DISCLAIMER: Don't own anything associated with the show… I just like playing with the characters in it now and then. Dance, Monkeys! Dance!

RATING: T for Teen.

PAIRINGS: Some of the foundations for GSR

SPOILERS: Post Ep for Season 5 Episodes "No Humans Involved" & "Nesting Dolls"

SUMMARY: Sara's thoughts as she starts to feel her control crumbling around her.

A/N: Okay, so I was trying to work through a writer's block, and I just happened to be making my way through Season 5 disks last night in an attempt to also fight the insomnia. Watching those episodes, it really struck me that Sara had to have been dealing with an awful lot of stuff outside of what they were showing onscreen. Here's a little bit of what I think she had going on in her mind.

Sara watched as the deputies led the unconscionable woman down the hall in cuffs, while Brass explained about the mother being found in Seattle. She tried to pay attention to what the man was saying, but her heart and her mind were in another time and place. Somewhere she never thought she would be again, somewhere she never wanted to be again.

As he finished talking Sara looked at Brass and asked, "Where are you going to take her first, the hospital or the morgue?"

With a deep sigh, he answered, "Guess I might as well get it over with. I mean, once she sees the kids, she's not going to want to leave them." He shrugged with the weight of the decision and asked, "What do you think?

With an almost wistful expression on her face, Sara told him. "Go with the living, Jim. The dead can wait." She turned and walked away, hopeful that he would not follow. She wasn't sure she could handle talking any longer without spilling her guts. Instead, she got in her car and drove back to the lab.

In her experience thus far, no one needed that kind of headache, if they weren't getting paid for it. She had spoken briefly to her counselor about a few of her fears, but they had yet to get to the real demons in her life. She thought she would have the chance to discuss them all before she had to face them. As she worked the case, she found out how wrong she was when one of those demons had come out to find her.

She had seen so much of herself in that girl in reception, the girl who'd already spent so much of her life in foster care, so much more than Sara ever had. She wanted to reach out and tell her not to be so tough, not to shut herself off from the world, but deep down, she knew it would be wrong. She would the biggest hypocrite around if she told her that, not while she was doing the same thing.

Sara had always been tough, even when she wasn't. She made sure everyone knew how tough she was, and she hated anything that betrayed that illusion, even for a second. No, Sara did everything in her power to never betray what was really deep down inside. While everything around her was neat and orderly and controlled, inside she was a whirling mass of confusion and despair and total chaos.

The chaos stayed at bay, for the most part. Sometimes it would get away from her before she even knew what was happening. One such instance was why she had started the counseling in the first place. Another such instance was what had set her on the path she was following now.

Control has always been the focus of her adult life, because she had so little of it growing up. The fights and the screaming and chaos surrounded her every waking moment in childhood. In adolescence, it was the uncertainty, the chaos of never knowing what was coming next, that ruled her life. So, when she finally had a chance to control her life, she grabbed it with both hands and held on for dear life. Since that time there were only two things that set her off and made her lose control; violence against women and children and Grissom.

The one gave her a sense of vengeance, a sense of justice, for all of those people she couldn't help, for all those people who still cried out, but were never heard. For herself, for her mother. But, instead of giving her peace, each case brought the pain of her past closer and closer to the surface. Each case made her relive the horror again, and again. And each case let her grip on that control grow weaker and weaker. She feared that one day, she would snap altogether, and there would be no more turning back. That fear was what had prompted her to continue the counseling, long after her required sessions.

However, it was her other trigger that seemed to be weakening its hold on her heart. At one point, even being near him was enough for her to slip those tight reigns of control, but that had changed along the way. While she was certain she would never lose the feelings she held for him, she no longer sought out that rush she received by throwing caution to the wind when it came to him. With him, she almost felt like she didn't need to have the control, that it would be okay to let him hold the reigns. He was the only one she had ever thought like that about, but something had changed. Over time, he had shown her again and again that he was either not willing, or he was unable to handle the responsibility she was willing to give him. It had been a bitter pill to swallow, and an even harder dream to give up, but she was trying her best to put those thoughts behind her.

When she arrived back at the lab, Sara found the place to be oddly quiet, yet still alive. Their cases were solved, and everyone had finally gotten a moment to breathe after the tumult of the last week. The team had been broken up, Catherine promoted, Sofia demoted; chaos seemed to be what Conrad Ecklie was all about. No wonder she didn't like the slimy bastard, he stood for everything she had spent a lifetime fighting against.

As Sara sat down in the Processing Room, she opened up her laptop computer and turned to look around. She immediately found Grissom in his office looking through a book. But then her focus was drawn to Sofia as she sat on the edge of his desk and engaged Grissom in a friendly conversation. He smiled as he closed the book and then placed it in her outstretched hand. She wondered what he was reading, or what they were talking about, but ultimately it really didn't matter any more. She cared enough about Grissom to wish him happiness in whatever he did, so why would that be any different, just because it seemed as though he was happy with someone else.

She turned again and found the guys hamming it up in the Break Room over a bag of popcorn. She missed being a part of that whole thing, but it was just as much her fault as it was anyone else's. She had withdrawn from a lot of things to protect her control, because the best way to do that was to never let anyone in too far. What they don't know can't hurt you.

Sara watched as Catherine walked into the hallway and stopped when she saw the guys in the break room. Catherine smiled wistfully and sighed, and Sara thought for sure there was a look of pride on the older woman's face. She also thought that she had every right to be proud, Catherine had a hand in building the careers of each of those men, and she should be proud of that accomplishment.

For a moment, Sara entertained the notion that Catherine had seen her, sitting apart from the others, but instead she just glanced at her wristwatch, turned and headed back the way she had come.

Sara thought again about the events of the case, of the three boys making it out of the system, only to end up dead or near it, because of a bad decision their mother had made. Apparently lots of mothers made bad decisions. Or, so she thought, because she never really knew for sure. It had all happened so long ago, when Sara was still just a girl, and there, in front of her, on that laptop, she had the key that would answer all of those questions for her. She only had to find the courage to finally face the demon and see it for what it really was. She only had to type in those words she had memorized so long ago.

She took one last look around at the people that now filled her life, closed her eyes and then looked back at her laptop. There on the screen, she had already pulled up the database site; LexisNexis was beckoning to her with that flashing cursor in the search field. She had already navigated to the Federal and State Court Cases directory, and all she had left to do was to type those remembered words. The words that had ruled her life, the words that had marked her forever…



It wasn't much, but it was the only thing she had ever known.