CSI
Whiskey by aebhel [Reviews - 12]

A/N: Okay, so I've been writing this other really depressing fic, and then I went and watched Overload, and it made me sad, so I had to make it all better. With porn. Enjoy.


Greg took a deep breath, then dropped into the bar stool like he actually belonged there. "Bud Lite," he told the bartender, and pretended not to notice the way the the man stared at his hair, his shirt, the messenger bag he dropped on the bar. It was tempting to bat his eyes, just to be a pain in the ass, but he resisted.

It should have been Catherine doing this, or Warrick, but Catherine had her daughter to get home to, and Warrick was still with Grissom and Sara on that construction worker case. And it wasn't that he minded, really, but he was pretty sure Catherine had only asked him because he was the last person from night shift in the locker room when she was leaving.

"Never would have figured you for a beer drinker," Nick said from the stool next to him. It was hard to tell under all that twang, but Greg thought his voice sounded slurred. He was drinking bourbon neat, and there were three empty glasses sitting on shredded napkins in front of him.

"I could fill a book with all the things you don't know about me," he said loftily, and drank. "Catherine told me to make you go home."

Nick snorted, knocked back his drink, and waved the bartender over without looking up. "You're welcome to try. Catherine needs to learn to mind her business."

"She said you were going to do something stupid if we left you alone too long." Greg watched as the bartender banged another heavy glass of liquor down in front of Nick. "Much as I hate to go all responsible on you, I think I have to agree."

He winced as soon as the words were out of his mouth. Normally, Nick wasn't the sort of guy he'd worry about, but there had been a dangerous edge to his temper for the past few days, and if it actually came to blows, Greg was pretty sure that he was going to end up an oozing puddle on the floor. A puddle of Greg. And if the looks he was getting from the other patrons were anything to go by, nobody in here was going to be in a big hurry to lend him a hand.

He tugged on his collar and tried to ignore the prickling feeling creeping up his spine, annoyed at himself, Nick, and everyone else in sight. This was Vegas, for Christ's sake, not a local bar in some podunk town. Trust Nick to find the most redneck place in the city and make Greg go in to drag him out.

Next to him, Nick started shredding another napkin. His hair looked like he'd been yanking on it, and he was as tense as if there was live current running through his body. Greg dropped his eyes to the surface of the bar, his own hands resting stupidly on the scarred wood, and then, abruptly, he couldn't stand it anymore. His fingers closed around Nick's wrist almost before he knew what he was doing. Nick's skin was warm to the touch, muscles tense, and it was several long seconds before Greg could make himself let go. When he did, Nick sighed, put his palms flat against the bar. "Sorry."

Greg didn't really have any idea what he was apologising for, and the middle of a bar was probably not the best place to start getting into it. Trying for nonchalant, he lifted his beer again. "It's okay. Finish your drink, I'll give you a ride home."

Nick peered into the depths of his glass as though he thought a vision might suddenly appear there. "Nah, man, that's okay. You don't have to."

"You just got off a double shift and you're drunk. Forget about Catherine, do you know what Grissom will do to me if I let you drive home like this?"

"I took a cab here," Nick said irritably. "I'm not an idiot. I can take a cab home."

"I'll give you a ride, all the same." Greg bit his lip. It had sounded innocuous on the inside of his head, but out loud the words sounded somehow more familiar then he'd really intended.

Fortunately for him, Nick was in no condition to notice. "Fine," he sighed. It wasn't exactly the ringing endorsement Greg had been hoping for, but it would have to do.

Nick was still reasonably steady on his feet when he slid off the barstool, but there was a deliberate caution in his movements, and on the way out the door he banged his hip on the frame hard enough to make Greg wince. He didn't even flinch, just blew out a breath across clenched teeth and knocked his fist against the brick wall.

"It's not particularly healthy to punch things when you're pissed off," Greg remarked, unlocking his car door.

"I'm not pissed off," Nick snapped.

Greg held up his hands pacifically. "I'm just saying. Broken knuckles suck. Or so I've heard."

"Wouldn't be the first time I've had them."

"Of course not." The radio was on too loud when he started the engine, and he turned it down hastily. "You want to talk?"

Nick stared stonily at the dashboard. "No."

"Good. I'm not very good at being comforting, and I don't really want you to punch me. Especially not here. I'm having a feeling that it wouldn't take too much to get a lynch mob going around here, you know?"

