* * *
The Clue board was unfolded on the central table in the break room. The board's squares delineating the mansion rooms were worn from use and age, and the dice had rounded edges. Six gaunt figures hunched over it in worship.
The day shift had ended twenty minutes ago, and the night shift was settling in. Paperwork was being avoided. With no fresh case, Robbins was catching up on autopsies of suicides and accidental deaths, but interviews had been done for the day so the investigators were sitting around and the lab staff had tests running that would take several hours.
The field investigators were waiting for a call. Murders happened in Las Vegas on average of once every three days. Add in the outlying counties and that crept up to an investigative death every two days, but there was still a lot of downtime. Sometimes there were ten deaths in a day and once C.S.I. had gone an entire week without something fresh on the slab. Now, the weather was turning colder, and Nick mentioned the criminals must be too busy freezing their balls off to kill each other.
"You know, there's a theory that says hot weather leads to warfare and colder areas have less strife and political upheaval," Grissom said.
"So, maybe I should get a job as a C.S.I. in Alaska if I want the good life?" Nicky grinned.
Grissom tilted his head. "It'd be awfully boring."
Nick glanced at the Clue board. "Yeah, don't know what boring would be." He exaggerated a yawn.
"I don't know why we're bothering to play," Catherine said, taking another sip of her coffee. "We know Gil's going to win."
"We don't know that," Greg said.
Mia said, "Yeah. Some of us like a challenge."
"Oh, please." Nick shook his head. "You can challenge him all you want, you whippersnappers, but we all know Grissom's going to win. That's why he's Grissom."
Sara picked up the dice. "At least we're not playing poker. You guys would lose your shirts. Who wants to blow on my dice?" She waved her palm around.
"I've never really been good at poker," Grissom said, lacing his fingers. "I'm not really a numbers guy."
"Oh yeah?" Warrick squinted. "What are you good at?"
Grissom smiled. "Scrabble."
Catherine said, "Don't you remember last winter? He beat every single person in the building."
"Just once each," Grissom said, lifting his hands in a gesture of modesty.
Warrick rolled his eyes. "I'd blocked that out. Lost fifty bucks."
"Betting against Grissom?" Catherine smirked.
"Come on, Sara, roll the dice," Grissom said.
Greg leaned over the table. "I'll blow on them."
"Blow on this, Greg." Sara lunged at him.
Mia grabbed Sara's wrist, pivoted her around, and exhaled a short gust onto her fingers. "There. May you only get sixes."
Sara rolled a two. She glared at Mia.
Grissom took his turn.
Catherine lounged in her seat and gazed at him. "Look, he doesn't even use the paper. Keeps it all in his head."
"That's cheating. Shouldn't that be cheating?" Sara furrowed her brow.
Greg chuckled and said, "You could be like Mia, and make perfect little Xs in each square. If she messes up one, she has to get a whole new form."
Mia reached over and slapped his head.
Nick, on Greg's other side, slapped him, too.
"Hey, what was that for?" Greg rubbed the top of his head, smoothing his hair back in to place.
"There was a bug," Nick said, nodding.
"Guys, could we concentrate on the game? I think I'm one bad guess away from winning," Grissom said.
"Want to wager whose bad guess it'll be?" Catherine said.
"Nicky's," Warrick said.
"How much you want to bet?" Nick leaned forward.
Grissom said, "If you're both losers, do I get your jackpot?"
Brass stuck his head through the door. "Come on, bozos, there's a case."
Warrick folded his arms. "Five minutes. Come on, man, the game's almost over."
"It's Mrs. White in the conservatory with the rope." Brass shook his head and walked out.
Catherine rolled her eyes. Mia and Sara gaped at his retreating back. Nick laughed. Warrick tucked his hands behind his head. Greg and Grissom lunged for the envelope in the center of the board. Greg got to the cards first and slid them into his palm. "He's right," he said.
Grissom leaned back and looked thoughtful. "Well, he is the detective."