The Man Inside

Pairings: CWMK (Kepplows??)

Spoilers: Continues right after "Law of Gravity" and the whole Keppler mess.

Disclaimer: Don't own CSI or its characters. This a strictly a work of fiction.

AN: Okay… well, that whole thing with Keppler getting killed kinda pissed me off (hey, I liked him. Maybe I was alone in that, but I did). Gave him a brief two-second mention in the following episode, then… nothing. Not one thing. Obviously, there was something going on with him and Cath, but now it's like he never existed. He was just a mysterious, intriguing character that they dropped in to fill a spot, then yanked back out again. Okay, I'll stop raging now. .

Onward… this story's in Catherine's POV, third person. That's why it's written the way it is. Obviously I don't, like everyone else, know what really went on between them. I can only guess, so that's what I did. Let me know what you think. If you don't like Keppler then please, just don't read – I do not accept flames.


She stared at the cold grey stone, the wind blowing her hair around her face. She couldn't believe the words written on it, she didn't want to believe the words written on it.

Michael Keppler ... Always at peace, to forever be with the Father above.

She laid the bouquet of flowers at the base of the headstone. The earth still looked freshly dug. It had been a week. A week that felt like forever. She couldn't believe it. She didn't want to believe it.

She brushed away a stray tear that trailed its way down her cheek. A man, a man she barely knew yet knew so much about, now lay inside the wooden box in the ground. It didn't seem fair. She could still remember the sound of the shots, could see him falling… she could still hear the whine of the heart monitor as he flat-lined, and stayed that way. She tried to get them to continue working on him, she really did, there was no way he could really be gone, he'd come back if they just tried….

And Grissom… Grissom just tried to pull her away, tell her there was nothing that could be done, he was sorry, but they had to go. Other cases needed to be attended to. Yeah, like she really wanted to go back to work, back to the place she'd last talked to him, back to where his locker was, still full, where the others would look at her with pity-filled eyes but really, deep inside, they didn't care all that much. They didn't know him. They didn't know what he was like, not like she did.

All the two of them ever did was talk. Or she did, at least. He was a great listener. He never tuned her out. He knew exactly how to answer her, knew exactly when to smile, or when to look sad. He cared. He cared about what she had to say, he never brushed her off, he never ignored her. He cared. He cared about her. And she cared about him. He listened.

She touched his name once more and stood, slowly turning away. She left the cemetery at a slow pace. He was a good man, a great profiler, and, given the chance, he would have made a great CSI. Now, he was just a man inside.

A man inside a box.

A man inside the ground.

A name on a cold grey stone.