"What bugs you most?"

A CSI fan-fic story, started May 2003; WIP (and somewhat AU).

The usual disclaimers: none of the CBS or CSI characters belong to me, and I make no money doing this kind of thing. I am not affiliated with CBS or CSI in any way.

Spoilers: this is set sometime between Seasons 4 and 5 (so lots of water under the bridge since I started this fic). Greg Sanders is still in the lab.

Rating: T to M for adult themes and language in later chapters.

Pairings: Jim/Catherine; Bobby/OFC.

Chapter 16/??

"Off we go into the wild blue yonder…boom"

As it turned out, Mickey took two days of administrative leave, an extra one on top of the mandatory day. But she made good use of the time off, heading to the mall for some "retail-therapy" and to the university library for some actual research, borrowing Uncle Jim's car to do so. She wanted to make sure of a few things before reporting her findings to Grissom.

She woke to the afternoon sunlight streaming in by the side of the mini-blinds. Not surprisingly, she felt well rested, ready to get back in the lab and a little bit confused at finding that she'd slept on the bedroom floor. A quick check around confirmed that yes, this was the guest bedroom, her summer home at Brass' house.

The momentary confusion of sleep-to-wakefulness was replaced by three consecutive thoughts that made her smile to herself: one, that she was lying naked on her right side, covered with a tangle of sheets and a light flannel blanket; two, that the warmth she felt curled around her back was Bobby; and three, that they'd discovered just how squeaky the double-bed's wooden frame was and had moved to the floor in the midst of their love-making. The last thought made her giggle softly.

Behind her, Bobby stirred at the sound and began placing warm kisses on her left shoulder blade and along the back of her neck. "Mickey, dahlin'," he drawled quietly. "You sleep alright?"

"Definitely," she replied, and then she gasped as his fingers reached to stroke her warm softness. "Bobby?" Her body was starting to respond to his light, seductive touches, and Mickey couldn't help opening herself to him, pressing backwards against his growing erection as it twitched alongside her buttocks.

"Shh," Bobby whispered after a few moments, kissing and nipping at her shoulder as he encouraged her to bend her top leg, easing his access as he lay behind her. "I need to take care of something first…"

"Oh," said Mickey, and then her words were lost, muffled as she moaned into the pillow. He slipped into her easily, filling her and stroking ever so slowly as he caressed her hip and her stomach, and licked one shoulder blade.

"So warm, darlin'," he told her, his breath a soft tickle in her ear. "And so nice to wake up to." Bobby moved almost languidly, as if dancing to a slow, sensuous tune in his head. When he reached around with one hand to stroke her crux in time to his penetrations, he felt Mickey grasp the pillow even tighter as she moaned and her orgasm raced through her. He held himself still as she came, with not some little effort, as her muscles pulsed in waves around him and her legs trembled; it was a warm and addictive sensation.

It took a bit of quiet shifting around; neither of them wanting to be too loud and free, but Mickey maneuvered herself to the bottom position, and wrapped her legs tightly around her lover's hips. He remained large and firm inside of her.

"That was wonderful," she said, tears coming to her eyes.

Dawson smiled as he kissed both eyelids. "You okay?" He propped himself on one elbow and looked down at her, concerned.

Mickey reached up to caress his face. "I feel alive; thank you." She flashed a wicked grin as she rotated her hips a little, clenching around his erection, pulling his head down so that she could whisper in his ear. "Take me hard this time, Bobby, please. I'll try to be quiet… "

He growled softly as he began to thrust, leaning down to kiss her. "M-hmm," he agreed. "I can do that."

They must have dozed for a short while afterwards, sated and warm in each other's arms. Reaching up gently when she opened her eyes again, Mickey tried in vain to smooth his curls from the "bed-head" look he always got.

"Are you there, Mr. Sleepy?" she teased, kissing his forehead.

"Sure am," came his muffled reply. He slid down a bit to kiss her chest, tasting first one rosy nipple, then the other, and finally tried to roll onto his back for a stretch. It was impossible since they'd wedged themselves between the bed and the wall. "Oh, yeah…" he said and a loud bark of a laugh escaped his lips.

She flinched and clapped a hand over his mouth. "Shhh! I don't want Uncle Jim thinking we're sex maniacs." Even as she said it, Mickey couldn't help smiling.

