Title: It's Too Darned Hot
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Warrick Brown
Word Count: 637
“Damn! They're just kids,” Warrick said as he stood on the deck and looked at the young victims of a double homicide.
“You can say that again,” David replied with a sigh. He did a quick calculation of the time of death in his head. “They've probably been dead a little over an hour.”
“Consistent with the time the neighbors called 911,” Warrick replied, reaching for the infrared thermometer in his kit. He strode over to the deck where the second body laid and took a reading. “One hundred and seven in the shade.”
“It doesn't make any sense,” the young coroner said sadly.
“Why are they dead?” David said frustratedly. “Why aren't they inside watching TV or playing video games or doing what normal, healthy kids their age do on a summer afternoon? Who guns down a pair of teenagers in their own backyard?”
“I don't know,” Warrick replied, mopping his brow. He'd seen it too many times. Too many senseless deaths. He'd long since given up trying to understand. He just wanted to catch the bastard who'd hurt these children and see to it that no other child would suffer at his hands. “Whoever did this must have been pretty mad. The killer chased these kids out here and shot them in the back,” he said, kneeling to look at the closer victim. “Pretty girl; she can't be more than thirteen.”
“Her brother's sixteen, according to his driver's permit,” David reported.
“Someone or something chased these kids out here,” Jim Brass said, stepping outside into the sweltering heat.
“That's what Warrick said,” David recalled, rising to allow the body to be removed. “How can you tell?”
“Well, for one thing,” Warrick said, “the A/C's cranked up to 76 in there. You'd have to chase someone out of that house into this heat.”
“I'd opt to take the bullet indoors and die in relative comfort,” Brass replied teasingly. Warrick smiled and began to repack his kit.
“They about done in there?”
“Yeah,” Brass replied. “Nicky's already headed back to the lab. Grissom's still here, though, counting dust particles or something. I think he's stalling.”
“Stalling,” Warrick repeated with a frown. “Why?”
“You've been out of doors for the better part of an hour; you figure it out,” Brass replied.
“The man knows enough to stay out of the heat,” Warrick surmised with a nod.
“On the contrary,” Gil said from the door. “I've been in the kitchen. Come.” He gestured for the two men to follow him and led them to the kitchen. Gil pointed at the counter. “Look,” he said, bending to examine a sprinkling of crystals scattered across its surface.
“Sugar,” Brass concluded, barely sparing it a glance. “Someone just made lemonade. There's a whole pitcher of the stuff right there.”
“Not a whole pitcher,” Gil said, turning to look at the object in question. “A glassful has been poured out. Nick found half a glassful on the table in the family room. And the missing half wasn't entirely consumed. At least part of it was spat out on the floor,” he said triumphantly.
Warrick frowned and looked at the crystals once again. Brass looked as well, but he was distracted by his phone. He stepped away to take the call as Warrick moistened the tip of a finger and, glancing up at Gil, picked up a few of them to taste.
“Salt.” Warrick shook his head in disbelief. “Are you suggesting that these kids are dead because they put salt in the lemonade?”
“Could be,” Gil replied with a shrug. “It might have been a prank. It may have been an honest mistake. Either way, we'll never know.”
“Well, I know something,” Brass said, pocketing his phone. All eyes turned to him. “They picked the wrong day to piss off mom.”
Title: Long Night, Short Fuse
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Don Flack
Warnings: Bitchy Flack alert?
Word Count: 919
Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn't it a pity
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city
All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head*
Don Flack reached across the body of the young murder victim and turned off the radio. He heard familiar voices behind him and sighed deeply before he turned to greet Mac Taylor and Lindsay Monroe--not one of his favorite CSIs.
“Welcome to Tar Beach,” he said.
“Tar Beach?” Lindsay repeated.
“It's the urban equivalent of the real thing,” Mac said, gesturing at the makeshift set up. “The sun, the sounds and the serenity of the shore--without the sand.” He turned to Don. “What have we got?”
“The victim is Shirley Woods, twenty-five,” Don said, flipping open his book. “According to the coroner, her throat was slit after she was sexually assaulted sometime between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m.”
