The Body by SLynn
Disclaimer: The idea is mine; I stole the title from Stephen King and the characters from CSI. Go ahead, sue me.
Notes: Just an idea I came up with driving across the country. Takes place current season and is no way related to any other fan fic I've written. Oh and by the way, I had no idea I'd be writing not two, but three stories at once (I really have been ignoring the heck out of my Firefly fic) but this one shouldn't be too long. Hope you enjoy -- can't wait to hear from you!
"We're lost aren't we?"
Grissom ignored him and kept on following the trail.
"Griss," Greg said following him through the bushes, "talk to me. I'm going crazy here."
Grissom still ignored him. Greg had talked non stop for over half an hour now and it was getting harder to do. But there was no denying it any more, they were lost.
It had all started out with Grissom getting a call around noon from Ecklie that graveyard would have to take another case. A body had been found in the desert. Grissom had called up Greg, knowing he needed the experience fresh off of his final proficiency and they'd gone out together to the scene.
Greg hadn't complained despite looking very much like he'd just gotten to sleep when Grissom had picked him up. The drive to the scene had taken an hour. The victim had already been pronounced and there was very little for them to do at first. They'd probably both be home now if Greg hadn't spotted something in the distance.
The victim, a single white man in his twenties, had been stabbed. Off in the distance, something just caught the midday light and reflected it back. Greg pointed it out to Grissom and they'd both gone to investigate. It wasn't a knife, but after walking over three hills to find it and then wandering around to find what had caught the sun, they both got disorientated. They'd started down the trail they thought they'd first taken but it wasn't.
"Shouldn't we be staying still? I know I saw that on the Discovery channel. We should just stop now…"
"Greg," Grissom finally said coming to a halt and turning round, "there's a trail here. We're going to keep following it because it's here for a reason. Someone made this trail for a reason. It has to lead somewhere."
"Okay, you're the boss but really it could be like anything. It could have gone unused for the last fifty years for all we know."
Grissom said no more and for awhile neither did Greg. It was hot and he was tired. Greg had the night off last night and had taken the opportunity to go out. He'd probably drank a little more then he should have, but he also hadn't expected to be walking around aimlessly in the desert all afternoon. He needed to rest but wasn't about to ask Grissom to stop now. He was obviously on a mission for some reason or other.
"What have you got in your case?" Grissom asked suddenly stopping and turning back to him again. Only Greg had brought his case and his sidearm.
"Standard stuff," Greg said putting it down and opening up to show him.
"Snickers bar is standard?"
"For me it is."
Grissom smiled a bit as he squatted down to take a look. He was well organized. It looked like he'd taken every bit of advice given to him in regards to what to carry. Everything was there, well stocked, plus a couple of snacks and a couple of bottles of water.
"So," Greg said sitting down and taking the chance to take off his windbreaker, "now what?"
"Right now, we rest. We keep following this trail for another mile and then, if nothing, we turn back."
Greg nodded and sat down, pulling off his jacket as he did.
"Wish I'd brought some sunscreen," Greg muttered under his breath. He burned pretty easily and today the sun was pretty fierce.
Greg shot him a look of disbelief. It was still early spring but still hot as the devil. Greg was amazed Grissom didn't seem bothered at all. He shrugged it off and took out his phone for what felt like the hundredth time. Checking it out he still had zero reception. Damn technology.
Grissom had expected Greg to begin talking again but he wasn't. Instead he watched in mild fascination as Greg pulled a small notebook out of his back pocket and a pen from his case and began to jot something down. After a few minutes of silence, curiosity got the best of him.
"What is that?" he asked.
Greg looked up at him and closed up what he was doing.
Grissom gave him a look, one he knew Greg couldn't not answer.
"Okay," Greg relented, "I have this list. It's kind of stupid, but I've been doing it since college. I write down all the things I want to do in my life and when I do one, I cross it off and think up something else."
"So getting lost in the desert is on that list?" Grissom asked incredulously.
"No, but spending the night out in the desert is so I was just thinking of what I'd do next."
"It's not night time yet Greg," Grissom said shaking his head, "We could be out of here before the sun even sets."
"Well," Greg said shrugging, "let's just say I've got a feeling."
Grissom smiled at him. He really believed they wouldn't be there that long. Certainly not overnight.
"So how long is the list?" he asked.
"Ten things. You want to see it?"
Grissom hesitated for a moment. It seemed personal, but then again Greg had offered it to him. He was even holding it out before him now. Reluctantly he took it and the first thing on the list made him laugh.
"So no luck with 'achieving world peace'?"
"Not yet," Greg said with a smirk, "but I'm still young."
Grissom flipped through it. It was all neatly written. Everything was mostly crossed off until he got towards the end. Some of it was pretty amusing, some a little more serious.
"So you've done all these things?" Grissom asked, still looking through it.
"Everything lined out," Greg answered, looking around him and deciding to take Grissom's advice and cover back up.
Grissom stopped on a particular page and looked up at Greg, an odd expression on his face.
"What?" Greg asked.
"When did you kiss Sara?" he asked in return.
Greg actually blushed.
