PLEASE READ: This is going to be a little different. Each chapter will be a standalone but will be either a missing scene or an in-between piece for the 'Happy' saga. Before each, in the summary, I will give a set up and tell you when or roughly when it takes place. If it is a missing scene, I will indicate exactly between which chapters it takes place. Basically I'm using this as a placeholder for all the things I wanted to add but either cut or couldn't do because of size or relevance. Many of these will make no sense unless you've read 'Happy Enough', 'Issues' and 'Privacy'. Reading 'Precious Things' wouldn't hurt either, but then again I obviously like people to read what I've written. :)
I can not say when or how often this will be updated. Likely, as I think of them so it may not be all that often. This is a side project to my other side projects (hence the overall title). Let me know if there is something you particularly want to see as it may inspire me to do it!
Disclaimer: I only own the words on this page, not the characters they come from. Well, the characters you don't recognize that is.
Summary: Greg meets his replacement, for the sixth time. Takes place roughly 2-3 months before 'Happy Enough'.
Spoilers: Anything through season 4.
The Replacement by SLynn
Greg stood in the break room hovering over the coffee pot waiting for it to finish brewing. Shift wasn't starting for another hour but he had come in early to cover for Thompsen the swing shift tech for the fourth time this week. Between that, working the lab full time on graves and still trying to find time to get into the field Greg felt worn down. Not that he'd be in the field tonight. Tonight he was meeting and training his replacement in the lab. Meeting them for the sixth time.
In the two months they'd been actively hiring no one had lasted more then two weeks. Most didn't come back after the first night. One even fled after fifteen minutes. Greg had little hope left that they'd find anyone who'd be willing to put up with this place, secretly wondered why he had for so long, and was determined to demand a raise if this kept up. Okay not really but it was frustrating. Very frustrating.
"Are you just going to stand there all night?"
Greg shook off the daze he'd been in and finally reached for the coffee pot before turning towards the voice.
"I was meditating," he said with a smile to Nick.
"A moment of serenity before the next nightmare of a tech makes their way in?"
"Something like that," Greg said moving away now, cup full.
"So what's this one's name?" Nick asked filling his own cup now before sitting down opposite Greg at the table.
"Does it matter?" Greg asked back, not even bothering to hide his irritation, "Seriously. I'm just going to call this one 'six', you know, try not to get attached."
Nick laughed despite the seriousness of Greg's tone.
"Maybe the problem is you're treating the new techs like pets," he offered.
"No," Greg insisted, "the problem is that everyone here treats the new techs like idiots. Seriously, I'm never getting out of the lab until the rest of you learn to trust someone else. The first two applicants were two of the best in the country and what happened?"
"They quit," Greg echoed, "and this job isn't hard."
"Well, maybe you don't think so," Nick offered, "but you're good at it."
"But I don't want to do it anymore."
Nick didn't have anything to say to that, just offered him half a smile and a shrug. Greg returned it but just barely. It was getting to be too much. Even if the new tech stayed he'd likely be training them for the next three months. It was beginning to feel like a waste of time.
"Sanders line one," came over the intercom. "Sanders line one."
"That's got to be her," Greg said with a sigh as he headed for the page phone across the room.
"Well," Nick said, "at least they're punctual. Early even."
Greg gave him a look that clearly showed how little he cared before picking up the phone and pressing the flashing button.
"Sanders," he said into it.
"The new tech is here," was all that was said before the line went dead.
"Thank you too," Greg mumbled before hanging it up.
"Gretchen?" Nick asked with a smile.
"She loves me," Greg smirked sarcastically back at him.
Nick laughed again as Greg headed out the door and down the hall.
He wasn't sure what to expect, he hadn't met the new tech. Greg had gotten to take his pick of the resumes but hadn't actually been in on the interviews. That had been handled completely by Grissom and Ecklie. At least this time they'd taken his advice and picked someone almost straight out of college.
Greg's motives were almost entirely selfish, that someone straight out of college might just be happy with any job, much as he had been, and also easier to train. Less likely to be locked into a particular way of doing things, more pliable. Hopefully more open minded. That's why he'd picked this particular resume.
Making his way into the lobby he spotted her right away.
