A/N I'm sorry this has taken so long to post. Huge thanks to Mossley for beta-ing for me. I've added another page since last night so all mistakes are my own!
There will be a sequel sometime in the future, but due to a cranky computer and RL stuff, I'm taking a back seat for a little while. Thank you so much to everyone who has read and reviewed. Your words of encouragement are so wonderful, that they give me the strength to carry on writing. Thank you, everyone. I'll be back soon.
Sara awoke with start and sat bolt upright. Breathing deeply, she tried to calm her racing heartbeat and take in her surroundings. As she brought her breathing under control she wondered how many times she had awoken like this, too afraid to take a good look around her for fear that she wouldn't like what she saw.
Recognizing her own bedroom, slow memories started to drift back into her mind. She cursed herself for the weakness that still held her captive. She wanted her life back.
Grissom moved slightly, rolling onto his side to face her. His eyes were closed in slumber and his usually serious face was relaxed and devoid of the every day stress she was so accustomed to seeing on him.
Laying back down into the pillows, she turned on her side, content to watch him while he slept. He was oblivious to the fear that still came back to seize its ugly hold around her heart, oblivious to its restraints that chased away any contentment that was still so new between them. She could feel it, even now. The darkness lingered over her soul, smothering her with uncertainty and the more she tried to fight it, the more it took its hold.
The depression inside her had started to eat away at her, its deadly grip showering her with images of women from Grissom's past, convincing her of things that not so long ago Catherine had tried to quell. The older woman had insisted that Sara was the one Grissom wanted, and back at the hospital she had believed it. But now, Terri Millers and Lady Heathers taunting images whirled around and around inside her head bringing her vulnerability and battered confidence to collide with logic, causing her to question Grissom's feelings for her.
Lifting a shaky hand, she reached to touch Grissom's arm, needing to feel him. He was the only thing preventing the depression from taking her back down into despair and as much as she fought with her demons, right at this moment she needed him to be strong for her. She needed him to take her into his warmth and hold her until the images had faded away.
Shuffling closer, she closed the distance, her fingers caressing his shirt clad arms, willing him to wake up and hold her. Closing her eyes, she took the warmth emanating from his body into her own, his heated closeness comforting her in the shadows that Lurie had created.
Grissom instantly opened his eyes when Sara touched him and rolled onto his back then turned to face her. "Hey," he whispered with a sleepy smile.
"Hey," she whispered, her voice laced with guilty relief.
Grissom yawned loudly and lifted one of his hands to her face to brush his fingers along her cheek before turning his wrist to take a look at his watch. "Wow," he mused, "we've been asleep for three hours."
Sara nodded silently as she snuggled into his side, drawing warmth from his body. Grissom waited for her to find a comfortable position before slipping his arms around her shoulders, pulling her closer. "Did you get much sleep?"
"A little," she whispered, hoping he would accept her answer without his worried questioning, but when silence greeted her she found herself immersed into her own insecurities and lifted her head to look at him. She needed his voice as much as she needed him. "Grissom?"
"Talk to me."
Grissom smiled and leant over to place a soft kiss on her head. "Honey, I am talking to you."
"No—I mean…" Shaking her head she tried not to think how ridiculous she must have sounded, even to him. "Doesn't matter."
Grissom spoke her name with such tenderness that she suddenly found herself gazing into the blue intensity of his eyes. "Your voice…helps…when I…"
He knew what she meant the second she had asked him to talk to her. Reaching for her, he pulled her closer towards him, hoping that he could help to drive the remaining fears away.
As much as Sara wanted to forget about the past and everything that had happened to her, she still couldn't shake the remnants of what had originally driven Lurie to murder and kidnapping, and Grissom to love her.
"He told me I looked like her," she whispered softly, her voice cutting through the silence in the room, hoping he would understand that she needed to slay this particular demon before she could move on. "I saw a glimpse of her face when I was taking her toe prints, and although she looked similar—"
"She looked so much like you, Sara." Grissom's strangled voice caused her to look at him worriedly. "God, when I saw her…"
"Tell me about it," she asked him then, moving closer to him as she sought solace in his arms.
"It's not something I want to remember."
"Please Grissom, I need to know about her." Lifting herself up on one elbow, she gazed down into his eyes and chewed her bottom lip worriedly. "I need to know why a man who knew I wasn't who he thought I was, could do the things he did."
