Title: The Man Who Wasn't There
Warnings: violence, WiP
Summary: Greg finally gets what he always wanted, only to have his whole world ripped away from him.
"When I was walking up the stairs
I saw a man who wasn't there
I saw that man again today
I wish, I wish he'd go away"
Greg smiled, lifting the bottle of beer to his lips and taking a long drag, only to almost spray it over the bartender as Nick leaned close to him and whispered into his ear.
"Mexican Arnold Swartzenegger, nine o'clock"
Peering sideways, Greg saw a huge guy with a square head and black slicked back hair. He giggled and covered his mouth with his hand, adopting a deep, accented tone.
"Sarah Connor...where'd you put my sombrero?"
It was Nick's turn to spray beer, shaking his head and pulling Greg close as the barman shot them an bemused look and wiped over his bar. Nick stuttered, his hand resting on the small of Greg's back
"Warn me next time, Greggo." He pleaded, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. Greg smiled and nodded, taking another sip of beer and leaning closer into Nick's warmth. It felt so good to finally be close to Nick, the proximity of the other man erasing all the wasted years and painful longing. Greg felt giddy, the mixture of alcohol and arousal making his body tingle and his head spin. It had been a long time since he'd felt like this, and he was enjoying every minute of it.
Tipping his head up he was caught off guard as Nick suddenly met his gaze, smiling fondly at him as his hand slipped up Greg's back and gently stroked the nape of his neck. Shivers ran through Greg's body as Nick pulled him close again and spoke softly into his ear
"You wanna get out of here?"
Not trusting himself to speak Greg nodded, feeling Nick's lips brush against his neck before he was guided off the bar stool and ushered out into the parking lot with Nick's arm snug around his body.
They reached Nick's car and climbed in, an unspoken agreement settling between them as Nick pulled out of the lot and turned in the opposite direction to his apartment. Speeding along past The Strip, the sun flashing in between the buildings, Greg allowed himself to study his companion. He took in the tanned skin and dark hair, the strong features and twinkling eyes as Nick noticed him staring and reached over to gently squeeze his knee. Greg closed his eyes and barely held back a desperate moan.
Swinging into an empty space in front of Greg's apartment, both men hopped out and met at the door. Greg swallowed thickly as Nick's eyes roamed his body. He reached into his pockets for his keys, frowning in concentration, only to let out a surprise yelp as Nick pushed him back against the door and covered Greg's lips with his own.
Responding instantly, Greg curled his arms around Nick's shoulders and clung on as Nick pressed against him, opening his mouth to let Nick's tongue slip inside and moaning loudly. Reaching between them he fumbled in his pocket again for his key, finally finding it and slipping it into the lock behind him.
With a sharp twist the lock gave and the door swung open, sending both men tumbling into Greg's front room.
Greg groaned as Nick's weight settled on top of him, giggling softly as Nick rolled his eyes at him and kicked the door shut.
"Way to knock a man off his feet, G" He muttered, trailing kisses down Greg's neck as Greg hummed with delight and parted his legs around Nick's body, making them both moan at the sudden contact. He arched off the floor and closed his eyes, letting waves of pleasure coarse through him at the feel of Nick licking and sucking at his skin, soft whimpers escaping his parted lips.
Come on Gregory, it's time for your medication...
Greg gasped and slumped down onto the hard wood, his eyes blinking open. He stared up at his ceiling, solid and unwavering as Nick's fingers began to deftly undo the buttons of his shirt. Shaking his head, Greg ran his fingers through Nick's hair and closed his eyes again in concentration.
Make sure you get those straps on tight, you know how he is...
Greg cried out and grasped at Nick's shoulders, making the other man stop and stare down at him, worried eyes searching his face.
"What is it Greggo? Do you want me to stop?"
Don't fight us, Gregory...
Greg watched, his body shuddering with fear and confusion as his apartment suddenly blinked out like a light bulb and was replaced by a stark white room, filled with people all gathered around him.
He cried out for Nick, clawing in the air as he was grabbed at either side and pressed down onto a flat surface. He kicked out, cursing loudly at his attackers as they secured first his wrists and then his ankles.
