March 30th, 2006
Las Vegas, Nevada
Gil Grissom walked into the break room that night, he was surprised to find his
team, now minus one with the sudden disappearance of Sara Sidle, sitting around
the table staring at a white box. When they moved after hearing him clear his
throat, he immediately noticed that the box had the Disney emblem in one
corner, and was addressed
CSI Night Shift
c/o Las Vegas Police Department
Crime Scene Investigation Office
Raising an eyebrow he nodded at Catherine who quickly set to opening the lid, finding a card sitting on top. She passed it to him, and he opened it while she and the others focused on the item in the box.
CSI Night Shift
guys, I know you’re all
Lost. Sorry. Will Write Soon
“I’m going to kill her!” Greg cried, though he had a happy tone to his voice. Grissom looked up to see what they were all looking at, and found a small plush Mickey and Minnie Mouse dressed in wedding garb. Beside Minnie’s feet was a small frame holding a wallet-sized picture…of Sara and another man.
He couldn’t say for sure how she was dressed, or even the man with her…but he did notice the engraving on the frame.
Billy & Sara 3.29.06
“I can’t believe she got married…and yesterday at that…” Nick shook his head. “Anyone know a guy named Billy?”
“I don’t,” Warrick shrugged. “She looks happy though…”
“She looks like she got sucked into Middle Earth,” Greg chuckled.
“I’m so going to kill her when she gets back here,” Catherine sighed before looking up at Grissom. “Not to ruin our little moment here but any assignments?”
“Oh, yeah…” he nodded before handing out the few he had. Turning he made his way back to his office, intent on paperwork...at least he had been before that bombshell. Instead of paperwork he ended up sitting staring at the various awards on his walls, the sum of his life to date. For a few brief months he had something outside of work, something worth keeping. A light he hadn’t seen…he never had what he had with Sara before…even though it felt like it was meant to be every morning he’d wake up with her in his arms. Every time they would sit and make a meal together, just sit and watch the Discovery Channel even…
And then she was gone, he worked a double and when he went to see her…she was gone, the apartment empty, no forwarding address even. Ten days later she was married…
Giving up on any pretense of work he dropped his glasses on top of the stack of files and sat back. It was only then, that he remembered the knock on the door that had drawn him from what little sleep he got a few hours earlier, a certified package and a man who didn’t listen to the sign posted requesting it be taken to the office. He had just slipped it into his briefcase and gone back to try and get a bit more rest before work. It had to have been important…his brain couldn’t focus on work perhaps he could at least get rid of some mail.
It took a moment to register that the envelope inside the package was addressed to him…in her writing.
I wanted to apologize for how things…ended for lack of a better word. I shouldn’t have left as I did, I should have done everything differently. But what you should have done, and could do, are two very different things.
My leaving was my choice, for a while now I’ve known that us…we just couldn’t work. We’re too different Gil, I just didn’t want to give you up; I was being selfish. But you belong with your soul mate, someone who makes you happy. And I need to follow my path in life. I’m not sure what tomorrow holds – if I’ll ever return to Vegas or if we’ll see each other again in this life. Whatever happens, know that there is one who will always love you, even if we weren’t meant to be.
Soul mate…that wasn’t the first time he had heard that term in the last two weeks…
And then he knew…he knew without even needing proof of her being seen as she had been by Jim back during the Marlin case. She had heard his talk with Catherine, perhaps not all but at least part. She had probably only heard up through his stupid comments about the belief that Heather was his soul mate…and left before Catherine knocked some sense into him…without any physical abuse involved in the ‘ass kicking’ as Catherine had put it.
She may have been having doubts, having questions before…but that was no doubt her breaking point…what gave her the push to run.
He had always feared if he let her in she would break his heart by leaving him…he never figured he would drive her away.
April 5th, 2006
Home of the ‘6 Musketeers’
After the wedding, everyone had crashed back
at the cabin, not rising until nearly noon the next day. They decided to hit
one of the water parks for the afternoon, and spent a relaxing time at Blizzard
Beach. Well, as relaxing as possible when Rebecca dragged everyone on Summit
Plummet, regardless of how much they argued, though they all had a bit of
revenge when Juli and Jasmine both beat Rebecca in the Downhill Double Dipper
race. They left her to go on a few of the other the water slides on her own
while the other six went on the Steamboat Springs’ raft ride. Then finally
everyone just said have fun, we’re not doing anything else, and hit Cross
Country Creek, enjoying the 45 minute float around the park. Well they weren’t
sure which Rebecca enjoyed more, the float or flirting with all the guys who
were openly staring at her in her two piece…
They had only stayed at the park a few days after the wedding, before heading home on the first of April. During the days before the wedding, Billy had been making arrangements for the stable he kept his horse at to have another guest, and when they stopped in Atlanta the first night, they stayed an extra day so they could steal Juli’s trailer and take Sara’s dear horse Isolde back to Boston now that she had time once more for her girl.
