Matters of the Afterlife
Greg looked across the room, wondering what was going on. He was in the field again today, learning a bit more on this scene. It was him, Grissom, and Warrick. This scene was staged. It was clearly staged. It had been staged, it would continue to be staged, and it was obviously staged. He looked at Grissom. "This is so very staged," he pointed out.
Warrick looked at him. "Becoming an expert now, Greg?" he teased, smirking a bit.
"I will bet a hundred bucks to your ten that there will be one single print in this room besides the vic's or staff's," he said seriously. He looked around, pointing at a low table. "It'll be there beside the nice vase of flowers." Grissom looked at him. He pointed at the body on the bed. "That's textbook of that one assassin working around the world right now. We covered it three months ago in classes." Grissom raised an eyebrow. "Often called El Terrible?"
"Him?" Warrick asked, looking at Grissom. "Why would he hit this guy? He only hits bad guys."
"Then maybe he's a bad guy," Greg pointed out. He looked at Grissom. "Should I run prints?"
"Please. Start with that table." He looked at Warrick. "I haven't heard of this guy."
"He's got about six hundred kills to his name. No one's sure if the current guy is an assistant or an apprentice to the former guy since it's been going on for nearly thirty years." He took another picture of the gun on the bed. "Greg's right, it does fit his MO. If so, then we'll probably find some sort of crime linking this guy back to Europe. That seems to be where he does the majority of his work." He put away his camera and got to work on the other duties.
Grissom came over to see the perfect print Greg held up. "That's very well done, Greg."
"He laid it on purpose, he always does," Greg said, grinning back at him. He handed it off and went back to dusting everything else. One of the silk flowers had some smudges but nothing else on that table had anything. He walked over to the next piece of furniture and worked on that one. Grissom patted Greg on the back and let the ME in, making Greg grin at David. "Hey."
"Hey." He looked at the body. "Assassination? That's not very common these days. I wonder what he was into." He came over and checked the body, then found the wallet, handing it over to Grissom. He got to work filling out the form, then pulled his liver thermometer, sticking it in. It beeped so he looked at it. "94."
"So, about four hours dead," Warrick noted, looking around. Someone knocked on the door and Grissom waved so he opened it, finding a room service worker there. "Hi. Did you need something? Have some information maybe?"
"No, sir," she said, holding out the tray. "A call was placed to bring you this." He took it and she hurried off.
"Wait," Greg called, standing up and moving around the stunned Warrick. "What is it? Who sent it? Did you take the call?"
"The switchboard did, it's cocoa. He said you could use it by the time you got done." She swallowed. "My cousin works out there and he said that it's not his usual sort of thing, but justice was served. He taped it from the computer. He said you can pick it up when you come down." She turned and jogged off, holding down her apron.
Greg looked inside the tray, sniffing the cocoa. He tasted a drop then nodded. "It's good cocoa." He put the cup back down. "No poisons or anything herbal in it." David looked at him so he grinned. "It's a part of the calling. Any idea what else got him?"
"Just the gunshot I think. No obvious bruises. Nothing overt." He shrugged. "Probably just the shot. It's a clean shot, not a lot of blood. Either someone was very lucky or they knew where to hit him to make sure he wouldn't spew blood everywhere." He stood up and motioned his body carriers in, letting them take the body while Grissom bagged the weapon. "Any others? We thought it might be a multiple."
"There was a heart attack in the kitchen but I think the paramedics got her," Warrick offered. David nodded, going to check at the front desk before leaving. He looked at Greg. "You're so sure. Why?"
Greg just grinned and flipped off the overhead lights, then focused the desk lamp at the table, watching them walk over to look. "It's his signature. I ran into him back in 'Frisco, guys. He's very good at what he does. He's also an evil and uncaring bastard most of the time. We had a talk with him on general principles about a shooting since he was in the area. He laid out his methodology to counter them, making sure they knew it wasn't him. Then he suddenly disappeared."
"Your sort?" Grissom asked. Greg nodded. "You're sure?"
"Very," he said smugly. "He's still probably in town. I'm not sure I can arrest him without a duel and I'm not that excellent. For that, you need my darling love. She's better than I am at being the badass."
"It's a strong man who can admit his wife is badder than he is," Warrick said dryly.
"Please!" he snorted. "My wife scares world leaders. She scared the stupid idiot Dark Lord. She can win a duel against him. And if not, I'm sure I can ask Alex very nicely. He duels better than anyone I've ever heard of. He had a few world championships." He got back to work, looking at the tray of cocoa and sighing. "Can I at least fill my travel mug?"
"No, Greg," Grissom said patiently. He and Warrick shared a look. "What does this guy look like?"
"Last I knew he was dark haired, fairly pale white guy, had longish hair at the time but he kept fussing with it like he thought he needed a trim," Greg said as he worked. "He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt the last time I saw him, Griss. He looked like a really wiry bouncer sort, but the eyes let you know he had combat training and experience. He and the Prof over there probably are about equally as well trained if it gives you any idea."
"It does," Warrick assured him. He had caught a duel between Alex and the Professor on one of their downtimes locally at Greg's place. "How are the kids?"
"Growing," he moaned. "I don't think I can make enough money to keep them in clothes some days." He grinned again. "They're so brilliant though. I had both boys in the lab with me and they were cooing at the ingredients."
"It's good to know they'll follow in your footsteps, Greg," Grissom told him, coming over to get a sample of the cocoa as well. Detective Vartan, a well-built, tough looking guy, walked in and looked at what he was sampling. "It was sent after the crime, we think by the killer. Greg said there's nothing in it."
"He has a portable lab?"
"Experience," Greg noted, lifting a new print to compare to the one he had found on the table. "I found a new reference print. Probably the victim's."
"That's fine, Greg." Warrick took it to look at. "Yeah, that looks like the others I pulled." He looked at him. "If it's him, can you arrange to have him show up?"
Greg just shrugged. "Maybe. I can try."
"Why? Does he know the guy personally?"