Panting and struggling, Greg gazed up into the eyes of a tall woman who leaned down over him and gently ran a hand through his hair, shaking her head as Greg tried to move away.
"Why must you always fight us?" She said, her voice soft but edged with something unreadable that Greg shied away from again, yanking against his restraints.
"Let me go!" He screamed, watching as the people around him exchanged sad looks and began to move towards the door. Twisting his head from side to side, Greg saw it was the only door. The only door in a small white room with padded walls and stark overhead lights. Feeling panic welling up inside him, Greg struggled to hold in a sob as the tall woman loomed over him again.
"We're just trying to help you, Greg" She told him soothingly, before jabbing a needle into the soft skin of his upper arm. Groaning with disgust and terror, Greg felt the world begin to fade around him, the edges softening and numbing and tinting with calming darkness.
Staring up, his eyes unfocused on the blurry figure above him, Greg managed a soft, pleading whisper.
"Where am I?"
***"Nick..." Greg mumbled softly, the sound of the Texan's soft voice drifting through his mind, the comforting scent of him wafting through his subconscious until Greg pried his eyes open, gazing around at his surroundings through a hazy tint of slumber. He blinked, trying to focus as Nick's image swam in and out of his vision. Reaching up he tried to grasp at the other man but was met with only air, and a strange, settling sense of unease.
Rubbing his stinging eyes, Greg slowly took in the white walls and ceiling, the solid door and harsh overhead light. A cloud of heavy panic wormed its way into his stomach and he jerked upwards, crying out when his attempts were suddenly thwarted and he was slammed flat again. Twisting his head to the side he saw that he was lashed to the bed by thick leather straps buckled securely to his thin wrists. He tried pulling again but gave up with a pained whimper, flopping back onto the bed.
Looking as best he could around the room, Greg took deep breaths and tried to stay calm, the CSI in him knowing that he needed to find some sort of clue as where he was and how he had gotten there. Everything was a stark white, the floor clinically clean and the walls soft and spongy looking. Above him the ceiling also held no discernable clues, while the door just beyond his strapped feet was heavy and unforgiving, with a small peephole about three quarters of the way up. Greg sighed in frustration, pulling again at the straps and letting out a strangled moan.
"Please, let me go..."
The sound of the door being unlocked and opened startled him and he glanced up, his neck straining with the effort. He watched as a dark haired man entered the room and at first he was sure it was Nick, smiling at him and whispering his name but then his vision cleared and it wasn't Nick at all. It was a different man, dressed all in white to match the room, his face passive as he advanced on Greg holding a tray and what looked like a blood pressure cuff. Greg shied away from him.
"What do you want?" He gasped, unable to hide the shake of fear in his voice as the man moved calmly to stand beside him and wrapped the cuff around his arm, barely flinching when Greg yanked hard at the leather straps and yelled up at him.
"Don't touch me!"
The man continued to ignore him as he pumped up the cuff and made a mental note of the reading before releasing Greg's arm. Greg glared angrily at him and struggled again, noting how the man waited patiently for him to give up before gently cleaning his arm with a piece of sterile gauze. Greg twisted his arm but only succeeded in straining his already aching shoulders. He began to babble, words pouring out of his mouth before he had a chance to stop them.
"Please just tell me where I am...I promise I won't fight you but I need to know...why are you doing this to me?"
The man in white remained stoic as he prepared a needle full of clear liquid. Greg's eyes widened as he continued to plead, his voice rising desperately.
"You won't get away with this. The people I work with, they'll be looking for me." He nodded, feeling the panic subside a little at the thought of the team working their hardest to look for him.
They'd be sure to have noticed he was missing by now and would be working on finding clues to his whereabouts. Grissom and Catherine would be busy barking orders, and Nick wouldn't rest until he had answers. Greg turned his head away and squeezed his eyes shut, his chest aching painfully.
It hurt to think about Nick. He had been so close to having everything he had wanted and now these people, these nameless people with their white clothes and silence and needles had taken it away from him. Suddenly angry he lashed out again, kicking and fighting against the restraints as the man stabbed the needle into his arm and pushed the trigger. Instantly a veil dropped over Greg's eyes and he gasped, slumping back against the bed. His darkening vision locked onto the nameless man as he began to walk out of the room.
