wThe waiting room was quiet, everyone busy with their own thoughts.
Sara sat staring at a photo on her phone. It was a picture she had taken a while ago. It showed Grissom fast asleep on the couch with Taylor and Zach cuddled on either side of him, also fast asleep. They had been watching a movie one afternoon and had fallen asleep halfway through. It was too cute a scene not to take a picture.
Catherine was staring into space, thinking of her kids, of her husband and the very real possibility that she might never see him again.
Nick sat staring at the opposite wall, the events of the last couple of hours replaying in his like a bad horror movie in his mind. The car ride, the gunfight, Brass falling, storming the building, finding Grissom. Then it pauses before it starting all over again.
Warrick walked back into the room, still looking a little pale even after fresh air and a new shirt. Sitting down next to Greg, he silently bumped the younger man's shoulder and handing him one of the two coffees he had.
Greg accepted the offering and gave Warrick a tight smile. He sipped his coffee and stared out the window, trying to think positive thoughts because the alternative just didn't bear thinking about.
Footsteps were heard and the group looked up to see a doctor standing by the door.
"Family of Jim Brass?"
"I'm his wife," Catherine said, jumping up.
"Can we talk in private?" the doctor asked, eyeing the other people in the room.
"You can talk in front of them. Please just tell me about my husband," Catherine asked, tears slowing making their way down her pale cheeks.
"OK, Mr. Brass was lucky. The bullet didn't hit anything vital. He lost a lot of blood and there is muscle damage but, with some physical therapy and rest, I think he will be just fine," the doctor said and smiled at the relieved faces in front of him.
"Is the any news on Gil Grissom?" a quiet voice penetrated the relieved celebration.
"The gentleman that came in with Mr. Brass?" the doctor asked, noticing that the brown haired woman was the only one still seated. She nodded. The amount of sadness the young doctor saw in the woman's eyes was devastating. He looked down at his notes and sighed.
"I'm sorry, but I have no news on him other than he is still in surgery," the doctor said. He saw the woman nod and his heart broke again. He suddenly noticed that the room had grown silent again, the earlier smiles and relief gone.
"I'll go and see if I can find out something for you, ok? Mr. Grissom is in good hands. Just have faith," the doctor said.
"Thank you, Doctor. When can I see my husband?" Catherine asked.
"In an hour or two. We've just moved him to recovery and we'd like to see him wake up from the anaesthesia before moving him to a regular room. I'll ask a nurse to come get you as soon as he is settled."
"Thank you," Warrick said as he moved to shake the doctor's hand.
The doctor left after promising the group again that he will get back to them with news on Grissom as soon as he can.
As he left, silence descended. This time everyone's thoughts were focused on Grissom
Lights were flashing and the sirens were loud in Nick's ears as the cars sped down the road to the abandoned building where they hoped Grissom was being held hostage.
As they reached their destination everything seemed to happen happened in slow motion. Nick saw Brass get out of his car and make his way towards the entrance to the building, and fall. At first Nick thought he slipped, but then the resounding crack of the gun pierced the air and the horror started. Shouts of "officer down" went up and the fight was on.
The shooting came from different directions. There were two snipers on the roof shooting the police cars to pieces. Finally after what seemed like an eternity two officers' bullets hit their targets, stopping the gunfight. Two dull thuds were heard as the snipers' bodies hit the ground. A few seconds of deafening silence followed, and broken by a scream that pierced the air.
Nick and Warrick got up from their hiding place to see a woman kneeling next to one of the two bodies. A few officers moved forward and after checking for pulses, declared both snipers dead. The woman was arrested and had to be dragged of one of the bodies. Nick went over to where the corpses lay while Warrick checked on Brass.
"It's Lionel Jacobs. The Exhibitioner," Nick said quickly. "Let's go find Grissom."
"Nick, Brass was shot high in his chest. I'm gonna wait for the ambulance and then meet you inside," Warrick said.
Nick nodded and then followed by a couple of officers they ran into the building. They quickly found the holding area with rows of rooms. Nick's heart dropped. He couldn't see Grissom anywhere. He looked around and that's when he noticed the door to the left and ran towards it. He came through the door and stopped dead in his tracks. Grissom was hanging by his arms from the ceiling. He was beyond pale and a large amount of blood was streaming down his back. Nick slowly walked towards his boss and put a shaking hand on his neck. He felt the fluttering beneath his fingers.
