Disclaimer: These characters are the property of CBS, inc.
Well, I have reached the end. I hope this last chapter makes you chuckle just a little. It was fun to write. I am going to miss this story, but I need to focus on some other things for a little while. Knowing me though, I probably will be back before too long. Your feedback has made it all worthwhile. Thank you so much.
No Rest for the Weary
"You really are a good sport, Grissom. You know that?" Brass was patting him on the back. "Seriously, you could have been very annoyed with us, but, instead, here you are, treating all of us to a nice dinner."
Grissom gave a lazy smile. "I hate to admit it, but you were right. Sara and I just needed a little rest and relaxation. It was a great opportunity for us to resolve our issues. Right, Sara?"
"Right Grissom." Sara sat across from him smiling big, the remains of a trout dinner in front of her.
Catherine looked at both of them as one might at Wimbledon, back and forth. "Do I know you people?"
Sara wore a surprised look. "We just thought it would be nice to get together with our friends and tell you all how much we have appreciated your support."
"Right," said Catherine, "And next you'll be organizing birthday celebrations and secret santa groups at Christmas."
"Well, Catherine, I, for one, am happy to be a part of this gathering. I don't think we socialize nearly as often as we could." Nick was working on a sirloin steak. He picked up his steak knife and pointed it at Grissom. "I tell ya, Gris. I didn't know you had it in you. Really. Good to see a smile on my girl's face."
Warrick reached over and rubbed the back of Sara's neck. "It is very nice to see you happy."
"Thanks." She hugged him.
Grissom looked down at his watch. "Well, it's getting to be that time. Sara and I are due in to the lab in an hour." He gestured at a passing waiter.
"Hell, Grissom. You're not picking up the whole thing. We'll pitch in." Brass started digging in his jacket. Grissom grabbed his arm abruptly. Catherine's eyebrows lifted.
"Sorry, Jim. It's the least I can do." Grissom took the offered check and slipped a card inside. He gestured at Sara, and she got up, smiling, and deposited her napkin on her plate.
"Hey Griss. These guys aren't ready to leave." She cocked her head at him.
"Of course. Sorry about that. I'll tell the waiter to hold the card open for another round of drinks and some dessert. How's that sound, Honey?"
"Jim, I'll arrange for you to sign for me." Grissom put his coat on.
Catherine looked at him with her mouth open. Jim made some more protests, but, in the end, he relaxed and ordered a bourbon neat. Sara linked arms with Grissom, and together they walked out. As they passed the reservations desk, Grissom leaned over to her ear and said, "You got the last one with that hug, right?" She winked at him and he smiled.
"You guys didn't think that was strange?" Catherine looked around at her colleagues. Two cheesecakes, a chocolate cake, and a tiramisu lay in ruins on the table.
"Griss was feeling generous. He's picked up tabs before." Nicky said.
"Tell me that Saccharine sweet doesn't come to mind when you think of his demeanor tonight?"
Nick raised his hands. "I don't know. He's probably getting some, and that might be part of it."
She wrinkled her face at him. That's just gross, Nick."
Warrick chuckled and pulled Catherine's chocolate cake over to his plate.
"Well, I for one, believe that this is the dawning of a new day. Hell has frozen over and they're throwing snowballs. That, and Grissom has turned into a squishy, romantic teddy bear." Brass downed the last of his bourbon. The waiter passed by and Brass asked him for the check to sign. The waiter gave him an odd look and walked off.
"I'm just happy someone's getting some these days." Warrick mumbled with cake in his mouth. Catherine turned to him, eyes wide.
"Oh right, Warrick. You're not getting any? If Nike had an ad campaign in Playboy, you'd be their star athlete."
Nicky sputtered in his beer.
"Ah, yes. Nothing like drinks and inappropriate sexual banter between a supervisor and her staff. Perfect end to a perfect evening." Brass sat back and smiled broadly. The waiter came back and whispered something into his ear. Brass' brow furled and he started talking to the waiter in hushed tones. Then Brass threw back his head and laughed. He took the bill from the waiter and nodded, sending the waiter away.
"What was that?" Catherine asked.
"You were right, Cath. He had a card up his sleeve. Paid for dinner with his library card." Brass displayed the card for all to see. "I suppose we deserved it. How about we split this four ways?"
Everyone reached for their wallets. Brass began rifling his pockets. Across the table, Nicky had a concerned look on his face as he searched his jacket. Catherine turned her purse upside on the table.
"I can't find my wallet." Warrick was the first to complain.
"I know it's in here someplace. I had it in the bathroom with me. I opened it to show Sara a new picture of Lindsay."
"Second damn time I've been mugged this year." Nicky growled.
