Disclaimer: The characters in CSI belong to.someone rich. Not me.

Chasing Rabbits

Chapter Five

The whole of the Las Vegas strip must have heard Greg Sanders arrive, Sara thought as the man in question bounced enthusiastically into the room, followed closely by two other, much less excitable, Lab Technicians.

"Hey guys," she smiled and was rewarded with murmured responses from the two spectacled men at the rear who began placing various bags and boxes just inside the door. Greg on the other hand walked straight over to the CSI and placed a brazen arm around her shoulders. "Hey Sara," he replied with a slight squeeze of her arm, "And just what can I do for you on such a fine day?"

"You could stop pawing my CSI for a start," Gil replied from the doorway and Sara couldn't help but grin at his barely concealed jealousy. Immediately Greg removed his arm from Sara's shoulders. "Grissom," he nodded respectfully, "What do you need?"

Gil pointed over to where the couch had once been and felt some sense of vague satisfaction as Greg's eyes widened in surprise. Unfortunately for one so young, Greg had chosen a profession in which little shocked him any more, so it was nice once in a while to see the child-like expression of wonder in the young man's eyes - even if it was over sadomasochistic torture instruments.

Of course, the minute Greg opened his mouth all illusions of parental pride disappeared in a cloud of smoke. "These are like the ones at your old girlfriend's place, huh Griss?" he said as he crouched down to get a closer look at the black leather Cat O' Nine Tails.

Gil scowled at this remark and stepped forwards to loom threateningly over the scientist. "You want to make CSI," he said as stared down at the now visibly unnerved Greg, "you're going to have to learn to keep your eyes open and your mouth closed. Until you do, you're going to have to stay behind."

Nodding, Greg rose to his feet, all humor in his tone now a distant memory. "What do you need us to do?" he asked quietly. Gil stared down at the evidence, refusing to give in to the feelings of guilt at being so harsh with Greg. "I want all this," he said indicating to the restraints "packed up and taken back to CSI. I want fingerprinting, DNA and check it for fibers. Also Sara has some samples that need analyzing."

"Yes sir," Greg nodded and turned to his colleagues. "Alright boys, always use protection," he said with a grin and reached in his pocket for a set of latex gloves.

~*~ She knew what was going to happen, hell they'd planned it right from the start. That's why she'd suggested this special Birthday treat for the dead man on the floor. The only thing she hadn't planned on was the need for two girls instead of one. Still, it was her fault, when all was said and done. She'd been stupid enough to leave the neck harness behind and there was no way in hell she was going to be the one to do the job. As far as she was concerned, as long as she never actually touched his throat, she had nothing to worry about.

When she hired them from the agency the girl behind the desk had been a little surprised, to say the least. After all, a woman walking in to a massage parlor and demanding two specific types of girls with the exact height and weight measurements he had described in his fantasy couldn't have been an every day occurrence in her line of work. She'd paid cash, of course and had worn leather gloves the whole time. No way in hell they were getting her fingerprints. No siree. She was too clever for that; too well planned.

Of course, in the end having two girls around turned out to be a much better plan anyway. Hell, the Gods really were on her side tonight. She'd kept her elbow-length leather gloves on throughout the little performance earlier, and she was still wearing them now. This had been one of the most important parts of her master plan; to make the hookers do all the dirty work. Her gloves were a deterrent to the police, as was the expensive blonde wig sat atop her own graying hair and the large amounts of makeup caking her face, almost becoming a mask to hide her true identity. No, if they found any evidence at all it would be theirs.

And that wouldn't matter either.

She watched with carefully concealed exuberance as the two girls grabbed the dead man by his wrists and dragged him into the bathroom. Body lifting him into the tub, they each turned to look at her, wordlessly questioning their next move. Again, she had come prepared.

"There's Acid under the sink," she said quietly, pointing to the off-white cupboard. "I saw it earlier. Plug the bath up and pour it on him."

Both girls paled considerably and she became frustrated with their stalling. "Do you want to go to prison?" she asked, her voice rising in pitch. "Or maybe even get the death penalty? You murdered this man!"

"I want to call Lizzie," the brunette said shakily and the woman stepped towards her. "And have her do what? Call the cops?" Taking a deep breath, she consciously slowed her breathing and calmed herself down. She had to stay in control. "I'm the only one you can trust now," she murmured as she stroked the girls cheek, trying to make her tone as soothing as possible. "I promise you I won't tell a soul." The girls glanced at each other and nodded slowly. Then one reached for the plug whilst the other reached for the Acid.

It took both of them to pour the chemical over the body. Immediately it began to eat away both at the enamel on the tub and the man himself. All three watched with morbid fascination as the droplets burned their way through his clothes and eventually through his skin, then onto his rapidly apparent bones and tissue.

