East of the Sun, West of the Moon
by Camilla Sandman
Disclaimer: CSI and associated characters do not belong to me.
Author's Note: Title and first sentence of the summary are borrowed from a Norwegian fairytale named 'East of the Sun and West of the Moon'. The story will also visit Norway itself. Bring warm clothing. Grissom/Sara and Catherine/Warrick pairings, so you're hereby warned.
She walks in beauty, like the night from Lord Byron's Poem by that name.
Eternal gratitude and much Norwegian chocolate for Allison for beta duties.
She walks in beauty, like the night.
Grissom did not always consider death beautiful. It was bloody and sometimes reeking, often gruesome. But sometimes, it was beautiful, like a frozen snapshot of human emotion for all to see, a ray of soul across a face.
Sometimes, death walked softly. She looked sleeping, peaceful and face devoid of troubles, blonde hair cascading down her arms. Her lashes were dark against her pale skin and she seemed a Cinderella begging for a kiss. But no kiss could return her to life. And no mild shake would awake her, for all the stewardess had tried.
Anna Caroline Jensen was not to ever see Las Vegas or the father she had come to find. When the plane had landed in Las Vegas, she was already dead.
"She looks almost beautiful," Sara said behind him and he became aware of the world around him again.
"Yes," he replied, looking up at her and Greg, both standing respectfully some feet away. "The stewardess thought her only sleeping."
"Are we sure it's even a murder?" Greg asked. Sara gave him a slight shrug.
Grissom did not answer. He could not explain it, but he could almost sense that it was. It was as if something had clung to the victim, a sense of being wronged. It was not evidence, nothing he could triumphantly hold to the light. But it still felt true. She had died by another's hand.
"We treat it like a crime scene until we know otherwise," he said instead. Sara nodded and slipped on gloves, the snap of plastic loud in the room. Death wore silence. Sounds felt intruding.
The plane had been emptied of passengers before the body had been discovered, though the traces of them were still there. A crumpled cup on the floor, a seat not quite straight. And a body, not yet stiff, but cool, as if winter had touched her, but not frozen her.
"She's not a local," Sara said, leaning over him and carefully freeing the Las Vegas guide book from the seat holster. It gleamed freshly, pages still crisp, never to be bent in use.
"She's Norwegian," Grissom replied, making Greg look up. "Anna Caroline Jensen. Told the stewardess she is here to meet her father."
"Do we know who?" Greg asked. He looked almost excited. But then, he did that quite often. Excitement and interest and a sense of justice, if young still. If he could channel it, he would be a very good CSI.
If. So many ifs and not enough whens. Not like an entomology timeline, crisp and clear and predictable. Not like a murder, laid out like a puzzle before him, pieces still hidden. He would not even know what the puzzle would show him until the pieces became unearthed.
"Not yet," he replied belatedly, realising both Sara and Greg looked at him expectedly.
"Coroner's on his way to pick up the body," she said idly, calm around him, as if he had never seen a glimpse of her soul and her abyss. Perhaps she wanted him to forget her percieved weakness. Perhaps she had at last decided to let him be emotionally unavailable all by himself.
He hoped she was happy. He knew she wasn't. Sara, compassion in her eyes as she looked at the victim, one step away from him.
Always a step away. Always a step too close.
He dared a glance at her, so close he could feel heat radiating from her body as sun on a bright morning. He dared not look at her for too long or she would surely burn him.
She walks in beauty, like death he thought and looked away.