“How can he be so sure?” Lindsay asked. “Time of death is calculated based on the difference between ambient temperature and the victim's liver temp. Given the heat, it'd be almost impossible to pinpoint time of death.”
Don licked his lips and continued as though she hadn't spoken.
“Liz Fuller, the victim's roommate, says that she and the victim came up to catch a breeze--it's a nightly post-work ritual. At around 8:30, Fuller went downstairs to make a pitcher of margaritas. She returned at approximately 9:00 p.m. and found this.”
“It only takes a few minutes to make a batch of margaritas,” Lindsay said frowning. “Why was she gone for so long?” Don suppressed another sigh.
“Her boyfriend called. They talked for twenty minutes,” he replied, checking his notes.
“You'll have to subpoena the phone records to corroborate her story.”
“Ooh! Good idea; I'll write that down,” he said so mildly that Mac looked up at him. Don's face was the picture of innocence. Mac shook his head and looked around; aside from the beach towels, lawn chairs, empty takeout cartons and the boom box on the ground, nothing appeared to be out of place on the roof.
“Is everything exactly as you found it?” he asked.
“Everything except for the radio,” Don replied. “It was blaring when we arrived on scene. I shut it off.”
“Flack, I'm surprised at you! The murderer might have turned up the volume to cover the sounds of the victim's screams.” Lindsay protested. “You could have ruined vital evidence.”
“They taught us how to handle vital evidence back in detective school, Monroe,” Don replied sarcastically. “Showed us how to use fancy gloves and everything.” This time Mac gave him a look of warning before he sent Lindsay to process the roommate. “Ms. Fuller assured me that the volume was exactly where she set it herself,” Don said seriously.
“Flack, I know it's hot and you're probably tired--.”
“Hey, she's the new kid in town, not me. I don't need her telling me how to do my job, Mac.”
“She's not doubting your abilities, Don. She just talks when she's nervous,” Mac said with a shrug.
“Are you sure about that? Because it sounds to me as though I'm on probation here.”
“Lindsay's trying to make an impression,” Mac said indulgently. “Maybe she's not going about it the right way.”
“When I was the rookie detective you told me to shut up and keep my eyes open. I don't need some newbie from the boonies--.” Don shut his mouth and walked over to the railing.
“Look, why don't you head back to the precinct? We can handle it from here,” Mac suggested as Don studied the ground below. Mac gave him a questioning look when Don suddenly threw a leg over the side of the roof to climb down the narrow ladder to the fire escape below. “What have you got?”
“Looks like another body,” Don said. Mac followed him over the side and two flights down they found the prone body of a man on the third floor fire escape. “He's alive but unconscious,” Don reported. He called for an ambulance while Mac bent to examine the man.
“I think we've got our killer,” Mac said grimly, looking at the man's shirt, which was smeared with blood. He looked up to the roof. “How did he end up here?”
“Maybe he slipped and hit his head,” Don said as the man began to stir. “Don't move,” he said to the dazed man.
The ambulance arrived and a paramedic checked the man over as he protested his innocence, but there was little doubt that he was their murder suspect. Mac called for Lindsay to process him and then returned to the roof to gather evidence. Don stayed with the suspect until he was removed to the hospital. Then he rejoined Mac.
“The paramedics said it was probably heat exhaustion. The guy just passed out.”
“That fits with what I just found,” Mac said, leading Don over to a storage bin. “He must have heard the victim's roommate returning and hid in here. It has to be well over a hundred degrees in there and there's no telling how long he trapped inside.”
“Well, his goose is good and cooked,” Don said as he took a final note. “He'll be treated at St. Vincent's and released before we book him.”
“Good work, Don,” Mac said. For the first time that evening, Don Flack smiled.
*Mark Sebastian, 1966
Title: Water Boy
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Eric Delko/Warrick Brown
Word Count: 819
Eric knifed through the water like a finely-hewn blade. He executed a perfect flip turn and churned through the water toward the shallow end of the pool.
