CSI: Obsession

False Prophet

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By:  Terri Gordon

Disclaimer: If I owned CSI or anything associated with it other than the season DVDs, I wouldn’t feel the need to be writing this, now would I?

Spoilers: References here and there, but we’ve seen all the episodes by now, haven’t we?

Rating: PG-13, for violence, gore, and language

Summary: G/S, cause that’s how it should be.  Sequel to “Bible Thumper,” Vivian’s back and is out for blood…

A/N:  Special thanks to Kati Owen for yelling at me for the ending of the first…  I might never have had the guts to follow in others’ footsteps!

False Prophet
***** ***** *****
Chapter 1
* * *  * * *  * * *

Grissom awoke to feel Sara’s nearly nude body tucked closely into his own.  He let his hands drift and explore, softly so as not to wake her, just to be sure it wasn’t another dream.  He didn’t have enough limbs, enough hairs on his body to count the many dreams he’d awoken from, only to find himself lonely and without her.  He’d silently cursed himself for hurting her, for pushing her away so many times.  It was torture how he could be so happy in these fantasies, then be so close to the real thing and be miserable every night at work. 

Now, laying next to her and feeling her unconsciously wiggling closer towards him, he knew he wasn’t dreaming.  He enjoyed the feel of her against him, skin on skin.  He reveled in his happiness, wrapping his arm protectively around her, remembering how they’d come to be here.

Three days ago, after catching Vivian Corinth, Catherine had insisted they take some time off for Sara to recover.  She and the boys would cover court and overflow for the next few days, while Sara and Grissom took advantage of the vacation time they never used.

Grissom’s mind drifted to other moments that had led them to this place.  Sara touching his cheek at a scene, presumably to wipe chalk off his face…  Grissom letting slip at the hockey rink that he thought she was beautiful…  The two of them working on a scene when they didn’t even need to speak to know what the other was theorizing, what others called “The Grissom and Sara Show”… Grissom sending her a plant to keep her from leaving…  Sara dropping everything to come to Vegas the saqme day he’d asked her to help after Holly Gribbs died… 

His thoughts were interrupted as Sara turned to face him.

“What’s going on in that head of yours?” she asked, causing the movie reel of memories to cease. 

Grissom looked her in the eye as she smiled, pulling him back into the present he still wasn’t convinced was real.

“Just thinking,” he replied, giving her no insight into his thoughts.

Her smile faded as she broke eye contact to look at anything but his face.

“You’ll never put down those walls, will you?  I’ve tried… God knows I’ve tried to break through, even hide behind them, but…” She stopped, a tear rolling down her cheek.

Grissom wrapped his arms protectively, if not possessively around her, letting her sob into his chest, stroking her hair for comfort.  When she’d finished, he pushed her back far enough to look deep into her eyes.

“I know what it’s like to want to know someone inside and out.  I know how frustrating it is when you can’t figure them out, when they won’t come out of hiding… I’ve been trying to figure you out for years.”  He paused before continuing.  “But, Sara, if you know anything about me, you know that I’ve been building those walls for so long… It will take a while for them to fall.”   What he didn’t mention was that with each tear that fell from her eyes, another section of his fortress crumbled, leaving him vulnerable.

He planted a kiss on her forehead and changed the subject, as much for his own self-preservation as for hers.  “How ‘bout some breakfast?  I make a mean omelet.”

Wiping her eyes, she looked at the clock.  “It’s six o’clock! Have we been sleeping that long?”

Nodding, Grissom unwillingly separated himself from her warmth and climbed out of bed.  His clothes still lying in a heap on the floor, he pulled a shirt and some sweatpants on over his boxers and made his way to the kitchen, leaving Sara some privacy while she searched for her own clothes.

* * *  * * *  * * * 

When she came into the kitchen, Grissom already had breakfast cooking.

“One giant vegetarian omelet, complete with mushrooms, onions and peppers, on the way!” he said with a smile as she found a seat on a barstool at the breakfast bar.  Sara smiled at his efforts to please her and let her mind wander, picturing life as it would be for the next few months.

