Title : Let the ashes fly away

Pairing : Grissom/Sara

Genre : Drama/Angst/Romance (yummy! :D)

Rating : T

Words : 8,000

Spoilers : Up to Season 8's finale. I'm spoiler free, so NO spoilers for the incoming season (except for the return of...you know who, of course :p) Disclaimer : 'CSI' and all its characters belong to Anthony Zuiker, CBS and Alliance Atlantis. No copyright infringement is intended.

A/N : Okay. I first wrote this fic in...June? And I found the courage to translate it two weeks ago (8000 words, that can drive you nuts lol).
ANYWAY This is my take of the season 8 Finale :) So, of course, it's angsty and kinda sad, but the GSR is DEFINITELY there XD I'm proudly spoiler free, so...no spoilers :D

HUGE, thousands of thank you to Mingsmommy for being such an incredible beta, and a fantastic woman and friend :)


Let the ashes fly away


Greg digs his hand into the urn, and buries his slightly shivering fingers into the cold and powdery substance.

He would like to be able to say that the convulsive movement of his muscles results from the intense emotion he's feeling at that instant and not from the excess of alcohol he drank the night before; the aftermath of which keeps manifesting itself by a throbbing pain within his skull, along with a wobbling and increasing nausea.

He closes his hand, and it feels strange. It's because of this texture. It's almost like burying his fingers into a bowl of flour.

Except that it's not flour today.

He entraps a handful of this greyish powder, before pulling his fist out. Instantly, the breeze blowing around them creeps between his fingers, and a thin tendril of grey dust swirls away.

He tightens his fist until his short nails dive into his flesh, refusing to let the wind take away this last part of him. Not yet.

Because it's all that's left of Warrick Brown.

Their friend is nothing but a heap of ashes in a cheap metallic urn.

And in this instant, he finally realizes they never were really friends. Coworkers, without a doubt. Teacher and student at some point. Comfortable enough with one another to share a beer from time to time after a long shift, but not close enough to talk about the shadows that follow their everyday life, as sure as winter follows autumn.

And yet, the pain Greg feels regarding his death is sharply real and deep.

Because he's sure of one thing: they were parts of the same family.

But it is time to let him go.

Then, not without a painful clench of his heart, Greg opens his hand, and let the ashes fly away.

OoOoOoO

The now empty glass hits the surface of the bar with a loud bang, half muffled by the music coming out of the old Jukebox.

Vincent, who's drying his wet dishes in a very cliché way, stops his hands long enough to shoot a slightly suspicious and worried look at one of his last customers.

For having been in this line of work for more than twenty-three years, he knows perfectly well that this sound begs him to refill the glass with the blessed alcohol. Which is what he usually does without a blink.

But sometimes… Sometimes, it's different. When it's one of his favorite customers, for example, those he likes a lot more than the average, and who suddenly show an insatiable and terrifying thirst.

Greg Sanders is a member of this small elite.

A little over thirty, having at least three times his own IQ, he has no doubt about that.

His bar is more than modest, far from being among the group of popular pubs in Vegas' area. But after all, what bar can objectively compare itself to the glittering palaces displayed all over the Strip?

For maybe the last eight or nine years, Greg has come and sat at his counter two or three times a month. Sometimes with somebody –men or women, he's seen them all- but mostly alone. Always cheerful during the first years. But for about three years, it's true that the kid seems hell of a lot more serious, in his looks as well as demeanor.

This last year, he definitely seemed to have crossed the line between a never ending adolescence, and a rough and painful adulthood, figuratively and literally speaking.

Vincent's always got a TV on behind his counter. Several times, he had occasion to see the kid's face there, when a story about tourists being beaten was all over the news.

When Greg came and sat down at the bar for the first time since those events, his face still painfully displaying the traces of his heroic moves, Vincent offered him his best beer. The kid thanked him; but the weak smile on his lips hadn't shown in his eyes.

He drank silently.

Tonight, there aren't too many folks in. Tuesday's always been a slow night, especially when there's shitty weather outside.

Greg stepped in around 9:30 pm, soaking wet with rain, and looking like he couldn't care less. He sat in front of Vincent; put his elbows on the counter, before cradling his head in his hands, dripping on the shiny clean surface of the bar.

Anyone else, and Vincent would have uttered a small and discontented grunt.

But the kid seemed in such a bad state that he said nothing, and reached for a glass, placing it under draft-beer tub. But Greg shook his head, without even looking up.

"No beer tonight. Double whiskey."

Vincent remained still for a second and half, troubled by this change of habit –among other thing-the foam dripping from the end of the pump. Then, with a slight shrug, he gave the kid his drink.

