Disclaimer: Don't own anything associated with the show… I just like playing with the characters in it.
Rating: T - Teen (a little use of language)
Spoilers: Anything thru Season 6 is fair game
Summary: One CSI stumbles upon something that could seriously change everything for the whole team.
A/N: This is yet another Busted! Fic in the series I started. Those dang, demonic plot bunnies are murder on your other projects. I was possessed by Beelzabunny!
It was being done under the gun, thirty six straight hours of processing the literal flood of DNA evidence in the kinkiest case Greg Sanders had ever had the pleasure of being directly involved with as a CSI. He had seen other cases come and go, but this one beat all others in sheer volume alone. His only salvation came from the fact that he was not alone on the case, because he had Sara and Nick there to back him up almost all the way through the whole thing.
The only time he had been alone was when Nick had to go back to the lab for more supplies and a few hours before when Sara said she had an appointment she had to keep, and of course, when Sara had sent him to go get some coffee and food for them. He knew she only sent him to give him a break, and because he always managed to find the best places for her weird tea addiction.
Nick was starting to get pretty cranky, but he always had been a lightweight when it came to pulling doubles, let alone triples, and certainly not a marathon like this one had been. At least twice in the last few hours, Sara had taken Nick outside to get him to clear his head again so they could finish processing the massage parlor crime scene.
Greg had always known that the two CSIs were good friends, but ever since Nick's abduction he and Sara had been almost conspicuously closer. On several occasions, only Sara had been able to reach the sullen man and pull him back into the light. And now, as he watched them re-entering the room to grab up more boxes, he noticed they were physically closer; bumping into each other and laughing.
He quickly put the suspicions out of his head, chalking everything up to them being just as punch drunk as he was from the hours. The thought of Sara being interested in Nick that way at all just did not fly with his opinions of the woman.
Bagging and tagging his last piece of evidence, Greg stood up and grabbed the last box on his way out to the SUV. As he struggled to stay standing on his numb legs, he understood for the first time why Grissom walked the way he did, and was grateful he came to the profession later in life than his mentor.
Once Greg was outside of the filthy establishment he could see the back of the SUV and his two friends in the distance. His eyes nearly bugged out of his head as he watched Nick pick Sara up into the air and swing her around before gently placing her back down on the ground. He was completely baffled by the display until he watched as Nick asked Sara something and then cautiously put his hand on her belly.
The box in his hands fell squarely on the ground and all the blood drained right out of his face. His co-workers heard the box fall and came around the SUV to find Greg looking incredibly pale.
"Hey Greggo… Are you okay, man?" Nick was immediately by his side, taking the younger man by the elbow to make sure he did not pass out.
"Greg, when did you eat last?" Sara looked into his eyes, but he was still in complete shock and did not answer her. She turned to Nick and said, "Hey, go get that candy bar out of the cooler…" When he rushed off to the SUV she called after him, "And the juice!"
Sara put her arm protectively around the middle of his back and led him to a bench outside so that he could sit down. "Greg, I know you want to make level two this month, but you don't have to do it all one week. You gotta take better care of yourself than that."
She was being sincere and she was genuinely concerned for his welfare, but the only thing going through his mind at that moment was not something he could say out loud. But inside his head it was screaming, Holy Shit! Nick knocked up Sara and Grissom is gonna be PISSED!
The whole ride back to the lab, Greg sat in the backseat trying to get his capacity for speech back, but every time he looked up he saw the two people in the front seat exchanging careful and smiling glances. And it just reminded him of the hell that was about to be brought down on the whole lab once Grissom found out.
Greg owed his career to Grissom, and he had nothing but respect for the man's abilities as a CSI and a scientist, but for years he had watched the painful dance between him and Sara. For all his greatness in the world of science, he was only a shell of a real man. Greg knew that if he had ever been lucky enough to have Sara feel like that about him, he would have moved heaven and earth to keep it that way. But obviously, Grissom did not feel the same way, and he felt sorry for him.
He sat there trying to figure out when the people in front of him had changed their relationship, and he decided it was probably after the abduction. Sara had been there for Nick through the whole thing, including the recovery. At the time, Greg had thought she was just being a good friend, but now he thought it there must have been more to it.
Then the memory of the incident with Hodges almost two months ago came into focus. At the time, Greg figured it was just Hodges being his usually jackass self, but maybe there had been something to the whole thing. Could Hodges have really caught them fooling around in the lab? And then the timing clicked in for him. Oh my God! Could that have been when!
