Word Count: 1716
Characters: The graveyard shift
Disclaimer: In my dreams they are like, totally mine!
Beta: jayceepat and podga for their invaluable help in the Americanisation of the fic and their insightful comments. I thank high_striker for his wonderful icons. I am indebted to them all. Any errors are mine.
A/N: Special thanks to nicky69 who told me to start writing in the first place.
Out in the Field
Catherine was furious. She’d had enough of this. Whatever his reasons, it was just plainly unfair and causing Nick distress – she was sure.
Assignments had been handed out and she was with Nick. And that was it. It was her with Nick or Warrick, Sara, Greg or even the lady who worked in the candy store (with Nick)……but it was never Gil Grissom. Grissom had worked with everyone at least twice, or more, in the last few weeks…BUT NOT NICK!!
Nick was embarrassed – she could tell. The poor man had assured her, absolutely, positively, that he was perfectly okay with the situation – but of course he wasn’t, he was being diplomatic and sweet. That was Nick’s problem of course; he was too sweet, too caring and too accepting and Catherine was righteously incensed on his behalf!
She told Nick to meet her in the truck; that she’d just be a few more minutes – and off she went to confront Gil Grissom. ‘Let’s see what pathetic excuse he has to wheedle out of this,’ was her thought as she followed Grissom back to his office, through the door which she closed firmly behind her – pity it was glass because the resounding bang of a door slamming would add weight to her indignation.
“What do you think you’re playing at Gil?” she hissed the question at him as she reached the edge of his desk.
Gil Grissom was taken aback. He immediately identified that Catherine was in full battle mode so remained standing on his side of the desk.
“If I knew what game you were talking about I could perhaps explain the rules to you.” He knew that that would further incense the woman but he enjoyed a good joust with Catherine.
“Oh don’t come on all innocent and smug with me – Nick Stokes, you remember him? He’s actually one of your team and YOU are ignoring him. Why is that Gil? What little scheme have you got going?” Catherine was annoyed with herself – could someone be ‘innocent’ and ‘smug’ at the same time – of course they could, this was Gil Grissom.
Gil thought for a moment and had a great deal of difficulty keeping a smirk under control – he did enjoy the joust but he wasn’t suicidal. ‘Innocent’ and ‘smug’.
“Really Catherine, you seem to be imagining something that isn’t there. I was involved in a convoluted discussion with Nick just before shift began – about that fibre analysis he’s been working on, and those two cases he’s cleared very efficiently – you know - the body behind a cabana at Caesar’s and that DUI. So I can hardly be accused of ignoring him.” He thought this was a reasonable response.
“But you’ve ignored him in the field haven’t you - preferring your ‘beloved’ Sara and Greg to Nick - for weeks now.” Well, that was a bit below the belt but what the hell, poor Nick needed to be vindicated.
“I must assure you Catherine that neither Sara nor Greg are ‘beloved’ to me. You know very well that as good as Sara is, she does need reassurance once in a while and Greg is still very much the rookie whom I need to continually assess. Nick is well established and trustworthy – he doesn’t need me to hold his hand.” Gil was losing it – ‘beloved’ indeed!
“So how do you explain ’Rick and me, Gil – you’ve been out with us.” Got him, she thought.
Gil paused, she had a valid point. “I think it’s just an oversight on my part and you are reading far too much into it – Nick hasn’t complained but I’ll be sure to address the matter as soon as I can. Is that all Catherine – we do have work to do.”
“Nick would never complain to you and you know it – just be sure to put it right Gil.” And with that she left his office with an air of superiority about her – though still annoyed that she couldn’t slam his door.
‘That was….unexpected,’ thought Gil. ‘Well, I’ve got to put this right quickly or Catherine will stroke out and I’ll get the blame for that along with everything else’.
Settling herself into the truck and letting Nick drive, Catherine felt a bit smug herself – she’d definitely caught Gil out. He’d dismissed her when she’d pointed out the flaw in his argument.
“Why do you think you haven’t been paired up with Grissom these last weeks?”
Nick groaned, making no attempt to hide it, “What have you done Cath?”, but he knew the answer even before he’d asked the question.
