Author: RhiannonWrites PM
When a migraine plunges Grissom into a foul mood, his troubled relationship with Sara bears the brunt. Will a cruel argument signal the end of Sara's patience, or will the unexpected awaken them both to the truth? GSR.Rated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Romance - Gil G. & Sara S. - Words: 5,722 - Reviews: 21 - Favs: 37 - Follows: 4 - Published: 09-02-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4516033
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: This is set in late Season Five, possibly early Season Six. It is a variation on one of my favorite themes: how did Sara and Grissom get together? So many ideas, so little time... No real spoilers, but there is no mention of events/characters late in Season Five such as Adam Trent or Nick-in-a-box, so the timing can be nebulous. No, that's not an accident. Rating is due to a few instances of language and descriptions of (ahem) adult behavior. You have been warned...
Disclaimer: Eeny, meeny, miney, mo; catch Sara and Grissom by the toe. If CBS hollers, let them go...I own nothing, just so you know.
He pressed his fingers to his temples. The sound of Greg's latest heavy metal obsession was seeping thinly through the walls, and he briefly contemplated striding down the hall and hurling the boy's CD player at the wall. He had once told Catherine that he got migraines about once a year, but in reality it was closer to a half dozen. The sharp pain working its way from his eyes to the back of his skull was definitely an indicator of a particularly bad one well on its way.
He turned on his own small player, hoping that the soft strains of classical music would help to isolate him from the irritating sounds worming their way under his door and into his office, but after a moment he turned it back off with a low groan. His migraine meds were at home and he could not reasonably slip away from the lab for at least another hour.
A sharp knock on his office door almost made him growl in agony. "What?" he snapped, unable to leash his temper quickly enough.
Sara's head peeked around the edge of the door. "Hey. Is this a bad time?"
"Extremely," he replied testily, but at the look on her face he sighed. "Sorry. What do you need?"
She slipped into the room, letting the door click softly shut behind her. "Well, it's about that scene from Tuesday…I think I found something." She flipped open the folder in her hands, moving around the desk until she was beside him and pointing to a sheet of paper inside. "See, I had Greg rerun the DNA on that semen sample we got. I don't know, something about the whole thing was bothering me. The fact that it was Collin's seemed too simple. And when he reran it, he found—" She stopped abruptly, and Grissom's head jerked up as he realized he had stopped listening, the throbbing in his head distracting him completely.
Sara scowled. "You know what? I'll get back to you. I'm not quite done with his vehicle anyway. Let me know when you want me to fill you in."
"Sara, stop," he said sharply, and she did, turning slowly with an annoyed look in her eyes. "I want you to fill me in now. You reran the DNA."
Sara slapped the folder down on the desk, making him start and then wince. "You know what, read it for yourself. I have work to do."
"Damn it, Sara." Immediately he berated himself. He rarely cursed. But it was too late to take it back, so he continued, ignoring her startled expression. "I'm tired of this attitude of yours. You need to remember that whether you like it or not, I'm still your boss. Give me your report or go home for the day, and I'll find someone else to handle the case with Warrick."
Her color was so high that he wondered for a moment if all the blood in her body had raced to her cheeks. "Oh, I never forget who's boss, Grissom," she snapped. "You never let me. It's your favorite wall to hide behind; a convenient variation on the professor theme."
He flinched at her reference to their early days of friendship. Sara had never hid her interest in him from the moment they had met, and he had never done anything but resist, first gently, but recently with ever-increasing irritation. Years—it had been years. Why would she not give up?
The pain lancing through his skull almost made him gasp aloud. He clenched his eyes shut. "Go home, Sara."
The room was silent. When he could bear to open his eyes again, he saw that she was standing perfectly still, studying him. The faintest hint of concern stained her dark eyes. "What's wrong?"
He gritted his teeth. He wanted desperately to lash out at her. You. You're what's wrong. It's so easy for you, and you refuse to see things from my perspective. I thought you might be the one person on earth who would understand me, and it's depressing every time you prove me wrong.
"Migraine," he ground out, willing her to leave with every coherent brain cell. Instead, she slowly made her way around the desk again, coming to rest behind him. He started to turn his chair to face her, but her hand shot out and gripped his shoulder.
