Title: Stepping Up

Author: Summer Reign

Rating: T

Spoilers: Gulp. Goodbye and Good Luck

Disclaimer: This show is owned and operated by cruel folk. I'm not one of them.

Summary: Grissom does some thinking.


In the middle of their nights—other people's days—he'd sometimes open his eyes to find her watching him.

He had passed the stage where he automatically rubbed his mouth to check for drool or ran a hand through his hair to tame errant locks. He would just drowsily blink his eyes, allowing her face to come into sharper focus, and she would always reward him with a slow, sleepy smile.

It was during one of those nights, quite a long time ago, that Sara first told him she loved him.

Just a simple statement, not anything he hadn't long suspected, but it was A Moment in their relationship, nonetheless. He didn't say a word. Just allowed her to draw his head to rest against her breast and reveled in the feel of her fingers slipping through the short waves of his hair.

He had drifted back to sleep feeling…cherished. He had never experienced that feeling as an adult. Occasionally, he had felt wanted, desired, even—once or twice—cared for. But this? This was a whole new feeling for him.

And the real beauty of it was the uncondionality of it all. This woman loved him, cherished him—as is.

No change was required. No changed was requested. And, probably, very little change would be accepted.

At least, that's how he always reasoned it out in his mind.


The first—very first—time he told her, in words, was in the hospital.

After Natalie.

Three words. A simple declarative statement punctuated by a nasty, involuntary filling of fluid in his eyes.

Upset, she reached for him with her good arm and again drew him to herself. She kissed him softly with lips incredibly parched and cracked from her hours in the sun. She just winced and let him rest his cheek lightly against hers, his quiet tears mixing with her own, while she told him again and again that she was going to be all right. They were going to be all right.


He knew she knew he loved her.

She had to.

Another bright, shiny Moment in their relationship occurred just a month before. A Moment when he made his feelings as clear as he possibly could. He looked over at the woman who decided to love bees because he loved them, and he knew—just knew—that she was it for him. Well, he always knew that but he needed to make it official.

So he asked her to share his life.

And then got scared.

But there was no need.

She vanquished all his fears with her answer.


He rolled over for a moment to face the opposite wall, and then turned back to stare at the pillow where she rested her head every night for the past two years, except for her time in the hospital. And today.

They should have got married that day. He knew she would have done it. She was so enthusiastically happy. But there was only room in his life for one impulsive move per day. Or, was it more like one per year? So, they just became engaged. A state of being. He never even got her a ring.

She wasn't like other women.

That was his belief.

She didn't need a ring. She didn't need to have a public symbol of something so private. Just as she didn't need to share the fact of their relationship with anyone else during the last couple of years.

She didn't need it because he didn't need it. Or want it. Selfishly, he wanted her all to himself without the judgement of others. And they would judge. And, for one of the few times in his life, he'd care.

He punched his own pillow into submission, angrily, and tucked it against the back of his neck.

For a moment, he wondered what they would have done if they had a baby. He'd probably convince her to keep the pink, wriggly thing in her arms a secret, too. But, there would probably be no need. The fruit of his loins would probably be pre-programmed with the 'I vant to be alone' gene.

And alone he was.


The truth was, he didn't suspect something was wrong. He knew something was wrong. He just didn't want it to be that way. Sara was always so strong. He fully expected her to do what she always did, silently pull herself up by the bootstraps and move on.

But, dear Lord, he didn't think that was a kiss goodbye.

He never, ever would have let her go if he had known.

He ran his hand over her pillow.

What, exactly, was he thinking of in that moment?

He tried to remember. There seemed to be some kind of no-fly zone over his memory since he picked up her letter.

Let's see. He thought, this is nice. I don't get it, but it's nice.

Then he thought, why isn't she saying anything?

And then he thought, Jesus—right in front of Hodges? And in the hallway?

He didn't consciously think of damage control as he pretended it didn't happen and went on with his workday. At least, he didn't think he did. As it was, he wasn't sure he could live with that one moment of standing there—watching her walk down that hall and out of his life while he did…nothing.

He spent hours in the lab, gathering 'evidence.' Found her boots in one trash-bin, her nametag in another. Her vest…

Ronnie told him about their case. Brass told him about her attitude, and his in return. The way he had sarcastically asked her if she had 'it in' for the kid. He looked like he wanted to drown his sorrows in about a vat of liquor, but Grissom couldn't be concerned with that right at the moment. Warrick had to inform him that his own fiancée had problems sleeping. He questioned everyone. Was reassured-but not really—by everyone. Everyone knew she left him and he didn't care.

He didn't care.

She was in California.

That much, he knew.

She took her car to their townhouse. Her underwear drawer was all but emptied and one or two outfits seemed to be missing, along with his LVPD gym bag. The woman in the house next to theirs, who watched their dog from time to time when they pulled doubles and triples, said Sara came in, asked if she could watch Bruno for another few hours and then went over and hugged and kissed him. Much longer than she usually did. She had asked Sara if anything was wrong but didn't press her. She 'didn't want to pry.'

He found the cabcompany that took her to the airport, and a flight booked under her own name—to San Francisco.

A thought crossed his mind and he laughed at its absurdity.

No. It couldn't be that simple.

