Take Good Care of Yourself by Catlover2x [Reviews - 4]

It started off as a tickle in his throat. It always did. He could time the long inexorable slide into the cold by the thickness in his throat and how hard it was becoming to swallow. Greg really hated colds.

Hated everything about them, the raw feeling in his sinuses of almost drowning like when he was surfing and a wave swept him under and he had to fight his way to the surface, the dizziness and the dull roaring in his ears. The sheer strength of his will never seemed to be enough to keep a cold at bay. He always resolved that this time it would be a light cold and he wouldn’t miss any work. Mind over matter. It annoyed him to catch a cold; he was used to his body obeying his commands, whether dancing or surfing or running.

He sneezed and grabbed for a tissue, blowing his nose angrily. Sighing, he put on a disposable face mask. He couldn’t be sneezing all over evidence; it was his responsibility to keep it pristine. He hated wearing them; he could hear himself breathe and hated the damp, swampy air he was forced to inhale once it was on. He was afraid all the germs were breeding, an exponential explosion of bacteria, permeating his lungs with their germiness.

He’d been coughing for three days now. Every time he started it was harder to stop. He willed himself to stop hacking and eventually it worked, though the effort left him breathless and limp. Fuck. This was not going well.

But he had only an hour and then he could go home. Dully, he plotted a course to his apartment. Of course he had no money on him, he never did. If he had money he spent it, so he found it better to keep it safely in the bank. He was trying to decide which was the lesser of two evils; he could drive the extra six miles to a grocery and use his ATM card, or he could swing by the ATM two blocks over and then he could use the drive-through mini mart and not even have to get out of his car. Mentally he formulated a list, starting with tissues; he could swear that snot was sliding down his upper lip right now. He snuffled loudly.


“Yeah, what?” He looked up to see Grissom standing there glaring at him.

“You seem very focused.”

Uh oh. Grissom didn’t mean that in a good way. Aware that the mask disguised a certain snottiness of his voice, he answered, “Uh, yeah.” Oh that sounded bright.

“The tech on days called in sick. I’m going to have to ask you to stay until we can get a sub. Okay?” Without waiting for his answer, Grissom wheeled and marched out, catching up with Catherine in the hall.

“Okay,” Greg muttered, hoping devoutly that Grissom would actually remember to call someone to come in. With any luck, he could be out of here in another hour or two.

Coffee? No, Greg never liked coffee when he was getting sick. He knew it was imaginary, but it felt scratchy to his throat. Orange juice? Well, he didn’t have any but that was even worse, not only did juice sting the sensitive throat, it also seemed to produce a ball of phlegm that wouldn’t go up or down. Guess he would be stuck with water.

Starting a batch in the GCMS, he wandered into the hall to refill his water bottle, still wearing his mask.

“Check it out, Greg. Why the disguise?”

Greg stared stupidly at the man before him for a moment. “Oh, hi, Warrick.”

“Hiding from that cute girl you were flirting with in documents?”

“Whatever.” Vaguely, Greg drifted down the hallway holding his empty water bottle, forgetting why he was out there. Eventually he remembered, refilled the bottle and moved the mask aside to take a sip. His watch alarm went off and he stared at it blankly.

Warm hands grabbed his wrist and turned off the annoying noise. “Walking in your sleep, G?”

He looked up to see Nick’s handsome face, flashing that killer smile at him. Oh no, Nick couldn’t see him this way. What if his eyes were red and his nose swollen? He’d had a secret little crush on the man for ages, but all his playful banter had abandoned him with the onset of the stuffed feeling in his head. He replaced the mask quickly.

“I have to get back,” he said and whirled to return to the lab. Only tightening his abs fiercely kept him from toppling over as a wave of dizziness hit him. Surreptitiously, he put a hand on the wall and trailed it along, staggering sideways into the first open doorway he came across.

Sara looked up. “Yes?” she asked abruptly.

“Nothing.” He reoriented himself and set off once again for the safety of his lab.

“Hangover?” Warrick asked of Nick, watching Greg’s awkward progress down the hall. “He doesn’t seem to be making much sense today.”

Nick felt a tiny spurt of anger. “He doesn’t drink during the week,” he answered shortly.

“Oh and you know this how?”

“I know it, that’s all.” He turned and walked the other way, unaware that Warrick was chuckling at his irritated response.

It just irked Nick that Greg’s playfulness was taken for irresponsibility. He might joke around but he was dead serious about his work. The younger man was way too careful to take a chance of having his results called into question by coming to work with a hangover. But it was odd how Greg was acting. Suddenly it struck Nick; what if he’d had bad news from home? Or something that upset him? He decided he would have to go ask him, not admitting to himself that he constantly found reasons to check on something in the lab, anything that would allow him a few more minutes of time with Greg. His phone rang just then and he sighed as he glanced at the display. Grissom. Of course.

