This is it. I won't bother you anymore. If you need anything from me call 1- 800 HEAVEN and ask for the crazy angel, they'll understand.

**********************

I woke up and did my morning routine. I yawned a couple of times, stretched my body to its full height, disentangled myself from the sheets and sluggishly got out of bed. I trudged to my kitchen to find Grissom comfortably settled on a chair with a thick book in his hands, two cups of coffee on the table and a package of donuts.

I gasped "You scared me."

"I'm sorry. You slept well?", he asked, putting away the book.

"Surprisingly well considering that I'm wearing tight jeans."

"Sorry, I didn't want to wake you up last night, you seemed so exhausted." I frowned and squinted at his clothes, something didn't square.

"You---did you changed your clothes?", I asked still a bit disoriented and sleepy.

"Good memory. I went to my apartment, took a shower, changed and came back", he said before biting into a donut, the man was hungry.

"I thought you'd leave." I was nicely surprised.

"What? Have you opened your fridge lately? Someone has to feed you."

He smiled and I smiled back. For some reason I thought about the first time we met.

My stomach growled. I mumbled something about showering and 'be right back' and left Grissom alone in my kitchen again.

I returned 15 minutes later, showered, changed and fresh as a daisy. I sat down in front of him, grabbed a donut and my cup of coffee. Amazingly it was still hot. I could feel Grissom's eyes on me, watching my every move. I knew him enough to know he had something in his mind.

I played the mind reader and between bites I said, "If you want to ask me something, go ahead do it." He mulled it over while I finished my first donut and started the second. I swear I could hear my grandmother's voice inside my head: 'Sara, honey, you're not eating like a lady'. I'm starving grandma', who the hell cares.

"Why didn't you make an exchange?". I stopped chewing and he continued, "The way I see it, he should've offered you an exchange. Your pictures for mine, like a blackmailer's truce."

I laid the half eaten donut over a napkin besides my cup of coffee and swallowed the rest. Evidently he had done some thinking while I was in dreamland. I sipped my coffee.

"In a perfect world, yes. In Dylan's wicked world, no", he sipped his coffee and looked at me over the rim of the cup, "He's a risk taker. Why else would he steal money from a crime scene if he's rich. Yes, I know, the bastard lied to me the first time. I hate went people lie to me." Grissom almost choked on his coffee.

"He's rich?", he asked, putting down the cup, "The plot thickens, I guess there has to be an important Daddy who doesn't want to be embarrassed by his delinquent son."

"Yes, actually there is, but don't get your hopes up. I met him once and he's just like his---his 'off-spring'", I said with hint of disgust in my voice, "They're both risk-takers-swimming-with-crocodiles-adrenaline- junkies. Chip off the old block."

He nodded slowly and took another sip of his coffee. If there was something Grissom couldn't hide was his curiosity.

"Didn't I say that if you had a question, go ahead? Unlike you I'm most likely to respond with more than a monosyllable." That hit right on the target, Grissom sadly lowered his eyes and begun swirling what was left of his coffee. Maybe I went a bit too far, "I'm sorry, that was out of line. I can't help it sometimes, you know? Making those kind of comments?"

He smiled and nodded again. "Ask the question. I mean it", I said. I felt so grateful towards him. It was a relief that someone besides me knew about Susan and Dylan.

"Was your father a cop?", he asked tentatively.

"Yeah", I replied, trying to sound as casual as possible "Homicide detective. But don't worry, all I inherited from him was his workaholism and the eye color." He smiled.

"I guess the sense of humor was from your mom, right?". I smiled, nodded and sipped my lukewarm coffee. I winced and pushed the cup to the center of the table, that black liquid was no longer drinkable.

"Have you seen your father recently?". I was gambling all my chips in that question. I could loose everything, meaning that I would get another dry 'no' or 'yes'. Or I could win and he would open up. People, place your bets and let the roulette decide.

"No", he replied after a short silence, "And I prefer it that way, I only regret not seeing my mother often. They still live together." He sipped his coffee and imitated my earlier reaction. Wince, frown, push cup to center of table.

I shook my head, "Incredibly, mine live together too. That's why I left the house the first chance I got. I tried to take my mom with me but she didn't want to. I guess she really loves him. It wasn't always bad, you know? There were happy moments too."

"What was it like?", he asked, taking a peek at his wrist watch. I did the same. There was still time.

"What?"

"Living in such a – how should I say it, hostile environment?"

I meditated a few moments, trying to come up with a clear example so he could understand it without me having to give too many ugly details.

"Let's see. When you were little you must've listened to your parents arguing about something. At lest once, if not more." He nodded.

"How did it make you feel?", I asked. He looked skywards, trying to remember.

"Scared. I wanted to stop it."

"That's normal, I felt the same way. But eventually your parents would stop fighting, my father never stopped screaming and complaining from the minute he walked through the door."

"And what did you do?"

"My first instinct was to run upstairs and hide under my bed. If he came home really pissed off from work he'd turn on the radio to muffle shouts. He was a cop, he had to keep the appearances. I covered my ears and tried to follow the lyrics. It always had a sedative effect on me."

I learnt a lot of song lyrics that way.

He frowned, "That sounds like entering into some kind of trance", he said. He was right, it wasn't your typical yoga technique with the 'omm' and the 'find a spot of inner calm and concentrate on it' sort of thing, but it worked for me.

"I still do it when I'm stressed, without the radio of course. Sometimes I don't ever realize I'm doing it", I exhaled loudly, the conversation was bringing back unhappy memories, "So, to answer your question, living in that 'hostile environment' as you so accurately put it, was like living in any other environment. I got used to it", he frowned, "Don't misinterpret this, I got used to being careful when my father was around, I never got used to the screaming and occasional violence. That was always unnerving. You have your father an I have mine."

We both glanced at our watches. It was time to go back to work. Back to the lab, the break room, Dylan, the assignments, Greg's jokes…. On the way to work Grissom and I agreed on keeping this a secret. As stupid as this might sound, the fact that he knew about my 'problem' with Dylan, made me feel more confident. I was going to put up with Dylan's crap but I wasn't alone anymore. I still had a big question mark in my head. It had been nagging me for a while.

"Aren't you going to say anything about what I did to the sheets?"

He swerved the SUV to the left and into the parking lot. He remained silent. He steered the vehicle between a black minivan and a white sedan and brake smoothly.

"Oh, I'm going to say *plenty* of things", I lowered my eyes, "but we have to work now."

"Are you mad?", I asked before getting out of the SUV. He looked at me from the other side of the car. He gave it a moment and then replied.

"I will be if you don't stop doing my crossword puzzles."



Across.

(1. opposite of 'the beginning', written when a movie finishes)

1. THEEND