shanachie_quill: christmas leonard (Default)
[personal profile] shanachie_quill
Title: Toasting New Friends
Characters: Greg Sanders, Ella Jackson, Toby, mentions of other CSI canon characters
Fandom: CSI Vegas
Series: Love and Science
Written For: [personal profile] whogeek 
Summary: A new life, a new job, a new city; all these changes are just coming at Greg way too fast. Meeting someone outside the lab might be just what he needs.
Rating: R
Spoilers: Slight for 1.13 "Boom"
Warnings: Drinking, swearing, off screen nakedness, dorkiness
Disclaimer: *sighs* Unfortunately Greg does not belong to me, although Ella is making a strong campaign that he belongs to her until she gives him up to the man of his dreams.
Author's Note: Yippee! Another one done! And that's all I've got. I wasted all my brain power on the actual story.

“Oh, I really hope they are more wasted than I am,” the girl next to him commented. “Cause if not…that is just bad form.”

“I’m…sorry?” Greg questioned. “Were you talking to me?”

“The proper order is lick, drink, suck. Honestly it’s not rocket science. How in the hell do you screw that up?” The girl stared at the couple across the bar from them who were bobbling the shots they were doing.

“Stop making fun of the customers,” the bartender said as he passed by.

“I’m not working. I can say what I want,” she responded.

“You're a bartender?” Greg asked.

She glanced at him as if suddenly realizing her conversation wasn’t between her and someone she knew. “Um, yeah." Indicating the bar around them, she added, "Here in fact."

Greg tipped his head. "Really? Neat." He held out his hand. "Greg Sanders."

"Ella... Oh for crying out loud." Ella rolled her eyes at the sight of the couple who were getting more and more amorous. "Okay seriously. Now they're just getting gross. And in about five minutes they're going to be like crossing the line into indecent exposure." She hit the top of the bar. "Hey! Tobe! Wanna boot those two? Please?"

"Thought you weren't working, Ella?" the bartender asked as he walked back to their end of the bar.

"Okay, fine. Please. Give me a shot then. Anything to wipe that image out of my brain. Or some bleach."

Greg stifled a laugh at her reaction and held up two fingers as the man reached beneath the bar top. "Two. Patron, please." He waved off Ella's protests. "At least allow me to help you with your issues."

"Ah, Ella's not allowed Tequila," Toby said, his hands stilling on the bottles. "Not even really good Tequila."

"Do I want to ask why?" Greg looked between the two bartenders. Toby looked sheepish, but Ella looked mulish.

"He touched my tits," she growled. "You do not touch my tits without asking."

"Nooo. Why would someone?" Greg responded.

"Because he was drunk and really stupid," Toby answered. "Ella threw him through a plate glass window."

Greg blinked at the story. "You threw...that's...plate glass is...okay. I gotta ask. What does that have to do with not being allowed tequila?"

"I was drinking tequila when it happened," Ella confessed. At Greg's look, she asked, "What?"

He shook his head. "Nothing. Just. That's impressive." He nodded at the bartender. "Okay. So. Recommendations?"

"Ella?" Toby asked.

She considered it for a minute. "Well. Normally I'd try to shock you. But you seem like it would take a lot. So I'll stay away from a Blowjob or an Adios Motherfucker. And go for something simple. Two Alabama Slammers."

Toby snorted a laugh at the request, causing Greg to look at him in confusion, but built the shots with a flourish; handing them over. Greg lifted his when he got it. "Skål," he told her.

Ella mimicked it as best she could before both tossed back their shots. "What is that?" she asked.

"Norwegian," he answered. "It means cheers. And it's Skål," he corrected her pronunciation until she got it right.

"I like that," she informed him. "Okay." She tipped her glass over, slamming it down upside down. "Next shot. Toby, 911."

"Ah, I don't think we need to..." Greg stopped when Toby began to build two shots. "Never mind." He rubbed the back of his neck. "I've never heard of that one."

Ella grinned. "We've been getting a lot of cops and such lately and it's been pretty popular." She motioned to Toby. "After that one, we'll have a Jolly Rancher and a Kamakazie each."

Greg raised his eyebrows at her rapid shot order. "Are you trying to get me drunk so you can take advantage of me?"

She snorted out a laugh. "No. You're pretty and all, but you aren't my type. And somehow I don't think I'm really yours."

Greg blinked at that. While he liked girls well enough, he didn't just like girls and he'd never had someone identify it so quickly after meeting him. "Um. Thanks? I think?"

