Disclaimer: I keep thinking that maybe if I wish hard enough, the whole CSI gang will show up on my doorstep. Hasn't happened yet. Maybe someday.

Spoilers: Grave Danger and Nesting Dolls

Archive: Just ask me first

A/N: This is a pretty dark piece, with talk of suicide and death. Be warned, heavy thoughts and emotions ahead.

ooo

"How would you kill yourself?"

"What?" Nick looked at Sara in shock. He couldn't believe his ears.

"He picked a gun." Sara gestured to the dead body they were studying. Because of the gun shot residue they had been able to prove that it was a suicide, not a murder. "That teenager last week jumped of a bridge. It just makes me think."

"About killing yourself?"

"About why people do it, and how." Lost in her own thoughts, it took her a minute to focus on the look on Nick's face. Only then did she remember what she and everyone else were trying so hard to forget. Nick in a plexiglass box. Nick with a gun in his hands.

"Shit, Nicky. I'm sorry." She left the room before he could say anything, muttering something about test results.

ooo

"Sara, can we talk?"

"Just a minute, let me finish this up." One minute stretched to ten, but Sara finally turned away from the computer screen. "What's up?"

"Not here." Grissom led her down the hallway and out the back door to the fenced lot behind the CSI lab.

"Please tell me this isn't another pig experiment." Grissom shook his head as he scanned the area, making sure they were alone even though no one ever came out here.

"No, I just wanted to... I talked to Nick a little while ago."

"Is he okay? I know he's only been back a couple of days, but he seems okay." She wondered for a minute if he had brought her out here to talk about their coworker's recovery, but couldn't imagine what he would want to discuss that couldn't be talked about inside.

"He's worried about you. He didn't want to tell me why, but he gave me enough that I could fill in the blanks." She had seen that look on his face before, most recently as he kept an eye on Nick, his first day back at work.

"I don't know why," Sara lied. She had a sinking feeling she knew exactly what Grissom was referring too.

"He filled me in on the case you were working. Hinted that it might be affecting you."

"It was a stupid conversation, and I wasn't thinking when I opened my mouth." She kept her voice as mellow as possible, not wanting to give him any hint at the turmoil she was feeling. "Nicky has enough to deal with. He doesn't need to..."

"I have to agree with him."

"You don't get worried, you get concerned," Sara mocked.

"I get worried about you." Sara didn't want to hear anymore. He was getting too close.

"I'm going back inside. I don't know about you, but I still have work to do." She had almost reached the door when he grabbed her upper arm.

"Talk to me, Sara."

"What do you want to hear? That I've thought about killing myself? That I've debated the pros and cons of guns and knifes, pills and jumps? You want to know about the notes that I write inside my head when I get home from a double and wonder what I'm doing with my life, or the times I try to imagine who will find my body. Is that what you want me to talk to you about, Dr. Grissom?" She wasn't sure if she said it to shock him, or because she wanted someone to hear the truth. A little of both, maybe.

He wouldn't meet her gaze, but neither did he loosen his grasp on her arm. It was almost like he was frozen, except that when she tried to move away from him his hand tightened, and she knew that he would not release her.

"I'm sorry." When he finally spoke, they were not words she expected to hear.

"For what, Grissom? None of it is your fault. It just... is."

"If I had known..."

"You would have what? Taken me off cases, made me see a counselor again?" There was a hint of sarcasm in her voice.

"I would have listened." He hoped it was true.

"I wouldn't have talked. You know me well enough to know that. When it comes to personal issues, I'm almost as private as, well, you."

"Would you tell me? If you... would you ask for help?"

"Maybe."

"Sara..."

"That's as much as I can give you, Grissom. I don't know if it's more or less then you deserve, but it's all I can promise."

Grissom didn't say anything, because there was nothing that he could say. He just stood there, one hand on her arm, the other on her shoulder. It was the closes thing to a hug they had ever shared. Reluctantly, he released her.

"My brother killed himself." He had expected Sara to leave, not voluntarily speak again. She had taken a single step backwards, and crossed her arms in front of herself in a self protective gesture, but she was still here.

"It was a year before my mom... I was twelve, he was seventeen. He used my dad's gun, the one he kept in his night stand. I was at school, and when I got home there were police cars and an ambulance lining the street. I thought my dad had gone too far this time, and my mom had called for help. But then I saw them both standing on the front porch. My dad had his arm

wrapped around my mom, and I remember thinking that it was the first time I ever saw them like that. Like a real couple." Sara pressed her lips together and took a deep breath. Grissom tried to close the distance between them, but the only result of his step forward was her own step back.

He feared backing her into a corner, figuratively or literally, and stilled his movement.

"Afterwards, it was like he didn't exist. They gave away all his stuff to Salvation Army, took his pictures off the wall, and never mentioned his name again. The first and only time I did, it resulted in a black eye."

"Oh, honey." He wanted to cry, for the girl she was then, the woman she was now. Wanted to yell, and threaten violence to a man long dead. Longed to wrap her in his arms and promise nothing bad would ever happen again. He did nothing, but his silence allowed her to continue. She had never told this part of her story to anyone. Not the therapists she was required to see during her six years in foster care, not any of her past boyfriends.

"Sometimes, I think he was lucky. He wasn't there, that night. Didn't smell the blood, see the knife. He didn't have to endure the taunts, or the stares of people who knew about that night and whispered about it as he walked past." She was crying now. A steady stream of tears fell down her face, but she made no move to wipe them away. "Sometimes, I wish it had

been me, who had the courage to pull the trigger."

"No!" He couldn't hold back anymore, didn't care if she tried to pull away. Tugging her towards himself roughly, he wrapped her in his arms. She didn't fight him. Rather, she seemed to collapse against him, as if talking had stolen all her energy. He would have been content to stay like that forever, but he could feel her breathing calm and her heart rate slow.

"I know there's still an hour of shift left, but I'm going to go home now."

"Sara, will you leave your gun with me?" He didn't want it to appear that

the trust she had given him was misplaced, but he had to ask.

"Are you ordering as my boss, or asking as a friend?" She fingered her belt, where her gun would have hung if they were out in the field and not at the lab. The repercussions of her supervisor asking for her gun would be a hell of a lot more serious then even the DUI last year.

"A friend. If you don't, you don't have to give it to me. I would feel better, though."

She was tempted to argue, to tell him that she wasn't going to kill herself tonight. That even if she was, lack of a gun wouldn't be a deterrent. She didn't want to give him another thing to worry about, wouldn't be that cruel.

"It's in my locker, I'll give it to you before I leave.

ooo

She kept her word. After a detour to the bathroom, where she did her best to erase the signs of the last hour from her face, she entered Grissom's office. Without a word, she laid the weapon on his desk.

"I'll see you tomorrow night."

"You don't have to come in. If you need a night off, all you have to do is ask." He wanted her to refuse his offer. Wanted her where he could see her, watch her; but he also wanted her to know that she had an escape, if it was needed.

"Thanks, but that's the last thing I need." Sara almost smiled at the hint of relief she saw flicker across Grissom's face. "When you see Nick, tell him I'm fine. He doesn't need to worry about me."

"Are you? Fine?" She was almost out the door when he asked.

"No, but maybe I will be."

"If you need anything..."

"I have your number."

"Will you use it?" he questioned.

"Probably." It was more then he was hoping for, and less. Watching her walk away, Grissom rubbed his temple as he wondered what came next.

ooo

A/N2: Not sure if this was a one shot or if there is more. It started as a cathartic exercise, so I apologize if any OOCness. I also didn't have it beta'd, so any mistakes you found are mine and mine alone.