Meeting the Experts
Meeting the Experts
The next night Nick, Greg, and Grissom were gathered in an evidence room going over the pictures from the crime scene. Grissom was busy making notes on the symbols they had found. Nick was studying the pictures intently hoping to find some clue they had overlooked. Greg was nervously tapping his fingers on the table top.
"Sanders," Greg answered when his cell phone rang.
"You have visitors at the front desk."
"Be right there." He closed his phone and put it away. "They're here," he said as he left the room. Nick and Grissom followed behind him.
There were two men waiting for them at reception. One was a tall brunet with broad shoulders. He was well muscled, wearing tight blue jeans, a green t-shirt, and had a relaxed expression on his face as he scanned the room. What caught their attention however was the black eye patch over his left eye. His companion was slightly shorter than him. He was dressed in black jeans and black t-shirt with a long black leather duster flowing around him. His hair was dyed a shocking white-blond and his piercing blue eyes were taking in everything around him, a feeling of danger and menace radiated from the man.
You could tell the second the brunet spotted Greg. His face lit up in a bright lopsided grin, and he seemed to begin to bounce in place. "Greg!" he said happily, before grabbing the young CSI in a bone crushing hug.
Nick and Grissom watched the two greet each other in amused silence.
"Xander...leggo...oxygen....good," Greg gasped. His friend released him and stepped back with a sheepish grin. "God, look at you. You're all buff and rugged looking. What the hell happened to your eye? When did it happen? Why didn't you tell me anything about it? What happened to Sunnydale? I seen it on the news, but you never really answered my emails. What have you been doing? Last I heard you were in Cleveland."
"Bleedin' hell," the blond complained. "Don't any of you lot know anyone that doesn't soddin' babble?"
Greg blushed scarlet while Nick and Grissom tried to hide their soft snickering.
"Umm...right," Greg coughed, trying to regain his composure. "I guess introductions would be good. This is Nick Stokes, CSI III, and Gil Grissom, my boss. We're working this case together. Nick, Gris, this is Xander Harris and......"
"Spike," the blond supplied.
"Spike," Greg eeped, wide eyed.
"Ah, the whelp's told ya 'bout me then." Greg continued to stare. "All good things I'm sure," he finished cheekily.
Xander snorted and a muttered "Yeah right" could be heard.
"If you could put these on," Grissom said, handing Xander and Spike each a visitor's pass, "and follow us, we'll show you what we've got."
Greg grabbed Xander's hand and tugged him ahead of the rest of the group. Nick could hear the hushed whispers of their conversation, but couldn't tell what was being said. Judging by Greg's body language, however, something had upset him. He strained to hear what was being said, but had no luck. The quiet chuckles coming from the blond...Spike...indicated that the other man was not having the same problem as Nick though. They moved quickly along the glass lined corridors to return to the evidence viewing room.
"Here's what we have so far," Greg said, indicating the photos on the table with a sweep of his arm.
Nick and Grissom studied the two new men intently when they moved towards the table, watching for their reactions to the crime scene photographs. They were shocked when the only reactions were a small disgusted wince from Xander. Spike didn't so much as blink as he examined the photos. Nick and Grissom exchanged a glance, both had clearly expected more of a reaction.
"Ugh, that's a lot of blood," Xander said. "How many bodies would it take to get that much?"
"About five," Spike answered, without looking up, before any of the CSIs could respond.
"Uh, we found five dismembered bodies at the scene," Nick said, a hint of nervousness in his tone.
"Told ya," Spike smirked. Xander rolled his eye.
"Yeah, yeah Blondie. You are the all knowing of all things blood and gore. Here, doesn't this look familiar," Xander said, handing Spike one of the photos.
Spike looked closely at the photo. "Yeah. Its one of those languages that Peaches tried to get me to learn back in the day. Ken'tesh, Mooglur, something...its one of the central African ones. I never seen the need to learn those, since at the time I hadn't planned on ever going there. Coulda used it a few years ago. Red should be able to get us a translation if we send her copies of these. Should even be able to tell us which ritual this is too."
"I thought I recognized it. Woulda been handy while I was there too. Right. We'll need to hit the local information spots. See if we can find anyone who knows what's going on. Got a feeling the higher-ups aren't going to be to happy with something like this going on in their town. Vegas is pretty neutral."
