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Author: Summer Reign PM
Sara shares a tale of her first day back at work. GSR.
Title: Me? Worry?
Author: Summer Reign
Disclaimer: They don't belong to me but get props for bringing back the amazing Jorja Fox and not messing (except in a good way, with the GSR).
Spoilers: A Family Affair
Summary: Sara shares a tale of her first day back at work.
Waking up and throwing his arm around a rather substantial body was not something that Gil Grissom was used to. In fact, his wife (a title he loved dropping whenever the opportunity presented itself) was slight, in spite of her 5 foot 9 inch frame. Oh, from time to time, when the moon was very blue, she complained about the tiny belly she had. But the rest of her was downright…meatless. Which somehow suited her vegetarian self.
But the body he was waking up to this morning snored. And was very, very warm. And … well, kind of wet. And not in a good way.
Grissom lifted his head off the pillow and took a look at the sleeping, slobbering dog. And then he put his head right back down and gave Hank a little pat on his stomach, where half of Grissom's hand seemed to be (the other half, of course, touching the bed and the river of doggy saliva flowing from said dog's open, snoring mouth.
Hank wasn't allowed on the bed when Sara was around. No, scratch that. She allowed him in the bed after Grissom was asleep, but Grissom was the enforcer. "No dogs on the bed," was the rule he was born to enforce. Except, the last time he was apart from Sara (and he shuddered at the memory), Hank hadn't even wanted to jump on the bed, and Grissom had been so depressed, he would have loved for the dog to have joined him. Asking Lady Heather to stay that one time—for a completely platonic, keep-on-her-side-with-one-foot-on-the-floor-at-all-times and 'watch him while he slept' comfort session—just hadn't been the same as a warm pup or a skinny, burned-out ex-CSI.
He sighed. Grissom, not Hank.
His better half (and he had no doubt about that moniker) was back in the good old United States. In Vegas, ironically.
What had once been a 'never going back again' deal was now a reality.
Life was…ever-changing and rather strange.
A year ago, he was in Vegas. Alone. Lonely. Working at a job in which he derived less and less satisfaction every single moment. And this year, he was waking up, counting down the days until his wife returned from her one-month assignment in the States.
Waking up—in the morning. In Paris. After spending a day teaching at the Sorbonne.
For a wife.
Sara: his wife.
Looking forward, instead of looking back.
What a strange turn of events. And the strangest thing was—he had adjusted. To everything. Very quickly and rather happily. Mostly, he supposed, because of Sara. She grounded him. Made him feel that anything was possible and they had full permission, now, to enjoy the hell out of everything.
Still, he wasn't feeling great about this separation. He was feeling a little groundless. A little unsettled. A little less content.
"Gil? Remember that time you went on sabbatical because it was something you really needed to do?" she asked one day, as he walked into their little sublet apartment on a quiet, tree-lined street of Gay Paree.
He winced. That had not been one of the stellar moments in their relationship.
"Yes," he replied.
"Well, I think I understand it more now."
And he understood as well.
Perhaps more than she did.
She had to do this.
That's why he let her go. And found out just how hard that was. It was easy to feel 'safe' when they were far away from the real world they had known. The jungles of Costa Rica, for example, made them feel—at times—as if they were the only two people in the world. Surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature at its finest. After a while, they began to realize just how much they were 'sticking their heads in the sand,' and decided to move on to a place that actually had more than a handful of people they had to interact with. That was how Paris came about. But, it was still very different. The language barrier, in some ways, made it so. And that was a good thing. Because they could still pretend to be in a cocoon. A safe, romantic premise that he had enjoyed for as long as he knew her, really. The "real world" seldom intruded, and—when it did—it just proved how important the sanctity of their cocoon was.
And now he was sending her off to a place where every single thing he could imagine happening happened, and things he wouldn't dream of in his worst nightmares were just around the corner. And he had to kiss her goodbye knowing that, if fate took one cruel turn, he might never see her again. And wish her luck while doing so.
How does one hold one's own wife and not transmit those emotions to her? How does one be strong and pass that strength on, when one is feeling anything but?
"One" just does.
And one's message is received loud and clear by one's savvy Sara. He could tell the exact minute she "got it."
"I'll be back soon," she said, looking in his eyes and touching his face one last time. He was cleanly shaven once again. Tomorrow, he planned on growing his beard. Maybe it would be down to the ground by the time she returned. That would teach her to leave him, he thought and felt…awful. Not over the idea of facial foliage and beard burn but just generally awful. He was getting that nagging feeling that he used to get when he was three and trying so hard to be a big boy and not cry. And failing.
Suck it up, Gilbert.
"I'd tell you to knock them dead," he said after taking a deep breath, "but…considering where you're going, that would be an exercise in futility."
She smirked. "You still got it, Dr. Grissom."
"You too, my Missus. Now, go--show them," he said, and winked.