He remembered that Grissom had come storming into the lab on his day off when Ecklie tried to use the rumor to fire Sara and Nick. And he thought about how pissed off Catherine had been that whole week. All the pieces were quickly falling into place in Greg's mind, and he did not like the picture they were creating.
As soon as they got to the lab, Sara and Nick tried to convince him he needed to go home, but he put on his best face and told them he really was fine. They even tried to send him inside, instead of letting him carry the evidence boxes inside, but he refused their kindnesses.
And so, there he was in the evidence vault, cataloguing all the evidence they had brought in before turning it over to Wendi in DNA. He knew she was not going to be happy to see him, but she was the least of his worries.
After he dropped off the first batch of samples for her to process, and getting quite an earful for his troubles, he positioned himself with earshot of Grissom's office. If his boss needed him, he was going to be there. He decided it was the least he could do.
Catherine came into the Layout Room and found him there going through his notes from the crime scene. "Hey Greg, I heard you got a little woozy out at the scene… Why don't you head home? It'll be hours before all that stuff can be processed and you could use the sleep." She laid a gentle hand on his shoulder and gave it a tender squeeze.
"I'm good," was his only response. She gave him a disapproving nod, but left him to his work. He knew there would be a second attempt later, probably from Warrick next, but he was on sentry duty for Grissom.
He watched as Capt. Brass walked past his door on his way to Grissom's office. The senior detective had only been back to work for a few weeks, and he still looked a little worse for the wear. However, seeing him around the lab always gave Greg a little hope.
"Hey Sanders." Brass stopped outside his door and poked his head in to look around. "You haven't seen where Sara got to, have you?"
"Ah, no, I haven't." Greg was almost stuttering the words out as he spoke.
Brass gave him a crooked smirk and said, "I'm starting to think she's moving just to make sure I'm gettin' my exercise." Greg grinned at the thought, because he knew that sounded just like Sara.
Before Greg could say anything else, Nick came up behind Brass and gingerly slapped the man on the back. "Hey Brass… Sara's lookin' for you." Greg was not able to help it, but he winced upon hearing Nick saying the woman's name.
"Well, the feeling's mutual… Where is she?" Nick and Brass continued talking as though Greg was not there, which was fine by him.
"Just saw her going into the boss man's office."
"Should've looked there first." The two walked away from the doorway chuckling at Brass' remark and Greg felt his heart drop into his stomach.
He could not take anymore of the tension. He felt like he was in the middle of a nuclear reaction and his Q Values were off the charts with the volume of energy that was being absorbed into his brain from the strain of the information he possessed. He knew that at any moment the reaction was going to turn volatile and the energy release would be somewhere along the magnitude of the Hiroshima bomb.
Arriving at work the next night, Greg prepared for the absolute worst case scenario; Grissom in a rage, Sara and Nick gone and Catherine ready to have someone's head. As he thought about it while he sat in his car, working up the nerve to go inside, he realized it could be much worse than that, I could be losing my family tonight.
Taking in a deep breath, Greg pushed himself from the car and trudged into the lab.
The mood in reception should have sparked interest for Greg, but he was too focused on another area of the lab to notice the excited chittering of the women present around the reception counter. He blindly ambled past them and made his way to the Breakroom, where he knew the fun would start for the night.
He was stopped along the way by the A/V tech, Archie when he asked, "Hey, man, this place is going nuts with rumors… Wha'd'you know?"
Greg was in no mood for vicious gossip and he snapped, "Don't you have something better to do! Like solve crimes!"
"Geez, man… I was only askin'." Archie stepped away as Greg plowed forward through the corridor.
The whole thing made his stomach churn, and the feelings he left with the day before were back in full force. He was just waiting for the inevitable reaction to occur, and could only hope his brain would not explode in the process, even though he knew his heart was dangerously close already.
When he finally made it to the Breakroom he found Warrick and Nick engaged in a little friendly back slapping. It was obvious that Nick was excited about the turn of events, and it would appear that Warrick was happy for him. That thought made Greg's stomach churn up a bit more acid. He would have thought that Warrick would have remained loyal to Grissom through something like this, but he guessed that the other man had grown as disillusioned as Sara with their mentor.
