A/N- Yeah...so, how's everyone doing after the long 'ol wait I've put you through? Good? That's great. Sorry for the wait, but...eh.
My thanks for the beta goes to kakidoll...like always. She's my grammar hero against the comma Nazi's.
Catherine walked into the break room to find Sara nearly doubled over in laughter at Greg.
"What's going on here?" she asked.
"Nothing!" Greg answered quickly.
"Yeah, not buying it. Sara, what's going on?"
Sara pointed at Greg, still laughing uncontrollably. "He's…scared of…the…" she sputtered out through the laughter and pointed to her head.
"No I'm not, Sara!" Greg objected.
"Wait, what? What's he scared of?"
Sara just continued laughing and pointing at her head.
"Heads? He's scared of heads?" Catherine guessed.
Greg rolled his eyes and Sara tilted her head to the side in half-agreement.
"No." Sara laughed. "Well, almost."
"Ew." Greg and Sara said.
"Just freaking tell me then!" Catherine yelled.
"Lack of your second guess."
"Lack of hair?"
"Yup." Sara still laughed.
"Scared of something…with a lack of hair…OH! Duh, its Ecklie."
Greg hung his head in embarrassment.
"Wait, Greg, you're scared of Ecklie?!" Catherine looked from Greg to Sara, and they both doubled over in laughter, just in time for Nick and Warrick to join them in the break room.
Nick eyed the two women suspiciously and turned to a red faced Greg. "What's wrong with them?"
"They're laughing at me," he answered quietly.
"Why? You get stuck in your zipper again, Greg?" Warrick asked.
"I told you not to bring that up in front of ladies, man." Greg sighed.
"Whatever, why are they laughing at you?"
"He's scared of Ecklie!" Sara bellowed.
"Well, hell yeah. I am too." Warrick said.
Catherine and Sara stopped laughing.
"I know I am. Did you two not see what I did to that man's car?" Nick said. "Why are you laughing at Greg because of that?"
"Its funny!" Sara said.
"You two aren't scared of him?"
"Well…" Catherine started.
"Okay, I admit that, with Grissom gone, Ecklie is a little scary." Catherine confessed. "But, its not like I'm in immense fear of the guy or anything."
"What? I'm not scared of him." She said.
"Bogus!" Greg yelled. "You called him a kiss ass. Brilliant by the way, I'm jealous that I didn't have the guts to do it. Anyway, the only reason that you kept your job around here after that was because Grissom stuck up for you. Now he isn't here to defend you against Ecklie."
"Crap." She said. "We're all screwed, aren't we?"
"Yeah, we are." Warrick said in agreement.
"Unless we can all avoid pissing him off."
"That's not exactly going to work. Pissing him off is why we're all scared of him in the first place."
"Well, what about Archie and Bobby?" Greg asked with obvious concern.
"What about them?"
No one looked like they knew what Greg was talking about.
"You guys seriously don't know? The tape…as in the tape that got mailed out to Ecklie's wife, that was all Archie and Bobby."
"Yeah. That's why I'm worried about them. We've all got each other's backs on this, I'm assuming so anyways, but they're just as royally screwed as the rest of us."
"Well, if we're looking after more people, then Brass is most definitely on our team too. That whole traffic stop more than pissed Ecklie off."
"Hey, did you guys know that Brass had a dash cam?"
"Call him." Catherine grinned.
As Nick, Sara, Greg, Bobby, Catherine, Brass, Warrick and Archie all sat around the A/V lab watching the tape (for the third straight time) of a very pissed off Ecklie doing a roadside sobriety test for a very amused Brass, Grissom was on the other side of the country wondering how his team was handling his absence.
He knew that a fill-in was to be there soon, but he wasn't really worried about that.
How was Catherine handling things with Lindsey and their home life? Lord knows he got to hear enough about the both of them from her that he could have gone undercover as her husband, no problem.
How was Nick handling his new relationship? With Grissom being like a second father to him, Nick would converse with him about most everything going on in his life, including his new girlfriend. Grissom would gladly listen and supply any helpful information he could. Sometimes he wished he could share the same information, but Sara would kill him for that.
Greg's lawsuit was on his mind, as well. At times, he wished he could be there to help Greg through it, but he knew he was better off where he was. Besides, Greg still had all of the rest of the lab, and his friends, to help him through.
He wondered about how Warrick was handling his failing relationship. It was plain as day, even to Grissom- relationship failure extraordinaire –that Warrick's marriage was failing. It was also obvious, though she's always managed to leave it out of all her incessant ramblings to him, that Catherine may have had a little something to do with it.
The only thing that Grissom was worried about when it came to Brass, was whether or not he'd finally snapped and shot Ecklie, like he'd talked about doing during so many of their nights spent drinking.
Most of Grissom's thoughts, though, revolved around Sara. What was she doing at the exact moment he was thinking of her? Was she mad at him? She sure as hell seemed to be in the locker room. Was she already trying to forget about him? Had she moved on? Crap, had she finally snapped and shot Ecklie?
