Under the Radar
Under the Radar
Don't own any characters from CSI, don't mean to infringe, making no money. Category:
Angst, Grissom, Sara, Brass, Doc Robbins Timeline: Don't know where this fits,
just think it does. Kudos: I have three betas with three different skills and
I thank them all. TAE, Rachel, and Mon.
Grissom rubbed his eyes and sat back at his desk. His watch read one o'clock;
nine hours until the night shift began again. Sighing, he sat up and tried to
put the file, which was spread out on his desk, into some sort of order.
entire team had worked one case; a corporate jet crash. That was yesterday, or
today, he wasn't quite sure. Grissom looked again at the photos and sketches that
littered his desk. Four people had perished; the pilot, a husband, his wife and
their eight year old child. He squinted again at the photos, feeling the pressure
begin to build behind his eyes. A knock on the door temporarily interrupted his
"Come in," Grissom said, not looking up.
let himself in, closing the door behind him.
"Gil, what are you still doing
here? What are you trying to pull, a triple?" he teased, walking up to Grissom's
"More like a quadruple, really. I'm fine." Grissom replied, putting the
last photo in the file, and then looking up at his visitor. "What are you doing
here?" he asked.
"I've just finished the last vic of your plane crash." Doc
replied, settling into the chair in front of Grissom.
"Oh?" Grissom asked,
sitting back slowly in his chair.
"Preliminary report on the pilot shows no
booze and no drugs. But here's the thing, his right eardrum was blown." Doc said,
rubbing his beard.
Grissom squinted and then closed his eyes for a moment,
reaching up to his temples to try to massage the pain away. The muscle on the
edge of his jaw started to twitch as his headache increased.
"Gil, do you want
some coffee?" Doc asked, softly.
"What? No thanks, Al. I guess the decision
has been made for me. I have to go home." Grissom replied, opening his eyes.
lock up your office." Doc offered.
"Thanks," Grissom said, standing slowly.
Doc stood as well, watching Grissom closely. The perspiration had started to
appear in his hairline. Grissom felt his shirt pocket for his sunglasses and then
felt for his car keys. He made his way slowly out of his office and down the hall.
Doc locked the office door behind him and followed Grissom out to the employee
lot behind the lab. Grissom unlocked his Denali, got in and drove away.
day was overcast and cool; not a typical Vegas day. Grissom had the air conditioning
blasting and switched the radio to the all-news station as background noise. By
the time he reached his townhouse, his migraine was immanent. He climbed the stairs
slowly, feeling the energy that had kept him going for the last two days evaporate.
He struggled with his key to the front door, finally finding the keyhole. Grissom
stumbled in and studiously locked the door behind him, tossing his keys into the
dish on the side table. He carefully removed his sunglasses and put them on the
table before reaching into his pocket for his reading glasses. Grissom put them
on the table and felt his pockets for anything else. He found his cell phone,
pager, and wallet. They joined his glasses. He walked to the kitchen, beginning
to see the familiar sparks of light encroaching onto his field of vision. Opening
the fridge, he took out a bottle of water and the newer of his two medications.
Blinking to try to see through the shimmering light, he took his Sansert with
a mouthful of water. Heading back to the living room, the edges of his vision
softened and he felt his legs give out as he collapsed to the grey carpet.
Sara Sidle stopped by the lab early to catch up on some paperwork before
her scheduled dinner with Grissom. She walked down the corridor and bumped into
Doc Robbins in the break room.
"Hiya, Doc," she greeted him, cheerfully.
Sara," he replied, not surprised to see Sara in the lab well before the beginning
of her shift.
"Doc, you haven't seen Grissom, have you? We're having dinner
tonight." Sara asked.
"Yeah, he left about one with a migraine on the horizon.
I don't think he'll be at work tonight, much less dinner." Doc said, returning
to reading his notes.
Sara walked into the hallway to pull out her cell phone
and call Catherine.
"Willows," Catherine answered on the third ring.
it's me. Look, Doc said Grissom didn't leave the lab until one and when he did,
it was because of a migraine. Doc doesn't think Griss will come in for work."
Sara said in one breath.
"Yeah, he's probably right. I don't think Gil has
gone home in several days, let alone slept more than a catnap. Sara, I can't leave
Lindsey. Can you go check on him please?" Catherine asked.
"Uhm, sure, I guess."
"Thanks, call me when you get there." Catherine added.
bye." Sarah said.
"Bye," Catherine answered, hanging up.
Sara pulled her
keys out of her pants pocket and double-checked that she still had the one labeled
GG. The team all had keys to each other's residences, just in case of an emergency.
She reached her Tahoe and twenty minutes later, she was at Grissom's townhouse.
She had been to Grissom's house twice before to drop off files for his signature
and once with the entire team when Grissom had been forced off a case. Sara walked
up the stairs and knocked on the door. Hearing nothing, she opened the door and
walked in. Closing the door behind her, she removed her sunglasses and walked
into the living room. Grissom was lying on the floor in the same position as when
he had fallen. Shocked, Sara ran to him, dropped to her knees beside him and gently
rolled him onto his back. She confirmed that Grissom was breathing and his heart
beat steadily. Sara let out a sigh of relief. Deciding that he was probably fine,
just still under his medication, Sara walked throughout the first floor, searching
for a blanket. She found one in what looked to be the guest room, grabbed it and
spread it over his sleeping form on the floor. She began to relax a little, making
her way to the kitchen, where she found the pill bottle on its side; the pills
strewn all over the countertop. The water bottle was empty, having been knocked
over. Sara took another bottle of water out of the fridge, noting the lack of
food, and called Catherine.
"Willows," she answered curtly.
"Hi, I'm at
Grissom's," Sara said.
"How is he?" Catherine asked.
"He appears to have
passed out on the living room floor." Sara said, sipping her water.
hit his head? Anything look bruised or broken?" Catherine continued.
think he just passed out. He took something called Sansert." Sara replied.
that's the strong stuff. Okay, just be very quiet. Keep all of the lights off.
His old medication would keep him down for six hours. I don't know about Sansert.
Can you stay with him?" Catherine asked.
"I think someone has to, and I'm already
here so..." Sara trailed off, implying that she would stay with her supervisor.
"Thanks. Keep me posted." Catherine advised.
"Will do," Sara said. "Bye,"
"Bye," Catherine said, hanging up.
Sara took her water and settled on the
couch in the living room. Grissom lay motionless in the silent apartment. She
watched him in the semi darkness until fatigue caught up with her.
Grissom woke up, still heavily under his medication. His migraine was
almost gone, but nature was calling. He crawled to his feet and staggered to the
bathroom. He relieved himself, washed his hands and lurched back to the living
room. It really didn't matter that there was no light. He couldn't see anything
anyway. Grissom kicked off his loafers and walked into the guest room. He crawled
onto the bed and fell asleep.
Grissom's phone rang in the foyer. Sara woke
up on the fifth ring and walked quickly to the phone.
"Hello?" she answered
groggily, looking at her watch; ten-thirty.
"Sara? It's Brass. Where's Gil?"
Jim Brass asked, wondering why she was picking up Grissom's cell phone.
sleeping off a migraine. I'm, uhm, I'm just here until he's vertical. " Sara explained,
wiping the sleep from her eyes.
"Damn, I need to speak to him." Brass said,
"Okay, hang on... He's not where he was when I fell asleep on the
sofa. I have to look for him." Sara said, walking in search of Grissom.
the phone at her side, she walked to the guestroom first. Grissom lay face down
on the bed, his arms folded under his head.
"Grissom, Griss? Brass needs to
speak to you." Sara said, sitting gently on the bed.
His eyes opened and he
rolled to his side, closing his eyes against the nausea and vertigo he was feeling.
She put the phone into his hand. He grunted. Sara stood and leaned against the
wall, watching him.
"Hey, buddy, I'm sorry but you need to know this. The ATSB
has found evidence that the plane was brought down. They want to meet with you
in the morning." Brass said, softly.
"I think I can manage that." Grissom said,
"Okay, nine o'clock at my office. Gil, one last thing, they weren't
the Cleavers." Brass said.
Grissom opened his eyes again and struggled to sit
"What?" Gris asked, the colour draining from his face.
thought you should know, Family Services had been to the victim's house twice
in the last six months." Brass said.
"Damn, okay, I got it. Jim, I gotta go."
Grissom said, setting the phone down on the bed.
Grissom struggled to his feet
and walked towards the bathroom. Sara picked up the phone.
"Brass, I have to
go help Grissom." Sara said, her voice full of concern.
"That bad? Take care
of him, then, Sara. See you both at nine?" Brass said.
"Sure thing, thanks
Brass, bye," Sara said.
"You're welcome, bye," Brass said, hanging up.
slipped his phone into her pocket and marched to the bathroom. Grissom was just
finishing with his bout of nausea. Sara found a washcloth and ran it under cold
water. Grissom sat back on his heels, shivering.
"It's okay, Gris. It's going
to be okay." Sara soothed, wiping his face with the cloth and then laying it across
the back of his neck.
She helped him to his feet and walked him back to the
guest room. He crawled onto the bed and fell asleep quickly. Sara walked back
into the living room and pulled the door almost closed. Turning on a light by
the sofa she sat down with a forensics magazine. Barely done reading the table
of contents, her stomach growled, causing her to abandon the magazine and head
to the kitchen. First, she carefully scooped up the Sansert capsules and put them
back in their bottle. Then she cleaned the kitchen counter and started foraging
through the cabinets. She found a box of farfalle pasta, plus a container of Parmelat
and put them both on the counter. Opening the fridge she looked closely at its
contents; bottled water, beer, white wine, six plastic containers labeled 'experiment',
half a carton of eggs, cheddar cheese and butter. In the freezer, there were three
boxes of steaks, two bags of peas, and several ice trays. She took out the peas,
adding them to her collection on the counter and set about making a meatless carbonara
of sorts. Forty minutes later, she sat happily at the breakfast bar, reading the
same forensics magazine, eating her dinner, her back to the guest room.
through her meal, Sara thought she heard a noise from the bedroom. Quietly, she
walked to the room and stood outside the door in the shadows and listened.
don't hit her." Grissom said, in a fearful voice.
Sara pushed the door open
just enough to allow her to pass through. The pale light from the living room
cast across his bed. Grissom had turned on his side, facing her. He grabbed handfuls
of the bedspread as he continued to dream. His shirt had come unbuttoned to mid-chest
and was soaked from perspiration.
"Don't hit her." Grissom cried out again,
struggling with the bedspread in his sleep.
Sara's heart sank a little as she
continued to just watch him, unsure of what to do.
"She can't hear you. Stop
hitting her." Grissom yelled, bolting upright in bed, waking himself up from his
Grissom sat on the bed, shaking, staring, straight ahead, not entirely
out of the dream. The dream was so vivid. His right leg was straight in front
of him and his left leg was bent easily. Slowly, she lowered herself to the bed
behind him and pulled him into a timid and awkward embrace. Finally, his breathing
slowed and she wiped the sweat from his forehead. He got up and walked to the
bathroom without a word. Sara let out a sigh of confusion and concern as she thought
of the events of the past day. Not wanting to appear as if she was hovering over
him she went back to the kitchen to finish her dinner and the forensics magazine.
Five minutes later, Grissom reappeared. He stopped and stared at Sara.
you real?" Grissom asked.
"Yes," Sara replied.
"How long have you been here?"
"Since about seven-thirty, or so." Sara answered, noticing he didn't
ask why she was there.
"What time is it now?" Grissom asked.
Sara said, looking at her watch.
Grissom continued to stare at her, unable
"Can I do anything to help you?" Sara asked quietly.
"Ah, I don't
think so. I have to go back to bed." Grissom said, retreating back to the guestroom,
not trusting himself to walk up the circular staircase to the second floor master
Alone again in the guestroom he pulled his shirt over his head and
loosened his belt, letting his trousers drop to the floor. Stepping out of them,
he pulled the covers back and got into bed. Just that little activity had raised
his blood pressure, which in turn aggravated his almost gone headache. The migraine
definitely was the worst he'd had in about a month, but he also dreaded the aftermath
of the medication. Gradually, his breathing slowed and the pain started to subside
again as he slipped into unconsciousness.
Sara had finished the forensics magazine and had turned on the television.
The Discovery Channel was showing a program on butterflies. She sat cross-legged
on Grissom's black leather sofa and was engrossed.
"No, stay away from her!
Stop it!" Grissom cried, breaking the calm of the townhouse.
Sara shot up and
took quick strides to the guest room. Grissom was lying on his back, the sheets
pushed down to his waist, thrashing around the bed, fighting his demons.
said stay away from her!" Grissom cried out, again.
