Thanks to Saras_Girl and hjonathan for their help! |
The low battery indicator light was flashing. The innocent little light being looked at like the worse possible annoyance. Greg furrowed his eyebrows and looked at the provocation with his new-found hatred for it. How dare it flash in his face like that, a sore reminder that he batteries in the camera were dying. No, they were now officially dead.
This could not be happening, not here, not now. Greg bit hard on his lower lip, frustrated with himself for allowing this to happen.
He was supposed to have the batteries fully charged before each crime scene. He knew that. So why had he forgotten? Greg was trying so hard to excel in the field. He didn’t want to go back to the DNA lab; he was enjoying his time working the crime scenes and processing the evidence. He still recalled the humiliation he felt in failing his last proficiency and was determined not to make that mistake again. Show them that he was capable of doing this, of being one of them.
However, it appeared as if the cruel hand of fate was conspiring against him now. Disgusted with himself, Greg had no other choice then to go back out to the Denali and hope for some spare batteries. And his least favorite part, he had to tell Nick. Oh boy, this was not going to run smoothly with the older CSI.
Greg frowned, his brows knitted together in frustration as he thought of Nick, processing the scene with him. Nick; whom he was trying desperately to impress. Nick; who had apparently wagered against him succeeding in the field. Nick; for whom he had harbored a secret crush for as long as he could remember.
Greg felt disappointment crush his chest even tighter as he brushed himself off and stood up, preparing to face Nick and explain his plight. But as he stood up and took one tentative step forward, he heard a distinctive crunch underneath his sneakered foot.
Nick’s head snapped around at the sound and Greg froze in place. Eyes wide, he glanced down and saw that he had stepped on a bullet casing. Shit.
This could not be happening. Not now. Not here. Why were the gods conspiring against him? What did he do to deserve a fate such as this?
He watched with a sinking heart, as Nick scowled and reminded him to be more careful and watch where he was stepping. How even the slightest misstep could result in the contamination of the crime scene.
Greg swallowed hard, felt the heat of embarrassment and the pinprick of unwanted tears behind his eyes. His mouth opened and closed, but nothing came out. He ran a shaking hand through his unruly hair and tried desperately to think of something to say that would remedy the situation.
“I…” he began, and faltered once again, “I need to go outside for a minute.”
Smooth, really smooth, Sanders, he thought, chastising himself as he brushed by Detective Brass on the way out.
“Who put the bee in his bonnet?” asked Brass, eyeing Nick warily.
Nick shrugged, feeling a little bit sorry for his friend. He really was trying, and it wasn’t as if Nick hadn’t made any mistakes as a rookie CSI.
“What’s up?” he asked Brass, inviting the detective to share information regarding the case.
When Nick had been briefed, and was back again collecting evidence, he realized that some time had passed, and Greg still hadn’t returned. Chewing the inside of his lower lip, Nick decided he had better go after him. He should apologize and offer to help Greg.
He knew Greg had already had enough reprimands, he didn’t need Nick’s own adding to it.
He stepped outside, and looked around for Greg.
“G?” he called, “Where you at, man?”
He heard Greg’s reply from around the side of the house. Greg was leaning heavily against the paneling, head down, looking almost forlorn. His cheeks were still flushed with humiliation and he rocked back and forth on his heels, looking ready to run.
“Greg,” Nick said softly, but was interrupted by a steady flow of ranting from the younger CSI.
“I’m sorry, Nick, really, I am,” he began nervously, every single emotion and thought in his head now spewing forth from his lips, “I forgot to charge the batteries in the camera, and I stepped on the stupid bullet, and maybe I should just forget this whole thing.
Maybe I’m not meant to be a CSI, maybe my place really is in the DNA lab. At least there, I never screwed up so badly. I just can’t seem to do anything right in the field, and I’m so tired, and I don’t know, I just feel so incompetent, and I…I…”
He was quieted by Nick’s large hands, one on either side of his head. “Greg shhh for a minute, ok?”
Greg nodded mutely, staring into Nick’s dark eyes, and getting lost in them. Allowing himself to be held by the older man, feeling the heat and closeness of him. He almost didn’t hear what Nick was saying, he was so focused on staring into those eyes.
