Rubbing his thumb over the faded picture, he watched as the sun set behind the golden lake in front of him. As of yet, he had refused to cry, because crying would mean he had lost something, and deep within the recesses of his soul he refused to believe that he had lost her.
Two days, he thought, it had been two days. Two days since the robbery had been called in, two days since he shyly asked her to join him at the scene, two days since that horrendous bang had echoed in his ears.
Two days since her singsong voice turned into a shrill scream.
Two days since her warm blood flowed over his hands.
One last breath, a gasped plea for forgiveness, a whispered vow of love.
His unoccupied hand ran swiftly over his face as the tears threatened to fall again. His chest tightened and he pulled in a lungful of hot air. Just in front of him he could hear and see the crisp waves of water being washed onto the shore, feel the cool liquid baptize his toes that sat bare in the sand, cleansing him of his guilt, his anguish.
His head fell back and his empty eyes searched the sky above him. The first stars of the evening were sprinkled against the deepening blues and purples, a few only hidden by thin wisps of clouds that smudged the sky. He closed his eyes as a breeze blew against his face, a gentle caress reminiscent of her own soft touch. A touch that, by the time she had left this world, he had known, but only briefly.
"Sara," her voice slipped from his dry lips, and the first tear fell, but he continued, "I'm… I am so sorry."
A sob escaped him, and the picture fell to the ground next to him as his head replaced it in his hands. Sobs racked his frame, tremendous tremors that left his body weak and wanting for air. But he kept crying, and he kept talking as he did.
"I'm sorry. I was so selfish. I just wanted you near me, and look what happened. Taken away, sweetheart, and it's all my fault."
The wind brushed past his cheek this time, blowing some of his fallen tears to his chin, where they fell off with silent plops against the sand. Grissom took a breath and continued, "And waiting so long to convince myself that you needed me as much as I needed you. Knowing all along the answer, yet denying us so much time. I robbed you, Sara, I took so much away and you still loved me."
His breeze swept through his hair, mussing the gray curls with an almost human-like touch. A mind of its own. Grissom ran his own hand through the locks as he remembered the feeling of her hands doing the same, running lightly through the tightly knit strands while lying in bed.
"God, I miss you. I would do anything to get you back. This isn't life anymore. Existence is meaningless without you. I realize that now."
The hot wind encircled him in one strong gust, wrapping itself around him like a pair of invisible arms. A phantom hug. Grissom sobbed again as he heard her voice echo in his head.
"God, Grissom. Don't ever doubt that I'll be with you." she gave a shaky laugh after that, followed by a raspy cough. Taking in another breath she continued with a weak smile, "Someone needs to take care of you, babe."
He had smiled down at her and chuckled as he held her a little tighter. A few minutes later she'd be gone.
But now, at this lake his hands clutched at the picture he had retrieved from his side. He stared down at her bright smile, the smile that in that moment was so filled with life. Her laugh echoed in his mind. God, that laugh brought him to life. Set his heart on fire. His own smile echoed hers in the picture, that one moment of life, captured in sweet still frame. If only he could relive it, tell her in that moment that he loved her more than life itself, and would forever.
As the wind swept around him once more, he whispered to the now dark sky, to the stars above him. His voice was hoarse, but there was no doubt as to the truth in what he said as he stood.
"I love you."
He took a breath and walked away from the lake, surrounded by a gentle breeze and highlighted by the moonlight from above. He only paused when he thought he heard a familiar voice near him, and was careful to keep walking when the voice disappeared on the night air.
"I love you, too."
Just the wind, he told himself as he drove away. But deep within himself he knew it was her. After all, somebody needed to take care of him, and he knew she would. Just as much as he would take care of her memory. Because he may not have been able to save her that night, but forever now, her memory would be safe with him.