Iphicles
Horatio

WARNING: most of the fiction on these pages contains strong language and explicit homoerotic material.

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Horatio

He supposed that some day he'd be able to appreciate the irony of it all, but there was a time for everything and that time had not yet come. Grissom had scrutinized the evidence for God, for karma, for destiny, and so far he had found it inconclusive. There were times, though, when coincidences seemed so extreme that he was challenged to reconsider the evidence.

Coincidence hadn't accounted for the death of eighteen-year-old Caroline Secher; that had been Jack Woods and his greed and stupidity. Coincidence had only intervened when it came to Woods' choice of venue. It was coincidence's fault that on Grissom's night off he was sitting at a cheap veneered table in a bar where a large-screen television was showing a ball-game, hating every minute of it. If it hadn't been for coincidence's clumsy hands all over the Secher murder, he would be home in his bed by now, asleep, instead of being strung out with exhaustion to the point where he no longer felt connected to the world around him.

Grissom didn't like dependence. The only thing that had prevented him from putting an ignominious end to Warrick's career as a CSI had been Warrick's talent. Catherine's need for Lindsey he understood, but he couldn't comprehend Sara's growing demands for his attention nor Hodges' apparent need to impress him with everything he did.

Four days ago he had gone to ride the rollercoaster, only to find it was no longer his freedom but just another crime scene. Just another puzzle about how Caroline Secher had fallen to her death from the car when the safety bar was still firmly locked in place. For the first time, Grissom had an inkling of what drove Warrick back to the tables even while he tried to stay away. It was the knowledge that he couldn't play whenever he wanted to, because CSI's didn't earn that sort of money; unattainability drove addiction. He had never before realized that he had come to depend on rollercoasters, needing the release they allowed him from the detail and the demands and the thinking, allowing him simply to be.

Crippled by his inability to relax, Grissom tonight had left his apartment to drive aimlessly driven around the city. The Tahoe had finally brought him here, and by the time he'd realized that the bar had a large screen and a crowd gathered watching the game that was showing, he didn't really care any more. He'd taken a table at the quieter end of the bar, where it was possible to have a conversation. For those who had somebody to talk to, that is. Lacking that distraction, Grissom spent his time watching the people in the bar, cataloguing movements and motivation in the way he had done for as long as he could remember, certainly from before he had made the unwelcome discovery that being a CSI was at least as much about people as about objective evidence.

He watched the way the waitresses monitored their tables, continuously interpreting evidence so that their response to customers' requirements was practically anticipatory. He saw the well-groomed couple who were sitting three tables away have a blazing row without once raising their voices or losing their polite masks and contemplated why appearances were so important to them. He wondered what drove people to place vanity above survival, as the young guy who'd just walked into the bar was dressed for summer rather than the wet and wintry day that had turned into an equally wet and wintry night.

The waitress was at his table in almost instant response to his signal, bringing another beer. He thanked her, adding a larger than usual tip in gratitude that she hadn't tried to talk but had simply brought him his beer and left him alone. It should perhaps have disturbed him, the knowledge that this might be the only human interaction he had all day, but he found it reassuring. No one would approach him unless he wanted it; he'd long ago learned that he didn't relate to people in the same way that everyone else did. People and insects were alike in one way: you couldn't control either. But cage the insects, and you knew where you were with them.