Walking in the Dark
Disclaimer: I do not own CSI, I am only borrowing them for the current time.
Summary: There are times when certain events happen for a reason, no matter how bad they seem. Yet it was hard to believe that this was one of these times. Sara/Greg eventually
Chapter One: Panic
It was the metallic taste of blood that first alerted him that something was wrong. The concrete below him was hard, fragments of rocks clinging to his skin as he raised his head. The pain from his actions was too much, as he felt the ground beneath him tip and turn, twisting his already unsettled stomach into more knots.
At first, it was hard to breathe; the combination of the pain and nausea he felt was closing in on him. Slowly he sucked in a few deep breaths, holding them for a moment before releasing them. His thoughts spun around him, moving so quickly it was hard to grasp onto any of them. What had happened?
Sara pushed her hair from her face, mentally cursing herself for not bringing a tie. She had thought about pulling her hair back earlier that night, before she left home, but had decided against it. Not that it was necessarily a big deal; after all, she did have more ties at work in her locker. Or so she thought.
Now she wished desperately that she had pulled her hair up before leaving. It was a nuisance, a rather annoying one at that. Leaning back over the table she continued to chart out the area on the map, coming to another stop as her hair fell down in front of her face once again.
Frowning, she reached up with her left hand, gathering the loose hair in a fist to move it behind her head. She held it in a firm grasp, turning her attention back to the map. This would work as long as she needed only one hand.
"How's it coming?"
Sara glanced up at Nick, who was wandering in from the hallway. He leaned against the table, studying her progress. Sara smiled up at him, placing the pen down. "Slowly," she admitted, "I'm running out of options. There's only two routes our killer could have taken, but I don't think either of them would have been his choice."
Nick nodded thoughtfully, straightening up. "Well, if you want a break, Brass just got those two dumpsters from the Sampton's Case; I could always use a hand there."
Sara smiled up at him, "Sounds lovely, whatever happened to asking Warrick?"
"He left early," Nick admitted. "It was his night off after all; he didn't have to come into work in the first place. I suppose I could ask Catherine, but I thought of asking you first."
"How kind," Sara muttered. "You'd ask me to go dumpster diving with you, but you won't ask me to come to a game with you."
"That's because Greg and I have a score to settle," Nick stated quickly. "Besides, dumpster diving is so much more…" he paused, trying to find the right word.
"You had better not say romantic," Sara warned him, running a hand through her tangled hair.
"I was going to say interesting," Nick interjected.
She laughed, nodding. "That you could say, but I'll have to pass up the offer. I need to finish this up, and then when Greg gets back we're headed back out to the scene. Looks like you're on your own, big boy."
Nick nodded, giving her a small smile. "Don't say I didn't ask," he warned her, heading out of the room.
Laughing softly she shook her head, resuming her previous work. Come to think of it, Greg had been gone a rather long time, then again, maybe it was only her imagination.
At the moment, Greg had made very little progress. He had managed to roll onto his side, though he wasn't certain this position was much better than his last. His body still felt as though it was on fire, and the slightest movements, such as breathing, only aggravated the pain further.
He had spent the little time he had been awake trying to recall everything that had happen. So far all he had gotten was a complete jumbled mess. Yet slowly, he was starting to sort everything out.
It had been a long day, for him at least. In the previous night, as he was getting ready to leave, when he had come across several forms he had Sara had forgotten to fill out. Instead of calling Sara back in, Greg had spent his own time off the clock trying to get them done. It had taken longer than he expected. So much longer in fact by the time he had finished, his next shift started in less than an hour.
It was enough time to grab a quick shower, and small bite to eat. He had thought about going home early, but didn't want to risk having Sara know that he stayed late. She would be infuriated with him. So instead he just stuck to the excuse that he hadn't gotten very much sleep the previous night. It really wasn't a lie, but it wasn't exactly the truth either.
Besides, he wouldn't pass up a chance of working with Sara. Years ago he never thought it would be possible that he would be spending so much time with her. He could remember the first time he met her, finding himself speechless. As he came to know her, he found her personality indescribable, but was never able to bring his thoughts and feelings up. He was always too much of a chicken. Love was truly the only thing that could make a grown man weak at the knees. Sadly, he knew that Sara would look at him in the same way.
He let out a low breath, squeezing his eyes shut. They had worked steadily without a break until early that morning. Sara had sat down with her own lunch in the break room, but for Greg, he had nothing to eat.
"He left for the Deli," Sara stated quietly, looking up at him. "That was nearly two hours ago now. The Deli's only ten minutes away. Even if he stayed there to eat, he should have been back by now. Something's wrong."
Grissom glanced from his watch before looking up at her. "Have you tried giving him a call?"
Sara rolled her eyes, folding her arms across her chest as she leaned back in the chair. "Of course not," she muttered sarcastically, earning a reprimanding look from her supervisor. "What did you expect?" she asked, tapping her fingers on her arm.
"I'm gathering he didn't answer," Grissom stated quietly.
"Oh no, he did. He wanted to let me know that he was okay and was just going to be back a little late," Sara scoffed lightly. Her attitude changed at Grissom's next glance. "No Griss, he didn't answer. If he did, do you think I'd be here?"
"I think you're overreacting a bit," Grissom pointed out to her.
Sara returned comment with a frown. "No," she stated, "overreacting would be if he had been gone only half an hour. Overreacting would be if he didn't call me every ten minutes to let me know he was still alive. This, this is not overreacting. Something is wrong."
"What do you want me to do?" Grissom asked, ignoring her outburst. "I can send Brass out to look for him, let him know that he's been gone for only a few hours. The department won't do anything; a person has to be missing for at least 24 hours before being reported as missing."
"So," Sara stated coldly, "That's it?"