"Too right. This sort of thing brings to much attention. Plus, they ain't gonna want something coming up that's badder than them. Which this could be. Lots of the old big bads are from that area. If this is to raise one of those..."
Grissom coughed. "Excuse me. Could you perhaps tell us what you are talking about?"
"Oh. Uh." Xander blushed. "Sorry 'bout that. We're just used to making plans on the spot like that. Sorry, Mr. Grissom."
"It's alright," Grissom smiled. "We have a tendency to run off like that around here, as well. Now, if you could tell us what you think this is..."
"Right. You see these runes," Xander pointed to one of the pictures. "Spike and I both recognize them from our trips to Africa. Its fairly common in the central African clans, but I never got the chance to learn it while I was there. I didn't stay in one place long enough. Anyway, see this area here," he indicated another picture, "this is were the sacrifices would have happened. That's the sp...umm...power circle. They would have wanted to contain all of the power of the sacrifices in there. By making the runes in the victims blood, it would have added power to the ritual."
"It's always about the blood," Spike said off-handedly.
"Greg, do you know where the local hangouts are?" Xander asked.
"Yeah. I made it a point to find them when I first moved here, just in case," Greg nodded.
"Smart boy," Spike said with a leer. "Coming with us while we check them out?"
Greg caught the leer and glanced nervously at Xander. "Umm...I...umm..."
"Whoa...whoa...whoa. Greg's not going anywhere with you. Now what in the hell are you talking about? Local information spots, higher-ups, Vegas being neutral...and what does African clans have to do with all of this?!" Nick shouted at the end of his patience.
Spike narrowed his eyes at the Texan. "We were just talking about doing all of your leg work for you, and taking care of this problem you've got; seeing as to how there is no way anyone with the information you need would talk to any of you. But, if you don't want our help that's fine, Xan and I are out of here. Not like I'd hurt your boy or anything. Actually, he'd be safer with me and Xan than the entire police department," he snapped.
"Spike," Xander sighed heavily. "We're here to help, not get into pissing contests. Sorry, we're just used to getting things done, and having everyone who we're working with already up to speed on everything. Every major city has a de....an occult sub-culture. For the most part they police themselves and the rest of the population is never aware of them. Some areas have a more active community than others, like in New York, we've worked with their CSIs a few times now."
"They hate seeing us coming," Spike interrupted.
"Las Vegas, though, is usually pretty quiet," Xander continued. "The de...occult leaders in town all have their hands in the casinos and other touristy things. They aren't going to want their boat rocked, something like this isn't going to go unnoticed. They're going to want to take care of this as soon as possible, but like Spike just said, they're not going to talk to you guys. You're not part of the community, you won't get anything out of them."
"And you're part of this community?" Grissom asked. "You just arrived in Las Vegas."
Xander let a small smirk play on his lips while Spike chuckled evilly.
"Actually Mr. Grissom," Xander said, "I can pretty much guarantee that you can walk into any local haven in any city on the planet...say our names...and you'll get a reaction."
"And just what are you to this community to be so well known?" Nick asked disbelievingly.
"Peacekeepers," Spike said seriously. "We take care of those who are doing things that will endanger others."
"Vigilantes," Grissom said with distaste.
"I really hate newbies," Xander sighed. "No offense. We get this all the time. It's just...if you're not part of this world then..."
"They're not vigilantes, guys," Greg spoke up for his friend. "At least not the way your thinking. Trust me, what they do is needed, and its not something that normal police departments are able to handle. I would really hate to see some of the things that could have happened if people like them weren't around."
Nick narrowed his gaze on Greg. "You know more about what's going on than you've let on. Give Greg, what's really going on?"
"I don't know any more about this case than what I've told you already," Greg said honestly.
"Maybe not. But you know a helluva lot more about this occult stuff than you've said."
"Not really. Not a lot. Some. A little." Greg said nervously, eyes darting around the room, while he chewed on his bottom lip.
"I have to agree with Nick," Grissom said. "You do seem to know more than you've told us, Greg. If you've been with-holding information that could help with this case...."
"NO! I've told you all I know by calling Xan. I swear," Greg defended himself.
"You should be thanking the boy for knowing who to call to help with this instead of accusing him of hiding things," Spike growled. "He had to have been worried about your reactions to calling us in, and what we would have to say. Instead he stepped up and did his job. Leave the kid alone."
