Broken Pieces - 22/24
Fandom: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Category: Angst, Romance
Series/Sequel: Breaking the Ice
Summary: Love is complicated....
Warning: Slash, M/M
Disclaimer: I don't own them, but I love them dearly.
Feedback: Yes, please. It's the icing on my cake.
Released: October 2007
Revised: September 2021
Word Count: 3693
Note: For the man I always loved...too much.
Gil was watching Greg sleep. His assaulted and beaten beloved. Seeing him like this was agony. Why had it to be him? Always him. Greg didn't deserve this. You're a big boy, Greg. You don't need a wingman for this. The mundane words were ringing in his ears. Oh God! What was I thinking? If Greg would have died, I would have gone mad. He suffers because I sent him out there alone. I've thrown him to the wolves. My cheerful boy. I can't bear his misery. Gil wiped his eyes. Come on... don't go on like that. Greg is safe now. Traumatized but safe. He seized Greg's hand to put a soft kiss on its palm, and a terrible image flashed through his mind. Greg buried in a coffin. Rotting away. The image vanished as quickly as it had haunted him, but Gil shivered to the bone. Greg could die tomorrow. I don't know how and when it's gonna happen. Nobody knows those things. Right. Don't waste any more time. Don't keep him away from you.
The room door creaked. Sara walked in. "Hey."
Fucking hell. Gil dropped Greg's hand. "Sara."
She cleared her throat. "How is he?"
"Better, I think." Jesus, is this me, sounding like a juvenile offender?
"Good," she said coldly. "Are you coming?"
"Uh...no... I just came here," he said, holding on to his briefcase. An hour ago.
"I see." She shrugged and walked out again. The door she left open.
Shit! He knew that she knew he was lying. Why didn't I tell her? Well, I'm a fucking coward. I proved that more than once.
"What do you want?" Greg croaked. He had woken up and stared at Gil with big, weepy eyes.
Gil swallowed. "Hey. How are you?"
"Okay," Greg sniffed, shifting awkwardly under the heavy blanket.
"Is your family coming to visit soon?" Gil rose from the plastic chair.
"No way. My mom will freak if she'd ever find out..."
"Don't you think, she wouldn't considering...," Gil started but didn't finish. It's none of my business. He's not with me. Not anymore.
Greg seized Gil's hand anyway. "I was terrified... and I..."
Those bastards really got to him. He's still shaken. He squeezed Greg's hand.
"...I was all alone," Greg whispered, touching the sore spots in his face with the fingertips of his left hand.
"I'm so sorry. It's my fault. I shouldn't have sent you out there all by yourself." Well put, but a kiss would be better than lukewarm chitchat.
"Why did you?"
"Uh... I thought there isn't any danger. Just routine." One kiss to speed up the healing process.
"Would you have sent Sara all by herself as well?"
"Greg..." Gil was stunned to the core. "That's silly. I..."
"Am I interrupting a moment?"
Gil's head jerked around.
Michael stood in the doorway, smiling charmingly.
Greg blinked away tears. "No. I'm glad you're here. I need a friend."
"No problem, Greggo. I'm your man."
"I have to go anyway." Gil struggled free of Greg's grip. "There is some important matter at the lab I need to take care of."
Michael walked in and waved nonchalantly at Gil. "See you later, boss."
Greggo. He called him Greggo. Neither Greg nor Michael paid attention to him leaving. They had only eyes for each other. Michael took Gil's place at the bedside and kissed Greg on the cheek.
Gil fled the maddening sight but jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. In the hallway, he bumped into Alan Davies.
"Hello, Gil," Greg's ex-boyfriend greeted him exceptionally politely. "How nice of you to look after Greg."
"That's a given," Gil declared icily. "Greg works for me and was injured in the line of duty."
"I'm aware of it." Alan's eyes were as cold as Gil's voice. "How's my pretty boy?"
