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If You Leave

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Song that inspired the story: Musiq Soulchild ft. Mary J. Blige - If You Leave

 

You think I'm so full of it, full of it
But I think I'm just fed up baby
You think I can be so arrogant, arrogant
But I'm just tryna keep my head up, baby
You think I procrastinate baby
But I think I'm taking my time
You think you need to leave
But I think I disagree but





When two opposing compounds mix together chemically, they can spark and ignite.
This is how it all began.

Nick stifled a yawn as he precariously jiggled his apartment key into its adjacent lock. Hearing the familiar 'click' signaling access, he quietly turned the knob and entered the dark apartment. It had been another boisterous day at the office and all Nick wanted to do was slip into his warm sheets and drift away. The simple task had proven to be more difficult than necessary as he stumbled his way through the darkness.

Cursing feverishly under his breath, Nick groped the wall until his fingers met with the light switch. Once the room was lit, he saw exactly what he had tripped over—a stack of Greg's CD's. Marilyn Manson, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and M83 were just a few of the artists that had made a permanent impression on his foot.

"I thought I told him to clean this up." Nick grumbled, tossing his jacket to the side.

He did tell him. In fact, he had reminded Greg on several occasions to clean up his mess, even suckering him up with that Texas twang that he loved so much. Even so, the mess was still there and Greg wasn't. The anger proliferated in Nick's chest as he marched towards the bedroom. When he reached his destination, he turned on a small lamp to see Greg's sleeping figure rise and fall.

Slowly but surely the animosity he held melted away as he continued to stare at Greg's peaceful form.

Sighing, Nick unbuttoned his jeans and made his way to the bed. He laid down and threw the covers over his eyes; attempting to sleep but failing miserably. Heavy, dark thoughts kept encircling his mind, keeping him from the slumber he so desperately desired. His once clean abode was now generously littered with Greg's CD's, magazines, hair products, video games, and clothes. He couldn't figure out how Greg managed to live the way he did. Unlike most normal human beings who would decide on their choice of wear from the closet, Greg would grab and put on whatever was closest to him at the time. Many times he ended up wearing Nick's clothes by accident; receiving heated stares and whistles from his co-workers. Nick had come from humble beginnings which explained his tidy, old-fashioned views on life. Greg on the other hand was his complete polar opposite; coming from a science and innovation driven family.

He just didn't know how it all came down to this.

It started with the occasional hangouts which evolved into casual visits, and in the end they had become an item. Now the two were practically living together and the only times Greg went home was if they fought or to grab more of his things. And though Nick loved Greg with all of his heart, body, and soul, there were a few things that he could never quite get used to. Nick knew that this wasn't the best time to discuss their problems, but he couldn't hold it in any longer. He felt as if his whole being was about to combust right there and then.

Carefully grazing his fingers over Greg's shoulders, Nick gently awakened his sleeping lover. Greg moaned in detestation as he slowly opened an eyelid.

"Home?" Greg managed to slur out, rubbing his tired eyes and flashing Nick a weak smile.

"Yeah. Greggo, we need to talk."

"Can it wait? I'm really tired."

"I'm afraid it can't."

Greg blinked his eyes a few more times before languidly pulling himself together.

"Is everything okay?"

"Yeah."

Nick cut himself off once he realized he was lying. He had no idea why he said everything was okay. It must have been a force of habit.

"I mean...no...wait. Everything's not okay."

Greg, now overwhelmed with worry, crawled to his lover's side as he began to massage Nick's shoulders in an attempt to comfort him.

"What's wrong?"

"You."

Nick didn't mean for it to come out like that...it just slipped.

Greg's hands fell from Nick's shoulders as he scrunched up his dark brown eyes in confusion.

"I mean, it's not just you. It's both of us."

"What do you mean, Nick?"

"I thought that everything was going to be okay...but I think I was just lying to myself. I don't know. Lately I just feel like we're not what we used to be. I feel distance between us."