She was brought back to the present when Grissom joined her at the bar, placing the sizzling omelet before her.  As they ate, they talked about trivial things, including stories about people they used to know and weird tidbits of information they’d picked up over the years, both contributing a fair amount to the conversation, amazed at how much you can learn from the little things.

Their conversation was interrupted, however, when Grissom’s cell phone danced across the nearby coffee table.  He looked at it and chose to ignore it.  When his house phone began to ring as well, the cacophony it caused brought them both to their feet.

“I’ll answer the house phone,” Sara offered, as Grissom got up to grab his cell.

“It’s Cath,” he said before flipping his cell open.  “Grissom.”

“They won’t hold her!” Catherine said, clearly frustrated.  “After everything that bitch did, they’re letting her go!”

“Cath, slow down… Are you talking about Vivian Corinth?  What happened to the journal?”

“Ecklie lost it!  He took it to compare to a day shift case that he thought was similar, and now says that it was ‘misplaced.’  God, I’m going to kill him!”

“That was the only piece of convicting evidence!”  Grissom checked his pulse, and then turned to glance at Sara as she spoke on a portable phone on the couch.  He wasn’t sure if the look on her face was shock or fear.

“I know! And now that bitch is going to go free because she never actually confessed on the tapes and she left no trace at the crime scenes.  I’ve never hated the justice system as much as I do right now!”

“Cath, calm down…  We need to get everyone who worked that case to the lab ASAP and figure out what can be done to take her down.”  With not so much as a ‘goodbye,’ he hung up and joined Sara on the couch with a plop, checking his pulse once more.

Glancing over, Sara chuckled dryly.  “Is it up to 95 yet?”

Remembering that conversation from what seemed like ages ago, he glanced her direction.  “110,” he answered.

“You really are upset,” she whispered, moving closer and brushing his cheek with the back of her hand as she had that night long ago, before leaning her head on his chest.  “She’s just going to keep hurting people, isn’t she?”

He sighed and put his arm around her.  “No,” he answered.  “We won’t let her.  We just need to regroup and go over what we’ve got to find out what we missed.”

* * *  * * *  * * *

No sooner did the crew arrive in the break room then did Grissom’s phone ring.

“Grissom,” he answered.

“Got a body for you at the courthouse,” came Brass’s gruff voice.

“Brass, our shift hasn’t started yet…”

“You’ll see why I didn’t call swing shift when you get to the courthouse,” Brass retorted.  “Better make it quick.  The media’s already here.”

Hanging up, Grissom turned to the crew.

“Duty calls… Let’s go.”  Turning to Sara, he asked, “Are you sure you want to come?  I understand if-“

“No, I’m coming, Gil.  I won’t let anyone else suffer at the hand of this false prophet.  I’ll make the bitch pay for what she’s done.”

* * *  * * *  * * * 

Chapter 2

* * *  * * *  * * *

They arrived at the courthouse to find a bailiff stabbed several times, lying on the floor near the guilty chair.  Written in blood on the wall behind the judge’s seat were the words, “I’m back… Matt, 23 32 33.”

“Why the bailiff?” Sara asked as the team got to work processing the scene.

“He looked like he was going to be sick when the crime scene photos were shown at Vivian’s trial,” Catherine explained.  “He was so shocked, he broke Commandment number two…”

“ ‘Do not take the Lord’s name in vain,” they finished simultaneously.

Sara shook her head and heaved a sigh.

“What’s wrong, Sara?” Catherine took her aside and touched her shoulder for comfort.

“Don’t tell Grissom, he’ll think I’m too emotionally involved… but I’m not sure how much more of this I can take… I thought I could handle it, but she’s ruining lives.  She knows all of us and how we work, and she’s always a step ahead.  She’s twisted, Cath, and it’s driving me crazy!”

