"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."
It felt like he'd been awake for days and truthfully he probably had. Greg had lost track at this point.
They were swamped with case after case and there was just no time to rest. He'd been a CSI for over a year now and still hadn't gotten use to the hours. It was so different from the lab. In the lab, you worked your hours and went home handing off whatever was left to the next shift for completion. In the field you had a case and you worked that case until you either solved it or hit the wall.
And he was about to hit that wall.
Greg turned into the break room and sat heavily at the table.
"You look beat."
The voice nearly startled him, although he should be use to it by now. He was just continuously surprised at how often she turned up.
"I should," he replied back, turning and grinning. "Three cases, no leads. No sleep. No coffee."
Sara laughed and shook her head.
"No social life left. Probably no apartment either, I keep forgetting to pay the rent. It was due three, no wait, four days ago."
"Well," she said, "I can't help you with that last part but I can help with the caseload. Grissom asked me to give you a hand. I don't think he realized you were getting..."
"Dumped on?" he provided.
"I'm not overwhelmed," Greg argued, "I can handle it fine. I just don't have anything left to go on. All three cases are complete dead ends."
"Then a fresh set of eyes couldn't hurt."
Greg smiled at her. There wasn't any way he was going to turn down help, not at this point, but he really didn't like the idea that Grissom thought he might not be handling himself well.
"So," he said, "where do you want to start? I've got a hit and run that looks hopeless. Freak rainstorm washed just about everything away, everything but the body of course. A string of car thefts from a local lot that I know is some kind of insurance scam but I can't prove it."
"Don't assume then," she added, to which he shrugged.
"If you'd interviewed this guy you'd agree with me. He was practically giddy about it."
"Giddy?" she questioned, eyebrows raised at his word choice.
"I've been up since Tuesday; giddy is the best I can do."
"Okay," she said with a laugh, "what about your third case?"
"Just got back from it, robbery turned homicide at a gas station out on Blue Diamond. Got called about it fifteen minutes before shift change last night, which figures. If they'd just called a little later I'd be waking up right about now at home. Refreshed. Possibly having dinner. Did I mention I haven't eaten yet?"
"Any surveillance?" Sara asked, ignoring the last part.
"I wish. Place had cameras but they were decoration only. Three people dead and about four thousand prints. Twice as many tire tracks. I'm just waiting for the autopsies to be finished so I can hopefully retrieve the bullets and Bobby D can hopefully find a match."
"Well, why don't you go get some rest and I can page you when the results are in."
"Thanks but no. If I go to sleep now, I'm done for and I'm on tonight," Greg replied checking his watch and shaking his head at the realization that it was almost eight at night. He'd be awake for at least another twelve hours, possibly more. "A few more pots of coffee and something with lots of sugar and I'll be fine."
Sara nodded and he could tell she understood.
"Why are you here so early?" he asked after a moments pause.
"Paperwork," she answered holding up a large file. "Nick and I just closed the Branson case."
"Was it the butler?"
"Close. The gardener."
"Damn, I just lost twenty bucks."
"I hope that teaches you not to bet on cases," Sara said with a laugh.
"Well yes, it does. At least not against Warrick."
Before Sara could reprimand him further, Greg's phone rang. Checking the ID he was surprised and relieved to see it was Brass. Maybe they did get lucky on something after all.
"Sanders," he said into it, stifling a yawn.
Sara turned back to her folder but he could tell she was still listening. After a very brief conversation, he hung up and shifted in his chair.
"You ready to start helping me dig myself out?" he asked.
"Good because Brass says that a witness just came into the station about the triple homicide last night. He's got her in the interview room now but..."
Greg trailed off, lost in his own thoughts for a second.
"He said that the witness asked for me. Specifically. Didn't want to talk to him at all."
Sara's face screwed up in concentration.
"Maybe she doesn't feel comfortable giving a statement directly to the police," she provided.
"I guess," he said, sounding unconvinced. "Actually, I don't care. I just hope whoever it is can give us an ID."
Sara smirked at him as they stood to go.
"Me too," she said as they walked down the hall. "You get this one cleared and you'll have enough free time to clear the other two on your own."
"Oh no," Greg countered, "you offered to help and you're going to help. I'm not letting you off that easy."
"You know I wouldn't really do that."
"Uh huh," Greg responded back, as skeptically as he could but knowing she wasn't lying.
They laughed easily as they made their way out and Greg felt more refreshed for it than he imagined possible just a half hour earlier.
Another half hour passed and Greg's feelings had changed.
He and Sara were now in front of the woman and he couldn't help but feel a bit uneasy. There was something he couldn't place about her. She looked familiar to Greg and he thought he recalled seeing her at the crime scene, but that wasn't it.
By midday word had gotten out about the murders and the usual crowd of onlookers had gathered. Per protocol, he'd snapped off several photos of them, but hadn't looked them over just yet. He had no doubt she'd be somewhere on that film.
But it wasn't that he recognized her, it was just a feeling he got that made him think he knew her somehow or from somewhere.
