Crash - 21/24
Fandom: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Category: Angst, Romance
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
Revised: September 2021
Word Count: 3638
Beta: Isha, Sarah, Betty
Jim Brass was fed up to the back teeth. For days and nights, he had handled one of the worst cases in town, and he felt in desperate need of rest, worse he felt in need of a drink to wash down his anger. The unwanted craving scared the hell out of him. Driving towards home he tried not to mind the blinking signs of the bars along the way. Raped girls. One drink. Beaten to death kids. That's all. Miserable lives. It wouldn't hurt. Losers altogether. Just because his home was an empty place filled with loneliness. Like me. He clenched his hands around the wheel. No shit! A couple of drinks to make him bear the misery. God! No. I can't. I know what a couple of drinks could turn me into. I owe it to my friends, my daughter; I owe to myself to stay sober. He had lost himself many times before and regretted those relapses deeply. But not anymore. He wouldn't give in to the longing, no matter what was happening around him. He grabbed the wheel tighter. I'm going home and snatch a few hours of sleep. That's it.
The door to the bar he just passed on his left banged open and a young man stumbled outside and fell to the ground.
A wasted drunk, Jim thought, but with compassion. I'll know better than to judge him.
The man rose to his knees and looked around.
Jim blinked in 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 didn't care. Hit the road, dumbass! His attention turned to the CSI polishing the pavement. For seconds he stared at him through the side window.
Greg Sanders caught his look, stared back gaping, and stumbled to his feet. Staggering, he turned around to walk away.
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, fidgeting. "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 trashed."
"Am I?" Greg quipped, though his brown eyes were cheerless.
"I would say so," Jim replied, amused for the first time in hours. Grissom's favorite boy. Isn't he something? He guided Greg to his car and put him in the passenger's seat.
Greg crumpled to a boneless heap. "It's his fault."
Jim buckled Greg up. "Whose fault?"
"Don't you know?" Greg snapped, wrestling with the belt.
"Should I?" Jim's lips twitched. Well. "Doesn't every other appreciate your refreshing company?"
"Who doesn't want to have you?" Jim said slowly, as if he was talking to a kid.
"No one," Greg muttered, not giving an inch.
"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.
"Am I wrong?"
Greg lowered his eyes.
"Okay. Let's get you home." Jim started the car, turned around, and headed for Greg's apartment.
"He drives me crazy," Greg murmured, then his voice died again, and he gulped.
"I see. How exactly?"
"By...doing...nothing. I wish he would, I wish he would..." He sighed.
Greg pulled at Jim's sleeve. "No... stop... I don't want to go home. I need to see Gil."
Jim bit his lip. Holy smoke! This makes my day. "Shall I drive you there?"
"Yeah, sure. He's a jerk, but...but I need to see him anyway. I'm pathetic, yeah, and..."
"...wasted," Jim supplied for him. He fumbled with his cell and pressed Gil's number. "I better call him first."
"Okay." Greg's head lolled against the side window.
Jim's call was picked up after the second ring. Hey! Had his friend slept by the phone?
"I'm sorry to disturb you, Gil. It's about Greg. He had a lot to drink and..."
"No. Please no," Gil groaned.
"I picked him up outside a bar... well... crashed..." Jim said, but 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.
Hey! What's going on? "Like I said," he repeated, a bit worried. "Greg is very drunk. I found him outside a bar... crashed." A strange sound floated through the line, a choked croak. What now? Is Gil crying? Why for heaven's sake? "Gil? What's wrong?"
"Nothing. Just... a... uh... a misunderstanding," Gil sobbed.
No shit! Gil is crying. "Greg is asking for you."
"Yeah. Is it okay to bring him over to you?" A pause followed. Even over the phone Jim could sense Gil's strong uneasiness.
The awkward silence passed. "Yeah, sure," Gil said. "Whatever he wants."
"Fine. We'll be there in a few minutes." He put his cell away and glanced at Greg. He looked pale. Was he going to throw up? "Are you alright?"
"Yeah." Greg wiped his mouth. "Did he say I can come over? You know what, don't tell me. I don't care. I do what I want. He can't order me around. Sure, he's 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 done, and if Gil thinks..." He didn't stop babbling for the whole drive.
That didn't bother Jim. He was up to listen to the strangest declaration of love he had ever heard, a rambling speech that cheered him up despite of everything happening today.
A few minutes later Jim helped Greg climbing up the stairs in Gil's building and stumbling down the hallway.
Greg was still babbling. "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 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.
"Easy boy, easy," Jim soothed Greg. "Don't say anything you'll regret. I'll get you into bed. Gil stays right here."
Gil froze into silence.
Jim couldn't even hear him breathing. Yeah. Well. Caught flat-footed.
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 said, sounding curious as well as aware.
Jim smirked. "I'm the last person to tell you."
"Does everybody know?" Gil said, not pretending anymore.
"Know what?" Jim countered, settling in the only chair.
