Author: Jedi Buttercup
Summary: Of all the days for things to go wrong, it had to be the day Buffy was flying in to meet him. 700 words.
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.
Spoilers: B:tVS post-"Chosen"; CSI 6.21 "Rashomama".
Notes: Third in the "Grave Survivors" series. For TtH100 prompt #98, Club, and twistedshorts challenge #40, Dancing.
Nick swore as he looked up at the break room clock. He'd almost forgotten, in the chaos of having his car stolen and being cooped up in the lab until IA could arrive, that he'd had other plans for the day. Thank goodness he hadn't left his cell phone in the car with all of the evidence from the scene. He scrubbed tiredly at his eyes, then fumbled for the phone and dialed a familiar number from memory.
"Nick?" a female voice answered on the other end. "Not that it's not great to hear from you already, but aren't you supposed to be asleep this time of day?"
He chuckled wearily. "Well, 'supposed to be' and 'is' are sometimes two different things, babe."
"You're not working a double, are you?" Her voice took on decidedly frosty tones. "Nick! You've known I was coming for *how long*? If you were planning to stand me up, you could have told me before I flew all the way out here!"
Nick winced. "No, no, it's not like that. Some idiot stole my car this morning, with all the evidence from our last case inside it. I was just stopping for breakfast with Sara and Greg on my way back, but now I'm stuck in the lab until IA shows up to take my statement."
"And how long's that going to take?" she asked warily.
He sighed. "I don't know, Buffy. Hours. All day?"
"Nick!" she exclaimed, frustrated.
"I know, I know," he said, soothingly. "I'm so sorry. Look, I already made reservations for the restaurant, and I had the tickets for this evening's show in my pocket. I'll have someone take them to the front desk and hold them for you. Your sister's with you, right? Take her and go without me. I'll take you out dancing tomorrow to make up for it."
"You promise?" she asked, petulantly.
"I promise," he reassured her. "I know a great club that the lab hasn't had to work a case at in forever, we'll have a great time."
"We'd better," she sniffed. Then, more softly, she asked, "You're going to be OK, though, right? I mean, they'll find your car, and you won't get in trouble or anything?"
He wasn't so sure about that; it hadn't really been his fault, but on such a high-profile case, if they couldn't solve it the higher-ups would be looking for someone to crucify and Nick was the likeliest target. Buffy really didn't need to hear all the details, though. She was in the state for some kind of business meeting and had taken a few extra days on her trip specifically to meet him. For all the calls, photos, and letters they'd exchanged so far, they'd still never seen each other in person. He didn't want to spoil it with irrelevant concerns about his career.
"I'll be fine," he said, calmly. "Have fun with Dawn, all right? I'll call you as soon as they release me."
They exchanged a few more words of parting, then ended the call. Nick stared at the cell phone in his hand for a few moments afterward, silently cursing the car thief, the victim, and IA for potentially ruining what was possibly the most important meeting of his life. They knew each other, but they didn't *know* each other yet, and if she went into their first date already annoyed at him it could screw things up but good.
"So *that's* why you cut your hair again," a teasing voice interrupted his musings, and Nick looked up to see Greg framed in the breakroom's doorway. "Your girlfriend's coming to visit."
"She's not my *girlfriend*, and you know it," Nick groused back. "She just happens to be passing through this week, and..."
"...Mysteriously also happens to be the whole reason you stopped trying to grow a mustache, according to Warrick," Greg said, grinning. "C'mon. Admit it!"
Nick rolled his eyes. "She isn't my girlfriend *yet*," he clarified. "And might never be."
"Oh, I'm sure it will all work out," Greg said, breezily.
"I wish I had your optimism, man," Nick groused. Then he nodded at the folder in Greg's had. "So. What have you got?"