A/N: Dedicated to Anmani with love and sympathy. Hers are the first undercover stories I read and she inspired me.|
Greg watched his boyfriend as he pushed himself up on his elbow in bed, his powerful bicep bunching as he listened to whomever was on the other end of his cell phone. He trailed a finger over the muscles rippling along Nick’s ribcage. Nick caught the wandering hand and covered it with his own, holding it flat against him.
“Okay, I’ll be there in half an hour.”
Greg tried to pull away, rolling onto his back, but Nick held him close. “I’m sorry, babe. Grissom…”
“I know, I know, there’s been a horrific quadruple murder and only you can solve it,” Greg said in a resigned tone. “How are we supposed to have a sex life with all these doubles and triples?”
“Well, you’re no slouch in that area either, baby. Sometimes it feels like the only time I see you is at work.” Nick kissed his boyfriend thoroughly and rolled himself out of bed.
“Yeah, but I work in the lab. I don’t have guns drawn on me or get tossed out of windows,” Greg said with a pout.
Nick opened his mouth to point out that enduring an explosion and treatment for third degree burns was nothing to scoff at either, but stopped himself in time. It had only been a year and Greg was still a little sensitive about the word explosion. “You want more excitement in your life? Aren’t I enough?” he demanded, striking a body builder pose.
Greg laughed. “Yeah, you’re enough, you’re more than enough.” He sighed.
Nick eyed him curiously as he dressed. “Still thinking about applying for the CSI spot?”
Greg nodded. “Yeah, going to that pawn shop undercover for that case with the guy who stole the coins, that was exciting.”
“Were you scared?”
“Nope.” Nick sat on the bed and tipped Greg’s head up, looking at him sternly. Greg broke. “Okay, okay, maybe a little. The guy did have a mean look, but I was wired and there was back up right outside. What could go wrong?”
“Plenty could go wrong,” Nick said emphatically. “Look, I was a cop, I worked some undercover. There’s always the unknown factor, some little thing happens, the bad guy gets nervous and it’s a whole new ballpark. Even as a CSI, things happen.”
“Yeah, I know,” Greg said softly. He hugged Nick tight. “Don’t let anyone get the drop on you today, okay, big guy?”
“Okay, baby. See you at work.” He dropped a kiss on top of Greg’s flattened bed hair and picked up his keys.
“I’ll make coffee,” Greg called after him before flopping down on the bed. Fuck, Grissom must have some kind of secret sonic telepathic spidey senses; the man’s timing was unbelievable. Whenever they weren’t too tired, or had a couple hours between shifts and were about to get into it, the phone rang. Greg was beginning to think his boss had some kind of vendetta; he had no sex life himself, so he dedicated himself to making sure his subordinates didn’t either.
He stroked his cock slowly, still half hard from what they’d been doing when they’d been so rudely interrupted. Greg still sometimes found it hard to believe that he and Nick were an item. And some of the role playing games they’d gotten up to lately had been very… inspiring indeed. Greg closed his eyes, the better to visualize the scene where he’d been the sub and Nick the Dom and had him in chains. His hand moved faster and his hips were flexing. Nick had looked so hot and Greg had gotten a secret little thrill at being ordered onto his knees to take his lover’s cock in his mouth. He replayed the scene in his head until his hand was just a blur and the room echoed with the sound of flesh slapping on flesh, until the hot cum spilled over his hand and he came with a cry.
The sweat cooled on his body and he drifted back to sleep with a little smile on his face.
Nick stopped in the locker room to chuck his bag in his locker and hurried down the hall to Grissom’s office. He poked his head in, seeing his boss busy with Jim Brass.
“You rang, Gris?”
“Come in, Nick, have a seat.”
Suspiciously, all his instincts for trouble signaling fight or flight, Nick crossed to a chair and sat down.
Brass got up and closed the door.
“What? What’s going on?”
Grissom glanced at Brass, tilting his head in that way he had. Nick couldn’t determine whether he’d done something wrong or there was a particularly twisted case they were going to ask him to work on. Suddenly his heart started pounding. Had Catherine told them?
“Nick, you used to be a cop, you were on the job,” Brass started.
Nick took in a huge gulp of air, unaware that he’d been holding his breath and his heart rate started to slow down. “Yes, sir, I was.”
“Do any undercover work?”
“Some.” Nick shrugged as if to show that he didn’t consider himself an expert. “Some drugs, some vice.”
