The Las Vegas heat swelled in the air. It was one of the hottest days of the year, and also one of the busiest for the Las Vegas CSI crew. Inside the lab, loud punk rock music blared from a stereo. Catherine stopped by Greg's desk, where he sat doing air guitar and rocking his head back and forth. She had to bite her lip to keep from laughing, but an amused smile was already on her lips.
"Uh...Greg?" She said, loud enough for him to hear. He stopped what he was doing and looked up. When he saw it was Catherine, he grinned and turned off his music.
"Hey, Catherine. I've got a match from the sperm samples. Here you go." Greg said, handing her the lab results. He stood by as she read the sheet of paper. Her eyebrows rose in surprise.
"You mean to tell me that the semen swabbed from Ashley's mouth wasn't the gardener's, but the...the father's?" Catherine said, looking disgusted. Her lips formed a thin line.
"Hey...are you okay?" Greg asked, looking concerned. Catherine took a deep breath and nodded.
"I'll be alright. Catch ya later, Greg." She made her way into the break room and fixed herself another cup of coffee. Sara was sitting at the table, almost nodding off to sleep on the file she was reading. Catherine looked at her.
"Need another cup?" She asked. Sara abruptly looked up at the coffee pot and then to the folder in front of her.
"No thanks." She said, rubbing her eyes. Catherine shrugged and sipped her coffee. She peered through the glass window at the rest of the lab a woman going into Grissom's office. A girl who looked like she was in her late teens followed her.
"Huh. Wonder what's going on at Grissom's." Catherine said. Sara looked up and frowned.
"Who's that?" She asked. She saw the woman, who was talking to the girl like she was trying to comfort her about something. "Social worker?"
"Beats me. Let's go see." Catherine said. Sara shrugged and stood up. As they approached, the first thing they saw was Grissom standing in front of his desk looking somewhat worried. Across from him sat the social worker and the teenage girl who had short black hair with red streaks. She wore a black ruffled skirt, pink fishnet stockings, a pink and black ACDC tank top, and black army boots. She sat in a chair directly across from Grissom and stared at the floor tiles as the woman explained.
"...She did ask that one of her remaining family members gain custody of her daughter until she is old enough to live on her own." The woman was saying.
"She has to be the girl's social worker." Sara murmured to Catherine, who nodded.
"So...if none of the family members accepts her, she'll have to go into foster care until she's 18." Grissom said. She nodded.
"She's almost 18, so she's got a couple of months until she can be on her own." She said.
"Not that I can afford it." The girl murmured. Grissom glanced at her.
"What is your name?" He asked kindly.
"Tawny. Tawny Martinez." She said, looking up.
"I'm Gil Grissom, nice to meet you." He said, reaching over and shaking her hand. He then looked to the woman. "Which one of my CSI's is she related to?"
The lady was just about to speak when Grissom's singing fish above the door went off. Catherine frowned at Sara, who had stepped forward and set it off. All three of the people in the office turned to look at them.
"Hello, Catherine, Sara." Grissom said, looking slightly amused at their red faces. He then motioned for the social worker to go on.
"She's Nick Stokes' cousin. He works the graveyard shift, correct?"
"My cousin?" Nick asked, surprised.
"You've inherited the custody of your cousin, Tawny Martinez, until she is 18." Mrs. Taylor, the social worker explained.
"Wow." Nick said, running a hand through his dark hair. "I knew Aunt Terry liked me, but why ME? I've got my other sisters that could watch after her."
"She specifically stated your name in her will to gain custody of Tawny if she were to pass away before Tawny turned 18. She wanted Tawny to stay in the U.S. Reason being, she wasn't comfortable with the idea of flying an airplane over a large body of water." Mrs. Taylor said. "Only one sister lives in the U.S. now, but she's in debt..." She let it hang, and watched Nick as he stood thinking for a long while.
"Alright." Nick said quietly, nodding. "I guess I could take her in if there's nobody else." Mrs. Taylor smiled and took a paper out of the folder she was holding and handed Nick a pen.
"Sign here please." She said, giving him the paper. Nick took a deep breath and scribbled his signature on the line. He handed the paper back to her and she handed him a folder.
"These are her medical records and all her other information. I believe she's waiting in the other room. I have her luggage in my car, shall I bring them in?" She asked.
"Uh, sure. Do you need any help?" Nick asked politely.
"No, thank you, they have wheels." Mrs. Taylor said, and she set off for the parking lot. Grissom went to stand by Nick. They watched her go, and then Grissom turned to Nick.
"Just do your best, Nicky." He said, patting Nick on the shoulder. He gestured to the break room. Nick nodded and walked in. He almost laughed at what he saw. Tawny was sitting at the table trying to listen to music as Greg sat beside her, grinning ear to ear, attempting to get her phone number. Tawny looked up at Nick, her eyes silently pleading him to help her. Nick smiled, stepping forward.
"Hey, you must be Tawny." He said. She nodded shyly. Up close she reminded him of his aunt. Aunt Terry had always been on the wild side, but had settled down when she was diagnosed with cancer. He hadn't seen either of them in a long time. He only remembered them from old home movies and pictures. He blinked and brought himself back into the present. "I'm Nick."
Tawny nodded. "I remember. Sort of." Greg looked from Nick to Tawny in confusion.
