"I wouldn't go there if I were you."

Grissom, carrying his silver kit, meet Brass standing outside the hotel room where he had been called in to the scene of a DB.

"I thought your guys already cleared the scene."

"They did. Cleared it before I got here. I... I've called in a couple of day shift CSI's."

"What? I know you've worked a lot of hours lately, but 2 am is still graveyard." Grissom meant for his comment to come out as a joke. As he watched for Brasses reaction, though, he started to realize that something was wrong. Not only was his friend not smiling, but he looked downright sick. His face was pale, and Grissom thought he saw Jim's hand shake. With twenty years on the police force, not to mention five years heading up CSI, it took a lot to rattle Brass.

"Jim? What's going on."

Brass wouldn't look him in the eye as he answered. "Gil I... when I responded to the scene I saw... I don't know how to..."

In all the years they had been friends, Gil had never seen Brass at a loss for words. Not at the scene of triple homicides, not interviewing murder suspects or victims. Not even their first visit to Lady Heather's had silenced him. Something in the hotel room behind them had managed to do the impossible, and Grissom was growing concerned.

Finally, Jim gathered up enough courage to say what needed to be told. He lifted his eyes and stared straight at Grissom as he spoke two simple, but life shattering, words.

"It's Sara."

"Where's Sara?" It was out of his mouth before Jim's word sunk in. It's Sara. Sara. Sara, who had quit six months ago, without warning. Leaving Las Vegas. Leaving him.

Grissom reached for the hotel room door, needing to see for himself what Jim was telling him. An arm reached out from behind him, pulling him back.

"Griss, you really shouldn't go in there."

Without turning around, Grissom shook his head. "I have to Jim. I have to see for myself."

Reluctantly, Jim drew away his hand. He knew what his friend would see when he opened the door, but he also understood how stubborn Grissom was. No matter what he said, how well he articulated the horror he had seen, Grissom would insist on seeing for himself. There was nothing he could do, except be there when he came out. With that in mind he reached for his cell phone.

"Hello Catherine? It's Brass..."

I've had this dream before. Grissom walked into the room, and was assailed by nightmarish images. The knife, laying on the floor. The pale hands, clenched into fists, as if she had tried to defend herself against the attack. Blood. Everywhere there was blood. It was matted in her auburn hair. Dripping down her arm. Pooling on the gray carpet. The copper smell filled the air, and for the first time since his days as a teenager in the coroner's office, Grissom felt like he was going to throw up.

Brown sightless eyes stared at him, empty and dull. But that wasn't right. Her eyes were always bright, shining with intelligence and humor. He remembered the first time he had seen them, watching him intently from the front row of a lecture hall. The last time, eye's still sparkling, but this time with pain. "I don't think I can do this anymore." All those times between. Eyes narrowed in concentration, going over the evidence until it came together. Shining in triumph as suspect is lead away in handcuffs. Filled with contentment as the team sits around a diner's table for breakfast. Seething with anger when justice for a victim seemed out of reach. But never empty, like they were now. Never dead. Sara. Dead. Sara. Sara. Sara. Dead. Dead.

CSI Grissom looked around the room and observed the open window, the position of the body on the bed. Gil noticed the fact that she had gotten her hair cut, and had a tan. CSI Grissom saw the pattern of the blood drops and the possible escape routes from the room. Gil saw the pale pink of the shirt she was wearing and the open forensic journal on the bedside table. The same journal that was beside his own bed. CSI Grissom wondered about motive, and suspects. Gil just wanted to know why. Why was she back in town? Why had someone done this to her? Why couldn't he have ever told her what she meant to him? Meant. Past tense. Because everything about Sara was past tense now. The realization hit him like a right hook as he sink to his knees. Sara was gone. Not gone, like back to San Francisco, with the hope that she might come back some day. Forever gone.

"Gil?"

Grissom look over his shoulder to find Catherine standing in the doorway. There were tears in her eyes, and her voice cracked as she spoke. Brass must have called her. She stepped cautiously into the room.

"Gil, dayshift is here. They need to process the room."

"No." The single syllable came out like a growl. He suddenly couldn't handle the idea of anyone else coming in, seeing her like this. Treating her like any other crime victim. "No. I will

process."

"Griss, you can't. I can't. We're too close." She was behind him now, resting her hand on his shoulder.

"I have to, Cath. I have to do this one last thing for her." The tear that was in Catherine's eye now ran down her cheek, and it was only then that Grissom realized that his own eyes were dry. How strange. He should be crying, or screaming, throwing things. Instead he reached for his kit and begin to pull out what he would need to process the room. Latter, he knew, would come the tears and recriminations. When the numbness wore off there would be grief and pain and anger. First, though, there was the job. Not because it was the most important thing, like he had been so often accused of. But because he had to find justice for one more victim. He had to make sure that she would be at peace. This, he knew, he could do for her. So often he had failed to give her what she wanted, but this time he could give her what she needed. For Sara.

With that he sat back and smiled.