Title: One Of Us

Author: BuffyAngel68

Fandom: CSI

Rating: R for dark themes and eventual graphic descriptions of rape and assault.

Summary: The unluckiest man in Vegas can't catch a break, but this time he may end up broken for good.

Disclaimer: You know I don't own them or the network. If I did several of the male characters would be shacked up together already and we'd be seeing it on screen at least every other week!

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For the tenth time that night, Gil Grissom looked up at the sound of footsteps passing his door, but, once again, it wasn't the person he wanted to see and he was beginning to get concerned. His brow furrowed momentarily then smoothed again as he tuned back in to his work. He knew the others would worry as well if they saw even a trace of it on his face and he couldn't let them get distracted.

{Where the hell is he?}

Since surviving the brunt of a devastating lab explosion, He knew Greg Sanders had been more wary at work and a more enthusiastic partier outside it, but he'd remained steady, fast and reliable and had given his boss no real reason to question him. Suddenly, his steadfast, brilliant DNA tech was a no-show for his shift, and Grissom was wondering if he'd missed something he should have been picking up on all along.

"Gris. You seen Greg tonight?"

Gil glanced up at the tall man standing in his doorway and responded calmly.

"Not yet, Nick."

"He's an hour an' a half late. That ain't like him."

"Did anyone try his house?"

"No answer and his cell's either outta range or dead."

"You know he's been more inclined to... celebrate life lately. He's fine."

"Maybe, but the job's more important to him than any party. He takes it seriously and he's never missed a shift. He even came back from med- leave a week early after the lab...."

"Nick. I understand your concern, but...."

Gil let his sentence trail off when Cpt. Brass stepped up behind Nick, his face a study in fear and tension. "What is it?"

"Did the hippie come in tonight?"

"You mean Greg."

The mild reprimand was absent from Grissom's voice, but Brass saw it in the other man's eyes clearly enough.

"Sorry. Yeah, I mean Greg."

"No. We were just discussing the fact that he's late. Why?"

"I just got a call..."

"Yeah? C'mon, man. Spit it out." Nick encouraged, half-turning to the cop and backing into the office to give him a little more personal space.


Brass ran a hand over his face, drew and expelled a deep breath and tried again. "A janitor was cleaning up in a club down on the strip... gettin' ready to open up. He found a guy on the men's room floor.... stripped, unconscious, bruised to hell an' back...."

Grissom stood up, his body suddenly as tense as his friend's expression.


"The vic's wallet was gone, but the description.... it sounds like it could be Sanders."

Gil abruptly leaned forward, bracing himself on the desk with one hand. Nick blanched, stumbled another step or two backwards and forced out a negation of what he'd just heard.

"Uh-uh. It's not him."

"Somebody needs to go confirm that." Grissom reminded them, slipping quickly from 'shocked friend' back into 'supervisor handing out assignments'. Part of him wanted to stay the former, but he knew if something really had happened, catching the criminal meant divorcing himself from his emotions, at least for the moment. "Nick, take Catherine and go have a look. Whichever way it turns out..."

"I'll call ASAP. It isn't him, Boss. It can't be. With the explosion, he's had enough to deal with. God wouldn't...."

"God has nothing to do with it. Go."


Nick sped off down the hall, running as if Satan were on his heels. Brass followed, but much more slowly. He usually got his bad-news hunches in the pit of his stomach and that spot was telling him to delay this revelation as long as possible. He grimaced and swore silently. He had begun to respect and even like Greg Sanders. The kid was super-smart, exceptionally good at his job and, on occasion, funnier than hell. He didn't deserve anymore pain... "Hey, get a move on!" Nick yelled, interrupting the other man's thoughts. "You're the one that knows which ER we're goin' to!"

"You go find Cath. I'll meet you outside."



Striding purposefully up to the emergency room admitting desk, badge already in his hand, Nick Stokes showed the small wallet to the duty nurse. Catherine Willows and Captain Brass approached as well, but gave the intense younger man space.

"We're here about the assault victim that was found in the club."

"Of course. Let me get the doctor..."

"No time for that. We need to see this guy now."

"He's been badly hurt. I'm not sure any of you will be allowed in, never mind all of you, but it isn't my call." The woman insisted. Nick closed his eyes, breathed deeply and made another, calmer, attempt.

"Look... this vic.... he could be a friend.... somebody we work with. If we could just see if it's him or not...."

"I'm sorry. I understand that you're upset, but his doctor's not far away. Wait here and I'll be right back."

As the nurse hurried off, Catherine turned, locked her hands behind her and leaned against the counter, studying the floor. Nick began pacing a short route back and forth in front of her and an increasingly angry Brass. Thankfully for the three colleagues, the nurse was back within a few minutes followed by an older man.

"Hey, doc. Nick Stokes from the Vegas Crime Lab. These are my coworkers. What can you tell us about this assault victim?"

"Not a great deal. He's young, mid twenties maybe. Dark hair and eyes. Some older scarring on his back and ribcage. His ID was missing and he's catatonic so we have no clue as to his name yet. I take it you think you can help with that?"

"We hope not." Catherine responded somberly. "The description sounded familiar, but..."

"Of course. You'll be allowed to go in and see him Miss..."


"Scott Denson. As I was saying, you'll be allowed to go in and see him for a short while, but the two men will have to stay out here."

"What? Why?" Nick protested.

"He was viciously gang raped, Mister Stokes. The only time this unfortunate young man breaks his catatonia is when another man steps into his line of sight, at which point he starts screaming and trying to simultaneously escape the room and claw his way out of his own skin."

Nick flushed and he clamped his lips tightly together, trying to control his rising nausea. Brass spoke instead.

"I... I get it. We'll hang back. Cath, can you handle this alone?"

"I have to. We have to know...."

"Yeah. How... how bad is he hurt, doc?"

"His external injuries are minor; a lot of severe bruising confined to his hips and thighs, some scratches and abrasions on his face, arms and hands. Internally it's a different story. He'll require surgery to repair some of the damage. We've got him on antibiotics just in case, but there doesn't appear anything life threatening. Physically, he'll be alright in a week or two."

Easily reading in their faces that it wasn't the physical damage they were truly worried about, the doctor stayed silent on how long repairing the young victim's mind might take. When there were no more immediate questions from the shell-shocked trio, he waved an arm and Catherine preceded him to the curtained off area where the unknown victim lay. Denson swept the fabric aside, taking care to remain hidden. Peering inside, Catherine Willows, the tough, unshakeable woman who had endured and witnessed more than most people would see in a lifetime of experience, dissolved into silent tears.

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