Title – Cold Vengeance

Author – forensicsgirl

Pairing – Grissom/Sara

Rating – T (PG-13)

Authors Note: Cold Vengeance is set early in season 5, right after Down the Drain/Harvest. I am a self-confessed Grissom/Sara-shipper, but didn't want to write a fic just about that, so I've not so cleverly concealed it within an ongoing case (albeit a very personal one). I'm planning this as the first of a series of stories and am already working on #2. All reviews are gratefully received. Hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it…

Disclaimer: As much as I would like to pass myself off as a genius, I'm not. Therefore, unfortunately, CSI does not belong to me. It you recognise something, I didn't make it up. All due fealty and worship go to Anthony E. Zuiker.

Author's Note Addendum – I've been archiving my fics on my website recently, as while I was re-reading them as part of that process, I discovered mistakes that had slipped through the cracks first time around. So I'm taking this opportunity to polish the entire series up and correct grammatical & continuity errors.

Addendum to the Addendum... Ahem, well, turns out I didn't catch all the errors last time I went through this. My wonderful beta, Wobbear, caught some more a while back, but I've only just found time to update this again.

Chapter One – Of Acid and Bugs

Police lights were red and blue strobes through the windows of the dank warehouse. Grissom peered through the gloom, his trusty maglite in his hand, the beam of which illuminated a truly horrific sight.

Mutilated, burned flesh. A man with no face.

'Acid,' commented Catherine. She crouched down at Grissom's elbow for a better look, wrinkling her nose. 'Hope for his sake it was done post-mortem'.

Grissom contemplated the scene for a moment, looking from the victim's non-existent face to his hands, which also bore the hallmarks of severe acid burns.

'So, was the perp being vicious? Or was he trying to hide his victim's identity? No way are we going to get any usable ridge detail off his hands,' he commented, finally looking at his colleague.

'There are always dental records. It'll just take a little longer.'

Behind them, Brass entered the warehouse.

'Just finished interviewing the two that found the vic,' he informed them. 'Couple of kids. Just came in to…' he sardonically glanced at his notes, '"hang out". I'm thinking it's more like make out. Though why anyone would want to come down here at four in the morning is beyond me.'

'The warehouse isn't in use?' Grissom wanted to know.

Brass shook his head. 'Doesn't look like it at the moment. I'm trying to get the owner on the horn to find out for sure. No sign of the victim's car, assuming he drove here.'

'Maybe he was driven,' Catherine suggested.

Brass shrugged as his cell phone started to ring. He answered before the second ring.

'Brass,' he said, moving outside the warehouse to get a clearer signal.

Grissom gently pulled back the victim's ruined shirt. Several beetles and maggots crawled over the body, around the large exit wound in the victim's chest.

'Oh, some of you're friends have decided to join the party,' Catherine wryly observed.

Grissom frowned. Gently extending a gloved finger, he picked up one of the beetles.

'There's something wrong here. This is a Carpet Beetle. And that…' he said pointing at another creature, 'is a Silphid Beetle. They belong to completely different stages of the timeline. The Carpet Beetle shouldn't be here yet.'

'Oh, yeah, I remember. The body-farm case. That type of beetle doesn't appear until the corpse is nearly a skeleton,' she said, looking around. 'But there aren't any other bodies here. Can't be cross-contamination this time, can it?'

Grissom considered for a moment. The conclusion he was forming wasn't a pleasant one.

'I think it might be worse than that Catherine. All these maggots are of different ages. I think the killer might have planted them,' he observed as he began to collect the entomological evidence.

'So we're looking for someone who knows enough about bugs to plant a whole mess of them on the body to, what… throw off the timeline?' Catherine got to her feet shaking her head. 'That's all we need, a killer who's as smart as you.'

'Well, we won't know much until I get these guys back to the lab for a closer look,' he said evenly, continuing his collection.

She moved away from the body for a closer look around the warehouse. The beam from her flashlight came to rest on a table, with a half-empty bottle of beer resting on top.

'Maybe our perp was thirsty?' she said wryly, stooping to get a closer look. Angling her light, she finally spotted what she'd been hoping for. 'Visible ridge detail.'

Grissom looked over and gave her a small smile. 'Maybe we got lucky and he got sloppy.'

Turning back to the body he spotted something that made him smile a little wider.

'Very lucky, even…' he commented, as he used his tweezers to lift a long, dark hair from the victim's clothes. 'Skin tag still attached.'

Catherine moved around the warehouse some more. She let a low whistle out.

'Look at that crater,' she remarked to Grissom. 'Looks like the perp used a cannon.'

A large hole was visible in the warehouse wall. Catherine shone her flashlight at it and bent closer for a better look.

'Bullet's deformed. It's opened out like a flower with really sharp petals,' she told him. 'I'm thinking high performance ammo. Someone really wanted this guy dead.'

'See if you can extract it without further damaging the bullet,' Grissom told her.

As he was about to move away from the body, he caught a glimpse of white, poking out from the victim's jacket pocket. Reaching in with a clean pair of tweezers, he withdrew a creamy piece of paper.

'Catherine?' Grissom called in a worried voice.


'Killer left us a note.'

Grissom stared at the note. Its words set alarm bells off in his head.

Follow the evidence

To Be Continued...