Rating: T+ (it tried to be an M, but just didn't come close)
Spoilers: The kinder, gentler late season 5 where criminals were the only ones likely to stab you through the heart (not that I'm bitter)
Disclaimer: If I owned them, we'd have the Grissom and Sara Happy Hour every week. Since we don't, we know they are owned by someone else. Alas.
Prompts: Chocolate fondue, liver, shrimp fajitas
Summary: Grissom and Sara have finally consummated their relationship. And they live happily ever after? Perhaps, but not before some heaping helpings of awkwardness first.
A/N: No tissues are required during the reading of this fic. It's anti-angst (a/k/a fluff)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Not even the sight of a blended liver could put Sara Sidle in a bad mood.
And that was usually one of her bad-mood triggers.
Hodges had been in the middle of testing said liver for poisons, when Sara dropped in for the DNA results she had requested a few days before. With a warning to "guard this liver with your life!" Hodges ran off and left her with the delightful grayish-brown, gloppily thick milkshake rather than let her rummage through his printed results herself. No doubt about it, the man was territorial about his lab. When he got obnoxious about it, she just pictured him growling and 'marking' his territory, and that visual usually got her through the situation without having to resort to violence.
"Sara." It was him. Not Hodges-him, but him-him. Grissom-him. Her heart accelerated just a tiny bit and her face automatically infused with color.
Okay. She could do this. They were professionals. She was a professional. She looked up at him, her expression as cool as she could manage.
"Grissom," she said, and stopped, suddenly at a loss for words.
One night. Last night. One night that had either changed her life forever or would eventually break her heart. And the man before her held the key to which way it would go. The same man who left her bed that afternoon, leaving a hastily scribbled note on the pillow saying he'd see her at work.
She didn't blame him, really. Last night (well, this morning…nightshift CSIs had a strange way of categorizing a 24-hour period of time) had been unplanned. She tried not to think too much about the actual event that precipitated the subsequent actions (or something like that). At the time, she had tried to think of nothing at all. There were too many emotions vying for her attention. She had left him at the lab, and gone home. Taken a shower to flush all the memories of the day down the drain. An hour later, she opened her door to his knock and basically…connected.
He hadn't seemed overly affected when they were in the mental institution and she had been attacked. Yes, there had been that worried look when Adam Trent held the pottery shard to her neck, but no one wanted to witness a murder. Especially of someone they knew. Worked with. Flirted with. Maybe felt…some unidentified 'something' for. But, that had been one look in the middle of the situation. Afterwards, the most emotion she got was when he offered to put someone else on the case.
Well, the most until he nearly knocked her unconscious as he pushed her against the wall and kissed her senseless. And then it was just action, action, action and…they were done. And she slept because she was really still in shock over the whole damned day and now her conflicting emotions were even more conflicted. She had wanted to kiss him some more, and hold him some more and tell him she loved him, but…while she was debating about just how stupid a move that would be, her body saved her and she was out like a light.
And she woke up to The Note. But, she told herself, it could have meant nothing. After all, since the whole episode was spontaneous, he didn't have a change of clothing with him. And he did need to go home and shower and change and…process. So, his leaving might not have meant a thing. Or it might have meant everything.
"Are you okay?" he asked and she snapped herself out of her little think-fest.
"Fine," she said and looked directly at him, with no expression. Or, at least, that's what she was aiming for.
Grissom. The man who had stopped foreplay just long enough to run his fingers lightly, gently, on the skin that had been bruised by a madman's touch. Who slowly moved those hands to the sides of her face and lowered his own to kiss her so softly, she had a chance to feel the tickle of his beard before his lips touched down on her own.
The man who then thew himself into the moment with an exuberance that both shocked and delighted her. Who, under the stodgy clothing, had amazing shoulders and a very firm, rounded backside that was a joy to behold (and hold onto) at long last.
The man who now stood there, as he always did, with an expression that gave away nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Maybe it had all been some bizarre dream resulting from her traumatic adventure in the mental institution.
