Disclaimer: They are in the legal hands of the powers that be. I'm just trying to release them into the wild.
Summary: Sara and Grissom look back, take stock and move forward.
It had been on a Sunday.
And of course she remembered. She remembered almost everything except, perhaps the ETC (Exact Time of Consummation), although she would guess it had been sometime before 10 PM.
He had asked her to dinner on one of their nights off. They both knew that this was it. THE date. Grissom making his move. And from 8-9:15 PM, they sat in a restaurant—Grissom trying to find something he might be interested in eating from the vegetarian menu, and Sara getting more and more uncomfortable over his discomfort.
There was a mutual agreement not to discuss anything work-related, and suddenly, they were worse than strangers. Sara fully expected him to ask her how many brothers and sisters she had, and what was her astrological sign.
Finally, only an hour and fifteen minutes later, he drove her home and automatically started walking her to her door. She had two minutes. Two minutes to go from the outside of the apartment building, up the stairs, and to her door. They had made a mistake. They weren't strangers; they knew almost too much about each other. And work was a huge area of commonality between the two of them. They should have just allowed themselves to talk about whatever they damn well wanted to talk about.
Sixty seconds and they'd be at her door, no matter how slow she was taking those stairs. Sixty-one seconds and he'd be clambering down to his car, and it would all be over. If she ever brought it up again, she'd hear him sigh and say, 'Sara, we tried…but…'
Ten seconds left and she turned to him. "This was a real date, right?"
He gave just the slightest of sighs. "Yes," he said, and there was actually a trace of sadness in his voice.
She braced herself and stepped forward. Screw it. They were breaking the rules just by going out. She might as well make it worth their while.
Sara slid her arms over his shoulders and clasped her hands behind his neck.
"Then I get a good night kiss," she said and made sure there was no room for argument.
Sara slid her fingers in that fine head of salt-and-pepper curls she had always admired, and pulled his head down just that inch or two for her to perfectly line up her lips with his.
Seven years of waiting, wondering…and it had all been worth it because there was no hesitation when he returned the gesture. He participated whole-heartedly and, not only deepened the kiss but gently pushed her up against the door of her apartment so that bodies long held apart were now pressed tightly together.
"Stop me, Sara," he whispered in her ear.
"Not a chance," she replied, kissing his cheek. "Stop yourself, if you want to."
He moved his mouth to her neck, sucking gently, and then moved back up to her ear.
"Let's go inside," he said.
And that's how the 'intimate phase' of their relationship started.
He thought the intimate phase of their relationship started 9 years ago.
She couldn't remember laughing that hard in a long time. They did nothing then. Just talked. And flirted. And talked some more.
But it was nice to hear he had felt the connection as strongly as she had. And finally had the nerve to admit it.
She suddenly had a very strange desire to melt into the moment. It wasn't the first time she felt that way, especially since her rescue. She was so grateful to be alive, and Grissom spent so much time letting her know he felt the same way. Sara wouldn't have minded melting away; to stop it all at one of the high points of her existence.
Especially since she knew another low one was just around the corner.
"You had a pony tail," he said. Yes, she had. And he remembered.
That deep-down-in-her-soul feeling was shifting again. She was grateful. She was. A week ago, she was at death's door. She had been saved. She had life, and was with the love of her life, and she was grateful. There was nothing else that mattered. Nothing that went before, nothing that came after. Nothing. There was no room for despair. None.
Move, act, speak. Do something.
So Sara told him about her decision to move to the swing shift. Okay. That didn't work. Judging by the expression on his face, he was now experiencing the same impending despair.
Because long before they were Gris, Gil and/or Gilbert and Sara, Honey and/or Sweetheart, they were Grissom and Sara. In the darkest, bleakest, most hopeless moments of their personal relationship (or lack thereof), they still enjoyed feeding off of each other's intuition and intellect on a professional level.
Move, act, speak.
"We should go," she said.
With a small nod and one last look, he reached for the car door's handle, so they could join their friends.
She had worn her hair in a ponytail.
And she never shut up. One question led to four more.
And even on that very first day when they met, she was the only woman he instantly missed when he turned away from her.
Life had given him many chances to turn toward her, and he began to believe in fate.
And it was fate that nearly made him crash his go-cart into the fence when he looked at her. He had looked at her as he completed each lap but this time, fate intervened, and he took the lap just a couple of seconds too fast. If he hadn't, he would have missed it. This unguarded moment when the smile that was plastered to her face was more of a grimace and she was quickly turning away from the race course to avoid being seen.
God, why had he believed her so easily?
Well, that answer was simple enough. He wanted to. He wanted her to be okay. He wanted them to be okay. Natalie was locked away—defeated. Not by him, but by Sara. His beautiful, strong Sara, who had managed the impossible. She stayed alive under circumstances that would have finished most people off within hours. And she seemed to suffer from no real emotional trauma.
None that she was willing to show, anyway.
He steered his cart to the side and got out.
"What are you doing?" she called to him, smile firmly back in place. "You could still beat Nicky's ass."
He climbed the stairs and was by her side. Nope. There was not a trace of what he saw a few moments before. Just sparkling, tender amusement in her eyes. Throw her hair up in a ponytail and she'd be the same girl she was nine years ago.
