blue flamingos

Bet On It

Fandom: CSI/CSI:Miami


Year/Length: 2006/ ~4675 words

Pairing: Past Speed/Bernstein and Speed/m

Spoilers: Light for CSI:M 'Cross Jurisdiction'

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, for which I should think they're profoundly grateful.


Summary: Echoes of a bad break-up, an out-of-jurisdiction case, a CSI under suspicion, a missing baby and a frosty welcome in the desert: all in all, Speed's starting to wish he'd stayed in Miami.


Author's Notes: For [info]afteriwake's CSI/Miami/NY ficathon. Prompt:There's another cross-jurisdictional, but this time the Miami CSIs (your choice who, but Speed is a must) go to Las Vegas. Turns out the case is personal to one of the LV CSIs (or tech, if you want to use Greg) and he/she is not happy that the Miami team is around. Things get ugly when the next crime directly involves the person the case is personal for, and now they have to rely on their friends and the Miami team to clear their name. One thing I definitely do want is a moment where Catherine, Warrick and Speed start talking about the events from "Cross Jurisdictions" and someone who wasn't there gets lost in their conversation.


Feedback: Yes please. Even if it's bad. Especially if it's bad.


"Look." Speed places the shirt he's examining carefully back on the bench, not meeting Sara's eyes. "I didn't ask to be sent out here. If you feel that strongly about it, get Grissom to talk to H. Soon as he gives the word, I'm out of here." He reaches for a swab. "Until then, we'd probably make better progress if you dropped the idea that I'm just here to have you arrested."

Not that it's not a possibility, but they all know that, which is probably why he gets glared at throughout the lab. It's almost enough to make him miss Miami.

"Fine," Sara says, not sounding it. "How's it going here?"

That, at least, is one thing they can all agree on. "It's not." He gestures to the carefully labelled evidence bags, most of them already opened for testing and resealed. "There's nothing to say who was in that car."

"No?" Sara runs her hands over the bags, fanning them out like cards, and Speed resists the temptation to reach out and restack them. It's one of those no-evidence-is-evidence cases that drives everyone crazy – no-one has the car they were in valeted right before abandoning it and there's no evidence that it was stolen or car-jacked. Trouble is, since it was stolen in Miami in the first place, that's not exactly water-tight evidence that it's the car that was used for the abduction either. The whole thing makes his head hurt, even without the hassle from the Vegas CSIs because the kidnapper – suspected kidnaper – is a friend of Sara's from San Francisco.

Speed swabs the shirt as Sara continues to go through his evidence, even though the shirt's not technically his evidence. He hates cross jurisdictional cases, even when they're in Miami: too much rangling over who the evidence belongs to and who gets the arrest at the end. The car's his because he got sent to Vegas when they realised Maria ran there with the little girl, but Nick and Sara found the shirt in a dumpster right by where the car was abandoned. It might be the girl's, and the marks on it might be blood, but even then...

Speed sighs and flips the cap shut over his swab. He shouldn't even be in the lab anyway, not really, and not on night shift, but H knows Grissom from when some of his team came down to Miami, even if Grissom isn't in the lab right now but off at some conference. Night shift's thrown Speed's body clock all off, even with Nick's reassurance that he'll get used to it, which is no help, since he won't be there long enough. "You want me to drop that into Trace for you?" Sara asks, reaching for the swab.

"Sure." Speed hands it over, a little surprised at the offer, but glad to be left in peace again. It's not like the case is going anywhere as it is, so he might as well stay in the lab. He was actually starting to feel comfortable there, forgetting that he wasn't in Miami, till Sara came in to snipe at him.

"Hey." The door to the lab opens, shattering his incredibly brief peace. "Nick told me you were here."

"Yeah." Speed glances up at Catherine. "Here I am."

"Just you?"

"Yeah. All H could spare." She looks round quickly even after he says it – maybe she thinks he's hiding H under the table or something.

"All he could spare?" Catherine sounds shocked. "It's an interstate kidnapping."