“I know,” Catherine replied, obviously sharing much of the same.  “Look, why don’t you follow the body back to Doc.  Find out the significance of the stabbings and look up the verse.  That way you can help us figure her out when we get back to the lab with the evidence.”

“If you find any.”

Catherine cringed at the bitterness in Sara’s voice.  “There’s always evidence,” she reminded her stubborn colleague, “and it never lies.”

* * *  * * *  * * *

“There’s no doubt the stabs helped, but he died of asphyxiation.”

Sara couldn’t believe what she was hearing.  She looked again at the body that lay on the slab in the morgue.  They’d called Doctor Albert Robbins in early to see the body and it was clear that graveyard’s secret weapon would rather be back in bed, but he was curious to see what Vivian had done to this poor soul, after seeing the other victims.

“But you should have seen all the blood, Doc!” Sara cried.  “He lost too much to have not died from exsanguination!”

“I’m sorry, Sara, but this man didn’t bleed to death.  He was suffocated, and then his heart exploded.  He was stabbed first if that’s any consolation, but he died from a lack of air.  How did you say you found him?”

“Laying on his back, arms outstretched, in front of the guilty chair.  Why?”

“Did you happen to notice where he was stabbed?”

Sara looked once again at the bailiff, studying each of the seven stab wounds.  Realization dawned as she took in the whole picture.  She ran out the door, yelling “Thanks, Doc!” as it swung shut behind her.

* * *  * * *  * * *

“It’s totally symbolic,” she explained when the rest of the crew arrived in the break room.  She spread the photos of the body out in front of them.  “The bailiff took the Lord’s name in vain, so Vivian suffocated him, drugged him so his heart would burst, and stabbed him with a round object in seven places.  Obviously the stabbing and the drugging happened first, but she suffocated him just before his heart exploded.  All these things happened in the same order as-“

“Hold it,” Warrick interrupted.  “Drugging and suffocation are not in the Bible.”

“But crucifixion is,” Sara pointed out.  “He took the Lord’s name in vain, so she reenacted a crucifixion.”

“Why not just crucify him?  Why go through the trouble of reenacting it?” Greg asked, clearly confused.

“Too much time and too much work,” Nick cut in.  “She’s not strong enough to lift the guy and nail him to a chunk of wood.”

“It’s also psychological,” Grissom continued the explanation.  “She was probably thinking along the lines of the disciples.  They wouldn’t allow themselves to die as their Lord, so if they were sentenced to crucifixion, they’d ask to be crucified upside down.  They didn’t think they were worthy to die on a cross.  The bailiff may have been a believer, but he wasn’t worthy of true crucifixion.”

“Right, so Vivian totally controlled the death so that everything would point to a crucifixion, including the order of inflicting wounds,” Sara finished.  “She even took care to stab him in the same seven places as Christ was pierced.  Like I said, it’s totally symbolic.”

“Okay, what about the verse?” Catherine probed.

Grissom reached for a Bible on the table near him, but Sara stopped him.

“I got that too,” she said with a smile, clearly proud of herself.  “Matthew 23:32-33.  ‘Go ahead.  Finish what you started.  Snakes!  Sons of vipers!  How will you escape the judgment of Hell?’”

“Kinda creepy.”  Greg shivered as he spoke.

“She’s taking her anger at us out on others,” Grissom observed.  “I wonder if her pattern will hold.”

“Sometimes I hate this job,” Nick muttered, shaking his head.

“Sometimes we all do,” Catherine agreed, remembering the last time Nick had said those very words on a case not so long ago.

* * *  * * *  * * *
Chapter 3
* * *  * * *  * * *

Vivian laughed to herself.  Lucky for her, the team hadn’t found the bug she’d placed in the break room, so she was able to hear the entire conversation.  She was proud of herself as she listened.

‘Good,’ she thought, ‘I’m getting to them.  Once I’ve worn them out, they’ll all get exactly what they deserve.  Heathens!’

As she started her car and drove away, she made her decision.  It was time to let them know that her patience had run out, that there was a price to pay for interfering with God’s work.

