Title: Insatiable Appetite for Death
Chapter 1 – The Last Supper
Rating: Rated PG-13 (warning some violent parts)
Author: Andorian Ice Princess
Summary: The team investigates a series of seemingly unrelated deaths until one of them makes a startling discovery that puts them in the killer's sights. Will the team lose one of their own? N/S G/C … Mostly a Nick/Sara pairing story…
Disclaimer: This story is written for fun and not for profit. All characters except the CSI cast and supporting crew belong to me and my twisted imagination. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental.
PS: In my story they are all still a team…not split into two shifts like they have on the show now!
Diva's Dining Lounge, 9:15pm
"I just can't believe the service here."
"Harold please keep your voice down," his wife hissed.
"Margaret I am paying good money to…"
"Is there a problem here sir?"
"Yes waiter there is!" Harold snapped. "We have been waiting for well over an hour for our meal and…"
"But sir we are quite busy tonight and…"
"Do you know who I am?" Harold sneered at the impatient looking waiter before him.
"Sir if you'll just…" the young man stammered.
"If our meal's aren't here…"
"Is there a problem here Carlos?"
"Yes sir there is," Carlos mumbled.
"You sure as hell better be management," Harold's angry voice boomed loudly.
"Yes I am. Cedric White at your service. Your meal is on its way. I am sorry for the delay but we had the mayor's party in here and they come first. There will be no charge."
"Better," Harold snided as he noticed a few frantic servers heading their way.
"Oh do enjoy," Cedric quipped as he turned on his polished heel and headed back into the kitchen, his face an angry frown as he neared the wooded swinging doors.
"You see dear, there was a good explanation," Margaret sighed as she noticed the stares staring to turn back to their meals and away from the couple that caused the distraction. One pair in particular though continued to watch with intense fascination; the way a child does when it knows it has just done something bad and is now waiting for it all to fall into place.
"I don't give a damn!" Harold huffed as he started into his meal.
About an hour later he grabbed his jacket, rolled his dress shirt sleeves back down and started to follow his wife out to their luxury car.
"Dear you look a little flushed, are you sure you should be driving?" Margaret asked in concern.
"I am fine," Harold snapped. "I am just a bit worked up about tonight," he added with a heavy sigh. "Sorry for snapping," he finished as he pulled his car out of the parking lot and headed for the highway. 10 minutes into the drive Harold knew something was very wrong.
"I don't feel so well," he started with a slight wheeze as he felt his body temperature starting to rise.
"What's wrong?" Margaret asked in alarm.
"I think I need…"
"Any time now," a sinister voice growled in a low tone, eyeing a chilling glass of champagne. "This makes how many now…." the voice rattled off with an evil laugh. "Just a few more to go…"
"Harold I think you should…" Margaret let out a gasp as Harold swerved once more; this time narrowly missing another oncoming car.
"I think that meal was the last supper that…" were the last words Harold Evans would ever speak. He tried to steer his speeding BMW away from an on-coming semi-trailer but ending up clipping the big rig's back tires, causing the truck to slam on its breaks and the BMW to flip over onto its side and go shooting off the highway into the black of night. All that was heard was screeching tires, heavy cursing, wicked laughter, blood-curdling screams and then silence.
"Man I swear if I look at one more sample of moss my eyes are going to cross," Nick moaned as he pushed himself back from the desk and started to rub his weary eyes. "We need more sunlight in here."
"It's night time Nick," Sara mused as she looked at him with a wry smile.
"I know that," Nick shot back with a playful smile. "Just tired of staring at moss."
"Well I tell you what next time someone dies we can put in a request for no moss," Sara teased.
"Funny," Nick responded in a dry tone. He held Sara's gaze a little longer but then watched in disappointment as she quickly turned back to her work. With a growing frown, he reluctantly did the same. He was aware of the attraction growing every day between them, but was never sure where he stood with Sara. She was always so confident and sure of herself when it came to her work, but she really distanced herself when it came to any kind of relationship. Maybe it's me, Nick wondered inside? He knew there were always guys tossing stories around about his wild ways with women, and he always tried to defend himself by saying it was in the past and he was different now, more mature. But sadly inside he feared she didn't believe any thing he said in his defence. With a huff he turned his gaze back to the microscope before him and tried to turn his mind to something other than the attractive woman sitting beside him.
