carinascott: (gil stoic)
[personal profile] carinascott
Title: Finders Keepers
Author: Carina Scott (
[profile] nicknrick4eva )
Fandom: CSI
Genre: Slash
Rating: FRAO
Pairings: Warrick/Gil, Warrick/Tina (mentioned), Gil/Original Character (Alex LeBlanc)
Warnings: partner betrayal
Summary: Changes abound and both Warrick and Gil must learn to live with them.
Spoilers: All Seasons
Story Notes: This story goes AU after season 5, the only thing being that Warrick does marry Tina. Also, Alexander Leblanc is based on actor Victor Webster, although Alex has a distinctly French accent. Gil/OMC, Nick/Warrick friendship, Warrick/Gil (past), Warrick/Tina (past). Also, I don't know the Graveyard shift hours, so I'm writing under the guise that they are as follows: Days: 8am - 4pm, Swing: 4pm - Midnight, Graveyard: Midnight – 8am. This will have minimal affect on the story line, but it does impact continuity so I wanted to explain.:)

~*~

"Gil, wait!" Warrick called as he ran after the other man.

Gil kept walking for a moment before finally stopping, although he didn't turn around to face Warrick.

Warrick finally reached him, placing a hand on his shoulder, wincing as Gil all but pulled away from him.

Removing his hand, Warrick rubbed a hand over his face, before looking at Gil. "Can't we at least talk?"

"Warrick, there is nothing to say. Let's just move on."

"Come on, Gil. Don't be like that. I thought we were friends."

"We were. Once. But after this display, I'm not sure I even want to be that anymore."

Warrick tried not to show how much those words hurt. "So, after all these years we've shared as friends and coworker's, you're just gonna throw it away?"

Gil's eyes flashed with anger. "How dare you?! I did not throw anything away. You did that all on your own. I trusted you Warrick. I believed all the lies you told me. You said you wanted to date; I went along with it, even though I was scared shitless it wouldn't work. You told me you loved me, and I trusted you, took you at your word. So don't you dare stand there and act like I did something wrong. You left me. You went after your idea of the perfect life. You chose a `normal' life over being with me. If I did do anything wrong, it was falling in love with you."

Gil walked away at that, never once looking back to see the stricken look on Warrick's face.

~*~

"What the hell did you think you were doing?!"

"And hello to you too, Nick." Warrick answered as he let his friend in.

"Catherine told me about your little conversation with Grissom."

Warrick shook his head. He should've known that Gil would've talked to someone, and it just figured it would be Catherine, who would of course call to bitch to Nick.

"Nick, I really don't want to talk about this."

"Tough shit. You had no right doing that to Grissom, man. What the hell where you thinking!?"

"I was thinking that I wanted Gil back. I was thinking that I made a terrible mistake getting involved with Tina. I was thinking that I threw away my one chance at happiness. I was thinking, hoping, that maybe if I made some changes I could get my life back on track."

"You, you, you! Is that all you can think about? Do you know what kind of hell Gris went through after your impromptu marriage to Tina? Do you? Of course you don't! Because you weren't there. Catherine, Greg, Sara, Jim; we all watched as Gil lost himself in his depression. Catherine about went crazy, thinking that Gil might hurt himself. But you don't know about that do you? You were too busy trying to act like nothing had changed to take notice of the fact that everything had. Everything, Warrick. But Gil made it through. And he still stayed your friend even though you didn't deserve it. And now, now that you realize that you made a terrible mistake, you think you can just waltz back into his life? That's bull shit, Rick!"

"Look Nick, I know you never approved of my relationship with Tina. And I realize that you're pissed about how things went down with Grissom. And I understand that, but you need to understand that it was something I had to do."

"And you need to understand that this is something that Gil has to do. Did you think about that? Did you for one moment consider that Gil might need to do this for his own happiness? He deserves that much Rick and you know that." Nick replied as he took a seat on the couch. "Warrick, I was beyond pissed when I found out about your marriage to Tina. You assumed it was because you didn't tell me about it until after you'd already married her. And in some ways, that was right because I was plenty pissed. But for the most part, I was angry at you for leaving Gil in the wind the way you did. He loved you Warrick. And I don't think I realized just how much until you left him. He was devastated. You damn near broke him leaving like that."

"Don't you think I know that Nick? What do you think I'm trying to do now? I'm trying to fix it."

"But you're still not thinking about Grissom, about what he may want or need! You're being selfish, Warrick."

