Know Your Victim by Sirrah [Reviews - 4]

He had been here before. The translucent box so small, he could barely move around. And that was actually the reason why he knew it was a box in the first place. A translucent box that floated up in the ceiling of a bright white room. Because if he hadn't been in the box, he could have jumped down and join to his friends who were in the other end of the room. But because he couldn't move and his screams went to deaf ears, he must have been in the box.

And his friends couldn't see him because they were staring a small computer screen - motionless and soundless. He knew what they were looking. A person inside a box, fighting the odds. And then one of them moved. He could see the screen too, clearly as it had been right in front of him. And the second he saw it he hoped he hadn't. The box was still there, but there were no fire ants or fighting. There was only motionless and soundless back of a body - just like the box. And it wasn't translucent. It might have been white if there hasn't been so much blood on it. Blood that had poured out from the countless cuts that were still visible and bleeding. And then there were the hands. Just a pair of dark hands touching, violating.

And once again he tried to scream, tried to get there, but couldn't even lift his hand. And then the body was roughly turned around. And he saw he was dead. The blood still flowed but he knew he was dead. His normally playful eyes stared to nothingness empty while his usually smiling face was frozen to pain and horror.

And that was when somebody grabbed him.


It wasn't white anymore, but he could still see Greg's lifeless face in front of him and it need another good shake until he realized Warrick was in front of him, worry and tiredness written all over his face.

"Where..." Nick said, feeling his throat raspy, looking frankly around himself.

"You were screaming", Warrick stated flatly and stood back a little, giving Nick some room to finally recognize where they were.

It was the hotel room he and Warrick shared. The walls were brownish yellow instead of white and he could barely see in front of him. Glancing at his clock, he saw it would still be an hour before the sunrise.

"You were screaming", Warrick stated again, looking worriedly at Nick.

"I was?" Nick answered, rubbing his face and neck with both of his hands. His laptop was on his feet, where it had probably felled after he had dozed off. He realized it didn't really matter to him if it had broken or not.

"You were. You okay?" Warrick said, still looking worried.

No, Nick's mind said.

"Yeah", he answered.

"Nightmare huh?" Warrick said, sitting down on the edge of the bed next to the chair.

"Yeah", Nick said again without lifting his head from his laptop. He should really pick it up, continue going through the yearbooks and find something that would bring them closer of finding Greg.

"We will find him".

"Yeah", Nick answered once again, still not looking up. He really should get back to work.


Nick couldn't hold back the snortish laugh that escaped between his lips. He finally lift his gaze to meet Warrick’s gaze. You could just barely see in the dim light that his eyes weren’t brown like usually someone with his color would have had.
“Yeah. I know”.

“Do you?” Warrick said worriedly. It wasn’t like Nick to loose faith - not this early.

“I do. See I read that psychological profile too. The shrinks seem to think that the killer doesn’t necessarily enjoy causing pain to others. The fuck I care if he gets his kicks from it or not - we already saw what the guy is capable of. And If Greg ends up like that with the exception of having a heart beat… I’m just not sure if that’s any better than being dead”, Nick said darkly.

Normally Warrick would have argued this statement, but seeing Nick’s pained impression he knew better. Three months ago they had had couple of hellish days, when all they could do was to watch Nick’s suffering through an online camera. And because of those fresh memories, it didn’t feel as bad this time. Warrick knew that was one sick way to think, but in a way there was a point. After all, they had got Nick back alive then. And that time the kidnapper had been smart; every little detail planned out. Now it seemed that they were dealing with a coincidence; a horrible one but nevertheless a coincidence. And that meant there were going to be lots of mistakes. They already had all the possible evidence a CSI would like to have. Only thing left now, was to find the location of their suspect.

But for Nick it was different. Where he and Sara were somewhat used to this situation already, Nick was far from it. Not only did he not know how did it feel to have your friend’s location unknown, but he also knew something Warrick and Sara couldn’t possible even imagine. He knew what it was to be kidnapped. To live in the extended fear for your own life. And even if Greg didn’t probably have to suffer a Texan funeral, his condition wasn’t probably any better.

