A/N: I know I said I'd take a break from writing, but hey what can I say, I'm an addict. This is a look into Grissom and Sara's relationship toward the end of season 12, mainly from Sara's point of view. The story takes place sometime after 12.18 Malice in Wonderland, but before the end of the season – only because we haven't been shown it here in the UK yet and I don't know what happens.
This story is going to be a short one – by my standards – and will feature quite a bit of DB, because I like him and I think Grissom and him would have worked well together, and a case file. Also it's a WIP because I write best that way and I can adapt the story as I go. I hope you'll enjoy. Let me know in a review, and as usual ideas and suggestions and comments are welcome and a great source of encouragement.
Ships in the Night.
"Oh, good, I was hoping you'd come in early."
Hand on her locker door Sara turned with a start toward the doorway, her face impassive at the sight of her supervisor casually leaning against the doorjamb.
"Sorry," Russell said with an easy smile, "didn't mean to startle you." His smile lingered but his expression darkened slightly and Sara's eyes averted before he saw through her and asked what was wrong. "Get changed into coveralls I'm taking you out."
Her lips curling into a smile before she could control the reflex, Sara flicked enquiring eyes up at him, noticing that he'd already donned said-attire himself. "Hair up or down?" she asked, attempting to match his jovial tone.
"DB out somewhere in Seven Hills," he replied with an easy lift of his shoulder.
Sara sighed, nodding. "Definitely up then." Uncomfortable under his quiet scrutiny she turned back to her locker, making to rummage inside.
"You drive," he said after a beat, and she could feel his eyes still studying her.
She nodded without turning. "I'll meet you in the lot in ten," she said, and with a sigh removed her leather jacket, neatly hanging it on a hanger.
There was a brief pause. "Sara, you okay?"
Her eyes closed wearily. "Sure," she said, flicking her gaze over her shoulder. "I'm just…" Her shoulder lifting, she forced a brighter smile. "I'll just get changed and grab my kit."
DB stared at her a little longer before widening his smile. "All right. I'll grab the radios and the keys to the truck."
Sara was lacing her left boot when her phone went off. Pulling it out of her pocket she checked the display, hesitating for the briefest of moments before sending the call to voicemail. Then slowly she got up from the bench, picked up her gun and after checking it was loaded but made safe placed it in her field case. It was only as she made her way through the lab's maze of corridors that she brought the phone to her ear, checking the message.
"Sara, honey, I'm sorry. I—I didn't mean to…" A sigh and after a pause his voice came back on, soft and contrite. "I'm sorry I upset you. Call me when you get a minute, okay? If not…I guess I'll see you in the morning."
The bright May sunlight as she exited the building made her pull her sunglasses on and schooling her features into a neutral look she put her phone away and strode purposefully to her awaiting supervisor.
"Ready?" he said as she joined his side at the back of the truck. Nodding, she stowed her kit next to his and he slammed the trunk shut. "Keys are in the ignition."
"You sure you want me to drive?"
He gave her a definite nod. "Sure. You know the way better than I do. Besides, it'll save you brooding."
His comment raised a smile, and shaking her head she watched him climb in before following suit. "I'm not…brooding," she said, pulling her seatbelt on, "I just got stuff on my mind."
His eyes narrowed teasingly. "Whatever," he said, in a singsong voice.
Sara turned the key, cranked the air conditioning up and after putting the truck in reverse backed out of the space. Driving would do her good, she thought as she pulled out of the lot, Russell was right about that, and hopefully get her out of this funk she'd found herself in ever since Grissom had got back from Sydney.
"So," she said, as she headed east to join the I-215, "That's all we got? DB out somewhere near Seven Hills?"
He let out an easy laugh. "Yeah, that's all we got," he said, adding when she shot him a look, "For now."
With a shake of the head at his apparent laidback manner, Sara put her foot down and let the speed and flashing scenery clear her mind. Twenty minutes later she slowed down, taking a right turn off the interstate following the signs to Seven Hills, one of the more exclusive areas of Vegas.
"Feeling better?" DB asked, and she gave him a wide grin, which he returned knowingly, and then without missing a beat, "Wow, nice neighbourhood!"
Sara flicked her gaze off the road to the Italian inspired luxury houses, architecture and community all around. "Yeah," she said, a wistful smile forming, "Grissom and I looked at a house here once." Her smile faded and she gave her head a shake. "Everything was…just out of our price range."
"No kidding," DB deadpanned, and Sara threw him a mock-aggrieved look. "I should think it's out of most people's price range. Doesn't hurt to look, though, does it?"
The remainder of the drive went on in companionable silence, Russell eventually pulling out a slip of paper out of his pocket with the exact location of their crime scene, and Sara followed the road up the hill to an isolated ranch-style house on the edge of a new development.