"Nick, we haven't been distant with each other...just busy. I mean hello, I just became a CSI. I think this is supposed to happen."

"Yeah but it's not just that, Greg. We don't see eye to eye on anything these days and I can't stand the way you turned my apartment into a pig sty. I can't find any of my things anymore."

"Okay, I'll clean it up."

"But I've already told you a million times to clean it up. You just don't listen."

The coldness in Nick's voice made Greg's whole body flinch.

"You just...you never listen. And you don't care. You're a smart guy but for some reason you lack common sense."

Greg suddenly rose from the bed.

"I'll sit here and listen to you complain about stuff that I did wrong but I will not let you condescend me. I'm out."

He snapped his statement sharply at Nick before putting on the nearest pair of pants and trudging towards the door.

Nick stood frozen as he contemplated his actions. He knew he had made a huge mistake.

He wanted to run and grab Greg by the shoulders, beg him not to leave.
He wanted to get down on his hands and knees and apologize over and over...

But deep down, a selfish part of him wanted Greg to leave.




If you believe
You'll do best without me
I'll let it go girl
It's over
But before we say good bye
Let's give it a try
If you leave
Then baby I'll leave
I'll let it go girl
It's over
But I have no doubt
We can work it out





The next few days at the lab were uncomfortable and awkward.

Though Nick and Greg didn't hate each other, they refused to communicate unless it was on a professional basis. Everyone in the lab picked up on this as many questions were asked and many assumptions were made. Both parties however declined to comment.

The following Thursday before everyone went home, Greg stopped Nick on his way out. Nick obediently followed Greg to his car as he watched him light up a cigarette.

"You're smoking again?" Nick asked, the tone of disgust heavy in his voice.

"No. I just wanted a few since I've been so stressed lately." Greg emphasized the 'stressed lately' part of his answer.

"I'm sorry Greg."

"No, don't be sorry."

Greg took another drag of his cancerous poison as he turned up the radio to listen to his latest mix CD.

"So you wanna break up?" Greg asked, seemingly nonchalant about the whole situation.

Nick locked up.

It was hard to imagine living life without his Greggo.
It was even harder to register how lightly Greg was treating the issue.

"Is that what you want? You don't give a shit, do you?"

Greg took a long drag of his cigarette before glaring at Nick angrily.

"You think I don't care? You think I don't care?"

"It sure doesn't seem like it."

"You ass..." Greg snarled before tossing his cigarette out the window.

"What? You're treating everything like you don't care. What am I supposed to think? You're the one who suggested we break up!"

"I didn't suggest, I was asking what you wanted. And the only reason I said it that way was because if I would have said it any other way I would have broken down. Forgive me if I don't want to look weak in front of you. Are you fucking happy now?"

A small glistening tear fell from Greg's eyes as he quickly wiped it away. Nick instinctively reached over to wipe it for him but Greg merely turned his face.

"...If you believe that you'll do best without me...I'll let you go..."

Nick couldn't believe the words coming out of Greg's mouth. He knew Greg was only trying to suggest the best for both of them, but it was tearing Nick apart.

"I don't wanna be known as the person that held you back or the sexual experiment that got too attached...I just...want the best for you...for us."

Without any further warning, Nick impaled his lips onto Greg's; causing a few hot tears to spring from his eyes. Even though he knew that this was just going to make things worse, Greg allowed Nick to indulge himself into the lips that he knew so well. Greg tried to fight back all of the intense feelings that were washing over him. Instead he was just engulfed by them. Once Greg gathered a firm hold of his emotions and senses, he lightly pushed Nick away.

"Stop...don't..."

Greg quietly messed with the keychains hanging from his ignition as he looked back out the window.

"Honestly Nick, if you want to leave then I'll leave too."

Nick still couldn't formulate a proper response. There were so many things he wanted to say, but he couldn't quite get the words to come out of his diaphragm. He was panicking to speak but his entire vocal stream was incapacitated. Not knowing what else to do, he opened Greg's Jetta door and ran out of the car. The minute Nick shut the door Greg's face lowered into the steering wheel as his whole body started to shake. He tried to stifle the oncoming sobs, but in the end lost the battle. The grip on his steering wheel tightened as searing tears began to flow freely from his dark brown orbs.