Ella patted him on the cheek. "It's okay. Like I said, you're pretty enough, but not my type. Too skinny. I like my boys with a little more meat on their bones." She shuddered as she caught another glimpse of the amorous couple. "Please tell me you're at least giving them expensive booze to pour all over the floor?"

"You want to show them how it's done?" Toby asked, as he set the shots she'd ordered in front of the two of them.

"Noooo," Ella answered slowly. "Because body shots really are just a waste of good booze. Or bad booze. Or honestly any booze."

"Drink your shots, Ella," Toby said.

She stuck her tongue out and quickly downed her shots in quick succession. Greg watched in awe as she slammed the glasses down on the bar top and looked at him, swaying a little on her stool. "Well?" she demanded.

"Yeah. Okay. Sorry," he gulped and picked up his first glass.

"Greg, you don't have to drink them if you don't..."

"No. I just..." He eyed her. "You just kinda surprised me." He quickly downed his own shots before looking over at her. "You okay?"

She nodded. "Just...hit me a little faster than I expected." She groaned. "And those two are really driving me nuts." She flagged Toby down again. "Think you can handle one more shot?"

"Yeah...but you..."

"Nope. Just you." She shrugged out of the plaid shirt she was wearing as she told Toby, "Set up a Lemon Drop." Boosting herself up onto the bar, she grinned at Greg. "This is not a come on."

"Um, okay?" he replied, his eyes straying towards the cleavage now extremely visible and in his face. "Then what is it?"

"Me showing those idiots how to properly do a shot with a girlfriend," she answered. "Hey! Dingbats!" When the couple looked over in confusion, she tucked the shot glass down into her cleavage. Looking seriously at Greg, she told him, "I give you permission to touch my tits. Do the shot."

Watching her carefully, Greg leaned forward and delicately lipped the shot glass from its resting place; his lips grazing her bare skin. Ella shuddered just a little bit under his touch and his fingers dug into her thighs where her legs straddled his. He lifted one hand, taking the glass from his mouth as he swallowed the booze and set it down on the bar top. He leaned towards her, obviously intending to kiss her and she put a hand against his mouth. "Sorry," he murmured.

She gulped. "Yeah. No. Bad idea. I think we've both had enough." Tilting her head back, she asked, "Tobe? Call us a cab?"


“Um, where are my pants?” Greg asked as he came out of the bedroom.

“Don’t worry; you took them off all on your own.” Ella turned from the stove. “Which reminds me. Who is Catherine and why did she shake her naked ass?” She grinned as Greg blushed. “The plot thickens.”

“She’s a co-worker. Um.” He gestured around the room. “I didn’t kick you out of your bed, did I?”

“You did, but I slept in my roommate’s bed so it’s all good.”

“And your roommate doesn’t mind?” he asked as he located his jeans where he’d tossed them the night before.

“Considering she left three weeks ago and she owes me about four months back rent? I really don’t give a fuck. Are you one of those guys who can’t eat after a night of drinking or would you like some breakfast?”

“Food sounds good,” he answered. He looked at his jeans. "Do I want to know how my pants ended up on top of the TV?"

Ella grinned at him over her shoulder and made a twirling motion with her free hand. "You oop. I don't think I've seen a toss that good outside of Striporama." Her smile widened as Greg's ears and then neck flushed. "I gather you weren't aiming for my TV?"

"I have no idea what I was aiming for," he admitted as he pulled on the jeans and then the t-shirt that he finally located on the bookcase. He paused for a moment, distracted by the titles. Finally dragging his attention away, he asked, "How did I end up here anyway?"

"You couldn't remember your address," Ella answered as she began dishing up the food she was cooking. "And I couldn't let a lost little lamb like you go wandering around Sin City by yourself."

Greg gaped at her for a minute, his mouth opening and closing as he tried to process a response. Finally he blurted out, "I lived up in New York City!"

Ella poured a cup of coffee and handed it to him. "And that matters why? Babe, you were barely upright. I'm impressed you could strip. Although it was quite a show. Now sit and eat. And then we'll call you a cab." She paused. "Assuming you can remember your address now."

Greg stuck his tongue out at her before looking down at the food. "What is all this?"

"Full Irish." She pointed to each thing as she named it. "Rashers, sausages, eggs, black and white pudding, toast, sauteed mushrooms, and fried and sliced tomatoes."

"I'm not sure I can eat all this," Greg admitted.

"So eat what you can." Ella propped her head up on her hand, studying him as she began to eat. "I'd really like to shoot you," she said out of the blue.

"Shoot? Me?" Greg squeaked.

