by Battus philenor
Archive: Please ask first I might say yes.
Disclaimer: Yeah, CSI and its characters are still not mine.
Author's Note: Thanks again to CTB for her beta work on this chapter. This is the final one, and I would like to thank the folks who have stuck with this from the beginning.
Summary: GS - A serial killer hits Las Vegas.
Copywrite © by Battus philenor
The fourth crime scene was a few miles further down the road than the last one. Nick had the lead as they walked up to the tape surrounded area, Grissom's hand instinctively going to Sara's back, guiding her over the rough terrain. The scene was eerily like the previous three; naked brown haired woman, face down, legs spread, and hands bound behind her back.
"Grissom, tell me Brass has somebody on this guy. I hate that he got four, but I'll be damned if he gets a fifth victim."
Increasing the pressure on her back; his hand lingered even though they had reached their destination. Wanting to offer more comfort than allowable at a crime scene, he looked at her; hoping she could see that desire in his eyes.
"They're on him; he won't get another one Sara."
Not pulling away from his touch, he could feel her relax against him some; see the tension in her face ease a bit. Not wanting others to notice their moment, Grissom knew they needed to get to work.
"Same as the last time guys; Nick, take the perimeter and Sara grab the prints." Letting out along breath, Grissom squatted down by the body, same scene, different girl.
With evidence collected, they drove back to the lab, a somber crew. They all knew they had been too late to stop this last one, but were fairly certain they had the right guy so at least there wouldn't be any more.
Walking down the corridor towards the lab, Brass spotted them and headed their way.
"Tell me you've got something." An exhausted and discouraged Sara pleaded.
"You're not gonna believe this. Remember his tale about his parents being authors and giving him that name... blah, blah, blah? Well it turns out his father was a janitor and his mother was the school lunch lady. His real name was Eugene Walter Blunderhall; he had it legally changed to William Faulkner when he turned eighteen."
"You've got to be kidding me." Nick said, unable to stop the grin upon learning his name.
"No, and it gets better. His parent's were both murdered. They never found out who did it, but they had a pretty good idea it was sonny boy. He went to college to become a teacher. Got his bachelor's, and then a job teaching in Henderson, but he failed to get his master's in time, so they canned him this summer."
"And the fuse was lit." Grissom said.
"Yup. And get this. All his writing references and crap? He's been turned down by every publisher from here to Utopia."
Sara couldn't help the snort that escaped her, as she cracked up not only at the fact that William made up his whole life, but Brass' quip caught her completely off guard.
"Any info on victim number four, Jim?" Grissom did not find anything about William Faulkner or Eugene Walter Blunderhall amusing.
"Yeah, Samantha Wells, her fiancé reported her missing last night. The guy was terrified that she was the next victim of the Coed Killer."
The identity of the fourth victim choked any remaining laughter out of Sara as she whispered out, "Looks like he had every reason to be."
"Yeah. I'm going to the Luxor; she was a dealer there. She worked the swing shift last night and was due to get off at eleven. The fiancée said he called last night when she didn't make it home, but they had said she left on time. I'll grab the videos tapes. Oh, and she wore her iPod wherever she went."
Walking down the hall with evidence in hand for delivery, Grissom and Sara heard an overly jubilant squealing from the DNA lab. Their pagers went off at the same time, signifying that they should head there ASAP.
"What have you got, Johnson?" An eager Sara asked as they hurried into the lab.
"A fifty-seventh use for lubricant!" Johnson answered giddily, his eyes gleaming.
With Grissom and Sara both staring blank faced at him, he continued. "It's a competition with the other day shift lab techs. You know, see who can come up with the most uses for KY jelly." Garnering still no reaction, he carried on excitedly. "You can use it as hair gel!" Johnson nearly yelled.
"What a waste of KY." Sara responded dryly, with a look of disgust washing over her face. A small shudder went through her body as she looked the scrawny lab tech up and down.
Squinting out of the corner of his eye at Sara, Grissom tried to hurry the lab rat along, with no attempt at niceties. "Spill it, Johnson; we don't have time for this. What did you call us down here for?" The increasingly angry Grissom managed to ask through clenched teeth.
"Oh, only the case buster." Replied the cool and cocky technician. Still receiving no excitement from the stoic pair, his shoulders sagged in defeat, apparently finally giving up trying to impress the duo. "Fine. The DNA from your suspect's coffee cup matched the DNA from your piece of gum that was found on the third victim."
