Crash - 21/24
Fandom: CSI:Crime Scene Investigation
Category: Romance, Angst
Series/Sequel: Breaking the Ice
Summary: In the end it falls apart
Warning: Slash, M/M
Disclaimer: I don´t own them but I love them dearly.
Feedback: Yes, please. It´s the icing on my cake.
Released: May 2006
Word Count: 3.888
Beta: Isha, Sarah, Betty
Jim Brass had had it with people, granted, not for eternity, but certainly for now. For several days and nights he had handled one of the worst cases in town, and his mind felt in desperate need of a rest. Much worse was that he also felt in need of a drink. A strong and tasty drink to wear down his nagging anger. This particular longing scared the hell out of him. Depressed, he drove towards home and tried not to mind all the blinking, inviting signs of the various bars along the way. Raped girls. Just one small drink. Beaten to death kids. That´s all. Miserable lives. It wouldn´t hurt. Losers altogether. His home was just an empty place filled with loneliness. Just like me. He clenched his hands around the wheel. Just a couple of drinks to make him forget everything, mainly his own sorrow. He took a sharp breath. NO. No, I won´t. I know perfectly well what a couple of drinks could turn me into. I owe it to my friends, my daughter; I owe to myself to stay sober. Many times before he had lost himself and regretted it deeply. Not any more; he wouldn´t give in to the longing, no matter what was happening around him. Determined, he grabbed the wheel tighter. I´m going home. That´s it.
The door to the bar he had just passed on his left banged open fiercely, and a young man stumbled outside and fell to the ground.
A wasted drunk, Jim thought, but with compassion. I´m truly not the one who is allowed to judge anyone in this matter.
The man crawled to his knees and looked around.
Jim blinked in complete surprise. Greg Sanders! What the hell? He hit the brakes and came to a sudden stop. The driver in the car behind him blew his horn and sped ahead, giving him the birdie. Jim just smiled, unbothered. Hit the road! His attention turned back to the young CSI who was polishing the pavement. For several seconds he stared at him through the side window.
Finally, Greg Sanders caught his look, stared back gaping and stumbled to his feet. Faltering, he turned to walk away.
Quickly, Jim parked the car at the curb and jumped out to run after him. "Sanders! Stop!"
Sanders kept going.
A few more steps and Jim pulled him by the shoulder. "Hey! Where are you going?"
"Home," Greg babbled. "What do you think?"
"Let me drive you."
"No thanks." He brushed Jim´s hand off his shoulder.
"Come on, you won´t be able to get there safely all by yourself. You´re pretty drunk."
"Am I?" Greg joked dryly. His big, brown eyes were dull and sad.
"I would say so," Jim replied, slightly amused for the first time in hours. Grissom´s favorite boy. Isn´t he something? Carefully, he guided Greg to his car and put him in the passenger´s seat. There was no resistance.
At once, Greg crumpled to a boneless heap. "It´s his fault."
Jim buckled Greg up. "Whose fault?"
"Don´t you know?" Greg blurted, aggressively.
Jim´s lips twitched. This is going to be fun. "No. Who doesn´t appreciate your lovely company?"
The young CSI´s expression had become blank. It was obvious he had forgotten what he had just said. "Who doesn´t want to have you?" Jim repeated slowly, as if he was talking to a kid.
"No one." Obviously, Greg had come back to his senses and denied any previous confession.
"What did Gil Grissom do to you?" Jim asked softly, holding back a grin.
Greg gaped at him. "How did you...," he started but then shut his mouth. He lowered his eyes quickly.
"Am I wrong?"
Well, silence means consent, Jim considered. "Let´s get you home." Hearing no complaint, Jim started the car, turned around, and headed for Greg´s apartment.
"He drives me crazy," Greg continued suddenly. Then his voice died again, and he gulped a few times.
"I see." Jim encouraged him to go on. "How exactly?"
"By...doing...nothing," Greg scolded. "I wish he would, I wish he would..." He sighed unhappily.
Greg voiced something else under his breath. Jim didn´t pay attention until Greg pulled at Jim´s sleeve. "No...not home. I want...I need to see Gil."
Jim bit his lip. This is getting better and better. "Shall I drive you there?"
