Disclaimer: Still not mine. They are way up there on my Christmas list, though.
Summary: Grissom celebrates an unusual Christmas (Perhaps a bit schmaltzy, but—really, 'tis the season!)
A Christmas song, of all things, broke Grissom's tunnel-vision. He was so intent on finishing up his work, there was little room for anything else. He had t's to cross, i's to dot, and a whole slew of evidence to sift through in order to re-start his life with a clear conscience.
As Doc Robbins revealed the cause of death of one of those 'loose ends,' the soft sounds of the radio playing in the background caught Grissom's attention. Tony Bennett. He recognized the voice immediately, but not the song. At first, he thought it was the most depressing holiday song he had ever heard. But, then, he was filled with a strange, intense sense of yearning that made him feel as if his heart was being tugged right out of his chest.
All I want for Christmas is you.
He didn't forget; he just didn't plan on acknowledging the day beyond a quick trip to Midnight Mass.
Christmas was for families. He inadvertently gave his up. Temporarily, he hoped.
But, for a couple of years there, he had known what it was like. First, "just" with Sara. He knew that Sara's parents had made an attempt to follow the traditions. But, they usually failed. Not in the outer trappings but certainly in the "all is calm; all is bright," department. He made it his business to succeed.
They put up a grand tree, the scent of real, fresh pine filling the townhouse. And lights—hundreds of lights, both on the tree and around their home. She seemed enchanted by everything around her. All their normal everyday "things" suddenly looked magical and he could see the excitement shining from her eyes. And he was enchanted…by her enchantment. It seemed as if every time she turned around that first Christmas they shared together, he couldn't seem to resist kissing her.
The next year, he had competition for those kisses. They had adopted Hank a few weeks before Christmas and, apparently, he had fallen under Sara's Christmastime spell, too.
Now, as with last year, Grissom didn't bother with a tree. And Hank was moping around like an elderly dog at the ripe old age of four.
Soon. They'd both have their answer soon. And they might have the life they wanted back again. Maybe. In any case, they'd have a different life than the one they had now, and even that would be an improvement.
But, in the meantime, he had a moony song stuck in his head, and a need to do something he swore he wouldn't do.
I had every intention of surprising you in a few weeks. Just showing up at your front door, even if that "door" was actually a seaport.
And that intention remains. Whether you answer this email or not; whether you accept my apology or not. Because, until I see you face to face and hear you tell me, in no uncertain terms, that we are over and done with, I'm taking a chance that we still have a future together.
And I am asking for a future. Actually, I'm asking for the rest of our lives.
And it won't be in Las Vegas. I've been doing a lot of thinking. And, in spite of the things I told you, there was nothing wrong with our relationship. There was something very wrong with me. It's not an excuse but an explanation. And I hope you will accept it and forgive me.
I've already handed in my resignation and am just tying together all the loose ends. I'm giving it three more weeks, and then anything still pending will be passed on to the team.
Tomorrow is Christmas. Our second Christmas apart. Today, I remembered that, had I not been in the wrong frame of mind and heart, and used careless words in an attempt to have you puzzle out what I was really feeling, I could have been spending this day with you. And this is a regret that pains me beyond measure.
Perhaps, someday soon, in spite of the date on the calendar, we can celebrate this holiday together.
In the meantime, I hope you find joy in the day, and some measure of hope and happiness in the promises I've shared with you now. If given the chance, they are promises I fully intend to keep.
I love you.
He hit send and never looked back.
And then went shopping.
He never slept that night. He watched the room grow lighter as his eyes adjusted to the darkness, and listened to breathing become slow and steady. That's when he knew she was in deep sleep.
Her sleeping pattern had changed in the past few months. Time on the ship had worked wonders in that department. Well, that, and the fact that they were actually sleeping at night. In any case, she seemed to be able to let go of the day and sleep--deep and dreamless. Or, more accurately, nightmare-less. She still had dreams. And she told him about them, as he did with her.
He carefully unclasped her hands from across his chest. Lately, she liked spooning against his back.
A quick snuffle and she rolled over and resumed her slumber.
And he went into motion.
He quietly made his way into the living room, where a sleepy Hank barely opened one eye in greeting.
First step, change the calendar. From February of 2009, to December of 2008.
