Precious Things by SLynn

Summary: Can anyone believe I'm still writing this? The fourth in what can only be called a series now, follows about six weeks after 'Privacy'. This one is going to be a lot darker then the rest.

Young women are being murdered. With little to go on and the first scene left virtually unusable, the stress of the situation starts to take its toll on everyone. Is this a copy cat, the original or something else entirely? Greg/Sara and Nick/OC

Spoilers: Up to 'Nesting Dolls'

Rating: R for violence and disturbing content

Disclaimer: Not mine – well, some are mine, just not the ones you recognize.

No one dared
No one cared
To tell me where the pretty girls are
Those demigods
With their nine-inch nails
And little fascist panties
Tucked inside the heart
Of ever nice girl

'Precious Things' by Tori Amos

Chapter 1: Letting Go

"I'm glad you came today. It's been awhile since I've seen you."

"Yeah, I know."

Dr. Jennings nodded her head and gave him a small smile. Greg didn't look up. Just continued staring at his hands clasped before him.

"You've missed your last four appointments."

"We've been pretty busy."

It was true. Nick was on his last week of medical leave; he'd been out for eight weeks now. Nick had complications about a month after his initial surgery and had to go back in. It was nothing serious having been caught in time, but it could have been. Because of the additional surgery, his recovery time had been extended by an additional three weeks. His absence from the team was taking a toll on them all.

"I understand," Dr. Jennings assured him. "I'm just concerned. You've had a lot going on and we haven't really had a chance to talk."

"There really isn't much to say."

Now she was concerned. She'd felt it for some time now, since he'd come in and told her about his friend's accident. Since he'd mentioned the nightmares that it had given him. The shooting. The girl's death. He was pulling back. She'd felt that he was pulling away.

"Greg, I know it isn't easy but it's important…"

"No. No it's not," he interrupted. "I can't talk about it anymore. I can't."

"Greg…"

"You said talking about it would help. Would make the nightmares go away. It hasn't."

"When's the last time you slept?"

"I don't know," Greg answered, bouncing his feet now and rubbing his forehead. "I get a few hours a day."

"That's not enough."

He said nothing to that and continued to fidget.

"I don't think I should come back here again," he said flatly.

Dr. Jennings held in her sigh. She looked up for what? Strength. Guidance maybe. Anything right now.

"I can accept that you don't want to see me anymore, but you need to continue seeing someone Greg."

He shook his head.

"It's not going to help."

"It will if you…"

"What? What else can I do? You know, I'm supposed to be happy right now. I'm getting married at the end of the year. But I can't be happy. Every time I shut my eyes I see that girl. That girl was discarded like trash and there's nothing we can do about it."

Dr. Jennings knew exactly what he was saying. Greg had explained it all several times. Gone through it with her over and over as if reliving it would some how relieve him of the guilt he felt. But none of it helped.

Emily Harris haunted him.

It was her scene that had been ruined. Diane Ortega had chosen that day, that call to put her twisted plan in action and had ruined any chance they'd had for finding Emily Harris' murderer. She'd confronted Greg and shot Nick out of jealousy and spite. It wasn't Nick's fault that he'd fallen, bloodied and unconscious, practically onto her make shift grave. And it wasn't Greg's.

He just thought it was.

And each night Emily Harris visited his dreams to reaffirm it.

Everything they had was virtually destroyed. If not physically destroyed, its credibility would be forever in question. There wasn't a chance that if they did find something usable, and for weeks Greg had looked, that it would make it into court. No judge would allow it after such obvious contamination.

"It is horrible what happened to Emily Harris," Dr. Jennings tried, "but it wasn't your fault. You didn't kill her. You didn't shoot your friend. You had no control over that situation."

"But I was the reason it happened."

"Diane Ortega did this Greg," she continued to try and persuade, "She's going to trial in six months. This was not your fault."

"You can't talk me out of this one," he said with a sad smile.

"Why do you feel so responsible? Why this case?"

"I can't explain it. I don't know myself."

"I don't think I believe you."

Greg looked up at her now. Met her eyes. He'd been caught in a lie. Greg had never lied to her before and now he knew. He knew he had to go through with it.

"It doesn't matter," he said calmly, "I didn't come here today to talk. Not really."

She raised an eyebrow at him, something he'd grown use to from her.

"Then why…"

"Like I said, I don't think this is working."

"Therapy with me or…"

"In general. I don't think therapy is working for me in general. I told you, talking about it doesn't help."

"There are other options."

"I'm not going back on medication."

She nodded, expecting that. He'd been so adamant before it wasn't a surprise.

"This isn't going to just go away Greg," she reasoned, "You need help whether or not you want to believe that."

"Thank you for everything you've done," Greg said completely ignoring her last statement and getting to his feet.

She stood as well and shook his hand.

"If you change your mind…"

"I won't," he cut in before he'd turned and was gone.

Dr. Jennings shook her head at the door as it shut with Greg Sanders on the other side of it. She doubted very much he would change his mind, he wasn't the type. Unfortunately, she knew exactly what type he was.

"Damn it," she muttered as she sat at her desk scribbling something into his file.

She'd lost him.