“I have spoken to Grissom on your behalf and I know darn well that you will be annoyed with me but Nick, his treatment of you is nothing short of scandalous. You know what he’s like – he goes off into fantasyland or wherever with his evidence or his bugs and rides roughshod over people and their emotions. YOU don’t deserve to be ignored and I know you’re too polite to confront him – but that’s what he needs - so I’ve done it for you! So there!” She took a big breath having got it all out as quickly as she could. In her heart of hearts she knew she had hurt Nick’s feelings by intervening, but someone had to and as sure as God made little apples, Nick wouldn’t do it himself.
“Catherine I know you mean well, I really do, but man, you make me look and feel like I’m a kid in school and you’ve been to see the Principal. Gris must have his reasons - and he’s not ignoring me – we’ve spoken plenty about work and he even said I did a good job up at Caesars an’ all. It’s probably just an oversight on his part.” He knew he sounded whiny but he could do without this, he really could.
Catherine looked at him with knitted brows. (Well…..as knitted as her last botox would allow!) That was exactly what Gil had said – an oversight. There was more to this - she was absolutely sure of that – but she’d wait, try and be patient and see what happened.
“I’m sorry Nick, I didn’t mean to annoy you and Grissom knows you had nothing to do with my little hissy fit.” Nick groaned again “…but let’s see if he redresses the balance, eh?”
“Yeah well…..” Nick left it at that and assumed an air of what he hoped was ‘let’s forget about it and I’ll leave Las Vegas when the shift ends.’
Nick had groaned a couple of times while Catherine had her say, but his heart was pounding and his mouth was dry and he knew, he just knew, that the next shift would mean that he would have to have Dr. Gil Grissom up close and entirely too personal while he worked in the field. He knew that in all probability he would enter ‘complete jerk mode’ in front of Gris, any other CSI around and the uniforms.
The next evening the assignments were handed out and as at least three people expected, Gil had paired himself up with Nick. There was a moment or two of silence and Nick took the opportunity to blush. That didn’t go unnoticed but even Greg suddenly found a modicum of restraint and kept his mouth shut.
Nick took the lead and left the room muttering about going to get ready and wait by the truck. He missed Catherine’s ‘don’t you fuck with him – or me’ look to Grissom. He missed Sara’s and Greg’s barely contained ‘what the fuck’s going on here?’ look between themselves and Warrick’s ‘what the fuck’s wrong with Nick ?‘ look. He missed seeing them but he knew every look as they burned a hole in the back of his head and they weren’t even looking his way!
‘Oh God, please let it be okay’. He collected his kit and walked out to Gris’s truck breathing the night air slowly, trying to calm himself. He did see the humour in the situation, despite Catherine reducing him to kid status, he was in fact a grown man and he could and would deal with this and it would be fine…….he hoped.
At that moment the alarm bleeped and the truck doors unlocked, allowing him access to the passenger seat. He climbed in and was joined moments later by Gris. They didn’t speak.
Nick stared ahead as he buckled down and the truck was reversed out of the parking space. He stole a glance across at Gris and watched as he concentrated on avoiding the vehicles parked around them.
Suddenly the dam burst and Gris looked across at Nick to see his shoulders shaking and his hands hiding his face.
“Oh, God, please. Don’t Nick please, don’t! Try to hold on until we are out of the parking lot, you don’t want people to see you like this!” Gil said this while trying his hardest to remain calm and composed.
Nick tried as hard as he could, but when he dropped his hands from his face there were tears in his eyes - from his laughter. “Oh man……how did we manage to mess this up so badly ……you’re supposed to be the brains of this outfit… you said it would be easier if we weren’t together out in the field…. too much temptation you said……no-one will notice if we act normal in the lab……you said!” Nick was still chuckling and Gil was grinning.
‘Hold on there Nicky, my boy, you agreed, remember? After all I’m the emotionally incapable one; you shouldn’t have let me make this sort of decision. Anyway we’ll just have to grin and bear it, because I aim to prove Catherine wrong if it means you and I are out together every single case for the next year!” Gil was actually feeling very happy at that prospect.
“Well pard, if I catch you ogling my ass at a crime scene I shall ogle right back!” Nick reached over the seat and settled his hand on Gil’s thigh.
“Please do, Nick, please do,” and he put a hand on top of Nick’s, but only for a moment because he was driving and he was responsible, not only for himself, but for his Nicky.