Closing his eyes briefly, Grissom opened the floodgates to his memories; ones that were only recently welded shut. He didn't want to remember the sheer panic that had flooded his veins when he'd seen Debbie Marlin lying in a pool of her own blood. He didn't want to remember how his heart almost stopped beating when he stepped closer to the body and realized how much she looked like the woman who he had tried so hard not to fall in love with. He could remember, though, with perfect clarity, how he had forced himself to back away and search for Sara on the sidewalk, and his relief when he reassured himself that the woman lying dead on the floor wasn't his Sara, but a carbon copy shell of her.
"I felt as if my whole world had fallen apart…" Taking another breath Grissom opened his eyes and turned to look into her troubled eyes. Lifting a hand to her face, he cupped her cheek and watched mesmerized when she closed her eyes and leant into his touch. "I have never been so scared in all my life."
"But you didn't say anything—"
"How could I?" he asked softly. "I was trying not to fall apart and keep everything together. I was trying to deal with my own insecurities about loving you and being loved by you…and then I was confronted with a scene straight out of a nightmare…and I couldn't deal with it."
"I didn't know," she told him softly. "I heard you tell a stranger how you felt about me but when you couldn't tell me yourself…I started to think I'd imagined it all and maybe that you didn't feel anything for me after all."
"You didn't imagine it, Sara."
Laying back down onto his chest, she reached out to pull him closer to her. "I wish we could go back in time, before Lurie, before the depression and before the drinking."
"I know," he whispered as his fingers combed through her hair. "I wish I could shake the visions away, but when I think how close I came to losing you…"
"Would you have told me you loved me if Lurie hadn't…" her voice trailed off and she suddenly didn't want to know the answer to her own question. She didn't want to think about whether Grissom's feelings for her were brought on by his own guilt. Shaking her head against his chest she pushed herself away from him. "I need the bathroom."
"Sara…I…" He watched, suddenly numb, unable to move after her and tell her what she needed to hear. He'd accidentally brought back the barrier between them, his inexperience turning into disaster when he should have said something, anything to keep her from running away from him. But he watched her leave him, his voice mute as he fought to fix the damage he wished he could chase away with the right words.
The shower started inside the bathroom and Grissom didn't know if he was more relieved or afraid of the temporary separation. Sara needed his strength to overcome whatever she was going through and he needed hers, however little she was able to give him.
Sitting up, he placed his feet onto the floor and stood to his feet before leaving the safety of the bedroom. Sara had always been the only woman who could scare him to death, but over the time he'd known her he'd accepted that fear and learned from it. He loved her, and she'd been right to ask if he would have told her the truth if this whole nightmare wouldn't have happened. The only problem was that he didn't know the answer to that question himself yet.
Taking a tentative step towards the closed bathroom door, he reached up a hand and rapped his knuckles on the wooden obstacle that stood between him and her.
Sara heard his voice calling out to her above the spray of the water from the shower. She knew he was worried about her; she was worried about herself too. Nothing had ever left her so completely vulnerable before and she didn't know how to deal with it.
Her eyes slipped back to her own reflection in the steaming mirror above the sink. The woman staring back at her couldn't possibly be her. When had her eyes become so gaunt and pale?
The ugly bruises around her eyes and cheek bones had started to turn purple, and she was sure that if she wished hard enough then she could prove to herself that this wasn't real, that the pain she endured really didn't happen at all. If she could only wake up to find Grissom asleep beside her again, and then this image of herself would really be nothing but a bad dream.
"Sara…" Grissom called again, his voice breaking through the fear inside her. His velvety voice terminated the worry in her eyes for a few precious seconds and she found herself transported away from here, but when he called out her name again, the worry in his voice brought everything back again.
She couldn't answer him, she didn't know how to. How could anyone stand to look upon her when she looked so battered? She now knew why he couldn't make love to her before. She was damaged goods, someone else's cast offs. Why would he settle for her when he could have so easily settled for someone else?
Lady Heathers image found its way into her mind but she shut it off immediately. Sara hated feeling like this. This battered, insecure shell of a woman wasn't her, it couldn't be. Taking a deep breath she tried not to let her self doubt convince her of things that maybe never happened between Grissom and Heather.