"Just fine... Michael is with him," Gil said, perplexed by how much this man annoyed him by just being... present. Stop it. Jealousy won't get you anywhere.
"So, he's well cared for. A handsome man that Michael." Alan patted Gil's shoulder.
Gil winced back from him. "Sure. I need to go."
Alan nodded. "Greg told me work is most important to you." His fiendish cold eyes made fun of Gil.
"Exactly." Gil continued his flight despite the urge to teach Alan and Michael a lesson. Haven't you figured that Greg belongs to me? Sure! I tried to stay away from him... I really tried but... uh... seeing him so vulnerable made me realize how important he is to me... more important than work... more important than anything or anyone. Well. Yeah. Life with Greg is unpredictable and intoxicating, painful even, but life without Greg is like being dead inside...
At the lab Gil didn't get any peace. As he walked into his office, his sanctuary, he found Hodges sitting at the desk, leafing through a current case file. Gil groaned. "What do you want?!"
"Hey, boss. How's pretty boy?"
"Huh?" Gil asked, dumbfounded. Is every man thinking of him in this way?
"Sanders. How is he?"
"Better. Michael and Alan are visiting him."
"Ah. That's why you look so distracted." Hodges smirked.
"Go back to work." Gil glared at him.
Yet Hodges came around the desk and moved into Gil's personal space. "Don't worry. Sanders is yours only," he whispered close to Gil's ear.
Gil stepped back, blinking rapidly. "Get out or face the consequences."
"I'm curious. What would you do to me?"
Not looking in the slightest intimidated, Hodges strolled into the hallway. "By the way - everybody knows and yet it's a secret. Amazing, isn't it?"
Gil shut the door with a bang. "Brass was right...everybody knows...this is a disaster...." Right. The gossip won't get any better when I get back with Greg. If I get back with him. What if I'm not able to win him back? What if he doesn't want me back? My behavior was unforgivable. Do I have the courage to have my heart broken by him rejecting me? So what? He couldn't go on without even trying, could he? That would be gutless. A yellow and unworthy move.
Gil had fallen asleep at his desk. But it was no sleep of rest. A dream haunted him. A dream of Greg - lying with a waxen face in a coffin. Though he looked stone-dead he snapped his eyes open and started to talk. "I'm a big boy now. I don't need you. I don't need anyone, least of all an old, boring guy like you." Blood streamed out of his eyes and filled the coffin in no time, drowning Greg's body in crimson floods....
Gil jerked awake, gasping for air, putting a hand on his hammering heart. Drops of sweat were covering his face. He wiped them away and startled.
Sara was sitting in the chair in front of his desk. "You were having a nightmare."
"You should go back to the hospital."
"What are you talking about?"
"In your sleep you were saying his name."
"Sara..." He exhaled. Well. If she didn't know before she certainly knew now.
"Did you ever intend to tell me?"
"I just didn't find the right time..."
"There's never a right time for something like this."
Her eyes filled with tears. "You never said a word although you knew how I feel about you. You kept me out of the loop..."
"I'm so sorry."
"He's a good guy," she breathed through her teeth.
That concession stunned him. "Yes, he certainly is."
"I try to forgive you - someday."
"I don't deserve your forgiveness."
"I know, but I love you, Gil. No matter what." One tear ran down her cheek.
"I don't deserve your love," Gil said, and slumped in his seat. I'm an asshole.
"I know that too. But love doesn't ask for those things."
Boy, do I know that. Gil nodded in sympathy.
For some time, he and Sara sat in silence. Gil comforted her by staying with her, postponing work even, until she was ready to go on.
When Greg was released from the hospital his wounds had started to heal though the bruises in his face still reminded everyone of the cruel incident. Life went on anyway. Crimes didn't stop to happen to let a man fully recover as well as they didn't wait for another man to solve his own personal puzzle. However, one night, as it was exceptionally slow in the lab, the team was lingering in the break room, eating, drinking, or reading, and even Hodges lolled silent in a corner checking his cell, Gil disturbed the silence out of the blue. "I got an invitation to an entomology convention this weekend in San Francisco."
