Title: You can tell by the smile
Characters: Greg Sanders and Nick Stokes
Content Warnings: Minor Angst, Post Grave Digger, Miscommunication, Established Relationship
Word Count: 1,487
Note: This story is one of a few that I am posting here. It has been in a few other places online.
Summary: Set sometime after Grave Digger. Greg makes a joke and doesn’t get the reaction he’d been expecting.
Greg turned his head to look at the man sleeping next to him, and smiled softly. Lifting a hand, he ran the backs of his fingers over Nick’s cheek. He smiled happy when the older man sighed and turned into the touch. Idly Greg wondered if the other man was dreaming, and, if so, was he dreaming about him? Greg’s own dreams were always of Nick, and he felt they were simply the icing on the cake. He believed that this whole big experience was like a dream, one he never wanted to wake up from or let go of.
Every day he woke up looking at the man he knew that he’d love forever, and he’d never thought that he’d have a chance with him. After every shift, he came home knowing no matter how terrible his case had been, he was with someone who would be there supporting him. Nick would do his best to make the darkness go away. Rolling onto his side, Greg propped his head up on his hand, watching his lover and partner sleep. He marveled at how peacefully he did so. Nick seemed to carry little from the bad things he saw on a daily basis in his life into dreamland. The exception being an occasional reminder of his time spent buried. Sometimes though Greg wondered if things were really as peaceful for Nick as his lover showed, but while Greg was worried he didn’t let the fear consume him. He knew that even if his suspicions were right they would make it through together. He hadn’t waited as long as he had for this man only now to run at the first sign of trouble.
Hearing Nick make a noise that Greg always thought sounded like “fish and chips”, he found himself giggling as those beautiful brown eyes opened slowly. “Will I have to suffer through you giggling at me every morning for the rest of my life?” He heard Nick ask grumpily, sleep making his accent more pronounced.
“Probably,” Greg confessed before leaning over and stealing the first kiss of the day. “Unless you plan on ditching me for some big chested floozy named Ricardo!”
He’d only been teasing, but watched Nick’s eyes darken and grow serious. “There isn’t a person alive that could make me want to leave you, G.”
The confession was intense and heartfelt, and Greg’s eyes closed momentarily from the wave of emotion that went through him. The night before had been rough on him. A especially heart wrenching case of his own, combined with Nick’s cell dying while he was out in the field on assignment alone, had left Greg a little shaken even though he had tried not to let Nick know. He’d managed to keep things light this morning when they’d both eventually made it home, but should have known it wouldn’t work now.
Nick could on occasion be somewhat thick when it came to Greg’s at times off sense of humor, but it was never as guaranteed as after he first woke up. The fact was, Nick was just one of those people that just wasn’t immediately mentally awake like Greg was. He shouldn’t have made the joke, shouldn’t have gone anywhere near the idea of losing Nick, because now his fears from the night before surfaced. His heart momentarily grew cold as he remembered his temporary fright when he’d realized he couldn’t reach Nick, knowing his lover was all alone.
Feeling the bed shift, Greg’s eyes popped open to see Nick getting up from his side of the bed, his back rigid and his shoulders stiff in obvious hurt and agitation. Frowning Greg threw off the sheet that had been covering him and hurried around his own end of the bed cutting off Nick’s attempt to escape the room. The pain was easily read on Nick’s face, and only confirmed his suspicions. Quickly he reran their brief conversation in his mind looking for the trigger to this unexpected mood, but only came up empty.
“Don’t you know, Greg, that you’re the only reason I’ve gotten this far?” Nick asked angrily, and Greg could only blink as he realized just how upset his lover really was. “Some days you are the only reason I can find to keep going. You’re the only person who sees through my act, and leaves me with dignity enough so I can pretend I’m not a complete walking disaster. You’re the only one who doesn’t STILL ask me how I’m doing every day, even though it’s been 6 months since I returned. Yet, you’re the only one who seems to know when I need you better than all the rest of them. From day one of this relationship, you have taken my moods without throwing them back in my face. Then you always forgive me when I’m done being nasty to you because of them. Damnit, Greg, how can you NOT know!?”
Patiently, Greg wrapped his arms around Nick, pulling their bodies together as he looked deep into Nick’s eye. He could see the fear that he’d missed this morning while he was wrapped up in his own anxiety. He almost felt relieved to see it there, then immediately felt guilty. A voice in the back of his head, which always sounded suspiciously like Griss, told him it was only natural. “What prompted this?” Greg asked ignoring the question Nick had left hanging between them, knowing it wasn’t what he needed to be most concerned with.
Nick looked down and away before muttering, “The look on your face when I said no one could make me leave you.
“You looked like you didn’t believe me. This morning you were kinda distant, when all I wanted was for you to put your arms around me, and tell me I was safe. I know it’s stupid. I know there was nothing to be afraid of last night, but when I realized I couldn’t call anyone if something happened… I wanted to say something this morning but…” Nick just shrugged, and Greg’s heart broke knowing he had caused this.
Communication always seemed to be lacking with them at the worst times. Mentally Greg promised himself to stop thinking that he was doing Nick some favor by keeping his fears from him. Leaning forward he placed a kiss on his lover’s lips before correcting the misinterpretation.
“As far as this morning and last night are concerned… God, Nicky, you don’t have anything to apologize for. I should have told you when we got home that I’d been worried last night. When I tried to call and couldn’t get you… when I realized that I hadn’t been able to for awhile… Well you aren’t the only one who freaked. It scared the shit out of me. All I could see was you hurt somewhere or in trouble, and no one knew.
“This morning when we got home, I should have told you instead of pulling away, but I didn’t want you to think I didn’t have faith in you. I didn’t want you to think that I thought you couldn’t do your job. I was afraid you would think I was smothering you. I was wrong. By trying to do what I thought was saving you worry, I only caused you to do the very thing I was trying to stop.
“As far as earlier goes, before you woke up, I was thinking about how I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. Then you wake up and confess the very thing that was going through my mind… I wasn’t doubting you Nick, I was choked up realizing how lucky I am. I love you so much, Nicky, and I thank every God, and every heavenly being I know of, that you asked me out that night. You, Nick, are the best thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life. Don’t you ever forget it.”
Easily Greg rubbed up and down Nick’s back, watching the realization of his words sink in. “God, G, and here I am snapping at you. I’m so…” He heard Nick start to say, but stopped him with a kiss before he could finish his statement. “Don’t your dare, Nicholas Stokes!” Greg warned pretending to give the other man the evil eye as Nick grinned at him.
“You sound like my mother when you say that,” Nick said still grinning like a fool.
Greg wanted to be insulted, but couldn’t be. He was too happy to see a smile on Nick’s face even though he now knew his suspicions were right and he was going to have to find a way to get his lover to open up more. He still had faith though Nick was smiling again so he knew everything was ok. If he was lucky that smile would always be there to tell him everything was ok.