Under the Radar

by Liz

Under the Radar

Disclaimer: Don't own any characters from CSI, don't mean to infringe, making no money. Category: Angst, Grissom, Sara, Brass, Doc Robbins Timeline: Don't know where this fits, just think it does. Kudos: I have three betas with three different skills and I thank them all. TAE, Rachel, and Mon.

Grissom rubbed his eyes and sat back at his desk. His watch read one o'clock; nine hours until the night shift began again. Sighing, he sat up and tried to put the file, which was spread out on his desk, into some sort of order.

The entire team had worked one case; a corporate jet crash. That was yesterday, or today, he wasn't quite sure. Grissom looked again at the photos and sketches that littered his desk. Four people had perished; the pilot, a husband, his wife and their eight year old child. He squinted again at the photos, feeling the pressure begin to build behind his eyes. A knock on the door temporarily interrupted his impending migraine.

"Come in," Grissom said, not looking up.

Doc Robbins let himself in, closing the door behind him.

"Gil, what are you still doing here? What are you trying to pull, a triple?" he teased, walking up to Grissom's desk.

"More like a quadruple, really. I'm fine." Grissom replied, putting the last photo in the file, and then looking up at his visitor. "What are you doing here?" he asked.

"I've just finished the last vic of your plane crash." Doc replied, settling into the chair in front of Grissom.

"Oh?" Grissom asked, sitting back slowly in his chair.

"Preliminary report on the pilot shows no booze and no drugs. But here's the thing, his right eardrum was blown." Doc said, rubbing his beard.

Grissom squinted and then closed his eyes for a moment, reaching up to his temples to try to massage the pain away. The muscle on the edge of his jaw started to twitch as his headache increased.

"Gil, do you want some coffee?" Doc asked, softly.

"What? No thanks, Al. I guess the decision has been made for me. I have to go home." Grissom replied, opening his eyes.

"I'll lock up your office." Doc offered.

"Thanks," Grissom said, standing slowly.

Doc stood as well, watching Grissom closely. The perspiration had started to appear in his hairline. Grissom felt his shirt pocket for his sunglasses and then felt for his car keys. He made his way slowly out of his office and down the hall. Doc locked the office door behind him and followed Grissom out to the employee lot behind the lab. Grissom unlocked his Denali, got in and drove away.

The day was overcast and cool; not a typical Vegas day. Grissom had the air conditioning blasting and switched the radio to the all-news station as background noise. By the time he reached his townhouse, his migraine was immanent. He climbed the stairs slowly, feeling the energy that had kept him going for the last two days evaporate. He struggled with his key to the front door, finally finding the keyhole. Grissom stumbled in and studiously locked the door behind him, tossing his keys into the dish on the side table. He carefully removed his sunglasses and put them on the table before reaching into his pocket for his reading glasses. Grissom put them on the table and felt his pockets for anything else. He found his cell phone, pager, and wallet. They joined his glasses. He walked to the kitchen, beginning to see the familiar sparks of light encroaching onto his field of vision. Opening the fridge, he took out a bottle of water and the newer of his two medications. Blinking to try to see through the shimmering light, he took his Sansert with a mouthful of water. Heading back to the living room, the edges of his vision softened and he felt his legs give out as he collapsed to the grey carpet.


Sara Sidle stopped by the lab early to catch up on some paperwork before her scheduled dinner with Grissom. She walked down the corridor and bumped into Doc Robbins in the break room.

"Hiya, Doc," she greeted him, cheerfully.

"Hi, Sara," he replied, not surprised to see Sara in the lab well before the beginning of her shift.

"Doc, you haven't seen Grissom, have you? We're having dinner tonight." Sara asked.

"Yeah, he left about one with a migraine on the horizon. I don't think he'll be at work tonight, much less dinner." Doc said, returning to reading his notes.

Sara walked into the hallway to pull out her cell phone and call Catherine.

"Willows," Catherine answered on the third ring.

"Catherine, it's me. Look, Doc said Grissom didn't leave the lab until one and when he did, it was because of a migraine. Doc doesn't think Griss will come in for work." Sara said in one breath.

"Yeah, he's probably right. I don't think Gil has gone home in several days, let alone slept more than a catnap. Sara, I can't leave Lindsey. Can you go check on him please?" Catherine asked.

"Uhm, sure, I guess." Sara replied.

"Thanks, call me when you get there." Catherine added.

"Okay, bye." Sarah said.

"Bye," Catherine answered, hanging up.

Sara pulled her keys out of her pants pocket and double-checked that she still had the one labeled GG. The team all had keys to each other's residences, just in case of an emergency. She reached her Tahoe and twenty minutes later, she was at Grissom's townhouse. She had been to Grissom's house twice before to drop off files for his signature and once with the entire team when Grissom had been forced off a case. Sara walked up the stairs and knocked on the door. Hearing nothing, she opened the door and walked in. Closing the door behind her, she removed her sunglasses and walked into the living room. Grissom was lying on the floor in the same position as when he had fallen. Shocked, Sara ran to him, dropped to her knees beside him and gently rolled him onto his back. She confirmed that Grissom was breathing and his heart beat steadily. Sara let out a sigh of relief. Deciding that he was probably fine, just still under his medication, Sara walked throughout the first floor, searching for a blanket. She found one in what looked to be the guest room, grabbed it and spread it over his sleeping form on the floor. She began to relax a little, making her way to the kitchen, where she found the pill bottle on its side; the pills strewn all over the countertop. The water bottle was empty, having been knocked over. Sara took another bottle of water out of the fridge, noting the lack of food, and called Catherine.

"Willows," she answered curtly.

"Hi, I'm at Grissom's," Sara said.

"How is he?" Catherine asked.

"He appears to have passed out on the living room floor." Sara said, sipping her water.

"Did he hit his head? Anything look bruised or broken?" Catherine continued.

"No, I think he just passed out. He took something called Sansert." Sara replied.

"Wow, that's the strong stuff. Okay, just be very quiet. Keep all of the lights off. His old medication would keep him down for six hours. I don't know about Sansert. Can you stay with him?" Catherine asked.

"I think someone has to, and I'm already here so..." Sara trailed off, implying that she would stay with her supervisor.

"Thanks. Keep me posted." Catherine advised.

"Will do," Sara said. "Bye,"

"Bye," Catherine said, hanging up.

Sara took her water and settled on the couch in the living room. Grissom lay motionless in the silent apartment. She watched him in the semi darkness until fatigue caught up with her.


Grissom woke up, still heavily under his medication. His migraine was almost gone, but nature was calling. He crawled to his feet and staggered to the bathroom. He relieved himself, washed his hands and lurched back to the living room. It really didn't matter that there was no light. He couldn't see anything anyway. Grissom kicked off his loafers and walked into the guest room. He crawled onto the bed and fell asleep.

Grissom's phone rang in the foyer. Sara woke up on the fifth ring and walked quickly to the phone.

"Hello?" she answered groggily, looking at her watch; ten-thirty.

"Sara? It's Brass. Where's Gil?" Jim Brass asked, wondering why she was picking up Grissom's cell phone.

"He's sleeping off a migraine. I'm, uhm, I'm just here until he's vertical. " Sara explained, wiping the sleep from her eyes.

"Damn, I need to speak to him." Brass said, quietly.

"Okay, hang on... He's not where he was when I fell asleep on the sofa. I have to look for him." Sara said, walking in search of Grissom.

Holding the phone at her side, she walked to the guestroom first. Grissom lay face down on the bed, his arms folded under his head.

"Grissom, Griss? Brass needs to speak to you." Sara said, sitting gently on the bed.

His eyes opened and he rolled to his side, closing his eyes against the nausea and vertigo he was feeling. She put the phone into his hand. He grunted. Sara stood and leaned against the wall, watching him.

"Hey, buddy, I'm sorry but you need to know this. The ATSB has found evidence that the plane was brought down. They want to meet with you in the morning." Brass said, softly.

"I think I can manage that." Grissom said, thickly.

"Okay, nine o'clock at my office. Gil, one last thing, they weren't the Cleavers." Brass said.

Grissom opened his eyes again and struggled to sit upright.

"What?" Gris asked, the colour draining from his face.

"I just thought you should know, Family Services had been to the victim's house twice in the last six months." Brass said.

"Damn, okay, I got it. Jim, I gotta go." Grissom said, setting the phone down on the bed.

Grissom struggled to his feet and walked towards the bathroom. Sara picked up the phone.

"Brass, I have to go help Grissom." Sara said, her voice full of concern.

"That bad? Take care of him, then, Sara. See you both at nine?" Brass said.

"Sure thing, thanks Brass, bye," Sara said.

"You're welcome, bye," Brass said, hanging up.

Sara slipped his phone into her pocket and marched to the bathroom. Grissom was just finishing with his bout of nausea. Sara found a washcloth and ran it under cold water. Grissom sat back on his heels, shivering.

"It's okay, Gris. It's going to be okay." Sara soothed, wiping his face with the cloth and then laying it across the back of his neck.

She helped him to his feet and walked him back to the guest room. He crawled onto the bed and fell asleep quickly. Sara walked back into the living room and pulled the door almost closed. Turning on a light by the sofa she sat down with a forensics magazine. Barely done reading the table of contents, her stomach growled, causing her to abandon the magazine and head to the kitchen. First, she carefully scooped up the Sansert capsules and put them back in their bottle. Then she cleaned the kitchen counter and started foraging through the cabinets. She found a box of farfalle pasta, plus a container of Parmelat and put them both on the counter. Opening the fridge she looked closely at its contents; bottled water, beer, white wine, six plastic containers labeled 'experiment', half a carton of eggs, cheddar cheese and butter. In the freezer, there were three boxes of steaks, two bags of peas, and several ice trays. She took out the peas, adding them to her collection on the counter and set about making a meatless carbonara of sorts. Forty minutes later, she sat happily at the breakfast bar, reading the same forensics magazine, eating her dinner, her back to the guest room.

Halfway through her meal, Sara thought she heard a noise from the bedroom. Quietly, she walked to the room and stood outside the door in the shadows and listened.

"No, don't hit her." Grissom said, in a fearful voice.

Sara pushed the door open just enough to allow her to pass through. The pale light from the living room cast across his bed. Grissom had turned on his side, facing her. He grabbed handfuls of the bedspread as he continued to dream. His shirt had come unbuttoned to mid-chest and was soaked from perspiration.

"Don't hit her." Grissom cried out again, struggling with the bedspread in his sleep.

Sara's heart sank a little as she continued to just watch him, unsure of what to do.

"She can't hear you. Stop hitting her." Grissom yelled, bolting upright in bed, waking himself up from his nightmare.

Grissom sat on the bed, shaking, staring, straight ahead, not entirely out of the dream. The dream was so vivid. His right leg was straight in front of him and his left leg was bent easily. Slowly, she lowered herself to the bed behind him and pulled him into a timid and awkward embrace. Finally, his breathing slowed and she wiped the sweat from his forehead. He got up and walked to the bathroom without a word. Sara let out a sigh of confusion and concern as she thought of the events of the past day. Not wanting to appear as if she was hovering over him she went back to the kitchen to finish her dinner and the forensics magazine. Five minutes later, Grissom reappeared. He stopped and stared at Sara.

"Are you real?" Grissom asked.

"Yes," Sara replied.

"How long have you been here?" he asked.

"Since about seven-thirty, or so." Sara answered, noticing he didn't ask why she was there.

"What time is it now?" Grissom asked.

"Ten forty-two," Sara said, looking at her watch.

Grissom continued to stare at her, unable to move.

"Can I do anything to help you?" Sara asked quietly.

"Ah, I don't think so. I have to go back to bed." Grissom said, retreating back to the guestroom, not trusting himself to walk up the circular staircase to the second floor master bedroom.

Alone again in the guestroom he pulled his shirt over his head and loosened his belt, letting his trousers drop to the floor. Stepping out of them, he pulled the covers back and got into bed. Just that little activity had raised his blood pressure, which in turn aggravated his almost gone headache. The migraine definitely was the worst he'd had in about a month, but he also dreaded the aftermath of the medication. Gradually, his breathing slowed and the pain started to subside again as he slipped into unconsciousness.


Sara had finished the forensics magazine and had turned on the television. The Discovery Channel was showing a program on butterflies. She sat cross-legged on Grissom's black leather sofa and was engrossed.

"No, stay away from her! Stop it!" Grissom cried, breaking the calm of the townhouse.

Sara shot up and took quick strides to the guest room. Grissom was lying on his back, the sheets pushed down to his waist, thrashing around the bed, fighting his demons.