"I'm not in the mood for games. A few minutes ago, I freaked out over...well...over nothing and I'm still..."
"I'm not the one who started this game, am I?" Jim said softly.
Gil caved. "I know."
"What were you freaking out about anyway?"
"Nothing. I overreacted. I just thought Greg was..." He shrugged.
"Thought what?" Jim pressed him.
"It's related to something that happened a long time ago. It doesn't matter anymore. I don't want to talk about it."
"Come on. Looks like it still matters a lot."
"Never mind. It's not why I..."
"I know it's not that, but your feelings for Greg Sanders are making you act a bit out of it." He leaned across the table and squeezed Gil's shoulder.
"There are no feelings. This isn't serious. This is just a..."
"Don't you dare and say it's just a fling, Gil. 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're too different in every way..."
"Are you kidding? In which way are you two different?" Jim chuckled.
"Come on. We're worlds apart?"
"As if. 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're both geeks 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?" Jim scoffed, shaking his head.
"No," Gil whispered, looking stunned.
"Fact is you two fit."
"All right! If you put it like that."
"I'm glad I made you see the obvious. What are friends for? Feeling better now?"
"A little." He sighed. "I'm exhausted though. I need to go to bed."
"Have fun." Seeing the blush creeping up Gil's neck, Jim smirked.
"Only to get some sleep," Gil said and got up.
"If you say so." Jim struggled to his feet.
"Don't push it." Gil walked him to the door.
"Cheer up! I think some people at the lab already know what's going on between you and Greg. They are merely too considerate to say anything."
"Are you sure?"
"Definitely. Don't worry so much."
"What about Sara?"
"No, I think she doesn't have a clue."
"Yeah." Gil's shoulders slumped.
"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. Better to be honest than to keep her out of the loop forever."
"I know, but it's not easy."
"It's not, but then what is."
"Good night, Jim. Thank you for bringing Greg home."
"No problem. The incident made me forget about my own awful day - if only for a brief time." Jim winked at him.
"Okay. Bye." Gil closed the door. Catherine...Atwater...Robbins...Jim... oh god.... that's four people already. Gil was surprised he didn't freak out for the second time today. So? Who else knows? Hodges? He cringed. Not him please. Everyone but him. Unwashed, he went to the bedroom and found Greg sleeping in his clothes, snoring softly. He's okay. That's all that matters. He opened Greg's pants and pulled them off to make him more comfortable.
Greg slurred something but didn't wake up.
Gil lay down beside him and pulled a blanket over them. We need to talk. First thing tomorrow.
Greg grabbed the blanket and wrapped himself in it.
Gil smiled. Isn't love something? If you love someone, you even like him drunk and snoring. In the strangest mood he followed Greg into dreamland in hope for a better day tomorrow.
Well, anyway, when Gil opened his eyes, Greg was already up slipping into his pants. Gil blinked. The sun streamed blindingly hot through the shutters and the air tasted stale.
"I thought we should talk," Gil disagreed, getting up.
"About what?" Greg put on his shoes and looked in the mirror.
"Mark. I know you found his picture in the drawer."
Greg winced. "This is not about Mark."
"What is it about then?" Gil said, frowning.
"Take a good guess."
"Is it about us?"
Greg grimaced. "Us? There is no us. I'm just your boy toy. A convenient substitute for your precious Mark."
"That's not true." Isn't it?
"It is true!" Greg yawped. "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 knows we're together."
"The sheriff knows." And a few more people.
"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."
"I don't know why I came here anyway," Greg snapped. "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 my fault. I know that. But I'm done being your lab boy. I'm crazy I didn't leave you sooner."
"Come on, there's always a solution..."
Greg raked his hair with his fingers. "Yes, there is. I'm out of here. It's over."
"Well, if you feel this way, I won't hold you back," Gil said, although he didn't want him to leave.
"Okay then." Greg stormed out.
Gil heard the door slam shut and still didn't do anything. He's right. 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. Well, 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. He settled back into bed, and lay there, 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 don't want to make any commitment. Although I am Mr. Crime Scene Investigator, like Greg used to call me once, I have no clue how to solve my personal problems. Well, Catherine told me I'm not good with people. This is proof that she was right. 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... come on, stop thinking about Mark, for heaven's sake. Don't make this day any worse. Get a grip! He jumped out of bed and went to take a shower, though he lingered there for an hour. Yeah. Shame on me.
Still hangoverish, Greg weaseled through the lab. The events of the last night were a blur. Oh, he knew he had wasted himself senseless, and Brass had picked him up and drove him over to Gil's place, but besides that, he couldn't remember a thing. Anyone's guess what he had shot his mouth off about to Brass. Never mind! I can't fix that. But there's something else I need to sort out. I don't like it but that doesn't matter. "Hey Hodges, I need to talk to you."
"What about?" Hodges didn't look up from his microscope.
"About my behavior yesterday," Greg said none the less. "I was totally out of line, and I'm sorry for what I did to you."
