Title: Heard It Through The Grapevine
The alarm clock radio flared into life next to Sheldon's head. But the dark-skinned doctor was already awake and dressed, calmly sitting Indian-style and barefoot on his newly-made bed. He'd been woken up an hour earlier by another alarm. Another clock radio, on the other side of his bed, one that beeped instead of playing music. He had calmly gone about his morning routine for the next fifty-five minutes, before making his way over to his second clock radio. That's where 6.59am that fateful Sunday morning found him. Cross-legged on his bed, staring intently at the digital numbers, waiting for them to tick over to 7.00.
No-one at the lab knew about Sheldon's gift. Sheldon grimaced, eyes never leaving the clock radio. If you could really call it a gift. Damn thing was more temperamental than his first car and about as useful as safety scissors in surgery. But, it was something he could do that no-one else could. He was a psychic… kinda… not really… maybe…
Sheldon could hear things. In music. Things that others couldn't. Where others heard beats, rhythms and melodies, Sheldon heard voices, conversations and sounds. He'd ignored it at first, dismissing it as the people in the next apartment or his imagination. As time went by, Sheldon often began to get a strange feeling of déjà vu when he talked to people, as though he'd heard their responses before. Once he'd convinced himself that he wasn't going mad, Sheldon had begun to see patterns. Not just the voices and sounds within the music itself, but feelings, senses, interwoven with the lyrics and melody. This was why Sheldon was watching a clock radio at 7am on a Sunday morning. As a haunting piano melody crept out of the clock radio, Sheldon closed his eyes.
'Darling, I hope
That my dream never haunted you,
My heart is telling you,
How much I wanted you,
Snatches of conversation and background noise floated through the lilting tones coming from the clock radio's pathetic speakers. Sheldon eased his head closer to the radio, as though being closer to the music would help him hear the voices better.
"And that folks, was 'Gloomy Sunday' by the legendary Billie Holiday, Lady Day herself, next up we'll keep in the jazz vibe with a little somethin' from…"
Sheldon frowned and switched off the radio, not bothering to wait and see what the next song was. Well, that was beyond useless. Just Mac and Don complaining about working on Sundays. A wry smile quirked the doctor-turned-CSI's lips. Even though he never complained about an opportunity to listen to Don's voice, when it wasn't inherently useful, it was simply a waste of his time and a waste of his dubious gift. Sheldon's frown grew deeper and a shiver ran through him. Although… there was something… Sheldon shook himself and uncurled his legs, reaching for his shoes and pulling them on. The feeling of unease stayed with him as Sheldon grabbed his wallet, cell phone and keys, heading for the door. He paused, taking two steps backwards to glance into his room again, looking at the clock radio once more. Shaking his head yet again, he dismissed it and left for work.
The uneasiness stayed with him, even as he was driving. Sheldon's eyes flicked down to the car stereo. He really shouldn't. That was being paranoid. It probably wouldn't work anyway. This was such a bad idea. But still he sighed, reluctantly reaching his hand out and flipping the stereo on, turning his eyes back to the road as music filtered out around his ears.
burn watching the world turn from my arms
New way of measuring each day until it's gone,
a reprise in my heart
Regret tight around my chest plays its part,'
Sheldon slowed to a stop as the lights in front of him changed to red. Snatches of conversation and noise wove their way around him, almost drowning out the traffic noise. Only half paying attention to his surroundings, Sheldon shifted his focus onto what the music had begun to tell him.
'Mac? Mac, are you okay?'
'I'm fine, Danny. Don's injured…'
'Don't worry… we're gonna get you outta there…'
An angry horn blared behind him and Sheldon jumped as he realized he'd been sitting at the lights for too long, that they'd been green for a while now. With a curse, he raised a hand in apology to the driver behind him and pulled away. Gritting his teeth at the cheery chirping of an ad for acne cream, Sheldon snaked his hand down and flicked the radio off again. Eyes still wide, he maneuvered his car through the New York traffic to the lab. He'd been right. That was a bad idea…
Sheldon was still numb as he walked rapidly from his spot in the parking lot up into the lab. He nodded at Stella and Detective Scagnetti on his way through, his step never faltering as he headed for Mac's office, determined to stop this before it started, whether he exposed his gift or not. Sheldon didn't know how he knew, but Don's safety depended on it, Don's life depended on Mac making that one phone call to bring him back to the lab. He turned the corner, raising his hand to knock on the glass doors of his boss' office and froze. It was empty.