Maybe he had imagined it?
No. No more taking the easy way out. Not unless he was sure.
"I have a better idea. Let's go."
"Go where? We're supposed to go out with the guys after their play date and…tell them."
"I'll call Cath. We'll tell them another day."
"Gris. It's not going to get any easier."
"Or more difficult if we wait a day or two. Come on. Please?" He used his lightest, most flirtatious voice and she narrowed her eyes at him.
"Weren't you having fun?" She asked.
He almost looked around to see if anyone was watching when he remembered that he never had to do that again.
He put his arm around her waist as they walked out. "I have more fun with you," he whispered in her ear and smiled when he felt the small shiver that ran through her.
Grissom snuck glances her way at every red light. He was pretty good at it, or so he thought.
She was trying to maneuver her fingernail under her cast and scratch. She did have long, thin fingers and …he was afraid she might be successful. At the next light, he looked at her and put out his right hand. She looked at his face for a moment and smiled weakly. Sara then put her "good" hand in his and lightly dug her fingernails in his palm as he enclosed her hand in a clasp.
"It itches," she said.
"I know. Just squeeze my hand whenever it does. Like Lamaze," he said, knowing that he really didn't know what he was talking about there.
She let out a small huff of laughter. "Where are we going anyway?"
"You're not going to tell me?"
"Nope. We're going to go home, pick up Bruno, use the facilities and go. Okay?"
They were back in the car in ten minutes. A duffel bag and dog in the back seat.
"Oh, I almost forgot," he said, as he pulled a swab out of his shirt pocket and took out a tube of anti-itch ointment from his pants pocket. "Turn to me a little more." She watched him as he worked the swab under the cast and rubbed to make sure her skin absorbed the ointment. "I don't want you to get moldy," he said with a smile and she was laughing again.
But this time, there was a faint shimmer of a tear in her eye when she was done. Her eyes widened when she realized he saw it. "Now, look what you've done. You've made me laugh so hard, I'm going to mess up my mascara."
He smiled and started to drive. They drove for quite a while before he spoke.
"I spoke to Cath. We don't have to tell them. They know."
"No. Ecklie told them. Well, he told Catherine and she told everyone else. They are…upset."
He glanced her way again, watched her swallow hard and turn her face toward the passenger's side window.
"You know," he said, quietly, "when I told them we were involved, I told them something else, as well."
"What?" she asked, and seemed to be genuinely puzzled.
It was now or never. And never was not an option. "I told them you were the only woman I ever loved."
"Wow," she said, with a deadpan voice and expression he couldn't read at all.
"Yeah. Well, I didn't really remember the exact words. Cath told me about it at the hospital while we were waiting…but, that's what I said."
"They must have been stunned."
"I don't know. I didn't notice."
"I'm kind of stunned," she said.
"I don't know. I guess because you're letting me in on it."
He smiled. "Yes, well. Things change."
"That they do."
"I…" he trailed off.
"I know what you're doing, Gris, and you don't have to worry. I know the guys don't consider this some cheap affair. I think they've been perfectly aware of my feelings for you since the day I stepped foot in Vegas. I mean, I'm glad you said that to them, but you don't have to worry. I know my 'honor' is intact."
Under normal circumstances, they'd probably be off to a nice, long argument. Or a small one, if he presented his case in the right way. But these were not normal circumstances. Not by a long shot. And he wasn't about to argue with her, even if she misunderstood what he was trying to say and he was, apparently, totally clumsy with admissions of eternal love. But he could try to explain.
"At the time I told them, I was thinking out loud. I didn't give a damn who was in that room or what they thought of me, or you, or us. I just wanted you to know that I said it and, more importantly, that it's true. There was no hidden agenda behind the statement."
They drove the rest of the way to Lake Mead in silence.
She should have guessed. It's not like there were too many quick getaways that didn't involve neon or deserts. Still, within moments of their arrival, Sara was entranced by the deep blue water and peaceful surroundings.
Grissom had a favorite spot and led her straight to it. It was a small, beachy area and he used his foot to move some of the larger rocks aside and spread out the blanket he took from the duffel bag.
He gestured for her to sit.
They were still silent.
She sighed. She had messed up and she knew it. They had been having a really good day. But she was certainly in a battle with her emotions to keep it upbeat and positive.
She sat and Bruno immediately crowded on the blanket next to her, putting his head in her lap, his absolute favorite place in the world since her return. She stroked the dog's fur. Poor guy. The rocks probably hurt the pads of his feet.
To her surprise, Grissom sat slightly behind her and carefully wrapped both arms around her waist. Lay back," he said, and she did, as they both looked out over the lake.
"Are you comfortable? I'm not hurting you, am I?"
"No. Not at all," she said.
She had to talk to him. She wanted to talk to him.
"I know that I should be dead by now," she said, and felt him tense. "I knew, when I was under the car, that it was probably the end of the road for me. I knew it in my head. But…never in my heart. I—it's hard to describe really. I just knew something, even accepted it, yet didn't believe it at all. And then I got out and just kept going. I can't even tell you how defeated I felt, at times. But I kept moving. And all of a sudden, I'm waking up and you are the first person I see. I thought—well, I am dead. And there is a heaven."