“Good, good,” Jim said and stood up to pace.
Nick watched him patiently. Sometimes he wondered how Grissom and Brass managed to get along. Two such patently alpha males didn’t leave a lot of room for anyone else to strut and posture. At first he’d tried to assert himself, but even he knew it was only as a result of his own anxiety. As he’d grown more secure with his own abilities and his knowledge of himself, he no longer needed to go head to head with the bulls.
“I also worked as a life guard in high school and I was a weight stacker in a gym,” Nick said mildly.
“What?” Jim stood and peered at him suspiciously.
Grissom chuckled. “Thank you, Nicky. How did you do at your last qualifying test at the range?”
“You’re a crack shot, Nicky, don’t hand us a load of shit,” Brass barked crisply. “I don’t know, Gil, this modesty act he pulls, it’s not right.”
“Don’t be hasty, Jim. You wouldn’t say that if you’d heard Nicky telling me that we didn’t need another me around here.”
Brass studied Nick’s face as Grissom spoke. “I’m not sure you’re right for the job, Nicky, but I need someone to go undercover. Someone who’s not in Vice, who can play a part and keep their wits around them. Someone who is used to noticing things.”
“Wait just a minute.” Nick held up both hands. “I’m a CSI now, it’s been a long time since I was a cop. I’m not in practice any more, I’m not sure I’ve got the chops.”
“You wouldn’t be going in alone.”
“Who would be going in with me?” Nick asked curiously.
Brass cleared his throat. “We’re, uh, having a little trouble with casting. We need to get the lead in place before we can select someone to go in with him.”
“Okay, you lost me. What kind of job is this, anyway?”
Grissom leaned back in his chair, observing owlishly behind his glasses.
Jim couldn’t seem to settle himself. “I’m not going to give you the particulars, the fewer people who know, the better. If you decide not to do this, it’ll be better if you don’t know. But I have to send two people in, and they have to have a certain kind of chemistry. They have to appear to belong together in a very particular way.”
“Like a couple?” Nick licked his lips anxiously.
“Not exactly, but it is a relationship, a particular kind of relationship.” Brass stopped and peered at Nick. “It’s for your own safety.”
“Like a married couple or something?” Nick laughed. “Just send Warrick and Catherine.”
Gil looked up at him sharply but didn’t say anything.
“Warrick has the presence, but unfortunately, the people we have to infiltrate, let’s just say, they aren’t equal opportunity socializers. Sending a black man wouldn’t get us anything except a very offended Warrick. Waste of time,” Brass concluded tersely.
Nick shifted restlessly. It seemed as if neither Grissom nor Brass had anything to add. “Well, it doesn’t seem like you can tell me enough for me to make an informed decision and I’m not going to just jump into something like this. So we’re at an impasse.”
Both the older men simply looked at him.
Nick sighed. “When you can tell me a bit more, let me know.” He got up and left the room.
Grissom pushed his chair back, clasping his hands behind his head.
Brass chuckled and hit the intercom on Grissom’s desk. “Get all of that?”
“Yes,” came a woman’s amused voice. “He’ll do. Now let’s see your candidates for the other half.”
Nick was out in the field with Warrick and Brass, assigned to a robbery and Nick was wondering just why Brass was on the scene with them. It seemed like a routine case; the perp hadn’t even been smart enough to wear gloves. Warrick worked silently and efficiently, but Nick kept tripping over a number of cute, young cops. There were four of them, doing nothing in particular, but they always seemed to be underfoot when he turned around. He shut them out of his mind, focusing on his work. One of them in particular, a slender blonde, kept asking him questions and it began to dawn on Nick that he was being deliberately flirtatious.
He grinned inwardly, thinking this guy needed some lessons from Greg in that department and stepped around him for the umpteenth time. The blonde finally jostled his arm as he was packing a sample and Nick lost his patience. “Easy there, bucko. Just step over there and don’t move until I tell you to,” he snapped.
Jim’s head whipped around and he surveyed the scene with a suspicious tugging at the corner of his mouth when the blonde hopped promptly to the corner that Nick indicated and stood at attention.
The other three uniforms kept their distance and Nick was finally able to finish his work.
The taller black man looked up and nodded. “Just about, Nicky. Meet you at the truck.”
Nick picked up his case and walked over to Jim, speaking softly. “Sorry, Jim, just didn’t want to have to explain in court that some cop fell in my lap while I was gathering evidence.”