"Met him once. El Terrible is not a man anyone can really call 'buddy'," Greg said dryly, smirking a bit at the detective. "The message with the cocoa said that it was outside his normal jobs, but justice was served. There's a tape waiting at the switchboard."
"I'll...go get that," he said, pointing and heading that way. He looked at Griss. "He's weird today," he complained, heading down to the front desk to get the victim's information and that tape.
"Greg, please don't scare the normals," Grissom said patiently.
"Awww, shoot. There went my fun for the night," he sighed, shaking his head and lifting another one. "Another of the second source."
"I found a small smudge, but it looks like it's not really deep, like there was something pressed really tightly against his hands," Warrick said, shaking his head. "I doubt we can clean it up."
Greg looked at him. Then at the angle. "That'd be impossible from a standing angle."
"True," Warrick agreed. He looked at him. "You got to question him?"
"No. But I sat in anyway, he talked to me." Greg grinned. "He said I was cute."
"I'll keep that in mind and tell Emilia he said that," Grissom assured him. "Let's finish up, boys." They got back to work and he studied Greg carefully. He was doing everything the right way. He was coming along well in his training but this was a worrying situation.
"Hey, Griss?" Greg asked. Grissom shook himself as he made a 'huh' noise. "Has anyone figured out who's got the plans on the 'net to bury themselves and four showgirls/servants with them yet?"
"I haven't heard a thing about that, Greg. When did you see it?"
"Last night. I left a note in your box." He glanced at him as he dusted another surface. "Another print that's from the second sample." He lifted it anyway. "I did see Ecklie hunting around in there when I came in today but he was acting all 'I'm doing nothing'."
"I'll check later, did you bookmark it?" Grissom asked.
"Sure did. It's on my home compy though." He shrugged and found a hair so he bagged that. "I found a tucked in hair while I was working the fingerprint powder."
"Skin tag?" Warrick asked.
"Yeah, and I'll note that it probably has powder on it," he said, writing that on the envelope. He tucked that into the manila envelope in his case, then got back to hunting before he did any more damage. "Eww." He used a popsicle stick to scoop up a biological deposit and put it in plastic. "Remind me to always clean any room I stay in."
"What was it?"
"Biological," Greg said with a grossed out face. "Too big for a swab. So I sticked it and stuck it in plastic." He shuddered but got back to work.
Grissom shook his head. "Some news program said that they found seven hundred samples at one hotel in the midwest."
"Fortunately nowhere I plan on going," Greg noted dryly.
Hodges leaned into the lab Greg was working in, smirking a bit. "I hear you had a famous assassin on your case."
Greg looked up at him and grinned. "I talked to him in the past, Hodges. He was moderately scary but I'm guessing he's like death when he's working. Why? Was it?"
"I stopped in fingerprint." He handed over the sheets he had done and that one. "It's yours."
"Wow." He grinned. "Thanks. You coming out for dinner tonight?" Hodges nodded. "I'll remind Emilia. She's going to have fun before we get back. Even if I'm a bit late, go ahead over and watch my poor pookie for me, 'kay?"
"Sure," David agreed. "Thanks, Greg." He walked off, smiling at Warrick. "I handed the sheets to Greg. He's right. It's El Terrible."
"Joy," Warrick complained, heading into the lab where Greg was working. "What are you doing?"
"Finding angles." He handed over the photo he had been marking. "Yes, it's a duplicate," he assured him at his look. "He was at the foot of the bed, facing him."
"Why not the side of the bed or beside the door?"
"He always gives them a chance to pray and write out a last note. He said it's cleaner that way." He shrugged and grinned. Then he handed over the reports. "Fingerprints confirmed it. The others are the victim's. Biological nastiness from the dresser is also the vic's. As was the wine in the bathroom that had backwash in it. He was gulping out of the bottle according to Doc Robbins. "He also had viagra in his system." He handed over that report.
Warrick read over everything then nodded. "Good work, Greg. Got a report done?"
"I'll do it in a little while. Did Griss find that note I left him?"
"Not yet. He said to please pop home at lunch and find it again or have Emilia send it over." He looked at him. "What were they doing?"
"Bringing servants into the afterlife with them."
"Wonderful. Isn't that Egyptian?"
"Kinda, but the plans I saw weren't really Egyptian. Looked more like they were going with marble." Warrick nodded and headed off. So Greg looked around. "I'm taking a break," he called, then disappeared from right there. He landed in his home, grinning at his daughter and wife. "Hi." He kissed their daughter Cassandra first then his wife. "Do you wanna be naughty?" he teased with a small smirk.
"I'm all for naughty, Greg. Why?"
"Because El Terrible's in town and he's our sort."
"Really?" She frowned. "Jett's in town?" He nodded. "Wonderful. Where?"
"Not a clue but he killed someone. We need him brought in. I'll give you Brass but it's his day off."
"Fine." She patted him on the cheek. "Can I wear the leather mini skirt?"
"Sure," he agreed, beaming happily. "Remember, David's coming over, so wear it to the station too," he said with a wink. "I'm heading up to get that address from the computer." His daughter handed over a copy of the memo he had typed, beaming at him. He smiled and ruffled her hair. "You're so brilliant! Just like mommy! Daddy loves you all. Be good, I'm only on break. We'll have dinner with David tonight." His daughter beamed, he was her favorite uncle because he taught her stuff too. "Laters." He shared out kisses then headed back to his usual spot to appear, heading inside. He walked past Grissom, handing over the memo. "'San printed off another copy for you."
"Thanks, Greg. Any luck on the case?"
"I was right," he said happily, turning to look at him and walking backward. "Fingerprint said so. He was a bit drunk, had viagra in his system, and he was shot from the end of the bed by my calculations." He turned, barely missing their present DNA tech by moving around her. "Sorry!" He headed back to work, going to do that report. He even remembered to keep it in plain english instead of lab or Greg speak.
Emilia walked into the usual wizarding hotel, smiling at the woman behind the counter. "This is Detective Brass," she said quietly. "We need to see Jett."
"He's not upstairs, ma'am."