He loved the water. As far as he was concerned, it was his natural element and he was always happiest when he was soaking wet. Eric's mother said that he was part fish, but Eric knew differently. The water was the only place he truly felt free. It was where he could escape the bonds of his day to day life and revel in the sheer joy of being alive. Nothing could reach him under the water. Not his past mistakes, not the current hell his life had become, none of his anger, none of his frustrations, not even his grief. In the water there were no Internal Affairs investigations, no problematic relationships, no brown-nosing coworkers to worry about. Under the water there was no Miami-Dade Police Department. There was no Horatio Caine.
Eric wanted to live underwater.
He counted off another lap, did a flip turn and powered down his lane toward the other end of the pool.
Eric often considered leaving Miami, but he knew he'd miss the water. Still, he was sorely tempted; that offer from the Las Vegas Crime Lab was almost too good to pass up. He never dreamed that a chance conversation with Warrick Brown and Gil Grissom at a CSI conference would lead to an invitation to interview for an opening. Eric was glad he'd remembered Warrick from that kidnapping case they'd worked together. Not that Warrick was easy to forget--those eyes still haunted Eric to this day.
Eric executed another perfect flip turn and started his ninety-fifth lap.
Of course, a pair of beautiful hazel eyes was not a good reason to pack up and move across the country. They weren't a good enough reason for Eric to leave his home, his family, or his beloved water. He loved Miami, the sun, the sand, the beach--that quiet little place on the shore where he and Speed used to--.
Eric came up short of the wall and swore. He slapped the tile and pushed off.
Las Vegas was land-locked. It was in the desert. It wasn't summer in Vegas 24/7. No, Eric couldn't live in the desert. He couldn't live without the water. Not even for Warrick Brown. Long-legged, succulent-mouthed, amply-endowed Warrick Brown. Smooth-talking, flirtatious, sexy as hell, impossible-to-resist Warrick Brown. Eric remembered him well--warm hands, hot tongue and a seemingly insatiable appetite for Eric's body.
Eric finished his set and paused to take a drink of water before starting his cool down laps. When he was done he took a long hot shower during which he assiduously tried not to think about Warrick Brown. His phone was ringing when he returned to his locker, but it switched to voicemail before Eric could grab it so he set it back on the shelf and got dressed.
He threw his things into his gym bag, dropped the soiled towel in the hamper and walked out of the club with the phone in his hand. He tossed the bag in the back of his car and flipped it open to check his messages. There was one from Ryan, one from his mother and a third from an unknown party. Frowning, he dialed his voicemail and listened to Ryan carp about a missing file. He certainly wouldn't miss Ryan if he decided to relocate to Las Vegas. His mother was another story. She'd called to ask if he was free to come to dinner on Saturday. Eric rolled his eyes and made a mental note to call her back as the third message began to play.
”Hello, Eric, this is Warrick Brown. I was wondering if you'd had a chance to think about that job offer. We're still shorthanded and could really use you out here. In fact, I was wondering if I could persuade you to fly out this weekend and look the place over. Gil Grissom said that if you faxed your resume and scheduled an interview the lab would foot the bill for the plane ticket. Of course, I'd be happy to put you up at my place and after the interview we'll have plenty of time to get reacquainted...”
Eric snapped the phone shut and got into the car. For a few minutes he just sat there staring into space. Rousing himself, he called his mother.
“Hey, mama,” he said, when he got a word in edgewise. “About this weekend; I can't make it. I'll be out of town.” He dodged most of her questions with practiced skill before he hung up and started the car. Smiling, he put on his sunglasses and put it into drive.
They have pools in Las Vegas, don't they?
Title: Fire in the Sky
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Sheldon Hawkes/Don Flack
Word Count: 570
Back when Sheldon Hawkes was a surgical resident he spent a hellish night in a trauma center trying to patch together the arm of a ten year old that had nearly been blown apart by a Roman candle. The memory was till vivid. His team spent six hours trying to repair the damage but, in the end, the arm had to be amputated and Sheldon had been the one who had to break the news to the boy's parents. He could still recall the sudden weight of the boy's grandmother when she collapsed in his arms, and the look of guilt in the eyes of the child's father when his wife began to beat his chest, blaming him for ruining her son's life.
