Jim Brass helped the nightshift supervisor load the last of the evidence into the back of the Denali. "So you want to tell me why you didn't call any of your posse to help you with this? I would have thought with the cases tonight that at least one of the ladies could have been spared to help you out?"

Before he'd half finished, Grissom was shaking his head. "I don't want Catherine or Sara anywhere near this!" At the detective's surprised look, the entomologist sat down on the tailgate, scrubbing at his face in agitation. "You weren't in Vegas when the original 'Doktor' was on his spree . . . I'd only been here a year, and I still wasn't used to the amount of gawkers that would show up at scenes in this city. We didn't have the tape back far enough, and the crowd could see everyone we had working the scene. One of the officers was a bright young woman who liked helping out the 'geek squad' . . . Laurel Johnson . . ." Sad blue eyes looked up at the stars overhead. "She fit the profile for Jean-Baptiste's victims – blonde, petite, lived alone – and she was his tenth kill."

Closing his eyes, Brass winced; he knew the pain of losing a fellow officer on the job. By the time he'd opened them again, Grissom had regained his feet and was closing the hatch.

"I won't risk the chance this copycat will go further off-script than he already has. I'll talk to dispatch after I check in the evidence – and I'll make sure the guys know to keep an extra eye on the gals."

"Oh, they'll love that!" Brass snarked, knowing how independent both the ladies of the nightshift were.

"I can handle them being mad at me," Grissom rejoined tiredly, moving around to climb into the driver's seat. "But I won't risk their lives for their pride." Then, with a nod to the detective, he drove off.


Sitting in his darkened office, Grissom futilely massaged his temples – the headache had gained too much ground to stave off much longer. He just hoped he could prevent it turning into a migraine. Catherine's tirade had been expected, though he thought slamming his office door in her pique had been a bit much. The mixture of emotions from Sara had also been expected: puzzlement, concern, irritation and a brief flash of anger all shone in her dark brown eyes before she, too, had left the meeting, Nick and Warrick trailing almost sheepishly after her, closing the door softly behind them.

With shift drawing to a close, the graveyard supervisor was trying to summon enough energy to head home, and wondering if he'd have the company he so needed right now. Sighing, he closed his eyes for a moment, pondering the facts that he had so far . . . then shook his head in frustration. Until Doc finishes the autopsy, I'm just guessing. And with a gang shootout from Days, and the traffic fatalities that the team was dealing with, Al won't have her done until tomorrow.

A subtle change in the air around him, accompanied by a tingle up his spine, told him that she'd returned. A soft smile curled his lips, and he whispered her name. "Sara."

"That's me," she murmured, her husky voice gentle and low. "Ready to head home?"

"More than." Rising to join her at the door, he added in a whisper, "I just wasn't sure it would be with you." He wrapped his arm around her waist as they headed toward the parking lot.

Sara waited to answer until she had him in the passenger seat of her Prius. "I thought about that, briefly," she admitted, heading in the direction of his townhouse. "But I stopped in the morgue–"

"To make sure this wasn't a repeat of the Marlin case?" Grissom smirked at the glower she shot him. Her muttered, "Witchcraft." made him chuckle and squeeze her hand lovingly.

"Anyway, while I may not like having the guys 'babysit' me, I understand your concern, and I won't fight it – as long as you don't shut Catherine and I out of this completely."

An eyebrow arched in amusement at the vehemence of her tone, but he gently nodded in agreement.

"We'll be home soon . . . just rest, Bugman."


"Will you need your migraine pills?" Sara asked, eyeing the tired man worriedly as they slowly wended their way up the front walk.

"No, I think I'll be alright with–" Stopping abruptly, Grissom was suddenly very alert, eyes staring at his front door . . . which was slightly ajar.

Before either of them could react further, squealing brakes sounded behind them, and the area was bathed in flashing blue and red lights.

Grissom turned, his body between Sara and any oncoming threats, only to see a pissed off Jim Brass barreling toward them.

"Don't either of you answer your goddamn phones?!" the detective growled.

The entomologist's hand dropped to his belt before he remembered he'd left both his phone and pager on his desk; at the same time the brunette was pulling her silenced phone from her purse. "Mine's on vibrate . . ." she winced, seeing the numerous missed calls.

As the homicide captain's eyes swept over the pair, he glimpsed the open door, and realized he'd caught the couple before they'd had a chance to reach it. Pulling his pistol, he signaled the officers that had held back until now to join him. "Gil, Sara, go wait by the cars," he ordered.


AN: Sorry for the long wait, hoping the next part will be up faster!