Chapter One: Dance Hall Daze
They had finally brought the case to a conclusion. Greg wasn't sure they ever would; of course part of his lack of faith stemmed from the fact that he hadn't had a good chance to study the back of his eyelids in almost forty hours. He was beyond exhausted, but so, so glad the case was over, and that he had more than proved his worth. He still had bouts of insecurity regarding his place on the team, misguided though they may be. But he had proved himself this time, bringing in and processing some of the most critical evidence and even outdistancing his colleagues…they'd all been able to take breaks and rest. And now, he just needed to get home to that wonderful, soft, amazing bed.
It was not to be, at least not yet. Sara and Catherine begged and pleaded and wheedled him to go celebrate with the crew. That didn't convince him, but the good natured teasing finally did. He agreed to go as long as he didn't have to drive…he was so tired he was already too impaired. Sara agreed to get him there and promised to find him a way home, even if she had to spring for a cab. Thus decided, the team made it's way to a club Catherine recommended, where the music pounded and the drinks flowed easily.
Grissom snagged them a table with a good view of the floor, choosing to take a seat in the corner and settle in to people watch. The girls each had a drink and ordered one for Greg, though he only sipped at it. The rest of the team filtered in, grabbing a drink and eventually heading for the dance floor. The girls each grabbed one of Greg's hands and pulled him with them, Grissom laughing as Greg ineffectually tried to bat them off. Once the three of them had made it to the floor, Nick sauntered in and took a seat next to Gris.
"Not dancing tonight, Nicky?" Grissom queried, after Nick had placed an order with the waitress for a light beer.
"The Texas Two-Step is a little more my speed Gris," Nicky yelled over the swell of the music. " Where's the rest of the team?"
Instead of answering verbally, Grissom merely nodded his head towards the dance floor. Nick grinned as he watched Greg mock dirty dance with both Catherine and Sara. "He really proved invaluable, didn't he?" Grissom asked loudly. Nick cocked his head at his supervisor, confused, as he took the beer the waitress handed him. "Greg. He's still thinks he needs to prove himself. He's been on the clock for the last two days, straight. He didn't go home when you guys did…he stayed and helped in the lab." Nick raised his eyebrows and stuck out his bottom lip, impressed, as he took a swig from his bottle and looked out towards the floor. He watched, tired but not exhausted, but still mesmerized as the house lights lowered and the colored spot lights played the floor. The music changed, and Greg broke off from the girls to dance on his own with an expression on his face like he knew the song, it had special meaning or it was an old favorite. Soon a small group of people formed around Greg though he seemed ignorant to the fact, his eyes closed, his bottom lip between his teeth, and his hands in the air as he moved to the music.
Nick found himself standing on the edge of the dance floor, though he didn't remember standing up or moving away from their table. He glanced back at Grissom quickly, who merely nodded him on. Another moment and he was standing in front of Greg, his eyes still closed. Nick marveled at how the other man moved and how other dancers would edge into his space and move against him; Greg would never open his eyes but would dance a few steps with them as if it had been choreographed that way, then move on. After what seemed like hours but was only a few seconds, Greg turned his way and opened his eyes, looking into Nick with something akin to bafflement. Nick felt his heart stop.
Greg felt almost stoned, he was so tired. And yet, he somehow kept moving on the dance floor with the girls. He drifted away from them, though, as the lights dimmed and an old favorite with a heavy bass line thrummed through the speakers. He felt the vibrations through to his sternum, and in that moment, numbed by exhaustion, eyes closed, his whole world pulsed. Until he opened his eyes to see his colleague standing in front of him with an almost unidentifiable look in his eye. In that instant, Greg felt like his heart, or time itself, had stopped. It couldn't have, though, as he could feel his pulse throbbing heavily at his neck, sure that anyone looking could see it pulsing from a mile away. But something in his chest clenched to see something so…unexpected. In the microseconds he took processing it, he thought it might be desire…but then he discarded that. Desire was too refined, too Harlequin Romance, too…something. This was so much more primal. Want. That was the word that Greg decided was reflected in his colleagues eyes. Pure, unadulterated, painful want. Like a starving man looking at seven course meal. Greg tipped his head, confused. Nick blinked. From somewhere behind Greg someone rocked into him and his attention diverted, for just a moment. When he turned back around, Nick was nowhere in sight. Greg shook his head, groggy. He panicked for a moment, thinking maybe he'd been drugged. He looked towards the bar, then the stage, and focused his eyes sharply. No, he seemed coherent. He shook his head and headed for the bar. After snagging the bartender he headed back to their table and slouched down in the seat next to his supervisor.