"Have fun," Catherine quipped, leafing through her magazine.
Gil raised one eyebrow. "How do you know I decided to go?"
"Come on. It's you."
He had to smile. "Well, I plan to take someone with me." Lo and behold! Now he had the attention of the entire team. Well. Everybody but Greg was looking at him. The youngest CSI kept reading his forensic journal and chewing on his sandwich.
"Yeah?" He swallowed the last bite.
"Are you ready to learn a new lesson?" Gil fiddled with his glasses.
"What?" Greg snapped. The former fun maker lacked humor frequently these days. No jokes, no music, no nothing beyond work. This had nothing to do with the incident of almost been beaten to death. His friends knew that he had changed before that, but they kept their knowledge to themselves.
"I want you to come along to San Francisco with me to improve your skills," Gil briefed him matter-of-factly.
Greg dropped the journal on the table. "I don't wanna come."
"I'm still not well enough."
"You are back to work, are you not?" Gil frowned.
"Yes, but I..."
"Well, then this is not open for a discussion but an order."
Greg closed his journal and collected his things. "I see. Can I go?"
"Sure." Gil watched him leave. That went worse than expected.
Nick pushed his chair back. "Excuse me." He chased after Greg.
Catherine pursed her lips. "Is there something you want to order us as well?"
"Not at the moment," Gil barked, stroking his beard. My first move was poor, but the game is not over yet.
"Fine." She smiled and went to sort through a pile of files. Warrick put his nose back into his report. Sara just chewed her sandwich not deigning to look at anyone.
"Good to know those bastards weren't able to break Greg's spirit," Hodges threw in. "It looks like he grew up after all. Now it's your turn." He winked at Gil.
Catherine's smile widened.
"Stop twiddling your thumbs and go back to work," Gil snubbed her, and walked away, certain that as soon as he was gone, Hodges would shoot his mouth off. Strangely enough, he didn't care anymore. Even the thought of Ecklie finding out about him and Greg didn't bother him. That was behind him. Only winning Greg back mattered, though he got off on the wrong foot. Yeah. Whatever. Just hang in there.
Nick caught up with Greg. "Hey buddy! What's up?"
"Come on. Let's have a drink and talk. I know something's wrong."
"Oh yeah? Like I was almost beaten to death recently."
Nick shook his head. "There's something else."
Greg faltered. "I want to be left alone."
"Nonsense. Let's go." Nick put an arm around his shoulders and surprisingly Greg didn't fight him off.
A few minutes later they had settled down in a cozy corner in a coffee shop. Nick sipped from his coke. "What's going on in your life?"
Greg played with the saltshaker. "Not much."
"Are you unhappy?"
"Very," Greg surrendered.
Greg raised his head. His face was a grimace of pain. "I lied to you, Nick."
"You were right. I have a big crush on Grissom."
Nick shrugged. "I know."
"I'm terribly in love with Grissom."
Nick smirked. "My home is my castle. Did you think you can make out in my kitchen, and I didn't know?"
"Oh." Greg flushed. "I knew someone was there."
Nick laughed. "Now that we come clean tell me what's bothering you? It looked like Grissom is very much into you, too."
Greg took a deep breath. "Yeah, well, it's not that simple. I... I... broke up with him but now... I want him back." Jeez! I'm weak. I'll never learn my lesson. Why do I feel the need for a man who hurt me that much? How can I be so pathetic? Who am I considering? "In a way that hasn't me begging."
Nick pulled the saltshaker from Greg's restless hands. "All right! That's a piece of cake."
Greg lolled on his sofa. One packed suitcase stood in front of it.
Alan walked into the room. "Greg?"
Greg's eyes were open, yet he didn't reply. He seemed to be on another planet.
