Author: Summer Reign
Category: Romance, GSR
Spoilers: Grave Danger
Disclaimer: I don't own them. I don't make money on much of anything, including my real job. Don't sue. I'm borrowing with respect and will leave them better than they were before.
A/N: This was inspired by speculations on Grissom and Sara's possible relationship before she came to Las Vegas. It kind of took on a life of its own and, somewhere along the line, I decided that the two of them are just so damned sexy together…I wanted to turn a rather simple situation into sooooo much more.
Uh, that's not telling you too much, is it? Good. Or there would be no reason to read the following…
The real problem was, she hadn't even thought of kissing him until that moment. Or any other time that day. Or week, for that matter. Month? Well, maybe that was carrying denial a little too far. But it had been a while.
Yet, suddenly, there he was, standing before her, his lips inches from her own.
And when he didn't kiss her, she felt like she had been kicked in the gut. Which was pretty much the way she reacted.
History, repeating itself. Or, more precisely, the great mistakes of history, repeating themselves. Endlessly, painfully.
Sara knew the day was going to be extremely difficult. She had no idea how much of an understatement that was.
Her gorgeous professor was leaving her. She smiled to herself. He wasn't hers. Not by any stretch of the imagination. She only wished he were.
God, she admired him. Gil Grissom was smart, self-assured and, wonder of wonders, he seemed to both like and respect her. Her brain didn't seem to intimidate him, as it did half the male population of California. No, he seemed challenged by her. And he actually agreed to spend time with her outside of the lecture hall, instead of giving her a supercilious attitude and sending her on her way.
And during those all-too-fleeting moments of great conversation, there was the promise of freedom in his eyes. Freedom to just be herself, in all her sometimes geeky splendor. No man had ever promised her that.
"It's time, Sara," he said, a touch of sadness in his voice.
"Time?" God, please don't let it be time to say goodbye. It was still early.
He smiled. "Time for the Great Information Exchange. Do you have a piece of paper?"
Sara rummaged through her oversized shoulder bag and pulled out a small pad of paper. She slid it and a pen across the small table of the local diner she would always refer to as "their" place.
"This," Grissom said, writing quickly "is my home number. I'm giving you the number to the lab, my pager and my cell phone." Sara watched as he wrote out his list. His handwriting was not as atrocious as she expected it to be. He ripped out a page and slid it across to her. "Your turn."
"Well, I don't have as many numbers as that." She quickly wrote down her phone numbers and passed it back. "But I'm working on it."
"Such an overachiever," he teased. He looked over the page, carefully folded the paper and moved his jacket aside to put it into the breast pocket of his shirt. He patted it gently before letting the jacket fall back into place.
Sara fell just a little more in love. Or in crush. Whatever. Maybe she was an overachiever. After all, it had only been a few days.
She leaned forward and looked him straight in the eyes. "So, are you going to miss me?"
"Me?" he said, in mock innocence. "Nah. You have kept me on edge since I got here. Most of the time, I memorize my lecture and that's that. You've actually forced me to think about what I was doing. What kind of break from work is that?"
"You're forgiven. I suppose it was good for me. I was getting complacent."
She looked down at her almost-empty cup of coffee. Maybe she should order another dinner. Or another dessert. She could worry about her aching stomach tomorrow. Anything to delay their leaving this place. His leaving her.
He reached out and touched a small tendril of hair that had escaped her ponytail. He wrapped the wave around his finger. "I don't think you've had your hair in the same style two days in a row."
Sara felt a warm blush gracing her cheeks. He noticed.
"It's wavy. Well, borderline-curly, actually. I try to beat it into submission but the weather here isn't conducive to total obedience."
He grinned and tugged gently on the strand of hair that was stilled coiled around his finger, the end held in place by his thumb. She looked up and he made the smallest motion with his head. "Come here, Sara." She watched as Grissom swallowed hard and then licked his lips.
She half-stood, and leaned over the table. He once again mock-tugged the strand of hair between them, and she sighed and closed her eyes, waiting in delicious anticipation for him to bridge the six or so inches that separated…
"Hey, you two, get a freaking room!" The waitress she had formerly liked a lot was now on Sara's permanent shit list. Grissom had let go of her hair and Sara found herself easing back into her seat. The waitress put their check in front of Grissom with a smirk. She probably thought she was being a cute, wisecracking waitress instead of the meddling, old hag Sara would henceforth refer to her as.