"I'm…uh…going to go out on my assignment in just one moment. I'm waiting for the DNA results I gave Hodges a couple of days ago."
"Ah. Well, I really didn't come here to check on your work schedule. I just thought," he leaned over the counter with his face directly above the liver shake, until he realized his proximity to the smelly goo, and backed up a bit. "How do you feel about dinner?"
"Dinner?" How did she feel about it?
"Generally speaking or…" She had to ask. With Grissom, one could never be too sure if his random questions were personal or part of a sociological survey.
He smiled just the tiniest bit. "How do you feel about having dinner with me? Tonight. Well, late this afternoon. You're off tomorrow and I could…take a vacation day."
A vacation day. Dinner. Dinner with Grissom.
"You want me to have dinner with you?" She asked, and wondered if good sex killed as many brain cells as cheap alcohol.
"I do. At my home. I'll even cook. No meat."
A vacation day. Dinner. He'll cook. And he remembered her vegetarian diet.
"Okay," she said when it all began to sink in.
"Great. I'll see you around 6 PM," That settled, he got ready to leave, then turned around. He put his hand on the blender holding the liver slurry and then looked up at her. "Uh…be careful…out there," he said, and she saw it. Just the tiniest bit of color that didn't hit his cheeks, but colored the outer rims of his ears.
It was the most touching thing she had seen in years.
This was very new territory.
Totally and completely new territory.
They had never, in all the years they had known each other, ever had what could remotely be called a "date."
But, she supposed this would come close.
She didn't think he'd appreciate a call asking about clothing requirements. After all, it was his home. An evening gown would probably not be required.
A dress? Nah. For all she knew, he could be inviting her over for a nice dinner to say the previous night's activities were fun but…not something she should really expect a repeat of.
So, regular clothing (well, maybe just a bit nicer) would be the order of the day.
She chose pants and a tank top. Then, dumped the peach colored one for a maroon. She looked in the mirror. She sure didn't fill one out quite the way Catherine did.
Still, he seemed to like what he saw the other day. She still had a rosy colored beard burn as proof.
Sara replayed yesterday's adventure in her head until the moment she stood outside of the door to his townhouse.
This was silly. Really silly. She loved him. Now, completely. Worrying about minutia was idiotic. One kiss, and they'd be back to where they needed to be.
She knocked with confidence. It had been a long time between proverbial hayrides and she was raring to go again. He was the aggressor last night; she could take on the role tonight.
The door opened and…there he was. Wearing…something indescribable.
But, she didn't have time to process that. Turnabout was fair play.
"Hey," he managed to get out before she reached out, grabbed his head and spun him around so his back was to the front door she had just kicked shut with her foot. She pushed him against it, aiming amidst the beard to find those soft inviting lips of his with her own.
God, she loved him. And she'd love nothing more than to be able to tell him. But, now was still not the time. She would just settle for kissing that very delightful mouth of his, and letting her fingers play in that very fine head of curls.
Although…after a few seconds of pushing herself as close to the door as possible…she realized he was doing the same. But, he was going in the opposite direction from where she wanted him. Instead of pushing his body against hers, he seemed to be pushing it so far back that he was trying to go through the door. That's when she began noticing other things. Like his arms hanging by their sides and the fact that his lips weren't so much as slightly puckered against her own.
She had made a very big boo-boo. Sara broke the one-way kiss and rested her head against his shoulder for a moment . "You changed your mind," she said, not able to even look at him while he confirmed her suspicions.
"No. Not at all. It's just…my shrimp is getting rubbery."
Well, that was a new one. Although…she took a sniff. There were some pretty delightful smells filling the air--unrelated to the cologne he was wearing.
She lifted her head and he firmly put his hands on her forearms and extracted himself from her grip.
"Fajitas," he said, by way of explanation and made a bee-line for the kitchen.
She walked over to the breakfast bar and watched him as he scampered about.
