Title: The Medallion

Author: subobscura

Rating: still T I guess

See part 1 for ratings and headers.

A/N: Oh, how I lament. Why am I physically incapable of writing fluff? Why do I just want to torture the hell out of Greg and then have Nick comfort him? He's so cute and adorable, and just begging to be broken into lots of tiny pieces. Feedback is appreciated. I promise I will reply this time around. Erykah Badu inspired the title.

Part 5: Every Lesson Learned Well Earned

He smelled Nick before he could see him or feel him. Greg was standing in front of the evidence table piecing together hopelessly shredded documents that may or may not be relevant to the hubby who just offed his wife and then himself by splattering their brains all over their Ikea living room. Normally, Greg had at least some patience; after all, chemistry was usually a game of waiting for the pot to boil, waiting for the reaction to proceed, waiting for the GCMS to stop being a bitch and give up his results. But today, he was rapidly flipping though tiny strips of paper, bouncing on the balls of his feet and nodding his head to The Sex Pistols, celebrating their boycott of their induction to the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. And then Nick's aftershave washed over him, and his already meager attention span snapped like an old rubber band.

"Hey, Nick," he said without turning around, and he heard the soft displacement of air as the cowboy moved into the room. He smiled, still without turning. Nick stood close enough that Greg could feel heat radiating off the other man.

"How do you always do that," Nick breathed into his ear, accent set to full twang.

"Magic," Greg breathed back, still trying in vain to look busy, even though he knew that Nick knew that he was faking it.

"Liar," Nick said, and now his hand was low on Greg's waist, and Greg momentarily panicked before he remembered the whiteboard hid them from this angle, and they looked to outsiders like two colleagues conferring on a case.

"Moi? A liar? I'm offended that you would think so little of me," he replied, leaning slightly back into Nick's hand. Nick's thumb just brushed the upper curve of his ass, and Greg shivered at the intimate contact.

"Well, you do keep your secrets well, Sanders." Greg swallowed and looked down. He knew Nick would hold that against him eventually. The gentle hand moved to the small of his back and then Nick said,

"Calm down, G. It was a joke." When he looked over, Nick's eyes were soft. "Still up for that coffee?"

Greg turned so their faces were just inches apart and they were breathing the same air. "Most definitely." Greg swept the little pieces of paper into an evidence envelope without so much as a second thought.

Later, they were strolling in an easy pace down the Strip, Greg sipping a quadruple shot latte while Nick stuck to regular coffee, although he had caved and gotten the Jamaican Blue at Greg's insistence. Greg held his cup in one hand, the other stuck in his pocket as he ambled along with that walk that was all from his hips and that went straight to Nick's groin. The Strip was never beautiful in Greg's opinion, but there were times like the early morning when it was less obnoxious than usual. They passed the Paris hot air balloon and the Eiffel tower and Bally's on down towards the Tangiers, and all of a sudden Greg was nostalgic for the real thing, with a French spring and baguettes and European espresso and Nick at his side. The vision hit him hard- he wasn't used to such sappy fantasies.

"So I don't want you to think I'm a weepy mess all the time," Greg said conversationally, sipping carefully at his drink. "Usually, I'm a lot more manly."

"No harm, no foul, Greggo. I'm glad you felt comfortable enough around me to let me see you like that." Nick watched his young lover in the morning sunlight, haloed in gold.

Greg lifted a shoulder and turned to walk backwards just a little in front of Nick. "It's been an emotional 24 hours. Yesterday morning around this time, we'd barely spoken in a year, and now Nick Stokes is my new boyfriend who knows that I used to be a junkie prostitute. It's a lot to take in, no offense." Nick flinched a little at his frank description, but didn't try to placate Greg. He had no right to make historical revisions of Greg's past, and however deeply ashamed of it Greg was, Nick could tell that he fiercely owned it as a central facet of his personality.

