Grissom was back in his cell. Lying on his bed, staring at the ceiling as his mind wondered.
A few hours earlier…
The exhibitioner walked up to Grissom's cage with a cruel smile on his face.
"Well, it seems like you are my new favourite exhibit," the man's putrid breath assaulted Grissom's nose. He fiddled with the cage and a few seconds later the front door swung open. He walked in and clipped the leash onto Grissom's collar and began pulling him forwards.
Grissom was so tired, he let himself be led to wherever this guy wanted to go, but when he saw the stocks, he stopped dead. In the middle of an empty room were wooden stocks, Grissom could only guess what they were for and started to pull back. The exhibitioner, however, had other ideas- he pressed a button on the remote that Grissom hadn't seen and brought the 'exhibit' to his knees.
Grissom felt hands pushing and pulling him, manhandling him into position in the stocks. It was only then that he realised he was kneeling in something. After the buzzing in his ears quieted down he focused on The Exhibitioner again.
"Your punishment will be to kneel in coarse salt while in the stocks for twelve hours," the man said. A maniacal laugh was heard and then silence. Grissom tried to keep his mind of the burning of his knees, praying like he hadn't done for years, that his team would find him.
Now back in his cell he felt his knees throb with the beat of his heart. His entire body ached with a vengeance. He turned on his side and looked at the picture on the wall. It was a cruel reminder, a piece from his natural habitat or so the Exhibitioner called it. The picture was taken a while back and it showed a very happy family. Grissom stood with his one arm around Sara who held little Taylor in her arms. Zach was on Grissom's hip with his head on his father's shoulder. Once again, Grissom prayed that he would see his family again, even if it was just one more time…
"Yo, Brass!" Jim heard as he walked down the corridor to Grissom's office. He wanted to check up on Sara and the kids, before heading home for a much needed shower and some time with his own wife and kids. He turned to see Warrick rush towards him, with a smile on his face.
"What ya got, Rick?" Brass asked when the tall man caught up with him.
"I got the break we needed. Will you meet me in the A/V lab? I just need to round up the troops," Warrick said, slightly out of breath.
"OK, I'll go check up on Sara, and then I'll meet you there in say, ten minutes?" Brass said, looking at his watch.
"That's cool, man," Warrick said, then walked off, calling for Nick.
Brass knocked softly on Grissom's office door a few minutes later. He was surprised when Catherine opened the door; she put her finger to her lips signalling him to be quiet as she opened the door wider to let him in. The interior of the office was dark, with only small slits of light coming through the blinds. On the sofa was Sara, fast asleep with a blanket draped over her. Upon closer inspection, Brass could see the curly brown hair of his godson peep out next to Sara. Next to the sofa in the travel crib was little Taylor fast asleep as well, with her stuffed worm clutched tightly in her little arms. The worm had been a present from the team after she was born. Brass turned around to speak to his wife; instead he was grabbed in a huge hug. He held onto Catherine as she cried. The sobs making her thin shoulders shake. He rubbed her back, knowing that she just needed comfort now, words were not needed.
After a while she stopped crying and he pulled back a bit, to wipe the tears from her face with his thumbs.
"We might have a lead," he whispered. "Warrick said he found something, I don't know what it is. I'm not going to wake Sara up. Are you coming too or would you rather stay here?"
"You'll keep me posted?" Cath asked softly.
"You know I will," Brass replied, he bent down to plant a kiss on Cath's lips. "I'd better go; the boys are waiting for me." Cath nodded and after another hug, Brass headed to the A/V lab.
Nick looked up from the screen as Brass walked in. the older man looked tired, but then they all were. None of them had slept much these last two or three days and Nick knew none of them would, not until their boss was back.
"Hey, Jim. We got…," Nick started to say, but was cut off by a throat being cleared. He threw a glare at Warrick. "Okay, Warrick got surveillance that shows Grissom being taken."
"Really? Oh wow, this is the break we've been looking for!" Brass said as a big smile appeared on his face. "Is there anything on the guy that took him?" he asked looking at Archie.
"Oh yeah. We got a clear picture; Greg's running it now. We also got a clear shot of the van. We're just trying to clear up the image to get the license plate." Archie spoke without looking up from the screen, a small frown on his face from concentration.
Just then Greg came running in, a big smile threatening to take over his face.
"The bastard's name is Lionel Jacobs. He used to work at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. He was fired because he 'got a little too over-protective' with the exhibits and cause a fight or two according to his former manager. He was in the system because of assault charges. Apparently he beat up a father so bad he was in a coma for a week and a half. His daughter tripped and fell into one of the exhibits and caused some damage. The father wanted to pay for the damage and apologize, but management said it was an accident and they were repairing the exhibit in anyways that's why there wasn't any glass or anything around it, so no harm done. Lionel, however, did take offence to it and jumped the father in the parking lot," Greg said, leaving the rest of the group stunned.