"Right. So you think we all just got mugged? All four of us?" Brass surveyed his colleagues.
"Grissom pick pocketed us: him and his little girlfriend." Catherine's eyes were flashing.
"How much is that bill?"
"Well, 'Rick. You got a spare 400 in your pocket?"
Warrick whistled and shook his head.
"That's okay. A badge still comes in handy around here." Brass motioned for the waiter again, and dug through this jacket. The waiter came over. "Okay, our friend played a little joke on us. Said he was paying for dinner and then slipped you a library card So, we are happy to pick up the tab except that our friends also seemed to have taken our wallets." Brass stopped talking while he emptied all of his pockets.
"I am Captain Jim Brass with Vegas Homicide, and I would be happy to show you my badge except it too seems to have been pilfered. I've been in town many years and have certainly eaten at your fine establishment on several occasions."
The waiter shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot.
"Look! Do we seem like criminals to you?" Catherine asked, glaring at the young man.
"I'm a….going go get the manager." He disappeared.
Time passed. Conversation at the table had trickled down to sharp retorts and impatient replies. At fifteen minutes, Brass stood up. "I'm going to go find this manager. Straighten this thing out."
As he got up, the manager emerged and asked them all to follow him.
"We are about to get an apology for this nonsense." Brass assured them. They followed the manager into an empty banquet room. He motioned for them to take seats. Behind him, two cops strolled into the room.
"Hey fellas! Jim Brass, Homicide. Sure glad you guys are here."
The two cops looked at each other with frowns.
"They don't know you?" Warrick asked.
"Vegas has 900 employees in law enforcement. I do not know all of them." Brass spoke with an edge of agitation.
"Heard of Jim Brass?" One said to the other. "Ever seen him?"
"I think he's the tall one with the mustache. Blonde hair I think. Worked one of his crime scenes if I remember."
"Come on. I'm Jim Brass."
"Sorry Jimmy. The con's up."
"Jimmy?" Brass' voice rose. "Only person who calls me Jimmy is a 95 year old woman living in a retirement home in Trenton, New Jersey."
"So you are from Jersey?"
The cop produced an alert. "Got this two days ago. Said we should be looking for a short man, your description, goes by the name, Jimmy 'three fingers' Marinara. Small time hood. Ran numbers for the Gambino family out of Newark."
"Right! Ah, guys, you are the butt of a little joke. Heard of a guy named Grissom out of the crime lab. Well, he invited us-"
"Well, Jimmy, maybe you're the butt of a joke. Says here that you're wanted in three states for petty theft and grand larceny. Says you are wanted for impersonating a cop on two other occasions as well."
"Listen Officers. I'm Catherine Willows with the crime lab. I can vouch for Jim. This is all just a practical joke."
The officers huddled over the flyer and looked up at Catherine. "Says here that Jimmy 'Fingers' runs with a woman named Daisy Mae Broadstreet AKA Cat Pussywillows. She fits your description to a tee. One time exotic dancer. You're wanted for conning old men out of their pensions."
"Can you show us some ID, Daisy Mae?"
"My name is Catherine Willows, and my wallet has been stolen by Gil Grissom of the Las Vegas crime lab. And I want to file a report."
"Isn't that the bug man?" One cop asked the other.
The other cop rolled his eyes at her. "Listen Daisy Mae or Pussy Cat or whatever you are calling yourself this week, we know who Gil Grissom is and he most definitely is not running with your crowd."
"We have his library card." Warrick announced, extending the card to them.
The cops took the card, pored over it, and returned their attention to the alert sheet. At one point they discussed whether theft of a library card could be charged. Then they finally looked back at Warrick. "We presume that you are Mr. Nipsy McClintock, common law husband of Daisy Mae. Wanted for running shell games up and down the east coast."
"What!" Warrick roared.
Nick erupted in laughter. "Looks like they got your number there, Nipsy."
Spying Nick, the officers returned to their alert. One of them pointed at him. "You must be Beauregard 'TexMex' Abernathy: one time rodeo clown, currently wanted for three counts of robbery. Robbed three different 7-11's in Plano, Texas with an exacto knife. Got away with a grand total of 143.95. Real big time crook there, TexMex."
Nick groaned. "Come on, fellas. You don't believe this fiction, do you?"
"The paperwork doesn't lie, and there's not one thing I'm hearing out of you jokers that's got me thinking otherwise."
"All right, the jig is up, guys." Brass clapped his hands "This nice officers have caught us with our pants down. This is our high noon. Let's cooperate now so they can take us down to the station. It is time for us to pay our debt to society." Brass was sure that he would be able to snag several people there who could straighten this out. He put his hands out for the cuffs. He gestured to his colleagues to do the same. Catherine gave him a good, hard look before extending her hands. One of the officers took a little extra time with her, giving her a wink and a grin. She rolled her eyes in response. Then he turned to Warrick.