"Nick-"

Nick held up his hand to stop the words, "No Warrick. Alex is a great guy. Gil really likes him. I think he might even love him. And I know you hate hearing that. But you need to suck it up, because Gil deserves a chance to be happy, and if Alex is the one that can give him that then I'm all for it. But he needs to have a fair chance of making a go of it with Alex, and he can't do that with you undermining their relationship every time he turns around."

Warrick couldn't say anything, because he knew that that's exactly what he'd been doing, so he wisely kept his mouth shut.

"Just ask yourself this Warrick. If Gil wasn't involved with Alex, would you have been in such a hurry to get him back? Or are you afraid that Gil might actually find happiness with someone else, instead of spending the rest of his life pining after you?"


Nick stood to leave, but turned back as he reached the door. "I love you bro, you know that. But Gil is my friend too. And I don't want to see him hurt again. So, think this thing through before you do anything else. Because you might lose Gil completely if you keep going at him like you are."

Warrick locked the door behind Nick, already lost in thought as he contemplated his friend's words.

He knew that Nick was right. He was being unfair to Grissom. But the mere thought of him being with anyone else just made Warrick's heart ache.

`And just how hurt do you think he was seeing you with Tina, you asshole?' Warrick thought as he walked back into the living room.

He still loved Gil. Had never stopped loving him really. But he also knew that he'd hurt Gil by leaving the way he did. And marrying Tina hadn't helped one bit.

He'd gotten the cold shoulder from practically everyone after that little announcement; even Grams had a few choice words for him. But Gil had remained his friend. When he'd returned from his honeymoon with Tina, Gil had treated him pretty much the same way he had before they'd dated. Sure, Gil never asked anything about Tina, but if she came up, he didn't shy away from talking about her or try to change the subject.

Warrick wasn't sure if Gil had liked Tina, as they'd only met a few times. And Gil's face never gave anything away during the rare conversations in which her name came up. Warrick wasn't sure if it was because Gil didn't feel anything one way or another, or if the man had just become so adept at hiding his emotions. If he were still a betting man, however, he'd place money on the latter. Because over the course of their relationship, he'd become well versed in reading Gil's emotions, and his gut was telling him that Gil was doing his best to hide his feelings about just about everything.

Warrick couldn't recall one true emotion from Gil over the last few months. No angry outbursts, witty remarks, or odd little tidbits of information dispersed in his usual sardonic matter; no wry smiles, not even the occasional rare laugh, nothing. Most people didn't notice, of course, as Gil had long ago been named the Tin Man. But Warrick had noticed, only he'd chosen to put it out of his mind.

Until one month ago.

He'd walked in to the break room to find Gil talking quietly to someone on his cell phone as he sat drinking a cup of coffee. That in itself wasn't weird, a lot of his coworkers made personal calls on their breaks, although he couldn't recall a time when Gil had done so. But he hadn't really thought much about it, just continued to the coffee maker for a cup of coffee. He'd almost spilled coffee all over the place when he heard Gil laugh. Not just any laugh; a deep belly laugh. A rich sound that Warrick hadn't heard in far too long. A sound he hadn't realized he'd missed until he heard it again.

He would've asked Gil who it was that had caused that type of reaction, but then Sara and Nick had walked in at the moment, and Gil had wrapped up the call so he could give them all their assignments.

Not too long after that, Gil had introduced the team to his new boyfriend, Alexander LeBlanc.

Alexander was a striking young man. With a long lean frame, at least 6'2", he could've been a model. The healthy wavy black hair, big brown eyes, smooth skin, and angelic dimples combined to make Alexander a delightfully attractive man.

Warrick hated him immediately.

The easy camaraderie the younger man had developed with the team only served to fuel his hatred. And the fact that Catherine had gone on and on about how great Alex was for days after that had made him sick to his stomach. Even Sara seemed taken by him.

Shaking his head, Warrick realized that he was jealous.

And even more so, he knew he had every right to be.

The vibe that he'd picked up on between Gil and Alex the day he met him was a painful reminder of what he'd shared with Gil. The furtive glances, shy smiles, and standing unnecessarily close together, all were like knives in his gut. And the chaste kiss that Alex had given Gil before he'd left, not to mention the fact that Gil had seemed genuinely disappointed the other man was leaving, had simply twisted the knives in even further.

Warrick could see that Gil was happy with Alex. More than happy. And that scared the hell out o him. Because he'd really thought that he'd swoop in and tell Gil how he felt, and they'd pick up where they'd left off.

