"Hi," and with one word, the weight of the past week slipped away.
"Hey, your Barry White voice is gone," she said, in lieu of a greeting.
He laughed and something in his chest seemed to loosen while a vague, but familiar, feeling left him momentarily perplexed. This moment, this feeling, touched on a memory that was just out of reach. He often felt that way when he talked with Sara.
"You feeling better?" she asked.
"I am now," Grissom said and realized he meant it.
"Good. If anything happened to you, I wouldn't know who to shoot first. Maddie, Josh, or myself."
"It was just a bad cold, Sara."
"It was walking pneumonia," She stated, as he winced. He should have known better than to lie to her. Even if it was for selfless reasons.
Her current counselor, Joshua 'Just Call Me Josh' Nederland, insisted she needed six months away by herself. To, not only 'cement her rediscovery of her own selfhood,' but to 'understand the roles of the people she surrounded herself with and gain perspective.' Josh spoke like a walking self-help book and Grissom could tell Sara was nearing the end of her rope with him. Still, Josh got her to where she was now and that was an amazing feat in and of itself. And there was some wisdom in what he was saying, even if he chose to say it in a clap-trap-y manner. Grissom didn't want her abandoning a course of treatment that would ultimately be good for her, just to come home and play nursemaid to him. Even if the very idea of such a thing filled him with a yearning that bordered on painful.
But Grissom forgot that Sara enjoyed human contact once in a while, and obviously, she was in touch with…others.
"Greg?" he asked.
"Warrick," she replied. "The only reason I'm not there with you now is he swore he'd keep an eye on you and he's the only one I'd believe completely."
"Actually, I haven't been his favorite person since you've been gone."
"Don't be silly."
"No, really. He's been having some…issues."
"We all have. And you can stop walking on egg shells, Gil. I know about his "issues.' Things just got away from him. He knows that. You think he loved his grandmother any less when she had to get tough with him?"
"So now I'm Warrick's grandpa?"
"No, now you are what you've always been—his friend."
"I don't know about that," he said softly. Warrick seemed to be doing all right. He passed his drug test and didn't seem to be holding a grudge. Although, he did keep Sara away…no, that was an unreasonable thought. Or a guilty conscience projecting. "I wasn't when I could have made a difference. I'm not sure I'm a friend to anyone, anymore, Sara."
"You're mine," she said quietly and, for once, he recognized it as the absolute truth. They had started off as friends and he had always liked to think they remained that way throughout. But, they hadn't. He knew that. He not only tried to shut her out, but actively tried to push her away at times. Not anymore. They spent the last few months talking about almost everything. And he was her friend again. Even when it was the most difficult thing in the world to put her needs above his own desires. They had come full circle to where they were when they started, only this time, their friendship was built on a solid foundation. Better, richer, deeper.
"Give me a minute, Sara. I'm trying to contain some unmanly sobs."
The sound of her laughter hit his ear and seemed to resonate throughout his entire body. It was an absolutely exhilarating feeling. God, she was better for his system than Theraflu.
"See, that's exactly why you're a good friend, Gil. People know that even if you say very little, you're listening, and at heart—you're a complete softy."
"Complete?" he asked and raised his own eyebrow, even though the dog wasn't even in the room to see him.
"Are we feeling a little frisky today?" she said, her voice full of teasing laughter.
He laughed and pushed his head further up on the armrest of the couch. "No. That was just masculine posturing. I still feel like a limp rag. The spirit would be willing but the flesh…"
"Can wait for the real thing?"
"Well, for now. In a few days I will be back in the "can't wait,' phase. But, I will. Wait, that is."
She sighed. "I would have liked taking care of you," she said, her deep and soothing voice a balm for his tired soul.
"You've always taken care of me."
"Not this way."
"Well, for once, I'm glad you're not here," he lied again. "Certain bodily fluids aren't quite so pleasant to exchange."
"That's pretty gross, Grissom."
"I'm a man. It's my inalienable right to be gross."
She gave a shorter laugh this time. Followed by another, softer sigh.
"Sara," he started, but didn't know exactly what he should say. Their conversations had run the gamut from that first phone call full of tears and declarations of undying love to lighthearted banter, but during each one, there were bittersweet or melancholy moments that seemed to naturally occur, given the circumstances. And, with them, came the desire to at least try and 'make it all right,' even if it was beyond Grissom's power.