"No tip for her," Grissom said, taking the check. "Although, it was probably not the right thing to do, anyway." Sara wanted to argue with him but he was avoiding her eyes and pulling his wallet out of his pants. She sat back in the booth with her hands crossed over her chest.
No kiss. He wouldn't try it again. Somehow, she knew that. Probably considered Madge the Meddler some sort of messenger of divine intervention. No kiss. No great romantic gesture to remember him by. He was already standing getting ready to pay at the front.
She could weep.
Sara felt his finger under her chin and looked up at him. A reprieve? Grissom smiled and slowly shook his head. "Someday, Sara Sidle." He brushed his thumb against her lower lip and went over to pay their bill.
In another hour, he took both her hands in his, gave them a hearty shake and bid her farewell.
Goodbye, Gil Grissom.
Sara was so tired. And she was having difficulty breathing. It wasn't the 100 plus degree weather during the day or the poor air quality, but more a psychological response to peering at the crater that once contained a makeshift coffin and one of her dearest friends.
Even though they knew who was responsible for Nick's abduction, and he was no longer a threat, they absolutely went by the book—picking up every bit of evidence to be examined and catalogued. It was all packed in the cars and they were just about ready to go.
"Sara," Grissom said, laying a hand on her shoulder, "Come on. Time to go. Actually, time for you to go home. I'll see you tomorrow."
Tomorrow? She knew she was tired but that word definitely didn't compute. What happened to tonight?
"Warrick, Catherine and Greg can work tonight," he said, knowing her objections without her having to voice them. "They went right home after the hospital. You didn't."
"I just need a couple of hours, Grissom."
"You're off, Sara. I will see you tomorrow." There was that annoying 'I'm-the-boss-end-of-discussion' tone of his. He didn't use it with her often but, when he did, she felt compelled to listen.
"What about you?" she asked. There was the annoying look that usually accompanied the boss voice. The none-of-your-business-I'm-in-charge-here look. But, in all honesty, she usually ignored it.
"That's not much of an answer, Grissom."
"I'm going back to the lab for about an hour and will head on home. Okay with you?"
Sara gave him a tired smile in response, picked up her kit and headed over to her SUV. She stopped as she put the key in the door and looked back out at the nursery. If they didn't find him when they did . . . if it had been anyone else but Nick . . .would they have taken the easy way out and used the gun?
So many questions whirling in her mind. She took a deep, shaky breath.
"Sara?" Grissom was right behind her, on his way over to where he parked. "You all right?"
"Fine," she said, taking in a deep breath, through her mouth this time. Slow and steady.
His hand was on her shoulder again, turning her around to face him. "Let it go. It's over."
She nodded. It's over. It's over. Nick's all right. He's not dead. He's not in a box, underground, waiting to die. He will be fine. We all will.
Sara lifted her hand to her neck and wiped at a little standing river of sweat, then looked up at Grissom, ready to reassure him and take charge of her life again. 14 hours of navel gazing was enough for her. She found him staring at her with a much softer expression than anything seen on his face in months.
"What?" she asked.
He smiled again and touched an escaped tendril of hair from her makeshift bun. "It's curling. I haven't seen your hair do that in a very long time." He started wrapping it around his finger.
"I…have it professionally straightened. I guess I'm about due for another session."
"Why do you do that?"
She stared at him. Was he really that interested in what she did with her hair? From the intensity in his expression, it seemed as if he was. Must be the scientist in him. Or he was looking for a recommendation for a new look for himself. She almost burst into a spurt of somewhat-hysterical laughter at the thought of Grissom with longer, straight graying hair. Perhaps they could sit side by side during the straightening procedure.
She took another breath and told herself to get a grip.
"I find straight hair easier to manage. That's all."
"I've missed this," he said and gave the strand just the slightest tug.
And with it, he opened a tiny box of memories that had been not only padlocked, but rusted shut. In it, were all the hopeful moments she had shared with Grissom. Moments she had considered both futile and foolish. But with one small tug, the box flew open and hope lived and breathed again.