Nick slanted a puzzled look at him. It was the first time that night that Greg had seen him wearing any expression other than pissed off, and he chose to take that as encouraging. "The hell are you talking about, man?"

"Not saying that you would punch me, just that I'm willing to confess that I have a knack for getting on peoples nerves, and--"

"I meant about the lynch mob."

Greg raised his eyebrows, turned and looked at the bar they'd just vacated. The windows were blacked out and there was a flickering neon sign hanging crookedly over the door. The three burly men smoking on the stoop were still giving him the stink-eye. "You have to ask? I gotta say, this isn't the kind of place where I expected to find a wholesome type such as yourself."

"I come here when I want to be left the hell alone," Nick said pointedly.

"If I'm supposed to be sorry for dragging you out, I'm not." He waited to see if Nick was going to open the door and storm off into the night, but he just grunted and buckled his seatbelt. Greg put the car in reverse and pulled out onto the dark street. This time of night there weren't many people out. Too late. Or too early, depending on how you wanted to look at it.

For several moments, the only sound was the drone of the radio. Greg was just wondering if he should turn it up to cover Nick's stubborn silence, when Nick spoke again, defensively.

"They're not very nice people, but they're not going to lynch you just for being a pain in the ass."

"No, but for being gay they might," Greg said impatiently, taking a sharp left onto the Strip. It was both louder and brighter there, the commotion a welcome relief, and it took him several seconds to notice that Nick was staring at him with a stunned expression. He snorted. "Right, like it isn't completely obvious."

"I. Um." Nick's mouth worked silently for a moment, and Greg started to get an unpleasant twisting feeling in his gut. "I thought Sara--"

"Sara's great," he said, trying hard to keep his voice light. Calm. "But she'd put my head through a wall if she ever seriously thought I was hitting on her. She's got the hots for Grissom, if you can fathom that."

From the expression on Nick's face, he couldn't fathom that. "So...everybody else knows?"

"Sara knows. I kind of figured everybody else knew, but the subject's never really come up. You'd be amazed how many people aren't interested in my sex life."

"I really wouldn't," Nick muttered, and when Greg glanced over at him he was smirking a little. Relieved, Greg grinned back at him, and the smirk turned, just for a moment, into one of Nick's blinding smiles.

Greg hastily directed his gaze back toward the road. He was playing the concerned friend tonight. There was no room there for lascivious notions, especially since Nick was apparently even more oblivious than he'd thought.

"Uh, Greg?"

He didn't look over. "Yep?"

"My house is the other way."

Shit. "Sorry. It's just been--"

"--a long shift, yeah." Nick pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. "Man, I am not nearly drunk enough right now."

"You know, my place is only a couple of blocks from here," Greg found himself saying, to his horror. "I have alcohol. And a couch." Just to make it clear that he was not making an attempt at Nick's virtue. He was being comforting. A good friend.

Nick was silent for a long time. With a grimace, Greg started looking for a place to turn around, and then Nick laughed suddenly. "Yeah," he said, astonishingly. "Yeah, that actually sounds good."

***


"How'd you even know how to find me?" Nick asked, taking a drink. They'd never managed to make it into the living room, had somehow ended up sitting on Greg's kitchen floor with the lights off, sharing the bottle of scotch that Greg kept in the cabinet for emergencies.

"Catherine."

"How'd she know how to find me?" Nick sounded very slurry now, but his lean frame was relaxed and loose against the cabinets, and his fingers were warm when he handed the bottle back. Greg tried not to shiver.

"God, who even knows how Catherine knows anything?" Greg frowned. The whiskey was numbing his lips and burning a pleasant trail of heat down to his belly. "That didn't sound right."

There was a distinct chuckle from Nick's direction, and Greg tilted toward the sound like a moth to a flame. The bottle clinked as he set it down, and this was a bad idea, such a bad idea, because it was hard enough to be around Nick in the labs or in the bar with everyone around, but here, in his kitchen, shrouded by darkness--

His whole body felt charged. Frantically, he groped around for something, anything, to distract himself. "What had you so freaked out, anyway? About this case, I mean."

Nick sighed, and something about the sound made Greg really wish he'd kept his mouth shut. He groped for the whiskey again and took another burning gulp just as Nick said, "That woman? The shrink?"

"Yeah?" Greg said softly.

"I thought she was fucking that kid." Fucking. Greg wasn't sure he'd ever heard that word out of Nick's mouth before, and the sound of it made him wince. "I thought he tried to stop her and she killed him for it."

