A/N: This is a one-shot piece, post-Homebodies. Yes, it is a little late, I realize ;)
Rain droplets were falling down the windshield, camouflaging the warm angry and sad tears that fell down her face to the outside world. The inside of the car was filled with nothing was silence- cold, empty, silence. She sat with her hands in her lap, staring outside the window at the dead girl lying on the wet pavement surrounded by a puddle of blood. The girl's cold, lifeless eyes somehow were able to return her gaze, staring directly into hers.
"Don't look at me like that, Suzanna..." Sara whispered. "I tried...I really did."
I'm dead...and it's your fault.
"I tried..." Sara whispered again.
"ou let them rape me, you let them shoot me.
"I tried to help..."
You let them walk free, all of this is because of you.
"I...did all I could.." Sara whispered.
It wasn't enough. And now I'm dead.
Sara broke down in sobs, her body racking back and forth with each cry. She had tried to help her, she really had...she was going to do whatever it took to put the people who had hurt her behind bars, but...as soon as they had the suspect in custody, Suzanna had froze up. She was terrified, Sara couldn't blame her, but...since they didn't have enough to hold the bastard he went free- free to walk around on the streets, free to take a gun and put a bullet through her head so she wouldn't talk anymore.
The case had been haunting Sara's every thought. Rape cases had always been especially hard on her, but...there was something about this girl that was...special. They had gone to the house, and Mr. Kirkwood had said that nothing had happened, that it was a false alarm and that their services were no longer required. Sara knew there was more to the story than that, and her suspicions were confirmed when she saw Suzanna sitting in the back seat of her car.
From there they went to the hospital and Sara discovered that she had been raped. Supposedly date-raped. As the investigation deepened, she discovered that she was actually gang-raped, which seemed to explain things. But that meant more suspects, which meant it would take more time to try and figure this whole thing out. Time they didn't necessarily have.
The Kirkwoods were refusing to talk, and Sara was on the verge of an emotional breakdown. Having to deal with her own demons, and those of Suzanna Kirkwood at the same time was not putting her in the best emotional state. She knew Grissom was suspecting something was going on with her, he noticed the little moments in the lab when she would space out, lost in her own thoughts only to be startled when Grissom freed her of her trance.
And then Sara thought the case was almost over...that the nightmare was almost over. At least for Suzanna. They had a suspect...he fit the profile, and the DNA. Mr. Kirkwood brought Suzanna in to identify him. Sara spent the few minutes before that as they were getting the room set up to try and give her a bit of reassurance.
And in those few minutes, Sara and Suzanna Kirkwood had bonded.
And now here she was, sitting in the black Tahoe at the scene of Suzanna Kirkwood's murder. Suzanna was still staring at her, eyes wide. Her face was pale and her body was cold, laying there for everyone to see. Sara didn't want to look at her...but for some reason, she couldn't tear her eyes away from the girl laying on the pavement. Suzanna was talking to her, at least she thought she was.
You said it would all be okay, you lied to me and now I'm dead. Think of my parents, think of how much pain and suffering they're going to have to go through now because I'm gone. Think about that. How are you going to sleep every night knowing that you could've spared them all that pain and misery if you'd just tried harder.
"...I...know," Sara whispered, starting to cry again. Oblivious to every thing else around her, she barely noticed when Grissom was knocking on the window of the driver's seat to get her attention. When she finally noticed him standing outside the car she jumped, startled.
Grissom waited for her to roll the window down. She looked terrible- exhausted...scared...angry...sad... Grissom really wished he knew how to help her, but in order to do that he would need to reach out to her, have her talk to him. And that was something he knew Sara Sidle was not likely going to do.
"Grissom..." Sara said quietly, sniffling as the window was rolled down. "Sorry...what's up?" she asked, fighting back more tears, and trying to compose herself at the same time.
"...You don't look good.." Grissom said. "...Go home, get some rest. You've been working for the past 32 hours..." he said. "So go home...sleep. I'm going to take you off the case." Before Sara could protest, Grissom had already walked off. That was the smart thing to do, he knew, because he was the supervisor, and his word was law. If he walked away, she wouldn't be able to protest which would make his job a lot easier.