She met his gaze and saw him smile, softly, before he uncoiled her hair, and placed his hand on the side of her neck. His palm was just as clammy as her neck but it still felt like a little slice of heaven in Nevada. He moved closer to her and she took a quick breath as she watched him wet his lips briefly and move closer still.
"Hey, Grissom. You got the dirt sample with you?" The sound of Johnson's voice, carrying from a distance but steadily approaching, snapped them into reality. Grissom moved his head away from hers and his hand fell to his side. Sara wrapped both arms around herself, as tightly as she could. There was a pain in her gut that also had nothing to do with anything physical. The breathing problem seemed to return ten-fold. The box of memories had a new deposit, one that was not safely inside before the lid came crashing down on it. Crushing it.
Grissom yelled out a response to the dayshift CSI and then turned quickly to Sara, a frown on his face. "You know why I had to stop. It's not that I wanted to."
She knew that. She did. He wanted to kiss her as much as he did that day in the diner. She wasn't sure why. Not this time. But it was apparent. It was also apparent that they were cursed. Or, he was blessed by an intervening angel watching out for him. Keeping his scientific self pure in heart and body by making sure someone interrupted them at every turn. And, once interrupted, they would never continue along the same path again. That was what was making a terrible primal sob struggle so hard to be released from somewhere in the depths of Sara's soul.
She forced herself to release her grip around her middle and put one hand back on the key dangling from the door of her car. "I know. It's fine. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Sara . . ."
"It's fine," she said, striving for a decent imitation of his 'boss' voice. "I just need some sleep. I'll see you tomorrow."
She hopped in her car and was on the way home before Johnson could even reach Grissom's side.
History repeating itself.
Yup. Who would have thought? History's mistakes, or her own? For believing; for entertaining the thought that Grissom could overcome his own Grissomness and take a chance for once--on her; on them. It wasn't his fault this afternoon, but he had years to make a move before then.
Sara lay against the cushions she had placed on the arm rest of her couch and just breathed in the air conditioned air blowing, full-blast, from the AC vent above her head. It would be all right. She had said that multiple times during the day. Perhaps if she said it often enough, she'd believe it.
She had slept for a few minutes, on and off, throughout the day. Not much but enough to make that absolute horrid pain that gripped her being turn into a kind of dull numbness. She was glad there would be no work tonight. Sara just wanted to do her best vegetable imitation and not think about anything.
And when she came to that particular realization, there was a knock at her door.
Fate. Fuck it.
But whoever was on the other side of the door was rather insistent.
"Sara, it's me."
Grissom. There was an incentive to get up. A Grissom apology-but-not-really always just added the whipped cream to the top of her ice cream sundae.
Still, he wouldn't be leaving until he had his say. Reiterated his case against them getting involved; his confusion over what to do about the ever-elusive "this." At least he'd be satisfied that he had done his job by the time he left. Someone should feel good about himself at least once on this horrid day.
Sara got up, broadly gestured for him to enter and went back to the couch to resume her former position.
"I'm just fine, thank you. How are you doing?"
She opened her eyes. He was standing pretty much where she left him when he entered her apartment, confusion on his face.
"I'm all right."
"I told you to come in," she said. "Have a seat. If you want something to drink, just help yourself. I'm a little tired still and would rather just sit here, if you don't mind."
"I don't mind," he said, taking a few more steps into the apartment. "I went to see Nicky. He's still pretty heavily sedated but, physically, he's doing as well as can be expected."
She sat up a little. "I'll go tomorrow morning. How are the bites?"
"Bad. And recovery won't be painless."
"He's so brave. I would have…I don't know. I think, if it would have been me, I would have given up."
"No you wouldn't."
"How can you say that?"
"I know you. You would not give up on life if there was a breath left in you," he said with a certainty almost inviting defiance.
She stared at him. "Would you?" she asked gently.
He shrugged, a bit sadly. "I don't know. I don't think I would take my life, use the gun. But I might not struggle against death, either."
She found herself nodding her head. Yes, that was an honest answer. She wished she could give him a sense of purpose. A sense of fighting for someone other than himself. He was not alone in this world except through his own choice.
"But," he said, breaking into her thoughts. "That's not why I came here this evening."