She was sitting off to the side on one of the chairs looking extremely nervous. She dressed nicely but suitable for the lab. He almost laughed as she looked his way once and immediately looked away, obviously assuming he wasn't here for her. Greg didn't blame her, they all did that. Not one of the new techs had ever correctly assumed that he was the person they were replacing. Greg knew he didn't look the part, liked that, and it was the only thing he found remotely amusing about this whole ordeal.
"Amy Chen," he said bypassing Gretchen at the main desk completely and stopping in front of the young Chinese woman.
"Yes," she said standing and offering her hand, "Mr. Sanders?"
"Greg is fine," he said shaking her hand once with a smile. "Or Sanders if you like but not mister. I'm not that old yet."
She smiled back weakly and he could tell she really was nervous.
"Let's get you signed in," Greg said turning back towards the main desk.
Amy just nodded and followed him.
Gretchen looked up at him as he stopped there, not even bothering to mask her contempt. Greg just took the clip board, jotted down Amy's name and the time before signing off on it and taking the temporary badge off of the desk. After the third new hire they stopped making permanent ones telling Greg they'd only do it if the new hire in question made it past a week.
"So you're the new tech?" Gretchen asked Amy.
Greg rolled his eyes and prepared for the worst. There was no telling what she'd say this time. She seemed to go out of her way to be nasty when the new hire was a woman.
Amy just nodded and managed a small smile.
"Good luck," Gretchen said sarcastically with a significant look in Greg's direction, "and a word of advice. Don't believe anything he says."
"Okay," Greg said louder then necessary, "We're done here. Thanks for all your help Gretchen. Amy, we're this way."
Greg hurried off and Amy followed casting one last look in Gretchen's direction.
"Ignore her," Greg said once they were behind the door and going down the hall, "She doesn't exactly like me. Long story."
Amy said nothing, just walked with him silently down the hall trying to take it all in. Greg didn't bother pointing anything out along the way. No one ever remembered it anyway.
Before they got there the sound of his name being shouted stopped him short. Turning round Sara was already at his side.
"Where are my results?"
"And good morning sunshine," he returned.
Amy, standing off to the side, looked bewildered at the exchange taking place.
"Greg," she said growing impatient.
"Manners Sara," he said still smiling, "we have company."
Sara looked at Amy briefly before turning back to him, obviously not caring who was there. Only caring about her results.
"I don't have time for this Greg. This case is too important for your games."
"Which one isn't?" he asked in return earning a small smile. "Come on, they're at the lab. We're heading there now."
The three of them continued on in relative silence. Once there, Greg didn't waste any time retrieving the results and handing them over without ceremony.
"Not what you were looking for?" he asked and Amy was astonished at how quick his features had darkened to match Sara's.
"No," she said quietly looking up and offering him a sad smile.
"Sorry. I can't make it match."
"It's not your fault," she said.
They both seemed to recollect Amy's presence at the same time looking away from each other and briefly to her instead.
"On with the show," Greg said looking at her with a smile.
Sara didn't say anything more just turned and left.
"So this is the lab," Greg said waving a hand through the air, smile planted firmly on his face once more. "This is where you'll be spending probably all of your time. Here or the break room."
Amy nodded and once more smiled weakly.
"Questions?" he asked.
"Yeah, who was that?"
"Oh man," Greg said shaking his head, "Sorry. I'm usually better at this. That was Sara Sidle. She's one of the investigators here. Um, if we hurry we can catch the pre-shift meeting and you can meet everyone at once."
Again Greg was moving and it took Amy some effort to keep up. They got to the break room in record time and Grissom seemed to be waiting for them. Shutting the door behind him, ushering Amy in first, Greg held out a chair for her and chose to stand himself.
Not sure what Amy could possibly be thinking of all this, Greg did his best to catch every word. Knowing he wasn't possibly getting out tonight, he liked to keep as current as he could on the cases regardless. Even if he wasn't in the field it helped in the lab. Usually the pre-shift meetings were a good indicator of how much work he'd have come across his table and what kind. Tonight didn't sound too bad which was great. Maybe he could convince Amy to stay more then a day if it wasn't.
Towards the end Grissom gave him a look and Greg knew what was coming next.
"Greg," he said causing everyone to turn round towards him, "Introductions?"
