Journey Through the Past- Epilogue

Eight months later:

The lone figure stood on the pier watching a brilliant red-gold sunset over the Pacific Ocean. The man watched the gentle waves lap against the moorings below him as he leaned upon the wooden railing taking in the sight before him and the peaceful feelings that only the ocean could give.

Smiling wanly to himself, he felt the presence of the young man strolling to the end of the pier. It had been a long eight months, and the young man with short wavy brown curls and brilliant blue eyes had spent almost every minute of that eight-month long journey with him. Grissom looked down at his feet, grateful that for this moment he could share with his son. He still wasn't sure what the future held for him, but he knew for sure that he wouldn't be spending that future alone.

"Hey, you okay?" Scott asked softly as he laid a hand on his father's shoulder.

"Better than okay," said Grissom, looking at his son with a bright smile. "Just remembering how much your mother enjoyed the ocean. This where we first met, you know."

"Yeah, you told me…many times," Scott said with a wide grin.

"We shared our first kiss here too. We shared a lot of things here," said Grissom softly not really intending for Scott to hear as his gaze returned to the sunset.

"We brought you here when you were a baby, barely six months old," he said a little louder.

Looking at his son, Grissom smirked, "Your mother was somewhat disappointed that you weren't agog over the ocean. Instead, you were fascinated with a couple of ladybugs that happen to light onto your hands. She claimed that I was a bad influence."

Scott grinned back, "I was only six months old! What did she expect?"

Sighing, Grissom turned his attention back to the gently rolling waves. "We met after I earned my degree in biology at UCLA. We didn't marry until I came back here and was a coroner for LA County. Your mom decided to become a CSI even though she had a degree in marine biology. She felt that we should share careers so that we could grow closer. I think that I regret that more than anything about our life together. She loved the ocean so much."

Scott nodded to show that he understood. "She would have liked that you remembered that about her- that you're returning her to what she loved the most with who she loved the most."

Grissom arched his eyebrows at his son. "A bit sappy, don't you think?"

Scott grinned, "Maybe so, but both you and Mom, I'd like to think that you were both romantics at heart."

Grissom smiled and shook his head slightly, "Did you bring the urn?"

Scott nodded and reached down into the backpack he had set down by his feet. He carefully pulled out the bronze urn that was filled with his mother's ashes. The young man handed the urn to his father.

Carefully holding the urn on top of the rail, Grissom caressed the metal tenderly and worked the lid off the container.

With tears glistening in his eyes, Grissom whispered, "You were my first love. Our time together was too short, but times that I will always treasure. We have a wonderful son together who seems to have inherited the best parts of you. I'm sorry that I wasn't there for you…that I didn't, couldn't save you in the end, but please know this, I love you and there's a part of my heart that will always be yours."

With that, father and son scattered the remains of Rachel Grissom upon the ocean she loved so much.

Gently taking the urn and lid from his father, Scott softly touched his father's arm. "Take all the time you need. Sara and I will be waiting for you down by the car."

Grissom looked at his son with grateful eyes and then smiled softly, "Thanks. I'll only be a few minutes. I…I just want to say good-bye."

Grissom took a moment to watch his son stroll slowly back towards Sara who was waiting for him with open arms at the end of the pier. They hugged briefly and slowly made their way to the parking lot and to the car.

Left alone, Grissom turned back to view the ocean in the descending twilight and to contemplate the events of the last year and a half. It had be a long and difficult road to travel. He was finally beginning to feel whole again, but Grissom knew that he still had a ways to go.

Grissom had a handle on the physical addiction to the street drug that was known as "Spider." He smiled ruefully at the irony that a new generation of street drug should be named after arachnids. Mallory had loved the irony of naming a drug that Grissom had been the guinea pig for experimentation. The drug was aptly named because it ensnared its victim into a web of addiction after just a few doses. After discovering exactly what Grissom had been given, along with cocaine, heroin, and PCP, Ken Jones had researched and experimented with the chemical properties of the drug which was derived from a species of plant only grown in the Amazon rainforest. How Mallory was able to develop the drug or get his hands on any of the plants was anyone's guess.

Through Ken Jones' ministrations, Grissom's body was still being weaned from the devastating affects of the drug. It had taken the better part of the last six months for Grissom to tolerate the gradual lessening of the synthetic substitute that Jones had developed to replace "Spider." For Grissom, slight tremors and a gradually worsening headache similar to a migraine were the signals for him to take the medication that Jones had developed. The length of time between withdrawal episodes was gradually lengthening and as Grissom watched the peaceful scenery before him, he knew that he should make his way back to the rental car before the headache that was tickling the back of his head got any worse.

