Disclaimer: Characters from the CSI Universe are used without permission but with no intent to defraud.
Author's Notes: This was written as a Christmas present for modestroad (after much heckling). It's my first CSI fic and it's uber-cheesy and slightly OOC. You have been warned. Betad by the wonderful mayalaen.
This story contains SLASH so if you do not like it - or don't know what it is - then DO NOT READ. Thanks :o)
It was snowing outside the lab, a soft, light flurry that was dusting the ground with white. Greg blew warm air into his cupped hands, reluctant to return inside to get his gloves from his locker.
The air was still, the sky heavy with snow-laden clouds, and Greg drew his knees up, tucking his chilled hands between his knees.
He heard the soft swoosh of the lab doors opening behind him, and sensed, rather than heard, someone stepping outside. There was silence, and then an amused, "What the hell are you doin'?"
The young CSI lifted his head at the familiar Texan drawl and half-turned, looking up from where he was sitting on the step outside the building. "Hey, Nick. We got a case?"
"Nah, man, just wondrin' where you'd got to." Nick walked over to stand beside Greg. "Any reason you're freezin' your ass off out here?"
Greg blew on his hands again and rubbed them together. "Just watching the snow. It's," he tipped his head to the side, thinking, "peaceful, I guess."
Nick looked out at the snow and then back down. "Yeah, but it's not worth getting frostbite over," he said, tugging off his own gloves and dropping them onto Greg's lap. "Here. Before your fingers drop off."
Greg frowned, staring at the gloves, looking back up with a mixture of gratitude and concern. "What about you? Don't you...?"
Nick patted him solidly on the back. "No problem, man, I've got another pair in there." He pointed a finger across the car park to his Tahoe parked at the end of the row, and without saying anything else he set off across the snow-covered tarmac, breath puffing out in soft white clouds.
Greg slipped the gloves on quickly, relishing the warmth from the Texan's hands. He watched the other man open his car door and lean in to retrieve his other gloves. He tried to ignore the fluttering feeling in the pit of his stomach that ignited when Nick pulled free of the truck and turned back around, caught sight of Greg watching, and flashed him one of his toothy smiles.
"Get a grip," Greg muttered under his breath, smiling back, dropping his eyes to his gloved hands as the Texan returned to his side. "Thanks," he said.
"You owe me one," Nick replied. With surprising grace for one so muscular, he lowered himself to the ground, sitting down on the step beside Greg, long legs stretched out in front of him.
He was close, too close, their shoulders almost touching, and Greg fought the instinctual urge to move away. This was getting ridiculous, this irrational nervousness he felt whenever Nick got too close. Oh, he was not naive enough not to realize it for what it was - attraction - but he had to get it under control; if there was one thing he knew for sure, it was that any feelings he had would not be reciprocated.
The peacefulness he'd felt earlier, before Nick had joined him, was gone. He jigged his foot up and down, part of him wishing that the Texan would return to the lab, part of him desperate that he stay.
"You okay?" Nick asked, eyeing Greg's bouncing knee.
"Yeah, great. You okay?"
"Uh-huh," Nick said slowly. "Look, if there was something you wanted to talk about?" His hand hovered uncertainly in the air before resting on his own knee.
"No. Why would there be?" Greg asked, flicking his eyes to Nick's face and away again.
"You seem a bit... restless."
I wasn't until you showed up, Greg thought. "'M just cold."
"Right. So," Nick said, pulling his knees up a little, "You do this a lot?"
"Watch the snow."
Greg's fingers began to tap an uneasy rhythm on his kneecap. "Sometimes. It's good just to sit out here, away from it all."
He could feel Nick tense. "Jeez, man, I'm sorry. You came out here for some quiet, and then I appear." He started to push himself to his feet. "I'll go back in, leave you..."
Greg's hand whipped out and grabbed the sleeve of Nick's coat before he could even process what he was doing. "No, it's fine," he said. "Stay."
Greg nodded, removing his hand with an embarrassed half-grin as Nick sat back down.