"Yes," he said standing a little straighter, "Everyone this is Amy Chen our new lab tech. Amy, this is everyone."
Amy gave a tight smile and nod as she stood now as well.
"Nice to meet you," Catherine said coming up to her and shaking her hand. "I'm Catherine Willows."
Everyone did the same in turn, Amy shaking and nodding to each. Her smile faltering some at meeting so many people at once, positive she wouldn't remember any of their names excepting Greg's and Dr. Grissom's.
After that was done everyone was in a hurry to be moving and soon it was just the two of them.
"This is the break room," Greg said somewhat lamely. "Coffee, fridge, not much else."
"Let me introduce you to everyone else," Greg said heading again for the door.
Their first stop was ballistics. Greg waited outside the door momentarily seeing that Bobby was getting ready to run a test. And running a test for Bobby meant firing a gun.
"Firing two," they heard him shout even though they were on the other side of the door.
Amy actually flinched as the gun went off and took a small step back with each shot. Greg just waited until Bobby moved away from the testing chamber and put the gun down before pulling the door open.
"Bobby D," he said loud enough to get his attention.
"Hey Greg," Bobby returned taking off his protective ear and eye wear. "What can I do for you?"
"Nothing right now…"
"What, no case?" Bobby asked.
"Not tonight," Greg answered sounding dejected. "Got a new tech though. This is Amy Chen. Amy Chen, this is our bullet man Bobby Dawson."
"Nice to meet you Amy," he said coming over and shaking her hand.
Amy hadn't even come all the way inside. Obviously guns were a bit frightening for her. She knew about ballistics, a little, she just hadn't expected them to really be firing a gun inside the lab.
"You too," she managed shakily.
Bobby just smiled and Greg could see it in his eyes that he didn't think she'd last the night; he was just too nice to say otherwise. Greg was beginning to wonder himself. Amy seemed almost skittish.
"We'll get out of your way," Greg said now heading for the door.
"See you later and nice to meet you again."
Amy smiled tightly and nodded again, thankful to be moving along.
"This is our computer lab," Greg said heading into another room that was filled with all sorts of monitors and occupied by a younger man that looked nearly asleep. "And this is Archie Johnson who apparently didn't eat his Wheaties this morning."
"What?" Archie asked looking up at them with a yawn, "Oh hey, sorry. I've been here since noon going over these files."
"Oh then you saw me too," Greg returned not unkindly, "across the hall, all day, not sleeping."
"Are you here just to harass me or do you have like actual evidence?" Archie asked, smiling and not taking offense at all.
"Amy, Archie. Archie, Amy," Greg said moving aside so that Amy was visible. She'd taken to standing directly behind him.
"Oh hi," Archie said standing and shaking her hand. "So you're Sanders replacement?"
"Yes," she said nodding once.
Greg glared at him and said no more. Instead he just turned around and headed for the door ignoring Archie's laugh as he went.
"This is the fingerprint lab, home to Jacqui Franco," he said opening yet another door, this one right next to the DNA lab.
"I don't live here Greg," Jacqui said without looking up from her work.
"She and Sara are in fierce competition to be the next Las Vegas Crime Lab's Miss Congeniality," Greg said earning a smile but Jacqui still didn't look their way.
"What do you want Greg?" she asked instead.
"See, its sweet talk like that that will put you in the lead."
She said nothing to it, just kept working knowing Greg would eventually get to the point.
"I'm here to introduce my replacement," Greg finally said and Jacqui finally looked up.
"Nice to meet you," Jacqui said as she returned to work.
She wasn't trying to be rude it was just that after you'd seen one you'd seen them all. Greg had a replacement now almost weekly. He might have been joking earlier with Nick about not bothering to learn their names anymore but Jacqui wasn't. There really wasn't a point.
Greg took the hint and left, saying something to Amy about how swamped Jacqui was and that she was their best fingerprinter on staff so she was constantly back logged with days and swings work as well as graves.
"This is Grissom's office," he said peaking inside, "Looks like he's out, but you've met him so I guess that's okay."
"What is all that stuff," Amy said, asking the first question Greg could recall, indicating the various jars lining the walls of the office.
"His collection," Greg said with a wry smile. "You'll get use to it. Most of it's dead."