"Stay put," she ordered, and he hesitated, then obeyed. Her other hand rested on his left shoulder, and with strength that surprised him, she began to firmly press her fingers into the tense muscles of his shoulders and upper back.
He could not relax into her hands, partially because he was still angry, and partially because he feared the results of him letting down his guard while she touched him. After a minute, Sara paused.
"You have to relax," she said softly, chidingly. He leaned forward, deliberately pulling away from her hands.
"I'm at work. It's a nice thought, but it's not going to happen." He hated the abruptness in his voice, but his mind lingered on the fear that someone could have walked by, or in, and seen them there, her hands all over him. He picked up his glasses and slid them onto his nose. "I'll read the report later. You should probably get back to that car."
She walked around him slowly, keeping her back to him, pausing only when she was steps from the door.
He lifted his head, barely suppressing his irritation. "What?"
Her voice was so soft that it took him a moment to assure himself of her words.
She was gone so quickly that he could not even speak.
The knock on her door was hesitant, and Sara's senses told her immediately who it was. She reached for the dark blue robe draped over her couch and moved to the door, opening it a crack and leaving the chain on.
His face was stubborn, a mirror of hers. Another time, she might have sighed and given in, letting him into the apartment and apologizing or even continuing the argument. Tonight, she was determined to do neither.
"I'm going to bed. And I'm not discussing anything with you. Go home."
He crossed his arms over his chest. "So, this is it? No notice, nothing? Just, you're done. Nice, Sara." He clenched his jaw. "I expected more from you."
She could not suppress the bitter laugh that escaped through her lips. "Please." His expression faltered, just a little, and she pressed on. "You think I quit? I'm not going to let you run me out of my job." Confusion crossed his face, and she barely held back her coldest smile. "I'm just done with you."
She had not been prepared for the flare of pain in his eyes. The look was so sharp that it pierced her, and when he spoke, his tone was one she had never heard before. For the first time, he almost sounded old. "I see. Thank you for clarifying. Good night."
He moved down the hall, out of her line of sight, and the tightness that closed in on her chest nearly smothered her. Bright tears sprung to her eyes, and without thinking she closed the door, removed the chain, and hurried after him in nothing but a thin pair of pajama pants, a white tank top and her robe. Her bare feet padded swiftly against the carpeted floor. She caught his arm just before he started down the stairs.
"Something else?" he asked without turning, and she almost cried aloud at the words. He had completely shut off, and his face and voice were expressionless. Angrily, she slid her grip down to his hand and turned back to her apartment, tugging hard. He did not move, and finally she had to turn back around, to find him watching her with a very odd look on his face.
"I'm not fighting with you out here," she said in a low voice. He tilted his head.
"I'm not going to fight with you at all, Sara." Still no inflection in his voice.
"Don't," she whispered, her voice breaking, and something flickered in his eyes. And then the hot tears slipped down her face, and she was embarrassed and terrified and furious all at once. "Goddamn it, please don't do this."
"You told me to go home. You informed me that you were done with me. What else did you expect me to do?" The slightest hint of heat had slipped into his voice.
"Just come inside," she pleaded, hating herself for how desperate she sounded. "Gil, please."
She watched that same indefinable flicker pass through his eyes at the same moment that she realized she had never used his first name before. She tightened her hold on his hand. "Just for a moment. Please." She pushed her hair out of her face with her other hand. "Please don't leave like this."
Slowly, he followed her down the hall and into her apartment, and she shut the door behind him with a shaking hand. Turning to face him, she contemplated asking him to sit, offering coffee, and dismissed the ideas as ridiculous. If he merely stayed and listened for just a moment, it would be all she could ask, and more than she expected.
"Grissom—" What could she say? Her mind rifled though rapid-fire thoughts, and at last she gave up and let the words, any words, tumble from her mouth. "I'm so angry with you. You are so stubborn, and so unpredictable, and I hate that I can't win with you. I hate that I can't figure you out. I despise the way you shut me out, because I don't deserve it. I wish I could leave, but I can't." She sucked in a breath. "I came here for you. I don't want to leave because of you."
His face was enigmatic, and she wanted to scream, to pound on his chest with her fists, to call him every horrible name she had ever heard her father scream at her mother in the dead of night. "I have done everything I can to show you what I want, how I feel, and to convince you that your reservations are misplaced. But you don't believe me."