She pulled her wand and hexed the person to statue-hood. "Really?" She walked behind the desk, typing in her request, getting a room number. Which she called. "Jett, dear. It's Emilia. I challenge you to a duel. No, sweetie, you're now endangering my pookie bear. So let's do this so the nice detective can arrest you. 'Kay?" she asked with a smirk. She laughed at his answer. "Too late!" She hung up and hit the button to stop apparations out. Then she whistled as she headed for the elevators, catching him as he came fuming off. She smirked a bit. "Jett, this is Detective Brass. He works with my Greg."
"You finally married your little nerd?" he asked dryly. She nodded, smirking a bit more, looking quite naughty. He looked her over, then at her again. "It must be love, you're in leather."
She giggled and nodded. "I am. My poor pookie gets so excited. Then again, he's a potion's master." He raised an eyebrow. "You met him before. Gregory Sanders?"
"The little geek master in Frisco?" He frowned. "He's your little nerd?"
"Now," she agreed smugly. "Want to see pictures of the kids?"
"Hell no," he snorted. "I'm just glad I don't have any." He looked at her, then at Brass. "I'm assuming he knows?"
"Oh, yeah, Greggy gave him bunny ears."
Jett looked at the cop again, raising an eyebrow. "How many months of mental drugs did you have to take when you found out?"
"I'm still trying to decide if I need them or not." Someone came running up and he held up his badge, and the manager turned and ran the other way. "So let's do this. I know you'll try to escape. Please surrender your wand and whatever other weapons you've got on you."
"Yeah," he agreed dryly. "You must. Or else Emilia gets to play badass again."
Jett snickered. "Her?" She kneed him in the stomach, then hit him on the back, making him look up at her. "Some day you'll be paying for that."
She smirked down at him. "Only on my back and begging for Greg to make me a good girl again," she assured him. "Get up and let's go. You're taking me away from bedtime stories."
"Fine. You're such a * mother*," he complained, allowing Brass to handcuff and frisk him. "Who is this about anyway?"
"Oh, yeah, the guy who drunkenly drove through a kid's funeral and got half her class." Brass shuddered. "Not my usual sort of job, but the mother begged and pleaded. Sorry, man."
"That's fine. We can talk about it downtown. Then we'll see if we can keep you." He walked him off, sighing a bit. "Emilia, we can't beat up on prisoner's around here."
She pulled her wand and hexed Jett, making him yelp. "I never knew you could do wandless, Jett. I should tell Greggy that. I'm sure he can devise some way of keeping you around."
"That's mean and I'm nice to you," he complained.
She kissed him on the cheek. "I know you are, dear, but you made my poor pookie work harder and he's in the field now. Not that I *like* my poor little boy in the field, but still." He shuddered so she smirked. "I know, but I'm doing it to annoy the fuck outta you," she assured him, patting him on the back. "Into the car, studly."
"Can't I apparate?" he complained.
"Hell no. Get in the car or I'm having Greg call Alex back," Brass complained.
"I don't think we need *that* much of a threat, Detective Brass," she sighed. He rolled his eyes. "I don't."
"Alex who?" he asked as he was put into the back of the car. "I heard about the war, good job. You know, if you had asked, I would've helped."
"Thanks. It was the whole Bane network." She got in and buckled up because Greg would freak if she didn't, but turned to look at him. "You didn't hear anything about Potter and Dumass and the Malfoy family?"
"I heard a rumor, but he's got to be nearly ninety," he said, frowning a bit.
She grinned. "Oh, no, honey, he was deaged. He's about twenty now and he was on the Hellmouth over in Cali." Jett let out a small moan. "Better known as Xander Harris."
Jett stared her down. "You're shittin' me," he said firmly. She shook her head. "Please tell me you're shitting me, Emilia." She grinned and shook her head again. "That little goofball was Dumass!" he shouted. She nodded, beaming now. "How!"
"Dumbledore put a shield around him. It was like he was wearing a costume of himself. He had *no* access to any powers."
"And he lived there?" he asked, looking horrified. "Was he suicidal?"
"Dumbledore put him with a set of alcoholic muggles when he was deaged back to five."
Jett shuddered, shaking the now loose handcuffs. She flicked her wand and they retightened. "Please tell me you're kidding?" he pleaded. She shook her head. "Damn it! And I met the guy! I didn't even realize and he's the only guy I never beat in a duel!"
"Yeah, and now he's got his own pet Veela, my cousin Draco," she said smugly. "Plus Weasley and Potter as apprentices. They're in Malgadesh."
"Whoa," he said, looking appreciative. "Since when?"
"About a month now," she said, smiling at Brass. "He came to the sendoff party we had for the group. Ron's older brother Bill went with them to help."
"So who's the Dawn chick?"
"The slayer's younger sister."
"She's related to *Buffy*?"
Brass nodded. "Yup. We've seen both of them. Should I park somewhere so you can finish catching up?"
"Oh, no, sweetie, we'll get together at the next UN meeting," she assured him, patting him on the arm. "David's coming for dinner tonight. Want to join us?"
"No thanks. Greg and David get into super-nerd mode and I'm lost and alone with the boys."
"No, they were cooing in the lab the other day," she said happily. "They were helping stir and cooing at his ingredients and he's such a happy little potions master now."
"Wonderful. Just like Cassandra?" She nodded.
"You've got three kids?" Jett said, looking confused. "How long have you been married?"
"A few years. One girl and then a set of twin boys. The boys are just walking." She pulled her wallet out of her bra and flipped open the pictures, showing him the last one. "That's my brood. Thankfully all of them."
He looked at it, then at her. "Methos?"
"He's teaching defense," she offered with a grin. "Snape said he nearly cut the whole Hufflepuff table up their second day back because the house elves were really slow with the coffee." He chuckled, shaking his head. They pulled into the lot. "Will you please be good, pookie?"
"Sweetheart, call me a pet name again and I'm going to rip your hair out," he said firmly. "I didn't put up with it with the blonde bimbo, who's now dead. I don't put up with it in others."
"Shoot." She pouted.
"Not working. I saw the Mistress of Pout do it too many times at my triplet."
