Rating: Pretty much PG.
Summary: Gil has never been to Nick's apartment before. Perhaps he will learn something new. Based partly on a wonderful advert for Guinness, of all things. Also drew a little inspiration from Sara's Girl's wonderful fic 'The Observer.'
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of CSI or its characters, and I make no money out of this. I also don't own the Guinness advert.
Genre: Shameless fluff, I'm afraid.
Gil Grissom had a filing system. It was neat. It was orderly. It was very full. It was in his head.
Grissom was, by nature and by nurture, a person who looked at a situation once and was immediately flooded with tiny but crucial details.
And as such, one needed a way of organising those little details, other wise one might just go mad. And so Grissom had developed a filing system, much like the one in his office, but this one was substantially more interesting. And probably more efficient.
There were many files in his system. One of those files was labelled 'Nick', another was labelled 'Catherine', another 'Warrick', and so on and so on, until Grissom was fairly sure that he had an accurate representation of the list of personnel kept on file at the Las Vegas crime lab. Some of the papers within these files contained headings such as 'date of birth' or 'place of residence' or 'hobbies' or 'family' or 'background' or even 'eating habits.' The list when on. On closer inspection, Grissom was fairly sure that he had accumulated an almost indecent amount of information on his co-workers. But he could not help it if people unconsciously gave away this information. And he could not help it if it was in his very nature to hoard this information. That was who he was. It was also his job. It just happened.
However, increasingly often lately, something had been disturbing him.
Despite the fact that he probably knew them better than anyone else did, he had never been to the homes of any of his colleagues. He had never had reason to. Therefore the issue had never come up. For some reason this disturbed him.
And that oddly disgruntled feeling did not ease as he walked up to Nick's apartment. It was so strange, he saw this man every day at work, knew practically everything there was to know about him, and yet he had never been to his home. And it felt odd now that he was finally doing so. Literally and figuratively stepping into this man's personal life was something he had never done before. And to see the little personal touches to the man's home would be, he predicted, a rather odd experience. But an enlightening one.
He rang the doorbell, and after a few seconds of silence, he heard some muffled noises coming from inside the apartment. Then the door swung open abruptly, revealing Nick Stokes wearing nothing but a pair of boxers.
The man's wide-eyed, shocked gaze amused Grissom, as did the slight flush that came to Nick's cheeks as he registered the utter horror of his supervisor seeing him in this state. It was clear to see that Grissom was the last person in the world that Nick expected at his door. Interesting. This foray into his subordinate's social life was obviously as strange and new to the other man as it was to Gil.
"Nick. I'm sorry, I tried your phone, but it seemed to be disconnected."
And immediately the flush to Nick's cheeks darkened slightly. Very interesting.
Grissom raised his hands slightly as a peace-keeping gesture, in an attempt to quell the near-inevitable uprising his next statement would bring.
"I know it's your night off, but we're swamped right now and Ecklie's starting to get antsy. We've got a performance review in a few weeks, and it's not going to look good if we're still working through several nights of backlog." Grissom levelled an even stare at the younger man. "I need you to come in."
Nick's eyes widened slightly, then immediately narrowed as the man tossed his head back in annoyance, a sigh escaping his lips.
"Grissom, come on man." Nick gave his employer that strange, half-imploring and half-stern look that always let you know that you were way out of line. "You know I've been clocking up overtime for weeks. You can't refuse me this night off."
Another subtle raise of the hands. "Look, Nicky, I'm sorry, but it's out of my control." An almost pleading look over the rims of his glasses. "You can reschedule the time off and have an extra night to reimburse you for this one."
Nick's gaze remained locked with his supervisor's for a moment, a battle of wills, at first silently asking if this was really, truly necessary, then with an air of defeat, telling him that he had better keep his word. Finally, Nick broke of the staring contest, sighed and then smiled wistfully at Grissom, seeming to remember that he probably had double the amount of pressure on his shoulders at the moment.
"Alright. Sure. Come on in, make yourself comfortable." The smile becoming a little warmer now, Nick gestured for his boss to enter the apartment.
The door clicked shut behind him, and Nick wandered off towards a door which was slightly ajar, and from which Grissom could see a dim glow, like the light given off by a bedside lamp. The bedroom, he decided.
"I'll just be five minutes." Nick called over his shoulder, wandering lazily through into the other room. Grissom made some perfunctory reply, his gaze already sweeping around Nick's abode.
It was...not what he expected. He wasn't really sure what he had been expecting, he realised with some surprise, but this wasn't it. The walls, various tables, and the counter that separated the kitchen and the sitting room, where all a pristine white. The carpet was a cool, calming blue, giving the place a nice relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere that Grissom thought suited Nick well.
But then there were the other things that somehow didn't seem to fit with Grissom's estimation of Nick. Several posters of bands and what Grissom could only assume were video games added startling but not unpleasant splashes of vibrant colour to the walls. The matching games console and impressive array of games were sticking out from the very Nick-like, sleek entertainment area, having evidently been in use recently. The controller was thrown down next to the cream sofa, and a game case lay open, manual hanging out, next to the TV screen. Odd, considering that Nick had never been untidy. Grissom had a feeling that his parents would not approve.