What is wrong with me, Sara scolded herself inside? Why can't I bring myself to make small talk with him? I mean I know how to make small talk, don't I? Sara glanced side-ways a Nick and quickly turned back when she felt her cheeks slightly flush once more. Just the sight of how his muscled body hugged his shirt was enough to send little sparks from her brain to the rest of her whole being. Damn him, she lightly laughed, this time causing him to look over at her with an amused smile.
"Oh you have to share that laugh," he trapped her. "It's just too mysterious for this setting."
"I uh…it was nothing," she said in a cool tone, a mild smile still on her lips. "Just thinking of…moss."
"Moss? Really?" He questioned.
"Yes," she countered.
"Lucky moss," he stated before looking back down.
Sara turned back to her work and let out a small sigh. It was going to be a long night indeed. "We need something fresh to work on," she mumbled to them.
"Careful what you wish for," Nick mused back.
"What have we got?" Brass called out to one of the officers as he headed towards the now burning wreck of twisted metal.
"A real mess," seasoned veteran detective Vartaan started. "Truck driver says the car just swerved towards him, clipped his tail and then rolled and crashed into that wooden fence. I think the driver is already dead, but the fire is preventing us from getting to the other passenger. Witnesses said they heard screams but were unable to get to them…the driver tried a bit with a small fire extinguisher from his truck but by the time he got to the car he said it was too late."
"Damn it!" Brass cursed as he watched the fire crews trying to get the flaming fuels under control. "Have we ID'd the car?"
"We have," the officer huffed. "Sir you aren't going to like this," he said showing Brass the name.
"You can say that again," he growled as he pulled out his phone. "Grissom, we have a bad one. I need your team now."
"What is it? I know that look," Catherine mused as she watched Grissom hang up the phone in a huff.
"We got a bad one this time Cath, Harold Evans was killed tonight. And Margaret too."
"What? How?" Catherine asked in horror.
"Brass is there right now, but he said a witness told them the car appeared to swerve towards a big rig, clip it and then crash and burn in a field. The fire crew is just putting the flames out now."
"Oh god," Catherine replied in remorse. "The press will have a field day with this one," Catherine sighed as she pushed herself from her chair. "And won't Brass have fun with the motive."
"Why? Who would want to kill a congressman?" Grissom quipped as he stood up to join her.
"Yeah who…" her voice trailed off as she headed into the hallway and then for the lab.
Grissom watched her go and then turned back to the paperwork before him with a sigh. "I guess these reports can wait," he said hurrying after her. "This is going to be a long night."
"I wonder if I made the news," a low smug voice asked to this lonely dwelling, reaching a long arm for the TV and flipping it on. He manually turned the dial to the local channel and the rested his weary body in the dusty armchair a few feet from the box.
"I did…I did…" he exclaimed in glee.
'Reporting live from a horrific crash scene just outside the city limits of Las Vegas, this is…'
"Mamma would be proud," he chided as he turned down the TV volume and looked at the clock. "Anytime now the experts will be arriving on the scene. I wonder if they are better there than they were in…"
"Let's go. We got a bad one," Grissom called out to Sara and Nick as he rushed past their open lab and into another room.
"Is he serious?" Sara wondered.
"Remember you wanted something more exciting," Nick teased as he stood up and grabbed his CSI jacket.
"I did," Sara responded in a somewhat glum tone. "I think I regret those words now."
Nick just flashed her a smile as he tossed her her CSI jacket and then headed for his evidence gathering bag. "I'll drive," he said grabbing the keys.
"You drove last time," Sara called out as she rushed after him.
"You keep track?" Nick asked in surprise.
"Doesn't everyone?" She smiled as she grabbed the keys from him and headed for the driver's seat.
Nick just smiled in amusement as he got into the truck and they headed for the scene. "I wonder how bad it is?"
"Well Grissom didn't say much but then again he hardly does at the beginning."
"Very true," Nick added.
They drove on for a bit longer in very uncomfortable silence until Nick just couldn't take it any longer and had to try something…anything…
"So what are you doing this weekend?" Nick asked, trying to sound casual.
"I am…I am busy," she replied, not really wanting to tell him what she was up to. Nick, she knew was used to women of action, who had exciting and sexy lives; hers was not.
"Sara…" Nick pressed. "I am doing nothing much, just some clean up around my place. Maybe hit the antique fair."
"What? You go to the antique fair?" Sara asked in genuine surprise.
