A/N: I guess you can call me the Mangling Author. The One Who Can't Help But Cut Her Fic.
Here is half of Part Three. Yup, my muse doesn't appreciate much the drama overwhelming the fandom, and she decided to go on strike. No worries, I'm in ferocious negotiations, so I should be able to END this story before…Jorja leaves :(

Thank you so much to Mingsmommy for the beta. And for being so freakin' awesome.

And thank you all of you, for the kind and amazing reviews. You guys rock.

Spoilers: Through 8x01: "Dead Doll". Grissom and Sara POVs.

Part Three, a)

Sara was a survivor.

A warrior.

At least, a certain Vera Metz thought so.

Vera Metz was one of those people you were always likely to meet, when a part of your job consisted in questioning witnesses, family members, friends, or any relative. Most of the time, you spoke to plain, ordinary people. But among them, there were those who stepped aside, some way or another. In the mental list Sara had written in her head for those special cases, Vera Metz immediately found her place among the raving lunatics.

"You hide behind a veil of superiority," she had told to Catherine –with whom Sara was investigating that night- when the latter had just been asking about when she had last seen the victim, "but the truth is that you're afraid; terrified about the simple thought of these people you care so much about discovering how much you need them."

There must have been some part of truth there, because, Catherine's mouth had opened, then closed, then opened again, before it finally shut, no retort had come.

Sara couldn't help but smile, amused by this unexpected demonstration of 'divination,' and her colleague's sudden confusion.

And then, Vera had turned to face her, scrutinizing her intensely. Sara had raised an eyebrow, waiting for the verdict to fall, still smirking.

"You are a survivor." She had finally announced. "A warrior. You're going to be okay."

She'd mostly been amused and intrigued by the whole thing, while Catherine seemed clearly distracted.

'Me, a survivor? A warrior?' she had thought in reply. 'I'd rather say that I just try not let myself be crushed by every nice thing life sends me.'

But two months later, as the swarming waters broke in full speed, this memory surfaced in her panicked mind.

I'm a survivor. I will not drown here. I won't, I won't, I won't.

Next thing she knew, water was filling the car.

It didn't take a second for her head to be completely immersed, and she almost let her panic take over her. But her survival instinct was stronger than anything.

She fidgeted violently, stretching her neck as much as she could, and suddenly, her head was out of the water again, allowing her to take jerky breaths, coughing out what she'd swallowed.

But the water was rising at a phenomenal rate now, and she wouldn't be able to breathe anymore anytime soon. And she realized that, all around her, behind the sound of the roaring water, loud grinding noises where coming from the car.

Knowing how lucky she actually was, she wouldn't be surprise if said car started to sink down a little more, with the strong waters hitting it.

If she wanted to stay alive and get out of here, she had to do it alone. No rescue would come in the next thirty seconds. She was the only one left.

And after all, she might be all she needed.

She continued to struggle, pulling on her stuck leg, again and again, until suddenly, it was released.

A fleeting feeling of victory ran through her, especially when she realized how her possibility for movement had increased. But this feeling quickly faded away, the pain in her arm suddenly intensifying, as the water continued to rapidly rise.

Her arm, she had to free her arm.

Dive, dive dive! After taking a deep breath, where air and water merged, she immersed her head again, eyes wide opened.

And a new memory flashed in her mind. All of sudden, she was back twenty years ago, sliding in the tub's water so she could forget just for a second that a world existed around her.

Except that today, the water was freezing cold, dirty and bustling, and the ominous rumbles of the storm –as well as the alarming grinds of the car- were still audible.

And she was everything but safe.

But through the veil of sand raising and wreathing from the ground, her aching eyes eventually located an object which completely drew her attention, and made her brain's cogs worked at top speed.

The rearview mirror.

Two minutes later, Sara was free.


His mom was crying again in her room next door.

Sometimes, he would wish that deafness had already overtaken him, so he wouldn't have to hear her anymore.

He had lived nine years without knowing what his mom's cries sounded like, and he could have lived a lifetime in that blissful ignorance , it would have made no difference.
During all these years, she'd surely cried, though. Because, in his mind, it was impossible for a human being not to let go from time to time. But, as most of the things she did, she must have done it in silence.

The first time she had sobbed her heart out in front of him, happened recently enough to still make acid violently burn his stomach at the simple thought of it.

