I am loving the new season. All the little moments between Sara and Grissom are great. New chapter finally up. A little darkness, a little humor. Hope you like it. Happy reading.

Darkest hour of the night, outside the crime scene

He was almost hugging the tree in front of him as he leaned forward, straining to take in the action that was unfolding at the crime scene. Three men, two of which had been there all night, were on the porch talking, their expressions guarded. He rubbed his hands together in sheer delight as the younger man held up a bag containing a small white card. His card. Excitedly he leaned forward, anxious to know what they were saying even as his mind wandered.

It had been a brilliant idea on his part to leave the card where he was assured they would find it. Now they were full of questions about on of their own, unsure if they could trust anyone. He almost danced in glee at the thought.

Bringing his attention back to the drama in front of him his face fell in disappointment as the newest member of the team grabbed the evidence bag and strode inside. He stared at the remaining two, trying to get a sense of what was going on as they sat quietly.

Anxious now, feeling as if he was going to miss a big part of the show he dug through the bag of supplies at his feet, grinning as he pulled out a small transmitter. They had no knowledge of the fact that he had placed several listening devices throughout the house in anticipation of this very situation.

Turning the transmitter to the right channel he picked up the heavy tread of footsteps echoing throughout the almost empty house. For a minute there was complete silence before a female voice spoke, sending shivers down his spine. He had known she was in the house of course but to finally hear her voice was like having confirmation of all his plans.

Concentrating with all his might he turned back to the conversation, not allowing himself the happiness he had acquired in outsmarting her once again. At least not yet.

"So do I need a lawyer?" He heard her ask through the small speaker. He choked on his laughter, causing the younger man on the porch to turn in his direction. Slinking back further into the trees he missed the older man's answer to her sarcastic question. Instead they seemed to be moving back through the house, the second footstep lighter, almost airy.

He leaned forward, risking exposure as he strained to see what was happening. Voices became raised and there was an increase in movement along the edge of porch. Shifting around a shrub he inched his way forward, not stopping until he was wedged behind a large rock, the last cover between him and the house.

Still desperate to see what was happening and now able to catch snatches of conversation he slipped over the top, flattening himself against the cool stone. Fleeting thoughts of rattlesnakes and scorpions crossed his mind but he quickly pushed them away.

Tilting his head he made out the words Search the area as another car pulled in, sweeping the surrounding area with it's over bright headlights. Startled he flung himself off the rock, landing heavily on his left side. He flexed the joints in his arm as he cautiously peered around the rock, angered to see a young man getting out of the car carrying cups of coffee.

Making his way to the edge of the road and his car he looked back one last time. "This isn't over Sidle." He warned menacingly.

Mid morning

"You okay back there Greg?" Nick called from the driver's seat as he negotiated the morning rush hour traffic into the city.

The younger man swallowed hard as he tried to ignore the swishing sound coming from the containers piled high behind him. He knew that if he were to turn his head a couple inches he would come face to face with some grotesque body part.

He tried to breathe through his nose in an attempt to keep the nausea at bay, but unfortunately he was within smelling distance of the gastric contents that Nick had found in a spit cup in the bathroom. Feeling sweat form on his forehead he bent forward.

The sudden sound of his window lowering brought him upright with a snap. He raised questioning eyes to the other occupants of the car.

Nick shrugged as he met the younger man's gaze in the rear view mirror. "Figured it might help."

"Thanks man." He croaked as he leaned his head out the window, not caring if he looked like a dog.

Nick turned to grin at his new partner, needing the laughter to dispel some of the grimness form the night before. "Newbies." He said in a teasing tone. She shot him a look and scrunched down further in her seat.

He let out his breath at the uneasy silence that followed. "Don't suppose you want to talk about it?" He tried again. She shrugged as she turned to look out the window.

Greg pulled his head back in the car as he again met Nick's eyes in the rear view mirror. "It's been a rough night." He said unnecessarily.

Silence lapsed in the car for several minutes as Nick took various short cuts around the stopped traffic. Greg found his thoughts turning back to the containers sitting precariously behind him. "So tell me again why this stuff couldn't go in the coroner's van?"

Nick's lips twitched. "They took as much as they could but they were pretty full with the actual body we found."

Greg laughed outright. "I can't believe they're actually treating it as a real victim."

Even Sara let a smile escape as she remembered Grissom telling Doc Robbins that he had to do an autopsy on the dog they had found at the back of the house. "Evidence is Evidence."

"Do you think Grissom is going to be analyzing the fleas?" Greg asked as he flopped back in the seat, weak from laughter. His mirth died an instant later as the container immediately behind him tipped over until it was leaning against the back of his head.

He held his breath, not moving as he waited for something wet and slimy to slid down the back of his shirt.

Hearing a small squeak Sara turned around in her seat, her mouth opening at the sight in the back seat. "Uh Greg, it's sealed up tight." she told him, biting her lip to keep from laughing.

Deciding he wanted to have a little fun Nick pulled sharply on the wheel causing the car to swerve into the next lane. As the container tumbled over the seat and into the younger man's lap Sara took the opportunity to flick water from her drink into the back seat.

"It's leaking, man its leaking." Greg shrieked, jumping out of the SUV the moment it stopped in the parking lot of the crime lab.

Laughing Nick grabbed his camera and slid out of the driver's seat as Brass and Grissom pulled up behind them.