Bobby quieted and gave her a wide-eyed, innocent look until she removed her hand. "You say that like it's a bad thing, cher," he whispered, grinning suggestively and pressing his pelvis against hers. Now she couldn't help giggling into the pillow.

They helped each other to stand, tossing pillows and blankets up onto the bed. Mickey pinched him gently on the bottom as she buried herself among the pillows, stretching luxuriously. "You can have the shower first, Bobby. Since it takes you about forever to get ready for work…"

He pulled on his boxers and leaned over to kiss her, chuckling softly at their inside joke. "Okay, pretty face, and no sneakin' in on me, hear? No telling what your uncle would think of that." Bobby reached for his shaving kit before he went across the hallway, leaving her to doze a few minutes more.

Not long after, Mickey almost bumped into Catherine in the hallway as she left her room to head downstairs to the kitchen. "Oh, excuse me," she said as they startled each other. "Hi Catherine."

"Hey there, Mickey. How are you doing?" Catherine shifted her bag to one shoulder and threaded her arm through the younger woman's as they came down the stairs.

"I'm good, thanks."

Catherine turned to look at her closely when they got to the living room. "Should I be worried that you took a second leave day? You weren't too happy with the first one."

Mickey smiled. "I know. I'm sorry stomped around in front of you… it was probably pretty ridiculous, wasn't it? I got my attitude straightened out and made good use of my time." They walked into the kitchen where Bobby was setting the table for four and Jim was busily working over the stove and countertops.

Willows raised her eyebrows in a question. "I needed to go to the mall," was the answer.

Catherine laughed. "And…" She handed over a small glass of orange juice.

Mickey grinned, reddening a little. "And go to the university library."

"Ah hah! Thought so," said Willows, gently clinking glasses with Mickey.

Bobby came over and put an arm around each woman. "Madam et mademoiselle, table for four? The chef has prepared for you an exquisite petite dejeuner today." He was grinning mischievously as he helped them both to sit at the kitchen table.

Catherine giggled, delighted. "Bobby Dawson, I had no idea you spoke French. I thought you were from Texas, you poser." She looked over at Mickey, who shrugged and smiled. Mickey already knew the story behind it.

"Yes ma'am, I am," he told her. "But my Mama is from the bayou of Port Charles so most of my relatives coulda played right along with Dennis Quaid in 'The Big Easy'." His accent changed subtly to the one Catherine was more accustomed to. "Back home, it's not exactly what you'd call continental French, cher. I did take a few semesters when I was at UT-Austin. Didn't you take a language when you were doing your courses at the university?"

Catherine shrugged as she began doctoring up a cup of coffee. "I wish. Not a whole lot of time between classes, work and taking care of Lindsey. Hey Jim, what language did you take back in your days at Seton?"

Jim came over to the table carrying a platter of scrambled eggs and bacon. A second plate of toast and cantaloupe wedges was already there. He sat and they began serving their plates and passing items around. "Uh, Latin. Everybody had to since it is a Catholic school. Which reminds me, Mickey, you see the department chaplain yet?"

His niece nodded. "I have an appointment first thing tonight with Father Mike."

"Good. What was over at the library?"

"I wanted to look up some older research articles on Serratia marcescens, our red bug. It's…"

"Guys, please," Catherine interrupted them. "No shoptalk at the table." She tried to sound stern but couldn't help smiling fondly at the younger woman and her uncle the cop. Bobby chuckled softly and paid closer attention to his coffee.

Brass looked sheepishly at Mickey. "Sorry kid. Better listen to your boss," he told her with a wink. There would be time enough for shoptalk at the labs when they all went in for the night's shift.

-/-/-/-/-/-

As promised, Mickey got to her appointment with the LVMPD chaplain first thing, and then headed directly to the "bug lab" to prepare for a meeting with Grissom. She passed by the break room windows and waved to Nick, Warrick and Sara who were already there awaiting assignments, but did not stop.

An hour or so later, she met up with Grissom in the main evidence layout room, that particular space chosen instead of his office so that they could use a map of the Las Vegas area to plot their findings. Gil was placing scene photos on the map, indicating both the Pathways development and the more recent, Painted Desert when she knocked quietly on the door.

"Hi, Mickey. Come on in," he said noticing right away the several folders she carried, and knowing full well that was how he looked much of the time. "How are you?"

