Greg walked up to the door of the
apartment and stopped, making Catherine run into him. She stepped around to
stand next to him. Brass stopped behind him, watching the two.
“Problem?” she asked.
“If I go in first, I have bad luck. If I go in last, I have bad luck. If I work with the suspect, I have bad luck. If I work with the dead person, I have bad luck. What’s left?”
“Maybe you should try going home and see if your luck changes.”
Greg shot her a dark glare. She smiled.
“I’m just saying,” she said, walking into the apartment.
“I’ll go in last and keep your ass keep your ass covered,” Brass said from behind Greg.
He turned and Brass smiled.
“Oh great, you too! Thanks, Jim. Some friend you are!” Greg entered the apartment.
Brass began telling them about the call as they entered. “Neighbors heard screaming and called the manager, who called us, then came up to check on the tenant by himself. This is what he found.”
There was blood splattered everywhere.
“No victim?” Catherine said.
“I didn’t see any when I arrived,” Brass said.
Catherine slowly looked back at Greg.
“What?” he asked.
“Any room you haven’t worked so far that wasn’t bad luck?”
“Or that didn’t have a seven-year-old kung fu master?” Brass added as he wandered toward the kitchen.
Greg’s lips rolled into a sneer. He stormed toward the door. “Fine. I’ll wait in the hall. You process this place yourselves.”
“Greg, we were joking,” Catherine told him.
“NO! I’m done! I’ve had a lousy night, I’m tired, I hurt, and all you people can do is make fun of me. I'm going back to the lab. You can deal with this yourself, Catherine!”
Catherine followed him. “It was just a joke, Greg! Stop being so sensitive.”
As Greg passed the entryway closet, a twenty-year-old woman sprang out, wildly wielding a meat cleaver and screaming like she was being murdered. He had just enough time to drop his kit and throw up his left arm to protect his throat and face. The woman brought the blade down, slicing across his hand, stopping just short of slitting his wrist open.
Catherine drew her gun, screaming, “STOP!”
That brought Brass and the uniform from the hall, guns drawn and prepared to shoot.
However, the woman stopped moving forward. Instead, she continued swinging the knife menacingly and inches from Greg’s face.
Screaming she commanded, “OUT! OUT SATAN! I COMMAND THEE OUT!”
Greg stared at her for a minute. Then all his anger and embarrassment and pain balled his right hand into a fist and he clocked her with a right hook. The hit knocked her off her feet and unconscious. Greg stared at her, oblivious of blood dripping from his hand and staining the carpet.
The C.S.I.’s reaction stunned everyone, but they were not surprised when Greg suddenly careened into a long-time-coming meltdown.
Bursting into tears he wailed, “My hand’s bleeding, Catherine, and I hurt everywhere and everyone is making fun of me and I just punched a girl and I— I— I QUIT!”
Catherine holstered her gun and walked up to him. She held her arms open and let him cry on her shoulder. She slid an arm around him and the two walked toward the door.
“We’re heading back to the hospital, Jim. Will you call Ecklie and have this case assigned to swing?”
“Sure,” Brass answered.
When the two had gone, Brass and the officer looked down to Alice.
Brass ordered, “Handcuff her. She fell and got that nasty bruise when she hit the door edge.”
“Got it.” The officer looked up at Brass. “I heard that kid has had a pretty horrible night. He looked it too.”
“It was good that he tried to tough it out. Good character.”
“Sometimes it’s tougher to admit defeat and just go home and sleep it off,” Brass said, “but that doesn’t make him any less of a good kid.”
The officer smiled, nodded. He pulled out his handcuffs off his belt and knelt down to cuff the woman.
Nick walked into the hotel room behind Grissom and let out a sigh. His suspect lay on a bed with two wounds to the chest. Nick walked up to the edge, staring at the body. Grissom walked over and spoke for a couple minutes with an officer, and then joined Nick.
“Are you okay?”
“You wanted to bring him in, didn’t you?”
“There’s more to this, Grissom. He was key to figuring out what was going on in that house.”
“It just means we have to find the evidence in here.”
Nick looked around the messy hotel room. “That could be a while.”
“We have nothing but time,” Grissom said as he walked away. “David should be here soon.”
Nick looked at him, thinking, ‘We’re running out of time.’ He sat his kit on a chair, pulled his Maglite off his belt, and started through the room.
Greg sat on the edge of the ER exam bed holding his hand in his lap. He’d managed to wrap it on the way over, but blood had soaked through the bandage and he grimaced every time he flexed it. Catherine stood across from him, watching him. She couldn’t remember when she’d seen him so angry.