"Yes, please. He´s a jerk, but...but I need to see him anyway. I´m just pathetic and...and..."
"...very drunk," Jim supplied for him, while he fumbled with his cell and pressed Gil´s number. "First I have to call him."
"Okay," was the simple agreement. Greg´s head lolled against the side window.
Jim´s call was answered quickly. Had his friend slept by the phone? "Grissom."
"I´m sorry to disturb you, Gil. It´s about Greg. He had a lot to drink and..."
"No. Please no," he heard Gil groan.
"I picked him up outside a bar...totally crashed..." Jim continued matter-of-factly. Only white noise tickled his ear. "Gil?" He raised his voice a notch. "Gil, are you still there?"
"Yes, I´m here," Gil quivered. He sounded broken; worse, he sounded lost.
Jim became deeply concerned. What was going on? "Like I said," he repeated slowly, "Greg is very drunk. I found him outside a bar...totally crashed."
A strange sound floated through the line, a choked croak. Was Gil crying? Why? "Gil? What´s wrong?"
"Nothing. Just...just a misunderstanding," Gil sobbed.
What the hell? Gil is crying. "Greg is asking for you."
"Yes, he is. Is it okay to bring him over to you?" A pause followed. Even over the phone Jim could sense Gil´s strong uneasiness.
Finally the awkward moment was broken. "Yes, it is."
"Fine. I´ll be there in a few minutes." He put his cell away and gave Greg a short glance. The young man looked pale. Was he going to throw up? "Are you alright?"
"Yeah. I´m just...tired." Despite this statement, he started talking again. "Did he say I can come over?"
Jim opened his mouth, but Greg didn´t give him the chance to reply.
"Don´t tell me. It doesn´t matter. I do what I want to do. He can´t order me around. Sure, he is the boss of me at work, but not at home. At home he can´t make me shut up. I won´t shut up about us anymore. I´m fed up with his secretiveness. I´m finally done. It drives me nuts, and if Gil thinks..." Greg didn´t stop babbling for the whole drive.
Jim became more and more amused; it was the strangest declaration of love he had ever heard. A few minutes later they climbed up the stairs in Gil´s building and stumbled down the hallway.
Greg was still babbling. "We´re here, right? I hope he isn´t thinking I´m here to give in, because I´m not. I just..."
The door to Gil´s apartment was torn open before Jim had the chance to knock.
Gil, looking awful, stared at them. "Get him in," he breathed finally and reached for Greg.
"Don´t touch me," Greg whined. "I didn´t come here to cuddle and make peace."
Gil´s hand dropped down, and his cheeks reddened slightly.
"Easy boy, easy," Jim soothed Greg. "Don´t say anything you´ll regret in the morning. I´ll get you into bed. Gil stays right here."
Gil froze in utter silence.
Jim couldn´t even hear him breathing. Finished with the job of putting a drunken CSI to bed, Jim found Gil sacked on the sofa, covering his eyes with a hand. "The rumors are true then, aren´t they?"
"What rumors?" Gil exclaimed, truly surprised.
Brass smirked. "I´m the last person to tell you."
"Does everybody know?" Gil inquired curiously. Apparently, he had given up pretending there was nothing going on.
"Know what?" Jim countered smoothly.
"I´m not in the mood for this silly game. A few minutes ago I freaked out over...well...over nothing and I´m still..."
"I´m not the one who started this silly game, am I?" Jim said very softly.
Gil blinked, looking quite helpless. "I know."
"What were you freaking out about anyway?" Jim´s voice was calm, but his determined expression insisted on an answer.
It wasn´t given. "Nothing. I overreacted. I just thought Greg was..." His voice died.
"Thought what?" Jim pressed him to go on.
"It´s related to something that happened a long time ago. It doesn´t matter anymore. I don´t want to talk about it."
"Looking at you here and now I think it still matters a lot."
Gil shrugged. "It´s not why I..."
"I know it´s not that, but your feelings for Greg Sanders are making you act quite uncharacteristically." He squeezed Gil´s shoulder in sympathy.
"There are no feelings. This isn´t serious. This is just a..."
"Don´t you dare go and say it´s just a fling, Gil Grissom. I know you better than that. You would never get yourself in this position for a fling."