It would almost be easier if he was still angry, because what he mostly sounded right then was sad. Sad and tired, and Greg hated that he wasn't even that surprised. He was the one who processed the thirty swabs from that blanket, after all, and no matter what they said about him behind his back, he wasn't actually an idiot.

Nick reached for the bottle, and Greg's fingers were numb when he handed it over. "I just thought--it happened to me, you know," and Greg was still not surprised. On some level, he'd been expecting this since Nick stormed into his labs the day before. He wasn't surprised, but his mouth cramped up and he wanted to cry.

"Nick..." he said, soft, reaching out.

"I'm not even going to remember this tomorrow morning," Nick said roughly, and let out a humorless bark of laughter. "Between you and Catherine, that makes a grand total of two people I've told in twenty-two years."

Twenty-two years. Nick was thirty-one and Greg suddenly wished that he could forget basic arithmetic.

Nine. Fuck. Nine years old.

"Jesus," he whispered. That was wrong on a level that was beyond wrong, because it was Nick. Easygoing, optimistic Nick, and it was just--wrong.

Nick shrugged, a harsh motion out of the corner of his eye. "I'd appreciate it if you didn't spread that around."

"I won't." He wished there was something he could say, some kind of joke that would make this all okay again. Then Nick sighed and pressed the bottle into his hands.

"Hey, man, it's okay." His voice was raw-edged, but so gentle. "Been living with it for this long, right? It just gets to me sometimes."

"How can you be like that?" Greg heard himself ask before he even thought about it. "How can you just--"

"Won't help to sit and feel sorry for myself," Nick said mildly, and slid across the tile floor so that he was only a few inches away from Greg. His body seemed to radiate heat. "Worse things have happened to better people than me."

His tone made it clear that he really believed that. Greg reached for him with shaking hands. He just meant to pat Nick on the shoulder, make some kind of stupid, meaningless comment, but then Nick turned toward him, lips quirking into something that wasn't even close to a smile, and Greg was leaning in before he quite realized what he was doing.

Nick didn't pull away, or shove him back, or punch him. Their mouths met, soft and whiskey-warm, then rougher, hungry, Nick's hands like brands on his cheeks. The bottle fell out of his hands and rolled across the floor, and he spared a moment to hope that the cap was on before Nick was hauling him closer, something akin to desperation in his touch, and he forgot everything else.

He ended up straddling Nick, knees pressing against the cool linoleum, Nick's hands splayed out big and warm across his back. Their mouths locked together, kissing frantically, and Nick slid his hands down Greg's sides to his hips, then his thighs. He was hard, already so turned on that it was almost embarrassing, and when Nick groped him through his jeans he gasped out a heartfelt curse.

And then, though it was the last thing in the world he wanted to do, pulled away. "This is a bad idea."

Nick let out a long breath, dropped his head back against the cabinet. His eyes were large and dark in the dim light, and his tongue darted out to lick his lips and it was so, so tempting to just lean back in. "Greg..."

"I'm serious." He had self-control. He did, damn it. They had to work together and tomorrow morning was going to be awkward enough as it was. "You've been drinking, and you don't know--"

Nick leaned forward, hooking one hand behind Greg's neck to keep him from moving back. "I know what I'm doing."

Just the sound of his voice, the feel of his breath against the shell of Greg's ear, was almost enough to send scruples flying straight out the window. Greg laughed, and even he could hear the raw, desperate edge to it. "I really don't think you do. Look, Nick, you're drunk, you're upset, you're not--"

"--gay?" Nick nipped his earlobe gently. "Or interested? For a genius, you can be pretty dense sometimes." He sat back. The expression on his face was thoughtful, and Greg felt like he was going to fly apart at the seams, and when the hell had this turned into Nick reassuring him? "If you don't want to, that's fine, but I don't need you to protect me from myself."

"I thought you were wasted," Greg muttered, already leaning in again. Nick laughed against his mouth.

"I am wasted. But that's not why I'm doing this."

"Okay," Greg agreed. This was such a bad idea, but he really couldn't make himself care when those were Nick's hands shoving up his t-shirt, skimming over his chest and belly, and how many times had he fantasized about exactly this? He lifted his arms and let Nick tug the shirt over his head, skin prickling in the cooler air as he leaned in for another kiss.