“No problem, Nicky,” Brass said mildly. “He was cruising for it. Maybe he’s another CSI wannabe, like your buddy at the lab.” He wondered why Nick flushed at that comment.
“Well, he needs some training then,” Nick laughed. “Maybe you can get their sergeant to suggest they keep their feet out of the evidence.”
“Will do, Nicky.”
Nick held out his hand to Warrick. “I’ll take it. I’m going that way anyway.”
Warrick handed over a couple of plastic bags containing evidence to be tested. “Gotta get your coffee, huh?”
“Yep.” Nick flashed a big grin.
“You never used to be so hooked on coffee before Greg started with his private stash,” Warrick teased.
Nick flushed but cracked back, “Never had such good coffee before. It’s addictive.”
Warrick looked after him with a smile. “Bet that’s not the only thing that’s addictive.” He laughed and shook his head, before returning to his work. It was so cute how Nick thought he was fooling everyone, you would have to be blind not to notice how he and Greg looked at each other.
Nick walked to the lab and stood outside the glass doors, watching Greg absently bopping his head to music as he worked over his samples. He went inside and turned off the boom box and Greg looked up in the sudden silence and smiled when he saw Nick, his eyes glowing.
Nick took half a quick step forward and stopped himself before he got any closer. “Hey G,” he said softly.
“Hey,” Greg answered. “Ready for coffee?”
Nick nodded and handed over the evidence bags.
“Let me just finish this up,” Greg said. He turned back to his printer and grabbed the printout. He looked it over and shuffled it with some other papers, shoving them into a folder. “Gotta deliver this. Break room?”
“Meet you there.”
Nick poured two cups of coffee and Greg bounced into the room a moment later.
“Thanks, Nicky.” Their fingers barely brushed as Nick handed the cup to Greg. “So what was so important that Grissom had to roust you to come in early?”
“Actually I’m not sure. It was weird, he and Brass were just kind of staring at me and asking weird questions about when I was a cop,” Nick shrugged, not wanting to keep anything from Greg but feeling that he couldn’t tell him everything. Anyway, it didn’t really matter seeing as he wasn’t going to be doing whatever it was they’d failed to tell him about.
Grissom walked into the break room and Greg immediately asked, “Coffee, sir?”
“Thank you, Greg. I love your coffee,” Grissom replied. “Nicky, got a moment?”
Greg handed a cup to the older man and bustled to the sink to wash his cup out. “I can take a hint, boss.” He winked at Nick behind Grissom’s back and flew out the door, lab coat streaming behind him.
“I’d like you to come to my office after your shift, if you would,” Grissom said.
Nick lifted his brows. “More about that thing before?”
“Yes. I may need to ask you to reconsider. Sometimes when the wind blows in from the north, we just need to put on a sweater.”
Nick shook his head as he looked after Grissom, hoping that one day he might understand the man’s cryptic haikus.
Warrick said, “Check it out, man, twice in one day. Are you in trouble or something?”
“No, nothing like that. Just… something’s come up,” Nick said in a muffled voice as he struggled into his shirt.
“Fill me in later, dude.” Warrick knocked knuckles with Nick. “We should get a beer.”
“Yeah, sure,” Nick agreed, knowing that he’d be having that beer only if Greg had to work late. He went down the hall for the second time that day entering the office with a little feeling of déjà vu when he noticed that Jim Brass was in the room with Grissom.
He walked in and shut the door himself this time, assuming that they would be discussing the potential undercover assignment again. He was right.
“Nicky, we need you for this assignment,” Jim Brass said, holding up a hand like a traffic cop. “Hear me out. Most of the Vice cops are too well known in this community and we need someone like you. You’ve got to do it.”
“I don’t know anything at all about the job. How can I just say yes? You’re going to have to fill me in,” Nick said firmly.
“Come with me,” Brass said, and opened the door, leading the way to one of the holding rooms. Nick and Grissom followed silently. Nick’s head was spinning. Why would they need him? Why wouldn’t a real cop do?
The blinds were all pulled down so once inside, Nick was shocked to see Lady Heather sitting in one of the chairs.
Grissom walked straight to the beautiful woman and raised her hand to his lips, brushing it slightly. “Lady Heather.”
As if she were a queen receiving her subjects, Lady Heather inclined her head to acknowledge the men as they greeted her. Brass circled the table and sat behind it, his persona powerful enough to deflect attention from Lady Heather.