Letting her eyes fall from the mirror, she gazed upon her bare arms with sickening guilt. She hadn't fought Lurie, she hadn't yelled, screamed or tried to stop him. She had been frozen in a mixture of fear and disbelieving and now he was haunting her, leaving his essence behind.
She could still feel his acid touch; his loathsome feel lingering over her skin like some sick disease. Maybe if she were cleansed of him then maybe his presence would fade away. She had to try. Grissom's love wasn't enough to erase him from her memories; she had to eradicate him from her body as well.
Turning away from the sink, she pulled her clothes away from her body to leave a trail behind her. Pulling open the shower curtain she stepped inside, ignoring the pain from her healing wounds as the hot water hit them.
Picking up the sponge she poured shower gel over the surface until it was dripping over the edges, leaking down onto the water tray beneath her feet. Sara threw the near empty bottle into the pooling water below and started scrubbing her skin, harder and harder until she could see her flesh growing red beneath the soap covering her arms.
Grissom was becoming worried and reached down to turn the handle. "Sara, I'm gonna open the door."
He was met with silence that only served to make him more anxious. Gulping down his fears, he turned the handle and slowly opened the door. "Sara…honey, are you okay?"
Steam engulfed him when he stepped inside, billowing around him like a foggy cloud. "Sara?"
When she failed to answer him, he moved further into the room trying to find her through the clammy haze. He called her name again, hoping to quell the fear that still lingered inside him.
It took a few moments for his eyes to find her through the fog, but when he eventually did the sight that greeted him caused him to lose his breath. Sara stood beneath the water, scrubbing her skin until it was red raw. The image broke his heart.
"God, Sara," he whispered helplessly while she scoured herself beneath the hot sprays of water.
"I want him off me," she growled angrily, acknowledging his presence without looking towards him. "He's all over me—help me get him off…"
"Sara stop it," Grissom urged anxiously as he grabbed a towel from the rail and moved towards her. "You're hurting yourself."
"I'm getting what I deserve."
"No…" Grissom's voice died in his throat and he suddenly didn't know what to do. Here was the woman he loved, making herself bleed through her own self punishment but he didn't know how to stop her.
Sara reached for another bottle of shower gel and shook it violently until half of it had emptied out onto her sponge and hands before discarding the bottle along with the others. Her mind urged her on, convincing her that she was purifying herself of Vincent Lurie.
Grissom couldn't take any more. Opening the towel wide, he stepped up closer to her so that the water from the shower covered half of his shirt. He reached inside to turn off the burning hot sprays that scolded her pale skin. Wrapping the towel around her body he pulled her away from the sprays, tightening his hold on her when she started to struggle against him.
"Stop…please…stop…" he urged, holding onto her while she still fought him. He wanted her to stop hurting like this, he wanted her to be the Sara he'd fallen in love with all those years ago, but more than that, he wanted her to feel safe again.
Her sudden sobs cracked his heart in two and he began to rock her from side to side, whispering words of loving reassurance into her hair. Nothing could had prepared him for the complete devotion he was feeling and he knew, no matter what it was going to take to help her through this nightmare, he was willing to do it.
"It's going to be okay, Sara," he whispered softly as he rocked her. "We'll get through this."
Sara nodded against him as she hiccupped into his chest. She wanted to believe him, and in some ways she did, but there was still that small part within her that reigned in chaos.
Grissom's arms slowly started to loosen their hold on her and she felt him trying to lead her away from the steam filled room. She resisted him at first, but only until she could regain her bearings and take control of the darker side within her.
Grissom focused on her bare feet, watching each foot moving in turn. His mind chanted with every movement—'left… right… left… right.'
He knew he should say something to her, something that could be construed as his total confidence in knowing what he was doing. But he didn't know anything, not when it came to helping her. He just hoped she wouldn't see through his façade and see just how scared he actually was.
When they left the bathroom, Grissom could almost hear his chest sighing in relief. He carefully lifted his other arm around her shoulder and guided her back towards her bedroom, one step at a time.
Leading her over to the bed, Grissom eased her down onto the mattress and watched silently when she hung her head, unable to look at him.
He didn't know much about women, which was something that would almost certainly never change. But Gil Grissom knew Sara. Taking a step closer towards her, he sank slowly to the floor so that he was kneeling in front of her.
"Sara," he whispered croakily as he took her hands gently into his own. "I can't even begin to imagine what it was like for you…but I need you to know that I will always be here for you."