"Are you done?"
His voice was quiet, cool. She wrapped her arms around her waist. "Do you have something to say, then?"
"I'm disappointed in you, Sara." She flinched. "When I met you, I thought there was a possibility that I had met someone who would truly understand me in a way most of the world cannot. I put a trust in you that you don't seem to appreciate, because it isn't what you want it to be. You don't respect me or my decisions, and you don't understand my reasoning or my choices, and you don't try. You seem to think you care for me in a way that's more than mere friendship." He paused. "But I think you're too selfish for that to be true."
Her entire body rocked back as if with the force of a blow. She wanted to cry again, but some force of rage kept her upright and nearly composed. "So that's what you think of me."
He shook his head. "No. Not always. But tonight, and lately—perhaps." He pursed his lips. "Your sentiments were in a similar vein."
"You know what it is?" Sara said sharply, shoving a hand through her hair. "We don't have the faintest idea how to communicate with each other anymore." She let her gaze fall to the floor. "What you said is maybe the most hurtful thing anyone has ever said to me in years. But at least you said something."
Grissom stepped closer to her, but she could not allow herself to look up. "I'm sorry it hurt you."
She shook her head. "No, you're not."
Her fingers under her chin startled her. "I am, Sara. I don't relish the place our friendship has gone to anymore than you do. But I'm at a loss." He shrugged, letting his hand fall away. "I don't know what to do about it."
"Talk to me," she murmured, unable to tear her eyes from his. "Most of the time, all I want is for you to talk to me."
He nodded once. "All right."
"Why did you pull away from me today?"
"I was afraid someone might see us."
She was taken aback at his swift reply. This was new. She pressed on.
"Why have you been avoiding me lately?"
"Because you don't take no for an answer very easily." Her face fell, and he cleared his throat before continuing. "And I'm worried that you're going to wear me down eventually."
She inhaled. "And why does that worry you?"
"Because when you truly realize what a decade and a half of age difference means, I know you'll leave, and I'm not sure what I would do then. And because I have worked very hard to get to this place in my life, and I'm not sure I can risk it all, even to be happy." He never took his eyes from her, and she wondered what sort of control he must be exerting over his instincts to speak these words so calmly and directly to her.
"Am I not worth it to you?" She hated how needy she sounded.
He sighed raggedly. "You are worth more to me than I can express, Sara. And that is one of my fundamental issues. I can't express to you what you want to hear, even if I feel it or think it. It's not a strength I possess. And you can't accept that."
"I just want you to try."
"I am trying." Frustration edged into his voice. "Right now. I'm trying right now."
"I know," Sara whispered, touching his arm. "I'm sorry."
He groaned, pressing a palm to the side of his head. "This is perhaps the worst possible day for this to be happening, you know."
She shrugged. "At least once we get all the venom out, we can try to put this behind us." Her voice was a little sad, and Grissom frowned.
"You really are done, aren't you." He did not bother to make it a question.
She nodded slowly, her voice small. "I have to be. My self-preservation instinct is finally kicking in. I hope you can understand."
He breathed in. It had taken years, but she was finally going to accept the way things were, the way things would be. He opened his mouth to say yes, he understood.
And the words would not come.
The protestation startled him as badly as it did her. Her eyes were wide, her lips parted slightly. "What did you say?"
"No." He gasped as pain lanced through his brain, reaching out to grip the counter beside him. "No. No. No."
"Grissom, what the hell?" She was pale, grabbing for his arm. He realized he was about to slip to the floor, and clung to the counter in desperation.
"My head—" he got out before darkness rushed up and claimed him.
Sara sat in the chair in the corner of her bedroom, unblinking. She was terrified to close her eyes, to look away for even a moment, terrified that the slow rise and fall of his chest might stop and she would lose valuable seconds in reaching him. She knew she was being irrational; she knew that the strength of his migraine had overwhelmed him and he had fainted from the pain. But that had been almost ten minutes ago, and he had not opened his eyes, had not regained consciousness. He had made no sound when she half-carried, half-dragged him to her room, groaning and fighting back tears, calling his name. He had not stirred as she sat curled up in the small wooden chair, staring blankly at him and wishing she believed in someone she could pray to for help. She knew she should probably call an ambulance, or one of the team, but she could not move.
