Title: "Class of 1987"
Disclaimer: I own nothing except that laptop that this story was composed on.
Summary: A murder at a high school reunion leads Nick and Warrick into a tangled web of lies and deceit where nothing is as it seems.
Fifteen years. He hadn't walked through these doors in fifteen years. Truth be told, he had never planned on walking through them again. He had just wanted to forget this place and everything it represented in his mind. Dashed hopes. Broken promises. Shattered lives.
Everything changed though when he received that phone call.
The voice on the other end of the line had brought back so many old memories. Many of them happy ones, but also ones that he had tried desperately to forget. It was then that he decided to go back and make things right. After all, there was still time.
Jack Moyer's heart pounded a bit as he strode purposefully up the steps and glanced up at the banner above the door that said "Welcome back Class of 1987" with a sense of foreboding. He sighed, straightened his tie, and pulled open the door of Lincoln High School. He was immediately assaulted by loud music on his right. The doors to the gymnasium stood open, bidding him re-entrance into the world of 1987.
"Well, if we're gonna party like it's 1987, I better get into character." Jack muttered to himself. In a flash, he dropped his tired yet determined countenance and replaced it with a jovial, warm expression.
He entered the gym, which had been bedecked in the school's colors of green and silver. There were various objects of school spirit paraphernalia throughout the room, including various sports jerseys from that era which had been tacked up on the wall. The words "Go Saints!" had been blazoned across a banner above them. He suppressed a chuckle. He could not understand people's desire to relive their high school days.
"I'd know that face anywhere! Jack Moyer! How are you? So glad you could make it!" the blonde at the check-in table said to him.
She was wearing a name badge, but Jack didn't need to look at it. She was Tammy Green, head cheerleader during their senior year. She was clad in a tight, low cut, red dress, looking as if she just stepped out of the pages of Vogue.
"Hi Tammy. It's good to see you again." Jack smiled, taking the name badge she held out for him.
He peeked at it briefly before pinning it to his coat and saw his 18-year-old reflection smiling back at him. Had he ever been that young? That carefree?
Tammy gave him a coy smile and leaned forward, an act that greatly accentuated her already large bosom. "We missed you at the 10-year reunion! It was quite scandalous when the Class President didn't attend!"
"I know, I know. I had a lot on my plate at work when reunion time rolled around. Just couldn't get away." Jack smiled through the lie. He could have attended the reunion, but he hadn't wanted to. The last thing he wanted to do was come back to this place.
"Well, all's forgiven now! You're here now! Promise to save me a dance!" She flirtatiously tossed her blonde hair and gave him a wink.
"I promise." Jack said with another smile. He turned away, glad to leave the woman behind. In high school, Tammy had tried harder than anyone to "nab" him, but had never succeeded in doing so, much to Jack's delight. It was a great accomplishment for a man to escape from Tammy Green's clutches and it was considered to be one of his many high school legacies.
As he walked further into the gym, his eyes began to search the crowd. He'd know the face when he saw it. He had no doubt, but it was difficult to search for one face in a sea of many.
"Jack!" a voice called out behind him.
Jack swivelled his head and saw a sandy haired man approach him eagerly.
"Mark Thomas, good to see you." Jack held out a hand to Mark who shook it with such intensity that Jack felt his arm was going to be ripped out of the socket.
"Oh man, Jack! It's so good to see you! Man, it's been like fifteen years, hasn't it? So how are you, man? Life treating you okay?" Mark's voice was full of excitement and it made Jack smile.
Mark had always been anxious to please him. He had desperately wanted to be part of the "in crowd" but could never quite become one of them. He was always a step behind. Jack couldn't help but pity him. It was apparent that the man was still trying to achieve what he could not during high school. Unfortunately, Jack was not able to give Mark what he wanted and wasn't sure he would if he could. Mark didn't realize that the "in crowd" was overrated and full of nothing but problems.
"I'm good. Hey, can I catch you later? There's someone I need to see." Jack didn't want to get stuck in a long, drawn out conversation with Mark when he had more pressing things to take care of.
