Spoilers for "A Bullet Runs Through It" (though I've only read the transcript, haven't seen it yet)

For Tina because I love you.


You go home. You, uh ... hug your cat, your dog, your pillow.
You have a beer, you watch a movie, and then you come back tomorrow."

That is what she told Greg one day. That is what she usually does. That is what she tried today.

Sometimes it does help getting the images out of her mind. But sometimes it doesn't. Today it definitely doesn't.

She keeps seing the dead officer, keeps seeing her own failure.

The cat is stroking its head against her hand, she absently strokes back, staring at her beer.

She's given up on the movie a long time ago, its weak humor could do nothing to distract her.

What ifs invade her mind, every second of the day is displaying in front of her mind's eye. A constant film in all angles and vivid coloration. She flinches at the imaginary sound of gun shots. Her memory blurs more and more the harder she tries to form a clear picture.

Beer, guilt, lonliness – combined to cause a headache. Tears fall. Slowly at first, reluctant, that's when she is still trying to hold them back.

The cat nudges her arm once more, the final straw breaks, that's when she lets them roll.

She's sobbing, weeping. For the officer's life, for her own fear, her guilt, for not knowing where she went wrong or how she could have stopped this all from happening.

It's driving her insane. She wants to scream, stop thinking, stop feeling.

The cat jumps off her lap, away from her. Now, all alone, the only thing left is her beer. She doesn't feel like drinking, knows it won't help. But she does, for lack of alternatives.

She talks about it, to herself, thinking it's pathetic but then again, it's what she always does, talking to herself. So she keeps talking, talks and talks and talks, cries in between, then whispers, her voice more and more strained. Until she falls asleep.

When she wakes her head throbbs painfully, her stomach rebels against the beer, wishing instead for solid food. But she feels too empty to eat. Defeatedly she settles back down onto the uncomfortable couch.

She can't take it anymore.

Angrily she sits, pulls her hair into a ponytail and scrambles to her feet.

She's driving to the lab, knowing it might have consequences for her investigation, it might affect her whole career. But she can't bring herself to care. She has to see another human, someone she can talk to, someone who responds. She glances at the cat, rolled into a tight ball in the corner, and closes the door behind her.

The glass doors of the Las Vegas Crime Lab glint in the setting sun. She inhales deeply, needing to calm down. One last time she shuts her eyes to collect herself, then exits the car and walks up to the entrance.

She'd gone home, hugged her cat, had more than a beer and attempted to watch a movie. Now she was coming back.