"Get a medic down here!" he shouted.
And then time slowed down again. The medics came in and started working on the unconscious man. Nick followed them out and saw that the rooms were now empty and the people who'd been trapped inside were being led outside by police officers. More ambulances had arrived and the people were being loaded on board. The one with Grissom was already gone and Brass was nowhere to be seen.
Warrick came over and Nick saw his old friend looking very pale with blood spattered clothes.
"Where's Brass?" Nick asked, surprised at how shaky his voice was.
"He got shot. They put him in the same bus as Grissom. Nick, he looked real bad," Warrick said his voice just as shaky as Nick's.
"Yeah, and Grissom."
"We'd better call Sara and Catherine and then get some CSI's out here. And then we need to get to the hospital," Nick said.
After handing the scene over to swing shift, the two friends got in their car and drove to the hospital, all the way hoping and praying that the older men survive.
Nick shot up out of his chair and almost head butted Warrick on his way up.
"What?" He asked breathlessly.
"The doctor is on his way to talk about Griss. Thought you might want to be awake for it," Warrick said.
"Oh, yeah, thanks," Nick said, sitting up straight and rubbing his face.
"Are you okay, man? You look like hell and you're sweating," Warrick asked, eyeing him critically.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just, you know, had a nightmare," Nick answered. Warrick just nodded and clapped him on the shoulder.
It wasn't too much later that the doctor came in.
Catherine walked quietly into Brass' room. They had waited almost three hours before the nurse came to fetch her. She wanted to be there when the doctor came out for Grissom, but she had to see her husband, she had to see for herself that he was alive and breathing.
"Jim?" she asked tentatively, not wanting to wake him if he was sleeping.
"Cath?" Brass croaked out in a rough and scratchy voice.
That's when Catherine broke down. She couldn't hold it in anymore. Her best friend being taken and tortured for fun, her husband shot and almost killed. This week was one of the worst of her life and she just couldn't do it anymore. Seeing Brass in that bed just brought back too many memories and it cemented the fact that she had almost lost the love of her life. It was just too much. It wasn't until she felt a hand on her hair that she realised she had sunk down on the chair next to the bed and that Jim was trying to comfort her. She looked at him with tear filled eyes and wasn't really surprised when he had tears in his eyes, too.
"Don't ever do that to me again, please? I don't think I can survive it. I don't think I want to survive it," Catherine said, her breath hitching.
"You know I can't promise you that, Cath. I can promise to be more careful, though," Brass said his voice still a little scratchy.
"I know, I know. Just don't leave me, okay?" Catherine asked and Brass gave a pained chuckle.
"That is something I can promise," he said.
Catherine grabbed Jim's hand and brought it to her lips for a kiss. The two sat in silence for a while, just staring at each other and enjoying the moment.
"What happened with Gil?" Brass asked after a few minutes.
"I don't know. I asked Greg to come get me when the doctor comes back. Didn't you see him at the scene? Nick wasn't very clear on what happened and I didn't really listen after Warrick said you had been shot," Catherine replied.
"I remember getting out of the car and starting for the entrance. Then I went down. Last thing I heard was gunshots and then the ambulance stopping here. Other than that, it's blurry. Like a dream you can't remember the next morning," Brass said, looking up at the ceiling.
Before Catherine could reply, a knock was heard and Greg popped his head in.
"Hey Brass, good to see you awake," Greg smiled at the older man.
"Hey, Greg thanks. It's good to be awake," Brass said, returning the smile.
"I'm going to steal your wife for a while. Cath, the doc is on his way to talk to Sara," Greg said.
"Okay. Jim, I'll be back as soon as I hear what's going on," Catherine said standing up and leaning in to press a kiss to Brass' forehead.
"That's okay. Give Sara my best. And bring some coffee when you come back," Brass said with a smile.
Catherine laughed as she moved towards the door. "Nice try, Jim, but not a chance."
Greg and Catherine closed the door and left Jim alone.
Catherine and Greg got to the waiting room a few seconds after the doctor watching as she organized her notes.
"My name is Dr Hall and I'm Dr. Grissom's surgeon. When he arrived he wasn't conscious, but awoke a few minutes after arrival. Let's start from the bottom, shall we?" she said, looking back to her notes.