"I said stay away from her!" Grissom cried out, again.

Sara could feel the fear and pain in his voice. His face was flushed and covered in sweat and his curly hair lay matted on his forehead. His breathing came in starts as if responding to a situation. Suddenly, his body language changed and he rolled on to his side away from her.

"Don't touch me! Please, I'm sorry," Grissom whispered meekly.

Sara felt pain in her chest and tears started to roll down her cheeks. She sat on the edge of the bed and reached out to touch Grissom's back. It was hot and the perspiration had started again. She felt him shake, and realized that he was crying in his sleep.

"Shh...relax Grissom, you're safe now," She whispered, trying to console him.

Sara began rubbing his back, something she had seen other people do. She stopped when her fingers came across something other than smooth skin. Sara felt it again as Grissom fell into a deeper sleep, relaxing into her touch. The scars on his back were thick and ugly. They stretched from his shoulder blades to his waist. Who had done this to him? Her heart broke at the thought of anybody hurting him. Rearranging the bed sheets to better cover him, she traced the scars on his back through the thin cotton sheet. She stayed with him for a while, gently rubbing his back and whispering to him that everything was going to be okay. When Sara was certain that he was asleep again, she let him be and retreated back to the relative solitude of the living room.

Sara walked back into the living room, sat on the couch and tried to put her thoughts in order. There was so little that anyone knew about their enigmatic supervisor. Sure, his biographical information was out there, but that wasn't really Grissom. It was, of course, just the amount of Grissom that he wanted most people to know.

Sara walked back into the kitchen and looked for a bottle of red wine. That's really what I need right now, she thought to herself, a glass of red wine. She walked back into the living room. Sitting on the sofa she looked up and realized that below the breakfast bar was a liquor cabinet. She walked to the breakfast bar and moved a stool out of the way. Just above the foot rail, the metal doors began. At first she tried to pull them, but belatedly noticing the lack of hinges, she realized the doors were on a track and slid them open easily. In one side of the cabinet was a wine rack, the other a shelf of liquor. Sara crouched down and took a look at the contents; ten bottles of wine, primarily Californian, one bottle of unopened Jameson twelve-year old Irish whiskey, one bottle of half-filled Bowmore single-malt scotch whisky, and one bottle almost full of Maker's Mark bourbon. Sara smiled as reached for a bottle of red wine. It was a cabernet from South Africa. Sara knew that if Grissom had purchased it, then it must be a good wine. Standing, she slid the doors shut and walked into the kitchen in search of a corkscrew and a glass. Sara opened the bottle easily and chose a rocks glass rather than a wine glass.

She poured a hefty amount and decided to explore Grissom's townhouse. She didn't really expect to find anything in the main living rooms. There were no photographs of people, but there were stark black and white photographs on one wall of the living room. She recognized some of the places in the photographs, but most were foreign to her. At the far end of the living room were two tall bookcases and Grissom's butterfly collection centered on it above the stereo. The books were an interesting mix. On one shelf alone was a much used worn leather bound copy of Julius Caesar, next to Catcher in the Rye, next to Somerset Maugham, next to Migraine and Other Headaches, next to Miyamoto Musashi, next to Forensic Entomology, next to Genetic Hearing Loss, next to Martha Gelhorn, next to Cicero: De Officiis, next to Beowolf, next to Dante's Inferno.

If his reading styles were this eclectic, what were his musical styles, she thought. Sara crouched to read the cd spines. They were by row, a musical type. The first was classic rock and roll. Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Beatles, and various incarnations of Eric Clapton. The second shelf was Jazz and Blues; Coltrane, Davis, Parker, Waters, Vaughn, Fitzgerald, Gillespie, Johnson, Guy, King, Broonzey, Brown and ten cds of Billie Holiday. The last shelf was all classical, or so she thought at first. She looked closer and realized it was all cello music; some solo cello and some with orchestra.

Sara stood slowly and cracked her neck, taking a sip of her wine. She walked down the hallway that led to the guest bedroom where she paused briefly at the door, listening before continuing her search. Just next to the guest room was another room that Sara had failed to notice earlier. She opened the door and felt for the light switch. When the lights came on she was greeted with a hissing noise coming from a glass terrarium. Looking closer, she realized that they were Grissom's hissing cockroaches. She looked around the room. There were ten glass cases with bugs, a microscope, a large wipe board filled with Grissom's handwriting, a file cabinet, a large drafting board, and a sketchbook. It was open and Sarah looked at the pages. On the left was a pen and ink drawing of the body of an ant, Sarah guessed. She guessed because it was the endoskeleton view not because Grissom couldn't draw. No, in fact, as Sarah thumbed through the sketchbook, taking care not to lose his place, she was surprised at how good he was. The detail was amazing. Not all were pen and ink, some were stunning water colours. Sara put the notebook down carefully, noticing a small bookcase filled with similar sketchbooks. Grissom seemed to be quite the artist, and that was something she hadn't known about him.

Sara took a good sip of her wine and looked at her watch; one-thirty. This was when she would normally be awake. She turned off the lights and left the 'lab room' as she called it, making a mental note to remind Grissom to feed his pets. It was still quiet in the guest bedroom so Sara decided to go upstairs and explore.

Slowly she climbed the circular staircase. She hated them; they seemed to always be too small or seemingly unstable. Getting to the top, she held the newel post for a moment before walking down the small hallway. The master bedroom door was open. The same grey carpet was on the floor, she noticed when she turned on the lights. The king sized bed had a grey patterned bedspread on it. There was a painting above the bed. She knew the artist but couldn't remember it. Straining to look she read the name, Paul Jenkins. It wasn't a large work, but it fit well over the bed, the bold colours were extraordinary. Turning around to see the view from the bed she noticed a mirror placed so Grissom could see the painting above his head. It was a magnifying mirror she realized. There was a walk-in closet, the door to the master bath and two large dressers. On one dresser there were several framed photographs. She crept in for a better look, at first noticing a photo of a beautiful woman holding a baby. The photo next to it was the same woman, ten years later, Sara guessed, with a young Grissom at her side. Neither subject was smiling; an aura of sadness was captured in the slightly grainy image. The next photograph appeared to be Grissom graduating from college with his mother at his side. The obvious love between the two was almost palpable. Sara took a step to see the next photograph, when she heard a noise from downstairs. Quickly she turned off the light and walked down the staircase, clinging to the railing for dear life.

Grissom stood in the doorway of the living room, leaning heavily on the doorframe, still dressed in just his shorts. He was squinting in the direction of the television, hunched over a little, trying to catch his breath. Sara scrambled for the remote control and muted the TV. Reacting to the sudden silence, he looked at her, rubbing his eyes.

"Hey, can I get you anything?" Sara asked softly.

There was a long pause before Grissom answered her.

"I just need to sit in here for a moment. I can't.....I can't be in that room." He said, looking at the floor.

"Sure, okay. Are you cold? Can I get you a bathrobe or a clean shirt?" Sara suggested.

"Thanks," Grissom said and sat on the leather sofa.

Sara looked at him for a moment and decided that the bathrobe would be a better choice, even if it meant going up those wretched stairs again. She put down her glass of wine on the breakfast bar and trekked up the circular staircase into the master bedroom. Turning on the lights, she walked to the bathroom door and opened it. She felt for the light switch and when she flicked it was quite surprised. There was a large shower with a nozzle on each side, a bathtub for four with Jacuzzi jets, and a double sink. Definitely was here when he moved in, she decided. She grabbed Grissom's bathrobe from the hook behind the door and headed down the stairs. Tossing the burgundy bathrobe over her shoulder, she held the railing and the center post as she walked down the stairs. The material on her shoulder also allowed her to smell the essence of Grissom, himself, his shampoo, and soap smell, all melded. Reaching the last step, she took one last deep breath, trying to commit his scent to memory. She swung by the breakfast bar and retrieved her glass of wine before taking him his bathrobe. Sara sighed and walked up to him. Grissom had turned the television off and turned the stereo on at a low volume: cello music.

"Can you stand up to put this on?" Sara asked, holding the bathrobe out.

She read the label as the collar flipped back towards her. It was from a pricey store in Beverly Hills and was one hundred percent silk. Ah, a gift from his mother, she thought.

"I think so, if you'll help me." Grissom said, looking up at her, his blue eyes bright but bloodshot.

Sara helped him to his feet as he held onto her shoulders. Carefully, she slipped his arms into the thin silk bathrobe. She pulled the belt taut and helped him settle back onto the sofa. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes. Sara reached for her wine and took a sip.

"Sara?" Grissom called softly.

"Yeah, Griss," She replied.

"If I forget, thank you," he whispered.

"You're welcome, Grissom," Sara said, sitting on the sofa next to him.

Grissom interlaced his fingers and placed his hands on his chest. His bathrobe opened to reveal his left leg. Sara noticed the scars on his knee. I guess that accounts for his strange gait, she thought. Sara sat back on the sofa, balancing the rocks glass easily on her flat belly and listened to Grissom breathe. It was odd to be next to him, with him dressed only in a pair of shorts and a silk bathrobe. She certainly had fantasized about it enough. Sara looked at her watch; just two a.m. She felt the tug of sleep, lulled by the soft dark tones of Yo-Yo Ma, and the steady breathing of Grissom. Sara put her glass down on the table and sat back against the sofa.


Sara woke up slowly, at first forgetting where she was. She was stretched out on the sofa, Grissom behind her, spooning against her back. His left hand rested chastely on her belly, his right arm tucked under his head. Judging by his breathing, he was still fast asleep. Sara drifted, enjoying the quiet and the surreal position she now found herself in.

At seven, she carefully maneuvered herself from his arms so as not to wake him and headed to the kitchen. She set up the coffeemaker and soon the first floor was full of the smell of fresh coffee. She poured a mug and walked to the sofa. Sitting on the coffee table, she stared at Grissom for a few moments. His face was calm and peaceful; a look she hadn't seen on him in a long time.

"Grissom? Griss, time to get up," Sara whispered softly, bending to his level.

He opened his eyes and looked at her. For a moment, neither one of them could break eye contact. Closing his eyes, he slowly sat up, wary of sudden movements that might reignite his headache. He opened his eyes quickly but the room began spinning around him. Sara caught his right hand and squeezed it, steadying him.

"Would you like some coffee before you shower?" Sara asked.

"Yes, please," Grissom said, trying to focus on her.

Sara handed him the mug, handle first, not releasing it until she was sure he was really holding on.

"Careful, it's hot," Sara warned.

Grissom nodded and carefully took a sip. He set his elbows on his knees and pressed the meat of his left hand into his left eye, trying to ease the pain.

"When do I have to meet Brass?" Grissom asked.

"Nine, and it's about seven-fifteen, now," Sara explained.

"Okay," Grissom replied, continuing to sip his coffee.

Sara went to the kitchen and poured herself a cup, adding a shot of milk. She walked back into the living room and sat on the coffee table opposite him again. They sat quietly. Sara watched his pale face, his eyes closed, while he sipped his coffee. Finally, Grissom opened his eyes, put down his half empty mug, and stood with a barely suppressed groan. Sara stood as well, putting a hand on his shoulder.

"Where are you headed?" Sara asked.

"Upstairs for a shower," Grissom replied, walking slowly to the staircase.

"Fine, if you insist on going up the stairs of death, then I'll walk behind you." Sara quipped, her eyes sparkling with a smile.

Sara walked behind him, placing her hands on his back gently; more as a gesture of moral support than physical support. He reached the top of the stairs, paused, and then walked into his bedroom.

"Can I bring you up your clothes from yesterday?" Sara called out to him from the top of the steps.

"Thanks that would be very helpful." Grissom said, over his shoulder.

Sara proceeded down the stairs and retrieved his clothes. She headed back up the stairs and put his trousers, shirt, and socks on the bed. She set his loafers on the floor and walked to the bathroom door.

"Griss, you okay?" Sara called into the silent room, wondering why he hadn't started the shower.

"Yeah, yeah, thanks," Grissom replied.

"Can I make you any breakfast? Do you have an appetite yet?" Sara asked.

"No thanks, not hungry," Grissom said, staring at his pale face in the mirror.

"Okay, well you'd better get the lead out with your shower or we're going to be late." Sara said, jokingly.

"Right," Grissom agreed as he took off his bathrobe and hung it carefully on the hook on the bathroom door.

He dropped his shorts and stepped into the shower, groaning as the hot water hit his back. Satisfied by the sound of running water, Sara headed downstairs to finish her coffee. Half an hour later, Grissom appeared at the top of the stairs. He looked better, but still very tired, and in a way, fragile.

"Can I heat up your coffee?" Sara asked, looking up to him.

