To Amarantha

Summary: Things and times have changed at the lab, and a new employee comes to shake things up, REALLY SHAKE THINGS UP. Did I mention there's a serial killer on the loose? Slight Mention of GCR, Sandle, NickOC, HodgesOC. Rated T for language, violence, and some romantic situations. Read and Review Please!

Disclaimer: The only thngs I own in this story are the characters I made up.The day I own CSI is the day that every man in the world learns to finally put the toilet seat down, flush and actually wash their hands when they're finished. Also, when William Petersen arrives in my friend Izzy's Christmas stocking.

Author's Note: This is my first serious fanfic that actually isnt AU. Be kind please! The story is set after Grissom's retirement, but no worries, readers!- He's gonna be in the story! This story has bits of action, romance, drama, and bits of humor in it. No flamers or haters, please. Please R and R!

Chapter 1: Decomp, Goulet and Rogaine

Sharp pains shot through her chest as she covered her sobs through her hands while listening to the man on her cell phone.

"You wanna know why I did it? I'll tell you why...Jealousy, okay? Every time he made you laugh or smile...I could never make you laugh or smile like that, not like him. I hate him, babe, I hate him. You could never love me the way you love him."

"Richard," her voice bitter with tears, " I gave you everything, I loved you..."

" 'Loved'? Heh... already using past-tense, babe, I'm suprised."

"I'm done, Richard, done with you, okay. You're gonna regret it, all of it. I'm gone." A loud sob leaked out of her mouth as she hung up the phone and started packing up all of her belongings.

xxxx

Sara Sidle was sporting a grimace as she leant on her car in the dry Nevada heat of the NVLPD parking lot. She couldn't help but be a little pissed off at the world; all of swing shift had other cases to work on, and she was left to work on Grave with Nick's new employee, Max Gundersohn. Whoever this guy was, she thought, he sure as hell took his time.

"I am so sorry I'm late!", Sara turned to see a short young woman, approximately thirty years of age, running up to her. She was about 5'3", with a broad, ample chest and curvy thighs. Granted, her bone structure was not of amazon origins, but it was big boned. her hair was a tightly pinned back honey brown piled high in a marmish bun. Her face consisted of a square jaw, cherub cheeks, almond shaped eyes the same color of her hair and a pixie nose to match. Dressed in a black cotton tank, worn down bootleg jeans and a pair of converse, she sighed, "Stokes wouldn't shut up; God forbid anyone leave during a review over last night's football game!"

Sara's mouth was ajar, "You're Max Gundersohn?"

"Yeah," the girl laughed, "I get those looks a lot. Catherine thought I was a guy too, before she met me. It happens. So, Where are we headed?"

"Nick didn't tell you?"

"Nope, all he said was to 'hook up with Sara on Swing Shift, cuz she's gotta handle a huge ass 419'".

Sara snickered at Max's suprisingly acurate immitation of the head of Grave, Nick Stokes, "Right, anyway, you and I are headed five miles south of Henderson; there's been a double homicide on a ranch."

With Max sitting in passenger and Sara at the wheel, then weren't even ten miles driving when Max asked, "So, when exactly did Dr. Grissom retire from Grave?"

Sara let out a somewhat pained sigh, "God, I dunno, I'm thinking...five years? No, four. Boy, it seems just like yesterday he split us all up," realizing her blunder, she quickly corrected herself, "Ignore me, Max. I just..."

Max smiled sympathetically, "Don't worry about it; I went through the same thing back at Edinburgh. Except my boss got his fat ass canned. Everything got fucked up, people were fired, or transferred to new shifts, the whole shebang. I quit not even two months afterward; it got to be too big of a pain in the ass to deal with."

"Thanks," Sara, already liking Max,continued, "I think it was personal too, you know. Grissom was never good with people...live ones anyway. Let me put it this way; never date an entemologist."

"Too late,"

"You're serious?!"

Max nodded.

Sara's face was already full of disbelief, "Who?"

"Dr. Thomas Falwell; another reason I left Edinburgh. What can I say, his anal retentiveness got to me."

"You've got to be kidding me! Wow...You and I are gonna have a helluva lot to talk about at lunch, Max."

xxxx

The two bodies were so mutilated, Det. Sofia Curtis could not tell whether or not they were male or female. Both bodies were bent to form a morbid circle, their heads deprived of hair, gashes and cuts covered both blood-soaked corpses. Sophia was ready to vomit from the sight and its putrid smell when she saw Sarah's car pull up into the driveway. She waved, running quickly over to them to evade the stench.

