Title: Learning to Fly

Author: Michmak

Summary: A new case proves interesting for the team; Sara and Grissom feel each other out; Catherine and Warrick start.something.

Disclaimers: Not mine. None of them. *SOB!*


"So, what do we have here?" Grissom's voice was oddly resigned as he surveyed the scene before him. A milieu of gawkers stood behind the yellow crime tape, watching with various degrees of avid curiosity as the paramedics worked frantically on the twisted form of the young man lying on the pavement.

Brass grunted, "Not sure yet. Original thought was we had a jumper, but he's still alive and if he'd jumped from the top of that-" he jerked his thumb over his shoulder to the 40 story hotel behind him, "he'd be a lot flatter."

"Yo, Grissom! What's up?" Nick had arrived, smiling easily at Brass before turning towards his supervisor.

Grissom looked at his watch, "I paged you 30 minutes ago - what took you so long?"

Nick sighed, and looked over Grissom's shoulder at Sara who was quickly approaching from the parking lot. "Sara and I were watching a movie at my place, and neither of us heard my pager. But I'm here now, and as an added bonus, Sara's here too."

Grissom frowned at this, and Nick was unsure whether it was because he hadn't heard the pager, because Sara had been at his place or because she was here now. Sighing at Grissom's silence, Nick ran a hand through his short hair roughly, and grimaced at Sara. "We're in shit, Sidle."

"Why?" Sara shot him her gap-toothed grin, "Hey Griss - what's going on?"

"Not sure yet," Nick couldn't help but notice Grissom's features smooth over when Sara spoke to him, and he tried to hide his amusement. Even Grissom was not immune to her, and where Nick loved Sara like a sister he was pretty sure for Grissom it was something more. "We're trying to figure out where the guy over there came from."

Sara and Nick both looked at the man lying on the pavement, blood seeping out around him. The paramedics were trying to stabilize him, placing an oxygen mask over his badly damaged face, monitoring his vital signs, and quietly trying to determine how to get him on the nearby gurney without injuring him further. From the awkward angle of the man's legs and arms, he had obviously broken several bones, and the concerned look on the paramedics' faces told their own story. Nick didn't think the man was going to survive.

"He jump?" Sara's tone was curt, and her eyes glanced upwards, flying to the rooftop before crashing back to the man bleeding out on the pavement.

"Brass says no - not flat enough," Grissom winced slightly as he said this, before turning to look at Brass and resuming the conversation they had been having before Nick had arrived. "So, if he didn't jump, where did he come from? This isn't ancient Greece, so I don't think he fell fully formed from the sky, dropped by Zeus. Do we have any witnesses?"

"Not really - a couple people who saw him hit, but no one who saw where he fell from. Poor bastard."

The four of them watched as the paramedics started barking tensely at each other, and Nick winced as he saw one of the paramedics try to perform CPR on the man. His chest was so pulpy, the slight pressure the paramedic applied caused it to ripple - their victim must have shattered every rib when he hit the pavement. Sighing sadly, Nick doffed his cap as he realized the man had flat lined. Looking at the mangled body, he knew the man had little to no chance of making it anyway, but he was saddened to realize the paramedics would be taking him to the morgue instead of the hospital.

Grissom stepped forward, motioning for Sara to grab the camera. "Please don't move the body anymore, gentlemen," he instructed the paramedics. "The area has already been compromised enough. Let us gather what evidence we can, and then you can take him to the morgue at the police station on Trop. Nick, call Doc Robbins and let him know we'll be sending him someone."

He coolly snapped on his latex gloves, "Can you tell me exactly how he was laying before you moved him?"

The larger of the two paramedics stood slowly, nodding grimly at Grissom, "Rick, fill out the time of death - where's the coroner?"

Grissom smiled slightly as David stepped forward, speaking quietly to the smaller paramedic - Rick - serious gaze quickly scanning over the body. He stepped towards the larger paramedic again, motioning for Nick to follow him. To his left, Sara was snapping photos.

"We only rolled him slightly on to his back to give us better access to his chest. His legs are in the same basic position, but he was twisted at the torso, his weight distributed mostly on his left shoulder and his left chest. His face was against the pavement."

As the paramedic spoke, hands indicating how the body had been lying, Nick shone his flashlight to the left of the body. "Griss - you can see where he hit. It's outlined in blood." Grissom merely nodded at him absently, and continued talking to the paramedic.

"Nick," Sara's voice made him start slightly - he hadn't realized he had walked into her shot, and he quickly stepped back.

"Sorry," he muttered, "You getting the blood stains?"

"Almost as good as chalk," Sara responded, "You almost done there, David? Can Nick and I move in?"

