There was nothing like the beauty of the burn from a glass of bourbon to help wash away the memories of a truly horrible day. Nick placed the empty glass on the coffee table in front of him, staring out his big picture window into the blinding light of a hot Las Vegas day. Closing his eyes Nick let the warmth of the bourbon seep into his body.
Last night's case had brought him and Grissom to Charleston Mortuary to talk with their undertaker. Seemed like a simple case—wrong body in a coffin, talk to the guy, find out how the mix-up happened and that'd be all she wrote. Of course after four years you'd think he would have learned by now things were never that easy.
The guy reminded Nick of 'Grandpa' from "The Munsters", all pale and a little creepy. He seemed nice enough though, more than happy to help with the investigation in any way he could which had Nick on edge. Nick wondered when he started to suspect people that were eager to help. He was definitely spending too much time around Gil Grissom.
Grissom wandered around the room 'Grandpa' had led them into while Nick set about unpacking their kit. He should have clued in something was up when their tour guide started to seem a little nervous, claiming he had some work he needed to attend to and that they were free to take their time—whatever they needed. He was gone before Grissom or Nick could say a word.
Grissom raised an eyebrow at the empty doorway where Maxwell had been only moments before. Turning to look at Nick, Gil's eyes went wide before he took three strides towards Nick shoving him out the door and into the hallway. Nick didn't even have a chance to ask 'what the hell?' before Grissom was being knocked on top of him by the blast that came from the room he had just shoved Nick out of.
Dust and wood and other things Nick didn't want to think about had coated them both and Nick laid there stunned for a few minutes before he registered that Grissom wasn't moving. Raising a shaky hand to his Boss' neck he felt the steady pulsing of Grissom's heartbeat and released the breath he hadn't realized he was holding.
He could hear sirens in the distance and wished they'd hurry. "Gris?" His voice was scratchy and hoarse as he coughed away the dust filling his lungs. Running a hand down Gil's back, searching for signs of serious injury, Nick was relieved to feel the man beginning to stir.
"You okay?" Grissom actually chuckled at that, which quickly turned into a moan as he jarred his injuries. He looked down into Nick's concerned face, flushing slightly as he realized just where exactly he was before gingerly sliding off of Nick onto the floor beside him.
"I'm okay, Nicky—just a little sore."
"What the hell happened?" Nick asked, not really needing an answer as it was quite obvious.
"There was a bomb underneath one of the casket trolleys," Gil mumbled, hand moving to rub at his forehead.
"You sure you're okay?"
"I'm fine, Nicky—really. It could have been much worse."
And at that Nick's stomach did a flip—Grissom was right, it could have been so much worse. "Thanks man—for you know...saving my life."
It sounded lame to Nick's ears but Grissom smiled with something in his eyes that Nick was a little too scared to name. "Anytime, Nick."
Nick poured himself another glass of bourbon as he contemplated the rest of the day. There had been the hospital trip which resulted in many x-rays but thankfully no broken bones just some bruises and a slight concussion for Grissom; then a trip to the lab to see if the team had found anything at the scene—which they had; one jittery and frightened undertaker.
The body mix-up hadn't really been a mix-up after all, which really didn't surprise Nick, this was Vegas after all. The undertaker had been paid to switch one body for that of another by a disgruntled wife determined to have her husband's real remains buried somewhere his family would never find; petty revenge in the disguise of a stupid crime.
Maxwell got nervous and decided to take out his own mortuary in the hopes of destroying any and all evidence connecting him to the swap. It just happened to be bad luck that Nick and Gil showed up minutes before the bomb was set to explode. The man never meant for anyone to get hurt.
Nick snorted before taking another swig of his drink, eyes beginning to burn from the exhaustion he felt. Glancing at the clock on his wall, the one that chimed in a different bird call every hour, the one Grissom had given him for his birthday, told him it was time for bed—morning, or rather night would come much too quickly for Nick's liking.
