Title: A Kind of Christmas Carol
Pairing: Nick and Greg
Disclaimer: Characters belong to CBS and Mr Charles Dickens. I make no money from this.
Summary: Nick gets a chance to change his life, before it's too late. Beta'd by my Christmas Star anmani and banner and icon by Christmas Cracker bflyw.
Nick wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand. He’d been unable to get back to sleep after the horrible dream he’d just had, for that was all he could rationalise it as. He sighed and threw back the covers, deciding to watch some TV until sleep overtook him again.
He was positive he’d turned the living room lights out, but a soft glow was coming from the gap under the door. Perhaps he’d forgotten to turn the TV off when he’d gone to bed? He opened the door carefully and slipped through.
“Come in, and know me better man!” The rich hearty voice filled the room. Nick looked up in shook to see yet another familiar face beaming across the room at him.
“Doc…. Robbins?” he asked. The man definitely looked like the pathologist, his white beard and ruddy face half-hidden by the hood of a rich green velvet cloak, trimmed with snow-white fur.
“I am the Ghost of Christmas Present.” the man boomed, smiling.
“Yeah yeah.” Nick rolled his eyes. “I know I’m dreaming again, so lets get this over with, huh?”
“Doesn’t everything seem so wonderful at Christmas?” the spirit chuckled.
“You’re joking, right?” Nick shook his head. “Listen man, all I see Christmas as is yet another day for the crazies to come out. Do you know how high the murder/suicide rate gets at Christmas? It’s higher than any other time of the year. And I get to wallow in the filth every night. So excuse me if I don‘t see what‘s so amazing about Christmas.”
“You’ve only seen the evil that men do. You need to see the good in people.” the spirit nodded. He reached a hand out and touched Nick gently on the shoulder. Again Nick felt warmth spread through his body, like drinking hot chocolate on a cold day.
This time there was no biting wind, just a softening and fading of the world around him. As the room came back into focus he found himself standing in the middle of a homeless shelter.
“Why did you bring me here?” Nick asked in confusion, looking around at the queues of people lining up to get a free hot meal.
The spirit just smiled, and pointed to the front of the queue, where Greg was dishing out mashed potatoes, laughing and joking with the young girl holding the plate. She smiled and moved on, and he began talking to the next person in line, spooning a mountain of the creamy mash onto his plate.
“Greg never told me he did this.” Nick moved forwards until he was standing beside Greg. He could smell the food, hear the chatter of the people all around him as if he was really there.
“So Greg….” the pretty blonde girl beside him called over as she spooned peas and carrots onto plates. “You still going to your party today?”
“Yeah.” Greg sighed. “But Nick Scrooge has decided he’s not coming.”
“Oh bummer.” she sympathised. “I know you were hoping to get him under the mistletoe.” she added with a wink.
“Jenna!” he exclaimed, his cheeks burning in a fierce blush.
Nick choked on his own spit, coughing wildly. Greg carried on as if Nick wasn’t there, which of course, he wasn’t.
“No matter what I feel for Nick, I’d never jeopardise our friendship like that. He‘s not interested in me.” he stated. “No, I’ve banished him firmly to the ‘unrequited’ section.”
“Shame.” Jenna sighed. “That photo you showed me? Man, he’s so hot.”
“Preaching to the converted Jenna.” Greg grinned, spooning more potatoes onto the next plate. Nick watched Greg carefully to see if he was joking, but the man seemed genuine.
“Come, there is much to see.” the spirit whispered, once again touching Nick’s shoulder.
“I had no idea he felt that way.” Nick said in disbelief as his body filled with warmth and the room faded around them again.
As the focus sharpened again he found himself standing in Catherine’s house. All his work colleagues were gathered around the giant table as Catherine and Lindsay served up enough food to feed an army. Everyone was talking and laughing, pulling crackers and stealing bits of turkey off the serving plate.
Catherine slapped Hodges’ hand as he reached for a piece of the succulent bird. “Hands off.” she scolded. “Greg’s not here yet.”
Hodges rolled his eyes and withdrew the hand, muttering something Nick couldn‘t make out. As if on cue the doorbell rang and Greg bustled into the house, his hands full of presents.
Nick watched as hugs and kisses were exchanged and then everyone settled down to the fabulous meal. He walked over to look at the pile of presents Greg had brought, seeing the largest one was labelled for him. It was wrapped in shiny red paper with a silver bow. He must have brought it on the off-chance that Nick would turn up.
“I wish I’d come now.” Nick sighed to the spirit. “Just look at them. They’re all having such a good time.”
“Nick!” Grissom cried.
“Grissom!” Nick answered, walking over to the table. “You can see me?”
“To absent friends.” he finished, making a toast.
“To Nick.” everyone echoed, taking a sip of their drinks.
Nick sighed, deflated. He had so many friends who cared about him, people who loved him. How could he not have realised this? Had Kristy meant Greg when she said he had to open his heart up to love? He laughed at himself, he was beginning to treat this as if it was really happening! It was all a dream, he couldn’t let himself forget that.
Still, as the room faded around him he kept his eyes on Greg until the last.