"Even now?" Her voice was so soft that Grissom almost didn't hear it. He watched her in awe as she lifted her head slightly, enough so that he could see into her eyes.
Grissom gulped visibly, his feelings for Sara were both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. When his eyes met hers, it was as if the floodgates of knowledge began to open and he suddenly knew what he had to do.
Lifting up on his knees, he reached up to gently brush a stray strand of hair away from her eyes. "Especially now."
"I know I can't help you with some of the things that you need to talk through, but I can help with the other things." His hand cupped her cheek tenderly as he spoke, and he was more relieved than any words could convey when she didn't shy from his touch.
"I'm stuck, Grissom," she rasped out slowly, her visible turmoil shining from her eyes. "He still holds onto me, and nothing I do will make him go away…"
"We'll make him stop, Sara…I promise you that no matter what happens, we'll make you forget he ever existed."
"How can we?" she asked desperately. "He's there when I sleep, when I look at myself in the mirror, when I wake up…tell me how to cleanse myself and I will…"
Grissom squeezed her fingers gently and lifted them slightly so that she focused on their joined hands. "This is how…"
At first she didn't quite understand his meaning, but something in his eyes made everything become so much clearer. He loved her, and no matter how bad life became in the future, he would still love her. The nagging doubts that she was the only woman he loved still kept her chained, but she fought them back and focused on him.
Grissom moved up to sit beside her on the bed and pulled her into a gentle embrace. "Don't tell anyone, but so am I."
"I won't tell," she whispered with a small smile as she leant into him.
"Nick is going to be here soon," he told her. "Do you want me to tell him you're resting?"
"No…I mean…" closing her eyes, she shook her head to try and ease the mugginess away before finally admitting something that she never thought she would. "I think… I need help."
"Then you'll have it." Grissom kissed her forehead gently as he stood up to find her some cooling cream for the red patches she'd inflicted upon her skin. "Don't worry about anything, okay?"
Sara watched on quietly as he left the room, and suddenly felt as if she had been abandoned. Pulling the towel closer around her body, she stood up on wobbly feet and started to walk towards the open bedroom door.
Making her way through to the living room, she expected to find him busily searching through her cupboards for ointments but he wasn't doing anything. He stood motionless in the middle of her room. Taking another step closer, she started to reach for him, but suddenly stopped when she heard a soft shudder emanating from him.
"Oh…" he reached up to wipe the wetness from his face before turning to face her. "I thought you were going to stay in the bedroom."
"I wanted to come out here," she told him as she stepped closer to him. "What's wrong?"
"Wrong?" he asked, as if her question was some kind of ruse. "Nothing."
Sara regarded him carefully and felt the huge wall of guilt rise up inside her chest. She had once again caused him pain, and he was the last person in the world that she ever wanted to hurt. "God, I'm so sorry," she told him softly, choking through the lump in her throat. Pulling the towel closer around her body, she took a step towards him, aching for his arms to claim her. "I'm so sorry."
Grissom pulled her close to his chest and wrapped his arms around her. His own emotions were already overwhelming. He tried so hard to push them away but he couldn't seem to do it.
"Shhh," he whispered into her hair, his own voice cracking as he spoke. "It's okay."
"No it's not," she sniffed, burying herself further into his embrace. "I did this to you, it's my fault."
Grissom pulled away slightly so that he could look down into her haunted eyes. There was still something buried deep down inside her, something that she wasn't telling him. Her eyes bore her sorrow, and even though he didn't want to think of all she had been through, he couldn't help but think that this unhappiness was seeping out from some other misery. "No, nothing is your doing Sara, don't ever think that." He told her softly, hoping his reassurance would chase her demons away.
"I don't ever want to hurt you, Gil. I…"
"You haven't." He pulled her back to his chest and kissed her forehead gently as he spoke. "I can't bear to see you like this. I feel so useless, I don't even know how to help you."
"You are helping me," Sara told him as she pulled away from his embrace to take a hold of his hand. "I can't get through this mess without you."
"You won't have to, Sara," he told her softly as he sniffed back the emotion in his eyes. "I'm in this for as long as you need me."
"Only for as long as I need you? What if I'll always need you?" She asked cautiously, her eyes dropping down to their interwoven fingers.