It was gentle for a moment, but only a moment. Nick hooked his thumbs in Greg's beltloops and hauled him in until his knees hit the cabinet doors and their hips were lined up and oh. Oh, fuck, feeling this through two pairs of jeans and boxers wasn't nearly enough. He tugged at Nick's belt with clumsy fingers. "Pants. Off."

"Okay," Nick whispered and kissed him again, hard. Greg groaned against his lips and then broke away, bit gently at the corner of Nick's jaw.

"I'm serious, Nick, if you don't, I'm getting the scissors out and I've been drinking, you really don't want that."

"Okay, okay. Christ." Nick sat up and shucked his t-shirt off, then dropped his hands to his belt buckle. "You always this impatient?"

"Wouldn't you like to know?" Greg said without thinking. When Nick glanced up at him, moonlight from the window above the sink reflecting in his eyes, his smile was almost shy.

"Yeah, actually. Yeah, I would."

And while Greg blinked, processing that, he undid his belt and pushed his jeans off over his hips without bothering to unbutton them first. Greg knelt up to let him kick them off and began undoing his own jeans and Nick shoved his hands away, his own fingers more than a little clumsy as he undid the rest of the buttons.

This was beyond surreal. The moonlight in stripes across his kitchen floor, Nick sitting there, naked and touching him, the taste of whiskey on his tongue and his head spinning with equal parts alcohol and arousal--there was no way this was really happening.

Nick eased his jeans down and put his hands on Greg's hips, just holding on. His eyes seemed hazy and soft. "You sure you want to do this?" he asked, and Greg had to laugh, because that was such a stupid question but he sounded so earnest, so concerned. He put his hands over Nick's and helped the other man slide his boxers off.

He tried to get his pants the rest of the way off gracefully, but they were tangled up and he was fairly drunk, and before he knew it he was tumbling onto his side with a thud that sounded obnoxiously loud in the dim silence.

"You okay?" Nick asked, laughing. Greg reached out and grabbed him by the arm, hauled him down so that they were lying face-to-face on the cool linoleum.

"I have a bed," he said instead of answering, but he didn't really want to go anywhere.

"Floor's good," Nick mumbled against his mouth, sliding a leg between his thighs, and okay, yep, Greg had no problems whatsoever with the floor.

He got his arms around Nick and pulled him closer, chest-to-chest, legs entangled, thrusting and grinding against each other. It was anything but graceful, but it felt too good to even think about stopping, especially when Nick slid a hand between them to roll his nipple between his thumb and forefinger. Greg muffled a gasp in the sweaty curve of Nick's shoulder.

"Like that?" Nick murmured, voice low and rough. The expression on his face was focused, and it made Greg feel like he was being cracked open, all his defenses peeled away.

He closed his eyes against that intense gaze. "Yeah," he whispered. "Yeah, Nick, please, come on, please--" and the sound of his own voice turned out to be all he could take and he was shuddering all over, thrusting up against Nick's flat belly, slamming his teeth shut on a shout as he came.

His eyes were squeezed shut so tight that he could see colorful shapes on the insides of his lids, and when he opened them the dim kitchen seemed as light as day. He ran his hands down Nick's muscular back to grip the curve of his ass, and Nick stiffened, breath loud and fast in his ear. The noise he made when he came was low and incoherent, half curse and half prayer.

Greg didn't know how long they lay there afterward, breathing slowly returning to normal. Finally, with a groan, Nick rolled over onto his back and flung an arm over his eyes. His skin was shiny with sweat, gleaming pale in the moonlight.

Greg levered himself up onto his elbows, blinked several times. The room was spinning, and he found himself suppressing a snort.

Nick lifted his arm to peer at him like he was crazy, and he couldn't help it, he had to laugh.

"You want to let me in on the joke?"

"We just--" Greg snickered. "We just had sex on my kitchen floor."

Nick's chest quaked, and he put his head back, chuckling. His hair was standing on end. "We did, didn't we?"

"We totally did." He knew he sounded entirely too pleased with himself, but he couldn't help it. "And you--I can't believe you didn't know I liked guys."

"Hey, you didn't know about me."

"Yeah, but you, you're, like--" He lifted a hand, gesturing ineffectively. "You're all--"

"--discreet?"

"Closeted," Greg said triumphantly. "You're so far in the closet that it would take a crowbar to pry you out. Everybody knows about me."

Nick laughed and reached for him. "Come here, genius. Christ. You're never going to let me live that down, are you?"