And Nick’s mistrust was visible proof that Warrick somewhat knew what was going on in his friends head. Because as a CSI Nick was confident they would find him; maybe even alive. But as a person he had much less hope. If Greg had to endure the same torture, the same humiliation that the first victim had gone through… he just hoped Greg would survive the years after that. And it wasn’t like Nick thought Greg was somehow weak. His fear for Greg was based solely on his own experiences; the shrink might have given him sane papers, but that didn’t take away the nightly nightmares or the constant ‘looking over shoulder’ mood he was in.

So it was no wonder he couldn’t handle the situation as lightly as the rest of the team. And luckily Warrick understood this. “Well at least as long as he has a heart beat we can be there for him. Just like we are there for you”.

Nick could only smile tiredly for this. Even though he was really close with his family and they had been there for him when he needed them, it was his friends, most of them who were the ones he worked with, who had been the rope that had helped him to pull himself up from the quicksand of his fearful memories. And just like Greg had been there for him, he was sure as hell going to be there for him. If there were even a bit of sanity left in him, when they find him, he would make sure he would learn to, if not forget then at least to cope with the things that had happened to him.

“You’re right. And sorry for waking you up, man”.

“No prob, bro. So… it’s still a bit early. You wanna hit the pillow?” Warrick asked but the look on his Nick’s eyes was more than enough answer to him. “Or would a gym, steady breakfast and big mug of coffee sound like a winner”.

“You can count me in on the second one”, Nick said, glad Warrick had came up with something he could use to get rid of some extra steams. “You think Sara’s wake already?”

“You think she actually went to sleep?” Warrick said raising his eyebrows humorously.

“So should we ask her to join us?”

“Why not. She’s probably pacing in circles anyway. There’s little we can do alone here - without jurisdiction and all. Not that I would bet my money on that she wouldn’t have been working all night”, Warrick said and walked out of their hotel room, Nick following right behind him.

Their guesses were right. Sara answered to their knock almost immediately, wearing the same clothes she had worn when they separated last night and her eyes shone bright regardless the dark bags under them.

“Thought you were awake. Want to join us for gym and breakfast?”

“Food sounds good. Gym, no thanks. I have no energy to waste. This puzzle is getting more pieces the more we put them together,” Sara said grabbing her coat without a look for her appearance and stepped to the hallway.

“Why, what did you find out?” Nick said eagerly.

“Well for starters, that Seann guy who Mrs. Pine said killed himself and his girlfriend really didn’t kill himself”.

“He didn’t?”

“No. That was the word on the streets. Officially it was a cold case. I spoke with detective Vera from Philadelphia who promised they were going to re-open the case immediately and call if anything came out of it”.

“And just how did you made him do that… I mean being on vacation and all”, Warrick asked amused.

“I just told him the truth. That I was a fellow CSI and that Lieutenant Horatio Caine had asked me to call there”, Sara said like it was no big deal.

“And did he?”

“Well no, not exactly”.

“So what was the truth part in that then”, Warrick asked teasingly and pushed the elevator call button.

“Frankly I don’t care if we are going by the book right now. I spend hours going by the yearbooks of their high school and found absolutely nothing”, Nick said stepping inside the elevator that took them to hotel lobby.

“Well we need to start calling them through first thing in the morning. I don’t trust anything that says under my face ‘Will succeed in the material world’. I mean, what the hell is that supposed to even mean?” Sara asked grumpy and her face fell even more when she saw that the hotel restaurant was closed.

"Damn, this place don’t open till 6 am", Sara said cursing.

“We definitely aren’t in Vegas anymore”, Warrick said staring the time table in the restaurant door. He had lived his whole life surrounded by 24h/7d signs so he wasn’t used to closed signs.

“Which reminded me, I talked with Grissom just before you knocked on my door”, Sara said glancing the clock over reception. “Should we wait till they open or just find some fast food joint that is open all night?”

“My appetite is already down enough thank you very much”, Nick said, the thought only making his stomach turn. He already had a foul taste in his mouth – he didn’t need anything soaked in rancid fat to make it worse.

“So, how the things are running back at home”, Warrick asked seating himself on one of the turquoise armchairs in the deserted lobby.

