They don't sit next to each other at the funeral. They haven't even talked much about it, partly because Greg's not really sure what's going on with them, but mostly because Nick's too busy running around like some kind of superhero, pretending none of it gets to him.
He finally lets his guard down a little at the funeral -- though it would be impossible not to, what with Grissom's eulogy and all. It's like watching his father cry, and Greg's pretty sure there isn't a dry eye in the house when he's done.
Once the service is over they follow the casket outside, and Greg catches up with Nick in the parking lot. "Give you a lift?" he asks, dangling his keys hopefully. And he expects Nick to say no, because he's always been way too practical about stuff like that. So he expects a speech about how Nick's already got his car and there's no reason to leave it at the church just to have to come back and get it later, all of which would be perfectly reasonable and leave Greg feeling like an idiot all at the same time.
When Nick actually nods and changes directions it takes Greg a second to catch up.
He's always been good at quick recoveries, though, so he leads Nick to his car and manages not to look totally confused while he unlocks the door.
"Thanks," Nick says as Greg takes his place in the procession, remembering to turn his lights on as they pull out of the parking lot.
Greg thinks about asking what for, but he doesn't really need to hear the answer. Instead he reaches over and grips Nick's hand, squeezing before he lets go. Only Nick holds on, threading their fingers together and letting their hands rest on his thigh and it's been awhile since things were this easy between them. Then again, it's easy to be on the same wavelength, considering, so Greg tries not to read too much into it.
It's not that things have been bad, exactly; they've just sort of fallen into a routine, and lately that routine has pushed them further apart than Greg ever meant it to. And maybe it started with Greg spending more time at his place while he worked on his book, but Nick never complained, so Greg figured he just didn't care. It made it easier for Nick to pretend they were just killing time together, anyway, and if that was all he wanted...
Only Greg never actually asked, so maybe it's partly his fault that he still has no idea where they stand after all this time. Not asking seemed easier at the time than dealing with whatever Nick's answer turned out to be, but now he's not so sure that's true. Because he heard all about Nick's little show-down with McKeen, heard how close he came to losing it, and...okay, it's not like Greg's sappy enough to think knowing where they stand would have made him think harder about throwing his whole life away, but it couldn't have hurt.
"What about your meeting?" Nick asks, and the exhaustion in his voice makes Greg's chest ache.
"Your L.A. trip," Nick says, and when Greg glances over Nick's watching him. "It was a pretty big deal."
Greg shrugs and turns into the cemetery, following Catherine's car down the narrow road. "I can reschedule. The fact that I do this for a living is kind of my selling point, so work comes first. They understand."
He's not a hundred percent sure that's true, but there was no way he was going to go to L.A. and try to sell his novel to a studio when the rest of the team was back here dealing with this. They're a family, as fucked up as that is, and he wasn't about to let them down. So he'll get his agent to reschedule, and if it doesn't work out...well, he's got other irons in the fire. He squeezes Nick's hand again and lets go so he can pull in behind Catherine.
"You're not going to leave, are you? I mean, if you become some big time novelist or whatever."
And it's a hell of a time to have this conversation, but it's Nick, so he's not really surprised. They don't talk about anything, really; they talk around stuff all the time, but whenever things start to get heavy Nick always finds a way to change the subject. Whether it's avoiding Greg for a week or just throwing himself into whatever case they happen to be working, Nick always finds a way to avoid talking about where they go from here. It just figures it would take losing one of his best friends to make him realize just how much more there is to lose.
"Depends," Greg answers, because honesty's pretty much all he's got left. "I'm not going anywhere as long as I've got a reason to stay."
For a few seconds Nick just looks at him, then he nods and leans in to press a soft kiss to the corner of Greg's mouth. It's over before it even starts, because there are about fifty cops around, not to mention everyone from the lab, but it's a lot more than Greg ever thought he'd get in public. "Can you stay at my place tonight? We can go pick my car up tomorrow."
It's not exactly a proposal or anything, but it's a start. It's enough for now, anyway, and Greg finds himself grinning as he opens his car door. "Whatever you want, Nick."
They climb out of the car and head toward the grave site, straight past Ecklie and Brass. Greg glances up and nods at them, biting his lip to keep from laughing at the looks on their faces. And he knows he should be a little more worried, because Ecklie's their boss, for one thing. But they're not technically breaking any rules - he knows, he checked - so there's nothing Ecklie or anybody else can do to screw it up.
"Did you know about that?" Ecklie asked as Nick and Greg walked away, not quite touching but close enough to remind him of what he'd just witnessed. He glanced over at Brass, who didn't look all that surprised. The truth was he looked like he'd rather be anywhere besides where he was standing right now.
"I try not to think about it."
Ecklie opened his mouth to answer, then closed it again when he realized that there wasn't much to say. Chances were the entire night shift knew, and if that was true, Brass was the last person who should have come to him to let him know what was happening. And he could make an issue of it; fraternization wasn't technically against the rules, but Stokes outranked Sanders, and if the press ever got hold of it every case they'd ever worked together could be compromised. Except that Ecklie had pretty much lost control over the night shift a long time ago; he'd spent way too much energy trying to deny it already, and he wasn't going to waste more on this.
It was Grissom's problem, let him deal with the headaches for once.