Chapter 1

Key Cards and Key Chains

"Taylor! Taylor, I swear to God if you don't open this damned door!"

"Listen sweetheart, 'Taylor's' not answering right now so why don't you do the world and their eardrums a favour and come back at a more acceptable time?" An irritated neighbour yelled across the corridor, the hangover he was nursing finally losing patience with the young woman who had been hammering on the door of room 3268 for almost ten, continuous minutes.

Cursing under her breath she turned her back on the door and marched down to the hotel's reception area where she cornered one of the younger members of the unsuspecting staff and snarled,

"Listen you, I need to get in to room 3268 and I need to get in now."

"I'm sorry man I don't think-" He began nervously before being interrupted,

"That's good, I don't need you to think I just need you to do."

"I really don't think there's anything I can do-"

"Look, he's my brother, Taylor Wynard, my plane's supposed to leave in two hours and, for some unbeknownst reason, I need him to get on it with me, I need you to waken sleeping beauty now."

"I, I understand Miss, but it's your brothers room I-"

"Look, if it helps I have a key card, but the damn reader, much like a lot of other things in this hotel, won't do its job and won't read the card!" she said, producing a key card with the room number she had described printed on it.

The young receptionist now looked as though he was in grave danger of bursting into flames before her as he took the card from her as though it was his death warrant and stuttered, "Of, of course Madam...Let, let me see what I can do..."

"Thank you." She said, more gently, feeling guilty for taking out, both her pent up frustration with her brother and her still burning anger of the drunken neighbour out on the poor young receptionist.

"What's your name?" she asked, kindly as they walked upstairs.

"Jason." He whispered, as though afraid she would proclaim it a bad name and demand that he change it.

"Well thank you Jason, and I'm sorry for my earlier behaviour, it was uncalled for, it's not your fault that my brother is a useless, lazy son-of-a...Well I apologise in any case." She said, attempting to reassure him as he staggered up the stairs.

"OK, room 3268, let's see if my key card works..." he said, feeling a little more at ease after her apology, it took him a few attempts but eventually the door granted them access.

"Thank God, "she muttered, pushing past him and hurrying into the room, grabbing various clothes from their 'artful' positions strewn across the floor, a breadcrumb trail to the bedroom, "Taylor! Taylor when we get back I'm disowning you and adopting someone who isn't a useless, lazy, arrogant basta-" she broke off as she caught site of the man sprawled across the floor, a large blood-red rose blossoming in the centre of his chest, "And isn't dead." She breathed before falling in a cold faint beside him, leaving poor Jason to deal with both of them.


"Have you heard anything from the others?" Nick asked Russell as they clambered out of the car.

"Morgan and Greg are en route, Finn's just pulled a double she demanded a shower before coming, and it's Sara's day off, she took the week so I presume she's at Casa Grissom, though I left her a message."

Nick nodded as they made their way into the hotel, kits in hand, "What exactly is this?"

"War of the roses. " Russell smiled,


"Woman called went into her brother's room in the hotel to find that the flight ticket he had booked had suddenly become one way, she fainted and the receptionist managed to call it in."

"And the 'war of the roses'?"

"Oh well I just thought, her name was rose and there are petals all over the bedroom..." he broke off as Nick continued to stare at him, "I've had a very long day Nick."

"And yet it's barely seven in the morning."

"Yeah, go figure..."

They made their way up to room 3268 and, to their amazement found David already with the body in the bedroom while Brass interviewed two, extremely pale people, one a woman, presumably the sister, and the other a terrified looking receptionist who had supposedly called it in.

"Hey David." Nick muttered, crouching down beside the body.

"Morning." The coroner replied, "Meet Taylor Wynard, bullet to the chest, through and through so it's still here somewhere. 35, from Florida."

"Thank you David." Russell murmured.

They took several pictures, nothing exceptional to point out except several thin purple fibres under his nails that they collected for trace, before releasing the body to David.

"OK, why don't we divide and conquer the bedroom and then when Brass is finished we'll talk to the twin Casper's in there."

Nick agreed and immediately moved to the table and photographed the two wine glasses, "One of these glasses is wearing lipstick, the other doesn't, safe to say he has company?" Nick said, "He had company?"

"I'd say that's a fair bet."

"Why don't you see how fair?" Nick smirked, jerking his head at the bed and making an unnecessary fuss of swabbing and bagging the wine glasses.

"Oh, yeah, someone got lucky last night." Russell smirked, throwing back the covers and allowing the ALS to work its magic. "Looks like these sheets are fresh, which is a good thing for us, we only have our victim and his lady friend."

"So what, is this looking like death by affair again? Wife or girlfriend suspects something, or just comes up to surprise him, enters the bedroom and finds him with the other woman and kills him in a rage?"

"OK then, what happened to the other woman?"

"Made her excuses and left?"

"If you came in and find your spouse in bed and you're mad enough to kill them would you just let the other person 'make their excuses and leave'?" Russell asked,

"No, no probably not."

"Definitely not...And besides, guns aren't just lying around hotel rooms, that implies premeditation, death by affair is usually opportunistic, like that large, clobber-y looking lamp there by the bed."

