Meeting At The Crime Lab
Chapter Two – Meeting At The Crime Lab
Dawn groaned loudly in attempt to get her phone to stop ringing. No such luck, she figured when the ringing kept going nonstop. At the moment, she couldn’t remember why she waved off the answering machine in her bedroom or why she even wanted two separate phone lines.
“Hello?” she grumbled putting the horn to her ear. She bolted upright when she recognized the shy voice on the other end. “Helen?” She looked at the digital alarm clock on her nightstand and frowned. “It’s seven in the morning, what’s wrong?” She asked then without pausing for the other to reply the tall brunette began to panic. “Oh Goddess did something happen to you? Or Buffy? Shit, I knew I should’ve kept my big-” She had thrown her covers away and her feet had just hit the cold floor when the girl on the other end had shouted for her to shut up causing Dawn’s lips to quirk lightly upwards. “Helen, I didn’t know you had it in you.” Dawn laughed when the other end went quiet and she could just imagine the blush on Helen’s face. “Okay, tell me what’s wrong.”
Standing up from her bed, she listened to Helen’s theory on a case Buffy had given her. Dawn had been Helen’s mentor in the department of rituals; even with Helen’s out of the roof IQ she still occasionally called Dawn to ask for her advice. It boosted Dawn’s ego each time the child prodigy called her and she could only imagine Willow’s confidence in the magick department every time Dawn called her for guidance.
“I’ll need to take a look at the body to be sure so try and stall going to the Crime Lab, okay?” Holding the cordless in between her ear and her shoulder Dawn managed to get her jeans on and was now trying to get her blouse on. “I know you’re more than capable but I don’t want you going there in case it gets too much. I’m only looking out for you.” She smiled as Helen uttered an apology for thinking Dawn didn’t trust her. “I’ll be in Vegas by midnight.”-:--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------:-
She was only a few minutes early for her shift so Catherine headed to the break room to get a cup of coffee only to find the rest of the Nightshift, except for Grissom, practically hanging out of the doorway. She opened her mouth to ask what they were doing, but was silenced by Greg putting his index finger against his grinning lips. It was then that she heard the one voice she hoped she wouldn’t hear anymore.
“I don’t give a shit what your excuse is, Conrad.” Buffy’s voice came from inside Ecklie’s office. “You’re supposed to be the Assistant Director. Do you really want me to go over your head?” Leaning against the doorjamb of the break room, Catherine opted to listen with the rest to the conversation.
“That won’t be necessary, Miss Sum-”
“Shut up, just shut up.” Buffy cut him off sounding weary and to the CSI’s surprises, he did shut up. “My informant told me you still haven’t told this Gilbert Grissom about SLAIN.” This tiny bit of information caused Catherine to frown.
“Informant?” she mouthed to Warrick but he just shrugged. When the door opened Warrick, Nick and Greg rushed past to return to their respective labs but Catherine and Sara remained standing. They shared a confused look when a young woman exited the office followed by a more timid looking girl that hardly looked over sixteen years old. Catherine recognized the older girl from the night before but she didn’t recognize the younger girl.
“I’m sorry Miss Summers,” Ecklie said almost pleadingly as Buffy started to exit the office. The young woman, Catherine guessed her name was Paulie, grinned at her and Sara but didn’t say anything.
“Don’t. Don't apologize for something you should've taken care off. I called you last night and you still haven’t sorted it out.” Buffy had now fully exited Ecklie’s office and quirked and eyebrow at Catherine and Sara before turning her attention at Ecklie as he left his office as well, his back turned to the two female CSI’s. “Now, I’m gonna have a talk with the allegedly reliable Nightshift supervisor and you’re going to apologize to the Nightshift for fucking up. Or the next time, you’ll be seeing me is when you're looking up from the gutter asking for some change, got it?” Buffy was standing toe to toe with Ecklie.
“Yes, Miss Summers,” he managed to croak out without cringing. Buffy smiled and took a step back. She glanced over at Paulie who subtly nodded her head towards Catherine and Sara. Buffy gave a curt nod in response to show that she had seen them.
“It seems two of your CSI’s have no problem listening to private conversations,” Buffy said with an almost teasing tone as she walked around Ecklie towards the two CSI’s with Paulie and the other girl not far behind her.
“It would be private if the whole lab couldn’t hear it already,” Sara commented dryly. Catherine turned her head so fast around it was amazing she didn’t get a whiplash and glared warningly at Sara who shrugged it away.