While Greg was pouring himself a cup of coffee Warrick tapped him on the shoulder and asked, "Anything wrong, little man?"
Greg turned back around, took a sip from his cup as he gave a weak and half-hearted smile. "Nope… Nothing's wrong with me."
Nick put on one of those sideways grins that was apparently attractive to certain women (he just never knew Sara would be one of them) and said, "Yeah, well then why are you drinking that day shift swill?"
Greg looked down in the blackened liquid and realized that not only did he not recognize it, but he could not taste it either. He was completely numb from the energy bouncing around inside of him.
Catherine chose that moment to come breezing into the room and looked over Greg's shoulder at the coffee pot. "Tell me that's not the dregs from day shift?"
Warrick smiled and said, "If that's what you want."
Catherine patted his arm and smirked at the attempt at humor. "So, are you gonna be the hero and con Greg out of his stash?" Catherine noticed that Greg was still staring down into a very dark cup of coffee and asked, "Greg? Earth to Greg?"
"Huh?" Greg looked up into Catherine's concerned glare.
"Are you sure you're okay, Greg?" She put a hand on his forehead and continued, "You aren't coming down with something are you?"
"Yesterday he nearly passed out at the site, but we thought he just hadn't eaten. Me and Sara got him some food and he pinked back up." Greg cringed at Nick's use of "we."
Catherine put her hand down on his shoulder and said, "Hey, why don't you just go home, and I'll clear it with Grissom. He's in such a rare mood today, he probably won't even notice, but I'll cover for you, kiddo."
Greg looked up into Catherine's eyes and she could see that his had gotten a little glassy. "Is Grissom okay?"
Catherine's face betrayed her immense shock at his off the wall question. "Sure… Why wouldn't he be, Greg?"
That sealed it for Greg. If Catherine did not know about the whole thing, Grissom must really be taking it hard.
At that moment Sara walked into the room and quickly understood that something was definitely wrong. "What's up?"
Nick moved to stand next to her and answered for the group, only making Greg choke up even more. "Greggo's got the crud or something… Either that, or we broke him on his first Sara shift."
Sara playfully slapped at Nick's arm and Greg felt like his skin was on fire from the energy desperately looking for a release. "This isn't funny!"
Greg was just as shocked as everyone else at his outburst, but it was Grissom who responded to it. "That's it… Catherine, when you drop Sara off, will you please take Greg home, too?"
Catherine nodded and motioned for Sara to help her lead Greg out. Sara carefully removed the coffee cup from his hands and turned it over to Grissom as they walked Greg out of the room.
The three got into Catherine's car, with Greg being put into the backseat. The two women began their conversation quietly as they pulled out of the parking lot.
At first it was just the normal shop talk, and Greg was able to take some comfort from the normalcy of it. He leaned back into the seat and let his head fall as the car gently rocked him.
It was quiet for a while, and with his eyes closed, Greg almost thought he was dreaming when he heard the soft, whispering voices of the two women start up again.
"So, how long have you guys been trying?"
"We didn't really try, per say… It just kind of happened."
"That makes as much sense as sort of or almost pregnant."
"Ha ha… At least we know that's not the case."
"So, seriously, how'd you talk him into it?"
"More like the other way around."
"Shhhh… You'll wake him up."
"Sorry, but seriously… You didn't want any?"
"It's not so much I didn't want them… I just-"
"Didn't want to complicate things?"
"Well, it's not like things aren't complicated enough already with the job and all."
"Yeah, but you guys have been dealing with that stuff just fine. So, what was the hang up?"
"Sorry… But you can't think his-"
"Not him… I was never worried about that stuff; not like he thought. No, I didn't exactly have the best role model for family life growing up, and some of that has to be genetics."
"That's crap, Sara… And I speak from experience."
"Yeah… I guess so."
"Trust me… I can't think of two people who would make better parents. And besides, you've got all of us to back you up whenever you need it. How lucky is this kid gonna be? Good looking, smart, tough and surrounded by people who're gonna love it silly."
"Did you get that lecture from Warrick?"
"What do you mean?"
"I think I heard that verbatim from him. And from Nick, if you can believe it."
"Yeah, well maybe you two should listen to us more.. Maybe then you wouldn't have wasted all that time."
Fortunately for Greg, their joyful laughter kept them from looking into the backseat as a lone tear escaped his closed eye. I'm so sorry, Grissom.
