Disclaimer: CBS, TPTB—all own it. That's all I have to say on the subject
Summary: Sara surprises Grissom on their anniversary but she's the one in for a surprise. GSR.
Quick A/N: I know the dog was identified as "Bruno" on the closed captioning but only those watching in CC know that. So, since nothing official was said…I changed his name because I felt bad saddling "Bruno" with all this baggage.
Sometimes, a cute dog is just a cute dog.
And, sometimes, apparently, he is not.
God, she wanted to cry. But it was a difficult thing to do privately, when you were sharing a bed with someone. For a while there, Sara had been able to take her tears elsewhere. Grissom bought the old "I lost track of time in the bathtub and, oh, by the way, my eyes aren't red, I just got shower gel in them" excuse. Eventually, though, he caught on.
Grissom. At the moment, she kind of hated him. And she definitely hated her ex-PEAP counselor, who encouraged all this self-exploration. And then she hated both of them, together, for sucking all the joy out of what was supposed to be a simple, very sweet surprise.
It began in bed two weeks before. Grissom had his head resting on her bare right breast as she ran her fingers through his short-cropped curls.
"Carl took off too much again," she complained.
"Carl did exactly what I asked him to do."
"Well, maybe I'll have him do a hack job on my hair someday."
Grissom lifted his head and looked at her, his expression, as usual, unreadable. "You wouldn't," he said.
She smiled back and said nothing. Of course she wouldn't. They both knew that.
She dug her fingers in a bit more and massaged his scalp.
"Tell me something I don't know," she said, feeling a yawn trying to break free from somewhere deep inside her. It had become somewhat of a habit. On a night when sex wasn't enough to send them directly to sleep, they followed it up by asking each other for little known facts—something neither of them had ever disclosed before.
"I don't know, Sara. Haven't we covered it all by now?"
One year. They were approaching the one-year anniversary of their (sort-of) living together. And in that one year, he thought he had learned all there was to know about her?
"Honey, we may not have to worry about Carl if you continue with that death grip."
"Sorry," she said, relaxing her fingers a bit.
"Why don't you go first," he suggested.
She sighed—loudly and intentionally. She'd let him off the hook, for now. She thought for a while. An angst-free childhood story would be a nice change.
"Okay. I got it. I was the only kid in my kindergarten class to fall off the pony ride at the zoo."
"How did you manage that?"
"Well, I kind of thought that by putting my feet in the stirrups so close to the pony's body, I was hurting him. So, when the handler wasn't looking, I slipped my feet out and let them dangle—and—well, then I sneezed and slid right off and into the hay before the pony even took one step."
She felt, rather than heard, his chuckle and she gave another short, playful tug on his hair.
"Your turn," she said and all chuckling stopped. He was in thinking mode again and taking his time about it. A delicious shiver ran up her spine when he wet his lips and his tongue briefly made contact with her nipple.
"All right. In keeping with the animal theme, I've always wanted a dog."
"Really?" Now, this was something she never suspected. Grissom never really responded much when she spoke of animals and she thought he only had eyes for his bugs. She always assumed that if he couldn't study it or dissect it, it didn't hold his interest. "Uh, you're talking about a live dog, right? Not a preserved one like Miss Piggy at the lab?"
"A live one, Sara."
"You've never had one?"
"No. My mother was allergic to almost anything with fur and, later, well, it's hard to take care of a dog when you work strange hours and live alone."
She had about 20 follow-up questions but, by now, Grissom was yawning and already beginning to nestle down for the night. He moved his weight off her body and pulled her toward his own.
She planted a warm kiss on the middle of his chest and decided to save those questions for the next day.
As she drifted to sleep, she decided to hold off on the questions indefinitely. Suddenly, she knew the perfect present for the one-year anniversary of their cohabitation.
He forgot their anniversary.
That much became apparent when she greeted him at the door of the townhouse with a kiss and a cheerful "happy anniversary." A look of sheer terror crossed his face. Not only did he forget the date itself, he seemed to forget what, exactly, he was supposed to be commemorating. That didn't surprise her. She'd be more surprised if he had remembered. Grissom could be intensely romantic about the oddest things but --with these life-altering events--he seemed to place more emphasis on the initial decision rather than in the commemoration of the date, once they were done. It was just one of his quirks
"Why don't you go wash up? I used my day off to experiment with a little breakfast casserole," she said and he nodded, somewhat relieved to be let off the immediate hook.
