Healing-Elamae1 Parts 1- 13.

Part 1:

"Oh. My God."

The dead tone to Catherine's voice caused Sara to look up, a frown creasing her striking face.

"What's the matter?" The intense look on her colleagues' face as she studied the paper in front of her, had Sara moving back across from where she had been hovering by the door, She sat back down next to Catherine.

"You know, Brass sent over the case history on this guy?"

"Yeah. He's been suspected in other past rapes, five and.." she paused.

"Eight years ago," Catherine supplied.

"Yeah, eight years ago. But he was never convicted. Lack of evidence." She paused again. "Is that what you're looking at?"

"Yeah."

Sara waited patiently for Catherine to explain further. Eventually, Catherine sighed and put the report down on the table in front of her, using one finger to slide it over to where Sara was. "Past victims." She steepled her fingers together in front of her mouth.

Sara reached over and plucked the report off the table, casting her eyes over it.

"Victim five years ago was a Paul Robertson, 22 years old, law school graduate."

Catherine recited from memory. "Two months away from taking up a position at Mellons and Blackstock, prestigious Chicago law firm. Ed Monan was questioned by the Chicago cops but evidence was slim to none and although his alibi was dodgy it held up. He'd been working there as a sales rep at the time."

Catherine looked over to where Sara was reading, recognising her reaction when she hit the same bit she had just minutes before.

"Victim eight years ago," she hesitated for a moment, "was a Greg Sanders." She met and held Sara's shocked eyes. "Age 19. First year student at Berkeley. Monan was over there apparently on a business trip same time. His name was bounded around but he hadn't' even make it as far as questioning that time. Whole case was pretty shaky."

Sara was staring at Catherine. Breaking her gaze, she looked back down at the police report, her expression one of complete disbelief. Eventually she found her voice.

"Our Greg?" Her voice was soft, almost scratchy. She tried again, coughing slightly to clear her throat. "*Our* Greg?"

Catherine nodded slowly. "We'll need to check out the police's detailed file, but age, location circumstance; it all matches. We know Greg was there at that time, that age." She closed her eyes and breathed out slowly.

"This is going to be difficult."

Catherine snorted a laugh devoid of any humour. "You don't say."

*******

"Grissom?"

"I take it you've spoken to Brass then?"

Catherine entered Gil Grissom's office, following the voice and finding the man in question sat at his desk, head bent over a stack of reports.

"You know?" She reached back and closed the door behind her, conscious of the amount of traffic the hallways carried.

"Brass saw the report and called."

"It's true then? You've confirmed it?"

Grissom hesitated, uncharacteristically avoiding eye contact for a moment, before looking up and nodding.

"Christ."

Grissom let out a breath in agreement.

"Has anyone approached Greg yet?"

"No." Grissom found his gaze wandering, even though he couldn't directly see it, in the direction of the DNA/Chem lab. "I wanted to get confirmation from Brass first and then speak with you and Sara."

"How do you start with something like this?" Catherine sank back into the chair. "Hey Greg. How are you? I need to ask you something, were you ever raped as a teenager?" She rested her head in her hands. "How on earth do you broach a subject like this?"

"Directly," he replied. "But with as much discretion and respect as possible."

Catherine nodded.

"What do we need to know from him?"

Catherine flipped over the folder in her hand. "Not much really, most of it is in the original police report. We just need to go over a couple of bits from his statement, a few details. Eight years ago; its doubtful we're going to link it after all this time but as this guys names is mentioned in *his* investigation, we need to check it out. Victim, MO; it all fits. Both with Greg's case and the one three years later."

"Plus, now we know its him, its courtesy."

"Exactly."

"Do you want me to talk to him?"

"No. Thanks, but Sara and I can do it. Besides, he might take it better from a woman."

*******

Not that much better she mused. The sounds of retching were only just audible from outside the men's bathroom, but Catherine found herself wincing all the same. She and Sara had agreed that it should he her who spoke to Greg, feeling that just one of them would be less intimidating.

She didn't think she would ever forget the way the colour had drained from his face. The way his eyes had widened, the brown irises deep, fathomless and full of shock...and suppressed fear. He'd listened quietly as she gently explained the case to him and the situation, pausing to let it all sink before suddenly pushing himself up and away from the table and out through the doorway in a blur of lab coat and spiky hair. She'd hurried after him, concerned, getting there just in time to see him disappear into the men's room.

Nick came down the hallway just then and on seeing Catherine, smiled and walked over.

"Hey, Catherine, why......" He stopped on seeing her expression. "What's wrong?" He paused, tilting his head and listening. "Is that someone being sick?"

Catherine nodded grimly. "Greg."

"Greg?" Nick frowned, one hand already rising up to the door ready to enter. "Is he alright?"

"Nick, no" She said quickly, one hand reaching out. He frowned.

Catherine sighed. "Look, I just told Greg about a current case we're investigating." She laid a hand on his arm. "I can't tell you any more, I'm sorry."

Nick's eyes flickered between her and the door with what Catherine clearly recognised as genuine concern. He looked at her and then backed away.

"Could you make sure no one comes in okay?"

Nick nodded, eyes still showing worry. "Sure."

As she entered the bathroom, the first thing she noticed was the faint stench of vomit. Casting her eyes around she saw the end cubicle door ajar. She moved closer.

"Greg?"

There was scuffling sound, the door clanking slightly. A sniffling sound came from inside the cubicle, followed by the sound of a throat being cleared.

Catherine moved round bit further. There, just inside the cubicle, Greg was sat on the floor, his back against the wall, knees pulled up under his chin. As Catherine came into view he glanced up, raising a hand to wipe his mouth.

"Sorry," he croaked softly.

Catherine shook her head. "Hey, s'okay." She crouched down slowly.

He took a breath. "I didn't think.... I thought after all this time...." He looked down. She knelt on the floor next to him. He glanced over at her again, both hands laced together covering his mouth. "You kid yourself you'll forget. You do sometimes. But never completely." He paused and then flashed her a grin, a poor shaky copy of the one she was used to seeing from the lab tech. She looked down at his hands and saw that they were shaking, a constant tremor running through them.

"Greg, lets go get you a drink."

He took a breath. "You need to ask me about it, don't you?"

"Yes, I do."

He sighed.

"I'm sorry. I have to."

"I know."

Part 2:

"Who else knows?"

They were both sat in the break room, Greg sat on the couch, legs crossed in front of him, feet tucked underneath like a five year old.

"Just me and Sara. And Grissom."

"Not Warrick or Nick?"

"No. Not unless you want to tell them."

He nodded absently, chewing on a thumb nail. He took a breath. "So what do you want to know?" He turned his gaze on her.

*******

Nick had been warned, along with everyone else, that the break room would be out of bounds for about an hour. Unlike everyone else though, he knew it was because Catherine was talking to Greg in there. Others just presumed it was something to do with a case. Which of course it was, if what Catherine said was true.

As he passed down the corridor for about the fifth time, his eyes drifted to the glass windows to the room, even though the blinds has been shut. He could still imagine Greg sat behind them though.

He had no idea what he was feeling right now. Only that this was the fifth circuit he'd made down this corridor and he couldn't even recall what the excuse for the last four had been. Ever since he'd come across Greg being ill in the bathroom earlier he hadn't been able to get his mind off him. He considered Greg a friend, a good friend even but that didn't explain the way his feelings were spiralling.

He knew, if he looked deep inside himself far enough. He knew where his feelings for the younger man were heading, had already head if he were honest, but he was reluctant to acknowledge them. There had always been the fear of destroying the friendship and relationship they already had, which he treasured more than anything. The fear that he would alienate the man, push him away and ruin the working family the six of them had built up over the last three years.

Ever since he'd met Greg on his first day in the unit, he'd known. Known that it would be so easy to fall for the man. In a big way. His humour, quirkiness, honest and kind nature, out going and rambunctious personality that actually hid an innocence most people overlooked or missed. Not to mention the physical attraction. The guy was gorgeous, even with his experimental hair and under those loud shirts and lab coat hid a slim and toned body. The one occasion Nick had come across Greg in the communal lockers wearing nothing but his jeans had been an evening that had imprinted itself on his memory, loaded for instant replay.

Nick had realised from an early age that he was what people would categorise as bisexual. It had taken him a long time to come to terms with his sexuality. Growing up in Texas and coming from a law enforcement family had reinforced years of confusion, depression and guilt. Now though, having moved away, made a life for himself and worked hard at accepting and embracing what and who he desired, he was at peace with himself, content in who he was.

Over the years he'd only ever had two relationships with other men, the rest with women. Not through any conscious decision though, there had only ever been two men he'd met who he had wanted to take things further with. He'd never told anyone at work, either here in Las Vegas or before, two homosexual relationships did not a workplace confession warrant. For now he was content in keeping his personal preferences, personal. He knew though, that what he was feeling for Greg was becoming stronger. But he had no idea how Greg would react. He'd never got any gay vibes off the other man but then his 'gaydar' had never been very good. All of Greg's flirting and behaviour seemed to be definitely pointed at the female populace, but he couldn't help but reason that Greg's flirting pretty much included everyone, from Sara right through to Grissom himself. Not that any of this mattered right now though, he thought, as he passed the break room for the sixth time. Right now Greg needed a friend because what he wanted to know, was what on earth Catherine had told Greg, that had actually made him physically ill.

*******

"Are you going to be okay?"

Catherine was sat next to Greg, watching him carefully. He'd made it through the interview surprisingly well. Maybe too well in her opinion as she eyed him worriedly. He'd stumbled, faltered in his voice though not in what he was telling her. He'd remembered everything as it had been put down in the original statement. Emotionally he looked as though he'd been through the wringer, but he'd made it through without spilling a tear. Something that personally he was immensely pleased about.

He nodded. "Yeah." he smiled ruefully. "I don't think I'd better be let near anything flammable right now, but, no, I'm okay."

Catherine looked at her watch. "Look it's only an hour til the end of shift. Knock off early. Go home, get some rest."

"No, its okay. I'm fine really....."

Catherine gave him a look. "Greg, one of your bosses just gave you permission to skive off work early. Accept this *very* infrequently bequeathed gift with both hands." She grinned to take the sting out of the order.

When he paused and then nodded, she breathed a mental sigh of relief. In her opinion he looked pale enough to pass out.

"We'll let you know what happens at every stage, okay?" she continued in a soft voice. He nodded. "I'd appreciate that. Eight years gives you a lot of time to sort stuff out. I came to terms with the fact years ago, that I'd never find the guy who did this." He paused again. "But if there's a chance to find that bastard...." he trailed off. Catherine nodded, an unspoken promise in her eyes.

*******

Nick was in the locker room when Greg came in. One hand poised in the middle of snagging a clean shirt from his locker. "Hey," he offered, slightly unsure.

"Hey," Greg returned softly, heading straight to his locker. He shrugged his lab coat off, grabbing his bag from inside.

"You off?"

Greg nodded. "Catherine just gave me the rest of the night off."

"Oh." Nick pulled his shirt on. "Hey, do you want a lift?"

Greg turned, a looked a question on his face. "I've finished for the night and I'm owed like a trillion hours anyway. I was going to head off early." He paused, weighing his next words carefully. Catherine had caught up with him not long ago, asking him if he wouldn't mind giving Greg a lift home. Something he had readily agreed to. She'd been tight lipped about the reason why, but he could see the concern in her eyes. "Wanna catch some breakfast? My shout."

Greg fiddled with the lock on his door for a moment. Nick turned round fully, taking a breath. "Look, I know Catherine was talking to you earlier about a case." He saw the flinch. "I don't know what it was about. If you want to go home and kick back by yourself I won't take offence. I'll just drop you off at yours, but, if you fancy a bit of company."

Greg stayed silent for a few moments before looking at Nick, a small smile on his face. "I'd like that."

Nick grinned and shut his locker door.

*******

They were sat in the corner of one of Nick's favourite all night diners tucking into their respective breakfasts. Well, Nick was. Greg was sat hunched over, fork held loosely in one hand, prodding a rather cold pancake around his plate. Nick glanced over at the unusually quiet lab tech. His eyes were cast down staring at the plate intently as if it held all the answers of the universe within its white porcelain.

Finally, he put the fork down and picked up his coffee to cradle in between his two hands. He glanced up at Nick.

"It's Catherine and Sara's current case," he said finally.

"Hmm?"

"What Catherine was talking to me about." He took a sip of the coffee before placing it back on the table to nervously pick at the edge of the table cloth.

"The Monan case?" Nick asked, frowning when Greg nodded. "Guy's accused of raping that teenage kid. What did Cat have..." He trailed off, suspicion clouded his mind. His eyes shot up, sudden realisation on his face. "Greg?"

"Sorry, I need to....." With a squeal of chair legs against the tiled floor, Greg stood suddenly and throwing some bills on the table, grabbed his bag and hurried towards the door.

Nick, taken by surprise, grabbed his wallet, almost dropping it in his haste and added his share to the bill before grabbing his coat and hurrying after Greg.

He caught up with him not far from the diner, spotting a familiar figure sat down on a wall about half a block away. Moving carefully, Nick walked slowly up to him, making sure he alerted Greg to his presence. If his suspicions were correct, the last thing he wanted to do was creep up on the guy. Sitting down next to him he waited.

"Sorry," came the soft voice.

"What for?"

"I....I just freaked out there for a moment." Nick heard him take a breath. "I hadn't planned on telling anyone else."

"Do you want to talk about it?"

Nick didn't think Greg was going to answer, but after a few moments Greg looked over, eyes squinting in the morning sun. "Do you want to come over and see my fish?"

*******

Nick had never been to Greg's place before. It was small, but cosy, cluttered but organised. Film posters adorned the walls, videos and CDs cluttered the bookcases in-between the numerous books themselves. A variety of fiction books found themselves squeezed in- between the science and chemistry textbooks, themselves adorned with various science journals and entertainment magazines.

Following Greg, he found himself in the kitchen as the other man puttered around busily. Leaning against the counter he observed the slim figure moving between cupboards totally absorbed in his task.

"You shouldn't really be having coffee, not if you want to get any sleep today." Nick observed lightly, as the coffee container emerged onto the counter.

