By Dream Descends

She didn't know what else to say.


Just his name—

"Mike, stay with me."

Pushed off her lips—


Like a kiss over too great a distance. Mike.

The stink of the motel room was so strong it reached the back of her throat and festered there. The tang of fresh blood, which shouldn't have startled her—but her crime scenes were hours, sometimes days old. Still blood, dried blood. This blood was hot with a pulse, a jagged red flower budding over his chest like spring in Trenton.

His cheek was slippery with sweat. His green eyes were washed out by the stark lamplight, glazed and dancing around a spot just above her shoulder.

He made an effort. She appreciated that. He found her for the last time. "I'm sorry," he told her.

"…Mike," she insisted, she crooned, she whimpered. She dug her nails into his temple, her thumb dragged across his slack mouth, and her forehead touched his.

"Catherine," he laughed lowly, "Or maybe Cathy?" He stood one step below her on her front porch—with eight inches of help they saw eye to eye.

She gave him an exaggerated shudder, smiling. "Oh, please, it's Catherine—I'm not quite up to the soccer mom level of wholesome goodness."

He caught her fingers as she reached into her purse for the keys, and after a pause folded her hand into his. "Mike."

She leaned forward. "Is that what your friends called you back in 'ole Trenton?"

He inclined his head slightly. "No."


She clung to the stretcher as the paramedics sprinted across the parking lot. The sirens, the people, her friends looking familiar in a far off way as she felt her grip slipping away. He looked at her, he looked past her, and his eyes closed.

She tried to get in the ambulance after them and without any physical contact they pushed her away. She held the doors like they might be his arms.


Her insides jerked. His body leapt, and fell still.


Her hands fell away, curling possessively around emptiness.

He looked up suddenly and she caught his jacket and they kissed. She was pulled closer—or maybe she moved closer—and her balance rested on his shoulders, on his palms at her sides. He held her there.

"There's no pulse."


There was someone there, someone behind her. But she was falling forward.

"He's gone."

She was moving through a void, plummeting over vacant space.

They pulled apart.

"Just you." He grinned against her neck so that she felt his lips curve up. "It's Mike."


Author's Note: RIP Michael Keppler, most excellent, tall, dark, and handsome of CSI guest stars.