“Lady Heather, you remember Nicky Stokes from that case involving Mona Taylor.”
Lady Heather nodded, her unusual, omniscient eyes raking over Nick in a way that made him feel as if she could see straight into his very core, cataloguing all his secret desires while feeling faintly amused by them. “First of all, you must stop calling him Nicky,” she commented.
“Why?” Grissom asked with interest.
“It’s a diminutive, not very powerful. Nick is a powerful man, we need him to feel his power.” Her serene face didn’t change as she continued to study Nick coolly. “Has he agreed?”
“No, I haven’t,” Nick said bluntly. “And I won’t until I know what’s going on.”
“Verrrry nice,” Lady Heather murmured with a faint smile. “I think we’ve chosen well. Take off your shirt.”
“No, I will not take off my shirt!” Nick stood to go and Lady Heather rose to her feet, putting a gentle hand on his arm.
“Please, Mr. Stokes, we need your help.”
Slowly Nick nodded and sat down again. “Fine, but I’ll be keeping my clothes on while you tell me what this is all about.”
In silence, the two older men looked at each other and deferred to Lady Heather.
Tranquilly, she started to speak. “There is something disturbing going on in the S&M community. People are too scared to talk and that’s not normal.”
Nick snorted. “And the S&M community is?”
“Please, Mr. Stokes, don’t judge something that you know nothing about. It ranges from a game to a serious 24/7 lifestyle, but the guiding principals are safe, sane and consensual.” Lady Heather paused, watching his face. “However, something is going on that is in no way safe, sane or consensual.”
Nick paled. He turned to Brass. “This is the undercover job? No way!” He stood again and Grissom stopped him.
“Please hear us out. We’ll tell you the whole story.” He paused to collect his thoughts and Nick sank back slowly into his chair, a frown on his face. “We have three unsolved murders. To us they appeared to be unrelated. We went into the backgrounds of the victims and there was no reason to assume that any of the cases were connected.”
“Except for the jewellry,” Brass chipped in. “It took some time to notice because in one case it was a ring, one an earring and one a nipple ring. They all bore the same insignia. In fact, if Grissom hadn’t been visiting Lady Heather,” he glared at his friend with deep disapproval, “No one might ever have made the connection. That and the fact that all the bodies bore marks of recent torture.”
“Discipline,” Lady Heather corrected. “Nothing that in itself would cause them to die.”
“Jesus,” Nick breathed. “You want me to go undercover in an S&M club. Fuck, no!”
“Why?” Lady Heather asked simply. “Are you afraid?”
“Hell, yeah! I don’t want to get whipped for some sick fuck’s jollies. It’s not my idea of fun,” Nick exploded.
Grissom said, “Calm down, we want you to go in as a Top.”
“A Top of what?” Nick yelled, although he knew perfectly well what Grissom was saying.
“Don’t be disingenuous, Mr. Stokes,” Lady Heather broke in. “It doesn’t become you. It may not be your lifestyle, but you’re not ignorant of it and even if the people being murdered are sick it has to stop. It’s not right.”
Nick sighed. Somehow Lady Heather knew just what buttons to push; he wished he had that gift. It would come in so handy sometimes at work. Justice was a big issue for Nick and he did this work because of his earnest belief that he could help make the world a better place, not merely to catch criminals. “Fine, tell me what’s happening.”
“Does that mean you’ll do it?” Brass pounced.
“It means what it meant this morning, I’ll consider it only if and when I have a better idea of what’s expected of me,” Nick growled. “And why are you here anyway?” he asked, turning to Lady Heather.
“As a consultant,” she said with her lovely smile. “You and your… sub are going to need some coaching to be able to pull this off safely. I’m here to see you get that. And also because I feel a responsibility to my community. People who wish to play this way have a right to do so in safety. I don’t like seeing people that I know and respect hurt or killed.”
“So there’s more to this than the three DBs?” Nick asked shrewdly.
“Yes. There is a hierarchy. One can’t simply pick up a whip, declare themselves a Top or Dom and walk into a place like mine and just start beating people. I myself have been thoroughly and safely trained for this.” Lady Heather took no notice of Brass’s head whipping around to look at her or Nick’s widened eyes. He couldn’t imagine anyone topping her. Grissom alone looked unshaken as he listened.