Which Greg turned bottoms up, before slamming the empty glass on the counter. Asking for another one. Vincent would have been lying if he said that Greg's never gotten plastered here.

But tonight, he looks too much like a broken soul, desperately trying to fill up an abyss with shots of alcohol. Vincent knows and hates this shadow more than anything.

But the customer is always right. That's why he refills glass after glass. Occasionally, he takes his time. Mostly, he slams them down the hatch, like the first one. And since he hasn't said a word since "Another one," his beginning of drunkenness only shows in his eyes, which become more and more glassy, and more and more empty and yet tormented.

When the fifth glass comes, Vincent has no other choice than to ask for his keys. Greg keeps his eyes focused on the shot of whiskey he holds between his thin fingers.

"I used a cab to come, I'll use a cab to leave."

Vincent hates the hollow sound of his voice as much as the lack of expression on his face.

"I know you, Greggo. I know you're a serious guy…usually. But alcohol can make people do some serious stupid things, and I've been tried too often on the cab story to-"

Greg finally raises his eyes, and stares into his. And it's enough to stop him in the middle of his sentence. He wouldn't have needed what he said, less than five seconds later:

"Within twelve hours, I'll be at friend's cremation. Last thing I want to do tonight is kill myself in a car accident. I'll take a cab."

He keeps his eyes on the bartender's for a few fleeting seconds, letting him catch a glimpse of his pain. Such depth of anguish can only be caused by the recent loss of someone close.

Then, with a sharp and abrupt move, he raises his glass to his lips, and swallows it down in one mouthful.

Instantly followed by a loud bang on the counter.


When Greg finally decides to release his handful of ashes, Nick, who's standing on his right, grabs the urn.

He can hear Cath's muffled sobs next to him. Even without looking, he knows that Griss has wrapped an arm around her shoulders, awkwardly trying to be comforting.

But Nick suspects that if her sorrow is as intense as the one he feels right now, she doesn't even feel the warm hand of their friend.

Mimicking Greg's gesture, he digs his hand into the urn, and grasps Warrick's ashes between his fingers, before bringing his fist out.

He remains still for a few seconds, being both taken aback and nauseated by the sensation of the ashes in his hand.

Only a few days ago, it was his friend's blood that had covered his hands.

At that instant, he's doing his best, with the little strength he has left, to persuade himself that what he holds right now is the mere essence of Warrick Brown, not the simple residue of his carbonized corpse.

Strangely enough, the latter is the easiest.

These are only ashes…just ashes…the powdery residue of matter that remains after burning. Warrick simply left to go hiking in Colorado, that trip he's been talking about for years… He's not…

Not what?

Dead?

Of course, he's dead. Nick had a front row seat see it happen. To try to bring back life into the bloody body of his best friend.

But there was nothing he could do.

His face distorted by anger and excruciating pain, which tears can't even communicate anymore, he swallows hard, before opening his hand.

Letting the mere essence of Warrick Brown fly away.

OoOoOoO

Nausea is omnipresent, pressing like a lump of lead against the back of his throat.

The heavy and loud beats of his own heart again his chest and ears are unbearable. And his fingers…

His fingers are so sticky and red. He can seem them through a veil of tears. And he's so shell-shocked, he feels so lifeless, and passive. Unmoving.

And yet, he knows. He knows everything, he remembers everything. From the moment he heard the first gunshot, to…

No, it's not right. He remembers a lot more before that.

Before the gunshots, there is the warm handshake, and the exchanged look that only long time friends can share. There is this 'family' diner, even if one of their members is missing.

But what always come back behind his eyes are the gunshots. The screams. And the blood.

Nothing to do. Too late.

Warrick lives no more.

Across from him, Greg slouches on the floor, against the wall. Under other circumstances, Catherine may have told him how Greg had taken the exact same position three years ago, in the same hospital, as they were waiting to know how he was.

With one major difference, though. Today, Greg is crying. Quietly, but rather violently.

And Cath won't say a word to him. Because she's too busy crying as well, and there is nothing quiet in the heart-wrenching sobs escaping her. Sobs which are half smothered by Grissom's jacket, who in an automatic gesture has held her against him.

He's the only one who's not crying, Nick realizes somewhere in his fogged brain. But he's far from being expressionless for all that.

The one and only time he's seen such a painful expression displayed on Grissom's face, Sara had been missing for seventeen hours.

If Nick hadn't been the one in a hospital room, ALIVE, three years ago, he may have been able to understand why Grissom is restlessly staring at this empty chair, in front of him. There's no way he could know that three years priors to that day, Sara was sitting on that chair, that night, her head in her hands. That she had stormed out of the room at some point, seized by a wave of dizziness and nausea. That Grissom had joined her outside, and that for the first time, he had held her in his arms.

