Notes: Just a little something that had been gathering dust on my hard drive. Wrote sort of a sequel for it, so that'll be up in a few days.
Jim Brass lurked outside in the parking lot, his gaze fiercely intent on the doors. He mumbled to himself as he worked up his blood pressure beyond what his doctor would consider safe levels. He was an impatient man, and the object of his anger had still yet to step outside. It was times like these, that he wished had taken up smoking. Never really huffed on cigarettes like other people in the bull pen, nasty habit. Now a stiff drink, a nice belt of bourbon...or hell even scotch. That he could really use.
He stop pacing in mid-step, his eyes widened. He sucked in a deep breath, no use in bowling over the guy. He waited for the CSI to be out of range of eavesdropping ears and marched over to him.
"Hey, Nick. Come over here, will ya?
Nick Stokes lifted his head up at the sound of his name. He nodded politely at Captain Jim Brass and wandered over to the sometimes grim man.
"What's up, Jim?" He asked.
The Captain studied the person before him, a colleague he had worked alongside for over six years. A guy he watched develop from a bright, yet overly green cadet, to a mature and ever so capable criminalist.
"You going for some tough guy image now, Nicky?" Jim asked, noting the black T-shirt, black jeans, that were matched by his equally black leather jacket.
Nick gave a slight laugh, somewhat confused. "Huh?"
Maybe that was it. Hair shaved like he had stumbled out of boot camp, eyes that were a sea of darkness, perhaps beaten down by too many tough cases of late. Nick looked rugged, hardened. Maybe the kid had hit the gym just a bit too much. When did his neck get that big, the Captain wondered to himself?
Jim flipped a file folder and waved it in the CSI's face. "You know what this is, Nick?" He challenged him.
Now the Texan looked very confused, and maybe just a bit annoyed. Well, that was too bad, the Captain thought ruefully.
"No, Brass, I don't. What's up?"
Jim's lips twitched. "Its your report for the case from tonight. I took a look at it, when one of my boys had a little chat with me." His voice was harsh and angry.
Nick stared at the papers, still not fully understanding what he was being accused of. However, it was the end of a very long and grueling case, and he really wasn't in the mood for playing games. Especially when this suspiciously smelled like some kind of lecture.
"Vega and I just wrapped that case up. Finished booking the suspect." Nick put his hands on each side of his hip, and eyed the detective. Something about what the cop had just said hit him. "What chat? Someone on the force have a problem?"
"No, not a problem. Some of us actually like criminalists. There are even a few cops who appreciate all the meticulous work involved in processing crime scenes and gathering evidence. We work as teams to put away the bad guys."
Nick waited for the other shoe to drop. Yep, there was something in his tone that was started to grate on him just a bit. "I'll bite. Want to tell me what's really on your mind."
Jim got really close to the CSI. Stared at him right in the face, where he'd have no choice but to look him in the eye. "You bullet proof Nicky?"
"Cause last time I checked, you're weren't. So, if you can't repel bullets, what the hell were you thinking barreling after a suspect into a dangerous crowd of armed men tonight?'
Jim stared unblinking. Nick stared right back, forehead furrowed.
"I was going after a susepct...Jim." Nick explained, his voice firm. Defensive.
Brass grunted lightly. "You don't get it, do you Nick?" Jim pointed his finger at him. "Its not your place to run after suspects, that's our job," he growled.
Nick was slowly getting aggravated, and a bit flustered. "It was a reaction. He pushed Vega aside, and was fleeing. I just---"
"Didn't think." Jim's finished for him, his voice lower. He glanced at the ground for a second then lifted tired eyes back at the younger man. "A club full of unfriendlies all packing and from what I was told, half of them had their guns drawn."
Nick didn't have a retort. He pushed his tongue along the inside of his cheek. Maybe even replaying the events in his head.
Jim looked down at his rumpled files that he had been clutching. "I drew my weapon, grabbed the suspect by his shirt collar and started pulling him backwards. Detective Vega and other officers were there for back up, with weapons at ready, but no shots were fired as hostiles backed down when Detective Vega and I shouted for them to back away in Spanish." He read from the CSI's report.
The Captain looked over at the younger man. "You put yourself and other policemen, including Detective Vega, in harms way charging like that."
"So, that's my fault? It wouldn't matter if it were me or Vega, going after that guy. The crowd was itchy, nothing else would have happened."
"You're lucky you didn't get your head blown off, or one them didn't stab you." Jim grunted back, still very ticked off.
There was an uncomfortable silence in the air. Nick was feeling ambushed, while the Captain wrestled with the idea of backing down.
Jim exhaled, his breath visible in the colder air. "You've changed, Nick. I don't know if I like it."
The CSI tilted his head. "I'm still the same guy, doing my job, Brass."
"Don't let this job beat you down, or chew you up, Nick." Jim's tone was softer, almost regretful. Maybe too many years on the job, leached into his own voice.
"I'm not brushing you off, man. I......I just think you're over reacting." Nick felt the weight of the night bearing down on him. He was tired and was really wasn't up for debating a non-issue in the middle of a parking lot.
"Don't take chances, Nicky. Its not part of your job description." Jim sounded almost defeated. All the anger boiled and evaporated into the chilly night.
Nick wasn't one to let things end this way. "This girl, man. She was ...."
Jim raised his hand to cut him off. "Nick, there will always be a girl, or a small boy. All innocents, every one of them. Stop assigning personal retribution and justice Nick, or they'll haunt you in your sleep."
The criminalist was no loner steamed, he felt the sentiment. "I'll be careful."
"Cops are there to protect you guys. Please let us." The Captain asked.
Nick nodded. "I really need to get home."
Feeling a bit awkward the Captain shrugged his shoulders. "Yeah, sure." He moved out of the CSI's way, letting him know to carry on.
Nick looked like he was going to say something, but changed his mind. He walked past the older man and headed for his truck.
Jim watched him leave, and stayed in one spot as he drove away. He still wasn't sure what caused this little tirade of his. He just didn't like seeing good people lose sight of things. Nick Stokes...well he just held a special place in his heart.
Brass shook his head and headed back towards the station. If anything happened to that kid, he didn't know what he would do. Distance, keep you distance with coworkers, but that rule just didn't apply here at this lab.
Summary: Tag to "Snakes". Since I felt there was an issue that needed to be addressed.