"So what?" Now Hodges gave him an incredulous look. "Don't flatter yourself. You barely touched me."
"That's not the point..."
"You hit like a sissy."
Greg flushed. "Whatever. I hope you're willing to accept my apology."
"Sure." Hodges' voice was dripping with mockery.
"Thank you." Greg turned around.
"Don't I get a hug?"
"What?" Greg whirled back to him.
Hodges smirked. "I want a hug from Grissom's favorite boy to prove that he's serious."
"Yeah, someday when hell freezes over," Greg said, stepping up to him.
"What a shame!" Hodges pouted and made a step on his part.
"Well, I'm Grissom's boy, not yours," he snarled, unsettled. What now? Are you chatting me up or taking me for a ride?
"Do you want my advice about the boss man?" Hodges countered, his eyes a flashing, dangerous blue.
"As if!" Greg griped. "If I ever need advice, you would be the last man on earth..."
"Sure! Tell yourself that." He patted Greg's arm.
"A-Are...you kidding?" Greg spluttered, stumped by Hodges' physical contact.
"Nah, I'm serious." Hodges' grip tightened. His blue eyes were captivating. "Haven't you noticed?"
You must be mad! "Stop messing around!" Greg tore himself loose and rushed out. Hodges' amused laughter followed him along. Holy shit! What just happened? Sure, I've had worse clashes with that guy, but that was...different...if not strangely awkward...
Greg turned around and looked down the hallway. There was Dennis, standing close to a tall man to whom the boy bore a remarkable resemblance. His dad, Greg concluded and simmered down. He walked towards them and gave Dennis a friendly pat on the shoulder. "Hey there. What's up?"
"This is my father," Dennis said. "He had to come here to sign a few documents."
"Hello, Mr. Epson."
"Mr... Sanders, right?"
"My son told me you took kindly care of him and his brother Scotty. Thank you for that."
"Don't mention it. Dennis and Scotty are good boys; they didn't give us any trouble."
Dennis blushed. "See, I told you, dad."
"I'm sorry for your loss, Mr. Epson," Greg added sincerely.
"Thank you." Epson reached for a tissue and blew his nose.
"May I talk to Greg for a moment alone, dad?" Dennis said, looking bashful.
"What for?" Epson snuffled into his tissue.
"Just to say good-bye," Dennis said, shuffling his feet.
"Alright, young man," his dad granted, "but make it quick. I'll wait in the car. Goodbye, Mr. Sanders." Slouching, he walked away, trying hard to hang in there even though he had lost his second son.
"Did you tell him?" Greg said as soon as he and Dennis were alone.
"No, but I will..."
"Oh, come on, Dennis. You must tell him."
"I will. Not now though. Eventually."
A door to their left was opened, and Gil Grissom stepped into the hallway, almost colliding with them. He stared briefly at them and then hurried down the hallway.
Holy shit! Perfect timing, Gil. Greg watched his lover's back until he turned around the corner.
"He is your boyfriend, right?"
"Yes, Dennis," he gave in, tired of lying.
"Whoa! But he's much older than you."
"Right again, Dennis," he agreed, for all that amused.
"Do you love him?"
"How's Scotty?" I do. Oh hell, I do.
"Okay. He's home with our mom."
"How are you feeling?"
Dennis shrugged. "I don't know. Still depressed I think."
"Is your father angry with you?"
"Yeah, well, at first he was livid, but we've talked for hours."
"But he's heartbroken because of Rob. I saw him cry much."
Greg patted the boy's shoulder once more. "Jeez, I'm 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, but his eyes became wet at the same time. "By the way, your boyfriend is back watching us." He winked at Greg and walked away.
What? I thought he was gone. Greg looked over his shoulder and caught Gil just in time, standing only a couple of feet away, looking annoyed if not infuriated.
Greg frowned. What's the matter, Gil? Are you jealous? About a boy? Come on. You're 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. What can I do?" Yeah. Keep working, that's for the best. Stop thinking about a man who's not worth it. Plenty of better men are out there. Right. Find one and make Gil Grissom suffer. Jeez! Stop it! You're doing it again.
Well. The regular life in the CSI lab wasn't troubled by Greg's and Gil's private drama. Solving cases kept the team as busy as ever and left no time to think about personal matters. Everything ran as usual. Okay. Almost everything. There was some weirdness simmering 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 and had lost his humor which had made him so famous as a lab boy. Whereas Brass was often seen striding the halls of the lab with a peculiar smirk on his lips. Once, he even had been seen laughing with Doc Robbins in the morgue. The two men didn't share the matter of their amusement with the team, though it could be the curious 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 talk about, and 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. "How dare you! 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 barked, grinding his jaw.
"Don't - call - me - sir."
"Sure - Gil."
Strange indeed. 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 was simply ordinary in the CSI lab. In the end, rumors were just rumors. No good ever came out of them, right?
Thus, the destructive and illogical behavior of two blockheads in love might have gone on forever. One fateful day though, it was changed by a blessing in disguise.