"I don't think I'll be sleeping much today anyway." Greg flashed him a shadow of his usual crooked grin. "Coffee won't hurt. I'll get so wired I'll just burn out and pass out anyway." He shrugged, looking away. "Wouldn't be the first time."

Nick frowned, but said nothing.

"So where's these mythical fish of yours?" He watched the most real smile he'd seen from Greg that night flash across his face. He jerked a hand over his shoulder. "Over in the living room, in the corner. Don't go scaring Gerty though, she's very shy."

"I'll be careful," Nick smirked. Walking through the archway back into the living room, he case his eyes about until he saw the ample but unobtrusive tank in the corner. Leaning over he watched the small fish swimming back and forth in front of him, smiling when one of them almost seem to dance at him. It was strangle comforting to watch them and Nick found himself almost hypnotised by their gentle swimming.

"Hey, Gerty. Hope Arthur's behaving himself today." The soft voice next to him broke his concentration. Greg's finger brushed the glass gently over one of the fish. He smiled before stepping back towards the couch, draping himself over the end, and pulling his feet up underneath him. He leant his head to the side, gazing out of the window behind it.

Nick moved over to sit on the opposite end of the couch. "Do you want to tell me about it?" he asked softly.

Greg seemed to contemplate the view out of the window for a long time before answering. "Catherine and Sara think I may have been one of this guys first victims, eight years ago."

Nick felt a flash of pain as his suspicions were confirmed. "You were....you were raped?"

Greg nodded slowly. "When I was at Berkeley. First year." He snorted. "Really messed up my midterms."

"Jesus," Nick said softly. He looked at Greg. I'm sorry."

"No," Greg turned to meet his gaze, eyes flashing, "Don't tell me you're sorry. I know..." He stopped, closing his eyes briefly. "I know you're sorry," he continued, his voice softer, "it's just I've had a lifetime of people saying they're sorry and it...."He flashed another grin, still slightly shaky. "It's been eight years. I'm okay."

"Is that why you've never told any of us?"

"Well, its not exactly the type of thing that's easy to bring up into conversation is it? Especially at work. And no, its not like its the nicest thing to have everybody know about either. It's...personal.....and in the past." He quirked his lip. "At least I thought it was." He gazed out of the window again. " I thought it had been buried and forgotten. I mean, not forgotten, cos you never.... but you know. In the past. Like I told Catherine, I just never thought it would ever come up again. It was dead and buried. I fought a long time to get it to stay there."

"And then we go and dig it up again."

"It's not their fault." He took a breath. "God, that's one thing I did learn after all this time. It's no one's fault but that sick bastard's. I just.....you just learn to live with it."

There was silence for a few minutes.

"Are you okay with this?"

"What do you mean?" Nick gazed at Greg, hearing the slight quiver of uncertainty in his voice.

Greg stared at the threadbare throw that was on the back of the couch, worrying it with his finger. "With this?" He gestured his hand slightly. "It must be a bit weird to find this out about...a friend." He hesitated over the word, just long enough for Nick to pick up on it.

Nick nodded. "I must admit it a shock to find this out. Find out a friend of mine was attacked, I won't say it isn't, but right now all I'm feeling is anger." Greg turned suddenly apprehensive eyes to Nick who returned the look and carried on, his voice soft. "Anger and helplessness." Greg's look softened, his eyebrows knitting slightly. "Helpless that something really bad happened to my friend before I met him. Before I could do anything to prevent it." He held Greg's gaze. "But I want to help now. If I can."

*******

"Do you mind me asking what happened? I mean, if you don't want to tell me, don't worry," he added quickly, worry creasing his expression. "I'm not prying."

"It's okay, Nick, I don't mind you asking." He took a breath. "And to be honest its still fairly fresh in my mind after telling Catherine so it's probably the best time to ask. It's still...there."

"You don't have to if you don't want to. If you don't want me to know."

"No, I think." He paused. "I think I need to." He looked steadily at Nick who nodded. He fidgeted with the couch cover for a few moments, his face an unreadible mix of emotions. "It was in my first year at Berkeley. Just after Christmas. I'd been out with some friends to a couple of bars, post festive drink, you know?" Nick found himself nodding even though Greg wasn't looking at him. "I'd split up from my friends, they lived at a different campus so they went a different way back. One of the streets not far from the bar, I had a feeling someone was watching me, but I couldn't see anyone, anything, so I kept going. I was only about half a block away from my dorm when someone grabbed me. Hit me with something, almost knocked me out and the next thing I knew, he'd dragged me into this van. Gagged me and tied my wrists together before I even knew what was happening. I didn't know what he was going to do, but I was so scared. " He met Nick's eyes and Nick could see the layers of old fear still resting in the brown depths even now eight years later.

"When he started fumbling with my jeans I knew then what he wanted," Greg's voice grew quieter. "I struggled and tried to kick out but he'd got me pinned down pretty good." His gaze drifted off to the side, eyes staring at nothing but the past. "When he...forced himself inside....." he broke off, wetting his lips nervously, "it hurt so badly. I was screaming through the gag, so he hit me round the head again to shut me up. When he'd...finished...." He paused to rub his fingers into his eyes. "He opened the door and pushed me out into the street. I managed to crawl back to the pavement as he drove off. I don't know long I was there before some others students came by, on their way back to my campus. They took me to the police station."

"You reported it?"

"Yeah." He stretched out his legs from under him. "If those guys hadn't have come along, I don't know whether I would have or not. It's something I've thought about a lot since then. But when they found me I was pretty catatonic. I think they guessed fairly quickly what had happened. They were great though, just took charge without ever seemingly threatening. Took me straight to the police station where I was examined. They took a statement." He let out a sigh. "In one way it was pretty horrible because it was just another thing that night that I had no control over, everything just sort of happened, without much consent from me. The exam, the report, the statement. But on the other hand, as I said, I don't know whether I would have reported it if it had been left up to me. If I had been on my own."

"It's good you did." Nick stated softly, think back to his own childhood.

Greg nodded. "I know that now. It took me a while to understand that though. But I'll be forever grateful to those guys for the rest of my life."

Part 3:

When Greg went into work that night, he knew realistically that no- one, save those that were actually involved in the case, directly or indirectly or who he had told, knew. But it didn't stop him feeling as though everyone was staring and whispering, that he had a big sign or something attached to him.

Completely irrational he knew, but it was one of those paranoid thoughts that once they started running around your head they stayed there. He knew it was impossible though, Sara and Cat would never tell, would never break a confidence, neither would Nick, he trusted them all implicitedly. Holding his head up, he strode towards the locker room like it was any other shift.

He greeted Warrick, who was just changing his shoes, cheerfully, before opening his own locker. When he heard his own name he turned round to receive a warm smile from Nick who had just wandered in behind. He returned it with one of his own, wondering at the strange flash of warmth that accompanied the exchange.

"See you guys later," Warrick announced, slamming his locker door shut. "I'm going to hunt down some caffeine before assignments. You haven't got any of your stuff brewing yet have you, Greg?" Warrick flung a hopeful look in Greg's direction, who smiled apologetically.

"Sorry, man. Come see me in about half an hour."

"I'll probably be half way across Vegas by then," Warrick grumbled. "I might come and hunt you down later though." He disappeared through the door then, leaving Nick and Greg alone.

"Hey," Greg offered almost shyly.

"Hey," Nick smiled.

Greg hesitated, "I...what I told you..." He broke off looking uncomfortable.

"It won't go any further from me," Nick reassured him. "You have my word."

"Thanks." Greg smiled embarrassed. "I know you wou... I'm sorry."

"Its okay." Nick shut his locker door and turned round. "Look do you want to catch breakfast again in the morning?" Nick was nervous. It sounded too much like he was asking him out on a date. He cringed inside; he *was* asking him out on a date if he were being honest. Stupid, stupid, he told himself. He's only just told you about the fact he was sexually attacked. Admittedly it was eight years ago but a confident like that is hardly the point with which to broach the possibility of a relationship. Especially since Greg had never given off any vibes that he would be open to a gay relationship and nothing since last night had changed that. In fact finding out he'd been the victim of a serious sexual assault by another man would cast even more doubt, even more arguments against it.

But something, something still made him ask the question. Stomach knotting as he waited for Greg to respond.

Greg finished putting his stuff into his locker and took out his lab coat closing the door carefully. He paused for a beat before turning around to face Nick, a smile on his lips. "I'd like that."

Nick mentally let out a big sigh. Grinning, he said, "Good, I'll meet you here after shift then?"

"Okay."

Part 4:

"I can't believe those were your grades!" Nick's expression was incredulous.

"Yep." Greg looked slightly embarrassed.

"You know when we've teased you about being a genius, we weren't that far off."

"Hey..."

"No, you're good. Accept a compliment when you get one."

Greg smiled graciously, picking up his fork and digging into his omelette. Nick watched him happily, glad to see his diminished appetite of a week before was gone. He'd wolfed down a good breakfast that morning, though God knows where he put it. Under all those loud and baggy shirts and labcoats there wasn't an ounce of fat. Nick steered his mind off that train of thought quickly, mentally chastising himself.

They'd been meeting here like this for breakfast every morning after shift for the past week. They chatted easily, talking about a variety of things, mostly what they'd talked about before but also new topics, ranging slightly more personal, less about work and more about themselves. Nick knowing about his attack had opened the door for Greg to talk more freely about his college years without having to worry about what he was saying or editing stuff out. He could be more relaxed and open and in turn it encouraged Nick to do the same. It was this particular morning, the sixth morning that Nick found himself opening up about his sexuality. He had no real idea how exactly the conversation had come round but suddenly he was sensing the right moment, the right time... and he took it.

He'd never told anyone at work. His family knew and after time had accepted him, but work had been, was, still different, still difficult. Working in law enforcement was different. No matter how many equal opportunities were supposed to exist, discrimination regulated....it was still cops. Even when he'd transferred to the Crime Lab he'd preferred to keep it private.

Of course he had no real idea how Greg would take it. Even as he felt his lips moving and the words coming out of his mouth, he was mentally holding his breath. He watched Greg with anxious eyes, the coffee cup turning nervously in his hands.

"You've never told anyone else at work?" Nick shook his head, still trying to gauge Greg's reaction. "I would never have guessed, you know," he smiled gently. "You've never given off any indications."

"I'm good," Nick grinned nervously, though relaxing at Greg's calm demeanour.

"So am I."

Nick paused, head tilting as he heard the quiet words and then *heard* them. He felt his entire world shift around him. He looked over at Greg who was worrying a slice of bacon on his plate, a frown creasing his forehead.

Sensing the question hanging in the silence, Greg looked up. He shrugged with one shoulder before putting his fork down. "I mean, I can't say...technically I am...cos I've never...but," he bit his lip nervously, "when I was...before I was...before 'it' happened, I knew I was..." He stopped, flicking his eyes up to Nick's, "attracted...to other men. But," he took a big breath and let it out quickly, "I never got a chance to...Afterwards I pretty much steered away from everything to do with...sex, even girls for a long time."

"Sorry, that's the second major confession I've landed on you in two weeks. Must be going for a record," he laughed nervously.

"Sorry," Nick eventually said, "I'm just surprised." He grinned. "You are good too."

Greg smiled and then looked pensive. "Does it change anything?"

Nick frowned. "How you see me? How you feel about..."

"No," Nick replied immediately. "No. God, Greg, you were raped," he kept his voice low, aware that they were still sat in the diner, "that has nothing to do with sexuality." Greg nodded, expression sombre, agreeing. "Nothing would change the way I feel about you," he stated.

Greg's eyes were glued to his plate. "Nothing at all?" he asked softly.

Nick shook his head again, pausing though when Greg raised his face to meet his eyes.

"I mean...am I getting the wrong vibes here or..." he grinned quickly. "Because it's not like I have much experience with this." He turned away, looking down, embarrassed. "I kinda missed out on a whole chunk of this," he waved his hand slightly, laughing nervously, "I mean, is what I think...happening...happening, this last week?"

He flickered his eyes up to meet Nick's again, allowing the other man to see the fear, apprehension and nervousness in his face.

Nick paused few a few moments, choosing his words. "I wasn't sure," he began slowly, looking down before looking directly at Greg. "I had...hoped." He laughed nervously himself, earning a smile from Greg, a more hopeful expression appearing on his face. "I...," he paused again, "I've had thoughts about you." His voice was soft, unsure. "In the past, but up until now, I thought you were straight." He took a breath. "I didn't want to spoil our friendship." He looked at Greg seriously, seeing Greg nodding in agreement. "And even, this last week, God, I don't want you to think that just because you told me about you're attack, that I thought..." he shook his head in emphasis, "I didn't, I wouldn't..."

"I know. I trust you," Greg interrupted.

"I..."

"I think it just opened the gate for us." Greg filled in quietly. "I opened up about something really...big, in my life and it got us past the point of just work, just daily discussion about stuff. We..we had a link and I think it enabled us to think about..." he couldn't meet Nick's eyes, "what else might be there..."

Nick caught one of Greg's hands gently, willing him to look at him. "What *is* there?" he asked softly. "I've told you, I'm interested. What about you?"

Greg looked up, a small smile starting to light his face and Nick found himself echoing it, seeing what he'd dreamed about for the last three years in Gregs eyes. Realising he was still holding Greg's hand he gave it a little squeeze and pulled it back. "Come over to mine. I don't have any fish, but I do have a mean cactus." He quirked his mouth into a grin, "and I do mean that literally."

Part 5:

God, I don't believe how nervous I feel," Greg had followed Nick through into his living room dumping his bag where Nick had directed.

Nick laughed softly. "You're not the only one."

"Good." Greg grinned.

"Do you want a drink?"

"Yeah, something cool will do, thanks."

"Okay."

With something to do, Nick set to work.

"So where's this cactus?"

"In here."

Greg followed Nick's voice into the kitchen. "Ah ha," he said spotting the plant in question. "A fine specimen indeed." He looked at the thick spikes. "And good body armour too," he smiled.

Nick grinned. "Uh huh. I can vouch for that. And before you ask, no, she doesn't have a name."

"But she has a gender?"

"Dang," Nick dropped his head in mock shame, "caught me."

Greg laughed gently. Nick turned and watched entranced at the man in front of him. Sensing he was being watched, Greg turned and catching Nick's gaze, smiled. Nick's breath caught slightly in his throat.