Yeah
I think you're so full of it, full of it
You just don't know when to let up, baby
I think you're so arrogant, arrogant
That you think you're so much better, baby
That I think it ain't dealt before me
To judge you by your flaws and that's why why
No I could criticize
But I put that aside
To focus on you & I





A few days later, Greg had mustered up enough courage to return to Nick's place to gather his things. Though they hadn't discussed the specifics of the arrangement, they both knew that Greg was leaving. Possibly forever. Even with the prospect of never being able to love each other again, they had lost themselves in an argument.

"You're so full of yourself, Greg!" Nick yelled, referring to the elitist attitude that Greg always upheld.

"I'm not full of myself! I just say what's on my mind. If you couldn't handle it then why did you go along with it for so long?"

"Are you kidding me? You have a Master's in Chemistry yet can't seem to figure out how to properly clean a room. Or have a decent taste in music...Or dress yourself!"

The sharp words stabbed at Greg's heart like a storm of swords and a powerless "Fuck you!" was all he could come back with.

"And I don't know why, but you still think you're better than everyone else!"

At this point, Nick wasn't Nick anymore. He had completely transformed into another being—a being that only expressed feelings of hatred and resentment.

"Fuck you asshole!" Greg screamed at the top of his lungs, throwing all of his collected belongings back onto the floor.

"Wait!" Nick yelled back, getting up and running towards his disgruntled ex-lover. He didn't want to make the same mistake twice.

"What?! What do you want from me?"

"I'm sorry."

"You think apologizing is gonna solve all your problems? Fuck you!"

"Stop Greg! Okay? God. I don't know what to do with you sometimes. You're so...cocky. And you always think you're right. It gets to me."

"I'm cocky? Then what are you? The only reason I'm 'cocky' is because I like to have a little confidence in myself. I like to think that I'm doing something right. It's what keeps me going, Nick. Nobody thought that I could do it, that I could become a CSI. I finally made it and people are still doubting me."

Nick couldn't look at Greg's face anymore. It was too painful.

"And I thought that you liked me regardless of my flaws...but I guess you were just lying to me this whole time. Or using me. Whatever, I don't care anymore."

Nick shook his head in disagreement, unsure of what to say next.

"I've never used you...and I never would. I'm just frustrated. I miss you. The old you...I miss how we used to be."

"Things haven't changed, Nick. You've changed."

"Look, we've both changed okay? And these days it seems like we're both too busy for each other. Ever since you became a CSI you've been on edge all the time—"

"Can you blame me? You might be used to the life, but I just started. God...Is that what this is all about?"

"I'm not trying to blame you...I guess I'm just sad that things have changed."

Greg sighed, his face looked more forlorn than usual.

"Are you trying to say that you want me to quit being a CSI? Do you want me to return to being everybody's doormat? I guess I don't deserve to be out on the field, huh?"

"No, I'm not saying that at all."

"Then what are you saying?"

Nick wasn't so sure himself. The Texan wasn't much of a talker admittedly. He was more of an observer like Grissom. Nick gradually raised his eyes to see Greg burying his head within his hands. He wanted to stop time, stop the universe, and stop everything in his path just to hold onto Greg one more time. But he knew he couldn't...and shouldn't. It would just make things harder.

He stole one last glance at the person he swore was his soulmate as the intimate feelings Nick once had drowned him completely. It was at this very moment that an array of vibrant colors illuminated his dull, achromatic world. Vivid, happy thoughts of Greg and himself flooded Nick's mind as he found it impossible to focus on anything else.

He was reminded of the day that his stalker, Nigel Crane, broke into his house and held him at gunpoint. Greg had offered to stay with him for several days after that and even attempted to cook a dish his mother once made for him as a child. It wasn't necessary, but it was nice. It reminded Nick of home.