Grissom watched her in awe. Sara Sidle was the most amazing woman he had ever met and to have her love was the one thing he thought he would never have. Now that she was here, showing him how wonderful life could be, he knew he would never let anything come between them.
"Then, I will be the happiest man alive," he told her huskily.
Sara's head snapped up as she tried to read his eyes. The love she saw emanating from his deep blue orbs gave her hope for the answers that she had so desperately craved. If anyone could help her erase her past and chase away the memories, it was him.
Lifting his hand to her lips she pressed a soft kiss into his palm and tried to stop the flow of tears that had once again welled up inside her eyes. "I hope you believe me…I really do love you."
Grissom's eyes closed briefly when she whispered those beautiful endearments. He could never tire of hearing her say she loved him. Those three simple words had a power all of their own and every time she uttered them, he felt another year lifting from him.
Opening his eyes again, he reached out to pull her back into his embrace. "I'll never tire of hearing you say them."
"I love you," she whispered, kissing his chin gently before tracing her lips further towards his lips. "I love you. I love you…"
The words disappeared when she kissed him, sealing their love together in an unspoken action of total commitment.
Grissom could have so easily let her take over his body, her lips demanding more from him than kisses, but still he held back for fear of acting upon their passion too soon.
Breaking the kiss, he held her close to him while he caught his breath. "Nick will be here soon."
Sara tried to conceal the disappointment in her eyes, but she couldn't. She wanted his love in every possible way, and even though she could feel his own body's readiness, it didn't stop her worries from taking over her mind. If only he would make love to her and let her show him just how much she loved and needed him, then Heather would be nothing but a long distant memory.
"Hey," he smiled when she lowered her gaze from his. Tilting her head upwards with his fingers so he could look into her eyes, he shook his head slightly as he once again caught her lips with his own.
Sara stayed perfectly still, afraid to let herself be consumed by him incase he would pull away from her again. After a few blissful seconds, she realized that her body wasn't listening. Her hands started the slow trek up his body, devouring every part of him.
Her whole body started to tremble as she lifted her arms to encircle his neck, trying to ignore the burning pain that had began its searing ache along her side. Pulling back abruptly, she lowered her arm as slowly as she could; concentrating on easing the nauseating burning that had started to consume her.
"Sara?" Grissom asked worriedly when her face became sickly white. "Honey, are you okay?"
"My arm," she moaned, her voice a soft whimper as she moved to sit down onto her couch.
Grissom shook his head worriedly. He'd known she wasn't ready for anything beyond kisses yet. He should have stopped the kiss before it had begun, but he couldn't bear to see the loss in her eyes. Moving forward, he sat down onto the couch beside her and rubbed a soothing hand across her back. "You can't have any more meds for another hour," he told her sympathetically. "I'm sorry, honey, I shouldn't have pushed you."
"You didn't push me," she told him quietly as she leaned into his side. "If this damn arm hadn't started hurting…"
"Your arm hurting is the sign that we should wait," he told her. "You aren't fully healed yet."
"I don't want to wait," she told him quickly. "I've waited enough."
"So a little longer won't make any difference." He couldn't help but smile when her lips pouted, totally unimpressed by his amusement. "I'm not going anywhere."
"You might—"shaking her head, she bit down on her lip nervously as she cursed herself for opening the floodgates to a conversation she was sure neither of them were ready for. "Never mind."
"You're scared I'm going to leave you?" he asked incredulously. How could she ever think that? He loved her.
"I'm sorry, ignore me…my arm's sore…" Pushing herself away from him she started to get up from the couch until he stopped her.
"Sara, talk to me."
There had been so many things that Sara had once feared, but none of those things could ever compare to losing him forever. She couldn't shake the rumours from her mind that he'd slept with Lady Heather no matter how many times she had tried to. What if it was true? What would happen to them?
His voice caused her whole body to tremble. Part of her wanted to hear the truth, but the other part didn't. Sitting back into the couch she closed her eyes briefly before she thought about what to say.
"I never slept with Hank. I know I told you that already, but I want you to know."
"Sara, what's this all about? Do you really think that anything would change between us even if you had slept with him? The past is where it should be, left in the past." Leaning in closer to her, he combed his fingers through her hair as he tried to pour some reassurance into her trembling body.
"Do you love me?" Her voice shook as she spoke, and as much as she tried to stop it, she couldn't.
