Holding Onto Hope By Gabby Castillo

Author's note: Hola everyone! This is response to last nights episode, "Mea Culpa." I loved it, I hated it. Great ep, lots of great acting, but I hated the end. :: SPOILER WARNING :: I don't wanna see the team broken up (although I could live just fine without Catherine, lol, j/k). So, like I said, this is my response. What did Grissom do after he left Nick and Warrick at the diner. Enjoy!

Spoilers: Yes, for Mea Culpa. Do not read if you don't wanna be spoiled!

Disclaimer: CSI does not belong to me. :: tear ::

……….

Grissom stepped into his townhouse, throwing his keys carelessly on the table next to the door. He slipped off his shoes, leaving them on the floor where he had taken them off, something he hadn't done in a long time. He walked into the kitchen, squinting his eyes as the sunlight filtering through the window assaulted them. He had already been fighting back a migraine; the sun was doing nothing to help.

Grissom reached into the cupboard next to the refrigerator, pulling out a clear glass. Shoving it under the faucet, he turned the handle and swiped at his tired face as the cool, sparkling liquid filled the glass. He took a sip and leaned his forehead against his refrigerator, his eyes slipping shut and his breathing increasing. His heart pounded loudly in his ears, and Grissom could feel the increased pulse against his chest.

'I'm breaking up the team…,' Ecklie's words echoed through Grissom's head, causing a shudder to run down his spine.

"What did I do to deserve this?" Grissom whispered to the empty room.

'Was it the time you let Warrick keep his job after the whole gambling issue?' his mind asked, "Maybe the moment you shook Nick's hand when you first met him, that first time in the lab. Was it when you brought Sara to this God-forsaken city? Or maybe it was from the moment Ecklie laid eyes on you and decided that he would bring you down, no matter how long it took?'

Grissom's grip tightened on the glass, his eyes opening quickly. With one swift motion, the glass flew across the room, shattering in an array of water and glass shards against the wall, before falling to the floor. Grissom stared at the pieces as he leaned back against the fridge and slid to the floor himself. His head feel into his hands, he closed his eyes…

And for the first time in years, Gil Grissom cried.

……….

"Sara, it's Nick. Look, I don't know if you've heard or not, but some stuff went down today between Grissom and Ecklie and… well, maybe you could stop by Grissom's, get the story. Maybe check up on him. He… well, I'll let you hear it from him. Call me later, ok?"

Sara closed her phone and threw it into the seat next to her as she pulled into a parking space outside Grissom's townhouse. It had been at least the third time she had listened to Nick's message. The first time had been right after the call from Warrick, who had told her everything he knew. The team had been split up, Nick and him now reported to Catherine, Sara and Greg and some new chick reported to Grissom. He had told her goodbye, said to stay in touch, shared his hope that soon, hopefully, the team would be reunited. Sara had smiled and wished him luck then hung up to find she had a voicemail from Nick.

After hearing Nick's message, she decided it would be best to talk to Grissom. Sara had never liked being left in the dark; being out on a case when all this happened didn't help much either. She had expected a call from Grissom telling her himself what had happened, but as of yet, that hadn't happened. Warrick had expressed some worry about him, and her instincts had kicked in, driving her to make a quick stop by his place before returning to her own apartment.

Sara stepped out of her car and closed the door behind her as she started up towards Grissom's door. She bit her lip nervously as she raised her hand to knock on the door, but she paused when she heard glass shattering from within. Everything she had learned about self-defense kicked in, and she immediately grabbed the door knob, and twisted it, opening the door.

Swiftly and quietly she entered his townhouse, scanning the first room she entered for anything out of the ordinary. Seeing nothing, she slowly moved in further, softly shutting the door behind her. She stepped into the living room and stood still, taking in the neatness of it all, seeing nothing that looked even slightly out of place.

"Grissom?" she called out to the seemingly empty apartment.

Sara turned her head when she heard a soft thump coming from the kitchen. She moved slowly in that direction, peaking around the edge of the bar. She gasped when she saw Grissom, sitting on the floor, his head in his hands, his body shaking.

"Grissom!" Sara said as she ran over to him, falling onto her knees next to him.

A hand went to his shoulder, and he flinched under her touch. He slowly looked up at her, his eyes red and wet from crying, tears still running down his face. Sara reached up and touched his cheek, searching his eyes for an answer. He shook his head and fell against her, wrapping his arms around her waist, new tears soaking her shirt. It took her a minute to recover from the shock of his touch, but soon she slowly wrapped her own arms around his shaking form and held him there until the tears stopped flowing.

……….

"I still don't understand why he's doing this," whispered Grissom hoarsely as he sat on a stool at the bar, watching as Sara cleaned up the last of the broken glass.

"He's always gunned for you, Griss. He just needed the perfect excuse to bring you down," Sara said as she threw the last of the glass into the trashcan.

Grissom shook his head, "It's more then that, though. Everything in me tells me that this is wrong, that this is way too much. The punishment doesn't fit the crime."

Sara sat down next to him and stared at him, searching for the right answer, "Yeah… I agree. But this could only be temporary. Maybe Catherine won't live up to her duties as supervisor and they'll all be forced to come back."

Sara smiled at Grissom, trying to lighten up the mood. Grissom allowed himself a small smile and he nodded his head, "Maybe."

"Don't blame yourself for this, Grissom. Whatever you do, don't do that, ok? This is just Ecklie being stupid and malicious and whatever he's done now it's definitely not your fault."

Grissom shook his head, "But it is. I gave him a reason, I gave him everything he needed to do this, and you guys are being punished for it. He should have just fired me and been done with it."

"Griss…,"

"No, Sara. He used one oddity against me; a fingerprint that no one would have guessed would have turned up the way it did. He used that to open up an investigation on my team that was not necessary. He can open me up, ask me any question's he wants, pry and pick me apart, but the minute he did it to the rest of my team…"

"We all held strong, answered truthfully and stood up for you. You are a great supervisor, and not one of us questioned that. He only cared because he knew if the same thing happened with his team, they wouldn't have done the same."

"I don't know why you guys stood up for me. I don't even know why you're here now," said Grissom, looking at Sara.

"Because… someone helped me out of a rough situation before, they pulled me out of a nightmare. When I saw that same person in trouble, I came to repay the favor."

"You didn't have to do that," he whispered, looking down at the counter-top.

"I know that," she said, "but I wanted to."

Grissom looked up at her and smiled. Sara reached for his hand that sat on the counter-top, squeezing it tightly. Grissom looked down at they're joined hands, then back at her sparkling eyes.

"The team… we'll get through this. It might be rough for awhile, it won't be easy, but everyone of us is strong. We'll make it," said Sara.

Grissom leaned forward and kissed Sara's forehead, then leaned back and took her other hand.

"At least I still have you," he whispered.

Sara slipped her hands from his and cupped his face, leaning closer to him and softly laying her lips on his. She pulled away only slightly to whisper, "You will always have me."

They kissed again and he led her away from the bar, holding her hand in his. She had a point, she always did; it might be bad now, but it always got better. It had before, and each one of them had hope that it would happen again. Hopefully soon.