Fall Apart

by Jess aka willowaus

This story is a response to a challenge set by AussiRayne. Below is a list of the items she wanted to see in the story:

Purple thongs
A Nine Inch Nails song
Grissom must throw Sara over his shoulder at some point
Sara has pink toenail polish
Sara- "That is just wrong on so many levels."
Grissom- "Come on. Just this one time."
Grissom- "Are you sure you know how to use that?"

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters in this story and am making absolutely no profit from it. :)

There are some things in life you are never prepared for, and as she looked at the letter in her hands, she knew this was one of those times. It was hard to explain, something had been nagging at the back of her mind the entire shift, a gloomy grey cloud hanging over her head, and this letter was the representation of all those negative thoughts in solid form.

She placed the other mail on the island and stared at the white envelope, her eyes moving to the return address stamped in the left corner. An eyebrow rose as she took in the familiar address, her mouth twisting in contemplation as she moved towards her desk and picked up the letter opener, opening the envelope in one swift motion. She removed the paper and unfolded it, her eyes widening as she took in the words typed on the official paper.

"We regret to inform you that inmate, Laura Sidle, A347621, died on September 13, 2005," Sara read and shook her head, rereading the words another time to make sure they were real.

She blinked and looked back at the paper before placing it on the desk and moving away from it. She sank onto the couch, pulling her knees up to her chest, leaning her head on top of them, her gaze never leaving the desk. Forcing herself to look away, she closed her eyes, clenching them shut as she tried to hold back the overwhelming pool of emotions that were threatening to break free. Shaking her head violently, she stood up, brushing the few tears that had slipped through from her eyes, before grabbing the piece of paper and crumbling it into a ball and throwing it towards the waste basket.

'She doesn't deserve my tears,' she reminded herself, walking towards the kitchen and opening the fridge. She grabbed a bottle of water and closed the fridge, leaning against it as she unscrewed the top and took a sip, her eyes traveling towards the crumpled paper on the floor.

'No,' she berated herself and slammed the bottle on the countertop in frustration. Without hesitating she grabbed her keys and purse and left the apartment, walking away as quickly as she could. Her hand clenched the keys, leaving an imprint of the teeth in her palm as she ran down the stairs and out the main door, eyes closing instinctively against the late morning sun as it hit her eyes. She ducked her head, cursing herself for forgetting her sunglasses, but refusing to reenter the apartment for them.

She made her way to her silver Prius, shakily nodding hello to a couple of her neighbors as she passed them, ignoring the looks they gave her. She slid into the driver's seat, leaning her head back, her eyes closing as she clenched the steering wheel. Her eyes opened again and she looked out across the parking lot, watching Mrs. Kimble from across the hall walking towards her car with her young son. Sara shook her head and put the keys in the ignition, starting the car and drove.

Her eyes were focused straight ahead, watching the road and seemingly alert as her mind was riddled with waves of different emotions. She had no plan, nowhere that she was trying to go. All she knew was that she needed to put as much distance between herself and the letter as possible. Unfortunately, the longer she drove, the more she knew that it didn't matter how far she went, the contents of the letter were seared into her brain.

She was dead. Laura Sidle was dead. Her mother was gone and all resemblance of a family was gone with the woman. She was the only remaining member of the Sidle family, all of the others were gone from this world, and she hoped that they all were at some kind of peace now. First her father, then her brother, and now her mother. She would be next. There was no denying that now, it didn't matter how long it would take, but once she died, there would be no more of their family on this earth.

'Is that such a bad thing?' she wondered. Once they were all gone, the pain and anger, the lingering memories of the time in that household would be a whisper in the chorus of life, only a haunting note that would be swept away in the wind. She shook her head, forcing the thoughts away, her right hand scrambling for the radio, bringing it to life, losing herself in the music that moved around the car.

Trent Reznor's voice filled the car, the words of the song embedding inside her mind. "Fragile, she doesn't see her beauty," she sang softly, fingers drumming the beat on the steering wheel. "I won't let you fall apart."

She parked the car and the song faded away, a new one starting, and she turned down the volume. Her eyes focused on the exterior of the row of townhouses, before she leaned her head against the steering wheel, mentally kicking herself for driving there. 'This is the last place you need to be,' she berated herself. 'Just get back on the road; he won't even know you came."

