Title: One Grissom, Many Voices Author: Summer Reign Rating: T Spoilers: Fallen Idols, Leaving Las Vegas Disclaimer: CSI doesn't belong to me. I respect what I borrow.
Summary: It's all about listening. GSR.
The many voices of Gil Grissom surprised her from the beginning. Perhaps because she could always hear what this cryptic man wasn't saying.
With Grissom, the lecturer reputed to be a 'bit dull,' she could hear the warmth and passion that came through the anecdotes and stories he used to pepper the facts during his seminar. He obviously loved his odd career and she was entranced. Entranced enough to change her life's path.
With Grissom, the long distance pen-pal/friend-of-sorts, she heard him verbally reaching for a lifeline when he phoned and asked her to come to Vegas. And when he asked her to stay, she was able to dismiss the playful, cajoling tone of his invitation and sense that it was, ultimately, dead serious. He needed her, on more than one level. She stayed.
Grissom, the supervisor, was the most complicated persona to 'hear.' Words, often, had to be dismissed entirely. Meaning was found in the tone of his voice, the look in his eyes. He could delight her with one brief sentence of soft-spoken praise, or cut her to the quick with a cold comment. But her own interpretation was what kept her in Vegas. He was a man used to denying himself. And he still needed her. She could sense it in even the harshest of comments, the cruelest of rejections. Still, during those years, and in that role, Grissom had put her through a ride that had more dips and dives than even his most beloved roller coaster.
And Grissom, as lover, was the most surprising. In a completely dark bedroom, he whispered her name in a tone of voice she had never heard before. It was smoky, seductive and sent blood rushing to erogenous zones she didn't even know she possessed. He gave her bits and pieces of his life at surprising intervals. Outside of the bedroom, he graced her with old-fashioned terms of endearment. She was his honey, his dear, his sweetheart…and all of these things were so 'not Grissom' that the meaning behind the simple words was huge and put her on a nearly perpetual cloud of happiness.
Well, until his sabbatical. But that was all water under the bridge. Wasn't it?
He was back and that was all that really mattered. And he surprised her there, too. He was just so…different. There was eagerness in him, from his voice to his step. From the moment he came home, two days before scheduled, to their giddy meeting in the hallway at work, to his sneaking a kiss in the parking lot, his priorities seemed to have shifted. She wasn't used to being number one on anyone's list. And especially not right after a period of time when she questioned whether she was on his list at all.
From the moment their relationship started, she knew he cared for her deeply. Taking that final step into the relationship had proved that. And he certainly enjoyed the physical perks—a lot. But there was a calm return of their friendship from years ago that had them acting more like an old married couple than one that was in their 'first blush' stage. It didn't concern her. It was all much more than she ever expected to have.
Since his return, however, he seemed to have gone back in time and realized he forgot something, and he was very determined to make up for it.
"Shave me," he said, as he leaned in the doorway of his bathroom, shaving cream slathered neatly over his beard.
Sara stared at him, startled. She had showered first, and dressed in her at-home clothes, preparing for nothing more than some take-out food, an hour or so of television and then bed.
"Why?" She asked, finally.
"Because I hate shaving off my beard. I get impatient and end up making bloody grooves in my face. Remember last time?"
She nodded, absent-mindedly, "Yeah, I remember, but why are you shaving it off at all? I thought you liked it."
"I do. But, it's not needed."
She looked at him. In the lexicon of Grissom, it was one of 'those' statements: the ones she learned never to question. Those were the ones he wanted her to puzzle over until the moment when she would share her 'eureka!' moment, and he would smile at her insight.
Sara stood up and followed him to the bathroom. This was almost the last thing she expected to do…ever.
She opened the drawer of the bathroom cabinet and pulled out his straight-edged razor. What in the world did she know about shaving a man's face? She held up the razor and looked at him through the mirror.
It had been a rough day. Their case had been depressing. Her thoughts throughout the day had been depressing.
