Author's Note : I really appreciate the kind and constructive comments about this story from all that have reviewed it and I'm very happy that most have enjoyed it. Thanks for all of your input : ).

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Grissom was still suffering the after-effects of his migraine from earlier in the night as he signed his name to the bottom of his last report. He capped his pen with exhaustion and the relief that these reports from the last few days were finally finished. Then again, reports were never really completed; it was unfortunate in this violent world that more crimes would be committed eventually and there was no way to ever escape the death and horror of this occupation entirely. The human race caused Grissom his highest points of respect at times and his lowest points of loathing at other times. People were the strangest creatures; they could be so wonderful to each other. They were capable of such compassion and love for their fellow man. These same people could also commit the most heinous and repulsive acts against one another. This brought him a large degree of bewilderment and it was during the quiet moments like tonight, when the realization that his paycheck was the indirect result of terrible things people had done to each other, that this idea made him feel very ill.

He was so engrossed in these thoughts that he did not notice the people standing in his doorway nor did he hear the accompanying knock upon the door. Grissom looked up to see the whole CSI team waiting for him to invite them into the room.

"Griss?" Catherine remarked, her face beaming with cheerfulness. "We have good news."

It took a moment for him to shift his prior thoughts away and get ready to absorb this new information. "Oh, good. Everyone, please come inside."

All four of the immediate group entered the room, each with equal amounts of delight evident upon their faces.

"We got him," Catherine continued. "We got the one who killed her, Griss. It's all over."

Everyone contributed to the overall explanation and Grissom sat with a slight smile at this bit of news, especially proud of the great ability of his staff, but he was still saddened to learn that it was definitely a case of mistaken identity. It was such a senseless way for Teri to have left this earth; however, it was some consolation to him that she had left behind numerous accomplishments which had benefited the lives of many people. He removed his glasses and took a tissue to clean the lenses before speaking.

"Very good work, everyone. I know in the past, there have been times that we have all been frustrated when cases didn't turn out as expected, but I'm pleased with all of your strong work ethics and unwavering resolve to find Teri's murderer. This case hit close to home with me; Teri was a good friend and one of us, and I appreciate you all coming to let me know how it all turned out. You are all an extremely talented and proficient team whose combined skills and astute abilities in problem solving just proves that the night shift is the best shift at the Las Vegas Crime Lab." He placed his glasses back on and gave them all a gentle grin of satisfaction in their collective performance.

Everyone was speechless for a few moments at Grissom's unusually candid speech; he was so often reserved that they had never really known his true opinions of them as a group and his commendation was heartwarming.

"Well, Griss. . .we were all going to go out for a drink after work, would you like to join us?" Catherine inquired, hoping that he would go since she thought, after all that had occurred, that he could use some company.

"No, thank you. I'm really tired and I should just go home and get some rest. You guys have a good time."

The team each thanked him for his kind words and left his office, but Sara lagged behind the rest to Grissom's surprise. She seemed a bit nervous in his presence as she stood with her hands dug deeply in her pockets.

"Um, Grissom?"

"Yes, Sara." The words of love that had crossed his mind earlier were just on the verge of being spoken and it took all of his resistance to hold them back while being absorbed by those incredible brown eyes.

Searching Grissom's features to try to reveal his deep thoughts, Sara just stared at him silently for a moment. "I'm really sorry about Teri," she finally answered. "I didn't get a chance to tell you before."

"Thank you."

Sara gave him an awkward smile and moved toward the door.

"Sara?" She detected something in his voice that made her stop and she turned back around.

"Yeah?"

It was then that Sara noticed a difference in his countenance, his eyes appeared intense as if he were trying to convey some inexpressible message and she wasn't aware how long they stood there studying each other.

"Have a nice time with everyone," he replied, unable to take his eyes from hers.

"Um. . .O.k. See you tomorrow." She hunched her shoulders slightly and stood for a few more hesitant seconds before leaving his office.

Grissom watched her walk away and was overcome by a rush of regret; he should have told her. He should have just let the syllables fall from his lips and allowed the whole world to stop its rotation for just an instant because now she was gone, and if by some horrible twist of fate he never saw her again, she would never know the truth. Burying his face in his hands with disdain, he understood that he had lost his opportunity once again.

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"Helping humankind in some significant way is a goal for which many strive, but a goal that few actually reach as well as Teri did. She will be forever remembered for her compassionate personality, her great intelligence and skillful expertise, as well as her determination to give her best in every challenge that came her way. I, as well as most others, feel privileged to have known and worked with her and we will all miss her very much." Grissom finished the eulogy at the podium and produced a rose from his jacket which he placed gently upon the coffin. "Rest in peace, Teri; thank you for your friendship."

Grissom sat back down in the first pew next to Catherine who was crying softly after his heartfelt speech; if there was anyone who could have said all of that with such eloquence, it was Grissom. The rest of the team was assembled next to Catherine with heads bowed in respect.

The remainder of the service was just as glowing and beautiful, and when it was over, everyone headed to his or her vehicles. Grissom was putting his key into the lock when a blond gentleman with familiar blue eyes, came over and extended his hand to him.

"Mr. Grissom? I just wanted to introduce myself; we've never met before. I'm Philip Miller, Teri's brother. I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated what you said about her. Her work was so important to her and she would have been happy to know that it had been so well recognized. I can't believe she's really gone, I miss her so much."

Grissom now noticed the strong resemblance between them as he shook his hand. "She was a very kind person," he returned, softly.

"She spoke very highly of you; she said there was a lot of mutual respect there, that you treated her like an equal and didn't just see her as another pretty face, as a lot of other men she had worked with."

Grissom just smiled and nodded. "She was a very intelligent and charming lady. It was nice to meet you, Mr. Miller. I wish you well in this very difficult time." He climbed into his car and watched as Philip Miller walked away.

Family, it was a word that wounded his heart as it went through his thoughts. He had spent so much time alone that he had almost forgotten what it would be like to be surrounded by people who loved him. He sat and imagined the future, when he would have his funeral and wondered, of what would his eulogy consist? What would friends and loved ones have to say about him? Actually, the question that burned foremost in his mind was the idea of "loved ones" and would he have any to bid him a final farewell? In that moment of reflection, there was nothing more disheartening to him than the thought that he might die alone someday. Grissom put his key in the ignition and listened quietly to the comforting purr as the engine turned over, then started on his long journey home.

END