Theories All Around
A/N: Dawn... is out of my hands. She's got her own mind and it's running loose. Also, to quote the only rapper I can stand, if you ain't got nothin' nice to say then don't say nothin'
. Thank you =)Chapter Three – Theories All Around
“Buffy, what the hell were you thinking taking Helen away from Head Quarters?” Buffy along with the two CSI’s jumped slightly at the sudden entrance of a young brunette with striking blue eyes. Catherine and Grissom shared a confused glance as Buffy stared at the brunette with a surprised expression.
“Dawn.” The initial shock subdued, her expression changed into defiant. “Hey, you know as good as I do that the only one who could do this right now was Helen and she assured me it would be okay.” Buffy crossed her arms and stared hard at the brunette.
“This couldn’t have waited ‘til I got here?” Dawn questioned crossing her arms with an expression similar to Buffy’s. Since no introductions were made Catherine was pretty sure these two young women had all but forgotten about her and Grissom.
“I didn’t know you were coming earlier,” Buffy shot back. “You weren’t supposed to be here ‘til Thursday.” This answered the question of who this young brunette was but it didn’t still the burning question as to why all these women were so young. This Dawn didn’t seem much older than Paulie and it irked Catherine that she didn’t know why.
“What about just taking the body back to Head Quarters?” Dawn asked cocking her head a little to the side. Her tone still held anger towards the blonde for taking Helen away from Head Quarters but it was slowly being replaced with her curiosity.
“That’s not going to happen.” Catherine stood up from her seat. Dawn blinked in surprise for a moment, as though seeing the strawberry blonde for the first time since entering the office. She then glared at Catherine before looking at Grissom then turning her glare back to Catherine.
“Who the hell are you?” She asked sounding more like the teenager she appeared to be. Now that Catherine was standing, she had a better look at the brunette. Lankier than Buffy and taller in height but they shared something similar in their appearance. Buffy took Dawn’s heated question as her sign to speak up and introduced the two CSI’s.
“Dawn, this is Gilbert Grissom and Catherine Willows.” She put a little more emphasis on the strawberry blonde’s name which certainly didn’t escape the three people in the office. “They’re the Nightshift supervisors of CSI Crime Lab.” Her aggravation was duly noted by both CSI’s as Buffy added that little piece of information.
“Oh God, are they as annoyingly set to solve it themselves as Horatio Caine?” Dawn sighed heavily. Grissom’s eyebrows shot up in the air at the mention of Lt. Horatio Caine of the Miami Dade Crime Lab. Rumors had it that they only had jurisdiction in California, not Florida. Not that he actually listened to rumors.
“Even more so,” Catherine piped up with a smirk played on her lips. She had met Horatio Caine and even though she had respect for him, she still thought she was better than him. But in no way was she competitive with the Miami Supervisor, at least that’s what she kept telling herself.
“I wasn’t talking to you,” Dawn snapped at the strawberry blonde. For some reason unknown to Catherine, she had this nagging feeling that neither Dawn nor Buffy liked her very much. She just couldn’t figure out why. Maybe it was her imagination but they seemed more callous towards her than to Grissom, who was just watching the spectacle with mild amusement.
“Dawn, relax, I’m sure Miss Willows can take you to see Helen and Paulie.” Hearing Buffy trying to get Catherine out of the office only spurred Catherine’s theory of them not liking her. Professionally she couldn’t care less but on a more personal and social level she was more than a little peeved. She was a people person, so what was it with these two?
“At least you left Paulie with her,” Dawn muttered under her breath. Catherine had the utmost difficulty of hearing what Dawn said but Grissom hadn’t the faintest idea someone had said anything.
“Of course I did, I’m not a complete idiot,” Buffy snapped in response surprising both CSI’s. Whatever Dawn had muttered, it clearly didn’t sit well with the blonde. Something about their interaction conjured a stray thought in Catherine’s mind.
“No, some parts are missing,” the brunette replied dryly. Grissom and Catherine shared a glance that went unnoticed by the two young women. It appeared both of them were thinking the same thing, now all that was left to be done was to see if their theory was correct.
“Hey, don’t talk to me like that.” Buffy took a step closer to the brunette and lifted her finger disapprovingly when Dawn rolled her eyes. “And don’t roll your eyes at me either.” This action followed by Buffy’s scolding only nurtured their theory about Dawn and Buffy.
“Miss Summers,” Grissom cleared his throat testing his and Catherine’s theory.
“What?” both Buffy and Dawn snapped irritated, much to Grissom’s satisfaction. Catherine smirked amused. She should’ve known sooner they were sisters. When she and Nancy were younger, and sometimes still, they would act just like Dawn and Buffy.
“Ah, sisters,” Grissom stated the obvious, which got him two pairs of eye rolling from the Summers women. Buffy took on a more relaxed pose but to the keen eye of an investigator; both Catherine and Grissom could see she was anything but relaxed.
