~ * End of September * ~
“Where do you go?”
Grissom walked farther into the lab and let the door close behind him. “Where do you go during the four months you always take off each year?” He had Greg’s attention now. The younger man leaned back in his chair and turned slowly, his expression closed and his eyes wary. “Nobody knows where you go, why you always take the same months off. And somehow this doesn’t manage to cause you employment problems?”
Greg grinned and spread out his hands. “Hey, I’m the best!” he joked. Grissom silenced him with a stare. Greg sighed, closing his eyes. “Don’t worry about it. It’s a private matter.”
After ensuring no one else was in the lab, Grissom came closer and leaned against a clear spot on one of the counters. “In the past I had no reason to pry into your personal life unless it affected your work. But now that we’re together, don’t you think I have a right to ask?”
Greg shook his head slowly, a wistful smile on his face. “I won’t deny that you have all the reason in the world to ask and wonder, but that doesn’t mean I can answer.”
“Can’t or won’t?”
Greg remained silent.
“Look, Griss,” Greg said quietly, “we still have two more months. Don’t let this interfere with the time before I have to leave, please?”
Grissom shook his head. “I can’t promise that.”
Eyes squeezed shut, Greg nodded in understanding. “Okay...”
~ * Mid-October * ~
“How’re you feeling?”
Groggy from the drugs in his system, Greg peered up at the blurry vision of his lover. “A-awright.” Grissom offered him a few ice chips to sooth the dryness of his mouth and throat. “Where ‘m I?”
“Hospital, remember? That lunatic Brass and I were going to pick up beat us back to the lab; he thought he could get rid of the evidence linking him to Lenant’s murder. Apparently you got in the way?”
Greg nodded drowsily. “Shoulder,” he mumbled, realizing that the searing pain was nowhere to be found.
“Right. You’d passed out from blood loss before they got you here, but the bullet removal went well and they’ve patched you up. Two days in here, tops.”
Sleep was tugging at him seductively. Greg struggled to keep his eyes open. “Take me home...” he sighed. Grissom’s comforting hand stroked over his hair.
“Shh. Get some rest. When you’re ready, I’ll take you... home.”
Greg smiled at that. As he drifted off, he clarified, “Our home...”
~ * End of October * ~
“People can get so screwed up on Halloween,” Warrick groaned as Greg entered the locker room.
“Guess we can’t all be lucky to get the night off,” he said with a charming grin.
“Get out of here,” Warrick said, irritated.
Greg waved the folder in his hand. “Gotta find Nicky, first. Was he in here yet?”
“No. I saw him with Sara last, but that case was wrapped up tonight.”
“Hey ‘Rick, hey Greggo.”
“Speak of the devil...” Greg teased, holding the file out for Nick. “You wanted the results?”
Nick took the folder with a nod. “Thanks, man. Hey, I heard you’re off for the night?”
Greg winked. “Lucky break!”
“Yeah, well don’t get into any trouble at any parties.”
“Don’t plan on going out,” Greg answered with a mischievous smile. “I’m staying home, thank-you-very-much.”
“You need to get a life,” Warrick said with a roll of his eyes.
“I like my life just fine,” Greg answered. “Yup... gonna stay in bed all day if I can help it.”
Nick raised a curious eyebrow. “Is that supposed to mean what I think it does?” Greg winked and with a satisfied smirk, made his escape.
~ * ~ * ~
“Oh god, yes.... Yes, Gil!” Greg squirmed under his lover’s carefully drawn-out ministrations. “Please!” he gasped and tried to arch off the bed; a strong arm pressed over his hips held him down. Greg whimpered, tightening one hand into a fist on the sheets. His other hand pressed against the back of his lover’s head encouragingly.
Gil Grissom, Greg had decided long ago, had one delightfully wicked tongue. He expected it would be incredibly difficult for anyone else to imagine a mouth that could quote the classics like an English scholar and explain scientifically complex theories could belong to a man who was sinfully good at rimming and giving blowjobs. If he wasn’t in such a critical position at the moment, Greg would have laughed at the thought of Warrick or Catherine or one of the others finding out what their supervisor was doing on his day off—rather, who he was doing.
Finally Grissom picked up the pace and let Greg lose himself in the frantic journey to achieve orgasm. Greg clutched at his lover’s shoulders as he climaxed into Grissom’s mouth. As soon as he regained some control, Greg urged his lover up for a deep, thorough kiss. He slid his hands over Grissom’s sides and hips, slowly inching inward to take hold of his lover’s erection.
“Love you,” Greg gasped between furious, open-mouthed kisses. He tugged gently at the hot flesh in his grasp. He stroked Grissom to the edge and then pulled back, rolling away and onto his back. He grinned at his lover and parted his legs invitingly. “You know I’m ready,” he said, running his fingertips over Grissom’s swollen lips. He loved the spark of passion that burned in his lover’s eyes when they made love. “Come to me,” he urged.