Speed wonders for a moment how much Grissom's told her about the case, since she'd making it sound like some kind of snatch at gun point. "Triple homicide."


Which he'd far rather be working on than this in Vegas. It doesn't make him feel any better to know that H has probably sent him on purpose, not just because he was in court when the homicide came in and the only one spare to take another case when the kidnapping was called in. Doesn't look like they're going to get a replacement for Megan any time soon, and it's not working out too well, whatever H says.

"Tim?" Catherine's giving him the look that makes him feel like he's a teenager all over again, too involved in his book to pay attention to the conversation.


"You want to run me through all this, catch me up?"

"Sure. There's not much here though." Catherine shrugs, gestures for him to go on. "We got the call from the girl's father, I went out with the detective. Divorced, father had custody, but she was with her mother for the weekend. Didn't turn up Sunday evening, no answer when he rang."

"You went to the mother's house?"

"Patrol went round, found the front door open, signs of what could've been a struggle. Couple of over-turned chairs, mom and girl's clothes tossed on the bed." He thought it was a waste of time call then. "Then the neighbour comes out and says his car's been stolen, we figured maybe the mother took the girl, maybe someone took both of them."

"She didn't have her own car?"

Speed shakes his head. "We put an APB on the stolen car, got a call from Highway Patrol that they stopped it for speeding but let them go with a caution. They remembered the child, but they couldn't agree on whether there was just the mom or someone else as well."

"That was still in Florida?" Catherine asks and Speed has a sudden flashback to court. *Are you sure that's what you saw, Mr Speedle?* "No, that was crossing the border into Nevada."

Catherine nods. "Right. The car in the garage. How'd you find it here?"

"Phone records showed a call to a number here, two seconds. We figured hang up."

"Did you ring it?" Maybe Catherine does know. She'd being snippy enough, since she's worked with them before and ought to know they're reasonably competent.

"Yeah," Speed says. "Turned out to be Sara Sidle, CSI."

Catherine nods, her expression neutral. "The mother's a friend of Sara's from San Francisco?"

"Yeah." Sara's not been what he'd call cooperative, but she has told him that she knew Maria before she got married, after which they drifted apart. In other words, just enough to make it seem like Sara couldn't be harbouring the other woman, except there's no other reason he can find for Maria to've run to Vegas, and if anyone would know to valet clean a car before abandoning it, it'd be a CSI.

"So how did you find the car?" Catherine asks.

"Don't you guys ever talk to each other?" Speed asks sharply.

To his surprise, Catherine smiles and pats him on the arm. "Just checking out your story. You wanna tell me how you found the car?"

"You wanna read the report?"

"Already did." Catherine smiles again. "Come on, we got a store clerk thinks she saw the girl yesterday, she said we could see her in half an hour."


The clerk describes perfectly the photo of the little girl they had out on the evening news, right down to the dress she was wearing in it. Speed's never understood why people make this stuff up just to get the police out, and it never gets any less frustrating.

They call it quits not long after, or at least Catherine does. She'd apparently taken over the case, even though she was working something else for most of the night, which doesn't make much sense, when they already had Sara and Nick. Still, no-one seems bothered by it.

Speed draws the curtains in his hotel room, even though they're not thick enough to keep the sunlight out, and closes his eyes. It's easy to forget about the case – the more he thinks about it, the less sense it makes – but as soon as he does, he's back in the lab in Miami, feeling the absence of Bernstein's eyes on him through the glass. If H sent him to Vegas to get away from that, it hasn't worked.

He flops over, groaning, and resigns himself to another wide awake night – day – whatever.

He must fall asleep though, because the next thing he knows, he's being jerked awake by the ringing of his cell phone. He fumbles for it and knocks it off the unfamiliar bedside cabinet, his head pounding with a fading dream of dark sheets and smooth skin.

"Yeah. Speed."

"Tim?" asks a female voice.


"It's Catherine. Willows. We found Maria."

It takes him a second to place the name. "Yeah? Great."

