Too Many Cooks
Author: Summer Reign
Challenge fic about the twists and turns life sometimes hands us. Not at all serious.
Follow/FavoriteRated: Fiction T - English - Humor -

Title: Too Many Cooks

Author: Summer Reign

Rating: T

Summary: A little comic view of the twists and turns life takes us on, sometimes. Of course, this is a highly-unlikely twist, but it's also in response to a challenge fic so… (elements will be listed after the story so you can see how oh-so-subtlety I wove them all in;-) The word count was supposed to be 1000 max, but…I can't even say, "good morning" without exceeding that limit.


It was no secret that Nick (aka "Nicky") Stokes was heading toward burnout. He was more "cowboy-esque" than usual: getting a kick out of flashing his gun all over the place and, more recently, actually thinking of growing his porn-stache…uh, mustache, back. Their most recent case didn't do anything to assuage the situation. Frank's had been a favorite restaurant of the nightshift CSIs and, to discover that someone they trusted not to serve them anything putrid, actually had putridity in his soul (yes, he was reading the Word a Day calendar Russell gave him for Christmas) was disheartening.

But, there was a thing about Nicky. Yeah, "thing" was hardly in the calendar…but, he couldn't think of any other way of describing it. It was the whole "life hands you lemons" thing. The thing was…Nicky loved lemonade.

So, he did what any normal, red-blooded American boy would do. He called…well, not his father, but the next best person.

Three months later…

"Two hours," Nicky cheerfully called out. "T-minus 120 minutes."

"If he gives me another countdown, I'm going to cram this artichoke down his throat," Sara said, picking up the paring knife so she could start to deflower the annoying vegetable.

"Honey, you are the one who suggested the vegetarian options. And, you are the one who loves artichoke pie. Personally, I prefer apple."

"It's a quiche, Gil, and…making one is a pain in the ass. Making 5 is torture. Who knew you had to do so much to get to the stupid artichoke heart. I'm adding frozen hearts to the next grocery list," she said, bringing the knife down with a resounding thwack on the cutting board. Gil looked at her and was glad his massive beard hid his smirk. Frozen hearts… the man did love his wordplay.

"I'll cut the cheese," Greg cheerfully said, while Sara shot him a look that told him that following the literal meaning of the expression was the only one that would allow him to keep his genitals.

"Some of these will be vegan. So, I'll also need you to cube some tofu, please."

"I live to be your sous chef."

"Yeah, well…you were living to be someone else's sous chef until she ran off with Hodges," Sara sighed. "Morgan would have been great with desserts. Those cookies she brought in last Christmas were out of this world."

"She was also easy on the eyes. Great for sales," Greg joined Sara in sighing, as he slid the newly shredded pile of cheddar cheese toward her, "And she was so gung ho about the diner, too."

"Well, I guess she was more gung ho about Hodges," Sara said. And then she looked at Greg and they both burst out laughing at the thought.

"I don't know," Gil said, breaking the reverie, "Hodges…had his moments."

"You would think that," Sara said, frowning. "He hung on your every word."

"Well, so did you. Once upon a time."

Sara scowled and Greg looked from one to the other Grissom.

"Uh-oh. Tension between married folk. Not my thing. I'll go see if Brass is prepared for his maître-d' ing gig."

"Make sure he's packing heat," Sara said, only partially under her breath.

For several minutes, nothing could be heard except for the sounds of Sara lopping off hard artichoke leaves while Gil taste-tested his mother's chicken soup for the 90th time.

"T-minus 98 minutes," Nick shouted.

Sara dropped the knife on the counter with a clang.

"WHY do you have to do that?" she shouted, but Nick was too busy checking that all tables were set up correctly to pay her any mind.

"Sara… he's just excited," Grissom said, putting down the tasting-spoon and facing his wife. She ran a hand over her brow and looked at her husband. Such a dork. Had his super-long hair in somewhat of a pony-tail (who would have ever thought they would see him like that) and wore an ultra-clean undershirt and jeans, covered by an ultra-clean apron. She thought he was going for the seasoned diner fry cook look—but, the cleanliness made him look like he was (unsuccessfully) trying out for the role of Mel, in a road-show, musical version of Alice.

