Title: Han Solo'd
Summary: Nick tests out his new power. Response to Chrissie's August Superhero challenge.
Season 3 setting. Specific reference to "Let the Seller Beware" and every other episode wherein Nick obsesses about working solo.
Warnings: language, near-miss boob poking, form-fitting pants, silliness.
How fuckin' typical.
There they were, at a perfectly good crime scene. By all accounts, it was above-average. Three DB's. Not a clue in sight. Oh, no. Nothing except enough blood to paint every barn in Iowa red again.
And all hands were on deck tonight, per Grissom's request. Nick noticed this with considerable annoyance. Sure, he loved working with these guys. They were the best team anyone could ask for. He knew he'd rather perform Cirque du Soleil with Hodges every day for the rest of his life than work with those day shift clowns just one time.
But, simply put… he had absolutely nothing to do.
It was usually like this. Always the short end, was he.
Pretending like there was a really interesting collection jar somewhere in the bottom of his kit, Nick rifled around inside it, all the while watching his friends at work around him.
Grissom was bent over one of the bodies. They didn't use cameras to document positions of things or blood spatter patterns at crime scenes. No need. Not with Grissom around. All he had to do was stare dispassionately at something and it was immediately committed to memory. The more out of touch with his emotions he was, the more eidetic his memory.
He must have quite the photo album in his head.
Over on the driveway, Warrick stood with his customary cool posture, questioning a neighbor on what he'd heard. Of course, the "questioning" part was all a façade. It had to be, when the guy can read everyone's thoughts. Why was it any wonder he was a gambling addict? He's worse than fuckin' Rainman.
Catherine, meanwhile, had intercepted another neighbor for questioning. From back here, it appeared the older man was being short and evasive with his recollections. Bad move, fella. Nick watched as she slipped off her tight, leather jacket and—
Not only was he giving the answers she wanted now, but the poor sap probably also told half his life story. Or at least he drooled it.
After a few minutes, both of his friends finished their questioning and Warrick walked over towards Catherine.
"Hey, WonderTits, I already got everything from that guy."
"I hate it when you call me that."
Warrick grinned. "I know you do."
"And you only got what was in his head. I was going for what was in his heart."
"Not unless people keep that in their pants nowadays."
Catherine smiled back as Warrick's eyes drifted downwards. "Oh yeah? So what am I thinking right now?"
Warrick leaned over and whispered something into her ear; and a feminine giggle floated up. Strange, coming from her. But it's one of the nasty side effects of her power, and—
Nick felt the first signs of a familiar warmth spreading through him and quickly turned away, thinking about puppies and lug wrenches and old-fashioned ink quills. Anything to banish the other scene from his head before he felt anymore of Warrick.
He ran a hand over his face, willing the blush to dissipate from his cheeks.
Point being, there wasn't a single thing an empath could do at a crime scene. Well, not without any lost, frightened, or she-might-be-our-only-witness kids around.
Oh, sure, he could tell you how shitty the vic's family feels right now. At least the ones who aren't lying in a veritable Lake Meade of blood. But then he'd just get bitched at for getting too close to the case. No no, identifying with victims is very bad. If he couldn't use his power for this, than what? It's like telling Ted Dansen he wasn't put on this earth to make crappy sitcoms.
And so, he sat.
Later, as they all walked back into the lab, he found himself wishing that investigating crime scenes could be like it was on TV. Where the CSIs didn't have any special powers. They were just normal people. Collecting evidence and letting it do all the talking.
Television was so quaint.
He followed Grissom into trace and half-wondered if anyone would notice if he slipped away for some video games. But before he could make a break for it, Sara breezed in the room.
Grissom glanced up, annoyed.
"Sara. I called you 27 ½ hours ago for this case."
"Sorry I'm late. I was out getting a life like you told me to. I had a date up in Napa Valley with a Grip from the Discovery Channel, but I stood him up after I bought a book on how insects played a major role in almost every aspect of life in the early Babylonian and Assyrian civilizations. I thought it might tell me why you're a phlegmatic turd."
"Whatever. I need you to do this."
He handed her a slip of paper. She read it and looked back up at him.
"Suspicious circs downtown?"
"Yes. There's been a break-in at The Center for Involuntary Voice Inflection. Apparently it was a normal night and things just got really high and annoying at the end."
