Title: Cold Winter

Rating: PG

Pairing: CSI

Spoilers: Leaving Las Vegas

Author's note: This fic makes no sense. Really. Even to me it's a random little thing I came up with while sitting in my dorm room. It really is stupid, but… I thought I'd share. 'cause I'm lame like that! ;)

Disclaimer: I don't own them. Sad for me, not so much for CBS.


"It's gotta be hard, being in a long distance relationship," the chatty blonde said, leaning over her steaming cup of coffee to get closer to her equally blonde friend, "I mean, no hugs, no kisses… no sex. I don't know how people do it."

The conversation continued, but Sara Sidle turned away from it, the frown already planted firmly on her face deepening as she picked at her eggs. It was funny, she thought, how all she ever heard about now that Grissom was gone was distance and love and missing people. How was it that the subjects most sensitive to a broken heart always seemed to slide their way into everyday life tens times more now then when life was good? Sara didn't dwell on it; instead, she noticed her eggs were mushy from all the stabbing she had done, and she decided to pay her bill and leave.

Sara made sure to cast a dirty look at the blondes as she left, both for the conversation and her lost breakfast. It went unnoticed and Sara sighed.

If there was one thing that Sara could be happy about, though, it was the cool breeze that had settled over Las Vegas the last few days and the equally cool sun that came with it. She took a moment to pause outside of the diner and take in a deep breath, the air that now filled her lungs allowing her a few brief moments of tranquility before she exhaled, and reality knocked the air out of her once more.

Ten days.

It had been ten days since Grissom had left for Massachusetts and each day that he was gone, Sara sunk a little deeper into her self-imposed black abyss. Not that she wanted to be there; she'd rather be heading home to crawl into bed with the man that she loved. Seeing as how that was not an option, though, she looked for the next best thing; black abyss.

Her phone rang and it was then that she remembered just why the black abyss was easier.

He was right on time. It would be the first of four phone calls before his morning seminar. There would be two hours where her phone would, thankfully, not ring, followed by three more phone calls while he was on his lunch break. As soon as his afternoon segment began, Greg would call her and ask if she wanted to catch a quick dinner before shift, which she would decline (there was only room for one in her ever deepening depression), then two and a half more hours before Grissom would make one more phone call. He never called while she was on shift. He had at least that much sense in him.

Her day might have been slightly better than the first nine if it hadn't been for the box sitting on her doorstep (nay, their doorstep) when she arrived home. It wasn't a big box, but it wasn't exactly small either. Sara stared dumbly down at it, before she twitched an eyebrow up in question and leaned down to pick the package up. She turned it in her hands as she walked inside.

She took a shower and changed into something more comfortable before she came back to it. And even then she only looked at the box with caution.

"Gil Grissom," she whispered the sender's name and shook her head. She was surprised he had found time between calling her to get something and mail it out.

She touched the box, long fingers skimming over its scratchy brown surface. Her pulse quickened and she lay her palm flat against it. Had he touched the box with the same sort of awed reverence, hoping that it's hidden contents would melt the ice now formed around her heart? Sara hoped that it did. She needed to feel his warmth again.

She tore at the tape, trembling hands fumbling with paper and labels before, finally, the flaps came loose and the box was open before her. Sara held her breath as she peered inside and it came out in a rush of wind and hope when she saw what the box held.

A folded piece of paper sat on top of the Styrofoam peanuts, fluttering slightly under the rush of air she had exhaled. Sara let her head drop in disappointment. She didn't quite know what she had been expecting, but this certainly wasn't it.

After a few seconds of silence, she picked up the piece of paper, holding it in her hands before unfolding it. She frowned when a leaf slid from between the folds, landing with a gentle 'plop' on the table space in front of her. It was brown and dried and tearing at the edges. It was delicate, damaged and easily breakable. Like her heart was now, under these cold and lonely conditions. Sara shook her head and smashed her fist down on the leaf, taking satisfaction in the sound of it crushing underneath her hand.

She turned her attention back to the note, narrowed eyes reading the few words scrawled on the paper in his handwriting.

'From the pond. I found it on the ice and it made me think of you. That doesn't make any sense but… most things make me think of you. I miss you. Please call me.

Love, Gil.'

Sara huffed and crumbled the note into a ball, tossing it into the trash on her way to the bedroom. If a dried out leaf could remind him of her, that's the way he could remember her. Damaged. Broken.

And being torn at the edges by the cold winter his leaving had driven into her heart.