Disclaimer: Characters do not belong to me, I'm just borrowing them.

Hair of the Dog

The first thing Greg was aware of when he woke up was the warm body next to him. This, in itself, wasn't unusual. He'd been waking up next to a warm body for several months now. The problem was that not only was the bed not his, but it was also not his lover's bed. The bed belonged to the hotel where he was staying for the duration of the convention. He'd checked in alone. It was his suitcase sitting on the dresser. He assumed the bathroom was filled with his toiletries. Clearly, he'd just picked up another body along the way.

He was so fucked. How the hell was he going to explain this to Nick? "Gee, honey, I'm sorry. It just happened. He meant nothing to me, I swear."

Right. That'd work. Maybe he should just stay here in New Orleans with. . . with. . . who the hell was that, anyway?

Raising his head one inch, and then another, he was able to catch sight of a dark head of messy hair just before he felt an urge to cry "The light! The light!" while gouging out his eyes.

The pounding in his head caused the room to spin like he was on one of Grissom's rollercoasters, and the churning in his stomach was a definite deterrent to solving the current mystery of his guest. All he wanted to do was curl up and die. Quickly. Painfully, even. At this point, he had pain beat. He just wanted his life to be over with.

Being the astute fellow he was, he recognized the symptoms.

Oh, no, he thought with a moan. Hangover.

He didn't know who the moron was who thought New Orleans would be an ideal place for a convention, but he wanted them tarred and feathered immediately. Or maybe just force-fed hurricanes while dressed in drag and singing to ABBA. Or made to stand up in front of the entire convention wearing dozens of strands of beads, and only the beads.

Just as he was really getting started, a moan from the body next to him interrupted his plans for revenge. His bed-partner was waking up, and appeared to be suffering just as much as he was.

Good.

If he was going to wake up next to a stranger after a night of stupidity, the least the stranger could do was have the courtesy to share his misery.

The body moaned again and the stranger pushed himself staggeringly into a sitting position.

"What the. . . where am. . . oh god. . ."

"Yeah," Greg said without sympathy, "been there, done that."

The stranger let out a garbled scream and Greg winced at the resulting 'thump' as a body hit the floor.

"Careful. You don't want to make the pain any worse than it already is."

"Oh my god," the stranger groaned, the sound muffled. Probably had his face buried in his hands trying to keep his stomach from ruining the hotel carpet. "My girlfriend's going to kill me."

"Right there with you. My boyfriend's going to kill me." Greg blinked. "Wait a minute--did you say girlfriend?"

"Of course I said girlfriend!" he snapped, and Greg bit the inside of his cheeks to keep from grinning.

"Sorry," he said, his voice layered with sarcasm, "my mistake."

"Oh, shut up."

Greg released his grin. "Didn't realize you weren't as heterosexually-impaired as I am."

"Well, I'm not," he growled.

"Good for you. You coming back to bed?"

"WHAT!"

"I just meant it would be more comfortable than the floor."

"I prefer the floor."

"Your choice," Greg said, and curled up under the blankets, placing a pillow over his head. After about two minutes of silence, he emerged. "Do I know you? You sound familiar."

As tentatively as a West Texas prairie dog during hunting season, a head appeared over the edge of the bed. Dark hair was followed by a pair of liquid brown bloodshot eyes, a strong nose, and full lips.

Recognition sunk in. "Ryan?"

"Greg?"

"Ryan!" That's right, another newbie, the one from Miami! It was all coming back to him. They'd hit it off at the convention and had decided to take in some of the New Orleans nightlife. He recalled spending far too many hours at Pat O'Brien's and once those hurricanes had hit, not a whole lot after that. "Well, whaddya know. How ya doin', buddy?"

The head disappeared again with an agitated moan.

"That good, eh? Me, too."

"I think I'm going to be sick."

"If I wasn't thinking the same thing, I'd take offense at that."

"Can't you be quiet?"

"According to everyone I know, no."

"Please?"

"You're worried about waking up in my bed, aren't you? If it will make you feel any better, after all those hurricanes last night, we're lucky we made it to the room. I'm pretty sure nothing else happened."

"Pretty sure isn't good enough."

"Then your will is stronger than mine. Considering I can't even remember what happened last night, I doubt I was in any condition to fool around with you."

"So why are we naked?"

"We're naked?" Greg lifted up the sheets and took a peek. "I'll be damned. I am naked! And you're naked?"

"According to the rug burn on my ass, yes," he said nastily.

"Need me to look at that?" he leered, even though Ryan couldn't see him.

"Not in the mood, Greg."

He sighed dramatically. "You're never in the mood."

Before Ryan could retaliate, the phone rang and they both ducked for cover.

"Oh, fuck, no, make it stop!" Greg pleaded, covering his ears with his pillow.

"It's your goddamn phone! You make it stop! Unless you want me to answer it."

"NO!" Defying his hangover, Greg threw off the covers and dove for the phone on the desk. "Yes? I mean, Greg! I mean, hello?"

"Hey, babe," Nick chuckled. "Rough night?"

"Something like that," he sighed, sliding down the wall to the floor. Ah, fuck! Wall burn.