It had been only a few hours since his dad had passed away, and they'd just come home. Like a zombie, she'd started her daily routine, preparing dinner, though it was way past eleven pm. Gil had stayed still and quiet at the doorframe, watching her as she was moving. Then, she had opened the cupboard, and by reflex, had taken three plates out of it.

Gil's brain and mind must have been still foggy, because next thing he knew, he was staring at his mum on the floor, her entire body shaken by racking and terrifying sobs.

And he'd been so…shocked! Of course, it had quickly broken his heart (a little more), but
astonishment, pure and simple, had been his first feeling.

He didn't know what to do, he didn't know what to say. He wouldn't have been able to say anything at the time, anyway, considering she wasn't in condition to see his hands nor his lips.

So, feeling more useless than ever, he'd knelt beside her, and after a moment, had taken her hand in his, not knowing what else he should do.

But she had kept crying.

Like she was doing tonight. So loudly that the sound was coming through the wall and was filling Gil's bedroom, so much so he felt like she was there with him.

Maybe it was because she couldn't hear herself. Nothing came to put a limit to her sobs. Not able to hear their sound, she needed to feel them vibrate in every inch of her body, in the mattress, through the walls.

And on his bed, staring at an invisible spot on the ceiling, Gil, on the other hand, didn't cry anymore.

He, whose eyes had always so easily watered, loving the heartwarming embrace of his mom, or the reassuring words of his dad; the cakes he cooked with her used to cheer him up, the walk he took with him, those father and son moments, had been comforting to him, providing him an endless feeling of safety.

But tonight, there was no comforting arms, no reassuring words.

And why keep crying when there was nobody left to hear his pain anymore?

Gil was way too much a stoic to share his grief with the walls.

So Gil didn't cry anymore.

But his mom, God help her, she couldn't stop.

'Where are you, Daddy?'


"Where is she, Catherine?"

"She's a survivor."

As his eyes scanned the endless horizon spreading all around him, feeling more desperate than ever, Grissom tried, and failed, to find comfort in her words.

He'd been so sure that once they would find the car, he would find her.

Because she would have held on, because she would never have stopped fighting.

Of the two of them, she was without a doubt the bravest one. She kept walking through every ordeal life put in her way, never giving up, becoming stronger and stronger.

He, on the contrary, tried somehow or other to stay alive through life's ordeals, but in the end, he was just more weakened than anything. A little more blasé, a little more withdrawn, a lot more hurt.

And this new ordeal was the worst he had ever faced.

Because he would never be able to forget that it had all happened to Sara because of him. Let-alone forgive himself for it.

If what he dreaded the most happened, he would never stand up again.

And for the time being, when his heart should have been filled with endless admiration for the only woman he had ever loved, and for what she'd managed to accomplish during the last few hours, he just felt broken, and completely lost.

A part of him already giving up, as he always did.

But deep in his chest, an aching hope kept making his heart bleed. And in his blood, the same words were endlessly carved.

Where are you, Sara?


Life could be strange.

Sara had spent the twelve first years of her life swimming as far and as long as she could from her house, in the hope that at the end of this long-drawn out race, she would find a land of refuge, solid and dry, on which she'd be welcomed.

For twelve hours, she had been roaming on solid and dry lands, seeking a watering-place, in absence of any other kind of salvation.

It's been a long time since she had hoped for a road.

It's been a very long time since she had hoped for anything, period.

She was alone; it was just her, no sudden rescue, no miraculous help, just her.

At first, she had hurt. Everywhere, especially where her arm was broken. Her torn shirt was now a makeshift sling. She had wrapped the rest of it around her head when it was still wet, trying to keep the refreshing coolness as long as she could.

Focusing on the pain kept her alert, stopped her mind from drifting away, and kept her moving, towards any road.

And then, she had been thirsty. So thirsty that this need had become more powerful than the pain shooting through her whole body, with every step she took. Focusing on the thirst stopped her body from falling, and kept her moving, towards any watering-hole.

Now, she didn't feel the pain anymore, nor the thirst. She knew that all those nasty feelings were still there, hidden behind a weird fog, which seemed to disconnected her from everything. And this fog was scaring her.

So she was reciting her multiplication tables. To force her brain to work, her mind to focus on something. It was stopping her from sinking into a heavy and liberating –but bad, really, really bad- sleep, and was keeping her moving, 'running' away from the shadow of Death.