"Spike. They're confused. They've just been told something pretty unbelievable and they haven't processed yet. They're lashing out, we see this all the time. But I agree. Back off on Greg," Xander said with a matching growl.
Grissom looked justly chagrined and nodded his head once in agreement. Nick stood gaping at the two men, eyes wide and blinking rapidly. Finally, his mouth snapped shut and he gritted out between clinched teeth, "Who the hell do you think you are? You just come in here, start telling us all of this shit about unknown sub-cultures who police themselves and you're the peacekeepers of that community, known world-wide according to you. You spout off all this bull-hockey, want to take Greggo with you to god knows where, and expect us to just be okay with it. What in the hell have you done to earn that kind of trust?"
Spike stepped protectively in front of Xander. "You want to know what Xan's done to earn that kind of trust, to earn a respect you can only dream of having? He's been protecting people from those that would kill you in a heartbeat without a second thought since he was fifteen. He's seen more friends...family...killed by these...things than any one person should ever see," Spike growled. "He didn't just lose his home to this, he lost his whole damn town. He lost his eye to one of those assholes because I wasn't fast enough when we were trying to stop him."
Xander placed a calming hand on Spike's shoulder. "Hey, reign it in. It's no big deal. He's trying to rationalize, and there's more than a little shock there too," he said softly.
"Oh my god!" Everyone turned to look at the gaping Greg. "You two are together!"
Spike smirked, while Xander had a small shy smile. "Uh yeah. A little over a year now."
"You can't be with...with him!" Greg shouted. "That's just wrong Xan! You know its wrong! How could you?"
"Greg," Xander sighed. "It just kinda happened."
"Just kinda happened?" Greg repeated. "No, Xan. That doesn't just kinda happen. How can you...with...him?!"
"He's safe as houses with me," Spike said, amusement dancing in his eyes.
"Nobody's talking to you!" Greg snapped. Spike broke into a full grin.
"Greg," Grissom began, "I never knew you felt that way about homosexuality. I'm afraid that I will have to pull you off this case since you feel so strongly on the issue, as it appears that our victims may have all been gay."
Greg stopped glaring at Spike to look at his co-workers while Grissom was talking. He could see the disappointed look in Grissom's eyes, and the crestfallen expression on Nick's face. Finally, what Grissom had said sank in.
"What? No...No. Trust me, I have no problem with some man-on-man lovin'."
"Then what is your problem with their relationship?" Grissom asked patiently.
"It's not the gay thing. It's that Spike...he's....he's a..." Greg tried to explain.
"A Brit," Spike supplied helpfully, grinning like a madman.
"Yes!" Greg said too quickly. "He's a Brit. And you know how dangerous...Brit's are Xan. They'll drain the life out of you and toss you into the gutter. I know you haven't always dated...."
"Americans," Spike supplied again, trying to hold in his laughter.
"Yeah, Americans. But you've never dated anyone as dangerous as a....Brit...before. What are you thinking?"
"Ya do know that a couple us Brit's do have souls and can love just the same are the rest of you, right?" Spike asked. The tone was serious, but you only had to look into his eyes to see the laughter there.
"I don't care. It doesn't change that you're a...a Brit," Greg said, not backing down.
"G, ain't that takin' patriotism a bit far?" Nick asked.
Xander sighed heavily and looked at his watch. "Less than two hours. That's a new record. It took Taylor, in New York, three hours to lose it. I miss the Sunnydale PD, they never paid attention to anything. Real cops pay to much attention and CSIs are even worse. Right. This isn't going to work without all cards on the table for you guys is it?"
Grissom and Nick shook their heads. Greg looked at him apologetically.
"That's what I thought," he sighed again. "Alright. Let's get this over with. To save time, can you get your ME up here, and can we go somewhere a little less...see-through?"
"We can go to my office," Grissom offered. "But why do you need our ME?"
"For their medical opinion, of course," Xander said.
"Right," Nick drawled. "I'll meet you in your office, Gris, after I get Doc Robbins."
"Albert Robbins?" Xander asked.
"Yes," Grissom said cautiously. "How do you know him?"
"This might not be so hard after all," Xander smiled. "You'll get all of your answers once Al is with us. Let's go."