Brass smirked at the spectacle in front of him. "Get a little too excited there junior?" He asked indicating the wet spots on the front of the other man's pants.

Greg felt his face turning red as he stuttered out an explanation.

Not amused Grissom climbed out of his own car and looked pointedly at the senior most member of his team. "It has been a long and terrible night. I doubt the best way to boost morale is to make fun of a teammate." He scolded, causing the two CSI's to look ashamed. Even Brass shifted his eyes from the red faced young man.

"Thank you Grissom." Greg said softly, as he scuffed his shoe in the pavement.

Grissom nodded absently as he walked past the little group and through the doors of the crime lab.

"Look man, I'm sorry about all that stuff in the van. You did a good job out there tonight." Nick offered with a small smile.

Greg nodded his head in appreciation of the words. "Ahh, do I still have to help carry that stuff in?"

"Nah, you go on in." Nick said fighting not to grin at the relief on his young friends's face.

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"Come on Lindsey. It's time to go." Catherine called as she gathered all her daughter's gifts. She turned to watch her daughter hop out of the bathroom.

"Do you have to go to work tonight?" Lindsey asked, her lower lip sticking out in a pout.

"No baby, I'm home with you all week." she informed her daughter. "Come on, get your other shoe on. The nurse is going to be right in."

"Mama I wish you could stay home all the time." The little girl whined.

"I do too honey but then we wouldn't have a house to sleep in." Catherine pointed out.

"Well are you two ready?" A perky redhead asked as she wheeled a chair into the room.

Catherine groaned. "Mom what are you doing here?"

"Well I came to take my granddaughter home. I figured you would still be at work, what with that big murder down south." The older lady brushed off the question as she helped her granddaughter into the chair.

"You knew I took off work. I wouldn't leave my daughter at a time like this." Catherine argued.

"Why not, you have before." The mother replied as she wheeled the little girl out the door, leaving her daughter to stare after them in sadness.

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Waling into the lounge Grissom stopped to observe his team. Brass was pacing back and forth in font of the window, talking quietly on the phone. Greg, being back to his usual self was listening to his headphones and drumming along to the music on every available surface. Nick was searching through the refrigerator, smiling in victory as he produced a cold bottle of Gatorade.

Grissom shifted his focus to Sara, concerned to see her sitting at the table with her eyes downcast as she shredded a piece of paper. As he watched her his anger at the situation returned.

Noticing the CSI supervisor Brass ended his phone call. "The doc not coming?" He asked in that abrupt way of his. His question brought everyone's attention to Grissom.

He shook his head as he kept his eyes on Sara. "He said he would need more time with the bodies."

Feeling his gaze she looked up. "I'm not leaving Grissom." Sara said as she read the look in his eyes.

"You're at risk here." he argued, moving to stand in front of her.

"And I'm at risk in San Fransisco I've been dealing with this for four years now. You're a little late in trying to protect me."

His face darkened at her words. He quietly shut down his emotions before anyone saw his sadness. "It's my decision whether to pull you off a case and I'm making it."

"That's fine." She said standing up. "I'm in Vegas on my own time. I have no problem pursing the case on my own. Of course I will share anything I find with you." She finished, her tone mocking.

"Sara." Grissom said, his voice in the form of a warning.

"Wow now, why don't we just talk this through some more." Nick said consolingly.

"That's a good idea Nick." Brass said when Sara continued to stare at the older man mutinously. "How did you know this guy was targeting you in the first place?" he asked as he gently pushed her back down in her seat.

"The first crime scene was totally random." She started, lifting up the last syllable in the sentence, making her word almost like a question. "The next day there was a card waiting for me when I came in."

Nick leaned forward. "Like a business card?"

She shook her head. "A greeting card." She shrugged. "I didn't think anything about it at the time. Thought maybe it was from a jealous coworker."

"What did it say?" Brass asked when she didn't elaborate.

"Congratulations with your new case. Good luck with solving it. You're going to need it." She recited from memory.

"And that didn't strike you as odd?" He asked.

She shook her head, her glance sliding to Grissom's now blank face. "It was a big case and we're a competitive bunch."

"How many cards did you get?" Grissom asked conversationally.

She frowned at the older man's perceptiveness. "One a week over the three month investigation." She admitted grudgingly. "In the last one he was gloating, telling me he knew I wouldn't be able to find him and that he'd see me next time.

"How was he sure that you were going to be the one to take the second call." Nick asked frowning as he tried to put the pieces together.

"We had a bunch of calls all come in at the same time. Small stuff and a couple even turned out to be false alarms." She was quiet a moment. "He had to be close enough to know that I was last on the call out list."

Silence reigned in the room for several minutes. Looking at his watch Brass spoke up. "It's late and we're not going to get much more done today. I think we all need to go home and recharge." He looked pointedly at Grissom. "Maybe it'll give our emotions a chance to calm down."

Nick groaned as he stretched out his aching muscles. "I'm all for that." He said as stood up.

"Greg." Grissom spoke up as the younger man made to leave. "I'm going to need you back in the lab tonight."

Brass watched as the dna tech nodded his head and slipped out the door. "Sara, I'm going to have a car sitting outside the boarding house." he told her as he moved to the door. Cocking his head he turned back. "And no more walking to work." He warned.

Keeping her eyes downcast she gathered up her things and walked to the door. There she paused, giving Grissom a chance to stop her. Her shoulders drooped as the silence continued. Berating herself for her foolishness she continued out the door.