"Yes," Nick quickly answered. "I like…well I really like antique furniture. Used to get some really old amazing pieces, strip them to their natural wood and then either re-paint or stain them. Kind of a hobby I guess."
"Cool," was all Sara could manage; her brain still trying to wonder why a guy as exciting as Nick could ever do something so…so homey? "Book fair," she finally admitted.
"I am going to the book fair," she told him, trying not to sound too lamely.
"Nerdy?" She shot back.
"I was going to say interesting," Nick replied.
"Oh sorry," Sara huffed.
"Sara relax, I am just trying to make small talk, not like I am asking you to marry me or something," he finished with a laugh.
Sara tried to brush it off but then inwardly cursed Nick for letting her brain play with the idea of what if Nick really did want to propose. She knew it would never happen in her lifetime but still she couldn't help but wonder how she would feel. Probably more nervous than I am now.
"Looking for anything in particular?" Nick asked, breaking her from her morbid silence.
"Pardon?" Sara managed weakly, her mind still on his last statement.
"The books…are you looking for…" he teased.
"There are a few books by…" their friendly banter continued until they reached the crash/death scene and then things turned serious. But if they both stopped to analyse what just happened they would have to accept that although it was small, the small conversation they had was indeed a breath through. It should have been easier after that. Should have…
"What a mess," Warrick mentioned as he walked up to Brass and Grissom. "Is it even ready for inspection by us?"
"It is now," Grissom said as the fire crew walked past them, giving them the thumbs up that they could now approached the badly burnt luxury car.
"Won't it be too hot to touch?" Greg asked.
"Well we need to get anything we can before the heat melts it all," Grissom sighed.
"Who died?" Greg asked softly.
"Harold and Margaret Evans," Grissom responded.
"Congressman Evans?" Nick asked in interest.
"Know him? Well my mother's legal team used to work on some of the same issues with him back in Texas. I know him by name only."
"What happened to Margaret?" Catherine dared to ask as Sara and Nick approached.
"She burned to death," Brass told them.
"Alive?" Greg asked softly.
"Would appear so," Brass replied stonily. "I have my team contacting their daughter and heading to their home and…"
"I want a time line not only for tonight, but the past few days," Grissom told Brass. "His death catalyst might not have been tonight or this car wreck."
"I am aware of that," Brass stated as he looked at Grissom squarely. "Harold Evans might have stepped on a few toes Gil, but he was a friend and I want this killer brought down and fast."
"How do you know he was murdered?" Catherine asked softly.
"Because he wouldn't kill himself," Brass remarked.
"We'll know more when we take a look at that car. The medical examiners crew is carefully extracting the bodies now so we have a few minutes."
"Never seen him this hot before," Catherine mentioned as Brass walked back to his team.
"Never been a friend die like this before," Grissom countered. "But if it is murder, then you'll see a side of him that even I don't want to talk about."
"Nice," Catherine mumbled to herself as she watched the two black body bags go past them.
"Let's get to work," Grissom called out to his team as he turned and looked a rather pale looking Greg. "Greg you and Warrick start with the truck driver and try to get the trajectory path from the car on the road until it rested here." Grissom knew that with Greg's minor field experience, eyeing and working on two charred bodies, especially one still alive when it died, would be hard on the young man.
"Nick, Sara," Grissom called out. "I want you two to start on the passenger side. We'll take the drivers side. This place is two messy and too hot right now to wait on just one team."
"What a way to go," Nick remarked as they headed for the charred remains of the late Margaret Evans as the medical crew zipped close the black body bag.
"Can't imagine being alive, burning to death and not being able to get out," Sara added in a remorseful tone. "I wonder what her last thoughts were."
"Hopefully her body was in such shock that her brain didn't know what was happening, but somehow I think she might have been fully aware of the situation," Nick told her fatefully. "What kind of sicko would…"
"I don't get why everyone is jumping to conclusions about the motive. Maybe he just had too much to drink and…"
"Because Harold Evans didn't drink nor did he drive recklessly," Brass told her in a stern tone. "Gil and I know him very well, this doesn't fit his pattern. If anyone was a careful driver it was Harry. This was no accident!"
"Sorry," Sara answered quickly.
"And no one has jumped to any conclusion just yet," Grissom piped up. "We have to investigate all angles. Just we know him, and reckless driving isn't something he would just do for no reason. Hence a motive."
"Right," Sara replied in a flat tone.