Slowly, oh so slowly, he moved forward, watching Greg's face for any sign of uncertainty. Seeing none, he reached over and touching his fingertips to the side of Greg's jaw, leaned over and pressed his mouth to Greg's.

Greg's eyes were closed. He hesitated for only a brief moment, before responding slowly, a low whimper breaking free from his throat. Opening his mouth slightly he welcomed the kiss, brushing his lips against Nick's before letting him deepen the embrace. At the first touch of Nick's tongue against his, he moaned and reaching out with a hand blindly, grabbed onto Nick's shirt awkwardly, hooking onto the waist band of Nick's trousers with the other. Losing himself in the sensation of Greg's mouth Nick steadied him with his free hand, sliding it around Greg's waist, still cupping his jaw with the other.

When they eventually pulled back, Nick didn't move far away, his breath still caressing Greg's lips, his thumb brushing the corner of his mouth.

Greg's small breathy pants made Nick's blood course. Unable to resist, he leaned over and claimed his mouth again for a short but slow kiss. They both smiled when they pulled back again..

"Wow," Greg breathed, his eyes riveted to Nick's mouth. "I never thought it would be that...intense."

"What?"

"Kissing a man."

"You've never kissed another guy before?" Nick's tone was open and non-judgemental though. Greg shook his head. "I'm honoured." Nick smiled, reaching up to brush his finger over Greg's bottom lip.

"You like touching me," Greg observed quietly.

"I know. I'm a CSI, I like hands on," he grinned still stroking gently.

"I like."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah."

"Good."

Nick shuffled closer, sliding both hands around Greg's waist, feeling Greg do the same. "So I guess this means you are interested then?" "Oh yeah," Greg smiled, ducking his head down and to the side. He dug his fingers into Nick's back gently, feeling the strength lying hidden there.

"I...,"he stopped, not sure of how to put it.

"What?" Nick encouraged.

"I'm interested, I mean, believe me, I am," he gazed hungrily at Nick's lips even as he spoke, "but...I know its been eight years, but go slow, okay?" He gazed up into Nick's eyes with such trust that Nick felt his heart skip.

He nodded, squeezing his grip on Greg gently. "Of course. This is..God, this is so much more than I had ever hoped for, ever dreamed you would give me. One step at a time. I promise." "Cos, I don't know if I'll freak, even now," Greg sighed, "after all this time."

"Slow and gentle. Anytime we do anything or I do anything, you're not happy with, just tell me. Tell me and I stop."

"I know. I trust you."

*******

Greg stayed at Nick's for the rest of the day, until it was time to go in for their next shift. It was, however a totally innocent affair. They settled in Nick's living room and indulged in what Nick could only describe as a long and thoroughly enjoyable bout of necking. He wasn't sure he'd done that much making out since he was a teenager.

But, God, was it good. It wasn't ferocious or fierce or 'I'm-going- to-remove-your-tonsils-right-this-minute' but it was passionate and sensual. Slow, hot open mouthed kissed, filled with emotion, heat and intensity. By the time their both made their way to bed, they were pleasantly exhausted. Nick ushered Greg into his bedroom, with the promise that he would sleep on top of the covers. After some mild protesting over taking over his bed, Nick produced another blanket, disproving Greg's assurance that he would freeze to death if he weren't in his own bed.

Greg, in a T-shirt and boxers, snuggled under the covers, watching as Nick stripped, self consciously, to his own T-shirt and boxers and settling on top of the bed, spread the blanket over on top of himself.

Laying back, Nick turned so he was facing Greg, who was lay on his side, brown eyes watching him intently.

"Hey."

"Hey," Nick whispered back. He leant over slowly and kissed Greg gently on the mouth, tasting, feeling the warmth there. Pulling back, he whispered, "Thank you for trusting me."

Eyes sparkling, Greg just snuggled into the pillow, curling round until his head was pushed in against Nick's shoulder. Smiling, Nick sank back into the covers, turning his head slightly and breathing in the scent of Greg's hair, allowed it to lull him slowly to sleep.

*******

That night, Greg sat in his lab, watching one of his machines quietly churning over its latest data. He knew that if anyone happened to look into his lab they would wonder what on earth he was grinning about. He knew the smile he wore was even more goofy than usual but he couldn't help it.

He couldn't stop thinking about Nick. He knew it was corny, but since they'd said goodbye around the corner from work, he couldn't get his mind off the other man. They'd both agreed to go into work separately that morning, not wanting to deal with any work gossip just yet, so the quick, furtive kiss in Nick's car had been the last Greg had seen of him. He was somewhere out on the strip with Warrick and a D.B.

He sighed, smiling ruefully as he couldn't help but picture himself as the love-struck teenage girl, counting down the minutes till she next saw her new boyfriend. Of course, he wasn't even sure whether that's what they officially were. They hadn't actually discussed that part out loud, but he had the feeling though that they were both on the same page.

He couldn't believe how gentle Nick had been last night, how safe he'd felt in his arms. But of course that was the type of person Nick was. Very gentle, very caring. He'd been gentle and understanding with Greg, yet passionate and intense at the same time leaving Greg in no worry that it was just pity. He'd felt real feelings, real passion from the other man and felt similar feelings evoked in himself. Feelings he never thought he would feel, not for another man.

The attack had left him years of self-doubt, guilt, anger, fear of his own feelings; of his own sexuality. It had taken him years to come to terms with it. To accept and realise that it had nothing to do with him, not his lifestyle, his behaviour or his sexuality. He'd been a random victim, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Mentally realising this had been the first step. A big, major step. Being able to allow himself to be physically, sexually, close to other people had been the next. And somehow, over the following years, he'd never quite managed it, not completely. He'd tried to date a couple of girls, got as far as kissing and making out, but never seeming to be able to move past that and any feelings he might have had towards other men had been squashed altogether. Until he'd moved to the Las Vegas Crime Lab.

As soon as he'd seen Nick on his first day in the unit, he'd felt it. A pull, a connection, a spark of interest, but he'd quickly ignored it. Hadn't been prepared to got there. Not just yet. They'd become friends, work colleagues and Greg had managed to forget.

For a while.

Now in a few swift and totally innocent moves, Nick had broken down any barriers or protection Greg had built up since college and left him feeling....warm.

He smiled again, gazing up at the clock on the wall; rolling his eyes at himself after a second and re-focusing his attention back onto the readout in front of him.

*******

Nick was supposed to be fingerprinting a hotel room, but all he could think about was Greg. Mentally shaking himself he took a deep breath and attempted to focus himself on the job at hand. There would be plenty of time for him to daydream later when he wasn't on location with a crime scene. A scene that needed one hundred percent of his concentration.

He could count the hours though and probably the minutes too if given time, since he'd last seen Greg. They'd said a quick and hidden goodbye around the corner from work, but he'd passed the DNA lab on the way out to this job and had spied the familiar blond spikes bent over a microscope. Greg hadn't looked up and he hadn't been able to stop, but it had put a smile on his face that had lasted long enough for Warrick to call him on it.

He still couldn't believe what had happened that morning. It was something that he'd fantasised about for a long time, but never believed would ever happen. Greg Sanders in his arms, in his bed. The latter had been almost completely innocent though, apart from some tentative kisses when they woke that evening. But the image of him lying under the covers of his bed in nothing more than boxers and a T-shirt, would if nothing else, fuel his fantasies for weeks, if not months.

That Greg trusted him though, that one, he felt that way about him and two, trusted him enough to let those feelings out blew his mind. He didn't care how long it took for Greg to get comfortable in physically taking the sexual side further, just being able to hold Greg and know that he wanted to be with him was more than enough. Of course he couldn't wait to explore Greg's body further, to bring him pleasure, to join with him, but that was just the bonus and however long Greg needed, he would get.

Besides they certainly had the kissing side of things more than worked out. They'd both re-discovered and confessed to a love of kissing and cuddling, even though both had been worried how girly that might make them seem to the other. But once both had found out the other felt the same way they discovered it didn't matter at all. What mattered was they both loved it and it was one area that Greg had absolutely no problem with in the slightest.

Checking his watch, he sighed and then smiled ruefully.

*******

Nick slipped in through the lab door quietly. Greg was over the far side, hunched over another microscope. He smiled and checking around him to make sure no one was about, moved over.

"Hey."

Greg's voice took Nick by surprise, as he hadn't spoken yet to let Greg know who it was. Looking up and seeing the puzzled look on Nick's face Greg smiled. "I have good sense for people around me; sort of a proximity alarm if you like," he explained.

"Ah."

"Good day?"

Nick moved forward so that he was stood next to Greg though facing the other way. "Long," he said quietly, with meaning. Greg looked over and smiled shyly.

"Yeah."

Nick edged a bit closer, leaning his back against the counter top. "Do you want to come round to mine again after shift?" He gazed at his feet, hands braced against the table either side. He felt something brush his right hand and looked down to see Greg's hand just barely touching his. As the fingers slowly covered his, he curled his around them in a loose grip. Greg was looking down at their joined hands. "I'd like that."

*******

Part 6:

(One week later)

"We've got him."

"What?" Catherine turned.

Sara was stood by the door, her toothy grin wide. "DNA sample. Lab found a small sample from under the vic's fingernails where he scratched him. Sample was so small they weren't sure they could get a match, but...it worked." She waved the folder in glee. "Not only that, we got a match on the blood from his van. Hair and fibres match current victim *plus* Paul Edwards."

Catherine just stared, a wide smile slowly crossing her pretty features. "Yes!" she breathed.

*******

When Nick walked into the locker room, he saw Greg sat on one of the benches, head down , shoulders hunched, hands held loosely over his knees.

"Greg?" Nick was instantly worried. As he drew closer he bent down in front of the still figure. "What's the matter?"

Greg raised his head and Nick could see the puffy red eyes where he'd been crying. "God, what's wrong?"

Not caring where they were, he took Greg's hands in his shuffling up closer.

"They did it," Greg whispered, a small smile appearing on his features. "Catherine and Sara. They did it. They got him."

*******

"We found your blood as well, Greg."

"Wow."

"I know."

"But it means we can tie you to the van, which means we can add you to the list of victims, which means..."

"Longer sentence," Catherine finished for her.

"And I know that it was definitely him."

They both looked at Greg.

"I know, now, without a doubt, that the man who took away my innocence, my freedom, is now...he's been caught. He's been stopped. He can never come after me again and he can't do it to anyone else." He swallowed and then flashed them both a brilliant grin. "This calls for a celebration."

*******

Two hours later and Greg, Nick, Catherine, Sara, Warrick and Grissom were at McGee's, a local all night bar that was still fairly busy even at four in the morning.

"So why are we all down here anyway?" Warrick asked, "not that I'm complaining. Finishing early and everything."

"We're celebrating the closure of a case," Sara explained. "Yeah, but we close cases all the time. Well at least I do," he smiled slyly with humour, "what's special about this one?"

Catherine looked over at Greg, who nodded.

"It's a special case; an old case. Involving a friend."

"Who?"

"Me." Greg shifted slightly on his stool, feeling his knee brush up against Nick's. "I was attacked eight years ago by the same guy from Catherine and Sara's recent case."

"Ed Monan? The rapist?" Warrick's expression has gone still, his tone sombre.

"Yeah." Greg swallowed nervously. "They managed to get enough evidence to not only convict him of the current case, but mine and another one three years after me."

"Jesus." Warrick stared at Greg who shifted uncomfortably, staring at his own drink, twirling in his hands. "Jesus man, I'm sorry." Greg looked up at the soft lilt to Warrick's voice. "You got the son of a bitch though."

"Yeah."

Warrick raised his glass. "To Catherine and Sara."

"Catherine and Sara," Grissom and Nick echoed.

"And Greg," Catherine chimed in. Greg smiled shyly, tilting his head to the side in a manner that Nick was falling in love with.

"Greg," Nick echoed softly.

"Those two seem close."

"Hmmmm." Catherine leaned in her chin in her hand, turning to look in the same direction as Sara. "I'd just been thinking the same thing."

"You don't think...?"

"Don't know. If they are, then good luck to them."

"Are we on the same wavelength?" Sara smiled, sipping her beer.

"Who knows," Catherine grinned back at her. "Women's instinct?" she squinted back at her.

"Yeah," Sara laughed. Sobering, she gazed back over at Nick and Greg. "God knows, Greg could do with some happiness right now. You know, relationship happiness. I don't think I've seen him with anyone, the whole time I've known him. I hadn't realised that until just now." She frowned.

"No," Catherine grimaced, "I suppose something like that would put stuff like that in a whole different light." She frowned at her mix of words. "If you see what I mean."

"I know what you mean," Sara smiled before taking another drink. "I suppose. He's flirted with people; heck even me, so I guess I just never noticed."

"Good camouflage." Catherine gazed at Greg, watching as he laughed at something Nick said. "For both reasons," she glanced sideways at Sara, "if the second reason exists."

Sara watched Greg lean in closer to Nick, as Nick bent down to listen to Greg whisper something intimately into his ear. "Oh, I think it does," she smiled over at Catherine. "But as you said, if it does, then good luck to them."

Both women raised their drinks in a silent toast.

Part 7:

"Do you want to come back to mine?"

Nick smiled. "This is becoming a regular habit...not that I'm complaining or anything," he added quickly. He grinned, "in fact I could definitely get used to it."

Greg smirked. They'd both managed to sneak out with the excuse that Nick was giving Greg a lift home. Which was actually the truth. Nick had noticed the look that had been exchanged between Sara and Catherine, but seeing nothing negative or malicious in either of their expressions he had said nothing. If they had figured out anything he would just have to trust they would be discrete about it.

"I'll take that as a yes then?" Greg sidled closer to where Nick was stood leaning against his car.

"Uh huh," Nick smiled, glancing around before hooking one solitary finger through one of Greg's belt hoops on his jeans. "Can I feed your fish? I think Gerty's getting used to me."

"Hmmm, might have to think about that. Don't want Arthur getting all jealous."

Nick chuckled. "Get in." He swung round and unlocked the jeep door. Greg disappeared around to the other side, to clamber into the passenger side.

Half an hour later and the two of them were sat side by side on Greg's couch. Fish feeding duty done, Nick was relaxing, Greg curled up next to him, both cradling a mug of hot cocoa. Greg had wanted coffee but Nick had stood firm, knowing that one whiff of coffee and Greg wouldn't get any sleep at all. "How do you feel?" he asked quietly.

