Nick needed to cool down, so he went to the break room. It was empty, and he was glad. He sat at the table and forced himself to relax. Warrick didn't know what he was talking about … so what? Just forget it. Just let it go.
The horrible part was that he couldn't. He couldn't just forget the look of knowledge on his best friend's face when he had asked about the so-called "date".
Nick sighed in frustration and pushed his chair back slowly. He couldn't figure out why he was so annoyed. Was it the fact that his best friend had figured out his secret without any help, or was it the fact that what Warrick had said had almost given him hope for something he had long wished for?
So what if Nick had lusted after Greg for quite some time? So what if he had long given up on ever going out with the younger man … of ever holding his hand … of ever kissing him …
A man came rushing into the room, a slip of paper in his hand.
"Nick, you have a 419 out on the strip. Take Greg with you. Here's the address. Brass'll meet you there," Grissom said quickly as he dropped the piece of paper on to the table and practically flew back out of the room.
"Okay," Nick mumbled aloud, reaching for the paper.
After almost resorting to calling the Level One CSI, Nick finally found him in the layout room talking to Sara. He knocked once and entered, immediately realizing that he was interrupting something.
"Hey Greg, Sara," Nick said, smiling quickly at Sara. "We have a 419," he told Greg. The younger man's eyes were expressionless.
Sara glanced between the two men, and quickly rose to her feet. She patted Greg softly on the shoulder and exited the room without a word. Nick flashed a questioning look at the younger man, but he didn't respond.
Greg got to his feet and Nick could tell he was planning on leaving, but what was going on?
"Hey, G … we can't work a case together if you're ignoring me. If you're planning on leaving, how are you gonna get there? You don't even know the address," the Texan said, his fist tightening around the slip of paper.
Greg stopped, not turning around.
"We're a team, G. We have to be able to talk."
The younger man slowly turned on his heel, his lips trembling slightly, his arms crossed tightly across his slender chest.
"I guess being your teammate means we're just friends, right?" he asked softly, his dark eyes boring into Nick's.
"What … what are you talking about?" the Texan questioned him quickly, his heart rate skyrocketing. Had Warrick told him about … about-
Greg stared fiercely at Nick before closing the distance between them. He plucked the paper out of the older man's hand and gazed at it for a second. He then held it out to the older man, and Nick took it.
"I know the address now," Greg told him, an unfamiliar, monotonous tone entering his voice. Nick had never heard Greg talk like this before.
"I'll meet you out front," the younger man said as he swiftly left the room, leaving Nick standing all by himself, more confused than he'd ever been in his life.
Nick found Greg standing outside the building, holding his kit and tapping his foot almost impatiently.
"Sorry, I didn't keep you waiting for long, did I?" the Texan asked, flashing a smile at the younger man. Greg didn't reciprocate. He didn't even acknowledge the older man; he just started walking towards the company Denali.
Nick had had enough.
He raced after Greg and roughly grabbed him by the arm, spinning him around. Greg glared at Nick, his eyes filled with a smoldering fire. His mouth was set in a thin, hard line, and his shoulders were quaking slightly.
"Greg, this is enough. What the hell is going on?"
Greg emitted a loud noise of frustration, and he put his kit down on the pavement. He put his hands on his hips, and he continued to glower at Nick.
"Are you that oblivious? Honest to God, Nick! That's pathetic."
Nick didn't move a muscle; he was waiting for it all to come out. The truth. When realizing that he wasn't going to retaliate, Greg stepped forwards, getting right in Nick's face. The younger man's eyes were almost like two bottomless pits, a fire burning in their depths.
"Did it mean so little to you that you don't think it's worth remembering? It took me years, Nick, and you don't even realize. You still haven't figured it out, and you call yourself a CSI."
"Realize what?" Nick asked, visibly stung by Greg's words.