"They'll stop you, you'll see...and then you'll be sorry..."
It was an indiscernible time later when Greg's eyes flickered open and he groaned, his head swimming and his stomach rolling unpleasantly. The bright white light pierced through his hazy vision and he blinked, blurred figures slowly coming into focus as he gazed around him. Above his bed stood two more men in white and a dark haired woman dressed in a neat grey suit. Greg stared dumbly at them for a moment before recognition surged through him once more and he jolted against the leather straps still holding him place. Shaking her head the woman sighed and laid a gentle hand on his damp forehead, soothing him like a mother would a child.
"Greg, look at me. It's all right. Everything's going to be all right."
Her tone was calming and Greg found himself responding to her gentle touch, his body relaxing onto the table as he panted softly. He felt a single tear fall from his eye and drip down the side of his face, and he hated himself for it.
"Why are you doing this to me?" He begged, feeling instantly guilty when the woman's face fell and she shook her head, her sleek dark hair falling over her shoulders.
"We're just trying to help you, Greg, but you keep fighting us."
Gasping, Greg turned his head to the side, gazing at the men standing like guards on either side of the woman. Just behind them Greg could see a metal trolley with another tray resting innocently on top. Greg let out a whimper and turned away as the woman continued to talk.
"We just want you to get better, Greg."
Greg frowned, his chest rising and falling rapidly as his mind struggled to catch up. He gazed up into the kind eyes of the dark haired woman and shook his head.
"I don't understand why you're keeping me here..."
"You've been doing so well, but if you don't let us help you then you won't be able to go home. You want to go home, don't you?"
Greg gasped and nodded. Home...
"I know you do..." She smiled and gently stroked his hair, reminding him so much of Sara that he had to hold back a sob. "...Your parents have been so worried about you."
Greg blinked, gazing up at her, her words conflicting with the images in his head, the sound of her voice lulling and confusing him. He stuttered, shaking his head.
"My parents?" She nodded, sadness replacing the comforting smile.
"They just want what's best for you Greg, like we do."
Greg's head swam. He tried to reconcile his thoughts with the woman's softly spoken words but found that he could not. Fear once more built up inside him and he fought against the straps again, making the woman take a step backwards. Beside her the two men stepped forward but she held a hand out and they stilled, all three gazing down at the blonde man strapped to the bed. Greg growled at them.
"None of this makes sense. I'm a CSI, I work for the LVPD and they're going to find me. Grissom will find me."
The two men in white exchanged pitied looks before the woman stepped forward again and carefully took Greg's hand.
"No Greg, they won't. It isn't real." Greg stared up at her in horror.
"What do you mean?"
"You're not a CSI. You've been with us for nine years, Greg. It's all in your head..."
Greg arched off the table and screamed.
***The sun was warm and he closed his eyes, seeing light dance behind his closed eyelids as the soft breeze blew over him and moulded his thin shirt to his chest. Above him he could hear birds twittering away to each other in the branches of the swaying trees, and all around him the long grass leaned to and fro, tickling his bare arms.
"Such perfect weather..." A soft voice above him whispered, but he didn't open his eyes. A gentle hand touched his forehead, stroking through his hair, and Greg smiled as comforting heat radiated through his body. He knew that voice, he knew that touch, and now that he'd felt it again everything really would be ok.
"Anything for you, Sara." He replied, his eyes finally drifting open so he could gaze up at her. She looked down at him, a calm fondness in her eyes as she played with his hair.
"I shouldn't be here" Her voice was a soft lilt, but her words made him frown. For the first time he noticed she was dressed all in white and the breeze that was picking up speed around him had yet to touch her. Greg sat up and wrapped his arms around his body, suddenly feeling a chill prickle against his skin.
"Then why are you?" He asked, even though he wasn't sure he wanted her to answer. Above him white clouds rolled, and the singing birds flapped their wings and took off into the blue.
"Someone's got to protect you"
"Protect me from what?"
"Sara, where's Nick?"
But Sara didn't answer. Instead, she glanced up at the sky that was slowly darkening, a steely grey seeping in to blot out the sun. Greg glanced up too as the first drops of rain pattered against his face and stung his eyes. When he looked back, Sara was gone and he was alone, and the storm was brewing.
