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23 April 2009 @ 08:02 pm
Who Are You? - Chapter 13 (Buffy/Nick)  
Title: Starring at Your Salvation
Author: Lisa
Status: 13/100
Chapter List: Previous Chapters
Rating: PG-16
Fandom: BtVS/CSI
Character(s) and/or Pairing(s): Buffy Summers/Nick Stokes
Genre: Drama/Action/Romance
Summary: “She’s been out here for at least two days according to Doc. Hope you didn’t just eat.”
Challenge: Prompt #060: Lake. Written for tth100
Spoilers/Warnings: All seasons of Buffy and CSI are used.
Beta: Many thanks to Ava who has stuck with me during this journey. All mistakes are mine.
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters are copyright of Joss Whedon & ME. No infringement intended. CSI and all related characters are copyright of Anthony E. Zuiker, Jerry Bruckheimer Television & CBS. No infringement intended.
Distribution: Not without permission from myself.
AN: As promised here is a much longer chapter then you’ve been getting. Hopefully you all enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks again for reading and for the replies!


“Jake,” Nick’s voice was steady and confident as he continued intensely, “The Bears defensive line just isn’t strong enough to beat Payton. I don’t care what happened off-season the guy has a hell of an arm.” Nick ducked the low hanging branch that he was sure Jake had let fly back a little harder then he would have if he hadn’t just slammed his team. Chuckling he shook his head and pushed on. “No offense man, but Grossman won’t be their QB in a few years. Coach can only do so much before it’s time to find a new leader.”

Jake abruptly stopped; sweat rolling down his temples, from both the sweltering heat and from annoyance. He took in the CSI who was humorously smirking at him. “At least the Bears can make it to the big game. What’s Romo been doing for you lately?”

Nick clasped his hand over his chest in mock hurt. “Shit man, that’s a low blow and you know it. We’re still finding our feet.”

With a gentle shrug Jake smiled. “Truth hurts like a bitch sometimes. And your ‘boys’ have been playing like shit.” He stumbled backwards as Nick’s fist hit his shoulder in a brotherly punch.

Jake had moved to Las Vegas from Chicago, his home-city, a few years back. His first foray with the night shift crew had been when some sick bastard had kidnapped Nick. Since then, the two had formed a brother-like friendship and would often meet up, if both were off shift, for beers to watch Monday Night football.

“Fifty says Payton shows Grossman a lesson.” Nick held out his hand and after the shake he smirked. “Easy money.”

Brushing past the Officer, Nick motioned him forward. “C’mon, Catherine’s not going to be happy if we take much longer. She’s been working a double.”

The rest of the walk was done in silence. The high afternoon sun pelted down on them as they trudged along the barely shaded path. It was just Nick’s luck that with another heat wave making itself home in Vegas he was assigned the case outside.

All the victim’s bodies had been found out in the open near Lake Mead. No shelter or hidden coves for the killer to wait for its next victim had been found. All the victims were females ranging from thirty-seven to forty-five and all in peak health. The DNA that was found in the vaginal cavity in all the victims had come back as male, which along with the state of the victim’s bodies connected the murders. It was unlikely that a female was the assailant unless she was used to lure the victims, yet none of the evidence neither supported nor ruled out that theory.

Rounding the corner Nick heard Catherine’s voice call out his name.

“Nick! Finally!” Catherine pushed her strawberry blonde bangs that were now plastered to her forehead off as she let out an exasperated sigh. “Where the hell have you been?” Grabbing the jug of water she’d brought she lifted the bottle to her mouth, taking a few long pulls. The liquid wasn’t cold anymore; the sun had already begun to warm it. Still, it was cool enough that as it slid down her parched throat it felt refreshing. She couldn’t wait to shower when she got back to the lab; her skin was gritty, covered with dirt and sweat.

“Hey Catherine, sorry.” Nick bent down, placing his kit at his feet, just outside of the crime scene tape. “Traffic was bad, accident on River Road.” Squatting down next to his kit he flipped the clasps, opening the black metal case. Pulling out a pair of gloves he wiped his forehead with the back of his arm.

“It’s hotter down there,” Catherine tossed a glance behind her. “By the victim. Hope you brought water.” Winking she ran her fingers through her once curled locks and pulled them high into a tight pony before working the black elastic around her hair exposing her collar bone. A gentle, warm breeze ticked the back of her neck and she almost moaned in delight.

“Same M.O. as the last victims?” Nick worked the rubber gloves over his fingers, which were already moist and making it a bit more difficult to get them on properly. Clasping the case shut once again he picked it up and began to follow his superior down the ledge towards the body and the smell.

Catherine coughed and looked back just in time to catch him as he twisted his face in disgust.

“How long has she been out here for? The decomp is…”

“Oppressing?”

“She’s been out here for at least two days according to Doc. Hope you didn’t just eat.” Catherine carefully worked her way down the large boulders towards a flat cliff that hung six or seven feet above the lake.

Nick breathed through his mouth, exhaling through his nose and still had to repress the urge to gag.

The body, or what remained of the body, was spread eagle on the cliff, a bare foot dangled over the edge.

Her sternum was cracked open, like cellar doors in an old house, exposing her organs. Titling his head Nick carefully stepped around the dried blood that was surrounding the victim. As he got a better look inside her his eyes widened before they snapped to Catherine’s.

“All organs are missing, the hounds couldn’t even find ‘em. Either the animals got to them first or he…” Her voice stopped as she gave a knowing look at him.

“Or he took them. For what? A trophy or to… to eat?” Nick’s stomach rolled in response to the image of a man eating an organ. Sadly, it wasn’t the first time a perp had dived into cannibalism.

“Seems this heat wave has brought out the local sickos.” Catherine lifted her hand and covered her eyes from the glare off the lake.

The flesh around the sternum appeared to be torn and if the killer followed the same M.O. as the previous times it was likely chewed. Hunks of flesh and muscle hung loosely from the bone. The esophagus was savagely ripped out and distinct teeth marks were visible. Her, the victims, jaw was shifted violently to the left and was attached only by some muscle. The pale blue eyes that had once been filled with life were wide with terror.

Seagulls circled above the body crying out in protest, like a scene taken straight out from a Hitchcock. One swooped down, its beak clamping down on the flesh and soared back up before Nick could swat at it.

Rising, from his haunches Nick looked at Catherine; his face paler than it had been when he arrived. His voice no longer carried the light fun tone it had when he arrived, it was serious and weighed down with terror that the victims eyes held. “What still needs to be done?”

“Still need to collect trace from the body before we pass her on to Doc and hell, hope to God we find something more useful then dog hair. And get your football crony to find a way to get these gulls away from our crime scene before they destroy more evidence”

~fin~
Completed: April 13, 2009