“Feisty,” Buffy smirked slightly much to Catherine’s surprise, and then turned around to where Conrad was still standing by his office. “Conrad, I’m sure you’ll have apologized to every member of the Nightshift by the end of this shift, right?” When he looked like he was going to protest Buffy pressed with an unyielding tone to her voice accompanied by a sweet smile, “Every member.”
“Naturally, Miss Summers,” he muttered and retreated in his office again. The timid looking girl stepped forward so that she was standing half in front of Buffy and lifted her head just enough to look at Catherine but didn’t look the older woman in the eyes.
“Miss Willows,” she said trying to keep the tremble out of her voice, “I need to take a look at the body of Katrina Jameson and the information you’ve gathered so far.” The look Catherine gave her caused her to take step back accidentally colliding with Buffy’s front.
“Excuse me?” Catherine asked heatedly. If this girl thought she was going to take her case then she had another thing coming. Catherine was a little satisfied though that the girl seemed to be afraid of her.
“Where can I find Gilbert Grissom?” Buffy spoke putting a reassuring hand on the girl’s shoulder. Paulie glared with a guttural growl coming from her lips at Catherine for frightening the girl but the strawberry blonde couldn’t bring herself to care about the glaring, only frown at the growl.
“Right here.” Buffy turned around and came face to face with Grissom. “Can I help you, Miss…” Buffy took her time to assess the man who Paulie considered a genius. Firmly built, a scruffy beard and questioning blue eyes but other than that he seemed just as indifferent as Oz used to be. Maybe it was a male genius thing, Buffy wondered, Oz was pretty much a genius and he was as stoic as they came.
“Buffy Summers,” she introduced herself then nodded to the two girls, “That’s Paulie and Helen. We’re with SLAIN.” Grissom nodded his hello to the girls but remained otherwise stoic, even with the big smile and glazed over look Paulie gave him. Buffy barely refrained herself from laughing at Paulie then faced Grissom again. “Do you have an office where we can talk?”
“Mind if my co-supervisor joins us?” He asked keeping his voice neutral. Out of the corner of her eye Buffy could see both CSI’s straighten up a little. The brunette seemed a little bothered but Catherine just looked surprised.
“Co-supervisor? Sure, why not,” Buffy shrugged. She could feel Helen try to disappear in her side when Catherine looked strangely at the girl. Buffy gave an almost invisible nod to Paulie who seemed to get the message and got in Catherine’s view of Helen.
“Catherine.” With one word Grissom managed to tick off Buffy. Paulie leaned a little closer to Buffy and snickered at the blonde’s expense. They both felt Helen relax in between them but Buffy was a little tense now because she really hadn’t thought Catherine to be the co-supervisor.
“Well, how about that?” she whispered not bothering to keep the amusement out of her voice. Buffy turned her head slightly and mock glared at the young woman. Paulie’s grin grew wider the longer Buffy looked at her. She had no idea what her supervisor’s problem was with Catherine Willows but it was fun to toy with her.
“Shut up,” Buffy said through gritted teeth before taking a deep breath, “Go find Nick Stokes.” She gave Helen’s shoulder a comforting squeeze and let her go. Catherine couldn’t help but frown at the gesture. Buffy didn’t act like a superior, more like a friend of sorts.
“With pleasure,” Paulie beamed and put her arm around Helen’s shoulders to reassure the girl, still keeping Catherine’s gaze blocked. Paulie turned her head at the two female CSI’s with a small gleam in her eyes. “So where can I find this-” she stopped when a low, too low for the others to hear, growl emitted from Buffy.
“Paulie,” Buffy left the rest of her warning unspoken, knowing Paulie would get the hint. The young woman turned her head to face Buffy and rolled her eyes slightly at the forewarning in the blonde’s eyes.
“I’ll be good,” Paulie grinned. She would behave, at least to some extent. As long as this Nick didn’t do anything to frighten Helen then she wouldn’t do anything to hurt Nick Stokes. Buffy knew this but also knew that the most intimidating person in this lab, at the moment, was Catherine Willows.
“I’ll take you to him,” Sara spoke up, mentally adding to keep an eye on the two young women. Buffy gave Sara a lopsided smile and a nod as thanks. It wasn’t until Grissom cleared his voice that Buffy looked away from Sara with a warm feeling forming in her cheeks.
