CSI
Know Your Victim by Sirrah [Reviews - 2]
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Notes: Big thanks to all of my reviewers… I can't say that I wouldn’t write if it weren’t you guys, but I can say that I write at least twice as fast when I know people actually wait updates ^_^

Chapter 6

“Alexx, I heard we had an ID”, Horatio said, rushing to the morgue very un-coolly and un-Horatio-like, his Las Vegas colleagues following only one step behind.

“No. We have a possible ID. I’m checking it right now”, Alexx said, without turning around to face Horatio, while going through a file cabinet. Taking out one file and closing the cabinet behind her, she walked to light table and put an x-ray photo next to one that looked like a male tibia.

“I thought we had somebody here to ID the body?” Horatio said questioning.

“Well for once your thought was wrong. But since it seems our John Doe’s left tibia belongs to Craig Russell, a 33 year old missing person from Philadelphia, I think we can assume the rest of the body belongs to him too. So in the end you got your ID”, Alexx said, turning now first time to face Horatio. “Oh, sorry. I didn’t realise you had company.”

“Right. Sorry. Alexx Woods, our ME. Sidle, Stokes and Brown from the Las Vegas Crime lab”, Horatio said, speeding through the introductions. “Just how did you find out his ID?”

“Remember the report I gave you yesterday? Besides his new bruises and broken bones he had previously broken his left tibia, probably around his twenties according to the ossification, which never healed correctly and probably made him limp. I went through lots of fractures around Miami-Dade area, but found nothing. An hour ago, Craig Russell, a man limping his left leg, was reported missing. And you see the result here”.

“Who reported him missing”, Sara said, more or less forgetting he was supposed to be a side watcher.

“Sorry. Don’t know that. I only have access to the medical reports and characteristics”, Alexx said, smiling sympathetically.

“Then that’s the next thing we need to find out”, Horatio said, flipping his phone open.

“I sure hope we don’t have to come back here later”, Warrick said after Horatio had started to pace around, talking to whoever was the one on the other line.

“Of course we don’t”, Nick said sturdy, like that would be the last thing that could happen, receiving an odd look from Sara. “What?”

“Nothing… I’m just… Are you okay with all this?” Sara asked fumbling.

“Am I okay with this? Off course not! We have no idea where our friend is and we let our only suspect off the hook just like that. How on earth could you be okay in a situation like this”, Nick said slightly frustrated again. At the moment, it seemed that the only thing to cool his temper would be Greg walking in right now or if there would be something to bury his fists to - preferable the man who had hurt Greg.

“Actually I didn’t mean it like that…” Sara said, but after a moment of thought, decided not to bring Nick’s somewhat similar past experiences up.

Warrick quickly followed Sara’s flow of thought and changed the subject.

“You really think that the surfer guy had something to do with Greg’s disappearance?”

“I follow the evidence… and at this point the evidence says he didn’t”, Sara said, sounding very Grissom-like.

“They might tell a different story if we had the guy’s DNA and finger prints,” Nick said, giving a little accusing look to Horatio’s direction who was still talking in the phone.

“Well we just can’t go and ask prints from every random person Greg has spoken to”, Warrick said, agreeing with Sara for once.
“I would hardly call that guy random. Those kind of guys don’t really care if their object of interest actually swings the way they do…” Nick said, glancing impatiently to Horatio's direction, who was still speaking to someone through the phone.

Uncommon silence made Nick turn back to his friends who were now watching him awkwardly, with an edge of amusement beneath the surface.

“What?” Nick asked with a furrowed brow. He really didn’t see anything amusing in a situation like this.

“It’s just that… well haven’t you ever thought…” Warrick started, unable to finish any of his sentences, gaining a roll of eyes from Sara.

“What Warrick means, and for some reason can't get out of his mouth, is that are you honestly saying that you have never considered the idea that Greg might not be hundred percent straight?”, Sara said, the uncomfortable look all wiped away by curiousness and amusement.

“Well… no. Why wouldn’t he? I don’t think there is a single woman he hadn’t flirted within the lab”, Nick said, not really seeing Sara’s point.

“Nick, I don’t think there is a single person in the lab he hadn’t flirted with… Ecklie maybe being the only exception”, Warrick said, still looking little awkward about the course of their conversation.

“Still man… just because he is… well, Greg, doesn’t mean he would swing that way”, Nick said doubting.

“Of course not. All I’m saying is that if I saw Greg making out with some guy, it really wouldn’t be that big of a surprise”, Sara said smiling a little.

“Yuck. Thanks for the image”, Warrick said, making a face.

“Oh shut up. If I had said ‘Catherine making out with some girl’, you wouldn’t see that disturbing at all, right?”

“No.”

“Figures”, Sara said and there might have been more to it if Nick hadn’t rudely interrupted them.

“So you think that surfer didn't actually lie… You know… about Greg being interested…” Nick said, still looking like there was no chance that anything like that could ever happen.

“Well he gave him his number. That normally doesn’t mean ‘I hate you, get away from me’”, Warrick stated.

