Life was unfair.
Warrick Brown had always known that. Had lived it. It was practically his motto. He'd come to expect it and nothing less.
Life was so unfair in fact that he'd never known his own mother. Or his father. He'd grown up on the wrong side of a town where who you know and where you're from is everything.
But he'd done it.
His grandmother had taught him that, to preserve. She'd told him early on the facts of life. That it was a hard game that few people won, but that he wasn't alone in it. That life wasn't just unfair to him, it was unfair to everyone.
Like a game of cards.
We're all dealt a different hand, but the rules are always the same. Tough and unyielding, with the deck stacked in the house's favor. A hard game, but one worth playing because it was a challenge.
And he'd accepted that.
Knew it. Lived it. Loved it.
He could play the game. Roll with the punches. That and a thousand other clichés that he use to believe in.
He thought he'd understood, but he didn't.
It had taken thirty-five years for him to really understand. To really comprehend. Seeing death daily, the inhumanity of human nature, the weakness and evil of it all. All of it had been chalked up to his motto: life wasn't fair.
But he'd been wrong about that. Sadly mistaken.
Because life wasn't just unfair, it was also cruel.
'What else could it be?' he thought as he sat in the pew, clutching Tina's hand.
There was no other word that so accurately captured it all and yet, at the same time, was so horribly inept.
This was beyond unfair. This was past cruel. It was a travesty. An injustice. A mockery.
Yes, a mockery. That was it. That best summed it up.
They all spent their lives, all of them spent their lives, solving murders and hers never would be.
Because how do you fight a disease.
There is no winning. There is no understanding. There is no reason, logic or justice in it.
There is no fair play, but life wasn't fair.
No, it wasn't.
Some would say that Sara Sidle just got dealt a bad hand. And really, there was no arguing that. She had. Warrick, though never really close to her, knew well enough she had. Her entire life had seemed like a bad hand, but she never treated it that way.
She'd persevered. She'd survived.
And it all happened so quickly. Too quick.
It seemed like yesterday Nick had told him the news. Nick, who was like a rock. So optimistic and unwavering. Never once afraid. Never once anything but certain it would all turn out fine in the end.
And there he sat, just a row in front of him. Still steady; steady even in his grief. Warrick envied him that.
He knew Nick was strong, but he hadn't understood how strong until this. He'd been the rock for them all. It wasn't fair to him, of course, but life wasn't fair.
Maybe Nick knew that too.
If he didn't before, he certainly does now. They all do now.
'Man don't we,' he thought, squeezing Tina's hand once more. Reassured by the gentle pressure she returns.
He was the lucky one. The one with someone to hold on to. Tina was a godsend. An angel. He couldn't imagine what he'd be feeling if it was her instead of Sara. If...
But he didn't have to try too hard to imagine it. He didn't want to either.
It was all around him.
It had been in the false bravado of Greg's voice. The steady gaze of Grissom's eyes. The uneasy ringing of Jim's hands. The stoic nature that defined Nick's attitude.
Catherine, Doc, Dave.
It was easy to read on them all.
Hodges, Bobby, Archie.
It just went on and on.
It was even in the contemplative narrative that filled his head.
They'd all loved her.
'How could you not?' he asked himself again, unable to keep the small smile from escaping his lips.
No, it had never been easy loving her. Sara was unique. She was almost past description.
So focused. So stubborn.
But there was something, something about her that made it easy. Made you want to love her despite yourself. To protect, but no Sara never wanted protecting.
So very strong that Warrick had never doubted for a moment that she wouldn't pull through. That she wouldn't beat it. That she couldn't.
But life is cruel.
Life is so cruel.