"He has contusions on both knees. They will be sore and he will have problems walking for a while until they heal but there shouldn't be any lasting effect. His hands were encased in plastic and sustained burns that had become infected. There was also infection in the wounds on his wrists. Once the infection is gone, both his hands and wrists should heal up nicely. He had a shock collar around his neck and, when we took that off, we found a small electronic device had been embedded at the back of his neck. It appears that gave him shocks as well. Without knowing how many times that happened we'll have to wait until he regains consciousness to determine if there will be any lasting damage. Are there any questions so far?"
Sara shook her head. Her heart skipping a beat or two after every injury listed. Nothing seemed life threatening so far, but then they hadn't reached the end of the doctor's list.
The doctor continued. "His back and shoulders are a different story all together. His left shoulder was dislocated due to hanging for so long. His back was shredded. There is no better way of describing it. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I don't believe in sugar coating anything. We had to repair some muscle damage and try to save the skin. We did what we could and stitched where we could, but he is going to need a skin transplant at a later stage. That said he will recover. It will be a long road, but he will get there in the end."
Dr. Hall looked around her and saw sad smiles and relieved faces. Her eyes met that of the beautiful brunette sitting on one of the chairs. She looked sadder than anyone else in the room, like she had reached the end of her rope. 'Probably the wife,' she thought.
"Is there anything we can do to help?" Warrick asked.
"Be there. Help him and don't allow him to push you away. He is going to need as much support as you can give him," the doctor replied.
"When can I see him? I need to see him," Sara asked in a quiet voice, her mind still reeling from the information the doctor gave them.
"In a few minutes I'll send someone to come get you." With that the doctor nodded and left.
Sara walked into Grissom's room after the nurse had come get her. She slowly moved towards her husband's bed. It was surreal; Grissom was lying on his side to take the pressure of his back. She pulled the chair closer to the bed so she could take his hand in her much smaller one. After watching him for a few minutes she leaned closer and started talking to him.
"Hey, Gil. I don't know if you can hear me, but I need to let you know that I am here and I am not leaving until you wake up and I see those blue eyes." She watched his face for a few minutes, hoping for a sign that he had heard her. A few more minutes passed in silence and Sara leaned back in her chair and settled in. She won't leave until he had opened his eyes.
Sara dozed off, but jumped awake and a quick glance at her watch told her she had been sleeping for only an hour. She leaned closer to her husband again and tried something different. It was time she played dirty.
"Gil, please come back to me and the kids. They miss you too; they don't understand what's going on. They just want their daddy back. Please Gil, just squeeze my hand," Sara said.
Nothing, not even a twitch. She sat back again. Sara would not give up.
An hour or so passed. It was filled with the strange noises of the hospital and the reassuring beep of Gil's heart monitor. Nick had popped in to bring her a cup of coffee and to let her know that Melissa had been booked and that the case was closed. Justice had been served.
"You are safe now, the guy is gone. You feel my hand? Give it a squeeze and let me know you're in there. Please?" This time she was rewarded with a weak squeeze. It was so faint she almost missed it. When Sara looked up at Gill's face she saw a sliver of blue looking back at her.
Sara knew that the road would be long, but she also knew that between the love of their friends and family and Gil's stubbornness, they can and will survive. Sara smiled softly and kissed Gil on his forehead. This nightmare would turn into a distant memory and many years from now nobody would even remember The Exhibitioner.
A BIG thanks goes out to Calim11 for the beta.
There you go. I think I'm gonna leave it there. This was not my favourite story and it took me longer than I wanted to finish, but here it is, finally done. I hope I did the characters and the show justice. Thank you to everyone that reviewed and put this story on alerts. It means a lot.
Please tell me what you think of the end and review one last time.
Till next time,
Ok, so I don't know if anybody would still be interested in this, but I came across it cleaning my old laptop and decided to publish it and see what happens. As for my other stories, it seems that time has gotten away from me and I did what I hate seeing on this site,I left them unfinished. I have had some big changes in my life the last couple of years and I am still not sure if my head is screwed on straight, but I will finish them. Hopefully I won't take years to update the others, but I think I need to get back to writing. It used to be my outlet and lately I really need to let go of a few things. So here goes…