A soft stirring jolted her back to awareness. He was shifting against the blankets, his eyes fluttering open. She leapt from the chair and crossed the room in two long strides, sinking to her knees beside the bed.
"Sara." It was a weak whisper, but it was his voice.
"Fuck." She began to sob, her forehead crashing to the edge of the mattress. "Fuck. I hate you. How could you scare me like that? I hate you. Fuck." She was crying so hard that the words were garbled into the blankets, choked by tears. She never raised her voice, just kept mumbling the words incoherently over and over.
His hand came down lightly on her head, and she lifted her face to stare at him. "You hate me?"
And then she was crying harder, her fingers clinging to the comforter, digging into the mattress, her entire body contracting and convulsing with the force of her sobs. Each inhalation brought a keening that verged on a scream before she shuddered violently on her exhalation. She had wept like this only once before in her life, and she shoved the memory of her father's blank and bloody face to the farthest recesses of her mind, focusing on the catharsis wracking its way through her now. Every careless and cruel word, every smile destined for another, every argument and criticism washed over her and was relived, both what she had received and what she had given. And as she cried, his hand never left her head.
At last the violence of her release subsided, and she rested her cheek against the softness of her bedspread, letting his hand fall away from her hair. She could not look at him, knowing that her eyes would be swollen and rimmed with red and her face streaked with the wet trails of her tears. He cleared his throat softly, and she closed her eyes.
"You hate me?" he repeated quietly, and she bit her lip.
"No. No, of course not. I'm sorry I said that. I was just—" Her voice broke. "I was really scared."
"I'm sorry." His voice was still low. "My head—it's never been quite that bad. And I forgot to eat today. Add to that a little unsuspected stress, and I guess it was a little too much."
"I'm so sorry," she whispered, and then it was a mantra, spilling from her lips over and over. "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry…"
"Sara, stop." His fingers found their way under her chin again, and she allowed him to lift her head, allowed him to see her pain-ravaged face. He sucked in a sharp breath, but continued gently. "We have to stop this."
She shook her head. "I can't. I've tried so hard. I've tried for years, and I can't."
He frowned a little. "Can't what?"
She pulled back, lowering her eyes to the floor. "Don't make me say it."
"I thought we were trying to communicate," he reminded her softly.
She winced. "I can't. I can't stop." She inhaled. "I can't stop wanting you." Another deep breath. "I can't stop loving you."
His eyes were wide, brilliantly blue even in the darkness. She could hear his breath quickening. "I meant we have to stop hurting each other."
She wanted to stumble backward through time, swallow the words, let them sink back into her chest where they belonged and where they ached until she wanted to throw up. Without that possibility, she stared into the darkness, feeling slightly lost.
He moved, sitting up, sliding over until he perched at the edge of the mattress, just beside her. His fingers sank into her hair, stroking, lifting the dark silky strands, brushing lightly against the skin of her neck. "You love me?"
She turned her head, pressed her lips to his hip through the soft, careworn blue jeans she had not even noticed before this moment. She heard the intake of his breath, pressed her lips to the side of his thigh, a few inches lower. It could have been the same tone he had used when asking if she hated him, but it was not. It was less resigned, more incredulous. She lifted herself up on her knees a little bit more and pressed her lips to the top of his thigh, halfway up. He gasped.
"You love me?" he repeated, more urgently, more breathlessly. She rested her head against his thigh, closing her eyes tightly. The strange, out-of-sequence intimacy was overwhelming her. Her head was on his thigh. He was sitting on her bed.
They had never even kissed.
"Sara!" She jerked her head up at the volume of his voice. He had been perilously close to shouting.
"Do you love me?" Each word was separate, distinct, wrapped in layers of shock and fear and desperate, desperate hope. She put her hands on his knees, lifted herself to stand before him, to look down at him, so vulnerable, sitting on the edge of her bed.
He moved forward, leaned forward, fell forward, his cheek against her stomach. His hands came up to grasp her hips, to pull her closer to him, in a strange, awkward embrace. And then he was struggling to stand, his body brushing against hers in ways that sent tendrils of heat jolting out from her heart and stomach and lower to the very tips of every finger and toe and strand of hair.
"I can't do this," he murmured.
