Disclaimer: I keep waiting and waiting, but my ownership papers for the whole CSI franchise appear to have gotten lost in the mail. Well darn!

Archive: Just let me know where.

Spoilers: A little bit for Cats in the Cradle. Set early season five. Greg is still in the lab.

A/N: My brain hurts. I am having trouble making the men in my life (Warrick, Greg, and Nick in particular) do what I want them to. They are supposed to be going to visit Sara in the hospital, but they are fighting me. So I took a short little break to answer this Under the Bridge Improve Challenge. First and last lines given, 2000 word limit. This is much under the limit.

The cat stared at Grissom with an evil glare.

"What are you doing to that poor cat, Griss?"

"Poor cat?" Grissom looked at Sara with his eyebrows raised. There was a long angry claw mark trailing down his arm, and a shorter one on his right cheek.

"I am not doing anything to this cat. It, on the other hand, has decided to use me in place of a scratching post."

Grissom bore no great affection for cats. He respected them, for their independent natures, their ability to take care of themselves. Never had he longed to own one. If he wanted to pet an animal, well, there was always his tarantula. The only reason he was now attempting to hold this cat was to collect evidence. The cat belonged to a next door neighbor, but appeared to have the same mysterious substance on it that he had found next to a dead man. He needed a sample to be sure.

"That little girl was right." Grissom sighed as he once again tried to remove the sticky substance, earning another scratch. This one was on the back of his hand.

"What little girl?" Sara questioned. She dug through her field kit, emerging victorious with a tube of Neosporin and a roll of gauze. No tape, though.

"The Trent girl. Said that cats didn't like me."

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't she turn out to be a murderer? Not the best judge of character." Sara squatted down next to Grissom, who was placing his hardly won evidence in a plastic jar.

"Let me see your arm." She wanted to treat the worst of the scratches first. Never knew when he would get distracted by some piece of evidence. Using a piece of the gauze she wiped away a few drops of blood that had pooled around the deepest scratches, hoping that the Neosporin would kill any infection.

Grissom's eyes widened when Sara started taping the end of the gauze to his arm with a piece of duck tape. Sara noted his expression, and smiled.

"Sorry, Griss, but it was all I had in my kit. Your just lucky I had the Neosporin."

"Real lucky," Grissom replied sardonically. He impatiently tapped the fingers of his free hand against his leg, anxious to get back to work, but knowing that Sara wouldn't release him until she finished bandaging him.

Behind them the door opened.

"Animal control. I'm here about a cat?"

Grissom and Sara had already returned to their evidence collection when the animal control agent emerged from the back of the house twenty minutes later. Hissing could be heard from within the pet carrier in his hand. His cheek bore a vivid red claw mark.

"Damn, Grissom, what happened to you?" Warrick looked far more amused then concerned to see his supervisor walk into the break room wrapped in gauze and... "is that duck tape on your arm?"

Grissom furrowed his brows in his 'I don't want to talk about it' glare. Warrick, it turned out, was immune.

"Is it Halloween already? Cause if so, that's kind of a weak mummy costume."

Decomp, Grissom thought. I swear I'm sending Warrick on the next decomp that comes in. Or maybe a couple of trick rolls.

"Angry cat. Evidence," Grissom muttered as he continued down the hall.

"Well, that was more cryptic then usual."

Grissom didn't bother with social niceties as he entered the lab. Setting his evidence down on the table, he handed the plastic jar directly to Greg.

"I need to know what this is, and I need the results now." He turned and left the lab without waiting for a response.

Greg stared after Grissom, mouth open in unasked question. What's with him? And was that duck tape on his cheek?

Grissom walked straight to his office. Opening the top drawer of his desk he pulled out a bottle of aspirin. Swallowing three, sans water, he sunk into his chair. Stupid cat. His arm stung, his cheek hurt, and he was covered in tape, which he would have to eventually pull off. Duck tape hurt when you pulled it off, he knew that from experience.

"Well, don't you look like you went a couple rounds in the ring."

Great, just what he needed.

"What do you want Brass?"

"Heard about you and the cat." The officers at the scene had been anxious to entertain their coworkers with the story of 'CSI night shift supervisor versus ornery cat' until a look from their captain made them think differently.

"Shift's almost over, and I thought you could use some self-medicating after your adventure." Brass lifted his arm, holding up a half-full bottle of scotch. "Care to join me?"

Grissom offered his friend a lopsided smile as he reached for the proffered tumbler.

"Thanks, Jim." He leaned back in his chair and took a sip, enjoying the warmth as it slid down his throat. Somehow Brass always knew when to leave him alone, and when it was better to have company. Especially company that came bearing twenty-year old scotch. They sat in silence for a few minutes, sipping their drinks and shedding the tension of the day. Finally, Brass could keep quiet no longer.

"I'm sorry, but I have to ask, Grissom. What's with the duck tape?""Long story, Jim. Long story." Grissom was not in the mood to rehash the details, but he could see from the expression on Brass's face that he was not going to be satisfied with his denial.

"First aid at the scene. Sara cleaned up the scratches. She didn't have any regular tape in her kit." That was as far as he was going to go in his explanation.

Sara, huh? But Brass knew better then to tease his friend about the 'tender mercies' of their coworker. There were some things you just didn't raze a guy about, and this was one of them.

A knock on the door sounded before Brass could think of a safe reply. Sara stood in the open doorway.

"Hey. I'm on my way out. Greg hasn't finished running our samples, so we'll have to wait until tomorrow for the results. Unless you want to trust them to day shift?"

"No, tomorrow's soon enough." Greg was more then a little wild, but there was no one he would rather have dealing with their often-case-breaking evidence. As much as he believed that Greg would one day make CSI, and become a good one, he would miss him in the lab when that day came. And it was coming soon.

"See you tomorrow, then." Sara turned to leave, bending down to pick something up before she left. Grissom's curiosity got the better of him, and he motioned to Brass that he was stepping out of the office.

He couldn't believe what he saw. Sara was starting down the hall, pet carrier in hand.

"Tell me that isn't what I think it is." He stared at her in opened mouthed horror.

Sara arched her brows, trying to look innocent but failing miserably.

"I've been thinking of getting a pet for a while now. Besides, there was talk of putting him down, and I couldn't let that happen."

Just then Nick rounded the corner.

"What's this Sar? You got a cat?"

"No, don't!" But Grissom's warning came too late. Nick unlatched the top of the cage, and an eight pound ball of fur leapt out. Grissom took one look at the demon cat running straight for him and ducked into the nearest room, slamming the door behind him. Sara scooped up her newly adopted friend, who was eagerly scratching at the door Grissom had disappeared behind.

A confused Nick turned to see a chuckling Brass standing behind him. The homicide captain laughed even harder when Nick pointed to Sara, the cat, and the closed door.

"What was that all about?"