“Unfortunately,” Dawn sighed getting a minor, more controlled glare from her sister. Before Buffy could respond in any way, Catherine walked up to the brunette and smiled sweetly.
“Why don’t I take you to see your co-workers?” She offered. Catherine had gotten many angry glares sent her direction in her life but the one she was getting from Dawn chilled her to the bone. She really, really wanted to know what her problem was right about now. Catherine opened her mouth to ask Dawn about the glaring when the brunette’s eyes turned from cold to sweet in less than a second.
“Actually, I think it might be wiser if Mr. Grissom did,” Dawn said in a charming voice with a wink in Grissom’s direction. “That way Buffy can talk with Kittycat over here,” she added sounding indifferent with a dismissive wave with her hand towards Catherine.
“Dawn,” Buffy’s voice dropped a few notes sending a clear warning to her sister but Dawn just put her finger to her chin and looked up as though she was contemplating what she said wrong. A malicious grin appeared on her face as she dropped her gaze and her own blue eyes locked with Catherine’s.
“Not Kittycat? Oh, I know-” Catherine stood nailed to the floor already guessing what Dawn was about to say. Now she at least had an idea why Dawn didn’t like her. The brunette probably didn’t think too much of former strippers. Now the new question was: how did Dawn and perhaps Buffy as well, know about her former profession? Or her stage name?
“Out!” Buffy cut her off harshly with her index finger pointed at the door. Dawn let out a snort followed by a roll of her eyes and waited for Grissom to join her. The graying supervisor nodded his head at Buffy in passing and left his office with Dawn right behind him. With a heavy sigh, Buffy turned to Catherine.
“Your sister.” Buffy nodded at Catherine’s statement. “Younger, I imagine?” This question got a chuckle from the blonde.
“She just turned twenty-one,” Buffy replied with a small smile. Knowing from experience what question usually followed she added just as Catherine opened her mouth. “I’m twenty-six.” Catherine frowned but decided not to comment on her age.
“Don’t your parents-”
“Our mom died six years ago,” Buffy interrupted quickly, “And we haven’t heard from our father since he moved to Spain with his secretary.” She hated when people asked about how their parents thought about them working in a form of law enforcement. Not that she considered SLAIN the same as CSI or the FBI but neither them nor the President knew what else they could call their organization without arousing suspicion.
“Why isn’t she in college?” Deciding the parents were obviously a bad subject, Catherine switched back to the sister. It seemed a right choice because Buffy laughed softly at the question and shook her head.
“She tried college,” she answered with a smile then shrugged. “Wasn’t a challenge enough for her, or so she claims. So she just goes around the world wherever our friends need her specialty until she finds a place to settle down, I suppose.” Moving over to Grissom’s desk, she took a small hop and sat on it.
“What do you mean with ‘around the world'?” Catherine asked intrigued. Okay, so SLAIN and Dawn were rather safe subjects. Catherine found that with Dawn not in the room Buffy seemed a little more open to conversation but still seemed cold to her.
“SLAIN has offices in South America, Europe, Africa,” Buffy explained, “We’re trying to set one up in Asia but the government there is being a little more difficult.” She grimaced slightly but shrugged it off when Catherine raised a single sculptured brow.
“How many do you have in the States?” She knew it was starting to sound like a questionnaire but who knew when she’d have a next chance at discovering more about SLAIN. The agency was still a mystery to everyone who wasn’t in it and for Catherine that just wouldn’t do.
“Uhm, we have a head quarters in Nevada, California and Florida and a few smaller ones across America.” Fully aware of what Catherine was doing Buffy humored her a little with mostly futile facts. “We’re trying to set up a Head Quarters in every State, and in every large city an office.” Crossing her legs she smirked at Catherine’s vaguely impressed look.
“Look, I know you’re just doing your job but isn’t there someone higher ranked we can talk to?” Catherine was tired of talking to, what seemed to her, a child. This young woman could not be a supervisor. She was just too young, young enough to be Catherine’s daughter and she wasn’t just going to take orders from a pipsqueak.
“We don’t have a Director like yours, if that’s what you mean but we do have a Council.” Buffy’s expression remained neutral but on the inside she waiting in anticipation to deliver the blow. She knew her age was bruising Catherine’s ego somewhat but she couldn’t care less. She loved it.
“Can we talk to one of the Council members for more information then?” At least there were higher ranked people than this blonde, Catherine thought. Seeing Buffy’s eyebrow raise she had to fight a groan from coming out at the smug expression.
“You already are.” Buffy smirked then elaborated just for the heck of it. “There are a handful of us that act like a council.” A small smile appeared on her face as she thought back to her friends. “If something major is going on then we get together to see what we can do about it but I don’t go over to Florida, for example, to make sure everything is my way or whatever.” That had actually been Dawn’s decision. Probably because she didn’t want to feel like she was being checked on.