Greg shifted sideways until his head was resting on Nick's shoulder. "Numb, I think. At the moment." He let out a sigh. "I know or I *think*, it's sunk in, you know. I know he's been caught, stopped. But, I dunno, I'm not sure I know what I'm *supposed* to feel."

Nick nodded, knowing Greg could feel the movement. "Relief?" he said after a moment.

"Yeah." He let out a breath. "Like a whole big weight has gone, that I didn't even know was there. I mean eight years is a long time. But I keep thinking about Karl Grant, how he must be feeling. It's current for him, he's in the here and now."

"It was current for you once. Just because it was a while ago, doesn't make it any less real or traumatic." Another sigh from Greg. "I'm not saying I understand, everything you've been through, but don't dismiss your experience, what you went through." He wrapped his arm around Greg. "You've had eight years to come to terms with it yes, but eight years to live with it, with the knowledge that that man was still out there. Don't deny your emotions closure now."

Greg turned his body in towards Nick, wrapping his own arms around Nick's middle. "Come to bed with me," he whispered.

*******

"I love this."

"Hmm?"

"Being here like this, with you." Greg snuggled in closer. Nick was lay on his back, Greg curled into his side, legs entwined with Nick's and one arm resting on Nick's chest.

"Hmm," Nick turned his head and kissed Greg gently on the top of his head.

For the first time, they were both under the same covers, though still wearing boxers and T-shirts. Greg had tucked himself in under Nick's chin, breathing in the other man's scent, feeling both safe and aroused at the same time. It still amazed him, that after only two weeks, the emotions the other man brought out in him. Yes, they'd known each other for a long time previously but not like this. Not in this manner. Acting on instinct, he moved his hand sliding it under Nick's T-shirt tentatively.

"Could you...take this off?" he whispered.

Surprised, but willing, Nick raised up his hand to pull his shirt off, feeling Greg's hand gently helping. Looking over he saw Greg watching him as he stripped his own shirt off. Laying back down e wrapped his arm around Greg's bare torso, feeling the expanse of warm, soft skin, as Greg settled back next to him, pressing into him. He felt Greg sigh heavily, felt his breath against his skin.

"God, you feel good," Greg rumbled into his neck.

"I was just thinking that same thought about you." Nick smiled, eyes closed. He stretched slightly, feeling Greg shift and flex with him. One hand slid up his stomach to his chest slowly and Nick brought his own hand up to clasp Greg's fingers gently, holding them over his heart. He felt the fingertips flex gently into his skin. His other hand ran down Greg's bare back, sighing when he felt Greg press back into his caress. His leg pushed in between Nick's, his body twisting to be more on top. Leaning up, Greg met Nick half way and pressed his mouth to his.

The kiss was gentle, open and slow, tongues sliding together languidly. Pushing himself up further, Greg deepened the kiss, thrusting his tongue into Nick's mouth, feeling Nick respond. Sensing the dynamic of the kiss change, Nick slid his hands around Greg, feeding into the kiss. His hand came up to cup the back of Greg's neck as the kiss grew steadily more fervent. Hands started to roam and breathing grew harsh. Nick could feel Greg growing hard against his thigh. He felt his own blood rush in response, Greg tensing slightly at the sensation as he pressed against Greg's own hip. Nick pulled away slightly.

"It's okay," he whispered.

"I know," Greg panted back, "I'm okay." His gaze flickered to Nick's mouth. He leant down and dipped his tongue in between his lips, grasping his bottom lip between his teeth, nibbling gently. "God, I want you," he breathed into Nick's mouth, before latching on again. Nick moaned into Greg's kiss, stroking his hand along Greg's side. He felt Greg's hand slide hesitantly down his stomach towards the waistband of his boxers. Nick held his breath, feeling himself grow harder in anticipation.

"Can I touch you?"

Nick nodded at Greg's whispered question, holding still as Greg's hand very tentatively dipped underneath the waist band and moved down.

Nick raised his hips on instinct, feeling Greg fumble to push his boxers out of the way. The first hesitant touch to his cock was almost not there. He looked down, watching the almost raptured expression on Greg's face as his fingertips danced softly along his hard length. he couldn't help the breathy gasp that escaped. Greg's eyes darted to his, before returning to Nick's cock, his touch growing steadily stronger, more confident. He looked at Nick again, hand still caressing. Nick moaned and moving slightly, caught Greg's mouth with his.

"Oh God, Greg," he breathed, pushing into his hand.

"Is that okay?" Greg whispered.

Nick half gasped, half laughed, "yeah." He swallowed, diving into Greg's mouth again with fervour. "God, yeah."

Greg kissed him back just as hard, hand moving firmly on Nick. Nick groaned, thighs shaking, muscles in his abdomen twitching. They both looked down as Nick came. Greg's hand faltered, but he didn't let go, instead cradling Nick carefully in his hand, riding the aftershocks. He met Nick's eyes, smiling, his own eyes wide.

Nick was breathing hard. He smiled back, raising his one hand to stroke Greg's arm. After taking a moment to recover, he pushed himself up taking Greg into his arms.

"Wow," he breathed, nuzzling his neck. His hand slipped lower, caressing his back. Greg shifted and he felt Greg's erection press against his side. He slid his hand lower to stroke against Greg's hip.

"Is that okay?" he whispered, nibbling Greg's earlobe, repeating Greg's earlier enquiry. Greg buried his face in Nick's neck and nodded.

Slowly, Nick moved his hand round, keeping his touch gentle and light. The other one caressed Greg's shoulder and neck, fingers massaging gently. "You feel good," Nick whispered, "smell good." He could feel Greg's breath against his neck. As he slipped his hand further round to touch Greg's erection, he felt them shorten and grow more laboured. He twisted his head and mouthed Greg's skin on his shoulder, licking gently, both soothing and arousing at the same time.

He stroked Greg gently, feeling his harden even more under his touch. Greg's fingers flexed against his thigh where they were resting. His forehead was pressed tight against Nick's shoulder, his breathing growing more erratic. A small whimper issued from his throat as his thighs began to shake. Nick nudged Greg's head up to catch his mouth in an open kiss. Greg moaned, eyes closed as his hips jerked. Nick's hand caught most of Greg's essence, his thumb gently stroking the sensitive flesh for a few moments feeling the shudders running through Greg's body."Oh God," Greg panted, his entire body collapsing against Nick. Nick held him, supporting him as he lay weakly, breathing hard.

"Are you okay?" Nick asked softly, brushing a finger against Greg's temple. He felt Greg's head nod from where he was flopped against his chest.

"Hmm," Greg sighed. He reached a hand down his stomach. "Sticky," he observed. "You too."

Nick snorted lightly. "Yeah." He watched Greg reach for a discarded T-shirt and wipe himself and then Nick carefully. "Was that okay though?" He stroked Greg's arm softly.

Greg looked up, his eyes full of emotion; trust, desire. He nodded, smiling. "More than okay." he shuffled in closer again, throwing the T-shirt off the side of the bed and wrapping an arm around Nick and curling up against him again. "That was good..more than good, it was great." He grinned suddenly, meeting Nick's eyes. "It was fantastic!"

Nick grinned back. "You didn't freak."

"No I didn't." Greg was grinning from ear to ear. "I had another man's hand on me, on my cock and I didn't freak."

Nick smiled lovingly at the beaming smile on Greg's face as he settled back in onto his chest.

"I didn't know," Greg continued, "if I would. Even with it being you. I didn't know."

"I know," Nick replied holding him tightly. "I know."

*******

Part 8:

Going into work that evening, both Nick and Greg had to work to keep their hands off each other. An important barrier had been crossed physically and now the two of them were most definitely in what Nick would call the 'honey-moon period'. Greg had taken an important step and now he knew that he could have Nick touch him in a sexual manner and he could cope with it, could enjoy it the way he wanted too; he was free.

They had agreed to walk into work together and if anyone asked just tell the truth that they had just shared a ride in. The first person they bumped into was Sara.

"Hey, guys."

"Hey Sara." Greg raised a hand to say hi, as he kept going towards the locker room.

"What'cha up to?"

"Huh?" Nick played dumb.

"You've got a smile the size of the Grand Canyon. Good day?"

"Um, yeah," Nick replied.

"Not going to tell me though," She smiled.

"Nope." Nick grinned and moved to walk past.

"No problem. I don't' mind but just turn down the wattage if we get paired up tonight, I don't want to be blinded."

Nick laughed and headed after Greg.

"You know they know right?"

"Who?" Greg frowned as Nick came into the locker room behind him. "Catherine and Sara. Or at least I think they suspect." He looked over at Greg. "I saw them exchange a look at the bar last night. They had that look that women get, you know."

"have they said anything?" Greg sounded uncertain.

"No. I mean, I don't know for certain they do, but I just got the impression they *might*" Nick stopped what he was doing and turned. "Are you okay with that?"

"Yeah." Greg quirked his mouth, shrugging. "I am, I suppose. I just thought we'd have a little more time to get used to things before people knew."

"Yeah, but Catherine and Sara are cool. They won't blab and they won't judge."

"Yeah, I know."

*******

"Have you seen Nick and Greg tonight?"

"No, why?"

"Arrived together. Nick with the biggest smile I've seen him wear for a long time." Sara grinned as she sat down in the breakroom.

"Really?" Catherine looked up from her coffee. "What about Greg?"

"Snuck off before I could speak to him, but yeah, what could definitely be described as a very happy Greg."

Catherine smiled. "Good."

"Think they'll tell us if they are?"

"When they're ready. It may still be fairly early yet."

"Yeah. But I hope they hurry up," she added, grinning, "I'm dying to run up and congratulate them with a big hug."

"Congratulate who?"

Sara turned, startled, as Warrick walked into the breakroom. "Oh...no one," she stuttered. "Just...some friends of mine...from back home." She pushed back her chair and stood up quickly grabbing her sandwich and shooting Catherine a quick grin. "Gotta go." She hurried out of the room.

Warrick looked at Catherine, his eyebrows raised, who just grinned, shrugged and followed Sara.

"Weird," he muttered heading towards the fridge for something to munch.

*******

Part 8

"Oh. My God." Greg's breathy moan rasped through the stillness of the air. "Oh God."

He was lay on his back, legs spread, one arm gripping the bed head behind him, the other hovering in the air for a moment before dropping to where Nick was nestled between his thighs. Greg glanced down, gasping and shuddering at the sight of his hard cock disappearing into Nick's mouth. He whimpered, throwing his head back onto the pillow.

Nick was hunkered down, leaning his weight on one elbow, grasping around Greg's thigh with the same hand. His other stroked Greg's balls gently, thumb trailing the underside of his cock as he mouthed the head, his tongue sliding around the smooth tip, dipping into the slit and teasing the sensitive flesh. His whole attention was riveted on what he was doing, focusing on the taste and smell of the man under him. He was addicted, couldn't get enough of him. He twisted his head, inhaling Greg's musk, feeling it deepen his own arousal.

Pushing deeper, he took more of Greg inside, feeling the shudders running through Greg's frame. Pulling off then, he ran his tongue all over the tip.

Greg trembled and whimpered again, the muscles in his legs twitching. Nick's hand came up to stroke Greg's cock as he kissed and nuzzled his abdomen, feeling it heave under his lips.

"Oh...oh God," Greg whispered. He was close, so close. Drowning in a minefield of pleasure, he clawed at the bedsheets. He felt Nick's nose press against the sensitive skin below his abdomen, nuzzling before moving further down to mouth his cock again.

Greg started, hips jerking as Nick applied more suction, taking him deep into his mouth. "Hmm," he moaned, his hands reaching down to rest on Nick's shoulders. Nick's head bobbed as he sucked and stroked the hard flesh. He could feel Greg's body tense as the muscles twitched under his touch.

Greg pushed at Nick's shoulder, as he felt the rush gather in his body. "Nick...," he gasped. Nick resisted, holding on, wanting to taste Greg, feel him come in his mouth, but Greg was persistent. He pulled off, but kept close, his hand still working.

With a groan and a whole body shudder, Greg came, his come landing on his heaving stomach. Panting, he gripped the bed post above his head, eyes closed, as he waited for his body to come down from the high.

Nick cradled his softening cock softly, resting his head on the crook of his thighs lightly. After a moment, he crawled up the bed to kiss Greg deeply, who responded slowly. Gentle, unhurried kisses, reaffirming rather than exciting.

Nick pushed up further to wrap his arms around and pull a willing Greg deeper into his embrace. After a moment he spoke. "Why didn't you want me to swallow?" He asked softly. "I wanted to, you know."

"I...not...not yet," Greg murmured, not meeting his eyes.

Nick nodded, not pushing it any further.

"That was the first time."

"Huh?"

"The first time a guy's gone down on me."

"I know." Nick smiled broadly.

Greg swatted him playfully on the chest. "Alpha male."

Nick chuckled. "Can I help it if I'm territorial?"

Greg snuggled in closer. "I don't mind. Much," he added, grinning. He slid his hand down towards Nick's groin, brushing it over Nick's erection.

"Hmm," Nick murmured, stretching.

"Can I play?" Greg asked, a smile playing on his lips.

Nick looked down to watch as Greg's hand gently cradled his cock in one hand. "Be my guest," he replied, a slight catch in his throat. Greg chuckled and with almost no hesitation slid down and took just the tip of Nick's erection in his mouth. Nick jumped slightly in reflex before humming deep in his throat as Greg ran his tongue around the head.

Feeling bold and surprisingly uninhibited, Greg swung himself around until he was resting in almost the same position Nick had been in before. He hadn't known what to expect, hadn't known whether he would like the taste or not, whether he would gag or even feel disgusted, but he found as he took more of Nick in his mouth, as he slid his tongue across the tip and the underside, occasionally dipping into the slit, that he really liked it. The taste was...just Nick, slightly tangy and a bit musky and the weight, the actual feeling of Nick's cock in his mouth was strangely empowering. And sexy as hell.

He grinned, backing off slightly so his teeth wouldn't catch Nick's sensitive skin. Copying what Nick had done he used his one hand to stroke and caress Nick's balls and base of his cock whilst attaching his mouth to the head.

