DISCLAIMER: Don't own anything associated with the show… I just like playing with the characters in it.

RATING: T – Teen (language and adult issues)

PAIRINGS: GSR & Yo!Bling pre-established in previous fics of this timeline.

SPOILERS: Sequel to "Displacement" and "Transitions"

SUMMARY: Everything is changing around Nick Stokes. Can he deal with it, and how it will affect him in the end?

A/N: This is my own little take on the things that drive and motivate Nick Stokes throughout his life and work. Not everyone is going to agree with me on this one, and I can accept that. This is a serious angst monster fic, so don't expect a wholelot of fluffiness in this one. However, I am still a GSRshipper, so you'll get a little breather here and there with that.

Acknowledgments: Rouch and Rhee have joined on to help me beta this one, along w/ my trusty Ohioan. Their help has already proven invaluable in getting through story. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

REVIEWS: Reviews are the way I know if people are enjoying the work or not. So, if you leave one, THANKS! And if not, I hope you found at least a little something to brighten your day, and thanks for taking the time to read.


TITLE: Vicissitudes

vi·cis·si·tude
noun.

1. Mutability in life or nature (especially successive alternation from one condition to another)

2. One of the sudden or unexpected changes or shifts often encountered in one's life, activities, or surroundings.

3. A variation in circumstances or fortune at different times in your life or in the development of something; "the project was subject to the usual vicissitudes of exploratory research."

Chapter 1

21:00 – 06.12.03

CSI Lab Building: Break Room

The regular night shift crew was sitting around the table trading jokes, jibes and a general feeling of camaraderie. Sunday night was the start of a new week, and the team was enjoying teasing Sara about her wedding plans. They each had their own ideas of what a wedding between their two favorite geeks would be like, and no one was afraid to share with her what those were.

"I don't know. I figured it'd be one of those quaint outdoor weddings…" Warrick shot Nick a quick wink before he continued, "…at the Body Farm."

The howls erupted from around the table leaving Sara with her mouth hanging open in shock.

Greg decided to chime in with his defense of Sara, "C'mon guys, you know Sara wouldn't play that way."

Sara recovered long enough to say, "Well, thanks, Greg. At least one per-…"

"I was picturing the minister at the top of the first big drop on Grissom's favorite coaster, and the whole wedding party in the cars behind the bride and groom." His face betrayed his devilish intent and the laughter burst forth once again.

By the time Grissom and Catherine finally appeared at the door, it took the boys a little while to stifle their laughter.

"I'm glad to see everyone excited for work tonight," Grissom spoke over the noise as he noticed Sara sitting with her arms crossed over her chest and looking a bit angry. "Well, almost everyone."

Catherine felt the need to chime in once her gaze fell onto Sara. "Don't tell me… The guys were teasing you about the wedding?" When Sara rolled her eyes to show Catherine she had hit the nail on the head the blonde only shook her head at the guys and continued, "Don't you hyenas have anything better to do?"

Grissom sensed they were about to erupt into another fit of laughter, and felt it was his duty to calm the storm. "Obviously not… And for the record, there will be no bugs, bodies or amusement parks involved." He could see all of their taunts deflate instantly and relief washed over Sara's face. "In fact, you should all be receiving your invitations any time now, according to my mother. Sara and I decided to let her plan the whole thing, since neither of us had the time, nor the inclination for such an undertaking at the moment," Grissom explained, eliciting the desired response from everyone, as they were all shocked dumb by his admission. "But I can tell you not to make any plans for New Year's."

"New Year's? Seriously?" Greg was completely surprised by this latest development.

"Why?" Grissom looked up from his clipboard, confused by Greg's shock.

"I guess, I just figured you guys would be engaged a while, for some reason." Greg started to chew on his index finger, his first tell to show he was nervous about something. Greg was still getting used to all the changes around the lab and with his friends, but the haste of the wedding was not something he had planned on. Things were changing a little too fast for his tastes.

Warrick slapped the younger man on the back and said, "Are you kidding? You don't think seven years is enough waiting?"

"More like eleven, by my account," a tired voice teased them from behind.

The night shift all turned in unison toward the door of the Break Room to find the night shift coroner standing there leaning against the door jamb with a stack of folders tucked under one arm.

"How do you figure?" Nick was the one who had asked, since he did not quite understand her frame of reference.

"Well, I was actually in the lecture hall when they met, and you'd have had to be deaf, blind and stupid not to have figured that one out." When Catherine and Warrick struggled to restrain their smirks, Stephanie noticed that Sara and her uncle were blushing slightly. "Sorry, guys, but genius doesn't keep you from being stupid. I was just a dumb kid, and I saw it."