Snippets of what he had heard floated back to him. 'Mac, are you okay?' 'I'm fine, Danny. Don's injured…' He was too late. Sheldon lowered his hand slowly, color draining from his face. He shook himself lightly, berating himself. He didn't even know what he was too late for. First rule of CSI training. Gather your evidence. Knowing he had no paperwork, and knowing that Stella and Scagnetti would've stopped him if there was a new case, Sheldon made his way down to the locker room. He switched the radio in the shower-room on and sat cross-legged on the floor of a stall, not caring that the floor was still a little damp.
and all my friends,
We're all misunderstood,
They say we stand for nothing and
There's no way we ever could.
Now we see
everything that's going wrong
With the world and those who lead it,
We just feel like we don't have the means
To rise above and beat it,'
The uneasy feeling Sheldon had felt in his home and car this morning, the one that had shifted into a knot of tension between his shoulders when he entered the lab, suddenly turned into a ball of ice that settled right over his heart. He didn't need to lean closer to the radio to hear what the music was trying to tell him this time. He could hear every word, every sound.
'Stay with me, Don! Stay with me!'
Sheldon's eyes grew wide; a low whimper escaping him, as the upbeat song folded Don's gasping attempts at breathing around his ears. He knew it hadn't happened yet and he knew he shouldn't be panicking, but… it was Don…
'No! You stay with me, Don!'
It was Mac asking… no… begging… Don not to die… Sheldon lunged for the radio, shutting it off with more force than was necessary. To hell with evidence! He had to go now!
Sheldon jogged out of the locker rooms heading for the parking lot. He stopped in the middle of the hallway and swore. He had no idea where either Mac or Don were. He jogged back into the lab, all his energy focused inwards, focused intently on getting to Don. He slid into the AV sector and scooped up a laptop, quickly opening the GPS tracking program. He'd entered the first three digits of Don's number when Danny skidded into the room, almost frightening him out of his skin.
"Damn it, Messer!" he yelped, visibly shaken.
"Sorry Doc," Danny replied tersely, looking as shaken as he felt, "But we need you, now…"
"What? What happened?" Sheldon took one look at Danny's face and knew.
"Bomb. Blew up an office building. Mac an' Don were inside…"
Time seemed to slow for Sheldon. He was too late. He moved on auto-pilot, shutting down the computer and getting to his feet, moving quickly to keep up with Danny's frantic steps. They stopped off in the locker room Sheldon had not long vacated, Danny flinging open his locker to grab his CSI kit before hurrying out. Sheldon flung open his own locker, but paused for a moment, eyeing off the two kits he kept in there. His newer, shinier CSI kit, and his older, more battered med-kit from when he'd been an EMT. Making up his mind, Sheldon grabbed a kit in each hand. Danny looked back over his shoulder, wondering what had made Sheldon stop. He winced as he saw the battered EMT med-kit and the haunted-yet-determined look on Sheldon's face.
It took them four hours to pull Don and Mac out of the wreckage. Mac came first, limping and clutching a strip of his bloodied shirt to his neck. Sheldon moved automatically, the CSI becoming the EMT. He stripped himself of the gloves he'd been using to collect evidence, pulling on a fresh pair and grabbing a gauze pad. He stepped up to Mac, pulling the shirt away from his neck and replacing it with the clean gauze, murmuring apologetically as Mac hissed in pain. He helped the injured man over to the paramedics and walked back to his post stripping off his bloody gloves and replacing them yet again with clean ones.
Then they brought out Don. It was all Sheldon could do, even with his years of EMT experience, not to throw up. Danny did, the blonde man's eyes widening and nostrils flaring as he spun around and dropped to his knees at the sight of the gaping wound in Don's chest. The paramedics swarmed round him, a rookie turning to glance askance at Sheldon. The EMT-turned-CSI raised his hands and stepped back, this was their turf now.
A lone stereo left over from the unofficial Sunday block party played mournfully, its sound almost drowned out by the wailing of sirens, crying of wounded people and harsh yells of law enforcement. About to step back and join the ranks of his fellow CSIs, Sheldon's sharp ears caught the sound of the music. Unwillingly, he let the music flow over him, trying to pick out something, anything, which could help him somehow.
I feel like hell tonight
Tears of rage I cannot fight
I'd be the last to help you understand
Are you strong enough to be my man?'
Almost frantically, Sheldon let his mind search through the words, the melody, the rhythm. He floated his mind through every layer of the song, searching for the elusive sound of the voices, conversations or noises that he so often heard. There was nothing. It was just another song. Just a random song coming from someone's abandoned stereo. Sheldon stared around the crime scene, fresh horror on his face. Now he didn't even have that to help him.