“There are Masters, Doms and junior Doms. The junior Doms still work under the supervision, shall we say, of a Dom or Master. Some of the juniors have started showing up a little the worse for wear, showing marks that they shouldn’t have. Some subs are showing signs of what amounts to torture. And then there are the people who’ve been murdered. Two Doms and one sub.”
“And what do you think is happening?” Nick licked his lips nervously.
“People who are attracted to this lifestyle are interested in power, or rather, more accurately, the exchange of power. What is the ultimate power game but that of life itself, or rather death?”
“So there’s a homicidal, sadistic serial killer who likes beating people and you want to send me in there as bait?” Nick’s voice rose as he scrubbed his hands through his hair.
“No, of course not. We want to send you in to see if you can get a lead. So far, we’re clueless,” Brass interjected. “Lady Heather has rejected all the candidates I put up from the force. We need a person with some experience as an officer. Your undercover experience is an added bonus and hell, one of the victims drowned, maybe your lifeguard gig will come in useful too.”
“And what do I have that a well trained, on-the-job police officer doesn’t?” Nick demanded hotly.
“None of them are good looking enough,” Lady Heather answered. “And you have the right build.”
Nick squirmed and flushed, feeling as if he was a piece of meat although Lady Heather’s gaze was dispassionate.
“And we don’t have much time for training,” Brass said. “We have to get someone in there and soon. It’s not acceptable for DBs to keep popping up like this.”
“Training?” Nick asked in a tone of deep foreboding.
For the first time, Lady Heather laughed. “Don’t worry, Mr. Stokes, I’m not going to whip you. In fact it’s more likely that you’ll be the one to whip someone, but you have to be able to hold your own in an environment that is strange to you. I’m here to make certain you are in the least amount of danger possible.”
“And you and your partner will be wired. We’ll have back up all around the place,” Brass added. “All we’re hoping for is you go to the club, hear the gossip, have a drink or two, and come back out. Piece of cake.”
“No alcohol,” Lady Heather said firmly. “Whips and alcohol do not mix.”
“And who would be my partner?” Nick asked, secretly relieved that he would be playing the Top and pitying whoever was stuck being the sub.
“I have a selection for Lady Heather to approve,” Brass said. “Nick, stay here and we’ll watch from the other room.”
Grissom escorted Lady Heather out while Brass fetched the four young cops who Nick had been bumping into at his last scene. “Guys, please have a seat. You know CSI Stokes, from earlier today. I’ll be right back.”
Nick looked nervous, hunted almost as the four young men smiled at him. Laboriously they tried to engage him in small talk only to be rewarded with monosyllabic answers. He felt miserable. How would he be able to carry off a role like this when he wasn’t even comfortable talking to four uniforms in a familiar setting. He shook his head.
Lady Heather watched through the two-way mirror, flanked by Brass and Grissom. “They won’t do.”
“Why? Nick isn’t an officer now. We can’t send him in without an officer,” Brass insisted.
“There’s no chemistry between him and these boys,” Lady Heather pointed out. “The Dom/sub relationship is a very subtle one. When it works really well, the two people are so in synch that anybody can recognize the depth of the attachment between them. Besides, I’m sorry, but all your officers are stiff and military. That’s fine for a Dom, not for a sub. I’m afraid that these men will also not obey Mr. Stokes.”
“Obey? Of course they won’t…” Brass trailed off as he realized what he was saying.
Lady Heather’s glance was amused as she turned to look at him. “Thank you for being honest at least.”
Brass fumed silently.
“We’ll have to find someone else. Perhaps I could supply–”
“No, it has to be one of ours, I can just hear the sheriff now if I send a citizen into harm’s way,” Brass snapped.
“One of mine would be more at ease, know what to expect,” Lady Heather suggested gently. “It might actually be safer for Mr. Stokes.”
Grissom spoke up. “I’m sorry, Lady Heather, but Jim is right. We have an obligation to the public, no matter how well informed, not to put them into a potentially dangerous situation. If these men won’t do we’ll just have to keep looking. In the meantime, can we send Nick to you for the training?”
“Certainly,” Lady Heather said graciously. “I’ll expect him tomorrow.”
“Thank you for that,” Brass said and left to release the four officers. Once they were gone, Grissom accompanied Lady Heather into the hallway, opening the door to tell Nick he could go. From the forbidding expression on the young man’s face, he suspected that Lady Heather would have a challenge on her hands the next day, but his money was on her.
“Why Nicky?” Grissom asked as they watched him walk down the hall.