Sara could feel the fear
and pain in his voice. His face was flushed and covered in sweat and his curly
hair lay matted on his forehead. His breathing came in starts as if responding
to a situation. Suddenly, his body language changed and he rolled on to his side
away from her.
"Don't touch me! Please, I'm sorry," Grissom whispered meekly.
Sara felt pain in her chest and tears started to roll down her cheeks. She
sat on the edge of the bed and reached out to touch Grissom's back. It was hot
and the perspiration had started again. She felt him shake, and realized that
he was crying in his sleep.
"Shh...relax Grissom, you're safe now," She whispered,
trying to console him.
Sara began rubbing his back, something she had seen
other people do. She stopped when her fingers came across something other than
smooth skin. Sara felt it again as Grissom fell into a deeper sleep, relaxing
into her touch. The scars on his back were thick and ugly. They stretched from
his shoulder blades to his waist. Who had done this to him? Her heart broke at
the thought of anybody hurting him. Rearranging the bed sheets to better cover
him, she traced the scars on his back through the thin cotton sheet. She stayed
with him for a while, gently rubbing his back and whispering to him that everything
was going to be okay. When Sara was certain that he was asleep again, she let
him be and retreated back to the relative solitude of the living room.
walked back into the living room, sat on the couch and tried to put her thoughts
in order. There was so little that anyone knew about their enigmatic supervisor.
Sure, his biographical information was out there, but that wasn't really Grissom.
It was, of course, just the amount of Grissom that he wanted most people to know.
Sara walked back into the kitchen and looked for a bottle of red wine. That's
really what I need right now, she thought to herself, a glass of red wine. She
walked back into the living room. Sitting on the sofa she looked up and realized
that below the breakfast bar was a liquor cabinet. She walked to the breakfast
bar and moved a stool out of the way. Just above the foot rail, the metal doors
began. At first she tried to pull them, but belatedly noticing the lack of hinges,
she realized the doors were on a track and slid them open easily. In one side
of the cabinet was a wine rack, the other a shelf of liquor. Sara crouched down
and took a look at the contents; ten bottles of wine, primarily Californian, one
bottle of unopened Jameson twelve-year old Irish whiskey, one bottle of half-filled
Bowmore single-malt scotch whisky, and one bottle almost full of Maker's Mark
bourbon. Sara smiled as reached for a bottle of red wine. It was a cabernet from
South Africa. Sara knew that if Grissom had purchased it, then it must be a good
wine. Standing, she slid the doors shut and walked into the kitchen in search
of a corkscrew and a glass. Sara opened the bottle easily and chose a rocks glass
rather than a wine glass.
She poured a hefty amount and decided to explore
Grissom's townhouse. She didn't really expect to find anything in the main living
rooms. There were no photographs of people, but there were stark black and white
photographs on one wall of the living room. She recognized some of the places
in the photographs, but most were foreign to her. At the far end of the living
room were two tall bookcases and Grissom's butterfly collection centered on it
above the stereo. The books were an interesting mix. On one shelf alone was a
much used worn leather bound copy of Julius Caesar, next to Catcher in the Rye,
next to Somerset Maugham, next to Migraine and Other Headaches, next to Miyamoto
Musashi, next to Forensic Entomology, next to Genetic Hearing Loss, next to Martha
Gelhorn, next to Cicero: De Officiis, next to Beowolf, next to Dante's Inferno.
If his reading styles were this eclectic, what were his musical styles, she
thought. Sara crouched to read the cd spines. They were by row, a musical type.
The first was classic rock and roll. Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Animals,
The Beatles, and various incarnations of Eric Clapton. The second shelf was Jazz
and Blues; Coltrane, Davis, Parker, Waters, Vaughn, Fitzgerald, Gillespie, Johnson,
Guy, King, Broonzey, Brown and ten cds of Billie Holiday. The last shelf was all
classical, or so she thought at first. She looked closer and realized it was all
cello music; some solo cello and some with orchestra.
Sara stood slowly and
cracked her neck, taking a sip of her wine. She walked down the hallway that led
to the guest bedroom where she paused briefly at the door, listening before continuing
her search. Just next to the guest room was another room that Sara had failed
to notice earlier. She opened the door and felt for the light switch. When the
lights came on she was greeted with a hissing noise coming from a glass terrarium.
Looking closer, she realized that they were Grissom's hissing cockroaches. She
looked around the room. There were ten glass cases with bugs, a microscope, a
large wipe board filled with Grissom's handwriting, a file cabinet, a large drafting
board, and a sketchbook. It was open and Sarah looked at the pages. On the left
was a pen and ink drawing of the body of an ant, Sarah guessed. She guessed because
it was the endoskeleton view not because Grissom couldn't draw. No, in fact, as
Sarah thumbed through the sketchbook, taking care not to lose his place, she was
surprised at how good he was. The detail was amazing. Not all were pen and ink,
some were stunning water colours. Sara put the notebook down carefully, noticing
a small bookcase filled with similar sketchbooks. Grissom seemed to be quite the
artist, and that was something she hadn't known about him.
Sara took a good
sip of her wine and looked at her watch; one-thirty. This was when she would normally
be awake. She turned off the lights and left the 'lab room' as she called it,
making a mental note to remind Grissom to feed his pets. It was still quiet in
the guest bedroom so Sara decided to go upstairs and explore.
Slowly she climbed
the circular staircase. She hated them; they seemed to always be too small or
seemingly unstable. Getting to the top, she held the newel post for a moment before
walking down the small hallway. The master bedroom door was open. The same grey
carpet was on the floor, she noticed when she turned on the lights. The king sized
bed had a grey patterned bedspread on it. There was a painting above the bed.
She knew the artist but couldn't remember it. Straining to look she read the name,
Paul Jenkins. It wasn't a large work, but it fit well over the bed, the bold colours
were extraordinary. Turning around to see the view from the bed she noticed a
mirror placed so Grissom could see the painting above his head. It was a magnifying
mirror she realized. There was a walk-in closet, the door to the master bath and
two large dressers. On one dresser there were several framed photographs. She
crept in for a better look, at first noticing a photo of a beautiful woman holding
a baby. The photo next to it was the same woman, ten years later, Sara guessed,
with a young Grissom at her side. Neither subject was smiling; an aura of sadness
was captured in the slightly grainy image. The next photograph appeared to be
Grissom graduating from college with his mother at his side. The obvious love
between the two was almost palpable. Sara took a step to see the next photograph,
when she heard a noise from downstairs. Quickly she turned off the light and walked
down the staircase, clinging to the railing for dear life.
Grissom stood in
the doorway of the living room, leaning heavily on the doorframe, still dressed
in just his shorts. He was squinting in the direction of the television, hunched
over a little, trying to catch his breath. Sara scrambled for the remote control
and muted the TV. Reacting to the sudden silence, he looked at her, rubbing his
"Hey, can I get you anything?" Sara asked softly.
There was a long
pause before Grissom answered her.
"I just need to sit in here for a moment.
I can't.....I can't be in that room." He said, looking at the floor.
okay. Are you cold? Can I get you a bathrobe or a clean shirt?" Sara suggested.
"Thanks," Grissom said and sat on the leather sofa.
Sara looked at him for
a moment and decided that the bathrobe would be a better choice, even if it meant
going up those wretched stairs again. She put down her glass of wine on the breakfast
bar and trekked up the circular staircase into the master bedroom. Turning on
the lights, she walked to the bathroom door and opened it. She felt for the light
switch and when she flicked it was quite surprised. There was a large shower with
a nozzle on each side, a bathtub for four with Jacuzzi jets, and a double sink.
Definitely was here when he moved in, she decided. She grabbed Grissom's bathrobe
from the hook behind the door and headed down the stairs. Tossing the burgundy
bathrobe over her shoulder, she held the railing and the center post as she walked
down the stairs. The material on her shoulder also allowed her to smell the essence
of Grissom, himself, his shampoo, and soap smell, all melded. Reaching the last
step, she took one last deep breath, trying to commit his scent to memory. She
swung by the breakfast bar and retrieved her glass of wine before taking him his
bathrobe. Sara sighed and walked up to him. Grissom had turned the television
off and turned the stereo on at a low volume: cello music.
"Can you stand up
to put this on?" Sara asked, holding the bathrobe out.
She read the label as
the collar flipped back towards her. It was from a pricey store in Beverly Hills
and was one hundred percent silk. Ah, a gift from his mother, she thought.
think so, if you'll help me." Grissom said, looking up at her, his blue eyes bright
Sara helped him to his feet as he held onto her shoulders. Carefully,
she slipped his arms into the thin silk bathrobe. She pulled the belt taut and
helped him settle back onto the sofa. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes.
Sara reached for her wine and took a sip.
"Sara?" Grissom called softly.
Griss," She replied.
"If I forget, thank you," he whispered.
Grissom," Sara said, sitting on the sofa next to him.
Grissom interlaced his
fingers and placed his hands on his chest. His bathrobe opened to reveal his left
leg. Sara noticed the scars on his knee. I guess that accounts for his strange
gait, she thought. Sara sat back on the sofa, balancing the rocks glass easily
on her flat belly and listened to Grissom breathe. It was odd to be next to him,
with him dressed only in a pair of shorts and a silk bathrobe. She certainly had
fantasized about it enough. Sara looked at her watch; just two a.m. She felt the
tug of sleep, lulled by the soft dark tones of Yo-Yo Ma, and the steady breathing
of Grissom. Sara put her glass down on the table and sat back against the sofa.
Sara woke up slowly, at
first forgetting where she was. She was stretched out on the sofa, Grissom behind
her, spooning against her back. His left hand rested chastely on her belly, his
right arm tucked under his head. Judging by his breathing, he was still fast asleep.
Sara drifted, enjoying the quiet and the surreal position she now found herself
At seven, she carefully maneuvered herself from his arms so as not to wake
him and headed to the kitchen. She set up the coffeemaker and soon the first floor
was full of the smell of fresh coffee. She poured a mug and walked to the sofa.
Sitting on the coffee table, she stared at Grissom for a few moments. His face
was calm and peaceful; a look she hadn't seen on him in a long time.
Griss, time to get up," Sara whispered softly, bending to his level.
his eyes and looked at her. For a moment, neither one of them could break eye
contact. Closing his eyes, he slowly sat up, wary of sudden movements that might
reignite his headache. He opened his eyes quickly but the room began spinning
around him. Sara caught his right hand and squeezed it, steadying him.
you like some coffee before you shower?" Sara asked.
"Yes, please," Grissom
said, trying to focus on her.
Sara handed him the mug, handle first, not releasing
it until she was sure he was really holding on.
"Careful, it's hot," Sara warned.
Grissom nodded and carefully took a sip. He set his elbows on his knees and
pressed the meat of his left hand into his left eye, trying to ease the pain.
"When do I have to meet Brass?" Grissom asked.
"Nine, and it's about seven-fifteen,
now," Sara explained.
"Okay," Grissom replied, continuing to sip his coffee.
Sara went to the kitchen and poured herself a cup, adding a shot of milk. She
walked back into the living room and sat on the coffee table opposite him again.
They sat quietly. Sara watched his pale face, his eyes closed, while he sipped
his coffee. Finally, Grissom opened his eyes, put down his half empty mug, and
stood with a barely suppressed groan. Sara stood as well, putting a hand on his
"Where are you headed?" Sara asked.
"Upstairs for a shower," Grissom
replied, walking slowly to the staircase.
"Fine, if you insist on going up
the stairs of death, then I'll walk behind you." Sara quipped, her eyes sparkling
with a smile.
Sara walked behind him, placing her hands on his back gently;
more as a gesture of moral support than physical support. He reached the top of
the stairs, paused, and then walked into his bedroom.
"Can I bring you up your
clothes from yesterday?" Sara called out to him from the top of the steps.
that would be very helpful." Grissom said, over his shoulder.
down the stairs and retrieved his clothes. She headed back up the stairs and put
his trousers, shirt, and socks on the bed. She set his loafers on the floor and
walked to the bathroom door.
"Griss, you okay?" Sara called into the silent
room, wondering why he hadn't started the shower.
"Yeah, yeah, thanks," Grissom
"Can I make you any breakfast? Do you have an appetite yet?" Sara
"No thanks, not hungry," Grissom said, staring at his pale face in the
"Okay, well you'd better get the lead out with your shower or we're
going to be late." Sara said, jokingly.
