Catherine sat on the edge of the windowsill, staring at Las Vegas. Dawn had risen as it always did, uncaring that Greg hung on a thin thread between life and death. The sound of the respirator mechanically breathing for him was hypnotic and had lulled her into sleep for an hour. The soft steps of a nurse coming in to check on him woke her. She couldn’t bring herself to leave even to eat.
Catherine turned, surprised to find Lindsay standing by her. Grissom stood behind her. Catherine stood and hugged Lindsay, and then Grissom. He surprised her by how tightly he hugged her back
“I stopped by your place and Lindsey asked to see him. I hope it was okay,” Grissom told her as she stepped back.
Catherine let go, smiling at her daughter. She couldn’t be any happier to see her child alive and healthy. She ran her fingers down her face, getting a bright smile in return.
“Of course it is. Why don’t you talk to him for a while? I need to talk to Gil.”
“Is he awake?”
“No. But I’m sure he can hear you.”
Lindsey walked over to Greg. Catherine and Grissom left the ICU room. It opened into a central area with a circular desk in the middle. The nurses watched their critical patients from here, able to move to save their lives within seconds.
“Have you been able to find who did this?” Grissom asked.
She shook her head. “All I know right now is it was two teenagers, Gil.” It made her as angry to tell Grissom that as it had when Nick had told her. “Two teenagers! What the hell?”
He watched her. Grissom reached out and laid his hand on her arm. “You have to stay focused, Catherine. He needs you to.”
She started crying. “I want to kill them!”
Grissom held her. He’d never voice it, not even to Sara, but on the long flight from Rio de Janeiro to Las Vegas, he’d been having the same thought.
Robbins snapped X-rays up on the light board. He picked up the medical file from a nearby table before turning to Nick, Langston, David, and Ecklie.
“Doctor Ian’s report is just preliminary. Until the autopsy, I—”
“Doctor Robbins, let’s focus on what’s here, not what you’re hoping you’ll get,” Ecklie snapped.
“I’m not hoping I’ll get anything.”
“Then stop killing Greg before he’s dead!”
Langston, Nick, and David stared at the two, stunned to see either man fighting.
“I didn’t mean it like that. I simply meant—”
“Until autopsy? That doesn’t mean anything?”
“It just meant—”
“STOP IT!” David snapped, surprising everyone. He snatched the file away from Robbins and threw it open. “Doctor Ian reported that during post-surgery he found more coagulation around the wounds on the lower extremities. Those wounds would have occurred first.”
Robbins and Ecklie put their fight aside for the moment.
Nick referred to the case file he held. “There was less blood in the basement and it had dried completely before we got there. The directionality of the blood trail on the steps only goes up a few steps, but it indicates upward movement.”
“So he was attacked in the basement,” Langston surmised. “Probably was unconscious, and then went upstairs. Right?”
David flipped the page. “After that, he can’t tell what order the injuries occurred. He found trace in the head wounds that he sent to us.”
“I got that back,” Langston said. “It was ceramic tile that matched the tile in the bathroom. I found chips in the floor tiles where the weapon hit. Most likely the transfer happened during the attack.”
“That’s all his preliminary says. The list of injuries is two pages long.” David flipped past them to the last page. “Swelling of the brain continues. Hematoma presumed cause for patient becoming comatose at fourteen hundred and twelve hours.”
David walked up to the light board and referenced the notes as he continued. “He says there were cleaved indentations on the skull and several bones at least seven millimeters deep. He believes a crowbar or similar tool was used to cause the most injury. Conrad, didn’t you find a crowbar with Greg’s DNA on it?”
“Yes,” he answered.
“Donald’s prints were on it. Hodges also matched the blood and hair on it to Greg,” Langston answered.
David turned back to the report. “He found one gunshot wound, lower abdomen and was able to recover the bullet for us. Catherine’s signature is here, so she must have taken it to Bobby. He lists the meds he has him on and the last entry…” David flips the pages back and shuts the file. “Okay. So that’s it.”
“What’s on the last page?” Robbins asked.
“David, what is on the last page?” Ecklie demanded.
David looked at him, then the C.S.I. in turn. “Mortality is highly probable.”
“No. Not Greg. He’s a tough kid,” Nick said.
“Nick, he has—” Langston began.
“NO!” Nick stormed out of the morgue, adding, “I’m not letting another friend be murdered, damnit! DAMNIT!”
He shoved the door so hard it slammed against the wall.
Silence fell for several seconds. Ecklie finally turned and left.
“May I review the file?” Langston asked.
David gave it to him and he left too. Robins and David stood for several minutes.
“Thank you for stopping that argument,” Robbins told David. “I don’t know what got into me.”
“I do. And you’re welcome,” David answered. “I need some air.”
David left Robbins alone. The old physician walked over to a stool and sat down. He closed his eyes, and let himself cry. In his heart he knew they were going to another funeral for another co-worker fallen in the line of duty.
Bobby pulled the pistol from the bag, examining it. Fingerprint dust drifted from it – the one thing he hated about Ecklie’s cases was he always went powder happy.
He gently tapped the gun and when he was satisfied he’d gotten most of the powder off, he ejected the clip and loaded three bullets. Bobby moved to the bullet tank and put his hand in. He called clear, fired the bullets, and then put the gun back in the evidence bag. Bobby fished out the bullets and moved over to a microscope. He’d just sat down when the door opened. Catherine walked in, stopping to put on gloves.
“Is this was Officer Carson’s sidearm?” She pointed at the one he’d just fired.
“Yeah.” Bobby turned back to work.
“I brought this from the hospital.”
Bobby turned, looking at the bullet in the clear bag she held up.
“How is he? I haven’t heard much.”
Catherine smiled trying to force back the tears. They came anyway. Bobby put his arm around her shoulders.
“He’s not going to make it,” Catherine whispered.
“You don’t know that.”
“Bobby…” She stepped back, looking him in the eyes. “He won’t survive this, Bobby. He wants to live, I know he does, but…”
“Hey. Hey, now.” Bobby laid a hand on her hair. “Let’s not give up on him until we have to, okay? Give him a chance, give him hope.”
“He’s in a coma. He doesn’t know—”
“Have faith, Catherine. You gotta have faith in our friend. He is our friend, isn’t he?”
“Then don’t give up on him until the time comes you haven’t gotta choice.”
“Good. Now let’s talk bullets, okay?”
She nodded, smiling a little more. Bobby picked up the bag and walked over to the comparison microscope.
“You know this is going to take a while, Catherine.”
“I’ll wait. I can’t go back and I don’t want to go home.”
“What about Lindsay?”
“Grissom is here. She’s staying with him.”
“How’s he handling it?”
“The way Grissom always has.”
Bobby understood. “If you want to, you can do the comparison samples from the pistol.”
“Sure.” She got up and walked over to the second evidence bag.