DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of CBS and Jerry Bruckheimer.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Knock 'n' Roll
Walking through the gate that led to the back garden both women noticed the SUV. It was covered with some kind of cloth.
"Why would he cover his 'baby'?" Catherine asked as she put her kit down and snapped on some latex gloves. "She taking a nap?" she kidded.
"It's a cover to protect the car against dust or dirt, even snow. So you don't have to wash it as often." Sara said as she walked once round the SUV.
"But why not put it in the garage" She added as she stood at front of the car, pointing to the small building with two large doors next to the house.
Catherine looked over her shoulder and being the lead-CSI on this case- she ordered Sara to search the car and she would go back inside to ask Mr Brandz if they could also have a look inside the garage. Sara agreed and gloved-up.
She pulled the cover away from the front, revealing the hood of the car. There were no scratches on the bumper and the headlights weren't broken. They had found glass at the scene, so either they had already been replaced, or this was the wrong car. Since Mr. Brandz had given the keys voluntarily she started to search the interior also.
Opening the passenger door Sara pulled out her mini Mac-light. The passenger seat was clean, maybe even too clean. She lifted a few prints from the dashboard. Some were partial, some were smudged, but all seemed to belong to the same person.
Meanwhile, Catherine was back inside the house. Brass had just finished his questions on Mr Brandz whereabouts at the time of the accident. He now wanted to verify the alibi Brandz had given.
"Mr Brandz, we noticed you didn't park your car in the garage. Why is that?" Catherine asked.
"I had to store some other things in there that couldn't be left outside. Besides my baby can survive one night outside. The cover will protect her." He answered, getting more and more irritated by the minute.
"Do you mind if we also take a look inside your garage?" Catherine tried.
"Yes I do. Listen, I'm willing to cooperate, but to a certain point. Take a look at my car you'll see nothing's wrong with it. So there's no need to take a look in my garage." Brandz answered angrily.
Brass motioned Catherine to follow him to the hall.
"Why's the man's garage so interesting all of a sudden. I thought the SUV could tell you everything you need to know?" Brass asked.
"We just have this hunch. He's hiding something in there."
"Wait, did you say 'we'? As in you AND Sara?"
"Actually, she was the one that first said something's off" Brass gave her a surprised look, but then turned serious again. "A hunch is not enough" he stated.
"I know" she sighed. "I'll go back outside. Let's hope Sara has found something that will help us get a warrant for the garage."
"I'll start making some calls, check out the man's alibi." He said to Catherine who was already halfway out.
Sara had shifted to the driver's side. There she had found a long blond hair. She took some pictures of it. "Definitely not Mr. Brandz's" she said as she picked it up with the tweezers and put it in a paper envelope.
Just as she started dusting the door handle Catherine opened the back door.
"You were right." She said to Sara while searching the back seat for evidence.
"Mr. Brandz, he's definitely hiding something in there" she said as she tilted her head into the direction of the garage.
"He wouldn't let us in there" Sara stated rather than asked her.
"Nope. So please tell me you've found something that'll give us a warrant." Catherine backed out of the car and stepped to the front of the car. Sara also exited the car and placed herself in front of Catherine.
"No scratches on the bumper, headlights were in tact."
"Found some prints inside the car. Most seem to belong to one person, but I found two on the driver's side that didn't match any of the others I found."
"And?" Catherine asked, looking at Sara's hand that still held the envelope.
Sara handed the little brown envelope over to Catherine.
"Found a hair, color definitely not Mr. Brandz" She said triumphantly.
"I could kiss you!" Catherine blurted out. "I knew that bastard has something to hide."
Sara flushed secretly wishing Catherine would do what she had just said. "It's a start."
The change of color in Sara's face didn't go unnoticed by Catherine. It made her feel all giddy inside and made her smile. Sara saw the look in Catherine's eyes and gave her a gap-toothed grin.
"I was just going to start on the trunk."
"Well, let's get on with it then." Catherine said as she walked over to the back and opened it. Her eyes caught something that glittered on the carpet. "Could you hand me a tape-lift?" she asked sticking out her hand while crouching a little more into the SUV.
"What've you got?" Sara placed herself next to Catherine and handed her the tape-lift. Catherine pointed to the glittering piece of material.
"Have you got any idea what that is?" Sara asked as she leaned into Catherine to get a better look. As her shoulder touched Catherine's a shiver went trough her spine. Her focus on the job at hand was replaced immediately with thoughts about the person whose body was touching hers.
As she tape-lifted the glitter Catherine leaned into Sara a bit more allowing Sara to have a better look at it.
When Sara felt Catherine put more weight into the touch she had to fight back a moan. Her mind went completely blank and she didn't notice Catherine was talking to her.
" like Lindsey got for her birthday last year"
Sara didn't respond. Catherine noticed and decided to tease her a little.