`Idiot.'

He should've known that it wouldn't be that simple. And honestly, he didn't deserve to get off easy. He'd left Gil with barely a second glance, so quick to grasp on to a chance at a `normal' life that he hadn't thought his actions through. He'd been so focused on building a future with Tina that he hadn't taken the time to consider how his betrayal must have hurt Gil.

Laughing at his own arrogance, Warrick shook his head. Karma was definitely one vengeful bitch.

Walking down the hall towards the bathroom, Warrick had to once again concede that Nick was right. If he continued to act like he was, declaring his love to Gil at every turn, downplaying the relationship Gil shared with Alex to anyone within earshot, he'd lose him. Gil would resent him and the friendship they'd managed to maintain thus far would be gone in a flash.

Sighing heavily, knowing what he had to do and not liking it one bit, Warrick turned the water temperature to the hottest he could stand it. Stepping into the shower, Warrick hoped that the water would fortify him enough to do this.

Because if he wanted to have any kind of relationship with Gil, he was gonna have to show that he could actually be supportive of Gil and Alex's relationship. Turning his face up towards the spray of water, Warrick let it cascade over his face and body, praying for strength because he had a feeling that he was gonna need it.

******************************************************************* "So, are you gonna tell me what's going on, or do I continue to act like I don't notice?"

Gil glanced over at his lover, "I don't know what you're talking about."

"I'm talking about this mood you've been in lately. Normally, I don't mind the silence. I've always been fond of the strong silent type. But you're never this quiet. And I for one, miss talking to you."

Gil sighed as Alex wrapped his arms around his waist. Leaning back against his lover, he relaxed. "Alex, I'm sorry. I've just been thinking a lot lately. I didn't mean to shut you out."

"That's okay, Gil. I know that Warrick's attitude about us got to you. But this seems like a lot more than that. Just, talk to me. Please."

Gil sighed again, knowing that Alex deserved nothing less than the truth. Taking his hand, Gil led him away from the window, where he'd been standing for the last hour, over to the couch. Settling next to him, he grabbed Alex's hand, squeezing gently. "He wants me back."

Alex was silent for a long while, and Gil searched his face for a sign of what he might be thinking. "Alex? Did you hear me?"

Nodding, Alex let out the breath he'd been holding at Gil's announcement, "Y-yes. I heard you." Chocolate brown eyes met piercing blue. "Do you want him back?"

Gil sighed explosively, before standing and pacing back and forth. "I don't know! And I hate that! Because I love you, and I want to be with you!" Gil turned and knelt in front of Alex, cupping his face. "You make me happy, Alex. You make me feel safe and loved. And I know we haven't been together all that long, but I feel that we could be. And I want that. I want it so bad, it hurts. But I'm afraid I'm gonna screw it up because of Warrick. Because we never really broke up, Alex. He just left me. Out of the blue. And I thought I'd resolved all my feelings about that, but now I'm not so sure. And I don't know what to do; I just know that I don't want to lose you. I couldn't stand to lose you too, Alex."

Alex smiled sadly, wiping away the tears on Gil's cheek, tears he was sure Gil didn't realize he was shedding, "Mon cher, I'm not going anywhere. I know you still care for Warrick. How could you not? You never had any closure. Maybe, now that he's no longer attached, you'll be able to work through your feelings for him. Just, talk to me, okay? Don't shut me out." Alex took a deep breath, and Gil could tell that what he was about to say pained him greatly. "Even if you decide you want to give it another go with Warrick, talk to me. The one thing I've always cherished about our relationship is that we've always been able to talk to each other. If for whatever reason, this relationship doesn't work out, I would still like to know that I have your friendship, okay?"

Gil leaned in and captured Alex's full lips in a tender kiss, running his hands through the soft black hair, before pulling away. "I don't think I deserve someone like you. But I'm happy to have you all the same. I promise that I'll talk to you, no matter what. I love you, Alex. Don't doubt that."

"I know Gil. I know, and I love you as well. Now, come. Let's get you into bed. You haven't been getting any sleep, and you need your rest before you go to work tonight."

Alex stood and pulled Gil down the hall towards the bedroom, smiling happily when Gil stopped them halfway there to spin him around and pull him in for another kiss.

"Thank you Alex. For...well, for being you"

Alex cupped Gil's cheek, caressing it gently, before kissing him quickly. "Come now, Gilbert. You need your rest."

Gil complied, allowing Alex to pull him the rest of the way to the bedroom, wondering how the hell he'd gotten so lucky.

