DISCLAIMER: Don't own anything associated with the show… I just like playing with the characters in it from time to time. Dance Monkeys! Dance!

RATING: T - For Teen (for mild language)


SPOILERS: 7X21 Ending Happy

SUMMARY: Response to Gibby's YTDAW Challenge about how and when Brass found out..

A/N: You'll have to excuse any insane paranoid delusions with this story. I always turn into a giant stress ball whenever I write any kind of Brass Specific stuff. I love this character so much that I completely freak out when I'm trying to write for it. Mostly, it's because this character is simply not the same without the astounding performance of Mr. Paul Guilfoyle. There would be no Brass without him. I hope I did it at least a little justice

REVIEWS: Reviews are the way I know if people are enjoying the work or not. So, if you leave one, THANKS! And if not, I hope you found at least a little something to brighten your day, and thanks for taking the time to read.

Dealing with that dead boxer at the brothel had been a long and frustrating case. And if I'd gotten just one more call from Doc Robbins as I worked my mojo on a suspect, I was gonna lose it. Thankfully, we put a capper on that train wreck of a case.

When Warrick suggested we all grab a bite at the diner after we closed the case, I was all for it. After all, I didn't have anybody waitin' up for me at home either, so what's the rush?

We joked about the William Tell scenario, made a few off-color remarks about the death by blow job angle that brought some color out in a few cheeks and generally we enjoyed each other's company.

Catherine was the first to go, mumbling something about a conference at Lindsey's school, and true to form, Warrick offered to walk her out. One of these days those two characters are gonna get their timing right.

Greg wasn't too far behind, because he had to get up early for a date with some new girl over in admin. That kid is never gonna grow up. Oh well, at least his wardrobe is a little better these days. Not to mention he's finally getting' that sparkle back in his eyes after his latest brush with death. Me, him and Nicky boy seem to be runnin' a race to see who can get knocked around the most in the line of duty. That's one race I don't mind losing.

With them gone, that left me at the table with Nick and Sara horsing around over her choice of oatmeal and a fruit cup. He was harassing her about turning into an old woman, and how he was gonna get her some pabulum and Depends if she didn't learn how to cut loose a little.

It's nice to see Nicky hamming it up again. Took him a long time to get through those demons, and he was angry for most of it. Most of the time he used the anger to his advantage, but it got away from him a few times. Good thing Sara and 'Rick were around to keep him in check. Whatever he did to put that nightmare to rest, it looks good on him.

When Gil made his way back to the table after dealing with another call from our favorite assistant director, he barely even noticed that Nick had his arms around Sara as she tried to keep his phone away from him. Normally, the moment the bug man shows up all fun ceases, but since he's been back from his little hiatus, I gotta admit things have been a lot smoother around the lab.

As soon as Nick finally gets his phone out of Sara's grasp, he goes off toward the back door to make a call. Me and Sara casually watch him as we sip from our respective cups, but Gil immediately goes back to his crossword puzzle. Well, with one hand anyway. The other one is absently stroking along Sara's arm with the backs of his fingers. Good thing I'm the only one at the table, huh?

When it all comes out, eventually, everyone's gonna figure that they told me about it to help 'em cover their tracks. They're gonna be wrong.

Fact is… It just kind of happened.

I was trying to lend a hand while the CSI team was under house arrest after Nicky's pickup got swiped. I knew they were running on no sleep, and I also knew that Sara had been going for even longer. Me and her were having our weekly pow-wow when the call came in.

We've been meeting up once a week for dinner, or a drink, or just to shoot the breeze ever since she got picked up on that possible DUI a while back. Her PEAP counselor told her she needed somebody to blow off steam with that she could trust. I never did figure out why she asked me, but I've never regretted her choice.

It's one of the few things I've gotten right in my life, and I gotta admit, it's been good for me, too. If it wasn't for those weekly pow-wows, I'm not sure I'd have gotten through that bad shoot last year. And I know the relationship me and her have built is what got me through my own shooting. She was there every day, and she made sure my happy butt was following doctor's orders all the way through. I got a real soft spot for that kid, and I guess she feels the same way about me.

Anyway, I knew she had to be hurting after about eight hours into her second shift in under twenty-four hours. So, I stopped at that tea shop she likes so much and grabbed her favorite tea, along with one of those nasty bran muffins she's always trying to get me to choke down. When I found her, she was slumped over an evidence log, all curled up on the couch in the breakroom. She always looks so carefree when she's dozed off somewhere, and that time was no exception. All those worry lines seem to disappear, and I can almost see what she must have looked like as a kid.

I sat down beside her on the couch and set the stuff down on the table before I tried to wake her up. At first I thought I'd gotten her up on the first try, but then she just laid her head on my shoulder and wrapped herself up around my arm. I quickly realized she was still asleep, but the words that fell from her lips left me wondering if I wasn't sleeping too.

She snuggled in a little closer and mumbled, "'To sleep, perchance to dream…' But you have to put me to bed first, Gil."

I was totally dumbfounded. I mean, I knew they'd been getting along better, and that they seemed to be working cases together again, but I just couldn't believe that it had gotten that far. The only thing that made sense was that the kid must've been dreaming. I nudged her again and when she finally opened her eyes, the blush that fell over her face told me I might need to adjust my radar a touch. She was way more embarrassed than somebody caught dreaming. No, she was just caught.

