Rating: PG to be on the safe side.
Spoilers: Spoilers for Unfriendly Skies.
Archive: Please ask first!
Disclaimer: If I had even a fraction of a percent of the rights to CSI would I be writing fan fiction? Well, yeah, probably, but that doesn't change the fact I own nothing to do with the show.
Author's Note: Probably a good idea to read Poetic Injustice first, but I think you can follow this story if you don't. Thanks to Burked and Ann for beta-ing this chapter.
Summary: A sequel to Poetic Injustice. A bit of fluff - Sara and Grissom want to repair their friendship. Greg wants Sara. Ecklie wants the Red Creeper. Catherine wants a night off. And a mystery man from Sara's past is back.
Catherine growled audibly after seeing a flash of a flash flashing her way. Wiry Warrick wisely walked away when his wet, willowy co-worker wildly whirled his way, watching him wickedly.
Immediately after showing up, he'd made sure Catherine was uninjured, then proceeded to hurt himself restraining his laughter. While processing the scene, he made sure to take plenty of photos of her beer-soaked condition. They'd be worth gold back at the lab.
After changing into a pair of coveralls, Catherine headed towards the ambulance. On one stretcher sat Ryan Severn, whining as the paramedics tended the diminutive denticulations dotting his digits. She shot him an irritated look; the sound of a supposedly grown male whimpering was annoying. No wonder Lady Heather charged so much.
On the other stretcher, Dee and Dwe sat handcuffed together as another paramedic treated their injuries. She shuddered briefly as she approached. The beer had made their bodysuits disturbingly translucent.
O'Riley intercepted her before she could get in strangulation range, flipping through his notes as he approached.
"Okay, Dweedle Dee and Dweedle Dum are really Arnie and Ernie Lipsplatz."
"We're real artists!" called one of the twins.
"A pair of freaks," Severn muttered.
"Knock it off, kids," Catherine said in full-maternal mode.
"You must think we're a pair of crooks."
"A pair of brigands."
"A pair of demented freaks!"
"I said knock it off," she sighed, rolling her eyes at the twins' dejected looks. "Look, you filed a false police report. Insurance fraud. What do you call that?"
"Extenuating circumstances!" one of them said. Without their makeup, she couldn't tell them apart.
"A...," his brother started, clearing his throat when Catherine glared at him. "Right. We really are artists."
"We are professionals."
"We need the money to keep our show going."
"The money isn't for us."
"It's to support the show."
"We do this for our audience."
"For the betterment of the homeless."
"To terrify them off the streets," Severn piped in, wincing when the pair hissed his way.
"We received numerous grants for our shows."
"Wait. You got paid for that... show?" Catherine asked in disbelief.
"About $75,000 a year."
"Then they cut our grants."
"Must have caught your show," Severn said, hiding behind a female paramedic as the twins jumped off their stretcher.
"I swear I'm calling animal control for a cage," O'Riley growled as he bodily picked up the kicking pair before they could inflict more damage on the cringing frat kid.
"We bruise easily."
"These costumes tear easily!"
"God, please be careful," she muttered after the last warning.
"Now that the case is closed, will you go out with us?" one of the twins called out to Catherine as O'Riley carried them to a waiting cruiser.
"I wouldn't count on it," she said, sighing at the fresh barrage of flashes.
Grissom looked up from his desk in confusion, smiling when Sara walked over with an infectious grin.
"Nicky was worried about you. Said you looked like you had taken a shower just before coming into work."
"I did offer to give you a hand," she teased quietly, leaning over his desk.
"You have an evil streak."
"I don't know if I'd call it evil so much as..."
"Evil. Very evil."
"If you insist," Sara said, frowning as she tilted her head. After a moment, she located the source of the noise she'd heard softly. "What is that?"
"Yes. Don't you like it?"
"Wouldn't be my first choice," she said, giving him an apologetic look. "Say, we were supposed to go to the trade show tomorrow. I was wondering if you wanted to change plans since we already went this morning."
"Not unless you do. It's more enjoyable once all the booths are open."
"Sweet," she said, pushing off his desk to leave. Pausing at the door, she flashed him a grin. "Just stay away from the bimbos. Don't want anything to happen to your other ankle."
