Endless Return

Title: Endless Return

Author: Summer Reign

Rating: T

Disclaimer: Alas, not mine. Roll CSI credits if you want their pedigree.

Spoilers: Speculation on 9X02's vague, unsubstantiated spoilers.

Summary: Sara and the crossroads of her life.

A/N: This is based on VAGUE spoilers and my own speculations/overactive imagination after viewing promos for the next episode. If you are sensitive about not knowing anything pre-viewing, you might want to skip this one until Friday, when you'll see I was totally wrong, anyway.


That first time was not a threat. It was a statement of fact. Let me go for a little while, or I will be gone for good.

She needed to keep the door slightly open because she wanted to return. She wanted to return a different woman: confident, self-assured, someone he could respect. Someone he could miss. And he could never miss her if she never went anywhere.

Besides, it was madness to stay.

She loved her job, and she liked her co-workers, and she really loved Him. She had dropped everything just for this opportunity. And for that promise she had seen shining in his eyes as they said goodbye a couple of years before.

She supposed he left her that time. But, she never really looked at it that way. She knew they weren't over.

But, she had been wrong about that so-called promise. Or maybe she had made things too easy for him. He said jump, while she was already poised on the balls of her feet waiting for the command. Not much of a challenge. Oh, there were moments when she was convinced her giant leap of faith had been the right move, but then—well, he demonstrated she was just another employee. And her needs could be ignored just as he ignored everyone else's.

She was not special to him.

And that came as a severe blow.

She wanted to be everything to him that he was to her.

And she wasn't.

It wasn't about raw meat. Not really. It was about not noticing how very much she wanted to work with him. How very much she wanted to partner with him. In every possible way, but she'd settle for work—for now. At least at work, he had seemed to view her as an equal. Enjoyed bouncing ideas off her.

But, no, now he wanted to do things on his own. Which, she supposed, meant away from her.

She could, however, have the privilege of mopping up after his messes.


So, she told him about leaving.

And that, she supposed, had been a mistake.

Because it didn't take much to make her stay.

A plant that died about 2 months after she received it, and a note with two words on it. No. Actually, one cold, impersonal word, followed by a proper name. A surname, yet.

Sara Sidle, in some ways, was way too easy.

She never had to return, because she never went away.


The second time she just knew she had to leave.

Knew it, but never did.

Knew it, but never even formulated the hint of a plan.

She couldn't. He might take her up on the offer. Gladly. And then, how could she ever return?

They just…weren't getting along. And she had no real idea why.

And then he was admitting (in a strange buddy to buddy conversation with a killer) that he knew exactly what she had been offering him all along. And he chose not to accept any of it. Because…work…was more important to him.

It was kind of an ego-deflator. No, it was more like a soul-crusher. It's hard to find out someone has feelings for you, but…just not enough to let it get in the way of anything else.

It's even more difficult to realize he'd probably welcome her departure. Take all the temptation that wasn't tempting enough away and un-complicate his life.

Things were falling apart. So badly. And she loved him about a hundred times more than the last time she thought of leaving. Because, then, she could have. Left. She hadn't really wanted to, but she could have. Now, she not only didn't want to, but her very existence seemed to be in question without him being part of her life—even if his part in her life was to try his damnedest to make her miserable.

Love sucked.

She took another swig of nasty, amber-colored liquor from her glass and tried to make the pain go away.

All it really made her do is feel a little nauseated and much more hopeless than before she began to pour.


She never really thought about it after that.

Years went by. They hit rock bottom, then slowly began rising, higher and stronger than they ever were before.

And two lonely, lone wolves found each other and set up their den. Together. Comfy, cozy are we.

And then…poof.

All gone.

She was smarter this time. Or more desperate. No great announcement of her intentions. There was no time. She had to act quickly before she fell in a heap before his feet.

A plant would no longer work but just about any words coming from his mouth would. And then he'd look down and see this helpless mass on the floor. And he'd really know her. She wanted his love, his respect—never his pity. Not even if the circumstances warranted it.

She left a note.

They had become engaged just a few weeks before.

Really, it was the least she could do.

For the first time, in a very long time, she wanted to drink again. She didn't have an alcohol problem, but she could, if she put her mind to it. Except…it hurt too much, in the long run. On the way to numbing things, Demon Rum (or beer, or scotch, or vodka…) flung open a few doors that should remain permanently shut.

She had realized that a very long time ago.

And, yet, she was going on a trip to do just that. Open the doors. Face the demons inside. And then close them on her own terms.

She wasn't a praying woman. Not at all. She didn't even know what she believed in—especially now.

But she sent out what could only be called a prayer. She sent out a prayer that he would want her to come back some day.

Because, as soon as she straightened her head out, she knew she would like that.

More than anything.


Be careful what you wish for.

The circumstances surrounding your attaining your wish may be horrendous.

And they were.

She didn't think twice. Greg called. She went straight to her closet to pack a bag.

That morning, all she had planned on doing that day was her laundry.

That evening, she was holding Grissom tightly to her breast, as his tears quietly soaked through her blouse.

And two weeks later, she was (again) praying she could stay, knowing she couldn't.

She had tried.

She couldn't be part of it anymore. She didn't want to. She had fought the fight. No amount of justice for the victim would ever bring about justice for her family. Or ever erase the memory of hiding under her bed because it was…quieter there and they never really cared enough to bend their knees to look for her.

Sara did what she could, and now it was her turn to live.

But not in fear. If it were only fear for herself, she might learn to deal with it again.

But fear for him—that was something she couldn't face on a day to day basis. She didn't want to kiss him goodbye before his shift began with the thought that it really might be their last one. Theirs was supposed to be a relatively safe profession. Time had shown her that it was not.

There was really only one option. To save herself; to save him.

Would he send a plant this time? No.

No engagement ring, either.

She would talk, and he would listen.

He would talk, and she would listen, and he would—surprisingly—plead. And she would…

Not stay.

Not this time.

And not return.

Not this time.

Because the only way to get him away from here was to leave herself. And hope he'd come to realize there was life out there.


She wasn't playing a game. She had fought hard to survive, and now—it was time to show him the way.

Even if it hurt like hell to say goodbye, yet again.

But, this time, as she drove toward the airport once more, a sense of calm overtook her.

She had grown. So had he.

Maybe marriage was in the future. Maybe even a child. Maybe a new profession.

All she knew is the possibilities were all waiting—out there. Not here.

And she wouldn't have to return to drag him out of there.

Because, this time, for the first time, she trusted him…

To follow her.


The End.

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