Stroking gently, he swirled his tongue around the tip before pushing slowly further down. He felt and heard Nick gasp at the double stimuli as his hand brushed gently against the section of sensitive skin behind his balls.

"Mmm," Nick groaned, hips flexing up even as counteracted himself to stop from gagging Greg.

Setting up a rhythm, Greg soon found his pace, head bobbing, hand massaging. Nick felt his toes curl and his stomach clench.

"Greg," he ground out in warning, one hand resting gently on the back on Greg's head.

Greg pulled back, keeping his hand working. He glanced up at Nick, watching the expressions fleeting across his face. As Nick came, he looked down to watch the white liquid squirt across Nick's abdomen and chest.

Nick panted heavily, his chest heaving. "Jesus."

Greg chuckled. "Good?"

"Uh huh," Nick barely got out. He flopped his hand up to brush against Greg's shoulder. Stretching his legs out carefully, he pulled Greg up gently, who slid slowly up to meet Nick in a languid, lazy kiss. Tongues sliding over one another, they exchanged air for a few long moments before pulling back to stare into one another's eyes.

"First time I've gone down on a guy too," Greg grinned.

Nick smiled. "I know."

"I liked."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah."

"Fiend."

"Your fiend."

"My fiend. I like that." Nick spoke softly, bringing one finger up to trace across Greg's face. "I..." he broke off uncertain.

"What?"

Nick smiled. "I really love this. Being here with you, like this." he had been about to say something else but had thought better of it. He felt it, but he wasn't sure it was the right moment to voice it. Not just yet.

"Hmm, ditto," Greg whispered, his eyes already starting to close.

"Are you falling asleep on me?" Nick asked in mock outrage.

"Hmm," Greg murmured in the affirmative. "Typical male response post ejaculation. You should be joining me any minute." He yawned, snuggling in closer to bury himself in Nick's neck.

Nick yawned himself and then chuckled, feeling Greg snigger too. He tightened his grip on Greg, reaching down to pull the covers up over both of them. Looking down he saw Greg's eyes had closed, his face already relaxing into sleep. He smiled and laid a light kiss to his temple before joining him.

Part 9.

"Are you sure?"

Sara was walking up the corridor, when she overheard voices coming from the print lab.

"That's what she said. And I saw them yesterday. It looked very cosy, if you know what I mean."

Sara stopped in her tracks, a small frown appearing on her face.

"No, I don't believe you, those would be the last two I would suspect."

"Well, you know what they say. It's the ones you least suspect..."

There was some muffled sniggering. Sara's frown deepened.

"But come on; Nick? Greg maybe, the shirts and the hair, yeah, but Nick? He had that hooker a couple of years ago, he's a ladies man isn't he?"

Sara's face hardened suddenly and she strode forward, bursting into the print lab. Two startled faced met hers.

"Did someone page me?" she asked innocently.

"No..." Julie, the girl form day shift looked confused, casting a glance at Mandy, who looked more sheepish.

"Oh, sorry, my mistake. Must have got the wrong number." Sara smiled, all teeth, before turning and walking out. Once outside in the hallway, her smile disappeared, replaced by another deep frown. Pausing slightly, she gritted her teeth; decision made.

*******

As Nick walked down towards the breakroom, he passed the print lab, throwing Mandy a relaxed smile as he walked by. She smiled back but then it faltered and after a second she turned away. Nick raised his eyebrows in puzzlement, but shrugged it off. He had more important things on his mind. He was off to meet Greg for an opportune coffee break. Swinging into the breakroom, he smiled as he spotted Greg already hovering over the coffee pot.

"Hey."

"Hey." Greg turned and threw him a wide grin. "Glad you could make it." He handed Nick a mug of coffee, letting his fingers brush Nick's. Nick smiled, feeling unashamedly gooey. They had begun doing activities that could definitely be described as 'dates' now and enjoying every second of them. Just last night, they'd hit the movies and then an out of town restaurant. Nick smiled again, memories of the night washing over him. Sara looked through the glass window of the break room, pursing her lips when she saw both Nick and Greg in there. Pausing, she took a breath and walked in.

"Hey guys, any coffee going? She headed over to the counter, ignoring the subtle increase in space between them.

"Hey, Sara." Greg held out a packet of biscuits, silently offering.

"Oh thanks." She picked out one of the chocolate chip cookies carefully. "Um, you guys, is it just my imagination, or is this place getting more gossipy?" It definitely wasn't her imagination that saw two pairs of ears metaphorically perk up.

"What makes you say that?" Nick asked from his seat on the bench, an apple held casually in his hand.

"Oh nothing really. Just I noticed that it doesn't take long for stuff to get around here these days. I mean, not that it didn't before, but it just astounds me how much interest people have in other people's business." She snuck a glance at Greg, seeing the quick look he shot at Nick. "Not that it should surprise me, working in this job." She pulled a face.

"Anything in particular?" Greg asked, faking mock intrigue.

"Well, Mandy was discussing a possible work relationship when I walked into the print lab earlier. I mean, what's better gossip than that, right?" She pulled another face. "Remember me and Hank?"

"Huh." Nick munched on his apple. "Anybody we know?"

"She didn't mention any names." Sara leant over to rummage in the fridge, wrinkling her nose at what she found. "Just they both worked here." She sniffed something in a paper package tentatively. "Could be anyone in the department." She looked up, flashing a grin at them both. "Makes you wonder though, doesn't it?" She waggled her eyebrows.

"Yeah." Greg matched her grin, but somehow she noticed that it didn't quite reach his eyes.

"People gossip, they always will," Nick stated. "Chinese whispers, most of it."

"Yeah," Sara agreed. "Besides, if is someone here in the department, then personally, it's their own business, not ours. Good luck to them I'd say." She stood up a coke can in her hand. "Anyway I'm going to go chase down Ron, he's got a notepad he was working on for me. I'll see you guys later."

"Later." Nick watched as Sara walked out, before raising his eyes to Greg who was already looking at him.

"It's us, isn't it?" he asked quietly, walking over.

Nick shrugged. "Could be."

"Oh come on, Nick. Who else could it be?"

"Catherine and Warwick. Dave and Clare. Ecklie and Romano."

Greg scoffed, turning away.

"All I'm saying is that it doesn't have to be. It could be anyone here in the department. Night shift, day shift. Take your pick." He stood up, moving over to throw his apple core into the bin, his appetite suddenly gone.

"Nick..."

"I know," he said quietly, his back to Greg, his eyes still focused on the trash can. He turned to meet his eyes. "It would explain the weird look Mandy shot me on the way in here just now."

Greg leant his head back, closing his eyes. Nick, even in his current worry, couldn't help but gaze at the lines of Greg's face, taking in the beauty of the man in front of him. He ached to reach out and caress, to soothe. But he couldn't. Not here, not in the middle of work. Any comfort would have to be vocal, not physical.

"It'll be all right. Rumours are just that, rumours. Nobody knows. Not unless we tell them."

"Or give it away." Greg gazed at Nick. "I think sometimes, that people only have to look at my face when you're in the room to know. To know exactly how I feel about you." He gazed at Nick, emotion in his eyes.

Nick smiled. "Know what you mean." He sighed quietly. "This sucks. We're not doing anything wrong. It's...It sucks that we have to worry about this."

Greg nodded. "I know. But we do." He glanced back at the door. "Look, I'd better get back. Do you want to do something after work?"

Nick grinned. "You bet."

Greg smiled back, then jumped slightly as someone came into the room behind him. Looking at Nick he mouthed, "later," before backing out of the room.

Nick threw a cheerful smile and nod at the unwelcome intruder and then strolled out.

*******

It's getting worse isn't it?" Greg's face was buried in his favourite place, Nick's neck, his naked body clamped around Nick's like a limpet. A light sheen of sweat on both their bodies glistened slightly in the dim light, slicking their skin together sensuously. Nick stroked his hand up and down Greg's side, caressing the slick expanse of skin. "People at work."

"Hmm," he murmured in affirmation. His eyes were closed, taking in the sensation of a naked Greg in his arms. A naked and sweaty Greg. It had been over two weeks since their conversation with Sara in the breakroom. In those weeks nothing had been overtly said to either of them, but both men had noticed more and more 'looks' thrown in their direction. Some subtle, some downright blatant, especially in the last few days. They both knew they had been lucky to last this long without someone actually saying something out loud to them. It was obvious what people were thinking.

Turning his head, he buried his nose in Greg's hair, which had of late started to return to its original darker colour. Although he hadn't actually said anything out loud, Nick was secretly pleased. Not that he didn't like Greg's more blond look, because he did, but he liked the way the natural brown complimented his dark eyes, especially when it grew out and turned slightly curly. He loved running his hands through it.

"I know," he rumbled, his voice low with satiation and sleep, his eyes still closed. "I don't know what we can do though." He felt Greg take a deep breath.

"We could tell them." Greg spoke quietly, almost a whisper.

Nick frowned and pulled back to meet Greg's eyes, searching them intently. Greg took a breath, unable to keep eye contact. "I know it would be difficult..."

"Too right it would. I don't really think that's an option, do you?" He pulled back slightly from their embrace. "Are you really prepared for what would happen?"

Greg shifted as well, pulling his arms from around Nick's waist. "Probably not. But I just think that eventually they're gonna know, and I just, I think it might be better coming from us than from people finding out second hand on the grapevine."

Nick took a breath. "I agree, but I just don't know whether we can." He looked down at Greg's hand laid out on the covers. "It's going to make things very difficult. We don't know how people are going to react. Homophobia is still rampant in the work place."

"I know."

"We don't know if Grissom will allow us to stay working in the same department."

"We're not the military you know." Greg cracked a grin.

"I know." Nick raised his eyebrows at Greg. "But still, it's workplace ethos. We're still related to law enforcement." He took another deep breath. "And...," he paused slightly, "people have only just found out about your attack." He raised concerned eyes to Greg's. "Are you prepared for what people might say."

Greg looked away, his expression a mixture of hurt and resignation. Nick closed his eyes for a moment, hating to have to bring it up, to cause that hurt he saw in Greg's face, but knowing what was likely to happen. He saw the worst side of human nature every day in his job. "People are cruel and hurtful and ignorant. I'm just saying that we have to be prepared for people to come to the wrong conclusion. To get completely the wrong idea."

"I know," Greg's small voice. "I had 'friends' who came to the same conclusion back in college. The ones I actually told; was stupid enough to tell," Nick reached out to touch Greg's arm drawing him back towards him, "automatically assumed that I was out looking for it. That I was the 'faggot' who just got what he was asking for." His voice was low with scorn and disgust. "Some put it more politely than others but the essence was just the same. They just assumed I was gay because of it." He laughed. "I mean I know I am, or part of me is, which is just so ironic. But they didn't know that. They just assumed that because I was raped, that it was because I was gay." He snorted softly.

"People are ignorant and cruel," Nick reaffirmed again. "Human nature."

"Yeah," Greg sighed. "We see it all the time, with what we do. What you do."

"You do too."

"Not out in the field though."

"You see it all in the lab, just in a different way. Different perspective."

"Hmm," Greg looked thoughtful. "Never thought about it that way before."

Nick hugged Greg, turning so he was holding him from behind, his chin resting on Greg's shoulder. He felt Greg melt back into him and sighed closing his eyes.

"We'll think about it, okay. Take it as it comes. If it looks like it'll be better to...come out," he smiled around the words, "then we will. But lets just take it slow for now."

"Okay." Greg agreed. "But we know Sara knows."

Nick smiled. Just a week after their conversation in the breakroom, Sara had found them holding hands in the car park to the back of the CSI building. They'd been taking a quiet break together when Sara had come looking for Nick. Taking them by surprise, she had been embarrassed at first, but then Nick had been even more surprised to realise that he and Greg were more embarrassed than she was. She had eventually confessed that she had suspected for a while, but that she hadn't said anything for fear of being wrong. She confirmed that the conversation she had overheard with Mandy *had* been about them. Her face had turned serious then, as she made sure they understood that she supported them one hundred percent, that she had been angry with all the gossip that she had been hearing. She had promised to tell them anything else she overheard, understanding that they didn't want to be kept in the dark. Both Nick and Greg had been relieved to find out that at least one of their friends understood and accepted them.

The sound of Nick's doorbell broke the moment and Greg turned to frown at Nick. "Are you expecting anyone?"

Nick shook his head, looking puzzled. "No." He reluctantly loosened his grip from around Greg and reached down to snag his boxers off the end of the bed. Swinging his legs out from under the covers he quickly pulled them on, grabbing his jeans on the way out of the room.

Greg leaned back as he watched Nick disappear down the hallway, wondering who it could be. It was still early evening, but it was their night off, having planned to spend the evening and most of the next day just relaxing in each others company in Nick's flat. There hadn't been much opportunity over the last week to spend much quality time together with several heavy cases straight after one another. After a moment he heard voices and feeling both curious and concerned he sat up and started to climb out of bed himself. Nick ambled over to the front door doing up the last button on his jeans. Peering through the spy hole he smiled and opened the door.

"Guys. What are you doing here?"

Warrick and two other guys they knew from work were stood outside.

"Hey, man," Warrick greeted as he strolled in. "We were all going out for a drink, thought maybe you'd like to join us."

"Um, yeah," Nick cast a quick look in the direction of the bedroom. "Wasn't really feeling like doing anything like that tonight, guys. You know, first night off in a long time. Was just going slob around in front of the TV, have some beer."

"You spend too much time in front of the TV man," Warrick frowned playfully. "You need to get out more. You're always moaning about you're lack of girl action. How are ever going to meet anyone if you never go out, huh?"

"I go out plenty, thank you very much. I'm just not in the mood tonight."

"Come on Nick." One of the other guys joined in. "Chris and I hardly ever see you now, working opposite shifts. What's better than joining your mates for a beer, if all you're going to do is watch TV?"

"*If* that's all he's doing." James, the other guys cast a suspicious look at Nick and then at the bedroom. "You haven't got someone stashed in the bedroom have you now, Nick?" He smirked playfully.

Warrick raised his eyebrows at Nick.

"Guys!" Nick threw his hands up. "There's no one in my bedroom." He prayed to God, Greg had heard them and was staying out of sight. This was the last thing they needed. It was one thing to muse about telling people at work and have people gossip about them. But to be caught read handed together, that was whole other matter.

