Disclaimer: Don't own them, blah, blah, blah don't sue me, blah, blah but I do own the filthy character named 'Chuck'.

Author's notes: Big thanks to Crystal for the beta reading!



***

Staggering out of the Tahoe (their home away from home for the last 13 hours) the weary team stands shoulder to shoulder to stare at the heavenly sight.

Sara-crooked ponytail, black jeans and wrinkled shirt-doesn't know whether to smile or puke; a combination of feelings she'd never had before.

Grissom is not so confused. "This place is a dump. Let's get back in the car and drive a few more miles. Maybe we can find something better and a lot cleaner," Grissom said, already starting back to the car.

"You go. I'm staying," Catherine states, "I ain't stepping a damn foot inside that filthy car for at least nine hours. It reeks of God knows what and we've been cramped in there for thirteen hours. It's bad enough that we had to DRIVE back because *someone* forgot to buy return tickets but don't make us arrive in Vegas looking like we were attacked by a pack of wolves. We've been in there long enough. I feel like cattle."

"Moo," Warrick says as Sara and Nick snicker.

A sound cuts the snickering short as a dog trots out of the darkness and heads towards the car. The canine sniffs the vehicle and snorts its disapproval as if to confirm Catherine's assessment of the car's sanitary state. The animal then lifts up one of its rear paws and, to top it all, pees abundantly over one of the hub cups.

The team stares, too tired to shoo away the dog. Sara scowls.

"Oh for crying out loud! That dog just peed on-that's it-I'm with Cath, I'm not sleeping in there again, it smells funny, almost as if something died."

"Yeah, my spirit," Warrick mumbles.

Nick glances at Sara; she is still making disgusted gestures every time the mere concept of having to climb in the car again crosses her mind. Nick winces.

"I'm sorry boss but I'm with the women. I mean, take a look at it," Nick waves at the pathetic remains of what used to be a clean Tahoe, "It's like something out of Woodstock. Besides, I need-and this is no exaggeration- NEED to sleep on something solid and flat, not Sara's shoulder."

Sara lifts a hand, "May I mention a drooling problem?"

Nick makes a 'ha, ha' sound and snaps back into a serious face, "I mean it."

Grissom is about to lean on the car when he actually looks at the surface. His upper lip curls upwards at the filth. Self-consciously, he wipes his hands, "This place is a dump, look at the sign: 'C CK' S BINS'. What the hell is that?"

Four heads swivel towards their boss, as if to say 'don't play the fool with us'.

"It's 'CHUCK'S CABINS' and where there's a cabin, there's a bed and right now, there's also my happiness and momentary bliss. That is all I want from the world right now, I'm not asking for the Four Seasons," says Catherine.

Grissom frowns.

"Whoever's with me raise their hand," Catherine says as she raises hers. Warrick quickly raises his two arms and Nick contributes with his two arms and one of his legs.

Sara sighs, "Normally Grissom, I would side with you one this one---"

"Neat freaks stick together," Nick coughs with a conspicuous fist over his mouth.

Sara glares at him and lifts one of her feet, "Would you please haul your ass against my shoe, I'm too tired to kick it myself."

Warrick stifles a laugh.

"Looks like you lost Griss, it's a democracy."

***

Bags in hand, the exhausted troops trudge up the dusty path leading to the manager's cabin. Wood squeaking, they climb the steps towards the small quasi-porch. Catherine knocks on a beat-up door with a mosquito net on it and the beer smell slaps her in the face like an angry hand.

Behind a battered counter, which had seen better days, is what Nick thought, at first, was an alcoholic and dishevelled version of 'Babe the pig'. The owner has his feet up on the 'L' shaped counter. A small TV rests on the smaller arm of the 'L' between his two stinky feet. Grissom and Sara, who are a step ahead of Catherine, take a step back at the same time, both equally disgusted.

The unkempt guy is gobbling a bag of chips; he doesn't seem to notice them. He takes a swig of his beer and burps loudly enough to make the floorboards tremble. Catherine's catches Grissom's appalled expression and seizes his arm just as he is about to dash to the Tahoe to disinfect himself.

Not very subtly, Cath clears her throat. The guy doesn't look away from the flickering screen, "Can I help you?" he mumbles after popping a handful of chips into his mouth and spitting the rest over his pants as he spoke.

Cath struggles not to hurl at such revolting sight, reminding herself of the bed that would be awaiting her once this hideous ordeal of checking in was over. A shower and a bed, not a seat and a moist towel like last night.

"Chuck, right?" she pastes a grin across her face and cocks her head. It never hurt to use one's charm, she thinks, even if it means throwing up later.

The innocent gesture makes Chuck's heart melt enough to put his attack of the chips on a temporary hold. After almost collapsing on the ground from shock he stands behind the counter, smiling like a dim-wit.

Sara and Warrick exchange knowing glances; Nick and Grissom do the same. Catherine's cute flutter of eyebrows has been useful more times that they can count.

"Chuck, two cabins please," she says, showing him two of her fingers.

Sara wonders off and finds a vending machine. She digs her hands in her pockets and is rewarded with change. Thank God for small miracles, she thinks. She inserts the coins and with a smile, pushes the 'Snickers' logo. She leans down to collect her candy but her hand gropes nothing but air.

A bad night of sleep can make Sara a bit prone-scratch that, *MORE* prone- to violent behaviour when confronted with an obstacle between her and her goal.

She swats the diabolic-coin-eating-machine with her hand. "Spit it." She growls. "Come on you bastard," she mutters as she hits the logo a healthy number of times.

Sara looks sideways for eavesdroppers and then she gives the Snicker- hostage-taking-machine a good kick. The metallic sound catches Nick's attention; he nudges Warrick on the ribs to witness the strange once-in-a- life-time event.

"C'mon, pleeeeease?" she pleads with her palms joined in a prayer gesture. Warrick and Nick snicker.

Sara belts at the machine again and pushes the button with frantic passion. Warrick shakes his head.

Grissom is barely aware of the racket Sara is doing. "Could you repeat that?" Grissom says, flicking a fragment of a chip off his sweater with a disgusted face.

"I have only one cabin left," Chuck repeats, "Two king-sized beds, bathroom and kitchen."

Grissom looks at him in disbelief, "You have to be joking. ALL the other cabins are taken-you mean this hellhole of a place-"

Catherine jabs an elbow in Grissom's side and smiles at Chuck, "We'll take it."

Chuck turned around and grabbed a key from a rusty nail on the wall. He handed Cath the key. She took it between two fingers as if the thing were radioactive material, "Thanks."

"It's the last one to the right," Chuck instructed before returning to his perch, the commercials were over and so was Chuck's attention span.

"Let's go Sara, we have a bed," Cath informed with glee as she passed Sara on the vending machine. The machine had finally relinquished the candy, coerced by Sara's physical and verbal abuse.

***

As they padded past a bunch of cabins the people inside could hear a man's voice whining over and over, "Cath, this is filthy. I've seen dumpsters cleaner than this.we should go back to the car and find-"

"Aw, for the love of God! Put a sock in it Grissom!" A female voice would reply.

TBC.