"How is that darling?"
"Hiding. He's somewhere on holy ground. He won't tell me where so I can't go slap him like he deserves."
"Pity. Where's Jace?"
"New York doing a show." He rolled his eyes. "I swear I'm the normal one."
"I think that's Joxer, sweetie," she assured him, reaching back to pat his hand. He grabbed her and she bit him, making him shriek. "Bad you!" She hit him on the head, making him duck and yelp. "Bad boy!"
"I think that's my definition," he defended, giving her a hurt look. "Motherhood made you mean."
"Yay." She grinned. "Greg likes me like this." He snorted and looked at Brass. "He's seen him drooling after me in this outfit."
"More than once," Brass agreed, parking and getting out. He pulled Jett out and redid his cuffs. Emilia walked inside with him, so he took them both to an interrogation room. He looked at her when she followed them in. "You can't really be in here."
"Honey, Greg can't stop him." She patted him on the cheek. "Be a good boy and go get Griss. I'll watch him. We've got *ages* to catch up on. I haven't seen him since the last nuclear talks." She sat down across from him. "Yes, I'm your torture."
"I figured as much with the way that top cuts." He lifted his head to look. "Still looking good. Didn't breastfeed the husband?"
She snorted and shook her head. "No, I did. I'm just built that way." He snickered and leaned back, getting comfortable. She smiled at the guys coming in. "Hi, guys." She looked at Jett. "He's promised to be good until he's alone in a cell later. Otherwise I get to get PMS cranky." Grissom and Warrick both shuddered.
Greg checked the date on his watch. "Wasn't that last week?" She shot a harmless hex at him and he ducked it. "Sorry, 'Mil." He kissed her and grinned at Jett. "Mine."
"I heard. Actually I heard about you for years before you got together. She used to sigh over you. I also remember our last chat."
"Hmm, me too. Grissom didn't believe me that it was your work today." He put down the photo. "What did he do?"
"Hypothetically, he drunkenly crashed through a kid's funeral and took out half her class." The guys all winced and Emilia glared at a wall. "If I was there, I was acting in the name of Justice, guys. Sorry. What was he doing out here anyway?"
"Marrying his fifth wife," Warrick told him. "We can't seem to find her."
"Not me," Jett assured him. "I don't touch collateral damage and I haven't since time started running forward."
"You're like Professor Methos?" Grissom asked. Jett nodded. "Interesting. What did you used to be?"
"The King of Assassins." Then he grinned his most cheezy grin. "Can't you tell?"
"I can. It explains a lot," he agreed quietly. "Fine. Emilia, do we have his wand?"
"Yup, but small complication. He can do Willow magic."
"He can?" Greg asked, looking at him. "Did you get *really* bored?" Jett nodded, shifting a bit. His handcuffs came back off. "Neat. I wanna learn that trick." He frowned a bit. "Can you at least wait until you get bail and skip? That way we can flesh out your file? You're being copied in the Southwest."
"I saw. She's in trouble when I catch her," he said dryly. "Pissy bitch will learn better."
"Fine," Warrick said calmly, looking at Greg. "How do you know he'll skip?"
"The last time he disappeared from a holding cell with six cops watching." He looked at Jett. "Besides, if he gives this department shit while I'm here, then I'm going to tell the Prof where and his two brothers are," he said firmly. Jett sat up, staring at him. Greg stared back. "Comprende?" Jett nodded. "Good. Vegas is *my* town. The overlords might not agree, but it's under *my* protection. That's why I work here. Doing shit like this on my turf upsets me."
"You can't challenge me," Jett reminded him.
"Yeah I can. And if I can't, then there's others. After all, Methos is still being bothered by the poor, cursed Duncie-poo."
"He was cursed?"
"To brood," Emilia told him. "Alex figured it out."
"Wow. No wonder he was King Pout." He shook his head and looked at Greg. "Prove it." Greg pulled his wand and Jett stood up, backing away. "Okay, man. No need to hex me." He saw the look in Greg's eyes. "Are you sure you're a good guy!"
"Yeah," Greg said, putting his wand back up his sleeve and into the special holster. "I'm very sure I'm a good guy. Then again, we did just recently take over the Chicago school to fix it and did decimate Voldemort and his Death Eaters."
Jett shuddered. "If you guys had called, I would've come," he complained, cautiously moving closer.
"Sit, you're safe as long as you don't touch anyone in this room or my coworkers."
"Small prob with that, Greg," Jett said, looking very serious. "I got contacted about a member of the department here. One of the CSI people."
"I am one of the CSI people. Formerly DNA and now field. Who?"
"Sider? Something like that." He shrugged. "They thought since I was in town...."
"Sarah Sidle?" Grissom asked, looking quite serious. "Who?"
"Let's just say they're about to do something really stupid," he said, looking at him, then back at Greg. "Not one of us, man."
"Fine." Greg nodded at that. "I'll go warn Sarah and tell her she's stuck at home, Griss?"
"Go," he agreed. He looked at Jett. "You're scared of him?"
Jett leaned back again, comfortable now that Greg was gone. "Greg is one of those men who will destroy the world if what's his is touched. Some men are possessive and some men own things, but men like him destroy others. If I even *threatened* Emilia I'd be a dead man and so would a great many other people if they tried to stop him." Emilia nodded at that. He looked at her. "Is Dumass afraid of him?"
"No, they're buddies and he's a Bane now."
"Wow." He blinked a few times. "You guys are stronger than I thought."
"That's partially Blair's doing and partially Tipsy and the twin's doing," she said smugly.
"Those Weasley twins married Tipsy 'Tip Top' 'Pranking Mistress' Ramvette?"
"Yup, and she's got two sets of twins," she said proudly. "Joxer and Iolaus and then Arthur and Morgan."
He shuddered. "They named one of their twins after my brother?" he whined.
"They thought it was a tv show. No one ever explained to them why Methos bursts out in giggles when he sees dear little Joxer and her trail of destruction."