Because she was ALIVE.

No, Nick has no way to know all of that. Because three years ago, he survived. As traumatizing and deeply life changing as it could have been for him. He had lived.

Warrick didn't have this chance.

The blood on his hands makes it impossible for him to forget that.


Catherine was very young when she learned that tears make you appear like a damsel in distress. . Like a terrified princess.

A weak one.

That is why she only cries on very rare occasions. Even if since her daughter was born, since she's discovered that it really is possible to love someone more than you love yourself, to love them to death, she's a little more open to her feelings.

But when she cries, it's as if all this salty water she'd never wanted to shed, poured out of her in waves.

For five days now, Catherine has been crying restlessly, if not for the few brief hours of 'sleep' her broken body and mind forced her to take.

The tears flow and the sobs tear her throat apart, (her throat aches so much after so many helpless spasms). But it's been a long time since she's paid any attention to it.

If her body has decided to give away the depth of the loss she's suffered, then so be it.

She somehow feels Griss' arms around her. But they both know how pointless and useless it is right now.

She doesn't need to turn her head and look at the last two people in line to know that his other hand is tightly interlaced with Sara's. That they're receiving from each other a comfort that all the rest of them are envying at that instant.

The unique comfort from the one who loves you more than anything in the world, and who you love just as much.

Cath will never feel that grip.

Oh, she won't say that what she felt –and still feels- for Warrick is in anyway like what connects her two friend and coworkers. Because every story has its own path. And because their relationship is just so… weird, that nobody can exactly say what it is.

'Fusional' seems to be a good definition at this moment.

Catherine tightens her hold on the urn, having a really hard time believing that what is left of the man she could have loved with just as much passion is in this jar.

And it's with that thought invading her mind that she takes a handful of ashes between her fingers. She quickly lets them fly away.

Again, she has learned too young that it is useless to cling to lost dreams and broken hope.

Better let them vanish into the night.

OoOoOoO

The light of the room is sinisterly disgusting.

Has it always been so heavy? Or is it the thick coat of dark thoughts surrounding and suffocating her that makes her see things differently?

She's been at this place so many times, before, without ever paying any attention to what was surrounding her, only to the body on the ice-cold table.

But today, although she's staring at the white sheet, her senses refuse to focus on it.

So, she notices the bitter scent of the room, the pale and disturbing light, the silence of the dead, locked up in their refrigerators.

She briefly wonders in which of those freezing boxes Warrick is preserved when he's not on the table.

Her nausea increases.

Al repeats again and again that she should go home, and try to get some sleep. That it's sincerely the last place she should be. But, as for the previous times, she ignores him, and keeps asking him to lower the sheet, with a dry tone which is in total contradiction with her wet cheeks.

After several long seconds of hesitation, he eventually gives up.

He folds the sheet just above his shoulders, so that she cannot see the incisions of the autopsy. But she asks him to lower it more.

She wants to see the third hole, dug by the bullet.

"Catherine..." the coroner almost begs her.

"I won't go away until I've seen everything."

Again, her voice is as cold as his skin would be, if she'd put her hand on him.

He finally obeys, with a visible reluctance, surely telling himself that the faster he does what she wants, the faster she'd be out of the morgue.

She ignores the cuts wounding his upper body. It's only when she sees this red point in the middle of his chest that she finally and violently becomes aware of the body, and not only of the room anymore.

His skin is so pale.

From milk chocolate he became grey ashes.

Which he will soon be, whispers a vicious voice in her ears. She doesn't even try to shut this cold breath off.

Because it's the truth after all.

Somehow, she's happy that his eyelids are closed.

She couldn't bear to see his green eyes, he so beautiful green eyes, completely lifeless. Only filled by the darkness which pursues the path of Death.

She feels herself shivering, trembling, her stomach turning around.

She stares at the two other red marks, on both sides of his neck. Cause of death?

Al doesn't answer, taken aback. Because she knows. She knows everything, they know it all. Since the hospital, since the alley.

But she wants to hear him say it here, and now.

She wants him to say that she wouldn't have been able to do anything; even if she had stayed with him in the diner, and spent the night with him, as she had wanted to.

But she had left.

Because he was free, in every possible way. And that it was so good to let the tension increase, the impatience grow.

Soon, she had thought that night with a silent sigh of satisfaction, as she kissed the corner of his mouth.

Soon.

That was what his eyes had whispered to her.

But two gunshots had stepped in, had turned off a switch, and the rest of his life was thrown into darkness.

Cause of death. He answers this time.