Then he realised he was stood in the middle of his room with just his jeans on and silently swore, praying that none of them had noticed or thought anything of it. Then his eyes caught sight of the couch and his stomach dropped slightly. There, draped across one of the arm cushions in plain sight was Greg's shirt. His eyes flickered to Warrick quickly but he was facing the wrong way thankfully. There was always the chance they would think it was one of his, but the fact that it was one of Greg's less than subtle designs meant that chance was slim. If Warrick saw it, he might recognise it as the one that Greg had been wearing at work the night before. He mentally prayed.

"Hmm," James continued, winking at the others, "just wearing jeans, thrown on quickly, trying his best to get us to leave and refusing a drink with his best buds, the only explanation is a girl in his room." He grinned broadly and stepped forward heading towards the bedroom.

"James, no!" Nick moved forward trying to head the other man off. He reached out a hand to his arm, but James just shook it off still grinning.

"Hey, James, cut it out." Warrick called out moving forward too. He cast a puzzled look at the worried look on Nick's face, sensing that there was a real reason Nick didn't want to go out with them, but unsure as to what it was. He didn't put it past Nick to have a girl with him, but he was sure Nick would have mentioned something to him if he were seeing anyone. They'd got pretty close over the last two years as friends and he knew they could both confide in each other if the chips were down. Nick had been a good friend when he was going through it with the gambling and he knew Nick felt trust in him too. If Nick didn't want anyone going into his bedroom then so be it.

James though was not to be put off and he pushed open the door. "Come on Nick, let's see what your hiding..."

He broke off, a heavy silence falling. Warrick moved forward to see what was wrong. As he came round the corner he saw what had shut James up. There, stood nervously, but trying not to let it show, was Greg Sanders, dressed in nothing but a hastily donned pair of blue jeans. He was leant up against a chest of draws at the far end of the room, arms folded defensively across his chest, eyes cast down.

Warrick's eyes were drawn to the bed; covers and sheets askew. Two T-shirts were piled on the floor in a messy heap and a canvas trainer was just peeking out from under the corner of the bed. Not the type of shoe he had ever seen Nick wear. He looked back at Greg who had raised his head to look at Warrick.

"Hey." Greg's voice was small, his smile weak.

"Oh my God." Chris had turned and walked out of the room shaking his head. James his face a picture of amazed shock turned to look at Nick who was staring back defiantly.

"Nick...?"

Nick stayed quiet, his eyes never leaving James face. James turned to look at Warrick and then back at Greg who had knelt to pick up his T-shirt but then suddenly changed his mind, sensing that the actual act of getting dressed somehow made it seem worse. All the more obvious as to the state of their *undress*.

"What...what the hell...?"

Nick's face got pinched, his arms folded across his chest as he glared back at James. "You and he...You're doing it...with Sanders?" His voice was both shocked and disgusted at the same time. "Jesus, Nick!"

"It's none of your business, Hanson." Greg saw Nick rise to his fall height, saw the waves of anger pouring off him. "What Greg or I do in our personal lives. I certainly don't have to answer to you."

"But, you're not gay! Surely!" James cast is eyes over to Greg who was watching the scene, his face one of misery and fear. Warrick had edged round James on the side nearest Greg, unconsciously providing an extra barrier.

"What he is none of your business." Greg suddenly cut in.

James whirled on him. "You! You I'm not surprised about. I've always had my suspicions about you. Your funny shirts and your wacky music. There's been something off about you since the day you started here."

"Hey!" Nick moved forward, arms dropping to his sides.

"Nick." Warrick warned. "Leave it. He's not worth it."

"No," Nick ground out, "no he's not." He moved closer to James. "Get out. Go on, get out. You've said you're piece, now leave."

"My pleasure." James cast them both a scornful look, before backing out of the room. "I don't know you Nick."

"Right back atcha, James." Nick could feel the adrenaline pumping in his veins; anger, outrage, fear clouding his vision. He watched as James stalked out, heard the front door slam, wincing despite himself. Looking up he met Greg's anxious eyes and silently moved forward, drawing him into a tight embrace. He could feel the slight tremors running through the taut frame and moved his hands up to stroke his hands across the back of his neck, dropping light soothing kisses to his neck.

Part 11

Warrick stood and watched; amazed, shocked, his mind spinning. "Are you guys okay?" he asked at last, his voice quiet.

Nick nodded, but didn't let go of Greg.

"Look, I'm sorry, man. If I'd known, I'd never have brought them over."

Greg looked up at Warrick, seeing the genuine concern on his face. "Are *you* okay with this?"

Warrick took a breath. "If anyone had asked me, did I think Nick Stokes and Greg Sanders were doing it with each other, I'd have scoffed in their faces. I can't tell you I'm not very surprised and very shocked but...I'm not gonna judge you man. If you two have found something with each other then, hey, good luck to you."

Greg smiled, the relief evident on his face. "Thanks man. That means a lot; really."

"Yeah, thanks." Nick added, his eyes catching Warrick's warmly.

"I'm not saying it's not going to take a while to get used to it, cos it will." Warrick raised his eyebrows in emphasis. "*Totally* out of the left field." He let out a breath. "Does anyone else at work know?"

"Just Sara."

"And Catherine." Nick added. "Sara caught us holding hands, but she and Catherine had suspected. Women's intuition apparently." He shrugged.

"Yeah. I get that."

"So," Nick said carefully," you haven't heard any rumours going round at work?"

Warrick frowned. "I'd heard something. But to be honest I've been so caught up in that triple homicide recently that I haven't really been paying any attention to much else. World War three could have started and I probably wouldn't have noticed. That was about you then?"

"Apparently."

"Well, I don't think you're going to have to worry about rumours now. When James gets back to work, you can bet it's going to be through the department within hours."

"Yeah." Nick sighed heavily, closing his eyes. Greg raised his hand to cup his jaw, thumb smoothing gently.

Warrick, watching this intimate gesture suddenly felt awkward, like an intruder. "Look guys, I'm going to leave you alone."

"Sorry we spoiled your night." Greg turned to Warrick, who just shook his head.

"No problem. Now I've had my eyes opened to what a pair of prejudiced bastards those two really are you're probably *saved* my night. I'll see you at work tomorrow, right?"

Nick and Greg nodded. "It'll be nice to know there's another friend who knows and supports us," Nick said.

"I think," he said, pausing to cock his head to the side, " you may be surprised to find out how many there will be." He raised his hand in a goodbye gesture. "I'll see myself out."

Once alone, Nick wrapped his arms around Greg again, feeling him do the same. After a few moments Nick felt Greg start to shake. Fearing the worst, he pulled back to look at Greg's face and was startled to find him laughing softly. He looked puzzled at Greg for a few moments smiling gently at the amusement plastered across his face whilst patiently waiting.

Greg eventually composed himself. "Sorry, but all that 'do we don't we, what should we do'. It's academic now." He chuckled. "Ten minutes later and we're out to the whole department anyway."

Nick smiled and then chuckled himself. "Bizarre huh?"

"Oh yeah!"

"No going back now."

"Would you?" Greg asked, voice suddenly serious.

"No," Nick answered without hesitation. He leant over and brushed a gentle kiss on Greg's mouth. "I know I had my doubts about telling other people, but don't ever doubt I wouldn't stand by you or us. Don't ever doubt the way I feel about you. I'm not ashamed of who or what we are." He leaned in close again, nuzzling Greg's mouth and cheek softly. He pulled back again, Greg frowning at the serious look on his face. "This may be horrendously early or horrendous timing, but...I think I'm in love with you."

There was silence for a long moment. A moment in which Nick thought with a sinking heart that he had ruined it all. Until he watched a stunned, then elated expression creep across Greg's face.

"Oh God," Greg whispered softly before leaning in to kiss Nick deeply. Nick felt Greg press his whole body against him hard, his tongue slipping in to catch his in an erotic dance. After a moment or two Greg pulled back slightly, to nuzzle, nip and worry Nick's bottom lip before delving back into his mouth with fervour.

Nick slid his hands around Greg's bare back until his reached the waistband of his jeans, slipping lower to cup the firm buttocks through the denim material. Greg whimpered into his mouth, bringing a hand up to stroke across Nick's pectorals.

He pulled back then to stare into Nick's eyes, his breathing more laboured. "I love you," he whispered. Swallowing, he added, "I think I have for a while now."

Nick gazed back at him, a short laugh of relief passing his lips, his face full of emotion, before reaching a hand round the back of Greg's head to pull him into another soul searching kiss. One that left them both gasping for breath. The relief that Nick felt was astounding. All the fears surrounding his feelings for Greg had been swept away with those three little words from Greg's lips. The thought of facing people at work tomorrow seemed so much less scary now, he mused. He smiled, seeing Greg echo it with one of his own. "What say we carry on with our plan for the evening? " he asked, resting his arms around Greg's lean waist.

"What? Sex, food, movie, sex, dessert and more sex?" Greg recited.

"Yeah, I seem to remember it going something like that," Nick smirked.

"You're on. From my reckoning, we should be up to the main food part by now."

"Uh huh."

"What do you have planned?"

"Me?"

"Yeah. Your place." Greg reasoned.

"Huh. Pizza?" Nick asked hopefully.

"Sounds okay."

"Okay then."

"You know numbers?"

"You know a night shift CSI that doesn't?"

"Good point." Greg pulled back with a grin. "I'll go sort out the movies." He bent down for his discarded T-shirt and started to pull it on.

"Don't."

Greg stopped, looking back in confusion.

"Don't put anything more on. I...like you like that," he finished awkwardly. "You look...good."

Greg smiled, throwing down the T-shirt. "Okay." He grinned. "Only if you leave yours off as well."

Nick smirked. "Deal".

Part 12

Walking into the CSI building the next night felt like walking into the mouth of doom. But amazingly they made it to the locker room without meeting anyone except the receptionist.

"What? Do we wait and face them together or go it alone and take what comes?" Greg was trying not to let his nerves show. Although he had been the one suggesting to Nick that they should tell everyone about them, the reality of people *actually* knowing was still fairly terrifying.

Nick let out a breath. "I don't know," he shrugged. "Depends on who we met and when. We can't stick round each other the whole day. Also depends on how quick James was in spreading the good news."

Greg pulled a face, digging his lab coat out of his locker. He turned towards the door and took one step before pausing and hesitantly turning towards Nick. Nick, sensing that Greg really didn't want to head out on his own, hurried and caught up.

As they headed towards the break room for the first coffee to start the night, the first person they passed was Paul, a tech from day shift. As they passed he met their eyes, gaze flickering from one to the other. A grin, that wavered between embarrassed and snide, hung around his mouth.

"Greg. Nick." He said in greeting.

"Paul."

0

Greg looked over his shoulder after they'd passed, to see Paul looking back with an open smirk on his face. He took a deep breath and glancing at Nick, followed him into the break room.

Inside, Warrick was already sat at the table, flicking through the day's paper, while Sara was rummaging through the fridge.

"Hey," Nick greeted before grabbing his mug from the cupboard.

"Oh, hey guys." Sara turned round and flashed them a quick smile. Coffee one hand, she leant back against the counter, her grim expression telling them everything.

"How far has it spread?" Nick asked quietly. Greg sat down next to Warrick, his head sinking into his hands.

"It was impressive. It was through the entire day shift within the first hour apparently. I saw Heidi from the print lab when I came in earlier. You knew they weren't going to keep it quiet though."

"Yeah, we knew." Nick sighed heavily. "Done us a favour though. " He threw a bright smile at Greg who grinned back ruefully. "Saved us the job of telling people."

"Were you thinking about telling people?" Sara asked seriously.

"Soon; maybe. We had talked about it. Not this early though."

"What are people saying?" Greg asked. He watched Sara throw a look at Warrick before answering.

"Well, I have to say most people aren't actually all that bothered. People are naturally surprised, some are a little shocked, but for the most, that's about it. They're naturally interested, you know what people are like with gossip, but since it's actually fact now, the only thing people are speculating on is how it happened."

"How...?"

"How you got together. How two seemingly 'straight' men suddenly fall into each other's arms and beds. People are naturally curious."

"Great." Nick regarded his coffee with distaste.

"And speculating."

"Speculating?" Greg looked uneasy.

"Yeah."

"Hey guys." All heads turned to see Catherine walk in. They all nodded a greeting.

"Hey, why all the long faces?"

"You haven't heard?" Nick looked surprised.

"Heard what? Just got in a few minutes ago. Lindsay was running late." She made a determined bee line over to the coffee pot; a woman with a mission.

"Um, about Greg and I."

Catherine frowned, turning to regard them both. "You and Greg. I thought..." Her eyes flicked to Sara, a question on her face before looking to Warrick, who just smiled and nodded. "Warrick knows?"

Warrick nodded. "And so does the whole department now. Thanks to James and Chris."

"From day shift? How'd they know?" She looked confused.

"That would be my fault." Warrick continued. "I went round Nick's last night, with the intention of dragging him out for a drink with friends."

"And he already *had* company," she finished for him. "Great. Couldn't you have just lied and said you were both just, I dunno, watching the game or something?" She sat down, mug in hand.

Nick chuckled, blushing slightly. "Not exactly. Greg was shirtless and in my bedroom at the time." Greg, though silent, also turned a slight shade of red at that point.

Catherine looked at them both and then Warrick before allowing the smile to cross her face. "Way to come out of the closet guys."

"Tell us about it." Greg sighed.

"What's the general consensus?" She looked at Sara.

"Good; mostly." Sara shrugged. "Could be worse."

"Greg, Nick, can I see you my office, please?" All heads turned at the sound of Grissom's voice as he passed by the room, before carrying onto his office. They looked back at Nick and Greg who both had lost the blush and now looked slightly pale.

"I think it may have just got worse," Warrick intoned.

"You're both quite the story around here tonight." Grissom was sat at his desk regarding an open file in front of him and seemingly visually ignoring the two men sat nervously in front of him. After a moment he looked up and met their eyes. "Is it true?"

Nick coughed to clear his throat gently. "Yes. Yes it is." He met Grissom's eyes evenly.

Grissom's gaze flickered to Greg's, taking in the nervous yet defiant look on the young man's face. He nodded slowly. "How long?

"Three months."