"Right," Grissom agreed as he took
off his bathrobe and hung it carefully on the hook on the bathroom door.
dropped his shorts and stepped into the shower, groaning as the hot water hit
his back. Satisfied by the sound of running water, Sara headed downstairs to finish
her coffee. Half an hour later, Grissom appeared at the top of the stairs. He
looked better, but still very tired, and in a way, fragile.
"Can I heat up
your coffee?" Sara asked, looking up to him.
"That would be great, thanks,"
he said, walking down the stairs to the breakfast bar.
Grissom sat on a stool,
waiting patiently for the microwave to beep. Three minutes later, he was sipping
"How are you feeling now?" Sara asked.
"Let's just say that
sleeping off a migraine isn't really sleeping." Grissom said with a weak smile.
"Well then, we should get you to the P.D. for your ATSB meeting and then come
home to bed." Sara said.
As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she blushed
profusely. Grissom simply looked up at her and smiled.
"You know what I mean,"
Sara said, not meeting his gaze.
Grissom stood up and walked into the foyer
to gather his glasses, pager, and keys.
"Sara, do you know what happened to
my cell phone?" Grissom asked, walking back into the living room.
"In my pocket,
sorry, I forgot to put it back," Sara said, handing it to him.
Grissom said, slipping it into the pocket of his trousers.
"Are you ready?
I think I should drive." Sara said, tentatively, trying to figure out why he was
being so aloof.
"Yes and yes. This medication is new for me. I've taken it
twice before and each time the after effects are different." Grissom said.
"The first time, I couldn't hold anything down for almost a full
day. The second time, I was extremely sensitive to sensory stimulation." Grissom
Sara walked by him, not able to resist squeezing his shoulder in
sympathy. Grissom put on his sunglasses and followed her. He locked the door and
slowly walked down the stairs to the Tahoe. Sara had unlocked the doors electronically.
Grissom opened the passenger door and was bombarded with stuff falling out of
"Sorry, I wasn't expecting company." Sara apologized, taking the gym
bag from Grissom, who picked it up off of his feet.
"No problem, just a surprise."
Grissom replied, getting into the SUV.
Arriving at the police department, Sara put the car in park, but
kept the motor running.
"Grissom, I need to go shower and change." She explained,
"Call me or have Brass call me and I'll take you home."
"It's okay, Sara, this
is your time. Go home. I'll get a lift or I'll take a taxi." Grissom assured her,
resting his hand on hers.
Sara took a breath and squeezed his hand.
but if you need anything, please call." Sara said.
Grissom squeezed her hand
back and got out of the Tahoe. He stood for a moment and then took a deep breath
before walking into the building. Grissom flipped his ID card and clipped it to
his shirt as he walked to Brass's office, bumping into the hallway.
Gil, you look like hell." Brass greeted him, putting a comforting hand on his
"Thanks, Jim," Grissom said, with a small smile.
know what I mean. Are you gonna be able to do this?" Brass asked, his voice full
"Yeah, I'll be fine. Can I get a cup of coffee?" Grissom asked.
"Sure, go into my office, the ATSB boys are running late anyway. I'll get you
a cup of coffee." Brass said.
Brass watched his friend disappear
into his office, noticing the extreme care with which he moved his left leg. He
let out a sigh, and then hurried off to get the promised coffee.
returned, he was surprised to see Grissom standing instead of sitting in one of
the leather chairs by his desk. He handed him his cup of coffee and then sat down
behind his desk.
"You can sit, if you want to, you know." Brass said.
me get a bit more caffeine in me, if you don't mind." Grissom replied.
Brass said, sipping his coffee. "So Sara helped you last night?"
him a glare that was interrupted by a knock on the office door.
Brass said, cheerfully.
Grissom continued to glare at Brass as two men entered
"Hi, Ray Fowler, Tim Padgett, ATSB," A red headed man introduced
himself and his partner.
"Gil Grissom, Crime Lab," Grissom answered, shifting
his coffee cup to shake hands.
"Thanks for coming in. Capt. Brass explained
you're on nights." Padgett said, good-naturedly.
"Brass says you found the
cause of the crash?" Grissom asked, carefully sitting in the leather chair by
"Yes, it seems that the oxygen system didn't kick in properly."
Fowler answered, sitting as well.
"That wouldn't explain the pilot's burst
ear drum." Grissom noted dryly.
"If the plane dove steeply, that might have
blown his ear drum." Brass suggested.
"True, but I am unaware that any of the
passengers had that injury." Grissom noted.
"We'll type up the report and send
it to your lab." Fowler said, getting to his feet.
"You found no other problems
with the plane?" Grissom asked, standing slowly.
"No, nothing," Padgett said,
standing next to his partner by the door.
"I'll go speak with the coroner and
see what he's found out." Grissom said.
"I'll give you a lift, Gil." Brass
said, getting to his feet.
"Good to meet you," Padgett said.
here," Grissom replied.
Brass slowly out of the building to his Taurus.
"You are going home after you
see Doc Robbins, right?" Brass asked.
"That's the general plan, yes." Grissom
Jim unlocked the doors and the two friends got into the car. It was
a short drive to the Crime Lab, but it was already hot outside. Grissom strapped
in and firmly adjusted his sunglasses. Jim watched him out of the corner of his
eye throughout their silent trip and thought how utterly exhausted Grissom looked.
Jim stopped the car in the parking lot and Grissom exited the car without saying
a word, his mind focused elsewhere as he headed directly to the coroner's office.
"Come in," Doc Robbins answered to the loud knock on his door.
himself in and shut the door behind him.
"Hi," Grissom said tiredly, sitting
in the nearest chair.
"Hi, yourself, what are you doing here?" Al asked.
to talk to you, read the reports, and see the bodies on the Challenger 300 crash."
Grissom replied, removing his glasses to rub his eyes.
"Are you sure?" Al asked
"Yeah, I'm sure. The ATSB is about to release their report and I have
a hunch that their evidence and our evidence won't match." Grissom said.
then, your energy and time's a wasting. Let's not allow these bodies to wait!"
Doc Robbins said.
He stood and picked up his crutches. Doc Robbins walked towards
the door with Grissom in his wake. They entered the outer Morgue room and put
on their scrubs and gloves. When Doc opened the door to the morgue, Grissom was
momentarily struck by all four bodies laid out in the same room. Doc Robbins continued
to the far body.
"Let's start with the pilot. Jeffrey Stephens, thirty-five,
employed as alternate pilot for Handco Inc. Normal facial lacerations, consistent
with impact to the windscreen, bruising on the chest from his harness. Then there's
the ear drum," Doc Robbins said, looking across the body to Grissom.
leaned over and looked at the ear.
"No outward sign of injury. He was sitting
left seat, though, correct?" Grissom asked.
"I don't know that for sure. Both
seats were dislodged on impact." Doc Robbins said.
"Any signs of hypoxia?"
"No, none," Doc Robbins replied.
Grissom just stared at the
pilot's body. Doc Robbins moved to the next form, pulling back the sheet.
next vic is Mark Garvey, forty-three, CEO of Handco, Inc.," Doc Robbins reported.
"COD?" Grissom asked, lifting an eyebrow.
"Blunt force trauma, I'd say,
something beefy, hammer or another tool." Doc Robbins said.
"A hammer?" Grissom
asked, looking at the wound.
"Yeah, not the claw end but the head." Doc explained.
Grissom looked over the body, paying particular attention to the hands. The
victim's right ring and pinkie finger had been broken ante mortem.
else?" Grissom asked.
"Yeah, did you notice his nail beds?" Doc Robbins asked.
Grissom looked closely and saw small black stripes across the victim's nails.
He shifted his glance to Al, raising an eyebrow.
"I checked the heart. This
guy was one Big Mac away from a massive MI." Doc Robbins said.
convinced that he died from a hit on the head and not a heart attack." Grissom
clarified for his tired brain.
"I'll know better when I get the results from
tox." Doc Robbins assured him, breaking away from that table. "This brings us
to Sally Ann Garvey, thirty-nine, stay at home mom. Cause of death, blunt force
trauma to her torso." Doc Robbins said.
He pulled back the sheet and Grissom
saw a formerly beautiful blonde woman.
"Wait," Grissom said, walking back to
the husband's body.
He looked at Mark Garvey's waist and hips and saw no evidence
of bruising. Grissom looked up at Doc Robbins.
"They weren't strapped in,"
he announced, looking over the top of his glasses to Doc Robbins.
they weren't." Doc said softly. "The only ones who were strapped in was their
son, Aaron, and the pilot."
Grissom strode back to Mrs. Garvey's body. His
eyebrows were knitted in concentration. He pursed his lips in thought and tilted
his head slightly. Carefully, he pulled the sheet all the way to her feet and
stared at her. He studied her face closely.
"Plastic surgery," Grissom commented.
He pulled back her lips and noticed near perfect teeth. Grissom opened her
eyelid and found hyper tinted contact lenses.
"What did you find on x-ray?"
Grissom asked, not breaking his eyes away.
"Previous breaks of both forearms,
various bones in both hands, left orbit, and various ribs." Doc Robbins recited
"The plastic surgery and dental work were out of necessity, not
vanity." Grissom whispered.
The room was quiet except for the hum of the lights
and air systems. Grissom's breathing increased as Doc Robbins walked to the boy's
"Our last victim, Aaron Garvey, age eight," Doc intoned, looking at the
child as he pulled back the sheet.
Grissom took one look at the blonde boy
on the table and started to hyperventilate. He stepped away from the gurney, but
couldn't take his eyes off the body.
"Gil? Gil?" Doc Robbins asked, walking
to him, standing to block his view.
Grissom continued to back away. Doc Robbins
walked towards him and Grissom backed up to the wall, hyperventilating. Without
warning, his left leg gave way and he sank to the floor. Grissom lowered his head
onto his hands resting on his bent right knee. Doc Robbins picked up the phone
and called the front desk.
"Page Sara Sidle and Captain Brass, have them report
to the morgue immediately." Doc said.
Hanging up the phone, Doc Robbins rolled
a chair to be near Grissom and started to talk to him in a quiet voice. A short
time later, Sara walked in.
"You wanted to see me, Doc?" Sara asked, standing
just inside the door.
She looked around and didn't see them at first. Quickly
she ran over and knelt by Grissom.
"What happened?" She asked, touching Grissom's
shoulder, looking at Doc.
"I'm not sure; he was fine until we got to the child.
Then he started to hyperventilate and then he collapsed." Doc Robbins said softly.
Sara stood and went to the child. There was heavy bruising on his chest from
the seat belt. Sara rolled him gently and saw scars across his back.
notes in Griss's inbox?" Sara asked, still looking at the child.
"All right, this case has him exhausted. I'm taking him home." Sara
said, shifting her gaze to Doc.
At that moment, Jim Brass rushed in.
happened?" Jim asked, crouching near Grissom.
"He collapsed when he saw the
boy." Doc said.
"I thought something like this might happen. Gil? Gil? Time
to get movin' buddy. Sara's going to take you home." Jim said softly, placing
his hands on his shoulders.
Grissom raised his head from his hands and looked
at him. The pain in his eyes was evident. Sara got under one arm as Jim got under
the other. They got him to his feet.
"Are you hurt? Can you walk under your
own steam?" Sara asked.
"I thought you went home." Grissom said, looking at
her and then wiping his sleeve across his face. "Yeah, I'm fine."
parked out back," Sara said, as she slid her arm around his waist.
need to talk. Grissom noticed some things that you may want to investigate further."
Doc Robbins said, standing.
"Sure, Doc. Sara, call me later, please." Jim said,
as he watched them maneuver out of the room.
Sara helped Grissom into her Tahoe and got in quickly. His head was resting
on the headrest and his eyes were closed. She reached over and pulled the shoulder
strap across his body, securing it. Sara started the engine and headed for Grissom's
townhouse as quickly as she dared.
They arrived a short time later but Grissom
didn't move. Sara got out of the car and walked around to his side. She opened
the door and disconnected his shoulder strap.
"Come on, Griss, we're home."
Sara said, carefully touching his shoulder.
He got out of the car slowly and
headed up the stairs. Sara followed behind him in case he became dizzy again.
He unlocked the front door and started to divest himself of his office trappings;
ID, cell phone, pager, keys, glasses, and dark glasses. Without a word he moved
to the sofa, kicked off his loafers, and lay down on his stomach, his head turned
to the wall, resting on his folded arms. Sara noticed the tremors of his body.
She walked towards him and sat on the edge of the sofa. Very gently, Sara reached
out and started to caress his shoulders. At first he stiffened but then he relaxed,
eventually falling asleep.
Sara went into the kitchen, retrieved a bottle of
water, calling Brass on her cell phone.