The first bullet, shot in his neck, got the carotid. The second one, according to its angle, reached the heart, and perforated the aorta.

Only one of those bullets would have been enough to kill him off, anyway.

"It has to happen at some point, doesn't it Al?"

No answer. And the fact that she keeps her eyes focused on the ashen skin of the corpse blinds her to the coroner's worried look. So, she keeps going, her voice barely louder than a rustle.

"It could have been Nick. Brass. Greg. Even Sara, who actually should have really died. She was the victim of a serial killer who had never spared anybody. But she didn't die. None of them did. It's almost like the Russian roulette, isn't it?"

His lack of answer really doesn't surprise her this time. She knows he heard it in her voice.

This strange resentment. This deep and shameful desire that, finally, it should have been Nick, Brass, Greg or Sara who had died.

Not Warrick.

Not Warrick… she keeps thinking as she reaches out with trembling fingers towards his icy face.

Towards the warm spot she had kissed, that night.


Gil's cold and clammy fingers release hers, when Catherine gives him the urn.

Sara feels her heart break violently every time her eyes lay on Cath. She understands this pain too much, even though she's only ever experienced its first bites.

This throbbing ache, provoked by the certainty that never again she'll see her loved one.

At this instant, she would have given almost anything for Catherine and her to share a deeper and more sincere relationship. That way, she may have been able to offer her a better support. The comfort of a real friend, not just a coworker, who has just reappeared a few days ago after six months of absence.

She can't do anything, except watching silently the broken and mourning silhouette.

A small shiver of surprise runs through her body when Griss turns towards her, holding the urn out to her, without even having taken his handle of ashes.

Her eyes connect to his, frowning ever so slightly, and it's enough. Words aren't necessary during that kind of moment, when they are impossible to find anyway.

She understands.

She understands his desire to be the last one of the group to scatter Warrick's ashes.

As well as his fear, close to mere terror, to do it now.

So, painfully swallowing the lump in her throat, Sara grabs the urn, and slides her hand in the ashy dust.

She can't help but wonder about fate's irony and mockery. She thinks about her first coming to Vegas, so many years ago, to investigate the man whose ashes she now holds between her fingers. About how it's his death that brought her back. It could have destroyed everything she's done during those last months, forcing her back into darkness and torment. But the opposite occurred.

Despite her pain and sorrow, she was able to bury her last fears. Fear of rejection. Fear she had wasted everything.

But there had been no rejection in her reunion with Gil. On the contrary. Nor there had been any with the members of her former team, the members of her family, all aggravated by the still sharp and too recent loss of Warrick.

They all hugged her. Even Catherine. Even Grissom, though he had had many occasions to do it since the night before.

All, except Warrick, of course…

And at this instant, as she's ready to open her hand, she remembers the first time they met, how hostility and mistrust were oozing from each of them. And she remembers the last time they met, in the locker room. When two souls, both half-broken, had collided, offering to the other a smile that they wanted to be confident and comforting.

She can almost feel his warm hand on her shoulder, as she spreads her fingers open, and let his ashes fly away.

OoOoOoO

The squeak coming from the third step can be heard above her.

That's the signal she's been looking for every night, with impatience and apprehension, for about six months now.

That is that distinctive creak which had let her know, during this first cold night of November, that her daughter wasn't sleeping.

She had joined her in the kitchen, almost with fear, and had found her sitting at the table. Still looking exhausted and just as broken down.

Her instinct was urging her to tell her to go back to bed, because she obviously needed sleep. But another instinct, which had really nothing to do with motherhood, had made her keep her advice for herself.

Nothing was harder than to become a mother again, after twenty years of complete absence.

So, she had walked to the sink, opened the cupboard, hovering for a moment, and then taken out the necessary items to make two mugs of chamomile.

Sara accepted hers without a word, not even a quick thanking glance. But Laura… Laura, she was simply on her knees since this morning, thanking the heavens to have brought her little girl back.

When she opened the door that day, she expected to find Philip the mail man on her doorstep, who sometimes brings her the different things she orders with the help of this wonderful invention: the internet.

But it wasn't Philip.

And at that instant, it had seemed like the last twenty years had never existed.

There had been on Sara's face the same heartbreaking despair that she had seen so many years ago, during their last meeting in this asylum.

"They keep stealing my books and hiding my clothes…" she had murmured, silent tears sliding down her pale cheeks. And Laura had felt her heart break, over and over again.

How do you explain to your twelve-year-old child that you condemned her to foster care, because it was always better than to let her keep undergoing the physical and psychological abuse of her father?

She hadn't been able to find an answer. So Sara had come no more.

And this morning at her door, her wet cheeks and silent calls remained unchanged.