Well, the brief reprieve from The Subject was nice while it lasted.
He cleared his throat and gestured to her armchair. "May I?"
"Yes, Grissom. I told you, make yourself at home."
He murmured his thanks and sat down. He cleared his throat a few times. She hated when he did this. She absolutely could not deal with him floundering in his own feelings.
"You must think I'm some kind of needy nymphomaniac," she said, inviting discussion.
"Hardly," he said. So much for the invitation.
"Well, just for the record, I'm not. It's not just a kiss, you know. It's more of what a kiss would symbolize.
I'm just so tired, Grissom. It's not that I don't love my work. I do. It's important and even though it frustrates the hell out of me, it's exhilarating when we nail the bad guys. It's just …in my private life...here...I always thought it would be so hard to find the love of my life. So hard to recognize that one person who I'd love forever. But that was the easiest part. The difficulty comes from not being given license to touch him, or hold him, or even speak to him in much more than a professional capacity.
And I keep thinking of what I might have done wrong. What I keep doing wrong for things not to have changed in any way over these past few years."
"Well, stop it," Grissom said. "It's not anything you're doing. You just—unsettle me, Sara. And there are issues. I guess I just hoped for something external to come along and fix those more mundane matters and, when they were out of the way, I'd address the personal feelings. But nothing external has happened except for these horrid events that warn me I'm taking way too much time and every possibility offered to me could all be gone. Permanently."
They sat in silence for a moment. Thinking of Nick. Thinking of that rapist who held Sara's life in his hands, however briefly. Finally, Grissom shook himself and continued.
"But you're not letting me say what I came here to say. I just wanted to tell you that I have never regretted not kissing you when we were in that diner."
Well, that made her feel so much better. "Thanks for sharing, Grissom. I could have gone my whole life without hearing you say that."
He smirked. "You are nothing if not honest."
She just looked at him. She had no idea what he was here for, but an apology for their interrupted interlude was not apparently on the agenda.
"Don't you want to know why?" he asked.
"Why you don't regret not kissing me? Gee, let's see. That would be a no. I'm not sure I'm emotionally ready for ego battering."
"Hear me out. If we had kissed that night, I would have asked you to come back with me to my hotel. Or maybe asked to come to your place. If you had been amenable, we would have had a one-night stand and that, probably, would have been it. A strange but wonderful encounter. A memory for both of us. And maybe it's actually the most selfish thought in the world but I'm glad we don't have just a passing memory. We've had the opportunity for so much more."
"Are you kidding me?"
He looked crestfallen. "No."
"You're happy we've had the opportunity for so much more but the fact that we've never done anything about this golden opportunity doesn't bother you?"
"Of course it does. But we're not over, are we?"
The man had lost his mind. Or she had lost hers. She wasn't sure which was the more likely scenario.
"It's incredibly cold in here, do you realize that?" He asked after a few minutes of uncomfortable silence.
"Yes, I turned the thermostat down as low as it would go and the blowers on full-blast."
"I needed to breathe."
He nodded, stood up, and sat down on the very edge of the couch she was laying on.
"You know something else?" he asked, putting his hand on the back of her couch and leaning a bit toward her.
"I know lots of things," she said, a bit wary of where he was going with this conversation.
"That you do. But you probably don't know that, while I wanted to desperately, I don't regret not kissing you this morning, either."
"Oh, you smooth talker, you," she said and, barely keeping the whine out of her voice, she asked him the question that was most on her mind. "Why are you doing this to me?"
"Because you deserve so much more than a hurried kiss in a diner, or even a one-night stand from a guy with his foot half-way out the door. Or a stolen embrace with one eye looking out for co-workers."
She closed her eyes again and took another breath. Maybe, some day, he'd get to the point. Maybe not. Maybe she'd just sit here and freeze to death in the meantime. Sara's eyes flew open as she felt Grissom's warm hands grip both of hers.
He let go of her hands and moved his over to her forearms, rubbing lightly. "Better?" he asked.
"A little. Not that I was actually cold."
"Uh, huh." He rubbed a little harder and moved his hands up her arms, coming to rest on her shoulders. He gripped them lightly and pulled her up to a full sitting position.
