Old Friends. New Daddy?
Disclaimer: *pouts* The only thing I own is Ryker and I don’t even want him.
Beta: Queen Sereya
Warning: small hint of slash
Chapter 6: Old Friends. New Daddy?
Xander looked around curiously. Xander had never been on an airplane and he was having fun. Greg was keeping Xander busy by showing him all the new things to see, like the strange seat in front of him that popped open to form a table or the weird flat bag that was in the chair pocket.
Grissom glanced over at his son. Xander was very friendly, but when meeting new people he became very shy and he had been worried about how the toddler would react to a crowd of strangers. Thankfully, Xander didn’t seem to notice the other passengers. Greg was keeping him occupied. Turning, Grissom looked at the empty aisle seat. From what he remembered when he had ordered the tickets, the plane had been fairly empty. Hopefully, that seat would remain empty.
Grissom turned back to his son and coworker, who had Xander situated on his lap and was currently pointing out the window. “See, Xander. All those people are getting the plane ready so we can take off.”
Xander stared out the window for a few moments before turning to see what his Papa was up to. Grissom smiled at his son. Xander smiled back. Suddenly, he squealed and started to lunge across Grissom, his hands making a grabbing motion. Grissom gasped as Xander’s foot landed dangerously close to his unmentionables, all the while making a frantic grab for the wiggling toddler before the child wound up face first on the floor.
“Well, I see someone’s happy to see me.”
Grissom and Greg turned their heads in shock to see Nick standing in the aisle.
“What are you doing here, Nick?” Grissom asked, “Is there something wrong with the lab?”
Nick grabbed the lunging child and tried to sit down in his seat. “Nothing’s wrong, Gris. You remember that serial case a few months ago?”
Xander looked up at Nick and then over at his Papa and then at Greg. This wasn’t right. They were in the wrong places. He frowned as the adults talked above him.
“The Collin’s case? Yes. What about it?” Grissom asked.
“They found him. The call came in last night. I was asked to bring the evidence up and discuss it with the detectives on the case.” Nick said, nodding his head at his feet where he had placed the evidence box. It was small enough that he could place it between his legs, maintaining the chain of custody.
“That’s good,” Grissom paused and looked down at his son who had scrambled onto his lap. Xander had wrapped one hand in Nick’s shirt and was now trying to drag Nick’s upper body over Grissom. “What are you doing Xander?”
Xander whimpered. He reached for Greg again. The adults looked at him confused. Nick tried to get his shirt free while Grissom and Greg tried to figure out what Xander wanted. Suddenly, Xander jerked Nick’s shirt toward himself. Already off balance, Nick found himself falling on top of Grissom with Xander in between them. Xander let out a small meep, but was happy he had finally reached his goal.
Nick stared into Grissom’s shocked eyes. Blushing he said, “Sorry, Grissom.”
Pushing up, Nick found that he couldn’t move far because Xander still had one hand fisted in his shirt. Only now, the other hand was fisted in Greg’s shirt. Nick looked down at the now smiling child. “Kiddo, you’re gonna hafta let one of us go. We need to sit down.”
Xander grinned and looked at Grissom’s lap.
Nick’s eyes widened. Greg chuckled. “No Xander, that’s a seat for you. Nick’s a little too big for that.”
“Sir,” an airline stewardess came over, “you need to sit down.”
Nick glanced over to see her amused expression. Fumbling he tried to release Xander’s grasp. For a small child, Xander had an amazing grip. “Yes Ma’am. I’m trying.”
Sighing, Grissom unbuckled his seatbelt and slid over to the aisle seat. “Sit in the middle, Nick.”
Now having an empty seat in front of him, Nick plopped down. “Thanks, Gris.”
“Thank you, sir.” She said smiling before checking on other passengers.
Greg chuckled. “You know, Nick, there are other ways to get a girl.”
Nick shook his head as his cheeks flushed. Xander just patted his cheek and beamed.
Greg opened the door to the building. “Come on, Nick. It wasn’t that bad.”
Adjusting the pack on his arms, Nick stared at Greg. He glanced down at the sleeping toddler in Greg’s arms. “Just because, Xander slept through most of the flight, does not mean it was not the worst flight I’d ever been on. We waited three hours on that plane because of some sort of technical difficulty. And then just as we were about to take off they made us switch planes because of last minute engine troubles. Not something I’d call fun.”
Greg shrugged as they quickly got their passes. “I guess. But it could have been worse.”
“Yeah, yeah. So why are we here again?” Nick asked.
Pushing the elevator button, Greg looked back at Nick. “You don’t have to see that detective until tomorrow. And my friend told me to meet him at work since the plane was so late.”
Greg got off the elevator and led the way confidently to a small break room. “We can wait for him here.”
Nick looked at him in surprise. “You’ve never been here before. How’d you know where this room was?”
Greg blinked as he settled Xander on a small couch. “Easy. My friend told me.”
“Hey. Who are you?”