Still, he was making the attempt. He…was just as enthusiastic as Nick.

Which pissed her off.

She had been dropping hints for him to come back for months. Months! Of missing him. Of wanting to hang on his every word. Of wanting to kiss his face or bitch about the length of his hair.

And Nick made one stupid phone call about possibly buying the diner, as a team, and Grissom had packed up his Peruvian paraphernalia and arrived within the week.

It was odd because she really hadn't resented him that much until today. Oh, there had been a little attitude, she supposed, but today…today she just felt like an old grouch. But, it was the day when they officially stepped into new roles in life. No more lab. No more crime scenes. Just…proprietors of an eatery. Over-educated fry cooks, hanging out. Forever. T-minus doom!

And, essentially, it had all been Grissom's ultimate decision.

Since she said nothing at the time (because she was just so glad to have the big lug back), she felt she needed to remain silent now. Speak now or forever…and all that jazz.

"T-minus 87 minutes," Nick bellowed, and as Sara lunged toward Nick's retreating back, she felt Gil's strong arms encircle her waist and drag her back toward him.

"Now, now. We don't want to have a history of violence before we open Nick's at Night."

She shook his hands off her waist and turned to face him.

"It's a stupid name for a stupid idea. We're open 24-hours a day. And why are we cooking? We can't cook, unless boiling the flesh off someone's bones or making a liver-slurry counts as cooking. And why Nick? You all agreed to naming this place after Nick and the man has been walking around like we all work for him, instead of with him. And, I had been dying for you to come home for months. Months! And what happens? Nick asks and you come running … and one more thing … you need both a haircut and a shave. You look like a member of the Grateful Dead, and I'm not talking about the rock group."

So much for holding her peace.

For a moment, the diner was fairly quiet. Gil stood there, mouth agape. Everyone else sort of froze in place, then the former members of the LV Crime lab/police department started moving about…as if they hadn't heard the rather personal one-way argument Sara was having with her husband.

"It was Nick's idea, Sara. And I didn't think the name mattered much to you or anyone else, since no one objected. And I came back because you know he and Warrick have sort of been like sons to me…"

Sara lowered her voice a bit so as not to be overheard this time, "and that's another thing. You keep saying things like that. First of all, they were both too old to be your damned sons and second—if you viewed them in such a paternal way, what does that make me?"

"Safe," he said simply. He took a deep breath. "I wanted you out of the lab, Sara. But, you weren't making any moves to leave. And I wanted to come home but I didn't want to be part of the lab any more. I thought I'd get sucked in and … we'd never get out until something bad happened again. When this opportunity presented itself, it seemed like the perfect solution. A way we could all be together again…safely. Or relatively safely. It's a crazy world out there," he smiled softly.

Sara frowned a bit and shuffled her feet. He was completely wrong, of course. She was only staying here because she didn't want to hold him back from his intellectual pursuits. But, she'd explain all that later. Now, she was okay again. So, okay, she was too easy. But, once the wind was out of her sails, it was out.

"I still hate your pony tail," she said, holding on to one last grouchy moment.

He turned around. "Here, lop it off with that knife of yours."

"No…I'll wait till we get home and use a scissor. Can I trim your beard?"

"Anytime," he said, turning back around and giving her a small kiss on the lips.

"Lucky charms…"he said.

She knew she hadn't had cereal this morning. "Kiss for luck?" she asked, trying to keep up with her husband's love of word-play.

"No…magically delicious."

She kissed him back.

"T-minus 63 minutes," Nick bellowed.

Sara picked up her knife, while Grissom watched her closely.

She took a deep breath, grabbed the next artichoke, and Grissom decided to give his soup one last taste-test.

The end.



apple pie

the phrase "it's magically delicious"