Grissom took his hand and ran his thumb over her lower lip. Damn. He was going to kill her yet.
"I can't turn back time, Sara." He smiled. "But, maybe I can do the next best thing."
He took both hands and smoothed back her hair, then took his right hand and grasped a small tendril of hair from behind her ear.
"This would be so much easier if you hadn't whipped it back into submission," he mockingly complained. He tried wrapping it around his finger but it kept slipping so he just pinched it a bit with his thumb and forefinger and then gave it a soft tug.
"We're back in the diner," he said, his voice impossibly soft and sexy. "You've just stood up and leaned over the table. I'm leaning over to you and there is no meddling Marge in sight." She could see him. A bit younger, a bit thinner. Clean-shaven, for a split-second. Blue eyes so bright and sure of what was in front of him. Of what he wanted. Of who he wanted. He pressed his lips firmly against hers for a moment. Then pulled back. When he went in to press them to hers again, they were softer. He followed with another light kiss on her lips, then another, and a third. Each one progressively softer and lighter until he moved back and looked at her.
"That's what the first kiss would have been like back then."
She nodded, not really able to say a word. For one moment, she was the girl she was nearly a decade before. And, channeling her, she needed all her energy to refrain from giving out a small shout of happiness over the long-awaited encounter with her gorgeous professor.
He took up the slippery strand of hair that he had let go of during kiss number one. He gave it a semi-dirty look, let it go, and put his hand against her neck.
"We are by your car this afternoon. It's about 150 in the shade and we're both hot, tired, dirty and half out of our minds. But I want you more than I want sleep, a bath or my sanity. For just one stolen moment. And Johnson better not show up this time or I will find a reason to can his ass."
She gave a soft giggle as his lips descended on hers. Much harder than the first 'do-over' one. His mouth was closed but there was still a desperation behind it all. And, like the other, he kissed her multiple times but this time, each one felt slightly more bruising than the one before. They weren't sweet kisses. They were kisses of shared pain. Exciting, but not 'nice.' She was about to open her mouth and let them drown out every bit of the pain of the last few days, years…and lose themselves in each other when he tore his mouth from hers.
"I'm not sure I would have wanted that as our first kiss, would you?"
She nodded and then shook her head from side to side. She'd take whatever he gave her and he knew it. His smirk told her as much.
"And so we're done with the re-creations. Time for the real thing, I guess. And this is how I wanted it anyway. Just you and me. All alone. Knowing each other a really long time. Trusting each other. Loving each other. Because I do, you know. Love you. I think maybe I've given you very little indication of my feelings at times, but I do."
He put both hands against either side of her head and combed his fingers through her silky hair. This time, he didn't mind at all that it was slipping through his fingers.
"Someday is here, Sara Sidle."
At last. She thought she would die of old age before this moment.
This time, he started with the whisper soft kiss. A touch so light, she wasn't sure if he made contact or if it was some sort of phantom touch borne from desire. He followed it with another, to the right side of her mouth, applying slightly more pressure. Then the left side of her mouth was caressed in the same fashion. He slid his hands from her hair back to her shoulders, pulling her closer. She felt the soft, wet inner portion of his lower lip slide across her mouth and let out a whimper that was about an octave higher than her normal voice. She felt him smile against her and deepen the kiss. After the initial shock wore off, she began to respond with equal enthusiasm.
He pulled back. "Can you breathe?"
"Oh, yeah." She could breathe all right. Better than ever before. Not only did she possess the freedom he always gave her: to not hide her light under a bushel but, finally, wonderfully, he also gave her the freedom to love him utterly and completely.
She reached her hand up and touched one of his salt and pepper curls. It was too short to twirl around her fingers but she still made a stab at trying to straighten one out and tug a bit. "Come here," she said and he willingly moved his face to hers.
No one interrupted.
Apparently, Grissom's guardian angel had taken on a more useful project. Grissom's purity was a lost cause. He, or more likely, she...was now busy applying some WD-40 on the hinges of Sara's box o'hopes.
From now on, it was going to get quite a workout.
A/N: You know, I have to say I don't much give a rat's behind about autopsies. But I do love Grissom and Sara. So, here's to Season 7—I hope we're as happy at the end of this season as we were at the end of last!