The door had been closed, and the office abandoned, when he'd first gone looking for Dr. Alwick again. His search, however, was appeased at the sight of the candy jar sitting on the desk. It reminded him of life as a kid; going to the doctor's, or the counselor's, or the shrink's -- though they never applied that label when he was a kid -- and seeing the tangible reward for cooperation placed in plain view on the desk.
For a child, candy made an easy incentive to sell one's soul. Why not talk, or pull up a sleeve for a shot, if there would be a favorite blue raspberry Dum Dum waiting for him afterwards?
Now, however, as much as an adult Greg Sanders loved sweets -- particularly for quick doses of energy in those rare occasions that coffee was unavailable -- he would not sell his secrets for a Dum Dum.
Butterscotches were a more grown up candy -- his grandparents always kept those around the house, and not just his Papa and Nana Olaf, but his father's parents as well. The jar in front of him had both, and all kinds of candies, for the young, the young-at-heart and the old. He wondered which one Grissom chose when he visited.
"Back so soon Mr. Sanders?"
He looked up and craned his neck to see the door opening behind him.
"Yeah," he mumbled. "I can leave if you want. I'm sure you have other people --"
"Nonsense." Her tone was brisk, as usual. "I find that the people most willing to come here tend to be those who most need to be here."
He pursed his lips and thought over her words.
"What if I'm just a hypochondriac? You know -- someone who always thinks there's something wrong with them, like the little girl in the Mackaully Caulkin movie who always thinks she's dying?"
"Of course," she replied without missing a beat. "Your right hemisphere does seem a bit off today."
She slowly gestured up to her head, as if illustrating something for a young, or just stupid, child. "The right hemisphere. It controls more artistic and creative impulses, versus the left brain's more logical, analytical inclination."
"But that's the left side," he said, pointing forward with his own left hand at the hand postured next to her head.
"That's your left side, Mr. Sanders."
"Oh." He blushed, feeling -- appropriately -- embarrassed. "I knew that."
"I'm sure you did, Mr. Sanders."
He looked up, fiddling with his fingers and with an empty candy wrapper left from another session; it was a Dum Dum. "So... I see I'm back to Mr. Sanders, huh?"
"And I see you're back to playing the same card again, for the third time if I recall correctly."
He rolled his eyes and nodded begrudgingly. "Why bother with the 'if,'" he muttered.
She ignored the last comment. "So, do you have any other tragically incurable diseases you'd like to announce today?"
"I'm a psychologist, Mr. Sanders."
Now it was her turn to roll her eyes.
"The only difference is that you can't hook me up with the happy meds. Yeah?"
She rolled her eyes again, this time adding a shake of the head for good measure. "I think we both know you're not a druggie, Greg."
Not liking how much she seemed capable of catching onto so fast, Greg scowled. "Says who?"
"Say your LVPD-mandated drug tests."
"Oh. Yeah. Those. Well I could just keep a stash of spare urine in my locker. Apparently that's what Riley does. Hey, I could just borrow hers! So boo. ya. You don't know that I don't do drugs!" He felt like he'd won something for being able to contradict her assertion, even if it was true; he hadn't done drugs for over a decade.
"You don't do drugs because you borrow an extra supply of urine from Riley?"
"Um..." Something seemed wrong with that -- and it seemed like something he shouldn't be announcing in an office of LVPD.
"So drug tests would reveal that you're not on drugs, but are in fact female?"
Turning his head, he finally realized why his argument made very little sense. So much for the DNA whiz.
"Most men love their penises far too much to admit to that. So props to you, Mr. Sanders, for admitting --"
"Hey! Whoa whoa whoa." He shook his hands in front of him, signaling a vehement 'no.' "I never said I didn't have a --" He looked up awkwardly. "I do love my --"
"I'm sure you do, Mr. Sanders."
He looked up in a combination of thorough shock, exasperation and a great deal of disgust, with his mouth close to dropping down to the ground. He closed it quickly.
"I knew you were a Freudian."
Clearly amused, she raised both brows and chuckled. "Rather judgmental for a CSI."
"Hey. I do my job. And I do it well."
"So, would you like to announce now that you have some tragic, incurable disease of the right hemisphere, or a terminal cancer perhaps?"
Greg stared at her, confused. "Uh... no."
"Good, because now would be the time to come clean," she said with a smile. "About the hypochondria, of course," she added with a small smile.
"Ah. No. I'm good. I think I'll pass on the... well that."
"Duly noted," she said as she jotted something down in a notebook. Greg didn't really like the feeling of being judged and written about, like some test subject. He decided that he'd probably just lost a round, without even really paying attention to the game. Best to switch back to chess now.
He started speaking again, unsurely. "You said the people who come here tend to be those who need it?"
She nodded, head barely raising from her notes.
"Then how come I haven't seen Nick here? Or Catherine? Hodges is the only person I've seen here yet. He barely knew Warrick."
"Who said that this was about Warrick?"
"Wasn't that why you came?"
"It was the reason I came here -- the excuse offered to the department, and taxpayers, for the extra expenditure on a psychologist. But that was not, necessarily, the rationale offered me by the man who hired me, and who offered said excuse to the department."
He rubbed his forehead and remained silent at the drawn out excuse as it skipped around his question, dodging words. But he let it run amuck.
Her first move was a knight -- surprising.
"So," she said, sensing his cogitations. She straightened the papers in her hand against the desk, producing a hard, percussive sound with the effective message of 'now let's get back to business.'
As always seemed to happen in her office, he conceded.
It was just a pawn moving forward -- a move made to stave off having to actually make some pivotal move. But, eventually, not making the critical move would be the same as making a move.