"Brass," he answered.
Sara," she said, leaning against the counter.
"How is he?" Jim asked.
now, but you saw him. He's exhausted and he hasn't had a real meal since, well,
I don't really know." Sara said.
"I spoke to Doc Robbins. Grissom hinted that
the female vic showed signs of battery." Jim said.
"I saw the boy, Brass, and
I could say the same thing." Sara said.
"So how does a man die of a hammer
wound on a plane?" Jim mused.
"We need to look at the evidence and see what
it tells us." Sara said.
"Well we'd better do it fast. The ATSB is issuing
their report tomorrow and Grissom doesn't believe it." Jim said.
I need to stay here with Griss. Catherine and the boys will have to follow the
evidence." Sara said.
"Call me later," Jim said.
"I will, bye," Sara said.
"Bye," Jim replied.
her water and walked back into the living room. Grissom was getting restless again,
so she started rubbing his back. He calmed down immediately. This routine went
on for several hours until she fell asleep against the sofa.
hungry and tired. He tried to focus on his watch, but gave up. He sat up and swung
his feet to the floor. Grissom wasn't entirely surprised to see Sara in his apartment
but he couldn't figure out why she was asleep on his floor. He got up and walked
to the bathroom. Shutting the door behind him, Grissom looked at himself in the
mirror. He looked tired, which was no surprise, but he also looked haunted. The
dark circles under his bloodshot eyes and the pallor beneath his beard indicated
something else. He sighed and washed his face with cold water. Grissom left the
bathroom and went to the kitchen. He stared at the microwave and read that the
time was four o'clock. His stomach rumbled again as he removed eggs, cheese and
milk to make a large batch of scrambled eggs. He pulled a bottle of water from
the fridge and drank it greedily. It was then he noticed the note on the counter
in a familiar handwriting.
G, feed your pets. S
and walked into his back room. He opened the door and grinned at the greeting
from the cockroaches. Grissom shut the door and turned on the lights. Humming
faintly, he fed the various creatures. Grissom sat at the drafting board and made
notes, then quickly sketched each insect. He felt a calm that seemed unfamiliar.
Grissom picked up his sketchbook and walked out to the living room. Sara was still
asleep. He sat quietly in the leather club chair and began to sketch her form.
Sara woke up a short time later to an odd noise. She looked over and was surprised
to see Grissom sketching, humming to himself.
"Hi," she said cautiously.
Grissom replied, setting down his pencil and closing his notebook. "Thanks for
the note. The cockroaches were hungry."
"You're welcome," Sara said, tilting
her head to relieve the pressure in her neck.
"Are you hungry? I was about
to make a pile of scrambled eggs with cheese." Grissom asked.
great." Sara replied.
"Great," Grissom answered and headed to the kitchen.
Sara picked up the remote and pointed it at the stereo. The townhouse was again
filled with cello music. She stood up, went to the breakfast bar, sat on a stool
and watched Grissom cook.
"Water or coffee?" Grissom asked.
"I'd love some
coffee, please." Sara answered.
"Okay," Grissom replied.
Sara smiled and
watched him multitask; making coffee while scrambling eggs. She was also impressed
when he insisted on using cloth napkins.
"Voila!" Grissom said with a flourish,
handing her a full plate of scrambled eggs and coffee the colour she liked it.
"Thank you," Sara said, taking the plate and mug from him.
Sara took a forkful,
swallowed and smiled.
"This is great, Griss," Sara said.
replied, sitting next to her.
"How did you learn how to cook, or is this the
only dish you can make?" Sara asked.
"I was a short order cook in high school
and college." Grissom said, taking a forkful of egg.
"You won scholarships
all the way through school," Sara contested, reaching over to remove a small piece
of cheese from his beard.
"I was saving that," Grissom growled with a smile.
"Yeah, sure," Sara replied, grinning.
"You're right, I did win scholarships,
but they didn't pay for birthday presents or bar tabs or just plain stuff." Grissom
Sara ate in silence, trying to judge his mood.
"Griss, I need
you to talk to me. I think I understand how you feel about this case, but I need-"
Sara said, looking over at him.
"Sara, I can't," Grissom said, interrupting
He stood abruptly and moved to look at his butterflies on the far wall.
Sara walked up behind him silently. She put her hands on his shoulders, feeling
an involuntary shudder. Carefully, she turned him to face her. She looked at his
body language; his arms hung at his sides, his weight was shifted to his right,
and he was staring at the floor.
"Griss?" Sara asked, placing her hand on his
chin and tipping his head so he would look at her.
His blue eyes were pale
and watery. He looked everywhere but at her. She felt the build-up in his muscles
as she watched his face darken. His eyes turned dark blue and he pulled out of
her grasp, walking quickly to the lab room, closing the door behind him.
sighed and wiped the tears that had edged out of her eyes. It was five o'clock;
she needed to shower and try to get in another nap in before she headed in for
work. Sara put the dishes in the sink and cleaned up the kitchen. She took a piece
of paper and wrote Grissom a quick note before heading to the door.
Grissom called, as he walked into the living room directly to the stereo.
Griss," She answered, turning to look at him.
"Would you give me a lift? It's
on your way home." Grissom asked over his shoulder as he retrieved two cds.
was as if the previous conversation had never happened. She was too exhausted
to try to figure him out right now.
"Sure," Sara said, turning around and walking
out the front door to her car.
Grissom picked up his glasses, keys, pager,
phone, and his cds before putting on his sunglasses. He followed Sara outside,
locking his front door. The heat was oppressive and by the time he got to the
Tahoe, his shirt was sticking to him.
"Let me get my kit out of my car." Grissom
said, unlocking the Denali.
He retrieved his kit and put in the back of Sara's
Tahoe before getting settled into the passenger seat. He tried to be calm as he
gave Sara directions. He knew for today, for him to go back to work tonight, he
needed to do this. He just wasn't positive how he would feel afterwards. A short
time later, Sara pulled up in front of a six-story office building. Grissom unclipped
his shoulder harness, leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. He got out of the
car and leaned his head back in.
"Thanks again, Sara. See you at work." Grissom
said, removing his sunglasses so she could see his eyes.
Grissom replaced his
sunglasses, shut the door and entered the anonymous building. Sara was speechless,
confused, exhausted, and pleased. A short time ago, it seemed he didn't even register
she existed. Now he spoke to her, kissed her on the cheek, and made her breakfast.
Things were looking up, she thought. She put the car in gear and drove home.
Grissom took the slow elevator to the fourth floor and rang the bell on the
shiny black door. A vibration ran through the door as the electrical circuit was
made and he opened the door, stepping into the office. He was greeted by a small
older man, dressed in a loose black shirt with matching black trousers.
Grissom, I was so pleased that you called today." The man said, extending his
Grissom took it and shook it slowly, not breaking eye contact with the
"Dr. Wu, I'm happy that you were able to fit me into your schedule."
"Please, let's get started." Dr. Wu said, walking through
The door was painted a dark red. Dr. Wu opened it easily and turned
on a soft diffused light. Grissom handed him the cds and started to remove and
turn off his electronics. He knew they probably wouldn't work in the office anyway,
but he couldn't be disturbed. Dr. Wu closed the door behind him, giving Grissom
his privacy. Grissom stripped to his shorts, carefully folding his clothes on
a chair. He lay down on his back on the table and closed his eyes, starting his
relaxation techniques. The room was comfortable, neither hot nor cold. Silently
Dr. Wu reentered the room. He walked up to the table and put one hand on Grissom's
shoulder. The other hand started to touch other parts of his body. Grissom's breathing
was slow and controlled. Dr. Wu removed his right hand to find the remote and
turn on Grissom's music. The lilting cello filled the room. Dr. Wu smiled and
returned to his patient. For the next ten minutes, Dr. Wu traced the twelve meridians,
feeling the blockage that was trapping Grissom. Dr. Wu had a clear vision of his
treatment and started to insert the acupuncture needles. It had been several months
since Grissom had come for treatment and Dr. Wu was concerned at his condition.
His body was at odds with itself; he was out of balance.
Grissom was floating,
feeling the subtle pressures as Dr. Wu located the correct point and inserted
the first needle. Dr. Wu started at his ankles and worked his way up, finishing
with his scalp. He used the remote again to dim the lights to almost nothing.
He sat in a chair, listening to the haunting cello.
Fifteen minutes later,
Dr. Wu stood silently and lit the moxa punk stick. He walked around Grissom and
heated different needles. His patient had fallen asleep. Dr. Wu knew this wasn't
always a calming sleep. More often than not, it was the preamble to the storm.
He reached for a restraint that slid across Grissom's hips and quietly secured
it. He did the same with Grissom's wrists and ankles, careful not to dislodge
any needles in the process. He looked at the piece of paper on the table near
Grissom's head, and smiled sadly at the number written on it; two hundred and
one. The number of needles he had to put in Grissom's body to try to restore the
flow of chi.
Dr. Wu sat again in a chair by the table watching the subtle changes
of Grissom's skin as the pathways became clear. Grissom became restless, a sheen
of perspiration breaking out on his chest and face. Dr. Wu reached out and massaged
his face, manipulating the energy channels. Grissom calmed immediately but became
agitated a short time later.
Dr. Wu knew when he shook hands with Grissom that
this was going to be longer than the ninety minutes that Grissom had reserved.
He cleared his schedule, knowing that he would have to be hands on, doing bodywork,
moxibustion as well as acupuncture to try to get Grissom a little peace.
The music had started to play through for a second time. Grissom
had been at the acupuncturist for just over two hours. Dr. Wu left the room to
prepare some tea and herbs for him. He walked back in the room and raised the
lighting level slightly.
"Gil? It's time," Dr. Wu said, softly.
opened his eyes and smiled. He was still tired but the anxiety that threatened
to overcome him was gone. Dr. Wu removed the restraints.
"How many?" Grissom
"Two hundred and one," Dr. Wu said, starting to remove the needles as
Grissom kept count.
It was practical and it was also a relaxation exercise
that Dr. Wu used to bring his patient back to full consciousness slowly; the counting
of the needles.
"The last one. Get dressed and come into the study, please."
Dr. Wu instructed, again leaving Grissom alone.
Grissom stood slowly and rubbed
the chafe marks on his hands. He looked at his ankles and pulled down the band
of his shorts and saw the same marks. Leather restraints, he would have to advise
Dr. Wu on the merits of nylons, silk nylons, Grissom thought with a smirk.
got dressed and walked into the study. Dr. Wu waited patiently for him to sit
next to him in the other chair. He poured Grissom a cup of tea and then he poured
one for himself. They sipped their tea silently; Grissom felt the heat pour into
his body. At the end of the second cup, he felt his energy return and his fatigue
"I have some herbs for you to take. The instructions are on the
bag. You are still conflicted, Gil. The herbs will help somewhat but you know
what you have to do." Dr. Wu said.
"Yes, I have to confront that which is trying
to destroy me." Grissom said, softly.
"Musashi?" Dr. Wu asked.
They finished the pot of tea. Grissom stood and gathered his small
bag of herbs as well as his cds. They walked out to the hallway and the front
"One day at a time. You have my numbers." Dr. Wu said.
you, Dr. Wu." Grissom said, shaking his hand and bowing as well.
welcome, Dr. Grissom." Dr. Wu said, returning the tradition.
Grissom walked out of the building and turned on his cell phone; no messages.
He hailed a taxi and went straight to the lab. Stopping by reception, he picked
up a large stack of messages before heading to his office. He unlocked the door,
walked in, and shut the door behind him. He turned on the lamp at his desk to
the lowest level, fished out his cds, and put one in. Strains of Bach in G Minor
filled the office as he sat at his desk and started to work.
There was a knock
on the door, but Grissom didn't hear it. The door opened and a figure slipped
in. The person settled in the leather chair in front of Grissom's desk and waited.
Grissom raised his head away from the report he was reading to see Sara sitting
quietly in front of him.
"Hi," Grissom said, keeping his eyes locked on hers,
lowering the volume on the CD player.
"Hi, you look better. How are you feeling?"
Sara asked, sitting forward in her chair.
"I'm feeling better, thanks." Grissom
"We need assignments," Sara nudged gently.
"Actually, there are no
new cases right now, so I'd like to get brought up to speed on the Challenger
300 case. Can you gather the troops and we'll meet in say, ten minutes in the
break room?" Grissom asked.
"Sure," Sara said, standing.
said, returning his gaze to the report in front of him.
Sara shook her head
slightly and left his office. She walked into the break room where the rest of
the team, except Greg, sat patiently.