Greg was hoping to avoid everyone for the entire shift after he had endured another painful scene in the Breakroom when the assignments were handed out. He had been tapped to assist Wendi in the DNA Lab to get the rest of those samples processed, but he was glad to get away from the giddiness going through the other CSIs on night shift.
No one had told him anything directly yet, and that alone had hurt him deeply. Greg had always thought he and Sara were friends, but he had obviously been mistaken if she had not even told him about her relationship with Nick. Now she was pregnant, and she still had not told him a single thing.
He was rapidly building up into a powder keg of tense energy, but he did not dare to release it, so it ate away at him. He stared at the clock throughout the entire shift, counting down the time until he could escape.
Busy setting up the next sample, Greg failed to notice that anyone had joined him in the lab. When Grissom spoke from behind him, his arms flew up over his head with his fright and sent the tray box flying into the air.
Fortunately for everyone involved, Grissom caught the box, thus saving the contents and Greg's career.
"Lucky for you, I did a little time on the infield, Greg." The man's eyes were twinkling, and that bewildered Greg completely. And in his current state of unrest, he was unable to keep that confusion off his face.
"Greg… Something's bothering you… I've had half the lab in my office with their concerns about you." Grissom was using that disappointed father tone with him again.
"Sorry, boss… It's just-"
Grissom put a hand on Greg's shoulder and answered for him, "A tough week… I know. But we get a lot of tough weeks around here, Greg. I think there's something else going on." Greg slumped down and tried to keep from looking into the man's eyes. "I know that it might be difficult for you to come to me with personal matters, but there are other people on the team, or even one of the counselor's here on staff maybe." Grissom patted him on the back and added, "I just wanted you to know that you have friends here, Greg, and they're worried about you."
"Thanks, Grissom." The man recognized that his duty was done and he turned to leave when Greg spoke again. "And you too, ya know… Have friends, I mean."
Grissom regarded him with that enigmatic grin and wistfully said, "Yeah… I know."
The end of shift finally arrived and as Greg was pulling his jacket on and making ready to escape, Jim Brass came into the locker room. "There you are, Sanders!"
"I didn't know I was missing." Greg had been feeling a better since his little chat with Grissom, but he just wanted to go home and finally get some rest.
"I got a job for you, kid." Brass was unusually chipper, and that alone was suspect in Greg's eyes.
"Really, Brass… I just want to go home and crash for the next two days." Greg zipped up his jacket and gave Brass as weary a smile as he could muster.
"Plenty of time for that later. Follow me." Greg knew enough about Brass that his statement was no suggestion, but a command, and everyone listened to Brass' commands.
They stopped by the Ballistics Lab and Bobby handed Greg what looked like a gun case. From the size and weight, he figured it was either a big rifle or a shotgun. Greg decided from the exchange that Brass was taking him out to qualify for his level 2 status, but he really was too tired to handle it.
"Brass, look… I appreciate you doing this and all, but really…I'm exhausted."
"Buck up, camper… We have important business to take care of."
They passed Warrick in the hallway and Brass tossed a casual request at him, "Did he leave yet?"
Warrick glanced down at his watch and then said, "Yeah, and he should already be on his way out there right now. I've still gotta go pick up the suits…" Then Warrick regarded Greg with a devilish grin, "Greg, I got your court suit cleaned. It was gettin' a little funky in the locker room. It'll be waitin' for you there." Greg was now completely confused.
Why do I need my court suit?
"All right… Cath is getting victim number one right now… Sanders and I are on the way to retrieve victim number two." Brass was all business and Greg was all confusion.
When they pulled up in front of a medical building, Greg's confusion grew even greater. But then he saw Sara leaving through the front door and Brass honked his horn.
As she trotted over to the car, Brass turned to Greg and said, "Sanders, hop in the back and put that case on the floor, will ya?"
Greg did as instructed and Brass got up to let Sara into the front passenger seat.
"Jim, that really isn-"
"Of course it is… Gotta protect the cargo." He gave her one of those smiles he seemed to reserve just for her.
As she sat down in the car shaking her head, she noticed Greg, "Oh! Hey Greggo… What're you doing here?"
Greg shook his head as Brass dropped into the driver's seat and answered, "I can honestly say… I have absolutely no idea."
Brass laughed at his answer and drove away from the medical building.