She wasn't very tall and probably was only in her mid-twenties. Bleach blond with lots of eyeliner. Altogether she was nothing abnormal for Vegas; the type that could blend into a crowd if the need struck her. Still, she was familiar to him and her name was Jane.
Just Jane she told them.
"So Jane," Greg began, "Detective Brass said you had some information for us about the homicides this morning on Blue Diamond."
"Is that what he said?"
"I didn't tell him that," Jane countered, sounding defensive.
"Okay," Greg continued thinking she might just be nervous or had witnessed something she might not be ready to deal with. He'd seen that before. "What did you tell him?"
"That I knew I could help," Jane answered, twisting in her seat and rubbing her hand roughly through her hair.
"We'd appreciate anything you can tell us," Greg said evenly, feeling bad even. She was distressed about this.
"I don't know what I can say."
"You do have something, don't you?" Sara jumped in, obviously not liking this type of run-around.
"Yes, but you need to understand," Jane continued. "If I tell you, you won't understand. I just can't say it."
"But you were there," Greg added.
Jane nodded shortly.
"At the gas station today?" he asked.
"Were you there last night when it happened? If you saw anything, if you're afraid, we can get you protection but we need you to..."
"No," she sighed, shaking her head and turning partially away. "You don't...it's not about that. I don't have anything for you about that."
"So what do you have?" Sara asked.
"Excuse me?" Sara asked again.
"Blue," she repeated, addressing Greg. "It's all I see."
"I'm not sure what..."
Sara sighed and shook her head.
"You'll understand," Jane went on, undisturbed by Sara's reaction. "Not now, but soon."
Greg sat back, not sure what to say next, waiting for Sara to jump back in. Maybe it was the lack of sleep but the whole situation seemed unreal to him.
"See," Jane said, leaning in and speaking as if it was only Greg and her in the room. "There's a reason I was there today. I don't normally...I've never even been to that side of town. But today I did. Something drew me there."
Sara set down her pad of paper and pen on the table and leaned back shaking her head.
"I'm not sure I..." Greg started to say but was quickly cut off.
"It was you," she finished, staring at him now with clear blue eyes. "It was you. You're the one."
"I'm the one what?" he asked back.
"You're the one that's going to solve it."
"I thought you didn't know anything about these murders."
"No," she said slapping her hands down heavily on the table. "I don't. It's not that."
"Then what is it?" he asked, unable to stop himself.
"You'll solve it and it'll stop."
Sara had been on the point of breaking up the interview when Brass had stepped in and made it all unnecessary. He'd been watching from behind the glass the entire time and knew it was time to stop things. Greg, still fairly inexperienced with these things, didn't need to be wasting time this way.
Besides, Brass knew from experience how dangerous these types of people, people like Jane, could be.
She was obviously attention seeking and also obviously fixated on Greg.
As soon as they had her out of the building he pulled both of them into his office for a chat.
"What was that?" Greg asked, first looking to Sara and then to Brass.
Sara once more shook her head and suppressed a smile. It was sometimes easy to forget that Greg hadn't been doing this long as well as he'd gotten at collecting evidence. Still, collecting evidence and dealing with people were two completely separate things.
"It happens," Brass answered. "Sometimes you get a witness who isn't a witness, just someone wanting to feel important."
Greg nodded and then looked up skeptically.
"I thought that sort of thing only happened on big cases. I mean, I know three people dead isn't exactly small time, but..."
"It doesn't matter," Sara interrupted, "not to them. That type. I had a guy spend half an hour once telling me that Elvis was responsible for a string of jewelry store robberies."
"Elvis?" Greg questioned and even Brass looked amused.
"Yeah," Sara answered. "He was replacing his rhinestones with the real thing."
Greg smiled and looked down, feeling a bit stupid. He hadn't thought for a moment that Jane had been lying or leading him on. He'd thought she was telling them the truth.
"It happens," Brass supplied, reading Greg all too easily, "to everyone at one time or another. Don't worry about it. Just forget it and concentrate on the case. She won't be back."
"Thanks," Greg said as a way of goodbye before turning to go, Sara fast on his heels.
They didn't speak again until they were almost back at the lab.
Greg just laughed softly and shook his head once more.
"You know," he said turning to Sara as she parked in the garage, "I thought she had something. Maybe I just wanted her to, but there was something about her eyes. She believed what she was saying."
"I'm sure she did," Sara agreed. "They all do Greg, but that doesn't mean it was the truth."
"It's just," he started to say and then thought better of it.
Sara waited for a second for him to continue and realized once he unbuckled and got out of the vehicle he wasn't going to.
He walked ahead without her trying to put everything in place. Maybe he really did just need some sleep. His head felt fuzzy and for some reason he couldn't get her out of it.
Regardless of what either Brass or Sara had said, he couldn't help but think that maybe there was something to what she said.
It had just felt true.
Summary: A woman walks into the crime lab only to tell Greg Sanders about her murder, a murder he’s going to solve. Is she just playing games or is it something more?