He would have loved to say goodbye to all of them, a goodbye that was more than a quick wave in a diner. It broke the heart he didn’t have anymore to see them all hurt like this, trying to figure out what had happened to him while trying to cope with the reality of having lost a friend. He wanted to hug or cuddle them, to take away their pain, wanted to tell Sara and Nick how much he had appreciated their friendship, how much fun he had had with them on and off the clock, tell Grissom how much he had appreciated his help, his patience and even more his believing in him when he hadn’t been sure he could still believe in himself, tell Catherine... he had no idea what to tell her – not with words, anyway. Their relationship was probably the most complex of all. She was more than a friend or a teacher to him. She was the big sister who teased him mercilessly but took care of him, the little sister he wanted to protect from all the evil in the world, the sensual woman he couldn’t help but flirt with. There was no doubt in his mind that she would find somebody else to tease or flirt with, but who would take care of her now? She had experienced too much darkness in her life, and now he had added to it – albeit unwillingly. In spite of all she had seen, she still was strong, appeared strong, but sometimes, that appearance was just an illusion, an illusion nobody else really bothered to look behind.
Over the years, he had gotten good at reading her when she didn’t want to be read at all. And with time, she had also learned to accept his help, his shoulder to lean, to cry on, his ear to rant.
He wished he could hold her one last time, to leave her with a lingering embrace that would carry her through all the hurt to come. However, that all was impossible. So he hurt with them – for different reasons that were the same like theirs.
= End =