Pairing: Minor Brass/Cath and GSR for now, more to come
Spoilers: Nothing in this chapter, eventually all of season 6
Disclaimer: Only the headless man belongs to me. And the bottle of water
Author's Notes: This story started as a challenge from goddessloki. The challenge was basically that just when Catherine decides that she is not dating anymore (to find out why, wait for chapter 2), Brass decides to ask her out. As I was working on this fic the season finale brought up the "When did Sara and Grissom" question. I decided to play with that too. So here we go. Much thanks and virtual chocolate cookies to smacky30 for the amazingly fast beta'ing.
The sun beat down on the back of his neck, and he was sure that the sunscreen he had slathered on earlier was no match for the sun's rays. He would be sore later. Now he was just uncomfortable. He had taken off his jacket an hour ago and thrown it onto the passenger seat of his car. The top button of his shirt was undone and his sleeves were rolled up. There was nothing else he could do to combat the arid heat of the Nevada desert.
"Water, Jim?" The relieving coolness of an icy water bottle was pressed into his hands. Beads of water collected on the outside, mixing with his sweat, and helping to cool his skin. Unscrewing the top, he took a long gulp.
"Thanks," he said as he grinned at Catherine. If there was one thing he liked about working on the desert after the sun came up, it was when he was lucky enough to work a case with her. High temperatures meant tank tops to the female CSI, and he heartily approved.
"No problem. You looked like you needed it." She had seen him tugging on the collar of his shirt, and figured they could both use a breather. Their jobs were never easy, but some cases took more out of you then others did.
"That I did." Splashing the water into his cupped hand, Brass washed away the sweat collected on his neck. "So where are we?"
"Just about done here. David's loading up the body to take to the morgue."
"The head too, I hope," Brass joked. A wire strung across the dirt path at just the right height meant that a joy ride for their victim had led to a rather messy end. Catherine ignored him and continued speaking.
"Sara just left with the dirt bike and the other evidence we collected, including the clothes line. Chances of getting prints from it are pretty slim, though."
"Guess that means I'll have to actually do some work, then. Too bad. I like it when you CSI's have all the answers," he remarked wryly. Turning away from the crime scene, Brass scanned the row of houses that backed up to the desert. "I'll bet you money that the person we are looking for is in one of those homes."
"Figured the case out already?" Catherine teased as she wiped the sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand.
"Just a hunch." Setting his water bottle down on the back of a police car, Brass rested his hand briefly against his service weapon.
"You know what Grissom would say about playing hunches."
"Lucky for us Grissom isn't here. You want to go for a walk with me?" he asked.
"I thought you'd never ask." Leaving the crime scene behind, they started their search for a suspect.
Hearing the sound of the radio coming from the garage, Grissom stopped in the open doorway. The cavernous space was almost empty except for a dirt bike. Catherine's case, he assumed. Single victim, motor vehicle fatality, suspicious circs. He had paired her and Sara together when he had handed out assignments earlier that night. Though the team had been back together for almost a month, this was the first time the two of them had worked a case with each other and no other team member. He hadn't noticed the fact until Greg had made a joke about it during the last shift. Without a comment he had teamed them together for this case. He was tempted to make his presence known and ask about the case. He didn't want to appear to be checking up on them, however.
"Son of a..." Grissom was about to turn and leave the room when he heard the muttered exclamation.
"Sara? Are you okay?" Striding into the room, he stopped just behind the bike.
"I'm fine." Scooting out from under the bike, her hand wrapped around the opposite forearm belied her answer.
"What happened?" he asked as he took a step towards her and reached for her arm.
"It's nothing. A scratch from a piece of metal on the undercarriage." Turning away, Sara walked to the sink in the corner of the room.
"That's more then a scratch," Grissom commented when she turned on the water and moved her hand. Droplets of blood welled up on the skin in a narrow line. Pulling the lever on the paper towel dispenser, Grissom handed her half a dozen sheets.
"Thanks." Sara accepted the offering and dabbed at the cuts. Each time she wiped away the blood, more pooled up. "Damn it. This is not my day."
"Why?" Grissom opened the cabinet above the sink and withdrew a first aid kit. Taking out a bottle of antiseptic, he gestured at Sara to hold out her arm.
"Besides the fact that I woke up today to find that my water heater was broken and I had to take a cold shower?" The apartment manager promised to have the problem fixed today. She hoped he came through, because she really wanted to go home and take a hot bath after shift. "I have yet to find a single piece of evidence to tell me who killed the vic."