Smiling a little ruefully, she shrugged and indicated the bandage that covered stitches over his left eye. "I was just going to ask you the same question. Fine, thanks, and sure as hell ready to catch the bozo that's doing this… experiment around town."

Gil nodded and raised his good eyebrow. He pulled over a second lab stool for her and they sat between the lighted lay-out table and the large white marker board. "Same here. What have you got so far?"

Taking a deep breath, Mickey began: "Operation Sea Spray, believe it or not. In the early 50s, the U.S. Army tested their presumed safe biological weapons over San Francisco using balloons filled with Serratia marcescens."

"Balloons," repeated Grissom. "Wind currents maybe?"

"Exactly. They must have been tracking dispersal and the 'City by the Bay' is very windy.

"It is. You said 'presumed safe'," he continued. "How does this bacterium normally behave?"

In spite of the serious discussion that they were having, Mickey had to grin. "You don't like to say bugs, do you?"

Grissom chuckled, understanding immediately what she meant. "It's imprecise. Insects are insects and bacteria are bacteria. 'Bugs' doesn't do them justice; just between us of course." He dropped his voice to a conspiratorial whisper, looking at her over the rims of his reading glasses.

"True. Anyway, Serratia was considered a totally safe, non-pathogenic culture at the time. I use it myself in teaching labs."

"But it's not a non-pathogen?"

She shook her head emphatically. "No, I mean it's not the plague or anything like that but you still have to be careful with it. It's an opportunist and a potentially serious one. It does occur naturally in soil, water and human intestines, but, in the wrong place at the wrong time… it could be fatal." Mickey pulled a photocopied sheet from one of her folders and showed it to him. "Nosocomial infections mainly, like respiratory tract and U.T.I., but also endocarditis, eye infections, meningitis, you name it."

"Is that what happened in the 50s?"

"I think there was an odd increase in U.T.I. and respiratory problems," she replied. "And one fatality. Bad news if someone is immune-compromised."

Gil made a sound of interest as he was writing some notes. He then picked up a marker and indicated points on the map. "Here's what we know: Pathways development, here, and Painted Desert here. Both locations had significant bacterial growth."

"Why weren't more houses involved?"

"We need to find that out," Grissom said as he moved to the white board, marking "S. marcescens" in the center and putting a box around it. He drew several arrows toward the box, adding the names of the locations they'd just discussed. It wasn't often, but he occasionally used concept maps (c-maps) to illustrate cases. Gil would never admit it to Greg Sanders, who swore by them.

Mickey had been sitting at the table, staring at the map. "What's the military presence out here? I'm not familiar with the area."

Grissom nodded approval and added a second box, this one in the upper left corner of the board. "Air Force: Nellis is here; Nevada Test Site and Indian Springs are not far." He wrote "USAF" in the second box and added the name "Francis Anthony Scalisi" underneath it.

There was a quiet knock on the open door, and they both looked up to see Dr. Robbins gazing longingly at the lighted table. "I really, really love that table. I've got to figure out how to get one for my lab, Gil."

"Tell me something I don't know, Doc," said Gil.

Robbins sat at the lab stool Grissom had vacated. "Hi, Mickey. OK, in sixth grade I was voted by the girls in the class as the fastest runner and best kisser in 'Kiss-chase' on the school playground." He surreptitiously checked Gil's bandage and bruising, the concerned-friend-and-physician persona peeking out a bit, comparing it to the healing wound on Mickey's forehead. He gave a tiny shake of his head, worrying a bit about the two of them and their fieldwork, but he made no comment aloud.

They laughed, Gil clearing his throat by way of friendly admonishment and Mickey looked over at him, eyebrows raised in a silent question. "Old joke. Actually, Al, we were going to call you for some advice."

The graveyard shift chief coroner checked his watch. "Fire away then. I came over on another matter, but David can page me if anything comes up."

Grissom went on to explain what he and Mickey had begun working on. Robbins looked at the map and the white board while they spoke, listening attentively.

"Well, I don't know how relevant this would be, but we finally identified your jumper, Mickey," he said.

"My jumper?" She looked puzzled until he continued:

"Yes, back a few weeks ago when you went out with David on a pickup. Jacqui had to tweak the databases a bit, but it came back a Vincent Welker." He paused and pointed to the board. "U.S. Air Force."

TBC