“Greg is very social. Maybe he didn’t realise what that guy was after until it was too late…” Nick suggested. He wasn’t sure which one was harder to swallow: the fact that his friend might have some weird sexual interests or the fact that he actually finds a person like that surfer guy interesting.

“I doubt Greg would be that clueless… that guy was pretty straight forward”, Sara said, shooting Nick’s idea down.

“So both of you think that Greg was seriously thinking of meeting that guy… in a date kind of way?”

“That’s what the evidence tells me”, Sara said watching the puzzled look deepen in Nick face. “You don’t think that way?”

“No I do… or don’t. I don’t know. But aside that, if we think theoretically for this once and assume Greg goes for both sexes… well remember that Asian chick from the lab Greg used to flirt with”, Nick said, the furrow in his brow seemingly there to stay.

“No”, both Warrick and Sara said at once. The staff changed monthly and Greg somehow managed to flirt with everybody, so they would need little more characteristics than that some girl was Asian and that Greg had flirted with her.

“Anyway. She dated him couple of months”.
“Yeah… and?” Warrick said, not following Nick's way of thought at all.

“He flirts with me!”

“I must follow the intelligent answer of Rick’s; yeah… and?” Sara said, lost too.

“I always thought he was playing around! If he dates men and he dates with people he flirts, then why is he flirting with me”, Nick said looking puzzled and a little bit of worried.

“Oh now I get it. You're afraid that our Greggo would try to seduce you the next time you go drink beer with him”, Sara said, trying to smile innocently but ending with hilariousness.

“Come on, I’m serious here”, Nick said, not at all amused.

“We know you are. But I don’t think there’s anything to worry about”, Warrick said with little more seriousness than Sara. “You wouldn’t go to bed with Sara would you?”

“Hey!” Sara said a bit offended.

“No need to sniff at me. I meant that even if our Sara here is an attractive woman, you wouldn’t date her right?”

“And why wouldn’t he?” Sara said, a little softened by that attractive part.

“Besides your crappy personality?” Warrick said giving a look to Sara’s direction before turning back to Nick. “Because she’s your co-worker. And I don’t mean somebody you see once in month. You don’t hit your closest buddies because then you would be trading friendship for one night lay… and that’s just bad business man”.

“And you say you’re from Las Vegas? What if it wasn’t just a one night stand? What if by putting the friendship on the line you could wake up by somebody for the rest of your life. You say that wouldn’t be worth the risk?” Sara said almost angrily. It was their luck Horatio closed his phone at that moment.

“I have the number of the person who last time saw Craig Russell alive. Want to come with me?”, he said, knowing the answer. He filled the others in, while walking out of the morgue.

“The person who called Craig Russell missing was his psychiatric. Our victim missed his appointment today”.

“What was his disorder?” Nick asked.

“Depression and mild agoraphobia”.

“He was afraid of open places?” Warrick questioned.

“Yes”, Horatio said, opening the back door of his hummer for Sara.

“What is a person who suffers from agoraphobia doing a thousand miles away from his home”, Sara asked after getting in.

“I asked the same. Luckily Kate Barrett, his psychiatric knew the answer for that because he had moved their previous appointment earlier. Craig Russell attended his childhood friend’s funeral here at Miami 9th of July. My men are already going over his credit card records to find out the actual date that he went missing”, Horatio said while pulling his hummer out of the parking lot.

“And we are going where?” Warrick asked looking at the office buildings that glimmered in the late afternoon sun.

“To see Danielle Pine, late wife of Adam Pine, the one whose funeral Craig Russell attended before his disappearance”.

All three of them nod understanding. When the victim wasn’t local, it was even more important to try and find the ones they had been dealing with before the crime. Silence fell inside the hummer as it drove through the city that was slowing down the longer the shadows grow - so unlike in Vegas, where every night was a Saturday night.

Horatio didn’t even try to keep the conversation up as he drove to the suburban. He knew his Vegas colleagues were going through a difficult time so he let them be in their own thoughts. What he didn’t know was that the unusual silence had this time only little to do with Greg. Or that was the case for some of them. Sara was looking even grimmer than usually, both Warrick and Nick knowing the reason for that. Everyone could see there was something between Sara and Grissom - everyone else than Grissom that is. So it was no wonder that Warrick was feeling little guilty from his comment about relationships between co-workers.

So when Warrick was feeling sheepish and Sara was brooding, Nick was thinking about the revelation his buddies had made to him. Now that he thought about it, it really wasn’t a surprise to find out that their Greg wasn’t acting like most of the popularity when talking about sexual behaviour. Like the word normal could ever be linked to Greg. No, the actual shock was that now Nick realised how little he know about his friend. And he wasn’t only talking about his preference.

A loud mouth, irresponsible guy with a criminal record didn’t seem like a person he would like to see around Greg. And what an unsympathetic one too! The man hadn’t even asked why they were questioning him; like it wouldn’t matter because it didn’t concern him. But it seemed that Greg didn’t see the guy in that light. Like Warrick had very intelligently pointed out, you don’t normally share your number with people you hate. And for reasons Nick could only guess, this seemed to disappoint him in some level.