Failing to make a decision can be the same as making a decision.
She raised an eyebrow, before casting the next move -- pushing forward the next piece from her back line -- the bishop.
"How is work?"
Never mind. It was just another pawn. She's messing with me.
"Good. Too many doubles."
"Hmm," she said, nodding.
He moved his own rook forward two blocks. Unexpected and forward; pre-emptively aggressive.
"Now you're gonna ask me how that makes me feel, right?" He asked, sarcastically.
Her facial features moved up in a knowing, half-smiling smirk. "Feeling clever, are we, Greg?"
That wiped the smirk off of his face.
"Back to 'Greg,'" he noted, glumly.
She raised an eyebrow, creating an opening for him. "Which do you prefer?"
This time, she sacrificed her own pawn -- but it was only a pawn, guarded by her queen. He saw the opening. He could move either piece -- the knight or another pawn. It was in his court. His fingers flicking between pieces, he felt perturbation. So he made the easy move, flicking it back into her court with nary a move on his part. A pawn again.
"Whichever is easier for you."
"Well then," she started.
It was clear that the pace was too slow for her liking, and Greg found remunerations in the fact. But she flicked another piece forward, quickly -- provisionally.
"What made you want to come in?"
He chose to neglect the question -- the advance, which seemed to come, again, from the center of the board, averting motion, with finesse, to the flanks.
"If this isn't about Warrick, then why don't Nick and Catherine come in?"
"Everyone finds solace their own way." She pushed her glasses up toward her face, slipping clipped fingernails down to reveal a screen -- split into four miniature televisions, on some sort of handheld device -- on her desk, which she turned to face Greg. "I had help from Archie on this."
He looked curiously at the screen in front of him. Sure enough, various spaces in the lab appeared.
Dr. Alwick rewinded one screen, pushing it back to a frame of Catherine, in the locker room, looking at a photo. Greg leaned in, squinting to see. He caught a glimpse of Catherine standing, a man's arm wrapped over her, but Dr. Alwick moved the screen before he could see who it was.
"Who?" he asked, disregarding the match of calculating moves and opting instead for pure, genuine and compassionate curiosity, for the sake of his colleague.
"Now, now. Catherine has her secrets just as you do."
He nodded, knowing that was the inevitable answer. He was fairly certain who that arm belonged to -- and how that made Catherine's life all the harder for the present.
The next screen revealed Catherine in an older and less-used evidence room, fingering a silver necklace -- it looked to be scattered with diamonds -- while rubbing away tears.
Dr. Alwick flashed forward a few frames before revealing another photograph -- this one, clearly, of Lindsey.
Frames flipped to reveal Nick, working as usual.
"What about Nick?" he asked, waiting for an alternate, more intriguing explanation, like that offered for Catherine.
"Here he is," she said, letting the frame continue forward. Nick kept working.
"Is there a more proper way to grieve for one's best friend?"
The question failed to catch Greg off guard. He knew the psychiatrically correct question. With the roll of his eyes -- yet again -- he answered. "There is no right way."
She clapped her hands appreciatively. "Bravo, Mr. Sanders. And I can tell you've been here before."
"Well, duh. Fourteen hours ago. Speaking of which, aren't you supposed to go home in between? I mean -- you're not expected to work doubles to close a case."
"Who says I'm not doing that right now?"
Greg backed up in his chair, a look of disgust playing on his face. "I don't want to be a case."
"Do you think Warrick did?"
"So this is about Warrick. Like I said, Nick and Cath need the psychoanalyzing more than I do on that score."
"And yet you're the one who's in here."
His knight averted again, he pushed it back to sit next to his queen. Hers had made the advance, successfully, while his sat back in shame.
"According to a source," she began. "You used to be a fairly funny guy." Hand-made quotation marks bound the last two words.
"How far back do your video tapes go?" he asked, with revulsion. "Because that's not creepy at all," he sarcastically added, fully aware of the moment years ago, that the exact same words had fallen from Sofia's mouth in the locker room.
"As far as I need them to go."
"But that has nothing to do with Warrick."
"Are you repeating a move, Mr. Sanders?"
"Because I do believe we've been over this before."
He nodded in acquiescence.
"Ms. Curtis's words," she continued. "Were, I believe, 'don't lose that.'" She leaned in, sympathy etched more clearly on her brow. "Do you think you've lost that, Greg?"
He shifted uncomfortably, dismissing all lines -- of both attack and defense -- for the moment.
In his mind, he imagined that he was in some alternate dimension, where he could cast a shadow of invisibility over his army of pieces. Surprisingly, he could; he cast it over the entire board, realizing that the game had instead progressed beyond chess. Alwick's last move really did put all cards on the table, and it went beyond checkmate. He found himself, yet again, with five cards in front of him, face down.
"Maybe," he mumbled, averting eye contact and staring instead at the books lining the left side of her office.
"You know, Mr. Sanders, which way people look when lying?"
He glared, yet again. Busted, yet again.
"Mr. Sanders --" Her voice was gentler this time. "You --"
"I have to go."
"Why don't you take a candy with you? I see you've been eying the jar."
She moved a pawn sideways, even though the game had already ended, and sideways wasn't even a legal move for a pawn. Yet, somehow, the move made sense.
He tilted his head, befuddled. "No thank you."
She sighed sadly.
"Mr. Sanders --" Her voice turned firmer, more authoritative and -- almost -- more disappointed, as if she were talking to a misbehaving teenager, busted for getting expelled or for committing some other grave abomination. Her next words were slow, and weighted. "Don't be afraid to go for what you want -- for who you are."
He nodded, confused, as he walked out the door. He was confused, but it still made sense.
I'll win the next round.