And, with that, she had his blessing.
And he had almost convinced himself that all this was the absolute right thing to do.
She had called them—well, him, since Hank didn't actually answer phones (yet)—when she got to the airport in Vegas.
And she hadn't called since.
And then—his phone was ringing. He looked at the time. 9 PM. High noon in Vegas. She should be home from her first real shift as a CSI in over a year.
"Gil, comment allez vous, mon amour ?" her smoky voice reached across a whole bunch of land and a whole mess of water.
"Bueno, gracias," he said.
"Francais, por favor," she teased right back.
"I don't remember any French. My translator is missing. I hear she ran off to Vegas. How was your first day as CSI, Sara?"
Sara Grissom: Crime Scene Investigator.
Visions of the fresh-faced young thing who appeared in his classroom ran through his mind. Visions of her at work—trying to remember everything he said in some totally forgettable lecture he once gave. Trying so hard to be perfect and impress. Now, she was probably given the scut work that no one else wanted. She was a bit out of shape, job-wise, and…well, they just needed some backup. And, the main advantage to that was, that type of work was safe. And they all would make sure to keep her safe. He knew they would. He just hoped they made her feel appreciated for her ability as a CSI, while doing so.
"It was…interesting. Very interesting. Are you sitting down?"
That was not a good sign. He automatically sat.
"Well, I dumped my bags at the townhouse. Which, by the way, smells really musty. I have to check out the bread box. Maybe you left something in there--or in the fridge."
"I didn't leave anything," Grissom said, impatient to get to the 'interesting' part.
"I'll check anyway."
"I didn't leave anything."
"Okay, okay. But it smells pretty bad. Anyway, I got to the lab and …well, just stood outside the door for a while. I…the last few times I was there were not happy times. But, this time…I kind of didn't feel it. I mean, I didn't feel that total sadness. I just felt like I really wanted to go inside. So, I did."
"Thanks. I thought so, too. Anyway, I went in and Ecklie was chewing Catherine out in front of the team."
"I guess he hasn't been taking any charm school lessons lately."
"No, he hasn't. But it was kind of nice to know that some things never change. Anyway, he left and I said hello to everyone. Met Ray. He is as good as you said he'd be. And … well, they aren't in a good place right now. The team. That's for sure. Catherine was kind of … somber, after a bad exit interview from Riley criticizing her leadership abilities. And Greggo is not feeling appreciated. Nick is Nick, just more responsible. And…well, I guess that about covers it as far as the greetings."
"No banners? No parades? Belated wedding breakfasts?"
"No. Actually, that part felt kind of weird."
"What part, honey?"
"Talking about you when you weren't there. I half expected you to come walking down the hall at any moment. But, that was only part of it. Greg was teasing me a bit about being married and…it felt odd talking to him about us. I guess, I'm so used to keeping us private and a marriage is a great big neon sign proclaiming exactly what we mean to each other. I felt…strange."
"Good strange or bad strange?"
"Strange-strange," she said, with a smile in her voice. "It's like…even if they know, they will never really know, you know? Because we belong only to each other."
Well, that was it. That was why she asked him to sit. Because she was talking about some heavy-duty emotions and she wanted him to be comfortable. Always so thoughtful. Another reason he loved her so.
"Yes, my love?"
"Yes, my love."
"Good. Because … my first case had a bit more excitement than I expected."
"Excitement?" he said, a wash of stomach acid seeming to sweep through his system.
"Yeah. What seemed to be a simple, but tragic, traffic accident was soon discovered to be a murder."
"Well, that's hardly the first time."
"No, but…ugh. It's too complicated and we'll be on the phone all night. I'll try and condense this. This traffic accident involved an actress. Olivia Hamilton? You definitely would not know her so I won't go through her credentials. Anyway, this actress had a father who was schizophrenic. Not something that was publicized—but was about to be. She was about to become engaged to this casino owner's son, Denny Ocabo. And, by the way, she was 8 weeks pregnant, to boot. Denny already had a child by another woman so the father—Denny's father--sent his bodyguard out to get rid of this latest scandal and when the schizophrenic dad got worked up—he ended up killing him, too. So, the father ended up in a wood chipper and Nick and I were picking up the pieces—literally. And it was gross and disgusting and smelly, but kind of fun at the same time…and…well, there was a stalker and blackmail and a frame-up and the Russian mob was involved and they kind of stormed the lab and there was broken glass and then they started shooting…"
She stopped to take a deep breath and it took a few seconds before that last part sunk in.
"What?" Grissom asked.
She wasn't worried about the comfort of his butt, she was worried about the state of his heart. And it just twisted a bit in his chest. Shooting?
"Well, they weren't shooting at me. Not right away, anyway. And I wasn't really a target as much as something that was in their way. And they didn't get me or I wouldn't be talking to you, so you can breathe easy."
Grissom gripped the phone a little tighter. Breathe easy? He felt like an elephant was napping on his lungs.
