The Casecracker Suite

Written By Wifeofxasonnex

Insert Standard Disclaimer

Author's Note: This is my first fanfic. I consider it a charming piece of fluff--what CSI would be like if it were a sitcom. I call it "CSI-lite." This probably takes place some time during or after the fifth season--when Catherine is working as Nick's supervisor

"Sara!" Grissom yelled when he saw her walk past the door to his office. He scrambled to his feet and scurried toward her.

She paused in mid-step and turned to face him. Rarely had she ever seen Grissom appear so eager to talk to anyone, let alone herself. "What's up, Grissom? Usually you can wait for me to clock in."

"I just wanted to tell you that you and Nick will be on a special assignment."

Sara's pulse escalated when she heard those two final words. She had been slaving away for years just hoping for any opportunity to better herself and expand her knowledge base. Could she actually be receiving a nod from her superiors? She strained to keep her voice from revealing her girlish excitement. "Special assignment?"

"Yeah. There is a team-building conference that will be held at the Tangiers over the next two weeks. I've discussed the matter with Catherine and we've decided that you and Nick would be great representatives for our lab."

Sara was visibly disappointed and she felt slightly offended. "You want to send Nick and me? Why? We work really well together already."

"I know that," Grissom said gently, "Catherine and I feel that you and Nick will be able to bring back with you much more valuable information than two people who have no experience working as a team. You may be able to teach all of us advanced techniques in teamwork and your insights will be much more…well…insightful."

Sara rolled her eyes. She was not at all amused by this situation. "Has Catherine told Nick about your brilliant idea?"

"WHAT?" They both heard Nick say from down the hall.

Grissom smirked, "It sounds like she just told him. She should be sending him over this way to meet up with you. The orientation begins in about twenty minutes."

"You guys are sneaky. You're really sneaky. You were sure not to allow us any time to challenge this."

"Actually, Sara," Grissom said as he lowered his eyes, "Catherine and I just discussed this about an hour ago because the memo had been buried under some papers on my desk and I had forgotten all about it."

"I'm going to get you a set of 'in' and 'out' boxes for Christmas, I swear."

"Why?" Grissom said, his puzzlement evident in his expression, "I don't need them. I know where everything important is on my desk."

"Hey, Sara," Nick said as he approached the pair, "Are you ready to go?"

"I guess. I mean, I just got here so I didn't have time to put anything down." Sara gestured at her jacket and knapsack. She started to walk away with Nick and then turned to face Grissom. "Your not off the hook for this just because I have to leave right now."

Grissom raised both hands to indicate his surrender.

"Names, please," a young red-haired woman said from behind a table.

"Nick Stokes and Sara Sidle," Nick replied.

The woman made two check marks on her list. "You may pick up your name tags at the table next to the door of the banquet room."

"Banquet room? Is there food?" Sara asked eagerly.

"There may be a little left," the woman replied, "The doors opened about forty-five minutes ago, so it's probably been picked through."

"Great," Sara said to Nick as they turned and walked toward the name tag table, "How very Grissom. Of course he wouldn't even give us enough advanced notice so that we could have a chance to nibble on some food before the torture begins."

"Well," Nick said, "I'm gonna try to enjoy myself." Sara shot him a glare. "Spare me the daggers and look at it this way: we're getting paid for this and it'll really show Grissom and Catherine what we're worth if we make the best out of this situation."

"It would also make them feel better about sending us to this thing and that's something that I'd rather not do."

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen," a short, middle-aged woman said from behind the podium that was situated in the front of the banquet room, "My name is Andrea MacElroy and I am a choreographer with the Louisville Ballet. I, with the assistance of a few local ballet instructors, will be using ballet over the next two weeks to help you build teamwork skills and trust.

"If you'll notice, there is an equal number of men and women present tonight. This is because you will all be learning and performing a Pas de Deux, which is a dance between a man and a woman.

"Traditionally, men in ballet exhibit strength and agility while women represent grace and beauty. The male lifts the female into many different positions and she is left to trust him entirely. The idea is patriarchal to say the least and the role of the woman as a delicate and trusting creature is a little out of place in a work environment, yet it is instructional in a way. This is why I believe that through actually learning and performing a Pas de Deux, you will discover the balance of the male and female roles in everyday life and be able to apply this to help freshen your perception of events in the workplace.

"Also, ballet is very physically demanding. Your partner will need your emotional support when the physical demands become too great. You will learn to trust your partner to be there for you, to not drop you on your head or kick you.

"Everyone will take home something different from this exercise and I look forward to hearing about these things from each of you as you perform in our little recital. That is all for now, you may enjoy some refreshments."

The audience applauded as the woman stepped down from the podium and took a seat at a nearby table.

Sara took a wine bottle from its place in the center of the table and poured her third glass. After gulping half of the glass, she turned toward Nick and said, "Do you think that Grissom and Catherine knew what we would be doing here?"

"I don't know," Nick replied, "If they did, though, I feel kind of flattered that they think that we could step up to the challenge and do well."

"Damn you and your optimism, Nick!" Sara was obviously becoming a bit tipsy, "Did you not think that perhaps they picked us for the opposite reason? That perhaps they may want to make fools out of us?" She drank the rest of the wine out of her glass and reached once more for the bottle.

Nick intercepted her hand and held it gently, "Sara, as little as you may want to believe this, Grissom and Catherine have a lot of respect for you--and me, too. If they knew what this was about, I know that they chose us because they felt confident that we would do well based on our physical abilities and our--ahem--excellent teamwork skills."

Sara pulled the corner of her mouth into a handsome smirk and Nick smiled in return. He pulled his hand away from Sara's, but not before she noticed that it had stayed there for an extra beat. He had gone beyond simply preventing her from pouring one too many glasses of wine, he had held her hand.

To Be Continued