*******************************************************************

Alex woke up later that day with a mild headache. He'd taken an aspirin for it, but he really didn't expect it to do much for his headache. He'd experienced this type of headache before, and while it wasn't a migraine, it could sometimes be just as debilitating. Because the root of his problem lay in his heart, and unfortunately aspirin couldn't ease the pain that he felt there.

Gil was still in love with Warrick, and though Alex knew that Gil wasn't prepared to leave him, he knew that if nothing changed, eventually he'd be alone again. Because he loved Gil entirely too much to hold on to him of he truly wanted to go.

Sighing deeply, he turned to his lover, running a hand across the relaxed features. This was one of the things he loved most about being with Gil. It was the only time he could look at his lover, uninterrupted. The only time he could note the small details about Gil's face; like the dimple in his chin, which was hardly noticeable beneath the beard, unless it had been trimmed recently. But Alex noticed it, and he also knew that Gil was especially sensitive there; something he'd often exploited when they made love. And the faint laugh lines around his lover's mouth were his favorite. Gil didn't smile often enough in Alex's opinion, although he'd seen plenty of those devious smirks that usually precluded him being pounced on. He loved to look at the faint lines around Gil's mouth, picturing a younger, more carefree Gil, who loved to laugh, and had plenty reason to.

Turning towards the nightstand, Alex glanced at the clock. 7:53. Gil would need to be at work in a few hours. Looking back at his lover, Alex decided to let him sleep a bit longer.

It wasn't often that he stayed over, unless Gil had the next day off, but when he did, he liked to cook a nice dinner for his lover before he went off to work. He'd often heard that the way to man's heart was through his stomach, and while he wasn't certain that was true, he still liked to cook for an appreciative audience.

Humming softly as he got out of bed, Alex walked down the hall toward the kitchen, hoping the steaks he'd brought over earlier had had enough time to thaw out. Happy that they'd thawed completely, Alex grabbed the desired spices from the cabinet, preheated the oven, and set about prepping the steaks.

As he seasoned the steaks, his mind drifted back to that day about nine months ago, when he'd first laid eyes on Gil. He'd been in his favorite diner, Darla's; drinking a steaming cup of coffee, when he'd looked up to see Gil walking in. He still couldn't pinpoint exactly what it was that made him take notice, because while Gil was attractive, Alex had seen plenty of attractive men and hadn't felt as intrigued as he did at that moment.

Gil didn't seem to notice him though, as he'd taken a seat at the opposite end of the bar. It wasn't until Darla had come over with a fresh mug of coffee, coffee that he hadn't ordered, that he realized he'd been staring a lot more than he'd thought. She'd informed him that Gil wanted to know if he'd like to join him for a proper breakfast.

Alex had glanced over at Gil, startled to find those piercing blue eyes staring back at him, and had decided to take a chance. He'd nodded to Gil, acknowledging that he would like to join him, and then he followed Gil over to the small booth that Gil had indicated.

He'd been nervous as he'd walked over to the compelling older man, smiling shyly as he'd taken Gil's hand and introduced himself, before taking a seat opposite him. Gil had picked up on his nervousness however, and he'd done his best to get Alex to relax. That was when he'd discovered that Gil had a wickedly wry sense of humor.

Darla brought over a pot of coffee and two of the breakfast specials, and Gil and Alex had spent two hours talking about everything under the sun. They'd discussed their jobs, and Alex had learned that Gil was an Entomologist as well as that he worked in the Crime Lab. Gil had gone on to explain what that entailed, and Alex had been fascinated. Alex had admitted to having considered pursuing a degree in a more scientific field, but in the end he'd gone into Business. He'd then informed Gil about the small real estate company he owned, Leblanc Realty, and was pleasantly surprised when Gil informed him that he'd heard of them. Apparently Gil liked the fact that his company chose to renovate older warehouses instead of building fancy new buildings, using unnecessary resources, and putting a strain on the earth's limited natural resources. Finding a fellow environmentalist in Gil was nice, and he'd offered to give Gil a tour of their newly renovated office if he were interested. And Gil, in turn, had offered him a tour of the lab, which Alex had gladly accepted.

Alex couldn't remember the last time he'd enjoyed a breakfast so much. So, he was inordinately pleased when Gil had asked to see him again. They saw each other at least twice a week over the next few months, and Alex was happier than he'd been in a long time. Some days they met at the diner for breakfast, or Gil would take him out to a nice restaurant for and early lunch. One time, on one of his off days, Gil had taken him to New York, New York to ride the Manhattan Express. He'd held Alex's hand the entire time because Alex had confided in him the fact that he was scared of heights, yet he'd steadfastly refused to let Gil go on the rollercoaster alone.

