Title: Doxology

Author: Kourion

Summary: One CSI fears the unknown.

Notes: I needed a break from writing WIP's. Isn't that humorous? Taking a break from a break? Anyway, this is just an idea that was fogging up my brain. Please read and review!

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Our world is grotesque, and at times, brutal, and although most individuals have coping mechanisms that allow them to 'tune out' the extreme gore, or to allow for detachment in cases, a simple fact of life is that all beings are predatory. From the cheetah that takes the life of various herbivores, to the rabbit that greedily robs from a plant stalk, every being pilfers from some other organism - an organism that is too vulnerable to avoid being consumed; a being in a weaker position.

The barbarism has been with us since the dawn of man. It is recorded in such works as Ovid's tale of the rape of Philomel, as well as the Greek legend of the slaughter, and cannibalistic consumption of Atreus and Thyestes.

The violence, the sickness, and the death bombard us daily - CSI or not. So many of us live out our sheltered existences, never pausing to think about the horrendous suffering of others.

Those that are well off may praise the God that I no longer believe in, and yet, how do I support a belief that has age-old ties to animal sacrifices, physical discipline of children - even, in extreme cases, wife beating and execution?

So, when Grissom commented, angrily, on my derisive tone following an interrogation of a suspect who spouted Biblical rhetoric as a way of derailing us, I was more than a little surprised.

I thought he'd understand where I was coming from.

Apparently not.

Lapsed Catholic though he may be, he not only has a rock-solid belief that there is a greater power, but believes IN God; supporting, unquestionably, his Lord's actions.

Furthermore, if he has such calmness, such resolve, when processing the scene of a murder victim - of a woman who defended her three children from being killed, and sacrificed her own life for theirs - if he can stay calm, and still not question the mercy of God, I applaud his conviction.

I really do.

Yet, such laudable behavior is not easily duplicated. Nor is it, in my case, something I've strived to achieve.

For I don't have that sort of faith in anything, or anyone. Perhaps, as he's told me - perhaps I don't even have such faith in myself.

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"Can you believe that guy? Scumbag murders his wife, beats his kids, and tries to make us look as fallible as he is? Bastard."

He looks up at me - his eyes are momentarily pained - but he musters control quickly.

"We don't know that he is the killer, Sara."

His words enrage me. Tonight, of all nights, I really, really, REALLY don't want to hear him garble about walls that 'speak', or evidence that never 'lies'.

Instead, I want him to be angered. Enraged. I want to see the glint of fire in his eyes - the burning hatred of a crime so horrendous, that my stomach turns and flops and I have to swallow down my tears and bile and pain.

I want him to feel so much stronger than he does. And he wants me to feel so little, or so I believe, until he utters his next words.

"Doxology. The liturgical expression of praise to God", he says obliquely.

"What the hell?" I mumble.

Why does he have to cloud the issues with religion?

"The children are alive, Sara. The mother gave her life, but her actions saved three. Tonight could have been a lot worse."

I can't believe my ears. He is in one of his obsequious moods - giving thanks to a mythical force that hasn't done diddlysquat. Prayer to a God that didn't protect anyone, and that never does.

"The mother is to thank for that, Grissom. Not God" I say, working ferociously to keep the sarcasm out of my voice.

"Are you", he begins carefully, "a naturalist, Sara?"

I'm not going to do our little semantics-tango. Not tonight.

"If a naturalist's beliefs were accurate - that is, if all humans were pre-programmed, or controlled by outside or internal influences that one had no control over, than the illusion of free will would be irrelevant. As it stands, validating any theory that strictly has to due with illusion, reality, or perhaps an illusion of a certain reality, remains impossible to prove."

Grissom is quiet for an impossibly long moment. In fact, the moment has now ceased. It stopped long ago. This conversation has now seeped into a NEW moment, and this nonsense talk has taken yet a new slice of my life.

I'm about to put an end to the conversation, when he adds "If we assume that naturalism is a basic universal truth, and that every being has a set genetic life plan, a fateful 'default' setting, then we have consigned ourselves to the level of a machine - a robot, or android, if you will. We may be able to 'experience' multiple sensations, or process 'feelings', but if we remove free choice from the 'equation', then our responses are analogous to a bot's reactivity to various, programmed code."

Damn the man, and his rationalism at such a time. I don't want him to be rational. Why is he being rational? I'm debating with Grissom - about religion and God - and he's totally unruffled; as cool as a cucumber.

Glancing downwards at my folder, I scrawl a few notes on my torn epi-note pad. It's an old file - a 419. Jane Doe that everyone has forgotten about, but that has haunted me from day one.

I'm getting into the groove of re-reading the file when I realize that he's still standing there - the 5ft 11 workaholic who never, ever gives up; I want to tell him to drop it already.

Obviously, he's expecting something more from me.

"It is our basic physical and emotional reactions, often those dubbed as 'negative', which allow for advancements in any sense, Sara", he tells me softly.

"One's memory is essentially just a function - as is the ability to think rationally, or logically, and, on its own, is not inherently negative?" I begin.

"Yes."

I know he thinks I'm personalizing - he always thinks I'm personalizing.

But he has biases too, and they are just influential as my own. If I can only get him to realize this, perhaps my frustration will not be so intense.

"You've read Titus Andronicus, haven't you Grissom?"

He gives me an odd look, and I mentally chastise myself.

"Take a guess, Griss. What part of the play do you think disturbed me the most?"

"The rape of Lavinia", he says evenly.

I shake my head. "The death of the fly", and I sigh when he looks at me with an unusual, crazy expression.

Might as well put an end to this roundabout talk; sometimes talking to Grissom reminds me of racing on the Indy 500. We are both racers, with the same goal, but he races in one direction, and I - in another, and every once in awhile we pass each other on the course.

And this confuses us enough to think that we are both on the same track, when we are, in reality, zooming off into opposite directions.

"If we can have such lack of reverence for any creature, especially one that is immensely more fragile, and just as deserving as life, then what do we respect? Do we merely respect beings that tower over us, as they could, at a primal level, inflict severe physical damage? Do we only respect creatures, including humans, which can aid our individual advancement? Is our every action tied to selfishness?"

"If we believe in God, Sara - in benevolence and clemency, then we are doing all we can. We have to let go of all the rest. We can never comprehend it all."

I'm not sated with this however, and retort, "Grissom - the play manipulates the audience with such gore and insanity, that when we are finally exposed to scenes that should normally cause us to pause, and perhaps have the smallest twinge of shame or remorse, we instead laugh. Don't you think that, maybe, our willingness to destroy is not linked to hardship or exposure, but instead, is an intertwined part of our nature?"

"Naturalism", he echoes my thoughts with a word.

"Maybe there is no God. Maybe there is no one looking out for us, and never was..."

He nods sadly, and for a moment, I feel as though I've done something horrible. As if I've tried to strip away a little of his hope.

Why couldn't he just be angry along with me? Why did he have to be so calm this evening?

Feeling disappointed with my own actions, my negativity, I lapse into silence, and continue to scan the report, hoping he isn't disillusioned due to my stinging words.

Jotting down the last remnants of job-related thoughts, I stop shuffling my papers when I hear his voice. It is velvety - soothing.

"There will always be someone looking out for you, Sara. I promise."

Tonight, I will allow myself to believe.

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fin