"That would be great, thanks," he said, walking down the stairs to the breakfast bar.

Grissom sat on a stool, waiting patiently for the microwave to beep. Three minutes later, he was sipping hot coffee.

"How are you feeling now?" Sara asked.

"Let's just say that sleeping off a migraine isn't really sleeping." Grissom said with a weak smile.

"Well then, we should get you to the P.D. for your ATSB meeting and then come home to bed." Sara said.

As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she blushed profusely. Grissom simply looked up at her and smiled.

"You know what I mean," Sara said, not meeting his gaze.

Grissom stood up and walked into the foyer to gather his glasses, pager, and keys.

"Sara, do you know what happened to my cell phone?" Grissom asked, walking back into the living room.

"In my pocket, sorry, I forgot to put it back," Sara said, handing it to him.

"No problem," Grissom said, slipping it into the pocket of his trousers.

"Are you ready? I think I should drive." Sara said, tentatively, trying to figure out why he was being so aloof.

"Yes and yes. This medication is new for me. I've taken it twice before and each time the after effects are different." Grissom said.

"Oh?" Sara asked.

"The first time, I couldn't hold anything down for almost a full day. The second time, I was extremely sensitive to sensory stimulation." Grissom explained.

Sara walked by him, not able to resist squeezing his shoulder in sympathy. Grissom put on his sunglasses and followed her. He locked the door and slowly walked down the stairs to the Tahoe. Sara had unlocked the doors electronically. Grissom opened the passenger door and was bombarded with stuff falling out of the car.

"Sorry, I wasn't expecting company." Sara apologized, taking the gym bag from Grissom, who picked it up off of his feet.

"No problem, just a surprise." Grissom replied, getting into the SUV.


Arriving at the police department, Sara put the car in park, but kept the motor running.

"Grissom, I need to go shower and change." She explained, "Call me or have Brass call me and I'll take you home."

"It's okay, Sara, this is your time. Go home. I'll get a lift or I'll take a taxi." Grissom assured her, resting his hand on hers.

Sara took a breath and squeezed his hand.

"Okay, but if you need anything, please call." Sara said.

Grissom squeezed her hand back and got out of the Tahoe. He stood for a moment and then took a deep breath before walking into the building. Grissom flipped his ID card and clipped it to his shirt as he walked to Brass's office, bumping into the hallway.

"Jesus, Gil, you look like hell." Brass greeted him, putting a comforting hand on his friend's shoulder.

"Thanks, Jim," Grissom said, with a small smile.

"You know what I mean. Are you gonna be able to do this?" Brass asked, his voice full of concern.

"Yeah, I'll be fine. Can I get a cup of coffee?" Grissom asked.

"Sure, go into my office, the ATSB boys are running late anyway. I'll get you a cup of coffee." Brass said.


Brass watched his friend disappear into his office, noticing the extreme care with which he moved his left leg. He let out a sigh, and then hurried off to get the promised coffee.

When Brass returned, he was surprised to see Grissom standing instead of sitting in one of the leather chairs by his desk. He handed him his cup of coffee and then sat down behind his desk.

"You can sit, if you want to, you know." Brass said.

"Let me get a bit more caffeine in me, if you don't mind." Grissom replied.

"Sure," Brass said, sipping his coffee. "So Sara helped you last night?"

Grissom shot him a glare that was interrupted by a knock on the office door.

"Come in," Brass said, cheerfully.

Grissom continued to glare at Brass as two men entered the room.

"Hi, Ray Fowler, Tim Padgett, ATSB," A red headed man introduced himself and his partner.

"Gil Grissom, Crime Lab," Grissom answered, shifting his coffee cup to shake hands.

"Thanks for coming in. Capt. Brass explained you're on nights." Padgett said, good-naturedly.

"Brass says you found the cause of the crash?" Grissom asked, carefully sitting in the leather chair by Jim's desk.

"Yes, it seems that the oxygen system didn't kick in properly." Fowler answered, sitting as well.

"That wouldn't explain the pilot's burst ear drum." Grissom noted dryly.

"If the plane dove steeply, that might have blown his ear drum." Brass suggested.

"True, but I am unaware that any of the passengers had that injury." Grissom noted.

"We'll type up the report and send it to your lab." Fowler said, getting to his feet.

"You found no other problems with the plane?" Grissom asked, standing slowly.

"No, nothing," Padgett said, standing next to his partner by the door.

"I'll go speak with the coroner and see what he's found out." Grissom said.

"I'll give you a lift, Gil." Brass said, getting to his feet.

"Good to meet you," Padgett said.

"Yeah, same here," Grissom replied.

Grissom followed Brass slowly out of the building to his Taurus.

"You are going home after you see Doc Robbins, right?" Brass asked.

"That's the general plan, yes." Grissom replied.

Jim unlocked the doors and the two friends got into the car. It was a short drive to the Crime Lab, but it was already hot outside. Grissom strapped in and firmly adjusted his sunglasses. Jim watched him out of the corner of his eye throughout their silent trip and thought how utterly exhausted Grissom looked. Jim stopped the car in the parking lot and Grissom exited the car without saying a word, his mind focused elsewhere as he headed directly to the coroner's office.

"Come in," Doc Robbins answered to the loud knock on his door.

Grissom let himself in and shut the door behind him.

"Hi," Grissom said tiredly, sitting in the nearest chair.

"Hi, yourself, what are you doing here?" Al asked.

"Need to talk to you, read the reports, and see the bodies on the Challenger 300 crash." Grissom replied, removing his glasses to rub his eyes.

"Are you sure?" Al asked gently.

"Yeah, I'm sure. The ATSB is about to release their report and I have a hunch that their evidence and our evidence won't match." Grissom said.

"Well then, your energy and time's a wasting. Let's not allow these bodies to wait!" Doc Robbins said.

He stood and picked up his crutches. Doc Robbins walked towards the door with Grissom in his wake. They entered the outer Morgue room and put on their scrubs and gloves. When Doc opened the door to the morgue, Grissom was momentarily struck by all four bodies laid out in the same room. Doc Robbins continued to the far body.

"Let's start with the pilot. Jeffrey Stephens, thirty-five, employed as alternate pilot for Handco Inc. Normal facial lacerations, consistent with impact to the windscreen, bruising on the chest from his harness. Then there's the ear drum," Doc Robbins said, looking across the body to Grissom.

Grissom leaned over and looked at the ear.

"No outward sign of injury. He was sitting left seat, though, correct?" Grissom asked.

"I don't know that for sure. Both seats were dislodged on impact." Doc Robbins said.

"Any signs of hypoxia?" Grissom asked.

"No, none," Doc Robbins replied.

Grissom just stared at the pilot's body. Doc Robbins moved to the next form, pulling back the sheet.

"Our next vic is Mark Garvey, forty-three, CEO of Handco, Inc.," Doc Robbins reported.

"COD?" Grissom asked, lifting an eyebrow.

"Blunt force trauma, I'd say, something beefy, hammer or another tool." Doc Robbins said.

"A hammer?" Grissom asked, looking at the wound.

"Yeah, not the claw end but the head." Doc explained.

Grissom looked over the body, paying particular attention to the hands. The victim's right ring and pinkie finger had been broken ante mortem.

"Anything else?" Grissom asked.

"Yeah, did you notice his nail beds?" Doc Robbins asked.

Grissom looked closely and saw small black stripes across the victim's nails. He shifted his glance to Al, raising an eyebrow.

"I checked the heart. This guy was one Big Mac away from a massive MI." Doc Robbins said.

"But you're convinced that he died from a hit on the head and not a heart attack." Grissom clarified for his tired brain.

"I'll know better when I get the results from tox." Doc Robbins assured him, breaking away from that table. "This brings us to Sally Ann Garvey, thirty-nine, stay at home mom. Cause of death, blunt force trauma to her torso." Doc Robbins said.

He pulled back the sheet and Grissom saw a formerly beautiful blonde woman.

"Wait," Grissom said, walking back to the husband's body.

He looked at Mark Garvey's waist and hips and saw no evidence of bruising. Grissom looked up at Doc Robbins.

"They weren't strapped in," he announced, looking over the top of his glasses to Doc Robbins.

"No Gil, they weren't." Doc said softly. "The only ones who were strapped in was their son, Aaron, and the pilot."

Grissom strode back to Mrs. Garvey's body. His eyebrows were knitted in concentration. He pursed his lips in thought and tilted his head slightly. Carefully, he pulled the sheet all the way to her feet and stared at her. He studied her face closely.

"Plastic surgery," Grissom commented.

He pulled back her lips and noticed near perfect teeth. Grissom opened her eyelid and found hyper tinted contact lenses.

"What did you find on x-ray?" Grissom asked, not breaking his eyes away.

"Previous breaks of both forearms, various bones in both hands, left orbit, and various ribs." Doc Robbins recited from memory.

"The plastic surgery and dental work were out of necessity, not vanity." Grissom whispered.

The room was quiet except for the hum of the lights and air systems. Grissom's breathing increased as Doc Robbins walked to the boy's body.

"Our last victim, Aaron Garvey, age eight," Doc intoned, looking at the child as he pulled back the sheet.

Grissom took one look at the blonde boy on the table and started to hyperventilate. He stepped away from the gurney, but couldn't take his eyes off the body.

"Gil? Gil?" Doc Robbins asked, walking to him, standing to block his view.

Grissom continued to back away. Doc Robbins walked towards him and Grissom backed up to the wall, hyperventilating. Without warning, his left leg gave way and he sank to the floor. Grissom lowered his head onto his hands resting on his bent right knee. Doc Robbins picked up the phone and called the front desk.

"Page Sara Sidle and Captain Brass, have them report to the morgue immediately." Doc said.

Hanging up the phone, Doc Robbins rolled a chair to be near Grissom and started to talk to him in a quiet voice. A short time later, Sara walked in.

"You wanted to see me, Doc?" Sara asked, standing just inside the door.

She looked around and didn't see them at first. Quickly she ran over and knelt by Grissom.

"What happened?" She asked, touching Grissom's shoulder, looking at Doc.

"I'm not sure; he was fine until we got to the child. Then he started to hyperventilate and then he collapsed." Doc Robbins said softly.

Sara stood and went to the child. There was heavy bruising on his chest from the seat belt. Sara rolled him gently and saw scars across his back.

"Are your notes in Griss's inbox?" Sara asked, still looking at the child.

"Yes," Doc replied.

"All right, this case has him exhausted. I'm taking him home." Sara said, shifting her gaze to Doc.

At that moment, Jim Brass rushed in.

"What's happened?" Jim asked, crouching near Grissom.

"He collapsed when he saw the boy." Doc said.

"I thought something like this might happen. Gil? Gil? Time to get movin' buddy. Sara's going to take you home." Jim said softly, placing his hands on his shoulders.

Grissom raised his head from his hands and looked at him. The pain in his eyes was evident. Sara got under one arm as Jim got under the other. They got him to his feet.

"Are you hurt? Can you walk under your own steam?" Sara asked.

"I thought you went home." Grissom said, looking at her and then wiping his sleeve across his face. "Yeah, I'm fine."

"Okay, I'm parked out back," Sara said, as she slid her arm around his waist.

"Jim, we need to talk. Grissom noticed some things that you may want to investigate further." Doc Robbins said, standing.

"Sure, Doc. Sara, call me later, please." Jim said, as he watched them maneuver out of the room.

Sara helped Grissom into her Tahoe and got in quickly. His head was resting on the headrest and his eyes were closed. She reached over and pulled the shoulder strap across his body, securing it. Sara started the engine and headed for Grissom's townhouse as quickly as she dared.

They arrived a short time later but Grissom didn't move. Sara got out of the car and walked around to his side. She opened the door and disconnected his shoulder strap.

"Come on, Griss, we're home." Sara said, carefully touching his shoulder.

He got out of the car slowly and headed up the stairs. Sara followed behind him in case he became dizzy again. He unlocked the front door and started to divest himself of his office trappings; ID, cell phone, pager, keys, glasses, and dark glasses. Without a word he moved to the sofa, kicked off his loafers, and lay down on his stomach, his head turned to the wall, resting on his folded arms. Sara noticed the tremors of his body. She walked towards him and sat on the edge of the sofa. Very gently, Sara reached out and started to caress his shoulders. At first he stiffened but then he relaxed, eventually falling asleep.

Sara went into the kitchen, retrieved a bottle of water, calling Brass on her cell phone.

"Brass," he answered.

"Brass, it's Sara," she said, leaning against the counter.

"How is he?" Jim asked.