And she was gone, just like that, slipping away from him and out into the living room, out of the apartment, her door slamming shut. He pressed a hand to his still aching head and followed, cursing the years and tears and fears that had made any sort of coherent communication a laughable fantasy. She was running down the steps, and he could not keep up. He followed her out of the glass front door of her apartment building, across the street, into the small park, into the trees and tiny gardens filled with something that was blooming under the thin sliver of moonlight.
When he found her, she was sitting on a swing, barefoot, still in her robe and pajamas. She looked small and lonely and terribly, terribly sad. With trepidation, he lowered himself to the swing beside her. She did not look up.
"You keep expecting me to be saying the worst, before I can even finish thinking, much less speaking." He had not meant to begin so bluntly, but his exhaustion and the hammering in his skull appeared to be smashing through every carefully built wall around his tongue and psyche and heart. "I say we need to stop, and you think I mean stop caring for one another. I say I can't do this, and you assume I can't do this." He sighed. "And maybe I can't, because maybe I am just that bad with anyone whose blood is still circulating." He watched a faint smile appear and then vanish on her lips, and continued on, hoping. "But what I meant was, I could not continue to sit there with you so close—" A ragged breath. "So close, and doing what you were doing, and just sit there. I couldn't do that."
"And what would you do instead?" Her voice, so small.
"Anything you want me to," he said earnestly, electricity sizzling along his skin as the forbidden words danced their way past his lips. "Anything you asked me to. Anything you let me."
Sara released her death grip on the chains of the swing. She stood. She walked to him, in front of him, and once more sank to her knees, pale blue cotton in sand. Her lips parted, and words spilled out in a flood. "I will never leave you for someone younger. I will never purposefully risk your career. I will never again push you beyond the boundaries of your comfort. I will never again assume before listening. Grissom—Gil, I promise. I promise, I promise." She was dangerously close to crying again. "But, oh, God, please. Please try."
"I am trying."
"No, I mean—"
"Sara." She pressed her lips together tightly, and he leaned very close, slipping off the black rubber seat of the swing, kneeling before her in the grass-prickled sand. "I am trying."
Her eyes widened. He cleared his throat. "Yes," he murmured, in response to the question on her face. "That's what I mean."
"Not, you will try."
"No." His fingers were on her cheek. "I am trying. Now. Tonight. For as long as I—" He shook slightly. "Forever."
She was standing. She was pulling him to his feet. They were moving back toward her apartment building, faster than he imagined he could move without running as her urgency drove them on. The stairs. The door. A slam, the sound of the deadbolt hitting home, and she was pushing him back against the wall in the darkness.
"You have no more last chances," she panted slightly, her fingers digging into his shoulders, her hips pressed tightly to his. "You can't change your mind. This is it, Grissom. I'm done. This is it."
He rested his hand against the small of her back, lightly, then with force, pushing her into him, relishing the sound and feel of her startled breath releasing. "Yes."
She kissed him so hard he thought his lips would bleed, her hands frantically tugging at his clothes, pulling his shirt away, fingers fumbling with the button on his jeans. He caught her wrists, trying to slow her, but she yanked them away and reached for the hem of her own shirt, shrugging off her robe seconds before yanking the thin tank top over her head and dropping it to the floor. The robe had cleverly disguised the fact that she wore nothing beneath the shirt, and his head swam a little as she pressed warm silky skin against his chest, lips finding his again with urgency.
"Tell me you want this," she demanded between kisses, her fingers hooked in the waistband of his pants. "I want to hear you say it."
"I do," he murmured against her mouth. "But Sara—Sara—"
"No," she whispered, moving her hips against his slowly until he groaned. "I won't stop, I won't slow down. I have been waiting for this for years, Gil, and not even your reticence can stop me now."
"I don't want to stop you," he said lightly, stilling her hips with his hands. "I just want to move."
"Why?" Sara asked teasingly, dragging her nails lightly down his chest and watching his eyes glaze. "Up against the wall too primal for you?"
"No," he replied steadily, and she inhaled sharply at the glitter in his eye. "I just think that your screams so close to the door might wake your neighbors."
She gasped, and Grissom took advantage of her open mouth to kiss her deeply while guiding her back towards her bedroom. The rest of their clothing was scattered down the hall, and they fell to the bed, limbs entangled, skin on skin. Sara writhed a little at the feel of his hands and lips, everywhere at once, passionate and methodical at the same time. When he pressed a kiss to her inner thigh, she arched her hips with a wordless request. He chuckled.
