David Hodges wasn't a man who prayed, but he'd started as soon as he'd seen the video feed of Nick in that box.
Nick believed in God. David himself hadn't had much reason to believe or disbelieve, he just ignored anything religious and didn't feel his life lacked anything for it, but Nick believed and if there was a chance to save Nick, David would take it.
It wasn't easy, finding the time, but he did, somewhere between all the madness, David snuck into the locker room and took the cross he knew Nick kept in his locker. It was small and golden and had belonged to Nick's grandmother. David put it on around his neck and every time he went to watch the feed, to reassure himself that Nick was okay, still alive, he'd touch it through his shirt and pray.
Pray to a God he didn't entirely believe in, because, he swore, if Nick came back to him whole, he'd be a believer.
So David prayed. Prayed and pleaded, looked at that tiny cross like it was the answer to every question he'd ever had and everyone he'd never wanted to. And they waited.
Waited all of them, a small group of labtechs watching that feed as the CSI's rushed out, sure they knew where Nick was and David prayed harder, because Nick would be okay, he was sure of it.
But the black of the gun taunted him, teasing, deadly and deathly in the pale green glow of those damn light sticks. And David's fingers clutched tightly on the cross, feeling Bobby's hand on his back, Jacqui's arm looped through his, collective breaths held.
David prayed, pleased and begged, to Nick, to God, he wasn't even sure anymore, desperate for Nick to be home and in his arms like he'd been the previous afternoon.
But as David saw Nick raise up the gun, heard the collective gasps of his friends and felt their hold on him grow tighter as the cross dug painfully into the skin of his palm, the shot was soundless, but David heard it in his own head, heard the bang that reverberated and bounced around like it was his head the bullet had entered.
They found his body, brought him home and laid him out on Doc Robbins slab and although David didn't want to he went, he went to say one last goodbye and as he laid the cross down where Nick's heart use to beat he murmured. "I'm sorry Nicky, God called in sick today."
David Hodges never prayed again.