But this time, she's known how to be there.

There were many tears, on both sides. During the days that followed too. Because, if their first nightly 'discussion' was made of uncomfortable silence, the words had finally drilled the abscess.

There was sadness. There was anger. Reproaches and incomprehension.

Mostly, what she saw in Sara's eyes was always the same question: 'Why?'

But why what, exactly?

Why did she kill her father? Or why did she wait so long before doing it.

There were anecdotes, too. Laura explained her how she was able to keep track of her with newspapers and then, once she was out of jail, with the help of the internet.

Although she knew all about her abduction last May –the hardest time she had gone through, wanting to go to her daughter's bedside so badly- Sara eventually told her about it.

The rain, the desert. The pain. The unbearable fear that she would never see Gil again, and that she was going to condemn him to roam through a life she wasn't a part of anymore.

Because her little girl is in love.

Deeply and kind of desperately, too, from what she's quickly understood during all these days, weeks and months. And above all, he seems to love Sara with just as much fervor and sincerity; even though her mother has yet to meet the lucky man.

But she remembers vividly Sara's first phone call, after she arrived. She hadn't meant to eavesdrop at all, but Sara was in the living room, while Laura was still in the kitchen.

There were a lot of murmured "I'm so sorry…", "I know you would" and "I love you…", melding with hardly muffled sobs.

Once again, Laura had done her best not to run into the room to simply hold her in her arms.

Sara had learned a long, long time ago to live without her support and comfort.

And she's aware that her coming to San Francisco had a purpose: the need to bury old ghosts rather than to establish a suitable mother/daughter relationship, which had, sadly enough, never existed before.

But as strange as it is, both occurred.

Together, they were able to bury those haunting ghosts, while finally learning to know and trust each other.

Tonight, when Laura enters the kitchen, Sara is already busy making their chamomile, as the wind keeps violently shaking the house, rain restlessly whipping against the windows.

Their discussions are much less frequent than they used to be, Sara's insomnia being just as infrequent, too.. But she still really doesn't sleep enough for Laura's liking. Which she told her about, not even a week ago.

Sara had smiled, before she answered: "Don't worry, when I'm not alone in bed anymore, I'll sleep like a baby."

She hurriedly put her mug up to her lips then, hiding her face so she didn't have to see her mom's reaction to this more or less explicit allusion.

But actually, the only thing she would have seen was a fond and tender smile.

Because truth be told, Sara is nothing of the shadow who knocked at her door, back in November. The long walks she takes along the beach most of the days allowed her skin to lose its pallor. She's gained weight, her hair grew several inches, and she let it keep its natural curls.

And above all, her eyes aren't empty and tormented, as they used to be.

The only dark spot in there is the deep lack of something –or someone, and Laura has no doubt about who this someone is. Incidentally, she keeps wondering why on Earth Sara's still here with her, and not there with him.

But, starting to really know and understand her daughter, she suspects that it's because she's scared. Afraid of being rejected, maybe. Although Laura internally rolls her eyes at that thought. The daily calls the lovebirds are exchanging are no longer filled with apologies and tears.

Much more laughter, and always as many sincere words.

But the decision belongs only to Sara, and Laura would never dare to say anything about it.

Apparently, fate makes the decision for her tonight.

Laura is sitting at the table while Sara, leaning against the worktop with the smoking mug in her hand, tells her all about what happened to one of her friends and coworker in Vegas. And particularly about how her dear Gil –who she keeps calling Griss, strangely enough- managed to help him out of danger.

Her cell phone rings.

Her mug moves from her right hand to the left, and taking her phone out and bringing it up to her ear, a smile that Laura recognizes at once grows fast on her lips.

"You're just hopeless, Griss. After everything that happened, you should be sleeping."

Laura expects her smile to turn into a goofy grin, guessing the man's answer: "I should be the one telling you that, Sara."

But the grin never comes.

On the contrary, any trace of smile vanishes within a second, and her face instantly loses its warm colors.

She slightly turns her body away, unconsciously looking for some privacy. Laura starts to get up to leave her alone, when she hears her next sentence, which glues her feet to the ground.

"Griss, I hate when you say my name like that. What happened?"

There's a few seconds during which nothing happens. Laura feels her heart clench painfully in chest, as she can hear Sara's breathing accelerate.

And then, the bad news falls.

She knows it, because Sara's mug falls, too.

Wanting to put it on the worktop, she miscalculated her move, and the mug, unsteady, explodes at her feet.

Sara ignores it completely, her now free hand firmly clenching at the marbled surface. She's totally forgotten her mom's presence in the room. The shock and the brutality of the news have drawn furious and silent tears down her very pale cheeks.