"Sleeping now, but you saw him. He's exhausted and he hasn't had a real meal since, well, I don't really know." Sara said.

"I spoke to Doc Robbins. Grissom hinted that the female vic showed signs of battery." Jim said.

"I saw the boy, Brass, and I could say the same thing." Sara said.

"So how does a man die of a hammer wound on a plane?" Jim mused.

"We need to look at the evidence and see what it tells us." Sara said.

"Well we'd better do it fast. The ATSB is issuing their report tomorrow and Grissom doesn't believe it." Jim said.

"Obviously, I need to stay here with Griss. Catherine and the boys will have to follow the evidence." Sara said.

"Call me later," Jim said.

"I will, bye," Sara said.

"Bye," Jim replied.

Sara took her water and walked back into the living room. Grissom was getting restless again, so she started rubbing his back. He calmed down immediately. This routine went on for several hours until she fell asleep against the sofa.

Grissom awoke hungry and tired. He tried to focus on his watch, but gave up. He sat up and swung his feet to the floor. Grissom wasn't entirely surprised to see Sara in his apartment but he couldn't figure out why she was asleep on his floor. He got up and walked to the bathroom. Shutting the door behind him, Grissom looked at himself in the mirror. He looked tired, which was no surprise, but he also looked haunted. The dark circles under his bloodshot eyes and the pallor beneath his beard indicated something else. He sighed and washed his face with cold water. Grissom left the bathroom and went to the kitchen. He stared at the microwave and read that the time was four o'clock. His stomach rumbled again as he removed eggs, cheese and milk to make a large batch of scrambled eggs. He pulled a bottle of water from the fridge and drank it greedily. It was then he noticed the note on the counter in a familiar handwriting.

 G, feed your pets. S 

Grissom smiled and walked into his back room. He opened the door and grinned at the greeting from the cockroaches. Grissom shut the door and turned on the lights. Humming faintly, he fed the various creatures. Grissom sat at the drafting board and made notes, then quickly sketched each insect. He felt a calm that seemed unfamiliar. Grissom picked up his sketchbook and walked out to the living room. Sara was still asleep. He sat quietly in the leather club chair and began to sketch her form. Sara woke up a short time later to an odd noise. She looked over and was surprised to see Grissom sketching, humming to himself.

"Hi," she said cautiously.

"Hi," Grissom replied, setting down his pencil and closing his notebook. "Thanks for the note. The cockroaches were hungry."

"You're welcome," Sara said, tilting her head to relieve the pressure in her neck.

"Are you hungry? I was about to make a pile of scrambled eggs with cheese." Grissom asked.

"That sounds great." Sara replied.

"Great," Grissom answered and headed to the kitchen.

Sara picked up the remote and pointed it at the stereo. The townhouse was again filled with cello music. She stood up, went to the breakfast bar, sat on a stool and watched Grissom cook.

"Water or coffee?" Grissom asked.

"I'd love some coffee, please." Sara answered.

"Okay," Grissom replied.

Sara smiled and watched him multitask; making coffee while scrambling eggs. She was also impressed when he insisted on using cloth napkins.

"Voila!" Grissom said with a flourish, handing her a full plate of scrambled eggs and coffee the colour she liked it.

"Thank you," Sara said, taking the plate and mug from him.

Sara took a forkful, swallowed and smiled.

"This is great, Griss," Sara said.

"Thanks," Grissom replied, sitting next to her.

"How did you learn how to cook, or is this the only dish you can make?" Sara asked.

"I was a short order cook in high school and college." Grissom said, taking a forkful of egg.

"You won scholarships all the way through school," Sara contested, reaching over to remove a small piece of cheese from his beard.

"I was saving that," Grissom growled with a smile.

"Yeah, sure," Sara replied, grinning.

"You're right, I did win scholarships, but they didn't pay for birthday presents or bar tabs or just plain stuff." Grissom explained.

Sara ate in silence, trying to judge his mood.

"Griss, I need you to talk to me. I think I understand how you feel about this case, but I need-" Sara said, looking over at him.

"Sara, I can't," Grissom said, interrupting her.

He stood abruptly and moved to look at his butterflies on the far wall. Sara walked up behind him silently. She put her hands on his shoulders, feeling an involuntary shudder. Carefully, she turned him to face her. She looked at his body language; his arms hung at his sides, his weight was shifted to his right, and he was staring at the floor.

"Griss?" Sara asked, placing her hand on his chin and tipping his head so he would look at her.

His blue eyes were pale and watery. He looked everywhere but at her. She felt the build-up in his muscles as she watched his face darken. His eyes turned dark blue and he pulled out of her grasp, walking quickly to the lab room, closing the door behind him.

She sighed and wiped the tears that had edged out of her eyes. It was five o'clock; she needed to shower and try to get in another nap in before she headed in for work. Sara put the dishes in the sink and cleaned up the kitchen. She took a piece of paper and wrote Grissom a quick note before heading to the door.

"Sara?" Grissom called, as he walked into the living room directly to the stereo.

"Yeah, Griss," She answered, turning to look at him.

"Would you give me a lift? It's on your way home." Grissom asked over his shoulder as he retrieved two cds.

It was as if the previous conversation had never happened. She was too exhausted to try to figure him out right now.

"Sure," Sara said, turning around and walking out the front door to her car.

Grissom picked up his glasses, keys, pager, phone, and his cds before putting on his sunglasses. He followed Sara outside, locking his front door. The heat was oppressive and by the time he got to the Tahoe, his shirt was sticking to him.

"Let me get my kit out of my car." Grissom said, unlocking the Denali.

He retrieved his kit and put in the back of Sara's Tahoe before getting settled into the passenger seat. He tried to be calm as he gave Sara directions. He knew for today, for him to go back to work tonight, he needed to do this. He just wasn't positive how he would feel afterwards. A short time later, Sara pulled up in front of a six-story office building. Grissom unclipped his shoulder harness, leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. He got out of the car and leaned his head back in.

"Thanks again, Sara. See you at work." Grissom said, removing his sunglasses so she could see his eyes.

Grissom replaced his sunglasses, shut the door and entered the anonymous building. Sara was speechless, confused, exhausted, and pleased. A short time ago, it seemed he didn't even register she existed. Now he spoke to her, kissed her on the cheek, and made her breakfast. Things were looking up, she thought. She put the car in gear and drove home.

Grissom took the slow elevator to the fourth floor and rang the bell on the shiny black door. A vibration ran through the door as the electrical circuit was made and he opened the door, stepping into the office. He was greeted by a small older man, dressed in a loose black shirt with matching black trousers.

"Dr. Grissom, I was so pleased that you called today." The man said, extending his hand.

Grissom took it and shook it slowly, not breaking eye contact with the other man.

"Dr. Wu, I'm happy that you were able to fit me into your schedule." Grissom replied.

"Please, let's get started." Dr. Wu said, walking through the hallway.

The door was painted a dark red. Dr. Wu opened it easily and turned on a soft diffused light. Grissom handed him the cds and started to remove and turn off his electronics. He knew they probably wouldn't work in the office anyway, but he couldn't be disturbed. Dr. Wu closed the door behind him, giving Grissom his privacy. Grissom stripped to his shorts, carefully folding his clothes on a chair. He lay down on his back on the table and closed his eyes, starting his relaxation techniques. The room was comfortable, neither hot nor cold. Silently Dr. Wu reentered the room. He walked up to the table and put one hand on Grissom's shoulder. The other hand started to touch other parts of his body. Grissom's breathing was slow and controlled. Dr. Wu removed his right hand to find the remote and turn on Grissom's music. The lilting cello filled the room. Dr. Wu smiled and returned to his patient. For the next ten minutes, Dr. Wu traced the twelve meridians, feeling the blockage that was trapping Grissom. Dr. Wu had a clear vision of his treatment and started to insert the acupuncture needles. It had been several months since Grissom had come for treatment and Dr. Wu was concerned at his condition. His body was at odds with itself; he was out of balance.

Grissom was floating, feeling the subtle pressures as Dr. Wu located the correct point and inserted the first needle. Dr. Wu started at his ankles and worked his way up, finishing with his scalp. He used the remote again to dim the lights to almost nothing. He sat in a chair, listening to the haunting cello.

Fifteen minutes later, Dr. Wu stood silently and lit the moxa punk stick. He walked around Grissom and heated different needles. His patient had fallen asleep. Dr. Wu knew this wasn't always a calming sleep. More often than not, it was the preamble to the storm. He reached for a restraint that slid across Grissom's hips and quietly secured it. He did the same with Grissom's wrists and ankles, careful not to dislodge any needles in the process. He looked at the piece of paper on the table near Grissom's head, and smiled sadly at the number written on it; two hundred and one. The number of needles he had to put in Grissom's body to try to restore the flow of chi.

Dr. Wu sat again in a chair by the table watching the subtle changes of Grissom's skin as the pathways became clear. Grissom became restless, a sheen of perspiration breaking out on his chest and face. Dr. Wu reached out and massaged his face, manipulating the energy channels. Grissom calmed immediately but became agitated a short time later.

Dr. Wu knew when he shook hands with Grissom that this was going to be longer than the ninety minutes that Grissom had reserved. He cleared his schedule, knowing that he would have to be hands on, doing bodywork, moxibustion as well as acupuncture to try to get Grissom a little peace.


The music had started to play through for a second time. Grissom had been at the acupuncturist for just over two hours. Dr. Wu left the room to prepare some tea and herbs for him. He walked back in the room and raised the lighting level slightly.

"Gil? It's time," Dr. Wu said, softly.

Grissom opened his eyes and smiled. He was still tired but the anxiety that threatened to overcome him was gone. Dr. Wu removed the restraints.

"How many?" Grissom asked.

"Two hundred and one," Dr. Wu said, starting to remove the needles as Grissom kept count.

It was practical and it was also a relaxation exercise that Dr. Wu used to bring his patient back to full consciousness slowly; the counting of the needles.

"The last one. Get dressed and come into the study, please." Dr. Wu instructed, again leaving Grissom alone.

Grissom stood slowly and rubbed the chafe marks on his hands. He looked at his ankles and pulled down the band of his shorts and saw the same marks. Leather restraints, he would have to advise Dr. Wu on the merits of nylons, silk nylons, Grissom thought with a smirk.

He got dressed and walked into the study. Dr. Wu waited patiently for him to sit next to him in the other chair. He poured Grissom a cup of tea and then he poured one for himself. They sipped their tea silently; Grissom felt the heat pour into his body. At the end of the second cup, he felt his energy return and his fatigue slip away.

"I have some herbs for you to take. The instructions are on the bag. You are still conflicted, Gil. The herbs will help somewhat but you know what you have to do." Dr. Wu said.

"Yes, I have to confront that which is trying to destroy me." Grissom said, softly.

"Musashi?" Dr. Wu asked.

"Grissom," he replied.

They finished the pot of tea. Grissom stood and gathered his small bag of herbs as well as his cds. They walked out to the hallway and the front door.

"One day at a time. You have my numbers." Dr. Wu said.

"Yes, thank you, Dr. Wu." Grissom said, shaking his hand and bowing as well.

"You're most welcome, Dr. Grissom." Dr. Wu said, returning the tradition.

Grissom walked out of the building and turned on his cell phone; no messages. He hailed a taxi and went straight to the lab. Stopping by reception, he picked up a large stack of messages before heading to his office. He unlocked the door, walked in, and shut the door behind him. He turned on the lamp at his desk to the lowest level, fished out his cds, and put one in. Strains of Bach in G Minor filled the office as he sat at his desk and started to work.

There was a knock on the door, but Grissom didn't hear it. The door opened and a figure slipped in. The person settled in the leather chair in front of Grissom's desk and waited. Grissom raised his head away from the report he was reading to see Sara sitting quietly in front of him.

"Hi," Grissom said, keeping his eyes locked on hers, lowering the volume on the CD player.

"Hi, you look better. How are you feeling?" Sara asked, sitting forward in her chair.

"I'm feeling better, thanks." Grissom said.

"We need assignments," Sara nudged gently.

"Actually, there are no new cases right now, so I'd like to get brought up to speed on the Challenger 300 case. Can you gather the troops and we'll meet in say, ten minutes in the break room?" Grissom asked.

"Sure," Sara said, standing.

"Thanks," Grissom said, returning his gaze to the report in front of him.

Sara shook her head slightly and left his office. She walked into the break room where the rest of the team, except Greg, sat patiently.

"Grissom wants us to get all of our data together and meet him here in ten to discuss the Challenger 300 case. I'll go get Greg." Sara said, and left the room.