Greg wasted no time getting home, showering and changing and crawling into bed. Sara was already asleep which was no surprise. Both of their hours had been augmented with Nick's absence.

They hadn't had a day off together in weeks. Their shifts now started around eight at night and usually lasted well into the morning. They were both exhausted all the time. It was the only reason Sara hadn't noticed how little sleep Greg was getting and for that he was thankful.

She also hadn't noticed he'd been missing appointments.

Greg wasn't sure how he was going to tell her, but he knew it needed to be soon. He really wouldn't put it past Dr. Jennings calling Sara directly. She'd done it before. She was a good doctor, a good psychiatrist; Greg really just didn't see the point anymore.

But it wasn't the only appointment he'd been missing.

A month ago he was supposed to go in for a marrow tap. Just a routine procedure he needed to do periodically to confirm that he was still cancer free. He'd made the appointment, he just didn't keep it. Since that time he'd been canceling and conveniently forgetting it repeatedly.

Sara knew nothing of that.

Greg didn't know what to do anymore about anything and it was because of those damn nightmares.

If he was being honest with himself the nightmares actually started when their house was broken into. That's really where his current problem began. It was easy to blame Diane Ortega for this, but she really wasn't at the heart of this. At the heart of the matter was Dr. James Fenton.

If he was being honest he could trace the first nightmare back to then.

They weren't frequent, not nightly as they were now, but they were there. It was only after they'd found Emily Harris' body did that happen. When he'd seen her posed on the ground, strangled and lifeless did it really begin to torment him.

Nick and he still argued about that.

Nick was still insisting that the body was not posed. That her positioning was simply a fluke caused from being rolled down the hill. That it was just a coincidence. Greg didn't buy it and he didn't believe in coincidence.

Emily Harris' body was posed. She was found with her arms straight out beside her, palms up, just as all of Dr. Fenton's female victims had been found. And if that hadn't been enough there was still their only piece of evidence.

Not everything had been destroyed or contaminated that night. One piece of evidence made it out. It was the only thing bagged and sealed and locked away before Ortega had arrived.

Underwear.

Emily Harris' underwear had been found stuffed in her mouth.

Two of Dr. Fenton's victims had been found the same way. Juanita Juarez, a nurse who he had worked with at a women's clinic and Dr. Laura Sanchez, Greg's first psychiatrist.

Even if Greg had believed in such things as coincidences, his mind would not allow him to believe that two such as this were possible.

Sara rolled over in her sleep breaking his train of thought. She carelessly placed an arm around his waist and pulled herself closer to him. Despite the thoughts that racked his head, Greg felt himself relax at the contact. He ran a free hand through her hair and kissed the top of her head.

He'd have to tell her when she woke up. Greg knew better then to try and lie. They'd come too far for that.

And she wasn't going to be happy. No, Sara wasn't going to be happy at all but he'd just have to do his best and convince her that he was right.

Greg felt the arm she had around him squeeze him closer. He smiled and kissed her again, this time on the forehead. Sara opened her eyes and looked up at him.

"You're still up?" she asked, her voice laced with sleep.

"I was drifting."

She lay her head back down on his chest too tired to see it wasn't true. Greg was no closer to sleep now then he'd been before.

"How was your appointment?"

"Pretty typical," he lied.

There was no point bringing it up now. It could wait a little longer.

"Grissom asked us to come in tonight at nine."

Greg nodded but didn't answer.

"Are you okay?" she asked, sitting up part ways to look him in the eye.

"I'm fine," he answered, trying to sound it, "Just a little tired."

Sara seemed satisfied because she let it go, settling back in against him, rubbing her hand along his side. An involuntary laugh escaped him at the contact and he felt her smile against his chest.

He'd thought it had been accidental, till she did it again.

"What are you playing at?" he asked.

"Nothing," she said with a laugh.

"Sara," he said as serious as he could, "Not now, okay? I'm really beat and…"

"No, I know," she returned flatly.

Her voice said she wasn't upset but her body language differed. As she'd spoke she'd also rolled back onto her side of the bed.

Greg shut his eyes, not to sleep but in sheer frustration.

"Sara?" he called turning her way and running a hand along her arm. "I'm sorry. I am. I just…"

"I wish you'd just talk to me Greg."

Each now rolled onto their sides so they were face to face in bed.

"I wish you'd just tell me what's wrong," she repeated.

"I wouldn't even know where to begin," he admitted.

"You've got to stop blaming yourself for this? Please Greg, it's not right."

He shook his head. He knew she wasn't lying. It was the truth. But Greg couldn't stop blaming himself. He couldn't stop obsessing over the whole ordeal. Emily Harris wouldn't let him when he was asleep and he wouldn't let himself when he was awake.

"What can I do for you?" she asked so sincerely it almost hurt to hear.

She ran her hand along his cheek and he leaned into her touch slightly.

"I don't know," he answered. "I don't."

Sara stared at him, really stared. He looked so tired. Weary even.

"I can't let it go," he whispered.

Sara pulled him to her and was surprised at how willingly he obliged. How eager he really was for comfort considering he'd been pushing away from her for weeks now.

"Why can't I just let it go?"