My repsonse to Kristen999's challenge!

Scene from Season Three "Last Laugh"

Title: Tapped Out
Author: thatTaylorgirl

It had been a nearly forgotten case. Shelley Stark had slipped and fallen in the bathtub, had been knocked unconscious and drowned. It was supposed to be an open and shut case. There had been no evidence to suggest anything criminal had happened, there had been nothing suspicious about it. A freak accident, one may call it.

Detective Brass had initially been assigned the case, had taken a few photos, had scribbled down a few notes, and had taken the grieving husband's testimony. It wasn't much. In fact it was damn near next to nothing. But for an open and shut case, it was all he needed. That was until he saw the deceased's husband out on the town with another woman. All of a sudden things didn't feel so….well, open and shut.

Hell everything seemed to have been rushed. Brass had quickly ruled the death an accident; hadn't even called CSI in to check things out. And now, because he'd seen the guy out on the town, arm in arm with another woman, he was second guessing his call and had come to Nick to help him cover his ass.

"Abbreviated autopsy. Doc Robbins oversaw. Cause of death: Drowning," Sara shrugged as she sat next to Nick in the evidence layout room. "It jibes with the husband's account. It jibes with the detective's account. There is nothing in this file that suggests anything other than an accident," she shrugged scanning through the autopsy report.

"I don't know Sara…other people's notes, other people's photos, evidence twice removed. No CSI even got to look at it," Nick shrugged.

A broken towel bar. An empty bathtub. It was all they had to work with.

"Do you want to go to the bathroom?" she turned to Nick with pursed lips. The smile on his face was just the answer she was looking for.

Like any other CSI, and maybe even more so, Nick hated not having answers. The fact that the pieces of this particular case had only been partially looked at in the beginning didn't help matters much.

But there was something else. For some reason, the fact that Brass had come to him behind Grissom's back bothered him a little. Sure, he had to admit he kind of relished in the chance to work a case on his own. Hell, who was he kidding? He loved taking the lead in a case, loved being trusted by the people with whom he worked. But, to go behind the boss's back…something just felt a little off…and even a little wrong about it.

"You sure you're not looking for Grissom?" he'd asked the detective earlier that day when asked to pick up the case..

"I'm chasing something that Gil Grissom isn't interested in," Brass had nodded taking a sip of his coffee, "a hunch."

Brass wasn't the kind of detective to make hasty decisions, Nick knew that. He was one of the best detectives in Vegas. But the fact that he was second guessing himself now, and asking for him to help, well…it just made him a little uneasy. Still…it wasn't often that he was the CSI of choice in working such cases. And it wasn't often he felt this important, this needed.

Yet he couldn't help but feel a churning in the pit of his stomach. While feeling a little proud, he couldn't help but remember that he was going against the boss, was being a little defiant in his job. Still, he knew the case needed to be solved, answers found, and he was glad Brass felt like he was capable of handling the job.

"I don't get it," Sara shook her head as she and Nick returned to the lab. They'd just come back from visiting George Stark at home. "Why go through all the effort to make it look like an accident?"

"Insurance payout was $750, 000," Nick replied with a shrug. "Man wanted his money."

"Still, he just kills his wife? Come on, Nick," she smirked.

"Sara, you know as well as I, people have killed over less."

"I know, but…," she trailed off as they came to a stop outside the break room. "Hey look, I'm gonna get back to the photos of the crime scene, maybe there's something we missed. You getting coffee?"

"Yeah, then I'm gonna get with Doc Robbins. He should have Shelley Stark's body exhumed by now. You want anything?"

"No, I'm good. I'll catch back up with you," she shook her head as she continued on down the hall.

"Okay," Nick smiled then turning into the empty break room.

"Nick, I've been looking for you," Grissom breezed in as Nick poured a cup of coffee.

"What's up?"

"I need you for something. I have a D.B. at a convenience store on Torrey Pines."

"This body connected to the Innoko Water case?" Nick looked up from doctoring his coffee.

"I'm not sure, but the case is spiraling out of control. I'm tapped out on CSIs. The sooner you can get down there…" the supervisor trailed off as he handed over the assignment slip in his hand.

"Well…uh…I would, but I'm already sort of working on my own case."

"Oh…" Grissom looked down at the paper hanging limp between the two of them. This was news to him.

"Yeah, uh…I was just about to head down to autopsy. I had to get a court order to exhume a body. Brass had the case a few weeks ago, saw the victim's husband out on the town last night and started second guessing his call on the case. He came to me when you guys got back from the comedy club. I thought he was going to tell you," the Texan took a sip from his coffee. He really hated leaving his boss out to dry.

"Well, he…he didn't," the entomologist shook his head.

"Look Grissom…"

"What's Sara doing?" the man cut off the CSI.

"She's uh…helping me out with a couple things," he offered a sheepish grin. "Look if you want me to take the case, I've almost closed this one."

"No, it's…uh…it's okay," the man glanced at his watch as he turned to leave the room. "Warrick should be back from court soon. I'll get him to cover it."

"You sure, I mean, I could pick it up."

"No, it's okay. I'll get Warrick when he comes in," he returned to the hall.

Nick set his coffee on the counter and followed in Grissom's wake. It shouldn't take long in autopsy, and the sooner he could get it done the better. He had a feeling this case was about to solve itself.

"Warrick," Grissom caught up with the criminalist as he walked down the hallway, "this just in. D.B at a convenience store on Torrey Pines. You're all I got," he raised his hands as he handed over the assignment sheet.

Nick smiled as he headed off toward the coroner's office.

"I'm on it," Warrick accepted the paper and headed in the opposite direction.

Scene prompt requested by Chrissie0707 - "What would happen if Grissom had asked Nick to take the DB before asking Warrick?"
Thanks Chrissie for the topic...and Kristen for the challenge! A race against time...but FUN!