Just what was he wearing? She had never, in her entire life, pictured Grissom in…that. He was wearing jeans but the shirt was some dark blue and white, palm-fronded Hawaiian monstrosity that seemed totally shapeless and rather…loud…for him. The only thing she had noticed, in the middle of attacking him, was that it was very, very soft and he didn't button it all the way up, as he had a penchant to do with every other shirt he wore.
Maybe it wasn't so bad after all. She'd get a glimpse of that smooth, warm chest again.
Warmth. That was it. She never quite realized how cold her life was until the moment he took her in his arms. She smirked to herself. One roll in the hay and she was a talking Harlequin romance.
"Hot! Watch out, Sara. The plate is very hot," she just had time to scoot back as he came through from the kitchen with a cast iron fajita pan which he quickly placed atop the trivet on the table. He looked…unnerved. "Well, come on. Sit!"
"I'm sorry. Please have a seat," he amended. And she smiled and sat on the chair he pulled out for her.
He had set the table. It didn't seem to be in "break-up mode," if a table could, indeed, convey such things. Fresh flowers with a thick candle in the middle. FTD bouquet number 4, if she was not mistaken. Fine china, cutlery and glassware completed the Better Homes and Gardens' look.
Very nice. Grissom spent a great deal of time traveling back and forth between the kitchen picking up things he "forgot" the first time. Guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream…
She used all of these condiments and rewrapped the tortilla around the grilled and seasoned shrimp, onions and peppers. She was about to take a forkful, when he stopped her.
"You should just try it this way first," he said, taking a shrimp off the pan by the tail, and leaning forward to place it against her lips.
It was hot. Not spicy hot, but hot-hot. She had a feeling, without the condiments to cool them down, their food was going to stay burning hot for quite some time. Cast iron was good that way.
She couldn't help herself. She kind of…yelped.
Grissom dropped the shrimp on the table and dunked his cloth napkin into his water glass. He held it to her lips.
"I'm sorry. I don't…I should have tested it first."
She moved his hand away. "I'm fine. It's…fine. I'll just eat it this way," she said, and once again picked up her fork.
Dinner conversation seemed to be non-existent. Every attempt she made (including bringing up current cases because—how could he resist shop talk?) was met by brooding silence. He was either lost in thought or sulking. She couldn't figure out which. Both kind of looked the same.
Finally, when the last fajita had been consumed, he immediately leaped up and started clearing the table.
Sara had no idea what was coming next. She stood up to help him, when he politely, but firmly, told her to sit back down because they weren't done yet.
And then there were more fabulous smells filling the air. Chocolate. The aroma of warm chocolate teased her nostrils.
In a few minutes, Grissom came back to the table with a tray. In the center were two fondue pots. Artfully arranged around them were small chunks of pound cake, strawberries and marshmallows.
Grissom removed the cover of one fondue pot, then the other.
"I didn't know if you prefer light or dark chocolate, so I went with both."
"So, what will it be?" he asked and finally looked like the kid in the candy store. There was an eager smile playing about his lips.
"Oh, I…milk chocolate," she said, for once not that interested in chocolate at all.
"Cake?" Seemed less messy than having strawberry juice potentially running down her tank top.
He took a fondue fork, speared a piece of cake and dipped it in the pot. He was moving it toward her mouth when he thought better of it and brought it to his own.
"Temperature is just right this time," he said, before spearing another piece and holding it up to her own lips.
Sara hadn't been fed since…babyhood. And she wasn't quite sure if she was supposed to slide the cake off with her fingers, bring her mouth to the fork and take a bite, or eat all of it, or … what the proper procedure was, in cases like this. She could feel her face flushing and, in a moment of panic, she reached out and slipped the fork out of Grissom's fingers and fed herself.
"It's good," she mumbled, cake and chocolate still in her mouth.
Grissom just stared at her. This time, like the kid whose favorite red balloon just popped.
That was probably another boo-boo.
After taking another fork, spearing more cake and dipping it in chocolate--this time--Grissom just handed it to her and seemed to shake whatever fog he had been in.
He visibly took a deep breath. "Sara…I'm…fond of you."
