Disclaimer: They're not mine.
Spoilers: None as far as I am aware
Rating: I've gone with T or PG-13 just to be safe. There's a use of the f-word about once and THAT'S ONCE TOO MANY! Swearing is overrated, kids.
Summary: GCR with a little WS. After an accident affects a team member, the team find themselves revisiting old memories.
Thanks to everyone who reviewed To All, A Good Night. (Dizzy-Dreamer, Daisyangel, Charmed-angel4, Celsie, Jenn Sidle, September, firestorm13, ThreeDollarBill, Junius, Megara1, tessa and Lissa88 – I was hoping no-one'd pick up on that, Lissa! The last bit was added just for the hell of it and I forgot about the earlier part...) Anyway, apologies if you came expecting something light-hearted – this is rather angsty, but I'll try my hand at something more light-hearted later on seeing as To All, A Good Night went down so apparently well! Thanks again! Enjoy! Love LJ xXx
- o -
Perpetuity. Chapter One. Clear
- o -
On average, in the USA, a pedestrian is killed in a traffic crash every 111 minutes.
Nick Stokes heard the brakes squeal before he thought to look up. They were working a case in the middle of the desert, by an empty stretch of road. They had been working in silence in the blazing heat, all three absorbed in their own work, until the screech of tyres on asphalt snapped his head up.
Sara Sidle had been combing the edge, where the tarmac met the dust, when she felt the rush of an oncoming car. She'd always been alert; Gil Grissom never failed to warn them of how dangerous drivers on empty, rural streets were. Often kids with more money than sense, he said, driving too fast just to see how much their cars could take. He worried about his CSIs like they were his own children.
Both of them saw what he didn't see until it was too late. The sports car hit their supervisor as it sped down at ridiculous speed. They saw Grissom fly up in the air, pause – just for a moment – and then fall back down to the ground with a sickening crunch. He, himself, didn't make a sound.
"Oh God." Sara screamed and ran over, Nick close behind her. "Gil!"
The car skidded to a halt and the driver, just a kid with more money than sense, leapt out. He stood dumbly in the middle of the road, unable to comprehend what he'd just done. Gil Grissom lay motionless on the road, limbs at odd angles and a kind of dullness in his eyes.
"Shit – shit – shit," Nick muttered and grabbed his cell phone. "This is Nick Stokes requesting immediate medical attention. We have a 422. CSI Gil Grissom has been run over. I repeat: immediate medical attention."
"Oh God..." Sara murmured again and felt his pulse – still there, barely.
"I – I didn't mean to." the kid stammered finally, coming closer. "I didn't see him. I didn't see him."
Sara looked at him blankly and then turned to Nick as the words fell from her mouth in a whisper: "Who's going to tell Catherine?"
Catherine Willows had kept her surname after marrying Gil a couple of years ago, claiming it was to avoid confusion at work but was forced to admit that she didn't really think 'Grissom' would suit her all too well. He'd only laughed – fair enough, he'd said, fair enough.
It was Jim Brass who broke the news. An accident, he'd told her gently, the driver was some stupid kid. Sara and Nick were with him, he was being taken to Desert Palms - he didn't say how serious. Needless to say, Catherine had tuned out all words after 'accident' and numbly nodded, following him to his car. The pair of them arrived just moments after the ambulance brought Grissom into the trauma room of the Desert Palms ER.
The doctors and nurses and paramedics worked fast. The orders they shouted across his body at each other were incomprehensible but Catherine couldn't hear much anyway. She only stood, her eyes fixed on Grissom's inanimate face, not even feeling it when Sara put her arm around her. Catherine turned her head around the room briefly before looking back at her husband, the only face she recognised in the room – everyone else was a blur, a mess of sadness and worry and fear. She did recognise the paddles they brought out, though, knowing them only to be the last resort before people died.
"Oh Christ," she whispered and Sara looked at her – it was the first thing she'd said all this time. Sara opened her mouth to offer comforting words to the woman whose eyes were only now filling with tears, but when Sara saw Grissom's chest leap up with the electrical pulse, all language died on her tongue.
It went on forever. Compressions, shocks and, all the while, the room was filled with an eerie sustained beep.
"It can't end here...it can't end here," Catherine repeated in a whisper and held on frantically to Sara, unconsciously digging her nails deep into the brunette's shoulder. Sara flinched but said and did nothing. The medical team grew tired. They looked at each other. They looked at the clock. The background beep remained long and held.
"Time of d-" one of them began, making to remove a latex glove when Catherine found her voice.
"Keep going!" she screamed suddenly, out of nowhere in a haunting and stricken voice. It was like nothing anyone in the room had ever heard. Jim Brass winced in the corner and Nick turned away. Catherine was almost bent double in a strange kind of desperate grief, her hands clasped to her chest and tears running down her cheeks. "Keep going – for the love of God, keep going."
Sara caught the eye of the one of the paramedics in the room as she tried to keep Catherine standing up.
"Hank – please." she murmured with appealing eyes. Hank, still holding the guilt from the way she'd looked at him after admitting how she knew he'd screwed her over, had always wanted to make it up to Sara. So he obliged.
"Charge to 360." he mumbled to an intern and resumed compressions on Grissom's chest. "Clear."
Catherine was now sobbing, sagging in Sara's arms. Warrick, who'd just appeared having run down the hospital halls with Greg, grabbed hold of Catherine and held her standing with Sara. He stared at his boss on the table, at Sara who looked frozen and at Catherine. He'd never seen Catherine like this, no-one had. She'd always been the epitome of strength in any horrific situation but now...now she was struggling to even stay standing in Warrick and Sara's arms, sobbing and shouting at the doctors to keep going.
"Keep going. Please – please keep going."
And through it all, the unbroken beep.
There was an emptiness in the air. The beep had stopped. It now came at regular beats, short and steady.
"We've got a rhythm."
The medics looked at each other, not hiding their surprise. For the team, there had never been a sweeter sound than that uniform electronic pulse and, caught just in time by Sara and Warrick, Catherine Willows, weak with relief, passed out.
- o -