The Nevada sun beat down on the white marquee, set up at the bottom of a private garden at the Eclipse Casino. The sides were pulled up, attempting to beckon in the non-existent breeze. People were milling around, trying desperately to grab a seat that was shaded from the blazing sun. Or else fanning themselves with the order of service handed to them as they entered the orchard. An archway of red and pink roses hung over the aisle, matching the shrubs that lined the walkway.
It had been a whole year since he and Sara had last been in Vegas. A year since he had last seen the people now moving around him. A whole year since he stood at a similar alter, pledging his life once more to the woman he loved. They had celebrated their anniversary a few weeks before. A small dinner on their boat. Intimate, private, and perfect.
The year had passed in something of a haze. So fast, yet Grissom was able to recall every moment. He could not remember ever being this happy, not even after their first wedding. And he didn't need to look far to find why. In fact, he only had to look down at the sleeping form in the crook of his arm.
Grissom never thought he could ever love anyone as much as he loved Sara. That was until the moment he first felt her. First felt her kick, first felt that little limb pressing against the stomach of her mother. It hadn't felt real, before that. Almost like a dream. Until one day Sara called to him, placed his hand on her stomach. Such a wealth of emotion as Grissom had never felt before flooded him.
They had waited so long. Given up any hope. But Sara had, yet again, surprised him. Had given him something beyond comparison. Watching Sara grow, her belly rounding and face filling, was the most beautiful experience he had ever had. Then, seeing her become a mother. Seeing her hold their daughter with such tenderness, broke him and made him new.
Megan stirred in his arms, her tiny mouth popping open. It won't be long before she woke in search of her mother. Thankfully, Sara had the forethought to make up a couple of bottles, so Grissom could feed their daughter while she carried out her duties for the day.
Grissom only prayed she would wait a little longer. He didn't want to miss anything. Snuggling a little more in his chest, Megan popped a petite fist in her mouth. Suckling on it with all the enthusiasm she has for her mother's breast. A warm smile creased Grissoms face as he watched her.
"She's so beautiful, Gil," a voice called to him. Grissom looked up to see Catherine looking down on them, her face soft as she took in his daughter. Grissom didn't respond. He didn't need to. The look he gave Catherine shone with all the pride of a new father.
"Where's Lou?" He asked as Catherine took her seat beside him.
"Talking to Mitch and Brass," she replied. Grissom looked to where she pointed, and sure enough Vartann, Mitch and Brass were in conversation with some other officers Grissom had worked with before. The two friends sat in silence. The gentle suck suck of Megan's mouth the only sound that passed between them. Grissom thought back to this last year.
When he and Sara had divorced, he had purposefully broken contact with their friends. Not willing to make them chose between them, or take anyone from Sara who she might need. Now, however, the Grissom's were in almost constant communication with their Vegas family. Not long after the couple had left, Catherine and Vartann had moved in together. Lindsey had started dating one of the day shift lab techs. Brass had retired. And Nick had promoted Finn to Assistant Supervisor. Even Betty had succumb to the lurs of Las Vegas, mainly because it was where her children would go whenever they returned.
He and Sara spoke with their mother at least once a week. She had even stayed on the boat with them for a few weeks after Megan was born. Completely head over heels with her granddaughter, from the first moment. She had offered to have the little girl for the day, but neither Grissom nor Sara were ready to be apart from her for that long. Betty would pick her up after the reception. Giving the new parents some time alone with their friends. And with each other.
Movement from behind had Grissom turning. Nick, Greg, and Sara were making their way down the aisle. Sara was wearing a beautiful, full-length, navy-blue dress, which matched the tuxes of the gentleman with her. Her hair was pulled up to the side, curling over her shoulder. When she met her husband's eye, Sara winked. Face glowing as she saw him with their daughter in his arms.
Careful not to wake her, Grissom placed Megan in her seat. Strapping her in and ensuring her had her fluffy tarantula to hand. A 'welcome to the world' gift from Nick, and Megan's favourite.
Vartann took his place by Catherine, immediately taking her hand in his, while the threesome took their own at the arch. Nick once more standing centre, while Greg and Sara stood to the right. A look of nervous excitement plastered on the younger man's face.
Everyone stood as the music began to play. Keeping one hand on his sleeping daughter, Grissom turned to see Morgan walking, arm in arm with her father, down the aisle. She was shining, her rounded face positively radiant as she looked up at Greg. Ecklie was practically bursting with pride as he handed his daughter over to the former goofy lab tech.
Grissom had never been prouder of the young man than he was in that moment. Out of all the people he worked with. All the students he had trained, Greg was the one who had come the farthest. He had gone from the wacky DNA tech, who would dance around the lab with a showgirl headdress, to a confident, mature, and extremely capable CSI. He didn't give up, even when things were hard. He pushed for his place in the field. Worked hard to prove himself capable, and impressed Grissom on every turn.
