Sara came into Grissom's office a week later to find him staring at his fetal pig and listening to a recording. It was one of the ones they'd found in the prison when they had first been investigating.
"Well, Sara," said the Doctor, "I know you're an intelligent young woman, and you've probably worked most of this out for yourself. But just in case you haven't… please, watch out. Keep your eyes open. There's someone in this prison who is really very dangerous, and despite my best efforts, I don't see how I can contain him."
Sara leaned her head against the open door. He hadn't been talking about that mind-bug, she realized. He'd been talking about Sammy. The tape was a warning to her about Sammy. And poor Sammy had been helping him record it.
"I'm trying my best to help him, and sometimes I think I might be getting through, but to be honest, I'm not sure if I'm doing any good," said the Doctor. "If I'm dead, which seems quite likely given that you're listening to this tape, I honestly don't know what he'll do. So keep your eyes and ears open, and don't trust anyone, even if you know them. Don't trust the people running the prison, don't trust the staff, don't trust the warden, and definitely, definitely, don't…"
Sara went over to Grissom's desk, and stopped the tape.
"I know," she told him. "I know exactly what it's like when the Doctor's involved in anything. I've got experience, remember? The Case that Never Ended? You're never going to get the answers you want. It's never going to make sense. Just let it go."
Grissom looked at her with an expression that meant he was trying to piece things together in his mind. "If I can just follow the evidence," he began.
"Stop," said Sara. "Just let it go."
Grissom sighed, ejected the tape, and put it back in the evidence bin. "This is why you were so willing to accept everything he told you, isn't it?" he asked. "Because you knew that if you questioned the abnormal too much, your whole world would fall apart."
"Like you said before," said Sara. "Just because you're approaching something from a different mental starting point doesn't make the reasoning beyond that point any less valid. Really, let this go, come back to the real world, and pretend this whole thing never happened."
Grissom nodded at her as she led him out the door.
"Come on," said Sara. "I'll buy you breakfast."
In a hospital room in 2007, Tegan Jovanka lay sleeping on the bed, looking pale and fragile. She was hooked up to every machine imaginable, machines to monitor her heart rate, to monitor her brain activity. Machines that fed her, medicated her, helped her breathe. And yet, despite these machines, Tegan Jovanka was dying.
A man sat beside her—a tall, skinny man wearing a brown pin-stripe suit. He watched her, reached over and held her hand as she took those last few breaths. He stayed as he saw her body fail, watched that spark of life wiggle free from her mind and fly off to someplace unknown. He leaned over, pressed a kiss to her forehead, and walked out of the room.
On her bedside, he left a small crystal, about the size of an American penny. It had been nearly black when he first put it there, filled with phantoms and ghosts and destroyed vestiges of time. But by the time the nurses found it, the gemstone was clear, and the Mara was well and truly gone.
For the sequel, please read my story, "'The Book of Olparn'", which you can find on my profile. Thank you.