The two turned to see a tall dark skinned man in the doorway. The man frowned at the duo.
Greg smiled and introduced himself, “Hi, I’m Greg Sanders. This is Nick Stokes. We were told to wait here.”
The man shook their hands. “I’m Sheldon Hawkes. Call me Hawkes.” Looking at Nick curiously, he asked, “You’re name sounds familiar. . . Weren’t you bringing some evidence down?”
Nick nodded. “It’s already checked in. I’ll be coming in tomorrow to go over it with your detectives.”
“So why are you two here tonight?”
“I’m not actually here for that case,” Greg explained, “I’m here to meet an old friend of mine. The plane was late so he asked us to meet him here while he finished up his shift.”
Hawkes blinked. “Who’s your friend?”
“Greggy!” A thick New York accent called out, one that Hawkes recognized. He turned to see Danny walking into the room, a big grin on his face. Don Flack followed him curiously. Danny hugged Greg before continuing, “I haven’t seen ya in years. How was the plane trip? Sorry ‘bout not meeting you at the airport, but I only have so much lunch time.”
Greg returned the hug enthusiastically. “Danny! It’s good to see you.”
“So. Who’s your friend, Messer?” Flack asked.
Danny slung one arm around Greg’s shoulder. “Flack, Hawkes, this is Greg. He was my best bud in college.”
Nick watched the two greeting each other. Nick frowned. They seemed really close. His eyes narrowed. This man was the reason Greg was spending a whole week on the east coast. He growled.
Everyone turned to stare at Nick. Greg blinked. What was wrong with Nick? Greg stared at Nick for a moment before shaking his head. “Oh. Nick, this is Danny.”
Nick gave Danny a hard stare. Danny turned to Greg for an explanation, but Greg looked just as confused as he felt.
For a few moments, the group stood in an awkward silence. Then Stella walked in thumbing through a folder. Everyone watched as she made her way to the mini fridge and pulled out a bottle of water. Greg eyes widened in recognition. He grinned.
“Stella, my most beauteous queen. You look stunning as usual.”
Stella gasped in surprise and whirled around. Her eyes lit up as they settled on Greg. “Greg!”
Greg eyes sparkled. “Was I gone so long, you don’t have a hug for your adopted baby brother?”
She walked over to give Greg a big hug. She had missed the little flirt. Pulling back, she swatted him on the head. “That’s for not calling.”
Greg looked sheepish. “Sorry, Stella,” he tried to explain, “I . . . uh. . . . kinda lost your number and stuff when I moved.”
“Adopted?” Nick frowned. Greg wasn’t adopted. He had grown up with his grandparents.
Stella smiled. “I knew him when he was going to NYU. I’d always go to this one diner on 37th. The first time I met him he started to flirt outrageously with me. When I tried to turn him down, he was adorable. I couldn’t help myself, treating him like a younger brother.”
Greg blushed. Nick glanced over at Greg in curiosity. “What did he do?”
Stella chuckled. “He stumbling told me that he hadn’t meant anything by it. I wasn’t his type. That every lady deserved to be flirted with and I looked like I could use a friend.”
Nick frowned. “What is his type?”
“Stella,” Greg interrupted, “I didn’t know you were working in the crime lab.”
Stella shrugged. “I transferred shortly after you left.” At the curious looks, she continued, “I knew Greg when I worked in narcotics. Everyday I’d see him at that diner.”
Danny laughed. “And here I knew him from our apartment. Course, I was heading for the Minors back then. Small world, huh Stella?”
Nick frowned. “Wait, Danny? . . . You’re Daniel. And you lived in the same apartment. You’re the one who pushed his kids off on Greg?”
“Hey now!” Flack protested, “Danny ain’t like that! He spends his days off helping out at the courts with the youth program. An’ if he had kids wouldn’t be pushing them off on no one. That just ain’t him!”
“It’s okay Flack. If he’s heard of Daniel, it’s understandable he’s confused. No, I wasn’t his roommate.” Danny started to explain.
Greg finished for him, “He was my neighbor.”
Danny nodded. “Yeah, his roommate was Daniel, ‘don’t call me anything else’, Ryker was his roommate for two years. The guy was loaded.”
“Then why would he be living in cheap college apartments?” Hawkes asked.
Danny shrugged. “Turns out his Daddy wanted him to know what the ‘lower class’,” Danny made hand quotation marks, “lived like. While he was in college, he was supposed to live there and receive a nice allowance for it too.”
Greg nodded. “Yep. And when neither his wife nor he wanted to take care of his kids, I’d wind up getting a hefty amount of that allowance.”
Danny chuckled. “Don’t pretend you didn’t love looking after those kids, Greg. I remember you teaching them math and science in the community room. What was that game you made up. . .Guess the element, wasn’t it? What ever happened to them? You never said. I went away for a weekend game and when I came back Daniel was gone.”
Greg looked down. Nick moved closer to him. “I turned him in.”