"Yeah." She tilted her head. "Naked or clothed. Or even half-naked. You might not be my type, but you are the type of a lot of other people."

"You don't want to take pictures of me," Greg figured out. "But you're a bartender."

"Who takes pictures on the side," Ella explained. "Think about it," she told him. "I'll give you my number before I send you home."

They continued talking throughout breakfast, but after they finished eating; Greg began to feel like he'd overstayed his welcome. Ella wasn't doing anything to make it overt, but he was sure she had things to and he needed to get a shower and some more sleep before he had to be on shift that night. As she worked on putting the dishes in the dishwasher, he reminded her about her plan to call him a taxi. Rambling off his address, he proved he knew where he lived now and she frowned at the response, but dried her hands, reaching for the phone on the wall. Within minutes, she had everything arranged and was looking for something to write down her number for him; tucking it in his jeans pocket when she was done and kissing him lightly on the cheek.


Ella looked up from the cleaning she was doing as someone entered the bar. She grinned as she recognized the lost stray she'd rescued a few weeks ago. He blinked a few times while he looked around before making a beeline straight for the bar. He slid onto a stool and looked at her for a few moments. "Ella," she told him.

"Yeah. I know. I wasn't that hungover," he told her.

Her grin widened. "Wasn't sure. So shots? Or beer? Or are you not drinking tonight?"

He heaved a sigh. "No. I am definitely drinking tonight."

Ella considered him for a moment, then reached under the bar and quickly popped the top off a bottle, putting it on the bar on top of a coaster. "Start with that. And tell Mama Ella what the problem is."

"Mama Ella?" Greg asked as the song on the radio changed.

"Hey!" The other bartender was quick to yell. "That song is not permitted in here when Ella's working!"

Greg frowned as someone scrambled to change the radio. "Sweet Home Alabama isn't permitted?" he asked, taking a sip from the bottle of Heineken.

"I get a little...annoyed when people don't show the proper respect," Ella admitted. "You don't talk when the Almighty song is playing. And you be respectful."

The other bartender, who Greg now recognized as Toby, paused for a second to put his arm around Ella's neck. "Ella's a little passionate about her home state."

"Fuck off, Toby. Just because your home state doesn't have an awesome song. Now go find something to do and let me talk." Ella shoved the other man away from her. When he'd walked far enough away, she turned back to Greg. "Okay. What's wrong?"

"Nothing. Just." He shook his head. "Rough few days. I just needed a couple of drinks and to unwind a little bit."

Ella sighed. "Oh, GG." She smiled at his reaction to the nickname. "First off. I like you. You're like the little brother I never had. Second of all. Anything you tell me is just between you, me, and the bottle o' beer. So what's going on, babe?"

For a few minutes, Greg played with his beer bottle, peeling the label off in small increments. "I don't live in the best part of town," he finally said. "And a bunch of other apartments in the area have been broken into. I'm just...not mine yet. But mine could be next. And I work nights. The graveyard. So that gets my brain percolating. I just don't want to come home one morning to find a busted in door." He waved a hand, almost knocking over the beer bottle. "And you'd think. Ya know. I work with cops, but well. I don't exactly. And I haven't been there that long. So I don't feel like I can ask for any special favors."

Ella held up a finger to stop his rambling and moved away, quickly filling the orders of a couple sitting just down the bar from him. When she came back, she asked, "Are you super attached to your apartment?"

"Nooo," Greg said slowly. "Why would I be? I mean it's a place to sleep. And not even much of one at that. Considering how annoyingly loud my neighbors can be. I mean you'd think considering the neighborhood that some of them would work at night too."

She nodded in response. "So something to think about? I'm getting tired of Reno--and yes that really is her real name, I should have known something was up when I found that out. Anyway, I'm getting tired of her not paying her rent. So I'm looking for a new roommate. Somehow I think you'd be more reliable. No strings attached, other than roommates. I've got the lease for about another year and a half with an option to renew if it works out."

"How do you know I'll be more reliable?" Greg asked.

"Well you aren't an actress for one," she answered. "Aren't you? And you've gotta live somewhere safer. I can guarantee my place is. Give it a little thought. I'm not going to officially start looking for another week or so. Although Reno's already out on her ass."

"All right. I will," Greg said. "Thanks."

"No problem. So what else is wrong?"

"What makes you think something else is wrong?"

"Because worry about your living situation couldn't be the only thing driving you to drink," Ella pointed out. "So come on, tell Mama Ella everything."

