Characters: Greg Sanders/Nick Stokes, D.B. Russell, Ella Jackson, various other members of the lab
Series: Love & Science
Written For: whogeek
Summary: When Greg has to break dinner plans with Ella because of work, she shows up to make sure he still eats (and the rest of the lab too.)
Spoilers: Just for the rest of the series
Warnings: Just the normal shenanigans when Greg and Ella are involved
Disclaimer: Nope they don’t belong to me and I’m not making any money off this.
Author's Note: So this isn’t what I was planning on writing, but apparently this is what they wanted to tell me so this is what I wrote. And I literally cannot think so I guess that’s all I got. Thanks of course to whogeek who read and commented as I wrote.
"Can I help you?"
Ella turned at the question, her eyes flicking over the older man and quickly categorizing him. "I'm looking for Greg. Or Nick if Greg's really that busy."
"We're in the middle of a big..." the man started.
"Ella!" another voice broke in and her head whipped around, a relieved looked crossing her face at the appearance of the spiky haired CSI. "What are you doing? Didn't you get my message?"
"I did which is why I thought dinner would be appreciated," she answered. She jerked a thumb towards the parking lot. "It's in the Jeep."
"I can't eat if no one else is," Greg protested.
"Really? How long have you known me, GG?" She glared at him before adding, "I brought enough for everyone unless someone's a pig."
"I'm sorry but I have to break in here," the man who’d been speaking to Ella interrupted them. "We can't accept food from someone involved in a case."
She smiled at that. "You must be Mr. Russell. Greg's told me a lot about you." She rolled her eyes at the younger man who was making strangled noises next to them. "Oh stop. I'm not gonna get you in trouble. I'm Ella. I'm Greg's ex-roomie. And if it makes ya feel any better..." She dug something out of her pocket. "He paid for it. You left your credit card at my place." The last was directed towards Greg as she handed the plastic over.
Russell looked from one to the other. “Oookay. Could one of you start speaking English?”
Greg looked sheepish. “You kinda get used to Ella after a while. She’s a bartender at one of the places…well. Not on the strip. I’ve known her almost as long as I’ve been in Vegas.”
“And I really do have food in my Jeep for everyone.” Ella shrugged. “I just figured since Greg bailed on the plans we’d made that meant more than likely the case was big enough that no one would be going out to get dinner. So before we shut the grill down for the night, I had our cook make up a takeout order.”
Greg’s eyes lit up at that explanation. “Axel? Or Mickey? Oh please tell me Mickey was working tonight.”
Ella rolled her eyes. “Like I’d bring you food Axel made. Don’t ask me how he’s managed to keep his job because he can’t cook worth a damn.” She turned her attention to Russell. “I promise you. It’s not the first time I’ve brought food for everyone when Greg’s broken plans. And I probably know half the lab at least. I did a ride along a couple years ago for my book so…” She shrugged. “Anyway. Food’s gettin’ cold and I’d hate for it to go to waste.”
There was a brief moment when it seemed like Russell would say no, but then he nodded slightly. “All right then. Let’s go get the food. Do we need another set of hands?”
“Nah, we can probably get it all,” Ella answered.
Greg was strangely silent as they walked out to the Jeep. Ella bumped her hip against his as he fell a little bit behind the others. “Everything okay, GG?” she asked in a low voice.
“Fine,” he answered. “Thanks for dinner.”
“Any time. You know that.” She looked him over as she opened the door. “Might put some weight on you yet.”
“Hey! I eat!” Greg protested.
“I’ve seen you eat,” Ella replied, handing a box to him, the familiar exchange putting them back on even ground.
“What is all this?” Russell asked when it seemed like their exchange was finished. He hefted the box Ella handed him and headed back towards the lab.
“Nothin’ fancy. Burgers and fries and chicken fingers. There might be some chicken sandwiches in there. Mickey just made a whole mess a food.”
Greg grinned. “Flatten out, ‘bama babe. Your accent’s getting thick.”
“Shut up,” Ella replied. “And don’t call me that.”