Blinking awake, Greg frowned and glanced around him. The same white room greeted him and he closed his eyes again, trying to will it all away with the power of thought alone. Something lingered in his memory, a fragment of dark and light and a lilting voice that brought tears to his eyes. He fought them down and sighed, shifting around against the uncomfortably hard mattress.
He was lifting his arm to rub his face when he realised that he was no longer strapped down to his cot and he sprang up and away, turning around in the small space, instantly on guard. When nothing happened however, he began to pace the room.
He reached a shaking hand out and touched the walls, noting their spongy texture with distaste. Here and there slight grooves and pits marred their surface, and Greg tried not to think about what might have gone on in here. Getting down onto his hands and knees, he gazed under the bed, his hands splayed on the solid, shiny floor. Finding nothing, he moved onto the door.
Leaning against it, ear pressed to the cool metal, Greg listened intently for any noises from the other side. After a moment of not hearing a thing, he began to run his fingers over the surface, tracing the lock and the heavy bolts in his search for a weakness. He tapped at the glass in the peephole, peering into it and seeing a tiny, elongated but empty corridor. Frowning, he pushed once against the door and was not surprised when it didn't budge. Taking a deep breath, Greg wandered into a spongy corner and slumped down to the ground.
It was a little while later when Greg heard the door click open. He raised his head from where it had been resting on his knees and peered at the woman who walked in, who was dressed in familiar white and clutching a white tray. Greg pulled a face and moved further into the wall, tightening his grip on his legs and ignoring the woman as she made her way over to him and knelt down.
"How are you feeling today, Gregory?" She asked, her voice soft and honey coated. Greg refused to meet her eyes.
"Let me go."
"It's up to you if you want to leave here." The woman explained calmly, placing the tray down and touching his fingers gently. Greg gazed at the hand covering his but did not move right away. He glared at her instead.
"Stop saying stuff like that, it's not true." He spat, yanking his hand back and turning into the wall, closing his eyes as the woman sighed and shook her head at him.
"What's not true Greg?"
But Greg remained silent, feeling tears of desperation and fear welling behind his closed lids. His fingers flexed against the soft walls, his hands gripping until his knuckled turned white and ached from the effort. He could hear the woman shifting beside him before she spoke again.
"I have your medication here. If we see you can take it orally then we won't have to strap you down anymore."
Greg turned back, peering at the woman, who held a small plastic cup out towards him. He eyed it suspiciously.
"What is it?"
"The new medication we discussed with your parents, the one that's helping to draw you out the delusions." The woman replied matter-of-factly, shaking the little plastic pot. Greg pushed her hand away.
"My delusions..." He repeated, his chest aching as a sob rose in his throat. He turned away again and pushed a closed fist against his lips, moaning softly. An image formed in his mind, Nick covering his body as he gazed down into his eyes, eyes that mirrored the love and devotion that was shining between them. It had felt so real. Gasping, Greg shook his head.
"It is real. Nick will find me, I know he will."
Sighing again, the woman gathered up the tray and prepared to stand.
"It's your choice, Gregory. We can do it the hard way..."
With the woman's back to him Greg pushed off the wall, slamming his shoulder into the woman as she knelt over the tray. With her balance off, she could only watch as Greg darted up and out of the door, running full pelt away from the little white room.
He got a few steps before strong arms around his waist brought him down, kicking and screaming and cursing loudly. He lashed out at the two dark haired men who carried him back into the room, holding him down on the bed as the straps were tightened around his wrists and ankles again.
"Get the fuck off me!" He cried, fighting back with everything he had, clawing at the people that held him down.
When he was finally secure and still, panting and glaring, the woman leaned down over him again, her face stony and her eyes narrowed.
"We'll have none of that, Mr Sanders." She said, her tone clipped and impersonal as she filled a syringe with clear liquid. Greg let out a soft sob as she grabbed his arm roughly, her nails digging into his skin as she pierced him with the needle.
"No one's coming to rescue you, so you'd better get used to it."
Greg's head rolled to the side, tears flowing down his cheeks as he drifted into unconsciousness.
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