A/N – Okay, this is definitely a one-shot. Please Read & Review.

Disclaimer: If you haven't figured out who owns CSI, I ain't telling.

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Helpless

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He'd seen it in her eyes for years – that faint haunting. She rarely spoke about it, and almost never referenced her life before college.

When she felt close to breaking down, he could see it in her face. The way her lips would tremble and she'd curl into herself. She didn't often break down, though. He knew she hated to show weakness, primarily because people who showed weakness often got the crap beat out of them. She learned that in junior high.

If she cried, he would hold her. Once, coming home after the particularly gruesome murder, she'd nearly begged him to touch her – everywhere. She'd said she needed to feel alive. He'd done as she asked, loving her every moment. It was one of only a handful of times she'd asked anything of him.

Emotions were a nebulous thing, but they'd learned to anticipate one another, and try to meet each others needs, but often not succeeding. They hurt each other – repeatedly – but always came back to that same place of understanding. He had to leave before he burned out, hurting her in the process. Staying with Heather hadn't helped much either. Both were forgiven. Quickly.

She spoke little about the desert, although he asked. The shadows were darker after the desert, and he didn't know what to say or do. When she did speak of that time, her words were rambled and she would sink into herself. Sometimes, she needed his touch. Other times, she just needed his silence.

One rare night, shortly after she had returned to work and moved to swing shift, they lay together, replete and relaxed. He'd told her how he loved to watch her eyes turn from brown to midnight black, and how he loved her more than mere words could ever say. Usually, she would have turned to him and grinned, perhaps kissed him and lingered. That night, he watched those eyes cloud. When he'd asked what was wrong, she shook her head on a sob.

When he read her note, everything became numb. Because through it all, he never imagined not having her with him. She told him she would miss him with every beat of her heart. She told him that her life with him was the only home she'd ever known. She left home, with only a note, and left him…

Helpless.

He wondered where she ended up. She had to bury her ghosts. He could understand that. If he were being honest with himself, he would admit he had known this time was coming. But he knew that he couldn't fix her problems, as much as he wanted to. He couldn't make her feel better.

All he could do was hope she came back. She loved him. He loved her. She left him with only a note and took a part of him that was only alive with her. He loved her so much, he needed her. When he looked around, everything seemed dim. She hurt him. She left. It would be forgiven. Quickly.