"Yes! We got the son of a bitch, Grissom." With fists raised in victory, Sara tried to remain silent as Grissom grabbed his cell phone.
Punching in the numbers, Grissom waited for Brass to pick up the phone. The fear of finding a fifth victim was gone with only one sentence uttered by Grissom, "Get a warrant; we've got a DNA match."
Hanging up with Brass, Grissom next called Nick to meet them. As they drove behind Brass to the victim's apartment, the relief was clearly evident in all three CSIs.
With the mood not quite as somber, they approached this scene with great anticipation. Knowing they had the right man, they were still nervous; hoping enough evidence would be found to make his conviction a sure thing.
Standing on the sidewalk, they waited for the officers to go in and grab Mr. Eugene Blunderhall. As he was led past them handcuffed, the tears rolled down his face as he kept babbling about not being able to finish his masterpiece.
"Nick, grab the van, it would be nice if Samantha Wells' iPod was still in there."
"I'm on it. Maybe we can get some DNA off the ear buds." Nick answered, nearly skipping on his way to the van parked in the driveway.
Entering the studio apartment, Sara immediately noticed the odd shape of the pillow on the small twin sized bed. It was bunched up, raised in its center. Drawn to see what was giving it that odd shape, she lifted it, gasping as she did so.
"And if we can't get DNA off those ear buds, we may be able to get it off these." Picking up the pair on top, Sara turned, showing Grissom the white pair of panties.
"Souvenirs. I love it when they keep souvenirs, Sara."
While Sara was bagging and tagging the four pairs of panties, Grissom headed to the blinds, opening them to let some light in the dark little place.
Sliding the blinds open revealed the balcony, whose floor was covered with plant boxes. Filled mostly with tomatoes, there was a small variety of other vegetables as well. All obviously well cared for.
"Well, well. I bet he uses a plant food that matches the residue on those glove fibers." A smiling Grissom said.
"And get this." Brass said from behind them. "This was on him. Actually on him, in his sweatshirt pocket!" Adorned in his own gloves, Brass was holding a roll of duct tape in one hand a vial of some sort in the other.
"Since your eyes ain't what they used to be..." Brass paused for dramatic effect, looking at the bottle as if to read it. "The label on this vial says its chloroform. Complete with a warning against ingestion." A very proud Brass went over to Sara, waiting patiently while she tagged the new evidence.
"This guy kept everything, he had no idea we were on to him." A completely awed Sara said.
"That's because of your brilliant plan and excellent interrogation skills, my dear. I'm telling everybody you learned those from me." The winking Brass left the room, leaving the CSIs to finish their business.
"He's right Sara, well except for the part about him teaching you." Smiling, Grissom continued his thought. "Because of you, there won't be another victim. And the families will get closure."
"I can't help thinking that we should have stopped him sooner though. There didn't have to be so many victims, Grissom."
"This was a victory Sara. You need to think of it that way, because of you, he won't hurt another woman. You really did do a good job."
With all the evidence brought back to the lab, there was once again a crowd gathered around the break room television. Pausing momentarily, Sara listened to the report of the capture of the Coed Killer.
Smiling, she saw Warrick sitting at the table looking up at her. Giving her a wink and a nod he rose to meet her out in the hallway. "Good job girl. That was a bad, bad plan, Shaft."
Sara couldn't help the giggle that escaped her mouth. While she got along well with the whole night shift, nobody could make her feel better about things than Warrick could.
"Thanks, now that stupid song's going to be stuck in my head, Warrick."
"Yeah, I was just passing along the love; it's been stuck in my head all night." Came Warrick's smooth reply. "But seriously, way to go Sara. You got him."
"Shut your mouth." Sara sang back at him.
Laughing, Warrick placed an arm around her shoulder, giving a squeeze before moving on down the hallway humming the theme song from Shaft all the way.
Continuing down the hall, the still smiling Sara ran into Greg as she rounded the corner, literally. While each was busy checking their bodies over for injury, she received neither a lewd comment nor a silly response from him. Although it was refreshing, seeing the lab tech so subdued was an oddity she wished to never see again.
Greg, I'm sorry about your friend."
"Thanks Sara. I didn't know her that long; it was just weird you know? I'm glad you got the guy."