Grinning gregariously, Greg headed towards his DNA domain. He had walked past Grissom's office in time to hear Sara complain about his music selection. Opera! Why would anyone think Sara would like opera? It couldn't compare to the collection of songs Greg knew she liked and prepared for her.
Not that he was in competition with his supervisor. No. No way. That would be too bizarre. Greg shook his head as he walked down the hallway.
But Sara's comment couldn't have come at a better time. The personalized CD he'd made her was waiting in his boom box. He had samples from one of her cases that would be ready shortly. When she came in after his page, he'd make sure the music was playing. The timing was perfect after the opera scene.
It had to be an omen.
Greg's grin faltered as he entered his lab. The Omen hadn't been a cheery movie.
Grissom looked up from his notes, sniffing cautiously. He watched as Catherine wearily sank into one of the chairs opposite of his desk.
"Let's say I've had my fill of beer for the time being. I changed clothes at the scene, but I need a shower."
"Well, when you get done, there's a B and E at the Blue Diamond Motel that just came in. You up for it, or do you want to keep working your llama-napping?"
"Insurance fraud and assault," she corrected, taking the assignment slip. "And anything has to be better than that case. Say, are you okay?"
"I'm fine. Why does everyone keep asking that?"
"I don't know. You look...," Catherine paused. She was about to say 'frustrated', but that was a better description of her own life. "Did you and Sara have another disagreement?"
Grissom took off his glasses as he stared at her. He could understand why she would be curious; given his track record, blowing things with Sara was a probable outcome. Her tone, though, suggested something else was going on.
"Well, there's flowers for Sara at the front desk," she said, waiting for a reaction. "Nice flowers... Roses... From a guy named Ken Fuller."
"We ran into him at the conference. He's someone she knew from college."
"Someone she knew, or someone she knew?"
"You'd have to ask Sara that," he groused, moving to examine his shelves.
"Ahh," she said knowingly, causing Grissom to give her a confused stare. His comment hadn't been revealing, so why did she look so smug?
"Look, avoiding things won't help."
"I'm not avoiding things," he said, frowning as he turned around. None of the bugs he had at the lab were voracious herbivores. If he'd gotten that set of Japanese beetles, they could have eaten the roses before Sara found out about them. Of course, Fuller would probably ask how she liked them at the conference tomorrow, so that really wasn't an option.
"Gil," she sighed.
"Catherine, there's nothing to avoid. We're fine."
"Yes," Grissom insisted, waving her out the door. "Get a shower. Your case is getting cold."
After checking in with the deputy outside the motel, Catherine made her way to the gaggle of police and rescue crews gathered around the poolside. Surprisingly, a man was in the water, despite the night's chill.
As she got closer, Catherine shook her head. She could barely bear to look at the bare bear of a man. He was hairy enough to actually qualify as having a pelt. No wonder the cold didn't bother him.
"What's up?" she asked the detective, forcing her mind back to work.
"Paul Rubin, nightshift desk clerk," he said, nodding towards the pool. "While he was in the pool, someone broke into the lobby and stole the night's receipts."
"Okay, Mr. Rubin, I'll need for you to get out of the pool."
"I can't," he said sheepishly.
"He's stuck," the detective said vaguely.
"How can you get stuck in the swimming pool?"
"The intake pipe for the vacuum," the detective replied, pointing towards his own nether regions. "He was looking for a little, uh, relief."
"Ewww," she replied, giving the clerk a dirty look. She'd never let Linds near a public pool again.
"Nightshift. It really ruins your social life," Rubin offered.
"I don't need details," Catherine said, rubbing her forehead. No way was she climbing into the water tonight. Her hair was already shot from the beer soaking. The chlorine on top of it would be too much. "Have you tried turning off the vacuum?"
"First thing they tried. He's stuck."
"Well, those intake pipes aren't very big," she said, not caring that she was adding insult to Rubin's injury.
"We're going to have to use a jackhammer to get to where he's stuck in the pipe. We'll cut it off..."
"The pipe, Mr. Rubin, the pipe."
"Oh," he said in obvious relief. Looking up, he paid attention to Catherine for the first time. He liked what he saw. "Say, you work nights, too. How about..."
"Don't go there, or I'll be the one doing the cutting," she warned. Nervously, she started looking around the perimeter.
"Something wrong?" the detective asked.
"No," she sighed, glad that Warrick wasn't anywhere in sight with the camera.
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