She smiled a smile she knew he couldn't see. "I was so grateful to be alive. I am so grateful to be alive. But there is this feeling I have, have had since I was rescued. It's just like this wall of sadness is about to crash down around me and I'm fighting to hold it back. And, at times, it's every bit of the challenge that walking through that desert was. She took away so much from us, Grissom. It's not that I don't cherish what we have but she took away a whole part of our lives. And it was a special part of our lives. I'm going to miss working with you and the guys so much."
"I'm going to miss it, too," he said, kissing her hair. " But, Sara, she's not the only one to blame in this case. I…mishandled the situation."
"Well, according to Conrad, if I had come to him, 'as a friend,' he would have made arrangements for Catherine to do your yearly evaluations and this shift change would not have been mandatory."
She looked back at him. "And you believe him?"
He smirked. "No. But we'll never know now, will we? But the thing is…at the time…there never was a right time. Tell him when we decided to go out? That would be ridiculous. Even after…I mean. It turned out to be incredible but we were very awkward with each other at first. So, there was always the thought that we might not be able to work things out. And, even when we knew we could…we had been keeping the secret for so long at that point that it seemed foolish to risk things."
"I know. I agreed with you every step of the way. I don't regret the decisions we made. I really don't. It was a wonderful way to start," She sighed and looked out at the water again. "You know what else I hate her for?"
"What?" he said, making no comment on her use of the word 'hate,' although she seemed surprised when it came out of her mouth.
"This," she said, lifting her casted arm up a bit. "I can't hold you the way I way I want to. You can't hold me."
"I'm holding you now," he said, tightening his grip.
"Yeah. But, when you came up from the course today, I wanted to throw my arms around you and give you a hug. I want to do that every night before we go to sleep. And I can't. And this cast gets in the way of everything. And itches. It…sucks."
"In just a few more weeks, we can make up for all of it. In the meantime…" he said, and slid his arms carefully out from around her waist, and scooted over to face her, sliding his hands to the middle of her back and lowering her to the ground. He ran his tongue against her lower lip and kissed her softly. Grissom moved his head from hers for a moment, and brought his hand up to brush the hair away from her face.
Sara closed her eyes and felt a big, wet tongue lick up from her chin to her forehead in one swift movement.
"Why, Grandma. What a big tongue you have," she said, not opening her eyes.
Grissom put his head down and laughed. "Kissus interuptus. That dog is sleeping on the couch tonight."
She opened her eyes and saw the two men in her life on either side of her. Bruno was panting and drooling, while Grissom was looking at her with so much love…and something more carnal.
"Will we be practicing our balancing act again?" she asked, lifting one eyebrow.
"Maybe after," he said.
Grissom ran his hand over her upper thigh. "Kissus non-interruptus."
She gave a soft, self-satisfied moan of agreement.
"Can we go back home now? I do love it here but Bruno has really done a number on my clothes and I'm freezing," she looked down at the right side of her clothing and motioned to the doggy slobber all over it.
"I knew I should have left him home," Grissom said, winking at the big dog with the goofy grin on his face.
They made their way to the car and Sara took a deep breath of cool air. For the moment, she felt happy and in control of the wall of sadness
And slightly freer than she had in the last few days.
As Sara, Grissom and their dog made their way to the car, Grissom made out his 'to do' list:
1:Tell Sara she had every right to feel what she needed to feel: the good emotions, as well as the bad. And sharing them all with him would help ease her load, and he was absolutely with her every step of the way.
2: Start thinking of a way to merge his and Sara's professional lives again, even if it was outside of forensics. Scratch that—definitely outside of forensics.
They had both done their time.
1 and only: Show her (and tell her) that she was, indeed, the only woman he had ever loved.
Repeat it, in some form or another, every day of their lives.
A/N: Well, this is an odd one (yeah, I know I've said that before but sometimes I write something and don't quite know what to make of it myself).
I started it on an Acela (high speed) train to Boston, on my way to see the rather awesome CSI: The Experience exhibit. Except I forgot the small detail that I'm prone to motion sickness. I was soon closing my notebook, slapping on my Sea Bands and hoping that I wouldn't …well, you know. I didn't. The feeling passed and I wrote some more in my hotel later that evening, and then back home. None of this was important to the story, but if you really, really hate it, I'm blaming it all on lack of Dramamine.
Again, I'm going to plug Dollars for Sense. I feel we are making some difference and I really encourage you all to do the NY part of the campaign. It's just a matter of printing out some flyers and sending them to the muckety-mucks in NY. The more, the merrier. No money is involved in this part at all.
You gotta know that somehow, Jorja will find out about it and know that no one was taking her situation lying down and we were behind her ALL the way. And, hey, for that matter, William Petersen must be pretty pleased to be part of an on-screen relationship that people are willing to fight so hard for.
Oh, while you caught me in a mushy mood, I'm very proud to not only write stories for you guys, but to be a part of your fandom. I can't believe what one fairly small group of individuals accomplished in slightly over one week. It's amazing, and you convince me that love can move the world!