"Grissom wants us to get all of our data
together and meet him here in ten to discuss the Challenger 300 case. I'll go
get Greg." Sara said, and left the room.
Grissom gathered his files, his herbs, and his favourite mug from the Discovery
Channel and walked to the break room. He put the files down in front of his normal
spot and took the herbs and his mug to the counter. He pulled a tea ball out of
his pocket and opened up the paper bag. Inside were five small zip lock bags with
different herbs. He opened up the tea ball and for five minutes carefully put
herbs in it. The other Crime Lab members walked in with their files and sat down,
watching the shift supervisor pay exclusive attention to the making of what appeared
to be a very special cup of tea. Finally, the tea ball was full and Grissom gently
placed it in his cup. He poured hot water into the cup, filling it. He watched
as the magic opaque black boxes on the sides of his cup cleared to reveal different
bugs. Grissom cleaned his mess on the counter, gathered his herbs, picked up his
cup of tea, and sat down to face the team.
"First of all, sorry to have missed
the shift. Thanks for taking up the slack, Catherine. Now, care to walk me through
it?" Grissom asked, putting on his glasses.
Catherine looked across the table
at him, smiled and started her brief.
"The plane was three years old, custom-built
in Canada for Handco Inc. The maintenance logs seem to be in order." Catherine
"What about the pilot? He was the alternate?" Grissom asked, his left
hand surrounding his tea cup.
"Yeah, the chief pilot was at his sister's wedding
in Miami." Nick inserted.
"Okay, go on," Grissom instructed.
on to talk about the weather for the flight and mundane things. Grissom started
looking at the file set out in front of him. There was something there, something
he was missing that was in front of him. He picked up his pen and started to draw
on the blank pad next to him.
"Grissom? Do you have any questions?" Catherine
"Thousands, what about the condition of the plane." Grissom asked dryly.
"They had a black box on the jet because it was a public corporation. According
to its records, the flight started out normally, leaving McLaren on time. Thirty
minutes into the flight, something happened and the plane started to lose pressure.
It was about 18,000 feet up. The pilot was able to keep it together until the
plane was about five hundred feet off the deck. Then it sort of glided to the
desert floor." Warrick replied.
Grissom looked at his file and found the tear
sheet for the BD-100 Challenger 300.
"That makes no sense. The Challenger 300
is for the long haul. Its cruising altitude was 41,000 feet and the cruising speed
was 850 km/h. After thirty minutes they should have been much higher and much
further out. Where were they headed?" Grissom asked.
"Flight plan had them
headed to Hawaii." Warrick answered.
"Where is the plane now?" Grissom asked.
"ATSB approved it to stay at McLaren in a hangar on the south end of the field."
"All right, continue," Grissom said, making a note on his
"The pilot died from blunt force trauma consistent with a plane crash."
"Tox screen negative for any drugs or alcohol." Greg said.
"But?" Grissom asked, starting to feel a foreboding.
"But he hadn't
eaten in twelve hours at least before the flight." Greg said.
his tea and felt a revival of sorts.
"The flight to Hawaii is eight hours from
L.A., right? How can you fly a plane on an empty stomach?" Sara asked.
what does that have to do with his blown ear drum?" Warrick asked.
to look into, keep going Catherine." Grissom said, trying to stay focused.
older male victim died from a blow to the head. We didn't recover any weapon at
the scene." Catherine said.
"I found trace amounts of nitroglycerine in his
system as well as Viagra." Greg offered.
"Remind me where he was found." Grissom
asked, looking down at his files, ignoring him.
"The Challenger 300 seats eight
passengers in two columns of four with a center aisle. We found him against the
cockpit door. The seat belts for all but three of the seats were clipped to themselves.
He was seated in either 1R or 1L. His wife sat across from him." Sara said, pointing
to the enlarged cabin layout tacked onto the wall.
Catherine looked at Grissom.
His right hand sketched something; his left hand pinched the top of his nose.
Not another migraine, she thought.
"The female victim was also found against
the cockpit door." Catherine said, trying to move things along.
came back positive for alcohol and cocaine." Greg added.
"They weren't strapped
in. The plane had been in the air for thirty minutes and in that time both adults
removed their seat belts." Grissom said, in a low voice.
Everyone looked at
him. They knew that tone. He was at the crime scene in his mind, running it over
and over again, trying to get the loose pieces to fit the puzzle.
again to the voice data recorder and see if I can pick anything up." Nick offered.
Grissom nodded and sipped his tea again, knowing it was coming.
victim was found still strapped into his seat." Catherine said, looking through
her notes for something.
"He was suffocated." Grissom said, suddenly.
yes, Doc found petechial hemorrhaging," Catherine said, surprised.
thing, I found Zoloft in his system." Greg said.
"The elder male victim?" Grissom
"No, the youngest one," Greg said, softly. "Enough to make him almost
catatonic," Greg said.
Sara looked at Grissom. His eyes were dark blue as he
drank his tea. The knuckles on his right hand were white and his left hand was
clenched in a fist. Uncomfortable, the lab team looked elsewhere. It took Grissom
five minutes to get a hold of his emotions.
"Nick, you're listening to the
cockpit tape. Warrick, find out more about the pilot. Catherine, find out which
parent had the Zoloft prescription. Also find out more about the company. Something's
not right. Sara, you and I are going back to the plane. In case you haven't heard,
the ATSB is publishing their findings tomorrow at some point. The only thing they
found wrong with the plane is that the oxygen system did not activate properly.
That means that we have to find out what went on in that plane before the oxygen
system failed." Grissom said, standing.
The other members of the team stood
as well and collected their papers. They left Sara and Grissom alone in the break
room as he tried to collate his files.
"Can I carry anything for you?" Sara
"Thanks, Sara. Would you grab my pad and tea cup?" Grissom asked.
"Sure," Sara said, picking up his pad and putting it on top of her file, she
followed him into his office.
"Can you give me ten minutes, Sara? I'll meet
you at the car." Grissom asked, as he put his files on his desk.
I help you?" Sara asked, putting the pad and cup on his desk.
I'm fine." Grissom said, looking up at her.
She could see some of the anxiety
had returned to his face but didn't call him on it.
"Meet you in ten, then,"
Sara said, with a grin.
"Thanks, Sara," Grissom replied, smiling back.
left his office and he tried to organize the file. He looked at his pad and noticed
that he had drawn a sketch of his mother's face. Carefully, he folded the paper
and tore it on the folds, revealing just the quick sketch. He put it on his desk.
Quickly, Grissom emptied everything out of his shirt pockets and went to the locker
room. He pulled a towel and started the cold water in the shower. He shucked his
shirt off and stuck his head under the cold water for a few moments. He stood
up and shook his head.
"Hey," Greg yelped at the water raining down on him.
"Sorry, Greg, didn't see you there." Grissom said, draping the towel over his
shoulders, holding on to the ends.
"No problem, boss. I just wanted to say
that your tea would be more effective if you had hotter water. In the future call
me in the lab and I'll heat it up and let it steep properly for you." Greg said,
Grissom looked at him and saw a different man; not the puppy playing
obnoxious music, bleeding energy, but a caring adult.
"Thanks, Greg. I have
to get going." Grissom said, walking to his locker.
Greg leaned over and picked
up Grissom's dirty shirt.
"Just wanted you to know that I understand and I
just want to help." Greg said, looking at his mentor.
Grissom opened his locker,
and in an uncharacteristic move, put the towel over the locker door. Standing
bare-chested, he reached in for a clean shirt and slid his arms into it. Turning
around, he faced Greg, who handed him his dirty shirt.
"Thanks," Grissom said,
taking the shirt touching the younger man's hand for a moment.
"Gotta go, backed
up with Ecklie's stuff." Greg said, with a small smile as he left the locker room.
Grissom hung his dirty shirt up, removed the towel, closed his locker and walked
to the mirror, buttoning his shirt. Nothing too amiss, he thought, looking at
his wet curls. He tossed the towel into the hamper and hurried to his office.
He grabbed his windbreaker, his file, his glasses, and carefully folded his sketch
of his mother, placing it in his shirt pocket. He walked out of his office, letting
the door lock behind him, and met Sara in the employee's lot. Sara electronically
unlocked her Tahoe and they both got in.
"Griss, would you get me a water out
of the cooler?" Sara asked, backing out of the parking space, heading for the
"Sure," Grissom said, reaching into the small cooler at his feet.
He opened the bottle and handed it to her, putting the top in the cup holder
on his side. He sat back in his seat and tried to focus. It was midnight, according
to the clock on the dashboard and he was already tired. His phone rang, and he
shifted to retrieve it.
"Grissom," he answered.
"Hi, it's Jim. How are you
doing?" he asked.
"I'm fine. Sara and I are on our way out to the crime scene.
What do you know?" Grissom asked.
"Plenty, I have some time. I'll meet you
over there. Need anything?" Brass asked.
"Sara, Jim wants to know if you need
anything." Grissom asked.
"You need a grande drip, if he can swing past a Starbucks."
Sara said, concentrating on the road.
"You hear that?" Grissom asked, grinning.
"You got it, see you soon." Jim said.
"Bye," Grissom replied, hanging up
and putting his phone away.
the airport grounds and drove to the hangar where the Handco plane was stored.
Grissom got out of the Tahoe, retrieved his kit, flashed his badge and went in,
Sara at his side. A portable staircase had been brought in as well as an external
generator to run the plane's lighting and air systems. Grissom took a breath and
climbed the steep stairs entering the plane, most of which had been reassembled
on a scaffold. He walked inside a few feet to allow Sara access before carefully
setting his kit down. He opened his kit and put on his gloves. Sara did the same.
They started aft and worked their way forward. Brass arrived about thirty minutes
into their search. He stood in the doorway and watched them move. It was so graceful,
almost as if they were in water. Grissom shifted to the left and so did Sara,
always maintaining a certain distance between them. Grissom dropped to his knees
suddenly and then lay on the floor, looking under one of the seats.
are you okay?" Sara asked, dropping to her knees beside him.
He edged on his
back under the seat and reached up to retrieve something. Carefully he handed
out to Sarah the body of a ratcheting wrench.
"One murder weapon down." Grissom
dead panned as he carefully stood.
He looked down for a moment and realized
what row he was in; back row starboard.
"I have your coffee at the bottom of
the stairs, why don't you take a break?" Jim suggested.
"You go ahead; I'm
going to look at the cockpit." Sara said.
"The ear drum," Grissom reminded
"The ear drum," she echoed.
Grissom followed Brass down the stairs,
careful not to touch anything. He removed his gloves and tossed them into the
garbage container, then accepted the hot beverage.
"Man, you really had me
worried this morning." Jim admitted.
"I'm sorry," Grissom replied.
you call your Mom?" Jim asked.
"No, it would only worry her as well." Grissom
said, turning to walk away a bit. "Jesus Christ, Jim, every day for almost forty
years, I've buried these memories. I understand what brought them back, I just
didn't understand how strong and vivid they were."
"Sara said you went somewhere
this afternoon. You certainly look rested." Jim said, leaning against a laden
"Thanks," Grissom said, turning to look at him.
"You know, I
am an investigator, I will find out." Jim said, smiling.
"It's not a secret,
it's just private." Grissom said.
"Hey, Griss, can you come up here?" Sara
said, sticking her head out the door.
"Thanks for the coffee, Jim," Grissom
said, tossing the cup in the garbage.
"Take care, Gil. Call me when you need
to talk." Jim said, standing at the bottom of the stairs as Grissom climbed them.
Grissom kept walking, raising his hand in acknowledgement.
"What do you have?" Grissom asked, regloving.
"Well, we know the pilot was
strapped into his seat. We also know that both seats were ripped from their moorings.
Take a look at this," Sara said, shining her flashlight under the seat's framework.
"Is that blood?" Grissom asked.
"Yes, positive for blood. I'm thinking that
this may be the other male vic's murder scene." Sara said.
"Very good, so the
victim is sitting in the left seat, which means he's flying the plane." Grissom
said, reaching for his phone.
"Willows," she answered.
"Cath, it's Gil,
did the male vic have a pilot's license?" Grissom asked.
"I don't know but
I'll find out." Catherine said.
"Thanks, bye." Grissom said.
replied, hanging up the phone.
Just as he was putting the phone away it rang
"Grissom," he answered.
"Grissom, it's Nick. Ya gotta listen to this
copy of the voice recorder tape." Nick said, excitedly.
"Yeah, Sara just figured
it out. The male vic was murdered in the cockpit." Grissom said, rocking his head
to crack his neck.
