This is based on the Season 2 episode All Access. This whole story is a spoiler, so you have been warned!!!

Thank you SO MUCH to the Lovely DaLiza for her mad Beta'ing Skillz. :)

Anything's Bearable

I'm a big girl. I can do this.

Walking into the bathroom of my apartment, I brace myself for the sight I know will greet me. The bathtub is covered in blood – my blood. I finger the cuts that crisscross my fingers, finding relief in the physical pain they bring. The prickling stings dancing across my thumbs are a welcome distraction from the panic that's threatening to send me over the edge right now.

I close my eyes, trying to block out the image of the bright blood smeared over the porcelain bathtub, but shutting my eyes makes the loss of control even worse. In the absence of something real to look at, all I can see is myself, wrists tied behind my back, my ankles tied in front of me, sitting in that bathtub, frantically cutting at the ropes around my wrists as I tried to escape. I have to remember to breathe. The fierce independence I have always been so proud of hates to admit that maybe Mac was right –it was a bad idea to come back here so soon after what happened. I focus on my partner's quiet strength and competence as I open my eyes.

Cleaning up the blood in the bathtub will have to wait. I turn my back on the bathroom, and continue investigating the place I had called home. Walking into the living room, I can't help but wonder how long it will be before this apartment feels like home again – before the sense of fear and invasion dissipates. Before I can come up with a logical answer, my thoughts are interrupted by the sight of the lamp Frankie knocked over during our struggle for the gun. Straightening the lamp, my eyes start to sting, and I know I'm about to lose it. I bend down to pick up the chair I knocked down as I fell to the ground after firing the shots that killed Frankie. I take my time arranging the chair, being sure to put it back in the exact place it was before all of this happened. By the time I exhaust this valiant yet futile attempt at distraction, the tears are blinding, and I have to wipe them away to be able to see what I'm doing. I lift my head, turning my eyes away from the room, trying to escape in the pattern crossing the ceiling. I can see Mac's face, framed by that pattern, saying my name as I regained consciousness. That was the moment I had known that I would be okay. That I would survive.

Turning around, I'm confronted with an even worse sight - a large pool of Frankie's blood in the middle of my floor. The CSI in me wants to, needs to, see this as just another pool of blood at one of the crime scenes I process every day. All I can see is Frankie's body. Three gunshot wounds to the chest. Splayed out across the rug. Even through the panic I felt and the tears clouding my vision as I killed my ex-boyfriend, I could see the look on Frankie's face and I know I am never going to forget it. The shots hurt, I could see it in his eyes. He had worn a look of betrayal as he had fallen to the ground.

The bastard was actually surprised I shot him, surprised that I had defended my life when he threatened it. What did he expect? That I was going to stand there and let him shoot me with my own gun? I'm a cop. I've protected myself since before I can remember, and he had the nerve to think I wouldn't kill him to do it again?

I survey the room as best I can through my tear blurred vision. I definitely should have listened to Mac, I admit as I move quickly across the room to my dresser, wiping my eyes. I mindlessly grab the clothes at the top of the drawer and stuff them into the duffle bag I carried home from the hospital. It's not too late to take my partner's advice. Get out of here and let Crime Scene Cleanup do their job. I need to leave to give myself time to heal. As I grab the bag and walk out of the room, I catch sight of the now gruesome, blood spattered sculpture on the mantle. The sculpture had seemed so beautiful when Frankie had first made it. I know that, if I ask, I can trust Mac to make sure Cleanup gets rid of the thing, permanently this time. Walking out of my apartment, I open my phone and dial a familiar number.

The cab ride to the nearby Hilton goes by fast. I sit in the back of the car, staring mindlessly out the window, my sense of calm and control increasing the further away I get from my apartment. There would be a time to go back, to face head on what had happened, but tonight was not it. I pay the driver, grab my bag, and quickly make my way into the hotel.

Walking into the lobby, I scan the large room for a familiar face. I know it's unreasonable to expect him to make the trip so quickly, but I'm feeling unusually selfish and impatient in needing him here right now. I resign myself to having to wait as I make my way through the lobby towards the reception desk.

And then I see him, standing right at the desk, waiting for me. I don't know how he did it, but he beat me here. I make a beeline towards my partner, who immediately envelops me in a warm, strong, protective hug. I feel safe for the first time since this whole ordeal started. In that moment, I know that even if Mac can't always protect me, he is always going to be there for me when I need him. Wrapped in my partner's arms, that thought makes anything bearable.