David smiled at Sara, that slightly dopey grin the coroner always got around her twisting his mouth, "Yeah. Time of death ruled at 8:30 pm. I'm surprised he survived the hit. See you back at the morgue, Sara."

Nick cocked an eyebrow at Sara, trying not to grin as David walked away, "See you back at the morgue, Sara," he mimicked, "oh - and bye, Nick."

Sara just rolled her eyes, "You're just jealous because he likes me better then you," she teased back, "admit it, Nick - you lurve him."

"My secret is out - hey, Sara - look at this guys' hands." Nick was suddenly serious, and he crouched beside the body, flashlight illuminating the back of his right hand. A vivid bruise stood in stark contrast against the pale skin just below the knuckles. Running across the back of his hand, the bruise was about an inch and a half thick.

Sara quickly snapped some photos. "Wonder what caused that?" she muttered. "Does he have similar markings on his left hand?"

Nick quickly checked, turning the hand slightly at the wrist, "Nothing."

"Nothing noticeable," Sara agreed. "Did anyone check this guy for ID?"

"I do not know. He doesn't appear to have any pockets for it." Nick frowned as he said this, studying the man's clothing. "What is this guy wearing?"

"Clothes," Grissom's dry voice broke into the conversation. Sara snorted.

"They're pretty tight. All black. No pockets. Not typical 'night on the town' clothing. Definitely not the Gap."

The three CSIs studied the clothing intently, trying to figure out what the guy was wearing. "They remind me of something," Nick offered, "I've seen clothes like this before." When Grissom looked at him, waiting for him to offer more, he shrugged. "It will come to me."

Nick left Sara and Grissom and went over to where Brass was standing, talking to a young couple. The girl was wearing a light suit jacket, obviously belonging to her date, and her eyes were red-rimmed from crying. Brass, for all his gruffness, was talking to her gently, trying to pry any undivuldged information from her.

"When did you first see him?"

"I already told you -"

"She already told you that!" the boyfriend's voice drowned hers out. "Why do you keep asking her these questions - us these questions? We told you what we know, which is nothing! Three steps further forward and he would have landed on us."

Brass grimaced, "Then you should be glad you weren't walking faster. Listen, Drew -right? Listen, we're just doing our jobs here. Sometimes, a witness will forget something. They might not think it's important, but it almost always is. So we need to ask you several times to make sure we're getting the entire story. So, Stacey - when did you first see him?"

"Just before he hit. I don't know what made me look up, because I don't think he was screaming on the way down, but one minute he was in the air, and the next minute - not," she finished weakly.

"That how you remember it, Drew?"

"He whistled when he went by. The air around him - whistled."

"Moving fast, was he? But you didn't see where he fell from?"

"I assume the roof of the hotel, but I didn't see. Where else could he have been?"

Brass shrugged, "Did you see anything else?"

The young man shook his head mutely, but the girl suddenly looked up, "Did you get his hat?"

Nick stepped in, "Hat? I was just over there, ma'am. He's not wearing a hat."

"He was - a dark one, like a watch cap. It flew off when he hit the sidewalk."

Nick sighed and looked at Brass, "I'll go and look." He headed back to the body, noting that the crowd, which had already been large when they had arrived, had grown exponentially. Bunch of pissant gawkers, he thought to himself. He wanted to tell them to get moving, that this was a real crime scene, not NYPD Blue, but he didn't.

"Hey, Gris! One of our witnesses says he was wearing a hat - dark watch cap. You guys see it?"

Grissom cocked an eyebrow and shook his head. "Momentum."

He turned to look at the body again, and Nick looked with him, running over in his mind where the body had lain when it hit. "You think it went out into the street?"

Grissom shrugged. "How long has that vehicle been there?" he indicated the Miata parked against the curb, about four feet from the impact site.

Nick grinned as he shone his light under the body of the car, "Long enough. Hand me a bag?" Lying on his stomach, he scooched forward, snagging the cap easily before sliding back and depositing it in the evidence bag Grissom was holding. The two men held the bag up, squinting at it against the bright lights of the strip.

"Black. Black cap. Black shirt. Black pants. Black sneakers. Victim fell from a fair height - not the roof, but no balconies, and no reports of broken windows." Nick turned his flashlight on again, sweeping it slowly up the side of the building, "I got a theory, Grissom," he muttered as he studied the beam, inching slowly from window to window. He paused as his light illuminated -something- against the tinted glass, drifting back over and sticking about 40 feet up. "Suction cups - heavy duty. We got ourselves a cat burglar."


Author's Notes:

Okay, okay. I know I'm still working on TIN MAN. I understand this. But I lost some of it the other day, and have to re-group and re-write. I decided to start this - not a continuation of anything, but it's been kicking around in my notes and needed to be started.