A/N: A follow up to the finale episode in season 14. More Brass...and, of course, GSR.
…You have to let go at some point in order to move forward. C.S. Lewis
The first glimmer of light had began to define the western desert; light that would become strong and brilliant, constantly changing the hues and tones and colors reflected on masses of rock. But now, a pink glow mysteriously gave desert and mountains a shadowy pink glow that preceded sunrise.
Gil Grissom was comfortable; his baggy jeans and loose shirt suited him and the work he was doing. He hitched his backpack on one shoulder, hooked a jug of water with his thumb, and headed toward the path he used every day. Without consciously thinking about it, he knew it would be another unseasonal day—a few months ago, it was too cold, now it was too warm; in between, rain and high temperatures had disrupted the normal life cycle of the particular small butterfly he was studying.
Lifting his eyes, he could make out the burned ridge above the meadow—a late summer fire that had almost destroyed the habitat of the same butterfly. He pushed his arm through the backpack strap and started walking, breathing a deep sigh as he did. He would work until mid-afternoon before he made his way back along this same path. He had chosen this work—lonely work, some said—shunning publicity for his findings yet well-known for his consummate research. He knew he could do this the rest of his life.
Quietly, Sara Sidle walked along the long corridor she knew so well. Over time, the place had taken on the atmosphere of casinos—unable to distinguish night from day even though she knew the sun had been up for a couple of hours.
She had been heading home when D.B. met her in the hallway; when she had asked about Jim Brass and Ellie, she'd heard enough to know she needed to check on her friend.
Jim Brass had occupied this office as long as Sara had been in Vegas, she thought as she stopped at the door. The desk had long ago seen better days—she wasn't sure if it had ever been new—with coffee cup rings and scars that had become part of the patina. Yet, she knew Jim always cleared the stack of files that appeared and grew as a hostile world hammered on the front doors before he left for the day.
Leaning against the doorframe, she said, "Hey, Jim."
Sitting at his desk, his hand around a clear tumbler, Brass appeared to be dosing; his face relaxed, almost peaceful. Sara stepped into the office. "Jim? You okay?" A few seconds passed.
"Oh, hey!" The man shook his head and wiped his eyes, saying "I guess I was day dreaming—or maybe I was asleep. It's—it's been a long day—night."
Easing into the chair in front of his desk, Sara said, "I talked to D.B. He—he said you were still here." She leaned forward, resting her arms on the desk. "Thought you might need company."
A ghost of a smile briefly passed across his face. "Sara—you know you've always been my favorite." He spoke so softly Sara wasn't sure she had understood his words.
"Let's go get breakfast," she suggested.
His head shook so slightly she almost missed it. "I want to check on Ellie—she's had a bad night."
Sara nodded in agreement. She said, "She has—so have you. Eat with me, Jim. We can talk—or not."
The older man chuckled, a sad-sounding deep rumble coming from his chest as he smiled. "You know all about this kind of trouble, don't you, sweet heart."
Again, nodding in agreement, she said, "Let's eat." She stayed in the chair, hesitating a few seconds before she stood. "Come with me—I know you haven't had breakfast."
Shuffling his hand across the desk as if he were looking for something, he finally said, "Okay—where's your old man?"
Softly, Sara laughed, shaking her head as she said, "I'll tell you over breakfast."
Jim stood; the beginnings of a smile on his face. "It's worth going to hear about the old guy—where is he?"
Sara waited for him to reach her side and as they left the office, she said, "You'd be surprised."
His hand touched her back as they walked together. Softly, he asked, "So—all that uproar last year—Hodges spreading rumors when he didn't show up for your birthday—you over that?"
She laughed. Linking her arm with his, Sara said, "You know I'll always love him, Jim."
The chuckle coming from Brass came as real laughter. "I take he's learned what being in the dog house is all about?"
They both laughed.
In the parking garage, he suddenly turned to her, saying, "You don't wear your ring—what's with that?"
Laughing, placing a hand on her hip, tilting her head to one side, she pushed sunglasses over her eyes. She said, "Breakfast—I'll talk and you can listen—then you talk and I'll listen."
"I like Hash House—over on Decatur. They got waffles."
"Waffles are good."
A/N: This is a short story, 3 to 4 chapters. Thank you for reading. Thank you for reviewing!