The characters and situations in this story belong to Alliance Atlantis, CBS, Anthony Zuicker and other entities, and I do not have permission to borrow them. No infringement is intended in any way, and this story is not for profit. Any errors are mine, all mine, no you can't have any.
Spoilers: General fifth season through "Spark of Life."
I used this week's Unbound improv challenge lines, but this one is way beyond the word limit. Half these evil ideas were Cincoflex's, of course. (grin)
"You shouldn't have… you really shouldn't have." Sara stared in mingled amusement and impatience at the artificial rose she held cupped in her hand. Greg had held out the long-stemmed flower with a flourish, only to yank the stem out when she accepted it.
"April Fool's!" His grin was just this side of manic, and he ducked her half-hearted swat and danced out of range, laughing. Grissom shook his head and refrained from asking whether Greg had work to do, but his newest CSI shot him one mischievous look and disappeared around the corner, presumably to do something productive. Grissom hoped.
"He's made a fish of you," Grissom commented to Sara as he came abreast of her. The look she shot him was wry, and only slightly less impatient.
"Poisson d'Avril. Has he got you yet?"
Grissom watched with mild fascination as she somehow managed to tuck the flower into the hair just behind her ear. "He tried."
Sara shook her head. "Better watch it, Griss, he'll probably try again." With that, she was gone down the corridor. She didn't notice when the flower tumbled to the floor, and for a reason he wasn't ready to analyze, Grissom didn't call after her; instead, he slowly bent and picked the blossom up.
Sitting in his office three hours later, Grissom could come to only one conclusion.
Greg was back.
And Grissom was torn between relief and irritation. It was true, the changes had made for a quieter lab and fewer disruptions, but they were also a little distressing; he never liked to see someone's spark snuffed.
Well, it wasn't now. Grissom watched through the lab window, and sighed, as Greg chased Sofia down the hall with a bicycle horn. The noise was appalling.
If Sofia hadn't been laughing, Grissom would have reined in Greg's exuberance, but the rest of the night shift seemed to be taking Greg's celebration of the first of April in amused stride.
Except for Hodges, of course, but that was to be expected. The fact that he'd been wearing a "Kick Me" sign for forty-five minutes before he noticed probably had something to do with it, and Grissom's grave explanation that such things were in fact a genuine Scottish tradition didn't seem to help any.
Grissom himself had almost fallen for the "your shoe's untied" gag when he'd first come in, but the twitching corners of Greg's mouth had tipped him off, and he'd abruptly remembered the date. It had been a close thing, though.
He leaned back in his chair, idly running a tally in his head. Sara had gotten the stemless flower, Ronnie something in invisible ink, and Jacquie a prank phone call. Grissom didn't know exactly what Greg had done to Bobby, but the ballistics expert's distinctive whoop had sounded through the lab not an hour before.
Grissom had to admit, annoyance factor aside, it was indeed good to have something of the old Greg back. He'd expected the experiences of becoming a CSI to sober the younger man up somewhat, but watching Greg become quieter and quieter with each case had made Grissom a little sad. The last one, with the attempted suicide, had been especially rough.
Someone knocked on his doorframe, and Grissom looked up to see Sara in the doorway, holding a file. "Hey, got the results from Mia on the hairs we found on the assault vic. F.Y.I., she says she's going to kill Greg when she catches him."
Grissom raised a brow. "What did he do to her?"
Sara snickered. "He put a rubber snake under her stool. She's ophidiophobic."
"Huh." Grissom took a closer look at Sara. "Were you working with a microscope just now?"
She frowned. "Yeah, why?"
Instead of answering, Grissom opened a desk drawer and handed her a small mirror. Sara held it up and swore as it revealed the black ring around her eye. "Okay, that does it! I'm going to spike his coffee. Maybe with methyl blue."
"Archie already tried," Grissom advised. "He was muttering something about a whoopee cushion. But Greg gave the coffee to David."
"Ew." Sara's face scrunched up in sympathy. She started scrubbing her face with the sleeve of her lab coat, but Grissom pulled out a handkerchief and passed her that instead, ignoring her look of slight surprise.
"You know," he said slowly, rolling mental dice, "the ultimate April Fool's prank is often thought to be fooling the prankster."
Sara's gaze shifted from the mirror to Grissom. "Really."
"Mm-hmm." Grissom folded his hands and leaned his index fingers against his lips. "Interested?"
Her smile was slow, but it was definitely there. "Oh yeah."
"Is it ready yet?" Grissom asked in a low voice, leaning into the layout room.
Sara frowned, still bent over the tiny project on the table, wielding a soldering iron. "Almost. Just a few more connections." She shook her head without looking up. "I still can't believe we're doing this on county time."
"Call it an experiment in the psychology of the criminal mind." Grissom's academic interest in revenge had turned more personal when he'd returned from the morgue to find his tarantula missing and a tiny ransom note left in its terrarium.
"Aside from the fact that we're not profilers...who's the criminal in this venture, Grissom?" Sara made a few last precise movements, then set the iron aside and lifted her goggles from her eyes. "All set."
She picked up the jerry-rigged remote and pressed a button, and then grinned as the device performed as expected. "Perfect."
"I expected no less." Grissom winked as she stood, and this time her surprise was greater. "Shall we? Shift's almost over."
Sara picked up the device and its control. Grissom held the door for her; as she passed, he could hear her humming, and it took him a minute to place the tune as the theme to "MacGyver." Smirking, he followed.
The setup only took a few minutes. Grissom and Sara retreated to the edge of the parking lot, where their view was unobscured, and waited in a silence that was more comfortable than any they'd shared in recent months. It wasn't long, though; within minutes Greg emerged, looking entirely too smug.
They let him get into his car first. As he buckled his seatbelt, Sara held out the remote to Grissom, but he shook his head, turning one palm up in an inviting gesture. Sara's grin returned; with great ceremony, she flipped the switch.
A clank sounded, and almost immediately white smoke began pouring out from under Greg's car, coinciding beautifully with the roar of the engine. His yelp was barely audible.
Sara began laughing as Greg piled out and ran back to the car's trunk, but when he pulled out a battered fire extinguisher Grissom decided that the joke had gone far enough. He took a deep breath and cupped his hands around his mouth. "Hey, Greg!"
Greg looked around, wild-eyed, and finally fixed on the two of them - Grissom grinning, and Sara laughing so hard she could barely stand. "April Fool!" Grissom called.
"Oh, that was great," Sara said, her arms wrapped around herself. "My ribs hurt, and it was so worth it."
Grissom slipped on his sunglasses against the early morning sun and leaned back against the lab's outer wall. "Perhaps we should get him a fish," he said thoughtfully, which made Sara laugh again.
"I think he's learned his lesson." Greg was walking carefully towards the dumpster, holding their smoke bomb canister at arms' length. "This calls for a celebration."
Grissom glanced over at her, confused. She gave him a bright smile, one that had the edge of artificiality that told him she was nervous. "Um...want to get breakfast? My treat. I - " And she bit her lip, cutting off any further words.
Astonished, suspicious, Grissom blinked. "Ah - all right."
He waited, but she didn't say it, only looked at him with equal surprise. Then the grin was back, genuine all the way through, and he realized that it wasn't a joke, that it was real - that he had another chance.
"Great! Meet you back here in five." With a wink, she was gone.