Making his way towards the kitchen to rinse his glass he was stopped by the quiet knock on his door. Looking out the peep hole he was surprised to see a bowed head of silver outside his door. He quickly unlocked and opened the door smiling at his visitor. "Grissom, hey."
Grissom nodded. "Hello Nick."
"What brings you here?" he asked, feeling the beginnings of butterflies in his stomach. Grissom hadn't been to his place since the whole Crane incident—at least not his new place.
"Mind if I come in?"
"Yeah, sorry man, come on in." Nick stepped aside, opening the door wider to allow Grissom in. "Can I get you something to drink?"
"Coming right up." Nick grinned, leading Grissom towards his kitchen.
"How are you feeling?" Grissom asked as he slid onto the bar stool at Nick's counter.
"Other than feeling like I got run over by a train?" Nick smiled ruefully.
"Other than that," Grissom said with a smirk and a raised an eyebrow.
"I'm fine—thanks to you." Grissom blushed under Nick's gaze, turning his eyes towards the countertop.
Nick slid a cup of coffee towards him and Grissom looked up, a smile on his lips, "Thanks."
Nick nodded, leaning his hip against the counter as he sipped at his own coffee. "How about you?"
"Actually," Grissom hedged, eyes once again lowered to the counter, "I've been better."
Nick pulled a stool around so that he was sitting across from Grissom. "Wanna talk about it?"
"It used to be easier before—"
"Not caring so much."
Nick's brow creased in confusion. "About?"
Grissom sighed, hands tightening around his coffee mug. "You." Nick's eyebrows reached his hairline, mouth opening but nothing coming out. Grissom sighed, shaking his head. "You're really very distracting."
Nick blinked before he managed a confused, "Huh?"
Grissom continued without acknowledging Nick's confusion, "And you attract trouble, God Nicky you attract trouble like the plague." Grissom smirked at that, gaze rising to look Nick in the eye. "I don't know if I'm ready for this."
Again Nick's brow wrinkled and he could swear he'd only had two glasses of bourbon but Grissom wasn't making any sense and Nick was sure that what he was trying to say was important but for the life of him he didn't have a clue what Grissom was talking about. "Huh?"
Grissom stood, walking towards the sink to rinse out his mug. "We've all had close calls in this job, you maybe a little more than the rest of us—but tonight..." Grissom's shoulders sagged as he stood with his back to Nick. "I know that people think I'm a robot when it comes to emotions—I can't really say they're wrong." He turned to face Nick, crossing his arms as he took a deep breath. "I learned a long time ago it's easier to deal with the loss of someone when you're not close to them. I've tried keeping the team at a safe distance, but you especially."
Nick swallowed passed the dryness in his throat. "Why?"
Grissom didn't pretend to misunderstand Nick's question. "I—" He laughed, "—because you're you - because you're much too handsome for my own good?" Grissom unfolded his arms, letting them hang by his side. "Because I'm not sure what I'd do if I lost you."
Nick's heart was pounding in his ears and he pressed his hip harder against the counter needing to know this wasn't a dream, not daring to pinch himself just in case it was. "Why?"
"I think you know why," Grissom said with a smile, a little unsure, and a lot nervous.
Nick took a steadying breath, placing the mug he had in a death grip on the counter behind him before pushing away from it and taking a step towards Grissom. "For the record, I wasn't the one standing in the doorway when that bomb went off." Grissom opened his mouth to protest but Nick raised a hand to silence him. "Also," he took another step forward, crowding into Grissom's personal space, "I don't know what I'd do if I lost you either."
Grissom raised his hand, fingers gently sweeping across Nick's jaw line, a relieved smile blossoming on his face as he leaned in and placed a chaste kiss on Nick's lips. "I guess we'll have to make sure neither of us ever has to find out."
Nick wrapped his hand behind Gil's head pulling him into a deeper kiss, grinning against Gil's mouth as his arms wrapped around Nick drawing them closer together. When they broke apart Nick grinned widely. "Distracting huh?"
Sliding his hands beneath Nick's shirt Grissom chuckled. "Very."