"Greg, this is my cousin Tawny. She's staying with me until she's eighteen." Nick said. Greg blinked in surprise and then nodded.
"Ooo-kay, well, I'm outtie." Greg said, heading back towards his lab. Tawny sighed in relief.
"Thanks for getting rid of that guy. He was creepy."
"No problem. Greg's always sort of wacko. Never know what he's gonna come up with next." Nick said, laughing. Tawny looked out of the glass partition at the rest of the lab.
"How's it like working here? Is it fun?" She asked.
"Well, not all the time. Come on, I'll show you around."
"Cool." Tawny stood up and followed him out of the break room.
"Alright, across from here is where Greg is...uh...wow." Nick said. Greg was rocking to his music again and was playing some serious air guitar.
"Yay, I'm not the only rocker person around here!" Tawny said, laughing.
"Yeah, well, when he's working, he's in charge of DNA. The only way you can stop him from acting weird is if you bring Grissom into the room. Hey, while I'm at it, let me show you Grissom's office. He's got a fetal pig in there."
"Ew. You mean they killed a baby pig?" Tawny said, looking grossed out. Nick held in a laugh.
"Actually, this is one of the little piglets that didn't make it. The mom got slaughtered before she gave birth." He led her into Grissom's office and showed her the jar where the preserved pig was. Tawny tilted her head in a curious way.
"I remember I was absent one day at my school when my biology class was gonna dissect one of these things." Tawny said. Her eyes shifted to the other specimens displayed in the office. Her eyes fell upon a small tank of water that had strange wormlike things at the bottom.
"Leeches." Tawny said. "Cool."
"So dead pigs are gross and blood-sucking leeches are cool?" Nick asked.
"I never said dead pigs were gross." She said, crossing her arms and looking up at him. He then noticed that she had a diamond stud nose ring on her right nostril. "Got it last September." She explained when she saw him looking.
"Well, I have to get back to work for a few minutes. You can hang out in the break room. I'm sure everyone knows you're here by now." Tawny laughed as they headed back to the break room. They passed by Greg, who had music blaring out of his CD player. Tawny stopped short when she heard the song that was playing.
"Oh, I LOVE this band!" She exclaimed. Greg looked up and grinned. He turned the volume down a bit.
"The Yeah Yeah Yeahs can get pretty wild onstage." He said to her. "Karen O is the craziest girl I've ever seen."
"I've got Nick Zinner's name tattooed on me, wanna see?" Tawny said. Greg and Nick looked at her, curious. She turned her back to Greg and lifted the bottom of her ACDC shirt a few centimeters to reveal the word "Zinner" tattooed on her lower back in letters resembling cursive handwriting.
"Let me see?" Nick said, craning his neck a bit to see it better. She let him see it, and then busied herself with pulling the bottom of her shirt back down and making sure that it looked okay. While she did this, Greg exchanged a wide eyed glance with Nick behind Tawny's back. Nick just smiled back. Tawny straightened up again and caught them looking at her.
"Well, I've got to talk to Sara, see if she found anything in that abandoned truck. Seeya later." Nick said, walking off.
"So, which song's your favorite?" Greg said, writing down the finishing touches to his paperwork and straightening up his desk.
"Date with the Night." She said. He looked up at her from the tops of his eyes and smiled.
"That's like one of their most explicit songs that they've ever performed onstage." Greg said. Tawny shrugged.
"It's an awesome song." She said. "Do you have it on your CD?"
"I can't play it here, Grissom'll probably get mad at me for making all the corpses in the morgue turn over in their graves." Greg said, flashing Tawny a goofy grin. She laughed. A tall dark-skinned man with an afro 'do came up to them. He cast a curious gaze at Tawny, and she noticed that he had amazing green-gray eyes.
"Is this your girlfriend, Greg?" He questioned. Almost simultaneously, Greg and Tawny both turned a shade of red.
"Um, no—uh—Warrick, this is Nick's cousin Tawny. She's staying with him, I guess." Greg stammered. Warrick raised an eyebrow at Greg and tried to suppress a grin. He then turned to Tawny, who had been looking from Greg to Warrick.
"I'm Warrick Brown, nice to meet you." He said, shaking hands with her. She smiled at him, but seemed rather speechless, so she nodded. She liked his eyes. "So how long are you staying with him?"
"Um, at least 'til I'm eighteen, 'cuz my mom just died and my other cousins have kids of their own to take care of. At least, that was what I heard." Tawny explained in an accent less evident than Nick's. Warrick nodded.
"Are you gonna be going to school?" He asked. She shook her head.
"I graduated already because I got moved up a grade. So, I'm heading for college next." Tawny explained. Warrick nodded.
"That's good. You get a head start on the college hunt." He said, sounding impressed. Tawny turned a shocking shade of red and giggled. Greg and Warrick exchanged glances and tried not to laugh. Tawny remembered herself then and sobered up.
"I'm sorry; I must be keeping y'all from working. I'll just be in the break room. Seeya." She said, giving a little wave and going down the hall. They watched her go.
"Cute girl." Warrick said. Greg nodded.
"Close your mouth. You're drooling."
Summary: Someone new comes to Vegas. She's a little crazy, but she knows how to use her head. How do our CSI's get along with someone who's possibly more punk than Greg?