The smell of burning flesh hit their nostrils with such assault that even the older woman had to physically stop herself from gagging. "Get out," she hissed at the girls and immediately they filed out of the bathroom, grateful to be away from that nauseating smell and horrific sight. The older woman shut the bathroom door behind her and used the heel of her stiletto to break the lock from the outside. Eventually the smell would bring the manager to the room, but with the door closed and the lock broken, she figured it would give her plenty of time to disappear.

She smiled to herself as she and the girls gathered up all evidence of their having been there and left the keys to the room in the lock as they loaded her car and climbed in. Everything was going to plan. At three in the morning it was still dark outside and she could tell just by glancing at the road that traffic was at a minimum. This was going to be easy.

"Where are we going?" one of girls asked as she pulled out of the motel parking lot and onto the road.

"I'll drop you back at the agency," the woman replied as she indicated into the fast lane. "From there you go straight home." Glancing in the rear view mirror she noticed with a slight frown that one of the girls, the blonde, was silently crying. Never mind sweetie, she thought as she turned her focus back onto the road, it'll be over soon. Pulling over into the rest stop she unclipped her seatbelt and turned to face them. I need to change my shoes," she explained as she opened the car door. "I can't drive in these heels. I have pumps in the trunk, I won't be a minute."

Both girls made some vague gesture of acquiescence and stayed where they were. Neither paid any attention to the unremarkable car pulling up behind them, and it was only when the glass shattered and the Blonde's head exploded all over her lap that the Brunette started to scream.

Of course, that didn't last too long either.


Greg's exit from the hotel was, by all accounts, much quieter than his entrance. After he and his colleagues had left the crime scene Sara turned to Grissom. "Do you ever think you're maybe a little hard on him?" she asked carefully, mindful that no matter what had transpired between them only hours earlier, he was still her boss.

"Sometimes I think I am," Gil replied truthfully. "But he frustrates me. One day he's going to make a really great CSI, but he's got a lot of growing up to do before I could trust him out in the field." Grissom sighed and leaned heavily against the wall. "That kid is so incredibly intelligent, but he expends way too much of his energy on fooling around in the lab, I worry that if I did let him loose, he'd be too busy messing around and miss something important."

Sara nodded. She understood where he was coming from, but still... "Has he ever let you down so far?"

Gil thought for a moment then shook his head. "No, his work is impeccable, but I have a feeling that one day he's gonna screw up and when he does, it'll be bad."

With a mirthless smile, Sara turned and began collecting together her kit. "You know you've got to learn to have a little more faith in us Griss," she said as she snapped her case closed. "I think if you give him enough leeway, he may just surprise you."

"And if I give him enough rope, will he hang himself?"

Sara groaned. "You won't win this with cliches," She paused to look around the room for a minute. "Are we done here?" Grissom nodded and together they moved towards the door. Sara locked the door behind them and replaced the Crime Scene tape across the frames with loving care, taking great pleasure in envisioning Mr. Patterson's face when he saw the luminous yellow tape in all it's glory outside his most expensive room.

Together they walked to the elevator and Sara pressed the button. The car arrived with a subtle ping and they stepped inside. "I thought hotels this pricey would have lift operators," she mused as the leaned against opposite sides of the car. Gil shrugged absently.

Sara frowned. "Griss?"

Gil looked up. "I've always had faith in you," he said, suddenly concerned that they would have a repeat of Sara threatening to leave. Sara smiled and nodded briefly. "I know." Turning her attention to the lift car, she looked up at the ceiling. "No camera."

Gil's attention was drawn in the same direction as Sara's. "There were cameras in the lobby and on every floor, right?" Sara nodded. "Yeah. The tapes are at CSI. I was going to check in when I got back."

Frowning, Gil looked at Sara. "We've been in almost every hotel on the strip, right?" Sara nodded her agreement and he continued. "So how many of those don't have cameras in their elevators?"

Sara thought for a moment. "None, as far as I remember."

Gil pointed to a loose cable hanging from the corner of the ceiling. "Well there definitely was a camera in here at some point," he said, walking over to examine the cable closer. "Let's find out why it's missing."

Sara nodded and pressed the button for the lobby. The elevator shuddered slightly and began moving downwards. Both CSI's watched the illuminated numbers slowly decrease exponentially until they reached the seventh floor where the elevator ground to a halt.

Both stepped back a little as they waited for the doors to open and someone to enter the car, but it never happened. The elevator shuddered again and began to move downwards. Suddenly there was a muted bang and the elevator stopped once more - this time between floors - and the lights went out.

"What the...?" Grissom muttered as the emergency lights blinked on and the pair were illuminated in a sickly green glow. He stalked over to the emergency telephone and put the receiver to his ear. "Hello?" There was no reply and he pressed the bar down a few times to try and get a line, but there was nothing.

"Griss?" Sara came to stand beside him. Gil glanced absently at his colleague. "No answer," he murmured by way of explanation before turning his attention back to the phone and pressing buttons randomly.

"I know," Sara replied confidently and Gil looked over at her again. "How?"

She held up the cable. "It's been cut."