"I've got a pain in my sawdust…
That's what's the matter with me."

She shudders.

It's not pretty, having the same song stuck in you head for decades.

--

It's raining.

The stars are rotating above her head; she can feel them burn though she can't see much through the tiny gap. She watches her hand twitch.
She only feels cold, and it makes her shudder.

--

"Want to play a game?"

His voice is soft, teasing. Her eyelid cracks open.
"I'm sleeping."
"Statement. One - love."

She groans, buries her head in the pillow. She feels his fingers on her back, drawing warm circles on her skin. She sighs, and she felt him smile.
He is not playful like this often, so she talks with her eyes closed while he makes her skin sing.

"Is this Questions?"
"Do you think it is?"
"Rhetoric, one - all."

Questions, questions. She used to have a thousand.

As he talks, he moves over. She feels him burning on her left.
His hands stop, and his lips are nearly in her hair.

"Do you love me?"

She suddenly shivers.
'Non sequiters. One-two."

He pauses.
She doesn't move, and is silent.

She feels him start to move away. She touches his arm, stops him.

"It's not a no. Maybe."

She somehow can't bring it herself to say more, and as his hand moves away she thinks he knows.

--

Desert, thousands and thousands of square feet surrounds Las Vegas.

Natalie only needed eight to hide Sara.

Grissom's brain spits out statistics like a poker machine, and he can't think for thinking.

Natalie is singing softly, and as he watches he thinks of a thousand ways he could make her talk.

--

The car is sinking.

It's crushing her. She gasps and gasps, but it sinks and sinks and pretty soon she won't be able to breath at all.
Crushed, or drowning?

Now there's a choice.

She's lost the feeling in her fingers. She hasn't felt her legs from the beginning. She's choking, pushing her head away from the water that's bubbling between the car and ground.
And now, right at the end, she can't help but wonder why she couldn't have said yes, told him.

It's funny, because right now if she had the breath she could have screamed it to the desert. There were a thousand ways to say she might have loved him, and she hadn't been able to say the easiest one of all.

And if only there was someone there to listen.

Has, not have.

--

They are in the car, and the blackness roars passed.

In the darkness, Grissom sees the gleam of Brass's teeth, and though it might look like a smile it's a grimace.
Silent, but for the rain's hissing.

Somethings the matter with me...

When the car breaks, he is out and gone and running.
Can't see her, can't see.

"Grissom."

Catherine, still and standing and silhouetted against the black. She is looking down at a dip in the flatness, and she turns as he comes.
Catherine's face is drawn, eyes wide. Grissom can't breathe for choking.

It's so small, so pale, but somehow he can still see a hand.

Please, please…

He slides down, running before he reaches flat ground.

He can see her hand.

--

Sara doesn't see. She is too busy not understanding. She doesn't know how she did it. Can't remember, comprehend.

How?

She thinks she might be dying.

--

He slips, falls, scrambles.

"Sara, Sara-"

He grips her hand, and its too cold, too cold—

She's moving, hand tightens.

Grissom doesn't hear, see anyone else moving, only her arm moving.

--

He's on his stomach, reaching, but she's hazy for some reason. His face crowds the triangle of light, and all the noise is echoing and echoing.
His hand is reaching, touches her hand, his other touching her hair.

Lights boil in behind him as people come like ants, and she has to turn away.

The mud is turning red under her cheek, and she is suddenly afraid.
She can't feel a thing…

There's something wrong.
I've got a pain in my little insides...

There is a carjack underneath the car; she can see him smiling through tears.

Don't, don't…her lips moved.

He couldn't see.

The car lifted, and she overflowed like the rain.

In that moment, all she could think of is what she didn't say.
Can't say.

--

Away, Natalie is singing softly. Even now, her voice is shaking. But she's been waiting so long for this, how can she still be afraid?

She can hear the silence outside, and thinks someone might be weeping.

Got a pain in my sawdust...

What she would give for silence.

The sheet is tight around her neck, she is a step away.

And away, Sara is falling as her crushed abdomen leaks and drips, the pressure of the car letting the blood free.

Grissom's hands are outstretched, and even with the rain they turn red.

--

This is the balance, and someone must fall.


How Living Doll should have ended.