A/N: Hoping to have the first fic of the New Year, I'll post this (hopefully) at 12:01. Eastern time. Sorry if any of you Brits decided to post right after your new year, but that was seven o'clock my time, way before New Years. Not offending anyone, just speaking fact. So I hope you enjoy, everyone!
And just so you guys know, since I have these guys working in shifts that begin at twelve, it's technically the next day that they go into work, making in logical that Nick would told he had New Year's day off instead of New Year's Eve.
Disclaimer: I'm sorry. I don't own CSI, or Nick and Greg. There were no hot investigators under my Christmas tree this year! :'( Oh, BTW, since I was too lazy to alter my already-made up author's notes in the last chapter of Branches, I just wanted to wish everyone a MERRY BELATED CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
It was just after ten o'clock on New Year's eve when Nick Stokes woke up from his dead-to-the world slumber. The land of nod had claimed him just after coming home from a long double the previous night, after which (to the relief of the whole team) Grissom had announced that, since the entire day shift had gotten Christmas off, it was only appropriate that his team be allowed New Year's Day off.
He blushed when his stomach growled loudly, and immediately wondered at his reaction, as there had been no one to hear it growl, and sighed, getting out of bed. He felt a bit over-heated, so stripped of his nightshirt on the way to the kitchen. His elderly neighbor had been over earlier in the day with cookies and some left over ham from dinner with her children. Nick had barely taken time to place the ham in the fridge and toss the cookies in the jar before he had gone back to bed.
He reached the kitchen and was immediately drawn to the jar of cookies. It was filled, half with Mrs. Bleknap's peanut-butter-chocolate-chip cookies, and the other half with some Ginger Snaps his mother had sent him so he, "Didn't starve over Christmas."
Reaching into the jar, he dug through it a bit and gripped an object at random, his hand surfacing clutching a small ginger snap. He bit into the three-bite cookie, relishing in the spiciness of it, and turned towards the fridge, wondering if he had any milk left. These were the types of things he always looked forward to on Christmas, and he could suddenly tell why his mother was so disappointed in his last-minute announcement of his not coming home for Christmas, so potent was the wave of home-sickness that made itself known in that moment in time. Glancing at the clock after discovering he was, in face, milkless, he wondered if now would be a good time to call his parents. It had to be approaching midnight by this time in the Lone Star state, and he definitely wanted his mother to atleast hear his voice, welcoming in the New Year with them via land connection.
But right now, he needed to satisfy his need for sustenance. Uncovering the cookie jar again, he wondered if he shoulder take another one, before placing the lid back on it and decided it would be a good idea to at least have one warm meal this week (His last four meals had consisted mostly of whatever the vending machine had stocked, a few carrot sticks, and half a lunch meat sandwich Catherine had the kindness to offer from her own lunch/dinner/whatever the meal in the middle of shift when you worked graveyards was called.)
After his little breakfast/dinner/midnight snack of nuked ham and that one of his mother's ginger snaps, he walked his plat over to the sink and placed it in the basin, running some hot water over it before placing it in the dishwater to be ran later when full. Turning back around to face the rest of the apartment, he wandered, nearly absent-mindedly, into the kitchen, and picked up the phone, debating who to call. If he called the house, he ran the risk of having someone other than his mother picking up the phone, and though he loved every one of his sisters and brother, he didn't want to get caught up another two-hour production like Christmas, which would undoubtedly turn up on his phone bill as a crippling charge that would mean he had to watch his spending. What a great way to start the New Year.
On the other hand, if he called his mother's cellphone, someone would probably get jealous.
Just as he decided to risk the never-ending conversations and call the house, a knock on his door stalled his fingers half-way through dialing.
iNow what sorta idiot is knockin' on my door at ten-thirty at night?/i Nick thought, as he walked across the room and glance out the peephole.
"Sanders?" Nick mumbled to himself, furrowing his brows. What the hell was Greg Sanders doing standing on his doorstep at nine-thirty at night on New Year's Eve? Didn't he have someplace to be? Relatives to visit? Friends to hang out with? Or, if nothing else, a club scene to dominate?