Could it?

He picked up the phone and dialed her cell number.

He had been in law enforcement too long. She wasn't a suspect on the run.

In one more Moment, he heard her voice.

"Don't hang up, Sara. Please!"

"I'm not hanging up," she said quietly.

He sighed in relief. "Are you okay?"

"Well, if you're thinking about it as a relative term, yes," she said and he smiled for the first time since that dreadful day began.

"I was worried."

"I know. I'm sorry. I was thinking I needed to call you. I just wanted to wait, in case you were sleeping."

"No. I haven't been sleeping."

"Me either."

"Sara," he said, not knowing what to say next.

"I have to do this."

"I know. But you don't have to do it alone. I can…"

"No. I do have to do this alone. Really. Please, just…"

"It's okay. Just—before we talk I want to make a few things crystal clear, okay?"

There was a moment's hesitation before she whispered an 'okay' back into the phone.

"I basically have only one problem with the what you said in the letter."

"What's that?" she asked and he could feel the fear in her voice.

"The last word."


"That's the word."

"I just…don't want you to think you have to wait when I can't give you any kind of time frame…"

"Sara. I love you. As much as you love me, I love you. I will wait for you for as long as it takes. If you want to come back here, I'll meet you at the airport with a brass band. If you want to leave Las Vegas for good, I'll pack up our things and head out in a U-haul tomorrow. If you need me now, any time—day or night—I will be headed for the airport before we hang up the phone. Anything, Sara."

She gave a short laugh and he smiled into the phone. He realized he hadn't heard her laugh in days.

"Besides, the engagement ring I never got you is non-refundable. And I wouldn't take it back anyway."

This time, her laugh had a choking sob mixed in.

"Have you been crying, Sara?"

"Almost non-stop all day. I'm sorry…"

"No. Don't be sorry. Let it all out. Talk to me."

And, surprisingly, she did.

She talked about not feeling anything during the domestic abuse case. Of feeling too much during the West case. Of seeing bits of herself in Hannah—smart, isolated, without parents. Only having a brother to rely on. Although, hers, perhaps thankfully, had gone out on his own, never to be heard from again.

And she talked about wanting to crack that smug, self-important exterior and how she knew—the moment Hannah showed her age and vulnerability—that her own essential 'humanity' was slipping away from her.

Grissom and Sara talked for over an hour until her cell phone was in dire need of a recharge.

"Ill call you back at the hotel," he said.

"No. It's probably better if we both get some rest. I think…maybe I can sleep now."

"Okay," he said, wanting, desperately, to keep the lifeline between them open.


"Yes, baby?"

"You really want me back?"

This time, he welcomed the tears that sprung to his eyes.

"More than anything. Call me, Sara. For one minute or five hours. Just, let me know you're okay."

"I will. Gris?"

"Yes, Sara?"

"Talk to you later," she said, and he heard her take a very deep, cleansing breath.

"I'll be waiting," he replied.

After one last exchange of 'I love yous,' he put down the phone.

He lay his head on the pillow and placed his hand on the empty spot that had cradled his beloved during her attempts at slumber just the night before.

"See you soon, Sara," he said, and drifted off to sleep.

The End


Angst, thou art evil.

And taketh over my soul. But I did your nasty bidding.

And now you can taketh a hike.

You can see why I gave up my career in poetry by the age of 8.

Oh, man. I was annoyed at Grissom last night. As anyone on YTDAW can tell you. But, I gave myself an out with my very first post because the beauteous part of being over (way over) 35 is that I know myself. And I knew that I would probably make some sense of his actions in my head overnight and everything would be hunky- dory in the Grissom-Summer-Non-Romance (GSNR for short). And it is. This morning, I just opened a writing pad on my desk at work and all through the day this stuff kept pouring out, and now I love Grissom again. Not for being a boob last night, but just generally.

But, if you'll notice, in this here story, he Stepped Up when he had to (I honestly don't know where I got that expression from. Must be from ballplayers or something). And he damned well better do it on the show, too.

Or else the GSNR may be more NR than it already is, by nature. (WHAT??)

Just think, by…oh, June, maybe? If the Writer's Strike is done, we will all be merrily laughing about this time in our lives. Maybe. Hopefully. We'll see.

Seriously. I understand this all on a creative level. I understand Sara's problems on a personal level since I experienced PTSD once myself and it wasn't pretty. But, that doesn't mean I like it or it doesn't hurt like hell when all I want for these two is for them to be happy.

Oh-one more thing on a practical level. I'm having a really hard time using 'Hank' as the dog's name. So, he's Bruno. I know in one story I called him Rocky, but people kept asking about it and informing me the dog's name was Bruno. And I knew that, but chose to call him something else for reasons I explained in my voluminous author's notes. Anyway, then I went with Bruno, so don't tell me his name is Hank because…well, I don't care. He'll always be Bruno to me. Bruno Hank Mortimer Sidle-Grissom the First, okay?

And I can't quite bring myself to use Gil. I don't see Sara doing it, even though she'd done it in two eps now. Still, he'll always be Grissom or Gris to me…and Sara really has no choice but to go along when she's starring in one of my fics. My fic, my rules;-)

Hang in there, everyone. And keep the faith.

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