TITLE: Retribution

AUTHOR: forensicsgirl

RATING: K (PG) at the moment - will probably rise to PG-13 later

PAIRING: GSR / N/G

DISCLAIMER: I've tried everything, but i still don't own CSI, these characters, or much of anything really... I'm just borrowing them, torturing them and putting them back in Mr Bruckheimer's toy box, bruised but (hopefully) not broken. No infringement intended.

SUMMARY: While Sara returns to her past so that she can move on with her future, Grissom tries to allow her the space she needs. But that becomes impossible when both their lives are put in peril. Love and hate collide as vengeance returns to their lives, seeking retribution. Sequel to Infliction.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank all those who stuck with me through the first four stories of this series. Special thanks to my wonderful beta, wobbear.


Sweet is revenge – especially to women.

Lord Byron (Don Juan, 1819-24)


PROLOGUE.

Methodical, careful fingers worked on a pair of gloves and picked up a pen. Black ink trailed out over creamy white paper, gleaming and damp like blood. There was arrogance in the penmanship; a self confidence born of equal parts achievement and insanity. She had already won. It was time for the final act.

Your life is mine. You are nothing now, except my victim. I will make you bleed. I will destroy your soul. I will make you beg before the end.

It is time for Retribution. Vengeance will be mine…


The early morning mist rolled over the bay as the sun began its majestic ascent in the sky. Sara cradled a mug of tea between her hands and thought of him.

It was wonderfully peaceful here, isolated and set apart from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco, just twenty miles away. It was a good place for her to be right now - a fitting place. She, like her small home town, felt isolated and set apart from everything else. She wrapped herself in the peace and quiet, relishing the change of pace after so many years of working non-stop. She had finally given herself the space she needed to think, to deal with everything she had avoided for so long.

But mostly -- she just missed him.

His last text message was still saved on her phone -- a technological hug whenever she needed it. And lately, she needed it at least once a day.

She had arrived in Tamales Bay two weeks ago and, since then, she had met with her mother several times. Each meeting had been difficult for Sara -- for both of them, in truth -- but she was relieved to find that it was, slowly, becoming easier.

There was so much to cover. Twenty-two missing years, all told. So much pain and damage to sift through, to repair and to let go of.

Letting go. It had always been difficult for her. She had found it near impossible to let go of certain cases at work -- ones that involved domestic abuse, or any sort of violence against women, really. Those cases would haunt her for weeks, months even, creeping up on her when she least expected it and closing around her throat like a fist, waking her up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

Now a new specter haunted her sleep. A specter that, in her vivid dreams, took over her life, annihilating everything she cared about -- everyone she cared about. Decimating her world until there was nothing left. Nothing except Sara, the victim, broken and sobbing in a dark place. Every night, she woke up retching, barely making it to the bathroom in time before her stomach contents left her body.

She had left Vegas to distance herself from Jill, from the events of the past few months. Stupid, she thought. She should have known she'd only take it with her. And, what was even worse, here she was without his soothing touch, the safety of his embrace.

Rolling her head to stretch out the kinks in her neck, she glanced across to the small travel alarm clock which sat on the bedside table of her room in the guest house. If he wasn't working a double, Grissom would be getting home right about now.

The temptation to call him was strong. Just to hear the sound of his voice. Just to reassure him that she missed him and would be home as soon as she could.

Again, she resisted. If she spoke to him, she didn't think she'd be able to stop herself from grabbing the next flight back to Vegas.

Shaking the notion out of her head, she reminded herself of why she was here. She had demons to face here in California before she could return to Vegas to face the ones she'd left there.

Soon. She told herself. She'd go home soon.

TO BE CONTINUED...