Somedays in the Park with Grissom
Author: Summer Reign PM
Saving the life of a curmudgeon is not as fun as one might think.
Title: Somedays in the Park with Grissom
Author: Summer Reign
Pairing: Grissom and Sara
Spoilers: Season 5-ish
Disclaimer: Not mine. But, I love them just the same.
Summary: Saving the life of a curmudgeon isn't always very rewarding.
Written for: Girl Saves Boy Ficathon
Grissom sighed in relief as he loaded the box of evidence in the trunk of his Denali. He looked at his watch. Nearly 8:30 AM. He had been at it for over three hours. Three hours of bagging and tagging individual bits of glass found on a park playground. It almost seemed as if each piece was coated, splattered and/or drizzled in a different substance, which made it difficult to even determine the original source of the glass. All they really knew was…there was a tremendous amount of it.
Utmost care was needed. Which meant one thing: Grissom, on his knees, with a tweezer in hand.
"Sara!" he called out and looked her way.
She popped up out of the long, but narrow, hole that had been a makeshift grave. The body was long gone but she was gathering all the evidence she could which consisted of—unfortunately—more glass.
"Finished?" she asked.
"Yes. How much longer?"
"Half hour?" She guessed. "After that, we can have the crew come in and just sift through the rest before we release the scene. You want to go back to the lab?"
"No. I'll stay here."
"Okay, then. Going down," she said playfully, smiling as she disappeared into the ground as if descending in an elevator.
It had to be nearing 100 degrees. Grissom wiped his sopping brow and decided to sit on one of the benches to wait. He could sit in the car and turn on the air conditioning but that didn't seem fair to Sara.
He liked people watching. Yes. He liked it just fine.
He was kind of hungry, too. It had been a very long time since he had eaten.
The sun beat down on his head. Water. Did he have water? No. That was long gone.
He stood up and walked for a few moments to the non-cordoned off area of the park. The police were still not letting children into this section but there were a few adults walking around, looking suspiciously toward the crime scene tape and moving on, after a few fruitless moments of gawking.
Ah, there it was. A water fountain. The oasis in the desert.
He took a drink of the tepid, barely running water that somehow tasted like mud. But, any port in a storm. Or mud in a … drought?
It didn't refresh but at least it hydrated him…a bit.
First stop they'd make would be a 7-11. Maybe get a Slurpie or something. Not that he had a thing for Slurpies but they made him think of a river of ice and rivers of ice made him think of diving into a river of ice…which made him think of comfort and made him forget that he was hot and uncomfortable….and …
Where was he again?
Right. Mud in a storm. He sat down on another bench. Nearer to the fountain. Just in case he wanted more water.
Young woman jogging. Catherine would make some comment about big plastic jugs. He smiled to himself. Catherine had radar when it came to breast augmentation. And so did the man who was following the jogger's every move. Dirty old man. His eyes had never left the girl's chest until she jogged so far away that he had no choice but to plaster his eyes on her ass.
Shapely ass. Maybe enhanced, too.
Although, Grissom's medical expert was probably home. Catherine had managed to get a simple trick roll while he and Sara got stuck with murder and weird glass…
And heat. So much heat.
He got up again and took another sip of muddy water.
As he was getting up, he gripped the fountain. He was a bit dizzy. Must be from lack of food. He looked at the dirty old man, who had taken a seat.
He wasn't that old. Maybe a few years older than Grissom.
That was comforting.
He sat back down. He should go over to Sara. But, what good was he? He wasn't thin enough to help her in that hole and he'd just be a distraction if he engaged her in conversation.
But, he knew what he'd find if he lay on the ground and suddenly appeared in her sight. She would look up at him and smile…the smile that was only for him. The smile that told him…
Grissom realized he had more in common with the dirty not-so-old man than he thought. Fantasizing about some woman who was out of his league.
She was young and beautiful. No one had called him young or handsome in…forever. And, five or ten years down the line, would he resort to going to public parks, hoping some pretty young thing would jiggle her way through a jog…just so he could remember what breasts looked like? Just so he could feel a little action down south that would make him feel…alive? Just so he could forget the woman who would surely, by then, move on?
He leaned his head back. Wrong move. The sun was so strong.
He stood up.
Drink? Yes, he should have one but the muddy water had made him a bit nauseous.
Sara? Where was she again? Oh, must be near the car. He walked on over and got nervous. He needed to get out of there. Needed to get out of the heat. But, he was so, so tired.
Why was he tired? He worked longer shifts than this one. But he felt as if he had literally smacked into a wall, face first.