"What? You know I do…"
"How long, what?" he asked in confusion.
"How long have you loved me?" she asked softly. "When did you know?"
Grissom drew out a long breath before he could answer her question. He had no idea why she was suddenly so insecure of his feelings for her. They had both come so far but now it just seemed they had taken a massive step backwards. "I can't remember a time when I haven't loved you."
Sara's eyes snapped to his. Maybe the rumours were just that; rumours, and there was no truth to them at all. His answer wasn't one she had been expecting, but it filled her with a warmth that consumed her. "Me too."
"I remember the first time I saw you," he smiled. "You were so young…"
"So were you," she told him as she snuggled into his side, aching for his warmth as well as his love.
"You were amazing and our long conversations left me wondering how I could possibly go on without you." Placing his arm around her shoulders, he waited for her to find a comfortable position. "Arm okay?" he asked.
"Still sore, but it's fine." She looked up into his eyes and smiled. Lady Heather's presence had briefly evapourated into the back of her mind, but she still lingered there, taunting. She wanted so much to ask him outright about her, but she was still afraid of what his answer would be. So instead she chose to sit beside him in a comfortable silence and enjoy the feeling of him close by.
"I think I knew, when you wanted to leave." Grissom's voice broke through her thoughts and she turned to look up towards him. "I didn't know what to do. I thought I was going to lose you."
Sara watched him silently. For so long now she had started to believe that he would never love her in the way that she wanted. When she'd given him her leave of absence papers, she hadn't been thinking of anything except putting some distance between them, but she had always known that leaving him behind could never have been an option.
"You couldn't lose me," she whispered. "Even if you didn't have any feelings for me at all, I can't help it. I can't remember a time when I didn't love you, and there's been so many times when I wished I could have turned those feelings off, but I can't."
Grissom's hand stilled on her back as he thought about what she was trying to tell him. There was still something holding her back and keeping her from believing that she was the only woman for him. "When did you want to turn them off?"
Sara shook her head slightly and closed her eyes. She wanted to release the burden that she carried. She wanted to believe him when he told her he would never leave. But what if she could never measure up?
"Are the rumours true about you and…" her voice trailed off, unable to utter the other woman's name. She still felt so vulnerable and caught up in Heathers shadow. Before Lurie she had been tough and self reliant, but now, no matter how many people reassured her that she hadn't changed in their eyes, she knew their words were only meant to keep her safe. She had changed, and not for the better.
Grissom froze, suddenly everything became clear. Sara's self doubt and her need to make love. She wasn't only trying to prove to herself that he did love her; she was trying to prove to herself that she was the only one in his life.
"You don't have to worry about her, Sara. I'm here, exactly where I want to be."
"I asked you before if you'd have told me you loved me if Lurie hadn't…if he hadn't done this to me…" she looked down at her body in disgust as she spoke. "I've tried to get you to notice me for so long, and then suddenly you do, and I'm so confused…" Pulling away from him she moved off of the couch and stood to face him. "Heather's a beautiful woman and I'm…I'm nothing."
"I'm a mess. I don't have anything. All I do is work…and I couldn't even commit to a relationship with another man because I loved you. Even when I heard that you'd slept with another woman, I still couldn't sleep with him. I'm pathetic." She started to pace as she spoke, her words turning into rants as she unleashed her fears in a barrage of words that wouldn't stop. "Then a nurse dies and she could be my twin and I can't understand why you won't let me anywhere near you… then I hear you tell someone that you can't risk anything for me…and then I start to think that maybe I'm going nuts because I think I see love in your eyes for a few seconds and then it's replaced with contempt."
Grissom got to his feet and took hold of her shoulders to stop her from pacing. "Sara…"
Sara dropped her eyes to his chest and didn't stop the tears from falling as she whispered the words that she had wanted to say to him for so long. "You tell me you love me but I don't know if it's me who you really want."
Grissom stopped moving. He hadn't been prepared for this. Had his brief encounter with Heather really caused so much damage? Lifting her chin with his finger, he sought her eyes with his own tear filled ones. "I wish I could take it all back, Sara. It was never something I intended to happen but I thought I'd lost you, and I needed something to make the pain go away."
"Do you love her?"
"What? No…I never did…it's always been you." Reaching out, he pulled her into his aching body and let her sobs seep into him. He wished he could erase the last few months and convince her that she was the only woman he had ever fallen so deeply in love with.