A top of the range Cadillac Escalade, two police cruisers as well as a nondescript detective sedan took up the length and width of the driveway so Sara pulled up a little further up on the roadside. Kits in hand they were making their way to the front door of the house when the uniformed officer standing guard there motioned them on, and sharing puzzled glances they followed the side path round to the back of the property.
Sara scanned her eyes over the yard, a large, immaculately-kept oasis of greenery with lush lawns and small islands of colourful shrubs scattered here and there and along the perimeter fence. On the right hand side, a long, large outdoor swimming pool, its deep-blue water shimmering invitingly beneath the bright blue sky.
Further on from it stood a pool house, a scaled-down replica of the main house, down to the red terracotta roof tiles and white-washed walls. From their vantage point the views of the surrounding desert were spectacular, and Sara let out an involuntary wistful breath.
"Yeah, me too," Russell said, a trace of regret in his tone. "Just think of the water bill."
Frowning Sara turned her head toward him. "You got to quit doing that," she said.
"Doing what?" Russell gave her a broad grin but before she could answer him he slid his sunglasses to the top of his head and turned toward Brass closing the distance to them from the pool house. "What have we got?" he asked.
"We got one female dead body," Brass replied, swiping the back of his hand over his sweaty brow. His shirt was crumpled and sweat-stained, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. "We think that of Melinda Carver, thirty five, domiciled here, but…we're still looking into it."
Sara's brow rose in puzzlement. "How come?"
"It's hard to tell from looking at her. She took a blow to the head, and she's lying face down so we couldn't get a clear ID. Also, she's…" he gave a wince, "been here a while."
The face DB pulled in disgust made Sara smile. "What?" he said, flicking his eyes over at her. "You know…" he made a wriggling motion with his fingers, "them and me aren't the best of friends."
Sara's smile widened. "Too bad Nick's away."
"Yeah, too bad." DB's face took on a distant look. "Maybe I can call Greg in on this little get-together."
"On his night off?"
DB made a face, then sighed. "Anything else?" he asked Brass.
"If it is indeed Melinda Carver lying there, she was reported missing last night. From the report I gather she was last seen a week ago."
The thought that no one had thought or cared enough to report her missing sooner filled Sara with sadness. "She lived alone?" she wondered, her tone surprised, considering the size of the house and array of expensive toys near the pool. No husband or hired help to report her missing?
"Something else we're looking into," Brass said. "But we know she was in the middle of a messy divorce."
Sara nodded toward a child's pedal car nearby. "What about the kids?"
Brass consulted his notes. "One. A boy aged six. Timothy Carver. We're trying to get a hold of the husband and see if the boy's with him, but so far no luck."
"I take it the husband wasn't the one to report her missing," she remarked wryly.
"No," Brass said, his tone matter-of-fact. "Her work people did. She's a realtor in Henderson."
"Figures," DB mused under his breath with a backward glance at the house and garden. "Your men searched the house?"
"It's empty. A little messy in the kitchen but no signs of a disturbance. Day-shift coroner's in court and David's helping cover for him. He says someone'll be here as soon as they can." Brass jerked his head over his shoulder. "The body's inside the pool house over there." He took a step back, indicating with his hand that the two CSI's should precede him there.
"The front door to the house was locked when the unit came round to check on the missing persons report," he went on as they walked, "but the side gate was open. They saw the body through the glass doors. It was clear to them that it had been there a while, so they called it in."
"Didn't they go in?" Sara asked, surprised.
"Briefly. But well…" Sara turned to look over her shoulder, and flashing her a wicked grin Brass lifted a mild shoulder, "here you are now."
They stopped and stared through the large, glass folding sliding doors at the already-decomposing body of the woman lying on her front. Her face was turned toward them, still made-up, and Sara winced at the insect activity in and around the wound. Her eyes slid down the length of her, taking in what looked like a one-piece swimming costume with matching sarong tied around her waist and bare feet.
"I'm no bug guy," Brass said, "but this looks like she's been dead more than a week to me."
Sara's eyes veered to the glass doors. She couldn't fail to notice the many finger marks near the handle, smudges most of them, and glancing at her boss she knew he'd noticed them too. "The blinds are open," she remarked. "We've had unseasonably high temperatures this past week. Sun beating down on her through these glass doors all day long would have considerably accelerated timetable of decay."
"That's exactly what I was thinking," Russell said, pointing a finger at her. He was about to say something else when he thought better of it. He put his case down and opened it. "Come on," he said, "Let's get this over with."
"Mind if I watch from out here?" Brass asked.
"Be our guest."