They arrived back in Boston on the fourth, and settled in, the others having arranged to get off work until after Billy had his first treatment and Sara had her first appointment. They weren’t going to not be there for either as Jasmine put it. Elaine as well had stated she was staying for a while, so they might as well get used to having the house full.
Since the wedding, things had calmed down for the most part, and Elizabeth was starting to do better. After the wedding, she and Elaine spent the majority of the time at the parks together…the others never pushed; they all knew that something was bothering her and if Elaine was able to help her…then they were happy. When they got back to Boston she also started weaning off the high dosage of meds she had been on, and was down to just twice her normal dosage again, with plans to go down to her regular dose the following week.
And now it was a Wednesday, a rather special day for the six musketeers, one Elaine didn’t quite understand the whole big deal the night before. Today though she was downstairs reading when all six came down in various states of wakefulness…or lack thereof in Rebecca and Jasmine’s cases, and headed straight for the kitchen. She saw them all go past her again heading upstairs with giant mugs of what she assumed was coffee based on the smell. She had written it off for the moment, until just after 10:30 when she heard Rebecca yell from upstairs: “Get the hell out of my room you idiot!”
When she ran upstairs to find out who was in her room though, she found Rebecca just sitting and grumbling at her computer. She quickly found out what the deal about Wednesdays was, it was Badge day on Pogo. She had heard them all mention the game site before, but never quite understood how crazy it was…now she had an inkling. Each of the girls was dressed in slippers that bore POGO written across them, with their housecoats, claiming they never got dressed before noon on Pogo day. Today she quickly learned they had a challenge in both Poppa Zoppa and Quick Quack. Poppa took no time as Jasmine put it, and everyone save Rebecca was in a room together. Rebecca preferred to have a room to herself as then she wasn’t fighting people for points, so when someone came into her room…she cursed her computer out on many occasions.
Shrugging she had gone back downstairs, and just chuckled when she would hear someone yelling at the game. After lunch, they all disappeared upstairs once more, and then it really got interesting.
“Die Duck DIE!” Elizabeth hollered
“God Damn Ducks!” Juli agreed from her room.
“I wanna shoot the putz who figured out this challenge!” Rebecca yelled.
“We can beat him with a rubber hose?”
“No marks,” Sara agreed
“By the Goddess they’re nuts,” Elaine chuckled as they continued to yell at the ‘ducks’ and plot ways to kill the person behind the challenge. Eventually they all trudged down for dinner, all still grumbling about the ducks and Elaine just laughed when they all headed back upstairs groaning about needing more stupid tickets. She didn’t see them until midnight when they all came down, huge grins and in search of ice cream to celebrate their defeat of ‘the ducks’.
April 9th, 2006
Home of the ‘6 Musketeers’
After badge day, things settled down for the
most part again, although they were discussing the following week’s badges in
Blackjack and Solitaire. And they explained to Elaine what the big deal was.
Back in 2003 Juli had found the website and introduced it to the others. It
became their way of getting together online; their link to each other…and to be
quite frank Pogo was addictive. There were some games they hated, some they
loved. Each had their favorite game, and they all had profiles and such on the
site. They had made a few friends other than the ‘family’ but for the most part
it was simply their way to get together and have fun online whenever possible.
Billy had his first chemo session on Friday, and Sara saw her obstetrician for the first time…and learning she wasn’t expecting just one baby but two…which Elaine had only smiled about causing both of them, and Elizabeth as well, to wonder if she knew something they didn’t…and if they even wanted to know.
Everyone was making plans to go home on Tuesday, and they weren’t really sure what they were going to do the last two full days together but they knew it had to be something. Sunday morning found Sara downstairs making a cup of vanilla crème since she was denied coffee, just as she sat down and was pulling the Cheese Coffee Cake towards her and the knife she had grabbed, Elizabeth walked into the kitchen.