She closes her eyes against the pain, slowly shaking her head, as she keeps listening to whatever Gil's is saying, before she opens them: "I'm coming, Gil. I'll take the first plane to Vegas."

She shakes her head again, having apparently forgotten that he couldn't see her. And then she murmurs:

"You let me leave when I needed to. Let me come back when you need me."


When the urn ends up in his hand again, he has no more excuses to push it away from him.

A part of him knows that he wants to be the last one to scatter his ashes for a good reason, a painful symbolism he couldn't begin to explain, even if his life depended on it. But deep inside, he knows perfectly that he first gave the urn to Sara by pure and simple cowardice.

The same and unbearable cowardice, which has too often directed his choices and actions in the past. Most of the time now, he's able to suppress those fears. But during this kind of situation, when the pain is so intense that he can feel it spread within his chest and enclose his heart, his will weakens off, and the desire to run away is more powerful than ever.

To flee any kind of emotion, any personal implication. To flee this ache, which is crushing him with guilt and regrets.

To just run away.

He feels Sara's hand on his forearm, and the small pressure she applies there, her fingers digging harmlessly into the smooth fabric of his jacket. He takes his eyes away from the silvery metal to look at her. Despite the wet trails drawn on her cheeks, she offers him a sweet smile.

Telling him without a single word exactly what he needs to hear.

He remembers that she's always been the only one able to smother his doubts. And he knows he can do it.

He closes his eyes, as he buries his fingers into Warrick's ashes.

He recalls the young CSI he once was, so many years ago. Full of life and goodwill and determination. He had been so calm and confident, for so long.

He still can't understand how this young man, full of wisdom and ambition, with whom he had once share a ride on his favorite rollercoaster, could have turned into this crackled aura he had hugged one last time inside an interrogation room.

But once again, he knows that his lack of implication into the life of his CSIs, his family, is the reason for his incomprehension.

He managed to let the woman he loves sink into depression without having a single clue, blinded by a comfortable and familiar denial. Thus, there's nothing surprising in the fact that he let Warrick drown in darkness.

And that makes things even more painful.

As he brings his hand up to the surface, he thinks that he's going to encourage Catherine to tell him what the nature of her feelings for Warrick were, and ask her to share her fears concerning Lindsay's adolescence. He wants to ask Nick if he's seeing anyone, and if he always has an excessive reaction when an ant crawls up his arm, or if he violently exhales when he steps into an elevator. He wants to buy a beer for Greg, and know, finally know, how his aggression, and the life he had to take, impacted his life forever.

He wants to take Sara in his arms and hold her close, so close, again and again, to inhale the scent of her hair, to enjoy the taste of her skin, and to tell her again and again how much he loves her.

But at this instant, as he let the ashes fly away, another vivid desire grasps his heart, and makes his blood boils within his veins.

He wants to find this murderer.

He will find him. He knows it.

And then, he'll pay for what he's done.

OoOoOoO

Something is wrong.

Strangely enough, this information manages to pass through the curtain of fog that his too many mouthfuls of alcohol have created in his brain.

The problem may come from the fact that (dead dead dead) he drank such a quantity of Scotch in such a short time. Because it's been years, literally speaking, since he has drank so much that he can't even spell his name right anymore. And his old body – fifty-two? Fifty-three?- which simply refuses to raise his arm so he can bring the almost-empty-but-not-yet bottle to his lips, reminds him that he's not a teenager anymore.

The thing is that he snapped.

This night was becoming so agonizing and endless.

First, there was this really abnormal event, about which he doesn't want a think anymore, no no. And then the pain. In his chest, and behind his skull. Vicious and insidious migraine that couldn't have chosen a worse time to manifest itself.

And when he's found himself on the road, on his way home, his cell phone rang. He didn't pick it up, because according to his state of mind and the different aches shooting through his body, he could have ended up driving into a wall. So, he listened to the voicemail as he was stepping into the house.

"Gil--" voice coming from a speaker, somewhere behind her- "all the planes are stuck on the ground because of the storm. There's nothing available until noon tomorrow, I am so sorry. I'm gonna-"

He never heard the end, because he stopped the message there, before throwing keys and phone on the living room's table. Missing his target by at least a foot.

The object violently hit the floor, the cell phone breaking into pieces with a noise of crackling plastic. He didn't fix it.

Hot blades still digging into his chest and between his eyes, to learn that Sara will finally not be there to give a much needed comfort is the last straw that breaks the entomologist's back.

So, he snaps.

Grabs a new bottle of Scotch, which was starting to gather dust inside the bar. Collapses onto the couch. And drinks.

Drink, drinks, drinks, and drinks some more.

