DISCLAIMER: CSI and CSI: Miami are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The Big Guns
By Kristina K
I watched her at the range, inspecting the table-full of handguns all sizes and calibers. She hovered with her hand over each weapon, as if trying to pick up the heat, the energy emanating from a piece of steel. Then, she'd pick them apiece up, bring them against the light, consider their weight in her hand and then put them back down. Some women would take their time looking over diamond rocks the way she looked at guns.
Brass squirmed in his place next to me, letting out a little huff while crossing his arms over his chest. I smiled.
"This one," she said, cradling a shiny .45 in her hand. The technician handed her a clip which she swiftly inserted and then cocked the gun. Putting on protective glasses she smiled at him and gave a wink, "Watch this, now."
All three of us followed her with our eyes as she moved a few feet over to the firing lane. She cupped her fists around the grip and raised her arms in level with her eyes. A few seconds passed until she steadied herself and then five shots were fired: bang, bang, bang, bang bang, their sound echoing against the walls of the underground range. Considering her small frame and the size of that gun, I marveled at the way she restricted the kickback to a minimum, letting it only slightly shift her backwards and up, each time the gun went off. She lowered down the weapon and called for the cable to bring the practice target closer, for inspection.
I heard Brass chuckle next to me when she took down the target and held it up in her hands; all five shots were neatly placed in the center of the target's chest.
He leaned in to me, "It looks like you've met your match." I gave him a playful nudge before he shifted his attention back to the other woman. "Ms. Duquesne!" he yelled out. She turned around and smiled. Brass waved her over and she handed the Colt back to the technician, then made her way towards us.
"Captain Brass," she looked up at him with a big, shiny smile. "How very nice to finally meet you in person, sir." Her voice was rich with a southern accent and as she shook his hand I caught myself inspecting her features agreeing with myself that she did indeed look very much like a Louisiana Belle.
"Sofia," Brass' voice brought me back and I blinked, "this is CSI Calleigh Duquesne of Miami Dade PD." I extended my hand and she gently squeezed it while Brass introduced us, "And this is detective Sofia Curtis, Las Vegas PD."
"Really?" She smiled again, her eyes narrowing. "I've heard about you," she said and I raised my eyebrows in surprise. "Captain Brass and Mr. Grissom can't seem to stop talking about you."
Brass gave me an innocent shrug like he had no idea what she was talking about. Before I could shoot him a glare, he continued talking.
"Ms. Duquesne here is a ballistics expert. She is here to teach us a thing or two about bullets and all the fabulous things they do."
"The forensic conference at the Bellagio?" I remembered and she nodded her head. "I've been meaning to go."
She gave me a knowing smile and then offered, "So now you have an extra reason, as well."
Soon I discovered that Calleigh Duquesne had cooperated with Las Vegas' crime lab a few years back, and from the way both Warrick and Catherine greeted her, I'd say it was a very successful collaboration. I caught myself studying her very closely a few times and it took Sara's stern look and a pretty painful nudge under the table for me to collect my thoughts and actually engage in the conversation the group was having, instead of stealing glances at the visitor.
But it was hard not to pay more than usual attention to her. With a smile as bright and an attitude as chipper as lark's song, she seemed more like a pageant contestant than a respected forensic investigator. I've been told that my way of dressing too tight and too open - and letting my hair down instead of keeping it tied up on the back of my head was distracting for some, in my line of work. Seeing how lush and loose her hair was or how ample the cleavage she was trying to restrain by wearing a conservative button down shirt was, I could only imagine what kind of comments she was getting. Not to mention looks.
"So, I guess I'll see y'all later," she chirped on her way out of the lab, addressing everyone, but looking at me. I have never felt the need to lower my head down to hide the blush that spread across my cheeks like I did then. I sincerely hoped she hadn't noticed.
"Detective Curtis." I recognized her voice right away. The way she said my name hinted mock reprimand and I smiled coyly while she slowly approached me from behind. "The lecture was given upstairs, not down here, at the bar."
I looked at her as she settled herself on the bar stool next to mine and wordlessly ordered a beer for herself from the bartender by tapping her finger against the bottle in my hand.
"That room was packed from top to bottom." I said. "It must have been two hundred people in there. How did you notice me not being there?"
She smirked, "I notice everything."
"So, what do you have to say for yourself," she said after her beer arrived and she took one swig from it.
"I'm sorry?" I tried.
She squinted at me with a smile, "Your loss. I believe that I just gave the best speech on the bent trajectory of the ricochet bullet and the ways to anticipate it, ever known to man."
"Wow," I smirked, "a female Grissom. My lucky night."
"Knowing Mr. Grissom's achievements in the field of forensic science, and his outstanding knowledge of entomology, I'd take it as a compliment."
