Coming into Vegas shouldn't feel so much like coming home.
It's different now than the first time he left. Dallas is the place that feels *out* of place, different, weird. Not right. Not home, more specifically, more like Austin than Dallas, or for all he knows, more like Atlanta or even New York.
Definitely not like Vegas, though, and it's disturbing to him that he even has to have this conversation in the back of his mind while he's trying to get out of the airport traffic.
He's halfway home when he has to slam on brakes because he catches sight of spiky blond-tipped hair, a body running out into traffic, and everything comes way too close to disaster for his taste.
"What the hell are you *doing*, Sanders!?" he bellows, throwing open his car door, but he can't keep up any good anger. He's tired, for one, and the way those dark eyes shimmer draws it right out of him. There's a weird sort of naiveté there, something that makes him feel stupidly protective, and he knows the kind of trouble it got him into last time he saw it, even though the girl had been a hooker. Still, he just can't stop himself. "Get in the car, Greg. Geeze. Are you okay?"
Sideways smile, funny, off, not like the bright grin that's always just a hair wild when it comes Nick's way. No answer, just a faint shake of the head, and Nick's tempted to take him straight to the hospital, or maybe the lab, but.
He doesn't, because he's not sure what's going on yet. Maybe Greg's high, and if he's high, then there's got to be a reason. There's got to be a source.
Instead of asking more questions, Nick takes him home. He doesn't know where Greg lives, exactly, so his house will do. There's a guest room, and Nick doesn't like being by himself at home anymore, anyway. It's okay to park, okay to open the door and let Greg in, okay because Greg couldn't hurt anybody. Not even premeditated.
Except maybe he's wrong about that. Everything's all weird again, because Greg is kissing him, all coffee and copper, and where did that come from? Lips, desperation, perspiration, and all of a sudden Nick's not so tired after all. Nick's got all the energy in the world, and he's pretty sure it's adrenaline and not anything real, and he's even more sure that whatever synapses were still kicking half an hour ago, they're not working now. He isn't thinking about all the reasons this is a bad idea, all the reasons it won't work. All he's thinking about is the hand that's sliding past his waistband and how fucking good *that* feels and maybe if he asks nice, Greg will do it again when they get the chance.
Nick is usually a neat freak. He's obsessive. He even tucks his shirt in the same way every time he gets dressed, every time he goes to pee. All of that's out the window, though, because Greg makes it that way. Greg leaves clothes everywhere, a trail fumbled from front door to the living room couch, because they're not getting any further than that. The couch is too convenient, and Greg's too hot, and oh.
Oh. Oh. *Oh*.
Slick. Ready. And Nick would ask where he's been, how he knew, maybe if he's been with someone else before coming here, but he's in too deep, and everything's so hot, and he just.
Hips. Hands. Force. Greg will have bruises, deep and true, all in the shape of Nick's fingers. Nick can feel things give that shouldn't, bones, anyway. The hip joints give, creak, but stay socketed tightly in the pelvis thanks to gripping muscles that push Greg up again.
And he still hasn't made a sound. Nothing but body noises, no words at all. Nick thinks it's funny that sex is the only thing that he's ever known to shut Greg up.
When he comes, he wishes desperately that Greg would make a noise. Just a sound. Anything, really.
Sex with Greg is the best thing ever, apparently, better than warm milk with vanilla and brown sugar, better than Ambien, better than any sleep aid Nick's ever heard of.
When he wakes up, it's cold, and Greg is gone. Everything's gone, except the crazy plaid shirt he'd been wearing. Nick's never seen so many colors at once, and it makes his head ache, or maybe his head hurt before he even saw the shirt. To be honest, he doesn't *remember* it. Just Greg, blond hair and sweet eyes and a mouth that starts with good things c.
He doesn't have to go to work because he's got another day off, but he's got questions. He wants answers. The shower's cold and the water's a little rusty at first, but then it runs clear, and he's clean. He dresses, snags the shirt on his way out, and heads in. Just for a minute. Just to give the shirt back, he promises himself.
Things are weird, though. His skin is shivery, and his mouth is dry. Nothing seems just right, especially when he walks inside and there are thousands of eyes on him. Looking. Peeking. What's that all about, anyway?
The lab's empty, there's nobody there, so he puts the shirt on the chair, and he tells himself that he's not disappointed. He isn't going to freak out just because he had sex with a DNA tech who abandoned him, and none of this is anything like himself. It's all bizarre.
"Didn't expect to see you until tomorrow," Warrick says to him when they pass in the hall, and he's frighteningly somber. "It's good you're here. We gotta go. You think you wanna come in early?"
He says yes, even though he doesn't, and that's all the conversation. Nick's still adrift, lost somewhere in a weird space-time continuum, and the Tahoe's all part of that, just makes it even weirder, and the place they're driving up at looks kind of familiar. Nice apartments, nice area of town. Not the kind of place you'd expect to have to visit when you're CSI, but Nick's learned that every place is the kind of place you visit when you do what he does for a living.
"I'll understand if any of you doesn't want to handle this one," Grissom says at the door, and that's weird. That's not right, that's... That's just weird. "He's been here three days. It's, ah, not a pretty sight."
Nick's making connections now. They're not connections he likes, because he sees the oxblood Docs by the side of the door, and there's something on repeat on the CD, something that plays too much in the lab and usually, it drives them all crazy. So why hasn't anybody turned it off?
It's not right. None of this is right, and he can't get it straight in his head because he knows that he saw the man on the floor. He saw him in the last twelve hours, all quiet and weird and full of sex, and when he turns around and pukes because of it, nobody says anything to him.
Nobody says anything at all.
But Catherine covers his face gently with neon plaid, and that's a start.