Title: The Willow Tree
Grissom/Sara, AU, angst, romance, pg-13
Summary: A secret shared, a memory forever remembered. G/S
Author's Note: Thanks to Devanie, as always.
"It's peaceful here."
"Yes, it is." Sara replied, softly.
He stood up and stretched his legs, looking out onto the surrounding waters. Not a ripple in sight.
Sara sat on the grass, silently picking at the daisies, making sure she had enough before attempting to make a chain.
"Why do you come here?" His voice startled her out of her reverie, and she lifted her eyes to meet his, squinting as the sunlight behind him hit her eyes full force.
She thought for a moment. "To get away." She returned her gaze to the grass, and slowly continued to collect daisies.
"Get away from what?" He pressed.
She was again silent for a moment, convincing him that this was to remain one of the many unanswered questions that he had concerning a particular Sara Sidle. "My life." She looked up, shrugging slightly, as a small smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. "You told me to find a diversion."
"And that's what, picking daisies?" He asked, half jokingly. Believing that this was not even worthy of a response, Sara just scowled at him instead. He laughed.
She began making slits through the stems with her nails, now convinced that she had enough daisies to make a proper chain. He sat beside her, drawn in by the meticulous precision she put into getting the slits in the perfect place. As she thread them together, she began to hum softly, completely enrapturing him. She was in her own world now. Grissom wondered if this was what 'child Sara' had been like, happy to just stop, be silent, be still. He found it hard to believe that the woman who was fuelled by determination and passion to lock up the 'bad guys' was the same woman who was so peacefully sitting next to him on the grass of this little sanctuary, making a daisy chain.
He looked up at the sky, partly obscured by the drooping branches of the weeping willow under which they were sat. It was a hot day, and the willow provided the shade they both craved. The sky was light blue, fluffy clouds dotted across it. It was perfect.
Someone was calling him. Sara? No. Not Sara. Never Sara, never again.
"Gil?" The voice urged. Catherine.
"Gil we need to go." He looked up, confused. He was with Sara, she was making a daisy chain, and they were happy, blue skies, the willow tree…
"Gil!" He snapped out of it as the memories came flashing back. Car. Sara. Crash. Sara. Sara!
"GIL!" He stood silently, walking past Catherine towards the door. She followed him as he picked his keys up off of his hall table, waiting for her to walk through his front door before following her, locking it behind him.
"Are you sure, um…" she began, awkwardly, as they were walking towards her car, "…are you sure this is what she would want?"
"How do you know?" She hated to pry, but she was intensely curious as to Sara's motives.
"You remember that case with the gorilla?" she asked suddenly, looking up from her half-made daisy chain to meet his eye.
"Yes" he replied, not quite sure where the conversation was going.
"I gave her a send-off." She said, blushing from embarrassment.
He wasn't surprised. "Why?" He asked, curious as to what this send-off entailed.
"Because I felt she needed to go back to the earth. You know, recycled, in an odd sort of way. I went to the desert, dug a hole, and let her remains go back to the earth. Some of them blew off into the wind; it was… it was magical."
"Yes. When I die, I want that to happen to me. I want to go back to the earth, be recycled. And I want to go back right here." She said, pointing to the spot on which she was sitting, with her back up against the trunk of the willow tree.
He smiled. "Let's hope that's in a long time yet."
"She mentioned it to me once." He finally replied to Catherine's question, mysteriously, the faintest trace of a smile tugging at the corners of his lips.
He walked, slowly, alone, towards 'their' spot, pot in hand; under the gentle gazes of his, their, friends.
Sara. The wind rustled the branches of the weeping willow, blowing them into his face, obscuring his view for moments at a time. Sara. Daisies. Weeping willow. Sara. He kept walking. Daisy chain.
She stood, with him following suit beside her. She turned, her face smiling, her soul at peace with the world as her eyes shone bright in the lovely spring day. It wasn't just the reflection of the sun, she was happy. Truly happy.
"I want you to have this." He looked at her as she reached towards him, slipping her recently-made daisy chain over his head. She giggled at the sight of Grissom with flowers round his neck, as he glared at her in good spirit.
He put his free hand into his jacket pocket, having shifted the pot into his right. Soft. Dry. Dead. He removed the chain, still intact, the last thing she ever gave him. Precious. Slowly, with one hand, he slipped it over his head, letting it rest around his neck. He choked back a sob. Sara.
He knelt, placing the irreplaceable pot carefully beside him as he began to dig. Nature. Earth. Recycle. Say goodbye. His fingers, dirty from digging at the earth, secured themselves round the gold pot. He wasn't ready.
He smiled at her. "Does it suit me?" He joked, his lips twisting into a smile.
He was sobbing, his hands shaking as he tried desperately to regain control. Mustn't drop the pot. Can't drop the pot. Won't drop the pot. He placed it softly on the ground in front of him, and carefully lifted the lid. The tears now flowing freely down his cheeks, watering the grass beneath him with salty tears. Ashes started to escape from the pot, and he quickly replaced the lid. Not ready. Not ready. He took a deep breath, and lifted it once more, slowly pouring the ashes into the hole. The gentle breeze blew some into the evening air, creating the effect of a curtain of dust.
"Magical." Sara's voice rang in his head. She was right, it was magical. It was magical, it was Sara. His Sara.
Slowly, he replaced the earth over the ashes, as more and more escaped, pulled towards the darkening sky by the warm spring breeze. He flattened the earth with his hands, sprinkling grass over it, making it greener looking. He was fulfilling her wish. As a final gesture, he removed the daisy chain from around his neck, and gently placed it over the newly-filled hole, making sure it was in a circle, the daisy heads facing inwards. Protecting. He noticed that they were starting to wilt, but they would do for now. They would do forever, because she had made it. But it was then that he realised, everything dies sometime. Nothing and no one lives forever.
"I'll come back and make you a fresh one next week, Sara." He laid his right hand flat on the ground, and, closing his eyes, made her a silent promise.
And with that he turned and walked away, leaving his Sara protected from the strong rays of the sun, and the pelting force of the rain, by the drooping branches of their willow tree.
'On a lone barren isle, where the wild roaring billows
Assail the stern rock, and the loud tempests rave,
the hero lies still, while the dew-drooping willows,
Like fond weeping mourners, lean over his grave.
The lightnings may flash and the loud thunders rattle;
He heeds not, he hears not, he's free from all pain;
He sleeps his last sleep, he has fought his last battle;
No sound can awake him to glory again!'
-The Grave of Bonaparte – Leonard Heath.