Sara just sighed, knowing that she wouldn't be able to say anything to convince him otherwise. Instead, she turned the key in the ignition and drove off, trying not to look at the gaze Suzanna was giving her through the rear-view mirror, her cold eyes burning into the back of her head.
Go ahead, drive away. You're not going to escape this. You're not going to be able to forget about this. So go ahead and listen to him- go home and get some sleep.You'll just be able to see me when you close your eyes. Turn the radio up as loud as you want, you'll still be able to hear my screams.
Sara wasn't even sure how she could still be crying. Her eyes were burning with tears, her vision was blurred, actually she really couldn't see where she was going, but she had driven this same route so many times that it had become routine. Sara finally wiped the tears away from her eyes as she stopped at the red-light. She saw a liquor store. It was right next to her house...it was calling her name.
Sara was never a heavy drinker; only a beer or two with breakfast. She had never wanted to resort to alcohol for comfort, the answer wasn't at the bottom of a bottle and she knew that. But sometimes she really wondered...if she should just drink until she couldn't think straight anymore. Her parents used to do it, and for a short period of time they were temporarily detached from the world. Sara would like that. She wanted to be numb. She didn't want to hear or see Suzanna anymore.
When the light turned green, Sara made a right turn and drove into the parking lot of the liquor store. Her mind was screaming at her, asking her what the hell she was doing, but at the moment she didn't care. She had made her decision, and she wanted to be numb.
She got out of the car and headed into the building. Ignoring every other aisle, she went straight to the back and opened up one of the freezer doors. Kneeling down, she took out a six-pack of beer. She was about to close the door when she saw another behind the case she had picked up. She contemplated it for a long moment, and finally picked the other one up, closing the door. Heading up to the register, she set the cases down and took out her wallet, paying for her twelve little bottles of relief.
Sara almost sped home. She could still hear Suzanna's voice.
So you're going to pull the oldest trick in the book. Alcohol. Figures. That's probably why you weren't able to solve my case, and that's probably why I'm dead. You just had to have those few beers before work, didn't you? Look where that got you.
Sara tried to ignore it as best she could as she pulled up in front of her apartment complex. Turning the car off, she grabbed her bag and the two cases of beer and closed the door, heading to her apartment. Quickly unlocking the door, she stepped inside and locked the door behind her, throwing everything but the beer cases on the floor. Walking into the living room, she collapsed on the couch and tore one of the cases open, taking a bottle out of one of them, holding it up in her hand.
Why so hesitant? It's your fault, and you're never going to be able to forget about this...unless you pick the bottle up.
Sara quickly shook her head and took the cap off, shoving the nose of the bottle into her mouth and gulping down the liquid.
"Catherine..." Grissom said, grabbing his jacket and sliding one of his arms into the sleeve. "I'm going to take off early tonight..." He smiled when Catherine shot him a strange look. "I'm tired," he told her. "But call me if anything comes up and I'll be right over."
"Sure," Catherine said. "Get some rest, Gil, I can handle this for now."
"Thanks, Cath," Grissom said, heading down the hallway. The truth of the matter was that he was going to go check on Sara. It was really unlike him, he was the tin man with no heart. But...his gut was telling him to see how she was doing. Maybe take her out for coffee. Something was going on with Sara, and right now he was determined to figure out what it was.
Jumping in his Tahoe, he turned the car on and closed the door behind him. He backed out of the parking lot after buckling himself in and then headed in the direction of Sara's apartment. Strange, he thought. He never really thought he was going to end up driving toward her apartment...
And as soon as the thought crossed his mind, Grissom looked up and discovered himself in a parking space right next to Sara's Tahoe. With a sigh, Grissom got out of his car, putting his hands in the pockets of his sports jacket as he closed his door and locked the car up. He found himself feeling a bit nervous..he didn't know why...but his stomach was sinking.