Grissom was always careful at the beginning, never wanting to cause pain that might linger. While sometimes frustrating, his actions were incredibly sweet; Greg couldn’t remember having such a considerate lover before. Once Grissom was all the way in, though, Greg could set the pace however he liked; amazing how much control he had in this position.
They moved together with practiced ease. Greg licked and nipped at Grissom’s neck and jaw as they moved faster. With each thrust that rubbed his prostate, he whimpered a little and sucked in his breath. Grissom panted encouragingly in his ear.
“A little more... Yes, that’s it...”
Greg laced his fingers through Grissom’s hair and pulled him down for a long kiss when orgasm hit. Moments like these made him feel complete.... He would cherish such memories in the long winter months ahead. He suddenly clutched Grissom tighter, kissed more firmly, wishing he could stay forever in this man’s arms.
~ * Mid-November * ~
“If you won’t tell me where you go, will you tell me what you do?”
Greg sighed. Grissom hadn’t stopped asking questions for two weeks straight. Ever since their shared night off during Halloween, he’d been under interrogation. It was wearing him down and even disturbing his sleep. The one thing he would not let it do was upset his work. Try as he might, it was starting to bother his relationship with Grissom.
“Gil, please. I’d just like to go to bed.” Greg dropped his keys on the table next to the door. He toed off his shoes and headed straight towards the bedroom. Grissom was right on his heels and hadn’t bothered to take off his shoes.
“I need to know, Greg.”
Shaking his head, Greg returned, “No. You really don’t.”
“Then don’t go. Stop whatever it is you’re doing and just stay here. You’re always so excited to be back, so why go?”
Frustrated, Greg paced along the foot of the bed. He refused to meet Grissom’s calculating gaze. “I don’t have a choice! This is something I have to do! And I have to do it every year. And before you ask again, yes it has to be the same time, those exact four months. 121 days, or 122 days in the case of leap years. I know the exact hours, the minutes... stop bothering me about this!”
“What?” Greg stopped pacing and turned to face his lover, his face screwed up in a mixture of pain and exhaustion.
Grissom watched him silently for a moment. “Why do you go? If you hate it so much, why leave?”
Greg scrubbed his hands over his face. “Damnit, Gil. I told you, I keep telling you! It’s something I have to do. There isn’t any other way.”
“I want you to stay here, Greg.”
“I know you do,” Greg said, dropping his hands back to his sides. He stared at Grissom regretfully. “I’d love to, I really would. But I can’t.”
“What if...” Grissom took a deep breath, his eyes boring a hole into Greg’s soul, it felt like. “What if I stayed with you November 30th and refused to let you go?”
Greg gave him a ghost of a smile. “It won’t work,” he said sadly.
“I could tie you up...”
“Don’t...” Greg whispered, closing his eyes. “This is hard enough.... Please don’t—”
“Don’t what, Greg?” Grissom asked, his tone falling flat. Greg’s eyes flew open in alarm. Grissom had turned away. “You go to bed. I’d be back in a bit. I need to think... I’m going for a walk.”
“Gil...” Greg started, reaching his hand out. Grissom warded him off and slipped out the door.
In his wake, Greg slid to the floor and hugged his knees to his chest. It never failed, he thought to himself miserably. No relationship had ever lasted through the winter. And how could it? He wouldn’t be there to attend it, pay proper attention to his lover and offer assurance that he’d return in the spring. He had hoped that Grissom, after knowing him for so many years and seeing him return every time, would manage...
“So I was wrong,” he whispered to himself. “What else is new?”
~ * November 30th, 1:00 AM * ~
“That DNA guy from swing starts nights with us today,” Nick complained as he walked into the break room. “Jeez, Greg, why do you always walk out on us this time of year?”
Greg smiled apologetically and offered a cup of his famous, insanely rich coffee in a rather generous show of sympathy. “Can’t always be here for you, man. Get some practice now—I put in an application to be considered for field work.”
“Hey, congratulations!” Warrick said. “Now gimme some of that coffee.”
Rolling his eyes, Greg shared the last of the pot. “Well, gentlemen, that’s the last of the bag! ‘Fraid you’ll have to do without my services and my delicious coffee.”
“Yeah, yeah. Don’t rub it in.”
Greg said goodbye and jokingly saluted on his way out. The tests he’d been running for a case Catherine and Grissom on should have been done.
~ * ~ * ~
“Do you want to talk about it?”
Grissom pulled back from the microscope he’d been looking through. He shot Catherine a curious glance. “It?”