"Well, yeah, but there's much more," Nick said, slightly
"Nick, we're still processing." Grissom said, looking at his
watch. "We should be back at the lab in two hours or so." He said, looking at
Sara for agreement.
She looked at her watch, one o'clock and nodded to him
before returning to her hands and knees looking for evidence in the cramped cockpit.
"Okay, man, see you then." Nick said.
"Right, bye," Grissom replied hanging
up his phone.
Grissom took a deep breath
and sighed. He walked back into the main compartment and stood, his back to the
cockpit. He let his mind start to recreate the scene. The child, sipping juice
spiked with Zoloft, the wife alone with her thoughts in the cabin, her abusive
husband in the cockpit with the pilot. He reached into his kit and regloved. Grissom
walked to the back of the plane and squatted, tilting his head, getting perspective.
He leaned over to his knees and carefully started to examine the carpet under
the back row of seats. Then he examined the seats themselves. The seat the child
was in had a sticky residue on the arm rest. Grissom planted his hand on the arm
rest to stand but felt a hand on his shoulder.
"What do you need?" Sara asked.
"Another swab, there's a residue on the armrest of this seat." Grissom said,
taking it from her.
He swabbed it and handed the swab back. Turning his flashlight
on, he looked again, combing the seat pocket for anything. He found a cocktail
napkin with a sketch and put it in his pocket.
"Griss, what is that?" Sara
"Nothing," he said, continuing his painful hands and knees search.
that's evidence. What did you pick up?" Sara said loudly.
Grissom sat back
on his heels and carefully pulled the cocktail napkin from his pocket and smoothed
it out on the leather seat. It was a child's sketch of a woman, presumably his
mother. The woman was not smiling, indeed she looked sad. Grissom waited a moment
and then reached slowly back into his shirt pocket for the other piece of paper.
He put it side by side with the first one. Aside from technique, they were identical,
a boy's sketch of his sad mother. Sara gently took both images, folded them on
their fold lines and placed them into Grissom's hand. He couldn't look at her,
he didn't trust himself. She squeezed his shoulder and walked to the cockpit door
to reexamine it. Grissom wiped his face on his shirt, put the sketches into his
shirt pocket and resumed his search.
He arrived at the first row, finding nothing
"Why didn't she strap the body into a seat?" Sara said, looking at him.
"I mean, I wouldn't want to look at the body for the whole flight, and I certainly
wouldn't want to deal with it during a run of turbulence."
"Maybe that's when
the plane started down so she couldn't get him secured." Grissom said, slowly
getting to his feet.
His back hurt, his knees hurt, the fatigue was returning,
and also a small headache. He walked to an unoccupied seat and sat down heavily,
his left hand covering his eyes. He listened and heard a muffled noise. Removing
his hand he listened again and looked at the side bulkheads. There were storage
areas and vents for the air system. He stood quickly and walked to where the boy
had been sitting. He removed the grill and trained his flashlight into the hole.
Carefully he removed a small pillow. He brought it to his face and smelled shampoo
and juice. Sara held a bag for him and he dropped the pillow into it. Two for
two, he thought.
"Am I missing anything, Sara?" Grissom asked, walking again
to the back of the plane.
"I don't think there's anything else the plane can
tell us. Now we have to look at the evidence and what led up to the trip to Hawaii."
Sara said, looking down the plane at him.
"Let's pack up and head back to the
lab." Grissom said, tiredly.
They walked down the stairs and stopped to remove
their gloves. Grissom saw something and set his kit down. He turned on his flashlight
and walked away from Sara to a piece of the fuselage, lying on its side. Grissom
squatted down and looked closely at something.
"Sara, what do you make of this?"
Grissom called to her.
Sara walked to his side quickly following the beam of
"Looks like scarring what is that?" Sara asked.
sure but it has nothing to do with routine maintenance. Can you take photos? I
want to call Brass." Grissom said, standing.
He pulled his phone out and speed
dialed number five.
"Brass," he answered.
"Hi, it's me. Can you come back
out to the hangar? I think I found something the ATSB boys missed." Grissom said,
having a hard time containing his excitement.
"I'm on my way," Brass said,
hanging up the phone.
"He's on his way," Grissom shrugged, putting his phone
back in his pocket.
He pulled out his flashlight again and started another
search. After finding two more anomalies, he walked back to the staircase and
brought his kit closer. He started laying out the numbered cards so Sara could
properly take photos. Thirty minutes later, Brass arrived.
"Whoa, what's going
on here, Gil?" Brass asked as he quickly counted ten yellow cards.
look and you tell me." Grissom said, handing him his flashlight and stepping back.
Brass took a look and noticed the oxygen system. He looked closer and saw the
neatly cut hose. He looked further and saw other elements of the plane, steel
cables, electrical circuits, and cables all with damage to them; damage that could
not necessarily be attributed to a plane crash.
"Catalog this carefully, Sara.
This ties in to what Nick heard on the tape. I'm going to call the ATSB boys."
Jim said, walking away.
"Jim," Grissom called, tilting his head as he did when
he was deep in thought. "Had you met those ATSB guys before?" he asked.
come off it, Gil. You're really pulling at straws now. I admit there is some evidence
that they didn't catch, but this is not a conspiracy." Jim stopped to speak to
him, then continued to make his way to his car.
"So what, if it's cops they
can't be wrong?" Grissom said snidely, walking after him.
"Not on my watch,
no they can't. But, hey, what do you know? You have no idea what goes on in your
lab. Rules are broken left and right and you have no idea. You're too insulated.
You see nothing and you feel nothing." Jim angrily shouted, facing him.
stopped in his tracks and then he lost control. This old wound had just been laid
open again. Six months ago at the lab he had accused Brass of ignoring what appeared
to be evidence of a bad cop. In that heated exchange, Grissom slammed his hand
into a wall. He charged Brass but ignored him, choosing instead to pick up the
fifty gallon trash container at his side.
"I didn't want the damn job!" Grissom
screamed, throwing the container away from the crime scene.
His anger was rolling
off of him in waves, but he needed to release it. He turned around, not seeing
Jim, Sara, or the security guard. He stalked out of the hangar with Jim and Sara
running behind him. Grissom put his hands on the roof of Jim's Taurus, his body
was shaking, his chest heaving, his mind a jumble of different thoughts. Suddenly,
Grissom pulled his left hand and punched the driver's side window out. He walked
away cradling his hand, still agitated but not angry. Sara followed him discreetly
as he turned the corner around the hangar, finally crouching in the darkness.
"Griss?" Sara said softly as she approached him.
He tried to stand but didn't
have the energy. He turned his face from her but not before she caught a reflection
"Come on, Griss. We need to go to the lab and get the evidence processed."
Sara said, logically.
She crouched down next to him and reached out her hand.
He covered it with his, slick with the blood from his injured hand.
tell him I'm sorry." Grissom whispered, still not looking at her.
sorry buddy. I lost my temper with you and that wasn't fair." Jim said, walking
up behind Sara.
Grissom looked up at him and removed his good hand to reach
out to Brass. Jim leaned down and helped Grissom to his feet. They embraced, quietly
speaking to each other. Sara stood back and wiped her eyes.
"Come on you two.
Brass, would you take him for stitches? I'll take the kits to the lab." Sara said.
"Yeah, come on let's see what damage you've done." Jim said, putting his arm
over his friend's shoulders.
They walked back and looked at the damage to Brass's
car. Brass opened the door and carefully brushed the safety glass off the seat.
He opened the passenger door for Grissom and got him settled.
"I'll see you
at the lab." Jim said to Sara, as she stood by his door.
"Don't worry about
us, just take care of him." Sara said, placing a hand on Jim's shoulder.
reached up and touched her hand, then started the engine and drove to Desert Palms
"Dr. Grissom, you'll be
fine, just take it easy. No strenuous activity with this hand. Bag it before you
shower, you know the drill. Here are enough pain pills for tonight and here is
a prescription that you can get filled tomorrow." The E.R. doctor said.
Doc," Grissom said, walking out into the hallway, feeling slightly more alert.
Brass stood as his friend walked up to him.
"What time is it?" Grissom asked,
shifting the sling to take the pressure off his hand.
"Four," Jim said, looking
at his watch.
"Let's get to the lab," Grissom said, growing excited about the
"Okay, just take it easy, please." Jim said, as they walked side
by side out to his car. "You know this is a trigger case for you. You've already
had one panic attack at the lab."
"I know, Jim. I know. I'm really trying to
keep it together." Grissom said, settling into the passenger seat.
let it get away from you." Jim warned.
Jim and Grissom walked into the lab in search of Nick. They found him in the
"Nick, is the tape set up?" Grissom asked.
"Yes, Griss," Nick
answered, looking at Grissom's hand.
Sara hadn't mentioned that Grissom had
been injured on the scene.
"Give me five minutes or so and I'll meet you there."
"Okay," Nick replied.
Grissom walked to his office, picked
up the herbs and his tea cup and ambled back to the trace lab. For a change, the
music was Sweet Honey in the Rock. The acapella group's voices were soaring and
Grissom smiled in spite of himself. He stood just inside the doorway. Greg turned
and noticed Grissom and his bandaged hand. He gingerly took the tea cup and herbs
from Grissom. Walking over to a work table, he emptied the dry herbs from the
tea ball. Refilling it while Grissom listened to the music, he then dropped the
tea ball into the beaker of near boiling water, turning off the gas. Greg glanced
at his watch and after two minutes, poured a fresh cup of tea for Grissom. Smiling,
he handed it to his boss. Grissom smiled and mouthed thank you before walking
to the audio lab.
Grissom sat in one of the comfortable chairs, his tea in
front of him.
"This is the straight tape without filtering." Nick said, as
the technician played it.
Grissom closed his eyes and listened, picking up
every nuance. Nick pushed a pad and pencil toward Grissom's right hand. Grissom
picked up the pencil and started making notes. Thirty minutes later, the tape
was over. Grissom opened his eyes and looked at the younger man.
you hear?" Grissom asked, taking a sip of his tea.
"I heard an argument between
the male vic, the pilot, and the female vic. I heard the male vic die. I heard
the door shut. I heard a strange whooshing noise, the alarms, the engines and
then nothing." Nick said, closing his eyes and reciting from memory.
the child screaming," Grissom said, standing up and walking out of the room with
Nick looked at the list that Grissom had written. He noted that he
heard the child scream five times on the tape.
"Cue the tape again, please."
Grissom stalked back towards
his office but not before Sara ran out of an exam room to get his attention.
could you come in here please?" Sara asked, before seeing the anxiety on his face.
"Please, Griss, it will only take a minute." Sara said, gently pulling his
good arm towards the exam room.
He sat on the stool, set his tea cup down and
removed his glasses, rubbing his eyes.
"I did a wound analysis on the male
vic and compared it to the ratchet you found. Take a look." Sara said, with a
He stood and looked through the microscope, a perfect match. He
straightened up and smiled back.
"Greg done a blood test yet?" Grissom asked,
putting his glasses back on.
"Match for the male vic," Sara said, continuing
"Fingerprints?" Grissom asked.
"Match for the female vic." Sara
"Okay so female vic kills the male vic." Grissom stated. "What
about the pillow?" he asked, his voice dropping slightly.
"I fogged it. It
was used to suffocate to younger male." Sara said, seriously.
Grissom asked, sipping his tea, trying to control his emotions.
trying to isolate the ones pertaining to the case." Sara said.
Sara. Have you seen Warrick or Catherine?" Grissom asked, standing slowly.
may be in the break room." Sara ventured.
"Thanks," Grissom said, heading for
"Griss, you okay?" Sara asked, taking a chance.
"No, not really.
I'm just trying to get through this the only way I can." Grissom replied, entering
He took a sip of his
cooled tea and walked to the break room. Catherine and Warrick had the case file
spread out on the main table.
"What do you know?" Grissom asked.
looked at the sling and the bandages as well as the muscle on Grissom's jaw that
only pulsed when he was agitated and decided not to be flippant.
part of a hostile takeover. Michael Weissman is the man of the hour." Catherine
"Michael Weissman?" Grissom asked, sitting down, removing
his glasses, and massaging his forehead with one hand.
"Yeah, you know Griss;
he's the guy that's trying to change the face of Vegas." Warrick answered.
suit, chocolate brown Jaguar, blonde on both hips?" Grissom asked.
Catherine laughed, "that's the commercial, anyway."
"Okay so how does Michael
Weissman fit in?" Grissom asked, sipping his tea.
"I'm not sure except that
they were going to meet him at the Mauna Kea Beach club on Hawaii." Catherine
"All right, keep digging." Grissom said. "What else?"
prescription was for the female vic." Catherine said, cautiously.
his tea and simply nodded.
