The Search by SLynn
Disclaimer: Not mine, not mine, not mine.
Notes: This is the supplemental piece to 'The Body'. It's going to go chapter by chapter, day by day along with that one from the opposite perspective. Hope you enjoy it! I'm not sure how often this will get updated. I'm primarily working on 'Precious Things' doing this on the side.
Spoilers: Everything up to 'Nesting Dolls' in Season 5 although I doubt seriously I drag all that up.
Nick pulled the SUV up even with the rest of the official vehicles on scene. For the life of him he couldn't imagine why it would take so many people to process one dead body in the middle of nowhere, but he hadn't argued. Even though it was his day off and the fifth time in a row he'd been called in on his day off, he didn't argue. Catherine had sounded urgent and she was the boss. That was more then enough reason for him.
Grabbing his gear and heading over to where she and Brass now stood, Nick hung back a moment till they'd finished their talk.
"Nick," she said walking towards him, "Good, you're here. We've got a bit of situation."
"What kind?" he asked, looking first from her to him. He didn't like what he was seeing. "Multiple bodies? Hazmat situation? What is it?"
"Missing investigators," Brass answered.
"Missing? What… what do you mean?"
"This scene was originally grave shift's," Catherine picked up, "Grissom and Greg showed up to process it and well, no one's seen them since."
"No one just disappears," Nick returned, really not believing it, "Especially not Grissom. Greg, okay I'll give you that he might wander around some, but it's not like he'd leave a scene."
"I know," Catherine defended, "I do Nick. And we don't think they left. Their vehicle is still here and one of the officers on scene specifically remembers Grissom telling him they'd be right back."
"Right back? How long ago was it?"
"About four hours," Brass answered this time.
"So four hours pass and now we're looking for them?"
"It's not like that. This was a busy place. No one noticed…"
"No one noticed?" Nick broke in angrily.
Before he could say anything further Catherine took him by the arm and dragged him back a few steps.
"Calm down," she said turning him round now as they walked towards the vehicles, "I'm sure they're both fine."
"Foul play?" he asked as it really was just setting in.
"It hasn't been ruled out," Catherine admitted, "but no one thinks so. There were too many cops around, no signs of a struggle. They may have just spotted something and got lost. It's not hard to do."
Nick nodded now as they came to a stop in front of a lab issue SUV.
"Is this what they drove in?" he asked.
"Yeah," she said, "I'll send Warrick up when he's finished with the victim."
Nick didn't respond, just set down his case and put on his gloves. He had no idea what he was looking for, if anything he'd find would even help, but he had to do it.
He skipped the front seats temporarily, more interested in what they might have taken with them from the back. Both their cases were gone and there wasn't much of anything else in the SUV. The thing was immaculate.
"Hey man, find anything?"
He turned to Warrick and shrugged.
"Well, we know that Greg at least had his case on him. Grissom's was left down by the db."
Nick nodded, shut the door and pulled off his gloves.
"This is crazy," he muttered.
"I know it," Warrick agreed. "It's not like Griss to just take off."
"Are they even searching yet?"
"Where?" Warrick asked in return, "We don't even know which way they might have went. Brass and a few of the officers did a preliminary sweep but they probably won't officially call in a party until tomorrow."
"What about their phones? They weren't in the truck."
"Tried that already," Warrick said shaking his head. "Goes right to voice mail. There's no reception out here. None. My own phone has been useless since I turned off the main road about five miles back."
Nick didn't like it. The sun had gone down a few hours ago and he could feel the temperature change through his jacket. Fortunately it was spring, but still early spring.
"It's going to get cold tonight," Nick commented and Warrick nodded his head in agreement.
"Yeah, the officer who saw them last," Warrick said, stopping momentarily to flip through his notes to the name, "Officer Callahan, said they were both wearing jackets."
"Windbreakers probably," Nick countered, "It's going to be too cold for that."
Warrick didn't respond, he was too busy watching another SUV pull onto scene. It finally caught Nick's attention as well.
"Is it that late already?" Nick asked.
"No," Warrick answered.
Nick started walking over to it just as Sara emerged from the driver's seat.
"What the hell happened?" she asked angrily.
"We don't know yet," Nick answered honestly. He was still just as angry as she was but doing a better job of suppressing it.
"Why weren't we called?" she asked again, turning from one to the other. It's when they realized that she wasn't alone. Sofia was with her looking every bit as angry for being left out of the loop.
"It happened on our shift," Nick said evenly.
"Well the db happened on days and that didn't stop Ecklie from calling in Griss," Sara continued. She was really on a roll now. Her voice was getting loud to the point where people were staring.