Grissom gathered his files, his herbs, and his favourite mug from the Discovery Channel and walked to the break room. He put the files down in front of his normal spot and took the herbs and his mug to the counter. He pulled a tea ball out of his pocket and opened up the paper bag. Inside were five small zip lock bags with different herbs. He opened up the tea ball and for five minutes carefully put herbs in it. The other Crime Lab members walked in with their files and sat down, watching the shift supervisor pay exclusive attention to the making of what appeared to be a very special cup of tea. Finally, the tea ball was full and Grissom gently placed it in his cup. He poured hot water into the cup, filling it. He watched as the magic opaque black boxes on the sides of his cup cleared to reveal different bugs. Grissom cleaned his mess on the counter, gathered his herbs, picked up his cup of tea, and sat down to face the team.

"First of all, sorry to have missed the shift. Thanks for taking up the slack, Catherine. Now, care to walk me through it?" Grissom asked, putting on his glasses.

Catherine looked across the table at him, smiled and started her brief.

"The plane was three years old, custom-built in Canada for Handco Inc. The maintenance logs seem to be in order." Catherine started.

"What about the pilot? He was the alternate?" Grissom asked, his left hand surrounding his tea cup.

"Yeah, the chief pilot was at his sister's wedding in Miami." Nick inserted.

"Okay, go on," Grissom instructed.

Catherine went on to talk about the weather for the flight and mundane things. Grissom started looking at the file set out in front of him. There was something there, something he was missing that was in front of him. He picked up his pen and started to draw on the blank pad next to him.

"Grissom? Do you have any questions?" Catherine asked.

"Thousands, what about the condition of the plane." Grissom asked dryly.

"They had a black box on the jet because it was a public corporation. According to its records, the flight started out normally, leaving McLaren on time. Thirty minutes into the flight, something happened and the plane started to lose pressure. It was about 18,000 feet up. The pilot was able to keep it together until the plane was about five hundred feet off the deck. Then it sort of glided to the desert floor." Warrick replied.

Grissom looked at his file and found the tear sheet for the BD-100 Challenger 300.

"That makes no sense. The Challenger 300 is for the long haul. Its cruising altitude was 41,000 feet and the cruising speed was 850 km/h. After thirty minutes they should have been much higher and much further out. Where were they headed?" Grissom asked.

"Flight plan had them headed to Hawaii." Warrick answered.

"Where is the plane now?" Grissom asked.

"ATSB approved it to stay at McLaren in a hangar on the south end of the field." Warrick replied.

"All right, continue," Grissom said, making a note on his pad.

"The pilot died from blunt force trauma consistent with a plane crash." Catherine said.

"Tox screen negative for any drugs or alcohol." Greg said. "But,"

"But?" Grissom asked, starting to feel a foreboding.

"But he hadn't eaten in twelve hours at least before the flight." Greg said.

Grissom sipped his tea and felt a revival of sorts.

"The flight to Hawaii is eight hours from L.A., right? How can you fly a plane on an empty stomach?" Sara asked.

"And what does that have to do with his blown ear drum?" Warrick asked.

"Okay, something to look into, keep going Catherine." Grissom said, trying to stay focused.

"The older male victim died from a blow to the head. We didn't recover any weapon at the scene." Catherine said.

"I found trace amounts of nitroglycerine in his system as well as Viagra." Greg offered.

"Remind me where he was found." Grissom asked, looking down at his files, ignoring him.

"The Challenger 300 seats eight passengers in two columns of four with a center aisle. We found him against the cockpit door. The seat belts for all but three of the seats were clipped to themselves. He was seated in either 1R or 1L. His wife sat across from him." Sara said, pointing to the enlarged cabin layout tacked onto the wall.

Catherine looked at Grissom. His right hand sketched something; his left hand pinched the top of his nose. Not another migraine, she thought.

"The female victim was also found against the cockpit door." Catherine said, trying to move things along.

"Tox report came back positive for alcohol and cocaine." Greg added.

"They weren't strapped in. The plane had been in the air for thirty minutes and in that time both adults removed their seat belts." Grissom said, in a low voice.

Everyone looked at him. They knew that tone. He was at the crime scene in his mind, running it over and over again, trying to get the loose pieces to fit the puzzle.

"I'll listen again to the voice data recorder and see if I can pick anything up." Nick offered.

Grissom nodded and sipped his tea again, knowing it was coming.

"The last victim was found still strapped into his seat." Catherine said, looking through her notes for something.

"He was suffocated." Grissom said, suddenly.

"Well, yes, Doc found petechial hemorrhaging," Catherine said, surprised.

"One more thing, I found Zoloft in his system." Greg said.

"The elder male victim?" Grissom clarified.

"No, the youngest one," Greg said, softly. "Enough to make him almost catatonic," Greg said.

Sara looked at Grissom. His eyes were dark blue as he drank his tea. The knuckles on his right hand were white and his left hand was clenched in a fist. Uncomfortable, the lab team looked elsewhere. It took Grissom five minutes to get a hold of his emotions.

"Nick, you're listening to the cockpit tape. Warrick, find out more about the pilot. Catherine, find out which parent had the Zoloft prescription. Also find out more about the company. Something's not right. Sara, you and I are going back to the plane. In case you haven't heard, the ATSB is publishing their findings tomorrow at some point. The only thing they found wrong with the plane is that the oxygen system did not activate properly. That means that we have to find out what went on in that plane before the oxygen system failed." Grissom said, standing.

The other members of the team stood as well and collected their papers. They left Sara and Grissom alone in the break room as he tried to collate his files.

"Can I carry anything for you?" Sara asked, gently.

"Thanks, Sara. Would you grab my pad and tea cup?" Grissom asked.

"Sure," Sara said, picking up his pad and putting it on top of her file, she followed him into his office.

"Can you give me ten minutes, Sara? I'll meet you at the car." Grissom asked, as he put his files on his desk.

"Okay, can I help you?" Sara asked, putting the pad and cup on his desk.

"No, thanks. I'm fine." Grissom said, looking up at her.

She could see some of the anxiety had returned to his face but didn't call him on it.

"Meet you in ten, then," Sara said, with a grin.

"Thanks, Sara," Grissom replied, smiling back.

She left his office and he tried to organize the file. He looked at his pad and noticed that he had drawn a sketch of his mother's face. Carefully, he folded the paper and tore it on the folds, revealing just the quick sketch. He put it on his desk. Quickly, Grissom emptied everything out of his shirt pockets and went to the locker room. He pulled a towel and started the cold water in the shower. He shucked his shirt off and stuck his head under the cold water for a few moments. He stood up and shook his head.

"Hey," Greg yelped at the water raining down on him.

"Sorry, Greg, didn't see you there." Grissom said, draping the towel over his shoulders, holding on to the ends.

"No problem, boss. I just wanted to say that your tea would be more effective if you had hotter water. In the future call me in the lab and I'll heat it up and let it steep properly for you." Greg said, softly.

Grissom looked at him and saw a different man; not the puppy playing obnoxious music, bleeding energy, but a caring adult.

"Thanks, Greg. I have to get going." Grissom said, walking to his locker.

Greg leaned over and picked up Grissom's dirty shirt.

"Just wanted you to know that I understand and I just want to help." Greg said, looking at his mentor.

Grissom opened his locker, and in an uncharacteristic move, put the towel over the locker door. Standing bare-chested, he reached in for a clean shirt and slid his arms into it. Turning around, he faced Greg, who handed him his dirty shirt.

"Thanks," Grissom said, taking the shirt touching the younger man's hand for a moment.

"Gotta go, backed up with Ecklie's stuff." Greg said, with a small smile as he left the locker room.

Grissom hung his dirty shirt up, removed the towel, closed his locker and walked to the mirror, buttoning his shirt. Nothing too amiss, he thought, looking at his wet curls. He tossed the towel into the hamper and hurried to his office. He grabbed his windbreaker, his file, his glasses, and carefully folded his sketch of his mother, placing it in his shirt pocket. He walked out of his office, letting the door lock behind him, and met Sara in the employee's lot. Sara electronically unlocked her Tahoe and they both got in.

"Griss, would you get me a water out of the cooler?" Sara asked, backing out of the parking space, heading for the airport.

"Sure," Grissom said, reaching into the small cooler at his feet.

He opened the bottle and handed it to her, putting the top in the cup holder on his side. He sat back in his seat and tried to focus. It was midnight, according to the clock on the dashboard and he was already tired. His phone rang, and he shifted to retrieve it.

"Grissom," he answered.

"Hi, it's Jim. How are you doing?" he asked.

"I'm fine. Sara and I are on our way out to the crime scene. What do you know?" Grissom asked.

"Plenty, I have some time. I'll meet you over there. Need anything?" Brass asked.

"Sara, Jim wants to know if you need anything." Grissom asked.

"You need a grande drip, if he can swing past a Starbucks." Sara said, concentrating on the road.

"You hear that?" Grissom asked, grinning.

"You got it, see you soon." Jim said.

"Bye," Grissom replied, hanging up and putting his phone away.

They entered the airport grounds and drove to the hangar where the Handco plane was stored. Grissom got out of the Tahoe, retrieved his kit, flashed his badge and went in, Sara at his side. A portable staircase had been brought in as well as an external generator to run the plane's lighting and air systems. Grissom took a breath and climbed the steep stairs entering the plane, most of which had been reassembled on a scaffold. He walked inside a few feet to allow Sara access before carefully setting his kit down. He opened his kit and put on his gloves. Sara did the same. They started aft and worked their way forward. Brass arrived about thirty minutes into their search. He stood in the doorway and watched them move. It was so graceful, almost as if they were in water. Grissom shifted to the left and so did Sara, always maintaining a certain distance between them. Grissom dropped to his knees suddenly and then lay on the floor, looking under one of the seats.

"Griss, are you okay?" Sara asked, dropping to her knees beside him.

He edged on his back under the seat and reached up to retrieve something. Carefully he handed out to Sarah the body of a ratcheting wrench.

"One murder weapon down." Grissom dead panned as he carefully stood.

He looked down for a moment and realized what row he was in; back row starboard.

"I have your coffee at the bottom of the stairs, why don't you take a break?" Jim suggested.

"You go ahead; I'm going to look at the cockpit." Sara said.

"The ear drum," Grissom reminded her.

"The ear drum," she echoed.

Grissom followed Brass down the stairs, careful not to touch anything. He removed his gloves and tossed them into the garbage container, then accepted the hot beverage.

"Man, you really had me worried this morning." Jim admitted.

"I'm sorry," Grissom replied.

"Did you call your Mom?" Jim asked.

"No, it would only worry her as well." Grissom said, turning to walk away a bit. "Jesus Christ, Jim, every day for almost forty years, I've buried these memories. I understand what brought them back, I just didn't understand how strong and vivid they were."

"Sara said you went somewhere this afternoon. You certainly look rested." Jim said, leaning against a laden golf cart.

"Thanks," Grissom said, turning to look at him.

"You know, I am an investigator, I will find out." Jim said, smiling.

"It's not a secret, it's just private." Grissom said.

"Hey, Griss, can you come up here?" Sara said, sticking her head out the door.

"Thanks for the coffee, Jim," Grissom said, tossing the cup in the garbage.

"Take care, Gil. Call me when you need to talk." Jim said, standing at the bottom of the stairs as Grissom climbed them.

Grissom kept walking, raising his hand in acknowledgement.

"What do you have?" Grissom asked, regloving.

"Well, we know the pilot was strapped into his seat. We also know that both seats were ripped from their moorings. Take a look at this," Sara said, shining her flashlight under the seat's framework.

"Is that blood?" Grissom asked.

"Yes, positive for blood. I'm thinking that this may be the other male vic's murder scene." Sara said.

"Very good, so the victim is sitting in the left seat, which means he's flying the plane." Grissom said, reaching for his phone.

"Willows," she answered.

"Cath, it's Gil, did the male vic have a pilot's license?" Grissom asked.

"I don't know but I'll find out." Catherine said.

"Thanks, bye." Grissom said.

"Bye," Catherine replied, hanging up the phone.

Just as he was putting the phone away it rang again.

"Grissom," he answered.

"Grissom, it's Nick. Ya gotta listen to this copy of the voice recorder tape." Nick said, excitedly.

"Yeah, Sara just figured it out. The male vic was murdered in the cockpit." Grissom said, rocking his head to crack his neck.

"Well, yeah, but there's much more," Nick said, slightly disappointed.

"Nick, we're still processing." Grissom said, looking at his watch. "We should be back at the lab in two hours or so." He said, looking at Sara for agreement.

She looked at her watch, one o'clock and nodded to him before returning to her hands and knees looking for evidence in the cramped cockpit.

