Author: Michmak

Summary: Hank and Grissom discuss Sara. Will Grissom listen to Hank?

Disclaimer: The only characters I own are the ones I create for the purpose of this story. All the rest? Not mine.


Hank stood in the open doorway of the small jazz club, letting his eyes adjust to the smoky light, before he stepped into the room. Over in the far corner, his back the door, Gil Grissom sat nursing a drink, listening to the piano player riffing away on some syncopated tune.

Hank studied his back intently, still debating whether or not to actually do what he had come here for, before sighing in resignation and heading towards the table.

"Mind if I sit down?" he smiled slightly when Grissom jumped, and quickly signaled a nearby waitress to bring him a drink, pointing at Grissom's half empty glass and indicating two.

Grissom didn't respond right away, just looked at him silently, studying him in the same way Hank had seen Sara study the duffle bag that body had been in the first time they met. Hank sighed as he sat down. "I'm not bothering you, am I?"

He was surprised when Grissom shrugged, "You don't really want me to answer that, do you?"

Hank grinned slightly at Grissom's dry tone of voice, noticing for the first time the slightly blurry eyes. Hank nodded his thanks as the waitress arrived at the table, handing him a drink before placing the second in front of Grissom, wondering absently how much Grissom had already had to drink.

Holding his glass loosely in his hands, watching Grissom watching him, Hank again questioned his motives for following Grissom to the club. Sara would kill him if she knew he was here. She was such a prickly person, intensely private, and she would not thank him for meddling. And Grissom - well, who the hell really knew what the guy was thinking? Hank had never met him, but he knew enough people who knew Grissom to have heard about him. The guy raced cockroaches for fun. His office - according to his sources - was a veritable horror show of embalmed creepy crawlies. He preferred bodies and bugs to people. And Sara loved him.

There was the kicker - his sole reason for following Grissom to this smoky hole in the wall in the first place. Sara loved this man. Gruesome Grissom. Sara loved him.

Just less than a week ago, after the blood bath that was the preliminary hearing for Tom Havilland, Hank had taken care of Sara after she had gone on a Tequila bender. Although they had been out on a couple of dates, Hank was well aware that Sara saw him more as a friend than anything else - someone to go to movies with, or have dinner with, but not someone to spend the rest of her life with. Hank knew this, understood it, and had been happy just to spend time with her in whatever capacity he could. He had never met a woman quite like Sara; was fascinated by the startling vulnerability she tried to hide underneath a thin veneer of control and toughness. She was a mixture of diametrically opposed emotions - calm and fiery, tough and tender, smart and so achingly naïve sometimes it hurt him just to look at her.

That night, after the preliminary hearing had finished with Havilland being remanded for trial, Hank and Sara had gone out - ostensibly to celebrate the vindication of the CSIs. Sara had been especially brittle that evening, her smiles bright and tight, the anguish in her eyes barely hidden. Hank, who had never seen Sara drink more than a glass of wine, had been amazed when she started pounding back the tequila shots. In less than two hours she was so drunk she was barely coherent. Hank had dragged her out of the bar when she had started sobbing uncontrollably into her hands, deep lung wrenching howls of pain shaking her slender frame as she mumbled incoherently about plants and zambonis.

He had taken her back to his place, smoothing her lank hair from her brow as he held her in his arms until her tears were finished, and had listened to her disjointed ramblings about Grissom, beauty and love.

She had eventually passed out or fallen asleep in his arms - he was unsure which - and the next morning had woken up with a roaring hangover and absolutely no memory of the previous nights' admissions. Hank had been loathe to remind her, unwilling to admit to her she had spilled all the deepest wishes of her heart; honest with him in a way he didn't think she had been with anyone else for a long, long time.

He had seen glimpses of the real Sara that night, and he had realized - as much as he could love her, she would never love him the same way. Her heart belonged to the man sitting in front of him, seemingly oblivious to the great gift of Sara's love.

Hank sighed, and took another sip of his drink. The whiskey sour burned on the way down, and Hank told himself the tears in his eyes was from a mixture of smoke and drink. He had been sitting at this table - with Grissom - a good five minutes now, and the man had barely acknowledged him verbally.

Sighing, he raised his glass to Grissom in a mock salute, "I wanted to talk to you about Sara."

Grissom cocked a sardonic eyebrow at him, responding tersely, "I don't want to talk to you about Sara."

"Yeah, well that's too damn bad," Hank was surprised at how angry his voice was, and tried to tone it down somewhat. "Have you talked to her recently?"

"I talk to her everyday, we work together."

"That's not what I mean, and you know it. Sara thinks you're angry with her."

Grissom flushed at this, "Why would I be angry with her?"

"You tell me."

Grissom deflected the question, sighing, "Why are you here, Hank?"

"I love Sara." Hank stated baldly, "I love Sara, and I hate seeing her like this. She's beating herself up over you, and I don't think you really give a damn."

"What are you talking about?"

"Did you ever read the transcripts from the preliminary hearing for Havilland? Do you know she was ripped apart on the stand because of you?"