He'd be meeting "Rocky" any second now. She had walked into the shelter, determined to rescue an adult dog. Not only were they harder to place in a home, but there was the advantage of being well past the puppy-eating-furniture-and-peeing-all-over-the-place stage. Somehow, body waste lost its allure once you left a crime scene.
There was a brief bark and Grissom almost immediately walked out of the bathroom, closing the door behind him.
"There's a dog in the bathroom," he stated.
"No. Your dog is in the bathroom. He's your anniversary present. His name is Rocky and he's almost three years old. A Boxer—obviously—and, well, he's just the cutest thing, isn't he?"
She didn't tell him he was the only dog who didn't jump up on the door of his kennel—barking and excited to get her attention. No, he sat back in a corner and just stared. Before her death, his former owner left a rather sizeable donation to keep him alive and well taken care of for as long as it took to place him in a new home. But that was eight long months ago and poor Rocky seemed to have been broken down by life.
Sara wanted him instantly.
"Sara," Grissom opened his mouth and then closed it again. "Sara," he tried again. "We can't keep the dog."
The nervous excitement she had felt all night was now replaced by a sheer, crushing depression. He wanted a dog. Always. He said so not two weeks before. She got him a dog. A great dog. And now he didn't want it.
"Why?" she said, and she knew there was a hint of a whine to her voice, but she simply didn't care.
"It's not fair to the dog. You can't keep him cramped up here inside all day with no human contact. He needs a yard and exercise. Not ocassional contact with two workaholics who are away sometimes for 24 hours or more at a time."
"Gris, he's been in a kennel for the past 8 months. A studio apartment in New York City wold seem like the Taj Mahal to him at this point. And, look around, this is no studio apartment. We don't live that far from work. Even if we have to stay late, one of us can always take 15 minutes to walk and feed him. It may not be perfect but it's better than what he had."
"Sara," he pursed his lips together in a way he had that really annoyed her. "No."
There. He was laying down the law and expecting her to accept it. Not this time.
"Fine. You don't want him? I do. He'll just come home with me."
Grissom's eyes widened just a bit.
"You live here," he said, simply.
"I still have my apartment," she said in a voice that sounded weak, even to her own ears.
"But you live here," he said again, his voice the carefully controlled voice of reason. Translation: him or me, and will you really choose a dog you've known for a few hours over a man you chased after for a decade?
As tempting as the choice was at that moment, she knew the moment would pass.
"You don't even want to try, do you?" she asked, not quite able to hide her disdain.
"Sara," he took a deep breath, getting ready to delivery what she was sure would be a perfectly reasonable speech; one she was also sure she didn't want to hear.
"Save it, " she said. "I'll bring him back tomorrow."
"I'm sure the shelter is open now if you want me to go with…"
She cut him off with a glare. "This dog gets 24 full hours of freedom. Oh, and for the record, boss, I'm taking a vacation day tonight."
"Sara," he called to her but she was already on her way to the bathroom to get Rocky ready to take a very, very long walk.
When they got back, Sara took quick note of the dried-out remnants of her breakfast casserole sitting on the counter. Oh, well. He appeared to have had enough of it in spite of the fact that it didn't look very appetizing.
And, she noted as she walked into the bedroom, he was already asleep.
She sighed and changed into sweatpants and a tank top. Sara crawled in carefully and moved closer to the middle of the bed than she wanted to, to make room for the only bedmate she wanted that night.
"Rocky," she whispered, patting the space she made for him between her body and the nightstand. After several whispered attempts, the dog gave into temptation and joined her. He carefully circled around, trying not to fall off the edge of the bed, while Sara tried to hold in her laughter at just how funny his attempts looked and just how hard he was shaking the mattress. She certainly didn't want to wake the sleeping Grizzly to her right. Rocky finally settled down and Sara threw her arm around his muscular back.
The dog sighed almost as loudly as she did.
The funny thing was, after a few years of living with the idea of actually getting a dog, rather than just dreaming of one, Grissom would be ready to embrace Rocky. Just as he was ready to embrace the idea of living with her, after a mere decade or so. But that timeline wouldn't work for the canine. She closed her eyes tightly and buried her head against the Boxer's. It wasn't fair. The poor dog had a few moments of hope and, by this time tomorrow, he'd be sitting back in his kennel, more broken than he was before.