As he looked around the room, Grissom spotted many more of those little inconsistencies. The kitchen housed fresh fruit and vegetables in small baskets, and this did not surprise Grissom in the least, as he knew full well that Nick always ate well-balanced meals, and had a fondness for organic vegetables. What Grissom was not aware of, however, was Nick's love of brightly coloured children's cereal, the packets of which were lying around various benches in the kitchen.
After his roaming eyes caught and logged many more of these curious contrasts, the only conclusion that could possibly fit this slightly bizarre situation was that someone else was living with Nick.
But he had not caught wind of a girlfriend. Now and again Nick would mention certain girls, the names of whom tended to change from time to time, but then any talk of them would quickly fizzle out, and despite Warrick's teasing to the contrary, Nick never really spoke of any of them as one would speak of serious, long-term girlfriends.
But his ears perked up slightly at the sound of Nick's voice drifting from the bedroom. And then, a short pause later, and Grissom's ears sat up to full attention as there was a soft, muffled mumbling in return. Bingo.
His curiosity fully peaked, his eyes tracked Nick carefully as he made his way from the bedroom to the bathroom. He didn't bother to shut the door, and when Grissom heard the shower running, he looked away for a moment. He was an observer, not a voyeur.
When the sound of the shower stopped, Nick came traipsing out of the bathroom with nothing more than a towel wrapped around his waist, and made his way to the bedroom once more, again neglecting to shut the door.
Movement in the bathroom caught his attention and, much to Grissom's amusement, he could see that Nick, in his early-night bleariness, had left the place in a complete mess. There were several towels slapped carelessly to the floor, the sink had a toothbrush, toothpaste and several tubs of skincare or hair care products abandoned in its depths. And in the dim light, Grissom could just about make out the figure of another person diligently and patiently clearing up after Nick. A quick hand darted out to gather up all the towels, dry the floor, and put all the items in the sink back to their proper place.
Well and truly bemused now, his curiosity screaming at him to investigate further, Grissom turned his eyes back to the bedroom. Nick stood, clad only in jeans, and was rifling frantically through a chest of drawers for a suitable shirt, systematically picking one, regarding it, and then rejecting it by throwing it to the floor.
This new, untidy Nick was a source of great puzzlement to Grissom. He had always thought of Nick as the most tidy, orderly person in the crime lab.
Nick suddenly flew past, rushing from the bedroom to the kitchen at top speed, throwing out a breathless, "Sorry Grissom, I'll be with you in a minute."
After issuing a sort of reassuring sound from his throat, the supervisor's eyes flicked from the bathroom in search of the seemingly tidier stranger. The bathroom was empty now, and spotless. But the bedroom was similarly empty, and now all the discarded clothes were nowhere to be seen, and the previously rumpled bed was neat and tidy.
Then Nick's voice drifted from the kitchen, low and warm, affectionate even.
It was only one word, but Grissom somehow felt as though he was intruding. But before he could dwell on that for much longer, Nick emerged, coffee cup in one hand, a slice of toast in the other, looking as smart and well-groomed as ever. He breathed in deeply, as if bracing himself for the night's work. He smiled at his boss.
"Right, ready to go." He announced, draining the liquid in his mug, then holding his toast between his teeth as he unlocked the front door once again.
Thoroughly puzzled and bemused, Grissom reluctantly followed Nick out the door, deciding that it would be rude to linger to try to catch another glimpse of the stranger.
However, before Nick was even fully outside the apartment, there was a little motion from behind them and an intake of breath as someone leaned outside the door, as if preparing to say something.
Grissom turned, and was nothing short of stunned to find Greg Sanders just coming out of the apartment to stand in the doorway, a curious, affectionate and slightly expectant look on his face, and one hand braced on the door as he leaned forwards slightly.
Grissom was certain that his eyes must have widened ever so slightly as he saw Nick turn and give Greg the first proper smile he had the supervisor had seen that morning. He grinned brightly, walked back towards the apartment and leaned in to give Greg a kiss on the cheek, which drew a dazzling smile from the younger man.
Then, as quick as it had happened, Nick was back by Grissom's side and walking towards the exit. Stunned, Gil's feet managed to keep on walking, turning back once to see Greg wave. He still smiled, but a slightly uncertain look passed across his face as his eyes met with his employer's.
There was barely enough time to give Greg a reassuring smile of his own before he followed Nick outside to the waiting car, still more stunned than he had ever been.
It occurred to him that, perhaps, just because you knew all about somebody, did not really mean that you knew them.
His filing system would have to be rearranged.
For those interested in the Guinness advert, just type into Youtube's search bar 'Guinness gay commercial.' It's the first one you come to. Apologies, as I would give the link, but does not seem to like it.