Grissom looked honestly surprised at this, "Don't you mean because of you? You're the one in the relationship with her."

Hank smiled humorlessly at Grissom, "We're not dating. We're just friends - good friends. That's why I'm here. I don't like seeing her like this."

"Sara told me you were dating," Grissom's response was curt.

"Sara told you we went to see movies together. We do. But we're not dating. We're just friends. And if that Gerard guy told you otherwise you're a fool for believing him."

Grissom shrugged. "Listen - Hank. I'm sure you're a nice guy, but I really don't feel comfortable discussing one of my co-workers with the man she's dating."

"Is that all she is to you? Your co- worker?" Hank shook his head in disgust. "That Marjorie woman chewed her up and spit her out, and all she is to you is a co-worker?"

Grissom was starting to get annoyed, "I have no idea what you're talking about."

"The bitch defense attorney made Sara sound like a flighty school girl with a crush on her professor - you being the professor. She implied that Sara routinely became involved with the men she worked with, and that Sara would tamper with evidence if it meant pleasing you."

Grissom absorbed this silently for a few moments before responding, "She moved the bra for you."

Hank ignored him, "She asked Sara about the time she touched your face at some crime scene. She implied you and Sara were involved."

Grissom blinked at him, "It was chalk."

"It wasn't chalk. Sara told me, that night. She told me it wasn't chalk."

"Why would she touch my face then?"

Hank rolled his eyes, "Christ! Everyone is always telling me how brilliant you are, and you can't even see what's as plain as the nose on your face. She's in love with you!"

Dead silence between the two men. In the background, the piano player had been joined by a bass player and smoky voiced woman was singing,

~What does she need to do

For you to admit your heart

Love can come swiftly

Or Love can come slow

And love needs a lover

Or else it won't grow.

She'll only wait for you so long

And then one day she'll walk away

You'll turn and she'll be gone~.

"Don't you have anything to say?" Hank finally demanded, doing nothing to hide the anger in his voice.

Grissom looked at him, "What do you want me to say?"

"Do you love her?"

"Is that your business?"

Hank grinned suddenly, "I know you do. Who wouldn't? She's an amazing woman. I don't know you from squat, but I do know a man knee deep in denial when I see one. I was just like you until a few days ago - only, I was fooling myself into thinking she might eventually fall in love with me. So, what are you going to do about it?"

When Grissom didn't respond, Hank sighed, "You don't deserve her."

"No, I don't," Grissom agreed, "I'm too old for her."

"She's an adult - don't you think she can decide that for herself?"

"I'm her boss."

"Big deal - work around it." Hank looked at Grissom intently, "I wouldn't be here talking to you - telling you all this - if I thought I even had a chance with her. But I know I don't - and I want her to be happy. Don't be an idiot. If you care about her at all, quit breaking her heart."

Grissom closed his eyes against Hanks words and finished off his drink, "I love her." His admission was soft, and it felt so good to finally admit it he had to smile.

Hank smiled back, "Don't tell me - tell her. I want her to be happy." He stood suddenly, finishing off the last of his drink and placing a twenty on the table for the waitress, placing his glass on the bills to keep them from fluttering away. "Come on, I'll take you to her place."

Grissom stood and smiled at Hank, "You're a good man, Hank."

* * * * *

Hank stayed in his car in the parking lot of Sara's apartment, watching Grissom as he walked up the single flight of stairs, tentatively ringing Sara's doorbell. The lights flickered on, and the door opened. From where he was sitting, he couldn't really see Sara, but he could imagine her face when she saw Grissom. She would look at him in confusion for a moment, quickly masking her eyes to try to hide the sadness that had lived in them for the last week or so, before smiling her appealing gap toothed grin.

He watched as Grissom shifted uncomfortably, before stepping into Sara's apartment through the open doorway. Hank sat there for several minutes, smiling only when the light above her door flickered out. Turning on his car, he reached forward and flicked on his radio station, pulling out of the parking lot and into the street as Leonard Cohen sang in the confines of his automobile.

~ As the mist leaves no scar

On the dark green hill

So my body leaves no scar

On you and never will

Through windows in the dark

The children come, the children go

Like arrows with no targets

Like shackles made of snow

True love leaves no traces

If you and I are one

It's lost in our embraces

Like stars against the sun

As a falling leaf may rest

A moment on the air

So your head upon my breast

So my hand upon your hair

And many nights endure

Without a moon or star

So we will endure

When one is gone and far

True love leaves no traces

If you and I are one

It's lost in our embraces

Like stars against the sun ~


Author's Note: Is Hank self-sacrificing? Who knows. But, since he is a plot device, maybe he could be a plot device that becomes a tragic hero?

The Leonard Cohen song is called "True Love Leaves No Traces" - based on his poem "As the Mist Leaves No Scar" As the mist leaves no scar / On the dark green hill / So my body leaves no scar on you, / Nor ever will. When hawk and wind encounter, / What remains to keep? /So you and I encounter, /Then turn and fall asleep. As many nights endure / Without a moon or star, / So will we endure / When one is gone and far.