But if numbers were escaping her lips, whispering the calculations, it appeared that her mind had eventually detached itself from the exercise, as it had detached from everything else. What was now filling her head was a litany, which she repeated again and again and again and again.

It made her lift her right foot, put it on the ground, then lift the left one, put it on the ground, and so on, even if she was moving slower and slower. It forced her to stand up when she fell.

To keep moving, to keep moving. To never stop, to never give up.

She could make it through alive. Of course, it was her and her alone in the middle of this arid desert, but perhaps she would be saved eventually…

To keep living, to keep living…

To see him just one last time. Grissom…

She was so dehydrated, so disoriented, so out of touch with reality, that she could almost hear his voice: "Keep living, Sara… It will be all over soon…"

Yes, everything will stop very soon.

She will be rescued, her arm will be plastered, her wounds dressed, and never, ever again she will have to think about that. Everything will be swallowed up in oblivion, she will resume her life exactly where it had stopped, with him, and it will be all right, yes, it will be all right…

To keep moving, to keep living.

If only…if only the ground would stop writhing, she could start walking again…

But the ground, and the rest of the landscape, kept shaking and distorting.

Soon, she felt the burning sand under her fingers, and realized that she had fallen again. But this time, no mantra could make her stand up.

Because her entire body was abandoning her, betraying her, forcing her mind to give up, forcing her to surrender.

She was slipping, slipping, slipping…

In a last jolt of imagination, melding with memories and hallucinations, she felt like the sand on which her body was sagging was in reality the mattress of their bed.

And the imperceptible warm breeze blowing on her cheek was Grissom's breath, as he softly whispered in her ear: "Everything's all right, Sara… You can sleep now."

For as long as she'd been in love with him (forever, then), she had always done everything he'd asked. Once again, she did what he said.

And she barely felt the sad melancholy running through her entire body and soul, as she gave herself in to the warmth and the peace.

All she had wanted to do was to keep living.


Sara was on the ground.

Curled up in a way he had observed too many times –and yet not enough-, as she'd slept next to him.

Bruised, and frighteningly still.

He didn't hear what the paramedics and his friends were shouting. He was mesmerized by this vision, darkening the whole world around him, shutting down its volume. Allowing him to feel only the pain bursting in his chest; to see nothing but her, only her, broken on the ground.

Was this how dying felt?

A dark abyss, swallowing you so fast, dragging you in a terrifying and endless fall.

Still, the heretic beatings of his heart against his ears were concrete evidence of the fact, well, he was still alive.

And yet, as his eyes couldn't leave the seemingly lifeless body of the woman he loved more than anything else in the world, Grissom died inside.


He took her hand.

Not only because he couldn't do anything else, but also because hedidn't know what else to do.

After all, this was the only move he always managed to make during times of crisis, wasn't it?

To take her hand, hoping with all his will that she'd feel his touch, wherever her spirit was. Praying for his silent and painful calls, emanating from every pore of his skin, to reach her.

Open your eyes, Sara. Please, please, please, open your eyes, open your eyes, open your eyes, open your eyes.

Sara opened her eyes.

And even if the world remained loudly silent, colors reappeared, and air filled up his lungs again.

Was it how returning to life felt like?

Being stopped in your fall, grasped by the core, before being violently pulled towards the surface. Towards the light.

Towards her.


She had fallen.

She had let herself slip into the comforting warmth, unable to resist any longer this delicious call.

And she had felt good, so good.

No more fatigue, no more grueling thirst, no more pain. Only peace and restfulness

And Grissom.

G.R.I.S.S.O.M, to be exact.

It was funny. She still felt like she was floating, and yet, it seemed like those letters were drawing in her mind. Or before her eyes, maybe?

After the letters of his name, it's in his gaze that she lost herself.

Was it how dying felt like?

Or was it how returning to life felt like?

Him, him, him, always him.

Life could be so nasty and deceptive sometimes, she didn't know the difference anymore. But it didn't matter.

He could just be a vision in which her soul was finally resting, after years and years of fights. Or he could be really there beside her, giving her something to cling to, to climb up towards the surface, towards the light, towards him. She didn't care.

Because he was there. He had found her.

And that was all that mattered.