He sat up again. "They named a *daughter* after Joxer?" She smiled and nodded. He burst out giggling, pounding the table a few times. "I've got to tell him! He'll come out of hiding to see his namesake!" he snickered. "Jace will be *so* upset."
Greg came back, watching the laughing. "Let me guess, you told him about Joxer?" he asked happily. Emilia smiled and blew a kiss. "She is a little hellion and a half. She and Cassandra keep stripping off every time they get together to play." He sat down, putting a folder in front of him. "This is what the FBI has on you. I got it from the receptionist since I had her printing it off. Wanna help us here?"
Jett took it, still laughing and in a good mood. "Tell that bastard Xander that I remember him in his alter ego and if I had any idea I'd have put him out of his misery."
Greg touched his arm, then smirked evilly. "He said if he ever runs into you again, next time you get to pay your own tab, you're on the bottom, and he's going to make you service his boy Draco."
Jett snickered again, shaking his head. "Dumass always was an original." He got to work sorting out the fiction in his crime file. After all, they were realistic and they weren't going to keep him very long. He might as well get in some bragging. Besides, he could get some information on the not-him.
David Hodges woke up, which was an odd thing. The last he knew, he had been getting into his car to go to Greg's house for dinner. He looked around the room he was in. It was totally blank. He couldn't even see a doorway in the light of the small lantern in the corner. He did see something though. He groaned as he got up, holding his head. "Ow." He walked over to where another body was lying, poking it hard. "Get up!" Greg groaned and covered his forehead. "Greg, we're in danger. Get up!"
Greg sat up, holding his head. "Damn it, I hate being gassed." He looked around then at David. He patted himself down, finding his wand. "Someone was really dumb." He cast a quick healing charm on them both, then got up to look around. "Got your phone?"
"No." He checked around where he had been put, but there wasn't anything. "I don't even have my wallet. You?" Greg nodded, finding his. He patted himself down again, finding his phone. "Why didn't they search you?"
"I have an automatic shield that comes up whenever I'm knocked out so I can't be harmed while I'm unconscious. It goes up when I'm asleep too," he admitted. "Any junior wizard can bring it down if they try hard enough but it gives me enough time to wake back up." He walked around the room. "No signal." He frowned, checking the phone over. "I wish Philip had gotten that charm to spell the phones to work anywhere done." He put it away and touched his arm, getting nothing. "We're in a magically null area." He frowned and tried to summon something. The bottles of water came and he sniffed them both before handing one over. He sipped his, looking at the room they were in. "It's a tomb."
"It is?" David asked, looking around. "How can you tell?"
"I saw it online last night. Some guy wanted to bury himself with four showgirls. I sent it to Griss in case." He checked his phone again, still no signal. He frowned as he considered the room. "I'm not a tomb raider," he said finally. "I don't know how to break out of here." David just groaned and sat down. "What?"
"Good. Maybe that can work in our favor." He got himself ready, hexing the person who was opening the door. He walked over and shoved the door open wider, ducking another hex. "Shit!" He shot at that person, making them go running. "Dave."
"What?" he asked, coming over once the noise was gone. "What did you do?"
"Annoyance, what I do best." He looked at him. "Can you still change?" David swallowed but nodded. "Then take my phone and head." He handed it over and watched as David changed down to a small fairy-like creature before flying off. Greg walked out into the main room, looking around that one. It was very strange but he felt he should recognize these things. He didn't but he felt he should. He found two doors. One went to another chamber, and it already had a body in it. Being wary of mummies he backed out and headed for the other one, finding the stairs. He walked up them slowly, wand in hand. He could hear voices above him and groaned. "Wonderful, they've got an army." He tried his tattoo again, nothing. He readied himself when he heard footsteps coming toward the door, scowling when it was locked. He tried his wand but the magic was seriously blanketed now. He sat down there to listen to what was going on. He pulled out his bottle of water and drank, making sure he had enough moisture to last for a while. "What a day I picked to not carry any potions on me," he complained. He tried to apparate but he couldn't get through the blocks on the area. Simple magic only then. He tried to turn the bottle into a portkey but it didn't work either. The spell wouldn't take. He sighed and sat down to wait. They'd have to come back sometime. They clearly weren't done with only two hostages to go over with the mummy.
David landed outside the boundaries of the land and changed back, then ran for the road, dialing the office. "Grissom, it's David. Greg and I got taken hostage by guys who had a mummy. Trace this signal! Yeah, it's his cell. It's new!" He found a road and flagged down a car. "I'm in the desert, but I'm next to a smallish road. Yeah, that's me! Hopefully!" He tried the next car and it slowed down. "Shit, Teller!" He jumped out in front the car, then ran around to pound on the window. "They've got Greg!" he yelled. The door was opened and he got in. He pointed at the place he had flown from. "We were that way. Behind the fences there's a tomb sort of place. Lots of marble, no carvings. I changed to get out. Greg's still in there."
"Calm down," he said quietly. "Who had you?" David shrugged. "No idea?"
"Not a one," he admitted. "I know that Greg fired on a few of them," he said, wiping off his face. "I can still change from that one guy's thing so he handed me his cell so I could get out. He couldn't use his tattoo at all."
"Damn it," he muttered. "Fine. How far was it and how big are you when you change?"
"I'm about six inches high and it was about a half-hour at the most. There's literally a stairway down into the ground." He heard sirens. "I had to call our bosses first."
"That's fine. I'm sure your bosses are used to this sort of thing." He got out and walked David back to Brass, who he knew. "Here. He said they've still got Greg. He did have his wand, David?" David nodded. "Then he should be fine."
"He couldn't do anything but summon a couple of bottles of water. I heard them say they were sealing it," he told them both.
"Get in the car," Brass said, helping him into it. "How far?"
"About a half hour as I used to fly."
"That's about, probably, less than two blocks," Nick noted as he joined them. "Where's Greg?"
"Still in there." Brass looked at him. "You're still on the injured list."
"So? Emilia said either I come or she was." He looked at the fence. "Can we enter?"
"Yeah, with a kidnaping victim in custody, we're allowed. It's considered probable cause," Brass assured him. He looked at Teller. "Do you need to come?"