"Come on let's get busy. Forget about it," Nick told her in a reassuring tone. "This one is obviously very personal to them and no matter what he say we could be in the wrong."
Sara simply nodded her head and then turned her eyes to the blackened body in the car before her. She watched as the medical examiners crew started to carefully load the bodies for transport back to Dr. Robbins and then finally it was time to go to work.
Nick was aware of the small space they all had to work on and was very aware every time Sara's arm or leg would brush up against his; his brain would go nuts. He studied the intent look on her face and wondered at the time what she was thinking. He always wondered that because she was so hard to read. She put up a very hard cool exterior but every once and a while she would break down that wall for a few seconds and show him a bit of the real her. That he needed to do more of; get her to open up. But how?
Sara tried to keep her mind on the task at hand; trying to find clues on the passenger side to see if anything contributed to the erratic behaviour of the vehicle to cause such an untimely death and accident. She felt Nick's warm breath on the back of her neck when she went to pick something up and cursed herself for wanting him to be closer. Finally Grissom went back to talk to Brass and Catherine had gathered up what she needed and they were left to wrap things up.
Nick headed around to the front of the car to take some pictures and gather some soil samples while Sara finished up with the rest of the car.
"This is going to be a fun night," she mentioned; mostly to herself.
"Well you did ask for something more exciting," Nick piped up, making her look up instantly.
"I did didn't I," she replied with a frown. "Karma?"
"Better hope not," he smiled, forcing her to relax a bit and smile back. "Come on let's finish up here. I think Warrick and Greg have a bit to go yet."
"You okay? You were pretty quiet the whole time we were talking to that truck driver," Warrick told Greg as they headed
"Just thinking about what Grissom and Brass said, about that woman. She was burned alive. I mean if it was intentional then…"
"Well hopefully it wasn't intentional and that it was an accident," Warrick sighed.
"But what if…"
"Greg if we dwelt on all the what if's we'd go insane. Let's just focus on getting the rest of the accident path mapped out and go from there."
"Got it," Greg replied with a forced smile. He knew the images he saw of the burnt bodies being extracted from the wrecked car would haunt his dreams for days to come.
"What have we got here?" Dr. Robbins sighed as he watched the two black body bags slowly being wheeled into his lab some time later.
"Two car fire victims. A big rig truck driver had a small fire extinguisher but not enough to save them. Personal friend of Brass and he said to examine everything because he doesn't think it was an accident."
"Well at least their insides will be intact," he quipped in sarcasm. "Sorry but after this long it's hard not to let one slide."
The young attendant just shook his head and left the older man with the two victims. "It's going to be a long night," Robbins sighed as he got started.
"What a way to go," Sara mused softly as leaned her head against the window and stared into the night in misery.
"Still thinking about that?" Nick asked in concern.
"Well I know it's obviously easy for you I'm the objective not sensitive one of the group over there," Sara snapped back.
"I mean Nick you know them…"
"Know of them…I don't know them personally and I have to remain…" Nick tried again.
"I just can't throw that sight away as easily as you. I can't just remove myself as…"
"Easy there," Nick warned lightly. "I know it might seem cold for me to say that you can't do anything about it now so…" he was about to continue but quickly stopped when he noticed Sara's morbid expression. "It's very sad."
"That's it? Two people burned to death and you say it's sad?" Sara pushed angrily.
Nick stared at Sara and then felt himself steering the car to the side of the road and stopping. "Get out," he instructed.
"What?" Sara asked in shock as she followed him to the side of the truck.
"Now whatever you are feeling you will feel better if you just yell at the air instead of me," Nick told her.
"You have got to be kiddi…"
"Sara trust me. I don't want to seem like an insensitive jerk around you and this obviously affects you more than me so just…"
"I CAN'T BELIEVE SOMEONE WOULD DO THAT TO THEM!" She turned and yelled to the side of him. "IT'S SICKENING!"
"Oh I just can't get enough," the evil voice laughed triumphantly. "Mother always said I had an insatiable appetite. Little did she know. I wonder who I'll be pitted against this time…who will I go up against this time? I hope it's someone personal…will make their demise that much sweeter."
Nick watched with slight amusement and then quickly hide his smile as she turned back to him. "Better?"
"Sadly yes. How did you know it would help?"
"Helped me my first year. Don't worry I won't tell anyone."
