The fresh October night had begun seemingly normal. The bustle of day shift leaving and night shift coming in filled the glass walled lab as a bearded, silver haired man walked out of an office.
Gil Grissom had just finished not reading his memos and avoiding other supervisory details. He had a fairly normal stack of half sheet assignments in his hand: a couple B&E's, a body from Desert Palms (suspicious circumstances), and a brutal beating on the Strip. He strode down the hall nonchalantly, ready for another night's work. He entered the break room and glanced around.
Catherine was sitting in a chair filing her nails in kaki pants and green t-shirt. Sara was sitting on the couch opening a manila envelope, her outfit anticipating a colder night. Nick and Warrick were chatting by the door; Warrick unconsciously twisting his new gold band, unused to the feeling. Greg was doing some outrageous flirting with Sofia, who just shook her head smiled, spilling a drop of coffee on her navy suit. Grissom's eyes flitted back over to Sara, now unfolding a letterl a thought crossed his mind but he quickly let it drop.
He glanced down at his hands realizing that he was here to do a job. He handed Nick and Warrick the beating. Catherine was solo on a B&E, and Greg had his own as well. He was just about hand Sara the Desert Palms case when as loud gasp of shock was heard.
All eyes turned to Sara, who was gasping short breaths of air, her eyes welling up, obviously disturbed by something. She looked up from the letter, now aware of the alarmed stares of the others.
"Excuse me," she barely managed out as she fled from the break room and into the ladies room.
"Should I follow her?" Catherine asked, sounding unsure if she really wanted to.
Grissom replied, "No, go to work, and I'll—uh, wait for her, and then go to autopsy," Catherine gave him a quizzical look, but left for her crime scene.
"See ya later, Griss," Nick said as he grabbed his jacket and headed out with Warrick.
Grissom headed into his office to review the case folder before the autopsy.
The body belonged to a Shawn Hanes: 26 year old Caucasian male. Went into the ER that morning for stomach pains, entered the morgue at five o'clock.
Grissom had just started reading his health record when a knock came upon his door. He looked up as Sara solemnly stepped in and shut his door. He noticed she was shaking violently and her dark brown eyes bloodshot from crying. He jumped from behind his desk, gently pulled on her upper arm, and sat her down in one of his cold metal chairs, taking the one opposite from her.
"I need some time off." She blurted out. Shit, she thought. So much for composure. Her body began racking again with sobs; she resisted the all too human urge to curl up into a ball. "I need—about two—three weeks—" more sobs.
Grissom began to get a little frightened. The last time he'd seen her in hysterics was after she'd been suspended, and that was just sobbing, nothing like this. He slid his hand from her upper arm up across her shoulders and neck, his hand cupping her face and laced in her hair. He took her other hand.
"What on earth is the matter?"
Sara stopped sobbing, sniffed and looked up at him. She was a wreck. The hand in her hair reached back and tucked the hair wet from crying behind her ears and rested on her shoulder. A look of deep concern flooded the eyes of Gil Grissom as he stared as her. Get a hold of yourself, Sidle! she said to herself.
She unclasped his hand, sniffed some more, and wiped the salty water from her face. The shaking was eased a bit as she gained a sense of composure.
"You, um know I have a brother, right?" Sara tentatively asked him.
"Yes," he answered.
"Well, um, we've been, uh, estranged, I guess, for the past thirteen years." God, has it already been so long?
"Really," Grissom stated, wondering what this estrangement had to do with her state.
"Um, yeah. His wife never really liked me at all, hated me in fact," She added with a quick smile, slight chuckle, somehow reminded the a similar situation with Ecklie.
"One Christmas or Thanksgiving, we got into a fairly heated argument (which she started, by the way). I left early. The fight was over something trivial, but it said a lot about our relationship. A few weeks later, I received a note from my brother. His wife had issued him an ultimatum: basically he had to decide between a person he sees everyday and one he sees less than three times a year."
"That's awful," Grissom interjected.
"Naw," Sara replied. "I wrote him back saying I understood and our relationship ended on a good note.
Grissom raised an eyebrow but let her continue.
"About 10 years back, I received a big fat envelope of legal documents and a note from him asking if I would take care of his two kids should something happen to him. I accepted, signed the documents and sent them back. That's the last I had heard from him…until today" She handed Grissom a letter and about ten pictures, her hands were shaking again.
Grissom's eyes widened at the first picture, even more so at the second. After he flipped through them all he picked up the letter. In scrawled, frantic writing was a request:
I know we haven't been in much contact these past few years but I need you to tell you some things. There is a gun to my head, my wife's, and little Brandon's head (he's six now). We are hostages in our own house. Jessica never came home last night. She's the one these monsters want. I don't think we are going to make it out alive. I just wanted to let you know that I'm sorry and my wife is sorry for the rifts between us. I know and trust that you can take good care of Jessica. Please find her!
The note cut off there and Grissom noticed some spatter. In a different hand, calm and bold, near the bottom was written:
It's too late for them. But I will find her. And I will kill her. It's only a matter of time.
Grissom looked back at the pictures. A man was bound at the feet and gagged. He did indeed have a gun to his head and was writing a letter. In the background a woman was bound and gagged next to a very scared looking little boy. The other pictures only showed dead bodies, blood spatter everywhere in the once white living room.
"Sara, I'm so sorry," he put his hand again on hers. She started crying again, quietly this time. After a bit he asked, "Who's Jessica?"
"My fifteen-year-old niece—sniff. I need to go. I need to notify their police and find her."
"Where do they live?"
"Nebraska?" Grissom asked.
"Yeah," She replied. "But I have to go. I'm going to leave now if that's all right." She looked up at him for confirmation
"Sure," He said. "But I don't think you should go alone. You aren't very stable right now. Do you have any other family?" She shook her head no. After a moment of considering: "I'll go if you want."
"Okay." She whispered. They stood up to leave.
They left together in Grissom's car. He called Catherine letting her know that she was in charge for the next few nights and called Nick to hand off the Hanes case. They stopped briefly at Sara's apartment so gather the essentials; clothes, tooth brush, etc. Grissom took longer at his place, since he needed to feed all of his little roommates.
They finally made it to the airport around eleven p.m. Grissom bought both tickets to speed up the process, Sara promising to pay the way back. The flight left at 12:30 am. After a quiet wait and a cup of coffee, they boarded and forever left their familiar Vegas.
He had come off a double shift the night before. He couldn't remember the last time he had slept. Sleep naturally came in the dark, quiet airplane. But there was something different. His right arm felt warmer, there seemed to be a light weight pressing on it. As he turned to see what was what, the side of his jaw gently touched the top of a woman's head. Sara was sleeping softly on his shoulder.
The right thing for a boss to do was lightly push that person off of him/her. But Grissom thought for minute; he wasn't here as her boss, he was with her as a friend. At that thought, he put his head back again, slightly resting on the one next to him and dozed off again.
That day's emotional rollercoaster had taken its toll. She hadn't slept that day either. Sleep naturally came in the dark, quiet airplane. There was a slight jar of turbulence that pushed her out of a dream state of mind. Her left side was warm as she leaned in the direction. She could smell Grissom's scent, and internally she panicked. What if he woke up and found me like this!! she thought.
He turned his head and his jaw lightly touched her head; she heard a slight intake of breath. After a moment his head dropped back down, only this time resting on hers. Sara took this as an okay, and fell back asleep.