"Clobber-y?" Nick repeated, mercilessly, "How much coffee have you had this morning?"

"Nowhere near enough Nicky, nowhere near enough..."

"OK then, my theories out the window, what's yours?"

"Well I'm sure I don't know Nick...Perhaps it was just the other woman, maybe she whacked him."


"...No idea, good point."

"It doesn't look like there was much of a struggle, everything in this room looked perfect...Apart from the dead body in it. Point is, if it had been the other woman he would have fought back when she suddenly pulled a gun on him, maybe she was in here previously, left and then the killer came back, which puts my death by affair back into the picture."

"How do you figure that?"

"Well, wife or girlfriend comes back, catches him in bed, sneaks out gets herself again, comes back while he's passed out from drink and partying with the other woman and she shoots him."

"I could buy that..." Russell said, before adding "Or it could have nothing to do with sex and it's something completely unrelated, like a robbery gone wrong."

"How long have you worked here now? It's never not about sex in a Vegas hotel." Nick smirked.

Russell grinned back, "You may have a point there..."

At that point Brass sauntered in, "Would you like to interview our witnesses?" he asked,

"Yes." They replied in unison.

"Miss Wynard, the victim was your brother correct?" Russell asked, gently,

"Yes, we were supposed to go home and see our parents today...God I haven't told them yet I, we're supposed to be on the plane and-"

"That's alright miss Wynard, we can take care of that for you in a moment, for now, can you think of any reason someone would want to do this to him?"

"I, no" she said, the receptionist choked and widened his eyes

"You think differently Mr..."

"Erm Jenkins, Jason, no, no I've never met him before she just erm..."


"Wasn't very complimentary..." he muttered,

"Miss Wynard?"

"OK, yes I'll admit it, Taylor was a lazy bastard who got where he was with his looks, his charm and a little bit of luck, and yes he had a temper and he was a pain in the ass, and rubbed people up the wrong way but no-one would want to kill him!" she protested.

"Yes, with traits like that it's hard to see why anyone would dream of it." Brass muttered,

"OK, I get it, but you don't understand...He's one of those people you can't stay mad with, he'll be screwing your sister but then you'll turn round and give him the keys to your car so he can take her to the cinema, that's just the kind of guy he was like, I can't think of anyone who would..." she broke off, crying.

"Alright Miss Wynard, not much more I promise. Was Taylor seeing anyone? Wife girlfriend?"

She spluttered in an attempt to contain suddenly hysterical laughter, "Wife? Girlfriend? Taylor? No way, he'd run a mile if I asked him to commit to going into town with him...Hookers were invented for Taylor."

"OK, thank you Miss Wynard...What about you Jason. What did you see?"

"Not, not much...I just opened the door, her key card wasn't working, then I saw him and I called the police, I'd never met him before..."

"OK, thanks Jason."

They turned away momentarily "Well there goes the death by affair, and our eye witnesses." Nick muttered,

"What about an ear witness?" Russell asked, "Guns are loud, someone must have heard something, maybe just thought it was the TV at the time."

"Jason, do you know if there's anyone in these rooms opposite?" Russell asked,

"I don't think there's anyone to the left but there's a woman on the left, I checked her in earlier...Do you think she might have heard something?" he asked,

"Maybe, do you think she might have?"

"If she was in her room then yeah, these walls are like paper, you can hear people breathe through them, never mind a bullet."

"OK then, let's go and see what she heard." Russell said, moving out into the corridor with Nick, Brass and Jason in tow.

Russell knocked quietly, "Miss, hello, Miss? LVPD, could we speak to you for a moment?"


"Are you sure Jason?"

"Yeah, quite sure, and she hasn't left the room either."

"How do you know?"

"Well I saw her down at the bar earlier, she was drinking with the dead guy next door and-"

"And you didn't think this was important?" Brass squawked.

"Well, I don't know...I suppose it was." Jason flushed,

"Anyway, I've been downstairs all evening, she hasn't left the hotel I swear it." He said, trying to make ammeds.

"OK Jason, can you let us in there please?" Brass said, drawing his gun

"Based on what?" Russell hissed

"Based on the fact that if she's not dead she's guilty, every man and his dog on this floor is out goggling at us, what is she hiding?"

Jason obliged and hastily swiped the key card, Brass then pushed the door open and entered, the two CSIs behind him.

A woman was sprawled on the cream carpet, her thick dark hair obscuring her face.

"God." Brass muttered, stowing his gun and bending down to check for a pulse.

As he did so, he moved the hair away from her face, all three of them stared in shock, "Sara." Brass muttered,

"Brass, is she OK?" Nick demanded, gazing down at her in horror.

A/N: Based on the spoilers and the all-round awesomeness of this episode, I decided to put my own spin on it, since I can't wait until it actually airs :) Please review if you have a minute.

A/N2: I apologise for the astonishing lack of updates to my other stories, my mind has quite literally hit a brick wall with them, I'm hoping that my getting creative with this piece will help but in the meantime my writer's block apologises.