After that, Alex had taken him to Le Soleil de Minuit, a French dive off the strip that served the best millefeuille he'd ever had. They'd walked hand in hand along the strip, just enjoying the easy comfort of being together, and it was so natural to accept when Gil invited him back to his place.

He and Gil had spent forever sitting on the couch, making out like teenagers. And he hadn't hesitated once when Gil had led him to the bedroom. There he learned that Gil's gentleness extended to the bedroom as well. He'd been the perfect lover; gentle, caring, attentive. He'd driven Alex to heights of pleasure that words couldn't express, and it had only taken a few strokes of his cock to send Alex over the edge after that. And still, after everything they'd already shared, Gil had asked Alex if he could be inside him. Alex had happily sighed yes, and he'd moaned unabashedly as Gil had prepped him with a gentleness that even now took his breath away. Then Gil had made love to him for what seemed hours, constantly kissing him, stroking his nipples; proving to Alex more than words could just how cherished he was. His second orgasm had been intense, white lights of ecstasy exploding behind his eyes, body shuddering in absolute pleasure. And when he felt Gil come, he wished for the first time with any lover, that they were at a point in their relationship where they were confident that condoms were no longer necessary. For he'd longed for the moment when Gil would slip into his body, nothing separating them save a layer of lubricant, claiming him for all he was worth, flooding Alex's body with his very essence.

Alex startled as he felt strong arms slip around his waist. Relaxing immediately, Alex leaned back into the strong arms surrounding him.

"Those seemed like some pretty deep thoughts. Good ones too, by the judge of things," Gil chuckled, stroking the bulge in the front of Alex's pajama bottoms.

"Mmmm. Yeah, very, very nice. But you'd better stop that, because you have to be to work, and I want to make sure you have a good dinner before you do."

Nuzzling Alex's neck, Gil breathed in the soothing scent of the sandalwood lotion that Alex loved to use, before spinning his lover around in his arms. Leaning in, he took Alex's mouth in a passionate kiss, enjoying the deep rumble as Alex moaned into his mouth. Breaking the kiss as the need for oxygen grew, Gil panted harshly, leaning his forehead against Alex's.

Once his body was under control, knowing that they didn't have enough time before he had to be at work, he stepped away from Alex. "So, what are you making?"

Still dazed, it took a moment for Alex to register what Gil was saying. "Hmmm? Oh, yes, dinner. Steak, baked potatoes, and salad. Is that okay?"

"Sounds great, you know I'll love whatever you cook. So, can I help?"

Smiling at the subtle compliment, Alex shook his head, "No, you can not. Go take a shower and do whatever else it is you do to get ready for work. The food shouldn't take too long to cook."

Kissing his lover again, Gil smiled at Alex, and disappeared down the hall.

Shaking his head, Alex turned back to the task at hand, vowing to enjoy whatever time he had left with Gil to the fullest. And praying that it would last forever. *******************************************************************

Warrick took a deep breath, trying to build up the strength he'd need to do this. Releasing it slowly, he knocked briskly on the door to Gil's office.

"Come in."

Warrick walked in, smiling slightly as he watched Gil frown at the paperwork strewn over his desk. "It never ends does it?"

"Never. What can I do for you Warrick?" Gil asked distractedly, obviously searching for something in the jungle on his desk.

"I was hoping you'd have a few moments so I could talk to you."

Gil paused in his search for the mystery document, glancing up at Warrick. Sighing, Gil removed his glasses, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "Warrick, if this is about what I think it's about, I'd appreciate you simply turning around and leaving. I don't have the energy to put up with this today."

"I understand that Gil and it is about that, but not in the way you think. Please, just give me two minutes. If you want me to leave after that, I will. Please." When Gil didn't insist he leave, Warrick relaxed slightly, taking a seat in one of the vacant chairs in front of Gil's desk.

"So, what is this about?"

"I wanted to apologize."

"Apologize?" Gil asked, disbelievingly.

"Yes, I've been acting like a jerk these past few weeks and there's no excuse for my behavior. And I also wanted to apologize for the way I ended things between us."

"Warrick, you don't have to-"

"Yes I do, Gil." Warrick interrupted. "You deserve an apology, but more than that you deserve an explanation."

