A/N: Spoilers for Fannysmackin, Post Mortem, and a tiny one for Gravedanger
Catherine's Christmas party was in full swing when Greg finally arrived and even as he walked into the comforts of her house he just wanted to be right back home. This year was looking lonelier than last and all Greg wanted to do was brood in his own home and get wasted.
"There you are!" he heard Sara exclaim. "I was wondering when you were gonna get here."
"Well I'm here." He shrugged. "Now the real party can start."
"Are you ok Greg?"
"Yeah fine, alcohol this way? Good thanks." He didn't wait for Sara's response and walked towards Catherine's kitchen. He saw of a glimpse of the others as he walked by, Warrick was laughing with his arm around Tina's waist, Grissom actually smiled when Sara walked back in the room. And then there was Wendy and Nick who were flirting so much that everyone could see it. He snorted and made a beeline for the cooler he just spotted.
"Not even a hello from you then Greg?"
"Hello Cath." He said as he popped the bottle off his beer.
"Hello to you too Mr. Scrooge."
"I am not." He grumbled.
"Look Greg I know you have had a rough year…"
"Really? I didn't think getting the shit beat out of you counted as rough."
"Or having to know I killed somebody constantly on my mind, and then being sued and having to face losing everything I have…" he stopped sucking in a breath, he shouldn't have even opened his mouth.
"Greg I didn't mean…"
"Just hand me another beer."
"You haven't even finished your first yet." He shot her a glare and she relented. "Ok fine." She whispered as she dug into the cooler.
Nick knew Greg was there, and though he had yet to see him Nick always knew when Greg was around. Lately though, he noticed Greg a lot more since the attack. He would never forget the image of Greg when he saw in the hospital covered in bruises and only able to open one eye. That image was etched into his memory forever and he often saw it when he closed his eyes.
"Nick are you ok?"
"What? I'm fine Wendy."
"Greg's here isn't he?"
"I my not be a trained investigator, but I am human and I notice things Nick."
"Nothing to notice."
"That is a load of bull Nicholas Stokes and you know it."
"Listen Wendy just because I know Greg is here doesn't mean anything."
"Nick it's ok really." Wendy said in a soft voice. "We're all worried about him, but I know your feelings for Greg run deeper than anyone else's does."
"You think no one heard you crying in the locker room after you processed Greg's scene? I happened to walk by and I heard you."
Nick closed his eyes, he had hoped no one saw his moment of weakness it was bad enough he punched that kid. He had just come back from the scene, from picking Greg's hair off the ground and when he found himself alone in the locker room the sobs had just retched from him.
"When I went with Sara to the hospital and saw him lying there bruises covering his body I…I froze because that wasn't Greg, that wasn't the Greg I knew so well."
"You love him." It wasn't a question. "You should tell him."
"And make his life more complicated? He doesn't need that now."
"Let's just leave it Wendy please."
"Fine Nick." Wendy sighed. "More eggnog?"
Greg knew he was hiding away sitting on Catherine's back porch drinking his fourth maybe fifth beer, but he didn't want to mingle. He liked moping, he was good at it these days.
"Why are you hiding out here?" Greg looked up at the voice, figures Nick would be the one elected to find him.
"Because I want to wallow in my self pity alone."
"Go away Nick, I'm in no mood to be merry."
"Then why did you even come?"
"Because I ran out of beer and Cath is always stocked up."
"Drinking won't help."
"It dulls the pain." He mumbled as he took another swig.
"There are other ways."
"And you'd know all about them." Greg said with a sneer. "Just leave me alone."
"That's it." Nick growled and yanked Greg up by his shoulder.
"What the fuck Nick!?"
"This needs to stop now." Nick said as he took the bottle from Greg's hands and dumped the rest on the lawn.
"I can't believe you just did that." Greg hissed at him. "Where do you get off?"
"Listen Greg, I know there are other way, I've been where you are and worse. I've had pills in my hand and contemplated just ending it so the memories would go away, but then I realized I was stronger than that and you are too."
"And how exactly did you manage that Nick Stokes?"
"You." Nick whispered.
"You, because you helped me even if you didn't know it. I'd look at you and I'd see what I'd be leaving behind."
Greg didn't say anything for a moment and turned away from Nick wrapping his arms around himself.
"When my face was getting pounded in somehow you came into my mind and I don't know why." He whispered. "And when you testified at the inquest, defending me like you did I…I was just glad you were there."
"Let me help you Greg, we can do this together."
"What about the trial, will you be there?"
"You want a mess like me?"
"I always will." Nick smiled brushing his finger along Greg's cheek where a lone tear rested. "Come on let's go back inside and enjoy the season."
"Ok." Greg said quietly. "I guess I can try and get into the season."
"I know you can." Nick said as he grasped Greg's hand. They slowly walked back to Catherine's house stopping just inside the door.
"Nick?" Only Nick didn't answer him and drew in a deep breath as he touched his lips to Gregs.
"Then maybe we should try that again." Greg said as he pulled Nick back to him crushing their lips together in a fiercer kiss that left them both breathless.
"Merry Christmas Greg." Nick whispered as they pulled back slightly. Greg smiled and tangled their fingers together.
"Merry Christmas Nick."
Wendy hid a smiled as she stepped away from the back door not wanting to intrude on their moment. Although she held the proof in her hands as she slid her phone back in her pocket.
"Hey Wendy you find them?" Warrick called out.
"Yeah, they'll be in soon."