"Something you needed?"
Her throaty growl was the only reply he received before she deftly maneuvered him beneath her, straddling his body. "How's your head?" she whispered.
"I hardly even feel it anymore," he admitted, a low moan escaping his throat as she ran her tongue over his jaw.
"Good," Sara whispered, inches from his ear. "I'd hate to have it explode."
And then she slid down onto him, one stroke so quick and sure that he was certain she would be in pain. But only a deep groan of pleasure escaped her mouth as she wrapped around him, and he steadied his hands on her hips. Her face was flushed, her lips parted slightly and her hair clinging to her cheeks and slightly tangled. He thought briefly that he had never seen her look more lovely, before all thought left him as she began to move.
Everything was an ocean of sensation as Sara took him, let him take her with slow thrusts upward that increased in speed and intensity more quickly than he would have liked. But every time he tried to slow, to take his time with her, she would lean over and kiss him, and as his brain swam she would increase the pace again. He realized that she would not precisely let him make love to her tonight, that the want and need and frustration built up over years required for her an almost frantic release. He unleashed his already tenuous self-control, rolling her beneath him and bracing his hands beside her head. She looked up at him with wide dark eyes, with longing and breathlessness, and he drove into her, drove all the pain from her face, drove all the shadows from her eyes. She became light, weightless, free beneath him, and then her eyes fluttered closed and she did cry out, his name spilling from her lips over and over again until the beautiful sound of Sara Sidle moaning his name sent him over the edge, and he returned the favor until reality returned.
She slid closer to him, resting her dark head against his shoulder. He wrapped his arms about her, inhaled the fresh lavender scent of her hair. "Gil."
"What happens now?"
He sighed deeply, tightening his hold around her unconsciously. "What do you want to have happen?"
She could feel her smile against his chest. "I told you. This is it for me. If you stay with me now, I'm yours. Whatever needs to happen at work, we'll do. We'll figure it out. But if you want me—if you want this—then that's it."
He was silent for a long time. At last, pulling away slightly, she added, "Of course, if you don't stay…if this isn't what you want, then that's it too."
"This is what I want."
"Are you sure?"
He tilted her head back to look into her eyes. "I'm sure."
"Then why so hesitant?"
Grissom pulled her back into his arms. "I'm not hesitant. I'm planning."
"For all the ways we can deal with this. For what we should say, and what we shouldn't, and when."
Sara pressed her lips against his neck. "Let it go."
"You don't think it's important?"
"Right now? Honestly, no. Right now, I think you and me finally being naked in a bed together is about all that's important."
He felt heat rise in his face. "Thought about this before, have you?"
She grinned mischievously. "And you haven't."
The heat deepened. "That's not important."
"It is to me."
"Then, yes. I have."
She slid against him, warm limbs and breasts against his body, and he reacted, his pulse quickening. "Tell me about it."
"Hmm. Maybe someday."
"Always mysterious," she teased, turning so that her back was cradled against his chest, slipping one leg between his. "God, I could sleep for a week."
"We have to work in five hours."
She groaned. "You're the boss. Call us in dead."
"Not a chance. I'm really not interested in having Greg processing this scene."
She laughed, a vibrant, happy sound. "Yeah. Good point."
Grissom was almost asleep when he heard Sara softly ask, "Gil?"
"Please tell me."
He instinctively knew what she was asking for, the reciprocation she needed before she could finally relax completely in his arms. He bent his head closer and began murmuring soft declarations of love to her, words that had wound themselves in knots around his heart finally untangling and releasing, spilling from his lips into her ear. He told her how beautiful she was, how beautiful her mind was, and how much he admired her for the strength of her emotions, even when they complicated a case, or his life. He whispered to her of how he had wanted to hold her, to kiss her, more times than he could count, and all of it was because somehow, sometime, maybe on that first day in his seminar or her first day in his lab or somewhere in between or after, he had fallen in love with her. His words were incoherent and beautiful, and he felt the cool wetness of a tear fall onto his hand. He held her closer.
"Sara, I love you."
She breathed out softly, the sweetest sound of contentment. Within moments, they were both asleep.