"The male vic was a licensed pilot but not for jets
and certainly not this big." Warrick announced.
"That's interesting." Grissom
said, sitting up a little more.
"The pilot and the female vic were an item."
"This pilot or the primary pilot?" Grissom asked.
Warrick affirmed. "Oh, and one more thing, Sara asked Doc to look at the ear drum
again, he found a minute piece of plastic from the control panel. He probably
turned his head on impact."
Grissom shook his head supporting it with his right
"What's wrong, Gil?" Catherine asked, concerned.
"I can't see the
timeline. We're missing something. I can't see it." Grissom explained.
be able to shed some light on that, if you'll let me." Jim said, standing in the
"Please," Grissom said, looking at his friend and fishing for the
envelope of pain pills.
Catherine walked to his side and read the envelope.
Checking her watch, she took one pill out of the envelope and placed it in his
hand. Grissom smiled and tossed back the pill with his tea.
"The alleged ATSB
men were, as you suspected, not ATSB. They do, in fact, work for Michael Weissman."
"I'm sorry Jim, I'm not following." Grissom said, sipping the last
of his tea.
"They nearly closed the case, at the very least Weissman may have
gotten rid of the bump in his road..." Jim revealed.
Grissom got to his feet
suddenly, bumping the table.
"What are you saying? Are you saying that four
people were killed and it was just business?' Grissom said, his voice low.
raised his hands up to surrender and softened his voice.
"What I am saying
is that we have a smart guy out there who thinks he got away with murder." Jim
Grissom walked out of the break room muttering, leaving his glasses and
"What did he say to you?" Catherine asked.
"He said, I'm smarter."
Jim said, looking at Grissom's back as he stalked to his office.
Grissom walked into his office, sat down in his chair, and realized that he
left his glasses and tea in the break room. He couldn't walk back there right
now. He needed to think. Grissom reached over and turned on the CD player. He
sat back in his chair, and put his feet up on the desk. Cradling his hand he listened
to Yo-Yo Ma and drifted. He looked at the clock on his desk and noticed with surprise
that it was almost eight. He pulled his legs of the desk and stood wearily. Shutting
off his cd player, he left the office to see what had happened in the last three
He walked to the break room and found his glasses on the table. His
bug cup had been washed and sat in the rack. He walked out and found Sara still
in the exam room. He entered the room, and put on his glasses.
"No, we're missing something, though," Sara said, looking at him.
"I know, I can't see it but we're missing something. Did you hear that the
whole crash and murder; the whole thing, may be a bad business deal?" Grissom
"No, you're kidding?" Sara asked.
"I wish I was. Poor kid was just
caught in the middle." Grissom said softly, looking down at the pillow.
it's eight, why don't I drive you home?" Sara asked.
"Thanks, Sara. I'm okay."
Grissom said, looking at her.
Sara's heart beat a little quicker.
are your pain pills?" she asked.
He reached into his trouser pocket and handed
her the envelope.
"Grissom, how many did you take?" Sara asked.
gave me one, why?" Grissom asked.
"These are really powerful. You can't drive
home, as a matter of fact; you're supposed to take these on a full stomach. I
wonder what your migraine meds are going to make of this." Sara asked.
sighed when his tired brain registered what she was suggesting.
to go when you are." Grissom said.
"I'll meet you at my car in five minutes."
Sara said, leaving Grissom alone in the exam lab.
Grissom sat in the lab and
looked at the evidence and the paper work spread out on the table. The door opened,
but he didn't acknowledge it.
"Grissom? You okay?" Greg asked.
sorry, these pain meds are pretty strong. I have to meet Sara in the parking lot.
She's my designated driver." Grissom answered, standing slowly.
I'm walking there as well so we shall walk together." Greg said, putting an arm
around Grissom's shoulder, guiding him to the lot.
"Thanks, Greg," Sara said,
helping Grissom into the Tahoe.
"He's a little disoriented." Greg said.
Greg," Grissom repeated as he fell asleep in the car.
"You sure you can handle
him?" Greg asked.
"Actually Greg, if you could follow us and help me get him
in that would be a big help." Sara said, thinking of the staircase from hell.
"Sure, no problem." Greg said, sprinting for his old Mustang.
He drove the
car up and flashed the lights. Sara smiled and drove on to Grissom's town house.
When they arrived, Grissom was fast asleep in the car.
"Griss, we're home.
Wake up." Sara said, softly.
Grissom didn't move.
"Let me try," Greg said.
"Stand back, GRISSOM, WAKE UP!!" he screamed.
Grissom woke up as if he had
been struck. He was confused and disoriented, but functional. Greg got him into
the town house with Sara's help. They parked him on a stool in the breakfast bar,
discussing the staircase, when they noticed movement. Grissom had started to walk
up the circular staircase under his own steam.
"I guess it's not a scary staircase
to him." Greg noted.
They followed him quietly. Grissom made it to the second
floor and lurched into his bedroom. He climbed onto his bed and collapsed.
he's home. I'm going back to the lab, clean up and go home. Don't hesitate to
call if you need help." Greg said.
"Thanks again, Greg." Sara said.
problem. See you tomorrow, uhm, tonight." Greg said, blushing.
Sara heard his
footfalls on the stairs and the snick of the door as it closed. She was alone
again with Grissom. He couldn't sleep totally dressed with his glasses, pager
and who knows what else in his pockets. Sara rolled him on his back, careful not
to further injure his hand. She took his glasses off and put them on the night
stand and then proceeded to pat down his pockets. Keys, pager, phone, sunglasses,
ID badge, flashlight, all ended up on the low dresser. She touched his shirt pocket
and heard a sound. Reaching in she found the two sketches and placed them on the
high dresser next to the photographs.
She started to undress him, pulling off
his loafers and socks. Sara went to his waist and loosened his belt. Unbuttoning
his trousers, she unzipped them. Her hands shook slightly, her heart beat madly,
and her logical side took control. She tugged and pulled and finally held his
trousers in her hand. She reached into the back pocket and found his wallet and
also put that on the high dresser. Reaching into the front pocket she found a
small stack of dollar bills with a money clip. The inscription was in Latin Mors
ultima linea rerum est. Sara smiled as she remembered that snowy day in Cambridge
when she gave it to him. It was a quote from Horatius and roughly translated meant
'Death is everything's final limit'. It had been a joke between them.
reached over and started to unbutton his shirt. Getting the shirt off without
too much discomfort to Grissom was going to be tough. Suddenly he opened his eyes.
"Hi, what are you doing?" he asked.
"I'm getting you ready for bed. Would
you help me get your shirt off?" Sara asked.
"Sure," Grissom said, easily.
The pain medication certainly did relax him, she thought. Sara pulled Grissom
to his feet, drew back the sheets and got him resettled. He was uncomfortable
trying to get out of pain. She reached over and rubbed his back.
whispered rolling onto his right side.
"What?" Sara asked, startled.
just until I'm asleep." Grissom asked, looking at her.
Sara couldn't believe
this was happening. It is definitely the pain medication and the pain itself,
she decided. She kicked off her shoes and lay down on the covers behind him. She
reached up and carefully put her hand over his left arm, resting it on his chest.
He immediately started to calm at her touch. The last thing she saw was the bedside
clock reading nine.
Sara awoke and
stretched luxuriously. She looked at the clock and blinked, it said four o'clock.
She hadn't slept for seven hours straight in a long time. The house was very quiet
and she was alone in the bedroom. Sighing she went into the bathroom and performed
her ablutions. Drying her face, she walked down the staircase slowly. Grissom
was not in her vision. She walked into the guestroom, but it was empty. Taking
a chance, she opened the door to the lab room. Grissom stood, dressed in a worn
pale blue t-shirt, grey sweats and bare feet. He was muttering to himself. The
wipe board was full of block diagrams about the plane crash. She read it from
across the room. He was so close to solving the case. As he paced in front of
the board she noticed his limp. He rubbed his beard with his right hand. His left
hand lay limply at his side, but the bandages were no longer white. Sara watched
him for almost an hour. He had no idea she was there.
Finally she felt the
timing was right and cleared her throat softly. Grissom turned around quickly,
"I'm sorry; I didn't mean to startle you." She said, apologizing.
"How did you sleep?" he asked returning his attention to the wipe board.
than you did, I would guess. When did you get up?" Sara asked.
"I don't know."
He said, hedging.
"Griss," Sara said, moving towards him, "you went to bed
at nine. When did you wake up?"
"Noon," he answered softly.
He looked at
her, the pain and fatigue evident in his face.
"I almost have it." Grissom
"I know. Can I change your bandages on your hand while you think about
it?" Sara said, reaching for his left hand.
He brought it up in front of his
face and was surprised at the blood.
"All right," He relented
Sara led him
out of the lab room to the bathroom on the first floor. He sat on the toilet seat
and rested his injured hand on the basin counter. She opened the medicine cabinet
and retrieved everything she would need. Gently, she removed his old bandages.
Twice he tried to pull his hand away because of the pain but she held him fast.
Twenty minutes later, his hand was rebandaged, but his breathing was ragged.
you want a pain pill or some aspirin?" Sara asked.
"Pain pill, please," Grissom
"All right. Let me get you to the sofa and then I'll run upstairs
and get you a pill." Sara said, helping him to his feet.
They walked together
to the sofa and Grissom lay down on his back, cradling his left arm. He was so
tired, but the pain wouldn't let him relax. Sara sprinted up the stairs and searched
for the pain pills. They were in the bottom of his left trouser pocket. She removed
one pill from the envelope and carefully made her way down stairs. Grabbing a
fresh bottle of water from the fridge, she walked to the coffee table and sat
"Griss, you need to sit up to take this pill." She informed him.
groaned and sat up on his right elbow. He fumbled with the pill but got it into
his mouth and fumbled with the water as well, wearing quite a bit of it. He sank
back into the leather and breathed hard.
"Just relax, let yourself go, Griss,"
Sara urged, standing up to stretch her back.
He breathing started to even out,
his muscles began to release. Suddenly, Grissom had a panic attack. He saw himself
as the child on the plane.
"Help me!" he shouted sitting upright on the sofa,
his left arm on the armrest, his right hand clutching the leather.
okay, Grissom, you're all right." Sara said, rushing to his side.
I can't move, help me." Grissom yelled, his eyes open in panic.
fine Grissom. I'm here." Sara soothed, feeling his breath on her face as he hyperventilated.
"Mom, don't leave me. Help me." Grissom screamed.
"I'm here, Mom's here."
Sara said, grasping at straws, sitting on the coffee table, holding his shoulders.
"I'm so scared. Where's Dad?" Grissom asked, looking at her.
"He's in the
cockpit with the pilot," Sara said, in character.
"No, don't touch me!" Grissom
shrieked and then collapsed back against the sofa.
Sara was shaking so much
she didn't know quite what to do. She reached to him and felt him finally give
in to the pain medication. She moved him so he was stretched out on the sofa and
pulled the blanket on top of him. Sara felt that he would be out for three hours
just as he was this morning. She took a chance, left him a note and went home
to take a shower and change clothes.
Grissom woke up from another nightmare. He didn't remember any of
it except it was terrifying. There were two hours left before his shift started.
He wondered if a session with Dr. Wu would help. Before he could make up his mind,
he fell back asleep.
Sara let herself in an hour later. Grissom was asleep
in the sofa, the apartment very dark. She walked to the kitchen and started the
coffee, high-octane. Ten minutes later she sat again with a mug of coffee on the
coffee table and tried to wake him.
"Grissom, rise and shine. Coffee and a
shower," Sara said.
Grissom opened his eyes through the haze of the medication.
"Go upstairs and shower. Take your coffee." Sara instructed.
to his feet unsteadily, picked up his coffee and walked up the stairs. A few minutes
later she heard the shower turn on. She poured her cup of coffee with milk and
waited for him at the breakfast bar. Twenty minutes later, Grissom walked down
the stairs in a pale blue work shirt and jeans. She took a double take as he wasn't
in his uniform of all black.
"Like your new colour choice; how do you feel?"
Sara asked, with a broad smile.
"The truth? I feel lousy, and to answer you,
these are my general day off clothes. I just needed to be comfortable today."
he answered, placing his mug on the breakfast bar.
She brushed by him and refilled
his mug before sitting back next to him.
"Lousy? That's a pretty broad response.
Can you be more specific?" Sara asked, looking at him closely.
He took a sip
of coffee, trying to formulate his answer. Grissom looked at her, his eyes locked
"I'm exhausted, anxious, angry, and frustrated." He admitted slowly.