Apparently not, Nick thought, as the Californian was standing on his doorstep in the flesh, bouncing on the balls of his feet, nearly vibrating with that internal energy that he seemed to posses.
He unlocked his door, the thought of, "I'm shirtless" momentarily flitting across his mind, quickly followed by, "Why should Greg care?" before opening the door wide.
The second the tech heard the creaking of the hinges, Nick was blinded by Greg's grin. "Hola, Nicky!"
Nick blinked. "Hey Greggo. Ah…What're you doin' here?"
"Eh…Sara was busy…So I came to bother you instead!" Greg replied, pushing his way in the apartment. "No, I'm here to visit with you, Nick! Somethin' wrong with that?"
The question, "Greg, are you high?" momentarily threatened to burst forth, but Nick smothered the inquiry, as he got a look into Greg's eyes and saw the pupils weren't irregularly sized.
"So, what're you doing for New Year's eve, man?" Greg asked as he flung himself, uninvited, onto the couch.
"Well…I was planning to sleep until a reasonable hour, then get up and maybe go the grocery store."
Greg's eyes bugged out of his head in incredulity. "Seriously? Durring the year's biggest party, you're at home, sleeping?"
The last word was almost a whisper, and Nick snorted, just hoping (More for his sanity than Greg's) that he younger man was being comedic.
"You're joking man, right?"
"No!" Greg replied, offense knitted into his very being at that moment in time. "Nick, my friend, have you even glanced at the news? The streets of Las Vegas have been turned into night clubs! You have no idea how much I had to deviate on my way over here! Residential streets all the way, and we only live like four blocks away from each other."
Nick had known this; after all, it had been Greg who suggested a vacancy in an apartment complex near his. That had been about two years ago now, back in the days just after the Nigel Crane incident. Everyone on the team had gone house-hunting with him on day or another, trying to put in their friendly opinion. But Nick had decided that an apartment was the best for him. This revelation after a life-long hate of apartment buildings was a surprise to even it's revealer, but the reason was almost instantly worked out for all involved. (Quite simply, Apartment building + people living above and below him = no attic, and a reduced risk of intrusion.)
"I haven't seen the news, really," Nick replied. "I've been asleep, after all."
Greg shrugged, and flipped on the TV, bringing up the guide and selecting a news channel, which was broadcasting a streaming video of the activities on the strip.
"Christ," Nick muttered, staring at the scene of drunken guys and half-dressed women flaunting themselves shamelessly in what seemed to be an open-air club established right in the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard.
"Looks awesome, doesn't it?" Greg asked. Nick was suddenly under the impression he was back talking to one of his frat buddies, and almost expected the next words out of Greg's mouth to be something along the lines of, "Come on Nicky, anyone who's anyone's gonna be there!" but instead all the came out was something akin to a snigger as the flipped the television off again.
"So?" as the chosen statement of Nick the Linguistics Genius
"So," Greg said. "We never had anything like this back home, and this is the first year I've been free! It looks awesome and I wanna experience something like this before I'm old and can't appreciate the complete awesomeness of the whole thing!"
Nick nodded slowly as though dealing with a small child of a particularly dim suspect. "Uh-huh. And what's keeping you from doing this? Better yet, how do your plans involve me?"
"This isn't something you do alone, Nick," Greg said, turning Nick's own superior demeanor back at him as though schooling a child. "So I'm recruiting you. You need some excitement in your life."
"You've told me that before…" Nick muttered as he advanced across the living room towards his younger coworker, a conversation from long ago flitting across his mind. ("Don't you ever do anything exciting? Get out there? Break rules?" "Not really" "Well you should.")
Greg nodded. "I know."
They stared at each other for several minutes. One trying to size the other up, the other staring his opponent down.
"Please Nick?" Greg asked, smiling a pitiable smile.
"Don't you have any relatives to visit, Greg?" Nick sighed, sitting down on the couch and rubbing his eyes.