"That doesn´t matter."
Jim snorted. "Is there anything that does matter?"
"This isn´t going anywhere," Gil skipped his question. "We are too different in every way..."
"Are you kidding? In which way exactly are you two different?" Jim chuckled.
"But don´t you think we are worlds apart?"
"Greg is a copy of you - only younger."
"There you have it. The age difference..."
"Oh please, don´t play the only card you´ve got. You are both geeks who are obsessed with your work, have a strange sense of humor, have problems keeping one hairstyle, have a selection of the weirdest hobbies...shall I continue?"
"No," Gil whispered, stunned.
"Fact is you fit each other perfectly."
"I never realized that."
"I´m glad I made you realize then. What are friends for? Feeling better now?"
"A little." He sighed. "I´m just utterly exhausted. I think I need to go to bed."
"Have fun." Seeing Gil blush immediately, Jim grinned.
"Only to get some sleep," Gil said defensively and walked him to the door.
"If you say so," Jim teased him further.
Gil gave him a cold look.
"Listen, I believe a lot of people at the lab already know what´s going on between you and Greg. They are just too discreet to say anything."
"Are you sure?"
"Definitely. Don´t worry so much."
"What about Sara?"
"No, I think she doesn´t have a clue."
"I thought so." Gil sighed unhappily.
"Is that a problem?"
"Sara, you know..."
"Of course, I know. Everybody knows. There is only one thing to do. Tell her the truth. She´ll get over it eventually. It´s better to be honest than to keep her out of the loop forever."
"I know you´re right, but it´s not easy."
"No, it´s not."
"Good night, Jim. Thank you for bringing Greg home safely."
"No problem. This incident was an enjoyable diversion and made me forget about my own awful day - if only for a short time." Playfully, Jim winked at him.
Gil grumbled and closed the door quickly. Catherine...Atwater...Robbins...Jim...he said everybody knows. Everybody. Gil was surprised he didn´t freak out for the second time today. Who else knows? He considered further. Hodges? This particular possibility made him cringe with discomfort. Not him please. Everyone but him. Unwashed, he went to the bedroom and found Greg sleeping in his clothes, snoring loudly. He´s okay. That´s all that matters. Carefully, Gil opened Greg´s pants and pulled them off to make him more comfortable.
Greg mumbled something but didn´t wake up.
Watching his young lover intensely, Gil lay down beside him and pulled a blanket over both of them. We definitely need to talk. First thing tomorrow, he promised himself.
Starting to snore again, Greg grabbed the blanket and wrapped himself tightly in it.
Gil smiled with affection. Isn´t love something? If you love someone, you even like him when he´s being drunk and snoring. This was his last reasonable thought before he followed Greg into dreamland.
The next morning, Gil opened his eyes only to find Greg already up and slipping into his pants. The air was filled with unresolved emotions.
"I thought we should talk," Gil disagreed.
"About what?" Greg put on his shoes and took a look in the mirror.
"Mark. I know you found his picture in the drawer."
Perplexed, Greg blinked. "This is not about Mark."
"What is it about then?" Gil said, now simply confused.
"Take a good guess."
"Is it about us?"
Outraged, Greg grimaced. "Us? There is no us. I´m just your boy toy. I´m just a convenient substitute for your precious Mark."
"That is not true." Really? Isn´t it?
"It is true!" Greg shouted, furious. "An easy fuck. That´s all I am to you. You like doing me, but you don´t want to be seen with me. Nobody even knows we´re together."
"The sheriff knows." He didn´t mention Jim.
"He doesn´t count. I´m talking about our friends."
"You know how delicate our situation is. Ecklie is sniffing around in every corner. If he finds out about us, our careers are finished."
"I don´t care."
"Well, that´s the difference between us. I do care."
"I don´t know why I came here anyway," Greg snapped like a rabid dog. "It´s no use talking to you. You will never change. You and I are going nowhere."
"I always told you what I..."
"Right. It´s completely my fault. I know that. But I´m done being your little lab boy. I must be completely out of my mind that I didn´t leave you sooner."
"Greg, listen, there is always a solution..."
Frantically, Greg raked his hair with his fingers. "Yes, there is. I´m out of here. It´s over."