"Not really." She sighs, the sound crackling in Speed's ear. "She was outside Sara's place when Sara got home. She's been shot."

"Shot?" Speed doesn't really drink coffee, but he'd commit bodily harm for a cup right about now, something to stop him feeling half a step behind the conversation.

"I wake you up?" Catherine asks belatedly, sounding amused and wide awake, of course. Probably gets up early even on her days off.

"Yeah. What time is it?" Speed fumbles for his watch and groans. He'd've had to get up in half an hour anyway. "Never mind. Someone shot Maria?"

"Hold on." Catherine muffles her phone and Speed catches a quick exchange of words that he can't make out. "Listen, we're on our way to the scene, we'll swing by and get you, explain on the way."


"All right. Be with you in 15 minutes."

Speed showers, digs out a reasonably uncreased shirt, gulps half a bottle of water and a couple of Tylenol in place of coffee and is standing on the front steps of the hotel when Nick swings in. He doesn't even bother to glare at Speed, just glances at him, expression troubled, as he climbs into the backseat.

Catherine twists round to look at Speed. "You don't look great."

"Didn't sleep well. What happened?"

"Sara got home from work, found Maria passed out on her front step and bleeding. Shot in the lower abdomen. She's gone to hospital, Sara too."

"What about the girl?" Speed still can't remember her name, some silly hippie thing.

"Sojourner?" Catherine supplies immediately. "No sign of her."

Speed rests his head on the glass and closes his eyes. They've got a mother taking her baby daughter and running, in a stolen car, for no apparent reason, to a friend she hasn't seen in years, after abandoning the car with no evidence she was ever in it, only to lose her daughter and get shot. Unless the two of them were taken, but then why bring them to Vegas? It could just be coincidence, except she did ring Sara right before leaving – a horrible thought occurs to him.

"The gun turn up?" he asks causally. In the rear-view mirror, Catherine catches his eye and frowns. Hard to slip stuff past CSIs.

"Not that I heard. S'why we're going out there."

When they get to the scene, Catherine and Nick exchange unhappy looks. Even from the street, the blood on Sara's doorstep is obvious.


"So?" Captain Brass says when they get back to the lab.

Catherine shakes her head. "We found Sara's gun, and blood on her front step. No sign of the baby though."

"You don't think..." Brass says slowly, looking between the three of them.

"There's too much blood," Speed offers. Which is no bad thing, because there's no other evidence and arresting another CSI isn't high on his list of priorities. "Neighbour saw Sara come home, there's not enough time between that and the paramedics arriving."

"Good." Brass smiles briefly. "So, she takes her daughter, comes to Sara for..?"

"If she knew Sara in San Francisco, she knows she's a CSI," Nick says. "Maybe she came to her for help."

"With?" Catherine asks, glancing at Nick, who shrugs.

"Whatever prompted her to abduct her own child in the first place."

"Right." Brass sweeps away the argument with a wave of his hand. "So we don't know who she's possibly on the run from, we don't know who shot her, and we don't know where her daughter is."


"Good to know we're making progress then," Brass quips.

Catherine nods. "Nick, you get on the stuff from Sara's house, Tim and I are going to the hospital to see her."


"Why's he here?" Sara asks the moment she sees him. She looks the way Speed feels, like she hasn't had enough sleep and her head hurts. The hem of her shirt is soaked with dried blood.

"Sara." Catherine pats her arm reassuringly. "He's trying to find Maria's daughter. How's she doing?"

"Still in surgery. I haven't seen her since I moved here, I don't understand why she was at my house." She sighs and sits down again.

Catherine takes the seat next to her. "Did she call you at all? Try to get in touch?"

"Nothing. I haven't heard from her since... I don't remember. Why would she come here?"

"We think she might've come to you for help," Catherine says gently. "That maybe she was in trouble."

Speed's expecting the usual protests about what a good person Maria was, apart from kidnapping her own daughter, but Sara just nods, slowly. "There was a woman – before she married Jack. She was arrested for dealing drugs, and once for shop-lifting. Nothing ever stuck."