"THAT I LIKE YOU, OKAY?" Greg exploded, his words hitting Nick like a ton of bricks. "That I'd always wanted to ask you out, but it'd taken me years to do it! You don't know how hard it was for me to ask you out to one measly little breakfast. Do you have any idea how fast my heart was beating? At that moment, it wasn't as if my heart would keep beating if you said no." Greg's eyes flashed furiously when he saw a shadow of a smile cross Nick's lips. The younger man balled his hands into fists, and his face started to go red.
"Whatever, Nick. You obviously have no fricking clue how hard it was for me to ask you out. No idea how many times I'd tell myself that I was going to do it that day, and I never did. The one time I did do it, and you didn't understand. This … this is just bullshit. Pure bullshit. I'm totally through with this! Just do-"
Greg's words were cut off as Nick's lips met his own. The Texan had his arms wrapped around the younger man, his fingers twisting locks of Greg's silky smooth hair as they kissed. They broke apart after a few moments, both of them breathing hard.
Greg took a step back, the rage completely gone from his eyes. He tried to say something, but the words didn't come. Nick waited, and finally Greg forced out the words he had been meaning to say.
"What … what was that?" he asked, still breathing deeply.
Nick half grinned at Greg, and he licked his lips. He could still taste Greg's peppermint breath on them.
"You demonstrated that talking about feelings wasn't working, so I decided to show you."
Greg flushed again, but he also had a wry smile on his face.
"And you couldn't have done something like that before I made a fool of myself out here … in public?" Greg asked him, waving over his shoulder at a car that had honked at the pair.
Nick tried to hide his smile, but he wasn't having any luck with that, so instead he just shook his head and picked up his dropped kit. Greg did the same, and they both set off for the Denali without another word. A few people (who had obviously been watching their public display of affection) whistled and hooted. Nick felt the back of his neck burn, but he didn't turn around.
Once at the truck, Nick went to unlock the passenger side of the vehicle, but Greg blocked his path, a determined look on his face.
"How do you just go back to work after that? People saw us … it's going to be all over the lab by the time we get back."
"What can you do about it?"
Greg's dark eyes widened in shock.
"You-you don't care?"
"Nope," he replied. "I know the truth now, and that's really all that matters to me. I'm done caring what other people think."
The younger man considered him for a minute, a thoughtful expression on his still semi-shocked face.
"The only person I ever told was Sara," Greg said slowly, still watching Nick. "Did you ever tell anyone? Warrick?"
Nick shook his head.
"He sort of uh … figured it out for himself."
Greg laughed, a wide smile spreading across his face.
"Yeah, he's a smart guy … but that still doesn't answer my question of how you just get back to work after what just happened. I-I don't think I'll be able to focus," he finished weakly, a more serious expression replacing the grin.
"The way I think of it," Nick began, gently moving Greg out of the way, "is that at work you gotta be professional. What you do after work is … well … your own business, so you can do whatever you want."
"And what do you want to do after work, Nick?" Greg whispered, putting his mouth close to the older man's ear. His breath tickled slightly.
Nick tried to resist the urge to turn around and taste Greg's mouth on his lips … to wrap his arms around the younger man and never let go … so instead he said, "Oh you know …" He let the sentence drop and he unlocked the Denali. He turned to go unlock his own side, but Greg (once again) was in his way. Greg's eyes were lit up with an internal light, and Nick could see the lust in those bright eyes.
"Greg …" Nick began, silently cursing the growl that was in his voice, "we really should go to the crime scene …"
Greg sighed theatrically and backed off, allowing Nick to pass. As the older man walked by him, Greg grabbed his sleeve for a second.
"And if what I wanted to after work involved chocolate sauce, you'd say …"
"As long as it wasn't peanut butter, I'd uhh … be okay with it?"
Greg burst out laughing and patted Nick on the shoulder and hopped into the Denali, leaving Nick standing there, once again confused.
As he stood there, the Texan realized that Greg would always confuse him. The younger man's actions, his words, his body language … it had been messing with his mind for years, and he'd continue to do it just because he knew it bugged Nick. As this thought flashed through his mind, he grinned. That was another part of Greg that Nick loved, and he wouldn't want it to change for anything.