Gil looked at him for a long while, finally nodding, "okay. Go on then"

"The last few months of our relationship, I was unhappy. Not with you, but with myself. And I know that sounds pretty lame, but it's true. I've never been the kind of guy that looks for a relationship. I don't mind the occasional fling, even if it lasts for a few weeks, and I actually preferred one night stands. Not the safest practice, but that's how I've always been. Then I met you. And I felt this, I don't know, desire for more. I'd never felt that for, so o course the innate curiosity I have got the best of me, and I began pursuing you. You didn't make it easy, but eventually you relented and accepted my invitation to dinner. After that, everything just seemed to float along just fine. You were happy, I was happy; things were going great."

Standing up, Warrick walked over to Gil's shelf, picking up a jar with some creature in it, before placing it back down. Turning back to Gil, he continued, "Then one day I looked up and I realized that two years had gone by and the world hadn't ended. That should've been great news, but it wasn't. Because then I kept thinking that somehow the end was coming. So, in undoubtedly the most idiotic move o my life, I began to pull away from you. I started canceling dates, ignoring your calls; just basically being an all around jerk. I knew I was hurting you, but I couldn't focus on that because I knew I couldn't handle that at the moment."

"About a month after all that started, I met Tina. I'd taken Grams to her annual checkup, and Tina was one of the nurses on call that day. Or whatever reason I was just taken with her. Grams didn't approve of course, she adores you. But I assured her that it was innocent. And it was. I never slept with her while we were together Gil. But I'm sure that doesn't really make things any better." Taking a deep breath, Warrick retook his seat in front of Gil's desk. "Anyway, about three weeks later, with me still ducking your calls and avoiding you at every turn, Nick was taken. As you know, that pretty much knocked the wind outta me. Working that case was killing me, I just kept thinking that we wouldn't find him. Or that we would, only we'd be too late. But we found him, and he was alive, and I knew that eventually he'd be okay. But I was still shaken up by the whole ordeal."

"We all were, Rick. Nicky's family."

"Yeah, he is. But like I said, I was shaken up by it all, and I needed someone to hold on to. I needed you to hold on to, Gil. But I couldn't turn to you. Because every time I looked at you, I saw you in that damn coffin. I pictured wiping the dust of the glass only to find that you'd suffocated or decided to end it with the gun. And I couldn't deal with that. So I went to Tina's. I cried on her shoulder until I simply passed out. The next morning I slipped out while she was sleep and went home. I showered and changed, and came to your house. Breaking up with you like that was harder than I let on, but I felt I had no choice. I couldn't cope with what I was feeling, and I figured that it was better to make a clean break right then and there. I took the coward's way out."

"Yes, you did."

"And I decided to move in with Tina. I couldn't stay at my place, because practically everything there reminded me of you, in some way or another. And Grams wasn't having it, she was plenty pissed when I told her that I'd broke it off with you. I got more than an earful from her, on more than one occasion, about that and more. So, I pulled some money out of my savings account, paid the remaining four months of my lease, and moved in with Tina. Three months later we were married."

"I gather JoJo wasn't very happy about that." Gil couldn't help smiling at the thought of Warrick's tiny, spitfire of a grandmother telling Rick exactly what she thought of his `marriage'.

"Oh, no, she most definitely wasn't. If I thought she'd let loose before, I was quickly proved wrong. You kind of spoiled her for anyone else. She never quite said it, but Tina certainly knew that she didn't live up to your reputation. Hell, Grams still has a picture of you on her mantle. Still refers to you as her son-in-law."

"Still calls me too," Gil added, not quite suppressing the smirk.

"Really?" Warrick laughed, "Should've known. But I'm glad that what happened between us didn't affect the friendship you two share."

"JoJo is a formidable woman, Warrick. Even if I'd been inclined to let our friendship wane, she'd have knocked me on my ass before letting that happen."

"True. But I'm still happy to hear it. She's never said anything."

"I asked her not to."

"Oh. Well, I guess I can understand that."

Gil sat forward in his chair, leaning on his desk, looking directly at Warrick, "Look Rick, I appreciate you coming in here and explaining yourself. It wasn't necessary, but I'm glad you did, because it cleared up a few things for me. But-"

"I haven't really explained why I've been acting like an ass these last few weeks."

"Exactly."

