A/N: The muse is refusing to let go of the last episode over at NY, and is instead mulling over this… uh… kinda dark piece. To some, this Nick might seem a tad OC, but as of lately the muse has wanted her leading men to be…well… more "human" and less "one-dimensional". So if you love reading stories starring Saint!Nick, this might not be a suitable story for you. If you don't mind taking a walk on the wild side, then come on in. Who knows? You just might find this interesting…

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They wouldn't have been there, not when they were on duty early next morning, but it was Cath's birthday and she had insisted on them taking a few hours off from their everyday routine. Even Grissom had agreed to make an appearance, despite the fact that he wasn't a night club creature. Greg, on the other hand, had been hyped by the idea, and kept bugging Sara to dance with him. After her third icy brush off, he decided to change tactics and began sweet talking Mandy, who wasn't as tough to please. Warrick had asked the birthday girl to dance, joining Hodges and Wendy who had hit the dance floor almost as soon as they had arrived, and provoking more than one raised eyebrow among the whole crew.

Nick had been nursing a drink ever since he had arrived and although he hadn't missed a thing going on at the table, he hadn't been an active participant, either. Sara and Grissom were so into each other, it was amazing that they weren't even touching and yet you could almost feel the intimacy between them. Brass had been in soft conversation with Sofia, who had already turned down two invitations to dance by two hunky guys and a drink offer from a curvy brunette. Nick had heard the rumors that she might be gay, or bi at the very best, and he had to admit to having wondered about it himself. He had this nice lil' fantasy stashed away in the part of his brain he used while jerking off before going to sleep, and it shamed him just a tiny bit to admit that such fantasy involved the blond detective, a perky redhead and himself.

He decided to finish his drink and go home, since he was obviously a 5th wheel at the table and nobody would sorely miss him if he did leave. Just then he noticed the blond girl at the table across from him. She looked slightly famil… oh yeah… he remembered her. Quite vividly, now that he thought about it. She had been looking his way for a couple of times, and the next time she did, he made sure to smile brightly at her. A couple of smiles later, he headed towards her and they were soon dancing… and then some.

Sofia looked at them, wistful expression in her face flashing for a moment, returning to her drink and her friend.

"If you ask me," Brass mentioned, lightly, "You should have asked him yourself if you wanted to dance with him." Sofia's icy stare made him add hastily, "which of course, you didn't, or else you'd have done so in the first place, so never mind..."

"Contrary to popular belief, Jim, I AM an old fashioned kind of gal… if he was interested in dancing with me, he would have asked. But judging by what's going on at the dance floor, I'll dare say that "dancing" is the furthest thing in his mind right now…"

Brass looked at the dance floor, wrinkled his nose, and turned back to Sofia. "If it's any consolation, it does mean he respects you…"

"Yeah... right… what's this fixation of yours with me and Nick, anyway? You'd be getting a closer hit if you started on Cath and 'Rick…"

"Nah… those two have gotten boring… I've been expecting them to fall in bed for 5 years now… not much fun there, I can tell you. Granted, I never saw that idiot marrying someone else coming, but it added to the drama for a while. Now that he's separated they're pussyfooting things again… You and Nick, on the other hand…"

"Me and Nick, what?" interrupted Sofia, hoping the darkness of the place hid the pink tint her cheeks were surely showing.

"Kiddo, I've worked with you two long enough to know that you're not the shining smile type… except when you two are paired together. Then you smile so much even my cheeks hurt. It's sickening, Fia, really sickening. Buy hey, last time I checked, "de nial" was still a river in Egypt, so what do I know?"

Just then, the band ceased to play and everyone returned to the table to order another round of drinks. All except Nick, who muttered something about "going outside to get some fresh air", which brought on male catcalls and whistles and female eye rolling. Brass looked at Sofia before taking a sip of his drink. "Like I've never heard that one before" he muttered, to no one in particular.

Nick and the blonde never made it to his truck. As soon as they reached the alley they were all over each other, and Nick remembered liking this particular characteristic in her. She wasn't huge on conversation, at least not the traditional concept of conversation, but she knew what to do with that mouth of hers just fine, thank you very much, and it wasn't long before she had him against the wall, her hands on his jeans, and getting on her knees to continue the "conversation" with his better half, in her opinion, at least.

He closed his eyes and allowed himself to enjoy the feeling. He was a romantic, true, but he was weathered enough to know that he wasn't going to find true love clubbing. Sex, however, was an entirely different matter, and the sole reason he went clubbing in the first place. One night stands used to leave him emotionally drained, but after months turned into years without a solid relationship, and especially after his own buried alive ordeal, he had learned to take them for what they were: outlets for his frustration. Pleasurable outlets. He just made sure that he always had protection handy and that the girl in question enjoyed herself as well, and that was about it.