"You trust me?" she asked. She was too weary to question whether she trusted herself to do this task properly. She was pretty sure the answer would be no, but the look on his face spoke volumes. She didn't need to trust herself, he had enough trust for both of them.
"Intimately," he said, in that voice. She stood there and looked at him for a moment, a tiny smile just playing at the corner of her mouth. He had softly spoken her name in that tone, before he kissed her neck and pressed his naked flesh to hers for the very first time. She had rarely heard him use it outside of the bedroom.
But he was using it now. With one sexily whispered word, he told her he trusted her with his heart.
There had been no post-coital panty searches in their relationship. After their first time, she lay there waiting for him to leave and he had simply returned from the bathroom and slipped back into bed. She had still braced herself. He probably just needed a nap and then he'd be gone. Instead of with snoring, the silence of the room was broken by the sounds of soft kisses and, finally, his beautiful voice in post-coital lecture mode.
"I've always believed that sex isn't the most intimate act between two people," he said.
"No?" she whispered, wondering, then, why he had denied them of it for so long.
"No. I think it's actually the ability to open up to someone. Share parts of one's life with another being. That takes trust. A belief that the other person will guard the information she's given. Cherish each morsel as part of the whole being. I've never really loved anyone enough to do that." It was an observation not followed by a personal declaration of undying devotion. Its significance was in the actual sharing of the sentiment. He had opened up just enough to give her a small part of what was in his heart. Now, in his own way, he was telling her she had all of it.
But there was one small problem. And it wasn't his. She couldn't quite reconcile what he was saying with his actions at the beginning of the year. A fully constructed wall had come up between them the moment he told her the full truth about his sabbatical and, no matter how hard she wanted to tear it down, it was steadfast.
She needed to put it all aside and concentrate. Sara reached out her hand and touched Grissom's face, slipping her fingers over his soft hair. She looked at him again, his eyes half closed, but peeking out at her every second or so. She reached out with the razor and he closed his eyes completely. Relaxed. Trusting.
One swipe, no blood. Good.
Another, still no blood. She was on a roll.
"All of it, Grissom?"
His eyes opened for a moment and he smiled, looking deep in her eyes. "All of it."
She swirled the razor into the standing water in the basin of the sink, the hair and shaving cream coming off in the mini-vortex. Her hand touched the part of his cheek she had just shaved clean. It was smooth, once again. While she always loved him in a beard, she thought he was easier to read without it. But that opinion had changed recently. She stopped for a moment.
He opened his eyes again. "Anything wrong?" he asked.
"No. I'm just…being careful. Steadying my hands."
"They look pretty steady to me."
They weren't that day. That day, about six weeks ago now, her world had turned upside down and left her shaking.
The trouble was, she had only listened to the words, and forgot about the subtext. And it left her feeling humiliated. She hadn't felt that way since…well, the last time she had misread him. She had been happy to hear about his sabbatical. Instant images filled her mind: of her waiting in a café for him to join her for lunch, taking long walks in the snow, making love before a roaring fire, talking about everything and nothing. They all disappeared instantly when he blurted out that this was something he needed to do by himself, for himself. He spoke of burn-out and migraines and she had to still her shaking hands and suck up her inner courage, because what kind of a woman would she be if she denied the man she loved some time to regroup?
"Sorry," she gave herself a little shake and started shaving him again. She moved slightly closer to him to get a better angle and smiled as she was greeted by proof of how much he was enjoying the experience. Apparently, he could multitask and be both relaxed and excited at the same time. Always an overachiever.
He was looking at her as she put her hand under his chin and lifted his face a bit. "Something amusing?" he asked.
She shook her head and continued. Her feelings about the strength of their relationship may have changed from what she felt pre-sabbatical, but she'd never deny him affection. She loved him. It was as simple as that. Of course, that didn't mean she was going to indulge him at that particular moment. Safety first.
One side of his face was done. All the hair under his chin removed. Not so much as a nick.
"Shhh. Don't talk. You'll get hurt."
He was frowning slightly. "Do you trust me?"