That's really the most pathetic idea he ever had, but (dead dead dead) seriously, who give a freakin' damn?

Eyes closed, his right hand still around the bottleneck, his left one is clenching his shirt above his stomach. The world is spinning so fast behind his eyelids, and hurricanes are still growling behind his forehead. He doesn't doubt the fact that he is now completely, and totally, and horribly drunk.

Mmmmm. That's not good, that's not good at all.

But there's no way he's going to decorate his sofa with Scotch, and the half-digested rest of his breakfast –bacon and scrambled eggs. They are all around the table, smiling. He doesn't want to clean up if he gets sick. He feels good at that moment, better than he ever felt since Sara left, and he wish so badly that she could be at this table with them. No, no, NO. He doesn't to think about THAT. Breathe iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin. Breathe ooooooooout. Focus on anything but the fever which twists his stomach and begins to make him shiver, and above all, DON'T THINK about last night. Air slips through his windpipe and invades his lungs, before being quickly expelled.

Despite his strong reluctance, images from their last breakfast in the diner keep coming back, flashing and flashing in his mind, as the world keeps rocking and spinning and tangling, while he's trying to control his very unsteady breaths.

And eventually, he's back around the table, this table.

They're all here. Greg, Catherine, Sara and Nick.

They're laughing, and exchanging warm and happy glances.

Sara is sitting directly across from him, one arm in a cast, and her face is scratched. She turns her head to look at him, and her features light up as she smiles at him, always so tenderly. Mouthing three words that his heart knows and adores more than anything.

And then they're not in the diner.

They're in an alley, and Catherine screams and sobs, and Nick, as possessed, tries to resuscitate the body lying on the ground. Greg turns to him and says:

"He was your favorite CSI, wasn't he? The bacon had been cooked too long."

And it's not Nick who's doing CPR but him, and it's Sara's blood which is flowing between his fingers, still warm. As warm as the dry air of the desert surrounding them.

The blood is spreading on her chest, and comes out so fast from her neck, and he's begging, he's begging, he's begging.

And she opens her eyes, which seems almost green to him, and gurgles:

"I love you. I always will. Goodbye."

And then he's not sleeping anymore, brutally sitting up with a jolt. Not knowing that he's just been woken up by the sound of the front door closing.

He's instantly crushed by a multitude of images as well as unpleasant and excruciating sensations, his nightmares blending with reality. And his brain seems to be about to explode with pain, and his stomach twists, and twists, and twists.

There's absolutely no way he can suppress the retch shaking his body.

Somehow, he still manages to bend himself enough so that he pitifully decorates the floor rather than his shirt.

His whole body rises once, twice, three times, tearing him apart, before he finally falls back against the armrest. He slides a trembling hand over his forehead gleaming with sweat, quickly closing his eyes because the world is still far from being steady. Although his drunkenness seeming to have mostly vanished –nothing close to what we was feeling before he fell asleep anyway- he must have slept for several hours.

And he feels so pathetic at that instant. Pathetic, sick, torn with pain, and so lonely.

Suddenly, cool fingers grab his, taking them away from his face. A gentle hand slips over his forehead, in his hair, against the nape of his neck.

And a scent he could recognize anywhere manages to get through the bitter smell of what he's just evacuated.

"Sara…" he murmurs, his eyes suddenly aching too behind his closed eyelids. Because he knows that it's only a hallucination, thanks to what's left of alcohol in his blood.

Opening his eyes would mean losing this mirage, and he can't do it. He just can't.

"I'm here…" she softly answers, her hand still in his hair. "Don't move."

He abruptly opens his eyes, just in time to see a glimpse of her going around the couch.

He awkwardly tries to sit up, mumbling her name again, but he quickly crumbles back on the cushions, eyes closed. Everything spins so fast, and this damn migraine, GOD!! He can't even think anymore!!

Has he really just seen Sara, heard her voice? Or has he just woken up, and he dreamed her presence?

He let out a muffled moan, unable to think clearly, incapable of finding answers to those questions which seems to him rather existential right now.

An amazingly cold and wet towel then lies on his temple, and he instantly opens his eyes. To quickly find himself lost in hers, and a new crushing wave of emotions spreads through him. But for the first time since last night, the sensation is more pleasant than painful. So much more pleasant.

She gives him a sad smile, whispering a small "Hey…" as she cleans his face. His forehead, his cheeks, his lips, his chin. Removing the most evident traces of his regurgitation.

All of the sudden, he's filled with this feeling of WRONG again. Something is really, really, really wrong.

For six months he's been waiting patiently –and rather painfully- that she returns to him.