"Well, if this is your final decision, I won´t hold you back," he agreed although he didn´t feel good about it. Incapable of making a move, he watched Greg running out. He´s right. Gil heard the door slam shut and still didn´t do anything. This - us - is going nowhere. We never go out, we never buy groceries, we never take a walk on the streets, and we never pay friends a visit. Neither of our families knows about us. Frankly, we never talk about our families. I know nothing about Greg´s family. I never cared to find out. In the end it all comes to this. Two men having sex. For a long time, he just lay on the bed, listening to himself breathing. I´m a coward. Greg at least had the courage to break up with me. I couldn´t have done it myself. I want to be with him but I didn´t want to make any commitment. In spite of the fact that I am Mr. Crime Scene Investigator, like Greg used to call me once, I have no clue how to solve my own personal problem. Well, Catherine frequently told me I´m not good with people. This is proof that she was perfectly right. Utterly depressed, he pulled the blanket over his face. Mark had been right as well. Dear Mark. Did you crash the car on purpose into the pole, or was it an accident? The police couldn´t say. But I never told them we had a fight that night. I never told anybody...Stop thinking about it, for Heaven´s sake. Don´t make this day any worse. He jumped out of bed and went to take a shower, scolding himself as pathetic while he lingered there for a whole hour.
In the evening, Greg, still hangoverish, weaseled through the lab. The events of the last night were a blur. Oh, he knew he wasted himself senseless, Brass had picked him up and drove him over to Gil´s but besides that, he couldn´t remember a thing he had said or done. This wasn´t good at all. God knows what he had told Brass. Never mind! At the moment I can´t fix that. But there is something else I need to take care of. As quickly as possible. I don´t like it but that doesn´t matter. It needs to be fixed. "Hey Hodges, I need to talk to you."
"What about?" was the simple reply. Hodges didn´t even look up from his microscope.
"About my behavior yesterday," he continued none the less. "I was totally out of line, and I´m truly sorry for what I did to you."
Now he had Hodges´ attention. "Please," he said, showing Greg a mocking eyebrow, "don´t flatter yourself. You barely touched me."
"That´s not the point..."
"You hit like a sissy."
Greg flushed with anger but tried to keep it down. "Whatever. I hope you are willing to accept my apology."
"Sure." The man´s voice was dripping with mockery.
"Thank you." Greg turned around.
"Don´t I get a hug?"
"What?" Greg shouted and whirled back.
Hodges grinned brightly. "I want a hug from Grissom´s favorite boy to prove that he´s serious."
"Never," Greg spat and forgot all about his manners.
"Why not?" Hodges cajoled and stepped closer.
"Like you said yourself, I´m Grissom´s boy, not yours," he dared to give away.
"Do you want my advice about the boss man?" Hodges countered, his eyes a flashing, dangerous blue.
"Certainly not," Greg griped. "If I ever need advice, you would be the last man on earth..."
"Just grow up, will you?" Casually he laid a hand on Greg´s arm.
"A-Are...are you kidding?" Greg spluttered, irritated.
"No, I´m quite serious." Hodges´ grip tightened. His blue eyes were captivating.
Confused, Greg tore himself loose and fled. Hodges´ amused laughter followed him along. What exactly had just happened? Sure, I´ve had worse clashes with this man, but that was...different...it was totally awkward...
Startled, Greg whirled around and looked down the hallway. There was Dennis, standing close to a tall man to whom the boy bore a remarkable resemblance. The father, Greg concluded and steadied at once. Putting a reassuring smile on, Greg walked towards them and gave Dennis a friendly pat on the shoulder. "Hey there. What´s up?"
"I´m allowed to go home."
"I´m glad to hear that."
"This is my father."
"Hello, Mr. Epson."
"My son told me you were very nice to him and his brother Scotty. I have to thank you for that."
"It was nothing. They are very good boys; they didn´t give us the tiniest bit of trouble."
Dennis blushed. "See, I told you, dad."
"I´m very sorry for your loss, Mr. Epson," Greg added, regretful.
"May I talk to Greg for a moment alone, Dad?" Dennis asked shyly.
"What for?" Mr. Epson frowned, concerned.