"Simple answer? I was jealous. I am jealous. I know I don't have any right to be, as we are no longer together. But it doesn't change the fact that I am. I see the way you look at Alex, and I can't help but recall a time when you looked at me like that. Then Catherine, Sara, Jim, Greg, even Nick seem to love the guy and it just makes it hard to handle. So I lashed out and acted like a jerk. And I'm sorry for that, Gil. I really am. I-I wanted to just waltz back into your life and declare my love for you and have everything fall back into place like it was before. It's stupid, and unfair, and really pretty damn arrogant of me, I know that. But that's where my head was when I started being so nasty to you about Alex. All I can do is ask for your forgiveness and promise you that I won't let it happen again."

Gil watched Warrick for a long time, looking for signs of dishonesty Warrick assumed, before he finally nodded his head, smiling slightly. "You're forgiven, Warrick. And I'll try to not talk about Alex so much when you're around."

Warrick shook his head, "No Gil, that's not right. It would probably be easier for me, I'll admit that, but you shouldn't have to limit talking about your-your boyfriend just because it might make me uncomfortable. It's not like I ever stopped talking about Tina when you where around."

"That's true. But this is not about being vindictive, and for me to intentionally bring Alex up in your presence would be cruel. While I won't stop talking about him if he happens to come up in conversation, I won't seek to bring him up if you're around, same as I've learned to limit my discussion of ants in Nick's presence or explosions when Greg's around. Not that I'm equating my beloved with either of those." Gil clarified.

Standing, Warrick smiled down at Gil, "Well, I think I've said all I came to say. You have a good rest of your shift. I hope you find whatever it was you were searching for when I came in."

Gil stood as well, coming around the desk to follow Warrick to the door, "Oh, it was nothing. I was just looking for a vacation request form; I thought I'd already filled it out. But Ecklie informed me by email that if I wanted the time I'd better submit the form before end of shift."

"Vacation request? You going somewhere?" Warrick asked as Gil closed the office door behind them.

"Yes, actually, I'm going to Canada. Alex's family has a cabin there and he's taking me away for a week. I'm not partial to the snow, but I think it'll be fun." Warrick swallowed hard, "Sounds like fun. Make sure you take pictures."

"I just bought a brand new digital camera for the occasion; though Archie had to show me the best one to get, as well as how to use it. But I think I've got it down." Gil remarked as they walked down the hall towards Ecklie's office.

"Well, he would be the expert. So, when are you guys leaving?"

"Not for another week. Ecklie's already given me the time, but it's not `official' until I've filled out the appropriate paperwork."

"I hear you. Anyway, have fun, both of you. I'm gonna take off, I got a few things to wrap up before I head home."

Knocking quickly on Ecklie's door, Gil smiled at Warrick, "You have a good day Warrick. I'll see you tomorrow."

Warrick nodded at Gil as he watched him walk into Ecklie's office. Turning on his heel, he headed to the locker room, deciding that everything else could wait until next shift.

Grabbing his bag from his locker, Warrick was just about to exit the locker room, when he ran into Nick. Literally. "Nick! Shit! Man, are you okay?" Warrick asked as he held a hand out to help Nick up.

"Been better." Nick replied as he got onto his feet, dusting off his pants.

"Yeah, sorry about that. I was distracted."

"I figured as much. Talking to Grissom can do that to you."

"How'd you know I was talking with Gris?"

"I saw you coming out of his office. Things seemed a lot...less tense than they have these last few weeks. Are you two okay?"

Smiling, Warrick shook his head, "Yeah. We just had a long overdue conversation. Kind of a clearing of the air."

"Ah, I see. Are you okay?"

"Yes, Nick, I'm fine. I will be, in any case."

"Okay." Nick responded as he walked over to his locker. "I'm meeting Greg at his house for breakfast and to kick his ass in Madden '09, you in?"

Thinking about spending the morning with his two `so in love' best friends, Warrick quickly declined, "Nah, Nicky. I think I'd rather spend some time alone. But thanks for the offer."

"No problem. But if you change your mind, the offer's still open."

"I'll keep that in mind. Have fun with G. Tell him I said hi."

"Will do," Nick called after him as Warrick left the locker room. Smiling to himself, Warrick felt a lot better than he had before seeing Nick. His heart still ached, knowing that Gil had moved on with his life, but it was still nice to know that he still had Gil's friendship. Knowing that Nick would be there, if and when he needed him, in the future helped to bolster his spirits just a bit more.

Alex was nervous. Gil had called and requested he stop by on his lunch break. As far as he knew Gil had worked last night, so by all reasoning he should be asleep, not calling Alex and requesting he stop by for lunch.