Sara sank into his embrace and let her tears flow when she felt his arms surround her. She was exhausted. Every ounce of pain and misery that she had endured over the last year from Grissom's sleeping with another woman and her suffering at the hands of Vincent Lurie, seemed to pour out with every tear that fell from her eyes and into Grissom's shirt.
His hands and the sweep of his fingers over her back and shoulders demonstrated his feelings of love and his devotion for her.
"We're gonna make it through this, Sara," he whispered into her hair, his own tears moistening her silken strands. "I wish you'd have told me about this sooner."
"I know. I'm so sorry I made you feel that I didn't care about you." He tightened his hold as her bloodied image found its way into his mind. "I never wanted Heather, Sara. Please believe me."
"I want to. I really want to." She shook her head against his chest and clung to him. "I only hope you can forgive me."
"Forgive you? I'm the one who should be asking that of you." His hands combed through her hair as he spoke, his warmth enveloping her in his healing cocoon. "I was so stupid, Sara. I should have told you how I felt about you before I let it come to this."
"I'm sorry for being a whiney pain in the butt," she whispered, her tears turning to laughter as the words slipped from her lips.
"I don't care if you're whiney or a pain in the butt," he told her with a smile. Moving back slightly he looked down into her eyes. "Promise me that you'll ask me about stuff that's bothering you before you convince yourself of things that will never happen?"
She nodded silently and laid her head into his shoulder. "Will you come with me when I see the shrink?"
"The correct term is a psychiatrist, honey," he grinned, leaning down to kiss her forehead. "You know I'll go with you."
"What about work? What if I can't do it anymore?" she pulled his body closer to her as she wrapped her arms around his torso. "What if I've lost everything?"
"One step at a time," he told her in a whisper. "Let's worry about work when we've sorted out everything else, okay?"
Sara pulled out of his arms slowly and linked her hands with his as she stood back to look at him. His watery smile left her short of breath and she still marveled at how he was still capable of bringing her to a standstill. His touch healed her in so many more ways than anything else ever could. She looked upon him now not as the man who had been so unattainable in the past, but as the man she knew had taken her heart so many years ago.
"You should go and put some clothes on," he told her softly as he eyed the damp towel that barely covered her body. "I'm sure Nick would probably enjoy the view, but I'm not so sure I'd like to see him enjoying you."
She looked down at her own towel clad body then back up into his eyes. "I'm sorry I've been so hard to be with…"
"It doesn't matter now, honey," he told her as he lifted a hand to her red inflamed arm. He traced the blemishes with his fingers, willing the pain to leave her body and bring her back to some kind of peace. She needed to feel his love and support for her more than ever now. "I'll find you something to put on your arms."
"No. I think I'll leave it as it is." She met his worried gaze and offered him a small smile. "I need to feel the pain. Pain keeps me grounded."
"I won't let you slip away, Sara."
Sara nodded silently, her eyes filling with the ever present tears that she had so often shed over the last few months. "Then, hang on to me, Grissom. Don't let me fall, okay?"
"I won't…I promise. We're going to work through this and we're going to get back everything we've lost."
"I'll need you when Lurie…" she stopped and shook her head, determined not to let the mere mention of his name encompass her any more. Squeezing his hand, she hoped her touch told him everything she was trying to convey to him. "When it goes to court and I have to testify…I'll need to know that I have this to come back to."
"You'll always have this, Sara."
His words of so long ago now echoed in her mind and she was tempted to repeat them to him, just as a reminder of the events that sent her world spiraling out of control. But she didn't.
"I know what to do about this now, Sara," he told her softly, his smile indicating that he knew exactly what she was thinking. "I couldn't do it then, but I can do it now…I don't want to risk losing you again."
Sara's doorbell rang with a loud hum and the moment between them faded away. Sara smiled at him before giving his hand a final squeeze, then slipped away from him and back into her bedroom.
Grissom watched her go, already missing her closeness. There would be trials to test her along the way and the next few months would bring them both to near breaking point, but now, it didn't scare him as much as it once would have.
The door bell rang again bringing him out of his musings, and he turned away from her vacated space to make his way towards the door where Nick was waiting. Life would return to somewhere near normal soon, he knew it, but until then, he would give her everything he had to give, because he loved her…