Lady Heather’s eyes were following the Texan as she started to answer. “He’s a cowboy. He’s physically strong, he’s quite beautiful and he can look very stern and forbidding.”
As they watched, Greg shot out of the lab and called after Nick, who turned to answer him with a smile.
“That one, I want that one,” Lady Heather said firmly.
“Who?” Grissom asked, bewildered.
“That young man in the lab coat. He’ll be perfect. Look at the chemistry between them.”
Grissom watched as the two young men continued down the hall, turning into the locker room together. He wondered why he’d never seen it before but Lady Heather was right, as she always was about the interaction between people. They were a perfect couple.
Greg rolled over in bed and shut his phone with a snap. “Now it’s my turn. Do you think he’s doing performance appraisals and not telling us?”
Nick patted his boyfriend’s beautiful behind. “No, Grissom wouldn’t do that. He grumbles too much about the paperwork, he could never get through an appraisal without moaning about that. Besides, that wasn’t what mine was about yesterday.”
“Want to tell me what it was then?” Greg turned his head to watch his lover as he enjoyed Nick’s hand warming his bare skin.
“I can’t, Greg. They asked me not to.” Nick rolled away and got up.
“Who’s they?” Greg asked avidly.
“If I tell you that, I’ll end up telling you everything and I can’t, okay? Don’t tease me, baby.”
“I thought you liked when I tease you,” Greg said with a mischievous grin as he rolled on his back and stretched, putting on a display for Nick.
“Only that way and if you’re going to be on time to see Grissom, you need to get up and shower. You know you need hours to get your hair perfect.” Nick poked Greg who squealed and curled into a ball to protect his ribs.
“I do not! I only need a little more time than you do.”
“Greg, I shower, dress, make coffee and eat breakfast in the time you take to do your hair. That’s why we drive separately.”
“Oh, I thought it was because you could never come out at work,” Greg teased. “You don’t want anyone to know you have a boyfriend.”
“I’m proud to have you as my boyfriend, Greg, you know that,” Nick said softly.
“Yeah, I do.” Greg stood and kissed Nick. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be teasing you about that.”
“Okay, babe. See you at work.”
Greg bopped into Grissom’s office in the loose-jointed way he walked with his bravado in place. His lab coat was wrapped around his slender form and his hands were dug deep into the pockets.
“You wanted to see me, boss? Because I don’t have anything for you, mainly because you haven’t given me anything to test. In fact, I’m beginning to think you like Hodges better than you like me, you gave him three things yesterday and really the only reason you’ve spoken to me lately is to steal my coffee and that’s not really–”
“Greg! Quiet! Sit,” Grissom pointed to a chair and Greg dropped into it obediently, turning an invisible key with his hand over his mouth, and tossing it away.
“You liked going undercover as a numismatist, didn’t you, Greg?”
Greg nodded but didn’t speak.
“So, if I were to offer you another chance to go out in the field, what would you say?”
Greg nodded eagerly, bouncing a little in his chair.
Grissom almost smiled at the enthusiastic young man. “You’re saying yes without asking any questions?”
Greg pointed at his boss and made a zipping motion along his lips.
“You can speak Greg, I give you permission,” Grissom said, rolling his eyes.
“You told me not to speak,” Greg pointed out helpfully.
“At least you’ll have no problem with obedience,” Grissom murmured dryly.
“Nothing, do you want to ask some questions?”
“Sure, sir. Will there be any danger? Is this about one of my subjects; surfing, scuba diving, rock music, coffee or coins?”
“More along the lines of liquid latex.” Grissom watched his young lab tech with amusement as his expression suddenly became warier.
“Are we going back to that whole strip forensics thing?” Greg asked suspiciously. “Because if you’re planning to infect me with anything–”
“I’m not,” Grissom interjected.
“Or is this some kind of hazing thing? You know I’m interested in being a CSI so you paint me with liquid latex and hang me from a beam and let everyone use me as a piñata?”
Grissom laughed outright. “You have the most lurid imagination. How did you ever become a scientist?”
“I’m good at it?” Greg offered with a shrug.
Grissom picked up the phone and punched a number. “Come into my office if you would please.”
Greg squirmed under Grissom’s steady gaze, feeling like an exceptionally interesting insect as they waited in silence.
“Hold still,” Grissom ordered mildly and Greg straightened in his chair, sitting still for three whole minutes before he started fidgeting again. The older man sighed. “And that might be a record.”
