Author's Note: This is not pretty or happy; it's actually one of the darkest things I've ever written. You've been warned. If you like happy post-season five finale stories, I'd suggest you hit the backspace button now. Major spoilers for Pay Up.

Don't own anything, never have, never will. All of it belongs to the creators of CSI. Reviews and/or feedback would be great.


Bullets rained out, seemingly from all directions at once. The sounds of glass bottles shattering deafened his ears, and it almost felt as though time had slowed down. If he had had the opportunity to think beyond "Duck, you idiot," maybe he would have found the inherent irony in a shootout at a celebration of a life ended in a shootout. He felt the bullet pierce his chest, and slowly, everything began to ebb and sway. He fell backwards, catching a glimpse of a bullet grazing Stella's hair as he went down…


"Don?"

A milky haze enveloped her apartment, the faint, nearly ghostly smell of her shampoo filtering through the air. When had he gotten here, and, almost more importantly, when had he fallen asleep on her couch? The last thing he remembered was talking to her on the phone that morning.

She sashayed a little as she walked over to the couch and sat down next to him, and he could see that she was indeed wearing the very small, very sexy black negligee that she had promised she would. "Jess," he mouthed, as she pressed her mouth to his neck, leaving sloppy kisses behind in her wake. "You are driving me crazy."

"Glad, because that's my intent."


Rivulets of blood streamed from the gunshot wound as he was loaded into the ambulance. Paramedics shouted to each other over the chaos and confusion that marked the crime scene. "We're losing him!" one of them cried out, affixing an oxygen mask to his face as the ambulance sped off into the night…


"You know, it's kind of strange," he said, lying in her bed, holding her loosely against his chest and running his fingers through her hair as she looked up at him, eyes glistening. "I don't remember anything after we got off the phone. It's all a blur."

"Don't worry about it, none of that is important now," she said, leaning up to plant a kiss on his chin. "It's just you and me tonight."

"And what about tomorrow?"

"We'll worry about tomorrow when the dawn comes."

She rose from the bed, shaking out invisible bits of dust from her hair. "I…need to get something from the other room. Care for anything while I'm up?"

He hesitated for a moment before responding. "If you have any wine…like you suggested earlier…"

"Of course; I'll be right back. Don't get up," she said with a wink and a swish of her hips.

"I wouldn't dream of it."

A little while later, as they sipped their wine from small glass goblets and sat facing each other, cross-legged on her bed, Flack took the opportunity to look at her more intently. "Jess, what's wrong? Did you get hurt?" he said, reaching out and gently cascading his fingers across a nasty looking wound on her upper chest. She flinched and pulled the top sheet over her.

"It's…nothing. Nothing you need to be worried about, anyway," she said quickly, flashing a wide grin.

He raised an eyebrow, not used to this new evasive style of hers. The look in her eyes, the pleading look, pleading for him to just drop the issue of her injury, softened him, and he took another sip of wine. He never could resist her, after all.


The heart monitor he was attached to beeped steadily, as he clung to life by the thinnest of threads. Tubes and wires ran a rampant course around his bedside and over his body, almost masking the fact that beneath all of them, there was a human being


He placed the goblets and wine bottle on the nightstand and motioned for her to come closer to him. "Hey," he said softly, relishing the feel of her soft skin beneath his coarse fingertips. "We should do this more often…you, me, that negligee for a brief time, and a bottle of wine."

She shook her head, placing one hand on his chest. "We only have tonight, Don, only tonight."

"Why? Will you turn into a vampire at dawn and decide to make me your next victim?"

She let out a laugh. "No, of course not."

"Then why not? Why do we only have tonight?"

"We just do…I hope you'll understand."

He sighed contentedly as she moved her tongue gracefully over his chest, and as she moved lower, he moved his hands through her hair, enjoying the bliss that came with being with her.


She awoke as the first tiny beacons of day began filtering in through the window. "Wake up, we don't have a moment to lose!" she tugged frantically at his arm, pulling him out of bed.

"What's going on? What's the rush?"

"It's almost dawn. We have to get going; we're going to be late."

His mind was still foggy from being half-asleep. "Where are we going?" he asked as he threw on a pair of boxers and a t-shirt, before having her slap his hand away.

"We've been expecting you."

"Who are 'we'?"

"We don't have time for idle chit-chat, we have to get going, or we're never going to make it on time. Oh, if only I hadn't fallen asleep, we would already be on our way," she fretted, running her fingers through her hair.


"Doctor Stillman, report to room 401, Doctor Stillman, report to room 401," the hospital intercom blared, as anyone qualified to be near the room raced there as fast as they could. The patient in room 401, a young police officer, was coding…


"Jess? What's going on?" he asked, looking out the apartment door to see a blinding white light in the hallway. "Where are we going?"

"Come with me, Don, and we'll be together, forever, the way it should be," she said, walking backwards, allowing for the light to cascade around her features, making her look like a heavenly angel. It was nearly enough to make him want to do she wanted him to do. She was that beautiful, and he had a weakness for beautiful women, particularly the one standing in front of him.

"The department…Mac…Stella…they need me. They need us," he said, moving closer to her, cupping her cheek in his hand. "I want to be with you."

"Then what's stopping you?"

She turned around and faced the source of the light, basking in the glow. "The dawn is fast approaching, the fog is rising. Come, come now, come before it's too late." She turned back around to face him.

He felt the sting of unbidden tears prick his eyes. Reaching down, he clasped her hand tightly and looked into her eyes. "I would love to, Jess, but…I can't." She nodded slowly, blinking back tears of her own, and without saying a word, she pressed a finger to his lips, and quickly replaced her finger with her lips. Their lips meshed together, performing the most sacred of dances one final time, slow and tender, yet filled with the utmost passion and longing desire.

Reluctantly, she broke the kiss, tears glistening in her eyes. "I have to go," she whispered, running her finger along his jaw line. "I will always love you, remember that."

"I love you too, Jess. Always."

As she walked forward into the light, he forced back any tears and gave a bittersweet smile, as he could have sworn that he heard her say, in the softest of voices, "Goodbye."


A few days later, he opened his eyes and blinked at the brightness of the hospital room light. "Welcome back to the world," the nurse said with a smile. "We thought we had lost you there for a while."

-fini-