This was part of the 2003 "While we tell of yuletide treasure" obscure-fandom secret-santa project, as a present for Jess. My huge thanks to S and elynross for betaing under fire; the story is much the better for their input. The link goes to the archive housing all the Yuletide stories (333, as of January 1, 2004), and is well worth checking out.
written December 2003; posted January 1, 2004.
Warrick leaned against the door of the locker room, indulging in one of his main workplace pleasures: watching Nick Stokes. Nick was sitting in front of his open locker, not moving, just staring into it and beaming at nothing. A smile curved Warrick's lips; it was hard to resist Nick's good nature at the best of times, but when he looked like a little kid at Christmas it was flatly impossible. Especially when it was this well-deserved. It had been a bitch of a case, and Nick's work on the few fibers they'd managed to find had given them their only decent lead. Even Grissom had been impressed -- which was probably at least half the reason for that glow, come to think of it. Whatever the reason, the results were worth watching: Nick's eyes were bright, and he was flushed with pleasure, sitting straight and tall on the bench, filling out his T-shirt very nicely indeed.
And sooner or later, he was going to notice Warrick standing there. He gave himself one more look at the parted lips, automatically repressing the urge to do more than look, and made sure his smile didn't give away more than he wanted it to. "Hey, Nick."
"Warrick! Hey -- " Abashed, Nick ducked his head a little and reached for a fresh shirt from his locker.
Warrick stifled a chuckle at the transparent move, not wanting to do anything to ruin this moment. "Listen, man, that was some seriously fine work you did tonight. I mean it. If it weren't for you, we might not have found that little girl in time."
The glow was back in full, and Nick grinned happily at him with his hands full of cloth. "Thanks. But hey, it was a team effort. Everyone helped."
"Yeah, but you were the quarterback on this one." He pushed off the doorjamb with his shoulder and walked over to Nick, slapping him lightly on the back. "And that was one hell of a Hail Mary pass." Without even needing to think about it, he came to a decision. "In fact, what say I take you out to celebrate? Grab some food, maybe a couple beers?" Moving over to his own locker, he started running through restaurants in his head, debating between quiet and relaxed, and bright and energetic.
"Yeah, sure. I think saving little Kara's life is worth celebrating, don't you? And since you're the man of the hour, you decide on the place -- anywhere you want to go, as long as it doesn't run me a whole week's pay." There, that was better than him deciding and choosing the wrong restaurant to match Nick's mood. He glanced over in time to see Nick aiming all that glow straight at him, and basked in it. Definitely the right thing to say.
"That sounds fantastic," Nick said, stripping out of his old shirt. Warrick breathed out silently, and added pure appreciation to the basking; Nick was one fine-looking man, and no mistake.
He turned back to his own locker before Nick could notice him looking and get uncomfortable, idly savoring the faint curl of heat in his belly before it vanished. He shrugged out of his shirt.
"Unless -- "
Intrigued by the hesitation, Warrick looked over, raising his eyebrows. "Unless?"
"My grandfather always said that if you're going to celebrate, do it right -- with a good friend and a bottle of good brandy." He glanced aside for a second, then met Warrick's eyes squarely, looking hopeful. "I've got a bottle at home, if you're interested."
"Are you serious? Lead the way, my man. In fact -- tell you what. You go ahead and fire up the grill, I'll stop and pick us up a couple of salmon steaks. Sound good?"
"Sounds perfect." Nick shut his locker and clapped Warrick on the shoulder. "I'll see you in a bit."
"Very cool," Nick said with a bright grin, and left.
Safely alone, Warrick let the chuckle escape. "Damn, he's lucky I'm not still gambling. I could clean him out at poker." He grabbed his keys, shut his locker, and headed out, whistling softly.
Later, replete with good salmon grilled to perfection and mellow after several snifters of excellent brandy, Warrick sprawled more comfortably in his chair. "Your gramps was a very wise man," he decided.
Nick nodded happily from his spot on the couch, looking like he was in danger of actually merging into it. "He was."
Warrick grinned at him, brimming over with affection. "Have to admit, I'm sort of surprised he didn't suggest a girl as the proper way to celebrate."