Catherine doesn't even blink. "OK, great. Do you know her name?"

"Julie... Hennesy, I think." Sara looks up at Speed then away. "Did you find my gun?"

"In the hall," Speed says. On the floor, like someone dropped it.

Sara nods. "I thought I heard something inside. I went in to look after I called 911."

"And?" Catherine prompts. Sara shakes her head.

"Nothing." She glances at Speed again. "Are Internal Affairs coming?"

"Not yet. We'll find out what happened, Sara, don't worry. The evidence has to be here somewhere," Catherine says.

"Yeah." Sara leans back in the chair, looking more tired than she did when they walked in.


Outside the hospital, Speed digs his cell out.


"It's me."

"Hey man, how's Vegas?"


He can feel Delko's disbelieving expression down the phone. "You live in Miami, you should be used to it."

"Sure. Listen, Maria, the woman who took her daughter? She used to be involved with a woman, Julie Hennesy, could you see what you can find on her?"

"What, in between working doubles on this homicide?"

"Yeah. Unless you wanna swap and come do night shifts out here with me?"

"Yeah, all right. I'll get back to you."



They get a call before they get back to the lab, to say that Patrol have found what they think is Hennesy's car, half-submerged. It must be some kind of speed-record, almost literally the moment Nick's APB reached them, but Speed's gonna take it as some kind of sign that their luck's changing on the case. They could certainly do with some.

When they get there, Recovery are just hooking up the car to drag it out, while Nick watches. Once they get in shouting distance, he looks up and nods. "Hey. Checked the plates, they match, it's her car."

"Great." Catherine looks out at the cranes. "Is it just me, or does this feel kind of familiar?"

"Familiar?" Nick asks.

"Yeah. Missing little girl, car in the water..." She glances over at Speed, who nods.

"Except for the swinging Chief of Detectives, the alligators, the show girl and the murderous limo driver," he says. "Practically identical."

"I never said the *case* seemed familiar, I said *this* did," Catherine clarifies. "Pity your friend the diver's not here."

"Delko. I guess." Though the people they've got seem to be doing a pretty good job, considering Las Vegas is a desert and doesn't actually have many bodies of water for cars to go into. The guy in charge gestures to the truck driver, who starts edging slowly away.

"Let's hope this car's a bit more forth-coming," Catherine says.

"Let's hope it's not got any dead bodies in it," Speed mutters.

He sees Nick glance between the two of them, confused, then the car comes squelching out of the water and up onto the bank.

There's no dead bodies in this car either, neither the little girl nor Hennesy. What there is is a teddy bear, with a pink ribbon round its neck. Just the sort of thing a two-year old would take with her, and it's the first piece of what might be usable evidence they've had since he got to Vegas.


Their turn of luck doesn't last long: nothing on the toy and whatever evidence might've been in the car's been destroyed by water. They don't even know when it went in – could have been hours ago, could've been weeks.

When they finally quit, it's the middle of the day. Too hot, too bright and too loud to sleep, so Speed lies on his bed, fully clothed, closes his eyes and tries not to think.

It doesn't work.

He can't shake the case away, images going in circles through his head while he tries not to give in to the temptation to ring Delko and nag him for something, stuff from the case mixing with pictures he doesn't want. Hands on his back, holding him close. Cooking dinner, and arms sliding round his waist. Kisses that taste of lab coffee. Hard muscles under smooth skin, sweaty from his morning run. Dark eyes that followed him round crime scenes and at the lab, glinting with secrets. Hands pressing him into the mattress and that mouth, god, that mouth...

He's too hot to think about that, and anyway, it's kind of creepy now.