Experience had thought him which girls were still looking for Mr. Right and which were on the hunt for a Mr. Right Now, emphasis on the "now" part. Those were the girls he preferred to hook up with lately. No need for conversation, no need to play the wooing game, no need to debate on whose place to go to. Most of the times, a back alley or the back seat of the truck would do. Just sex, that was all it was, and it sure beat masturbation when it came to achieving physical release.

Nick closed his eyes and allowed himself to enjoy the oral ministrations this girl was regaling him with. She was good, damn it, and pretty soon she had him moaning out loud, caution thrown to the wind for a couple of minutes. However, things didn't end up as he had planned, as he was pushed away not so gently, and he opened his eyes in time to see the girl stand up, upset written all over her face.

"Jerk! This may be just sex, but at least have the decency not to moan out another woman's name while I'm sucking you off! My name doesn't even begin with an S! Idiot!" And she stormed off, leaving a bewildered and almost fully aroused Nick behind.

He waited a few minutes before redressing. Refusing to even think about what had just happened, for deep down he was pretty certain whose name he had called out, he headed for his truck, realizing a tad too late that he had given Warrick the keys so he could stash some of his stuff in there while they were at the club. Nick had two choices then: either wait for 'Rick to come out and pretend he was just getting finished with business, or walk back into the bar, endure the not-so-gentle ribbing from the guys, get his keys and get home. Checking on his clock, he decided to face the crowd, as sitting here for at least another hour was going to mean analyzing his feelings and he didn't want to do so just them. The club gave him a legit excuse for not thinking about it for at least another hour, and if he was lucky, he'd get smashed enough to be able to "forget" about it for the time being.

Nick knew he wasn't even kidding himself. It had been a while since she started popping up unannounced in his sexual fantasies, and he was aware of her name dripping from his lips when he indulged in them. So far, so good, or at least, that's what he had told himself… just a harmless fantasy, which was all it was. But then he had a couple of daydreams about her as well… romantic daydreams for lack of a better definition, and he had been momentarily worried. He had chased the notion away, telling him that she was, indeed, one hell of a woman: smart, strong, independent, witty, sexy without even trying… the guy she ended up sharing her life with was going to be one lucky bastard. But it wasn't as if he wanted to be THAT lucky bastard, was it? All it meant was that he wanted a woman like her for himself. It didn't necessarily mean he wanted HER. He bought that line along with a nice bridge over the Hudson Bay, and life had gone about its everyday business. Until tonight. Tonight was the first time that he was aware of, that he had called out her name when in company of another woman. Nick briefly considered looking for her once he got back in order to apologize, but he quickly discarded the idea.

He slid quietly back in his chair, hoping everyone was so engrossed in whatever nonsense Greg was spinning to realize he was back. No such luck.

"Back already? So soon?" was Greg's not-so-kind welcome, and everyone turned to see a halfway embarrassed Nick looking down ant his almost empty glass.

"Air was too cold for her liking" he mumbled, hoping Greg would get the hint.

He didn't. He began pestering him with all the innuendos he could come up with that involved the usage of the word "cold" or any other synonym, and none of them were flattering for the older CSI. Nick held on in silence, but his mood was getting somber, so he finally decided to put and end to the jesting.

"Crime stopper" he growled simply, and Greg got the message. His neck and shoulder muscles had taken some time to recover from the Texan's grip after the whole "crime stopper" joke and he wasn't willing to risk another close encounter with Nick's right hand any time soon. So he shut up.

The band began playing again and Sara, Grissom and Brass took it as their cue to bid their good night. The rest of the crew got up to dance, leaving only Nick and Sofia at the table. Sofia silently wished she hadn't just ordered another drink so she could have left with Jim and not be stuck in this situation. Granted, she had never before felt uncomfortable around the CSI, but she could tell just by looking at him that he was in a foul mood, so she pretended to be fascinated by the wedge of lemon in her whiskey sour.

"Come on. Get it over with."

She looked up, surprised.

"Excuse me?"

"Crack the joke already. You know you want to. I'm a grown man, I can take whatever it is that you dish out…"

Sofia looked up at Nick and seemed to be in deep thought for a moment or two, pondering his request, and for a moment he regretted having put himself in such a vulnerable position. Suddenly, she smiled brightly and got up.

"Shall we dance?" she asked

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A/N: Just in case you're wondering, a quagmire is an awkward, complicated, or dangerous situation from which it is difficult to escape… thought you might find the information useful…