For six months, he's been preparing his speech, the smallest move he would make. The spot of her face he wants to kiss first. The precise hollow in the crook of her neck he wants to breathe in. The freckles he wants to taste.

It shouldn't be like this, for that reason (dead dead deaaaaad).

They've been apart for six months, and after all this time, here she is, bending over a puddle of bile soaked bacon and scotch, wiping away what has dripped on his face, pathetic drunk that he is.

Where are the words of love and the promises of eternity?

And he feels so shameful and disgusting and so furious, for having wasted their reunion. Everything's so messed up, no, no, NO.

He tries to push her away, mumbling words as "disgusting", "rag" or "don't deserve".

She stops him from moving and getting up easily enough, given his condition. Putting a hand on his cheek, she forces him to look at her.

When he complies, she draws her face near to his, and without ever breaking their eye-contact, she lays a kiss on his lips, which lasts longer than necessary.

Then, slightly moving away, she murmurs: "I love you…" her thumbs gently caressing a beardless spot on his cheek.

And he can see in her eyes glittering with tears and other things that she means it. She has always meant it. His heart clenches painfully, from this delicious ache that she has always created in him, and will always do.

He slides both his hand in her curly hair then, and brings her face to his. Not to kiss her, no. Their foreheads touch, their noses settle against one another's, and their breaths brush the other's skin.

Her hair falls in waves on his face, and he fills up his lungs with the sweetest and most intoxicating scent.

And he feels like sobbing at that instant. For everything that happened, for losing them, her and –

For having her back again.

But he doesn't cry. She has already seen one of his most negative sides today, there's no need to show her more. But on the evidence of the moisture on his noise, then on his cheek, vanishing in his beard, she must have shed some tears

They stay in this position for a long time, even if it has to become quickly uncomfortable for Sara. A knee on the sofa, using a hand for support, the other one still around the nape of his neck, her weight only resting on their touching chests and faces.

But if she's bothered in any way, she doesn't say a word. Like him, she's simply filling the voids which were created in both of their hearts and souls when she had to go.

When they eventually move, she tells him in a whisper to go take a shower, she'll clean here. He wants to protest, but she gives him the look, this look, her look, making it clear that he really has no choice.

She helps him get up and walk towards the bathroom. He seems to have gotten back most of his balance now, so she releases him at the door and moves away, but not without a last sad, but sincere, smile. Having her far from him again is already terribly painful.

He gets rid of his clothes without even really thinking, and stumbles into the wide shower.

He turns the water on, and the freezing-cold liquid pours on him. The coolness of the water on his still feverish skin shocks his body, and the fog finally begins to move away.

But with its disappearance, there come the images and the memories. They hopelessly invade his mind, and he feels his legs weaken under him.

His breathing suddenly chaotic, he sits down heavily on the inlaid bench built here for that purpose; elbows on his shaking knees, he cradles his head in his hands, holding back a new moan. The flashes assail him in violent waves.

He remembers very well, yes, everything. About what happened, about who didn't make it. But he REFUSES to accept it.

And yet, never before has he felt that bad.

He's sinking, sinking so fast into this dark and so tempting ocean, which is both terrifying and inevitable.

And then he feels a hand on his, a hand that pulls him surely back towards the surface, and he opens his eyes, looking up.

She's squatting in front of him, just as naked as he is, and the now warm water flows over her body.

And when their eyes meet and meld, he feels like he's sinking again. But this time, it's into a world she's the only one to have ever created for him.

"Sara…" He murmurs her name, and his voice chokes in his throat. And he can see the beautiful features of her face distort and writhe with pain. His pain as much as hers.

And then, she's all over him.

Straddling his lap, her hands buried in his hair, she's kissing every inch of his face, as his arms slip around her waist, with tenderness, love, and something close to despair.

And eventually, he nestles his face in the crook of her neck, and he feels her breath on his ear.

"You don't have to hold it back anymore, Gil…I'm here. I'm with you…"

And finally, he realizes everything. He sees the bloody, lifeless body of Warrick, this man he had loved like a son, without even knowing it. This man he has just lost so brutally, so wrongly. Images of the rest of his family, torn with pain and incomprehension, scroll behind his eyelids, and he cannot fight it anymore. He can't suppress this feeling of helplessness and WRONG.

So, lost against the sweetness of her skin, the tenderness of her kisses and her gentle caresses, he breaks down.

For real, this time.

He cries, and cries, and cries, his body shaking violently as the sobs escape his chest. And she rocks him against her, never loosening her embrace as she weeps too, and their tears blend with the water running endlessly over them.

Masking behind a veil of rain, a pain and comfort belonging to nobody but them.

Sorry, couldn't find any translation

Sorry, couldn't find any translation