Title: Requital (1of?)
Spoilers: Anonymous and Identity Crisis. If you haven't seen those episodes or don't remember them, you may be a little lost. Check out www.crimelab.nl for episode transcripts.
Rating: T for language
Summary: Gil Grissom's team was like a family, she noticed. Well. He ruined the only family she ever knew. Now she'd ruin his.
Set middle-ish season 4. Ensemble piece, but Nick-centric later on. The first chapter is a different POV, so hang with me and I'll get to our heroes soon enough.
She had always known her husband's secret.
Ever since the very beginning, she was aware of his other life… his past life. But where most women would have had John Walsh on speed dial, she felt alerting America's Most Wanted would only hurt herself in the end. She had everything she ever wanted: a stable home with a loving husband and son, a job as a humble housewife… it was that magical, Ozzie and Harriet feeling she'd dreamt about as a young woman, and she feared never finding it again.
Some women endured their husbands' physical rage or waited as victims of infidelity in cold, lonely beds. Surely she could put up with secret identities and gender changes! It sounded almost comical to her ears now, that rationalization. But it was true. Being a family was everything to her – everything. Having the table set for three when he returned home every day. Rubbing his back as he lounged on the sofa reading the business section. Proudly watching their son's little league games. Now, it was nothing. And she was nothing.
So she'd told her son that a move would be good for them, like on Sleepless in Seattle. That ever-cool Tom Hanks felt much better when he wasn't surrounded by constant reminders of his dead spouse. Craig didn't understand the reference – you know kids – but his eyes lit up at the mention of flaming jugglers and white tigers.
But she knew better than to believe her own bullshit. Reminders didn't faze her.
No. It was there that she could find him. Gil Grissom. The man who, with a couple of speeding tickets and a jail bar fingerprint, destroyed her family. Yes. There, she could watch him work away on his current cases without a second thought to the hell he caused her… the desolate, vacuous excuse for a life she'd lived the past 2 years. It was only there, through this malefactor of a man, that she could finally achieve peace of mind. She just had to figure out how.
Looking back now, 6 months later, the move ended up being extraordinarily easy. Her husband had been good at pretending. Now, she mused, it turned out she was better. A little back-to-maiden-name-change here, a little makeover there, and voila! Even her own son hardly recognized her at first, and so far, no one else had either.
They left Mulberry behind, and after buying a modest 2-bedroom ranch just outside the city, she found a temp job in the office opposite the crime lab on Westfall Avenue. Insisting on working insane overtime hours, she was often able to watch Grissom and his shift go in and out of the building for the better part of three months. It was all she could really do; she just wanted a feel for his habits and who he worked with. After all, she had to – soon after arriving, she tailed Grissom back to his house and was disappointed to find he lived alone – his colleagues would have to provide the clues instead.
More than pleased with her situation at the time, she was stunned to find a receptionist opening at the crime lab listed in the Review-Journal. She was even more astounded when, after a thorough interviewing process, she was offered the job: it seemed that not only God approved of her plan, but was a bit fond of good old fashioned vengeance.
The background check went through without a hitch – lest anyone say she didn't furtively pick up any of her late husband's skills throughout their years together – and before long she literally had a front row seat to see the bane of her existence every night. Finally, things were in motion.
Settling in and pasting on the daily bubbly receptionist facade, she began paying close attention to the dynamics of the lab employees. Now three months in, she felt her observations were all coming to a sort of culmination. There was absolutely no way, she mused, that anyone on this graveyard shift had a life outside of work. If they weren't on the clock or working overtime, they were out sharing a meal together. Or watching a game. Or playing those incessantly mind-numbing video games. Sometimes they even slept here.
This team of workaholics seemed as much of a family as any traditional one. It was obvious to her, or anyone really, that Dr. Grissom and the ever-impudent Catherine Willows were the surrogate parents of the clan. God only knows if that woman just realized, when dressing for work, that the men at her crime scenes were typically dead! Well. Despite the obvious foils of their working styles, the two senior criminalists ran a shift that had their daytime counterparts looking like packrats at a vacuum cleaner convention. The three younger CSIs didn't disappoint; each fell into a sort of "offspring stereotype" accordingly: Warrick Brown was the cool, confident older brother, and perhaps held the most responsibility in Grissom's eyes. Sara Sidle was a brilliant mind with a raging attitude to boot – usually Catherine was her favorite target. And Nick Stokes was the boy scout with a serious case of Grissom-worship… it seemed he lived and died with his superior's approval.
But the family dynamics don't end there, she corrected herself, as a spiky-haired figure rushed past the desk. Greg Sanders, DNA wunderkind, was everyone's favorite annoying little brother. Even Detective Brass favored this shift over the others. She'd noticed how his gruff exterior lessoned in favor of protectiveness in dealing with graveyard.
She'd watched all of them rejoice in their collective triumphs, squabble like road-weary vacationers in a stuffy car, and overcome insurmountable odds all in the name of teamwork. She'd seen Catherine finish Grissom's sentences, Warrick and Nick take break-room Madden NFL as seriously as work, and Greg get Sara to smile at seemingly impossible moments. She'd noticed how they tend to celebrate holidays and birthdays together in between cases… how they'd snap at each other one minute and defend each other to the powers that be the next. They were a team… a real – albeit, dysfunctional at times – family... in every sense of the word.
And like Hell if that man deserved it.
The whoosh of the front door snapped her from her reverie; she smiled at the familiar figure approaching.
"Good evening, Dr. Grissom."
He nodded distractedly before hustling past the desk.
Her smile turned feral at the retreating form; she finally realized exactly how to get what she wanted.
Juliette Mason vowed to make her Douglas proud.