Thank yous muchly to Anni, to Lauren, to Michelle and to Amanda, for slacking out at working and talking this thing out with me. My first case file.


Winter rolled into the Las Vegas casinos just as it did in the valleys. It was fast, it was unassuming and it was shocking. Tourists tended only to see the facade of the desert town, the dry, often-scorching heat that it had to offer.

With that in mind, even people visiting from the east casually left their sweaters neatly tucked in their closets.

Men in Birkenstocks and knee socks, women with garish, floral print blouses were caught in a wave of icy breath from the north. It had them all scampering inside to seek refuge, whether it be in slots or a show.

Gil Grissom didn't mind the bite in the air. The impromptu change in the weather meant that lines to the Stratosphere would be short and he wouldn't have to wait very long to clamber onto the ride. He, the ever-patient man-wasn't in the mood at all to wait; he needed to think, more than just a casual combing of his mind, but a dive into reality and his subconscious as well. High above the city tended to be the most conducive to a deep-tissue massage of the brain.

Paying his money, he stood in line, eyes skimming over the people surrounding him, noticing this and that. Prone to do that, Grissom was ever the investigator; he found that the minute details of a person could tell an entire novel of their past, present and future. That was what had brought him to the gargantuan metal structure in the first place-a stark 'noticing' of Sara Sidle.

It had his neurons occupied and until he had it all sorted out, he was certain he would be unable to focus on anything else; it wasn't often that he was occupied with anything other than his profession and thus the slightly off-balance feeling that had taken him over was casually threatening to send him careening off of the edge of reason.

Brought back from his thoughts by the movement of the line, he let the image of her face slip its way out of his mind's eye. No matter, it would surely float back in.

Taking a seat in a car towards the back, Grissom allowed his eyes to slip closed, much the same motion as the bar slipping down to hold him in place. It wasn't as if he needed his eyes open to begin with; he'd memorized every dip and hill, every twist and flip of the spiraling thing.

The movement had since become a comfort, a force greater than gravity propelling him through the night sky, high above the lights.

A distant whirr signaled the exposition of his journey and while the other people aboard the train found their hands grasping the padding around their safety harnesses for dear life, Grissom's fell serenely at his side. A sigh escaped him and with the release of breath a wave of tension was expelled as well.

This was just what he needed.

He waited, and after a moment he was rewarded with sudden motion, a catapult forcing his companions to screech out in elation and surprise. If it had been any other day, he might have smiled. But not this time.

Halfway through his incredibly short journey there was a faint buzzing at his hip; generally this meant his night off would be cut short. Ignoring it because he had to, he attempted to force the technological intrusion out of his mind. But then it went off again, the mechanical buzzing numbing the skin just under his belt, completely ruining the moment.

His eyes popped open and his jaw set in a stony manner. He was sure it was Brass phoning him and while he wished he could, Grissom could not blame the interruption on his old friend. 'Crime waits for no man,' he thought wryly.

The last dip, for some reason or another, made his stomach lurch. Not a lurching of sickness but with motion-happiness and he was thrown off by the odd feeling. 'Tonight will be an abundance of headaches, to be sure,' Grissom thought, as the ride lurched to a stop.

Two feet solidly on the ground, Grissom made his way around rubber-legged tourists, side-stepped a man who was retching onto the ground. A slight disgusted twist of his lips accompanied his plucking his cell phone off of his belt. The LCD display blinked 'two missed calls!' and upon flipping open the device, the name 'Brass, Jim' screamed up at him in tiny little black letters.

A sigh, this time one of defeat, accompanied his hitting 'send' and successfully dialing his last missed call. He brought the phone up to his ear, a practiced motion, one he was coming to resent more and more lately. He needed to be completely consumed by his job again; he needed that security back.

"Hello. Jim," his manner was cool and oddly paced, the cadence betraying nothing of his slight irritation.

With a blink or two, he listened to the detective recount the events of the night and the case that was soon to be at hand. Mentally, Grissom placed all of the facts he was being told, invisibly penning them to invisible paper.

A final sigh his resignation, he spoke a few words of parting into the phone and replaced it in the carrier at his hip. His thinking would simply have to wait another night.

Gil Grissom moved away from the Stratosphere and was swallowed by the throngs of people, hoping that somehow, this case might serve to lighten his mood.