Greg forced himself to look away, to concentrate on Nick’s words, and his eyes were now drawn to Nick’s mouth, moving, so close to his own.
“We all make mistakes, Greggo,” he was saying quietly, “I’ve made plenty. It’s no big deal. You’re learning, and by making mistakes, you’re learning even more. You haven’t done anything wrong. You’re a good CSI, and I definitely want you working on my team.
Sometimes it’s easy to miss evidence. Even when it’s right under your own nose.”
Nick’s thumb brushed gently across Greg’s lower lip, causing him to tremble. Was it possible that the evidence Nick was referring to wasn’t about this case? Could it be that Greg had been oblivious to the attraction Nick felt towards him?
He allowed himself that faint glimmer of hope as his tongue poked out and lightly caught the tip of Nick’s thumb, still grazing his lips. Nick’s hands pulled Greg closer. Greg’s breath caught in his throat as he realized Nick was going to kiss him. Anticipation thrummed in his veins and he brought his eyes back to Nick’s once again, seeing the desire mirrored in the dark pools.
Their lips slid against each other gently, tentatively probing. Nick’s hands tightened on Greg’s face as he inched his way even closer now. Despite the heavy vests, Greg could feel Nick’s body, the heat ,the arousal coursing through it.
“I’m sorry to break up the party,” came Brass’ voice from the side of the house, “But this is a crime scene, and we do have a 419 here.”
They sprung away from each other, Nick fiddling for something in his vest pocket, and Greg bending down to tie a shoelace that wasn’t undone.
“Right,” coughed Nick, wondering if Brass had seen them in the darkness. “I was just, uh, checking up on Greg.”
Brass smiled and nodded as Nick walked towards him. “Checking up on him? Is that what we’re calling it now?” he said, “ Guys, look, I’ve been a detective for long enough. I think I know when something’s going on. In fact,” he continued, “I’ve been wondering when you two were gonna pick up on that missing evidence.”
“What evidence is that?” Greg questioned, emboldened by Brass’ discovery and the fact that he seemed to understand.
Nick, who had walked past Brass, now stopped mid-stride, and turned to hear Brass’ response.
“Both of you want each other,” he started, ticking off the points on his thick fingers, “Both of you seem to need each other actually. You’re both single. You’re both young, attractive men, if you’re into that thing, which, apparently you are.”
He paused here and chuckled softly, his gaze traveling between the two CSIs.
“You two have some good workplace chemistry, so to speak. But let’s not forget we’ve got a job to do. You guys can finish your other ‘investigation’ after we catch the killer.”
Brass walked away, laughing to himself and wondering why it took two seemingly intelligent CSIs so long to figure out the obvious. They heard him mutter something about ‘CSIs not being the only ones with a keen sense of observation.’
He shook his head, and left Nick and Greg alone in the darkness again.
Nick slowly walked the few steps back to Greg, closing the distance. His mouth found the lobe of Greg’s left ear, and gentle words were whispered into it, like a breeze rustling the trees.
“I’m not finished with you,” he whispered, with his thick, sensuous drawl.
Greg swallowed audibly, rooted to the spot. Knees weakened by the sheer thought of what Nick could possibly do with him. Heat crept up his cheeks and his eyes grew dark with desire. Oh, how he wanted Nick to ‘finish him off’.
“We have a scene to process,” Nick said, bringing them both back to the task at hand, “But afterwards…you and me..somewhere no one can see us…” He let his tongue lick his upper lip and then the lower one, ever so slowly, making sure Greg followed the movement with his eyes.
The thought was left unfinished as Nick turned around and walked to the house. Greg’s heart did a little flip as he sighed with relief as he realized with stunning clarity that everything was going to be okay. He could collect the evidence, and if he made a mistake or two, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
Greg had new-found confidence simply from hearing Nick’s words of encouragement and feeling his soft lips on his own. Nick would be there for him, no matter what. To support him and guide him through this rough patch and any future ones. Things would be fine. He knew that now.
Everyone misses the evidence, occasionally, he recalled Nick saying. And with a spring in his step, Greg trailed after Nick.
Now if only he could find those damn batteries.