Acknowledgements: Thanks to Allie for beta-reading. The flow and overall look of the story is due, in large part, to her input. As always, she is a class act.

This story is based on characters created by Anthony E. Zuiker for the television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Ghost (Part 1/26)

by Cheers

Friday Night, 9:12 PM

"What do ya mean Anaheim," Nick Stokes told Warrick Brown. "What about Bonds, man?" The two CSIs were sitting in a booth near the wide screen, actually an entire wall of smaller screens that formed a twenty foot high sports viewing experience currently carrying live coverage of game six of the World Series between the Anaheim Angels and the San Francisco Giants. The two younger men were conducting a friendly argument about the eventual winner of the currently contested series to the amusement of the other three men at the table: Gil Grissom, the two CSIs' supervisor, Jim Brass, a homicide detective who used to be their supervisor, and Doc Robbins, the Clark County Chief Medical Examiner.

"Bonds or no Bonds," Warrick told Nick. "Smart money is on Anaheim."

Interrupting the discussion, a waitress arrived at the table with five beers. "That'll be ten dollars, fellas," she said as she placed the bottles, each with an empty glass upturned on top, in the center of the table.

Grissom's brow furrowed as he did a bit of mental math. "Miss?" he said to the waitress. "I think you're shorting yourself." Everyone at the table looked at him. "Five beers, two fifty a piece, that should be twelve fifty."

"That's right," Nick agreed, nodding.

The waitress was smiling. Somehow she knew it would be this guy who figured out the charge was light. She liked the fact that he worried about her shorting the charge for the order. It made him that much more attractive. Not just cute but a real gentleman to boot. Bonus.

"The charge is for four beers, handsome," she said, setting the last beer down in front of him and leaning on one hand to get very close to Grissom's face, which provided him a very nice view of her ample frontal wares. Her voice was just a bit deeper than it had been and she looked directly into his blue eyes. "This one is on me."

She held his eyes until she was rewarded with Grissom's half-embarrassed and lopsided smile. She slowly rose and turned away, making sure to give him a good look at her other wares as she went. He watched her go with more than a little interest.

"Blam!" Nick said.

"You got that right," Warrick added.

"Must be the aftershave," Jim Brass muttered, surprised at his friend's good fortune and half-jealous as well.

Grissom hadn't yet turned his attention back to the company at the table. "I never wear it," he informed Brass. "It interferes with the job."

"Why does that not surprise me," Brass retorted, reaching for his beer.

"As good as," Doc Robbins said, reaching for one of the beers himself. This did bring Grissom's attention back to the table and the coroner in specific. Grissom raised his eyebrows.

"Oh?" Brass said to the good doctor.

Robbins worked at his beer and began to pour the golden liquid into his glass. He paused only when he realized everyone at the table was waiting for him to elaborate.

"Pheromones," he said, setting down the bottle. "Nature's aftershave." The doctor knew Grissom well enough to recognize that the slight grin on his face did little to cover the mild blanch of the blush in his neck. It had obviously never occurred to the forensic that he was an active participant in the human mating ritual just witnessed. Robbins was sure Grissom would deny it if the fact were pressed. That made this whole thing just that much more fun.

Warrick sat back and nodded with burgeoning understanding. "Pheromones," he repeated.

"Fariwhat?" Brass said, obviously bringing up the rear with the whole science gig. He usually enjoyed hanging with the guys, but when the other guys at the table were all on the nerd squad, he felt decidedly backward.

Doc Robbins was about to explain but was surprised when Grissom beat him to the punch.

"Pheromones are chemicals emitted by living organisms to send messages to individuals of the same species. The class most widely explored are the sex pheromones produced by female moths which are used to attract conspecific males for mating," Grissom told the detective. "Bombykol, the sex pheromone of the silkmoth, was first synthesized in 1959. Since then pheromones have been isolated for hundreds of species including, interestingly, humans."

"Spoken like a true entomologist," Robbins said before taking a deep drink of his beer.

"You know what they say," Nick said, smiling and pouring his own brew.

"What's that?" Brass asked, sure he would regret it.

Nick's smile broadened. "You can take the boy out of the lab but ..."

"... you can't take the nerd out of the boy," Brass finished catching the smile and nodding.

"Or the boy's pheromones," Warrick added. He was graced with a brief but scalding look from Grissom for his trouble.

Grissom looked back toward the bar and noticed that their waitress was looking at him and talking with the female bartender. They were probably enjoying his surprise at her forwardness. He held his beer up and nodded in thanks. His gesture was rewarded with a sensual smile. He smiled back. Why not? he thought. Life is short, and he really was enjoying the beer and the attention even if it meant living with the good natured ribbing from his co-workers. Some things were just worth the hassle factor.