"Hey Nipsy! Why common law? She's a looker. How come you never managed to put a ring on her finger, huh? A little gunshy there, Nips?" Warrick closed his eyes as his dignity got kicked around on the floor in front of him. Brass could sense a potential explosion and stepped in.
"Hey guys. Clearly, Nipsy is not in the mood to talk. You want to hear about my days with the Gambinos. Maybe get a little leg up on the feds. Happy to oblige. I once saw the housekeeper extort ground beef out of a butcher: three pounds of 90 premium lean." One officer narrowed his eyes at him. "Okay? Either that or I'm sure that TexMex would be happy to show some of the scars from his days with the rodeo. I hear he's got a great one on his ass in the shape of Abe Lincoln."
Nick glared at Brass. "Hey guys, wanna know how Jimmy got the name, 'three fingers'? Great story."
Catherine caught the spirit of something in Brass' eye. Suppressing a grin, she came up to Warrick, her hands cuffed in front of her. "Come on, Nipsy. I want to sit next to you in the squad car. Jimmy and Beauregard are going to have one of their little disagreements, and I am not in the mood. Besides, it will give us time to discuss the new window treatments I want to get for our bedroom. I'm still hooked on the floral patterns."
Warrick let a smile cautiously spread across his face. "So you're vetoing the NASCAR theme?"
"Yes, Pumpkin. But I think that I can let you have the Star Trek theme for the bathroom."
"With the Worf toilet seat?" Warrick let his voice raise a little.
"And the Uhuru shower curtain. But I am saying no to the Captain Kirk soap dispenser."
"Why, Sugar plum?"
"There's just something about pumping Captain Kirk into my palm that I find unsettling."
"Never thought of it that way, Passion flower."
Catherine giggled at this last endearment and nudged him through the door.
"You want me to tell them about what a tightwad you are, Beauregard?
"Hey, Jimmy. How 'bout I tell them about how we wouldn't be in this mess if you weren't such a nosy butinsky?" Nick was straining against the officer. Brass smirked at him.
"Separate squad cars for these two?" Asked one officer.
"Yeah, I'll call for back-up."
Sara watched him from across the lab. He was intent on a research journal at his desk. As usual, he had only his desk lamp on, and so his office looked rather dark and cavelike. He didn't move, but she noticed many things about him. She watched how he licked his thumb every time he turned a page. And then he would reach up and pinch the bridge of his nose every few minutes. She could tell he was getting tired. It had been a busy shift, but it felt good to be back in the thick of things.
She kept looking around with more than a little bit of nervousness. At four a.m. Grissom had sent Greg over to the fifth precinct to make sure the gang was properly bailed out. Grissom gave Greg only enough information for Greg to gather that the moods of his colleagues would be precarious to say the least. Greg gave Grissom his best glare before he left. That had been two hours ago, and Sara wondered if they would be coming back for a little revenge.
She looked up again at Grissom and was surprised to see him staring back at her, his glasses perched on the end of his nose. She blushed a little in spite of herself. He gestured with his head. She looked around to see that everyone else was otherwise occupied, and then sauntered over as coolly as she could manage to his office. She leaned against his doorframe and gave him a lazy smile.
"We don't really know how to do this yet, do we?"
She dropped her head for a moment and bit her lip. "I don't think this is easy in the most normal of relationships, Griss."
"When do we see each other? How do we make it happen?"
"We talk and we tell each other what we want, what we need."
"And we tell each other the truth."
"Always." She had a hard time meeting his eyes.
He hesitated. Then gave her a nervous smile. "I want to see you today. I want to bring you home with me."
The color rose on her neck. "I don't have clothes with me…to change into."
"What do you need clothes for?" He cocked his head at her.
She looked around anxiously, but found her co-workers busy working. "What about breakfast?"
"I have eggs, toast, juice, and fruit."
She nodded, her mouth felt dry. "You sure that our friends aren't going to want to have a little talk with us."
He chuckled. "I called an hour ago. Brass was having the time of his life. Insisted that he had vital information about the Gambinos and wanted them to call in the feds. Warrick and Catherine were arguing over colors for somebody's kitchen, and Nick had made friends with two working girls in the next cell. Greg was having trouble getting them to leave. I think we're all going to be just fine."
"Well in that case," she began in a husky voice. "I think we probably better do some work on our condom depletion project. We really can't let something like that fall by the wayside."
"I concur." He nodded.
She swallowed. "So, your house, one hour."
He smiled wide, his eyes twinkling. "I think we're getting the hang of this communication business just fine, don't you?"