Blahs in first chapter.
------

Gil and Catherine walked beside the body, still bound in chain, layed out on a sterilized blue tarp. "Just imagine the panic that must have hit him, before he drowned." Catherine replied dryly, as they both glanced at the body in passing.

"A magician is used to being in control of his illusions..."Gil climbed the stairs first, and they both entered the cramped trailer, their eyes taking in the completely differing sides; one blessed with clothes and articles strewn about, creating a whirlwind effect of chaos, while the other held a tranquil, meticulous manner, bathed in a composed ambiance.

"So, are you saying that the good magician was not alone?" Catherine asked, as she continued to follow Gil's lead to the bathroom that seemed to have been roughly shoved in the corner of the trailer.

They both stopped in front of the bathroom and cast eyes on the blood that was spattered against the mirror. Gil raised his eyebrow and turned towards his partner. "It's mighty hard to chain oneself."

Catherine took the initiative to step into the cramped space first, that lent just enough room for a toilet, a sink and a stall, respectively one after the other. She stopped in front of the sink, and glanced in the mirror, aiming her gaze towards her supervisor. "And you have experience in that department?" She paused, a sultry smile forming on her lips, paving way for her jest. "Dare I ask your source to be cited?"

A playful wink ensued as he handed her a pair of gloves. After a little difficulty, they both managed to snap on a pair and began to dissect the crime scene together. "We'll have more of a clue once we examine the body, but let's see what this quaint bathroom holds."

The both stood in front of the mirror, where Catherine took snapped a picture of the blood splattered surface. She narrowed her eyes, analysing the directional spray and intensity of each drop. "Almost like there was a jet aimed right in the middle of the mirror, which would explain the odd sphere-like spray formation surrounding this concentrated area." She pointed towards the middle of the mirror.

Gil leaned forward and allowed his eyes to roam the spattered surface. "Spit take?" He raised his eyebrow, throwing his partner a smile.

Catherine produced a swab and collected a sample from the mirror. Holding it over the sink, she awaited Gil to make the next move. She smiled when he bent down to retrieve the phenolphthalein and dispensed a small amount on to her swab. "It's...not blood." Catherine's brow furrowed and she looked at Gil through the mirror.

"Master of illusions." He dead panned. His eyes jumped back to the mirror. "You know, when you spit something out..." He trailed off, waiting for her to continue his thought.

"...saliva often tags along for the ride." She nodded, a smile slowly caressing her lips. She took another sample, this time in the more concentrated area and placed it back in her case. She then handed him a pair of glasses, and she donned hers as well. Catherine began to prepare the ALS while he donated generous amounts of Luminol to the sink in front of them.

Gil nodded towards the lights and awaited for any signs of blood presence to materialize. "Nothing." He sighed, but bent down, eyeing the corner of the sink. "Here." He snapped a picture and then put the camera down, his eyes never leaving sight of the blood's awkward placement. He pointed towards the side of the sink, to the area that connected with the wall. Spraying some Luminol, more blood remnants were revealed on the wall, leaking all the way to the floor. A little more patience revealed some more stains alongside the outer glazed glass of the stall.

"...he was attacked?" She asked, resting her glasses a top of her head.

"And not here." His eyes trailed outside the small window, as his mind continued to filter in information, theories and truths.

"Care to talk it out?" She asked, their intense connection allowing her to almost hear what he was thinking.

"My guess, he was either killed or incapacitated somewhere else, dragged here, and then placed in the stall." He saw the motions played out in his mind's eye as he was explaining his theory to Catherine. "Maybe the killer leaned the body against the wall here, while getting the stall ready."

"Heat of the moment argument?" The strawberry-blond offered a possible motive. "Maybe someone wasn't too thrilled with the show?"

Gil took a deep breath, though the exhalation echoed more of a sigh. "Then we have a convention full of suspects." He put on his glasses and waited for her to turn on the ALS, in a vain attempt to search for any stray materials or evidence in the already compromised bathroom.

Catherine grimaced. "Well, I guess even magicians get lonely." She pointed towards the outer rim of the toilet bowl, where seminal fluids were blatantly present. "What a lousy aim..." She muttered, taking out another swab.

After finding no more evidence, Catherine packed up the ALS and began to leave when she was jerked back, due to an immobile Gil. She placed her kit down, and followed his gaze to the stall.

"What are you thinking." Her face was over his shoulder, her mouth dangerously close to his ear.

He fought off the shivers that crept its way, upon feeling her breath his the side of his neck, and motioned towards the stall. "How much time would you say passed between the end of the show and us finding the body?"

Catherine opened her mouth and then closed it again. "Maybe ten minutes...fifteen tops, thanks to Mobley's discomfort with our," she held up their cuffed hands, "situation."

"How long would you say it would take to fill this stall?" He asked, a minute hypnotic quality complimenting his concentrated gaze.

"Pre-meditation?"