Mark seemed slightly disappointed but played it off. "Oh sure, buddy! I'll see you later."
Jack smiled in appreciation and moved away, scanning the crowd once more. As he moved towards the center of the gym, people called his name and waved merrily to him. He responded in kind, but did not take the time to stop and talk to anyone. He could do that later.
Finally, he spotted the face he had been searching for. Their eyes locked and both began to move towards the side exit. The need for privacy was a given as the issue about to be discussed was a delicate one. It was time to deal with it though. Fifteen years was long enough.
The lab was uncharacteristically quiet tonight. There were no high profile cases. No frantic lab technicians scurrying around the lab. No onslaught of new cases. So for this reason, Nick Stokes and Warrick Brown could be found taking advantage of the quiet by enjoying a few minutes of down time in the break room.
Nick was lounging on the couch, with a lazy grin on his face. His arm was wrapped around a cushion and he was picking at the corner of it while listening with rapt attention as Warrick related a humorous story involving a pickle and a street performer.
"And I'm walking away when all of a sudden something hits me in the back of the head. I turn around and see that stupid pickle lying on the ground. I look up to see that stupid mime faking a big laugh." Warrick gave an impression of the mime laughing which caused his friend to laugh himself.
"I'm telling you, man, there's nothing like having a mime mock you. It'll do wonders to your pride. Anyway, I share a few choice words with him and then Mimey walks up to me and says..." Warrick paused in the middle of his story when Grissom came into the room.
Nick immediately sat up when his supervisor shot him a disapproving look. He replaced his smile with a more serious look.
"I assume that you've solved your cases given the way you're spending your time." Grissom observed dryly.
The younger men nodded.
"Good. You've got a DB at Lincoln High. A man was shot and killed while attending his high school reunion. Brass is waiting for you." Grissom handed Warrick a slip of paper and turned on his heel.
Nick stood up and walked over to Warrick and slapped him on the back. "You'll have to finish your story later, bro. I'll drive."
Nick snatched the paper out of Warrick's hand and walked jauntily out of the break room.
About half an hour later, Nick pulled up in front of Lincoln High. There were a few cop cars out in front of the building, their red and blue lights flashing. The two CSIs excited the SUV and made their way towards the steps of the high school.
"Hey guys. Where's the body?" Nick asked the couple of cops who were standing outside.
"Down the hall and on the left. In the cafeteria." one of them answered and Nick nodded in appreciation.
The sound of the music coming from the gym was wafting through air as they made their way up the steps. They both took note of the banner above the door.
"Class of 1987. No wonder they're playing such crappy music." Warrick muttered.
Nick chuckled lightly. "Well, there are worse things than 80's music - like getting shot."
Warrick shot him an annoyed look which made Nick chuckle again.
As they passed the gym, they glanced inside and saw people milling about. Dancing. Talking. Laughing. No one seemed to be aware that a dead body was lying not too far away. Soon they would know. Soon they would be mourning the loss of one of their own.
Inside the cafeteria, David was huddled over the body and Brass was talking to anxious-looking man. Spotting the CSIs, Brass excused himself from the man and walked over to them.
"Hey fellas. Our victim's name is Jack Moyer, class of 1987. He's a former Vegas resident who now resides in Denver, Colorado. That guy over there is the one who found him. His name is Linton Elwell, the victim's cousin." Brass said over the sound of latex gloves snapping into place.
Warrick glanced at Nick and said, "I'll take the cousin."
"And I'll get started on the body." Nick agreed.
They parted ways as Nick walked over to David, who was just pulling out the thermometer from the victim's liver.
"Hey Nick. Our victim's been dead for a little under three hours. He was shot twice in the back. No visible exit wounds." the young coroner told him.
Nick, his camera in hand, looked at the prone figure of Jack Moyer. After being shot twice, he had presumably fallen forward, landing face down on the cafeteria floor. The blood pool around him was undisturbed, indicating that death had probably been immediate.