“Drop that knife,” Elizabeth ordered lightly. Sara looked up and stuck her tongue out before proceeding to cut two pieces instead of just one.
“Morning to you too,” Sara smiled when Elizabeth joined her, before sticking her tongue out once more when she saw the coffee in Elizabeth’s hand. “I hate you people. I couldn’t even have coffee on badge day and the rest of you all had Starbucks and all I got was hot chocolate.”
“Mocha flavored hot chocolate,” Elizabeth countered with a smirk before reaching over to pat Sara’s back. “I know, it sucks.”
“Yeah,” Sara sighed. “Oh well, I can have coffee again in oh… a year and a half,” she chuckled. “Soon as I can wean these two…I’m making a run to Starbucks for a Venti Mocha with a double shot.”
“That poor barista,” she chuckled.
“What poor barista?” Elaine asked from the doorway.
“Plotting my return to coffee,” Sara smiled. “Coffee cake?”
“Ya getting the closest thing ye can without ‘aving actual coffee?” Elaine teased as she made her way to get a cup of coffee then joined them.
“Pretty much,” Sara shrugged before rising and making another cup of vanilla crème as Billy joined them.
“Good, we’re all tagether…there’s something I’ve been meaning ta talk to ya all about,” Elaine nodded once they were all seated again.
“Oh?” Elizabeth asked with a frown.
“When ye called me tha day two weeks ago, I was already at the airport in London.”
“Aye little one, I was,” she smiled towards Billy. “I had arranged for me flight ta ‘ave a layover here in Boston so I could see ya. I simply canceled me connecting flight and contacted Avalon ta inform them o’ what was going on.”
“Where were you going?” Sara asked as she took a bite of her cake.
“Vegas,” Elaine replied causing Sara to choke on her bite of food. “Sorry little one.”
“It’s okay,” Sara waived it off after she had caught her breath.
“Why were you going to Vegas?” Elizabeth asked softly.
“The Lady sent me ta lead the local Clan.”
“There’s a Clan in Vegas?” Sara asked surprised.
“Na yet, at least na officially. Tha is why I am going, ta establish it.”
“And?” Billy prompted sensing there was something else.
“The Lady chose ta send me ta Vegas in particular as ye were there little one.”
“Why?” Billy asked looking over at Sara and Elizabeth who were equally confused by their expressions.
“Her training,” Elizabeth spoke up after a moment, confusion clearing from her face.
“Avalon still wishes me to continue my training?” Sara asked softly.
“Aye, they did, and do… but I am being sent ta Vegas, so yer training will have ta be done by the local High Priestess…” Elaine trailed off.
“As She sees fit,” Sara nodded. “I’m going to go get dressed though so we’re ready for whatever the others dream up for today…”
Billy followed her from the room, leaving Elizabeth and Elaine alone for the moment. "Ya know tha Avalon is na choosing one o' ye over the other little one..." she began softly.
“I know,” Elizabeth replied quietly as she rose and made her way over to look out the window.
"Do ya?" Elaine pressed gently. "Avalon isn't saying ye can na make this choice. They are simply giving ya that choice. Ya are just as important ta us as Sara...but we will na force ye to take the next step."
“I just…I feel so lost, Elaine. When I was growing up I always felt as if the Goddess was there with me, helping me through everything but now…now, I don’t know,” Elizabeth sighed.
"Everyone has a point where they feel farthest from Her. Even Morgaine and Viviane once questioned Her. Even they felt as if She had abandoned them. Hold ta yer faith little one; She is still there. She is giving ya the chance to make yer own choices, ta choose yer own path."
“And if I don’t even know what that path is? I thought I did. I thought I knew what I wanted but now I’m not so sure. Not after everything that’s happened recently. I am happy for Cass and Billy, really, I am but I also can’t help but feel jealous of them at the same time. They have something I’ll never have.”
"Yer feelings are understandable little one, even I am jealous o' what they have found. I never found the one for me...but ye may still. Even so, ye are allowed ta feel as ya do. And ye are allowed ta doubt as well, we do not follow blindly, She does na ask tha o' us. Wha looks dark now, will be clear when the sun rises. It’s just taking a while ta get through the night."
"Morning," Juli announced before they even appeared in the kitchen.
"Morning my foot, it's too damn early to be getting up," Rebecca grumbled.
"Someone woke on the wrong side of the bed this morning," Jasmine teased
"Someone woke on the wrong side o' the nation," Elaine countered with a smile. "Good morning Rebecca."