Greg just smiled again and continued on the tour.
"Most of these rooms are for working evidence. AV room, layout room, conference room. None of them are important. That's the trace lab."
"Is that the tech that works there?" Amy asked, seeing Hodges through the window.
"Yeah," Greg answered drawing the word out, "We'll skip him. You'll thank me later. Come on, let's get you a coat and start working."
Greg led Amy back to the DNA lab and after a couple attempts found her a lab coat small enough for her petite frame. After showing her all the equipment, where the supplies were all kept and various other things he started in on the first sample.
It was pretty straight forward, just blood work, talking as he did.
"So why here? You're not from Vegas are you? I read your resume, your last job was at Stanford Medical?"
"Yeah, um, I interned there in college and got a job there after graduation but I got laid off. Department cut backs."
"So you didn't want to do forensics?"
"Not really. I took some courses, I mean it is interesting, but I want to do medical research."
Greg nodded again.
"So, can I ask you why you're leaving?"
Greg looked up at her, surprised. No one had asked him that before.
"I mean," she stammered, "you seem to like it here. Everyone seems to like you. Why are you quitting?"
"I'm not," he answered moving away from the microscope, "I'm training to be an investigator. Go out in the field, get dirty, all that fun stuff."
Amy nodded but he could tell she didn't see the appeal in it.
"This is a good job," he said as if he had to justify it, "Pays well, hours kind of suck but the people are great. Plus, you'll be in charge. Inside this room it's your call."
Amy nodded, mostly as if she wanted to believe it.
"No seriously, don't let anyone push you around in here. Me personally, the only people I make concessions for are Grissom and Ecklie. If they want something done ASAP, I do it ASAP. Everyone else, I smile, I nod, tell them I'm on top of it and then do it when I'm ready."
Amy smiled this time and he began to think that maybe she'd be alright after all.
"So I saw you also worked for one of those paternity testing companies, right?"
"Yeah," she said with a nod and a blush, "Honestly, not my finest hour. I felt like I was one step away from a Springer episode."
Greg laughed and her smile got a little bigger.
"But you can run DNA then?"
"Good," he said handing her some samples, "why don't you start these and I'll be right back."
She seemed happy with that, gave him a bigger more genuine smile as she moved into his spot.
"If you have any questions just stop and I'll be right back."
Greg watched her for a second as she got situated and then turned and headed down the hall. Heading back to the break room for more coffee, Greg stifled yet another yawn and this time found both Nick and Sara there.
"She didn't quit already did she?" Sara asked her good humor back. Finally. Greg could only guess she'd found another way to catch the bad guy of the week that didn't involve DNA.
"No," Greg answered heading straight for the coffee pot, "I left her to it."
"Already?" Nick asked clearly surprised.
"Yes, she's done it before."
"On paper," Sara returned obviously not buying it.
"No one lies about that on their resume," Greg said sitting down beside her with a smirk.
"Yeah, no one lies," Sara said with a laugh.
Nick laughed with her and Greg just threw them both a deadly look before taking his first sip of coffee.
"You know," Greg said stretching and resting his head on Sara's shoulder, "I'm past caring. If she screws it up, oh well. What are they going to do, fire her? Probably just save me some trouble before she quits. Maybe I'll get lucky and they'll fire me too."
Sara took her hand and gently but effectively pushed his head off of her casting him a look he'd grown fairly familiar with.
"You're not serious," Nick said.
"No I am. I may just quit anyways. I can't keep this up. It's like torture."
They both laughed until they were interrupted by Catherine in the doorway.
"There you are," she said coming over to Greg, "I need you to run some samples in the lab."
"Did you go by the lab first?" Greg asked.
Catherine nodded and looked at him like he'd grown a second head. Why was he asking that?
"So, why didn't you give them to Amy?"
"Because I want you to do them."
"Alright," Greg said standing, "I'm just going to say this once and you can pass it on to Warrick…"
"Pass what on to me?" he asked, having just stepped inside himself.
"Great," Greg continued, "no need. Good. I do not work in that lab anymore. You have to start giving your stuff to the new tech."
"But the techs…" Catherine started and stopped at the look she got from him.