“They’re on their own,” Catherine stated more than questioned. Now that arrangement seemed so appealing she wondered somewhere in the back of her mind if they couldn’t instate it at the Crime Lab. They wouldn’t be hassled by Ecklie anymore and thus having a better atmosphere in the lab.
“Yes, nobody sticks their nose in each other’s affairs, except when we’ve had too many complaints or if something affects all of us.” She didn’t, of course, tell Catherine that they didn’t have to deal with the media and its pressure. SLAIN was an organization that was mostly underground and had to remain that way.
“Do you always…”
“Get out in the field with the rest?” Buffy finished for the strawberry blonde. Catherine chuckled but nodded. “Usually yeah, it’s not that I don’t think they can do it, it’s just that I’m not the kind of person to sit behind a desk and give orders from there.” She replied with a shrug. She really didn’t just want to sit behind a desk; it made it seem like too much like the old Council.
“Aren’t you a little young for this kind of responsibility?” Catherine really wanted to know why a twenty-six year old was partly in charge of a worldwide agency. Buffy was about to answer her, using a little white lie, when the door opened and showed Dawn with her arms crossed glaring at Catherine.
“Looks like you two are getting along.” She said as she entered the office fully and closed the door behind her. Catherine wasn’t sure she felt comfortable with two women who didn’t seem to like her on her own. Without Grissom or anyone to witness whatever might happen but she refused to let it show..
“Where are Helen and Paulie?” Buffy questioned instantly ignoring Catherine’s question and Dawn’s comment. Catherine had no idea how long the sister thing was going to last now she rounded the desk and sat in Grissom’s chair, opting on watching the two sisters instead of asking other questions.
“I sent them back.” The brunette replied with a shrug. She looked around the office with a less guarded disgusted look, which didn’t change when her gaze landed on Catherine. The strawberry blonde was getting more and more annoyed with the way Dawn kept looking at her and was about to say something when Buffy spoke up.
“I hope you’ve picked up a car before coming here because I sure as hell am not walking back.” Buffy huffed and crossed her arms causing Dawn to roll her eyes at her sister. Thinking it was just the three of them, Buffy had taken only one Navara to the Crime Lab but if Paulie and Helen were sent back that meant Paulie had taken the Navara.
“There are cabs in Vegas, you know.” Dawn let out an exaggerated sigh. Truth was she came straight from the airport. She had called to SLAIN Head Quarters to let them know she was coming when Kelly informed her that Buffy had taken Helen and Paulie to the Crime Lab.
“Did you take a look at the body?” The blonde questioned her younger sister. Dawn nodded and glanced at Catherine, knowing they’d have to watch what they were saying. She might not be her sister’s biggest fan at the moment but she trusted Buffy enough to know that she hadn’t let Catherine in on their real profession.
“Yeah and I had them copy the file to Head Quarters.” Buffy nodded in approval. Dawn took a deep breath and continued, “I think we’ve got a problem.” She said truthfully. All the evidence seemed to point out the killer wasn’t demonic but even her extended knowledge about rituals didn’t cover enough to know much about the ritual.
“What kind of problem?” Buffy hopped off the desk straightening her clothes absently waiting for Dawn to continue. She didn’t like where this was going. Demons never were a problem so if Dawn said there was a problem that meant the killer was human and if the killer was human Buffy was going to have to work with the lead CSI on the case. She shuddered inwardly at the thought of having to work closely with Catherine Willows.
“The kind where I need Willow’s help.” Dawn replied earnestly. On first sight the ritual seemed simple and maybe it was, maybe it was an easy one but she could’ve sworn she remembered the strangulation MO plus kidnapping of a child and those markings on the victim’s head and chest from a book from Willow’s collection that was off-limits to anyone other than Willow and Giles themselves. Dawn had only seen the books because she helped Willow and Kennedy with their move to South-America.
“What’s going on?” Almost forgotten Catherine was in the room as well Dawn shot the older woman a glare and crossed her arms defiantly. Buffy had to fight back a slight groan of having to call Willow for this reason. She had hoped that the next time she’d see Willow it wouldn’t have had anything to do with things that went bump in the night.
“Need-to-know basis.” The tall brunette merely said and left the office without looking back.
“Sorry, she’s being a bitch.” Buffy shrugged looking over her shoulder at Catherine. “But she’s right.” She sighed and turned around completely while conjuring a small business card out of her pocket. “Here’s my card. We’ll be back tomorrow or you can come by SLAIN to discuss the case.” She handed the card to Catherine and turned to leave the office.
“Why tomorrow?” Catherine asked rising from Grissom’s desk. They already were spending two nights on this case and at some point she would love to have this solved. Moreover, judging by what she heard she couldn’t help but feel like this murderer wasn’t done yet.
“This isn’t the only case we’re working on.” Buffy shot back over her shoulder as she left the office. Already seeing Dawn waiting with a jaded expression she rolled her eyes and walked up to her sister. As she passed the glass walls of one particular lab, she discreetly tilted her head to the side and looked in at a certain brunette doing what seemed like paperwork.