"Please? Just to say good-bye," Dennis pleaded.
"Alright, young man," his father granted, "but make it quick. I´ll wait in the car. Bye, Mr. Sanders." Slouching, he walked away, obviously trying hard to be strong and to hide that he was mourning.
"Did you tell him?" Greg didn´t continue until they were alone.
"No, but I will..."
"You have to tell him."
"I promise I will. But not now. Eventually."
"I hope so."
A door to their left was opened, and Gil Grissom stepped into the hallway, almost colliding with them. For a second, he stared at them and then hurried down the hallway.
Distressed, Greg watched Gil´s back for a while and sighed, forgetting about Dennis.
"He is your boyfriend, right?"
"Yes, Dennis," he gave in, simply tired of lying.
"Whoa. But he is much older than you."
"Right again, Dennis," he agreed slightly amused.
"Do you love him?"
"How´s Scotty?" he changed the subject. I do. Oh hell, I do.
"Okay. He´s home with our mom."
"How are you feeling?"
Dennis shrugged. "I don´t know. Depressed I think."
"Is your father very angry with you?"
"He was furious, but we´ve talked."
"But he´s terribly sad because of Rob. I saw him cry."
Once more, Greg patted the young boy´s shoulder. "I´m so sorry. Do you want my number in case you need someone you can talk to?"
A slight smile touched Dennis´ lips. "That would be great." He pulled out his cell and typed Greg´s number in. "Got it. I have to go."
"Not if I see you first," Dennis quipped lightly, but his eyes became wet at the same time. "By the way, your boyfriend is watching us," he notified and walked away.
Curious, Greg looked over his shoulder and caught Gil just in time. Dennis had been right. His boss and lover was watching them, looking perfectly annoyed, almost infuriated. The moment passed, and Gil left the hallway. Greg frowned. What´s the matter, Gil? Are you jealous? About a boy? Come on. You are the one who has the hots for a younger man not me. I need them mature.
"Hey, Greg. Are you here to work or to dream?" Catherine gave him a slap on the back.
"I could use some help on a case."
"Sure. Just tell me what I have to do." Keep working, that´s it. Stop thinking about a man who´s not worth it. A lot of other men are out there. Better men. I will find one and then Gil Grissom will suffer. Jeez! Stop it! You´re doing it again.
The regular life in the CSI lab wasn´t bothered by their private drama. Solving cases kept the team as busy as ever and left no time to think about personal matters. Everything ran quite normally. Well, almost everything. A good observer might have seen the weirdness beneath the surface of busy politeness.
Sara´s coldness had become as scary as Grissom´s extreme moldering silence. Greg´s behavior was also alarming; he acted more serious than every senior CSI by far. Obviously, he had lost all his humor which had made him so famous as a lab boy. Brass, on the other hand, was often seen striding the halls of the lab with a peculiar smirk on his lips. Once, he even had been seen laughing with Dr. Robbins in the morgue. Strange indeed. Maybe the elder men had had their fun with the very interesting rumors spreading through the lab for the last couple of weeks.
Greg had called Grissom by his given name, Greg had knocked down Hodges, Sofia claimed she had seen Greg coming out of Grissom´s apartment one morning, a woman had referred to Grissom as ´gay guy´, Sara had cried and sought comfort in Nick´s arms, Catherine and Nick shared a secret they won´t tell, Warrick had become engaged without telling anyone.
There was one rumor in the high tide which floated above. The biggest rumor of all.
At a Crime Scene, a young, good-looking police officer had made a pass at Greg and Grissom had behaved out of line. "What´s going on here? It´s not appropriate to flirt at a Crime Scene."
Greg did just as well. "Oh yeah? But kissing was, was it?"
"Go back to work!" Gil ordered sharply.
"Don´t - call - me - sir."
"Sure - Gil."
Of course, this rumor, as well as all the others, wasn´t confirmed, and nobody knew who had brought them up first. But beyond the common office gossip, life ran perfectly normally in the CSI lab. In the end, rumors were just rumors. No good ever came out of them, right?
Therefore, it was possible that the destructive, illogical behavior of two people who loved each other deeply might have gone on forever. Then, one day, it was changed by a blessing in disguise.