This one is for Justine for being worth her weight in gold

and

for Trish, who still believes that Jack does not know...

(and she does have a point as this little story proves !)


The Real Reason

by Serataja

This is a work of fiction.

Any resemblance between real people and real events

is purely coincidental and completely unintentional.

(holding her fingers crossed behind her back)

Fade in.

It has been a long and emotionally draining day on the set of 'Without a Trace'.

First Jack made everyone cry, for refusing to leave his dead friend Max alone in the storage building.

A little later Anthony LaPaglia did a Gil Grissom impersonation. It took a while before the last laugh died away and everyone could get back to work.

Anthony is sitting in his trailer in front of the mirror.

A large tarantula is crawling over his hand. He is stroking its back.

A knock on the door.

Enter Poppy Montgomery.

Poppy: Jesus Christ!

Anthony: You used to call me Tony, Poppy.

Poppy: I was not talking to you, I was talking about the spider.

Anthony:(looking mildly surprised) But Poppy, that's not a spider, that's a tarantula. Don't you watch CSI?

Poppy: Don't you think you're taking that Gil Grissom thing a bit too far?

Anthony: (continues to stroke the tarantula's back)

Poppy: (sits down) Anthony, we need to talk.

Anthony: Uh-oh.

Poppy: It's serious.

Anthony: Okay, let's talk. Is this about Grissom and Sara again?

Poppy: I know you've been talking to Billy. You two were seen at the local bar last night. I'm afraid you're a bad influence on him.

Anthony: Oh, how come?

Poppy: I have it first hand from the writers on CSI that Grissom would have kissed Sara long ago if you hadn't told him to wait.

Anthony: That's not true.

Poppy: Don't lie to me!

Anthony: I've never talked to Grissom.

Poppy: Don't try to confuse me. We're talking about Billy and you know exactly what I mean.

Anthony: I'm not influencing Billy.

Poppy: So what're you saying? He's influencing you?

Anthony: Not at all. We agree on everything.

Poppy: So, this is a conspiracy?

Anthony: Poppy, what are you talking about?

Poppy: I'm talking about Jack and Sam.

Anthony: Oh, I thought we were talking about Grissom and Sara.

Poppy: We are.

Anthony: (confused silence)

Poppy: Why are Grissom and Sara not together?

Anthony: Because Grissom is hiding a dark secret.

The tarantula starts to crawl up his arm. Anthony ignores it.

Poppy: (gaze fixed on the tarantula) What kind of secret?

Anthony: I can't tell you. Only that it's dark.

Poppy: Oh, you mean like his mother killed herself while he was sitting in the living room watching TV?

Anthony: (sighs) Something like that. Very sad. You'll have to ask Billy for the details.

Poppy: But why are Grissom and Sara not together?

Anthony: (confused) I just told you!

Poppy: No, I mean the real reason.

Anthony:(reluctantly) Billy and I have a bet going.

Poppy: What bet?

Anthony: If Jack kisses Sam first I have to pay Billy $2000.

Poppy: (shocked silence)

Anthony: I figure I have a good chance. CSI has been running for six seasons. Billy won't be able to hold out much longer. I think he'll have to give in sometime next year.

Poppy: All this is happening because of a bet…

Anthony: Oh no, of course not. It's because Grissom has a dark secret.

Poppy: Oh…

(Anthony puts the tarantula back in its tank.)

Poppy: What about Sam and Jack?

Anthony: What about them?

Poppy: When is Jack going to kiss her?

Anthony:(evasive) Grissom has to kiss Sara first.

Poppy: So when Grissom has kissed Sara, Jack will kiss Sam?

Anthony: We'll see…

Poppy: Anthony, that's not good enough.

Anthony: It's not my decision.

Poppy: Don't lie to me.

Anthony: I don't know what you're talking about.

Poppy: I'm talking about the monthly bribes you've been paying the writers to make sure Sam and Jack don't get together.

Anthony: How did you know?

Poppy: I'm a Federal Agent. I have my sources.

Anthony: Don't you think you're taking that Sam thing a bit too far?

Poppy: (stubborn silence)

Anthony: Okay, I admit it, I've been bribing them. But only a little.

Poppy: You mean you're not responsible for all of them being able to afford new cars?

Anthony: (very guilty silence)

Poppy: So why aren't Jack and Sam together?

Anthony: Jack doesn't think she loves him anymore.

Poppy: What?

Anthony: I mean, she's with Martin and…

Poppy: She's not.

Anthony: She's not what?

Poppy: With Martin. She broke up with him a long time ago.

Anthony: Oh…?

Poppy: Haven't you been watching the show? Jack knows!

Anthony: He does not!

Poppy: Oh yes, he knows!

Anthony: Don't tell me what Jack knows or doesn't know!

Poppy: He must be blind!

Anthony: (smiles cryptically)

Poppy: Now tell me the real reason.

Anthony: Jack doesn't think-

Poppy: No, the real reason.

Anthony: I'm bribing-

Poppy: Anthony!

Anthony: Okay, you want to know the truth, here's the truth...

Poppy: (waiting)

Anthony: Jack is miserable.

Poppy: That's exactly my point. Let's put him out of his misery. Let him kiss Sam. Anne can't make him happy.

Anthony: (sounding very satisfied) No, she'll make him miserable.

Poppy: But he has been miserable for three years…

Anthony: (nodding happily) Yes.

Poppy: (stunned silence)

Anthony: (taps on the tarantula's tank and makes cooing noises)

Poppy: (more stunned silence)

Anthony: Was there more?

Poppy: You mean you want Jack to be miserable?

Anthony: Of course.

Poppy: But why?

Anthony: It's such a great challenge, acting-wise.

Poppy: So there's no hope for Sam and Jack?

Anthony: Of course there is. Now let's see, this show could run for another 15 years, so if he kisses her the first time in year 13…

Poppy: (buries her head in her hands)

Anthony: (brightly) Didn't you read that interview I did? I love being miserable!

The tarantula climbs out of its tank and crawls away to find William Petersen. It figures there is more chance for a little happiness on the set of CSI.

Fade out.