"I know the techs don't stay. They don't stay because no one trusts them to do anything. If you're all always looking for me they'll never want to stay. Now, I wasn't born in that lab and I'm certainly not going to stay there till I die. So either get use to the new tech, whoever it might be for the day, or just don't count on getting any results. Because seriously, I'm not doing them anymore. Period."
They all looked at him in shock. Complete shock. They all knew Greg had been bit on edge, a bit tense, but it was completely out of character for him to chastise anyone, let alone everyone, in this manner.
"Okay," Catherine spoke first, "I'll take this to Amy."
She left the room without saying anything else and Greg felt his cheeks turn a bit crimson however he tried to ignore it.
"I'll just," he struggled momentarily, "go and see how that's going."
Greg left right after Catherine and was at the lab in time to see her leave. She gave him a wry smile which he returned before joining Amy in the room.
"How's it going?"
"Not bad," she said with a shrug. "Am I doing this right?"
Greg came over and watched her progress.
"Far as I can tell."
"Catherine, I think, dropped that off just now. I wasn't sure if you wanted to see it first or not."
"Have you ever done hair samples before?"
"No," she said shaking her head.
"Nothing to it," he returned, "we'll go through the first couple together."
The night progressed slowly. Greg spent most of his time near Amy without actually doing much of the work himself. Mostly he fended people off, keeping them at bay and only letting them in if they really had pertinent information or questions. No need to overwhelm her so quickly. Greg's hopes had gone from non-existent to exuberant during the course of the shift. Amy seemed to be a quick study and didn't need a lot of instruction.
"So," Greg heard from the doorway and winced at the sound, "You must be the new tech."
Amy smiled briefly looking up at the man in the door now.
"Sanders didn't walk you around?" he asked and before Amy could contradict him Greg did.
"Of course I did," Greg returned, "you must have been out."
"Sure," he said and Amy wouldn't have been surprised if they'd actually started fighting.
It was pretty obvious that these two didn't get along. Frankly, she was relieved. She was already feeling the pressure of taking Greg's spot, he really did seem well loved, but if he didn't get along with everyone it made him more human and less godlike which was about how everyone seemed to rank him in the lab.
"Hodges," Greg said finally, "this is Amy Chen. Amy Chen, this is Hodges."
"David Hodges," he said coming over with a warm enough smile, "you can call me Dave."
Greg rolled his eyes and tried not to laugh.
"So did Sanders here impart all his wisdom on you? That couldn't have taken long."
Amy, who had been smiling, suddenly stopped. That, she didn't like.
"Greg has been very helpful," she said instead, still not wanting to be rude.
"Uh huh," Hodges said with a smirk before turning to Greg who smiled back at him broadly. "Well, if there's anything I can do for you…"
"I think we're going to be fine," Greg said "thanks and bye."
Hodges said no more, just turned and left. Amy didn't say anything about it, didn't feel like it was her place too. Greg didn't bring it up again either. Instead, not two minutes later and unable to stop it the lab was overrun with CSIs.
Considering there were only five of them on shift, at times there seemed to be hundreds.
First Grissom stopped by dropping off two hair samples and three swabs. Then it was Catherine, back for her results and with more samples to run. Next was Warrick who had condoms for them, causing Amy's first real look of panic. Apparently that had been unexpected, but she didn't freak out just looked slightly disgusted. After Warrick was Nick and then Sara and then Nick again each with a wide variety of objects that needed swabbing for blood.
Greg gave up all pretenses of stepping back and letting her just work and began to help, much to her relief. But, considering the circumstances, she handled herself well and held her ground. Amy never once panicked or complained about the amount of work, just occasionally asked Greg either how to do something or what he thought was the best way to approach a particularly complex task.
Before either of them were aware the night was over and the day shift tech came in to greet them. Greg went through the sign out procedures and turn over and then walked with her back to the lobby.
"So," he questioned, "what do you think?"
"Busy," she said with half a smile, blinking at the sunlight that was now invading the lobby. "Really busy. More then I thought it would be."
Greg nodded, he'd heard that before.
"But that's good. I hate having nothing to do."
Greg smiled now, a real one which she couldn't not return.
"I do want to know when I'd get a badge of my own," Amy asked now, "I mean, I can wait for you in the lobby tonight but if I wanted to come in early…"
"We'll get you one tonight," Greg said cutting her off, "and a locker."