Once they were on the road, Greg had to wonder why they were driving to Henderson, but Sara did not seem the least bit concerned or confused. This whole thing was beginning to make Greg question his own sanity.
They wondered aimlessly through an upscale housing development and then pulled up to a driveway. As they turned into the driveway, he noticed Warrick's car on the street, and then he spotted Nick's car at the top of the driveway.
"What're they doing out here?" Sara asked the question before he could and he was glad.
Brass' answer, however, brought up a whole other host of questions. "I asked 'em to pick up some stuff for us."
Sara turned and gave him a scowl that Greg thought was worthy of the facial expression hall of fame. "What stuff?"
The older man only smiled cryptically and exited the car to open Sara's door for her. Greg took that as his sign to get out and then he leaned down to pick up the case when Brass gave him a hand signal from behind Sara's field of view letting him know he should just leave it there.
When the trio reached the door, Sara turned and asked, "And just how did they get in?"
Brass smiled again and simply answered, "My key?"
Brass opened the door and squeal came from the living room. "Sara's home!"
Greg walked in to find Lindsey wrapping her arms around Sara in a gentle, but excited hug. And that was when the hurricane of words started flowing out of the teenager. "This is just SO COOL! I almost DIED when Mom and 'Rick told me… And then when Mom and Jim came up with the idea yesterday I practically BEGGED them to let me help."
"Practically? I seem to recall someone down on their knees." Warrick came out of what Greg had to assume was a kitchen, since he was wiping his hands off with a dish towel.
Greg was expecting to find out what was going when all activity seemed to cease at the sight of Nick escorting a frail looking, little, old lady out from the back of the house. It was obvious to Greg that she was of an advanced age, but her eyes sparkled with the most brilliant blue Greg had ever seen since… Grissom's!
He looked at Sara, and she had tears in her eyes, and her hands were moving in what Greg recognized as sign language. He had never been able to learn it himself, but he had a cousin who was deaf and remembered what it looked like from his childhood. The elderly woman signed back to Sara and then wrapped her up in a very emotional embrace.
He was still trying to process the scene before him when he heard the honk of a horn. Brass tapped him on the shoulder and whispered, "Go get the case."
Greg did as he was told, because Brass' tone told him he was deadly serious. When he got to the car and was pulling the case out he watched as Catherine's Denali came around the corner. He did not wait to see who was in the SUV with her, but high-tailed it into the house lugging the case with him.
The next thing Greg knew was that Brass had hauled out the shotgun from inside the case and was standing guard at the door the moment Grissom threw it open bellowing something about, "What the hell is going on in my own damn hou-"
The last word was lost on lips as he saw Brass standing in the entryway with the shotgun at the ready. Grissom looked at Brass, then started looking around the room. First he saw Greg, standing there like a deer caught in the headlights. Next, he spied Warrick and Lindsey standing with Nick and each bearing a suspicious smile on their faces. Then his eyes dropped onto the pair of women standing in the center of his living room.
Brass did not waste anymore time and he cleared his throat before explaining. "Since you never liked doing anything the easy way… We decided it was high time you made good on this thing…" There was an evil glint in his eyes when he spoke his last words, "One way, or another."
"Jim…" Grissom tried to glare at him and then said, "This is not really the appro-"
Catherine spoke up from behind him and demanded, "All right, boys… Get the rope."
Grissom turned around with an astonished expression on his face that Catherine could not remember ever seeing before. "I'm kidding, Gil! God, what happened to your sense of humor?"
Nick walked towards them with a set of garment bags and handed one to Grissom, "Your Mom picked out the suit, so I hope it works for you, because I ain't tellin' her no."
Grissom looked at Nick with a confused expression on his face. "What's this for?"
Nick put a hand on his boss' shoulder and said, "Look, as the defacto big brothers in this twisted little family, me and Jim figured a shotgun wedding was the only way to save Sara's honor…" Nick gave him a sideways grin and leaned in to whisper, only loud enough for those in the entryway to hear, "Besides, you're the one who got her pregnant."
The release of the energy had arrived. "GRISSOM KNOCKED HER UP!"
The whole house stood in astonished silence at the incredible outburst. Everyone, but Grissom. "A little louder, Sanders… I don't think my deaf mother heard you."
They all heard someone clearing their throat and everyone turned to watch Mrs. Grissom sign, "No, that was plenty loud enough, dear."