Grissom walked up to the apartment he knew belonged to Sara, and rose his hand up, his fingers curling into a fist. Hesitating, he finally knocked on the door softly, waiting for her to open it up. The door opened and Grissom was greeted with a sight he was never prepared for. Sara looked even worse. Her eyes were blood-shot and there were drying streams of tears flowing down her cheeks. She was pale, and she didn't look like she had gotten any sleep. On top of that, she had a beer bottle in her left hand.
"Sara...?" Grissom quietly asked.
She just frowned. "What are you doing here?"
"...I wanted to see how you were doing..." Grissom said. "Can I come in?"
Sara nodded slowly, moving out of the way so that he could come in through the door. Once he was inside, she closed the door and locked it. Walking through the apartment past Grissom, she headed toward the living room. Grissom watched as she swayed a little and he quickly walked behind her to make sure she didn't fall.
"Sara..?" Grissom asked. "Are you okay?"
And then she began falling backwards. He quickly ran over to her and caught her just before she hit the floor, the beer bottle from before falling empty onto the floor. Grissom kneeled down beside her and gently set her down in his lap, taking off his jacket and draping it across her. "Sara..?" he asked. "Can you say something?" he asked.
Sara just looked up at him, her eyes glazed over. She let out a groan as a response, and she looked over at the open six-pack on the floor next to them.
It's your fault I'm dead, it's always been your fault that these bastards go free.
Sara quickly reached for another bottle from the case. Grissom noticed this, watching as her fingers curled around the nose of it. Grissom quickly put his hand on it. "Sara...I think you've had enough," he told her, taking the bottle out of her hand. And then Sara propelled herself forward onto her feet.
"No!" Sara yelled. "Give it back!"
"Sara..." Grissom sighed, keeping the bottle at his side. "Sara, go get some sleep."
"No, give it back to me, Grissom!" Sara yelled, reaching for it.
Grissom couldn't give it back to her...even though it wasn's his. But at the moment, he was being a friend, he wasn't being a supervisor. Sara was already intoxicated..so much that she could barely stand up. He couldn't let her drink herself to death.
"No, Sara," Grissom said firmly. "Go get some sleep. Do I need to carry you to your bedroom?" Sara wouldn't let up, he knew. He didn't want things to get out of hand...but at the moment, this whole situation was unpredictable.
Sara made a move for the bottle and Grissom held it behind his back. They wrestled for the bottle for a few moments before she took a swing at him. Grissom immediately dropped the bottle and grabbed her arm before she could hit him, grabbing onto her wrist. Sara was now up against the wall, and Grissom and Sara both found themselves staring into each other's eyes.
"...Grissom.." Sara whispered.
"...Sara, I'm sorry, but I can't let you have anymore," Grissom calmly told her. "Go get some sleep."
Sara just stared at him as her bottom lip started to quiver. She broke down in sobs and leaned against him as she cried. Grissom quickly let go of her arm as she pressed herself against his chest. Grissom slowly put his arms around her, leading her back to the couch. He sat down and Sara curled up against him. Wrapping his arms around her again, Grissom slowly rocked her back and forth as she cried.
"I'm sorry," Sara whispered.
"It's okay, Sara," Grissom told her. "It's okay."
"No...it's not," Sara whispered. "This whole thing...was my fault. Suzanna is dead because I didn't try hard enough...and I just tried to punch my boss because he was trying to protect me from myself," she whispered.
"Sara...this wasn't your fault. It was that guy's fault, and you know that. They had a choice, and they chose poorly. You did your best..." Grissom told her.
"Shh..." Grissom told her. "Sara, you did all you could...you stayed up for over sixteen hours looking over the pictures from her rape kit..."
"I know," Sara whispered. "But she's dead..."
"We're going to get those guys, Sara," Grissom told her. "I know we will..." he said. "But...right now, you need to get some rest," he said. "Because tomorrow is a new day...and we're going to go catch some more bad guys...but in order for you to do that, you need to rest up...okay?" Grissom asked.
He smiled when Sara was already asleep in his arms.