Title:  Fractured

By: Michmak

Summary:  There are cracks in the team – will they fracture,  or can they be repaired.  This summary sucks, but I didn't know what else to say.

Disclaimer:  If CSI really were mine, Grissom and Sara would be moving forward in their relationship, Catherine would be the Catherine from S1 and 2, Warrick would be a potential love interest and Nick would be mine…..

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"Have either of you seen Nick?"  Grissom managed to keep his question neutral, despite the urgent necessity that he find the younger CSI right this minute, before he heard the news from anyone else.

Greg and Warrick, who were discussing a sample Greg had just run, looked up at Grissom in surprise.  Greg grinned, "It's his night off, Grissom.  You forget?"

Grissom looked blankly at Greg, before nodding dumbly, "Of course.  I did forget. Okay then."

Warrick cocked an eyebrow at Grissom, about to ask him something, when the older man spun on his heels and strode out of the lab without a backward glance or a goodbye.  Watching his boss as he walked quickly down the hall towards his office, expression studiously neutral as opposed to normally neutral, Warrick repressed a sigh.

"Something's going on."

"Yeah – Grissom's working too hard, and he's forgetting who's on the schedule.  You ready to get back to this?"

Warrick looked at the young lab tech, face concerned, "There was more to it than that.  Grissom is worried about something."

"Maybe he thought Nick was late, and was planning on chewing him out or something," Greg shrugged, "Besides, how can you tell he was worried?  He always looks the same."

* * * * *

"Nick, answer the phone," Grissom muttered for the tenth time, frowning into the receiver when the voice mail once again picked up.

"You've reached me, and I'm obviously not here," the slightly atonal sounds of Nick's voice from his call answer made Grissom curse mildly under his breath, "You know the drill.  Leave a message – I'll call you back."

"Nick – Grissom.  I need you to call me or come to the lab right away.  It's important."

Sighing in frustration, he hung up the phone and ran a hand through his hair, displacing the carefully controlled curls.  He stared at the phone for what seemed an hour but was arguably less than 5 minutes, before he picked it up again and redialed.

* * * * *

Brass watched Sara and Catherine uneasily, wondering if the fragile truce was going to hold for the duration of this shift.  Catherine was still pissed off about Eddie's death, and despite the fact that she didn't deserve it, Sara had borne the brunt of Catherine's wrath over the lack of resolution.

Grissom hadn't been thinking too clearly when he had sent the two women together to cover this scene. Truth be told, Grissom hadn't been thinking too clearly at all lately, distracted by God knew what.  Brass would never have believed it possible, but if anything, the man was retreating even further into his shell, becoming more of a loner and enigma than ever before – and that was saying something. 

Of course, he only appeared to act this way around his friends.  Apparently, he was quite capable of opening up to perfect strangers, as *Lady Heather* could attest.  Brass lips curled down in a moue of distaste.  Sure, the woman was attractive - Brass refused to think of her as beautiful – but there was something about her that he didn't like.  Maybe it was her pretentious attitude.  She seemed to think she was a modern-day Freud, and that her clientele were receiving valuable treatment with her services.

He never would have suspected Grissom would have gone for someone like that.  Been intrigued by her – sure.  But actually think about getting involved?    Grissom was the last guy in the world Brass had ever imagined would be ruled by his dick.

"Are you sure you took all the pictures I asked you too, Sara?"  Catherine's voice, sickly sweet and as poisonous as a vipers, broke through his thoughts.  "You know how vital it is that we make sure we have everything we need to close the case.  Don't want too many unsolved murders collecting dust back at the lab."

Brass winced.  He liked Cath, but she could be a real bitch sometimes.  Stepping a little closer to the two women, he noted the angry flash in Sara's eyes, before she sighed and responded, "Yes, Catherine.  Got them all."

Before Catherine could say anything else, her phone rang, causing everyone to jump.  Grabbing it out of her pocket, she flipped it open.

"Willows."  She paused, listening, before responding, "Listen, Grissom.  It's Nick's day off.  Can't you let him have some -"  she sighed as Grissom cut off whatever she was about to say.  "Why would I know what his plans were?  I'm not his mother.  Yeah, well – just a second, I'll ask her."  She covered the mouth piece of cell.  "You know what Nick was doing tonight?" she asked Sara.

Sara shook her head, "No idea.  He mentioned something about going to see Gangs of New York, maybe."

"Great."  Pulling the phone back to her mouth, she said, "Sara's also clueless as to his whereabouts.  She thinks maybe a movie.  Have you tried paging him?  Uh-huh.  Well, I don't know what you want me to do about it Grissom.  What's the big deal?"

Sara was folding up her kit as Catherine spoke to Grissom, face carefully blank.  To her left, Brass appeared to be studying his shoes, but every once in a while, he would dart a glance at Catherine or her and shake his head.

Catherine's quickly indrawn breath caused Sara to look up at her, and she noticed the quick pallor of the older woman's skin.  "Shit.  We'll swing by his place on the way back to the lab, see if he's there.  If he is, we'll bring him in with us."

Clicking the phone shut, she turned to look at Sara, momentarily forgetting her animosity towards the younger woman.  Sara had risen to her feet and was now staring at her intently, waiting.

"You sure Nick mentioned going to the movies tonight?"  Catherine asked.

Sara shrugged, "He mentioned it, but never confirmed.  Why?  What's going on?  Is Nick in trouble?

Catherine didn't answer right away, shaking her head yes even as her words said something different, "No.  But we need to find him – it's Nigel Crane.  He's…dead.  Killed himself.  Apparently, he listed Nick as his next of kin, and the institution he's been staying at is trying to contact Nick to let him know."

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Author's Note:  Okay, this is a WIP.  I think it's interesting the way the characters seem to be changing this year – Catherine is getting snarkier, Grissom even more remote, and Sara?  If they put her in more shows, we might have a better idea – but that whole 'baby' thing – not the Sara I know and love.  Is there anything that could make the team a TEAM again?  I miss the easy camaraderie from Seasons 1 and 2 – this is my take on the team dynamics.  I do not know how long or how short it's going to be – and Nick angst, in my books – is always good.

Please R&R – this is the first time I'm writing something without already having a rough draft plotted out, so I have no idea where this thing is going.  Consider it free form whatever.  Mich