"He did, actually. That was a different time, though. And considering it was going to be just the two of us, I didn't think you'd appreciate that suggestion as much as the brandy." Nick waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
"Hey, you never know till you ask," Warrick said lazily, seized by sudden impulse. Dreamily, he wondered what Nick would taste like flavored with brandy. Or not flavored with brandy, for that matter. He'd be warm, and strong, and sweet...
"Hey -- Warrick?"
"Did you just... I mean, did you mean... What did you mean, just then?"
Warrick just smiled wickedly and shut his eyes, settling his head more comfortably against the back of the chair. He heard Nick getting up off the couch. "Hey, you going for another?" He held out his snifter without opening his eyes. Warm fingers took it away. "Thanks."
"No problem," Nick said, still standing over him. The snifter clicked quietly against a table as it was put down.
"Nick?" Warrick cracked open his eyes. Damn. Nick was studying him, all trace of laughter gone from his face. "Hey, man, it was just a joke. Don't worry about it, okay?"
"Was it? 'Cause I don't think so. It didn't sound like a joke when you said it." The serious expression hadn't changed, and Nick's eyes were still searching his face, clearly looking for answers.
Damn, damn, damn. Warrick sighed softly, and started to sit up straighter. Nick's hand on his shoulder stopped him, and he glanced up, surprised. "I didn't mean to freak you out," he said carefully. "I'm sorry."
Nick studied him for a few seconds more, hand practically burning where it still pressed lightly against Warrick's shoulder. "I didn't say I was freaked out."
Warrick stared. "Oh. Right. Um... What?"
A sunny smile changed the lines of Nick's face, turning him from intent investigator to boyish charmer again. "Good, now we're both confused." He reached behind him and hooked the coffee table over closer, dropping down to sit on it in front of Warrick. "I like a nice level playing field."
Warrick took the opportunity to sit up, using the time to try to gather some of his wits together. "Nick, what the hell is going on here?" What had he been thinking, letting his interest slip like that? He'd been careful for so long...
Nick shook his head, still smiling. "I have no idea. But I think, maybe, it might be fun to find out."
"Fun," Warrick echoed, hopelessly lost. Either a few very happy dreams were about to come true, or he was about to wake up with a raging headache. He wasn't sure which would be better -- or worse. "Weren't we just shootin' the shit a few minutes ago?"
"And now...? What?"
"Now, this, maybe." Nick reached out that same hand and touched Warrick's cheek with it, then stroked along his jaw, trailing heat from his fingers. "Okay?"
"Oh. Oh, yeah, that's okay." Warrick wanted to shut his eyes to focus on that touch, but even more he wanted to see Nick's face. The smile and the intentness were both there now, in a combination that was doing fascinating things to Warrick's insides. He licked his lips, and breathed in sharply at the way Nick's eyes gleamed in response. When Nick traced his lips with his fingers, Warrick's control broke, and he moaned softly.
This was way too fast, and way too dangerous, and he didn't care. He leaned forward, Nick obligingly moving his hand to cup the back of his neck, urging him along. Pure delight danced in the edges of Nick's grin, and Warrick wanted to taste him so badly he nearly moaned again. He wanted to get lost in that mouth, wanted to learn every part of this man, and he wanted to do it all right now.
Some shred of sanity prevailed, and he changed his aim at the last minute, deliberately holding back and kissing the tip of Nick's nose. Nick had to be the one setting the pace here, if Warrick didn't want to scare him off. And he definitely didn't want to scare him off. The surprised huff of pleased laughter proved he'd made the right choice, and he carefully kept it light, landing random kisses everywhere except Nick's lips, cradling his head in both hands.
Nick was managing to land in a few kisses of his own as Warrick explored his face, and was running his hands over Warrick's back in random, very distracting patterns. He slipped his fingers under the hem of the shirt, and Warrick moaned again in pleasure at the touch.
"Warrick," Nick breathed into his ear.
"Mmm." Warrick nipped the earlobe he'd just been sucking on.
"You're a tease, did you know that?"
"A tease, huh?" Warrick chuckled, and nipped again, then lowered his head to land a wet, noisy kiss on Nick's neck.
"Yeah. And you know what happens to teases?"
"What's that, big man?"
