Disclaimer: Obviously, I don't own CSI. I just borrow the characters, torture them for a while, then return them. No harm, no foul.
Spoilers: Some little vague little ones.
She was disappearing, fading into nothingness. Dying, in a way no doctor could ever diagnose. Pieces of her soul were falling away until all that remained was a shell of who she once was. The erosion had started so slowly that she hadn't noticed it was happening at first. Hadn't seen the damage until she was too shattered. Like Humpty Dumpty she couldn't be put together again.
Innocence was the first thing to disappear. It happened so long ago she wasn't sure if she ever really was innocent. It implied a purity that she had never claimed for herself. The child of a abuser and murder, she carried the weight of their sins with her. She had always known of the darkness in the world. Had feared it in the beginning, then vowed to do everything she could to fight it. Sometimes she was sure that the other side was winning. What was fear and sadness, but another form of darkness?
When she was twelve, she was stripped of her family. First her father, in a rage of sharpened metal and flowing blood. Then her mother, to the flashing lights of a police car, and an escort who wrapped her wrists in handcuffs. That was when she lost her brother too. Sure, she saw him a handful of times after that, on visits the social workers would arrange. Supervised visits, starring at each other over a sticky table in a crowded restaurant, trying desperately not to think about what had been. After the first year, he ran away and there were no more visits. A few years later she was informed by her case worker that he had died of a drug overdose. She tried to cry, but the tears wouldn't come. He had been dead to her for years.
The loss of her virginity was hardly worth mentioning. Nineteen years old, and a sophomore at Harvard. She was trying an experiment. 'How to be a normal girl.' She went to parties, drank beer, dated. He was a frat boy from her biology class. She wasn't drunk, but later wish that she had been. At least then she could have blamed it on lowered defenses instead of a pathetic desire to fit in. He never called afterwards, and she was relieved.
She could pinpoint almost to the hour when her heart was no longer hers. It wasn't the first lecture, or the second. Somewhere in the middle of the third one, trying to pay attention to the words that were being spoken instead of the timbre of the voice, she glanced into piercing blue eyes and that was it. She fell completely, madly, stupidly in love. He was smart and funny and kind. And he didn't want her. Wouldn't let himself want her. She tried to be content with friendship and a good working relationship. Tried to ignore the fact that when they stood next to each other her heart slowed just a little, to beat in rhythm with his. Did her best to forget a confession made to a murder and observed behind glass. She learned to live without her heart.
Sleep had never come easily for her. Even when she was little, she would rise before the sun. Six hours of sleep a night, and she was well rested. Now, she was lucky when the sum total of a week was six hours. Nightmares came when you closed your eyes. The ghosts of the dead could escape from your unconscious when you slept, begging, accusing, pleading, reminding. She lived on caffeine and sugar, crashing every few days when the toll on her body was too great. Even then, she awoke after only a few hours. Two or three days later, the cycle would repeat.
She used to consider herself a good judge of character. Took pride in the fact that she could tell when people were lying, or hiding things from her. And then there was Hank. Hank, who used her to cheat on his girlfriend. Turned her into the 'other woman.' Made her doubt herself. Coming weeks after finding out about Melissa, it was a crushing blow to her faith in herself.
The day her tears dried up was the day she quit. It was a rape case, and she worked it with her usual intensity. A success, as far as it could be considered. The man was caught, locked up. The woman would live. She went home to her empty apartment and shed her clothes before stepping into a too hot shower. Waited for the tears to come, as they always did. Her eyes remained dry. She felt...nothing.
And so she quit. Stayed at home. She ignored the ringing of the phone, listened only to the silence, and waited, biding her time. Waited for the day when she woke up and the transformation was complete. Waited until she was gone. How long could a body survive without a soul?