"All on the company card, I hope."

"Of course," he answered, rubbing his back. There was a sound of a voice in the background, and Nick responding before returning to the phone.

"Gris wants me to remind you that all extraneous expenses will be coming out of your paycheck."

"Tell him I'll need a list of everything that falls under the category of 'extraneous'."

"And that the lecture he specifically sent you to New Orleans to hear starts in thirty minutes."

Thirty minutes? There was no way in hell he was making that lecture. "Tell him I've died, but I promise to resurrect myself in time for the flight home."

"You know," Nick said, and Greg could hear him switching back into 'boyfriend' mode, "you sound pretty bad. Want me to let you go back to sleep?"

"Uh. . . no, that's all right. You don't have to. I was already sort of up anyway."

"Sort of up?" he teased. "Hmm. . . that was a rough night. Need any help getting the rest of the way up?"

Greg shot a terror-filled gaze to the pair of arms that had appeared on the bed, dragging up the body of Ryan until he was lying on the mattress. Apparently, he'd decided that sleeping with Greg was better than suffering on the floor. The other CSI pulled a blanket over himself and curled up in the bed, but not before Greg had caught an eyeful that would fuel fantasies for months to come.

"Not right now. Definitely not right now."

"Babe, are you all right? You sound a little strange."

"Oh, you know, hangover and all that it implies."

"Including waking up with a stranger in your bed?"

He knew Nick was teasing. He knew it was just a joke, but damn if he didn't give himself away with the sudden intake of breath.

"Greg," Nick began, an edge to his voice, "is there something you're not telling me?"

"Nick, I swear to you, if there was something to tell you, I would tell you what that something is, but there since there is no something--"

"Greg!" he snapped and Greg instantly shut up.

"So that's how that works," Ryan mumbled, and Greg shot the lump in the bed a dirty look.

"You're rambling."

"I always ramble."

"Worse than normal."

Greg sighed. "Look, Nick, here's the deal. I made a friend, we went out last night and got beyond drunk, and then we crashed here. That's all, I swear. You know I'd never do anything to hurt you."

"Babe, you need to take a deep breath, and relax. It's all right. In fact, I'm glad you found someone you can have fun with. Those things are dull as shit otherwise."

Greg held the phone away from his ear and stared at it. Who the fuck was on the other end and what had they done with Nick? He put it back up to his ear. "You are?"

"Absolutely. And I'd rather have both of you crashing there than somewhere on the street. Besides, I've seen you drunk. You couldn't get it up to save your life."

"Thanks," he growled.

"You should be happy. That's the only thing keeping me from flying down there and kicking your ass."

"All right, drunkenness wins. Nick, you know. . ." He bit his lip. There were suddenly just too many things he wanted to say and he didn't know where to start. Fortunately, he didn't have to.

"I know," Nick said softly, and Greg could almost see the smile on his face. "Love you, babe."

"Love you, too."

"Now go take a couple aspirin, drink a bottle of water, and go back to sleep. I'll see you in two days."

"That's not soon enough."

"Tell me about it."

Once Greg had hung up the phone, he grabbed onto the edge of desk and pulled himself back up to standing. He knew he owed Nick for this, big time, and had no doubt his cowboy would make him pay. But until then. . . bed.

He'd barely managed to hide back under the covers when a shrill ringing filled the room.

"FUCK!" he shouted into his pillow, then realized the ringing wasn't calling to him. He rolled over and looked at Ryan. "Your turn."

"Bite me," Ryan grumbled and reached for his pants, pulling his cell out of a pocket. "Wolfe speaking. . . Hey Calleigh."

Greg smiled at the automatic softening of Ryan's voice. He recognized that tone--it was the sound of a man in love. He tried not to listen too closely as Ryan made an attempt to explain their night out, the conversation going much better than the one he'd shared with Nick, but ending on the same happy and wistful note.

Ryan closed the cell phone and snuggled back into bed.

"Ryan?"

Greg heard a plaintive sigh. "What?"

"Are we still friends?"

"I'm still here, aren't I?" he snapped, then sighed. "Look, Greg, I don't care if you're gay. For one thing, I'm in too much pain. For another, you're still the most interesting person I've met here. I had fun yesterday, and I imagine we'll have fun again tonight, assuming I get enough sleep and can recover in time, so yes, we're still friends. Though if you don't shut up, I might change my mind."

"Right, gotcha. Good night," Greg said, a ridiculous smile on his face. He'd never been so relieved in his life, except for maybe the first time he'd asked Nick out, and Nick had said yes. But he liked Ryan, and they did have fun together, and it would have sucked to lose such a cool friend over something so stupid as waking up naked in bed together. All right, maybe that was a pretty good reason, but not in this case. "Thanks, Ryan."

"Anytime."

"You want to cuddle?" Greg asked, trying to keep from laughing.

"Shut up, Greg."

"Maybe we should raid the mini bar, hair of the dog and all that."

"Greg. . ."

"It would be nice to know why we're both naked."

Ryan just groaned and clapped his hands over his ears. Greg chuckled and closed his eyes, thinking happy thoughts of his homecoming in order to lull himself to sleep.

Completed May 3, 2005