Greg finally made it to the safety of the DNA lab without falling through any more doorways although he did have a brief skirmish with a cart loaded with equipment. However, he considered that he’d won that encounter, having come away with both himself and the cart unscathed.

He set his water bottle down and looked around vaguely. His monitor had results from the batch he’d just run and he set it to print, before starting to cough violently. He bent over from the violence of the attack, resting his hot forehead on the cool counter as he wheezed, trying to catch his breath.

Good thing Jacqui had this shift off, she’d have been all over him. The fingerprint tech working tonight was a pretty girl, but she thought Greg was weird. She always worked facing the other way so he couldn’t catch her eye. She was no fun. And Archie was always staring at his monitors like a zombie. Greg couldn’t get his attention without a full marching band accompanying him into the AV lab. So he was safe.

Drearily, he realized with his diminished mental capacity, he would have to check everything twice. He picked up the reports in trembling hands and focused blearily on them, coughing as he scanned the sheets. Deciding eventually that they all made sense, he placed them into the report folders and stacked them on the counter near the door, ready for pick up.

He bagged and tagged the samples, storing them properly before turning to the new stack of evidence to be tested.

Each wave of coughing was worse and it took him longer to recover from every attack. He grabbed the edge of the counter, feeling the edges harsh on his fingers as he hacked and choked.

“Fuck, that was a bad one,” he croaked softly to himself. He could feel beads of sweat on his brow and he was shaking.

“Greg, are you all right?”

Nick watched in concern as another harsh coughed racked the slender body. He took a quick step forward.

Greg was coughing so hard he didn’t even realize he was falling until he felt someone catch him, lowering him gently to the ground.

“Man, you are so sick. Why didn’t you say anything?”

“What should I say?” Greg whispered, wondering what Nick was talking about.

“You have to go home. I’ll tell Grissom.” Nick whipped out his phone and started speaking into it. Greg couldn’t quite catch the words and didn’t know why everything seemed so off kilter. He’d never really looked at the ceiling in the lab before but it was kind of plain, so maybe that was why.

“Why are you at work, man?”

Greg focused hazily on Nick’s face. “Because it’s my job?” he ventured.

Nick laughed. “You are so out of it. Let’s get you up.”

Greg’s head spun as Nick helped him sit up. “Wait,” he rasped.

Patiently Nick held him against his shoulder until Greg’s eyes cleared.

“Why am I on the floor?”

“Why is he on the floor?” Grissom demanded, standing in the doorway, his hands on his hips.

“I have a cold,” Greg announced to no one in particular. “But I’m okay.”

Gently, Warrick shouldered Grissom aside and crouched to look at Greg’s eyes. He pulled the mask off over Greg’s head. “Are you dizzy?”


Nick and Warrick laughed.

“I think we need to get you home,” Nick said. “Help me get him up, Rick.”

The two men hoisted Greg to his feet, bracing him when he swayed.

Grissom frowned. “Better take him to a walk-in clinic first. He looks like he might need antibiotics.”

Greg sneezed five times in rapid succession. Warrick snagged the whole box of tissues and thrust it into Greg’s hands. His head was swimming from all the movement, but Greg hung onto the box as the two CSI’s dragged him to the locker room.

“What’s your combination, Greg?”

Greg reeled off a bunch of numbers. Warrick and Nick helped him sit on the bench and Nick stood behind him, allowing Greg to use him as a backrest, while Warrick manipulated the lock.

“He doesn’t even remember the combination,” he grumbled. “Greg! Man, wake up! What’s the combination to your lock?”

“What lock?” Greg asked, his eyes closed.

“Let’s just get him to a doctor. Does he have his keys or wallet on him?”

“I don’t have any money,” Greg mumbled.

“That’s okay, you don’t need any,” Nick reassured him. He grinned at Warrick. “ It doesn’t matter about the keys, I’ll take him home with me. He shouldn’t be alone anyway. Can you help me get him to the truck?”

“Sure thing.”

Draping his arms over their shoulders, the two CSIs manhandled Greg out to Nick’s truck, managing to stuff him inside. Warrick strapped the seat belt around him and asked, “Have you ever seen anyone so out of it for a cold?”

“Yeah,” Nick answered, sliding into the driver’s seat. “My sister Vanessa has a tendency to faint when she gets colds. She never takes care of herself. Gets dehydrated. I bet that’s what’s wrong with him.”

“Well, good luck, man,” Warrick wished him with a grin. “If you need help once you get him home, let me know.”