Or this past Christmas when Greg bought him a planet ticket to Texas so he could see his family. Nick had always wanted to visit home but never had the time or motivation. Now Greg had given him no excuse not to go and didn't even pester him to tag along. Nick couldn't have asked for a more perfect gift. Or a more perfect boyfriend.

And he couldn't forget the day that Greg took Nick to volunteer at a local daycare to prove that there was still some innocence left in the world; not just pain and suffering. Also the notion that kindness and love still manifested itself in humanity. It took Nick a few hours, but he started to vaguely remember the curiosity and admiration he once had as a child.

Relationships are all built on a foundation of trust, compromise, and love. Nick finally realized that he had neglected all of these very terms and in turn, was blaming everyone but himself. If they got to this point, it wasn't just because of Greg.

Nick couldn't take it anymore. He quietly walked to where Greg was crouching and firmly pulled him into a tight hug. Greg's thinner frame went completely limp in Nick's familiar, strong arms.




If you believe
You'll do best without me
Then I'll let it go boy
It's over
But before we say goodbye
Lets give it a try
If you leave
Then baby I'll leave
I'll let it go boy
It's over
But I have no doubt
We can work it out
Yeah

Now if you wanna go
Baby then I'll let you go
And even though I'm tryna hold on
I can't if you don't

And if you’re gonna leave me
You're gonna miss me
And I'm not saying that I'll be here waiting

Since we here right now
(Instead of just walking out)
Let's work to reach the point I know that we can be





It wasn't an easy decision, but Nick felt that the two desperately needed a break. Hopefully not a permanent one, but at least a temporary one to think things over. The tension in the office had subsided as the two could now pass off small talk and light jokes without being obligated by employee interaction.

"Hey Nicky, can you go see if Greg and Sara found anything yet?"

Nick snapped out of his private thoughts and realized he was still at work. Catherine jokingly waved her fingers in front of Nick's face.

"You okay there Nick?"

"Uh, yeah. Sure thing Cath." He politely replied, gathering a folder off his desk and heading towards the garage.

As he neared the garage, he could see Sara and Greg goofing around as usual in their blue jumpsuits and goggles. The comical, ethereal atmosphere quickly turned stale once Nick walked in.

"What's up Nick?" Sara inquired as she took off her enormous plastic goggles, trying to lighten the mood.

"Cath just wants to know if you guys found anything."

Greg took off his own goggles as he refused to look Nick directly in the eyes.

"Nope, nothing yet. Oh actually, we found some cigarette butts in the ash tray that we're gonna send to trace. Hopefully we can get some DNA samples off of 'em."

Nick smiled as he nodded at his female friend.

"All righty then. I'll let you two get back to work and relay the message to Cath. Thanks."

"Okay messenger boy." Sara joked, getting a friendly laugh from Nick.

The whole time Greg desperately wanted to speak. To say anything.
To scream at the top of his lungs and tell Nick exactly how he felt.
But he couldn't...he knew he shouldn't...so he didn't.

Sara noticed the glum expression on Greg's face as she rubbed his shoulders sympathetically.

"Hey buddy, you okay?"

"Huh? Oh yeah, I'm fine. Let's keep looking. The sooner we finish this, the sooner we can all go home."

"You can say that again." Sara replied in sync as she put her work goggles back on.




But if you believe
You'll do best without me
Then I guess I'll let you go
It's over
(It's over)
If you wanna say goodbye
Lets give it a try
If you leave
Then baby I'll leave
I'll Let it go, it's over
I have no doubt
That we can work it out

If you believe
You'll do best without me
I'll let it go girl
It's over
Before we say goodbye
Lets give it a try
If you leave
Then baby I'll leave





Nick's exhausted yawn roared throughout the locker room as he slipped on his favorite pair of shoes. He had finally finished all of his work and wanted nothing more than to go home and pass out. Nick walked back into the lab and nonchalantly stared out the window. There were gloomy thunderclouds forming above them, suggesting a storm was on its way.

