-Chapter Twenty Three- Don't Say Goodbye
A large brick building stood before them on that hot summer's day. The sun reflected into their eyes as they glanced up at it, the light casting off the many windows, which were either locked or barred shut. Their feet tapped on the pavement of a path that led to the door of this building as they waited. A guard stopped them from coming within the barbed wire fence that surrounded the building, a high wire fence that encompassed a radius of 15 yards from the building.
Greg looked at his watch anxiously. The four of them, Nick, Warrick, Sarah, and himself had been waiting there for nearly an hour. Were they too late?
Then, at last, the door opened, and out walked three people. A guard stood all the way to the left, clad in his tan uniform, badge shining off the afternoon rays. A second guard stood all the way to right, wearing the same outfit and the same smug look as the other guard. They were both clutching the arms of the person in the middle: A middle aged man with short brown hair, a bruised eye, and a huge smile on his face. His hands stuck out weirdly in front of him because his wrists were bound together by handcuffs, but he could not look happier.
The gate opened and the guard who stopped the CSIs from entering stepped aside to let the prisoner out. He glanced over all their faces as they smiled at him, congratulating him. And at once, he ran over to Greg and nearly choked him with the chain on the handcuffs as he gave him a hug.
"Thank you," Roger said in a wavering voice that said he was close to tears, "for believing in me."
Greg said nothing back, but patted Roger's head, flushing bright red at the grinning faces of Nick and Warrick. Roger pulled away and did the same thing to Sara, although her hug was briefer. She smiled back at him and shook his hand amiably.
"Good to see you out of there," she said. "I told you prison wasn't worth it."
"It doesn't matter, I guess I have to go back anyway," Roger said, indicating that his wrists were still bonded. "But it's nice to be out, even if it is only for a few minutes. At least now I don't have to deal with a murder sentence."
"So now you want a small sentence," smiled Greg slyly. "Whatever happened to 'I want 25 to life away from my abusive brother'?"
Roger shook his head. "I never meant it that way. It's so hard to believe that he's dead."
"It's hard to believe you didn't kill him," said Sara. "I would have."
"I'm sorry the case took so long," Roger said, turning to Nick and Warrick and addressing them for the first time. "I was following it in the newspaper. You should've come to me, I would've told you that it was Larson. He was always jealous of David and I. I'm not going to be seeing him around prison, am I?"
Greg smiled again, and looked over at Sara. She smiled, too, and stepped forward. "I talked to Grissom about it," she started, "and he talked to the sheriff who talked to the county. And...I'm not pressing charges. And neither is Greg."
"You weren't pressing charges before," said Roger. "The county was."
"The thing about that is," said Sara, "since they know you didn't kill your brother, they feel bad for sending you to prison instead of another holding cell. So...they want to make you a free man."
"I only spent three days here," he noted. "That can't be it."
"It's not," said Sara, "but you're going to be out of here before Larson Wolfe ever has his trial. We made sure of that. But the catch is that when you get out, you're kind of fired."
"So the protocol goes," sighed Roger. "But...thanks. I don't deserve it."
"You do deserve it," said Nick, stepping forward. "You saved Sara. And you've had to live with being pushed around for ...how many years? No one should have to take that."
"Oh, that reminds me of the other thing," said Sara. "We also had you transferred to a minimum security prison. Everyday guys' jail. No guys like the ones in here."
Greg nodded in agreement as Roger beamed at him, his face filled with innumerable appreciation.
"No one will ever hurt you again."