She was mid-chew. Uh, oh. This was it. The "I'm fond of you BUT…" speech.
She swallowed her half-chewed food and took a sip of water. "I'm fond of you, too, Grissom," she said. After all, she might as well make it easier for him. It wasn't his fault if he didn't feel everything she felt.
"No, you don't understand. I'm fond of you."
"You said that already," she stated, and couldn't help herself. Tears sprung to her eyes. She had such high hopes for the two of them.
"Sara, are you crying?"
"No. It's…the fondue fumes."
"There are no fondue fumes. Why are you crying?"
"This is my 'Dear Jane' speech, isn't it? The fond of you speech where we can still be friends?"
"No. This is me being romantic. And obviously failing. Fond of you? Fond-u? Fondue? Get it?"
A pun. All this effort over a pun? A bad pun?
She looked back at him for a moment with an expression she knew must reflect the…horror…she felt at her overreaction, and then tried to laugh it all away.
Look up awkward in the dictionary, find Sidle, Sara: Reaction to lover feeding her cake.
He grimaced. "Oh, hell," he said, and got up from the table. He grabbed her hand and hauled her to her feet.
What in the world? Was he going to physically throw her out of the house now? But, no—he was going in the opposite direction, when he dropped her hand. "Wait here."
He hurried back to the table and blew out the candle in the centerpiece, and the two under the fondue pots.
Then he came back and took her hand once again.
He led her up a small stairway to his bedroom. Another surprise. It wasn't quite as homey as hers, but it was far warmer than anything in the rest of his house. The drapes were drawn and the only light in the room came from one night table lamp.
He sat on the bed and immediately started unbuttoning his shirt.
"Grissom?" she asked, suddenly a bit freaked-out.
He stopped. "Talking…is not working for us, Sara. And neither is dinner. I…" He stopped undressing himself and put his hands on her hips and drew her closer to him. "We both said a lot last night, didn't we? Without talking much at all?"
He looked her straight in the eye this time. And his expression was warm and…dreamy? Well, as close to dreamy as a man like Grissom could get.
She stopped panicking, and smiled as she put her hands on his shoulders, and caressed him through his shirt. "Yeah, I guess we did."
"I wouldn't mind another one of those conversations, would you?"
She shook her head, wondered if that was the correct answer, then threw in a nod for good measure.
Grissom gave a small laugh in return and reached for her blouse instead of continuing to undo his own shirt.
It hit the floor with a soft thud. After adding her bra to the collection of discarded clothing, he softly ran his fingertips over the rash between her breasts.
"Did I do this?" he asked.
"I'll get used to it," she said, tenderly touching his beard.
"I can shave."
"No. Not for me. I like it."
More clothes hit the floor.
"Did I do this?" It was Sara's turn to ask, as she uncovered something very surprising. While kissing Grissom's cheekbone, she tasted…makeup. She licked her thumb, then used it to brush against the area, only to uncover a light purple bruise.
He put his hand up to cover his cheek. "Yesterday, when I…you kind of jumped, and my face got in the way of your knee…it looks worse than it feels."
Gil Grissom. A man of many surprises. He could have done the macho thing and attributed that shiner her knobby knees gave him to a bar brawl (although no one would really have believed him). Instead, he must have walked up to some cosmetic counter and bought concealer.
She would have paid good money to see him make that purchase.
When her panties hit the floor, and he wriggled out of his boxers, he curled his arm around her waist and flipped her over on the bed.
From that moment, Sara pretty much vowed not to initiate contact with him, because contact initiated BY him was so…intense.
The man knew how to kiss. Slow and deep, and absolutely toe-curling. And all along, he'd be lightly stroking some part of her body…her face, her hair, her breast, her inner thigh…
And he knew how to make love. Because it wasn't just a thoughtless, biological imperative they were dealing with here. Not at all. After the first thrust, he seemed to like to stop all kissing and concentrate on maintaining eye contact. For a man who was so hesitant using words to express his feelings, and so shy about other forms of expression elsewhere, he was absolutely fearless in that area when they were in bed. She should have felt uncomfortable under such endless scrutiny but, with him, it felt close to a sacred ritual: one she had been waiting for her entire life.