I made an innocent face, "Wouldn't mean it any other way."
We smiled at each other, obviously reading from the same page when it came to little stabs of sarcasm, and then sat in silence for a few moments before she leaned into me a little and asked, "So, if you're not here because of the lectures, why are you here?"
Again, I produced another innocent look, but sure she could tell I was lying, I replied: "Beer."
An hour into our conversation, Calleigh suggested we order another drink and move into one of the booths in the back where we'd be more comfortable. She ordered a martini this time and I settled with another beer. Sofia, she is so not your type, I kept repeating to myself. She is too cheerful. Too talkative. Too much make up. Too Straight. I had to smile at myself and my thoughts of her. I wasn't even paying attention to what she was saying. I was too busy undressing her in my head.
I tried to keep my usual cool demeanor, the unreadable look, a poker face if you will, but it was close to impossible not to melt at the way she communicated; with her sweet, girlish voice, tucking the stray strands of hair behind her ear and blinking slowly with her clear green eyes. Before I knew it, I was courting her with all I had.
"Detective Curtis " I got goose bumps from the way she pronounced my name, not just because of that smooth drawl, but because of the way her eyes were slightly hooded from smoke and alcohol consumed. "Are you flirting with me?" she smiled with her eyes and I felt my cheeks warm up.
"I don't know," I said casually, "Is it working?"
Her laughter filled the space between us for a short moment. I looked at her, trying to pick up on anything that would tell me if she was slowly falling under my charm. She lowered her eyes to her hands and played with the toothpick-stabbed olive in her empty glass.
Without looking at me, she asked, "What's the time?"
Thrown off by her sudden change of subject, I looked at my watch: "It's quarter after midnight."
Calleigh raised her head and locked her eyes with mine. "Is there a place in this town where a girl can shoot a gun at this our without being hassled?"
I smirked, "I know one."
The interior of my SUV filled a soft sound of the FM radio that played a classic, an old Ella Fitzgerald song. We drove without a word on a dark and deserted road that lead deep into the Nevada desert. From the corner of my eye I saw her face illuminated by the screen of her cell phone as she fumbled with its keys, typing a text message. Down on the floor next to her legs stood an aluminum case, which she brought along. Her weapon of choice, I assumed.
She shut the phone closed when I took a right turn from the main road onto macadam and looked over to face me.
"Close?" She asked.
I smiled back, "Almost there."
The moon was full, casting a rich glow onto the deserted field, far away from the city lights. Calleigh nodded contently as she climbed out of the car, bringing the case with her. I pointed at the torn down tree trunk that usually served as the target point and as I went over there to check for rusty and beat up tin cans, she placed the case on the hood of the car and opened it.
I had to laugh when I came back and saw the cannon she held in her hands.
"What?" she asked with a baffled expression on her face.
"A Desert Eagle?" I scoffed, "You have got to be kidding me."
A small smirk tugged on her lips, which made me believe she knew exactly what my reaction was going to be. "I like it," she responded, sounding like a twelve year old admiring her new doll, "It's pretty."
"It's huge! It'll set you right on your ass if you try to shoot it." She snickered at my comments sliding in the clip. "I understand men and their fascination with big guns," I continued, "Big everything, actually. But what do you have to compensate for?"
"It's just something to take me on a holiday from my standard issue nine millimeter, nothing else. Besides, I like the kick it gives me."
Still wearing a smug smile on her face, Calleigh moved a few feet away from me and positioned herself in the fire-ready stance. I looked at her in disbelief, knowing how heavy that gun is and how hard the recoil can be. When she fired the first shot, the sound exploded like the heavy artillery kicked in. She remained standing but I certainly was swept off my feet.
There's nothing quite exciting like a woman who knows how to handle a gun. Not just fire it, but understand it, control it, make it fit her perfectly. She could do all of that. Effortlessly.
She fired four more shots, clearing the lined up cans from the tree trunk I arranged. Finally, leaving two rounds unfired, she turned to me and offered the gun.
"Wanna try?" I raised my hands in defeat. "Aw come on," she teased, "Don't be such a girl.
"No, no, no." I shook my head with a smile, "I admit the defeat. Brass was so wrong "
I sighed as she walked up to me and laid the gun flat into its case, "About me meeting my match." She looked at me questioningly. "It seems you are a bit out of my league."
Calleigh gave me another one of those chime-y laughs, "Way out of your league, actually."
I squinted at her, reading the expression in her eyes. I gave her a wide grin, "Miss Duquesne Are you flirting with me?"
"Maybe," she said and hooked her index finger behind the belt I was wearing and tugged me closer. "Shooting big guns brings out sassiness in me."
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