Stella nodded. “Greg came to me and told me about the situation. We told CPS about the neglect.”
Greg looked up, his eyes sad. “Evan, the oldest, called me Daddy. I knew then I had to do something, so I asked Stella.”
Stella agreed. “CPS placed the children in foster care and from what I know Ryker Senior stopped junior’s allowance and pulled him out of college for the embarrassment.”
Nick rested his hand on Greg’s shoulder and squeezed lightly. Greg looked at him, smiling slightly. The two gazed at each other silently.
Danny watched the interaction between the two and smiled for his friend. Now if only they could get a clue. Remembering something Greg had mentioned to him while finalizing his plans to visit, Danny reluctantly interrupted the two. “Uh Greg? When you called about yer visit you mentioned some favor you had to do for yer boss?”
Greg blinked and turned away from Nick, blushing lightly. “Huh? Oh yeah. Well, it seems Grissom got given a child.”
“Wait. You’re talking about Dr. Grissom, the bug guy?” Flack asked. Danny stared at him. “What? You’re always dragging me to those conventions, Messer. He’s a popular speaker.”
Stella interrupted, “Greg, you said Grissom was given a child.”
Greg nodded. “Yeah, his son. We finally tracked down the other parent. Here in New York. Grissom asked me to watch Xander while he talked to the other parent.”
“Yeah, he’s sleeping on the couch.” Greg turned to point out the child and groaned. “Not again.”
The others stared at the empty couch.
“Again?” Hawkes asked as Flack and Nick went to look down the hallway.
Greg nodded. “Xander has this habit of sneaking off, especially when Grissom comes in to check on the lab.”
“Yeah, but don’t forget Greggo,” Nick spoke up from the doorway, “there’s no Hodges for him to stare at.”
Greg explained to the confused group, “Xander likes to watch our Trace expert. Not sure why.”
“Well, let’s find him.” Stella said, “This is no place for a toddler to be lost in.
The others followed her out of the break room. As they started their search, Greg muttered, “How am I gonna tell Grissom I lost his son in New York?”
Xander stared down the stairs. It was a long way down. Xander whimpered in fear. It was a really long way down. But he had to do it. He had left his Uncle Greg and Nick talking to those others when he had realized who was here. He was here and Xander had to find Him. That was all there was to it. His face got a determined look. Turning around, Xander slowly made his way down to the next floor.
Mac put his lab coat on the hook by the door. He paused in the doorway, his eyes widening in surprise. He watched as a toddler made its way down the hall. What was a toddler doing wondering around his lab?
He walked over the child. He crouched down to meet the child’s gaze. “What’s your name, little one? What are you doing here?”
The child stared at him. Slowly the child’s mouth widened into a smile. Lunging, the child wrapped its chubby little arms around Mac’s neck. Mac was hard pressed to keep his feet under him.
Chuckling softly, Mac slowly brought his arms up to cradle the child. “It’s okay, little one.”
Looking around, Mac didn’t see anyone around. You would think with all the glass walls, there would be more people. Feeling a heavy weight against his neck, Mac looked down to see the child resting its head there.
Standing up, he readjusted his hold on the child. Thinking Mac was going to let him go, the child whimpered. “Don’t worry little one, we’ll find who you belong to. Let’s just go to my office first.”
The child smiled as they made their way down the hall.
Mac stared at the people surrounding his office door. Off to one side were his people, Danny, Stella, Hawkes, and Flack. Standing together were two men that he didn’t recognize, though one of them carried a large bag. Finally, directly next to his door stood a man Mac was familiar with. Not only from numerous conventions, but also from a call he had received a few days ago about setting up a meeting. Doctor Gil Grissom.
Frowning he watched as Grissom chewed out the two unknown people. His voice wasn’t loud, but you could tell he was upset with them.
“What is going on here?” Mac asked calmly.
Everyone turned to look at him. Giving his best glare, he shifted the toddler over to his opposite arm.
“Xander!” Greg gasped in relief.
Xander looked up and waved at his favorite uncle, not wanting to let go of his find.
Mac looked down at the child. Then he looked up at the group. Sternly he looked at Greg and asked, “Is he yours?”
Greg paled at the intense stare. There was no way he wanted to be on the wrong end of that stare. He had heard tales from Danny about his boss. He gulped. Nick, frowning, stepped in front of Greg, shielding him as best he could. A cough interrupted the staring contest.
Mac turned his gaze to Grissom. “Actually, he’s mine. And he’s the reason I needed to speak with you.”
Mac tilted his head in confusion. “Why? What does this child have to do with me?”
Mac’s people looked curious as Greg and Nick shared a glance before turning to Grissom for him to explain. Only before Grissom could open his mouth, his son did.
Patting Mac on the cheek, Xander giggled and staring at the ex-marine said clearly. “Daddy.”
Next time: Decisions Made,
An: Unless I get more ideas (like ways for Xander to help Greg and Nick get together), it looks like this story will be finished in three more chapters.