"This." Nick reached unerringly under Warrick's shirt to the one spot on his ribs where he was ticklish, and danced his fingertips across it until Warrick dropped to the floor, laughing helplessly and begging for mercy. Nick swooped down and snatched a kiss, grinning in triumph as he rose back up on his knees. "Hah! There. Any objections?" he demanded, eyes dancing, fingers held menacingly over Warrick's ribs.
Warrick made a face, still trying to get his breath back, then squirmed hard to avoid the seeking fingers. "No!"
"The winnah!" Nick crowed softly, and collapsed beside him, radiating smugness.
Warrick whacked him in the arm. "The cheatah, you mean. I told you about that spot in confidence!"
Nick rolled over and cradled his head in his hands, beaming at the ceiling. "Ah, but 'in confidence' means I can't tell anyone else, and I haven't. It doesn't mean I can't use it if need be. No cheating involved."
Just as Warrick was beginning to think they'd lost the mood for good, Nick rolled up onto one elbow, reaching his free hand to splay against Warrick's stomach, visible where his shirt had rucked up during the tickling. Warrick's abdominal muscles tightened in reaction, and he drew in a deep breath as Nick began exploring. When Nick leaned over and started kissing the skin he'd been caressing, Warrick moaned, his hand sliding into Nick's short hair and curving around his scalp. "That's so good." He stared upward as happy shivers chased each other across his abdomen in the wake of Nick's mouth. Nick was working his way steadily up Warrick's chest, pushing the T-shirt up as he went. "God, Nick, come up here," Warrick said, tugging at Nick's shoulders, even more desperate to taste that mouth than to let Nick keep doing what he was doing.
"Revenge is sweet," Nick said cheerfully, pressing one hand firmly onto Warrick's ticklish spot and licking the safer skin an inch to the left of it. "You taste really good."
Warrick surged up to a sitting position, tumbling Nick off him, and yanked his shirt the rest of the way off. Nick's expression of indignant surprise shifted to one of happy anticipation, and he copied the move, baring his paler, broader torso to Warrick's hungry eyes. "Oh, yeah," Warrick breathed, gazing his fill. "But first things first." His eyes flicked up to focus on Nick's mouth, and he smiled as Nick instinctively licked his lips.
He leaned in, catching Nick's delighted laugh in his mouth and giving himself over to the kiss -- restraint be damned. He took his time exploring, wanting to know Nick's mouth so well he'd recognize it anywhere: the shape of his lips, the width of his bite, the sharper ridges on the back molars, the way his lower jaw moved forward when Warrick moved his mouth just so, the delicate webbing under his tongue, the way his teeth caught so gently at Warrick's tongue to keep it from leaving.
Warrick pulled back slowly and gazed at Nick, who blinked back, eyes dilated.
"Okay, that was worth waiting for," Nick said, sounding a little shaky.
Warrick smiled. "Plenty more where that came from," he promised.
"All I ask..."
"Is that we get off this damned floor. My butt is killing me."
Warrick cracked up. "It's your place, man. Wherever you want to be."
"Bed," Nick said firmly, getting to his feet and putting a hand to help Warrick up. "It's big, it's comfortable, and the sheets are even clean."
Warrick staggered back in mock-shock, hand to heart. "Clean sheets?"
Nick grabbed a pillow off the couch and whapped him, laughing. "Don't mock me, man, or I'll kick your ass outta here, and then where will you be?"
Warrick reached forward and goosed him, grinning at the very undignified reaction, then smoothed his hand over the tight ass.
"You like that?" Nick asked, a wicked glint in his eye.
"Good." Nick reached down and grabbed Warrick's hand, tugging him firmly into the bedroom.
Warrick stepped in close and caught Nick in a fierce hug, reveling in the feel of their chests pressed together and the wide expanse of back under his hands. Nick hugged back, his hands doing some exploring as well, and Warrick lowered his head, burying his face in Nick's neck and biting him, just hard enough not to leave a bruise. Nick moaned. Warrick grinned in fierce triumph, sucking the spot he'd just bitten and listening to Nick's breathing go rough. He slid both hands down along Nick's back and over his ass, cupping and rubbing through the cloth, and laughing softly as Nick bucked forward into him. "Oh, yeah, you like that, too."
