Disclaimer:  CSI and all related characters and concepts belong to Alliance Atlantis, Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS.


Notes:  This was written in response to a challenge by kaity_skaity.  It’s pretty much an AU tangent from no particular point in the series, other than before series 4.


Feed(back) etcetera-cat.




Boom Box.


It isn’t that anybody has said anything.  In fact, that is precisely it; they haven’t said anything.  Not one single nasty remark, or put down or anything to make you feel like you’re not a part of the LVMPD Crime Lab.


(You don’t feel like a part of the LVMPD Crime Lab).


It is more the way that you know, pretty much, what they aren’t saying, and that is somehow worse.  Like… when Nick had come into the lab (although, really, you should be thinking about it as your lab now) for the DNA results on that blood sample from the hotel fire escape.  For a moment, before he realised that you had noticed him in the reflection of the fume cupboard hood, his expression had been twisted and almost horrified.


You hadn’t realised that Vivaldi (on softly; you don’t want to ruffle any feathers) could provoke such a strong negative response in anybody.

By the time you’d turned around, his expression had smoothed back to blank neutrality and he quietly accepted the print out of the results.  Even though it said so on the page he was holding, you couldn’t help commenting that the sample had seven alleles in common with that of the main suspect, but had a second X chromosome where there should have been a Y.


The faint surprise and subsequent frown you managed to garner from CSI3 Stokes had to be the strongest emotional response you’d ever seen out of him.  Privately, you’ve decided that a better name for him is Stone Cowboy.


The only time you’ve seen him lighten up at all is when he’s in the break room with Warrick and they’re blowing up… something… in a computer game.  The strange thing about that, you’ve noticed in the past few weeks, is that they… well, they play the game, but they never seem to put any effort into it.  Consequently, the High Score still belongs to someone called ‘Greggo’.


You sigh, try and put Stone Cowboy Nick out of your mind, and instead concentrate on trying to figure out if the light microscope isn’t focusing because one of the eye-piece lenses is fogged, or because the oil-immersion lens is sticky.  Again (and you swear that if you ever find out which member of the day shift keeps on doing that, you’re going to break with your natural shyness and chew them out all over the lab).


Your mind drifts, however; as it invariably does when you start thinking about the strange emotional paralysis that seems to inflict the whole of the CSI night shift.  Nick is the aforementioned Stone Cowboy, Warrick is just… distant with you— perfectly nice and polite, but still distant.


On the female side of things… well… you’re honestly sure that Sara Sidle is a nice person really.  Somewhere down there underneath the sharpness and the clipped almost-bitchiness.  Possibly in a lead sealed stone sarcophagus… which is an entirely uncharitable thought, but she did spend the first month you were here disapproving because you’d moved some equipment around and constantly biting off comments about how the previous lab tech had done things differently.


And really, you can understand that it’s hard, because the last lab tech, Greg somebody, died, but… you’re the lab tech now.


Catherine is the easiest to get along with, by far.  She’s still got that hint of distance about her, but she manages to match Warrick for politeness and warmth and add in her own peculiar kind of almost mothering.  Even if you didn’t know that she had a daughter, you would have pegged her as a mother.


Catherine seems to be the one most inclined to actually talk to you about things in more than the most formal and brief manner possible, and that’s something of a relief because otherwise you would have probably gone stir-crazy after three months and requested a transfer to another lab.


And then there’s your supervisor, Gil Grissom.  One of the other lab technicians assured you on the first day that Grissom was his own particular kind of intelligent, but you’re still getting used to it; especially the random request for a blood donation on your second day. 


For your own peace of mind, you didn’t enquire what precisely he wanted the blood for.


But still— you think as you wander to the break room for a hit of tea (never, ever coffee in any way, shape or form), leaving Mozart to serenade the samples you still have to run through the chromatograph— this is the strangest place you’ve ever worked.


Waiting for the kettle to boil, you notice that Warrick and Nick are playing on the same computer game as before, their taunts and conversation slightly more muted than you would have perhaps expected, and that, yet again, when it becomes apparent that they are getting close to beating the high score displayed in a little box on the top left of the screen, they just stop and allows the alien whatever to eat their spaceship.


The display on the television screen cuts to the high score board and there, at the top, is still the mysterious ‘Greggo’.


Walking back to the lab, because standing in the break room feels uncomfortable, you exchange a pleasant ‘Hello,” with Catherine, and a typical silence with Sara and you blow on your tea to cool it down before taking a sip.


Then, because your pace has slowed, you find yourself actually looking in to Grissom’s office, through the cluttered glass of the walls.  The supervisor is nowhere to be seen, although honestly, you point out to yourself, he could be in that pack-rat haven and never be found.  There are bottles and jars and tanks of things that either move about entirely too much (the cockroaches), or just float there and look completely disgusting (a throw up between the malformed pig foetus and the Mysterious Orange and Purple Thing).


There are also piles of paperwork on the desk and you sigh as you realise that your request for leave to visit a forensics convention on the East Coast next month is probably still in there somewhere.


In a room full of strangeness, however, the thing that stands out to you this time, as it has on previous occasions, is the black, square boom box that is on a shelf behind the desk.  You’ve never seen Grissom use it, and the fact that Grissom seems more of a classical music person and the tape propped up on the front of the music player has the kind of cover art that only goes with the noisiest kind of rock music, indicated fairly strongly that Grissom never does use it, and that it belongs to someone else.


You haven’t a clue who that could be.


Back in your lab, and Mozart is still whispering around the test tubes and your tea has cooled enough to drink.  Your mind is still on the rest of the ‘team’ you don’t feel a part of.


You suspect that the ex Greg somebody is the reason for the emotional dampening everyone seems to be employing around you. 


You also suspect, rather strongly, that one of the main reasons you were hired was because you are nothing like the late Greg, but that, in spite of that, the main reason that the team doesn’t include you is because you are nothing like the late Greg.


They probably don’t even realise that they’re doing it, you rationalise to yourself.  They probably aren’t even doing it consciously.  Maybe Catherine realises a bit.


You’ve been in Las Vegas for five months now.  It’s not really what you expected.


You take a gulp of tea.


You think you will put in for that transfer next month.



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