She felt a hand on her shoulder.
"You didn't have a dog when you were a child?"
She turned around to face Grissom.
"You have got to be kidding me," Sara said.
"No, I want to know."
"Well, just remember you asked and I'm just stating fact here, not trying to manipulate you. Dogs are protective, Grissom. I think life would have been even more complicated if they brought an innocent creature into a violent household."
He winced slightly, and his gaze wandered to Sara's shoulder. Rocky had rested his chin on top of her upper arm and it didn't take a scientist to figure out he was doing his little enigmatic staring routine—right at Mr. I-Invented-Enigmatic, himself. It must have been like looking into a very strange, funhouse mirror.
He seemed momentarily disconcerted, then continued. "What about later? When you were on your own?"
"I didn't get a pet for the same reason you didn't. I felt sorry that he or she would spend so much time alone. But…"
But maybe she didn't want to commit then, either.
"But nothing," she said.
Grissom rested his head against his arm and cleared his throat, "Sara, I know you were angry but, in general, these types of decisions should be made as a couple."
She could see his face flushing in response to the look of sheer shock on hers. He certainly had a set on him, all right. He was so good at discussing things that would affect the two of them that he left her alone for six weeks, with nothing but a hasty goodbye and a ton of doubts to keep her company. But she wasn't about to bring that up again. She wasn't even in the mood to continue this conversation. It all would end in the same way. Grissom made a decision. Sara would stand by it. Case closed.
She took a deep breath. "Grissom, I would appreciate it if you'd just stop trying to 'reason' things out with me. It annoys the hell out of me. You want me to see the light? Fine. I have. I thought with my heart and not my head. As I always do, apparently. I've already agreed to take Rocky back but don't expect me to be happy about it, or even agree on the 'reasons' it should be done. Because I just don't."
She turned back to Rocky and put her arm around him. It was as close to an argument as she ever wanted to have with Grissom—probably more so. She had had enough of the sounds of anger in her life. Still, she was hurt and disappointed and more than a little heartbroken. She just wanted him to understand some of what she was feeling.
At the same time, she had always known what she was getting into. And it was better than she expected, she grudgingly thought. But, there were still some issues that were made easier by her rolling over and playing dead, instead of arguing her way to a breakup. She was in the middle of a perfectly lovely relationship with a man who didn't want so much of a hint of its existence known to anyone but the two of them. A man who wanted to make all the major decisions in their relationship. A man who wanted her to act married while he remained "single." Perhaps that wasn't fair, but, right now, she needed some righteousness to feed her very uncharacteristic pity party. Underneath it all, she knew the truth. She stood by him, in joyous moments and in painful ones, because it's exactly where she wanted to be.
Of course, maybe he was right and getting this dog was for her. Maybe it symbolized youth and what she lost. Or commitment to their relationship or…
Maybe she just wanted to share part of her life and love with this sweet little dog, and wasn't the type of person who ever needed to psychoanalyze every single decision she made in her life. Especially when others were oh-so-good at doing it for her.
"Hey, Sara?" Grissom said, moving around on the mattress a bit. "I think, maybe, we could get a cat."
He didn't have a single clue, sometimes.
Yup. Happy Fucking Anniversary to me.
She snuggled her head closer to Rocky's and quietly let the tears fall.
Sara woke up and felt odd. Something was off. She fell asleep with her arms around a nice, warm body and where was it now? She lay there for a moment. He wouldn't have? Would he? If he thought he was sparing her from something, he might. For years, he spared her of his presence for the sake of her own welfare.
If he took that dog back without giving her the chance to say goodbye, she'd leave him…she'd…
She turned around and found a sleeping Grissom with Rocky curled up behind his knees, his head resting on Grissom's thigh. Rocky's eyes were open, staring and rather difficult to read. Boy, did she have a "type" or what?
She smiled a bit and leaned over to lightly brush her hand over the dog's head.
"Hey, boy," she said, feeling choked up again. "How'd you get all the way over there? Huh? He's not exactly…well, don't get attached. By the time he comes around, you'll be 144 in dog years."
"I heard that," Grissom mumbled.