The ceremony was simple, yet beautiful. Sara stood with her friend, just as he stood with her only a year ago. Delight etched all over her face as she handed him the ring. Nick cracked a few jokes. Earning blushes from Morgan, and bashful grins from Greg.
When the couple were pronounced, Greg pulled Morgan into a kiss of such loving tenderness Grissom was sure, if he were prone to tears, he would be crying as surly as the redhead next to him. Or his wife before him. Glancing over to Ecklie, he could see tears in the Sherriff's eyes. And the woman next to him, who could only be Morgan's mother, had a litter of tissues around her and one other clenched in her hand.
Applause broke out around them as the newlyweds turned, startling Megan. The baby began to cry, so Grissom took her in his arms. Stringing the nappy bag over his shoulder. He tried to calm her, at least until the couple had a chance to walk away. Rather than follow Greg and Morgan as she was supposed to, Sara walked over to her husband and daughter.
"I've got her," Grissom said before she could speak. "You go on." Sara gave him a grateful half smile, kissed Megan's scrunch forehead, and made to follow her friends. Grissom caught her hand before she could move. He pulled her close. "You look beautiful," he whispered in her ear and pressed a gentle kiss to her lips.
Rather than follow the rest of the guests, Grissom made his way to the catering table. One of the waiters agreed to heat up Megan's bottle while he changed her nappy.
Now clean and settled, Megan lay content in her father's arms. Guzzling down her mother's milk. Grissom decided to stick to the side while he fed her, knowing it was unlikely she would finish without making a mess of some kind. He didn't mind. From his position, he had the perfect view of the room. He could see Sara moving about, talking to their friends. Her clear, beautiful laugh reaching him across the distance.
The reception was lovely. The speeches suitably funny and sentimental, and the food, once Grissom had a chance to taste it, was delicious. Catherine claimed Megan the moment he returned to their table, so Grissom was able to sit and visit with his friends, both old and new.
By the time Betty arrived to take Megan back to her house, the little girl was more than ready for bed. Grissom watched as Sara held her close, not willing to let her daughter go. They were yet to leave their daughter for more than an hour, and Grissom had to admit he had his own misgivings on the separation. Even if he was looking forward to having an evening with his wife without one, or both of them, being at their daughter's beck and call.
Eventually, Sara handed Megan over to the waiting arms of her grandmother. Grissom put an arm around her waist.
"She'll be ok," Sara said, and Grissom chuckled. Her eyes were bright as she watched Betty and Megan walk away.
"Yes, dear," he replied, pressing a kiss to her temple. Grissom turned her back to the party, now in full swing. Greg and Morgan had already taken to the floor, gazing into each other's eyes as they swayed through their first dance. All around couples were joining them. Catherine and Vartann were dancing to their right. Nick had asked Finn. Al and Judy were dancing on the spot. Hodges was spinning round with Lindsey, and Archie and Henry were standing to the side, drinks in hand, laughing at something Brass had said.
Grissom led his wife to the dance floor, pulling her flush against him as they swayed in time to the music. Even after all this time, all these years, he couldn't help but marvel at how well she fit in his arms. The feel of her body, pressed against his, sent his senses spiralling.
Grissom only danced a few times, with Sara, Catherine, and Lindsey. But he was more than happy to sit and talk, while he watched his wife laughing as she moved from partner to partner. Sara had just finished a dance with Nick when she practically threw herself on the seat next to him. Kicking her shoes off and massaging her feet.
"Enjoying yourself?" He asked, putting an arm around her shoulder. Thumb running across the bare skin of her shoulder.
"I can't remember the last time I danced so much," she replied, laughing. Her face flushed as she smiled at him. That Sara Smile in full volume.
Greg and Morgan had long since disappeared into the night, and Grissom was starting to think they had the right idea. It was late, both his mother and daughter would be fast asleep by now. Grissom captured Sara's hand.
"Are you ready to go, my dear?" The look she shot him was enough to get his blood boiling. Her lips quirked up in that gorgeous half-smile, and her pupils dilated when he brought her fingers to his lips.
They didn't say goodbye. With no plans of leaving Vegas for a couple of days, they would have plenty of time for that later. When they arrived at his mother's, Grissom was very pleased to see a still and silent house. After a quick check on their daughter, the couple tumbled into their room.
In a matter of moments, Grissom had pulled Sara's hair free of the clips keeping it in place. The dress didn't last much longer. Neither did his suit and tie. They lay together, naked. Grissom hovering over her while his hand gliding down her stomach.
Sara flushed at the touch and brought his face down. The kiss was as gentle as their movements.
"I love you," she whispered against his lips and Grissom entered her. It was slow, tender. Every movement and touch used to show just how deep their love ran.
The journey had been long. It had been rough. But, with his wife beneath him, and his daughter in the next room, Grissom knew it was the best journey he had ever travelled. He wouldn't change it for anything.