Unfortunately, that didn't change the fact that Gil had called and now Alex was trying to gather up the courage to knock on the door. He had been dreading this conversation, trying to put it off as long as humanly possible, but now there was nothing he could do to avoid it.

But he would hold onto his dignity. If Gil wanted to end it, Alex wouldn't make a fuss. He'd walk away, waiting until he was home alone to finally fall apart. Taking another deep breath, Alex raised his hand to knock on the door, startling when the door opened before he could even touch it.

"Gil! Oh my gosh, you startled me," Alex exclaimed, trying to regain his composure.

"I'm sorry. It's just, well you were standing out here so long, I wasn't sure if you were gonna come in. Is everything okay?"

Realizing there was no roundabout way to answer that question, Alex figured straightforward was best. "Kinda dreading this conversation, though I guess I should've been prepared. It's been coming for a while now."

Gil looked at Alex for a moment, brow quirking in obvious confusion. "Uh, why don't you come in? I think we've managed to get our wires crossed."

"Sure," Alex replied, following Gil into the house, wondering what Gil was playing at. He could tell when a breakup was coming; he'd been through `the talk' plenty of times before.

Leading Alex over to the couch, Gil sat down beside him. "Okay, so I hadn't planned to just come out and say it, but you seem to suspect something so I guess it's best to just say it."

Pulling his hand free, running it through his hair to explain the move, Alex nodded. "Sure, straightforward is always best."

Gil took a deep breath and let it out slowly, before looking at Alex. "I want to introduce you to my mother."

For a moment it seemed like all the air in the room had been sucked out, but as Gil's words finally penetrated the thick fog around Alex's brain, Alex felt the laughter begin to bubble up out of him.

Gil looked at his lover, somewhat put off by the unexpected reaction. "Alex, are you okay?"

Catching his breath, Alex wiped at the tears on his cheeks, "Never better. Of course, I'd love to meet your mother. I just didn't expect that to be the announcement."

"What did you think I called you over here for?"

"Honestly, I thought this was `the talk', you know. The `it's-not-you-it's-me' talk."

"You thought I was gonna break up with you?"

Smiling shyly, Alex nodded, "Well, yeah. I mean, I love you and I didn't want to break up, not in the least. But with all that's been going on, with Warrick and all of that, I just thought that you'd finally come to a decision. And with you being so mysterious about it, I figured you were trying to find a gentle way to tell me."

"Oh, Alex. I'm so sorry. I know that I've been distracted these last few weeks, and I've been neglecting you. But I had a good talk with Warrick earlier today, and it was as we talked that I realized that I've been placing my life on hold because of him. But not because I love him, but because I was afraid to allow myself to truly love someone else. And the more I thought about it the more I realized that I do love someone else. I love you Alex, more than I had even admitted to myself. And, I don't know, I guess this unspoken mess between me and Warrick was serving as a barrier between me and you."

"That's a relief to hear Gil, because I didn't want to lose you."

"And you won't. I love you and I plan on spending the rest of my life with you. And a part of that plan includes introducing you to the other half of my family. My mother called to tell me that she'll be in town for a luncheon next month, she's a charity guru just so you know, and I thought it would be a great time to introduce you two. So what do you say?"

"That sounds great. I've never been introduced to anyone's parents."

"Yeah, I've never taken anyone back to meet Mom either."

"Not even Warrick?"

"Nope. Guess that should've been clue number 1, huh? Anyway, Mom is excited about meeting you. She's already-"

"You already told her?"

Gil smiled sheepishly, "Yes. Over the course of our relationship Alex, you've proven to me time and again, that being in love means acting on faith. I love you and I place my faith in you. And I was acting on that same faith when I told my mother that I'd like for the two of you to meet when she comes to town next month."

Alex smiled brightly, "I love you so much, Gilbert. You don't know how much it means to me to hear you say that, " Leaning in, Alex took Gil's lips in a deep kiss, pushing his lover back until they were stretched out on the sofa.

Breaking the kiss, Gil panted, "What about work? You still have half a day left."

Nipping at Gil's lips, Alex grinned, "Yeah, but I'm the boss. I can break the rules."

Moaning as Alex attacked his neck, Gil couldn't help smiling, "so what do you plan to do with your free afternoon?"

"Give you a sneak peek at what you're gonna get when we get to Canada."

Gasping into the mouth that suddenly covered his, Gil's last thought before he lost all ability to think, was that it couldn't get much better than this.

END

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