They watched as he did the maths, his eyebrows raising after a moment.

"That long?"

They nodded. "After my case was reopened." Greg confirmed for him, taking the bull by the horns.

Grissom nodded again. "I never realised...either of you were...gay?" he said the last word with a question.

"Bi," Greg corrected, to which Grissom just nodded again, in acquiescence, a small smile beginning to grace his lips before he went professional again. "Is this going to affect your work? Working in the same environment, same department?"

"No," they both answered together.

"It hasn't so far and we've been together over three months. Nobody knew til today, til..."

"No they didn't and no it hasn't." Grissom smiled again gently. "If anything, I think you've both been more efficient; dare I say, energised."

Greg grinned, looking embarrassed at the same time. Nick just cleared his throat again, looking uncomfortable.

"What you do on your own time is up to you. I have nothing against two of my team being involved, as long as it doesn't effect the work. As soon as it does, it *becomes* my problem. Understand?"

Both nodded again.

His tone lowered then. "Be careful. If what I've heard so far is anything to go by, you are the hot topic of the moment right now. How long that will last is anyone's guess but whilst you are, it would pay to be as discreet as possible. People will gossip, it's human nature, we've seen enough evidence of that on the job. But just remember that the minute *anything* starts to affect *any* members of my team, it becomes my business." He paused to look at them meaningfully. "And that means *any* problems you have. Understand? The department doesn't like anything that could be misconstrued as harassment."

"Yes." Nick replied, understanding what Grissom was telling them. Greg nodded, looking at Grissom with something akin to burgeoning awe creeping across his face. The offer of acceptance *and* support from Grissom was something he could only have hoped for and he accepted with gratitude and reverence. Grissom understood and had in his own way given them his blessing. From the person he had begun to see as a kind of father figure it was the best response he could have got. He felt an overwhelming urge to leap up and hug Grissom, but settled for gripping Nick's hand under the cover of the table.

"So it is true?"

Nick turned and looked into the sneering face of Conrad Ecklie. He sighed, mentally preparing himself. His face settling into an expression of stone.

"You and Sanders." He chuckled snippily. "You know, I never would have guessed. You and Sanders, well, you seemed so normal." He eyed Nick suspiciously. "Also seems rather sudden," he continued, "I mean, so soon after Greg's...case."

Nick frowned then. "Case?" He couldn't know, could he? Sure he's the other shift supervisor, so I suppose he might have had to be informed....

"Yeah. Greg's past coming back to bite him in the ass. Surely *you* were aware of that."

"Of course I was." Nick's voice was low. "But I hasten to remind you that not everybody is. It's not public knowledge, so we'd be grateful if you could use your discretion."

Ecklie's eyes narrowed. "Are you insinuating I would break case confidentiality?"

"You just did. You assumed *I* knew." Nick stared back.

Ecklie glared, eyes flickering between he and somewhere behind him to the left where he knew the DNA lab was. He could only hope that Greg was not watching this little confrontation. Without saying more Ecklie turned and stalked off, leaving Nick angry and depressed. But, he reminded himself, that was the same after nearly all run-ins with Ecklie. Glancing behind him to the DNA lab he was relieved to see that the window was empty.

"Hey, Greg. How you doing?"

Greg turned to see Sara smiling at him from the doorway.

"What have you heard now?" He turned away, back to his work.

Sara raised her eyebrows in mock astonishment. "What? Can't one friend come and see another without it being for any other reason than to say hi?"

Greg just looked at her.

She threw up her hands and sat on the stool by his desk. "Oh, okay." She sighed. "Paul and Rod from security were having a little discussion in the back garage."

"They were laughing." Greg said, his tone flat.

Sara paused, a denial on her lips, but then just nodded. "Yeah."

Greg sighed.

"It will get better."

"I thought you said most people didn't seem to care?"

Sara shifted. "They don't really. It's just gossip isn't it and it will ease off. Soon, there be someone else who'll be in the limelight and you and Nick'll be last week's news."

Greg scribbled a few more notes. A silence ensuing. "Are you waiting for something else?" He looked sideways at her suspiciously.

"I was kinda hoping my car jacking sample was done..." she trailed off frowning when Greg just shrugged apologetically. "Well," she continued a bright smile lighting her face, "in that case I also came down to invite you and Nick out tonight. Warrick and I decided it has been too long since the night shift partied." She grinned enthusiastically.

Greg looked sideways at her, an interested expression crossing his face. "Who when and where?"

"So far we've managed to hook Warrick, myself, Catherine, Grissom, Al, Archie, Sandy..."

"Wait...You've got Grissom? Grissom's coming out with us?" Greg's eyes grew wide.

Sara just smiled; smugly.

"The when is tomorrow night and the where is, first off Beckerely's, then onto Phoebe's."

"A night-club?" Greg's eyebrows raised again.

"Yeah."

"Gay friendly at that."

Sara grinned. "Thought it would be appropriate."

"And appreciated," Greg nodded, then paused. "You got Grissom to agree to go to a gay friendly night club." He looked amused. "I'll ask Nick."

"Good." Sara stood. "See you later then?"

Greg nodded, turning back to his work.

"We'll hunt you down," she threw the warning over her shoulder as she walked out.

Greg just chuckled as he slapped another set of results into his out tray.

The music reverberated through the air and their bodies. The atmosphere was smoky and the room dark. Dimly lit lights illuminated various sections of the club keeping everything feeling both intimate but also separate at the same time.

Catherine sipped her vodka, leant up against the bar, her eyes casually perusing the crowd around her. Warrick and Sara were a couple of bodies down from her, heads close, laughing over something. Grissom had just left her to disappear into the men's bathroom and the last she'd seen of Nick and Greg, they'd been heading out onto the dance floor.

She cast her eyes about, scanning the moving forms, until she spotted the familiar figures. Greg, dressed in surprisingly low key black pants and a sleeveless back tee, was draped around Nick, arms round his waist, head resting on his shoulder. Nick, also in black pants but teamed with a charcoal button up shirt, had his arms similarly draped around Greg. There wasn't an inch of space between them, she thought to herself smiling. As she watched, she saw Greg nuzzle his face against Nick's neck, his arms tightening momentarily before leaning up to capture the other man's lips in a slow but deep kiss.

"Hot isn't it?"

Catherine turned to see Sara stood beside her, her eyes glued to the couple.

"Um, yeah. It is." Catherine replied, feeling the heat rise in her cheeks.

Sara smiled as the two men lost themselves in a heated embrace. "I never realised til tonight, just how much of a....turn on it is to watch two men. Together." She took a sip of her drink.

"It's intriguing," Catherine managed after a moment, beginning to realise what Sara meant, as she watched the scene in front of her.

"Hot, sexy and...kinda sweet. Cos it's them, you know?" Sara added with a grin.

"Yeah." Catherine replied, sharing the smile.

"Are you sure you're ready?" Nick asked softly, hands caressing Greg's waist gently. "This is your choice."

"Yes." He looked up at Nick's eyes, his own bright with unmistakable desire. "This *is* my choice." He nuzzled his face against Nick's, fingers with the waistband of Nick's jeans, slipping in-between gently. "God, Nick. I want you, want this so much." He took a breath, inhaling the other man's scent. "So much," he whispered.

"I want you to be sure. I don't want to hurt you." Nick knew what Greg was asking. They had done everything physically but that one last intimate act. Nothing they had done so far had caused them any problems, but Nick was desperate not to do anything to hurt Greg. In any way.

"You won't. I want this. God, I need this. Need you." Greg caught Nick's lips in a deep kiss, telling him with his body what his voice was already. He poured everything into that kiss; desire, love, passion. Feeling Nick respond almost immediately he pressed himself tight against his body, allowing his hands to wander.

Aware that they were still in a public place they tried to temper their behaviour but it was hard. Still swaying lightly together, their hips were pressed tightly together allowing their erections to brush against each other.

"Come back to mine," Nick whispered.

Greg nodded, eyes still closed, drinking in the feel of Nick's arms around him.

Letting go slowly, Nick let his hands drift down to Greg's, holding it tightly. he smiled, leading them both off the dance floor and towards the door.

Catherine nudged Sara with her elbow, nodding her head in the direction of the disappearing couple.

"Oh no, they can't escape now." She made a move to head after them.

"No," Catherine caught her arm. "Oh, I think they can." She gave her a meaningful look, which after a moment Sara returned, understanding. She smiled wickedly.

"Oh, to be a fly on the wall."

Both woman sighed.

Nick and Greg barely made it through the front door.

Arms wrapped around each other, mouths pressed tightly together. Nick kicked the door closed behind him with a foot just before Greg pushed him up against it. Feeling the urgency thrumming through Greg's body Nick returned the frantic kiss. Bracing his hands against Greg's shoulders he quickly reversed their position.

The kiss was deep and intense, fire licking at both of them. Neither man could seem to get enough of the other man or get close enough. Clothes were pulled, ripped and them torn from bodies in a frenzied passion.

Nick slid down Greg's body, pulling the remains of his T-shirt off as he went. Fumbling fingers, shaking with adrenaline and passion opened the fastening to Greg's trousers, pushing the material out of the way with no preamble. Grasping Greg's hard cock in his hand he lowered his head and took the organ into his mouth, sliding his mouth down the length as far as he could.

Greg let out a low moan, his head falling back against the door with a small thud. Nick sucked and laved the head, his whole mouth working intently. Sliding one hand up he cupped Greg's balls, squeezing gently before smoothing his thumb over the smooth skin behind.

Greg emitted a continuous stream of moans, the muscles in his thighs twitching as Nick devoured him. "Oh God," Greg muttered, eyes squeezed tightly shut. There was no way either if them was going to last long, not as excited as they both were.

With a deep body shudder and a small whimper, Greg came. Nick swallowed quickly, wanting to take all of Greg, to finally taste him. Sliding a hand up Greg's side he supported the other man as he his body slumped, sliding down the wall into Nick's arms. Breathing heavily, Greg leant his face cheek to cheek with Nick before shifting to catch Nick's mouth.

The kiss was slightly slower but no less intense. Hot, wet, Nick lost himself in the warmth of Greg's mouth. He felt Greg's hands wriggle round to struggle with his own pants and reaching down he helped to unbutton the fastenings, gasping when Greg's fingers made contact with his heated flesh, already very aroused from touching Greg. Greg's hand was firm on him, but gentle, pushing his pants out of the way. When Greg's mouth closed around the head of his cock, he moaned, eyes closing in reflex.

Greg's hands were caressing Nick's thighs, his hips, anywhere he could reach bare skin. Skimming below, between his legs he brushed against Nick's sacs, his tongue dipping in to tease the slit at the head of his cock at the same time.

"Oh God, Greg," Nick gasped.

Shifting slightly, Greg took more of Nick into his mouth, relaxing his jaw and throat. Nick let out a shaky breath, feeling his toes curl. "Jesus, Greg," he whimpered, breathing through his nose.

As his climax rippled through him, Nick threw his head back to bang against the door. He glanced down and felt himself dissolve even more at the sight of Greg nestled at his groin.

Greg held on, swallowing all Nick had to give, his one hand stroking Nick's thigh still. Pulling back, he looked up to meet Nick's eyes before almost collapsing onto Nick's front, feeling Nick's arms coming up weakly to hold him. He felt the rumble of Nick's chuckle from deep inside the chest he was leaning against.

"We didn't even make it out of the hallway."

"Yet," Greg answered with a satisfied grin.

Nick chuckled again before looking down to his groin where his pants were still open. Grimacing at the stickiness, he curled his hand round to where Greg's own pants were also still flying open. "How does a shower sound?"

Greg looked up hopefully. "Like heaven. Share?"

"Oh yeah." Nick drawled.

Part 13

Five minutes later and both were stood under the water together. Nick had pulled Greg under the shower spray, running gentle kisses all over the skin he could reach, hands caressing his sides and back. Greg arched into the touch, turning his head away when Nick moved up to mouth and lick his neck.

"I can't seem to touch you enough," Nick murmured, his fingers skimming over Greg's chest and stomach, thumb pausing to tease at a nipple, relishing the resulting gasp.

"Likewise," Greg felt his head spinning with the feeling of Nick worshipping his body. He wound his own arms around Nick's waist drawing him in tight against him.

"I love the way you feel." Nick ran his hands over Greg's shoulders and sides, nuzzling his face against his neck and mouthing the skin all the way down to his chest. "The way you smell."

Greg leant his head back, tipping it under the spray.

Nick licked at Greg's skin, lips skimming over a nipple. "The way you taste." Greg groaned. "Everything." Nick ran a hand down to caress his lower back and buttocks. "You're addictive."

Greg moaned and melted even further into Nick's arms, sliding his groin against Nick's. Feeling Nick's hands leave him and then hearing a small pop, he opened his eyes to see Nick squeezing a small blob of shower gel into his palm. With slow and tender movements Nick massaged the gel into Greg's skin, starting with his shoulders and arms. Gently turning him around he worked his way down his back, using smooth sweeping strokes, fingers and thumbs to massage the muscles.

Greg groaned, his head falling forward, arms going out to support himself against the wall. Moving down, Nick stroked across Greg's butt and down the back of his legs. He kissed and nuzzled the back of his neck as he reached round to wash his chest and stomach. Moving his hand down he ran it along Greg's semi-hard length a couple of times before kneeling down to pay attention to his legs and feet.

Once he was sure everywhere had been covered he stood back up, mouth once again going to the back of his neck and shoulders. He wanted Greg as relaxed and comfortable as possible and to Nick this was one of the best places to achieve that.

Nick was feeling nervous about taking this step and he knew that at any moment Greg could change his mind. He'd told Greg that enough times. He wanted Greg to be able to trust him completely. It was a scary position to be in but it also made him burst with pride and love when he thought about how much trust Greg had already shown him. They'd gone out a couple weeks ago, on a 'special' shopping trip after having a conversation about taking the last step in their physical relationship. They'd agreed that if and when the time arose, it would be better to be prepared. An embarrassing afternoon later they had stocked up on lube and condoms, which had been nestled in Nick's bathroom cupboard ever since. He knew Greg didn't see it as any pressure, but more as a sensible and logical step.