Sheldon tried to erase that memory as he stared out at the night sky, but the distant sound of explosions made it impossible to forget that night. He considered going inside to put on some mellow jazz, but it was an unusually cool night and the breeze felt good on his face. Besides, he loved the Fourth of July fireworks, so he remained on his balcony and enjoyed the dazzling array that lit up the night.
Sheldon remembered that as a child his parents used to take him to see the fireworks. He remembered staring up at the huge bursts of spinning, twirling color and wondered how they worked. Now he knew exactly how pyrotechnics worked and they still never ceased to amaze him.
“Penny for your thoughts,” Don said as he handed him a beer. They touched their bottles together in a silent salute and turned back to the fireworks. They leaned on the railing and gazed across the East River.
“I'm just giving thanks for the fact that my knowledge of science hasn't diminished my sense of wonder,” Sheldon replied, his eyes alit with the fiery shower of sparks. Don stared into them and enjoyed the reflection.
“Your sense of wonder?”
“Yes; don't you have one?”
“I think I lost mine in boy scout camp when I was twelve,” Don replied teasingly. “I also managed to lose two flashlights, a pair of swim trunks and a night brace that summer--the latter intentionally.”
Sheldon cast him a sidelong glance and shook his head.
“You have no idea what I'm talking about, do you?”
“No, but that's not unusual for me, is it?” Don said impishly. Sheldon slid to the right and lightly bumped his shoulder.
“A sense of wonder--you know, innocence, naivety--that childlike ability to discover something new and still be amazed,” Sheldon said, grasping for a satisfactory explanation.
“Oh that! I lost that at sixteen--that was another camp entirely,” Don said. This time the bump was rougher and Don countered with a hip check that nearly sent Sheldon flying. “Did I mention that it was a hockey camp?”
“Very funny,” Sheldon said, righting himself. He set aside his beer and returned to the railing. The show was reaching its climax.
“Nice, huh,” Don said, wrapping his arms around Sheldon's waist and resting his head on Sheldon's shoulder. Sheldon nodded as the final burst of color faded. He closed his eyes and sighed. The weight of Rosa Castiglione's grief was suddenly lifted from his chest. The sadness, pain and senseless tragedy of that hot summer night disappeared along with the last glowing ember.
“Yeah, nice,” he said with a smile.
Title: Hot Summer Night
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Sofia Curtis/Warrick Brown/Nick Stokes
Word Count: 699
A failed marriage, a budding relationship that ended abruptly with the untimely death of Cyrus Lockwood, a torrid one-night stand with Tony Vartann that still made her cringe, a few bad dates and a few good ones...
Sofia Curtis still knew how to interpret evidence. Her love life sucked. She thought about her brief flirtation with Gil Grissom and decided it didn't count. Not when she now knew that he'd been sleeping with Sara Sidle the whole time. Sofia's anger flared anew, but she quickly quashed it. Gil Grissom was water under the bridge, like all her other relationships. It was time to do something about it, like cross another bridge.
Sofia decided to go shopping.
When she returned to her apartment a few hours later she took a long hot shower. She exfoliated and buffed her skin under the steaming hot water and after toweling off, she slathered on scented lotion. She dried her hair and put on fresh makeup. Then she reached into the bag and pulled out her purchases: a tiny piece of pricey lingerie and a sexy little sheath dress that left nowhere to conceal an off-duty weapon. Sofia slipped on the lacy panties and looked at herself in the mirror.
“Just the thing for a hot summer night,” she declared with satisfaction.
“I have a better idea,” a voice behind her said as hands reached out to draw her away from the mirror and into the bedroom. She laughed lightly and closed her eyes in anticipation as she was laid on her back. Something tickled her foot and she opened them to see Warrick Brown crawling up onto the bed. He was gloriously naked, glistening with sweat and smiling wickedly. Sofia felt the heat of his body as he straddled her hips and bent to kiss her. The kiss was too brief for her liking, but she immediately forgave him when he slid back a little and began to lick and kiss his way down her body.
