A/N: This is my first Nick/Greg story, and my first story in a LONG time, so be gentle.
CANARY: An exotic bird known for it's pleasant song and plumage. Until recently, coal miners used the beautiful birds down in the mines to warn them of dangerous fumes in the mine. If the canary no longer sang, signaling it's death, the miners were spared a horrible death, because they knew that the delicate bird was sensitive to it's surroundings, and if it died, they should leave.
Nick drove up to the crime scene, a ball of dread already weighing down his stomach. He got out of the Tahoe and made his way over to where Sara was already accessing the scene and it's sole victim. A Caucasian male in his early twenties. Cause of death; strangulation.
"Hey," Sara said, barely looking up from behind the lens of her camera.
Nick just nodded, not caring that she couldn't see him. He was already too busy going over the scene, himself. He could see a thin nylon rope tied around the young man's neck, still cinched so tightly that it cut into the dead man's flesh. He also noticed other things about the man. The man's appearance, the multi-colored hair, the tight, bright and revealing clothing. There was also a fair amount of glitter in the man's hair, and on his shoulders and torso. I had obviously been thrown there.
The victim was in full clubbing attire, and Nick was willing to bet a lot that the kind of clubs that this man went to, he wouldn't be caught dead in.
They all had been into that kind of scene, the three victims before this one. In all, it had been four victims involved in this case. When the first victim had been killed in the same manner as the current one, there was nothing to indicate that anything amiss (other than someone being killed) because, though no one liked to admit it, gay men being killed was a pretty common occurrence. Unwanted advances, the wrong look, and staunch homophobia clashed in the worst kind of ways in Las Vegas. The man was twenty-one, dressed to kill, covered in glitter, strangled, and obviously dead. One thing that had been amiss, was that a small packet of heroin was jammed down the man's throat. The man didn't have a single drug in his system.
The second and third, ages eighteen and twenty-five, had the same in common with the first victim. They had all been young, beautiful, and into the gay club scene, and now they all shared something in common and more sinister than the newest fashion.
These kinds of cases wore on Nick almost as much badly as child molestation ones did. These young men, who were openly gay, at least in the lives they lead at night were taken advantage of and killed, and it all had something to do with who they were, or who they were perceived to be. Their trust was gained and someone had killed them for it, simply because they lived their lives like they wanted to….The way Nick had once wanted to.
Seeing all the dead gay men and boys just reaffirmed to Nick that he should never give into these urges that he was having, had been having ever since he was fifteen. Yes, he would serial date for a few more years, and then settle down with the nearest source of estrogen and start popping out kids. It's what he was raised to do, to be. It was most likely what they were raised to do as well, but they had chosen a different path. Nick couldn't help but wonder if this could have been him all those years ago.
"So, what have you gotten on this vic, so far?" Nick asked, taking himself away from his train of thought.
Sara finally looked up from her camera. She pushed a piece of fly-away hair from her face. It was already nightfall, and the cool night wind had just started to pick up. "I processed his wallet a bit earlier. His name's Daniel Farley, age 26. He's a native, and he has a couple 'frequent partier' cards in his wallet. I'll bet anything, that if I open his mouth, I'll find a surprise," she said, doing just that. She opened the man's mouth, and with a pair of tweezers, pulled a small bag from his throat. She held it up in front of her for Nick to see as well. "Bingo." She then placed the bag into an evidence bag.
Nick nodded and began to analyze the fibers of the rope around the young man's neck.
Grissom called a meeting after Nick and Sara had turned in their findings. They had gotten one big break in the case. In various places on the victims' clothing, there had been an alcoholic substance, a beverage. They hadn't paid much attention to this, in the beginning, the men had been at a club where alcohol was served, it was bound to be spilled on them by themselves or other partygoers. The heroin and the glitter had pretty much been dead-ends as well, on that note. It wasn't until Hodges had taken a second look at the substance that he realized that it was a 'specialty' drink. All the clubs were known to have their very own drinks that no other clubs had. Sure, the drinks were emulated, but they never came out quite the same, especially if they were made by different bartenders. Only one club had a drink that contained the components that this one had. Club Void. There inlay the problem.
Club Void was an exclusive club. Very exclusive. So much so, that neither a pretty face and hot body, nor a million-dollar paycheck even garnered an invitation.
Grissom needed for himself and another CSI to get into that club, but despite, or maybe because of his connections with the lab, and inevitably, the police, no one like him would even be allowed to stand outside the establishment.
But there was one person who would be.
"Griss, you called us in for a meeting?" Nick entered Grissom's office, followed by Sara.
Grissom looked from the paperwork, and up at him. He got up and came around his desk to stand in front of them. "Yes. You both know that there has been a series of killings involving young patrons of gay clubs?"
Both Nick and Sara nodded.
"Well, there has been a break in the case. Archie has analyzed the substance that was found on the bodies and concluded that it's a type of alcoholic beverage, one that is a specialty drink, only served in one nightclub. The Void," he said.
Sara hissed. "Damn, that place is a fortress. There's no way that we're going to be let in there to analyze anything. The cops tend to look the other way on their 'business'. They don't put up with anyone messing around in that club. Too many powerful people in there doing things that they shouldn't," she said.
Nick wondered how she knew so much about a the club. "Okay, so I get that we have to get in there, somehow. So you want us to, what, go undercover? I personally think that I would make a good sugar daddy," he said, jokingly.
Grissom looked at Nick. "As a matter of fact, I think so, too." Nick almost choked on his own spit. "But neither you, nor I can get anywhere near there without them getting a whiff of LVPD. So, that leaves us with one solution."
Nick waited. "And that is…?"
"We call in the Canary." Grissom wasn't looking at Nick who looked confused, but at Sara, who's eyes widened. He knew that she was dying to ask him a million questions. Questions that he had no choice but to answer.