"You didn't hear a word I just said, right?" she asked with a smug smile on her face.
Sara, quickly finding her equilibrium, answered "I heard you. Lindsey has got the same glitter make-up." Good thing she remembered Greg had given her a box with all kinds of glittery children's make-up.
Catherine wasn't totally convinced, but before she could say something she was interrupted by her cell phone.
"Catherine, Warrick here. We've found the SUV. Broken headlights, bumper scratched. Looks like we've found our perp."
While Catherine, Sara and Brass had gone off to Mr. Brandz, Warrick and Nick had teamed-up with O'Riley and went to the other end of town to the next address on the list.
Nobody had been at home at the Kenner residence, but the SUV had been there. Right outside, on the driveway. Nick kneeled down in front of the SUV.
"Well, this car clearly has been involved in an accident recently."
Warrick crouched down beside him and opened his kit. Gloving up he pointed to one of the headlights or what was left of it.
"I found some blood" he reached in his kit for a swab and took a sample.
While Nick was testing the blood to make sure it was human and not animal for the blood could also be from any kind of road kill (Which was highly unlikely since the headlights are on a certain height so it had to have been a pretty large animal) Warrick reached for his cell phone to inform Catherine.
Warrick had told her about the blood they had found and she had told him to get O'Riley to get a warrant so they could take the car to their HQ. She said her and Sara would meet up with them in an hour, back at CSI HQ to examine the car further.
Catherine snapped her cell phone shut and turned back to Sara.
"Warrick and Nick found the SUV. Blood on broken headlight. I told him we would meet them in an hour, which leaves us some time to finish up here."
"But why should we look even further if this clearly isn't the right car?" Sara asked, rather wanting to spend their valuable time on a car that was involved in their hit-and-run case even though Mr. Brandz seemed to act strange.
Catherine lightly touched Sara's upper arm "I know you want to get on with the case, but " Her eye got caught of a blue object under the driver's seat.
"I think our hunch just turned into something more" She said as she stepped passed Sara and reached under the driver's seat to reveal some kind of comforter.
"Mr Brandz, who has access to your car?" Sara asked.
"As I told your colleague already, it's my car, I'm the only one that drives in it."
"Then why did we find this inside?" She held up the comforter in an evidence bag.
Mr. Brandz's eyes betrayed him surprise clearly visible. He tried to save himself and told them it was his little niece's who had stayed at his place last week, but Catherine and Sara had both caught his surprised look.
But since his car wasn't the one involved in the hit-and-run, and having a comforter inside his car wasn't a crime, they had nothing else to look for. (even though both women felt something was off)
After the three of them had thanked Mr. Brandz for his cooperation, they walked back to their Tahoe. While Sara put both kits in the back of the car, Catherine informed Brass that Warrick and Nick had found the other SUV the right SUV. So they headed for the CSI HQ.
Sara took all the evidence into the layout room. The fingerprints she had found, the long blonde hair, and the comforter.
Catherine walked in after her just ending a phone call.
"Warrick said it would be another twenty minutes before the tow truck came and another twenty to get back here, so that gives us enough time to grab something to eat."
Sara sighed and leaned both hands on the table. "I'd rather start on the evidence, check the prints through AFIS, get Greg to analyze the hair see if he can get a DNA-profile. Brass was going to look into Mr. Brandz's family, so that part is covered."
"It can wait, besides if Mr. Brandz's story checks out there's no reason to analyze that evidence. Just wait until Brass knows more."
"Let's go." Catherine said as she walked over to Sara and pushed her into the hall.
Sara was reluctant to go, but when Catherine's hands connected with her lower back she was ready to oblige to every thing Catherine would ask.
They went to a nearby diner. As they entered the woman behind the counter waved at Catherine. The two of them took a seat at the back, and the woman walked over to them.
"Hey Catherine, how are ya doin?" The Gray-haired waitress asked as she gave Sara a once-over. Not waiting for Catherine's response she offered Sara her hand. "You must be Sara, right?"
"Yeah," Sara said surprised as she hesitantly shook the woman's hand sending Catherine a questioning look. Catherine quickly picked up the menu and hid herself not wanting Sara to see how embarrassed she was.
Libby had been her confidant. Through the years Catherine had come often to Libby's diner after shift, most of the times alone, sometimes with Warrick and Nick yet never with Sara. Last week Catherine had told Libby she had feelings for someone she worked with. Although she never told her who this person was Libby immediately knew Sara was the person Catherine had been talking about.
Seeing Catherine's flustered state Libby decided to tease Catherine a little more. "Catherine has told me a lot about you." she said looking over from Sara to Catherine a smug smile on her face.
"Did she?" Sara looked over at Catherine, raising an eyebrow.
"OK," Catherine piped up "I'm ready to order, how 'bout you?" Not waiting for Sara to answer she gave Libby her order. Sara still taken aback by the fact that Catherine had been talking about her with the old waitress- tried to clear her head and also order something.