"This guy sounds like a real psycho," Nick said.
"Yeah, he beat the father with his bare hands," Greg continued, then shuddered.
"Gotcha!" Archie shouted before Brass could say anything.
"What ya got, Arch?" Warrick asked.
"The license plate came back to a Melissa Danson. She owns the van that took Grissom. And I've got an address," Archie said excited.
"According to the rap sheet I got on Lionel Jacobs, he was in a relationship with a Melissa Daniels," Greg added.
"Ok, give me the address and I'll send a unit out to the house and we'll see what we get. In the meantime, keep digging. There must be something else," Brass said. He took the piece of paper that Archie handed him and headed towards his office.
Nick, Warrick, Greg and Archie looked at each other.
"Ok, Greg, you and Archie dig up everything on Melissa Daniels or Danson or whatever her name is that you can find. Warrick, you and I'll take Jacobs. We meet back here in one hour and then we see what we get," Nick said and after everyone nodded their agreement, they left to their own work.
Brass was barely out of the A/V lab when his phone rang. Looking at the caller ID, he recognized the number and beckoned an officer over while answering his phone.
"Dave, just hang on for a minute," Brass said, then turned to the officer he had beckoned over and gave him the address Archie had given him.
"Go over to this address and ask Miss Melissa Danson to join us in connection with a kidnapping case," Brass said and watched as the officer nodded and hurried off to do what his captain told him. Brass took a deep breath and spoke into his phone.
"I'm back; please tell me you've got something?" Brass asked.
"Hello to you too, Vecchio Amico*," Dave Rossi answered, "And to answer your question, yes, I've got something, but I'm afraid it's not what you wanted."
"Damn, well, something is better than nothing," Brass answered, dejected.
"The Exhibitioner has been on our radar for a few months, but we don't have anything to go on, so we don't have any proof that he actually exists. We've only got rumours," Dave said.
"You're right, it's not what I wanted," Brass replied.
"Well, what our brilliant computer tech could find out, is that is that this guy likes unique things and judging from his website, that includes people," Dave began before he was cut off by Brass.
"Wait, how do you know about the website?" Brass asked.
"Garcia, our tech, followed one of those rumours I told you about and came across a link. She hacked into the site and voila. Sorry I couldn't be more help on who the guy is, what I can tell you is about those other people and a possible link," Dave said.
"We've actually got a name on the guy, but not the other people. So there you might be of help. We checked the database, they weren't reported missing. We couldn't find anything on them. Do I even want to know how you got something on them?" Brass asked a little weary. He knew that Rossi worked for the FBI, he also knew, however, and that David Rossi had friends in low places.
"Nothing illegal so don't worry. The FBI has got a lot more resources than the LVPD, you know?" Dave said in an amused voice.
"Yeah, yeah. You gonna tell me what you found or are gonna continue to flap your lips?" Brass said, struggling to contain his smile.
"Ok, here goes, you ready?" Dave asked and continued when he was met with silence, "so the four other people on that website have not been reported missing, but they have disappeared. Plain and simple, they were loners and didn't have anybody to report them missing. It seems Bugs is the first one to be taken, that had a family. The link was actually a little weird, but here goes. They all had very uncommon jobs and blue eyes."
"Uncommon jobs?" Brass asked, "What does that have to do with anything?"
"Well you tell me," Dave said, "do you have any leads on who the kidnapper is?"
"Yeah, Lionel Jacobs. He used to work at the National History Museum as an exhibitioner. He specialized in exotic exhibits. According his file, he was very good at his job even if he was a little obsessive and over-protective. He got fired when he beat a guy half to death after the guy's daughter accidently fell over an exhibit that was being renovated."
Rossi gave low whistle and replied, "Yeah that might be what set him off. If he lost something that he considered his, he might go to extremes to get it back and I'm sure this falls under extremes."
"So because he couldn't do his thing in a museum, he decided to go find people and use them as exhibits?" Brass asked incredously.
"No, not just any person. It has to be someone that is special and unique. Was Bugs in the paper or on the news recently?" Rossi asked.
"Yeah, he was in the paper the day before he got kidnapped for solving the Highway serial killer case and they mentioned that whole nasty business with Ecklie, not the whole story mind you, just some of it," Brass said.
"Doesn't matter what was in the paper, if there was just a mention he would have caught it and as for any information, the internet can give a person a lot of information if you know where to look. Besides, Bugs fits the criteria," Rossi said with a speculative tone to his voice.