Nick stepped backward, hands at his waistband, and started peeling his jeans off as he heeled out of his shoes. Warrick licked his lips and followed suit, sitting on the bed to tug off his boots and watching avidly as Nick bared more of himself to the air. Nick hesitated when he got to his boxers, looking almost shy, and Warrick tensed in sympathy. They held each other's eyes for a long moment until the absurdity of it struck home, and they both started laughing. Nick stripped off and stood there, grinning, showing off.
"Nice. Very nice," Warrick approved. Nick was well-proportioned, a little thicker than Warrick and with a slight curve to the shaft.
"If you think I'm going to stand here flapping in the wind all by myself..." Nick said threateningly, advancing on Warrick with purpose in his eyes.
Warrick laughed, stood, and stripped off before Nick could tear anything. Nick's appreciative murmur stroked his ego very pleasantly indeed, and he reached for him. "C'mere," he said roughly.
Nick willingly went into his arms, then shifted his weight and tumbled them both back onto the bed, grinning at Warrick's surprised "oof".
The move set the tone, and they wrestled happily across the bed, hands and mouths going everywhere. Nick found the spot on the back of Warrick's neck that never failed to cause shivers and settled in there, stretched out along Warrick's body, rocking his hips gently into Warrick's thigh. Warrick was shuddering in sheer overload under him, fisting the sheets with both hands. "Nick, man, if you want to -- it's okay," he rasped, legs spreading helplessly in want.
Nick froze for a second then sucked hard on Warrick's neck before rolling off him. "Don't tempt me," he said, dropping a kiss on the point of Warrick's shoulder as he shifted. "Too much, you know?"
Warrick drew in a shaky breath and forced himself to calm down a bit. "Yeah. Still, the little guy's looking lonely..." He grinned and gathered himself, then in a lightning move had Nick underneath him. He held him down long enough to lick and kiss his way down the pale torso, pausing when he felt wet warmth prodding him in the chin.
"Hey, Nick? You want some help with that?"
"Bastard," Nick gasped.
Warrick chuckled and changed his angle, sliding the cockhead into his mouth and relishing the moan that filled the air. He wrapped his fist around the base and began sucking, smiling inwardly as Nick's hand settled on his head, kneading steadily in counterpoint to Warrick's rhythm. He quietly shifted position to bring his hips in closer, rubbing his erection into Nick's calf and sighing in pleasure at the friction.
"Hey, wait, no you don't," Nick said indignantly.
Warrick blinked and pulled away from Nick's cock, looking up at him. "No I don't, what? You don't like this?"
"I love it. But you don't get to have all the fun. Turn around, and let me at you."
Warrick grinned, and they maneuvered until both had easy access. The feel of Nick's mouth sliding down his cock tightened all the muscles in Warrick's abdomen. "Oh, God, yeah, that's good," he gasped.
Nick slapped him on the ass and abandoned his cock for a moment. "This is supposed to be both of us, remember?"
Warrick grinned, and wrapped his fist around the base of Nick's cock again, pleased at how well it fit. It felt even better going back into his mouth, and he hummed softly.
After a couple of false starts they got into a more or less matching rhythm that worked for both of them, gradually building up speed and pressure. Warrick wrapped an arm around Nick's hips, holding him close, breathing in the strong male scent of him, wanting this to last for days.
Nick's voice was a warning, and Warrick reluctantly drew back, using hands alone to coax the orgasm out, milking it gently until Nick was finished. He rubbed the come into Nick's belly, soothing the tremors and waiting patiently. "Okay?"
Warrick grinned, and kept rubbing, pillowing his head on Nick's hip.
"Hey, man, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to leave you hanging." Nick reached for Warrick's cock, licking the head like an ice cream cone.
"Oh, trust me, it's fine," Warrick said, eyes closing as Nick's clever mouth and hand went back to work. His breath was coming in harsh gasps, and it took an act of pure will not to thrust hard into Nick's mouth, soaring on the incredible high of it all. Nick's free hand was kneading his ass, filling Warrick's head with thoughts of "next time", pushing him over the edge. He had the presence of mind to call out his own warning before he got lost in it, wave after wave of heated pleasure coursing through him.
He came back to himself to find Nick stroking his thigh and smiling. He smiled back, shakily. "Wow."