A tap on her window startled her and she bolted up, looking at the window with wide eyes. Grissom stared curiously back at her, his lips pursed in thought. "Sara?" he asked and tapped on the window again.

She hesitated for a second before pressing the button to roll down the window, having no idea how to explain her presence. He looked at her, and for the first time in ages she had a feeling he was actually seeing inside of her. She looked away, her finger moving to press the button and let the window close.

"Come on," he said softly. She looked back at him and opened her mouth to object, to find some way to explain that she was fine. "Just this once," he continued, smiling gently at her.

She nodded, closed the window and turned off the ignition. Her hand moved towards the handle, hovering over it for a few seconds, seriously contemplating restarting the car, driving away, and adding this to the list of incidents they didn't discuss. He tapped on the window again and she sighed before exiting the vehicle.

She raised an eyebrow when they didn't walk towards the townhouses; instead she followed him across the parking lot, stopping at his black Denali. He opened the back and started removing a couple of grocery bags, handing off a few to her, before closing and locking the SUV. Sara blinked rapidly, looking down at the two bags in her hands, before trailing after him, back across the lot and up the stairs to his door.

"Maybe I should go," she murmured, her voice sounding odd to her ears, as she walked into the house, the door shutting behind her.

Either he didn't hear her or was ignoring the comment as he made no reply, simply motioned for where to put the bags. She placed the bags on the counter, looking bewildered at the marshmallows in her hand and then at the cabinets, at a loss as to what to do next.

"Sara," Grissom said, and she turned towards him, finding solace in his voice. "Why don't you go sit in the living room? The latest issue of the American Journal of Forensic Science is on the table."

With a quick nod she walked away, sitting down on the couch, and picked up the journal, quickly turning it to the table of contents. The words blurred in front of her and she closed them, shaking her head to try and clear her sight. She opened her eyes and placed the journal back on the table, quickly stood and walked towards his stereo. She bent and perused through his selection of music, her throat tightening as she read some of the titles. She removed a CD and placed the disc in the stereo.

"Are you sure you know how to use that?" Grissom asked as he entered the room, watching her push buttons on the machine.

She gave no reply, her fingers dropping from the buttons as music filled the apartment. He looked at her, his lips twisting in thought as Pachelbel's Canon in D wafted into his ears. Her hands wrapped around her form, a steady tremble moving through her body. "Sara?" he asked, moving towards her, catching her body as she slumped to the ground.

"She loved this song," she whispered, tears running down her face.

Sara pulled herself away from him, her hands drawing her knees to her body, her head leaning on top of them as she listened to the music. "Who?" he asked, sitting down beside her, watching her intently.

Her eyes closed her face turning towards the stereo. "My mother," she said, gently humming along with the chords.

He raised an eyebrow, trying to figure out what it all meant, to decipher why she was here. "She's dead," Sara told him, her voice breaking on the last word.

New tears fell down her face and he sat frozen, unsure what to do, what to say to her. She looked over at him, roughly wiping the tears from her eyes. "I don't know why I'm here," she said and pushed herself up, shaking her head as she rose. "I don't know why I'm crying."

"Sara," Grissom said and rose after her.

"She doesn't deserve my tears," she said, brushing again at the fresh tears falling from her eyes, walking around him, making sure she was out of his reach.

"Maybe you are not crying for her," he replied.

She stopped her pathway to the door and turned to look at him, her hands clutching her purse tightly to her body. He looked over at her, taking in her trembling lips, and red eyes, before continuing, "Maybe it's the loss of what should have been, what can never be now."

"For better or worse, she was my mother," Sara said, brushing again at tears. "She was my family and now I'm the only one left."

He raised an eyebrow. "I thought you had a brother?" he asked.

"He died," she replied, looking away from him, fishing her keys from her bag. "I…I shouldn't have come here. I don't know why I came here."

He said her name again, stepping towards her. "I'm sorry, Grissom," she continued, forcing a smile on her face as she looked back at him. "I'll see you at work tonight."

She made it to the front door before he caught her, his hand touching her back and her name once again leaving his lips. She turned around and looked at him, tears trailing down her face, before she buried her head in his neck, her hands clinging to his shirt. Her body trembled against his, heart wrenching whimpers escaping her mouth.

