Disclaimer: CSI and its characters are the property of CBS and Alliance/Atlantis Networks. I'm writing this story for entertainment purpose only. No copyright infringement is intended.

Author's note: After weeks of writer's block, I've finally finished the first part of a new story. I wrote this fanfic after The Accused is Entitled. There are a few season two spoilers, but that's it. I'm still trying to stay spoiler free!!

I want to thank Missy for editing this story. I'm so lucky to have you as my beta! :-)

Falling Leaves

By Karin

She turned up the collar of her coat. It wasn't exactly cold for the time of year. In fact, it was a beautiful October afternoon. The clouds started to part and the sun cast its watery rays down on her. No, it wasn't that. It was the cold inside of her that made her shiver. An icy feeling, that no sun could chase away, filled every limb of her body.

With empty eyes she stared at the small tombstone in front of her. It was made of white and black marble. Not exactly her first choice, but it did fit him. His name was carved with admired precision, taut outlines, not those curly ones. It was strange. She saw the words, read his name, yet her mind was unwilling to grasp the meaning of it. She wasn't ready to accept that it stood for death, loss and sadness.

The serene silence, characteristic for a cemetery, was broken by the priest's voice as the service began. She was drawn by the sound of it. She knew that he had probably read out the same lines a dozen times before, but somehow the warmth and deliberation with which he spoke made it more personal. It was almost as if the priest had known him personally, as if he felt the sorrow and the pain himself.

"He lived for his job and he died for it. We remember a good man who gave his life for what he believed in."

Yes, they did. They were all here to remember and pay respect to the man that he was, the man that was gone now.

She watched in terror as the bullet penetrated his chest. His eyes grew bigger; there was a dark surprise clearly written in them as if he had not expected this to happen. His mouth opened and closed several times, but no sound came out. Then he fell backwards on the ground.

Someone placed a hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry for your loss." She didn't know the man, but nodded automatically. This was difficult for her, yet there were people who were grieving much more, people who had known him all of his life.

His mother was standing not so far away from her. Although they had never met, she knew that it was his mother. They had the same eyes, the same face. She felt so sorry for the woman who had just lost her son. Losing a child was the hardest thing in the world. It didn't even come close to her own pain.

She wished she had the courage to go and talk to the woman, but she was afraid. She was afraid of how his mother would react to her. She did not even know how she would react herself. Besides, what was there to say? They were strangers, only linked by her son. 'I'm sorry for your loss' seemed so cold, but she couldn't come up with something better, something more personal.

And so she kept on standing there, watching and listening how the priest finished the service.


Soft voices repeated the word. She remained silent. It did not feel right to say 'Amen'. Not only because she didn't believe in God, but also because the word sounded so resigned, as though it was time to let go. She was far from letting go. Anger still controlled her. She knew that she could only find peace when the man responsible for all this suffering would be convicted to rot in jail forever. Maybe then she could move on.

Slowly, one by one, all those present left the cemetery. Unlike the others she did not move. She couldn't leave like that and when she looked up, she found out that she wasn't the only one. His mother was also still standing near the tombstone, fresh flowers in her hands. The older woman knelt down and gently, almost tenderly, placed the flowers at the head of the stone. As she rose again, their eyes suddenly locked. Tears were shimmering in the woman's eyes, while hers were still dry.

Before she could say or do anything, the woman gave her a small nod, acknowledging who she was and then walked away to the car waiting for her. Now she was truly alone. The sinking feeling in her stomach increased as the silence threatened to overwhelm her. When the priest had spoken, she had concentrated on his words. She had suppressed every thought or feeling of her own, but now that she was alone, they only came back full force.

She wished she could cry. She had not cried since it happened, not even when he was lying there on the ground, life slipping away from him. Tears were burning in her throat, but they didn't come. Maybe she was afraid of crying, afraid of the emotions that would come with the tears.

"I'm so sorry," she said huskily. "If only…"

With eyes wide open of unbelief she saw the man pointing his gun straight at him. At that moment time seemed to slow down. She felt like she couldn't breathe anymore, that her heart had stopped beating. Her whole body had become numb. She was paralyzed with fear, unable to move or do anything to prevent what was about to happen.

Her voice broke. There was no point to it anyway. Nothing she could say or do would bring him back, would erase the last couple of days. She was powerless, and it was by far the worst feeling she'd ever experienced.

As she was about to leave, she was surprised to hear the rustling sound of leaves behind her. Having thought she was alone, she immediately turned around to see who had disturbed her.


She stood rooted to the spot, her heart missing a beat at the sight of him. Of all the people who could have possibly been here today, she had definitely not expected him.

"What are you doing here?" It came out sharper than Sara intended.

He shifted his eyes uncomfortably. "I thought…I just wanted…"

She took a few steps towards him. Her fists were clenched. At first she wanted to yell at him. She wanted to make him understand that he had no business here. After all, this was something personal. It was something she had to deal with on her own. But deep in her heart she knew that he'd only come for her, just to be there for her, and she needed him. Now more than ever.

She heaved a deep sigh. "I'm glad you're here, Grissom."

To Be Continued…

I hope you liked this first part. Please let me know what you think of it. Thank you!

- Karin -