They sat in silence for a little while, Greg's knee still bouncing, although not as much as before. Every nerve in his body was on alert: any movement Nick made, he was aware of. It was distracting and disconcerting, like having an itch he couldn't scratch.
His fidgeting fingers were desperate to touch, to slide the gloves off and run his fingers through the Texan's shorn hair, pull him into a kiss, feel the taste of those wide lips against his own.
He could smell Nick from where he was sitting: coffee and the faint traces of disinfectant from the lab. A mild aftershave that barely masked the Texan's own seductive aroma.
"Are you going home for Christmas?"
It took a moment for Greg to realize Nick had spoken and another for him to martial his own thoughts enough to formulate a reply. "Er... yeah. All the family visit."
"Mine, too." Nick didn't sound that pleased about it. "It's great, seeing the whole gang – all the kids and my folks – but sometimes it'd be nice if...," he broke off, and Greg saw he was frowning.
Nick noticed his look and smiled a little. "Sorry, ignore me."
"No, I get it. They're a bit much at times. Like they all gang up on you at once." Greg looked back at the snow. "At least that's how it is when I go home."
"It's nice to see them, but it'd be nicer if they just let you get on with your life, right?" Nick nodded and Greg continued. "I'll get 'Why are you throwing away a great career?' or 'You could get yourself hurt again' or 'When are you getting married?'"
"Oh yeah, the 'where's the lucky girl?' speech."
"Every year." Greg grinned. "Well, at least I won't get that one this year." He paused, paling as he realised what he's just said. Shit.
"Why not?" Nick was looking at him.
"I... er..." Greg floundered for a lie that would sound plausible, but nothing came to mind. "I... I told them I was gay."
"You told 'em what?"
"That I was gay," Greg repeated, risking a glance at the Texan, unsurprised to see his stunned expression. "Kinda puts a damper on their whole spiel."
"Am I what?" Greg began to question, looking over at Nick. "Am I really gay? Pretty much, yeah."
"I didn't know," Nick said softly.
"Well, it's not something you advertise. No badges or anything."
"Have you always been gay?"
"Mostly," Greg replied honestly. "Girls are okay, but they just don't have the same effect. Bit like eating vanilla ice-cream when you'd rather have chocolate."
Nick chuckled. "Nice analogy."
"Thanks," Greg said, grinning a little. "My folks weren't quite as impressed with it."
"Are they okay now?"
"It's just a bit... awkward."
Nick sat up straight. "Hey, you know what we should do? Christmas together. No folks, no family. Just two guys and some beers."
"What?" Greg asked, startled. "What about your girlfriend?"
"The blonde you were seeing. Um... Pat... Pam..."
"She's long gone," Nick said, slinging his arm around Greg's shoulders. "Nah, hey man, just us two; it would be great, really."
"I... I don't think that would be such a good idea," Greg replied, frozen under Nick's hold. Let go, let go, let go, his mind screamed.
Nick turned his face, frowning. "Why not? You like me, right? We'd have a great time. Beers, the game on TV; sure we could get some pizza somewhere."
"Yeah, I like you. That's... It's just..."
Nick's brown eyes were boring into his, searching, and even as Greg spoke, he could see Nick making the startling realization. "You like me," he said, and to Greg's surprise didn't immediately pull away.
Color rose to his cheeks. "Let go, Nick. We'll just forget this conversation; you go back into the lab, I'll come in a bit later."
"You like me," Nick repeated, his face edging closer. The sides of his mouth were edging up into a grin, one hand tugging a glove free, and Greg frowned. "Why the hell didn't you say something sooner?"
And then Nick's lips were on his, and Greg couldn't think, couldn't breathe, all he could feel was the solid strength that was Nick surrounding him, and it was Nick's gloveless fingers stranding through his gelled hair, Nick's mouth tasting his ferociously.
Greg's fingers grasped at Nick's coat, holding on tight, as around them the snow began to fall heavier, frosting them in a shimmering halo of white.
And as Nick's fingers slid underneath his thin jacket, chilling his warm skin, Greg decided that pizza and beer sounded like a helluva way to spend Christmas; he'd never liked turkey much anyway.