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Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters. Just borrowing for fun.
Author's Note: Interpret as you will, the ambiguity is intended.
Dedication: This one's for you, Merc. You talked about your fic!muse being on crack; well, here's mine in the same situation!
Summary: He hasn't seen her lately, and she's crossing the line to make it too late.
She wonders if he sees her when he looks in her direction, sometimes. Wonders if his eyes rest on her face or her hair, so carefully straightened to keep it in check, as she leans over a
microscope to examine the evidence. She's thin, perhaps too thin, but it's not because she doesn't eat. It's because the things she has to see in her line of work tend to kill her appetite.
Evidence is the first witness of a crime. The only to bear witness to most things, she thinks. She goes home on her own first thing in the morning, enters her empty apartment, undresses, falls onto her smooth, cold sheets and tosses in her bed, unable to defeat her insomnia. She dreams about him, when she finally falls asleep, fragments of memories and shattered dreams of possible things. Her dreams don't let her sleep for long, and it hurts her every time she wakes alone. She takes a drink in the evening before she goes to work, to steady her nerves, then a breath mint to hide the evidence. It doesn't show on her face.
He wonders what she's thinking, when her eyes briefly fix on his face, only to jerk away when he shows awareness of her attention, sometimes. Her presence isn't unwelcome to him, and her smiling countenance lights his days, but he won't let her know how he feels. He won't admit it, but he's afraid, terrified of what might happen were he to open the floodgates for her; scared she won't feel the same, that she'll turn away... worst of all, that they might be together, but then, someday, she'll leave and he'll fall to pieces. He's too afraid to let her in.
Concentrate on what cannot lie. Your heart lies, he tells himself. You cannot, do not love her. You care for her as a colleague. As a student. Nothing more. Push her back; don't let her get close enough to break the barriers that hold you in check. He tells himself he doesn't ache to have her by his side, to wake up to her beautiful face asleep on the pillow beside him, to make love to her and hear her cry out his name. He tells himself he's not afraid of dying alone. He doesn't mean to hurt her, but when he's called to come pick her up after an incident, he doesn't wait around to catch her.
She doesn't mean to cause him pain; she simply intends to relieve her own. When she doesn't turn up for work after an hour, and there's no answer from her cell, he sends someone over to her apartment to check she's okay. Catherine's closer to her than she used to be, he's no longer worried about the two butting heads. It occurs to him that he's never memorised her address.
His senior CSI returns, half-an-hour later, with her face whiter than the bleached linen of the sheets; sky-coloured eyes full of unshed tears tell him something that, even in his worst nightmare, he'd never imagined could really happen. She doesn't need to speak, but the words that she manages tell him all he needs to know.
"She's gone, Gil."
He knows, then, that it is far too late.
- The End -
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