An Eye For An Eye: Epilogue
Catherine was almost jumping up and down when she saw her old friends walking down the ramp from the airplane. She rushed over to them and Sara stepped forward and hugged her first, taking the brunt of her excitement for her husband whose body was still quite tender from the arrow wound and the torture he had endured. But, when Catherine did embrace him, he still winced in pain but smiled at his wife over his friend's shoulder.
"Oh my god," Catherine cooed when she looked down at Alex in his carrier. "He's so adorable."
Grissom grinned. "Aunt Catherine, meet your nephew Alex."
Catherine's eyes watered as she lifted the infant into her arms. He yawned and smiled at her. "He's grown so much since we last saw him," she marveled and looked at her friends. "He's beautiful."
"He has his daddy's eyes and smile," Sara said and put her arm around Grissom's waist.
"And his mommy's impatience and anger streak," Grissom continued as he smiled at his wife, kissing her on the top of her head.
"Anger streak?" Catherine asked in disbelief then looked down at Alex and cooed to the youngster. "No, he's much too sweet for that."
"Not when he wants attention, he's not," Grissom exaggerated. "That smile turns to an angry frown and his sweet giggles turn into the most awful, hair raising screech you've ever heard. Wait 'til you hear it, you'll immediately think of Sara."
"Oh stop it," Sara laughed as she gently poked him in the side. "He's not that bad and neither am I."
"Well let's get you guys out of here and home so you can relax a little." Catherine gently placed Alex back down in his carrier and lifted it for them. "You guys can stay with me as long as you need to." After picking up their luggage and loading everything into her suburban truck Catherine drove them home.
Vegas seemed so foreign to them now. Although after spending so many years there it would be hard to readjust, they were used to the slow pace of living in the jungle now. As she drove Catherine raised her phone to text someone and Grissom teasingly asked if texting and driving still killed as many people now as it had when he had left Vegas last. Catherine just rolled her eyes and finished her message. They arrived at Catherine's house and began unloading their things but looked up when Brass greeted them from the door step and walked over to the vehicle.
"Hey, honey," he said to Catherine before kissing her on the lips.
Grissom and Sara looked at each other with raised eyebrows and dropped jaws before turning back to their friends. "When did this happen?" Grissom asked with a frown as he waved his finger between the two of them.
"What?" Catherine smiled innocently.
"Don't give me 'what,'" Grissom teased, "You and Captain Cold Heart over here."
Brass and Catherine laughed. "A few days after your last email," she said.
"You two looked so happy and we were just tired of being alone," Brass added.
"Well congratulations, I'm happy for you both." Grissom's smile was genuine.
After getting settled and having some supper the four friends spent a quiet evening enjoying each other's company and swapping tales of the goings on while the Grissom's were away. Neither of the Grissom's were sure if they wanted to get right into what had happened to them or not. It was something that their friends should know about as McKeen was still out there somewhere but it was not something that either of them were eager to relive so soon.
"We hadn't heard from you in a couple of months, we were beginning to wonder if you fell off the face of the Earth." Brass chuckled but became a little more serious. "Has everything been alright with you guys?"
Grissom and Sara shared uncomfortable looks and Sara held Alex a little closer to her chest as she looked down at the floor. Their friends did not miss the silent communication and discomfort between them and waited until Grissom began to speak. He told them of everything that had happened to them in the jungle. Brass and Catherine sat side by side on the love seat, holding each other's hand. There was a tension in the air that was felt by all and grew the more that Grissom told.
When he ended with the plane ride home all was silent for a long moment of time. There was an eeriness in the room that made them all shiver with a touch fear that made looking at the darkened windows a near impossibility for the dread that they would see the white haired menace looking back at them.
Little more was said that night and as it was growing late they all decided that it was time to turn in. Catherine showed them to her daughter's old room and they were a little surprised to see that it had been redecorated and refurnished to fit them.
"Cath, you didn't have to go through all this trouble for us," Grissom said with gratitude in his voice.
"What trouble?" She smiled. "You guys are family, and I'm sorry, Gil, but Sara shouldn't have to fight that little paunch of yours for space to sleep." They grinned at each other before Catherine wished them a goodnight and shut the door as she left.
Sara undressed Alex and changed him into night clothes that Catherine had bought for him before settling in the rocking chair next to the crib, making her breast available to him. He latched on and suckled hungrily. Grissom sat on the edge of the bed and began to undress when he looked at his wife and son. He kicked off his shoes and pants and pulled off his shirt. His thoughts were muddled and shadowed by fear. Fear that McKeen would return. Fear that the next time he would lose his family.
"Hey," Sara's voice broke through his thoughts and he looked at her outstretched hand. "Come here."
He stood from the bed and padded across the room to where she sat and took her hand as he crouched down in front of her. They held each other's gaze for a long moment before he turned his attention to his son. Alex's little, blue eyes were slowly fluttering open and shut as his belly was filling with his mother's warm milk and he cuddled at her breast in happy satisfaction. Grissom reached out and gently stroked the thin mop of curls that were growing on his son's head.
Sara squeezed his hand and he looked up at her again. "We're safe now."
"But for how long?" he asked as he tried to mask the worry in his voice.
She only shook her head. "We're safe now. McKeen is too smart to show his face here."
Grissom slowly nodded in agreement and took his son when he stopped suckling and finally fell asleep. He treasured just holding this tiny person in his arms and looked forward to doing it every chance he got. When he looked down at his son he was reminded that there was still some, small bit of innocence in the world and if you just looked closely enough you could find it amidst all the evil out there.
He gently set Alex down in his crib and climbed into bed with his wife. He wanted, no needed to hold her and prompted her to roll onto her side so that he could spoon her and hold her close. She too needed that closeness and put her hands over her husband's when he wrapped his arms around her.
"I love you, Sara," he whispered in her ear.
"I love you too, Gil," she said before falling asleep in her husband's embrace.
The Grissom's were surprised when they woke to find that even Alex had slept through the night. They showered and dressed and followed the smell of breakfast down to the kitchen.
"Good morning," Catherine and Jim greeted in turn.
"Morning," Grissom smiled.
"How did you sleep?" Catherine asked as she turned back to the stove where she was making pancakes.
"Very well, thank you." Sara smiled as she set Alex in the high chair that Catherine had also bought.
"Oh, Gil, you have mail," Catherine said and Jim held up a small package without looking up from the sports section of the morning paper.
Grissom looked at the package quizzically and smiled when he realized where it was from. "These must be the last of our pictures from Costa Rica. I asked them to forward our mail here. I hope you don't mind, Cath."
"Why would I mind? Me casa, sue casa."
Grissom chuckled and opened the envelope as he sat down next to his wife. He pulled out the pictures and began flipping through them, passing them to his wife as he went, who in turn showed them to Jim and Catherine. They talked and laughed as the Grissom's described each one, when and where it was taken. After passing on several pictures Grissom looked down at the next one and his smile slowly faded. He stoically flipped to the next, then the next, then the next.
When Sara realized that she wasn't receiving pictures anymore she looked at her husband and asked for the next one as she continued describing the pictures to her friends. When she still hadn't received another picture she looked up at her husband and they all silenced as they saw the expression of intense fear upon his face.
Before him, on the table lay a scattered pile of pictures that Sara began to look through. They were pictures of her while she was a prisoner and pictures of McKeen and Maria together, holding Alex, with sick smiles plastered on their faces.
Sara felt her breath catch as she looked at the last picture that her husband had dropped to the table. It was an image of them boarding the plane in Costa Rica to fly back to Vegas. In thick, red letters a message was scrolled over the front of the glossy photo.
'I'm not done with you yet, Grissom.'