"It's scientifically impossible to incapacitate or kill, drag the body, bound him, place him in the stall, fill it up and flee the scene, in fifteen minutes." He glanced towards the exit, "I think we need to determine what exactly killed Mr. Presto before we draw anymore conclusions."

Catherine silently acquiesced with his demand, bending down to retrieve her kit.

His distraction led him to plow straight into Catherine, grabbing her from toppling over however pulling her directly into an embarrassing position, which hardened immediately at contact. He quickly put a little distance, murmuring a breathy apology behind her back.

Catherine held her breath, and gripped her kit tightly. That sensation pressed up against her right buttock could not be ignored, and she felt a shy heat paralyse her body. Shaking her head, she forced her legs to comply with her mind's demand and directed her movement towards the door, feeling Gil's energy not far behind her.

They stepped out of the trailer and walked over to where the sheriff stood, their hands brushing lightly, graciously offered by their walk's motion. "When can we see the body, Brian?" Gil asked, setting his kit beside him.

Brian motioned towards a moving vehicle. "They're taking him to the morgue right now." He spoke abruptly, before turning to a rather large man donning a polished badge, his arms folded across his chest in an unwelcome manner.

"Think the LAPD are pleased with us taking over their case?" Catherine asked, as she and Gil made their way to the front parking lot.

"Well, it is their jurisdiction, but Mobley made some promises to the media that the 'second best crime lab in the country' will make sure that justice will prevail." He rolled his eyes, nodding towards Greg and Sara who were both leaning up against the car.

"Hey guys, still siamesed I see." Greg grinned, pulling on the chain link that had enforced a closer bond on the duo.

"Everything okay here?" Gil asked, his question directed more towards the moody brunette than anyone else present. Receiving a disinterested shrug, Gil reciprocated the motion and turned his attention to the lab rat. "Greg, I need you to drive Catherine and I to the county morgue then I want you and Sara to get your kits and return to the crime scene. I need the perimeters examined, and I need you to find out exactly how long it takes to fill a shower stall of the exact dimensions as the one in the magician's trailer."

Gil held open the door for Catherine and watched as she scooted to the seat behind Greg. Gil followed without much choice due to her constant tugging against the handcuffs. "Oh, and see if you can get one of the friendly locals," Catherine grimaced at her own sarcasm, "to locate Mesto Presto's assistant who seems to have done a disappearing act of his own."

Greg climbed into the driver's side and re-adjusted the seat. "Now -that's- magic!" He grinned, pulling out of the parking lot as soon as Sara buckled up.

"Please, Gil's vanishing-act is nothing short of being paranormal." The strawberry-blond scoffed with good humour. "If it wasn't for these cuffs, who knows how many APBs we'd have to put out."

He threw her a mock glare from the corner of his eye and then turned to glance out the window, unable to prevent the small smile that awoke. He cringed as Greg's 'expertise' driving skills jolted the car, causing all the passengers to shift noticeably in their seats. Gil leaned towards the middle, trying to catch a glimpse of the so-called unavoidable perils that the young lab tech had cried, if not to only save his driving reputation. As he placed his hand near Catherine, bracing himself as he inclined his body to win a better view, his pinky finger lightly grazed her slender hand. His eyes snapped to hers, still not used to the reaction such a small contact could induce. Noticing that her eyes and mind was elsewhere, he chanced another touch - wanting desperately to brand the sensation of her soft skin against his. His finger traced the entire length of her index, and tickled downwards to her thumb. Upon seeing her finger twitch, his eyes ran up to find her staring thoughtfully at him, shock and curiosity fighting a dangerous mix. He continued to lightly trace the contours of her fingers with his as his eyes refused to leave her being, making his actions burst of a higher intimacy.

Catherine couldn't tear her eyes away from his darkening orbs, and her lips parted without her consent, letting a moved sigh escape. She knew he felt her breath, her sough hit his lips for his eyes glanced at her for a split-second assumed unseen.

"What time do you want us to pick you guys up?" Greg asked, breaking the enchantment that both senior CSIs tried desperately to blink themselves out of.

"Give us an hour." Catherine offered, raising her eyebrow at her supervisor in challenge.

Gil cocked his head to the side, agreeing with her estimation. "Sara, I'm trusting you with Greg, he's not used to the field, okay?" Gil tried to relieve some of the tension that was still hanging in the air, by attempting to break the perhaps bricked-up professional wall he had built around him. He placed a hand on her shoulder from behind, trying to convey pride and respect, concerning her work.

Sara winced slightly, still hurting by what she tried desperately to deny: that his feelings lay elsewhere. "Okay..."

Her voice was soft and distant, causing Gil to silently question his partner. "Okay, so we'll see you guys in an hour." Gil got out of the car first, and grabbed Catherine's hand to help her out. "Greg, pop the trunk." Gil knocked twice on the trunk signalling that their kits were now safely in hand, and both CSIs watched the rental drive off towards the hotel.

"Let's go make some magic." Catherine muttered blandly, giving him a gentle tug towards the building.

–TBC–