* * *  * * *  * * * 

 Grissom hung up his phone and looked at the clock.  It was only 12:30, yet he felt as though he’d been at work for ages.  Granted, they’d started shift five hours early with a dead bailiff and a message from Vivian, which was enough to stress anyone out.  On top of it all, Grissom had just gotten off the phone with the swing shift supervisor, asking for some help with overflow while day shift was busy being asses and graveyard continued their wild goose chase with Vivian.

Now Grissom got up to find out what was causing the incessant crashing that only made his headache worse.  He followed the noise to Sara’s workstation to find her angrily heaving items across the room in frustration.


The sound of his voice, while enough to make her stop throwing things, did not save her from collapsing to the floor in convulsing sobs.  He rushed over and fell to his knees beside her, pulling her close to try and calm her.

After a moment, he ventured to ask, “Sara, are you okay?”

“No!” she sniffled, rather more forcefully than he expected.

“Do you want to talk?” he tried again after another few moments.

“She’s such a bitch!” she finally managed.

“Who?” he coaxed, though he knew perfectly well whom she was referring to.

“Miriam… Vivian,” Sara corrected herself.  “I’ve been working the databases, the victimology, the patterns, the symbolism, the suspect info, the verses, everything, for three hours, since the group analysis in the conference room.  I’ve gone over every angle a million times and still come up empty.  I found nothing that we don’t already know… Then I read the new one, and I just…”

Grissom straightened.  “What new one?”

“She paged me and left a new verse.  Here, I wrote it down.”  She got up off of the floor and walked to the table.  He slowly got up to follow, feeling every bit of his age, and waited for a moment until Sara handed him a notepad on which she’d scribbled the reference.

“Jeremiah 19:11,” he read out loud, taking the pad in hand.  “ ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: As this jar lies shattered, so will I shatter the people of Judah and Jerusalem beyond all hope of repair,’” he quoted, for once glad that he’d memorized so many verses as a Catholic.

“She’s continuing with the Judah and Jerusalem analogy,” Sara said softly, but with more venom than Grissom had heard in her voice in a long time.  “She’s saying-“

“She’s saying that she has to break us up… that we’re evil and we must be destroyed,” he finished with a sigh, handing Sara a handkerchief as he heard another small sniffle escape before she exploded:

“That’s what pisses me off!  That twisted murdering bitch is calling us evil!  How is that possible? I know I’ve done terrible things in the past, but-”

“Sara, don’t even think it!  You’re a beautiful person.  Remember that!  Think of all the things you’ve done, and then think of what she’s done: nothing.  You’re so much better than her in so many ways!  If you let her get to you, then you’re letting her win.  Forget her and look again.  This is what you’re good at!”

Sara looked up at him in shock.  She’d never heard so many compliments from him in such a short amount of time.  Knowing, however, that he’d be extremely self-conscious if she said anything, and not wanting to break this sudden emotional connection, she simply nodded, and with a smile of thanks, handed back his handkerchief and started cleaning her workstation before diving back in.

* * *  * * *  * * * 

Over the next three days, the team worked tirelessly to locate Vivian and bring her down.  Working together, they went over every piece of evidence they had, which, considering the status of the case was not much.  To no one’s surprise, it was Sara who brought things together.

“I got it!” she called as she ran into the conference room with a map and a notepad.  Scanning the map onto the computer and asking Nick to flick the lights, she projected her findings for all to see.

“I believe we’re all familiar with the layout of Las Vegas, Sara,” Grissom sighed.

“We’re all familiar with the scenes, too, Grissom, but we never connected the dots,” Sara retorted.  “First victim, commandment number one, killed in his home in downtown Vegas.”

As she rattled off info, she highlighted the corresponding scenes on the map.

“Second vic, killed in his home near Henderson.  Third vic, killed in his home near Laughlin.  Fourth vic, our bailiff, was killed in the courthouse, not far from here.”