"Shut up," Rebecca grumbled, not necessarily towards Elaine but to all of them.
"Who raided the coffee cake first this morning?" Jasmine asked as she grabbed a few more plates.
“That would be Cass and I,” commented Elizabeth as she leant back against the counter, her back to the window she had been gazing out of unseeingly only moments before.
"Ahh, figures...so where are she and Billy?"
“Getting dressed,” replied Elizabeth.
"Smart people," Juli smiled. "Well, I am going to go see what is on the news..." she continued grabbing her piece of coffee cake and her cup of coffee and heading towards the living room. The others slowly filing out after her, well save Rebecca who just grumbled the entire way back out of the kitchen.
"Tha girl is very scary when she first wakes up," Elaine mused, looking up at Elizabeth. "How was she never like tha when she arrived at me classes?"
"Coffee, lots and lots of coffee...she lived on Italian espresso in college," Elizabeth chuckled.
"Tha explains a lot," Elaine nodded. "Tha explains more than a lot..." she added shaking her head.
After a moment Elaine rose and made her way to the living room as well, leaving Elizabeth to finish her breakfast in silence until Sara and Billy came in a few moments later.
“You would feel more comfortable with Elaine wouldn’t you?” Billy asked softly, watching as Sara changed into a pair of jeans and a light top.
“I always have, but the Lady has sent her to Vegas. What will be will be,” she shrugged.
“You could go to Vegas,” he offered and she stopped midway through putting a sock on her foot.
“I’m not leaving you,” Sara snapped lightly. “We made a vow, I’m not leaving you now, Billy,” she continued softly.
“I’m not saying you do,” he smiled before sitting next to her. “Melethril, I can have treatment in Vegas just as easily as here. As long as I’m with you, then I don’t care if I spend my final days here or anywhere else in the world. All I ask is in the end that I be buried here in Cambridge.”
“No Sar…don’t do this just because you think I’m better off here…”
“Billy…” she began again, shaking her head before he caught it between his palms and made her look at him.
"Melethril, I would be able to leave this world a bit easier if I know that you are near those you care about. And if you are with Elaine…then that would be all the easier on me. Please?"
"You...are a pain in the ass, you know that?" Sara asked finally. "You really want to do this? You want to go to Vegas where we're going to get hounded by everyone there, where you will have to meet Griss...the desert heat and everything?"
"Yes, because it's where Elaine will be, and then she can do your training, and you can be near those people who are your friends just the same. They're not family but they are your friends...and we both know you're going to need all the family and friends you can get when my time is up...Meleth...we can get a house there, we can even take Tristan and Isolde. We can be happy there...I know we can."
"Okay," she agreed after a moment. "If you're sure...then okay."
"I'm positive," he smiled. "Everything's going to be okay, you know Sar...in the long run, everything is going to be okay."
Shaking her head she rose and they made their way back downstairs, slipping unseen past the living room where the four women were engrossed in the news, and into the kitchen where they found Elizabeth. "I see the ice queen rose from her slumber..."
“Yes, she did, not without a lot of griping though,” Elizabeth said as she turned from the window, which she had turned to look out once more when everyone had left her alone in the kitchen.
"Of course," Sara smiled. "Billy talked me into something..."
"I think he's lost his mind..." Sara continued.
"I merely suggested, and convinced her, that we go to Vegas with Elaine," Billy said rolling his eyes. "You'd think I talked her into going out and committing mass robbery or something..." he teased.
“So, you’re going to Vegas then?” asked Elizabeth.
"Yeah...I'd honestly rather have Elaine teach me than anyone else..." Sara trailed off. "She's the only teacher either of us has had save our mothers...you know?"
“I know,” Elizabeth said quietly.
"You okay?" Sara asked softly.
“I’m fine,” replied Elizabeth.
"Bets..." Sara trailed off. "Are you sure?"
“I’m fine, Cass, so just drop it okay,” Elizabeth snapped in irritation before stalking out of the kitchen and making her way upstairs.
"That went well," Billy sighed.
"We always do this though, push to a certain point then wait for each other to be ready to talk..." Sara trailed off.
"Yeah, I know," he agreed. "Come on, let's do a bit of real estate hunting and let Elaine know Betsy might need to talk..."
"Okay," Sara agreed before glancing up towards the direction of Elizabeth's bedroom.