"Great," she said, echoing his previous sentiments.
For a moment they both just stood there, unsure what to do next. Greg had never actually had a night go this well with a new tech. He was sort of afraid he was asleep and this was all just a dream.
"I'll see you tonight," Amy finally said, offering his hand once more.
"Tonight," Greg said shaking it again before watching her turn and go.
Greg waited until she left the building before turning to go himself.
"I give her a week," Gretchen said as he passed her desk.
"Jealous?" he questioned with a smirk, never breaking his stride as he headed back inside.
Greg went straight to the locker room to pick up his own things and head home. He was beat and had class tonight before work. He wanted out of there before anyone could stop him.
"So this one might work out huh?" Nick asked, coming in and opening his own locker near Greg's.
"I think so," Greg answered honestly.
"She's kind of young, isn't she?"
"No younger then I was when I started here," Greg returned, giving him an odd look.
"Exactly. Look what it did to you."
Greg laughed, knowing he wasn't serious.
"You're just mad because you think she's too young to ask out," Greg said now, knowing how to get under Nick's skin.
"Hey, I don't date people I work with. Something you'd do well to think about," Nick said seriously.
"I don't date my co-workers either."
"It doesn't seem to stop you from trying."
"Can't blame me for that," Greg said with a hint of a smile.
"I'm only going to say one word," Nick said fixing him with an even more serious look, "Gretchen."
Greg laughed and shook his head.
"We weren't exactly dating."
"But you get my point," Nick said laughing too.
"Yeah, yeah," Greg said still shaking his head as he took his things out of his locker. "I wasn't going to ask her out anyway. Well, not until I at least knew she was sticking around."
Nick just shook his head as he shut his locker.
"Alright, but don't say I didn't warn you."
"Warn him about what?" Sara asked coming in and opening her own locker.
"Greg's just calling dibs on asking out the new tech," Nick informed.
"Really?" Sara asked turning to him, "I didn't think she was your type."
"What type would that be?" Greg asked in return, "Smart, pretty, nice."
"I don't know," Sara said with a shrug, taking out her things, "She seems kind of… reserved."
Greg looked up for a moment, as if in serious contemplation before turning back to her.
"I can overlook that."
Sara shrugged and said no more.
"I'll see you two later," Nick said with a wave.
"Bye," Sara and Greg said in near unison.
"What have you got planned for today?" Sara asked, sitting down.
"The usual," Greg commented, "Wild party at the VIP room of the Hard Rock, hot date with a model, back packing through Red Rock."
Sara laughed and gave him her 'be serious' look.
"Sleep, class, work. You?"
"Sleep," she answered, "Do you want to grab something to eat?"
Greg, who really was exhausted, couldn't pass it up.
"Yeah, why not," he answered as casually as he could. "I guess I could grace you with my presence."
"I'll meet you at the diner," Sara said getting up with a smile.
Greg smile back at her as she left and shut his own locker now, ready to go. As he headed down the hall Grissom stopped him and asked for a word. Not wanting to keep Sara waiting, really unsure how long she would wait, Greg also knew he couldn't say no to the boss.
"How's Amy working out?" Grissom asked, ignoring the fact that Greg chose to stand.
"Good," Greg answered, shuffling on his feet. "Real good. She wants a locker."
"That's a first," Grissom said without looking up but sounding pleased.
"Yeah," Greg agreed, "I think she might stick around."
"Good," Grissom said nodding, "Do you think she could work alone tonight?"
"All night?" Greg asked hopefully.
"Not all night," Grissom answered, "but part."
"Yeah," Greg nodded, "I think she'll be fine."
"Okay then," Grissom said, "Have a good day."
"Bye," Greg said wasting no time getting out the door and hurrying towards the garage.
Greg left generally feeling better then he had in a long time. He had breakfast with Sara to look forward too and then a full day of sleep. Class would likely be boring, but that was alright. No one was making him get his master's degree, he was doing that for himself.
For the first time since they started this whole hiring fiasco Greg actually felt optimistic. He felt like all his hard work was finally netting some rewards. He had high hopes for Amy, thought she might make the perfect replacement after all.
Things were starting to look good.