"Okay, man, see you then." Nick said.

"Right, bye," Grissom replied hanging up his phone.

Grissom took a deep breath and sighed. He walked back into the main compartment and stood, his back to the cockpit. He let his mind start to recreate the scene. The child, sipping juice spiked with Zoloft, the wife alone with her thoughts in the cabin, her abusive husband in the cockpit with the pilot. He reached into his kit and regloved. Grissom walked to the back of the plane and squatted, tilting his head, getting perspective. He leaned over to his knees and carefully started to examine the carpet under the back row of seats. Then he examined the seats themselves. The seat the child was in had a sticky residue on the arm rest. Grissom planted his hand on the arm rest to stand but felt a hand on his shoulder.

"What do you need?" Sara asked.

"Another swab, there's a residue on the armrest of this seat." Grissom said, taking it from her.

He swabbed it and handed the swab back. Turning his flashlight on, he looked again, combing the seat pocket for anything. He found a cocktail napkin with a sketch and put it in his pocket.

"Griss, what is that?" Sara asked.

"Nothing," he said, continuing his painful hands and knees search.

"Grissom, that's evidence. What did you pick up?" Sara said loudly.

Grissom sat back on his heels and carefully pulled the cocktail napkin from his pocket and smoothed it out on the leather seat. It was a child's sketch of a woman, presumably his mother. The woman was not smiling, indeed she looked sad. Grissom waited a moment and then reached slowly back into his shirt pocket for the other piece of paper. He put it side by side with the first one. Aside from technique, they were identical, a boy's sketch of his sad mother. Sara gently took both images, folded them on their fold lines and placed them into Grissom's hand. He couldn't look at her, he didn't trust himself. She squeezed his shoulder and walked to the cockpit door to reexamine it. Grissom wiped his face on his shirt, put the sketches into his shirt pocket and resumed his search.

He arrived at the first row, finding nothing new.

"Why didn't she strap the body into a seat?" Sara said, looking at him. "I mean, I wouldn't want to look at the body for the whole flight, and I certainly wouldn't want to deal with it during a run of turbulence."

"Maybe that's when the plane started down so she couldn't get him secured." Grissom said, slowly getting to his feet.

His back hurt, his knees hurt, the fatigue was returning, and also a small headache. He walked to an unoccupied seat and sat down heavily, his left hand covering his eyes. He listened and heard a muffled noise. Removing his hand he listened again and looked at the side bulkheads. There were storage areas and vents for the air system. He stood quickly and walked to where the boy had been sitting. He removed the grill and trained his flashlight into the hole. Carefully he removed a small pillow. He brought it to his face and smelled shampoo and juice. Sara held a bag for him and he dropped the pillow into it. Two for two, he thought.

"Am I missing anything, Sara?" Grissom asked, walking again to the back of the plane.

"I don't think there's anything else the plane can tell us. Now we have to look at the evidence and what led up to the trip to Hawaii." Sara said, looking down the plane at him.

"Let's pack up and head back to the lab." Grissom said, tiredly.

They walked down the stairs and stopped to remove their gloves. Grissom saw something and set his kit down. He turned on his flashlight and walked away from Sara to a piece of the fuselage, lying on its side. Grissom squatted down and looked closely at something.

"Sara, what do you make of this?" Grissom called to her.

Sara walked to his side quickly following the beam of his flashlight.

"Looks like scarring what is that?" Sara asked.

"I'm not sure but it has nothing to do with routine maintenance. Can you take photos? I want to call Brass." Grissom said, standing.

He pulled his phone out and speed dialed number five.

"Brass," he answered.

"Hi, it's me. Can you come back out to the hangar? I think I found something the ATSB boys missed." Grissom said, having a hard time containing his excitement.

"I'm on my way," Brass said, hanging up the phone.

"He's on his way," Grissom shrugged, putting his phone back in his pocket.

He pulled out his flashlight again and started another search. After finding two more anomalies, he walked back to the staircase and brought his kit closer. He started laying out the numbered cards so Sara could properly take photos. Thirty minutes later, Brass arrived.

"Whoa, what's going on here, Gil?" Brass asked as he quickly counted ten yellow cards.

"Take a look and you tell me." Grissom said, handing him his flashlight and stepping back.

Brass took a look and noticed the oxygen system. He looked closer and saw the neatly cut hose. He looked further and saw other elements of the plane, steel cables, electrical circuits, and cables all with damage to them; damage that could not necessarily be attributed to a plane crash.

"Catalog this carefully, Sara. This ties in to what Nick heard on the tape. I'm going to call the ATSB boys." Jim said, walking away.

"Jim," Grissom called, tilting his head as he did when he was deep in thought. "Had you met those ATSB guys before?" he asked.

"Ah come off it, Gil. You're really pulling at straws now. I admit there is some evidence that they didn't catch, but this is not a conspiracy." Jim stopped to speak to him, then continued to make his way to his car.

"So what, if it's cops they can't be wrong?" Grissom said snidely, walking after him.

"Not on my watch, no they can't. But, hey, what do you know? You have no idea what goes on in your lab. Rules are broken left and right and you have no idea. You're too insulated. You see nothing and you feel nothing." Jim angrily shouted, facing him.

Grissom stopped in his tracks and then he lost control. This old wound had just been laid open again. Six months ago at the lab he had accused Brass of ignoring what appeared to be evidence of a bad cop. In that heated exchange, Grissom slammed his hand into a wall. He charged Brass but ignored him, choosing instead to pick up the fifty gallon trash container at his side.

"I didn't want the damn job!" Grissom screamed, throwing the container away from the crime scene.

His anger was rolling off of him in waves, but he needed to release it. He turned around, not seeing Jim, Sara, or the security guard. He stalked out of the hangar with Jim and Sara running behind him. Grissom put his hands on the roof of Jim's Taurus, his body was shaking, his chest heaving, his mind a jumble of different thoughts. Suddenly, Grissom pulled his left hand and punched the driver's side window out. He walked away cradling his hand, still agitated but not angry. Sara followed him discreetly as he turned the corner around the hangar, finally crouching in the darkness.

"Griss?" Sara said softly as she approached him.

He tried to stand but didn't have the energy. He turned his face from her but not before she caught a reflection of tears.

"Come on, Griss. We need to go to the lab and get the evidence processed." Sara said, logically.

She crouched down next to him and reached out her hand. He covered it with his, slick with the blood from his injured hand.

"I'm sorry, tell him I'm sorry." Grissom whispered, still not looking at her.

"No, I'm sorry buddy. I lost my temper with you and that wasn't fair." Jim said, walking up behind Sara.

Grissom looked up at him and removed his good hand to reach out to Brass. Jim leaned down and helped Grissom to his feet. They embraced, quietly speaking to each other. Sara stood back and wiped her eyes.

"Come on you two. Brass, would you take him for stitches? I'll take the kits to the lab." Sara said.

"Yeah, come on let's see what damage you've done." Jim said, putting his arm over his friend's shoulders.

They walked back and looked at the damage to Brass's car. Brass opened the door and carefully brushed the safety glass off the seat. He opened the passenger door for Grissom and got him settled.

"I'll see you at the lab." Jim said to Sara, as she stood by his door.

"Don't worry about us, just take care of him." Sara said, placing a hand on Jim's shoulder.

He reached up and touched her hand, then started the engine and drove to Desert Palms Hospital.

"Dr. Grissom, you'll be fine, just take it easy. No strenuous activity with this hand. Bag it before you shower, you know the drill. Here are enough pain pills for tonight and here is a prescription that you can get filled tomorrow." The E.R. doctor said.

"Thanks, Doc," Grissom said, walking out into the hallway, feeling slightly more alert.

Brass stood as his friend walked up to him.

"What time is it?" Grissom asked, shifting the sling to take the pressure off his hand.

"Four," Jim said, looking at his watch.

"Let's get to the lab," Grissom said, growing excited about the evidence.

"Okay, just take it easy, please." Jim said, as they walked side by side out to his car. "You know this is a trigger case for you. You've already had one panic attack at the lab."

"I know, Jim. I know. I'm really trying to keep it together." Grissom said, settling into the passenger seat.

"Just don't let it get away from you." Jim warned.

Jim and Grissom walked into the lab in search of Nick. They found him in the break room.

"Nick, is the tape set up?" Grissom asked.

"Yes, Griss," Nick answered, looking at Grissom's hand.

Sara hadn't mentioned that Grissom had been injured on the scene.

"Give me five minutes or so and I'll meet you there." Grissom said.

"Okay," Nick replied.

Grissom walked to his office, picked up the herbs and his tea cup and ambled back to the trace lab. For a change, the music was Sweet Honey in the Rock. The acapella group's voices were soaring and Grissom smiled in spite of himself. He stood just inside the doorway. Greg turned and noticed Grissom and his bandaged hand. He gingerly took the tea cup and herbs from Grissom. Walking over to a work table, he emptied the dry herbs from the tea ball. Refilling it while Grissom listened to the music, he then dropped the tea ball into the beaker of near boiling water, turning off the gas. Greg glanced at his watch and after two minutes, poured a fresh cup of tea for Grissom. Smiling, he handed it to his boss. Grissom smiled and mouthed thank you before walking to the audio lab.

Grissom sat in one of the comfortable chairs, his tea in front of him.

"This is the straight tape without filtering." Nick said, as the technician played it.

Grissom closed his eyes and listened, picking up every nuance. Nick pushed a pad and pencil toward Grissom's right hand. Grissom picked up the pencil and started making notes. Thirty minutes later, the tape was over. Grissom opened his eyes and looked at the younger man.

"What did you hear?" Grissom asked, taking a sip of his tea.

"I heard an argument between the male vic, the pilot, and the female vic. I heard the male vic die. I heard the door shut. I heard a strange whooshing noise, the alarms, the engines and then nothing." Nick said, closing his eyes and reciting from memory.

"I heard the child screaming," Grissom said, standing up and walking out of the room with his tea.

Nick looked at the list that Grissom had written. He noted that he heard the child scream five times on the tape.

"Cue the tape again, please." Nick said.

Grissom stalked back towards his office but not before Sara ran out of an exam room to get his attention.

"Griss, could you come in here please?" Sara asked, before seeing the anxiety on his face.

"Please, Griss, it will only take a minute." Sara said, gently pulling his good arm towards the exam room.

He sat on the stool, set his tea cup down and removed his glasses, rubbing his eyes.

"I did a wound analysis on the male vic and compared it to the ratchet you found. Take a look." Sara said, with a small smile.

He stood and looked through the microscope, a perfect match. He straightened up and smiled back.

"Greg done a blood test yet?" Grissom asked, putting his glasses back on.

"Match for the male vic," Sara said, continuing to smile.

"Fingerprints?" Grissom asked.

"Match for the female vic." Sara said, beaming.

"Okay so female vic kills the male vic." Grissom stated. "What about the pillow?" he asked, his voice dropping slightly.

"I fogged it. It was used to suffocate to younger male." Sara said, seriously.

"Any prints?" Grissom asked, sipping his tea, trying to control his emotions.

"Lots, we're trying to isolate the ones pertaining to the case." Sara said.

"Good work, Sara. Have you seen Warrick or Catherine?" Grissom asked, standing slowly.

"They may be in the break room." Sara ventured.

"Thanks," Grissom said, heading for the door.

"Griss, you okay?" Sara asked, taking a chance.

"No, not really. I'm just trying to get through this the only way I can." Grissom replied, entering the hallway.

He took a sip of his cooled tea and walked to the break room. Catherine and Warrick had the case file spread out on the main table.

"What do you know?" Grissom asked.

Catherine looked at the sling and the bandages as well as the muscle on Grissom's jaw that only pulsed when he was agitated and decided not to be flippant.

"Handco was part of a hostile takeover. Michael Weissman is the man of the hour." Catherine said confidently.

"Michael Weissman?" Grissom asked, sitting down, removing his glasses, and massaging his forehead with one hand.

"Yeah, you know Griss; he's the guy that's trying to change the face of Vegas." Warrick answered.

"Expensive suit, chocolate brown Jaguar, blonde on both hips?" Grissom asked.

"Yeah," Catherine laughed, "that's the commercial, anyway."

"Okay so how does Michael Weissman fit in?" Grissom asked, sipping his tea.

"I'm not sure except that they were going to meet him at the Mauna Kea Beach club on Hawaii." Catherine said.

"All right, keep digging." Grissom said. "What else?"

"The Zoloft prescription was for the female vic." Catherine said, cautiously.

Grissom sipped his tea and simply nodded.

"The male vic was a licensed pilot but not for jets and certainly not this big." Warrick announced.

