Title: Paranoia
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Greg Sanders/Don Flack
Fandom: CSI: Vegas/CSI: NY
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Set pre-CSI: Vegas when Greg is still living in NYC.
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the lovely Greg Sanders or Don Flack, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.


Greg looked up at the red light on the sign telling the pedestrians not to walk across the street, tapping his foot impatiently. He didn't usually walk to work, but he'd had some problems with his car's transmission in the past few days, so he was on foot tonight.

He'd worked late, but he didn't feel too uneasy about walking home after dark. There were a lot of people around, after all, and he lived in a densely populated area. His apartment was in a brownstone, and he knew all of his neighbors -- not well, but by sight.

There was no reason for him to worry about walking home alone -- he certainly wasn't the only person out on the street. There were a lot of pedestrians doing the same thing that he was -- walking home after a long day at work.

When the light turned green, he crossed the street, walking another two blocks before he turned left, onto the street that his brownstone was on. Only another four blocks, and he'd be home. That wasn't a long way to go; in fact, the walk was invigorating.

That was one thing he definitely enjoyed about living in New York, Greg thought with a smile. He liked the fact that he didn't have to rely on his car for transportation everywhere; sometimes it was nice to be able to go out and walk when he wanted to get somewhere.

A sudden prickling on the back of his neck made him slow his steps, then turn around and frown into the dusky night. He could have sworn that he'd felt eyes on him; maybe someone was idly looking out of a window, and he was just being paranoid.

No, he had sensed someone's eyes on him. He was sure of that. But he was less than three blocks from his home; he could run the rest of the way, if he chose to, and slip inside before whoever was observing him would be able to catch up.

Greg clenched his fists at his sides, turning around and continuing to walk at the same discreet pace. He wasn't going to run. That would just make him look stupid -- and if anyone was watching him from the window of their apartment, they'd get a good laugh.

He'd had enough of being a laughingstock, a running joke for people and a target for bullies, when he was a kid. Somehow, the ugly duckling that he'd thought of himself as being back then had blossomed into a swan. And he was going to take advantage of that fact.

No one was going to laugh at him. If they did, then they would be laughing along with him. He hadn't been the brunt of cruel jokes for a long time now, and he wasn't going to go back to that -- even if the joke was only witnessed by someone he would never meet or know.

Besides, no one would be following him. Yes, he worked in a crime lab, but he was an intern. It wasn't like he was involved firsthand in any major cases; he wasn't one of the people who showed up in court to give testimony. He was just a lab rat.

He loved what he did for a living, Greg reflected as he looked down at the pavement, putting one foot in front of the other and not caring if he stepped on any cracks. But there were times when he couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to get out there in the streets.

The CSIs who worked the cases and collected the evidence were the people he most wanted to be like. Working in the lab was exciting, but it was the idea of being out there in the middle of everything, being the first one to discover evidence, that really got his juices flowing.

But still, he was starting in the lab. If he was ever going to be a CSI, he wanted to know his job inside out before he was out there in the field. He was young, Greg told himself. He had plenty of time to work his way up the ladder when it came to his job.

He wasn't anyone particularly important; there wouldn't be anyone following him around in the streets, or skulking after him to discover something about a case. Other than the fact that he worked in a crime lab, there was nothing to connect him to the law in any way.

Unless they saw him coming out of the lab, no one would know that he worked there and knew anything about the cases that were processed. And even then, they might not guess, Greg told himself. They might just think that he'd delivered a package there, or been in the building.

He definitely didn't look like the kind of guy who would work in a crime lab, Greg thought, almost laughing aloud at that. He looked more like somebody who would work in a comic shop, or a gaming place. Or maybe in a video store. Somebody who hung around in the horror movie section.

No one would take him for a guy who worked with law enforcement. So there was absolutely no reason for him to feel that he was somehow being shadowed, or that he could feel hidden glances boring into the back of his head from a distance.

There was no reason at all to feel that someone was looking at him, watching him, measuring his steps and waiting for the moment when they could pounce. No reason whatsoever. He was just being silly -- and more than a little paranoid. He had to stop this. Now.

Just as that thought lodged firmly in the forefront of his mind, Greg felt a hand in the center of his back, a body behind him that he hadn't realized was there before. With a gasp, he stumbled forward, putting out his hands to catch himself before he hit the ground.

He collided with a bench at a bus stop on the corner; swiftly regaining his equilibrium, he turned to take stock of the person who had bumped into him. It was a tall man with thin, sharp features; for just a moment, the thought flashed across Greg's mind that he looked like a rat.

The man was holding up his hands and backing away, murmuring some apology that Greg didn't quite catch. Within seconds, he was heading back down the street in the opposite direction, without giving Greg a chance to ask why he'd been pushed, or demand an apology.

That was one of the strangest encounters he'd had since he came to this city, Greg thought, shaking his head as he crossed the street and continued down the next block. His head jerked in the direction of the street as a car moved by, blaring classic rock from its speakers.

Was it his imagination, or had he seen some kind of bright flashes through the car window? No, he had to be imagining things, he told himself, shaking his head as the car turned a corner and disappeared. He was definitely getting way too paranoid for his own good.

No more watching old movies adapted from Raymond Chandler books late at night for him, Greg thought as he walked up the sidewalk to the brownstone and pulled his keys from his jeans pocket. They were making him imagine things that couldn't possibly be there.

What he needed was to see Don, spend the night with his boyfriend, and forget about all this cloak and dagger stuff that he was starting to think he saw around every corner. He needed to spend a night in Don's arms, being kissed and stroked and held and made love to.

Was he already thinking of Don as his boyfriend? Greg smiled wryly at the thought as he let himself into his apartment, pulling off his jacket and tossing it onto the couch. He might want to think of Don in that way, but he had no clue if the other man did, as well.

What would Don say about his feeling that he was being followed? Greg didn't know, but he intended to tell his boyfriend about it. If Don said that he was just being paranoid, then he would do his best to put that feeling out of his mind.

But he didn't think that it was paranoia. Greg couldn't help going to the front window and pushing back the curtain -- and out of the corner of his eye, he was sure that he could see the same car that had zoomed by when he was walking home turn the same corner again.

All right, now that was strange. It was almost as though that car was casing out the neighborhood -- the street where he lived, the two-block radius where his apartment was. He could swear that it was the same car. He was absolutely sure of it.

He'd have to tell Don about this, the next time the other man was here. Greg frowned as he let the curtain drop, wondering why that car would be going up and down this street. As far as he knew, no one lived here of any consequence. It was a very quiet block, a quiet street.

There were two more flashes of bright light at the corner of his eye; he pulled the curtain aside again, his gaze darting from one side of the street to the other, trying to figure out where they were coming from. But whatever they were, their origin escaped his sight.

Why would there be flashes of light outside? He didn't hear any sirens, so they weren't coming from the light on a police car. There was no lightning, and no celebrations anywhere around that would require any fireworks. These were just .... random flashes of light.

Greg let the curtain fall into place again, deliberately turning away from the window. Yes, he would tell Don about this the next time he saw his boyfriend. He was starting to feel that something definitely wasn't right here, and he needed to talk about it before his paranoia ran away with him.