Grissom decided that he needed to send her something. Something to let her know that he was still thinking about her all the time, and that he missed her. Something beautiful, something with meaning.
Why send her something that's just going to die in two damn days? Yeah, dig that relationship symbolism, Sara. Why not just buy a cute little puppy, hack its legs off and watch it slowly die too. Same thing…
A walk in the park nearby for a little gift giving inspiration gave Grissom just that.
When he bent down to retrieve a toy a child had dropped, he noticed a stick that had fallen out of a tree. That cocoon on it, he knew what it was inside. Well, what it was supposed to have had inside it. The trip from the tree to the ground had undoubtedly ruined any chance the creature had, but it sure didn't ruin the inspiration bug in his head.
Grissom returned the toy to the child and grabbed up the stick. He knew exactly what he'd do with it…
Sara was admittedly shocked to have received a gift from Grissom. Maybe it wasn't really the gift that shocked her, he was rather sweet at times and had surprised her before, but receiving the gift at the lab was what threw her for a loop.
What the hell was that crazy old man thinking? Was he thinking?
She decided she couldn't really care less about what he was thinking when he wrote down the address as she cut open the tape.
She smiled, as she, too, knew what would have eventually come out of the cocoon. Though it was obvious that it wasn't going to hatch now. There was a small slit in the cocoon…like someone had cut it open…and perhaps took something out in order to put something in.
There wasn't anything in it. Not a damn thing.
Okay, now she's back to caring about what he was thinking about.
A stick. Her boyfriend had just sent her a lame ass stick with an empty cocoon on it.
Ooh, wow, gee whiz, Batman, way to freaking woo a woman.
So, Sara's pissed for the night…especially after she went milling through the box and found nothing else. Nothing in there to explain anything about, well, anything.
She stuffed it into her locker and went to work. That new guy and the cases for the night would surely help her forget about the supreme levels of idiocy that Grissom was sporting.
When shift was over, she grabbed her jacket and gift from her locker and headed out. On the way, she was stopped by Ecklie in the hall. He was talking to Nick, and asked her to stay for a second while he finished up with talking to him.
She agreed, not that she really wanted to, and after Nick was on his way out, Ecklie called her over.
"Sidle, what's this I hear about you getting mail from Grissom?" he asked.
"What do you mean?"
"That package right there." He pointed to the one tucked under her right arm. "Its from Grissom and addressed to you here at the lab. Strange that no one else has gotten anything else from him while he's been gone." He said with a knowing smirk.
"Well, I don't know what he has or has not sent to anyone else here, but it doesn't concern me. He's sent me this because he figured it was important for me to have."
"Yeah, I know."
"And just how do you know that, Ecklie?" she asked.
He put his hands up in defense and walked away, leaving Sara to guess about what he'd meant.
Did Ecklie know about what Grissom had sent her?
Did that evil, bald, son of a probably bald bitch, do something to her package before she'd gotten to it?!
Brass…he knew about her and Grissom's relationship now. (Thanks to a little too much alcohol and a phone call from a home-sick Grissom.) She'd go talk to him and get his opinion on how to proceed…with kicking some ass!
She left the lab and went straight to his house. She pounded on the door and rang the bell simultaneously. It had been his night off, so she knew he'd be in bed. 'Too damn bad, get your ass up.'
He finally did answer, and he didn't look too happy about it.
"Sara, what the hell is the matter with you?" he mumbled.
"Ecklie." She said simply, as she pushed her way past him.
"Of course, because Gil is across the country. It has to be Ecklie." He said, shutting the door.
"Did Griss say anything to you about sending me a gift?"
"Lie to me and I'll kill you. You know I'm capable and more than willing, Jim. Did he tell you about a present he was going to be sending me?"
"He may have mentioned something about it, yes." He sighed.
"What did he say it was?"
"Something meaningful…and then he quoted about twenty dead people and said a bunch of things about a bunch of things that I didn't understand…you know, the usual."
"Whatever. He didn't say anything specific about what it was?"
"No. Why are you freaking out about it?"
"Something is missing."
He just stared at her. Like he was really going to understand her after four hours of sleep in the last two days.
She sighed an irritated sigh. "The freaking box that he sent me had a stick with a cocoon on it. It would have been really sweet, because I know what kind of cocoon it was. The only problem was that there was nothing in the cocoon."
"Nothing. There was a cut in it. I know that there was supposed to be something in that stupid thing, because Grissom is not so stupid as to send me some empty, little cocoon. And then, to make things even better, there wasn't even a note to explain what the whole thing was about."
"And then I talked to Ecklie, and he was talking like he knew exactly what was going on. Like he knew what Grissom had sent me…like he took whatever it was out."
"I know he took my…whatever it was, Jim."
"We need to talk to Grissom."
"We need to kill Ecklie."
"No, Sara, we need to talk to Grissom."
I know that Grissom said the cocoon would hatch on the show, but ah…the glorious world of fan fiction, gotta love it.
So, I write the chapter after making you wait forever, and you, in turn, review it. )