Agent Silva had met them at the airport when they arrived in Mexico as promised. Nick sat up front whilst Doc Robbins sat in the back seat of the SUV as Silva drove into town in search of the morgue they would call their home for the next few days.|
"So, I've been reading up on the situation down here. The war between the drug cartels is really heating up and, from what I understand, the local police are in the cartel's pocket. Am I right?" Nick was attempting to gauge the situation they were heading into as he knew the world here was vastly different to Vegas. At least in Vegas, you could walk down the street with some sense of safety.
"One thing all sides agree on is that they despise outside law enforcement, Americans or Federales" Silva replied in a defensive tone. Nick knew he was directing that comment at them and projecting his personal opinion on them being there. Nick made a point of looking back at Robbins to give him a silent warning that they should watch their backs out here.
The uncomfortable drive down had remained silent since Nick's attempt at conversation had failed. Nick could sense that perhaps Silva wasn't happy with the situation and, therefore, not willing to play nicely whilst they were there. So in order to make the rest of the drive as easy as possible Robbins and Nick both decided to remain silent and take in their surroundings.
Nick was relieved to finally reach the morgue. The tension in the car wasn't getting any better and he needed the fresh air, or as fresh as the air could be outside the local morgue in this heat.
"Dr. Blanco? I'm Dr. Al Robbins, pathologist from the Las Vegas coroner" Robbins introduced them to the man at the door who was, at that moment in time, tipping the contents of a drain bucket into the garbage bin.
"Ah, Las Vegas", Dr Blanco replied with surprise, suggesting he hadn't expected anyone to be turning up today.
"Si, yo soy Nick Stokes con Las Vegas PD", Nick replied in Spanish out of respect for the man he was meeting.
"This about that girl?" Blanco replied.
"Yes sir, Anna Ortiz" Nick confirmed.
"What kind of budget do you have to work with out there in Las Vegas? You can travel the world just to be told in person to...go away?", Dr Blanco clearly wasn't going to be very accommodating as he turned and made his way back inside.
Nick watched as Robbins followed the man inside to try to reason with him, although for Nick the shocking state inside of the building drew his attention away from the conversation.
The room was small and dark, the only light was coming from the stained windows from one side and low hanging fluorescent lights that hummed over the mess of the room in the centre. Nick worked his way over to the first desk in the room and took a moment to assess the full extent of the chaos. There were files and documents covering every surface in the room, filing cabinets on the far side of the room, overflowing with paper and in no state of organisation. The smell in the room was equally as unnerving, the slight smell of human de-comp mixed with sterile bleach told Nick that the guy was making at least some effort to keep the place clean.
Nick was brought back to reality when the conversation moved into the next room at the back of the building through a set of double doors. Nick could make out the autopsy table which clearly indicated that the small room at the back was all this guy had to work with. Nick followed Silva and Robbins into the room but kept his distance whilst the two tried to convince Dr. Blanco to let them see Anna. Nick took another moment to observe the room as well and the state of the run down area which worried Nick. From a CSI's point of view this was going to be a difficult case to keep the evidence from being contaminated.
Eventually, after much effort and persuasion, Dr. Blanco finally agreed to let them see the body of the young girl and led Robbins and Nick into the cold store where he kept all the bodies. The smell hit Nick like a punch to the face and he had to cover his nose to keep himself from gagging.
Back in Vegas, Greg had just finished up at the morgue where the two cement covered bodies from his and Sara's crime scene had finally arrived. They had been called out to a small family home and when they arrived they discovered both a male and female victim moulded into a mountain of cement. Greg had determined that the garage floor where the couple were found had recently been covered over with expanding cement and, with the natural de-comp of the victims, the cement had pushed the bodies to the surface. They had also determined from the wounds on the bodies that they had both been shot but that the blood splattered at the scene determined that the victims were shot by a third person. Greg's original theory was that perhaps the male victim, Jeff, had killed his brother's wife in a murder-suicide attack. Sara picked his theory apart, which was always the case when he worked with the more experienced CSI. Greg had sulked off quite quickly after that. He wasn't having the best of days as it was and then Sara had to go and piss all over his theory.
Greg had made his way into the break room and dropped down into the closest chair and, with a huge sigh, he all but slammed his head down onto the table.
"Bad day at the office Greg?" Morgan's voice lifted Greg out of his slump and he straightened himself up as she sat down next to him.
"No more than usual in this job" Greg replied bitterly.
"Now, why don't I believe you?" Morgan smirked, trying her hardest to lift his spirits but when Greg didn't reply she pushed further "What's really bothering you?", she asked.
"Just having a bad day, that's all. I had a theory about this case me and Sara are working on and she picked it apart. Quite brutally I might add", Greg sighed and reached up to his neckline to play with the small charm that hung from a silver chain around his neck.
"You're worried about Nick, aren't you?" Morgan was so forward with her question that it took Greg by surprise.
"No, this has nothing to do with Nick..." he wasn't even convincing himself so God knows how he thought Morgan would fall for that.
"Yeah whatever, that nervous fidget you have there tells me otherwise," she pointed at Greg's hand as he pulled the charm back and forth around the chain, his hand increasing in speed as his agitation increased. Looking down at the chain he realised his mistake and stilled his hand.
"I'm pissed at him. He decides to go swanning off to Mexico without warning and into the middle of a drug war and expects me to just accept that" Greg lets it all out now, the anger he had built up since his last conversation with Nick finally starting to show through.
"I can see why that would piss you off, but he's only doing his job. You would do the same if someone asked you for their help." Morgan was right and Greg knew it, but it still didn't excuse the fact Nick had kept it from him.
"I know Nick though, give him any excuse to go down to Mexico and he'll take it..." Greg cut himself off he didn't want to start throwing out wild speculations about Nick but he could feel his sub conscious thoughts rising to the surface.
"Greg, are you suggesting he isn't going to come back?" Morgan was clearly surprised by the suggestion he hadn't quite voiced aloud.
"Kind of. I mean, what's stopping him? He loves it down there and for some reason Mexico and Nick Stokes just...fits, you know?!" Greg was trying to reason with himself but even he had to admit it was a stupid idea.
"What's stopping him? Hmmm let's think, try maybe his job, his life...you!" She listed off the reasons with such ease but Greg still wasn't convinced.
"It's not that easy Morgan. Nick and I, we've been having some problems lately and I don't know if what we once had is even there anymore", their arguments had grown more frequent over the last few months and it was eating away at Greg. What if this was it for them after nearly 8 years together? Was this how it was going to end?
"Greg, listen to me. When I first met you and Nick it was so obvious how much you loved each other, I've never seen anyone look at someone the way Nick looks at you and it gives me hope that maybe one day I'll find the same..." She paused and tried to hide from Greg's gaze "A love like that only comes around once in a lifetime, and trust me when I say it's worth fighting for." Greg watched her carefully, taking in every word she was saying. He had never realised how others saw their relationship from the outside...Maybe Morgan was right and it was worth fighting for.