“Will do,” Nick replied, with absolutely no intention of calling Warrick. He would carry Greg bodily into the house if he had to. This was too good a chance to pass up.

In fact, he did carry Greg into the house. After the visit to the doctor and a brief stop at a drug store for antibiotics, tissues, soda, soup and cough medicine, Greg slept all the way to Nick’s house. Nick couldn’t rouse him once they arrived, so he carried the supplies in first, leaving his door standing ajar to make it easy on himself.

He returned to the truck, crouching to allow Greg to fall over one shoulder and fireman-carried him inside, letting him down gently on the couch. He took off Greg’s sneakers and wrestled his baggy jeans down his long legs, before settling him against some pillows. He tucked a blanket around him and stood, looking down at him.

“I’ll take care of you,” he whispered, touching Greg’s burning forehead.

Nick went to the kitchen to unpack his supplies, setting some soup on the stove to warm up. He extracted two tablets, an antibiotic and a cold capsule and brought them over to the coffee table with some soda.

He set them down and hoisted Greg into a sitting position. “Wake up, G, you have to take your pills.”

“Okay,” Greg whispered, trying to open his eyes.

“Stick out your tongue.”

Obediently, Greg stuck it out, feeling the meds placed on his tongue. When Nick raised the glass to his lips, he swallowed. The soda felt good, it went down better than water, and he drank thirstily.

“Want some soup?”

“I don’t know,” Greg answered honestly, his eyes falling shut.

“You’re having soup. Nothing like chicken soup when you have a cold,” Nick said firmly. The smell wafted into the living room and Nick realized he was hungry too. He poured some into a mug and returned to the living room.

Greg was leaning against the back of the sofa, his mouth open, breathing stertorously.

Nick smiled fondly at him and set the mug down. He sat next to Greg and pulled him up, keeping an arm around him. Greg opened his eyes questioningly.

“Here. Drink.” Nick held the mug to his lips and Greg swallowed.

“Feels good,” he croaked.

“Good. More?”

Greg shook his head. “Sleepy.” His eyes fell shut and he rested his head on Nick’s shoulder.

A thrill shivered through Nick. He looked at Greg, able for once to drink in his fill without those clever mocking eyes staring through him, almost as if they could read his innermost desires. The normally pale creamy skin was flushed and dark lashes fanned Greg’s cheeks as he breathed noisily through his mouth.

Nick leaned back against the couch, finishing the chicken soup himself. He set the mug down and pulled Greg against him more securely, feeling the tickle of soft spiky hair under his chin. He reached for the remote and flicked the TV on, setting the sound low.

He could almost fool himself into thinking that this was their house and it was an ordinary day after work, with Greg sleeping against him. He sighed. It was a nice dream but that’s all it was.

Greg slept for a couple of hours and Nick relished the slight weight against him until the younger man stirred and coughed. Greg opened his eyes and smiled drowsily.

“Why are you here?” Greg asked.

“Because I live here,” Nick explained patiently.

“Oh.” Greg looked around the room without lifting his head from Nick’s shoulder. It felt nice to have Nick’s arm around him. “Then why am I here?”

“Because you’re sick.”

“Oh.” Greg lifted his head and found he wasn’t quite so dizzy any more. “I have to pee.”

“Need help getting to the bathroom?”

“Maybe,” Greg hedged. Actually he was pretty sure he did but he felt weird asking.

“Okay.” Nick shifted forward and stood up, hoisting Greg up with him. “Let’s go.”

Greg was relieved when Nick stayed outside the door, sure that if he’d come in with him, he would have gotten an embarrassing hard on, sick as he was, and been unable to pee and then disgraced himself forever by showing arousal in front of a coworker and friend. He washed his hands.

When he opened the door, he fell forward into Nick’s arms. “Sorry,” he gasped.

“It’s okay,” Nick huffed as he held the younger man up. He dragged him back down the hall to the living room, and lowered him onto the couch.

Greg coughed and snatched for a tissue. Nick watched him with a little smile. He loved Greg but all the nose blowing and coughing was getting on his nerves.

“Need anything?”

“Something to drink?”

Nick brought him a tray with water, orange juice and soda. Greg reached for the soda and drank.

“Thanks.” He patted the sofa next to himself.

Nick smiled hopefully and sat down. Immediately Greg snuggled up to him, resting his head on Nick’s chest, shivering. “I’m cold.”

Nick put his arm around the younger man and pulled the blanket up around his shoulders.

Greg listened to Nick’s slow breathing and was lulled back to sleep. Nick had never thought of Greg as a snuggler, but somehow it seemed to fit, almost as well as Greg did, curled up like a kitten against his side.