"I'll be watching," he promised. "Let me pull off the road." He walked back to his driver. "Pull off the side, call Penn. Someone took Greg. Brass has it. They had him and David in a tomb." His driver nodded and pulled off to the side of the road while he went to question David. It was possible he had seen someone that he could identify. If so, Penn was going to castrate someone. Everyone in town knew that Greg and Emilia were off-limits. David looked at him. "Did you see anyone?"
"They were wearing hoods. Like a hoodie jacket, not like the guys who attacked the station. Most of them were pretty shallow. I saw one Asian guy. Two white guys. One really big African-American guy. He reminded me of every jock I've ever been tortured by." Teller nodded at that. "Um, I think I saw a female but I couldn't be sure. The coats or whatever they were wearing were pretty bulky and she wasn't overly built." He frowned, thinking back. "I'm trained to do this, I should be able to give you more."
"It's all right," he soothed. "I know of at least one of those people. Now, what were they wearing?"
"Gray. Dark gray, like charcoal crayon gray? It looked like a quilted jacket and pants. I didn't see any obvious snaps so I'm going to assume zippers." He closed his eyes and thought back, then opened them. "The Asian guy looked directly at me. He had brown and red eyes it looked like."
"I know him," Teller assured him calmly. "Is there anything else you remember?"
"There weren't any carvings that I remember. The main door is really solid. It was thicker than I am but you could almost hear something."
"That's usual acoustics down a marble hallway." He smiled slightly. "I wanted to be a cursebreaker when I was younger because it was romantic and you can get really rich doing it. I did an internship." David nodded, relaxing at that. "Okay, we're probably going to have to follow," he said, looking at the cop hurrying their way. "Can you?" David nodded, getting up and following him. "We're coming."
"Sir, I was sent to get him."
"I'm going," Teller told him. "I can pick locks, kid." The cop just shrugged. Someone higher up could deal with him. He followed along, slowing down. "David, in this direction?"
David looked, then frowned and pointed. "That way." He looked at the cop. "They found one?"
"Two with six bodies each."
"This way," Teller told him, following David. The cop whistled, bringing others to follow them. Teller looked at the door, frowning a bit. "Very nice locking charm," he muttered. "Brass, clear the area. I can hear Greg complaining about Emilia ranting about dinner." Brass cleared everyone and he moved forward, looking at the doorway. He found the 'handle' of the lock spell and worked on it, suddenly snapping it open. He looked at it. "Pry bar would be nice, guys." It tried to shift. "It's really thick, Greg, let us," he called. "I'm here, David got out."
"Tell David to hang up my phone if he didn't," Greg called. "I can't pay that bill."
David checked, then hung up the phone. "Sorry, Greg."
"Not an issue." You heard some faint scratching. "Back away! I'm going to open it from this side. I don't wanna be in here with the mummy." Everyone moved back at Brass and Teller's urgings, and suddenly the door exploded. Greg coughed as he walked out, dusting his arms and chest off. "Damn I'm good."
"That was probably evidence, kid," Brass pointed out.
"So? Get it from one of the others. Or better yet, the mummy." He pointed behind him, and the mummy moaned, heading for the night air. He looked at Teller. "Not my doing."
"Can't you stop him?"
"Hell no," he said seriously. He called Alex, getting an amused snort. Then he reinforced it with a picture of the walking mummy. Alex appeared a few minutes later, already frowning. Greg pointed. "All yours!" He got out of the way, going over to where David was standing, taking his phone back. "You okay?"
"Fine," he assured him. "How did you know?"
Greg grinned. "The boys said so." He looked over as a familiar SUV parked and Penn got out. "Um, Brass?"
"Fine. Do it your way," he agreed, getting the cops back further. Penn did a mass memory charm, but he was apparently left alone, making him look at the grinning man. "You're sure?"
"Someone's got to write the report."
"Good point." He watched as Alex Dumass took on the mummy with a sword, making it plop down once its head was gone. "That's going to complicate things."
"Only if it gets back up again," David muttered.
Alex walked over, looking at Greg. "I'm going to find whatever curse is on you to draw these sort of people to you and break it." He gave him a crushing hug. "From Dawn." He looked at Penn, then at Teller. "Need help with the memory stuff?"
"Sure," he agreed, and they reinforced the earlier one, making it stronger. Then Alex walked off shaking his head. Penn took Teller off, letting Nick get his report. "It'll be sealed?" Penn asked.
"I'm sure it will be. The police department doesn't like strange stuff. You've seen them do it before."
"True," he agreed. "Who did this?"
"I don't know."
"David said he saw Ho."
"Who?" Penn asked, looking confused.
"That guy who changed his name to seem more ethnic, Ho? Him. He also saw a guy who reminded him of every jock who ever picked on him."
"Darent?" Teller nodded. "Wonderful. I'll be having a talk with them and then give them to you, officer."
"That's fine. We'll have to confiscate their wands if we can prove they were here. No wands in lockup."
"Good point," Penn admitted, looking at the area. "What is this place?"
"It's apparently a new cemetery for those who want to bring people with them," Teller told him. "I got an email offering me a spot for two million dollars."
Penn snorted. "To do what?"
"To be buried with up to seven servants/prostitutes/caretakers of my choice."
Penn pouted a bit. "Why didn't I get one?"
"Because no one knows your email address," Greg called.
"Can we get a copy of that email?" Nick asked. Teller nodded. "Thank you. Do you know why these people like Greg? First that assassin guy and now this."
"Assassin guy?" Penn asked, looking confused. "I was working all week, kid. Who?"
"Jett," Greg called.
"Get over here!" Penn yelled. Greg walked over, looking a bit guilty. "When was he in town?"
"Until about three hours ago. He killed a guy who crashed through a kid's funeral and took out a lot of her classmates. I sent Emilia over with Brass to catch him."
"Uh-huh. How did you know Jett, Greg?" Penn asked very patiently.
"We brought him in for questioning when I was in Frisco. He talked to me." He shrugged. "He's gone, we made sure of it. He popped out of custody wandlessly then disappeared."