"You're being a little unfair and nowhere near professional," Grissom warned her. "There could be several reasons to why Greg isn't back yet."
"Give me one good one," Sara prompted.
Sighing, Grissom sat up, shaking his head. "Traffic could be bad."
"Greg walked to the Deli," Sara interjected.
"Okay then, there could be a train…"
"You know as well as I do that there is no train between here and the Deli."
"He could have gone home," Grissom suggested.
"And left his car here?" Sara wondered. "His apartment buildings are on the other side of town. It would take his entire break just to walk there. Why would he say one thing and do another? I've never known Greg to lie."
"Maybe he ate at the Deli and fell asleep," Grissom pointed out. "You said he was tired."
"I called the Deli; they don't remember him coming in."
Grissom frowned, shaking his head. "You have an answer for everything, don't you?"
"Almost," Sara responded. "Just not to where Greg is."
He really wasn't hungry, but he needed to stretch his legs, or run the risk of falling asleep. He reminded himself that they only had four more hours until their shift was over, that was unless they were working another double. Greg prayed that wouldn't be the case. Another ten hours would be overwhelming.
Walking the streets of Vegas at this hour wasn't always the best idea. Then again this part of town wasn't necessarily bad, and as long as you kept moving, you should be fine. Still, these matters weren't on his mind as he made his way towards the Deli.
He wasn't aware that someone was following him. Not until that same person was walking in stride with him. Frowning, Greg stepped to the side to allow the both of them more room.
"Hey man, you have a few bucks to spare?"
Greg shook his head, burying his hands into his pockets. "Sorry," he muttered, still moving.
The other man followed him still, his black hair tangled in long locks. He wasn't too much shorter than Greg, but was obviously younger. More in likely a homeless teen, a runaway. The lab worked on several cases a year involving these teens.
"You don't have anything you can spare?"
Greg shook his head again, coming to a stop to face the young boy. "Listen, if you need help, there are several shelters you could look into. It's a lot better option than staying on the streets."
Greg turned back around to continue walking, but was startled to find two other men blocking his path. One of them held a small knife up threateningly, giving him an uneasy smile. "Personally, we like staying on the streets," the one holding the knife scoffed.
Greg backed away slowly, but didn't get far as he saw the teen now held a knife as well. The third man, who couldn't be much older than himself, stepped towards him, wrapping an arm around Greg's shoulder.
Greg cringed slightly as the older man started hustling him along, falling in step with the two others. "We're going to go for a nice walk," he replied, his voice quiet so that only he heard. "And you won't make a fuss about it, will you?"
Greg shook his head, holding his breath as they continued on. As far as he knew, two of the men were armed, and perhaps the third one. If the streets had been busier, maybe he would have tried to get away sooner, but with the streets in this area quiet, Greg decided not to risk it. As long as he complied, he wouldn't get hurt, right?
Why did it have to rain? Sara looked bitterly at the sky before pulling her hood on, trudging down the streets, flashlight in hand. Talking with Grissom had gotten her nowhere. Her supervisor had sympathy, but still insisted she was overreacting. Maybe she was, but she rather be wrong to find out later that her instincts were right.
Greg wouldn't go that long without contacting anyone. It wasn't like him, which was why she knew something was wrong. Greg had never made it to the Deli. The workers there knew everyone from the lab quite well, since they were regulars. The simple thought worried her more.The beam of her flashlight swept over the street, and she took turns pausing at each alleyway, calling out Greg's name. She wasn't sure why she was assuming the worst. Somehow it was the only thought stuck on her mind.
A hand fell on her shoulder, and she gasped, turning around swiftly, shining the beam of the flashlight in his face. Nick blinked, holding up his hand to shield his eyes. "Easy, it's just me," he stuttered quickly.
Sara let out a sigh of relief, cursing under her breath. "Don't do that," she warned. "Why are you even here?"
"I heard about Greg," Nick stated, "Thought you could use a hand."
Sara nodded solemnly, turning back around. "I know something's wrong," she said quietly. "I just wish I knew what."
Greg's worry only increased the further they went. They moved quickly down the street, their pace never ceasing. They never said another word to him, and Greg took the opportunity to search his surroundings. They were already past the Deli now, still headed north.
He only needed a short moment of distraction in order to get away. They were taking him somewhere secluded, even more so then these streets. That alone was a disturbing thought. Who knew how much time he had left?
Taking a deep breath, Greg pulled free of their grasp, not stopping to look back as he ran down the street. They were not far behind; he could hear their feet pounding into the concrete behind him.
Turning the corner Greg continued his sprint, with no real plan on going anywhere, but instead of just getting away. He didn't have much time to think, as a hand grabbed the back of his jacket, pulling him off balance.
He fought back, swinging his arms in attempt to push them off. A quick blow to his head startled him, causing him to stagger sideways. Another blow to his midsection dropped him to his knees, gasping for breath.
Coughing a few times, Greg glanced up at the three men who surrounded him, wincing as one grabbed him by the back of the neck roughly, pulling him to his feet. Greg stumbled as he was pulled into the alleyway, the two older men pinning him against the wall as the teen checked his pockets pulling free his wallet and phone.
"Only has a couple of tens," the teen scoffed, causing Greg to raise his head.
"I told you I didn't have anything to spare," he said hesitantly. The comment earned him another blow to the midsection. Greg leaned over as far as the men would allow him, wheezing painfully.
"Where's the rest of the cash?" one asked him, prompting Greg to shake his head.
"There isn't anymore," Greg rasped, trying to pull free.
"You expect me to believe that you only have twenty dollars on you? You have any idea where you are? Las Vegas man, cough up the cash," the teen scoffed lightly, pulling free his knife to make his point clear.