He reached the car and put his hand in his pocket. No key. Damn!
He just sunk to the ground and leaned against the car door.
He'd be okay in a few minutes. Just…he needed a moment.
"Grissom? Hey, taking a nap on me?" He heard her voice call from a distance. Then, he heard it closer. A bit more panicked. "Grissom!"
He could feel her hands on his forehead, his cheeks.
If he opened his eyes, he'd see her smile…the smile she gave only to him. The smile that told him she…
"Don't move. I'll be right back."
No movement. Right back. She'll be right back. Until she's not. Until she meets some young stud who will take her away and leave him to a life of plastic jugs and …
First, he felt something on his head. He was about to protest. It was hot, but then—not really. It took away the blinding sun. And then, he felt wet. Slurpie? No. Not cold enough. But, probably water.
And something soft. Touching his face.
"Come on, open your eyes…just a little…"
He tried. He heard her speaking on the phone. Seemed like some kind of emergency. Maybe the dirty old goat hurt himself trying to get the young sprinter. Turned an ankle…or twisted something more vital.
Him in just five or ten years…
Welcome to your destiny…
"Grissom, come on. Open your eyes…."
He tried. He really did. And he could almost see her. But there was no smile. Just worry. Just…controlled panic. No. He didn't like that look. It must be the look she had had when she was alone and scared and…he didn't like that look.
The lights came back on soon enough.
He tried to keep them from bringing him to the ER, but…something about possible heat stroke and age and hearts…
So, he had to endure about two hours of testing and intravenous fluids.
No heat stroke. Just severe heat exhaustion and dehydration. Damn muddy water didn't do the trick.
Still…it was bad. The "young lady" had saved his life.
That's no lady, that's my CSI, he wanted to say. But, he stopped himself. It wasn't funny-even to him.
The young lady…
Saved the old dude's life.
Yes. Yes, she did.
He was sitting up now. On the bed in the emergency room, IV finally out. Waiting for Sara. She had, apparently, absconded with his clothing. Well, no. Actually, she shoved them all in a bag where they were a sweat-soaked, wrinkled mess.
So, it was him, a hospital gown and the boxers he refused to part with. He didn't know why. He just…didn't want Sara seeing his butt through the flap in the hospital gown. Didn't seem like the time or place, somehow.
And, speak of the Devil…there she was. Coming through the door with a shopping bag and a big smile on her face. Not "the" smile but a good one, nonetheless.
She plopped the bag on the bed.
"What's this?" he asked, feeling foolish. Obviously, it was a bag of clothing…but, they weren't his clothes.
"I looked at the tags on your pants and shirt and…did a little shopping. Cool and dry is the order of the day, don't you think?"
He scowled at her and opened the bag.
Khaki shorts, a blue tee shirt. Sandals.
"I know it's not your usual style but…you really need to keep your body as cool as possible while you recover. Come on, get dressed. I'll drive you home."
"I know, but I want to."
"You said that. And I told you I want to."
He was looking down and expecting her to cave. She usually did. This time, though, she didn't say a word. He looked up and saw her. No smile. She was actually quite pale.
"You scared me," she said, gently.
Yeah. He scared her. He'd go on scaring her for the rest of his life if he let things go any further. It was all downhill from here. Couldn't even stand a little sun.
Not that she really wanted things to move in that direction. Maybe. Probably not.
"I'm fine." Rote answer number 1.
"Well, I'm not so I'm driving. Case closed."
"Fine," he picked up the shopping bag and went toward the bathroom. On top of the bag of old clothing he saw a raggedy old hat. Kind of straw-like. Rattan? Or was that just used in furniture? He should know that. He knew everything.
Anyway, that must have been what she put on his head when he was having his heat "event."
"Where did you get this thing?" he said, automatically turning it over and checking for signs of lice.
"Scarecrow on the side of the playground. It's ugly but it does the trick, doesn't it?"
"Throw it out."
He left the room. When he came back, decked in his "cool" clothes, Sara was holding the bag, with the hat on her head.
Hmmm…maybe it wasn't such a bad little hat, after all.
"Sara?" He wanted her attention. He wasn't getting it. He was on the couch, soaking up the air conditioning he rarely used inside his condo. And she was…flittering about. Getting him drinks, a light lunch, a blanket for his toes, lest he get frostbite from the AC unit. And, in between flittering, she'd stop and …touch him. His hand, his face. Wanted to know about his "body temperature" and to feel for clam-i-ness. Yeah, and if he bought that, she had a load of building chalk she would sell him real cheap.