"Then how do you know he's gone?"
"Easy. Tracking charms. He's back in Chicago. He popped back to get some of his stuff from the hotel but otherwise left." He headed back to the scene to talk to Grissom. He had been giving his statement. "I'm back."
Grissom looked at him. "Why did they want you?"
"That probably depends on who the mummy was."
"I hadn't thought of that." He walked over to where the ME was working on the newest body. "Any ID on the body yet?"
"No wallet or tags on him," Doc Robbins said grimly. "Who sliced his head off?"
"Ah." He nodded, unwrapping the head and putting the bandages in the bag next to him. "Well, it looks like it's a white male."
Greg walked over, peering down at him. "I know him. He's a local potions guy." He frowned at the tomb, then down at him. "It should be the other way around, he was less skilled so therefore he should be following me to serve my butt." He stomped off, going to sulk in peace.
Nick looked at Grissom, grinning a bit. "I'd be pissed too," he admitted. "Having to serve someone who was inferior for my eternity?"
"That's genius ego, Nick."
"From Greg's book that I proofed for him, he's got that right," he retorted. Grissom nodded. "Then why does he want to be in the field?"
"I don't know," he admitted. "He said he wants to get more than just samples, to solve the puzzles." He went back to the first tomb they had found. "I need the officers to fan out and find any others around here, within this fence," he told Brass. "I doubt there's only three."
"Sure," he agreed, going to give that order. He came back a few minutes later. "I sent them in teams in case we have to zap another person." Grissom nodded at that. "Do you think this is just their area?"
"No. I think this is for people with a skewed sense of history and too much money. Greg would have done his historical research and have a full pharaoh's tomb set up," Grissom joked. Brass snorted, shaking his head. "He would. We'd have caught Emilia buying him mead to go with him." He walked off because Ecklie was stomping their way. "What's wrong, Conrad? I didn't call in more support."
"This is now a dayshift case."
"Two of my people were taken," he said mildly. "It's ours. Greg's not going to be able to work with your team, Conrad."
Ecklie frowned. "Why would he need to?"
"Because he was one of the ones taken and at least one of these tombs belonged to one of his fellow masters in town."
"Master is stretching it a bit. The guy couldn't brew soup," Greg complained as he walked over. "Director Ecklie, fat chance. There's going to be a lot of grieving widows and they're going to want to have *your* head for making them rebury their mates after they spent a few million dollars on these."
Ecklie glared at him. "What were you doing here then?"
"Apparently someone decided they needed a good potion person to follow them into the afterlife. Either that or just good lab assistants since they took me and Hodges. Griss, Philip said if you found any carvings and needed help telling what they said, he'd be glad to help. He could use the assignment for one of his classes." He looked at Ecklie again. "Teller got an offer from them. They wanted two million for up to seven servants." Ecklie moaned and shuddered a bit. "It's going to be nasty, not high profile. It's also going to be a lot of paperwork to get them reburied, possibly even with court cases."
Ecklie moaned and walked off. "Fine, I want kept informed *daily*, Gil. I mean it this time!"
"Sure," Grissom called. "Put that way, I'm not sure I want this case either." He looked around. "Catherine!" he called cheerfully, walking over to her. "It's your case. We've got another one coming in shortly." He walked off, heading to do the paperwork he'd need and disappear onto whatever next case came in.
"Why me?" she called after him.
"Political considerations," Greg called, grinning at her. "Ours wasn't finished. Did you need more from me? Nick has my statement and I'm guessing he took David's too."
"No, go home and take him with you, Greg." Greg nodded, going to take David and head home with him. They walked behind one of their SUV's and disappeared. She walked over to Brass. "I see Penn, did he clear this of their sort?"
"Yeah, so far only the mummy Greg got stuck with was theirs. Alex took his head off." She groaned and shuddered. "The rest appear to just be rich and stupid."
"Oh, good. Just what I love," she said bitterly. "I sent Greg and David back to Greg's."
"Fine. We can find them and Nick there." He went to check with the officers coming back. "Catherine, they've found two more full tombs."
"Wonderful. Nick! Are you supposed to be out here?"
"No, but I'm only taking pictures," he called.
"Good, go with them. Take pictures of the new tombs." He nodded, heading after the cops. "God, I need a cappachino," she complained, getting sucked in. She saw Sarah park and walk over. "Why're you here? Gris said you were grounded to the station."
"Oh, no!" Brass shouted, going over to stop her. "You're under a death warrant. They were trying to get the assassin from earlier to take you out. I want you back at the station."
"They can get me at home too," she reminded him. "I can come work. I'll even work underground this time so you won't have a fit." She walked past him, going to Catherine. "Send me somewhere creepy."
"Follow Nick. He's doing pictures. There's two tombs out that way. Take an ME team with you."
"Sure. David!" He looked up and nodded when she pointed. "Two more tombs were found."
"I love you for the overtime, really," David called back. He packed up his bag once he was done with that body and followed with his body handlers. They found Nick doing one tomb and he moaned. "Six?"
"So far," Nick admitted, letting him past. "I'm doing the carvings on this one."
"Greg's didn't have any. I'm guessing this is the deluxe model."
Nick looked at him and shook his head. "The other one has gold leaf and statues."
"Wonderful. So it's a decorate yourself plan?" Sarah asked as she joined them. Nick nodded, giving her a long look. "Hey, neither of us should be in the field. Therefore we're together."
"Fine. You want the other one?" She nodded. "Guys, show CSI Sidle where the other tomb was."
"Yes, sir," one said, walking her out to it. They had put an office at the top of the stairs because of all the valuables. He walked her past him and down there. He stopped at the stairway like a good officer so he didn't contaminate the crime scene.
She looked around, looking impressed. "Wow. Someone really did decorate." She looked at the cop behind her. "I need some portable lights." He nodded, going to send for some. She carefully walked around, paying attention to where her footsteps went, looking in the other rooms. "We've got about twelve bodies," she called.
"I'll tell them, ma'am," the officer from the top called. He got out of the ME's way, watching as he walked down there.