She made a note on the paper in front of her and straightened up. “Yeah, this ‘mood’ that’s settled over you the past couple of weeks.” She made a gesture to indicate the entire lab. “You’ve been a bit short-tempered lately when you’re not off in your own little, focused world.”
“It’s nothing,” Grissom answered, returning to the scope. Catherine wasn’t going to let him get away with that.
“I don’t think so, Gil. I think this is something bigger than a great many things I know you’ve gone through in the past.” He looked up again and found Catherine leaning over the table towards him. “For the past however-many months you’ve been seeing someone. Here, from the lab. You’ve been extremely discreet about it, but I know you, Gil.” They stared at each other in silence for a long couple of minutes. Catherine sighed. “Is this about him taking off for the winter?”
“I don’t see how this is any of your business,” Grissom retorted coolly.
“If you haven’t forgotten, I happen to be a friend. It’s perfectly normal for a friend to be worried about the other’s well-being.”
Grissom organized the evidence spread out on the table. “It’s better you leave it be, Catherine,” he warned. “I appreciate your concern, but I’ll be fine.”
“Maybe. Did you think what it might be doing to him?”
That startled a bark of laughter from him; it was a bitter sound. Catherine stared in surprise, even Grissom looked caught off-guard. Finally he said, “He refuses to tell me anything. If he can’t meet me halfway, I don’t think this was meant to last very long.”
~ * ~ * ~
Greg hurried down the hall with print-out in hand. He was thrilled with the results, knowing he’d just broken the case wide open. Damn, it felt good when he did that! It was a good way to round off the year, too. Caught up in his excitement, he almost missed the tail-end of Catherine’s question and Grissom’s grim laugh. Abruptly Greg lost the bounce in his step and jerked to a halt just out of sight of the evidence room.
“... I don’t think this was meant to last very long.”
He’d heard it before, but it still hurt to hear it repeated aloud. Greg closed his eyes and tried to take steady breaths. He could make it through this last shift, he knew he could... Pasting his smile back on, he burst through the door without knocking.
“Got your case-solving results!” he boasted, holding the printout aloft. He avoided meeting either CSI’s gaze. “Got yourself a female relative—likely a sister.”
“There’s two,” Catherine answered. “Thanks, Greg. Another one to mark on your calendar?” she gently teased.
“Nah,” he answered. “You guys do the fancy leg work. Well, um, good luck. Got other results to process.” He started backing out but couldn’t resist a quick glance at Grissom. He stumbled at the look of surprised confusion and hurt. He stuttered an apology and turned around, fleeing back to the sanctuary of his equipment. He reminded himself it would only be a few more hours...
~ * November 30th, 11:00 PM * ~
Greg sat alone in his living room. His apartment was almost scarily clean. There was nothing perishable in his kitchen, all of the dishes were put away, and his laundry was all done. His bed was neatly made and his toiletries were packed away. Unless someone opened drawers and closet doors, the apartment looked abandoned. He had an hour left. Usually he was busy right up until the last minute, but this time he had nothing. Nothing to do and no desire to do so. He’d been prepared to go as of three days ago, having arranged things accordingly in the aftermath of his separation from Grissom. He worried what the situation would be when he returned, but he would have months to angst over that.
He watched the digital clock on his VCR switch to 11:04. The countdown was agonizing.
Shortly after the digits showed 11:28, he heard a knock. Startled, Greg stood to answer the door. He opened it to find Grissom standing on the other side.
Stunned, Greg just stood there for long moments. After a while he backed up and gestured Grissom in. “Hey...” he said quietly.
Grissom walked with him into the living room and sat at the other end of the couch. Greg looked nervously to the clock. 11:32. “I have to leave, soon,” he said.
“Do you leave precisely at midnight?”
Greg shrugged uncomfortably and dropped his gaze to his hands. “Why are you here?”
Slowly Grissom answered, “I... need some... clue. Something to process about where you go, what you do.”
Shaking his head, Greg told him, “It won’t help.”
“Then I’ll have that, at least.”
Greg winced. “I’m really sorry.”
“Don’t. If you can’t give me anything, don’t say that.” Grissom’s voice was hard.
Greg swallowed and watched the clock. At 11:45 he stood and began to pace.
“Gil... I really love you, y’know? And even if you can’t believe it, I really am sorry. I don’t have full control of the situation.” He stopped and stared at his clenched fists in frustration. “There was this... really stupid mistake... A long time ago someone tricked me. And I have to pay for that—every year I lose a third of my life.” He raised his head and met Grissom’s gaze desperately. “If you’re staying... Well, no one’s ever been here when it... it happens.”
“What happens?” Grissom asked quietly, standing up and coming closer.
Greg gestured helplessly. “You’ll see it, I guess... You wouldn’t believe me.”