"Having fun, Greg?" Greg nodded at this, but said nothing, still feeling a bit confused. "You did a great job on this case. I appreciate it." Greg smiled his thanks at this.
"Boss, I need a favor," he started as the waitress starting putting glasses on the table. Grissom raised a graying eyebrow in question. "Put me in a cab in thirty minutes, will you?" Greg slid one of the glasses full of whiskey towards his supervisor, who nodded thanks, and lined five more up in front of him. He handed Gris his house keys and his wallet, and threw back the first shot, grimacing and shuddering at the delicious burn of aged whiskey. Grissom merely shook his head as he sipped appreciatively at his, letting his eyes wander back to the dance floor.
Nick had made his escape from the dance floor like a sneak thief caught in the act. He rested his hands on either side of the sink in the men's room, leaned over and splashed more cold water on his face, not caring that it streamed down his shirt as well. He allowed his weight to pull him forward until his forehead connected smartly with the large mirror over the sink. Not moving, he allowed his eyes to travel up and finally greeted himself in the mirror. What. The. Fuck. What was that? Nick pulled himself away from the mirror and turned off the water, wiped his hands on his jeans. He assumed a stiff posture as he tried to pull himself together and re-evaluated his reflection. He shook his head as he headed back out into the pulsing music. He needed to say goodbye and head for home before any more insanity overtook his obviously overworked brain.
After having touched Catherine and Sara briefly on the shoulder and smiling a goodbye to them, Nick headed for the table he'd started the evening at. He was a little startled at what he found. His supervisor continued to scan the dance floor, but cut his eyes frequently to what, once, had been Greg Sanders. The pile of dozing, drooling CSI sprawled his long arms over the table ungracefully, and Nick found himself smiling broadly in relief. He wrinkled his nose in thought at that. Was he relieved because Greg would not remember what, if anything, had happened on the dance floor? Or that he hadn't had to make eye contact again with him so soon? Nick scratched the back of his neck as he shook his head at himself.
"Can you help me get him to a cab?" Grissom asked loudly.
Nick shook his head and pulled the younger CSI to his feet by rough grips on his wrists. Greg stood and swayed on his feet. Nick bent and hoisted him over his shoulder, the younger and thankfully slighter man flopping down his back inelegantly. "I'll get him home, Gris. Give me his keys." He stuck the keys in his front pocket and headed for the door, Greg over his shoulder. Greg's arms dangled haphazardly over his own head, banging into the back of Nick's thighs as he walked. "Yeah, yeah," he said to himself as he shook off the wolf whistles as he gripped the back of the man's thighs to keep him steady. One cute redhead even offered to be next. He shook his head again as he headed for his truck. Once there, he bent and set Greg carefully on his feet, leaning him against the side of his truck while he unlocked the door. After a bit of an awkward struggle he had Greg belted into the seat, an empty trash bin at his feet. Tentatively he held Greg's face in his hands for just a moment, lightly slapping with one to wake the man. "Greggo, you in there?" Greg nodded blearily. "Bucket at your feet. You hurl all over my truck and we're gonna have issues. Got it?" Greg nodded again and let his head fall back until his cheek pressed, catlike, into the cool of the glass window. He sighed and a small snore left his half open lips. Nick snorted as put his truck in gear and headed for the other man's home.