his pills, then looked up to smile at Grissom. "You must be his father."

"Of sorts," Nick chuckled, then gestured to Grissom. "This is my mentor and supervisor, Gil Grissom."

Grissom nodded courteously, and the nurse smiled, before her gaze settled on Sara. She 'tsked' and shook her head. "Poor thing," she murmured, and looked up to the two men. "Every time she was in here, nagging us about how to care for you, she just looked so worn out -- like she hadn't slept in days."

Grissom quirked an eyebrow. "She hadn't."

The nurse nudged her patient before heading for the door. "Take your pills now, Tex. I'm sure you're anxious to join your honey again in dreamland." She missed the surprised look Grissom gave her at her remark, and was out the door in a matter of seconds.

"I guess Catherine and I aren't the only ones to see it."

"See what? Grissom, are you gonna keep giving me these cryptic little Obi-Wan messages and make me hunt for the answer?"

He shrugged. "Why not?" He smirked then, and watched Nick down his pills.

Just before Nick receded into slumber, he heard Grissom quip, "The force is strong with you."


*****

"Sara? Sara..."

A voice, rich in its tenor vibration, began to call the brunette out of slumber. She protested with an incoherent mutter under her breath, and she snuggled further into Nick's chest, into the unique scent she'd grown to love over the past five years.

"Sara..." A hand was in her hair now, the voice coaxing her awake gently as if knowing that in slumber was where she wanted to reside for now, with Nick. "Sara."

Upon hearing her name being spoken for the fourth time, her eyes fluttered open. "Hmmm?"

Grissom quirked a smile at her as he moved away to sit in the chair on the opposite side of Nick's hospital bed. "Sorry to wake you. I came back to tell you that visiting hours are over." He cocked his head to the side slightly. "That, and Catherine asked me to come back here and retrieve you."

Sara slowly sat up, one hand still settled on Nick's chest as she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes with the other. "How come?" she yawned, voice muffled behind her hand.

"Catherine believes that, if it were up to you, you'd move in here." He smiled at both her, and the still-sleeping Nick. "I think she may be on to something."

She glanced over at her soundly-sleeping partner, then up toward the clock. "How long have I been asleep?"

"Well, I'm not sure when you arrived here today, but now it's almost eleven o'clock at night."

"Twelve hours of sleep. Wow." She slid from the bed, taking a seat in the chair at Nick's bedside, directly across from Grissom. She met his eyes.

"At least you're sleeping again."

"Yeah."

Both sets of eyes flitted toward Nick this time, and, still gazing at him, Sara enquired of Grissom, "How long have you been here?"

A shrug rolled off his shoulders. "An hour or so. I was visiting with Nick for awhile earlier today, but the nurse came in and gave him some pain medication." His lips twitched. "He was out cold within a span of twenty seconds."

"Nick was awake?"

"Yeah, he was just waking up when I arrived. Seems to me, you both needed to sleep again."

"I can't believe I didn't hear you guys talking. I'm normally a light sleeper. I mean, I haven't slept this well since..." She trailed off, contemplation furrowing her brow. "I don't think I've slept this well in all the years I've been in Vegas."

Grissom's voice was low, his gaze narrow-eyed as he studied the brunette across from him. "So what does that tell you, Sara?"

His eyes remained trained on Sara while hers trailed to Nick, and he smiled to himself as he watched her visually trace Nick's face... familiar with the thoughts probably churning through her head at the moment. He then rose to his feet. "I should get back to the lab. And you should be leaving soon, too, before they kick you out."

Sara smiled affectionately at her boss while he headed for the door. "They won't kick me out, Grissom. I've got sort of a, uh, free pass."

Grissom furrowed his brow momentarily, then nodded with understanding. "Right." He spun on his heel to leave, then turned back just as quickly. "Speaking of which, Sara..."

She glanced up at him, both her hands now grasping Nick's. "Yeah?"

His eyebrows quirked upward briefly. "Will you let me know when you and Nick have set a date for the wedding, so I can find someone to cover your shifts?"