"Sarah, is it safe yet?"
"Not yet. I'm still looking in the last room." She came out a few minutes later. "Okay, I've done pictures with a flash but I still need portable lights."
"I just need an accurate count."
She led him in so he could make a count, watching him moan. "Hey, think of the paycheck near your wife's birthday," she reminded him. She patted him on the back. "Do we have any idea who's doing this?"
"Teller said he got an email offering him a spot."
"Oh, good. Should I worry about any of them moving?"
"Alex took care of that one earlier from what Brass was muttering to Doc Robbins," he offered, grinning at her. "You'll be last since you've got so many. I'll be back when I'm done with Nick's." He left, heading back to the other tomb. This was insane. There'd be paperwork for weeks on this case.
Greg and David appeared at the house, making his wife scowl at him. "It wasn't our fault we were stolen!" He patted David on the back. "Go shower, Dave. Ten minutes won't matter to dinner by the way she's scowling."
"Thanks." He headed up to a guest room, going to shower off the dust and sweat.
Greg leaned down to kiss his wife, who pushed him away. "Stolen how?"
"Pierson's wife decided I was a suitable accompaniment to him in the afterlife. We were in his tomb." She growled and he shrugged. "It wasn't my fault. They stole us both."
"I'm going to ream her a new one," she growled. She patted him on the cheek. "Go bathe, Greg. I don't want any tomb dust on you." He nodded, grinning a bit before heading up to their room to shower. She picked up the phone, dialing the usual bar. "Get me Pierson's wife," she demanded. "Yes, this is Emilia and I'm not pleased that she tried to have my husband, my more skilled husband, be buried with her husband!" she snapped. The bartender audibly shuddered and passed on the message, then hung up. "We'll see, sweetie. No one touches what's mine. Especially not some low skilled, backwater hick, trailer trash wench in foam curlers!"
David came down, looking sheepish. "Should I run away? Greg always seems to."
She got up and hugged him. "You're safe, David. That man's wife is going to go down." She led him to the table and went to get dinner. She warmed it up, bringing it out as Greg came back, stealing another kiss. "The kids were worried when you didn't call for bedtime stories."
"I'll tell 'em a naptime one tomorrow since I'm off," Greg promised with a smile for his wife. "Did you yell at her?"
"Hell yes! That stirrup pants wearing bitch from the backwoods of Alabama's cousin marryin' country for custody of the trailer, inbred skank had better watch her damn self! There's something nearly as powerful as a righteous God, and it's me! No one touches what's mine!" Greg kissed her and she calmed down, making him moan as she poured her heat and fire into the kiss.
"Thanks, dear. It saves me from going up and telling her why he should have served me instead of me serving him. Or David. Hell, 'San's better in the lab than that rat was." He sat down, grinning at David. "I won't tell."
"I didn't figure you would," he said quietly. "How did the boys know?" Greg shrugged. "Is there some way to tell?"
"We're not sure about the twins," Greg admitted. "Twins are just strange beings with strange powers. The Weasley twins can become a generator for each other. Ours apparently have some sort of Sight from me." Emilia nodded, giving him a long look. "They had a vision?"
"Nightmare. Uncle Philip on a dig in a few years. He was old and gray. I assured them it was a nightmare," she said quietly. He nodded, getting that. "You got to miss Ginny going into heat in Defense. She's now in Malgadesh with Alex. He got called to pick her up on the way home?"
"He had to come take out the walking mummy for us," Greg admitted.
"Walking?" she asked, looking confused. "Was he still alive? Otherwise that's just rumors."
"Not according to Alex. He said something about 'sixth time in ten years'." He shrugged and dug in. "Great job, Emilia. Did Penn talk to you about being the junior overlord?"
"Oh, yeah. I've been doing that for a few weeks now," she admitted with a small grin. "His girlfriend was really happy, it means he gets more time at home." David snickered at that. "It's mostly administrative stuff. Yelling at the stupid ones, enforcing the memory charm rules, convincing some politicians that they don't really want to destroy the Willow Tree Inn." She shrugged and dug in. "They're still thinking about that one. They want a bigger resort there."
"Who wanted to build one? I thought we were about at max capacity," Greg complained. "Some of the resorts aren't doing so well because there's too much competition."
"The guy who owns the club and the other hotel put up a complaint that the Willow Tree was about to fall in."
"It is, but still!" Greg complained. "The other place is impersonal and boring to stay in. That's why we don't. That and they have shoddy cleaning practices."
"Where are these places?" David asked.
"The usual hotel has the restaurant we took Catherine and her daughter to for her celebration and the cook got killed while we were there," Emilia told him. He nodded, remembering that case. "The Willow Tree is tucked in at the end of the strip. It's a fine old place but it needs a lot of work. Most of us stay there even though it needs a lot of work because it's more like the European places."
"How much did they need?"
"They've got a loan, Greg. They need competent contractors. Which aren't that plentiful around here."
"There's a group in Frisco. I had to have them come repair some duel damage a few years ago," he offered.
"I told them to check other cities. They're getting hell since they're pulling from out of town crews."
"Can normal people not do the work?" David asked.
"With moving paintings and stuff? At least it's not like the Leaky with nearly infinite rooms," Greg said tiredly. "They might be able to." She nodded. "Then they could contract out the specialty stuff."
"The local guys wanted to tear it down and restart."
"That's a lot of spell breaking," he complained. She nodded. "Which way are they going?"
"They want to renovate. The owner pointed out that viewpoint was why they didn't want to go local. Too much of the Willow Tree is historical or ancient to destroy. We need to stay with them their opening weekend." Greg grinned and nodded. "Greg, bed," she said gently. He nodded, waving at David as he headed for their bedroom. "Sorry. He's exhausted."
"That's fine." He grinned at her. "It was really tiring being there. Thin air, panicking, all that good stuff."
She kissed him on the cheek. "Steal a room, Dave. You're more than welcome to get woken up by the kids before work." He grinned and headed up there. She shook her head, plotting her revenge for daring to touch *her* man or her friend.