Both Sarah and Max stepped out of the car, their cases in hand.

"Hey," Sofia gasped for air, "Sorry, coroner's not here yet, but the scene is secure...Ugh, um, bodies are in decomp, couldn't find any signs of identification."

"What about the ranch owners," asked Max, " Have they been notified?"

"The Ranch has been abandoned for about fifty years, at least, by the looks of it."

"Good God, I can smell it all the way from the car! Eeew..." Sarah moaned, pinching her nose.

Max began fishing through her jean pockets, handing the other women nose plugs, "Here. I won't need them; I've to worked with worse decomp." Unflinchingly, she headed towards the crime scene tape laced stable Sophia had previously ran out of. The other two walked much more slowly, lingering along, covering their now-plugged noses in the process.

"Sofia, do you remember the gymbag decomp Nick and I told you about?"

"Yeah? What's it got to do with this one?"

"It was almost impossible for me to work on, cuz of the stench. And yet this one's about ten times worse, and she's willing to go in there without any protection."

Sophia smirked, "She's nuts."

"I'll say; lets just hope she knows about the lemons."

xxxx

It was all too familiar; the missing hair, the patterns of gashes on the bodies' torsos, the scalped heads. Max couldn't help but wonder if it was just a copycat who got his ideas from the BBC News, or...she shook her head, silently reassuring herself that whatever doubts she had she would divulge them to Stokes and Catherine. The decomp was bad, yes, but she had to laugh at Sara's and Sophia's griping; it reminded her of pre-pubescent girls and boys with their cootie paranoia. In fact, the only thing she had found displeasurable about decomp was the bugs; no matter how Thomas had tried to console her, telling her that bugs were simply helping with the cycle of life, it still made her shiver at the thought of disgusting little black things crawling over one's body.

Taking pictures of the bodies and blood pools, something had caught her eye; a long burgundy strand of hair lay across one of the bloody chests. From her case, she took out her tweezers and carefully picked up the hair and put it into an evidence bag. Dark reminders seeped into her mind, memories, so fresh, they cut like a razor. Her cell rang, shaking her from her thoughts.

"Gundersohn. Duke, hey babe." her face lightened up at the sound of the person's voice, then her brows and mouth furrowed in frustration, "No, hon, that's not a very good idea. 'Why?' Because, Duke, you'd end up looking like Robert Goulet, that's 'Why'. No! Bad Dukie, Bad! Put down the hair dye. PUT DOWN THE HAIR DYE!" Max gritted her teeth, seething, "Sweetie, please listen to me, Rogaine good. Hair dye bad. Comprende? ... Don't be offended; I was just trying to say that hair loss treatment is a better alternative than cheap hair dye...ugh..." She continued listening to the other end of the phone, when both Sara and Sofia had finally walked into the stable.

Both snickered, having apparently listened in to Max's conversation with "Duke".

"Who the hell are you talking to?" Sofia asked, trying to hide her giggles.

Sara couldn't help but add, laughing, "He sure sounds ...interesting?"

Ignoring them for the moment, Max continued speaking into the the phone, "I have two of my friends here, who actually agree with me on this one. You want proof? Okay" She held the phone out for the women to speak.

"Don't do it, 'Dukie'! Robert Goulet's overrated!" Sara squealed.

"Yeah, what she said! Burt Reynold's career was ruined in the 90's because of it! Listen to common sense; chicks hate it when guys overdo the 'doo." Chimed Sofia.

Putting the cell back to her ear Max grinned reassuringly, "See, Duke? You've come to your senses, hallelujah! Alright then, I'll call you later, bye." she put her cell back into her pocket, gave a sigh of relief and started taking pictures of the crimescene.

Sara's eyebrows raised and a cheshire grin came to her face, "Friend of yours?"

"Yes, however acute his case of midlife crisis may be." Max looked up at both of them, changing the subject, "Listen, after we're done procesing I need to speak with Stokes and Catherine."

"Why? Can it wait till after lunch?"

"You have to have lunch with us. We're going to Chubby's Pub; they've got the best salad bar," said Sara.

Max nodded reluctantly, "Fine. I'll go. It's just ...this case is reminding me of a few I did back in Edinburgh."

Sophia's voice was wary, "How so?"

"We had a serial killer who was obsessed with hair; all the victims's heads were scalped and their positions were the same as this one...at least that's what I'm getting from first glance. After I talk with Stokes or Catherine, I'll know whether or not to correspond with my guys overseas."

TBC...


So? Whadya think? Is it interesting? Should I continue? I would love your guys' reviews, please!