The door opened and Nick walked in, frowning as his eyes lit on Greg.
“Have a seat,” Grissom indicated another chair. Nick looked anxiously at Greg as he sat and Greg made a ‘beats me’ face and shrugged.
The door opened again and Brass entered, accompanied by Lady Heather.
Greg looked surprised and Nick, angry.
“You’re not asking him to be a part of this wild scheme. He’s not a cop, he’s not trained. I won’t permit it,” Nick said angrily.
“You won’t permit it?” Brass asked, his brows disappearing into his hairline.
“Excellent,” Lady Heather smiled. “The dynamics are perfect. We have our couple.”
Greg looked more confused than ever and more than a little alarmed. Uneasily he wondered if he’d done or said anything that Nick could construe as outing him, but he couldn’t think of anything, and besides, if he had, why would the cops call in Lady Heather? Homosexuality might not be popular with law enforcement but they didn’t have the right to call in a Dominatrix to punish them for it. Or did they? He wasn’t up on the latest archaic Vegas sex codes, but he sure hoped that was one law that hadn’t passed.
Brass glared at everyone in the room. “Not a word. I’m going to explain this, short and sweet. We need to go undercover in a club and you two are elected. You’ll be trained, wearing wires and in no danger. You simply need to collect some information and go. Back up everywhere. Will you do it?”
“No!” Nick shouted.
“Sure,” Greg said simultaneously.
“Shut up, you idiot, you don’t know what you’re getting into,” Nick hissed. “Brass, you know as well as I do, all kinds of things can go wrong, wires are found, we could walk into something you haven’t anticipated. I’m not going to have Greg go in there with no experience whatsoever.”
“You’re not?” Greg’s voice rose and Nick froze him with a look. He wasn’t the slightest bit afraid of Nick, except on this whole outing thing. He shut his mouth promptly and sulked.
“See, gentlemen,” Lady Heather said with some amusement. “Perfect dynamics. I’ll start training them today.”
Grissom turned to Greg. “You’re agreeing to go undercover without a second thought. What exactly do you think we’re asking you to do?”
“Well, Lady Heather is here, so it’s something to do with S&M. You kind of tipped me off with the liquid latex anyway. She’s offering to train us, so Nick’s going to be a Dom and I’m going to be his sub. You want us to find out something at a club, what’s to figure?”
Brass chuckled suddenly and Grissom asked mildly, “Why did you pinpoint Nick as the Dom?”
“Well, look at us. He’s older, more muscular, handsome. Cowboyish. I’m thinner, cuter and a total boytoy. He’s the Dom and I’m the sub. No one would ever fall for it if I went in there leading him on a leash.”
Brass covered his mouth and turned away, while Nick looked sick. He had a vision of himself in a collar with a leash, and maybe a hood with Greg leading him and he did not like it all.
Grissom and Lady Heather maintained their preternatural calm at Greg’s disingenuous explanation. “Very good, Greg. I think you’ll do,” Grissom said.
“Well, I’m not doing it,” Nick said stubbornly and crossed his arms.
“You’d let Greg go in there with one of our officers?” Brass asked.
Nick glared at him, knowing that Brass knew exactly how to turn the screws to get him to agree to this.
“Or I could supply a Dom,” Lady Heather offered. She assessed Greg and added, “Or possibly a Dominatrix though that would be unusual at this club.”
Now it was Greg’s turn to feel ill. Going undercover with Nick was one thing, but trotting around after a woman dressed in shiny PVC and six-inch fetish heels didn’t appeal to him.
“Fine, we’ll do it,” Nick snapped.
“Excellent, we haven’t a moment to waste. Please come with me,” Lady Heather commanded.
“Wait, I have a batch in the oven,” Greg protested.
“Lady Heather, they’ll be over at your place in an hour, is that acceptable?” Grissom asked. “Greg, I’ve arranged with the other shifts to cover for you. Get your results, hang up your lab coat and you can ride over with Nick. It seems like you two have a few things to discuss.”
“Got it.” Greg bounced out of his chair and hurried down the hall.
Brass told Nick, “We’ll keep you both as safe as possible. Please go to Lady Heather’s, get comfortable in this… this… subculture and I’ll get the facts together for you to study. We want to move in Friday night. Lady Heather says it’s a big night at the club.”
Nick just growled. He had some things he intended to say to his boyfriend on the way to Lady Heather’s.