"No." Still grinning, Greg let himself be pulled into a sweat-sticky embrace. Nick knuckled the top of his head, gently, and kissed him. He looked younger like this, softer without the habitual lines of tension carved into his face. Greg nosed the side of his neck, kissed the underside of his jaw. "You missed a spot shaving. We don't need to talk about any of this, do we?"

"Don't believe so, no." There was a smile in Nick's voice, and Greg let out a breath he hadn't been aware he was holding. He still wasn't entirely sure what this was about, but there was enough whiskey in his system that he was willing to leave it alone for the time being. And anyway, Nick was still rubbing his scalp and smiling in a sleepy, contented sort of way and Greg was not going to be the one to remind him of the temper he'd been in for the past few days.

"Good."

They lay there for a few more minutes, just breathing. Nick had his eyes closed, and Greg found himself gazing at the other man, cataloging familiar features as though seeing him for the first time.

It wasn't the first time he'd looked, but those had been discreet glances--as discreet as he could get, anyway--stolen in small sips, all casual so that nobody noticed him watching. Now, he realized with a thrill, he was allowed to stare.

Tentatively, he reached out and traced Nick's profile with his index finger, high forehead and straight nose, lips twitching into a smile when he ran his finger over them, firm chin, stubble rasping against his palm as Nick turned his face into Greg's hand, still smiling, and opened his eyes. His expression was so affectionate that Greg could feel his breath catch in his throat. "Hi."

"Hi," Greg whispered. "Much as I appreciate spontaneous floor sex, the bed might be a better place to actually sleep."

He wasn't sure how Nick was going to react to that, and he told himself not to be disappointed if Nick wanted to call that cab and go back to his own place. All his stuff was there, after all, and they both had to go in to work tomorrow night, and sex was one thing, but sharing a bed was a whole different kind of intimacy, and even if the idea of waking up next to Nick made his insides squirm pleasantly, there was no telling how Nick was going to feel about the whole thing, and--

"Yeah," Nick was saying. Casual, like he hadn't even thought about splitting. "But we might want to clean up first."

Greg groaned and dropped his head back onto the floor. "I don't think I can stay conscious long enough for a shower."

"Come on. Just a quick one."

Somehow, the managed to get to their feet and stumble into the bathroom leaning shoulder to shoulder. Greg fumbled the hot water on and pulled Nick under the spray with him without even bothering to close the door. He put one hand out to brace himself against the slick tile wall, slid his other hand around the back of Nick's neck, and kissed him.

Nick smiled against his mouth and leaned into him, body big and radiating heat.

"Nice," Greg mumbled, because it was.

Nick dropped his head against Greg's shoulder and nodded, making a sleepy contented noise.

There was a part of Greg that wanted to suggest shower sex, but he was reasonably sure that he wasn't going to be able to stay vertical that long. They didn't even bother soaping up, just swayed together while the hot water rinsed their bodies clean.

"Should go to bed," Nick murmured after a while.

Greg didn't really want to move, but his knees were feeling rubbery and his head was spinning. He rubbed his cheek against Nick's shoulder, then reached back to turn the water off. "Hmm. Yeah."

He grabbed a towel and handed one to Nick, made a cursory effort at drying himself off, then headed down the hall, smiling to hear the soft pads of Nick's footsteps behind him.

In the bedroom, he didn't even bother turning the light on, just kept shuffling forward until his shins hit the bed. He flopped face-first on the mattress. Behind him, Nick chuckled and felt around until his hand connected with the mattress, and the springs creaked as he sat down. "You need a hand, there?"

"'M'good," Greg slurred against the comforter.

"Sure you are." And then Nick's hands were on his shoulders, hauling him up until he was all the way on the bed. "You're kind of a lightweight, aren't you?"

Greg let Nick tug the blankets over them and curled up against him, hooking his knee over Nick's thigh. "Nah. Just been awake for, like, twenty-two hours."

"Go to sleep."

"You go to sleep," Greg yawned. Nick kissed the corner of his mouth, and Greg could feel the shape of his smile.

"That'd be the plan."

There was a teasing note in his voice and Greg wanted to say something clever, but his mind was fuzzy enough that he couldn't think of anything. He settled for pressing closer, tucking his face into the curve of Nick's neck. Nick's hand was stroking slowly up and down his spine, and his breath was already slow and even and Greg could feel himself tilting on the edge of consciousness.

He pressed his nose against Nick's cheek and smiled, and between one breath and the next he slid gently into oblivion.
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