"Are you planning to go back to him?" Alan launched himself next to Greg.
"No." Greg stretched and yawned. "Are you crazy?"
"Are you fucking him again?"
"Of course not."
"Do you still love him?"
Greg bit his lip. Bullseye!
"Oh Greg." Alan sighed. "Don't you think you suffered enough?"
"Look who's talking."
"Okay. Point taken."
Greg put his head on Alan's shoulder. "Don't worry. It's only one weekend. I'll stay out of his way as much as I can. He'll be distracted by his beloved bugs anyway."
Alan laughed and kissed his lips.
Greg pulled away. "Are you kidding?"
Alan shrugged. "Was worth a try." He reached for the remote control and switched the TV on.
The few hours on the plane were like a silent movie. Greg looked out of the window the whole time and Gil read his book. They only nodded in response to the attendant's questions. They kept this up until they arrived in the lobby of the hotel.
"How can I help you?" the concierge welcomed them at the glossy counter.
"I reserved two rooms," Gil said, fetching his credit card. "The name is Grissom."
The employee tipped the info into the computer. "Sorry, sir, but I found only the reservation for one room under this name."
"What! That must be a mistake. I ordered two rooms." Gil read the name on the small plate attached to the employee's jacket. John Plain
"Well, all right. Just give us another room."
"We are fully booked. The convention..." Plain emphasized with a sorrowful face.
"Right." Gil fiddled with his credit card. Why has it to be now for such a stupid thing to happen? What does this look like?
"If I may give you an advice, sir, the room has a double bed, spacy enough to be comfortable for two people," Plain advised eagerly.
You think! Gil looked at Greg.
Greg hung his head. Two flecks of red graced his cheeks.
Well... "Ermh...alright," Gil agreed with Plain. He signed the papers, collected the key-cards and walked with Greg to the lifts.
"I won't sleep in that bed with you," Greg growled.
"Come on, it's only for..."
"You planned this," Greg accused him, his eyes a fierce brown.
"No way. What do you think of me? I'd never..." The lift doors opened. They stepped in. Other people joined them. They stopped talking. Shit! Gil tensed up. The lift paused at every floor. More people stepped inside. It got crowded. The air became damp. Gil tried to focus on... whatever... but the closeness to an outraged Greg was more than he could bear. Phew! There! They arrived at floor ten. As soon as the doors slid open, Greg jumped outside. Oh great! Gil trailed far behind him.
In their room, Greg threw his bag on the bed and ran out before Gil could even swear his innocence. Gil sighed and walked to the bathroom to freshen up. Give him time to calm down. The weekend had just begun. Time enough to think about my next move.
Half an hour later, he strolled through the lobby, looking for familiar faces. He didn't care much for the announcements on the board for the various lectures. All he could think about was Greg. Right now, his love for bugs came a close second. This was a first. Here and there someone said Hi and he smiled vaguely back at them. At heart he came down here to look for Greg.
"Hey there, Gil!"
He turned around and saw a man he wasn't looking for. Carl Morris, an old-school scientist, as well as a good friend of his mother.
Oh shit! "Hello.... nice to see you."
The corpulent man with the red face laughed heartily. "Liar. You look shocked."
"Nonsense, Carl. I'm just surprised to see you here."
Just then Greg rushed between them. "Give me a key-card," he urged Gil, holding out his hand. "You got both of them."
"Hey, Greg. This is Carl, an old friend of mine." Gil fetched the card from his pocket.
"Since when is this my concern," Greg snapped, and snatched the card from Gil's hand.
"Just a second..." Gil said, decided to include Greg in the conversation, though Greg was already gone.
"Nice fellow," Carl joked, a twinkle in his eyes.
"He is. Today he's just in a bad mood."
"Strong resemblance to Mark," Carl deadpanned.
"Really? I never noticed," Gil replied, rubbing the bridge of his nose.
"Sure you have." Carl patted his back. "Your mother will be happy that you found someone again."