"Thank you," she remarked with a slight smile as they both got into the truck. She really admired how Nick had the strength to view things objectively; whereas she always got emotionally involved. "I wish I was like you more," she mentioned as they headed back for the lab.
"You mean cold and insensitive?" Nick teased.
"Objective and sensible," Sara corrected him.
"Practise I guess," he responded. "I just can't let myself work to solve a case if I get my mind in a whirl. I mean I could start thinking, my parents are pretty important what if someone killed them like that? I would go insane and would get nothing done. I know it seems unfeeling of me to just view them as bodies of evidence but sadly…"
"It's what you must," she answered for him; understanding his way of thinking on this matter for the first time. "Never thought of it that way."
"Just always thought I was insensitive?" Nick teased again.
"I never said that," Sara shot back in a kind way. "I was…"
"Sara it's okay. You think I haven't gone through life without hearing a few things. Right?"
"Yeah I suppose I know what they say about me as well," Sara sighed.
"Brilliant and beautiful?" Nick told her seriously as he pulled the truck to a stop in front of the lab.
Sara looked at him in shock before returning his warm smile. She didn't have to say anything; no words were needed at that moment. They both exited the truck and headed into the lab in silence. There were no words that would have added to that one special moment. At least not yet.
"So what have we got?" Brass asked as he walked up the steps to the Evans estate.
"You wanted the timeline for the last few days?"
"I did. Where's Vartaan?"
"Wrapping it up now," the veteran detective told him as he walked up to Brass. "Apparently the last five nights they have eaten out at three different restaurants. If someone there had a vendetta…"
"Then it will be hell to trace," Brass sighed. "Let's start with the kitchen and management staff at each of those restaurants."
"Already on it," Vartaan said as he turned and headed back to a small group of uniformed officers. "Okay I want…"
Brass watched him leave and then turned and headed into his friends house. "Talk to me Harry," Brass mumbled angrily as he pulled out his flashlight. "I know you didn't do this to yourself…tell me what I am not seeing. Who did this to you?"
"I wonder what the crime scene team is like here? Wonder if they are as blind as the last team? Probably," he laughed heartily into the dank air around him. "Oh the taste of victory!"
"Lucky Robbins gets to look at…" Nick started and then quickly stopped. "Sorry," he said in haste, noticing Sara's look of discomfort.
"Please Nick don't think you have to walk on eggshells around me because of this. I am a big girl and I am a professional."
"I know," Nick smiled back. "I just don't want there to be any awkward silence between us while we work because of me saying something that…" he was about to continue when Sara's hand gently touched his arm, stopping him mid sentence.
"I said it was okay," she assured him. "Let's just get started?" She asked, quickly pulling her arm back; much to quickly for his liking.
"Sure," Nick simply nodded his head in agreement. She didn't realize it but that simple touch meant a lot to him. He finally made her show some kind of emotion; a spark; a passion inside her. And as sad as he was at the situation he was actually happy it had brought her to life in a small way. He hoped it would last and knew inside he had to be the one to keep it going. But how?
Sara quickly turned and headed back to her table to get started examining th evidence she had gathered. She was aware of how her skin had instantly warmed as it lingered on Nick's bare arm and knew she had to be the one to pull away fast. She was starting to show too much of herself to him; starting to realize he was getting her to let her guard down. That, she told herself, was very dangerous. Nick, she surmised was just looking for his next conquest. She decided that she needed to keep her guard up at work and not let anyone see the real emotional side of her; but sadly the longer she worked with Nick the more she knew he would slowly wear her down until she wanted to open up. She feared that more than anything. For being open meant being vulnerable; and being vulnerable spelt certain doom. Just business from now on.
"Okay let's begin…" Dr. Robbins said into his tape recorder as he started to work on the charred body of Harold Evans. Death should have been obvious, but because Brass was as friend and suspected something other than just death by reckless driving he knew he had to perform well on this one. Trouble was he didn't believe anything other than trauma and death by asphyxiation were the cause.
"But I have been wrong before…" he quipped as he started to cut. "Or maybe I haven't…" he let out with a gasp, eyeing the insides of Harold Evans. About an hour later, he turned to an orderly with an angry and confused expression. "Get Grissom down here now…we have a serious problem."
He turned back to the body and instantly felt sick at the sight before him. "Oh…my…God…this is bad…"
Dear readers: I hope you like my new story and leave a little review if you like it and want some more. Thanks so much!