Pairing: Nick Stokes/Greg Sanders
Summary: Season 7 finale Living Doll and Season 8 opener Dead Doll rewritten for Nick and Greg.
Author's Notes: There are some tweaks to the timeline of how everything happened, but hopefully it's smooth enough to not be noticed and it's been so long that no one else remembers exactly how it should go (I sure didn't until I re-watched the eps).
When Catherine stepped into the crime lab, she headed straight for the break-room Teenage daughters seemed to require more coffee to deal with the older they got. She passed Nick, who was on his phone and frowning, and seemed to be leaving a message for someone as he went in the other direction. Warrick was already seated at the table, finishing what looked like it had been a sandwich of mammoth proportions.
“Hey Cath. What's going on?”
“Not much. Between Lindsay and her school dramas and Grissom taking me to interview Natalie Davis's father and his creepy doll, I'm going to be refilling many more times before the night is out.”
“Any closer to actually finding who she is?”
“Not since I last spoke to Grissom. Hopefully we'll get an update soon. She's not a ghost, she has to be somewhere.”
Nick wandered back in, typing on his phone before sliding it back in his pocket. “Warrick, we've got a DB. You want to drive?”
“Sure. We might get there on time.”
“He's dead, there is no on time.” They left, bickering amiably and Catherine shook her head as Sara strolled in.
“Oh, is there coffee? Is it fresh?”
“Yes, and I have no idea.”
Sara grinned and seemed to decide to risk it. She sat down across from Catherine and was about to take a sip when Grissom rushed across the doorway. Her head cocked and she stood up. It reminded Catherine of a puppy listening for something only it could hear. Sara drifted out to the hallway and Catherine stood up to follow her, watching Grissom turn and spot them.
“Another miniature's been delivered. It was on my desk when I got in.”
“What is it?” Catherine asked. She put her cup down on the nearest surface and followed him to his office.
“I haven't looked at it closely yet. So far it's a car in the desert.” He led them in and shut the door. Catherine peered at the model on the desk. It was a car in the desert, but more accurately an overturned car, crashed and wrecked.
“What's that?” Sara pointed at a moving piece.
“It looks like a... like a hand.” Catherine squinted at the tiny piece moving minutely. Grissom reached into her field of vision with a gloved hand and carefully tried to lift the car. It came up off the base and revealed a figure laying on the ground, pinned under the car, with only it's hand having been visible. Horrifyingly, it wore a CSI vest and they all looked at each other, collectively holding their breaths as Grissom gently picked it up.
“It's Greg!” Sara exhaled. Grissom held it under a lit magnifying glass.
“It is. Catherine, Sara, find Greg. He hasn't shown up for shift yet. I'm going to try and track down Natalie.”
The two women sped out of the office. Sara was already dialling her phone, but her face drew in as she listened, then hung up. “No answer.”
“Maybe he's driving.”
“He has bluetooth.”
“Maybe he's sick. Maybe he got food poisoning or really hungover and is sleeping it off.”
“We'll check with Judy and see if he called in sick.” As they walked, Sara tried dialling him again. “Hey Greg, it's Sara. Call me as soon as you get this. It's important.” She hung up as they reached the front desk.
“Judy, has Greg Sanders called in sick?”
“Greg?” The redhead frowned. “No, he hasn't. Is he okay? He's usually so good about that stuff. I mean, when he ever takes time off. You guys never stop working.”
“Thanks.” Catherine turned to Sara and they started to drift away. “We'll head over to his place and check. Just to be sure.”
“Wait, I don't have his new address.”
“He moved? I thought he was still in that apartment off Dennison.”
“No, he took a day off to move a few months ago. I haven't been by yet. We really do work a lot.” Sara felt a pinch of guilt. She'd been so wrapped up in spending her off-work time with Gil that she hadn't realised how much time had passed.
They headed back to Judy. “Judy, we need Greg's new address. He updated it when he moved, didn't he?”
“He did. But, I don't think I'm allowed to give it to you...” Judy chewed her lip. “It's against the privacy rules.”
“Please, Judy,” Sara put in. “I promise we won't tell anyone how we got it, but it's really important.”
Relenting, Judy copied it off the computer and handed it to them. “Thank you,” Catherine said emphatically and they took off.
Catherine pulled the Denali up behind what Sara assumed was Greg's car in the driveway and slammed her hand on the steering wheel. Sara checked the address in her hand unnecessarily before they climbed out and retrieved their kits, but it was pretty easy to figure out where to start.
Greg's keys lay on the ground beside his cell phone, on the driver's side. Sara already had her camera in hand and started snapping pictures. When she was done, Catherine picked up the phone to bag it. “Eight missed calls. Most recent one is from you” she commented as she slid it into the evidence bag, but held on to the keys. “We might need these to get inside. I doubt Greg would like us bashing the door in.”
Sara nodded and kept photographing, her lips pressed together in a thin line. She and Catherine methodically processed Greg's car and the area around it, taking prints from the door handle and any place the miniature killer might have touched. Catherine bent to inspect a piece of metal glinting in her flashlight's glow and lit up what looked like a barb.
“Is that from a Taser?” Sara asked, taking a photo of it before Catherine picked it up.
“I think it is. That must be how she incapacitated someone much larger than her to get him in her car.”
Finally, they stowed the last of their evidence in the back of the SUV and they looked at each other.
“Should we check the house?” Catherine asked.
“I guess so. We would for anyone else.” They picked up their kits again and headed to the front door. The women looked at the house for a long moment before Catherine tried the keys until she found the right one. They entered together, flashlights on and already sweeping across the room.
“Not quite what I would have pictured,” Catherine commented as their lights revealed a neat living room with a couch, bookshelves and some framed photos on the walls.