"Don't you dare and tell her about Greg."
"So, he is your boyfriend."
"I don't want to talk about it." Gil turned away from him.
Carl held him back by grabbing his arm. "I'm sorry. Don't go. Let's have a drink and talk."
Gil shook his head. "I don't think so, Carl."
"Not about you. Just about... the old times... okay?"
"All right!" Gil let Carl drag him away. He wanted to talk to someone. Someone not working at the lab, who knew nothing about Greg or Sara or anyone else there.
Gil entered the hotel room hours later, feeling better. It was after midnight. He switched on the light and found Greg lying with a blanket on the sofa. His eyes were closed. The bed was untouched. Gil switched the light off again and walked into the bathroom. When he came out again the lamp by the sofa was switched on. Greg gazed at him in blazing fury.
Gil stripped his clothes off. "Are you okay?"
"Hell no. I'm not okay. Where have you been?"
"Having a drink with Carl." In shorts, he slipped into bed. "I didn't think you would miss me."
"I didn't miss you. I was just... concerned."
That's a start. "Come to bed. Here's plenty of room."
"I like to sleep on the sofa."
"Don't be silly."
Greg switched the light off.
"It wasn't my intention to put you in this situation."
"I don't care."
"Well, whatever. We need to talk anyway."
"We have been over," Greg snapped. "Just drop it."
"I can't. I need to say I'm sorry."
"For what? Treating me like an unsuitable dog. Choosing to find someone who's better suited to be seen with you? Trying to get back with me because you didn't find another FUCK-BUDDY?" Greg punched the back of the sofa.
"That's not what this is about."
"I'm no consolation prize!"
"I never thought so. I know it's my fault, my fault alone. I was a coward. I didn't dare to tell the world who I want."
Gil left the bed and walked over to him. "I hope it's not too late to fix this."
"You can't fix this. You broke my heart. You're like Alan."
"I'm nothing like Alan." Gil flustered. "I never cheated on you."
"What about Mark?"
"Mark is dead."
Gil bent down. "Greg..."
Greg hit him.
"Ow!" Gil took the punch against his shoulder, not defending himself. His passivity didn't make it better though.
Greg hit him again. Harder. And again.
Gil still didn't strike back but took the punches without any complaint. He thought he deserved them.
Then Greg slapped Gil in the face.
"Enough!" Gil grabbed Greg by the hands. They wrestled. Gil got on top and pinned Greg down.
"Let me go!"
"No way," Gil panted. "You started this and now you have to take the consequences."
"Don't." Greg struggled fiercely but in vain.
Gil put a passionate kiss on his neck.
"No," Greg moaned, kicking his legs.
Gil didn't get off but kissed him on the lips. Hard and possessive. A kiss proper for the serious mood.
Greg fought harder and punched Gil in the ribs.
"Ouch!" Gil cried out and let go.
"Don't you dare!" Greg foamed with rage and pushed him off. "Not again! Not anymore! You'll never change, do you? You think you can butter me up by fucking me. That's not gonna happen. I'm not your boy toy anymore. I grew up. Do you get that, you punk?" Greg screamed on the top of his lungs while tears were streaming down his face.
Gil kneeled in front of him. "That wasn't my intention. I was just horny. I wanted to make love to you. I didn't want to hurt you." His voice broke. He was on the verge of tears himself. "Sorry. Stupid of me."
He and Greg fell silent. The air reeked of despair and the darkness enclosed them like a shroud. Gil felt like fallen into a black hole unable to crawl back to the light. Now more than ever! He had to push forward even though that meant retreating to the bed. He covered himself with the blanket, feeling deeply ashamed. There. I fucked up. Again. I'm the biggest failure when it comes to relationships, ain't I?
"Why should I trust you again?" Greg whispered, fisting his blanket.
"Because I'll tell you something I'd never said before."
"What's that supposed to be?"
"I love you."