Before Sara's jaw could drop, Grissom was out the door, leaving her chuckling to herself at Nick's side. She shook her head at her supervisor's exit and smiled at her slumbering Texan companion, her hands stroking his. Thoughts began to ebb and flow through her stream of consciousness, Grissom's earlier words to her lacing throughout. 'What does that tell you, Sara?'

She sighed, and inwardly promised to give it some serious thought later, while she climbed back up onto the bed beside Nick, this time stretching out beside him and laying her head back on his chest, succumbing to the pleasant blackness once again.


*****

"Never send a man to do a woman's job."

Those were the words to stir Sara from sleep a second time, the wry alto voice coming from the chair on the other side of Nick's bed, where Grissom had once sat. This time, when her eyes fluttered open, they settled on the half-smirk of Catherine Willows, who tilted her head to capture Sara's gaze.

"Catherine..." Again, she sat up yawning, and slid into the chair at Nick's bedside, running her fingers through her sleep-tousled hair.

"Well, I can see Grissom's completely useless," she quipped, gesturing to Sara and Nick. "I send him here to collect you and he returns empty-handed." She gave a brief facial shrug. "Well, except for that pint of ice cream he used as an apology, but that doesn't really count."

"I'm not leaving," Sara stated with determination, folding her arms across her chest. "So, I hate to disappoint you, but it looks like you'll be returning empty-handed as well."

"Sara, you've got to leave. If not to come to the lab, then to at least go home and rest for a bit. Shower, change, sleep a little more."

She shook her head. "You don't understand, Catherine. I can't leave."

Catherine smiled affectionately and rose to her feet, going to Sara's side. She grasped one of Sara's hands in both of her own and tugged her to her feet, patting her back once she was standing as she said softly, "I do understand, Sara -- all too well. I understand how you're feeling right now, because I've felt that before too. I understand the thoughts that are going through your head right now, because they've gone through mine too. But honey..." She nodded toward the slumbering Texan. "Nick's not going anywhere. It might be a hard concept to grasp right now in light of what's just happened, but it's true. He's here, he's safe, and he's not going anywhere."

Sara nodded, casting her gaze on her shoes as she felt tears welling in her eyes. "I know. I know I'm being irrational, it's just..." She swallowed the lump rising in her throat and raised her head, closing her eyes as a tear escaped. "I can't shake that image."

"Of what?" Catherine asked softly, compassionately.

When her eyes opened again, several more tears spilled out, and she watched behind a wall of water as Catherine's expression slid into a sympathetic frown. "Of Nick... on the feed, pounding on that-that damned glass coffin Gordon put him in."

"Sara..." Without thought, Catherine wrapped her arms around the young woman and hugged her, rubbing her back consolingly.

"I've seen it for days, now... everytime I close my eyes..." Sara dashed at her tears and gently pulled away from Catherine's embrace, gesturing behind her to Nick. "Except when I'm with him. Today when I was with him, when I slept with my head on his shoulder, the images were gone. He was there, physically there with me, tangible and real. And I--" She stopped suddenly, clamping her lips shut.

Catherine's brows knit together in a confused frown. "What?"

Sara shook her head. "Nothing, nevermind."

Slowly, a soft, knowing smile spread across the strawberry blonde's lips as she finished for her, "And you don't want to be without him ever again."

Sara sighed. "This is really messed up."

"Sara, have you ever heard the expression, 'souls mate eternal'?"

"Yeah..."

Catherine raised her eyebrows pointedly, and Sara raised hers back in question. "Was that it?"

Catherine nodded. "Yep."

"I don't get it."

"Yeah you do. Trust me, you get it."

Sara narrowed her eyes at the strawberry-blonde contemplatively. "You know, you and Grissom both have this knack for being really vague when you want to be."

Catherine smiled. "I know, don't you just hate that?" She sighed. "Alright, stay, if it'll help you feel better. But, at least promise me you'll leave to take a shower tomorrow."

Sara gave an affectionate smile in return. "I promise, Cat."

"Good." On her way out, Catherine called over her shoulder, "Because I'd hate for you to start offending the hospital staff with your stench."