Sofia felt a frisson of pleasure shoot through her when he licked lazy circles around her navel. He shot her another wicked look and slid back again, this time to grasp the edge of her panties in his teeth and slowly draw them down. His hands soon joined in, first to lift her hips and then to free his mouth to nibble a path down one leg and up the other. Sofia trembled when Warrick settled in between her legs to lick her like a cat. She shuddered and gripped handfuls of sheet.
“You're so beautiful, sugar.”
Sofia turned her head to the side and saw Nick perched on the bed beside her, slowly stroking himself to hardness. He leaned in to kiss her and then turned his attention to her breasts. Sofia gasped when he began to play with them. Warrick crawled back up the bed and kissed her deeply while his fingers probed her already sensitized opening. Sofia cried out and came, but neither man seemed to notice as they continued their relentless assault.
Sofia wanted to do something, anything. She reached for Nick, but he caught her hand and began to kiss his way up her arm. Warrick laughed and caught her other hand; he held it high as he nibbled her ribs. Sofia smiled and abandoned herself to the overwhelming sensation of having two gorgeous men caressing, licking, and tasting every inch of her body. Warrick lightly bit her throat and whispered in her ear. She opened her legs for him and they took turns making love to her. She fell asleep to the sounds of a playful argument over who'd be first in the third round.
When she opened her eyes again, Sofia felt sated and happy. She stretched languidly, savoring every second of the afterglow before reluctantly rising from the bed to use the bathroom. When she saw her reflection in the mirror, she smiled at the bloom in her cheeks. She tied her hair back, washed her face, and returned to bed.
“Welcome back, honey,” Nick said.
“Thanks,” she said returning to the welcoming arms of her imaginary lovers. After all, she could always go out tomorrow night.
Title: The Hotter the Heat...
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Danny Messer
Word Count: 617
Danny pushed his shades up a bit and leaned against his car. He loved the summer. The days got longer, but everything else seemed to get shorter. He got comfortable and enjoyed the view. Shorts, tiny tops, dresses that would get his sister grounded for a month... Danny loved all of it. The hotter the temperature, the hotter the women on the streets. Danny couldn't wait until the weekend to get to the beach.
At times like this, Danny almost regretted being gay. Fortunately for him, however, his preference for taking it up the ass did nothing to diminish the pleasure to be derived from the sight of jiggling breasts in a halter top or a round ass in shorts. He pretended to check his watch when a particularly buxom woman walked by holding hands with a guy who could probably bench press him and the car he was leaning on. He checked them both out when they passed and couldn't decide which one he'd take, given a choice.
“Oy... I am such a pig,” he said amusedly.
“You're a lazy pig,” Sheldon agreed. “Want to give me a hand here?”
“Yeah, Doc, sure,” Danny said, moving to help him process the scene. “Sorry.” He grabbed his kit and began to pull out supplies. “What have we got?”
“We've got six shell casings and that car to process,” Sheldon replied. “You want to shoot while I collect?”
“I'll collect. You take the camera,” Danny said handing it over.
“Whatever you say.” Sheldon waited for him to put out the markers and then began to shoot. “So why are you a pig?”
“Ah...” Danny laughed a bit uncomfortably. “They say life is a banquet. I want to feast all day and all night, taste everything on the table and have double portions of dessert.” Sheldon returned a smile and Danny knew he hadn't a clue as to what he meant. “Never mind,” he said. They worked in silence for a bit, processing the vehicle with practiced efficiency. But Danny could never stay quiet for long.
“You still seeing that lawyer?”
“She's an investment banker,” Sheldon corrected. “And yes. I'm seeing her tonight, in fact. How about you? Seeing anyone special?”
“I thought she was a lawyer.”
“She has a law degree.”
“I thought so,” Danny said, feeling vindicated.
“So?” Sheldon prompted after a minute.
“Are you seeing anyone special?”
“Nah, no one special,” Danny replied as he began to pack up the evidence bags.
“I thought you were kind of interested in Lindsay at one point.”
“Yeah, well... No.”
“No?” Sheldon looked up in surprise.