Nick was trapped in heaven and hell, with the object of his unrequited desire cuddled innocently in his arms. Heaven because the reality of holding Greg surpassed even his most illicit fantasies and hell because now that he had Greg where he wanted him he couldn’t do anything about it. ‘Story of my life,’ Nick thought ironically. He leaned back and relaxed, not wanting to move the weight from his shoulder. At least there was a ball game on to distract him.

Nick woke up in the fading light with a vague feeling of wellbeing, although he wasn’t quite sure why. He opened his eyes, starting slightly when he realized he was lying at full length on his couch with Greg snoring softly on his chest, wondering for a moment how they had ended up in that precarious position during their sleep.

Trying not to dislodge the younger man, Nick stretched his back, unaccustomed to sleeping on the couch.

The movement made Greg stir, open his eyes, and smile drowsily. “Hey.”

Nick blushed. To cover his confusion, he asked, “Are you feeling better?”

“I can breathe,” Greg said gratefully although his voice was still low and husky, husky enough to send a frisson of desire through Nick. “Um, why am I sleeping on you?”

Nick’s blush deepened. “I guess we both just kind of… nodded off… on the couch. Sorry about that.”

Greg struggled to sit up and Nick held his arm to support him. “Well, I’m not as dizzy,” Greg muttered, holding his head in both hands as if to keep it on. He noticed his socks sticking out from under the blanket. “You didn’t take my socks off,” he announced accusatorially.

“Sorry, G. What difference does it make?” Secretly Nick was relieved that Greg was staring at the offending socks rather than at him. He was sure he was still red.

“I look like a dork with only boxers and socks,” Greg rasped. Suddenly he blushed, realizing he was only dressed in a t-shirt and boxers while Nick was fully dressed.

Nick sat up quickly, putting a hand on Greg’s forehead. “Do you still have a fever?” he asked anxiously.

“I don’t think so,” Greg said pulling away slightly. Nervously he asked, “How stupid was I yesterday?”

Nick chuckled. “You weren’t stupid, you were just… a little out of it.”

Greg groaned and rolled his eyes upward. “Just break it to me gently so I know who to avoid at work.”

“Trust me, you have nothing to worry about.” Nick went to stand up but Greg held onto his hand.

“Why did you bring me to your house?”

“Well,” Nick started uneasily, “Your keys and your wallet were shut in your locker and we couldn’t get it open–”

“Was that the only reason?”

Nick wondered if he was imagining the anxious vulnerable look in Greg’s dark eyes. Nick caught his breath, he couldn’t lie to Greg but he feared the consequences if he finally spilled his guts.

“Um, well, because I care about you and I wanted to be sure you were okay.”

Greg’s face lit up with a huge grin. “Really?” he squeaked, his voice having gone on a sudden unexpected hiatus.

Nick smiled back, relieved with this reception of his announcement. “Really. You mean… more to me than I ever thought anyone could…”

Greg looked stunned but very, very happy. “You mean a lot to me too.”

Now it was Nick’s turn to gasp with the fervor with which Greg said it. “You mean…?”

“I do believe I’ve fallen for you, Mr. Stokes,” Greg said solemnly. He smiled but quickly reached for a tissue in alarm, sneezing three times in quick succession. He blew his nose and Nick nudged a trash can forward with his foot from where he’d placed it the night before.

He waited patiently until Greg had mopped up and sat back. Nick leaned forward and touched his lips to Greg’s forehead. “I believe I’ve fallen for you as well, Mr. Sanders.”

Two sets of brown eyes met and moments later closed, lost in a soft kiss. Nick pulled away, gasping for breath. “Thanks for trying to give me your cold, G.”

“I wasn’t– ah CHOO!” Greg sneezed violently and reached for the tissues.


Nick opened his locker, stowing his jacket and bag inside, humming to himself.

Warrick strolled in and leaned on the bank of lockers opposite. “So how is the G-monster today? Is he better? Worse?”

Nick looked up with a broad smile. “The fever broke and the cold pills seem to be helping. He managed to remember his combination so I can get his keys and get him a change of clothing, but I think he’ll sleep most of the night.”

“Well, that’s good to hear. What was that you were humming? It sounds familiar.”

Nick frowned. “I have no idea. I didn’t realize I was humming.” He turned and left the locker room.

Warrick ambled toward his own locker. At one point he’d wanted to be a musician, although science had won out eventually, but he had a voluminous library of music stored in his brain. He picked up the thread of the melody Nick had been humming and followed it to the chorus. He gave a wide grin as the words floated into his head and sang to himself softly.

“Button up your overcoat,
When the wind is free,
Take good care of yourself,
You belong to me.”

Oh yeah, Nick had it bad.

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