She stopped flittering.
"Could you come here for a moment?"
She perched herself on the edge of his couch, right near his hip and reached out her hand to touch his hair. His hair! Could she feel his body temperature there?
"Uh, Sara? Do you believe you need to be personally responsible for my life, now that you've saved it?"
"Saved it?" She stopped stroking his hair for a moment. "I didn't save your life."
"That's not what the doctor said."
"I think he was just being dramatic. And, to answer your question, no. I'm just taking care of you today. Do you want me to wash your hair?"
"Your hair? You were sweating a lot and we don't know exactly how clean that hat I stole was…"
"Well, you wore that hat, too."
"That was just a joke. But, I'll make sure and wash my hair later. You want me to wash yours?"
"I'm fully capable of washing my own, thanks."
"I know that," she said and smiled sadly.
Grissom knew it was time to … say… something.
"Thank you for taking care of me, but I've … I'm…used to doing things on my own."
She raised an eyebrow. "I guess that's fair enough."
She kept looking at him. That, that look there, that was unnerving, too.
"Sara… I know we've become a bit closer in the last few months…since your suspension, and I'm glad for your friendship but…sometimes, you look at me as if….maybe…"
"I expect more?"
She shrugged. "I don't expect more. Doesn't mean I don't wish for it."
"Because…just—because. It is what it is, Grissom. I just do," she sighed. "I can go, if I'm making you uncomfortable."
He reached out and grabbed her wrist. "There was a pervert in the park. I was watching him while waiting for you. Ogling some young woman…"
"You've never ogled a woman?" she asked.
"And they've always been your age?"
"No," he admitted. "But seeing someone else do it…it's unseemly."
"And you care what others think of you? Since when?"
"There's no fool like an old fool."
"You are neither a fool, nor an old fool."
"I keep hearing that expression in my head. I can't help it. It's the way I was raised. You settled down with someone in your immediate age range. If you didn't, you were fooling yourself into thinking it had a chance. It's just…timing sucks sometimes."
She laughed. Laughed!
"You find this amusing, Sara?"
"I don't think I've ever heard you say anything 'sucks.' So, yeah, I found that funny. Timing…is another thing that is what it is." She pushed the blanket an inch higher on his chest. "You know, to get all weird on you…you could have an antique clock. 200 years old. And someone buys you a new one. But you cherish the older one. So, you decide to keep them both in the room, even though they don't seem to match. And…they chime in time with one another. Because, really, there is only one time. And that's the here and now. Anyway, they both chime together and the sound is…beautiful. Richer than anything either one of them made separately and very different than the sound that would have been made by throwing in another 200 year old grandmother clock."
"I'm not sure I want to be compared to an ancient grandfather clock, Sara."
"That's why I normally don't do analogies," she said and there was THE smile again.
He found himself smiling, in return.
Maybe that's what the 'old pervert' in the park was searching for. A spark of life. Feeling…young and handsome again. Worthy. And hopeful. Always hopeful.
"Sara?" Grissom felt his eyelids get a bit heavy. She still was stroking his hair and it was nicer than anything he felt in a very long time.
"I should be the one saving you…I would have liked to have saved you…"
"From heat stroke?"
"Heat exhaustion and, no…" the silence hung in the air for a moment before she got it.
"Ah, that." She stopped stroking his hair for a moment and he looked at her. She shook her head. "I wouldn't have wanted that."
"Because, then you and my past would have been intertwined, and I never would move away from it."
"Ah. Still, I should do the saving. Except, you don't really need it, do you?"
"Not really. But, you gave me what I really needed."
"Promise. I don't think my life held so much promise before I met you."
"It not exactly…promising promise, though. Is it?"
"It was. It may be again. I don't know. I just know I still feel it. Every time I look at you when you're in this type of mood."
"Post-traumatic event mood?"
"Relaxed, unguarded…those are the moments I almost think you may, actually, like me-like me."
"I do," he said and closed his eyes.
"Go to sleep, Grissom. Pretend I'm 15 years older and it's totally okay to be alone with me taking care of you and not some naughty nurse thing. Just…let go. For today."
He opened his eyes again, just for a moment. Just to see her gently upturned lips and the soft look in her eyes.
Just to know, right before he went to sleep, that ten years down the line, when he went to the park, it would not be to ogle someone with plastic jugs and a bountiful booty. He would put on the hideous hat to shield his face from the sun, take a cooler filled with non-muddy water and ogle the pretty young thing who never did move on.
But was right by his side.
Smiling that smile that told him she loved him.
Just as much as he loved her.