TITLE: Mistletoe Murder
ARCHIVE: Anywhere...just let me know so I can brag. Hehe.
DISCLAIMER: All known characters and premises belong to their respective owners. So there.
SUMMARY: Christmas time always made me feel invincible.
NOTES: Part one: December 18th, 2005

Part deux: December 25th 2005

I apologize if this seems really complicated. It works out in my mind, and hopefully by the end of the piece, it shall be clearer. I've been quite bored of my writing as of late - what I write doesn't impress me anymore because it's all been done. I feel my wording is stale, my ideas recycled. So think this more as some sort of weird experiment (though I have attempted a format like this before) but there's some differing qualities to it.

Chapter One

« ...Christmas time always made me feel invincible.»

"Catherine, stay behind me."

« ...when I was younger, I had this belief that the Snow Angels were watching down on me, protecting me.»

"Jonah, put the gun down. There are seven cruisers, almost fifteen officers surrounding you...lives don't have to be lost here."

« ...as I matured, so did my beliefs. I forgot about those mystical Snow Angels - with icicle wings and fireplace hearts. I forgot about that divine protection from above and started relying on genuine human kindness, especially that so often mythicized during the holidays, during Man's time of need.»

"Let her go then...she has a daughter, Jonah. A little girl who's already lost one parent. Do you want to be the person who takes it all away from her? Think about what your actions will entail, Jonah."

« ...it was then I realized that Man's time of need isn't localized in a season, it's every second of breath exhaled.»

"I...no, I'm fine. I promise...it just hurts to breathe. I...no, I'm just resting my eyes."

« ...this Christmas, Santa came down the chimney with a reality check, wrapped in a red bow, hand crafted especially for me.»

He stands in the middle of the room, his heart beating, thudding in his ears. The fast paced, irregular drum is all he can hear, above the dull bedlam that surrounds him. Glass shatters, women scream, doors splinter and guns fire.
"God Jim!" Catherine cried out, her voice echoing through the hospital's halls as she almost collapsed into his arms. She pressed her face to his shoulder, his leather jacket doing nothing to absorb the tears that still reposed in her saddened blues.

"You okay?" He pulled back slightly, eyes washing over her form, cataloguing any bruises or pains.

Her bottom lip trembled and she looked at him with frightened eyes, shaking her head softly in a negative response to his question. "I hurt, Jim."

His eyes softened. He gripped her shoulders and pulled her back into an embrace.

"I hurt for him," she finished, her words crippled by her emotions. She took a deep breath and pushed herself away from the police captain, trying to regain her composure. She grabbed his hand, twining her hands with his as she brought him into his room.

One shot rings different than the rest, looks different...feels different. The others resonate in his chest, the bass mixing in with his beat's rhythm. But one seems to fall short, one marches to a different beat, a path predetermined by malicious judgement.

He feels it prick his side, and it hurts less than he expects. It's the idea that this foreign object is inside him, lodged and slowly poisoning him that frightens him into a panic. His heart beats faster, to a point where his brain can no longer decide where the pain is emanating from.

His heart begins to slow.

His breathing begins to slow.

Jim pulled up a chair beside Gil's bed and sat there, just staring at his long-time friend. "He's just asleep, Catherine."

She sat on the edge of his bed, hands lightly moving through his hair. "...just resting his eyes." Her voice was weak, almost inaudible.

"Do you want to do this here?" He asked, hand in his pocket, fingering his voice recorder.

She nodded, placing a kiss on his temple. "Ask away."

"CSI Catherine Willows: victim, witness and survivor of serial case number M822." Jim began, speaking into the small microphone. He brought his chair closer, resting the recorder on his knee, the Mic. facing towards Catherine.

"CSI Gil Grissom and I took on the serial case dubbed Mistletoe Murders where couples were found bound together on the floor, one bullet having claimed both their lives. Another consistency in the cases were the positions of the victims: bound in an embrace, lips touching, eyes closed, and always under mistletoe. This killer has eluded police for over three years, claiming the lives of three couples per Christmas season. After extensive research, evidence collection, leads and luck, we managed to track down the main suspect in our investigation, pre-empting the third casualty."

He collapses to his knees, teeth gritting together to mask the pain.

"I...no, I'm fine," he grounds out, hands bracing his body from succumbing to weakness and gravity's alliance. He's a fighter, but he realizes that he's not invincible. He falls, face first, tasting cold linoleum as he makes contact with a losing battle.

He feels himself being flipped over, a moan still offering some form of life left in him. "I'm okay," he tells her, "I promise." He lets out a strangled cry as a hand applies pressure to the side of his waist. He bites his tongue, curbing his agony to keep hold of dignity's presence. "I'm fine...it just hurts to breathe."

He hears her pleas to stay with her, to stay awake. He feels her hands shake him, touch him, beg him, but his eyes are too heavy to give in to her demands. For the first time in his life, he doesn't heed her request. "I'm awake...no, I'm just resting my eyes," he whispers to her, as his lids accepts gravity's second demand.

The last thing he sees is deadened mistletoe, hanging above as it casts judgement below.