Only when Greg had spoken to him tonight did they mention it again. He'd felt that there was something a little more in Greg's behaviour towards him tonight, something a little more frantic in his touch, something little bit more intense in his look, but only when Greg had whispered his desire in his ear did he realise what was on Greg's mind. He hadn't been surprised since they both knew they had been thinking about it more and more lately but he hadn't expected it to quite so soon. Now that he had asked, Nick wanted to make the experience the best ever. Loving, relaxed, tender, passionate, everything to erase what he had gone through when he was teenager. Nothing about what they were about to do would be anything like what he had experienced on that night. Nothing.

Massaging Greg's shoulder and back he carefully moved his hand back down to Greg's buttocks, laving his mouth across the wet skin, following the trail his fingers made until he reached the swell of Greg's butt. Bracing his hands gently on either side of Greg's hips he kissed and nibbled all around, using his thumbs to caress the sides of his buttocks. Greg had made any more sound but when Nick glanced up he could see him still leaning against the wall, his forehead leant against the tiles, his breathing low and even, his whole body relaxed. He slide his hand down between Greg's legs, caressing his balls gently and moving forward to stroke his cock. When he pulled it back to ghost up between Greg's buttocks he felt the other man flinch slightly, but leaning down he pressed light kisses to his lower back the tension leave Greg's body.

He moved his hand downwards again further between Greg's buttocks until he reached the tiny entrance there. At the first touch of his lips against it he felt Greg jerk again. Reaching up one hand he smoothed it against Greg's stomach.

"It's okay." Greg breathed. "It's just...wow..."

"Sensitive, huh?"

"Oh yeah." And Nick could hear the humour in his voice then.

"Keep going?"

"Ohh yeah. I shall hunt you down if you stop."

Nick chuckled and bent back to the task. Kissing, licking and loving, finding he loved this. He had never been much into this when he'd been with the few other men he'd see. He knew how nice it was to receive, but he'd never been much into giving. He's own ?? preventing him from enjoying it all that much. But with Greg, with Greg it was different, because it *was* Greg. He couldn't get enough. It was like everything about Greg. One touch was never enough, one kiss was never enough, he had to have everything. It would be scary if he thought about it for too long but he couldn't bring himself to worry, because he suspected that Greg felt exactly the same.

At the first slide of his tongue inside, he felt Greg's legs give slightly and he tightened his grip on Greg's hips to steady him. "Oh God," he heard Greg gasp under his breath. Smiling mentally, Nick continued, spending every ounce of his attention on Greg, listening and loving the steady stream of utterances from Greg's mouth at his touch.

When he felt Greg had relaxed enough, he pulled back to slip a hand up, running one finger gently over the entrance, slipping a finger tip in and out briefly but gently. He heard Greg's groan, feeling the way he pushed his body back against Nick's touch. Standing, he reached over and switched the shower off, the absence of the water and the noise of the shower strange. Greg twisted in his arms, reaching to pull Nick into a deep passionate kiss. Both groaned into the embrace. Breaking the kiss, Nick took Greg's hand and lead him to the bedroom, stopping only to open the bathroom cupboard and retrieve the necessities.

Once in the bedroom, he watched as Greg moved over to the bed, laying down and looking back at Nick. He felt his own cock twitch as he took in the sight of Greg naked. He'd seen Greg naked before of course, in the time that they had been together, but it never failed to take his breath away. Lean and strong, all smooth skin and supple muscles.

Greg was noticing the same thing about him and as Nick walked towards him, couldn't help but bite his bottom lip as he took in the sight. His eyes drifted down to Nick's erection, jutting out and he felt a small frizzle of nerves shoot threw him. Nick, watching Greg's face, caught it.

"Hey, you alright?" he asked softly, stretching out along side of Greg.

Greg grinned shyly. "Yeah. I...it's just you're...big." He blushed, darting embarrassed eyes up to Nick.

Nick smiled and reaching one had down, cradled it beneath Greg's own hardened member. "Not the only one buddy."

Greg closed his eyes at Nick's touch. "Flattery will get you everywhere," he whispered. "It's just some parts of me are a little...overwhelmed...shall we say."

"It'll be okay." Nick reassured Greg. "But if you want to wait, it's okay."

"God, no," Greg replied quickly, opening lust filled eyes. "I really want this. I just never realised how...well, you know, when up close and personal."

Nick smiled and caught Greg's mouth in a deep kiss. "You've seen me before."

"Not when I was considering this."

Nick nodded in understanding. Stroking his hands up and down he proceeded to get Greg back to the relaxed and comfortable state he'd been in the shower. It didn't take long and when he pushed Greg over to rest on his side, there was no resistance. Popping the cap on the lube he squeezed out a small amount onto his fingers and putting it back where he could reach it again, snuggled up in front of Greg laying soft gentle kissed all around his mouth and jaw. Carefully he ran his hand down between Greg's legs until he found the tiny entrance again and with smooth strokes ran his fingers all around the area, spreading the lube generously, before pressing slowly against the ring of muscle.

This time there was no flinch or jerk. Greg knew what was coming and he was relaxed enough to accept it. Nick could hear his breathing up itself in pace slightly, but other than that Greg was fine. He snaked his other hand down to stroke Greg's cock lazily. Pressing in he stroked the finger in and out slowly. Angling the tip he pressed upwards and smiled when he heard Greg gasp, eyes shooting open.

"Whoa!" He turned wide eyes to Nick, mouth opened in a 'o' shape.

"Good?"

All Greg could do was nod as Nick pressed again, enjoying the look on Greg's face, the way his breathing hitched more to cope with the new sensations flooding through him from that little gland. Feeling Greg was ready he pressed a second finger forward with the first, watching the tiny line that appeared on Greg's forehead as he felt the extra pressure. Nuzzling his face against Greg's, he whispered softly. "Okay?"

Greg nodded. "Feels good; weird, but good. Especially when you do..." He trailed off as Nick did exactly that, pressing his fingers against that magic area.

After a while Nick felt Greg loosen even more and carefully and slowly tried with three fingers. He felt Greg's body stiffen slightly, but before he could whisper anything soothing, he felt Greg consciously try to relax himself. Breathing through his mouth, he turned his head to gaze at Nick.

"Full, but good." he smiled shakily, desire clearly visible in his eyes. "I never thought it would feel so..." He paused, closing his eyes, concentrating on the feelings Nick's hand were creating. "Intimate." He rolled his eyes. "Which sounds stupid even to me, but..." He gasped as Nick brushed his prostrate again. "ohhh, can I stop talking now?"

Nick nodded, brushing his mouth against Greg's. "It does feel intimate; you feel warm and tight and silky and..." He caught Greg's bottom lip between his teeth gently. "Beautiful."

Both men were too far gone to even blush at the use of the word and when Nick leant down to softly whisper, "Are you ready for me?" Greg could do nothing else but nod, hands clutching at Nick's sides.

Nick, without removing his fingers from inside Greg, used his other hand to reach for the condom he had placed next to the tube of lube. He was about to pull back to use both hands to actually open it, when Greg took it from him, shooting him a look of complete desire. With concentration, Greg tore the packet open and bending down, carefully rolled it down Nick's hard length. Nick had to pull his fingers away then, hearing Greg's soft moan of disappointment. Leaning down he kissed his shoulder gently. When Greg made to move over onto his stomach, Nick stopped him.

"No. I want to see you. Want you to see me. It may be a bit harder this way, but..." He trailed off but he could see from the look on Greg's face that he understood. There would be no mistaking who was involved here. Greg lay back again as Nick scooted up close. "Stay on your side," Nick directed softly. He shifted until Greg's lower leg was beneath his and his top leg resting against Nick's thigh. With a bit more lube on his fingers, Nick leaned down and stroked inside Greg a few more times before withdrawing again. Using a hand to lift Greg's leg higher until it was rested against his side, Nick used more lube to coat his cock thoroughly. Probably too much, as he realised how empty the tube was now, but he wasn't bothered, there would be no unnecessary pain.

Lifting his other hand up to stroke Greg's mouth before moving it down to hold Greg's hand, he positioned his cock against Greg's entrance and slowly pressed forward. He felt Greg's fingers tighten around his at the first intrusion, the tension flooding his body. He paused, just the head of his cock inside, to give Greg a chance to adjust. He gazed at Greg's face, inches from his own, eyes squeezed close as he concentrated on what was going on inside his body. When he saw the almost impercievable nod he moved again, slowly pressing further inside.

Greg was tight, unbelievable so, even with the careful stretching. Nick moved slowly, not wanting to cause Greg any pain, although he knew being this tight and it being the first time, there would be some, it was inevitable.

He heard Greg breath out through his nose. Raising his hand he stroked Greg's side, as he started to thrust in and out slowly.

“Oh God,” Greg breathed. “Oh God, Nick.”

Nick kept moving slowly, hips and thighs flexing as he kept the rhythm smooth and slow. Greg’s fingers gripped the sheets in one hand, his other curling around Nick’s fingers. After a few moments, Nick felt his balls press up against Greg and he realised he was fully inside. He paused, waiting for Greg open his eyes and look back. Greg’s eyes were dark, filled with lust, desire and two emotions that almost made Nick cry; love and trust.

“Feel that?” he asked in a whisper.

Greg nodded.

“All the way,” Nick breathed against his mouth. Reaching down he took Greg’s hand and placed it at his anus, letting him feel where they were joined.

“Oh...” Greg whispered again, eyes widening in awe. He moved a fraction and pressed his mouth against Nick’s. Pulling back a few millimetres he gazed into Nick’s eyes. “God I love you,” he whispered.

Nick caught his mouth again, deepening the kiss before dragging mouth down the side of Greg’s jaw. “Love you,” he replied. “So much.”

Bringing their hands back up he shifted slightly and began to thrust again, upping the pace when he felt Greg actively push back against him. He could hear Greg start to mumble and he nuzzled Greg’s face.

“More.” He heard the breathy plea. “Please, Nick. More. God, I can feel you.”

Nick gripped Greg’s hips and began to thrust harder and faster, listening to Greg’s moans grow louder, listening as he grew more vocal. God, he felt so good. Part of him couldn’t believe he was actually doing this. Couldn’t believe that he was actually with Greg. That Greg was able to shown him such trust.

Greg was breathing harsh now, his hips thrusting back against Nick, hand twisting in the covers, the other locked around Nick’s. He was mumbling Nick’s name over and over again, eyes moving between being squeezed close and gazing into Nick’s, as if reassuring himself that it was Nick here with him. And Nick was glad of that. He wanted nobody else but the two of them, wanted Greg thinking of nobody else but him. He raised his other hand up to stroke Greg’s face, feeling the sweat beading on his forehead and temples from their efforts. He could feel the pressure building up and from the way Greg was shaking he knew Greg was getting close. He was angling his thrust to make sure he hit Greg’s magic spot with almost every stroke and from Greg’s reaction he was pretty sure he was getting it. Greg would come first he promised himself and reaching over he took the hand that was twisted into the covers and held it tight whilst letting go of the other one, so he could reach down and grasp Greg’s hard cock.

“Oh, God,” He heard Greg gasp. “Oh, Nick.” All it took was a couple of strokes of his hand and with a full body tremble and a low moan, Greg came. Nick rode the tide out, feeling Greg’s inner muscles clamp around his cock and squeezing his eyes closed, he felt his own climax wash through him. Holding Greg tight he held onto Greg’s cock for as long as he felt Greg could take it and then brought his hand up to stroke Greg’s sweat soaked side. He felt Greg tremble, small shivers running through his frame. Looking up he saw Greg’s eyes were closed, but his hand was still gripping Nick’s.

Nick leaned forward to brush his mouth against Greg’s, feeling the other man immediately respond, his answering kiss gentle and unhurried. Greg’s own hand came up to rest against Nick’s side and opening his eyes Nick was momentarily horrified to see tears brimming in them. Until Greg whispered, “That was perfect.”

Nick smiled, his thumb coming up to stroke the side of Greg’s bottom lip gently. “You were perfect.”

Greg grinned, then let out a sigh. “I could really get used to that.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.” Greg closed his eyes, his one hand moving down to where they were still joined. “A lot.”

Nick hummed low in his throat, snuggling closer towards Greg. “Me too.”

“Could we, you know...swap around?”

Nick looked up to see a flush starting on the tips of Greg's ears. He began to nod. “Oh definitely.”

It was Greg’s turn to hum then, pushing himself further into Nick’s embrace. Both closed their eyes. “We should probably clean up,” he mumbled.

“Probably.” Nick replied.

Neither made any move.

“Well we should probably rest first.” Greg said after a few moments. “All that energy we used.”

Nick nodded, mumbling. “That sounds right. Rest sounds right.”

Within a few minutes both were sound asleep, still wrapped tightly around each other.

Part 14

“Greg?” Nick’s voice came through the living room from the bedroom.

“Ummm?” came the reply from the kitchen.

Nick, his one leg half in half out of his jeans came hobbling out of the bedroom, wallet clutched between his teeth. Managing to pull them up eventually, he was just buttoning the fly when he walked in on Greg, who was in the process of making coffee.

“Hey handsome.” Nick, taking the wallet out of his mouth putting it on the side, came up behind Greg, wrapping his arms around his waist. He could feel Greg smile as he leant back into his embrace.

“Hey yourself.” Nick felt him sigh gently. “You want coffee?”

"Love some." He watched over Greg's shoulder as Greg reached over, grabbed his mug and proceeded to make Nick's coffee exactly the way he like it. Taking the proffered mug he kissed Greg once on the neck and then pulled away so savour his wake up drink.

It was early evening and both were due back at work. They weren't dreading it though. Not really. They knew the same people would be there as were there before, ones who would talk about them, gossip about them, even laugh at them, but somehow now it didn't seem to matter. All that mattered were the four people that they had been out with. The four people they worked the closest with and the four people that they considered their friends; their family. They knew and they didn't care. Didn't treat them any different; well not much anyway. Only to tease them the way they always did.

He watched as Greg puttered around the kitchen, making them both breakfast. Before, neither of them were much for eating before they went to work, not sit down eating or anything more than a hasty mug of caffiene or something snacky. Now they spent most of their mornings together, at one or either of their apartments, it just happened naturally. Nick just presumed it was one of things where it just seemed more worth while when there were two of you. Whatever it was though, he was beginning to love it. The whole couple thing too. He'd never really given much thought to it.

TBC.


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