Disclaimers: The show and its characters are NOT mine.

Spoilers: The Finger

+++++

NIGHTMARE

I wake up with a startle. Beads of sweat run down the sides of my face as I sit up, realizing I am safe within the darkness of my
bedroom. Somehow, the familiarity of my surroundings isn't enough to calm my fears. I turn to my left to find her still asleep by my side.
She has been by my side each night for the past 2 months and that is where she has promised to stay for the rest of my life. Her presence,
as usual, is able to calm me slightly but remnants of my dream still reside in my mind. I bury my face into my hands, praying to whatever
higher power was willing to listen, to banish the dream -- no, the *nightmare* -- away from my sleep.

[Flashback]

"You know, Catherine had her gun. She could've used it and didn't." Brass said, trying to soothe the fears running rampant within both
himself and Grissom.

Grissom nodded and headed into the safety of his office. It was only here that he was able to be alone. To be himself. To be afraid and
not have to hide it from his team. The truth was, he was terrified for Catherine's safety. They had nothing and knew nothing on her
whereabouts. Every minute that passed by seemed like another mile had been added to the distance between them...

[End of flashback]

I felt completely hopeless. Useless. I wanted to do something but there was nothing to be done. There was no evidence to process. No
theory to work off of. Catherine was off somewhere with a man who may be involved with someone's death and there was no way of contacting
her. That was the moment my nightmare began.

[Flashback]

"...it's hard to tell. It is, after all, just a finger." Doc Robbins looked at Grissom pointedly.

Grissom nodded, trying desperately to keep his frustration in check. His cell phone rang and immediately, he had it up to his
ear, "Grissom." His heart skipped a beat and he had to remind himself to take a deep breath when he recognized the voice on the other
end. "Thank God."

[End of flashback]

Though it was comforting to know Catherine was safe, it still wasn't enough. Something felt wrong. I felt like a big chunk of my insides
had been dug out and nothing was used to fill up the hole. I felt empty. This feeling of a void confused me and in not understanding
it, I ignored it. All that mattered was Catherine was safe.

[Flashback]

"I'm gonna go over to the townhouse and see what we've got there." Catherine pulled off her latex gloves and gave a quick glance in
Grissom's direction.

He nodded silently. So many words were waiting to be poured out of his heart but none of it made it out. He wanted to tell her he was
glad she was back. He wanted to tell her he had been so worried. He wanted to apologize for not finding her sooner. But he had no idea
how to put all his feelings into words. So like many other times in his life, he let her walk away...

[End of flashback]

A month passed after the case was closed. Roy Logan was in jail and Catherine was safe. I should've been happy. But I wasn't. Why? I
can't say. All I know is even though Catherine was back at the lab and she had managed to put the experience behind her, the void I felt
before was still gnawing at me. I didn't know what it was but I knew I wanted it to go away. I also knew that it was during this time that
I began having this nightmare. The continuous playback of the event that had transpired over the course of 2 days. The event in which I
almost lost Catherine. My best friend. My life.

"Grissom?"

I have been so engrossed in my thoughts I don't notice that she has awoken beside me and is now looking at me worriedly. I smile, trying
to look as reassuring as I could. But she knows me better than that.


"Is it the nightmare again?"

I nod, still plagued by the absence of words.

"I'm sorry..." She apologizes as if she thinks because my nightmare is about her experience, that somehow she is at fault. I wish I could
tell her she isn't. She leans her head on my shoulder and runs her hand up and down my back.

I smile again, a little more strongly this time. Her presence always calms me. If not entirely, then at least enough for me to regain some
sort of sense of reality. The thoughts of the nightmare are gone for now. I know they will return once my eyes close and my conscious
surrenders to sleep. But for now, I am content in having her by my side and listening to her promise that for the rest of my life, I will have her to defend me from my nightmare.

The End