Sara chuckled and shook her head at Catherine's typical exit, and turned just in time to see Nick squirming on the bed, slowly awakening. His hand reached out while his brows furrowed... eyes still closed as he called groggily, "Sair?"

She took his hand without a second thought and sat down on the bed again. "Right here, partner."

His eyes slowly opened, and Sara smiled as, upon meeting her own, they lit up. He then rubbed his eyes. "How long have I been asleep?"

She shrugged and threw a glance toward the clock. "I'd say... since the nurse came in with your painkillers."

"Mmm." He nodded slowly. "Y'know, Grissom was here."

"I know. So was Catherine."

"She was? When?"

Sara cocked her head at the open door, where Catherine had just exited moments before. "Just now. She left right before you woke up."

"Visiting?"

At the same time, both their gazes were drawn to their hands, still entwined... fingers lacing together and unlacing repeatedly, of their own accord. Sara slowly shook her head at Nick's question. "She came to 'collect' me, in her words, since Grissom failed."

He chuckled. "Well, apparently she failed too."

She met his eyes again, her gaze solemn and filled with conviction. "I told her I wasn't leaving."

"Good. Because I don't feel like letting you go anytime soon, either."

Sara sighed. "Nick, I just... I can't leave. I can't."

He furrowed his brows, gripping her hand a little tighter by instinct. "How come?"

She averted her gaze to her lap, half-fearing that her confession would earn her nothing more than a look of pity from her partner. "Because, if I were to leave... if I were to go home, to my own bed -- if I were to close my eyes, I'd see..." Her voice faltered as she fought back the tears. "I'd see..."

"Sara..." Nick pulled her to him without a second thought, holding her as she once again began to cry on his chest. He knew the end of her sentence without a vocalization. It was the same thing he saw every time he closed his eyes -- that glass coffin. "I'm here. You guys got me out. I'm a little banged up, but I'm okay."

"I know, I know." She pulled away, tears still streaming down her face as she braced herself on his arms. "It's completely irrational, but..."

"Yeah. I know." He smiled affectionately, though she didn't see this.

She blew a puff of air through her pursed lips. "This is so messed up, Nick."

He paused, eyes narrowing slightly as his visit with Grissom meandered back into his thoughts. "Hey Sair?"

"Hmm?" She looked up at him, and their eyes locked.

"Ever hear the expression, 'souls mate eternal'?"

Sara's eyes widened. "Uhhh, yeah. Why?"

He shrugged, exhaling a chuckle. "I dunno. It was something Grissom said to me, but then, that was kind of... it."

A grin slowly tugged her lips apart. "Catherine said the same thing to me."

"What the hell are they talking about?"

"I dunno," Sara sighed, her eyes now on the blanket covering Nick's legs. "Catherine said I knew what she was talking about--"

"So did Grissom. He said that, subconsciously, I get it."

They locked eyes again, the cryptic phraseology of their mentors flowing through each of their minds. Sara narrowed her eyes contemplatively at her partner. "What do you think they mean?"

Nick shot back without missing a beat, "What do you think they mean?"

"I asked you first."

He laughed. "You're such a dork!"

Sara's jaw dropped indignantly and she reached out to smack him lightly. "I'm a dork? You're--"

"Just shut up and come here," Nick chuckled, sweeping his hand under her hair and cupping the back of her neck, pulling her toward him. Their lips met and it was instantly electric. All the teasing, all the flirting of the past five years, coupled with the knowledge that Nick was alive, that he was there... it all culminated in one intense kiss.

When they pulled back, both sets of lips smiled. "That's what I think it means," he murmured.

Sara bit her bottom lip softly, staring at his lips. "Me too," she responded.

They leaned in for another kiss, and got instantly interrupted by his nurse. "Hey, hey, hey! Break it up, you two. This is a family place."

Sara pulled away with a smirk, rolling her eyes. "I should go."

"Alright. We'll talk when I get outta here." He pecked her lips quickly again. "You goin' back to the lab?"

"Yep." Sara rose to her feet and brushed past the nurse, who was starting to putter around Nick, checking on him.

