Title: Epithelials
Author: Summer Reign
Rating: T
Category: GSR, Angst
Spoilers: Committed
Disclaimer: Don't look at me. I'm just playing. They belong to TPTB at CBS and such.

A/N: I love Committed. If I were to hazard a guess as to when Grissom and Sara finally made a move in the right direction, I would think it would be after this episode. So….without further ado, my rendition of a post-Committed story. Only a few years after the fact.


He knew she hadn't showered before the interrogation. He wished she had. The evening had worn into night, night into day and day into early afternoon. She looked (relatively-speaking) fine and her deodorant hadn't let her down but they were all over her. And they offended him to the core. His epithelials. Adam's. Over her soft blue blouse, on her neck, in her hair. No one could see them but, to Grissom, they were shining as brightly as if they had been dipped in neon.

And that was just physical evidence. The emotional was on full display, too. He couldn't even stand by her as she made her declaration after watching the interrogation. Not that she wasn't right—he just never expected the level of bitterness in her voice when she implied that the world would be better off without Adam's mother.

Bitter. She wasn't bitter when she started this job. And she didn't wear a homicidal rapist's epithelials either.

So he did what he usually did when confronted with too much, too soon. He left, this time taking off for the men's room. She would barely notice his absence. He had watched her more than once—staring at the aftermath of an interrogation long after the occupants left the room, and there was nothing to stare at but a one-way window and empty industrial furniture. She would do the same this time, making some sort of peace with the world or within herself, before moving on to the next horror that awaited her everyday existence. He had a few minutes leeway to collect himself.

He used four squirts of the strong, antibacterial soap from the dispenser and turned the water on as hot as it would go. It felt good, in a painful sort of way. Grissom suddenly stopped to tamp down an unexpected impulse to grab Sara, drag her in here and just…wash her from head to toe. Nothing sexual, just a spiritual cleansing.

Wash away my sins.

He raised his eyes to look in the mirror, then dropped his gaze quickly to his hands. They were reddening under the steamy water.

It just had happened—so fast. Grissom didn't necessarily "do" fast. He was exact, methodical—striving for perfection through meticulous actions that simply took whatever amount of time they took.

Would he have left Sara in the room if he had known Adam was wandering the halls? No. If he had done anything but remain calm and get help—would it have all ended in disaster? Almost certainly. But, that didn't stop making him long for a chance at life's non-existent rewind button; long for it not to have happened. Or, if it was fated (and with the sole proviso it all would have worked out in the end), he wanted to be the one to pull off the grand gesture that turned the tide. Perhaps hauling a chair through the glass and reaching out to physically snatch Sara away from the madman.

Or maybe he just wanted another chance to give himself the freedom to truly comfort the woman he loved, instead of asking if she wanted off the case in as half-assed and unconvincing a manner as humanly possible.

Wash away my sins.

I don't know what to do about this. I don't know what to do about me.

And now, here he was, burning his hands while she was facing her own demons.

He turned off the water and dried his red hands on the rough brown paper thoughtfully provided by the State of Nevada.

Wash away my inequities; cleanse me of my sins.

She was asleep almost before they pulled out of the parking lot. He knew she was in pretty bad shape when she didn't argue over him driving her home. She just got her things from the locker room and joined him.

Once in his car, she rested her head against the passenger side window and was out.

She loved him. He knew that. If he needed a shining example, the last few minutes would qualify. Sara always wanted to drive. She wanted control. From what he knew of her life, she needed it. But she relinquished it all when it came to him. That was a heady responsibility.

He pulled into her parking space and looked at her for a moment.

A heady responsibility, indeed. To care, truly care, not only for her life but her feelings. Life was tangible. A beginning, a middle, an end.

He could be looking down at her lying on an autopsy slab right this very moment, if just one thing had changed in last night's scenario.

That which could not be so easily defined wouldn't matter at all then. Perhaps, it was time to go home.

"Sara?" he gently grabbed her arm lightly, reining in his initial urge to shake her awake as quickly as possible.

She opened her eyes and took in her surroundings.

"Sorry, I guess I was more tired than I thought," she gave him a weak smile and reached for the door handle. "Thank you for the ride, Grissom." She opened the door and hopped out, but not before he saw her wince.

"What's wrong?" he asked, opening his own door and coming around to her as quickly as he could.

She stood there looking at him with a surprised expression on her face. "Nothing. I guess I'm a little sore. That's all. I must have wrenched my upper body a little. You didn't have to get out."

"Look. Why don't you go upstairs and take a hot shower," he nearly winced at his own words. He sounded like a germ-phobic, "while I go and get us some take-out."


"I thought we could have dinner together?" It wasn't supposed to be a question but it headed in that direction as soon as the words left his mouth.

She frowned a bit and he couldn't quite read her expression. The politeness veil seemed to win out over anything else that was playing across her face. "You don't have to, Grissom. You've had a rough day, too. Go home. I'll be all right."

"Sara," You can do this. "I need to be with you today. Please?"

Again, she frowned and, after a few seconds of looking him straight in the eyes, smiled a bit. "Vegetable moo shu?"

"Anything you want."

"That would be it."

"I'll be back in a few minutes."

He turned to head back to his car, and then stopped, watching her as she made her way into the building.

She was alive. She was walking and alive. And the earth hadn't swallowed him whole when he asked if he could share dinner with her. Miracles did happen.


It was with some trepidation that Grissom knocked on Sara's door. She opened it and he was immediately struck by the smell of soap, the sight of her damp, slightly wavy hair and her sweatpants and tank top combination. She never looked better.

"Your eyes aren't red," he stated and immediately felt like a fool.