Nick stopped and Greg stopped in front of him. Nick reached out and pulled him closer, sliding his hand under the leather jacket that would be too hot to wear in just a few weeks. Greg was just slightly taller than him, so he angled his lips up to meet him in a soft public kiss. He could feel Greg's surprise, but he didn't seem to mind, placing his arm around Nick's shoulder. The kiss deepened slightly, until a harried mother ran into them chasing after her two daughters already gone down the street. She smiled at them distractedly and murmured a rushed apology before chasing off after the girls.

"Wow," Greg said. "This is real. I can't quite get my head around it. And I never imagined in a million years you'd make out with a guy in the middle of the Strip. I never imagined you making out with a guy period."

"I know what you mean," said Nick. He took Greg's hand and they turned on the sidewalk by unspoken agreement to head back to Greg's car.

"So are you?" Greg's tone was curious.

"Am I what?"

"Gay?"

"Oh, no, I'm bi. Although, I'll be the first to admit I've never tried a relationship with a man before. Just one night stands. Hell, my longest relationship male or female has been two months."

"That's not a promising start to a new relationship, Nicky." Nick was about to defend himself when he saw the twinkle in Greg's warm cinnamon eyes.

"What about you?"

"Same, although I've had two long-term boyfriends."

"And?"

"And they didn't work out." Greg's chatter had turned frosty, and Nick knew that further elaboration would not be forthcoming.

They were at Greg's Passat now, and Nick followed him to the driver's side. Greg lifted an eyebrow. "I'm not easy. No one gets to drive on the first date."

"G, come here." Greg immediately moved forward into Nick's arms placing his head on the Texan's broad strong shoulders. He nuzzled Nick's five o'clock shadow with his nose and breathed in the spicy scent that he didn't know the name of. "Somebody hurt you bad, didn't they baby?" Greg nodded against his hot skin, not trusting himself at first to speak. He cleared his throat.

"Only because I hurt myself first."

"How have you been you all this time, hiding this much pain?"

"Usually I don't think about it. Life moves forward, and I go on dates I don't care about and sometimes sleep with people I don't have any real feelings for. You're the first person in a long time that I really love who's cared enough to ask. And that opens ancient cans of worms."

"I'm sorry I didn't notice before." Nick sounded truly apologetic.

"I didn't want you to. Like I was saying before, I probably never would have told anyone if you hadn't accidentally found me out. Acting's second nature to me now."

"That's sad, babe. I want you to be you, not who we think you should be."

"I am me, most of the time. Just sometimes I'm not."

"Okay."

"Nick, can I ask you a question?"

"Sure." Nick loved having his arms around Greg, swaying slowly, letting the conversation unwind like string between them, tying them together in knots.

"Why now? Why are you so calm about this? Honestly, I never thought I'd be the neurotic one between the two of us, but here we are and I'm freaking and you're not."

"I've seen the worst life has to offer, hon. My credibility has been destroyed- defense attorneys will always have the perfect excuse to attack my objectivity. It's too soon for them to do it yet, but the day will come when I'll have to face that down in the witness box. My personal life was exposed to God and Country on CNN and Court TV. I usually can't sleep, most of my family isn't speaking to me for one reason or another, and I get really damn freaky fan-mail. Having a gay relationship is pretty much the least of my problems."

Greg chuffed. "When you put it like that, I can see your point. Besides, I'm just generally terrified of a relationship, not the whole gay thing."

"Well, that's good I guess," Nick said grinning. "I wouldn't want you to be ashamed of us." Greg looked up.

"Never," he said. "Too much has happened for me to take us for granted like that."

Nick responded with a slow, sensual kiss that sent shivers from Greg's knees to the top of his spine. Apparently, when Nick made up his mind, he had a single-minded determination that was damn sexy. Nick broke from him, and placed a chaste kiss on Greg's forehead. "Sorry to cut this short, but I need to get some laundry done. My towels are about to stand up on their own and start a revolt."

"Come do it at my house," Greg said on a whim. He hadn't meant to issue the invitation, but now that he had, he held his breath for Nick's response.

"Alright, but no mixing our unmentionables. We're not that domestic yet."

Greg unlocked the doors with a smile, listening to the click echo in the parking lot.