|The Long Road Home
Author: CarpeDiem75 PM
Postep LD fic. A rescued Sara learns what gave her the will to live. Originally posted under author name Carie75 at geekfic for summer ficathon. Thanks to my beta Daphne and also thanks to Amanda for all her help. Enjoy! Reviews are appreciated.Rated: Fiction K - English - Romance - Gil G. & Sara S. - Words: 1,150 - Reviews: 6 - Published: 08-08-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3710505
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"I walked Julie down the aisle about two years ago." Grissom answered Sara's question, laughing at her surprised gasp.
Easing the car to a stop at the exit drive of the hospital, he turned to look at Sara, the back of her head resting against the rain soaked passenger window, a questioning stare aimed in his direction. The sum of two days missing, two days unconscious and two weeks in the hospital had left her so weak and frail he found it difficult to believe she had the energy to be curious.
"I told you about Julie while you were-- " he paused, the word unconscious burning like battery acid on his tongue, "were asleep" he finished, returning his attention to the road and accelerating into the sparse early morning traffic. "You must have heard me." The hours at her bedside talking himself hoarse appeared well spent.
Sara shrugged. "I haven't been able to get her name out of my head," she said her voice still raspy from dehydration.
"I met Julie on her wedding day, the same day you and I solved the Trent case." He pointed to the side of the road. "She was standing there in her wedding dress watching smoke rise from under the hood of the car."
The windshield wipers cleared the view of the now vacant stretch of highway, their steady sound providing a rhythmic backdrop to Grissom's storytelling.
"You stopped to help." Sara said without question.
"Yes," he nodded, smiling at the memory. "She started sobbing the second she saw me and all but tackled me in a hug."
From the corner of his eye, Grissom saw Sara bite back a smile. "I didn't panic," he said, his eyes leaving the slick street just long enough to give Sara a quick wink.
Stopping at a red light, he was mesmerized by the hint of a blush creeping up her cheeks as she realized he had read her mind. It was the most color he had seen in her face in the better part of three weeks.
A honk from a trailing car ended his reverie. Driving onward, Grissom continued his story.
"Julie explained that her fiancée was waiting at the chapel and she couldn't reach him. Her brother, who was supposed to walk her down the aisle, was stranded at an airport in Chicago."
Stealing another glance at Sara, Grissom watched her eyes widen in anticipation of the obvious conclusion.
"I offered her a ride. About a block away from the chapel she asked me to stand in for her brother."
Grissom laughed. "This time I panicked. I used every excuse I could think of to refuse, but when the tears started again, I gave in."
Visualizing Grissom's veiled look of trepidation, Sara joined him in laughter. The fact that he was not the first man to be felled by a woman's tears did not make the image any less comical.
A sudden yawn quieted the car. "I'm sorry honey," Grissom said. "You should be resting." Although her need for sleep was evident in the dark circles surrounding her eyes, he felt a selfish desire to keep her awake until they could lay side by side, the beat of her heart drumming against his chest.
Sara shook her head. "It feels good to laugh." She said, her smile fading into a look of realization. "This all happened the day we wrapped the Trent case?"
Grissom nodded, sensing her powers of deduction were unaffected by her weariness.
"It was also the day you finally asked me to dinner," she said.
"Once the ceremony started, Julie seemed to forget everything but the moment." He sighed. "To bear witness to true happiness is to realize true loneliness."
Feeling Sara's fingers interlace with his own, Grissom gently squeezed her palm, grateful for the understanding she conveyed through the warmth of her touch.
"Why didn't you tell me this story before?" Sara said, breaking their brief silence.
"You never asked."
She smiled, glad the stress of the prior weeks had not stripped him of his somewhat charming ambiguity the way it seemed to have stripped the gleam from his eyes.
"Do you remember anything else?" He said, caressing her hand with his thumb.
"Butterflies and rain." She toyed with the hem of her shirt.
"Sounds like a song."
Noting the somber expression on Grissom's face, Sara suppressed her smile.
"It rained while you were missing." Shuddering, he blinked to erase the haunting image of Sara's slender frame trapped beneath the heavy car, her inner strength bearing all of its weight.
"No," Sara stared out the window. "This was different. The raindrops were warm."
Grissom swallowed the lump in his throat, recalling the lone tear he had allowed to escape in a weak moment of failing hope. It had fallen upon her cheek as he leaned into place a kiss on her lips, one he had wished could will her awake like in the fairytales he had become desperate to believe in.
Unable to admit to the shadows of doubt that had followed him into fitful attempts at slumber, Grissom sped through the final stop before their house. "Tell me about the butterflies."
"There was only one. It was blue-green with orange spots." Sara stopped, taking in a deep breath. "I was tired Grissom, so tired. I just wanted to sleep forever." A strangled tone consumed her voice. "The butterfly led me out of darkness."
Pulling the car into their garage, Grissom avoided Sara's eyes, fearing his would reflect a pain she was unequipped to handle. He exited the car, opening the passenger door to help her to her feet.
"I'll get your bags later," he said, reclaiming her hand, "I want to show you something."
Sara felt his grip intensify as they walked through the French doors and onto the backyard patio. She gasped. Fluttering to and fro in a long, cylindrical white net was a butterfly, a line of orange spots dotting its hind wings.
"It's just like the one in my dream. Did you tell me about it?" Sara reached to touch the net, watching as the butterfly rested near her fingertips.
Grissom nodded. "She hatched the night you went missing. I had Greg bring her here." Moving to stand behind her, he drew her close.
"She?" Sara said, turning in his arms.
He nodded again. "Stella." Brushing the hair from her face, he wrapped the stray strands behind her ear, exposing an unexpected softness in her features.
"You named her?" The subtle light of daybreak highlighted a smile unrelenting to torment.
"Just now. Stella Polaris to be exact."
"The North Star." Sara whispered shifting her eyes between the butterfly and the brightening sky.
Placing a kiss on Sara's forehead, Grissom tightened their embrace. "She led you home."