"Why? Are you planning on shaving my legs later?"
"No," he said, and she knew he was hearing what she was not saying, loud and clear.
She stopped mid-swipe and looked him in the eye.
"I'm not sure what to say," she stated, simply.
"Just say what you feel."
"Well, I think…I know…I trust you. I think."
That went well. She couldn't have stumbled more if she tried. He smiled but the smile was not the one he gave her a few minutes before. This one was sad, wistful.
He licked his lips, as she returned to the spot on his face that she had abandoned a few moments before.
"I left Vegas as a single man. It's a mindset."
The razor almost nicked his cheekbone.
"Gris, I can't do this if you keep talking."
"Then stop for a second," she put the razor in the water. "It's a mindset," he repeated. "I completely identified myself by my work. And when it was turning on me, I felt I needed to re-center myself. That solitary pumpkin was a temptation I couldn't resist. I just thought it was the only way to get the answers I needed."
Sara nodded, encouraging him to continue.
"Somewhere between taking off here and landing in Boston, I realized I was no longer single. And that fact just kept assaulting me every moment I was away from you. I missed you but you were also with me all the time. I could see the way you'd smile at something, hear what you'd say, and know how you'd feel. And that pumpkin-for-one didn't hold anymore magic for me. You're the center of my life now. And I like it that way."
Now, he gave her his heart. There was no room for misinterpretation there.
Sara turned back to the sink and picked up the razor. Suddenly, she felt steady and sure. For the first time in weeks, she no longer needed a wall to hang onto for support.
She lightly placed one hand on his cleanly shaved cheek. He looked deeply into her eyes and slowly smiled. She started to get back to work.
Grissom took his arm and snaked it around her waist loosely. "Stop that," she said, sliding the razor across his left cheek.
He released her partially and just rested his hand on her hip. He was staring at her again. She found it more disconcerting than him holding her close.
"Grissom!" she said in her best schoolmarm voice.
"Can't help it. I told you shaving my beard made me impatient."
"And horny," she said, stepping back a few inches. "And stop talking. You're going to get cut and ruin my perfect shave."
He smiled, and so did she. "And stop smiling," she added, a giggle threatening to bubble up from within her.
He didn't. He placed his other hand on the other side of her hips. He was incorrigible.
Finally, in spite of the challenge of an unnecessarily restricted position, she completed her task. Successfully. She ran a washcloth under the sink, letting hot water soak into the fibers. After wringing it out, she placed it against his face and turned her back to him as she washed the shaving equipment under the running water.
"Do you trust me?" He repeated his question. Through the mirror, she saw him. Blue eyes looked into brown. One soul reaching out to another.
She sighed and turned to him.
"Eternally," she said, in the voice she usually reserved for the bedroom. And, she was relieved to know, she was telling him the absolute truth.
He pulled her close and lifted her up only to place her on the top of the bathroom vanity. He unzipped her shirt the rest of the way and nuzzled his bare face against her right breast. "No more beard burn," he muttered and moved his lips to place a soft kiss against her breastbone.
Sara slid her fingers through his hair and brought him back to eye level. She spent the next few minutes kissing every square inch of the face she had recently uncovered.
Exposing Gil Grissom--in every role, in every voice, in every sense--was one of the greatest challenges of Sara's life.
And one of her most cherished pleasures.
A/N: I should never go on message boards. Even ones I like. I get disgruntled. While I wasn't thrilled with the length of The Scene (I always want more, more, more!)—I loved it. To hear people say that WP's reading of one word was "too sexy" and out of character for Grissom—made me nuts. First off, the man has been playing the role for 7 years now. He doesn't know what's in character for him? More than anyone else? And isn't this all what we've been asking for? A glimpse into the romance? Geez. What would we have all done if that scene was…gasp! 30 seconds long and had him saying four words?
Anyway, this story was my way of letting out my frustration, putting that one word into context, and fixing a little something for Sara. Thanks for reading and I think it's probably best if you ignore my author's notes! They are totally self-indulgent.