"Not yet," she said with a soft smile. "Actually, I do tend to cry in the shower, but not this time. Maybe tonight. Not that I'm scheduling it on my calendar." He watched her shake her head. They made a good pair. Both mentally kicking themselves over anything non-work-related they said to each other.

He went over to her kitchen and opened cabinets until he found plates. He took two and grabbed some forks that were on her drying rack. He suddenly stopped—midway through setting the coffee table.

"I guess I should have asked before making myself at home."

"Why would you do that? I'm not a very formal person, Grissom."

"Still, this is your space."

"And I like that you feel comfortable enough to not ask."

Oh. This was going well. Sort of.

They ate in relative silence. It was comfortable. They were both hungry and tired and just needed to get food into their systems, quickly. When they were done, he immediately got up to clear the dishes. She followed him into the kitchen as he began to wash them.

"You don't have to, you know."

"I know but I'm comfortable enough to do it," he said with a smirk. They were away from work…home (well, Sara was and he was…just pretending to be)…cleaned up, fed…things felt different somehow. Lighter. New again.

She leaned against the counter, facing him as he washed. He knew he should have felt awkward but, instead, just felt like laughing. It was such a Sara thing to do. Watching him as he worked with no pretense of doing anything else.

"Why do I see just a little twitch of your lips? Are you going to…gasp!...smile?" she asked.

He did just that. "I don't smile?"

"Not much."


""Not much' usually translates to rarely, Grissom."

"So?" he said, shrugging his shoulders, "I guess it's just that time of year again."

"Ah. I see. Like an eclipse."

"Something like that," he looked at her and saw her moving her neck a bit, trying to work out the kinks in her upper back. "I give a fairly good massage, if you'd be interested."

She stopped her movement and stared at him again, this time in open shock. It felt good to throw her for a loop, for a change. "That would be…nice."

He finished off the dishes and dried his hands on the dishtowel.

"My hands are at your disposal," he said, flexing his fingers in a grabbing motion.

Now, she was the one who smiled and accompanied it with a slight blush of pink to her cheeks.

"I'll go get the Ben Gay," she said.

"The what?"

"You know. Ben Gay? Sports gel? It will help warm up the injured area and make the pain go away faster. Or does the smell bother you?"

"No. It's just not something I would normally associate with someone your age—but, who knows," he felt the devilish side of him taking over and just let it. "Sara Sidle smelling slightly geriatric? Might be a real turn on."

He really had lost it. But it felt good. It felt like living. And, once more, she seemed to be at a loss for words. For the moment.

She started to giggle a bit. Then a bit more. She put one hand on the breakfast bar and just continued to laugh. "That's the funniest thing you've ever said to me, Grissom."

He quit while he was ahead. "Well, are you going to get it? The sports gel?"

"No. It's okay. I'll do this without the aid of Ben. I wouldn't want you to accuse me of trying to woo you under false pretenses." She grabbed his hand and yanked him toward the couch. He sat down and she sat on the coffee table with her back facing him. "Can I have custody of your hands now, please?"

He took a deep breath and put his hands on her shoulders. He gently began to knead. Soft and freckled. Her skin was beautiful. Just as he expected. What he didn't expect was smoothing back her hair and finding the rather large reddish purple area on the side of her neck where Adam had held the ceramic shard just hours earlier.

His hands slowed, then stilled. Nothing felt fun or easy anymore. Nothing felt like life. The "could have beens" were now catching up with him completely.

"What? You were doing so well," she said.

"He bruised you."

"Actually, I'm surprised he didn't break skin," she stated, rather matter-of-factly.

He took his fingers and lightly brushed the area. She didn't flinch. "Does it hurt?" he asked.

"No. Not much."

Adam's epithelial cells were gone. Washed away with her shower. But there was still something very wrong. He leaned forward and kissed her neck. Just the softest brush of lips against skin. He felt her shiver but instead of retreating, he opened his mouth and lightly ran his tongue over the area. She tasted clean and fresh. He rested his forehead against her shoulder blade.

"I'm sorry," he muttered, his lips brushing the skin there as he spoke.

He felt her stiffen under his mouth.

"No, I'm not sorry for kissing you, Sara," he said. "I'm sorry for…doing nothing."

She turned around and faced him. "What could you do, Grissom? If you did anything, he would have killed me instantly. You know that. The best and only thing you could have done was stand there. And it gave me strength. It really did. I just kept thinking, if I keep looking at you, even if things go wrong … I'll leave this earth with your face being the last one I see and it will be all right."

"You know I'm not only talking about last night, don't you?"

"Yes. And it still would have been all right."

No, it wouldn't. Not for him. Not by a long shot.

She deserved so much more and he was the only one who could give her what she wanted. What she needed. Simply because she chose him. But he couldn't change a thing about the past. Only the future. And, while he didn't expect or even want to change it all in one evening, he could start.

"You're mine," he muttered against her skin, giving voice to his thoughts without censoring himself at all.

He heard a sharp intake of air. He should take it back or qualify his statement but he had moved his mouth back to her neck and couldn't quite take his lips away long enough to say anything coherent. He wasn't kissing her any longer but he was just breathing…breathing in warm, alive Sara. His warm alive Sara. Besides, he wouldn't take it back. He couldn't. But he would spend a good deal of time proving that he was hers, long before those words ever left his mouth.

She reached her hand back and slid her fingers into his hair, moving his head even closer to her neck. "Yes, I am," she stated simply.

He took his arm and wrapped it around the front of her. For a moment, he wanted to withdraw, finding his hold frighteningly similar to the one Adam had her in hours before. But she moved her hand and clutched at his forearm. She welcomed his touch while he glorified in the fact that he had been given his second chance…at all the endless opportunities in front of them.

Same position. Different people, different intentions. Very different epithelials.

The right ones, this time.

The End

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