"Nothing?" After applying the antiseptic, Grissom carefully taped a rectangle of gauze to Sara's skin.
"All I have is a piece of clothes line that could have been purchased anywhere, fingerprint free. I hope Brass and Catherine are having better luck."
"I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. Thomas Jefferson." Repacking the kit, Grissom placed it back on its shelf. "When was the last time you had a tetanus shot?"
"A couple of months ago," Sara answered, keeping her response vague. It had been last spring, after the case at Desert Spring. Not a subject she wanted to bring up.
"Good. Good," he repeated, giving himself a moment to work up his courage. "Sara, I was wondering if..."
A phone rang, and Grissom sighed at the irony of timing.
"It's mine," Sara said as she picked up her cell phone with her uninjured arm. "Sidle. Really? That's great."
Smiling, she closed her phone.
"Catherine and Brass have a suspect. They're bringing him in now. I'm going to go see if the evidence they collected is any more useful then what we already have."
"Good luck," he offered as Sara walked out of the garage.
"We've got you, Mr. Tyler," Brass stated as he leaned on the table and smirked at the suspect across from him. "A piece of advice; when you commit murder, it's never smart to leave the blueprint of how you did it setting on the kitchen table. See, there's this wonderful rule about incriminating evidence left in plain sight. Good for me but bad for stupid criminals like you."
"I'm not saying anything until I get a lawyer." Arms crossed, their suspect looked nervously around the room as if a lawyer was hiding in the corner.
"Well that's downright unfriendly, don't you think Cath?" Brass leaned his head on one hand and turned to the blond CSI seated next to him
"We don't really need him. The evidence is enough to convict him." Catherine tried to act blasé, but she felt sick to her stomach. This man had decapitated another human
being, and showed no sign of remorse.
"You're right, we don't need him. We know what happened, and how he did it. There is one thing that I'm curious about, though."
"You know what they say about curiosity and cats." Mr. Tyler sneered.
"Oh, we've got a real comedian this time," Brass remarked.
"He's hilarious," Catherine said flatly.
"To get back to what I was saying before Carrot Top interrupted; what I want to know is why. What did Cooper Addison do to you that was so horrible?"
"Who?" Tyler blurted out before he forcefully pressed his lips together.
"The man you killed," Catherine interjected. "The man whose ride on a dirt bike ended when he drove between the two trees you had tied clothes line between. A good strong line. It did the job very effectively. Would you like to see?"
Opening up the manila folder in front of her, Catherine withdrew a pair of photos
and held them up at eye level. A body without a head and a head without a body. Tyler blanched, and immediately turned away.
"A little different than the stickman you drew on the pad of paper when you came up with the plan." The man's mouth was still closed, but Brass suspected it was more to keep from throwing up than anything. It was one thing to tie a couple of knots, quite another to see the result of your work.
"They make too much noise," Tyler finally muttered after a dozen deep breaths. "The bikes. They ride at all hours, late at night, early in the morning. They don't care. I just wanted to make them stop. It was a lesson."
"A lesson?" Catherine spat out.
"For all the dirt bikers. After this, I'll finally get peace and quiet."
"You might get quiet, but I wouldn't count on the peace." Opening the door, Brass motioned for a uniformed officer to take Mr. Tyler to booking. Catherine walked out of the room, shaking her head in disgust.
"Sara, wait." She was half a dozen steps outside the building when Grissom called out to her. She turned and looked at him expectantly.
"Did I forget something?"
"No, I did." Grissom shook his head. That wasn't right. "Or rather, I wanted to ask you something."
An entire minute of silence passed after his declaration. Sara remained silent, giving him a chance to talk, but finally she had to speak.
"If you want me to answer your question you have to ask it first." She mentally braced herself. Knowing Grissom as she did, he could ask how her arm was, the status of her case or for her help in an experiment. She was never sure with him.
"There is a traveling exhibit coming to Vegas next week. Painters of the Renaissance. I was wondering... that is, I thought you might like it."
"Sound interesting. I'll check it out on the web when I get home."
"That's not quiet what I meant." There had been so many miscommunications between them. Grissom was determined this would not be another one. "I have two tickets for next Friday. Would you go with me?"
"What?" Was she dreaming?
"I was thinking we could go out for dinner beforehand."
"I don't know." An invitation to dinner. How long had she been waiting for this moment? A year ago she would have said yes without thinking, and it would have been wrong. Now, she wasn't so sure.
"Will you think about it?" he asked softly.
"I will," she promised. It was probably all she would think about today, Sara mused as she walked away.