Greg frowned. "No…my whole family's in California…you didn't know that?"
Nick's head snapped up, meeting confused mocha. "No…I didn't, actually."
Greg shrugged it off and a second later his smile was back, shining with it's own light source into Nick's eyes. "Pwease, Nicky?"
Nick sighed, rolling his eyes. "Okay, fine."
Greg let out a squeak that Nick would have found perfectly acceptable coming from an eleven-year-old girl, but which from a grown man was a little disturbing, and flopped back into the couch beside Nick. "Great! Go get dressed!'
Nick rolled his eyes, but followed the command, Greg yelling after him, "Dress kinda warm! Vegas is kinda nippy tonight!"
Half an hour later, they pulled into a pay-parking lot after Greg paid the guy at the gate ten dollars, and they hopped out, walking down the street and into the mess of people that was Las Vegas Boulevard on New Year's Eve.
"So?" Greg yelled over the hum of many people talking and yelling, and music pumping through speakers placed everywhere along the street. "What do you think?!"
"Uhh…" Nick mumble-yelled. "First impression is still settin' in, Greggo."
"This is great," Greg told him, grinning up at him. "It's like a street fair, a concert, and a club all at once!"
"I like street fairs," Nick replied agreeably.
"Half an hour to kill," Greg mumbled after glancing at his watch. "Ever heard the story of first footing, Nick?"
"What would that be?" Nick asked, glancing up from his own phone, which he was using to text message his sister Nichole. ("Guess where the hell I am, Nikki?"
"Well, the legend goes that right after the Hogmanay, or Christmas Eve in Gaelic, a tall, dark, hansom stranger is supposed to show up on your doorstep and ask to be let in. You're supposed to let him in, offer him food, or drink, usually whiskey, and then he'll give you gifts, one of which is good fortune."
"Didn't know you were Scottish, Greg," Nick replied, suddenly realizing how little he actually did know about his blonde coworker.
"Not," Greg replied. "I'm Norwegian on one side, Irish on the other. But my best friend growing up was Scottish and she told me the story."
"Ah," Nick replied.
Greg suddenly looked up at the same time as Nick looked down, and they meant eyes for one electric second – Chocolate meeting Mocha for the shortest of split seconds – before a gentle blush coated the younger man's cheeks and he diverted his gaze.
"Are you my first-footer, Greg?" Nick asked, smiling down at Greg, ill-disguised amusement laced and spun delicately into his voice.
"Nah," Greg replied. "I was actually the last person in your house before the Hogmanay…besides, the whole thing doesn't work for blondes…fair-haired people are bad luck."
"You think you're bad luck?" Nick inquired jokingly.
"Not really," Greg replied, looking up and smiling a bashful smile. "And hey, you're brunet, and the legend still works for a resident of your house…you just have to be the first person in when we walk in…then we can go to my house and I'll feed you whiskey. What's my present, first-footer?"
Nick grinned. "How about…"
Then, the craziest thing Nick had ever done (this from a man with very poor impulse control, despite his up-bringing) he leaned in and took Greg's lips in a gentle kiss, while the crowd around them erupted into a unanimous chant of, "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" and Greg murmured into his mouth, "Happy Hogmanay, Nicky…"
Nick gave a grunt of agreement and pulled the tall, strange, hansom man he held closer.
Three out of four wasn't bad.
A/N: Incase you were wondering, I'm Scottish, speak alright Gaelic (Which is a dead language anymore, really) and have heard the legend of the first footing quite a few times. Before anyone complains, I may have altered the story a bit. Such as – The first footer usually gives things like coins…not kisses. Lol. And the first footer can be male or female, not that I distinguished, but just so you know. But certain parts I kept completely true. First-footers do bring good luck, and it can be a resident of the home.
Sorry if anyone's offended by my alterations. But just think of this: I come from a culture-loving family of Scotts, and I'm not offended by it. So…
Thanks to everyone who read!
P.S. – And I can NEVER be the first-footer, because I'm a BLONDE! It's always my mom, or my sister.