“I don't think he's here on his own,” Sara replied, running her flashlight over two coffee cups on the counter and two of the chairs at the kitchen table not so neatly tucked in as the other two.
Catherine drifted down the hallway as Sara gave the living room a proper look. The newspaper sat on the coffee table and was in two piles, sports and entertainment. It shared space with TV Guide and a copy of the latest Forensics Journal. Sara's eye was drawn to the photos on the mantle and bookcase. She had to admit to a certain amount of curiosity about the girl who was up to living with Greg.
She played her flashlight over the pictures. There was one of the whole team over breakfast one morning after shift, another of Greg with what looked like his parents, one of Nick and Greg hanging out at the beach, another one of Nick and Greg with a woman who looked a lot like Nick and three kids that looked like her, and one of Greg with his eyes closed and his face turned into Nick's neck. Nick was looking down at Greg with a soft look on his face and the penny dropped for Sara.
Catherine came back into the living room with a puzzled look on her face. “I've got two sets of men's clothing in the bedroom and absolutely nothing girly in the bathroom. Did you know that Greg wasn't straight?”
Sara shook her head. “No idea. But, I think I know who he's living with.” She held up the photo and Catherine crossed the living room to take it from her.
“Nicky? Our Nick?” She stared at the photo, then up at Sara.
“I guess Greg's not the only who can keep things quiet,” Sara remarked.
“Oh, god, what do we do?” Catherine looked stricken. “How do we tell Nick that Greg's missing? He's still in the field with Warrick, but as soon as he gets back to the lab, someone will tell him and they don't know-.” She looked distressed and Sara felt her stomach lurch. She knew how she'd feel if something happened to Gil.
“We get back to the lab,” Sara said decisively. “There isn't anything evidence-wise in here and we can come back if we need to.” Sara picked up her case and she and Catherine hurried out to the car. Catherine drove like a maniac back to the lab and Sara even briefly considered flicking on the sirens.
They blew through the lab and found Grissom in the layout room, with the latest miniature on the table and the magnification up on a screen.
“Is Nick back?” Catherine asked.
“No, he's still in the field with Warrick.” Grissom gave them a puzzled look. “Did you find anything at Greg's? Any clues?”
“Maybe the barb from a Taser. I'm going to drop it with Hodges and see what he can find on it. Greg's phone, but I don't think that will give us too much.” Catherine put it and the other evidence bags on the layout table.
“Okay, keep going. We're still trying to track Natalie Davis down.” Grissom turned back to the miniature and the two women left him to it.
They lucked out when they found Nick. He was going over some crime scene photos alone in one of the workrooms and he flashed them a grin over his shoulder as they entered.
“To what do I owe the pleasure?” His smile turned puzzled when Sara shut the door behind her and he turned around to lean back on the table.
“Another miniature was delivered to the lab,” Catherine said, trying to ease into it. “This time it's targeting a CSI.”
Nick raised his eyebrows. “Me? Are you serious?” he asked, only half joking.
“No, Nicky.” Catherine took a breath. “It's Greg.” Nick's jaw clenched as she continued. “We found his keys and phone beside his car in his driveway an hour ago.”
Sara saw the muscles in Nick's forearms clench as he gripped the table's edge behind him, but when he spoke, Nick's voice was steady. “Okay. Okay, you tell Warrick and I'll be there as soon as I get these filed.”
Catherine placed a hand on his arm. “Nick, it's okay. If you need some time...”
“Time? Why would I need time? What I need is to get this done so I can help you guys find Greg.” Nick turned back to the photos on the table, his shoulders a hard line.
“How long have you been together?” Sara asked, speaking for the first time.
“Together? What are you talking about?” Nick turned around. The jumble of emotions in his eyes made Sara's heart hurt.
“We were at Greg's house - your house,” she continued. “While we were searching, you know what it's like, we saw the photos, the bedroom...”
“It's okay, Nicky,” Catherine added gently, stroking his shoulder. “We won't tell anyone else if you don't want us to, but we wanted you to hear this in private.”
Sara put her hand on the doorknob and Catherine turned to follow her.
“Three years, nearly,” Nick said from behind them. He turned back to his photos. “We've been together almost three years.”
Catherine's eyes were damp as Sara finally opened the door and they left the layout room.
“We need to find Warrick and then see if Grissom has anything new,” Sara said as they strode down the hallway together.
“I think he's going over the tox and trace for his and Nick's DB. Three years,” Catherine said suddenly, quietly. “Nick and Greg, for three years? How did we never notice it? How did none of us even know they were gay, let alone a couple?” she finished, barely above a fierce whisper.
Sara shrugged. “Greg would have stopped in the lab around then. He'd had the lab accident and then started transitioning into a CSI. Maybe we all just chalked any changes up to that.”
They dropped it as they entered the trace lab to fill Warrick in. He kicked a desk when Catherine told him and promised to join them as soon as he could. Grissom rushed up to them as they rounded the corner back to his office. “We've got it. She works for us.”
“What?” Sara exclaimed.
“She's on the janitorial staff,” Grissom finished. “We found out she had a sister who died, a father who didn't cope and the bleach starts from there,” he told Sara.
Catherine shivered. “Uh, that creepy little doll.”
Grissom looked at her. “What did you say?”
“The doll the father had in his act. I know it probably has a name, but it was creeping me out.”
“Not your little bisque doll.”
“I'm sorry?” Catherine looked at him as he turned and hurried for his office. Sara and Catherine exchanged looks and followed. He was scrolling madly through one of the sites Sara recognised he'd been looking at while making his model of the office. He stopped and pointed to the screen as he picked up the phone. The profile was for Noturlittlebisquedoll.