"Ya know that's rather disturbing." He pointed at her as she chuckled. "I'll keep talking as long as you stop referring to yourself as 'Mama Ella'. I seriously cannot tell you how many levels that is disturbing on."

Ella's chuckles turned into outright laughter as she nodded. "All right. I'll stop. So what happened?"

"We had a bad case at work last night." At her raised eyebrows, he elaborated, "I work for LVPD as a DNA tech. The case was a strangulation murder of a prostitute. Which normally wouldn't be anything unusual, but the prime suspect at first was..." His hand clenched around the bottle he'd been drinking from. "The prime suspect was one of the guys I work with. One of the CSIs I talk to and joke with on a nightly basis. And I had to process...I had to face that he'd had 'relations' with this girl."

"He's a friend," Ella said and it wasn't a question. "But he didn't do it."

Greg shook his head. "No. And if I hadn't done my job, we wouldn't have known that. could he do that? I mean we found out that she was lying to him. She wasn't going to get out of the life and he just..."

"Well, he sounds like the type who wants to believe the best of people. And would he be the friend you know him to be if he wasn't that way?" she asked. "It just kinda screwed your sense of him a little, but he is a guy. No offense but they don't always think with the more intelligent head."

"I'm going to choose to believe I can rise above that stereotype," Greg said piously.

"Why because you're gay? That almost makes it worse," Ella told him.

"I'm not gay. I like girls, too. I just prefer guys." Greg considered his comment and added, "Most of the time."

"Keep telling yourself that, GG." She swapped out his empty bottle for a full one. "So tell me. What was so upsetting about this friend? I mean I don't know you that well, but I would think you would be worried about any of your friends being in trouble."

Greg gestured expansively, as if trying to use his hands to explain things to her. "Nick is. Nick. Nick's just one of those genuinely good guys. Ya know? He really cares about the victims and its not just platitudes and mouthing lines. He always tries his hardest no matter what the case is. I don't know if its cuz he's from Texas or the way he was raised or what, but he's just." He shrugged. "He's a good guy."

Ella reached out, trying to take the beer away from him. "I don't think you need that. What the hell was in that beer you drank?"


"Well, you were rambling before, but that was damn near poetical." She leaned on the bar. "So he's cute? And you like him?"

Greg looked panicked for a second. "Am I that obvious? God I hope I'm not that obvious to him!"

Ella grinned. "Nah. Well, maybe just a lot." She patted his hand. "Its okay, Babe. I won't tell the Texas cowboy that you wanna ride him."

Greg hit his head on the bar top. "I am so screwed."

“Oh. Oh. Oh!" Ella bounced a little on her toes. "Does he use ‘darlin’’ on you?”

Greg shook his head. “No? What?”

“All good Southern boys know the power of ‘darlin’’. I had an ex that could get me into bed just by whispering in my head, ‘Darlin’, your panties would look so much better on my floor.’” She shook her head. “I swear they learn it at their daddies’ knees. It’s a powerful word.”

Considering her options for a minute, Ella finally reached out; running her fingers through the young man's hair. Greg leaned into the touch, rolling his head with her movement. "Oh, Babe. It can't be as bad as all that," she said quietly, just loud enough to be heard above the noise of the bar.

Greg lifted his head just enough to look at her, but not enough that she moved her hand. "He's straight and if I didn't think that before the events of the last couple of days proved that damn clearly."

"Oh and you're all out and proud at work, huh?" She tapped his head lightly against the bar. "Cause that would be the smart thing, right?"

At that he glared at her. "Fine. You made your point. What am I supposed to do about it?"

"Well, I can tell you that beating yourself up over it is not the way to go." She pushed the beer back towards him. "Drink that. It won't solve everything, but you'll probably feel better. You helped him today. Even if you don't think he knows about it, if he's the guy you say he is, he is aware of it. And for now, my best advice is to just be his friend. It sucks, I know, but at least he's still in your life."

Greg sighed and took a swig from the bottle. "Yeah. I mean. I get it. And it does. But yeah." He sighed again. "So. You clearly get nights off from this place. Since you were drinking the other night and not working. Any chance you like dancing?"

"What are you trying to ask, GG?"

"I don't have many well any friends outside of the lab. It would be nice to have someone not them to go out and party with. Just friends though, I promise this is not me awkwardly hitting on you."

Ella laughed. "Somehow I think that's actually the way you do awkwardly hit on girls. But yeah. Dancing sounds like fun."

Some links in case you want more information from things mentioned in the story.
Lemon Drop
Jolly Rancher
Alabama Slammer
Norwegian Cheers
Full Irish
Sweet Home Alabama lyrics