Disclaimer: Not mine.

Author's Note: I really liked Keppler. Consider this a post-ep for Law Of Gravity.

Summary: He would be with her for some time, she supposed. She would continue to hear him from time to time, stalking the halls of the lab. implied Cath/Keppler; Post Law of Gravity

Ghost

by e-dog

"Mike?"

She had been hearing him around the lab. Mostly in the locker room, his voice bouncing off the metal doors. Water trickling in the showers. She would hear a murmur, a whisper and he would be back, if only for a second. It would take her several moments to realize that she was alone; that she was just hearing things. He was gone, but he was there. He would be with her for a long while, she supposed.

I think you would've liked Amy. She was charismatic; beautiful. She had me fooled. Both she and Frank had me fooled for so God damned long.

She had found them in her desk. How Mike got them into her office she would never know. Of course, this was the same man who suggested the unorthodox reverse forensics method. He was sneaky, if not bold. To find that he had broken into her locked desk drawer was not too surprising. It was what he left behind that seemed so unlike him.

They were all addressed to her, 'Catherine' scrawled rather hastily on each one. As far as she knew, Mike only wrote to her. If anyone else in the lab had received personal notes from him, she would've heard by now.

No, these were just for her and she would keep them secret for as long as possible. He knew his days were few and he scribbled down what he could. They were only meant for her.

If I never get around to telling you this, just know that my cases were clean. All of them. I guess I thought righting the wrongs of others would mask the wrong I had committed. I was a fool to ever think a job like this would help me forget.

The carefully chosen words on the small pieces of stationary weren't all self-loathing. She caught herself smiling on occasion, despite the heaviness in her heart.

It was that damn umbrella. Bad luck and all. I have to say though, it was of nice quality. It would certainly hold up in a rain storm.

He had an odd sense of humor. The kind of jokes that took you several seconds to get, only once you understood, you realized the joke really wasn't that funny to begin with. He fixated on obscure subjects during the most stressful of times. That should've been her first clue, maybe. Too cool. Too collected. His hardness was unlike any she had come across. She should've known that maybe something was wrong with him, but how could she? She didn't really know him. She didn't get a chance to really know him.

Catherine. . .

"Mike?" she called out again, softly. Now he was in her office, haunting her. He had saved her life, firing off enough rounds to kill a lion. She might've seen Frank's bullet riddled body hit the floor, but she honestly couldn't remember. Seeing Mike on that gurney was all she could remember. It was all she could think about. Begging for him to hold on. She wanted the chance to save him.

"Catherine," he said.

This time, he was there, sitting on the couch opposite her desk. His tie and shirt were undone, his bullet wound still bleeding out. She watched his chest heave in and out with labored efforts and she choked back a gasp. She blinked away the tears, her lips forming a tight smile as she whispered, "I'm so sorry, Mike."

"I think you would've liked Amy," he said, his tone low and tormented. It was the way he had always talked, his words just barely audible. She had thought it was normal then. Now she knew he spoke through pained lips, that merely speaking was an arduous task. "She was charismatic, beautiful. She used that smile to hide what was happening. . .why didn't I see that?"

"You didn't know, Mike," Catherine said, now her voice thick with anguish. "I wish you had let me help you. I could've helped you."

"I know you offered to help me," he sighed heavily, his eyes searching out hers. "I'm not sure you understood why I was thanking you. I hope you understand now that it wasn't about the job."

She nodded. Yes, she understood now. He had considered her a friend.

"Look, I'm not worth crying over, so please, get on with life. I'm gonna do right by Amy and I'm gonna do right by this lab. You didn't deserve to be pulled into my mess. Frank will regret letting that happen."

She shut her eyes, tears squeezing out as she covered her mouth and gave him one last cry.

"Catherine?"

Her head bounced up, her eyes snapped open. Mike was gone. Of course he was.

Had she fallen asleep? Was she daydreaming about him now? Would he always haunt her like this?

It finally registered that someone else had called her name, so she searched out the source of the voice. Nick was leaning in her doorway, his expression filled with worry. He could probably see that she had been crying. She straightened up in her seat and hastily shoved Mike's letters into her desk drawer. Nick had seen them, but he was polite enough not to ask. She forced a smile, "What's up, Nick?"

Nick bit his bottom lip as he folded his arms across his chest. He was clearly uncomfortable, but he finally spoke, "He got to you."

"He saved my life," she shrugged. "I watched him die."

"Cath, it's okay. He grew on me too," Nick admitted, offering up a small smile of his own. He went to leave, but not before asking, "Will you be okay?"

Catherine put on a brave face, "Yeah, Nick. I'll be okay. It's just. . .shock, you know?"

"Yeah, I know," Nick nodded, then left her.

She stared at her desk, the letters now safely tucked away. She was alone with Mike's words, his last moments of clarity. She had read about Amy and what she meant to him. Frank and his deceit. She knew it all now and it only made his death that more tragic. She was alone with his words. He would be with her for some time, she supposed. He would be there, even though he wasn't.

She would see him, a glimpse of him rounding a corner. She would continue to hear him from time to time, stalking the halls of the lab.

Catherine.

She would hear him and she would answer with soft hope, "Mike?"

I gotta go.

"I know," she said to her empty office. She held his last letter and smiled sadly, "I have to let you go too."

The End