Rating: PG, just to make it sound racier than it is.
Archive: Please ask first I might say yes.
Disclaimer: Insert random legal mumbo-jumbo here.
Author's Note: Thanks to Mossley for betaing, but more importantly, for pushing, pulling, teasing, cajoling, and any other verb you care to use that means she enticed me to finish it.
Summary: Sara's mentoring Greg on an unusual case.
The layout room was silent with Grissom working at one end of the lighted table, and Catherine at the other. Tonight, they were examining the clothing from the latest victim. They examined each article under magnification and full-spectrum light, centimeter by centimeter.
Finishing at almost the same time - not surprising after working together so many years - the lab's fluorescent lights were switched off, and they began bombarding the clothes with various wavelengths of light, looking for any anomaly, any shred of evidence.
Not surprisingly, considering the employment of the women involved, there was no lack of trace evidence. On the contrary, as with the DNA Greg had been analyzing, there was too much trace evidence.
But every bit of it needed to be found, catalogued, and analyzed. Sooner or later they would be able to correlate a hair, a fiber, semen, or some other trace evidence, with trace they had collected from other victims.
It might not seem like much, but it would be a huge step when it happened. They would finally know that they have some physical evidence that could tie a suspect to these brutal crimes.
"It's lucky for us that they had on such skimpy outfits. Not as much to examine," Catherine quipped, trying to relieve the stress and boredom with some gallows humor.
"Hmph," Grissom snorted in reply, not really hearing the statement.
After a few more half-hearted attempts at conversation, Catherine pulled off her latex gloves. She put her hands on the small of her back and leaned backwards, slowly twisting from side to side. A few small pops could be heard as she worked out the stiffness.
"I'm going to grab some coffee. Want to take a break?"
"Mm," was the guttural response, indicating that Grissom was merely acknowledging that she spoke, with no understanding whatsoever of what she'd said.
"Yoo hoo! Yo! Gil! Want to take a break?" Catherine asked, raising her voice and waving her arms to get his attention.
"Break? Now? Oh, sure, I guess so," he mumbled, pulling off the gloves and tossing them absently into the bag that stored the evidence.
Sitting in the break room, each with a mug of freshly brewed coffee, the conversation was about as meaningful as it had been in the layout room. Grissom was obviously completely lost in thought, as though he was following a thread through his mind, trying to find its source.
"Where are the Kiddie Cops?" she asked, earning only a confused, blank stare.
"Greg. Sara. The kids. Where are they?"
"Oh. I don't know," he answered, shrugging. "I guess around here somewhere. But Sara's not a kid. She's somewhere in her mid-thirties."
"It was a joke, Gil. A joke. You know. Ha ha? You need to lighten up. These serial cases are always stressful, and it doesn't help that you never disengage from them."
"We don't have time. We've got to get ahead of him."
"So, what do you think about Sara letting Greg run their case?"
"She knows what she's doing," he said noncommittally. "She's watching everything. If he misses something, she'll steer him in the right direction."
"I know she knows what she's doing. But I also know he doesn't know what he's doing."
"Got to learn sometime," Grissom shrugged, still not fully focusing on her.
"I guess it's not too bad if they only have the one case. Anything else come in?" Cath asked between sips of the steaming brew.
"So what are they working on? They said all their stuff is in the labs."
"Oh, they're, um, working on part of our case," he said, quickly raising the cup to his lips, as though to stifle himself.
"What? I thought you were going to keep her away from this case!" Catherine almost spewed. "And Greg has no business on it at all. That's all we need is to have him pissing all over some crucial evidence."
"Catherine," Grissom said heavily, his voice clearly showing his displeasure at her tone, "They're just working on the map of the dumpsites, looking for commonalities. It's just something to occupy a few hours of their time, and free us up to examine the physical evidence. It's not like I have them processing a body."
"Yeah, well, it was just a few hours ago that you said you were purposefully keeping them off the case."
"I changed my mind," Grissom shrugged.
"Or had it changed for you," Catherine retorted.
"It's not your concern either way," Grissom answered more acidly than she expected. "Just do your job and let me do mine."
"I've been doing my job. I just don't want all our work to be shot to hell by a rookie and a CSI who might not be able to emotionally handle this case. Maybe in the past she could, but now I'm not so sure."
"What the hell are you talking about?" Grissom asked brusquely. "What's so stressful or emotional about looking at a map? What could Greg possibly do to mess it up? Why are you so intent on keeping them out of this investigation?"
"Because I don't want it fucked up," Catherine reiterated.
"Evidence, Catherine. Give me evidence. Show me one time that either one of them has ever 'fucked up,' as you say, a case. Just one example. Just one." Grissom glared in a manner only appropriate between best friends or bitterest enemies, holding up a single index finger to emphasize his request.
"There's a first time for everything," Catherine muttered as she stood, flinging the coffee towards the sink and dropping the styrofoam cup in the trash on the way out of the door.
"I hate it when they do that," Grissom said to himself, his head shaking back and forth. "They say things, then walk out before I can answer. They get mad or get hurt and then just disappear," he continued, as though explaining the vagaries of women to a neophyte.
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