"Yeah. C'mon, get up here. Pillows for everyone."
"Best offer I've had all night." He laughed at Nick's indignant look. "Okay, second-best." He heaved himself up to the head of the bed and collapsed against a pillow, grinning happily as Nick spooned up behind him and wrapped an arm around his waist. "Night, Nick."
"Night," Nick said sleepily into his neck, tightening his arm for a second.
Warrick ran light fingers along the arm banding his abdomen, and smiled into the darkness.
An unfamiliar alarm shocked him awake, and he blinked, disoriented. He fumbled for the clock, whacking at it until it stopped shrilling, and lay back against the pillow with a sigh. As the fight-or-flight adrenaline rush eased he remembered just what it was he was doing in this bed, and smiled. Nick. Nick, and a whole lotta fun, and a connection he knew he hadn't imagined. He stretched lazily against the still-tangled sheets. Oh, yeah, he could get used to this. Grinning happily, he slid out of bed and hunted for his shorts.
He padded into the kitchen, following the scent of fresh coffee. "Hey, mornin'," he said, smiling. "That smells good." He wrapped his arms around Nick from behind and squeezed lightly, resting his chin on a broad shoulder and looking into the open fridge.
Nick stiffened and leaned forward to take the milk out, then took a casual step sideways toward his mug, breaking Warrick's grip. "Hey, yourself. You want coffee first, or a shower?"
Warrick looked at him, fully dressed for work and avoiding Warrick's eyes, and his heart sank. He was not facing this dressed only in a pair of boxers and still smelling of sex. "Shower," he said quietly.
Nick nodded. "There are clean towels in the bathroom. You want some breakfast?"
"No, just the coffee." Warrick turned and headed for the bathroom, feeling like an absolute idiot. At least he'd have some time to regroup. Thank God he hadn't hit the shower before he saw Nick.
Showered and dressed, and feeling a bit more in control, he returned to the kitchen, where Nick was still drinking coffee -- about his third cup, if the level in the pot was any clue. At least Warrick wasn't the only one tense about this particular conversation. Pettily, that made him feel better. He accepted a mug and settled against the counter across from Nick, and braced himself. "So."
"Look, Warrick, I -- " Nick trailed off and looked unhappily at him.
Dammit. Warrick couldn't just leave him hanging out there all alone, no matter how much part of him wanted to. "You think this was a bad idea," he said flatly.
"No. No, I don't think it was a bad idea. I had a really good time, Warrick. I did."
"But I think it was a one-time thing."
"The usual term is 'one-night stand'." So much for the connection last night. Numb, Warrick gulped down some coffee.
Nick winced. "C'mon, Warrick, it wasn't like that, and you know it. But -- c'mon! It was fun, but that's all it was, we both know that. And we work together, man. We can't be getting distracted by each other when we're on the job."
Warrick swallowed his arguments. So what if Nick had been distracting him for months, and he'd still been working fine? So what, if they both knew damn well that they were too professional to let personal issues cloud their judgment when it came to a case, especially personal issues like lust and affection? Saying any of that would just make everything even more awkward and unpleasant, and really would make working together impossible. Best to pretend they were both on the same page -- Nick's page. It was the only way out of this with any dignity intact at all.
"Sure, Nick. You're right -- it was a fun night, and now it's over."
The relief on Nick's face twisted Warrick's stomach. One shot. He'd had one shot at this, more than he'd ever expected to have, and he'd blown it somehow.
"Listen, thanks for the coffee." He walked steadily over to the sink and dumped the dregs, managing a smile at Nick, who was all grins and good cheer again. And still irresistible, damn him. "I should go. I want to swing past my own place, get some clean clothes before I head in." He started walking toward the front door, just wanting to get clear as soon as he could. "I'll see you when shift starts, huh?"
"Yeah, definitely," Nick said from directly behind him.
Warrick opened the door, but before he could escape, a light hand landed on his shoulder. Bracing himself, he turned on the doorstep.
Nick filled the doorway, looking at him earnestly. "Warrick -- it really was fun."
Warrick studied the open, honest, friendly face for a second, then slipped his sunglasses on. "Yeah. Yeah, it was." He turned and walked away, taking a deep breath as the door shut behind him.
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