Grissom shook his head in an attempt to push the embarrassment away.

"Anyway, I've got reports for you guys. And I'm ready with the desert DB whenever you guys are," she explained as she dropped the reports onto the table. Catherine picked through to find hers and then passed the rest to the next person.

When Stephanie was safely out of the room, Grissom decided it was time to get the assignments handed out if they were ever going to get through the night. "Okay, first off, we have good news. After successfully cleaning up the mess at the Body Farm, the higher ups were convinced to reinstate Greg's Level One status."

Greg's whole face lit up and he asked, "Are you serious? You mean I'm not a trainee anymore?"

Grissom smirked and said, "That's right, but it also means you still have to complete your final proficiencies for Level Two before you can go solo, so Catherine will be observing you on this trick roll case over at the Golden Nugget." He handed the young man the slip, which he anxiously pulled from his supervisor's hand.

"Warrick?" Grissom continued quickly, he was not wasting any time on assignments that night. "Hit and Run on Charleston Blvd. Vega says it's a real mess, so you might want to bring extra coveralls."

Warrick took the slip and nodded his head at the suggestion.

"Nick, Sara?" He had a thick folder for them, which was unusual for a new case. "Seems the weekend folks botched this one up pretty good, so we've been assigned to clean up the mess and take over the case." He handed the folder to the two CSIs and then continued for everyone's benefit, "DB, found in the Lost Gringo Mountain State Park. We're being called in out of our jurisdiction because it was found inside the perimeter of a major research site funded, in part, by UNLV and is run by the head of the geology program there. Every courtesy is to be extended the research team, but we need to get this case wrapped up quickly, if possible."

Sara did not even flinch at Grissom asking them to hurry a case along, and Nick figured she must have already gotten the run down on the case. He never wanted to think that Grissom would let his personal relationship interfere with work, but the situation in which he found himself smacked of preferential treatment. Nick felt compelled to question him about his haste, "Since when do we rush the evidence, Grissom?"

Grissom looked up from his notes and was surprised to find Nick not following the logical train of thought. "Oh, I don't know, maybe because another shift screwed it up from the start. It's in a State Park, so the Sheriff and the Mayor are going to be all over it come morning, and because this lab doesn't need anymore trouble between us and the staff over at UNLV."

Nick blushed under the scrutiny and felt even more ridiculous for his false suspicion when he felt Sara kick him a little under the table.

"Now, if no one else has any questions…" Grissom looked around the table and found everyone ready to get the day going, so he decided to make his last announcement. "Good… Ah, I've made arrangements for everyone to have Saturday night off in order for us to have a little party."

Greg immediately perked up and asked, "Is this a Christmas party, Boss?"

"No, Greg… But if you like, you could consider it a holiday party, of sorts." He looked to Sara for reassurance to continue. When he found her tender smile, he had the strength. "We'd like everyone to be at our place about seven PM. It's just a small gathering of friends, so please try to keep this to yourselves." Suddenly feeling self conscious, he nervously flipped through his notes once more and then continued, "Okay, I believe that covers it."

Everyone pulled out from their seats and began to shuffle out of the room quietly as they pondered the meaning behind Grissom's little party.

Nick and Sara were the last to make their way to the exit. Grissom stopped them, "Ah, if you guys run into any trouble with the case, just give me a buzz."

Nick was confused by Grissom's implication that they would not be up to the task. "Why would we need any help?" he asked, his words sounding far more confrontational than Nick had intended.

"I have a bit of a background in geology, and I just happen to have a lot more contacts at UNLV than either of you." Grissom could not resist adding the last part, "And because I also happen to be your supervisor."

Once they were out in the hallway, Sara gave Nick a firm punch in the arm, "Are you looking for a fight tonight?"

Grissom smirked to himself at overhearing Sara standing up for him. Once he had gathered his notes up, he tucked the clipboard under his arm and turned in an attempt to escape to his office. He held out a faint hope that everyone would be too caught up in their assignments to pay his little announcement any attention. When he made it to his office door unscathed, he sighed as he pushed inside to safety. His relief, however, was short lived. Seated in the chair in front of his desk was Catherine.

"You didn't really think I was gonna let you slide on that one, did you?" she asked, her entire face a question.

"One can dream." Grissom moved to close the door to his office.

"Whatever… Now park it and start talking, Mister." Catherine demanded, never being one to mince words.

He made his way past her, around behind the desk, and sat as he worked up just the right opening for giving her one piece of the puzzle. "Well, you know how much you complain about your office?… There might just be a remedy to that dilemma."