"That's interesting." Grissom said, sitting up a little more.

"The pilot and the female vic were an item." Warrick added.

"This pilot or the primary pilot?" Grissom asked.

"This pilot," Warrick affirmed. "Oh, and one more thing, Sara asked Doc to look at the ear drum again, he found a minute piece of plastic from the control panel. He probably turned his head on impact."

Grissom shook his head supporting it with his right hand.

"What's wrong, Gil?" Catherine asked, concerned.

"I can't see the timeline. We're missing something. I can't see it." Grissom explained.

"I might be able to shed some light on that, if you'll let me." Jim said, standing in the doorway.

"Please," Grissom said, looking at his friend and fishing for the envelope of pain pills.

Catherine walked to his side and read the envelope. Checking her watch, she took one pill out of the envelope and placed it in his hand. Grissom smiled and tossed back the pill with his tea.

"The alleged ATSB men were, as you suspected, not ATSB. They do, in fact, work for Michael Weissman." Jim said.

"I'm sorry Jim, I'm not following." Grissom said, sipping the last of his tea.

"They nearly closed the case, at the very least Weissman may have gotten rid of the bump in his road..." Jim revealed.

Grissom got to his feet suddenly, bumping the table.

"What are you saying? Are you saying that four people were killed and it was just business?' Grissom said, his voice low.

Jim raised his hands up to surrender and softened his voice.

"What I am saying is that we have a smart guy out there who thinks he got away with murder." Jim said.

Grissom walked out of the break room muttering, leaving his glasses and tea behind.

"What did he say to you?" Catherine asked.

"He said, I'm smarter." Jim said, looking at Grissom's back as he stalked to his office.

Grissom walked into his office, sat down in his chair, and realized that he left his glasses and tea in the break room. He couldn't walk back there right now. He needed to think. Grissom reached over and turned on the CD player. He sat back in his chair, and put his feet up on the desk. Cradling his hand he listened to Yo-Yo Ma and drifted. He looked at the clock on his desk and noticed with surprise that it was almost eight. He pulled his legs of the desk and stood wearily. Shutting off his cd player, he left the office to see what had happened in the last three hours.

He walked to the break room and found his glasses on the table. His bug cup had been washed and sat in the rack. He walked out and found Sara still in the exam room. He entered the room, and put on his glasses.

"Anything new?" he asked.

"No, we're missing something, though," Sara said, looking at him.

"I know, I can't see it but we're missing something. Did you hear that the whole crash and murder; the whole thing, may be a bad business deal?" Grissom asked.

"No, you're kidding?" Sara asked.

"I wish I was. Poor kid was just caught in the middle." Grissom said softly, looking down at the pillow.

"Grissom, it's eight, why don't I drive you home?" Sara asked.

"Thanks, Sara. I'm okay." Grissom said, looking at her.

Sara's heart beat a little quicker.

"Where are your pain pills?" she asked.

He reached into his trouser pocket and handed her the envelope.

"Grissom, how many did you take?" Sara asked.

"Catherine gave me one, why?" Grissom asked.

"These are really powerful. You can't drive home, as a matter of fact; you're supposed to take these on a full stomach. I wonder what your migraine meds are going to make of this." Sara asked.

Grissom sighed when his tired brain registered what she was suggesting.

"I'm ready to go when you are." Grissom said.

"I'll meet you at my car in five minutes." Sara said, leaving Grissom alone in the exam lab.

Grissom sat in the lab and looked at the evidence and the paper work spread out on the table. The door opened, but he didn't acknowledge it.

"Grissom? You okay?" Greg asked.

"Oh, yeah, sorry, these pain meds are pretty strong. I have to meet Sara in the parking lot. She's my designated driver." Grissom answered, standing slowly.

"Really? Well I'm walking there as well so we shall walk together." Greg said, putting an arm around Grissom's shoulder, guiding him to the lot.

"Thanks, Greg," Sara said, helping Grissom into the Tahoe.

"He's a little disoriented." Greg said.

"Thanks, Greg," Grissom repeated as he fell asleep in the car.

"You sure you can handle him?" Greg asked.

"Actually Greg, if you could follow us and help me get him in that would be a big help." Sara said, thinking of the staircase from hell.

"Sure, no problem." Greg said, sprinting for his old Mustang.

He drove the car up and flashed the lights. Sara smiled and drove on to Grissom's town house. When they arrived, Grissom was fast asleep in the car.

"Griss, we're home. Wake up." Sara said, softly.

Grissom didn't move.

"Let me try," Greg said. "Stand back, GRISSOM, WAKE UP!!" he screamed.

Grissom woke up as if he had been struck. He was confused and disoriented, but functional. Greg got him into the town house with Sara's help. They parked him on a stool in the breakfast bar, discussing the staircase, when they noticed movement. Grissom had started to walk up the circular staircase under his own steam.

"I guess it's not a scary staircase to him." Greg noted.

They followed him quietly. Grissom made it to the second floor and lurched into his bedroom. He climbed onto his bed and collapsed.

"Well, he's home. I'm going back to the lab, clean up and go home. Don't hesitate to call if you need help." Greg said.

"Thanks again, Greg." Sara said.

"No problem. See you tomorrow, uhm, tonight." Greg said, blushing.

Sara heard his footfalls on the stairs and the snick of the door as it closed. She was alone again with Grissom. He couldn't sleep totally dressed with his glasses, pager and who knows what else in his pockets. Sara rolled him on his back, careful not to further injure his hand. She took his glasses off and put them on the night stand and then proceeded to pat down his pockets. Keys, pager, phone, sunglasses, ID badge, flashlight, all ended up on the low dresser. She touched his shirt pocket and heard a sound. Reaching in she found the two sketches and placed them on the high dresser next to the photographs.

She started to undress him, pulling off his loafers and socks. Sara went to his waist and loosened his belt. Unbuttoning his trousers, she unzipped them. Her hands shook slightly, her heart beat madly, and her logical side took control. She tugged and pulled and finally held his trousers in her hand. She reached into the back pocket and found his wallet and also put that on the high dresser. Reaching into the front pocket she found a small stack of dollar bills with a money clip. The inscription was in Latin Mors ultima linea rerum est. Sara smiled as she remembered that snowy day in Cambridge when she gave it to him. It was a quote from Horatius and roughly translated meant 'Death is everything's final limit'. It had been a joke between them.

Sara reached over and started to unbutton his shirt. Getting the shirt off without too much discomfort to Grissom was going to be tough. Suddenly he opened his eyes.

"Hi, what are you doing?" he asked.

"I'm getting you ready for bed. Would you help me get your shirt off?" Sara asked.

"Sure," Grissom said, easily.

The pain medication certainly did relax him, she thought. Sara pulled Grissom to his feet, drew back the sheets and got him resettled. He was uncomfortable trying to get out of pain. She reached over and rubbed his back.

"Stay," Grissom whispered rolling onto his right side.

"What?" Sara asked, startled.

"Please, just until I'm asleep." Grissom asked, looking at her.

Sara couldn't believe this was happening. It is definitely the pain medication and the pain itself, she decided. She kicked off her shoes and lay down on the covers behind him. She reached up and carefully put her hand over his left arm, resting it on his chest. He immediately started to calm at her touch. The last thing she saw was the bedside clock reading nine.

Sara awoke and stretched luxuriously. She looked at the clock and blinked, it said four o'clock. She hadn't slept for seven hours straight in a long time. The house was very quiet and she was alone in the bedroom. Sighing she went into the bathroom and performed her ablutions. Drying her face, she walked down the staircase slowly. Grissom was not in her vision. She walked into the guestroom, but it was empty. Taking a chance, she opened the door to the lab room. Grissom stood, dressed in a worn pale blue t-shirt, grey sweats and bare feet. He was muttering to himself. The wipe board was full of block diagrams about the plane crash. She read it from across the room. He was so close to solving the case. As he paced in front of the board she noticed his limp. He rubbed his beard with his right hand. His left hand lay limply at his side, but the bandages were no longer white. Sara watched him for almost an hour. He had no idea she was there.

Finally she felt the timing was right and cleared her throat softly. Grissom turned around quickly, surprised.

"I'm sorry; I didn't mean to startle you." She said, apologizing.

"How did you sleep?" he asked returning his attention to the wipe board.

"Better than you did, I would guess. When did you get up?" Sara asked.

"I don't know." He said, hedging.

"Griss," Sara said, moving towards him, "you went to bed at nine. When did you wake up?"

"Noon," he answered softly.

He looked at her, the pain and fatigue evident in his face.

"I almost have it." Grissom said.

"I know. Can I change your bandages on your hand while you think about it?" Sara said, reaching for his left hand.

He brought it up in front of his face and was surprised at the blood.

"All right," He relented

Sara led him out of the lab room to the bathroom on the first floor. He sat on the toilet seat and rested his injured hand on the basin counter. She opened the medicine cabinet and retrieved everything she would need. Gently, she removed his old bandages. Twice he tried to pull his hand away because of the pain but she held him fast. Twenty minutes later, his hand was rebandaged, but his breathing was ragged.

"Do you want a pain pill or some aspirin?" Sara asked.

"Pain pill, please," Grissom said, wincing.

"All right. Let me get you to the sofa and then I'll run upstairs and get you a pill." Sara said, helping him to his feet.

They walked together to the sofa and Grissom lay down on his back, cradling his left arm. He was so tired, but the pain wouldn't let him relax. Sara sprinted up the stairs and searched for the pain pills. They were in the bottom of his left trouser pocket. She removed one pill from the envelope and carefully made her way down stairs. Grabbing a fresh bottle of water from the fridge, she walked to the coffee table and sat down.

"Griss, you need to sit up to take this pill." She informed him.

Grissom groaned and sat up on his right elbow. He fumbled with the pill but got it into his mouth and fumbled with the water as well, wearing quite a bit of it. He sank back into the leather and breathed hard.

"Just relax, let yourself go, Griss," Sara urged, standing up to stretch her back.

He breathing started to even out, his muscles began to release. Suddenly, Grissom had a panic attack. He saw himself as the child on the plane.

"Help me!" he shouted sitting upright on the sofa, his left arm on the armrest, his right hand clutching the leather.

"You're okay, Grissom, you're all right." Sara said, rushing to his side.

"I'm alone, I can't move, help me." Grissom yelled, his eyes open in panic.

"Shh...you're fine Grissom. I'm here." Sara soothed, feeling his breath on her face as he hyperventilated.

"Mom, don't leave me. Help me." Grissom screamed.

"I'm here, Mom's here." Sara said, grasping at straws, sitting on the coffee table, holding his shoulders.

"I'm so scared. Where's Dad?" Grissom asked, looking at her.

"He's in the cockpit with the pilot," Sara said, in character.

"No, don't touch me!" Grissom shrieked and then collapsed back against the sofa.

Sara was shaking so much she didn't know quite what to do. She reached to him and felt him finally give in to the pain medication. She moved him so he was stretched out on the sofa and pulled the blanket on top of him. Sara felt that he would be out for three hours just as he was this morning. She took a chance, left him a note and went home to take a shower and change clothes.

Grissom woke up from another nightmare. He didn't remember any of it except it was terrifying. There were two hours left before his shift started. He wondered if a session with Dr. Wu would help. Before he could make up his mind, he fell back asleep.

Sara let herself in an hour later. Grissom was asleep in the sofa, the apartment very dark. She walked to the kitchen and started the coffee, high-octane. Ten minutes later she sat again with a mug of coffee on the coffee table and tried to wake him.

"Grissom, rise and shine. Coffee and a shower," Sara said.

Grissom opened his eyes through the haze of the medication.

"Go upstairs and shower. Take your coffee." Sara instructed.

Grissom got to his feet unsteadily, picked up his coffee and walked up the stairs. A few minutes later she heard the shower turn on. She poured her cup of coffee with milk and waited for him at the breakfast bar. Twenty minutes later, Grissom walked down the stairs in a pale blue work shirt and jeans. She took a double take as he wasn't in his uniform of all black.

"Like your new colour choice; how do you feel?" Sara asked, with a broad smile.

"The truth? I feel lousy, and to answer you, these are my general day off clothes. I just needed to be comfortable today." he answered, placing his mug on the breakfast bar.

She brushed by him and refilled his mug before sitting back next to him.

"Lousy? That's a pretty broad response. Can you be more specific?" Sara asked, looking at him closely.

He took a sip of coffee, trying to formulate his answer. Grissom looked at her, his eyes locked on hers.

"I'm exhausted, anxious, angry, and frustrated." He admitted slowly.