"Ah, but no pain, that's something," Sara joked, still caught in his gaze.
"The pain is there, I'm choosing to ignore it." Grissom said, his voice tight
He turned away and sipped his coffee. Looking at his watch, he stood
and felt his pockets for their normal occupants.
"Shall we go?" Grissom asked.
"Sure," Sara replied, feeling confused and hurt by his abruptness.
turned on the radio to a jazz station as they drove to the office. Grissom stared
absently out the window, occasionally tapping his finger on the glass in no relation
to the music.
"We're here," Sara interrupted.
Grissom blinked and looked
at her. His eyes were full of emotion and her heart started to beat faster just
looking at them. He unclipped his harness and awkwardly turned to her. He licked
his lips as if by doing so he would gain courage.
"I'm sorry, I may get this
wrong, but, I wanted to thank you for all you've done and are doing to help me.
I'm not used to it and perhaps I could be more open and responsive, but this is
all I can manage right now." He said slowly, holding her hand, staring at it intently.
"You're welcome, Griss. Trust me, trust yourself, you're doing fine." Sara
said, reaching out to touch his face.
He tilted his head towards her caress
and sighed. He reached up with his bandaged hand and brought her hand to his lips
for a gentle kiss, his eyes closed.
Sara's breath caught for a moment. He opened
his eyes and looked at her again, so open and vulnerable. His phone rang, interrupting
them both. Facing forward in the car, he retrieved his phone.
"Hi, where are you?" Jim asked.
"Fifty feet from the lab, what's
up?" Grissom asked.
"I'll meet you in your office." Jim said and hung up.
closed his phone and sighed. He opened the door, got out, and walked into the
lab with Sara at his side. He walked directly to his office, passing by the various
glass walled exam rooms. Sara went to the break room.
"How is he tonight?"
"Let's just say that the sooner this case is closed the happier
I'll be." Sara said, pouring a fresh cup of coffee.
"But he's all right?" Warrick
"He's tired, that's the most of it. He can't seem to sleep more than
three hours at a time. He also has no appetite. The pain meds for his hand reacted
with his migraine medication. The last twelve hours have been long." Sara said,
leaning against the counter.
"What was long?" Nick asked, breezing into the
"The last twelve hours," Sara replied.
"Sweetheart, you are going
to turn sideways and disappear into a crack in the sidewalk if you don't gain
some weight." Nick said, looking at her with fresh eyes.
"When did you eat
last?" Catherine asked.
"I ate when he ate. Grissom made scrambled eggs yesterday
afternoon." Sara said, continuing to sip her coffee.
"Sara," Nick started in
"Look if you're gonna gang up on me, I'm leaving." Sara said, challenging
"Ok, never mind," Nick said, his hands raised in surrender.
Greg saw Grissom pass by his lab while he was in the middle of a DNA test.
He finished it and then brewed Grissom a fresh cup of tea. He walked out of the
DNA lab to Grissom's office. Greg knocked and waited for a response.
Grissom replied to the polite knock.
Greg walked in silently and placed the
large mug on Grissom's desk. Brass looked up at him from his slouched position
in the leather chair.
"Thought you might need this," Greg said.
Greg," Grissom said, looking at the mug for the first time.
It had images from
the rock band KISS all over it. Grissom smiled. Greg left the two men alone, walking
back to his lab.
"Tell me again, Jim." Grissom prodded.
"Weissman was buying
Handco in a hostile takeover. The male vic had a heart condition and was a risk.
In addition, he was abusive to his wife and child, not exactly what corporate
America wants to see. Weissman invites them for a week as his guest on the Big
Island. He gets his mechanic to do some work on the plane and then sits back waiting
for the news report of a plane lost at sea." Brass starts slowly.
"But he doesn't
count on the fact that the female vic is up against a wall. She's been having
an affair with the pilot and the male vic's violence is escalating. They decide
to induce a heart attack but she gets cold feet." Grissom said, sitting upright
in his chair, not really seeing Brass.
"So the pilot gives her a little pick
me up for courage. She feels empowered with the cocaine. The male vic starts the
trip in the cockpit sitting left seat. She enters the cockpit shortly after take
off, there's a struggle, and he begins to have heart problems." Brass continued.
"But he has his nitro and pops one under the tongue and is revived." Grissom
"Which infuriates her. She reaches into the toolkit behind the co-pilot's
seat and finds the ratchet head. Two solid hits and he's gone." Brass added.
pilot puts the plane on auto-pilot and helps her drag him out into the main cabin."
Grissom said, his face paling.
"Pilot goes back into the cockpit and all hell
breaks loose." Brass said.
Grissom stood and left the room, his limp pronounced,
without a word. Brass followed quickly.
"Gil? Jim? What's going on?" Al asked.
"I need to see the boy, everything
on him." Grissom ordered.
Al looked at Jim, who was standing behind Grissom
"Gown up and I'll get him for you." Al directed.
walked back to the outer room and donned a gown and gloves. He walked back in
just as Doc and his assistant were transferring the child onto the gurney. Closing
his eyes for a moment, Grissom took a deep breath and drew back the sheet. He
started at the head and examined every inch of the child before turning him over.
Grissom edged away from the gurney just as he had done before.
"Gil, Gil, keep
it together man. It's not you." Jim said softly.
Al looked up and saw the raw
emotion on Grissom's face and nodded. It all made sense. He walked up to the body.
"The youngest male, age eight, had evidence of abuse; scars on his back, past
breaks of his nose, fingers, and arms." Al said quietly.
"And one suicide attempt."
"What?" Al asked.
"He tried to commit suicide the day
before by od'ing on his mother's Zoloft prescription. Greg said he was catatonic.
He was in fact docile. He was so docile; he didn't get out of his seat when his
mother and her boyfriend brought out his dead father's body. He was so docile,"
Grissom stopped, and looked at the boy's hands. "He didn't fight when he was suffocated."
The sound of the equipment in the morgue was almost overwhelming as no one
"What a waste," Grissom growled as he left the morgue, tossing his gloves
and gown in the trash.
He marched to the print lab, where Sara sat fixed in
front of the computer. She looked up at him and physically moved away from him.
"Any prints on the pillow?" Grissom said, knowing the answer.
make sense but the only clear prints we get are from the female vic. Greg also
recovered some DNA off the pillow. Also a match for the female vic," Sara said,
"Good work, Sara. Thanks." Grissom said, leaving the lab for his office.
Brass followed him and stood watching his friend pace.
"Where are we?" Brass
"She killed him, to start a new life. The child was the target, not
her, never her. Her previous injuries were a result of defending him. But at the
end the boy had no champion; he was all alone." Grissom said. "I think I'm done
and it's up to you." He said haltingly, rubbing his hand through his beard.
you gotta calm down. It's over. I'll get Weissman." Brass said.
calm down. Call Dr. Wu, number in rolodex." Grissom said, his right hand flexing
trying to somehow calm down.
"This is Jim Brass. I'm a friend of Gil Grissom.
He's having a panic attack. I don't think I could safely get him into a car. Could
you come here? Thanks, we'll be expecting you." Brass said, pressing the bar on
"Page CSI Sidle to Dr. Grissom's office, ASAP please." Jim asked.
"A bit formal, aren't we?" Sara said, walking in without knocking, several
"He's having a major panic attack. Dr. Wu, the acupuncturist
is on his way. We need a quiet room," Brass said, interrupted by Sara's movement.
She leaned over Grissom's desk and turned on the CD player, releasing the cello
music. Visibly Grissom started to slow down.
"Like I was saying, we need a
quiet room for an hour or so." Jim asked.
"I'll take care of it. Make sure
you bring his CD player and the cello CD." Sara advised, biting her lip as she
left the room.
"You need me to do
what?" Doc Robbins asked.
"I need you to set up one table, minimal light, one
rolling chair, for Grissom and I need it in about five minutes." Sara said, her
hands on her hips.
"Well then, I need you to help me shuffle these bodies.
You'd better hope Catherine doesn't bring in her vic during that time." Doc Robbins
"Oh, I totally forgot. There were two 419s weren't there? Well dead
people are pretty quiet; shouldn't disturb Grissom." She joked, darkly.
set up the room and moved the last cadaver to a drawer moments before Dr. Wu arrived
with a protective arm around Grissom. He looked at the room.
"I'll need a sheet,
and then the room." Dr. Wu said.
Doc handed him a sheet and left the room.
Sara set up the CD player on a rolling table and turned the volume down. Grissom
paced, waiting for the word from Dr. Wu. Sara walked to the door, but was stopped
by Dr. Wu.
"Please stay, I think he needs you. Do not make any noise. I will
tell you what to do." Dr. Wu said softly.
Sara nodded and stood in the shadows.
"Gil, it's time to start." Dr. Wu said, turning around to give him privacy.
Grissom stripped to his shorts and got on the gurney. He was cold and shivered
involuntarily. His eyes were open staring at the glass ceiling above him. Dr.
Wu turned on the CD player and raised the volume. He watched Grissom start to
relax, his eyes closing. Putting his right hand on Grissom's shoulder he moved
his left hand, touching the meridians, finding the right solution. Sara watched,
fascinated. She waited impatiently for his sign. Dr. Wu took his kit out and started
to insert needles. It was a long process. Finally he stepped back and motioned
Sara walked to his side and he whispered in her ear. She pulled up
the rolling chair and adjusted the height. Sitting comfortably by Grissom's head,
she waited. Dr. Wu stood opposite her and watched his patient. He started to become
agitated. Sara reached her hands to his face and hesitated. Dr. Wu encircled her
wrists and eased her hands into position. Grissom quieted immediately. Sara looked
up and smiled at the older doctor. She sat back in the chair and worked in a tag
team manner, calming Grissom as his chi was trying to recover.
through the treatment, Greg slipped into the room. Dr. Wu walked up to him and
returned the respectful bow the young man offered. They had a brief conversation
and Greg left. Sara was totally absorbed in Grissom. They were connecting in a
way that transcended what most relationships ever attain. She found by calming
him, she calmed herself as well.
Dr. Wu felt Grissom's body and smiled. He
looked up to the viewing gallery and spotted the young man with the spiked hair
and nodded, the young man nodded back seriously and left the gallery. Dr. Wu looked
at Sara and smiled.
"Gil, Gil, it's time," Dr. Wu said,
Grissom opened his
eyes looking first at Dr. Wu and then at Sara. He smiled, closing his eyes again.
"What's the magic number?" Grissom asked.
"Two hundred and fifty," Dr. Wu
"All right," Grissom replied, his eyes still shut.
Sara took a step
back as the two men began their mantra while removing the needles. It took more
than thirty minutes to remove all of the needles. Grissom sat up slowly.
come to, uhm, the DNA lab for tea." Dr. Wu said, leaving them alone.
you like me to leave?" Sara asked.
"No, it's all right." Grissom said, getting
dressed as quickly as he could, considering his fatigue.
She reached over and
turned off the CD player.
"How do I look?" Grissom asked, standing close to
She reached over and gently arranged some curls and smiled.
Griss, you look fine." Sara replied.
They walked slowly side by side to the DNA lab. The Venetian blinds were drawn.
Grissom knitted his eyebrows and looked at Sara before walking in. Greg had cleared
a table and had laid out four cups. Dr. Wu looked up at Grissom and Sara, motioning
them to sit. They took seats in the subdued room. Grissom recognized the music
as Sweet Honey in the Rock and smiled at Greg. Dr. Wu poured tea for Grissom and
Sara and the four of them sat in the lab, drinking tea, rejuvenating.
were on their second cup of tea when the door burst open. Catherine stood in the
doorway, mouth open, evidence bag in her hand.
"Ya gotta be kidding me!" she
said looking at her co-workers enjoying tea while on the clock.
out of the room and raged to the break room down the hall.
"I'm afraid our
time together has come to an end." Grissom said, standing.
"Sleep, Gil. You
need to sleep. I would suggest that you take the young lady with you. You respond
well to her and she to you." Dr. Wu said softly into his ear.
He bowed to Grissom
after shaking his hand. Grissom returned the bow.
"Young man, I will see you
tomorrow." Dr. Wu said, looking at Greg.
Sara stood and awkwardly bowed. Greg
solemnly performed a text-book bow.
Dr. Wu left the DNA lab and Grissom turned
to his friends.
"Thanks, thanks for being there." Grissom said, picking up
the portable stereo and walking back to his office.
Putting the stereo back
on his desk, he took a deep breath before approaching the break room.
Catherine, I gather you have some DNA evidence. Want to bring me up to speed?"
Grissom asked, standing in the doorway.
a comment on this story.