And, this time, she found out he knew how to do afterglow, as well. She didn't immediately fall asleep. And he didn't spring from the bed, tossing clothing at her and asking for his space. He slid his arm around her shoulder and gathered her against his side, kissing her once again.
"Things are different in here," she stated, not really expecting him to answer.
"It's a bedroom."
"That it is."
"Well, bedrooms are where we go to release the day. Where we open ourselves up to the endless possibilities of dreams. Outside, I tend to feel the world more than I should. In here, the more I let go, the more I end up pleasing you, so there really is no such thing as letting go too much. No pressure."
"Do you think I pressure you? I don't mean to."
"I know. I feel pressure to give you the things I feel you should have. The words. The gestures. I may not be good at follow-through in that area, but the desire still exists."
Sara wasn't sure if she held the key to Grissom's heart, but the key to his softer side definitely seemed to be within this room.
She smiled and interlaced her fingers with his own. "You know, I think maybe the problem with that whole fondue thing was the fork. If you had used your fingers to dip the food item into the warm chocolate, it would seem less like a weapon coming at me. Plus, there is that whole finger-licking good element."
"Mmm…we'll test that theory later, okay?" he said, and she almost cringed at the thought of going out there for more awkwardness. "Maybe I'll bring the fondue pot in here," he added. Ah, that was much better.
"Okay," she said, and thought about the next morning. "I don't have any clothes," she blurted out. Really, she had not planned on spending the night. She should have, but there was a very large part of her that had been in Negative Nelly mode.
"You don't need any, do you?" He asked.
"It's kind of cold…"
"You could always wear my shirt," he suggested, just a tad…wistfully?
She leaned up on her elbow.
"What is with that shirt? I mean, it's…nice…but it's not exactly something I'd ever picture you in."
He laughed. A full-out laugh. It was an unexpected and delightful sound.
"Can I be honest with you?"
"You'd lie about a shirt?"
He laughed again. "After we parted—that first time in San Francisco—and I went back to Vegas, I was…not happy. I wanted to go back but knew there was nothing I could offer you. A few months later, I attended a conference in Miami. That's where I bought the shirt. I think I did it because it was so 'not me.' It was supposed to serve as a reminder, to myself, to step outside of my own boundaries. I'm not sure how successful it's been, in that area. But, it's big and comfortable and…from time to time, I've actually pictured you in it. Usually when things got rough at work, or with us."
She couldn't seem to help herself. She could actually feel herself tearing up again. "Hey, Gris?"
"I'm kind of fond-of…the way you are in here. Let's not do that manufactured seduction thing anymore, okay?"
"Well, assuming you actually do want to…do this…again?"
"It's a natural assumption. And I do."
She kissed his shoulder again and closed her eyes.
She'd like to tell him she loved him. Really, she would. That was another thing she had been waiting for all her life.
But, if it took him all this time to fulfill his shirt fantasy, hearing a profession of love after making love just twice might overload his circuits.
For now, she'd settle on showing him.
"Tomorrow morning, I'll wear the shirt, and bring you breakfast in bed. An omelet sound good?"
"Mmmm…" he said, fading fast, "Egg-cellent, my dear."
She softly groaned and closed her eyes again.
She'd deal with the odd communication skills.
And wear his funky blue shirt (when he wasn't wearing it, himself, of course).
Put up with beard burn.
And bring him breakfast in bed.
But, after warming up leftover fondue for lunch tomorrow, she fully intended to inform him that, in this burgeoning relationship,
His food puns…
Would have to go.
A/N: My elements? Oh, gee. So hard to find. Liver, shrimp fajitas and chocolate fondue!
Great elements, by the way—oh, anonymous submitter!
I SO love fluff (hopefully, with feeling). Sorry it's so long but it was such a relief not to write angst, for once, that I had a field day.