"Hit the ground and never got up again." Nick mused as he began to take photos of the body.
"Looks like it." David agreed. "I'm all done here, Nick."
"Thanks, Dave. This won't take long." Nick's eyes shifted towards his partner who was talking to Linton.
Warrick was observing Linton Elwell's appearance and behavior very closely while listening to his statement. Linton was thin and small - a few inches over five feet but not much more - with practically no muscle mass whatsoever. He was a mousy man who wore glasses with thick black frames over his brown eyes.
"I was looking for Jack. He'd been gone for a while and I didn't know where he was so I went to look for him. I stuck my head in here and found him lying on the floor like that and I called the cops. The lady on the phone told me to stay here until you guys showed up so I did." Linton told them, gesturing wildly with his hands. He was very agitated and seemed unable to keep the tone of his voice steady.
"Do you know why Jack wasn't in the gym?" Warrick asked.
"He said that he had to talk to someone." Linton said, his eyes darting all over the place. He kept running a hand over his head in an attempt to flatten the brown hair that refused to lay straight.
"Who was Jack going to talk to?" Brass' tone indicated that he did not have much hope for an informative answer.
"I don't know! He didn't tell me!" Linton wailed. Tears began to leak from the corners of his eyes. He yanked his glasses off and rubbed at his eyes before jamming the glasses back onto his face.
"I don't know who would do this to Jack! Everybody loved him! Everybody got along with him! Why would someone want to kill him?" Linton sniffed and wiped his hand under his nose.
Brass and Warrick exchanged looks. It was a little embarrassing to see a grown man behave in this manner. Warrick fought the desire to tell the man to get a grip and instead tried to show some compassion. After all, it must have been upsetting to stumble across the dead body of your cousin. It seemed that the two men had been close.
"Mr. Elwell, do you know what time Jack left to talk to this person? Was there a specified meeting time?" Warrick asked in an attempt to get the man to focus.
"No. I don't even know what time he arrived at the reunion. We spoke on the phone earlier today and he mentioned that he needed to talk to some people." The man started to fidget with the hem of his sweater vest in a distracting manner.
"So he was going to talk to more than one person?" Warrick asked, trying to clarify things.
"Yeah, I guess. I don't know. He didn't tell me much about it, but I got the impression that it was important." Linton said.
Warrick sighed inwardly. He gave Brass a look that said he was done with Linton.
"Thank you for your time, Mr. Elwell. If we have any more questions, we'll let you know." Brass said with a smile.
Warrick walked over to Nick. "How's it going over here?"
"I've got a couple of theories, but not much physical evidence. I did find two shell casings though and I'm assuming that they're from tonight's shooting." Nick held up two evidence bags for Warrick to see. He nodded in the direction of Linton. "What about you?"
Warrick shook his head in a dismissive manner. "He said that the victim was going to talk to someone but didn't know who. He's an emotional mess. Maybe you should talk to him. That's your area of expertise after all."
Nick shot him an annoyed look.
"Okay. What are you thinking?" Warrick asked, turning his thoughts to the case.
"Well, our vic was shot twice in the back. I'm guessing the loud music playing in the gym masked the sound of the gunfire." Nick said.
"That makes sense. The music's definitely loud enough." Warrick agreed.
Nick continued with his thoughts. "As to our killer, my first guess is that it was an act of revengeful cowardice given that he was shot in the back. The murderer wasn't even able to look his victim in the face. The second one, which could tie in with the first, is that he was killed by someone who was weak enough for the victim to overpower if he or she had been right in front of him. I'm thinking that whoever the victim was meeting with waited until his back was turned before shooting him."
"Bottom line is that I think someone at the reunion killed Jack Moyer. This was a murder of opportunity. The killer took advantage of the reunion." Nick concluded.
"If your theory's correct, Jack's relationships with his classmates need to be examined as well as the crime scene." Warrick said, following his partner's train of thought.
Nick's face was lined with determination. "In order to find out who killed Jack Moyer, we need to find out who he was."