As Libby walked away Catherine forced herself to look at Sara.
"I only told her good things, you know" Catherine explained.
"Is that so?" Sara asked, feeling giddy all of a sudden.
"I told her about how dedicated you are to your work. How passionate you get when you're working on a case." Catherine started rambling earning her a full-blown smile from her co-worker.
Libby came back with their orders, and put the plates on the table.
"Well, enjoy your meal" As she started to walk off she turned around once more grinning at Catherine "Oh Catherine, you were right. She really is a looker." Catherine's face immediately turned beet-red.
Sara who just came back from the toilet- hadn't heard Libby's comment and settled back into the boot. She saw Catherine's flustered state which was kind of odd: Catherine and flustered in the same sentence. However, she decided not to ask her about it and started to devour her meal.
After a few minutes of silence between them the awkward moment seemed to have passed and they continued to talk amicably.
That's when it started. From that moment on their work-relationship changed gradually. The tension between them changed.
Meanwhile, Warrick and Nick were waiting for the tow truck to arrive as they saw Alice Kenner returned home. Nick flipped open his cell, and dialed Brass.
"Brass? It's Nick. We're still at the Kenner's residence. Guess who just came home?"
"Isn't O'Riley with you guys?"
"He was called to a 419"
"I'm on my way. Stay where you are" was the only answer Nick got, and the captain had already hung up on him.
Still staring at his cell he shrugged. "Guess he's not in a talking mood"
It took the captain only ten minutes to cruise through traffic and reach the Kenner residence, and as he exited his Taurus he was greeted by Warrick who walked over to him.
"Where's our Texan jock?" Brass asked looking around for the square-jawed Texan.
"Grissom called. That 419 O'Riley had been called to? Well Nick's working on that case now."
"Alrighty then" Brass said as he and Warrick walked over to the front door, but not before Warrick had pointed him to the SUV.
The captain knocked on the door, and after a few seconds it opened. A short blonde haired woman stood in the doorway.
"I'm Captain Jim Brass, I'm with the LVPD. This is Warrick Brown, crime scene investigator."
"Crime scene? What is going on here?" Alice asked worried.
"Could you please step outside ma'am?"
Complying to the man's request, Alice Kenner walked onto the porch.
"Please turn around and place your hands on your back" Brass said sternly.
"WHAT!?! No! What's this all about?"
"Ma'am" Warrick tried "It's in your interest if you cooperate"
Brass, no longer wanting to waist time, grabbed his handcuffs and stepped towards a now very angry Alice Kenner.
Placing her hands in the cuffs he told her "You're under arrest on suspicion of manslaughter caused by a hit-and-run"
Totally confused and becoming more and more frustrated Alice Kenner said "What!?! I haven't done anything I've been at home "
Brass started off in the direction of his Taurus, pulling Alice along.
"Wait! Wait My daughter is inside I can't leave her!"
Warrick looked over at Brass, and nodded, understanding the look the Captain gave him. Walking inside the tall dark man saw a little girl lying in a playpen. After carefully picking her up he walked over to a baby seat and placed her in it.
Together with Brass and Alice Kenner, Warrick and the baby girl called Emma walked towards Brass's Taurus.
As Warrick fastened the seat in the back of the car the tow truck arrived, and by the time Brass had drove off the SUV had carefully been placed at the back of the truck.
Riding along with the tow truck (since Nick had taken the Tahoe to the 419) Warrick now was on his way to the CSI HQ, to the garage to be more precisely.
Sara and Catherine opened the door of the diner and walked out. Waving once more to Libby Sara said "She's quite the character, isn't she?"
Throughout their dinner Sara had noticed how Libby kept staring at her with this mad grin on her face while Catherine had been embarrassed. 'Hmmm first time I've seen her that embarrassed very cute though' she added mentally.
"Yeah" Catherine answered "She is" Of course, the mad grin of the old waitress also hadn't gone unnoticed by Catherine.
"We should do this more often" Sara said after they had been walking in silence towards the CSI building.
"I'd love that" Catherine answered sincerely. Looking over at the brunette she felt a shiver run through her spine, but before she realized what was going on they had reached the glass doors of the building.
Opening the door for Catherine Sara added "And next time I'm buying."
"Catherine, Sara wait up!" Warrick said as he walked towards them.
"I just got here with the SUV" he started, and looking over at Catherine he continued "Brass has Alice Kenner at the PD. I asked him to wait with the interrogation till you got there"
"Thanks Warrick. I'll meet you guys later"
Catherine walked off, but before she rounded the corner she turned back and said "Have fun with those power tools!"
Although this was more directed at Sara whose face was showing a full-blown gap-toothed smile because of Catherine's remark Warrick was the one who spoke up shaking his head.
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