His mind obligingly replaces the image. Bernstein's – Tony's – apartment, and the way his eyes hardened when he said the word 'transfer', and, 'it was never serious, not in this job, right, Tim,' and Speed nodded, 'sure, of course not' and didn't say that he'd thought it could be, that for the first time since Daniel died, he wanted to try put it behind him and not think about it every day. Tony's gone as well now, has been for over a week, moved to Chicago to work with their drugs' squad, and it's not bad, it's just that Speed can't stop looking for him. Just like Daniel, except he had time to prepare for this happening, time for one last night in bed that flashes through his head at the worst possible moments. He doesn't know any more which is worse.

He dozes, caught somewhere between awake and asleep, Tony's words circling endlessly through his head until he's glad, for the first time in weeks, when his arm clock wakes him up to go back to work.


Delko rings him as he's getting out of the cab, missing his bike. After three minutes of grief about how busy he is, which Speed ignores, he gets round to the point. "You ready?"

"Yes." Speed sighs. Delko's always reasonably nice to him, but he's being nicer now, Speed's almost sure. He actually thought they were discreet, but the further gone Tony is, the more he thinks everyone knows.

"All right. She was tried for drug dealing three years ago, but she wasn't convicted. She was tried again for possession a couple of months later, convicted this time, did a year and a half, got out two months ago." Delko pauses. "She gave an address in Miami when she got out, but there's no-one there. Her neighbour hasn't seen her in a week."

"Miami?" Speed asks.

"Yeah, Miami, you know, where you work?"

"Yes, but she used to live in San Francisco."

"Well, not any more. You said she used to be involved with your woman, maybe that's why she moved," Delko suggests.

"Yeah," Speed says slowly. "Do you have anything about the trial?"

There's a pause on the other end of the phone as Delko rustles some papers. "Hold on, there was an article. Um, details of the case, the trial..."

"Anything about the police case, who was on it?" Speed asks.

"Um... Yeah, here we go. There's a comment from Hennesy's lawyer, she says the police mentioned the first trial in this one, and that it prejudiced her jury. No names though."

"OK, thanks. I gotta go. Nick!"


"When you were in San Francisco, did you ever work a case on Hennesy?"

Sara blinks at the question and pushes her hair back from her face. Someone must have brought her a change of clothes because the blood stained shirt is gone, but she looks washed out from too many hours in the hospital. Maria hasn't woken up yet, and Sara's worry shows on her face. "Once," she says finally.

"On a drugs case?" Speed asks. Sitting next to Sara, Nick frowns slightly, even though Speed's explained, twice, that he's actually doing this to prove that Sara's innocent, not that she's guilty. He didn't realise, when they were in Miami, how suspicious the Vegas CSIs are, especially the ones he never met.

"Yeah." Sara scrubs at her eyes again and reaches for the coffee Nick bought her. "Possession, right before Maria stopped seeing her. It didn't stick though. Why?"

Speed shrugs, uncomfortable suddenly, that Sara seems to be relying on him, whatever the others think. "Everyone thinks you're involved in what happened to Maria," he says slowly. "Maybe Hennesy meant that, that's why she brought Maria and her daughter here. There must be a reason why she'd want people to think that."

"But she didn't go to jail when I was involved," Sara says.

"I know."

Sara frowns. "So she kidnapped Maria and her daughter, drove them here and shot Maria to get back at me for an investigation that never convicted her?"



Catherine's waiting for them when they get back to the lab. "What's going on?"

"Tim reckons he's solved the case," Nick says, grinning.

"Do tell."

"When she got convicted for possession, they brought up another trial, and the lawyer reckoned she wouldn't have been convicted without it. Sara was involved in the first investigation, and Hennesy probably knew that she was friends with Maria. I think she blamed Sara for her jail time, and this was a way of getting back at her."

Catherine just looks at him silently for a moment. "That's some theory," she says finally. "You got any evidence?"

"No," Speed admits. "Not unless we find her."

"Well then." Catherine shoos them both into the lab. "Let's find some."


They go back to the car, go through it again, and this time they pull up a tiny scrap of paper, caught in the seat belt lock, with a corner of a hotel logo on it. Both Catherine and Nick recognise it as one of the cheap hotels out on the edge of the city limits.

