Disclaimer: I own nothing.

This is not a slash, or a romance of any kind.

Chapter 1

"Hey, Danny. Heard about the case. Tough break."

Danny Messer looked up from the papers he was reading to find Aiden pulling out the chair across from him and sitting down.

"Yeah," he replied quietly, returning to the folder containing everything on the case he and Stella had been working on for what felt like the past week. And if it had been that long, it only made the thought of not catching Vanessa Lamburg's killer that much worse.

"So, what are you doing with the case file? I thought it was over."

Danny sighed and closed the file, knowing that he wasn't going to get anywhere with it until he returned home to read it in quiet. "There's something here that we missed, we didn't look hard or far enough into. It has to be here somewhere. Something that'll prove Lance Jackson to Vanessa's murder."

Before Danny had time to blink, Aiden reached across the table and promptly snatched up the file. As she pulled it away, he scrambled to grab hold of it and take it back until she slapped away his hands.

"No, Danny. Let it go. I hate to say it, but this case is cold. There are other cases we'll have to deal with tomorrow and I don't want you going all obsessive-compulsive on me."

He leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest. For several moments he just stared at her, seemingly analyzing her. Aiden shifted in her seat, the silence and his look making her a little uncomfortable. Finally, after what felt like an eternity to her, he spoke.

"I'm not obsessive."

Aiden snorted. "Right. Have you so easily forgotten that painted homeless man case? 'Cause I can guarantee you Mac hasn't."

Danny inwardly winced. "Alright, I get your point. You don't have to say any more."

"Okay. Now," Aiden stood, taking the file with her, "I'm gonna give this to Stella so she can put it away, and you are going home to get some sleep. You both did the best you could, but this guy was careful. He got rid of everything that could potentially catch him."

"Yeah, yeah...thanks. 'Night, Aid."

"'Night, Danny."

He sat there for a while after she'd left, just looking around. It had been a rather bizarre case. Vanessa had been found beaten and dead in an old abandoned building by teenagers exploring or whatever it was they were doing. Stella and Danny couldn't find a single print on the body, or clothes, and a rape test came back negative, so they didn't get any seminal DNA. The woman had first been tortured with a sharp object, in all probability a knife but one never really knew, and was just beaten in general. Broken bones, cracked ribs, the works. And had finally been strangled with a normal rope. They had found fibers on her neck, but they couldn't find the rope. This had annoyed them to no end. They did find a bloody shoe print that matched the size of their only suspect, a vengeful ex-boyfriend that had been pointed at by the victim's brother, Jim Lamburg. Only, that was all they had and it wasn't enough for a warrant of any kind. Hell, all they really had was the brother's conviction.

So now, the case was cold and Danny didn't like it one bit. He didn't think Stella liked it too much either, but she seemed to be handling it better.

Heaving a sigh, the CSI stood and grabbed his jacket. Feeling in his pocket to make sure he had his keys, he headed out.

Stepping into his apartment, Danny closed the door and flicked on the lights. He kicked off his shoes and threw his jacket on the chair nearest to him. Walking to the fridge, he opened it and grabbed himself a beer. But before he could open it and take the first swig, his cell phone rang. Danny briskly moved to the chair and snatched it from his jacket pocket. Checking the ID, he grumbled when it said 'Unknown'.

Flipping it open, he greeted with a stiff, "Hello?"

"Hey, Detective? This is Jim Lamburg."

'Shit,' he thought to himself. He'd forgotten to tell Jim they weren't on the case anymore. Great, this was just what he needed.

"Oh, hey, Jim."

"Yeah, I just wanted to know what was happening with my sister's case."

"I...um...I got some bad news..."

There was a hesitation on the other end. "...what? What sort of bad news?"

"I'm not working the case anymore. They pulled me off, saying it's gone cold."

"What! You mean that bastard is getting away with what he did!"

"Listen, Jim, I still want to work the case, but-"

"Don't 'but' me! That lousy piece of shit killed my sister, I know it! You know it! So prove it!"

"I can't! They took me off! And there wasn't any evidence saying he did it, Jim."

"The shoe print, you had the shoe print!"

"Well, guess what? That wasn't enough. I wanted to keep looking for evidence that everyone said wasn't there. I wanted to send that guy where he belonged, but, get this, life isn't always fair."

"Fair? This isn't just fair! That guy killed my sister, and he should be punished for it!"

"And I agree! But there is no way to prove it."

It was quiet for a minute and Danny was beginning to think Jim had hung up. Until a whispering voice came across the line.

"You'll pay for this one day. I swear to God you will."


The CSI sighed (which, he realize, he'd been doing a lot today) and closed his phone, dropping it back onto the chair. Alright, maybe he was a little harsh on the guy, but he was exhausted, and all he wanted to do was sleep. Looking at the unopened beer in his hand, he placed it back in the fridge and headed off to his bedroom.

Yes, sleep was a very good idea.