As they headed down the hall towards the break room, Nick came out of the trace lab, a confused look on his face when he caught sight of Ella. “Ella! Who let you in?” he asked, a grin stretching across his face as he leaned over and pressed a kiss to her cheek. “Here. Let me.” He took the box from her, ignoring her protests that she could carry it.
“Well, now what do I…?” Ella requested.
“You could take mine,” Greg suggested.
“Why don’t you go out and ask the girl to let everyone know we’ve got food,” Russell told her.
“Yeah. I don’t think she likes me much,” Ella admitted. “Where’s Judi?”
“Off tonight,” Nick answered. “What did you do?”
“Why do you think it’s my fault?” she asked as they entered the break room.
“Because I know you and your lack of filter. Greg, you wanna go? Or help Ella unpack?” Nick asked.
Greg looked up sheepishly from where he had already stuffed a few fries in his mouth. He swallowed quickly. “Sorry. I’m hungry,” he said as he was faced with two glares. “I’ll um…I’ll go.” He jerked his thumb towards the front.
Ella shook her head as he left the room. “I swear sometimes he’s like a teenager.” She turned towards the boxes. “Okay. Let’s get these emptied before the hoards descend. Some of them are labeled.”
“Any particular reason?” Russell asked, as they began pulling out Styrofoam boxes and setting them on the table.
“People don’t all like the same things. And I’ve known some of the group here long enough to know they won’t eat certain things,” Ella responded as she handed one of the boxes to Nick.
He grinned at his name scrawled across the top. “The usual?” he questioned.
“Texans be crazy,” she answered.
“Y’all are just wusses,” he told her as some of the others began to file into the break room.
“Just cause I’d like to be able to feel my face after I’m done eating,” she said. She yelped as she was lifted off the ground. “Greg!”
“One of those for me?” he asked, arms still holding her off the ground.
“Not if you don’t put me back down,” she instructed.
“I don’t think I want to know,” Sara said as she entered the room.
Ella waved from her position in Greg’s arms with her legs dangling. “Hi, Sara. How’s everything? There’s a box with your name on it.”
“Thanks, Ella. Appreciate it,” Sara replied.
“No prob.” She craned her neck, trying to see Greg. “You got two choices, GG. Put me down or I show your friends that I don’t mind kicking you.”
Greg dropped her abruptly and only reflexes and a steadying hand allowed her to retain her feet when she hit the ground. “I’m sorry, Ella,” he said contritely.
“You always are,” she replied, patting him on the cheek.
Most everyone was ignoring the interplay between the two friends, but Russell was watching them with interest as Ella found the box with Greg’s name on it and handed it to the young CSI. She said something in a low voice that he nodded to, wrapping an arm around her. Their interactions were comfortable and familiar, but seemed more like sibling interaction than anything else.
More and more of the lab was drifting in as word of the food arrival spread. Russell had moved to the back of the room and observed the interactions, beginning to learn more about his team. Most of them ignored the antics of their CSI and the interloper, although they seemed grateful enough for the food. He was surprised when Morgan had an annoyed look on her face at the sight of the other woman, but she accepted the food she was handed. Both Greg and Nick kept an eye on the two girls when they were on the same side of the room, but nothing visible happened. In one corner Archie and Hodges were bickering over who’s food was spicier, while Doc Robbins and Dave had drifted in at some point. Russell was intrigued to note that Ella gave up what he thought of as a place of safety next to Greg and taken a seat beside Doc. The older man was encouraging her to take a box and eat with them it looked like.
Deciding that the team would relax even more if he wasn’t there, Russell gathered up his box to leave. He paused by Ella on his way out. “Thank you for all this,” he told her.
Ella looked up from the conversation she’d been having before looking across the room at where Greg was standing with a few of the lab rats. “It’s the least I could do,” she answered. “Thanks for not kicking me out.”
“I think I would have had a mutiny on my hands if I did,” Russell answered. They exchanged smiles before he left the room, turning to look back once. Everyone looked like they were getting their second wind; not just from the food but also from the conversation. It looked like this was just what they had needed.