"Two people in the lab did get shot. I didn't recognize either one of them but they are both okay. And there was glass everywhere and … well, we found the body, as I told you before," she continued.
"What!?! Whose body?"
"I guess I didn't tell you. I mean, the guys who broke in the lab stole the old man's body. The one who was woodchipped? Olivia's schizophrenic father? He, apparently, swallowed the murderer's cufflink. Anyway, we retrieved it from the parts—of the dad-- and solved the case and the bad guy is in jail—for something other than the real, primary murder but some form of justice was served, so I was happy."
Grissom would kill them. He'd hop a plane to Vegas and kill every member of his former staff. It would be completely justifiable. He was sending them Sara. SARA. His wife, Sara. The love of his life, Sara. The woman who had been so burned out she left HIM, for heaven's sake, even though they had never been apart since she came to Vegas…well, not really, anyway…that Sara. How could they let her get involved in a case like this? On her first day, yet.
"Sara, just book a flight and come home. I'll take the day off and meet you at the airport in the morning…"
"No. No…I…I'm still screwing this thing up. I was going to tell you this in a very coherent manner so you would already know in case Catherine or someone decided to call you, but I got excited. And—that's kind of the point, Gris. I got excited. Really excited. About my job. The goal of my job. And it was all pure instinct. Trusting yourself to do what you were trained to do. That autopilot thing you feel when things are running so smoothly that people can be shooting at you and you don't even process the danger—not enough for it to paralyze you with fear anyway, and you just do your job. And do it right. And…well, you know…"
She faded away, and—this time—he was the savvy one who "got it."
"The last demon is dead?" He finished for her.
They listened to each other breathe for a moment or two. Grissom waited for his innards to untwist. But, before they could do so completely, he had to find out one more thing.
"So, you want to work full time as a CSI again?" he asked, surprisingly dreading the answer.
"No. I want to work full-time with you. On our research. I will do my little stint here and come back home. As planned. It was just…nice to return in a different place than where I was when I left."
"I know." And he did. Sara Sidle…er, Grissom…did not like defeat. And, even if she thought she accepted it, at the time—she came back and turned it into a victory, sooner or later. Add one more thing on the "reasons he loved Sara S-G list."
"I'll be careful, don't worry, Gil."
No, he wasn't worried. He was, however, concerned.
Concerned that she'd get hurt. That she'd get disillusioned again. That life would take some strange, but somewhat expected twist, and everything would be fucked up again.
He closed his eyes for a moment and pictured their last breakfast together. They were at a small patisserie and she was practicing her French. The waiter was tres amused by her California cadence and the way her lips pursed as she tried to find the right words to express just how much au lait should be in her café. She saw him staring and flirty and that's when Grissom caught her. She moved her hand just a tiny bit—so the waiter clearly saw the wedding band shining in the early morning sun. Subtle, but effective.
And so Sara.
So "old" Sara. But he knew, in her heart, there was just one nagging thing to conquer to truly be "old" Sara, and it looks like she had done it. He told her to go show them—but they never really needed to see it. She needed to show herself. And she did. And, maybe, perhaps…she felt she needed to show him.
"I'm proud of you," he said and winced at the crack he heard in his own voice.
"I know. I've always known," she said quietly. "Now…how about telling me about your day?"
He took another deep breath. So, okay, he was worried. Funny, he never worried about himself when he was in Vegas. But, Vegas had done Sara wrong. And he still blamed the town and all its inhabitants (and himself, if truth be told) for what happened to her. But, as she said herself, she was highly trained and he knew she was highly intelligent. So, maybe he could use this time to just trust in all of that and know that she'd be walking through that door soon, inviting Hank to drool on their pillows and not-flirting with highly-horny French waiters with impeccable taste in thin vegetarians.
"Well, I'm not so sure you have to sit down for anything I have to say," Grissom began. "But, maybe you should lie down. It will help you drift off to sleep…"
And he started telling her about his lecture. And Hank jumped up on the couch and put his head on Gil's lap.
And he heard the deep, long-distance breathing of his wife as she napped…
While Hank's drool made an adorable wet spot on his pants.
And he, himself, thanked God for new long-distance cell phone plans.
And life was still…pretty damned good.
Comment allez vous, mon amour—should mean, 'how are you, my love?" according to some French translator on the net.
Bueno, gracias—should be "good, thank you," according to my memory of high school Spanish class (many, many, many moons ago….how many? Ugh…Moonlight Seems Right was in the Top 40 right after graduation)
Francais, por favor—should be a delightful blend of the two. And mean, of course, "French, please."
Now, for something I heard yesterday. I went to see Superior Donuts on Bway. And, in it, there is a line that says something like "sure, having someone else read it (this guy's book) makes it real."
And I thought…yup. Exactly. So, again—thank you for making it all real. I do appreciate you all more than you know.