"It's okay. I was just picturing you, all fevered and in need of soup. Or tea. Or a hug."
"I do miss you, Sara. Every minute of every day."
"The feeling is mutual," she said softly. And then her tone of voice lightened once again. "You know, if I knock off Josh…"
"No. Not a good idea. I don't want to see you only for conjugal visits."
Oops. He had stepped in dangerous territory. But she laughed anyway. With Sara, intent beat content every time.
"I remember when we first did this type of thing. This long distance 'relationship,' of sorts. There would be 20 emails and then this phone call out of the blue. I had loved being with you. And I loved your emails. But I also love the sound of your voice. Even when you're doing your Barry White imitation. It's always been home to me, Gris."
Shifts had seemed longer after he returned home from San Francisco all those years ago. Things that never bothered him before, became all he concentrated on. And he had been dating up a storm, hoping to get the oh-so-young Sara out of his mind. But, every once in a while, he didn't want to deny himself. She had always been home to him, too. It just took him a while to realize it.
There was that feeling again. Some trigger, some memory…
Just out of reach.
They spoke for a while about everything and nothing: the antics of their "Baby Dog," acid in urine, the cranky but ultra-competent Assistant D.A….and with every word, spoken and unspoken, their lonely lives became…less lonely.
With the sound of her "love you" still in the air, he went to bed happier than he had been in a very long time.
And slept like a log. Even though his poor mind went into overdrive, trying to help him recall the event that triggered the vague sensations of familiarity he had experienced as he spoke with Sara on the phone. Unfortunately, Theraflu got in the way and his dreams were so scattered, he wouldn't even remember having them, never mind that afternoon so very, very long ago…
There was nothing dead here today.
Gilbert Grissom kicked at a rock and sighed. Loudly.
The beach had always been a good source of something to study. Especially now, since people stopped caring about the environment. There was always some dead fish washed up onshore or something to take home and autopsy. And he really needed something to take his mind off of school.
One week into the new semester and he was already screwed. Well, his plans to be more social were screwed. Jessica Martin. So pretty. So nice. Or so he thought.
But…nah. She went out with him just so she could make fun of him. And she was foolish enough to think he wouldn't overhear her gloating by the lockers. Apparently, he 'kissed funny.'
He sat down on a big boulder and looked out at the ocean. Man, it was hot today. He could barely breathe.
Or was that just his reaction to Jessica's nonsense?
And it was nonsense. He knew that. Even if he did kiss funny. It's not like he had all that much practice. So what if people would make fun of him for a week or two? He'd soon fade into the background, as he always did. But, he was determined not to date any more. Not until college.
Well, maybe he'd hang out a little by the Catholic girl's school a few miles away…that would be okay.
He looked out at the sun hitting the water. Bright little diamonds skittered across the surface.
And then…he felt it. A cool breeze coming out of nowhere.
Wow. That was nice. He could breathe again. Really breathe. And he took a very deep breath, letting the cool air expand his lungs.
Suddenly, the afternoon felt like a gift, instead of a burden.
He didn't care about Jessica or anyone else.
It was a beautiful day. And he was grateful. Happy. Content.
For some odd reason, he looked at his watch.
It was 4:17 PM, September 16, 1971.
And, like most truly weird moments in life, he'd never remember taking note of the exact time Sara Sidle was taking her first deep breath in a brand new world.
But his soul would know…
Its mate had arrived. The end. _________________________________________________________________
A/N: I know. I go over the top, sometimes. Well, something has to balance the under the radar shit TPTB hand out, no?
This is my X-files meets CSI fic, I think. I did go a bit otherworldly at the end there, and that last scene was something I wrote a while ago (except for the last two lines), and was trying to build a fic around. I just really liked the idea of Grissom somehow knowing Sara had arrived in the world. In the middle of writing this story, I thought I'd really like to tag that scene at the end and bring up the whole soul mate issue (a sore spot among X-filers, by the way! CSI actually did it a million percent better last night).
Please don't throw eggs at me for my creative flight of fancy. I'm very fragile, you know (Geez. I could be a Power that Be. I lie like a rug!)