“Fine I guess. It seems thought that everybody has been investigating Greg’s disappearance off the record. I even heard that Archie has spent all his spare time – at work and home – hunting satellite pictures”.

“And I thought it was hard to us, trying to help with this when we aren’t officially helping”, Nick said impressed. Of course he would have done the same to everyone in the lab – he just hadn’t realized all of them were like him… or was it just for Greg?

“Actually their situation is pretty much same as ours. Apparently we don’t need to keep Grissom updated, Caine is covering that part and Grissom has dedicated one of the research rooms for our Greg – After we left he has done nothing but explained the situation to everyone from other criminalists to techs and delivery boys”.

“Well there’s no surprise there”, Warrick said leaning back. “As annoying as Greg can be when you have just gone through a triple shift, there’s no way you cannot like him”.

“Yeah, I know what you mean. He’s like some contagious decease, affecting everyone around him. I can’t believe I haven’t heard him almost in two weeks”, Sara sighed resting her head on the back of the sofa.

“I have”, Nick said making Sara turn her head to him.

“You have?”

“Yeah. He called me last Friday”

“He did? What did he say? How was he?” Sara asked eagerly. The whole scene felt so unreal. The only thing that connected Greg to Miami at the moment was his DNA. The last time she had seen him, he had been trying to steal a goodbye kiss from her. If she had seen to future she would have let him succeed in that.

“Nothing unusual. Mostly wanted to know how we were doing without his geniousness”, Nick said the lines on his tired face looking even deeper with his sad look. “God if I just had knew…” Nick said drawing his fingers through his hair, ending up massaging his rock stiff neck

“How could you? How any of us could have known what was going to happen”, Warrick said comfortingly. Even if he was still feeling guilty of Nick’s incident – it should have been him inside the box, not Nick – there was no reason for Nick to whip himself in Greg’s case.

“Especially when we don’t know what happened to him even now. How on earth did he end up in there”, Sara said, hating the fact that her efforts hadn’t brought them any closer of finding Greg.

“We know he left the club on his own free will and was driving back, right?” Warrick said, saying his thoughts out loud.

“So how does his car end up hidden in the bushes and he himself…” Nick started, not wanting to end his sentence.

“I would stop my car if I saw a naked man running on a deserted road”, Sara said.

“That still don’t explain why the car was obviously hidden and how Greg ended up inside the shag”, Warrick pointed out.

“Maybe the one who took the license plates off hid it? Maybe our DB, Craig Russell was bait and then Greg was forced to the shag”, Sara said. She had already used all her scientifically methods trying to break this thing open without any luck, so she was now ready for some wild guesses.

“Greg might not be the strongest man in the world but he can take care of himself if necessary. You think somebody could actually have lured him that easily?” Nick asked doubting.

“I don’t know. I’m shooting blind here”, Sara said. Even she didn’t really believe in her own theory.

“Well if he wasn’t forced out of his car how did he end up in the shag?” Warrick asked bringing the shag up again.

“Maybe he saw there were something fishy going on in there?” Nick said, he too throwing in wild guesses.

“Impossible. It was pitch black in there and you can’t see the shag through all that flora”, Warrick said, crushing that theory completely.
“Maybe Russell got Greg’s attention somehow”, Nick said considering… he had an ugly feeling he had missed something.

“Like how? Giving some smoke signs? Before running naked around he was tied up to a chair, how…” Sara said skeptically, but was cut off by Nick who jumped up from the sofa hitting himself in head hard and almost yelling:

“Idiot! How did I miss that!”

Nick was already half way running through the lobby, when he turned back to Sara and Warrick who had barely had time to get up.

“Wait here, I’ll be right back”, Nick shouted without stopping.

Sara gave one quick look to Warrick and after that they were running right behind Nick.

To be continued~

Ending notes: I know, it’s been what, two months since my last update. I could try to explain myself, but I don’t. Just haven’t got the time. And this chapter really doesn’t make any sense… I see it’s much harder to keep the mood steady when your writing English… and I used to be really good in the moods when I wrote in Finnish =o(

And I could really use a CSI as a beta… I just realized there was one major mistake in one of Nick’s thought/quote in the sixth chapter…
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