Doctor Baker stepped between the curtains and gripped her chart with both hands. Catherine didn’t look at her.
“It wasn’t even a full hour, Mister Sanders,” Baker told him
He held out his bandaged hand to her. “Just… Fix it.”
She walked over and unwrapped his hand, looking over the cut. She looked him in the eye.
“You’re going to need at least ten stitches here. It’ll hurt like hell if you don’t get a local anesthesia.”
“So give me the anesthesia and fix it.”
“The anesthesia’s gonna come at a price.”
“You will go home and you will stay home for no less than five days. And if I see you back in this ER in the next three days as a C.S.I., injured on the job, I will call up whoever I need to in order to have you put in the psych ward for a two week psyche evaluation. I’ll tell them that Greg Sanders clearly has lost his sanity, because even though the signs that he should have went home tonight were covering his body, he didn’t!”
Greg stared at her. “That’s unethical.”
“I never said I was ethical.”
“She’s the boss,” he motioned at Catherine.
“If it will make him go home, I’m not objecting,” Catherine told Baker.
“Deal?” Baker asked Greg again.
“This hurts and won’t stop bleeding you know.”
Greg gritted his teeth, glaring at both women. But his hand hurt, his head hurt, his butt hurt, and they weren’t about to back down.
Through his teeth he snarled, “Fine! Deal.”
She wrapped his hand with the old bandages.
“I’ll be back in five minutes. Keep it elevated.”
Baker left. Catherine stepped toward him and he held up his other hand, motioning her to stop.
“Go away, Catherine,” he told her.
“Greg—” she began.
“I don’t wanna talk about it.”
“I just want to say—”
“I really don’t want to talk about it.”
Catherine stopped talking for a moment. “Do you really want me to leave?”
Greg dropped his hand, starting to tear up. She sat down on the bed next to him and put an arm around his shoulders. Greg laid his throbbing head on her shoulder, letting the tears come.
“Oh Greggo… You hung in longer than I would have. But now, let’s just let the universe have its way and call it a night, okay?”
Greg answered with a soft sob.
Nick was waiting for a hit on another set of fingerprints – the sixth set he’d found at the crime scene. It was a hotel room; this was like searching for a contact lens on the freeway!
“Nick,” Grissom said as he walked up.
Nick looked back, and then slowly rose from his chair. Following Grissom was the DEA officer and several FBI agents.
He glanced back when the computer beeped, and a face appeared.
“The FBI has taken over this case. I need you to collect all your evidence and—”
“No!” Nick looked at him, then the DEA agent. “You let her get hurt! You were supposed to be protecting her!”
Grissom started, “Nick, we—”
“The man that nearly killed her is dead. Did you do that?” Nick asked.
The woman frowned at him. “No, Mister Stokes. We don’t—”
“I don’t believe you. You stood by and did nothing. Why wasn’t she wired? Shouldn’t she have been wired?”
“This isn’t your case anymore, Mister Stokes. Prepare your evidence and release it. Now.”
“You can’t tell me what to do.”
“I can.” Grissom snapped.
Nick looked at him. “Grissom, we ca—”
“Nick, you will gather your evidence, all of it, and you will hand it over. Now.”
Nick looked back at the face on the screen. He slowly nodded. Grissom turned and left with the DEA agent. He looked around and spotted a file box. He snatched it up and started dumping files, evidence containers, and photographs in it. If they wanted, they were going to have to sort out the details themselves. One of the FBI agent walked up to him.
“If you need to step outside, I can secure the area.”
“I got it,” Nick bit back.
“If you damage any of the evidence—”
Nick looked up at him. “Are you going to go after whoever killed her rapist?” Nick asked him.
The man stared back. He didn’t answer.
Nick reached over to the scanner without looking, and swept the prints into the box with one arm.
“If you’ll stop and put your files together, if you’ll pack all your evidence carefully… I give you my word I’ll keep this case open and I will personally hunt down whoever ordered the hit,” the FBI agent promised.
“You expect me to just believe you?”
The man stepped into Nick’s space, looking him in the eye. In a low voice he said, “There is so much happening right now that I can’t tell you about, Stokes. I’m sorry about that because you care so much for Mason, I can see that. But you have got to believe me that this case does not end with you, so you’re going to pack that box so I can use your work to continue this case. Understand?”
“Fine,” Nick growled.
“You sure you don’t want some help?” the agent asked.
“I said I got it, okay?” Nick snapped.
The man held up his hands, backing away. Nick pulled everything out and started organizing the box better. There was a flicker of hope that this agent was being honest with him, and Mason would get her justice.