Somehow he maneuvered them to his couch, dropping her purse and keys to the floor as he settled them onto the furniture. His mouth opened every so often to try and say something but his words seemed to have evaporated. Instead he allowed his hands to comfort her, slowly caressing her hair and back as she cried.

"I feel like I'm falling apart," she said, hiccupping between words.

Slowly, her cries stopped, her body becoming almost limp in his hands. She pushed back away from him, her hands remaining on his chest as she looked at him. His hands ran up her back before running down her arms, resting gently on her forearms. He watched her, trying to figure out the perplexed look she had on her face.

Grissom was not prepared for her lips to crash into his, harshly kissing him before she pulled away, her eyes downcast, arms wrapping around her body again. "I'm sorry," she said softly, shaking her head and backing away from him. "I shouldn't have done that."

She looked at him and smiled, leaning in towards him as she continued, "Or maybe I should have."

He stilled her movements with a hand on her shoulder. "Sara," he murmured, his hand moving to tilt her chin up. "You are not thinking clearly right now. You've been given a large emotional blow."

She nodded and looked away from him. "Tomorrow you'll look back on that and think it was a mistake," he continued.

Sara pulled her face from his hand, looking incredulously at him. She stood up, gathering her purse, the pink toe nail polish that had fallen out, and her keys in a hurry, before looking back at him. "That is just wrong on so many levels," she replied and started towards the door.

Grissom blinked, still staring at the spot she had been in, before processing what he had just said to her. He closed his eyes, berating himself for always saying the wrong thing to her, and then stood, taking several quick strides before catching her at the door. She glared at the hand on her shoulder, roughly shaking it off as her hand touched the door handle. His hand moved to the door, pressing it closed, the taste of her mouth still lingering on his lips.

"Let me go," Sara demanded, looking venomously at the hand before glaring at him.

He frowned at the words. "I can't," he said.

Confusion clouded her eyes as she looked at him. "What?" she asked, her hand falling from the handle.

He leaned against the wall, his body slumping from defeat. "I can't," he repeated, leaning his head back.

"Can't what?" she asked, her hand resting once again on the handle. He made no reply and she shook her head.

"Can't kiss me? Can't love me? Can't what? Because I can't do this anymore. I'm done," she continued, practically screaming the last word, turning the handle and pulling the door open.

It slammed shut in front of her and she jumped back, startled by the force at which he had closed it. He advanced towards her, his lips crashing into hers, his tongue roughly pressing into her mouth. She moaned, her hands moving to grab his shoulders, eyes opening as his hands grabbed hers and forced them against the wall. Her eyes closed again as he pressed his body into hers, causing a moan to erupt from her throat and be swallowed by him.

He released her mouth, his forehead leaning against hers as they both gasped for air. His hands loosened their grip and she twisted her hands from his grasp, pulling his head back to her before he could contemplate what was happening. She melded her body into his as she explored his mouth, her hands moving to glide over his neck and back. She pushed him backwards, making sure her body stayed against his, their mouths still molded together as she lead him towards the back of the townhouse. If she allowed herself or him to think, then she knew this wouldn't happen, and god she needed him to touch her, to make her feel alive.

Somehow she had found his bedroom, and they were standing before his bed. Her hands unbuttoned his shirt, sliding it off of his arms. She struggled with his belt, breaking their kiss as she cursed at the complexity of it. He opened his mouth to talk and she kissed him again, forgetting the belt, unbuttoning her own shirt for him, thankful when she felt his hands helping her complete the process. She kicked off her shoes, her hands moving to her jeans as he divested her of her shirt. She shimmied out of the jeans, sliding them down her long legs, his hands coming to rest on her waist, playing with the sides of her purple thong.

She stepped out of the jeans, her hands once again trying to decipher how to remove his belt. "Thank god," she said as it finally gave way.

His hands moved from her waist, capturing her wrists and stilling her movements. She looked away from him, tears running down her waist, a mixture of embarrassment, sadness, and longing. She collapsed onto the floor, his hands releasing her, burying her head into her knees. She waited to hear him close the door, to leave her alone.

His arms wrapped around her, picking her body up, and laying her gently on the bed. She opened her eyes and watched as he carefully covered her with the sheet before lying down beside her. "I won't let you fall apart," he whispered to her, pulling her body close.