"Well, it wasn't just me Greg, but thanks." Replied the now blushing Sara.
"That's not the buzz around here. Really, good job Sara. Anyway, I'm going home. I've got to get back to my normal sleep schedule. I get to come back to work with you guys tonight." Greg said, as he started heading for the door, a little happier than before.
"Great, see you then Greg." Sara yelled after him as she turned to head back down toward the locker room. Walking in with her head down, she was surprised when she looked up to see Grissom sitting on the bench in front of her locker.
"Sara." Came his one word response as he stood up quickly. "Are you done?"
"Yeah, I finally am. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful he left us a ton of evidence, but I'm ready to go home." Replied Sara, unsure of why Grissom was waiting in the locker room, apparently for her.
"I just wanted to let you know that I meant what I said earlier, you did a great job today." Grissom said, while bringing his hand up to her shoulder, patting it awkwardly.
"Thanks, but we all worked really hard, especially you. You helped me keep things together there, and I appreciate it. I know I have a tendency to get carried away sometimes. So, thanks. And thanks for letting me know that these things bother you too. It makes me feel better, you know? Like I'm not the only one."
"You're welcome. I guess it's not fair to always harp at you, and not give you some advice on how you can maybe try to make it better. After all, I've done this a lot longer. I've learned a thing or two."
"Yeah, anyway, thanks Grissom." Sara said, amazed that Grissom stood there still, unmoving. She was starting to get a little anxious from his hovering.
"Sara, would you like to grab some coffee?" The hopeful look on his face combined with the fact that his hand was still on her shoulder let Sara know that this was not work related.
"Well, I sort of have plans already Grissom."
"Oh." He removed his hand from her shoulder, images of Detective Vartan crowding his brain. "Well maybe some other time then." He added dejectedly.
The spot where Grissom's hand was on her shoulder grew cold quickly. "You're welcome to join me. It's not anything exciting, but you can come along." Sara offered, hoping Grissom realized she wanted to spend time with him too.
Looking up at her, a relieved smile claimed his face. "Sure, uh what's on the agenda?"
"Well, there's a gathering at a park on the outskirts of town. A remembrance for all the victims, kind of a city-wide event the Mayor's office planned. You know, election time and all."
"Sara. I don't think that's a good idea. It could give the wrong impression, publicly. I don't think participating in something like that would be proper, at least not until after the trial."
"Grissom, it's just a celebration of the victim's lives. It's something I want to do. Come on, nobody will know who we are." Sara pleaded, knowing that Grissom would not give in.
"I have an idea, come on." Grabbing Sara's arm, he turned her towards the door, pushing her along.
"Where are we going Grissom?" Getting no answer she tried again. "Grissom? You know, going to a bug museum or something will not appease me." The smile on her face gave away her true feelings, despite the nasty tone in her voice.
"Please, the bug museum is easily a third or fourth date kind of a place." Grissom replied hastily, realizing a second too late what that implied about their morning.
Laughing, she followed Grissom, unsure of whether he realized he'd just said this was a date, and also uncertain of what he would consider a suitable substitute for what she had planned.
Helping her into his truck, they pulled away from the lab, the pressure from the previous couple of weeks finally subsiding some. As Grissom parked in the grocery store parking lot, Sara sat there, somewhat baffled when he asked her to stay there while he went in. And after ten minutes, she was even more puzzled as the back of the SUV opened and shut, without her seeing what he'd put inside.
"Aren't you going to let me in on the day's event?"
"You'll see when we get there." Replied the stubbornly quiet Grissom. Looking over at Sara, he watched her staring out the passenger window, deep in thought. Reaching over without hesitation, he grabbed her hand. Holding it, rubbing his thumb over the back of her hand gently, he could see her smile reflected back in the window.
And as they pulled up to the cemetery, Grissom parked along the winding gravel road. Getting out, he came around to open Sara's door for her. Helping her down he guided her towards the trunk to retrieve the flowers he'd put there earlier.
"Grissom, it's a bouquet of flowers."
"They're for the first victim, Melissa Tressle. Grab the bouquet, will you? We can visit the others once they're laid to rest"
Picking up the bunch of flowers; Sara couldn't help tearing up thinking about Grissom spending the day with her in this way. Taking Sara's free hand in his, they meandered through the sea of markers. Their first date was spent wandering through the cemetery, honoring the first of the victims in their own quiet way.
- The End -
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