Grissom thought back eight months ago when he woke up at Desert Palm Hospital. Dr. Taylor's smiling face was there to greet him as he groggily opened his eyes and tried to remember what had happened to him.

"Some patients are really hard to get rid of. Grissom, this is really getting old," said Dr. Taylor softly with a slight twinkle in his eye.

Grissom shut his eyes, groaning, "Not again. Tell me that I'm not here again."

""Fraid so buddy. You can't seem to stay away from here, but the good news is that you are infinitely better off than when they brought you here the last time."

The good doctor had informed him that he had been in the hospital two days this time around and that his condition was stable. He had suffered a gunshot wound the lower right quadrant of his chest. The bullet had nicked his right lung, compromising his breathing. They had been able to repair the damage, but his very sore cracked ribs were now broken but were on the mend. His left wrist had been protected by the cast, but someone had obviously tried to do a half-assed job of taking it off. Fortunately it had not suffered any further damage. Grissom would have debated the doctor on that point but so many other parts of his body were sore that he decided to forego that argument.

Grissom, initially, had disjointed memories of what had happened that night. At first he had a hard time discerning what had been real and what had been hallucinations brought about by "Spider". Gradually, through interviews with Brass, Catherine, Sara, and Ken Jones, what had happened in the storage building prior to Mallory staggering out in a drug-induced haze was slowly pieced together.

Apparently, Mallory was smart enough to figure out that the police would most likely be staking out the building. In any case, he knew getting away would not be an easy task. The escaped convict wanted a very pliable Grissom to control and use as a hostage. That meant doping Grissom up with "Spider" so that he could easily be controlled. The plan had worked up to the point. Grissom's trip had been an extremely bad one. As Manny and Mallory were trying to cut the cast off his left wrist so that they could bound him in a straitjacket, Grissom had been able to fight off both men. It didn't help that both men were wounded, but, nevertheless, Grissom was virtually unstoppable because of the surge of adrenalin fueled by the demons he was visualizing.

Evidently, in the struggle that ensued, Grissom had stabbed Mallory with the syringe that was meant for him. Mallory, in a panic, had tried shooting Grissom, striking Manny instead and killing him. Mallory managed to pull the syringe out, but not before more than half that dose had emptied into him. Grissom charged Mallory and was shot for his effort as he tackled Mallory. Though he had been shot, Grissom managed to wrestle the gun away as the two men struggled with the half empty syringe. The result was that the syringe somehow ended up piercing Grissom.

By then, Mallory was experiencing his own bout with the drug and was hallucinating. All thoughts of escaping from the police vanished as his own demons were pursuing him as evidenced by his behavior when he emerged from the building. Grissom had vague memories of finding the gun and staggering out the door to catch up with Mallory. From that point on, Grissom could only remember Sara suddenly appearing before him, her hands gently caressing his face and calming him down. Grissom was not aware that he had shot and killed Mallory until Brass had shared that information with him. The senior investigator was not sure how he felt about killing Mallory except for the overwhelming relief that his nemesis had been taken care of.

Grissom took a deep cleansing breath. He rubbed his left wrist to relieve some the achiness that crept in. His headache was worsening and he knew that he should make his way to where Sara and Scott were waiting so that he could take his medication.

Still, he wasn't quite ready to leave the pier. Regrets and guilt still plagued him, even though he knew that he had little control over the events that changed his life so long ago. The niggling thought that if he had been more aware or more protective of Rachel and Scott all of this could have been prevented. The blame belonged to Mallory, but still Grissom carried the burden of guilt for not protecting his young wife and child so many years ago. He shook his head in disgust. Gazing up at the sinking red-gold sun, Gil Grissom knew that he had to move forward. Otherwise, Mallory would still have a hold on him, and he would be stuck in the past. He could regret and miss the years lost or he could build a new life with his son and with a woman, who despite knowing that she was competing with a ghost, was willing to wait for him.

Straightening up, he glanced down at the gentle splash of the waves against the pier. With tears glistening in his eyes, Grissom said a silent farewell to Rachel. Turning, he walked slowly down the pier towards his future.

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A/N: Well, that's it folks. I hope that you enjoyed it. A special thank you to the following: Moonstarer-for encouraging me in the first place to write and then nagging (in a good way) to finish it, Kalsan- for the incredible encouragement, analytical reviews (which helped tremendously), CSIGeekFan for the early Beta and encouragement, ChiChiJellyBean for the encouragement and suggestions, SylvieT (even though I have been terrible about reviewing lately) for her reviews and encouragement. I am absolutely sure that I forgot a lot of you out there. Please forgive me. There are numerous others out there who were faithful to the story. Thanks to all of you who stuck with the story and were patient with me. I will be forever appreciative and grateful.

becky