Then, the hard stuff. He had to make due with a fake tree. Next year, he'd get a real one. Well, this year. Later.
He assembled it as quickly as possible, hung the lights and decorations. Every once in a while, he'd glance at the door and say a silent prayer that Sara would sleep through the night. He had certainly packed their day with enough outdoor activities to make her tired. And there had been a very nice, prolonged period of lovemaking before sleep as added insurance. He smiled to himself. Insurance. Yes, that was as good an excuse as any.
With almost all the outward trappings set, he went out into the garage for the essentials. From behind an old cabinet used to store tools, he gathered the shopping bags.
Back in the house, he unloaded a box of bakery cookies onto a Christmas plate. Set out Christmas mugs for hot chocolate. Placed the presents under the tree.
Finally, he went back in the bedroom and put out a new, long velvet robe, in deepest burgundy, at the foot of the bed.
He was forgetting something.
Grissom went back out into the living room and looked around. It was as close to a perfect version of Christmas as he could get. Massachusetts was naturally a lot more Christmas-y than Vegas. In the hour before the sun rose, the room was lit only by twinkle lights. It smelled of warm chocolate and cinnamon. There were good things to snack on.
Ah, now he remembered. They needed something to listen to.
He pulled out the Manhattan Transfer version of that song he originally found depressing. He owed that song a lot. It had helped spur him into action and saved him weeks of continued misery. When he returned from shopping on Christmas Eve, there was a simple email response waiting for him:
I love you, too.
Merry Christmas, Gil. I'll be waiting—hopefully, happily.
He went back in the bedroom and watched as the music began to rouse Sara out of her slumber. He knelt by the side of the bed.
"Merry Christmas, Sara."
She looked…confused. And adorable. He brushed the hair away from her face.
"I'm dreaming?" she asked, and he shook his head.
"Come on, sleepyhead, we're celebrating," He took her hand and pulled her up into a sitting position.
"Christmas? It was just Valentine's Day."
"Don't be such a scientist. Come on, there are things under the tree with your name on them," he said, giving her hands a tug. He felt an excitement he hadn't felt since he was 6.
Still looking a little shell-shocked, Sara got up, donned her new robe, and went into the living room. The lights were out, save for the ones on the tree, and even Gil, himself, had to admit it was quite the sight. Right down to the sleeping dog wearing the plush antler headband a trifle crookedly.
"Those are for me?" she asked, looking at the vast assortment of gaily wrapped gifts.
"There are a couple for Hank," he said, shrugging his shoulders.
"I wish you would have said something," she frowned and looked troubled. "I didn't get you anything."
"Yes, you did," he said, and took her in his arms.
She looked at him for a moment, her eyes becoming shiny with unshed tears and a small smile forming on her lips. She understood just fine.
This wasn't for him. This wasn't about him. It was about the tiny family they had created.
"Open your presents, Sara."
There was genuine merriment in her eyes now. And her small smile became a full-on smirk. She reached out and began unbuttoning his pajama top. He playfully swatted her hands.
"Your real presents, Sara."
She looked at him and the smile softened. "I want my favorite one, first," she said, and leaned forward and kissed him, soundly and sweetly. He lifted his hand to her face.
And his. All his.
And, really, they both had all they wanted. For this, and every, Christmas.
So, I'm sitting in a doctor's office and the Tony Bennett version of the song I had heard before (Manhattan Transfer version) came on the radio. And ALL I could think of was Grissom. But, I tell myself, you've already written a Christmas story!!!! Shut up, says my other inner-voice. You will do as I say!
And, so, another ficlet is born.
Try to hunt through YouTube and listen to the song—either or both versions. It's very pretty and you'll see why I was inspired.
Tony Bennett's version is called, "All I Want for Christmas is You." Manhattan Transfer's version is called, "A Christmas Love Song." Same song, though.
Lyrics by Alan & Marilyn Bergman, Music by Johnny Mandel
All I want for Christmas is you You're the gift that's made my dreams all come true - All I need for Christmas is here Finding every sweet surprise Wrapped up in your eyes Waiting there for me Underneath the tree
We'll spend the day Exchanging kisses Smile and say "What a Christmas this is"
Long before the snowflakes appear Without bells and mistletoe or the tinsel's silver glow You just look at me and oh - Christmas is here