“Sorry about that.” Buffy willed her cheeks to stop burning and glanced out of the corner of her eye to see Sara retreating with her two people. Taking a subtle look around her surroundings she noticed the brunette throwing a glimpse over her shoulder.
“Isn’t Helen a little young to be exposed to a dead body?” Catherine asked as Grissom motioned for them to head to his office. Buffy chuckled barely audible. Everywhere she went there was at least one person to ask if her people weren’t too young for the job.
“Helen’s a child prodigy,” She replied as they entered Grissom’s office. “She graduated from Oxford two years ago but unfortunately she has a form of Anthropophobia.” While Grissom took his seat behind his desk Buffy couldn’t help but look around his office, ignoring the shudders from seeing all the different insects and spiders.
“Fear of society?” Grissom questioned, though coming from him, Buffy couldn’t help but think it was a statement. Knowing Catherine was watching carefully while sitting in a chair opposite from Grissom, Buffy stared in a tank where a large spider inhabited.
“Uhm, more like people, new people to be exact.” She looked closer in the tank then jumped back slightly when the large spider moved in her direction. “I normally don’t take her anywhere but my people skilled genius doesn’t arrive ‘til Thursday.” She pulled up her nose at the spider then turned to the two CSI’s. “Once Helen sees the body and the evidence you collected she’ll be fine.” Buffy unconsciously rubbed her arms looking around the office. “Think one of you could’ve given me a heads up about the uhm, nasties in here?” she asked with a small grin playing her lips. “No offense but they kinda creep me out.” Catherine dipped her head to the side and bit her bottom lip to refrain from snorting.
“None taken,” Grissom replied not noticing Catherine’s action as Buffy wandered through his office, her scowl growing with every creature she saw. “I can understand the Ornithoctonus aureotibialis is unlikely to make friends,” he added with the smallest of smiles.
“The what now?” Buffy’s eyebrows shot up then with a glance of Grissom’s eyes to the first tank she nodded her head in understanding. “The spider, right,” she breathed out something that Catherine thought sounded like ‘weird bugman’ before taking a guarded position near the door, for escaping a possible insect outbreak possibility, while facing the CSI’s with her arms crossed.
“Miss Summers, are all your employees fresh out of High School?” Catherine had wanted to ask this since she saw Buffy the night before with her team of girls that seemed like they still belonged in High School, not on a scene with a dead body.
“Miss Willows, you think of SLAIN as a profession, it’s not,” Buffy replied with a cold tone to her voice. “It’s a way of life.” She uncrossed her arms and took a few steps closer to Grissom’s desk, not looking away from the strawberry blonde.-:--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------:-
A few labs down the hall Sara and Nick kept a safe distance from the two young women as they sieved through the evidence Nick and Catherine had collected. Having nothing to do besides paperwork while Warrick was interrogating their suspect in their B&E Sara opted to stick with Nick. She would’ve joined him but for some reason the two young women seemed more interesting.
“I need to know the official COD, I can't find the Autopsy report.” Helen mumbled knowing Paulie would hear her. So far, the evidence spoke bad news but she needed to be sure before telling Buffy her theory. A smile graced the girl’s lips when Paulie lifted her head to face the two CSI’s who were undoubtedly watching them.
“What’s the official COD?” Paulie asked in a demanding tone. She placed her hand protectively on Helen’s side as she moved to stand on Helen’s other side. Sara noticed the protectiveness and stored it in the back of her mind for her own research.
“Asphyxiation, the bruising is consistent with a belt but we didn’t find one at the scene,” Nick replied, also noticing Paulie’s hand now firmly placed around Helen’s waist in a loving manner. Unlike his co-worker, he opened his mouth to say something but was interrupted by a loud stomping through the hallway.
“Oh oh, Buffy’s in trouble,” Paulie sing-songed with a wide grin seeing a brown-haired young woman with a few blonde streaks in her hair pass the lab they were in without a glance, heading straight for Grissom’s office. Unnoticed by the three others in the lab Helen bit her lip nervously.
“Is that Summers’ boss?” Sara asked frowning as she watched the woman she didn’t think could be any older than Paulie march on with a pissed expression. Nick on the other had had mixed emotions. This young woman was fuming and at this moment he did not want to go near her but she definitely had his attention.
“Nope, she’s worse.” Both Sara and Nick turned their heads with a confused look in their eyes waiting for Paulie to elaborate. “She’s Buffy’s sister.”