"Good," he called, "'Cause you stink!"

Sara smirked and glared facetiously at him over her shoulder, then disappeared around the corner. The nurse chuckled at her exit and shook her head. "So that's your fiancee, huh Tex?"

"Yeah," he chuckled. "That's my girl."



FIN



{x-posted to nicksara}
 
 
 
heartagram_lala: snickers - surpriseheartagram_lala on June 26th, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC)
awesome.

very well written, and original.

loved it.
a.: JFox; yeah you're so jaded;regalish on June 27th, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! :)
~*Sam*~: Snickers - ?yosnickers on June 26th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
Aw that was the sweetest.

Love the way it's written.

You really must write more :D
a.: N/S; i am smitten with you;regalish on June 27th, 2007 11:03 pm (UTC)
Hee, thanks so much!

I will definitely write some more Snickers in the future. I forgot how much fun they are ;D
honey badger don't give a shit.: closer where i startedgalbadia on June 26th, 2007 04:41 pm (UTC)
Aww~ :D

They're so damn cute. And I love Grissom and Catherine, being all cryptic at them. XD

I'm putting this in my memories, yes I am. ♥
a.: N/S; i am smitten with you;regalish on June 27th, 2007 11:05 pm (UTC)
Hehehe, thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed this. I absolutely had to include my Grissom & my Catherine, giving advice to the "kids" :D :D :D

Aww, you're putting it in your memories? You are made of awesome!

Thanks again! ♥
honey badger don't give a shit.galbadia on June 28th, 2007 02:41 am (UTC)
Of course! Gris and Cath are the team mom and dad! ;)

No prob~ ♥
katydid713katydid713 on June 27th, 2007 02:59 am (UTC)
Excellent story! Very original idea.
a.: S3; and while she looks so sadregalish on June 27th, 2007 11:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!! :D
snickerdoudle on June 27th, 2007 03:45 am (UTC)
Great story
Loved it :)
a.: JFox; yeah you're so jaded;regalish on June 27th, 2007 11:09 pm (UTC)
Aww, thanks! Glad you enjoyed it :)
(Deleted comment)
a.: MH; there she goes again;regalish on June 27th, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
Heee! Thanks so much, Anne! Glad you liked this! I'd been missing the magically-delicious...-ness of my Snickers :D

And I HAD to include some Grissom Obi-Wan-ness and some Cath snark ;D

Thanks again!
simplytooprettysimplytoopretty on July 4th, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC)
I just thought that this was a great one-shot. You have a recovering Nick, a Sara that refuses to leave his side, a wise Grissom, and a compassionate Catherine, which makes for a really sweet story. Hopefully you'll write more Sara/Nick stories because I'd really like to see more from you.
a.: N/S; i think we shouldregalish on July 5th, 2007 03:02 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed this fic. It took me forever to finish (darn writer's block! Hehe) but it was fun to write!

I'll definitely be writing more Nick/Sara in the future (hopefully soon, if the muse cooperates)! :D

Thanks again.
Any day nowand_affection on August 7th, 2007 01:07 am (UTC)
I loved the Nick/Sara in this, but I really liked how you wrote Catherine, too, and I almost never like the way she's written in fanfic. You got her voice really well, made her sassy and assertive without being bitchy, and kept her nicely in character. The "never send a man to do a woman's job" and "I know, don't you just hate that?" especially were very Catherine.
a.: CU; some hearts have starsregalish on August 8th, 2007 04:03 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed this.

Since Grissom/Catherine is my ultimate CSI OTP, I was powerless to stop myself from including Cath in this :) And thank you so much for the characterization comment! I'm such a stickler about that. And Cath is our sassy/snarky assertive gal, and that's just why I love her. :D

More Snickers soon!
Mandy: Snickers -- GGmandy9578 on August 28th, 2008 08:11 am (UTC)
I just found this now. Anyway, this was really well-written. Loved it. Loved the fact that Gris and Catherine have the same cryptic message to Nick and Sara. This really cheered me up today! So thanks. I really needed this pick me up. :D