"Ah, but no pain, that's something," Sara joked, still caught in his gaze.

"The pain is there, I'm choosing to ignore it." Grissom said, his voice tight suddenly.

He turned away and sipped his coffee. Looking at his watch, he stood and felt his pockets for their normal occupants.

"Shall we go?" Grissom asked.

"Sure," Sara replied, feeling confused and hurt by his abruptness.

Sara turned on the radio to a jazz station as they drove to the office. Grissom stared absently out the window, occasionally tapping his finger on the glass in no relation to the music.

"We're here," Sara interrupted.

Grissom blinked and looked at her. His eyes were full of emotion and her heart started to beat faster just looking at them. He unclipped his harness and awkwardly turned to her. He licked his lips as if by doing so he would gain courage.

"I'm sorry, I may get this wrong, but, I wanted to thank you for all you've done and are doing to help me. I'm not used to it and perhaps I could be more open and responsive, but this is all I can manage right now." He said slowly, holding her hand, staring at it intently.

"You're welcome, Griss. Trust me, trust yourself, you're doing fine." Sara said, reaching out to touch his face.

He tilted his head towards her caress and sighed. He reached up with his bandaged hand and brought her hand to his lips for a gentle kiss, his eyes closed.

Sara's breath caught for a moment. He opened his eyes and looked at her again, so open and vulnerable. His phone rang, interrupting them both. Facing forward in the car, he retrieved his phone.

"Grissom," he answered.

"Hi, where are you?" Jim asked.

"Fifty feet from the lab, what's up?" Grissom asked.

"I'll meet you in your office." Jim said and hung up.

Grissom closed his phone and sighed. He opened the door, got out, and walked into the lab with Sara at his side. He walked directly to his office, passing by the various glass walled exam rooms. Sara went to the break room.

"How is he tonight?" Catherine asked.

"Let's just say that the sooner this case is closed the happier I'll be." Sara said, pouring a fresh cup of coffee.

"But he's all right?" Warrick asked.

"He's tired, that's the most of it. He can't seem to sleep more than three hours at a time. He also has no appetite. The pain meds for his hand reacted with his migraine medication. The last twelve hours have been long." Sara said, leaning against the counter.

"What was long?" Nick asked, breezing into the room.

"The last twelve hours," Sara replied.

"Sweetheart, you are going to turn sideways and disappear into a crack in the sidewalk if you don't gain some weight." Nick said, looking at her with fresh eyes.

"When did you eat last?" Catherine asked.

"I ate when he ate. Grissom made scrambled eggs yesterday afternoon." Sara said, continuing to sip her coffee.

"Sara," Nick started in on her.

"Look if you're gonna gang up on me, I'm leaving." Sara said, challenging them all.

"Ok, never mind," Nick said, his hands raised in surrender.

Greg saw Grissom pass by his lab while he was in the middle of a DNA test. He finished it and then brewed Grissom a fresh cup of tea. He walked out of the DNA lab to Grissom's office. Greg knocked and waited for a response.

"Come," Grissom replied to the polite knock.

Greg walked in silently and placed the large mug on Grissom's desk. Brass looked up at him from his slouched position in the leather chair.

"Thought you might need this," Greg said.

"Thanks, Greg," Grissom said, looking at the mug for the first time.

It had images from the rock band KISS all over it. Grissom smiled. Greg left the two men alone, walking back to his lab.

"Tell me again, Jim." Grissom prodded.

"Weissman was buying Handco in a hostile takeover. The male vic had a heart condition and was a risk. In addition, he was abusive to his wife and child, not exactly what corporate America wants to see. Weissman invites them for a week as his guest on the Big Island. He gets his mechanic to do some work on the plane and then sits back waiting for the news report of a plane lost at sea." Brass starts slowly.

"But he doesn't count on the fact that the female vic is up against a wall. She's been having an affair with the pilot and the male vic's violence is escalating. They decide to induce a heart attack but she gets cold feet." Grissom said, sitting upright in his chair, not really seeing Brass.

"So the pilot gives her a little pick me up for courage. She feels empowered with the cocaine. The male vic starts the trip in the cockpit sitting left seat. She enters the cockpit shortly after take off, there's a struggle, and he begins to have heart problems." Brass continued.

"But he has his nitro and pops one under the tongue and is revived." Grissom inserted.

"Which infuriates her. She reaches into the toolkit behind the co-pilot's seat and finds the ratchet head. Two solid hits and he's gone." Brass added.

"The pilot puts the plane on auto-pilot and helps her drag him out into the main cabin." Grissom said, his face paling.

"Pilot goes back into the cockpit and all hell breaks loose." Brass said.

Grissom stood and left the room, his limp pronounced, without a word. Brass followed quickly.

"Gil? Jim? What's going on?" Al asked.

"I need to see the boy, everything on him." Grissom ordered.

Al looked at Jim, who was standing behind Grissom nodding slightly.

"Gown up and I'll get him for you." Al directed.

Grissom walked back to the outer room and donned a gown and gloves. He walked back in just as Doc and his assistant were transferring the child onto the gurney. Closing his eyes for a moment, Grissom took a deep breath and drew back the sheet. He started at the head and examined every inch of the child before turning him over. Grissom edged away from the gurney just as he had done before.

"Gil, Gil, keep it together man. It's not you." Jim said softly.

Al looked up and saw the raw emotion on Grissom's face and nodded. It all made sense. He walked up to the body.

"The youngest male, age eight, had evidence of abuse; scars on his back, past breaks of his nose, fingers, and arms." Al said quietly.

"And one suicide attempt." Grissom whispered.

"What?" Al asked.

"He tried to commit suicide the day before by od'ing on his mother's Zoloft prescription. Greg said he was catatonic. He was in fact docile. He was so docile; he didn't get out of his seat when his mother and her boyfriend brought out his dead father's body. He was so docile," Grissom stopped, and looked at the boy's hands. "He didn't fight when he was suffocated."

The sound of the equipment in the morgue was almost overwhelming as no one spoke.

"What a waste," Grissom growled as he left the morgue, tossing his gloves and gown in the trash.

He marched to the print lab, where Sara sat fixed in front of the computer. She looked up at him and physically moved away from him.

"Any prints on the pillow?" Grissom said, knowing the answer.

"It doesn't make sense but the only clear prints we get are from the female vic. Greg also recovered some DNA off the pillow. Also a match for the female vic," Sara said, evenly.

"Good work, Sara. Thanks." Grissom said, leaving the lab for his office.

Brass followed him and stood watching his friend pace.

"Where are we?" Brass asked.

"She killed him, to start a new life. The child was the target, not her, never her. Her previous injuries were a result of defending him. But at the end the boy had no champion; he was all alone." Grissom said. "I think I'm done and it's up to you." He said haltingly, rubbing his hand through his beard.

"Gil, you gotta calm down. It's over. I'll get Weissman." Brass said.

"Can't...can't calm down. Call Dr. Wu, number in rolodex." Grissom said, his right hand flexing trying to somehow calm down.

"This is Jim Brass. I'm a friend of Gil Grissom. He's having a panic attack. I don't think I could safely get him into a car. Could you come here? Thanks, we'll be expecting you." Brass said, pressing the bar on the phone.

"Page CSI Sidle to Dr. Grissom's office, ASAP please." Jim asked.

"A bit formal, aren't we?" Sara said, walking in without knocking, several minutes later.

"He's having a major panic attack. Dr. Wu, the acupuncturist is on his way. We need a quiet room," Brass said, interrupted by Sara's movement.

She leaned over Grissom's desk and turned on the CD player, releasing the cello music. Visibly Grissom started to slow down.

"Like I was saying, we need a quiet room for an hour or so." Jim asked.

"I'll take care of it. Make sure you bring his CD player and the cello CD." Sara advised, biting her lip as she left the room.

"You need me to do what?" Doc Robbins asked.

"I need you to set up one table, minimal light, one rolling chair, for Grissom and I need it in about five minutes." Sara said, her hands on her hips.

"Well then, I need you to help me shuffle these bodies. You'd better hope Catherine doesn't bring in her vic during that time." Doc Robbins remarked.

"Oh, I totally forgot. There were two 419s weren't there? Well dead people are pretty quiet; shouldn't disturb Grissom." She joked, darkly.

They set up the room and moved the last cadaver to a drawer moments before Dr. Wu arrived with a protective arm around Grissom. He looked at the room.

"I'll need a sheet, and then the room." Dr. Wu said.

Doc handed him a sheet and left the room. Sara set up the CD player on a rolling table and turned the volume down. Grissom paced, waiting for the word from Dr. Wu. Sara walked to the door, but was stopped by Dr. Wu.

"Please stay, I think he needs you. Do not make any noise. I will tell you what to do." Dr. Wu said softly.

Sara nodded and stood in the shadows.

"Gil, it's time to start." Dr. Wu said, turning around to give him privacy.

Grissom stripped to his shorts and got on the gurney. He was cold and shivered involuntarily. His eyes were open staring at the glass ceiling above him. Dr. Wu turned on the CD player and raised the volume. He watched Grissom start to relax, his eyes closing. Putting his right hand on Grissom's shoulder he moved his left hand, touching the meridians, finding the right solution. Sara watched, fascinated. She waited impatiently for his sign. Dr. Wu took his kit out and started to insert needles. It was a long process. Finally he stepped back and motioned for her.

Sara walked to his side and he whispered in her ear. She pulled up the rolling chair and adjusted the height. Sitting comfortably by Grissom's head, she waited. Dr. Wu stood opposite her and watched his patient. He started to become agitated. Sara reached her hands to his face and hesitated. Dr. Wu encircled her wrists and eased her hands into position. Grissom quieted immediately. Sara looked up and smiled at the older doctor. She sat back in the chair and worked in a tag team manner, calming Grissom as his chi was trying to recover.

Three quarters through the treatment, Greg slipped into the room. Dr. Wu walked up to him and returned the respectful bow the young man offered. They had a brief conversation and Greg left. Sara was totally absorbed in Grissom. They were connecting in a way that transcended what most relationships ever attain. She found by calming him, she calmed herself as well.

Dr. Wu felt Grissom's body and smiled. He looked up to the viewing gallery and spotted the young man with the spiked hair and nodded, the young man nodded back seriously and left the gallery. Dr. Wu looked at Sara and smiled.

"Gil, Gil, it's time," Dr. Wu said,

Grissom opened his eyes looking first at Dr. Wu and then at Sara. He smiled, closing his eyes again.

"What's the magic number?" Grissom asked.

"Two hundred and fifty," Dr. Wu said.

"All right," Grissom replied, his eyes still shut.

Sara took a step back as the two men began their mantra while removing the needles. It took more than thirty minutes to remove all of the needles. Grissom sat up slowly.

"Please come to, uhm, the DNA lab for tea." Dr. Wu said, leaving them alone.

"Would you like me to leave?" Sara asked.

"No, it's all right." Grissom said, getting dressed as quickly as he could, considering his fatigue.

She reached over and turned off the CD player.

"How do I look?" Grissom asked, standing close to her.

She reached over and gently arranged some curls and smiled.

"Fine, Griss, you look fine." Sara replied.

They walked slowly side by side to the DNA lab. The Venetian blinds were drawn. Grissom knitted his eyebrows and looked at Sara before walking in. Greg had cleared a table and had laid out four cups. Dr. Wu looked up at Grissom and Sara, motioning them to sit. They took seats in the subdued room. Grissom recognized the music as Sweet Honey in the Rock and smiled at Greg. Dr. Wu poured tea for Grissom and Sara and the four of them sat in the lab, drinking tea, rejuvenating.

They were on their second cup of tea when the door burst open. Catherine stood in the doorway, mouth open, evidence bag in her hand.

"Ya gotta be kidding me!" she said looking at her co-workers enjoying tea while on the clock.

She stepped out of the room and raged to the break room down the hall.

"I'm afraid our time together has come to an end." Grissom said, standing.

"Sleep, Gil. You need to sleep. I would suggest that you take the young lady with you. You respond well to her and she to you." Dr. Wu said softly into his ear.

He bowed to Grissom after shaking his hand. Grissom returned the bow.

"Young man, I will see you tomorrow." Dr. Wu said, looking at Greg.

Sara stood and awkwardly bowed. Greg solemnly performed a text-book bow.

Dr. Wu left the DNA lab and Grissom turned to his friends.

"Thanks, thanks for being there." Grissom said, picking up the portable stereo and walking back to his office.

Putting the stereo back on his desk, he took a deep breath before approaching the break room.

"So, Catherine, I gather you have some DNA evidence. Want to bring me up to speed?" Grissom asked, standing in the doorway.







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