"Okay, that one's kind of a gimme. I didn't actually kiss her. She kissed me. I really shouldn't have crossed it off, but I figured that's as close as I'm ever going to get."
"When did Sara kiss you?" Grissom asked once more, still not believing it.
"New Year's Eve. It really wasn't anything big, she probably felt sorry for me."
"So this just happened?"
"No," Greg answered, "a few years back. We always work the holidays together, that one was a little worse then usual."
Grissom could tell Greg was trying to brush it off, but not succeeding.
"You do work a lot on the holidays," Grissom said as if he'd just noticed. In fact, every holiday he could remember, even before graveyard shift was split, had been him, Sara and Greg.
"Well," Greg said standing up and taking back the offered notebook, "I don't really have anywhere else to be."
Grissom stood as well, ready to get moving again. He knew Greg wasn't originally from Vegas but the more he thought about it something else dawned on him.
"When's the last time you took vacation?" he asked, as he started walking back down the trail at a slower pace now.
"Don't tell me I'm getting charged vacation time for this?" Greg asked in return. Grissom had a feeling he was deflecting the real issue.
"When did you?"
Grissom was stuck. He couldn't exactly lecture Greg about burn out when he hadn't taken a day off himself in over three years.
"Come on," Greg said after a moment's silence, "you don't remember?"
"I'm supposed to remember your vacations?"
"Well, the last one, yeah."
They were coming up another hill and the stopped at the top. Each took out their cell phones and tried them once more. Still no luck. Scanning the horizon in all directions, there was nothing but dirt and bushes all around.
"What was so special about the last one?" Grissom asked as the started walking again.
"You really don't remember," Greg answered with a laugh, a disbelieving laugh. "About a year ago, I took a week off. I went to Hawaii."
Grissom just shook his head, not recalling any of it. The last time he remembered Greg being out of the lab for any extended amount of time was after the lab explosion.
Greg laughed at his silence, shook his head.
"I broke my arm in three places," he continued, thinking that would trigger something from him but still he remained silent.
"Grissom," Greg said stopping now, not as amused, "I was in a cast for six weeks. Eight if you count the soft cast."
Grissom turned and looked at him. He honestly didn't remember it.
"I still have to do those stupid physical therapy exercises and I have a scar from it."
To prove his point, he pulled up the sleeve on his right arm and sure enough along his forearm was an easily identifiable mark. Grissom was still quiet. Looked at him like he might be from another planet.
"Okay," Greg said starting to walk again, head down now some, "you might remember it as the time I dropped the blood work for the Rodriguez case."
"You had a cast on then?" Grissom asked, stopping now himself as he remembered.
He definitely remembered that. It was the only sample they'd had and Greg had nearly wrecked it. In the end he managed to salvage some but not after a major dressing down from both him and Ecklie.
"Why didn't you say something?" Grissom asked after they'd walked another fifteen minutes in silence.
"About what?" Greg asked in return. "Cast or not it was my fault."
They continued on for another hour in silence. It was much later in the day then Grissom had thought and his original plan of turning back after another mile was forgotten.
"Let's stop here for the night."
Greg said nothing, just dropped the case and sat on it for a moment. He was exhausted, physically and a bit emotionally.
"Should we try and start a fire?" Greg asked, not sure if they could. He knew he couldn't. It was still on his list.
"Gather some dry wood," Grissom directed, "just don't go too far."
"What? Worried I'll get lost?" Greg said with a smirk.
Grissom just returned one, glad that whatever funk had passed over him had lifted some. After another ten minutes of gathering and stacking acceptable tinder, Greg sat down and looked up at him.
"And now what? We wait for lightning?"
"No," Grissom said as he pulled out a lighter. "We use this."
"Remind me to put one of those in my case from now on."
The fire, once started, was nice. Despite the heat of the day, desert nights were cold. Greg felt his stomach rumble and thought briefly about the candy bars he had stashed in his case.
"What do you think," he said opening it up, "do we eat now or wait?"
"How many do you have again?" Grissom asked, actually more concerned about water now then food.
"Three candy bars and two bottles of water. Want to at least split one?"
Grissom nodded and Greg didn't waste any time complying.
"What about the water?" Greg asked, tossing him half of the Snickers bar.
"We'll have some after we eat that, but not a lot. If we are out here for too long, we don't want to be without any."
Greg nodded in understanding and Grissom couldn't remember seeing him look more tired.
"Why don't you get some sleep?" he asked. "We'll take turns; I'll wake you in a few hours."
"Are you sure?" Greg asked, not unwilling to accept.
Grissom just nodded and Greg did his best to get comfortable.
"Oh," Greg said sitting back up and un-holstering his gun, "you should probably take this for now. Just in case."
Grissom nodded and also dug the flashlight out of Greg's case. Greg smiled once and turned on his side so that he was facing away from Grissom and the fire.
It wasn't long before he heard Greg snoring softly, sound asleep and Grissom relaxed some himself. In his head he recounted all the mistakes of the day. This wasn't good. It wasn't good at all, but he was still confident. Tomorrow they'd either find their way out or be found. He was certain of it.