"What do you mean?" Brass asked, though he could guess the answer.
"He's an entomologist, that is a very uncommon job in itself, but he is also a CSI. How many CSI's are also entomologists? Not a lot, I'd bet. And he has blue eyes to top it off," Rossi explained.
"You keep mentioning something about uncommon jobs. How is that a link?" Brass asked, his tired mind struggling to keep up.
"When was the last time you slept?" Rossi asked amused.
"What's that? Something you can eat?" Brass answered.
"OK, got ya. Alright, old man, keep up with me here. The four victims we found on the website all had blue eyes as well as jobs that not a lot of people have, jobs like a wood pattern maker, an astronomer, a railway manager and a geographer** . It's weird, I know, but that's the only link we could see. Neither of these people has met each other as far as I know and they haven't crossed paths either. They all have been in Vegas though and have been in the paper and that, my friend, is the connection," Rossi finished off.
"Oh wow," Brass was speechless, but before he could say anything Nick came running into his office with Warrick hot on his heels.
"I think we know where Griss is!" Nick was practically shouting at the top of his lungs waving a folder in the air.
"Dave, looks like we got something here, I'll let you know if we get anywhere," Brass said.
"Ok, Jim, I'll be waiting for your call," David Rossi said and hung up.
"What have you got, Nick?" Brass asked getting up from behind his desk and reaching for the folder Nick was giving him.
"Well, we found out that being mental runs in the Lionel Jacobs' family. His grandfather was institutionalized because he kept saying that he sees monsters instead of people. He believed that they were alien spies sent here to abduct our women and enslave our children," Nick said, shaking his head.
"He's father was also in and out of the mental ward because of schizophrenia. He refused to take medication because he believed the doctors were trying to poison him to take his wife," Warrick told Brass.
"Yeah and his mom was prone to violent outbursts. The LVPD has records going back to the 1970s for domestic violence calls," Nick said.
"This is really fascinating, Nick, but how does this tell us where Bugs is?" Brass asked.
"Bugs?" Nick asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Grissom! Nick, I will tell you all about that nickname, but can you please just get to the point here," Brass said, his annoyance making the two younger men flinch.
"You're right. I apologize," Nick said. "Well, like I said his grandfather was institutionalized in the early 60's until the hospital closed in the early 80's. He died at Desert Palms in their psych ward in the 90's."
"We think that the hospital, which has been abandoned since its closure in 1983, would be the perfect place to hide out and keep hostages," Warrick finished their theory.
Brass was quiet for a while, studying the file he had in his hand. He looked up at the two young men in front of him.
"Well, this lead is as good as any and since we don't have any, we might as well go look," Brass said.
He picked up the phone and called dispatch to get SWAT and all the uniformed officers they could manage and then directed them to meet in 30 minutes in the squad room.
"Ok, let's get this show started," Brass said as he left his office and for the first time in the last couple of days, he felt like maybe, just maybe things might be ok.
Forty five minutes later saw a string of police cars race through the streets of Las Vegas, on their way to an abandoned mental institution a few miles out of town.
"Please just hang on, Bugs, there is a family waiting for you that needs you," Brass said as he led the way to hopefully save one of his oldest and best friends.
In the cars behind him, similar thoughts ran through the extended LVPD family.
In the abandoned hospital, unaware of the rescue mission that was underway, Grissom was praying for a reprieve. He was hanging by his arms and his back was raw. An hour ago The Exhibitioner had walked into the cell and dragged him out. He then strung Grissom up and started whipping him. Grissom had started giving up, he hung limply in the chains and his mind was foggy and he could swear he heard soft whispers around him. He was teetering on the edge on a very deep and unending abyss, but then a miracle happened, the most beautiful sound pierced his hearing…..sirens get louder, coming closer, salvation on the horizon.
All of a sudden the sirens ended with a screech of tires and silence reigned for a second before gunfire split the air. And that was the last Grissom heard before the darkness grabbed him in a tight grip.
*According to the internet this means "old friend' or rather it's supposed to*
**According to the internet, these are under the most uncommon and rare jobs in the world**
Oh wow, I cannot believe it took me so long to get another chapter up and I really hope that there are still people reading this. There will only be one more chapter after this. Thanks again for all the support and reviews I've gotten so far and I sincerely hope this chapter was worth the wait so please let me know what you think.
Thanks to my beta C. Nicole, I'm still looking for that island that's gonna get named after you.
CSI and all the recognisable characters do not belong to me, the story and the evil exhibitioner belongs to a planet called Fleasia, I just borrow them.
Look out for the next and last chapter of Because I Love You and a few one shots coming up soon.
Till next time,