He hadn’t ever said the words before. Kind of funny, when he thought about it. Here he was, with several high school and college fuck-buddies – there really was no other word for it – behind him, as well as a few one night stands, and he’d never said the words. More strangely, here he was, living with and loving Greg, and he’d still never said the words, not even all these months after that first awkward night. He supposed that body language and subconscious cues had an important place in this little bit of oddness. After all, none of the men he’d ever slept with, and that included Greg, had ever said the words to him either. |
It wasn’t something he ever thought about, normally, but this latest case where all the victims had been gay or bisexual men organizing a Pride parade had really made him think. It made him think about more than relief that, as a CSI, he was somewhat safer than them. About more than disgust that these young men had had their lives cut short just because of who they loved. About more than worry that someone might find out, someone might know, someone might hurt him or Greg. It made him think about where he fit in the world. He’d never be one of the organizers of a Pride parade; he’d probably never even go to one unless it was related to a case. But he didn’t want to live like he did in Texas either. From the time he hit puberty, until he moved from Texas to Las Vegas, he’d always lived in a state of low-key fear when it came to his…desires. Here in Las Vegas, he really hadn’t given it much thought. He was so wrapped up in making himself a new life and proving to himself – and to everyone else, really – that he was good at what he did, that he’d pushed that aspect of himself to the back of his mind. Until Greg, that was. Or, rather, until he realized Greg had a crush on him. Which, just his luck, opened his eyes, letting him see Greg as more than just a somewhat annoying but also fun work friend. So, here he was now. With Greg. In love with Greg, as he’d stammered out two months before on Greg’s birthday, to both Greg’s and his own surprise. What did that make him? In love with a man just wasn’t a good enough answer.
There had been men, of course, but there had been women too. He hadn’t loved any of them, until Greg. Greg was the key here, it seemed. If he was going to be spending the rest of his life with Greg (embarrassingly enough, he had this picture in his head...a house and a dog and a mailbox with Stokes-Sanders painted in the side), he had to be more than Nick Stokes, ladies’ man, who snuck around, glancing – and sometimes more than glancing – casually at hot guys when he thought no one was looking, more than Nick Stokes, ladies’ man, who happened to be secretly – well, to everyone but Greg – in love with – and involved with – a man. He’d have to become Nick Stokes… Nick Stokes, what? That was the problem. Nick Stokes, what?
A voice pulled him out of his thoughts. Greg’s voice. Greg’s hand, landing on his nape, massaging away the aches and stress. Greg, the man whom he loved, the man with whom – he was almost willing to admit – he wanted to spend the rest of his life.
“How are you doing?” Greg worried. He loved that Greg worried. Greg worrying meant that Greg cared, that Greg loved him.
He rolled his head back and stared up at his…boyfriend. “I’m bisexual.” The words popped right out of his mouth, against his own desires.
Greg smiled, as if he knew from where Nick’s quiet and surprising statement came. “I know. So am I. But you knew that already.”
“I’ve never said that before. I don’t think I ever really thought it before either. Not that directly.” There was a pause, an easy silence between them, where Nick tried to find what he needed to say and Greg waited for him to find it. “It’s just this case. It got me thinking. About who I am and where I fit in the world.”
Greg nodded, moving from his place behind Nick to sit beside him on the sofa. “I’m not overly surprised. It would get anyone thinking.”
Sensitive Greg. That was another thing he loved about Greg. The man, his man, was more than just the hyperactive joker he often seemed to be. Greg was a real romantic; he loved Nick, took care of him, physically and emotionally. “I love you, you know?”
“I know. I love you too.”
“That’s what’s got me thinking, too. I hate the fact that no one knows about us but, well, us. It wasn’t bad at first, but now Warrick jokes about how I must have some hot girl hidden away or else I’m working through a line of chicks a mile long. Nick Stokes, ladies’ man. It’s just…really fucking ridiculous.”
Greg grinned softly then. “Totally ridiculous, my man.”
Nick chuckled mildly. He almost made a joking retort, but that would invariably start one of his and Greg’s sessions of banter, and he was really trying to have a serious conversation. So instead he said something that had been niggling in the back of his mind for some time. “We should really tell Grissom. You pretty much live here, and I, uh, I want you to move in, and he should really know in case it ever comes up. And I thought that maybe we could tell the whole team. Maybe.” Nick shut his mouth, embarrassed by how awkward he sounded.
He heard Greg take a deep breath and whisper a “wow.” And then silence.
“Give me a minute,” Greg replied, his voice tight. Nick felt him take a few more deep breaths, Greg having snuggled practically into his lap after the “wow.” “You just caught me by surprise, Nick. I, uh, fuck…that sounds really, really good.”
“Good,” Nick answered, feeling as if he had accomplished what his busy mind had been pressing him to do. It occurred to him then that those words, admitting he was bisexual, weren’t what was important. Admitting to that embarrassing dream, the one with the house and the dog and the mailbox, that was important. And while he hadn’t come right out and said it, he knew Greg understood what he meant.