At first I played it off like it was nothing; told her to go crash out in the bunk room, so she could dream in peace. But we weren't fooling anybody, least of all ourselves. We both knew she'd been busted, but I had to give the kid her dignity, and if a little white lie could do that, then I was all for it.

Later, when she was ready, we talked about it… In a round about way, anyhow. Always with the theoreticals, or like we were talking about somebody else. That was, until the first time she crashed out at my place.

I guess they'd gotten into some kind of beef, and true to form, my old buddy couldn't seem to talk it out. Instead, he closed himself off and managed to piss the kid off enough she couldn't stay at home. Of course, that was also when I found out they'd moved in together. Those two are more closed lipped than I am, and that's saying something.

Still cracks me up that here they are, having this whole relationship, living together, and nobody's figured it out yet. Hell, it was dumb-luck that I found out, but these are smart folks and professional investigators, and they don't have a friggin' clue! But at least I've got one over on the queen of gossip herself, because she doesn't even think Gil's had a date in three years. Shows what she knows, huh?

Before Nicky finishes up with his phone call, Gil finishes his crossword puzzle (with a little help from the owner of that arm he's been stroking for the last ten minutes), and they decide to call it a day. It's funny though, because Gil waits a full thirty seconds after Sara leaves the table before he gets to his feet to follow after her. Makes me wonder why nobody else has figured it out, what with them being so damned discreet and all.

When Nick walks back to the table and notices that it's just me, he looks at the door to see Gil surge ahead to hold the door open for his lady fair. From the shake of his head and the smirk on his face, I think I might finally have a little company to share this secret with.

I lift up the coffee cup and prepare to take a sip as Nick sits down when I nonchalantly ask, "How long for you?"

Nick looks startled, almost like a deer caught in the headlights. This is gonna be good.

"Ah, what do you mean?" Nick tries to play it off by plopping the last bite of his bacon into his mouth and looks away.

"Gimme a break, cowboy… You know exactly what I'm talking about." I gesture to the pair of cars leaving the diner parking lot, heading off in the same direction. "The Geek-Love Boat sailing off out there."

He finally cracks a sideways smile and chuckles. "I guess Warrick's right… You are the bigger gossip."

He's still trying to play it cool, but let's face it, I've been interrogating perps since before he was sucking his thumb. "Gossip nothin'… Cold hard facts, Nicky my boy."

"Yeah… How long have you known?"

I shrug, knowing that Nick is just trying to keep things quiet. "'Bout a year, or so."

He nods and says nothing else, and I gotta respect the kid for his loyalty. He and Sara have always shared this twisted kind of buddy/sibling thing, with just a hint of sexual tension. Basically, they both like to use flirting as a way of keeping attention off of their unease in certain situations, but at the same time, they seem to have some weird kind of common bond that makes them very comfortable together. I have no idea what it is, but it works for them, so who am I to question that.

After a while, I figure the conversation is over, but then he asks, "What do you think about it?"

Without hesitation, I voice my answer, "About friggin' time." It must've been the right thing to say, because he busts out laughing. All of the tension immediately melts away and we both sit back in the booth to relax.

"Yeah, it's been rough watching them dance around all these years, huh?" Nick shakes his head with his question.

"Tell me about it." I continue to casually sip from my coffee cup when I add, "But at least they're trying."

He asks about how I found out, so I go into the whole story. Nick laughs through the whole thing, and I realize that he's really come a long way with his recovery process. The kid's got a big heart, and it feels good to see him using it again.

Just when I think all the surprises are done, I decide to ask him the same question. "So, how'd you find out?"

The kid just shrugs and then speaks like it's no big deal. "Sara told me."

"She just told you? Just that easy?" The smirk on his face tells me there's a little more to the story than that.

"Well, it might've had somethin' to do with the fact that she had me over a barrel, so she figured I couldn't spill it without gettin' busted myself." Now he's got me curious, but before I can ask the question his cell phone rings. He takes a guarded peek at the display, checks the text message and shines one of those little boy grins before he closes it up and stuffs it back in his pocket.

Now, I'm a detective, and I've been around the block more than a few times. But let's face it, a rookie could have figured this one out, if only they were paying attention.

I know exactly what makes a guy walk around with a look like that, and I also happen to know that Nicky's been spending a lot of time around the lab lately. Then there's the fact that his days off got switched around a few months back, and of course they just happen to coincide with somebody else's unique schedule. But the capper to the whole thing; two people taking the same two weeks off coming up on the vacation schedule. All of this adds up to those folks working at CSI not being as smart as they think they are. How can not one, but two couples be fooling around under everyone's noses and no one sees a thing?

The kid gets up from the table, throws down his cash and tries to make an excuse about why he's got to get moving.

"Yeah, right…" I'm getting' too old for all these games. "Have a good one, Nicky… And do me a favor, huh?" I've got his attention now. "Tell Mandy that I've got a fresh ten card for her tonight."

All of the blood drains right out of Nick's face as I get up from the table and throw down my own share of the check. I have to admit I'm feeling pretty good right now. I just love being able to show-up the egghead patrol.