Nick wakes up with that sick groggy feeling and the urge to vomit sitting low in the back of his throat. The nightmares weren't that bad last night but he still feels like ten miles of bad road.
He stumbles into the shower and turns the water as hot as he can stand it. After ten minutes or so, he starts to feel human again and he quickly soaps up, washes off and hops out of the shower. Being late for work tends to draw attention and Nick's not really in the mood to have Grissom or Catherine poke at his bruises.
He makes it to the lab with ten minutes to spare. After he throws his stuff in his locker and grabs his vest, Nick heads to the break room for some coffee. On his way into the room, he almost runs into Greg, literally.
"Whoa." Nick jumps back, left arm wide, to avoid a coffee spill.
Greg smiles and forces himself to a stop. "Oh hey, sorry. Trying to get some coffee in me before the meeting. I'm always worried that if I don't have enough caffeine, I'll wind up saying the mother did it."
"Did the mother do it?" Nick asks as he moves into the room and heads towards the coffee pot.
Greg leans up against the doorframe and raises his eyebrows. "Well, yeah. But that's not the point. The point is that I don't want to be wrong."
Nick finishes pouring his mug and turns around, leaning against the counter as he does. He looks Greg, bright-eyed and laughing, and Nick is suddenly hungry. A pang of loneliness hits him then and he can almost feel the breath leave his body.
"Nick," Greg crosses the room. "What's wrong?"
"Bullshit. Are you still having trouble sleeping? You look like hell."
"Thanks, Greggo. I knew there was a reason why I still talked to you, you do wonders for my self-esteem." Nick rubs his hand over his face before he speaks again. "The nightmares aren't that bad, really they aren't. It's just waking up by myself and not getting a good night's sleep that's messing me up. You know?"
Greg frowns. "Yeah, I know. Look, we've got like two minutes to the meeting but do you want to get food and maybe some drinks when we get off?"
The refusal is right on the tip of Nick's tongue, he hates feeling like a charity case over something that happened a year ago, but then he remembers that he really has nothing else to do. Going home to an empty house sucks. "Yeah. I'll meet you in the locker room after shift?"
Thankfully, it's a quiet night and Nick spends most of it finishing up paperwork and prepping for trial. By the time 8 a.m. rolls around, he's looking forward to breakfast with Greg in a way that reminds him of how they were when they were dating.
Greg's waiting by the doors when Nick walks out of the locker room and he smiles at Nick. "I was wondering if you were going to ditch me."
"Why would I do that?"
"Because I know you and I know that when you don't want to talk about something, you avoid any situation that might force you to talk," Greg says.
Nick nods in acknowledgment before he replies. "Well, that was the old me. Therapy changes a man, Greg. Besides, I don't mind talking about it. Some days, the nightmares mess me up and I feel like shit when I wake up. Today was one of those days."
"I'm sorry," Greg pats Nick's shoulder. They climb in Greg's car and as Greg starts the engine, he says, "What are you in the mood for?"
"Anyplace that has beer."
They go to a little diner off the strip, the one that Greg always liked to drag Nick to when they were dating. It's quiet, unassuming, and the food's always takes forever but it's good.
By the time they've polished off breakfast, Nick's on his second beer and things are starting to get a bit fuzzy. Greg smiles at him and asks, "How're you feeling?"
"Better," Nick nods, and then lowers his voice. "Thanks Greg, I didn't realize how much I needed this until just now."
"No problem. Finish your drink, and I'll go pay the bill."
Nick watches him go and thinks about Greg and about them. They stopped seeing each other for what seemed like a good idea at the time but now, Nick's damned if he can remember any of their reasons. That's not true, he remembers that Greg tended to spazz out whenever Nick tried to make future plans and Greg couldn't stand that Nick's parents didn't know that their son was gay. Nick's changed, though, and his parents know about him now. Greg's changed too, Nick's watched it happen. It's possible that they're finally ready for one another.
Greg comes back to the table and drops a couple of bucks down for the tip. "Ready?"
"Hey Greg, I'm in no shape to drive. Can you drop me by my place and I'll take a cab to work tomorrow?" Nick asks.
Greg drives them to Nick's house in an easy quiet, and Nick wonders if he'd be wrong to mention what he's thinking to Greg. He decides that instead of talking about it, he's just going to invite Greg in and take it from there.
Greg pulls into the driveway and turns the car off. "Do you mind if I use your bathroom?"
Nick smiles to himself. It looks like he's not the only one thinking about it. "Not at all."
Once inside, Greg heads to the bathroom while Nick sits down on his couch and tries to formulate a plan. He could say something to Greg, or he could take off all his clothes, or maybe he could just pretend to stumble and fall onto Greg. He's so caught up in thinking up ridiculous ideas that he doesn't realize that Greg's out of the bathroom until he sits down next to Nick on the couch.
"What's on your mind?" Greg asks.
Nick turns to him and decides against all his plans. Instead, he puts his hand on the back of Greg's neck and pulls him closer. He says nothing, just leans his head and presses his lips against Greg's. For a second, Greg does nothing and Nick's terrified that he's completely misread the situation until Greg's hands clasp his arms and Greg returns the kiss, his tongue slipping shyly into Nick's mouth.
They wind up half-sitting, half-lying down on the couch, making out like two years haven't passed. Nick remembers how good it feels to kiss Greg, it feels like something he's been doing all his life, but Greg's got new moves and there's a learning curve now. He pulls his mouth away from Greg's and starts kissing Greg's jawline. Greg moans and tilts his head back, exposing his neck to Nick.
"Why did we break up again?" Nick gasps.
"Because, oh god, because you weren't willing to talk about anything, and I wasn't capable of committing to a houseplant," Greg exclaims as Nick nips his skin.
Nick smiles as he pulls back and lies down on the couch, pulling Greg on top of him. "People change, Greggo." Nick cards his hand through Greg's hair, lazily arranging the hair into different styles. "Maybe we should re-think some things, maybe take our time getting to know one another."
Greg stills and doesn't say anything for a few seconds. "Seriously?"
"Yeah. What do you think?"
"I don't think you're crazy." Greg moves around and Nick tries not to react. He's not ready for things to go there and he knows Greg's not ready. If they're really going to do this again, Nick doesn't want it to be quick and on his couch. He wants to take his time with Greg, something they really didn't get to do the first time around. "Look, Nick, there's no way this is comfortable. I'm not saying I want anything from you but do you think we can lie down on your bed?"
Greg rolls off him and stands up. He looks down at Nick and sticks his hand out to pull him up. "C'mon, before I change my mind and try to hump your leg."
Nick laughs as he stands up. "Follow me."
The next evening, Nick wakes up with that sick groggy feeling and the urge to vomit sitting low in the back of his throat. This time though, he's groggy because of the beer and not because of bad dreams. Greg's snoring softly next to him, and Nick doesn't feel like ten miles of bad road. That's gotta mean something.