"Damnit." Nick scolded himself, realizing he had forgotten to bring an umbrella.

"See you tomorrow, man! Better head home before it starts pouring." Warrick shouted from the end of the hall, waving at Nick as he headed for the door.

Nick smiled and waved back as he looked down at his belongings. Being a trained CSI, surely he'd be able to construct some sort of makeshift umbrella out of his socks, shirt, and pants. Soon Nick discovered that it'd just be easier to hold his clothing over his head as he ran through the rain. Arriving at the front door of the lab, he was deflated to learn he was too late. The rain had already begun to pour down, millions of tiny water droplets falling from the sky as if it to cleanse the earth of its sins.

Sighing, Nick quickly opened the door and made a run for it. All he could hear were the vibrations of the earth and his shoes sloshing in the rainy muck.

"Nick!" He heard someone shout.

He frantically turned around and saw in his blurred, wet vision Greg's slim outline.

Nick stopped dead in his tracks as he allowed for Greg to catch up to him, even if that meant he was going to get even more soaked by the second. Greg ran up to him in a flurry as he raised his umbrella over their heads.

"I was trying to catch you before you left so we could share an umbrella. Guess I was too late."

Greg's words stung at Nick's ears like poisonous snake bite. He was too stunned to move.

"Listen, you better get home fast. You'll catch pneumonia. Papa Olaf always said—"

"Greg."

Greg immediately stopped his trail of thought.

"Yeah?"

"...Do you still love me?"

Greg looked down at his shoes before sighing. "Yeah."

"Do you still think about me?"

"...Every day."

Greg was a little ashamed to admit his true feelings. He didn't want to seem pathetic or desperate in front of Nick, but his love for Nick was stronger than anything he'd ever felt before. It surpassed his love for friends, family, and even music.

"I think about you too." Nick whispered, smiling meekly at Greg who returned the affection almost immediately. "All the time."

"You wanna talk about this at my place or your place? It's getting pretty hectic out here." Greg suggested, moving several pieces of damp hair out of Nick's line of vision.

"Na, I kinda like it. Reminds me of when I used to live on a farm. Rainy days were kind of like snow days to us. Plus, it's beautiful. You know why?"

"Why?"

"Because at the end of every storm there's always a rainbow to show us there's beauty after destruction. Light after dark. Love after hate. And there are dozens of new life forms that come into existence after each storm."

Greg had never heard Nick speak so profoundly before. He was so amazed that he couldn't help but smile at his country bumpkin.

"Greg...I don't want it to end. I don't want us to end."

He reminiscently looked up at his younger lover and placed a cold, wet kiss on his lips.

"Me neither." Greg whispered back as he nestled his head into the crook of Nick's neck.

"I don't want to start over either. I just want to make everything right. Can we work this out?"

Nick's reply sounded more like a plea than a suggestion. His emotions were tightly knit into their own kind of thundercloud; a storm brewing inside his soul.

"I know we can Greg, I know we can. We just have to try...together."

Greg didn't verbally respond. Instead he just nodded, Nick feeling the vibrations instantly. His heart instantaneously lit up when Nick mentioned the word 'together'. Together meant him and Nick. Nick and him. Two lovers as one.

The term had become foreign to the two lately, but Nick muttering it once more brought back the flush in Greg's otherwise colorless cheeks. The slender umbrella handle slipped out of Greg's grasp as it fell to the ground with a splash. Nick hugged Greg even tighter. Tears and the rain intermingled with one another as they both trickled down the faces of Nick and Greg.

"I love you..." Nick finally declared, kissing the tips of Greg's ears and nose.

"Jeg elsker deg*." Greg confirmed, his lips forming into a genuine smile as they met with Nick's.

It had begun to rain harder but neither man seemed to care as they continued to get drenched from head to toe.

Time came to a complete halt as the transparent droplets fell from the hazy sky; their love illuminating the otherwise dark, and obscure world.