The Time Has Come

Chapter 1 – Breakdown

"The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out."
-- James Arthur Baldwin (1924-87), American writer, critic

The birds were just coming alive. Chirping their sweet morning songs. The sun had been up for less than an hour, the sky still a soft pink color. Daylight poured through the blinds of the dim apartment.

Sara Sidle yawned and wandered around her room, closing blinds and turning down the covers. It had been her first night off in weeks. She was surprised at herself when she found herself looking forward to the weekend. She figured she would relax and catch up on her schoolwork. She had been working towards her masters in physics but with the hours she worked it was damn near impossible to get any real work done.

She had spent her first night poring over her English and history work, two subjects that always made her yawn. Exhausted from the hours spent at her desk, she took a long shower and was ready to fall into the bed when she heard the knock on her door. Hoping it wasn't some brat selling candy—she had been visited by more than a few in the last few days—she made her way to the door. With a resounding 'no' already in the back of her throat, she grasped the handle and pulled the door open.

Trying to keep the shock from showing on her face, she took a small step back. It definitely wasn't a kid selling candy. Gil Grissom stood on her porch, hands in his pockets, hair a complete mess. His normally bright, blue eyes, eyes that normally made her heart stutter, were now tired looking. Like he had seen too much, spent too much time looking at the worst that human kind had to offer.

His job had finally gotten to him.

"Hi, Sara," he mumbled with a voice so dejected she had to wonder if she had ever heard it before.

"Griss, what's wrong?" She stepped aside, gesturing for him to enter.

His stride was slow, labored, like he was doing his best to just move his legs.

After Sara closed the door, she made her way to the living room. Grissom was staring out her window, silent except for the tick of his watch.

"Are you alright?" she asked, hoping to get some sort of reaction.

Her concern for him was palpable as he slowly turned, bringing one hand to massage his neck. She again noticed the wariness in his eyes, the thin line of his lips.

"I couldn't think of anywhere else to go. Catherine made me go home, but I didn't want to be alone, didn't think it was a good idea. I'm sorry if I'm intruding, I'll…I'll leave and maybe go to Jim's." He muttered as he started to walk back to the door.

She had never seen him like this. His speech was broken, his stance nervous as he moved past her. She reached her hand out and grasped his arm, just above his elbow.

"Wait, Grissom. Don't leave. You're more than welcome to stay here. Have a seat," she said as she led him to the couch that sat against the wall. "Would you like something to drink?"

"Water would be nice." He spoke in barely more than a whisper before bringing his fingers to his temple, rubbing it in a telltale sign.

"Migraine?" She grabbed two waters from the fridge.

He nodded as she handed him the cold bottle.

"I think I have some Motrin. I don't know if it would help."

"It won't. But thank you anyway. And thank you for the water." He responded as he sipped the water.

There was a long stretch of silence. Sara was about to ask him what happened when he started to speak. His voice was haunted, his eyes closed most of the time.

"It was called in as a double homicide. Two bodies found in a house in Mesquite. It didn't look much different than most crime scenes. One adult male found in the living room, skull apparently bashed in, and one teenage male body found in the back yard, with a bullet hole in the head. The mother was catatonic; the paramedics took her to Desert Palms."

He paused to drink more water before continuing.

"Catherine, Warrick and I processed the scene. Warrick took the perimeter while Cat and I did the inside. The teenager had a .38 pistol in his hand…GSR all over his hand and head. There was…a uh…bloody baseball bat in the living room, about three feet from the father's body. It was a signed bat…the case on the wall was shattered."

He stopped at this point, setting his bottle down and rubbing his eyes. He looked as if he was about to cry. His eyes were bloodshot and brimming with unshed tears.

"He killed his own father Sara. He bashed his skull in and then shot himself." A lone tear had escaped his eye, slowly falling over his tired face to rest on his jaw line.

Sara didn't know what to say. She didn't attempt to offer soothing words or say she was sorry. She did the only thing she could think to do. She got up and sat next to him. Slowly, hesitantly, she put her arm around him, offering the only comfort she could.

After a minute he seemed to relax somewhat, taking a deep breath before continuing.

"We did a tox screen on the kid. He was hyped up on crack, had been for a while. When the mother came out of it she told us what had happened."

He shuddered and drew in another breath. She held him close and hoped that telling her would help him.

"The boy had come home and found his father wailing on the mother. Closed fisted punches from what the x-rays show. No words were spoken, the kid looked somewhat calm for someone doped up, according to the mother. He just broke the case, grabbed the bat and killed his father. Then when he realized what he had done, he apologized to his mother, grabbed the gun from a drawer in the kitchen and shot himself."

"My God…" whispered Sara as she wiped the tears from her own eyes. She never understood why people did what they did sometimes.

Knowing Grissom like she did, she didn't have to wonder how this had upset him so much. She found herself, yet again, at a loss for words.

"I…I couldn't fall apart in front of the team. Doing that wasn't even an option. So I tried to keep it bottled up…tried to hide what I was feeling. I ended up yelling at Greg when he asked me a question about his case. Catherine suggested I go home take some time off. I was driving towards my house thinking about what I would do with my off-time when all that I could see when I closed my eyes were the bodies and the mother's face as she recounted her story. I thought of going to Jim's or maybe even Catherine's house…but they don't have the same passion or need for the job like I do. Next thing I knew I was pulling up to your place."

"I…I can't do this anymore Sara. I can't keep finding dead kids and battered women. I can't do it…" he whispered as he finally broke down, the tears flowing freely.