“The thrill is gone, what can I say?” Danny replied as he watched a pair of long legs go by. He turned back to his kit and was caught in Sheldon's knowing look. “A man's got to eat,” he said with a shrug.
“If you try to eat it all, you're going to end up sick,” Sheldon warned. He picked up his bag and carried it to their van.
“I'm trying to restrict my diet, but--.” Danny paused as another woman walked by. “I'm dying here, Doc!”
Sheldon laughed and offered to drive.
“You know, the key to a good diet is portion control. Maybe you should try to remember that,” he said as Danny watched a trio of women crossing the street in front of the van.
“I didn't see you turn away, Doc,” Danny replied.
“Hey, there's no harm in looking at a beautiful woman,” he said. Danny smiled.
“Maybe you're right. I can't have them, but that shouldn't stop me from looking, right?”
“Cool,” Danny said in relief. As long as his boyfriend didn't find out.
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Nick Stokes
Word Count: 666
The problem with Las Vegas was that there usually wasn't enough water around when someone needed it. Today, the crime scene was literally covered in it. Nick emptied his pockets, slipped out of his shoes and socks, and waded into the only lake on the Las Vegas Strip. Some called it the eighth man-made wonder of the world. The 250 fountains set into the 8.5 acre lake in front the Bellagio Hotel were world renowned for their spectacular displays set to light and music. Today they would become notorious as the site of a possible homicide.
The water was pleasantly cool despite the hot summer sun and Nick gave his body a moment to acclimate to the temperature before he moved further into the lake, trying to ignore the cat calls and comments of the people behind him. Of course, his coworker had the advantage of a radio.
“The guy on that CSI show always managed to have a wet suit handy for this sort of thing,” Warrick teased from the safety of dry ground.
“We don't have Hummers,” Nick replied, smiling. “I think they come kitted out with wet suits and all that other cool gear no other crime lab can afford.”
“Yeah; if you were on that show you could take a Jet Ski out to the body.”
“Or if I were the star I'd just be able to walk on water,” Nick said. “How come we don't have waders in the truck anymore, anyway?”
“There never are whenever we've got a water case. Ever notice that?”
“I notice that whenever we have a water case I'm the one who gets wet,” Nick replied, mainly to himself. He reached the floating corpse and turned it over. “He's dead.”
“Damn, Nicky,” Warrick replied into the radio. “It's no wonder you made Level III before me.”
“Gentlemen,” Gil said firmly. “If you two don't mind...”
Nick sobered and got to work. He examined the body carefully before he drew it over to the edge of the lake. When he reached it, Warrick stepped back and allowed the coroners' office personnel to pull the body out of the water while Nick waded back over to the spot where he'd found the body.
“The coroner said he wasn't drowned,” Warrick reported about ten minutes later. Nick looked up and nodded in acknowledgment. He picked up a few coins he found but, realizing that they'd probably been thrown into the fountain by tourists, he dropped them again and continued to comb the lake bottom for evidence. As the sun rose higher in the sky and began to heat up the morning, he pulled out his shades. “Hey Nicky!”
“What?” he replied, deciding that he'd rather be in the water than out of it. He looked up but made no move to return to the lake's edge.
“The victim was shot. You see any casings out there?”
“Why would I? There's no way in hell he fell all the way out here,” Nick replied. “The body obviously drifted out this way. If there's a casing it'll be closer to you.”
“Well, get over here and look.”
“Make me,” Nick teased.
“Nicky,” Gil said in a warning tone. Nick looked over in Warrick's direction but saw no sign of Gil.
“Where are you?” he asked.
“I'm where I'm supposed to be. Where are you?”
Nick continued to peruse the perimeter of the fountain and spotted his supervisor.
“I'm in the middle of a lake on the Las Vegas Strip on a morning of a day that promises to be 110-degrees,” he replied with a smile. “I think I like it out here.”
“I think he's been out there too long,” Warrick concluded.
“You want to go in after him?” Gil asked.
“Nah; he'll come out on his own, sooner or later.”
“Sooner, I think,” Gil said. “I just told Bellagio management they could have the fountains back on within the hour.”
From the middle of the lake, Nick smiled.