"Well, you are the expert," he cleared his throat. "And without your need for eating, resting, or cracking a smile, well…"
"Without any of you guys around?"
"Hence the term."
She rolled her eyes and stomped off.
Nick watched Grissom turn back to his work without another word. He couldn't believe it! This is the third time that has happened in the last month. Sara just waltzed into the lab whenever she damn well pleased and got all the perks. And in typical Sara fashion, she looked downright annoyed with the assignment.
"So when I come in on my day off, will I get to work solo?"
"Nick, are you going to ask me that every time I give her a solo assignment in order to escape my feelings of pent-up sexual desire around her?"
"Process!" Grissom lectured.
Nick scowled and walked out of the room. After all these years, his boss still didn't have confidence in his abilities. Nick, your empathy is dangerous. You'll need to keep the others around you in order to do this right. Now that's bullshit. If he worked solo, he could prove just how valuable he was. This big, menacing case that he needed "everyone" for would be as good as solved. Nothin' to it.
"Just lemme work solo!" He huffed to the empty hallway.
Suddenly, the lab went completely dark and silent. He glanced around, confused that none of the emergency lights had kicked in yet. But before Nick could make a move, everything was back to normal. He took a shaky breath and wiped his sweaty palms on the soft material of his—
Tight, black… leggings?
Nick barely had time to take stock of the red stripe running down the side of the pants before gasping at the tight black boots currently encasing his feet. Not to mention the cream-colored, long-sleeved shirt complete with a functional, yet lightweight black vest. And this belt? What was that, titanium? It all seemed vaguely familiar, and before he could wonder what in the hell had just happened, a mass materialized through the opposite wall.
Nick squinted as the shape finally took the form of a person.
"You were expecting Yoda?"
"Under the circumstances."
"You'll have to settle for your Fairy Snark Father."
"What the— I mean, I didn't know you…"
"Had a superpower as well?"
"Oh, come on. You know anything that's anything goes through me, right?"
He stared blankly back at the detective.
"Hey, isn't this what you wanted?"
"I'm dressed like Han Solo."
"Yeah, I'm a sucker for bad puns."
"Are there good ones?"
"You now have the power to work solo anytime you want. You just say the magic word and your fellow graveyard CSIs will just freeze up like a bunch of virgins on prom night."
"And I'll be free to work solo?"
"That's not funny."
"Come on. You get done fast enough and you can make it to one of those geek conventions."
"I appreciate the effort, Jim, I really do. And thanks to you, I've got a lot of work to do. This was funny, but I'm go gonna change."
"Ah, Nicky," he paused. "You gotta keep the outfit on."
Nick looked down.
Wearing galactic hotpants was a small price to pay for getting what he wanted.
Brass tugged on the edge of Nick's vest with a grin and disappeared back through the wall again.
The Texan decided to call his friend's bluff and walked back into the trace lab.
Grissom was still standing over the table, his hands bracing his upper body by leaning over the edge. But it was almost as if Grissom wasn't frozen at all. He had the same, sphinxish look on his face that he always did. Nick smiled.
"I'm calling an exterminator out to your roach farm."
"Sara thinks you're hot."
"Brass, I could kiss you," he mumbled to himself while making his way to the next room.
There, he found Warrick and Catherine had picked right back up where they left off at the scene earlier. Warrick was frozen and checking out just how wonderful Catherine's power was. Nick moved over to where they were standing. He waved his hand in front of the tall man's face. Nothing.
He then looked at Catherine. Her ample… gifts... just… sitting there for all the world to…
Nick reached his hand out.
Blushing again, he walked briskly out of the room.
Freud would probably have a field day with this group.
Next, he headed for the locker room. There, frozen mid-snack at her locker, was Sara. She was presumably getting ready for her big solo adventure. All she had to do was pop a handful of rabbit food and she was good to go for weeks. Not this time.
Setting off for the parking lot, Nick couldn't conceal his grin.
It was true. His colleagues were frozen, their powers were useless, and lame costume be damned, he was working solo.
Tapping the toe of his shiny space boot on the concrete step, Nick waited for one of the neighbors to open the door. He'd felt a brief bit of guilt and confusion emitting from him at the start of Catherine's questioning. It wouldn't hurt to ask him a few additional things for clarification.
Finally, the door opened. The same old, scruffy-looking neighbor from earlier regarded Nick with ill-concealed surprise.