“Then help me believe,” Grissom insisted, his hands clutching Greg’s arms. “Help me understand.”
“I have to go!” Greg said. “Please, I don’t want to! I’d rather stay with you, work at the lab... But I can’t. I can’t ever only be with you!”
“What are you talking about?”
Out of the corner of his eye, Greg saw the movement from the digital clock. 11:58.
“Gil, I love you,” he said, all his emotions poured into those words. He leaned forward and captured his lover’s lips in a passionate kiss.
Far too soon he felt a familiar chill descend around him. As he pulled back from Grissom, he heard a throaty chuckle.
“Well, well, well. You’ve been busy this year, haven’t you, Lover?”
Greg only had eyes for Grissom and he watched his lover’s eyes widen in surprise. “Who the hell are you?” Grissom demanded, turning to face the newcomer.
Regretfully, Greg turned his gaze to the creature who held his life in a tidy little bundle. He’d never known the being’s true form, but he was familiar enough with the tall, muscled, pale form that stood close to his side. He had to tilt his head back and stand on his tip-toes to kiss him when they were standing. Those kisses had been something he enjoyed once—long, long ago.
“You’ve got spunk, guess that would explain the attraction,” the creature said in amusement. His dangerously strong arm wrapped around Greg’s shoulders. “How do you like the boy wonder? He can be quite a feisty little devil.” The grin was blindingly white, showing off sharp, pointed teeth, impossibly non-human.
“Greg...?” Grissom kept a careful eye on the tall man, but he shot Greg a concerned look.
“I’ll be fine, Gil,” Greg told him quietly.
“Gil, is it? Funny, that’s familiar.” The creature’s eyes narrowed. “Call me... Hades. Just for kicks.”
Greg winced as the arm around him tightened painfully. The chill radiated from Hades and soaked through his skin. He knew he’d grow accustomed to it quickly enough once they left.
“Where are you taking him?” Grissom demanded.
Greg should have known he wouldn’t be intimidated. No, Grissom did not understand the situation. And Hades knew that—he loved to toy with people.
“Why, wherever I want. Do you have a problem with that? Am I taking lover boy here away from you?” Hades brought his free hand to cup Greg’s cheek and guide him into a possessive kiss. Breaking away, Hades again address Grissom. “See, I have a prior claim. You might have your little fun for a year, but he keeps coming back to me.”
“He doesn’t want to go,” Grissom said, his voice steady.
Greg bit the inside of his cheek worriedly.
“He doesn’t think so,” Hades corrected. “I assure you, we’re quite happy during out days together.”
“Why do you take him away each year?”
Hades grinned widely again and chuckled. Shaking Greg none-too-gently, he said, “Found yourself quite a man, Lover.” Back to Grissom; “It’s in the contract. Four blissful months in my paradise, the rest of the year spent in this tortured world.”
“The way Greg reacts, it seems more like hell.”
The guffaws shaking Hades’ body jerked Greg around. Greg marveled at Grissom’s ability to make puns without even realizing it.
Calming down, Hades patted Greg’s arm. “C’mon, Lover, we’ve wasted enough time here.”
Greg stared into Grissom’s eyes pleadingly. “Remember what I said,” he begged. He felt Hades’ tug become more insistent.
“But where are you going?” Grissom whispered, reaching out to take Greg’s hand.
Greg could feel the portal opening. He cracked a crooked smile and replied simply, “Hell.”
~ * April 1st, 12:01 AM * ~
Greg opened his eyes to take in the reassuring presence of his apartment. He sighed in relief and took a step towards the bathroom, in desire of long, hot shower. He paused when the scent of cooking spices registered in his brain. Baffled, he walked towards the kitchen and looked in. No one there... Heading into the hall, he stared in confusion at the bathroom door that was partially open and lit from inside.
The bathroom door was flung open and, much to Greg’s astonishment, Grissom stepped into the hall, staring at him with obvious relief written across his features.
“What time is it?”
Greg blinked, still very confused. “Little after midnight...”
“Is it always like this?”
“Like what...? What are you doing here?”
Grissom closed the distance between them and wrapped Greg in a tight embrace. “I missed you.”
Slowly Greg wrapped his arms around Grissom. “I didn’t think... I never imagined you’d be here.”
“I did a little research—”
Grissom kissed his temple, then moved slowly along the outline of Greg’s jaw as he spoke. “A few legendary figures. Zeus. Demeter. Persephone... Hades.”
Greg opened his mouth, unsure what to say. Grissom took that problem away by kissing him deeply. “Later,” he murmured. “Right now I want to welcome you back.”
As Grissom led him into the bedroom, Greg decided that he’d underestimated this man; it was something he wouldn’t do again. “Thank you,” he whispered before happily letting Grissom take control in showing just how much he’d been missed.