“What’s that other dot, there in Vegas?” Greg asked, earning him an elbow nudge from Nick and a glance from Warrick that said to shut up and listen.

“My apartment.”  Sara’s eyes glazed over for a moment, lost in thought, but she quickly shook her head, as if shaking away the terror of that night, and forged ahead, focusing on the task in front of her.

“Look at the pattern of locations,” she said firmly.

“Long, tight spiral,” Catherine observed.

Grissom’s eyes narrowed in thought.  Glancing in his direction, Warrick chuckled.

“Watch out, guys… Grissom’s got that look.”

Smiles and giggles filled the room, but Grissom’s train of thought never strayed from the tracks.

“Finish the spiral, Sara,” he said slowly, his eyes staring unblinkingly at the projection.  “Connect the dots… What’s in the middle?”

The laughter died down and the smiles faded as they all watched the computer finish the spiral, the final point landing in central Vegas, right on the lab.

“Log in the addresses of everyone on this team,” he demanded, hoping his hunch was wrong.

One by one the homes of the crew were typed into the database, and one by one crew members’ heads dropped as their homes appeared along the spiral.

“Her path of destruction,” Warrick sighed.

“She planned this all along,” Grissom said heavily, getting up to pace the room.  “The verse was just the beginning.  She’s trying to wear us down.”

“What verse?” Nick asked, straightening up to hear this new tidbit.

“Jeremiah 19:11.”  Sara quoted the verse for the rest of the crew.  “Think about it.  Vivian knew she couldn’t get away with it in Vegas.  We’re the second best crime lab in the country, right behind the FBI, who has made no attempt to help, by the way.  Vivian knew that when she got caught, she couldn’t be held.  She didn’t leave enough evidence, even for us.  But, she also knew that we’d keep coming.  We enjoy a challenge and we don’t give up.  Now we’ve figured her out and she has to get rid of us before we nail her.”

“Nice layout,” Catherine said quietly.

“Okay, so she’s already hit you, Sara… Who’s next?” Greg looked to her for the answer to the question she was sure was on everyone’s mind.

“She didn’t hit in any specific order… I don’t know… it could be anyone.”

At that moment, each member of the team jumped as his or her pager went off.  After looking at his own, Grissom glanced over at Catherine’s.

“Same as mine,” he mused.

Warrick’s head snapped up.  “Dan 5 25?”

Several glances around the room confirmed that they’d all just received yet another message from Vivian.  Picking up his Bible and flipping through the Old Testament, Grissom stopped at Daniel and, reminding them all of story times in better days, read to the group:

“ ‘This is the message that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN.’” 

“In English?” Nick asked, a look of confusion on his face.

“No, Greek,” Grissom stated matter-of-factly.

“Let me rephrase,” Nick retorted.  “What does it mean?”

“ ‘Mene’ means numbered.  ‘Tekel’ means weighed.   ‘Parsin’ means divided.” 

“Our days are numbered.  We’ve been weighed and we fail the test.  For her to win, we must be divided.”  All eyes turned to Sara to see her staring at the map, the familiar “quiet-but-pissed” look on her face.  “She’s gonna break us down, one by one.”

Seeing panic and concern sweep the room, Grissom stopped his pacing and leaned forward on the table to give out orders. 

“Sara, keep working on those patterns.  You can work in my office. You won’t be bothered there.  You’re the best we’ve got, so make it count.  Nick, you and Warrick go over possible focal points for Vivian.  There are six of us… Guess how many commandments are left?”

“Perfect.”  Nick flashed a sarcastic smile Grissom’s way.  “Just perfect.  She really did plan this out.”

“Get going.  The sooner we crack this, the sooner it’s over.  Catherine, you show Greg how to work the databases.  Find out how she worked in New York and Miami.  Look at victims, locations, communications with authorities, and anything else you can think of.  We may have to make a few phone calls.”

“What about you?” Catherine raised an eyebrow.

“I’m going to look at verses.  There’s a story here and I’m going to find it.”

* * *  * * *  * * *

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