"Sara," Nick said stepping closer and lowering his voice, "we're going to find them."
Sara looked at Nick, really looked at him. She was caught between wanting to believe him and not knowing if she should.
"What have you got so far?" Sofia asked, defusing the situation some.
"Not much," Warrick said, trying as well to ease the tension, "We know they got here around one and were last seen around two, two-thirty."
"How can we help?" she asked. Both women had their cases with them, eager to be doing something.
"Well," Warrick continued, "We we're thinking about taking a look around the perimeter. Checking for footprints. See if we can get a good idea of where to start the search tomorrow."
"Tomorrow?" Sara asked all the composure she'd gain slipping away. "Why tomorrow? Why aren't they looking now?"
"Sara," Nick said placing an arm around her and squeezing her shoulder once, "they're going to be fine. Its one night. Grissom probably spotted some rare bug and dragged Greg over to it for a better look."
"Or Greg saw something shiny," Warrick put in with a smile.
"They've both taken basic first aid and survival courses," Nick continued. "They're probably either heading back this way now or making camp for the night."
"Did you see Greg's test scores on the survival test?" Sara asked completely serious.
"Grissom's with him," Sofia stated ending the argument.
They four of them spent the next few hours combing over the site with little luck. The officers who, in trying to find where Greg and Grissom might have gone, inadvertently covered their tracks more efficiently then anything else could have done.
Sofia not wanting to quit reluctantly checked her watch.
"Sara," she said shaking her head, "We've got to go. We're supposed to be at the lab."
"Go on," Nick urged, "we'll stay. Come back in the morning."
Sara nodded, thanking him with a smile. Tonight wasn't going to be an easy night for anyone but they still had work to do. Other cases. Other crimes.
Sara let Sofia drive back, the entire trip shrouded in silence.
Once in the lab they were instantly accosted by Jacqui.
"Is it true?" she asked falling in step beside them. "Did Greg really get lost in the desert?"
"Not just Greg," Sofia put in.
"So it is," Jacqui said sounding shocked, "I thought Hodges was just making it up."
"How did he find out?" Sara asked as they stopped in the break room.
"Same way he finds out about everything," Jacqui commented, "His heads so far up Ecklie's ass they share a brain."
Sofia choked on her coffee, still not use to the utter frankness that defined Jacqui. Sara laughed but not as much as usual.
"So it's true," Jacqui said after a moment, shaking her head. "How long do they think it will take to find them?"
"The guys are optimistic," Sara said, trying to sound so herself. "They think tomorrow by latest."
"Good," Jacqui said looking down a bit as she did so.
"We should call Brass," Sofia suggested, "See where we're needed for the night."
Sara heard her, knew she must have made some kind of acknowledgement but couldn't really recall it all happening. Sofia left, presumably to Grissom's office to do just that, leaving Sara and Jacqui alone.
"They'll be okay," Jacqui said, it coming out more like a question then a statement.
Sara smiled at her warmly.
"Of course they'll be okay," Jacqui repeated sounding more confident, "Grissom knows what he's doing. Greg's an outdoorsman."
Sara laughed at that. Recollecting what she'd said, Jacqui did too.
"Wow, I'm delirious. Outdoorsman. I meant he's been outdoors. I can't picture him camping for the life of me. Actually roughing it. Have you seen what a freak he is about keeping his hands clean?"
"Yes," Sara said still laughing, "his nails are cleaner then mine. Meticulous as he'd say. If a scene looks really messy, he double gloves and then spends fifteen minutes in the bathroom washing just his hands."
"Oh that's nothing," Jacqui continued, "One night he must have spilt something, I don't think it was even hazardous, just a mixer but he went ballistic. Ran down the hall faster then I thought he could move. Bobby and I were terrified, raced down after him certain his skin was coming off. But it was nothing. He just hated getting it on his skin. Scrubbed his arm so much it was raw the rest of the night."
"Well," Sara said sobering up some, "I guess considering…"
Jacqui nodded. She knew what Sara was getting at. Greg hadn't always been so paranoid, just after the accident in the lab.
"I've got to get to work," Jacqui said, touching her briefly on the arm before she left, "Let me know when you hear anything."
"I will," Sara called after her.
Sofia rejoined her soon enough. She had a case for them to get to and Sara was glad to hear it. She needed something to do. Something to keep her mind from straying where she knew it would for the rest of the night.
Part of her wanted nothing more then to go back out to the desert and help Nick and Warrick but she knew she couldn't do that. For one, Grissom wouldn't want her to do that. He'd want her to do the job.
Second, she didn't think she could. Not right now.