"Hey man, Halloween's in six months."
"Sir, my name is Nick Stokes. I'm with the Crime Lab. I'm gonna need you to—"
"Oh, okay. Sure. Does Chewbacca work there too?"
"Sir, I'm running and investigation here, and I'm gonna need you to cooperate."
"Isn't your line supposed to be Siddown, Sweetheart, we're takin off!"
"Can you tell me where you were last night between 8 and 9 pm?"
Finally, he relented.
"I went to 7-Eleven for some beer and Mike n Ike's."
"Is there anyone who can verify this?"
"Look, I already went through this with that hot woman from your office. Does she ever come around dressed as Princess Leia in a gold bikini?"
Nick let out a sigh. He thanked the man for his time and tucked his notebook into one of the space vest's pockets.
The rest of the day brought more of the same. He painstakingly interviewed every neighbor and family member, all the while taking more ridicule for his outfit than that time Bjork showed up to the Oscars wearing a swan.
He spent hours combing over every piece of evidence with the eye of a supreme investigator. At the scene, he alternated between processing and shooing away autograph hounds. After he felt sufficient evidence had been collected, Nick returned to the lab with an armload of photos, samples, and the phone numbers of a bunch of women and, sadly, more than a few men.
Sorting through all his data, Nick began piecing together an accurate account of the night in question.
Grissom's preliminary notes indicated his theory of the neighbor killing them all in a jealous rage, but for once, it wasn't up to what he thought. It wasn't up to Catherine's rack or Warrick's psyche. It wasn't up to Grissom's super memory. It certainly wasn't up to Sara, because it's not like she'd ever show up on time to process anything.
Finally, the evidence would speak to him.
Nick greeted the lab rat upon walking into DNA. He was thankful that he only had the power to freeze his fellow field CSIs. Brass was so considerate.
"Hey, Nick." Greg said without turning around. "Quiet around here tonight."
Nick cleared his throat. "Uh, yeah. Strange, huh? How bout that."
Finally, the other man looked over at his friend. "What's with the pants?"
He pulled at the tight material, trying to find a comfortable position for, ahh— there.
"I'm working solo tonight." As if that would explain everything.
"Oh." A pause. "Hey, I get it!"
"Good for you, Greg."
"You should have told me. I have a Doc Brown costume from Back to the Future. You know, the crazy white wig, the goggles, even a replica Flux Capacitor. It would have been 80s movie theme night. Hey! We should make that a regular thing. Or a monthly one. Next month can be dress like your favorite Care Bear…" He trailed off. "Or you can just stick to your puns and I'll…"
"But tell me. Are those pants a cotton-poly blend? Maybe with a hint of lycra?"
"I'm just sayin, Han Solo always looked like the most comfortable smuggler in the galaxy."
"Run this for me, will you?"
He handed Greg all of the swabs and samples he collected. Nick sighed as he caught sight of the traditional lab equipment in the corner of the room. It was just there to lend a kind of authenticity to the lab. After all, the CSIs on TV used it. And sometimes they wanted to pretend like they were that cool. But here, it was merely for show.
Nick looked back at Greg, who was busy holding the samples up to his forehead. He closed his eyes and concentrated. Within a few mere seconds, the tech reported the accurate results.
"You were right. DNA's a match. It wasn't the neighbor. The father killed the mother and the kid, and then he killed himself. Case closed."
Nick grinned. "Thanks Greggo. I'll get back to you on that Care Bear thing, cool?"
He didn't wait for a response before he was out the door and headed for Grissom.
Finally, he proved himself worthy.
He felt like skipping, not able to contain his solo-solving glee. Instead, he settled for twirling his space blaster around his finger and swaggering down the hallway.
Nothin' like some good, old-fashioned follow-the-evidence, photo-snapping, honest-questioning, boobless, inflectionless, 100 percent solo investigative work. In hotpants.
After seeing such a performance, Grissom would have no choice but let Nick process solo on a regular basis. His empathic powers only served as a guide. It wasn't something he had to solely rely on. Just give him the evidence, baby.
In fact, his boss is probably so impressed that—oh.
Opening the door to the trace lab, he found that Grissom still frozen, mid-lecture.
Tucking his blaster back into his belt, he hoped to God that Brass knew how to shut this thing off.
So much for good impressions.
Oh, Chrissie, that was fun :-p