Sara rolled off the bed and went into the bathroom. Her eyes were bloodshot but nothing a little Visine couldn't handle. She'd let Grissom go off to work while she spent the night playing with Rocky. The shelter could be put off until sometime tomorrow afternoon.
The bathroom door opened and Grissom came in with Rocky trailing behind.
"Morning," he said, and stood beside her by the sink.
"Morning," she said, not meeting his gaze in the mirror.
"I'm sorry I stole the dog away from you. He seems to like following me around. His previous owner must have been a man."
"Single woman. No significant other. Died after a long illness."
"Ah. Well, so much for that theory," he said, running his hand through his unruly curls. "I'm also sorry I forgot our anniversary. I mean, one year, huh?"
"More or less, yes," Now that was slightly bitchy, she thought.
"It does mean a lot to me. You know that. I just—I'm not easy to live with, Sara."
She was tempted to throw out another bitchy line about that being a great old newsflash but held her tongue and just nodded a bit. She truly wasn't out for an argument. Or an apology. Or much of anything. She just wanted to spend the day playing with the dog and then resuming her normal routine, except now part of it would entail telling everyone she knew about this wonderful dog at the shelter that really, really, really needed a good home, and hoped like hell someone would take the bait.
"You know, " Grissom said, "A couple of hours ago, while you were asleep, um…I took Rocky here for a walk. He did his business quickly and turned back toward the house. And he was happy to be inside. But he didn't jump to get back on the bed. He waited until I gave him permission. He seemed…considerate." She managed a small, wry laugh.
"It's…there's a chance that it could be…do-able. He might be willing to work with us."
She looked at him through the mirror. Do-able?
"I—you're going to have to spell this one out for me, Grissom."
He took a deep breath. "Thank you for my anniversary present, Sara. I like him. I'd like for us to keep him."
Take it at face value. He's changed his mind. Don't question his motivations. You have your dog, and he has his dog, and you're together and you've made it through your first year, relatively unscathed In fact, maybe you've been a slightly good influence on him. Maybe.
"You look less happy than you did last night," Grissom told her.
"You made kind of an abrupt turn, there."
"I know. I stopped telling myself no and decided to get up and spend some time with the dog. I tried thinking a little more like you," he said, with a smile. "Opened my mind and heart a bit. It yielded good results—the best results—once before. Of course, it probably won't be easy…"
"Nothing worth having ever is."
"Tell me something," he said, a bit nervously, leaning his back against the sink.
"Was it worth it?"
"Was what worth it?"
"This," he said, gesturing back and forth between the two of them. "Us. Has it been worth it?"
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sounds of slurping. Rocky was drinking water—loudly—from the toilet bowl.
And Grissom was standing there waiting for an answer to a really stupid question.
And she had spent half the night agonizing over why she really wanted a dog.
A bathroom filled with lost, kindred souls.
"It's been worth it," she said and Grissom grabbed Rocky's collar, pulled him back, and closed the lid to the toilet.
"He is a cute dog," he said, patting the pooch, who stuck out his tongue and gave Grissom's hand a drooling slurp. Grissom was wearing that tiny, soft smile he had when he wanted a moment to be held close to his heart and not shared with anyone or anything. Rocky had won him over all right. Smart boy.
Sara smiled, leaned down and wrapped her arms around Grissom's shoulders.
Sometimes, a cute dog was just a cute dog.
And sometimes, a pain in the ass scientist was just a pain in the ass scientist.
But, at all times, he was the man she loved. And, together with their new addition, they were now her family. There was nothing more to analyze.
It had been worth every second.
A/N: This isn't the fluff I promised after my last story. I'm not quite happy with the tone of that story and I keep working on it but…we'll see. In the meantime, I swore I would not write dogfic…but, hey, come ON! I wrote for another fandom where there was probably no way in hell those two people would have had any contact with a dog…and I managed to write dogfic for them. And CSI totally set me up for this one!
It turned out a lot more angsty and full of sub-themes and issues than I had planned. But, sometimes a story seems to write itself and I am just a typist for the Wacko Within.
Anyway, this one is for my own dog (who probably spent less than two hours as a "shelter dog" before we snapped her up). She's beautiful, spoiled and completely neurotic—but one hell of a good trainer. She did such a good job with me, I'm dedicating fic to her;-) Good human!