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.


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: Here's the conclusion to this little story… Hope you enjoyed it!

It finally happened. She finally snapped. Sara knew it was building to that, knew that she was getting close to the edge, but she just couldn't stop herself, no matter how hard she tried. She knew what it was, and she should have stepped back and let someone else handle it. She should have told Grissom she needed to step back, but she hadn't been able to talk to him for a while, they barely even existed in the same space anymore.

Looking through those medical records of all of those domestic abuse victims had done it. They looked far too much like the ones she had found of her mother's. In every face, she saw her mother's staring back at her, with those desperate eyes boring into her heart. And in her mother's face, she shivered at the reflection of herself coming from those images. Each folder brought her closer and closer to the edge, farther and farther from being able to hold on to her control. It was all slipping away, and she needed to do something to hold it all in. What she did was wrong, wrong on so many levels.

First, she totally lost it with that suspect. Sara had no idea where any of that came from, but it had obviously been boiling for a long time, because even after Melton walked out, she still had some steam left in that engine. Why she thought Catherine would be willing to keep that fire stoked, she'd never know. And she'd never know why she then turned on her the moment she realized Catherine was standing her down. But even worse than that, she'd never be able to forgive herself for what was said, or the way it was said.

She and Catherine may have never been the best of friends, but Sara had always admired her for the accomplishments she'd gained, even in the face of terrible odds. The realization that she was also harboring some resentment towards her for all the same things that she admired in her had never entered Sara's mind. Catherine had been able to walk that fine line of being a woman in a man's world, and yet still maintaining her femininity. Sara had always felt like a failure in that department.

But her greatest blunder of the day came from her interaction with Ecklie. She was still flaming mad and nothing was going to be accomplished by Ecklie talking to her at that moment. However, it was obvious the man couldn't take the clue. He practically shoved her into his office and began to go after her immediately, but she wasn't having any of it. Sara was getting angrier, and instead of blowing out the steam, she just seemed to be building up pressure. The final straw came when he gave her one of those "my lab" tirades and she just went off. Told him exactly what she thought of it being his lab, and then proceeded to tell him what she thought of him as well.

By the time Sara was done, she knew that was exactly what she was: done. The only thing she had left to do was wait for the paperwork to go through.

When she got home, she started to feel like the walls were closing in on her. She tried to calm herself down with everything in her arsenal. Her therapy thus far had been all about diverting her energies, and finding better outlets for the anger and pain. They hadn't gotten to the pain yet; to the demons that haunted her every waking and sleeping thought. She hadn't been ready to give over that power to her counselor yet, it was the only thing she had left that was all her own, and it was her only source of control. She could still control who she told about her past, about her worst demons.

When all the exercises she could remember failed, she started to stalk the floors of her apartment like a caged animal. She could feel the chaos threatening to overtake her completely, and the only thing she could think of was that the counselor had given her an emergency number after their last session. It had become obvious to her that Sara was holding something back, and she was just as afraid as Sara that it would all come down on her in a wholly uncontrolled rush. She rifled through her bag to find the number.

After a few calming breaths, the counselor had told Sara to find a safe spot in her apartment, get something to drink, turn on some music and write. Write down everything she was feeling, everything that she was thinking and then read it back to herself. She told Sara to analyze her own thoughts, just as she would any other evidence, and try to make the evidence talk to her. She needed to let the evidence speak for the part of Sara that could not speak for itself. Sara could relate to that, after all, it was her job.

And so, Sara got a beer from the fridge, clicked on the stereo and sat down at her simple desk in the corner of her living room. She took out a pen and some paper and started to write.

Sara wrote about the fighting, about the fear, about the abuse, about the pain, about the loss, about the isolation, about the longing, about the-… She stopped before she got to the last thing, and read back to herself what she had written. She wasn't quite ready to write about that last thing just yet, so she decided to process the evidence she had so far. What she saw told her what she already knew, but had been afraid to see: Sara was losing her control.

She read through it one more time as she thought about all of the things in her life that had led her to his moment. To the moment when she had gone so far as to throw it all away, without once really trying to fix the mess in her life.

Taking in a deep breath, and then blowing it out, Sara knew she needed to deal with…that night. She had pen to paper and was about to start writing when…

…Someone knocked on the door. Using the remote, she turned the stereo off and the gentle background music was quieted. She carried her beer with her as she crossed the room to answer the door. She had a pretty good idea who was on the other side of that door, and her suspicions were confirmed when she looked through the peephole.

She opened the door and found Grissom standing outside her front door. Sara sighed, and lowered her gaze for just a moment. "Well, if you're here, it can't be good."

Grissom looked as though he had the weight of the world on his shoulders, but all Sara could think was that he should have tried her load for a little while.

He looked into her eyes, and she felt like something had just cracked through her shell. She had been preparing to fall apart, so his arrival frightened her to the core, and not just because of what his arrival signified, but because she was afraid of what his proximity meant to her fragile state of mind. She could deal with losing her career, but wasn't sure she could handle losing her control, and subsequently him, should he finally see inside that carefully crafted façade barely containing the chaos and keeping the demons at bay.

And then he asked the words that Sara was certain would haunt her for the rest of her days. "Can I come in?"