The desk-clerk confirms that Hennesy is booked in, under her own name, which strikes Speed as either massively confident or incredibly stupid, with a baby, an extremely well behaved baby at that. Catherine gets a look in her eyes at that, like she's suddenly scared, and Speed thinks, 'drugs'.

Brass knocks at the door, shouts, "Las Vegas PD," and the door opens and everything suddenly speeds up, police and CSIs bursting into the room, and then they come back out, leading a woman who must be Hennesy, followed by Catherine carrying a baby.


Speed sits with Catherine in the investigation room, opposite Hennesy, and lets Catherine do all the talking, not that it takes much. He was expecting some kind of hardened criminal, from everything he heard about her, but she caves as soon as Catherine shows her a little sympathy and tells the whole story straight through without prompting, then bursts into tears.

Speed was right that she blamed Sara after the first case. Not very right though, when it comes down to it, because she didn't come after Sara in return for getting her put in prison, she did it in return for losing her Maria.

"If it wasn't for that bitch of a CSI, I wouldn't've gone to prison. Maria got married while I was in prison, if I hadn't been there, it never would've happened. I loved her!"

Speed doesn't get that, people who do stupid things to jeopardise their relationships and then claim to love the other person. He doesn't get blaming a single CSI either, when there must have been half a dozen people involved in getting the evidence to court.

"So you shot her?" Catherine asks.

"She kept trying to get away," Hennesy mutters. She looks up, her eyes murderous. "She kept asking for Sara, so I gave her to Sara. I knew it wouldn't kill her, I'm not stupid."

"And Sojourner?"

"She should've been our child!" Hennesy says, and that's when she starts crying.


Three hours later, Speed throws his bag in the cab and leans forward to tell the driver to take him to the airport. Maria's ex-husband is on his way in from Miami to pick up the baby, Maria's woken up and should be fine and Grissom got back from his conference in time to agree to Hennesy being charged for both the kidnapping and the attempted murder in Miami. It's all over, and he gets to go home, which doesn't sound as appealing as he thought it would.

"We going somewhere?" the driver asks impatiently.

"Yeah," Speed says, and gives the name of the hospital. He's got time before his flight.

Once he's standing outside the doors though, he's not so sure. Hospitals make him uncomfortable, his skin itchy, from too much time in them and too many bad memories. He thinks, now, that he'd never have made it as a doctor.

He's tempted to turn round and get back in the cab – Sara doesn't want to see him, he's sure, but his body seems to have a different idea, leading him down the corridors against his mind's will.

Maria's been moved down to a different ward, now she's awake, which he has no trouble finding. The curtains are drawn round a couple of the beds, he sees through the window in the corridor, and she's in one in the corner, sitting up slightly, her hair pulled back from her face, an IV line running out of her right hand. Her other hand – Speed squints slightly – her other hand is stroking lightly through Sara's hair, where she's leaning forward from her chair, her head turned away from him. From the tender look on Maria's face, he thinks Sara's probably sleeping.

He turns away, not wanting to intrude on them, or see something he's sure Sara wouldn't want him to, but the whole case suddenly makes sense in a way it didn't before, even with Hennesy's confession. That's the reason she went after Sara, not just for taking her freedom, but for taking something else that Hennesy wanted, even if Maria and Sara were miles apart then, and Maria was married.

He lets himself think, just for a moment, of Tony, in Chicago busting drug dealers. It's not quite the same as being married and having a child, but everyone says the detectives are married to their jobs, so maybe it's not that far off. He wonders if he'd ever run to Tony if he was in trouble, or if Tony would sit in his hospital room for hours until he woke up, if he was shot. If he'd come to Speed's funeral, or do what Speed did for Daniel's and try to get as far away as possible from it. He thinks, just for a moment, of the Chicago number scribbled on a scrap of paper tucked under his phone, of calling it, just to say hi.

Then he pushes all those thoughts away, and steps out of the hospital to find a cab to take him to the airport. To take him back to Miami, and his real life.

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