Nick’s thoughts of this subject were interrupted only once, when Horatio’s cell phone rang. It seemed a CSI named Delko had found out that Craig Russell had checked out of his hotel 10th of July at 7:30 am, but never got to his plane to Philadelphia. With this new piece of information in their mind, they finally arrived to the suburban area Mrs. Pine was living. After parking in front of one of the streets many ‘newish, two-story, half a million’ house, Horatio stepped out to the neat front yard and followed by his colleagues, to the front door.

The high pitched noise of a doorbell was followed by couple of low barks until the the door was finally opened by a woman in her mid twenties, whose short brown hair was dripping - chlorine water judging from the blue swimsuit and big white towel the woman was wearing.

"Mrs. Pine? Horatio Caine from the Miami-Dade crime lab, may we speak with you a minute?", Horatio said showing his badge.

"Sure. Come in", Danielle Pine said, smiling unsure but sincerely, leading all four of them to her living room, where there was a huge dark Hovawart growling. "Raider, spot!"

As the dog disappeared and Danielle Pine had wrapped an old bathrobe around herself, Horatio took out his notebook.

"I'm sorry to ask this, but we need to ask you a few questions, regarding your husband's memorial service", Horatio said, his words bringing a pained expression on Danielle's face. Regardless of this, her voice was still steady.

"Of course. But I say you, my husband's death was declared as self-caused, so his life insurance was nullified..."

"Mrs. Pine, we are not here because of that".

"Oh... what is it then. And please call me Danielle", she said, wincing a little when Horatio addressed her as Mrs. Pine.

"We would just like to know if you remember a man named Craig Russell attending your husband's funeral?"

"Craig? Has something happened to him?" Danielle asked, her pained expression changing to worrying one.

"I'm afraid he's dead", Horatio said, knowing there were no easy way to tell news like this.

"My god... but how... when..." Danielle said, her voice little high pitched from shock.

"That's what we are trying to find out. Now please, could you tell us how did you know Mr. Russell?" Horatio said, trying to give Danielle something easy, but useful to them, to focus with.

"Craig? Actually I saw him first time in the funeral... in flesh I mean. But I recognized him from the pictures the second he walked in. You know, they used to be best friends..."

"Your husband and Craig?"

"Yes. Adam and Craig... but they hadn't seen for years. Not since Craig broke his leg and was forced to drop his dream as a football player... and that was way before I even met him, let alone married him", Danielle said sadly.

"Did Adam had something to do with Craig's accident?"

"Adam? No... I heard Craig became very depressed back then, locked himself from the outside world. Adam was the only one who didn't let himself to be shut out. He kept calling him every week, even in the bad times when he wasn't actually in this world anymore..."Danielle said trailing off. She soon excused herself and left the room, Horatio giving her all the time to gather herself up and even Nick wasn't complaining of the time that they wasted.

After Danielle came back, she had a jug full of ice tea and six glasses with her and an apologising smile written all over her face. The rest of their conversation was concluded without any incidents, but without any clues either. All they could get out of Danielle was that Craig had acted very much like everybody else in the funeral and that he had been planning on leaving back to his home the next morning - just like he had according to his hotel records.

They were already closing up and on the door, both Horatio and the Las Vegas team looking tired, disappointed and even little frustrated for the amount of dead-ends they were receiving, when something that Danielle said catch their attention.

"If this continues there will be no CC's in the next reunion", Danielle said sighing, mostly to himself.

"Excuse me?" Horatio said raising his eye brows.

"Nothing... It's just that... now with Adam and Craig gone, there's not many left from the CC..." Danielle said sadly but when he saw the confused look on Horatio's face she quickly continued. "Just forget it... Just muttering to myself"

"Just explain what you mean", Horatio said, the serious tone of his voice and the eager look on the face of the other three CSI's quickly catching Danielle too.

Little unsure she began, "It's really just a silly thing. Adam, Craig and couple of their other friends used to call themselves as City Cowboy's when they were in High School... after what happened to Seann, Linda, Peter, Valerie, Scott and now Craig and Adam... there's just not many left from that group of friends".

"What exactly happened to them?" Horatio said seriously, weighting his words to let Danielle know this might be important.

"What happened to them?" Danielle said questioning but continued anuway. "Seann... well he went nuts and killed himself and his girlfriend, and if you ask me Linda too went more or less nuts because she tried to perform herself a tummy tuck and died in the process, Peter crashed his car out off a cliff... they say the body was identified from his tooth’s... and Valerie and Scott just went missing... You would never guess how much terrible misfortune like this a group of ten friends can endure".

"Seven mysterious deaths and disappearances isn't misfortune", Horatio said and turned to face Nick, Warrick and Sara who all looked like they were thinking exactly the same thing as him. "It's a pattern".



TBC...


Notes: I did it... I wrote this in three days O.O But see... I started to neglect my research...

And my chapters are getting longer! *dances* I'm improving *smiles happily*

And I know something is off in this chapter… I promise to do better in the next one ^_^;
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