Privacy by SLynn
Disclaimer: It's all mine, because yeah, this is what I'd do with my free time if I actually owned these characters.
Chapter 32: Deserved
Two weeks had passed.
The weather had changed dramatically and spring was definitely in the air. Accordingly, as she did every year, Catherine held the first barbeque of the season.
All of night shift had been invited, along with their families. They always were. And, as had happened the last few years, everyone showed at one point or another.
"You know," Catherine observed in the kitchen a few hours into the party but still one hour before it was to officially begin, "I should have known you and Greg were together last year."
Sara looked up at her with an odd smile. It was an odd statement worthy of that look. Catherine hadn't mentioned the fact that Greg and her had hidden their relationship in the beginning since she'd un-expectantly found several months ago. They'd officially reached the one year mark about a month back and as Cath was now pointing out, last year they had been together, but no one had known it yet.
"How so?" Sara finally asked as she continued to chop vegetables for the salad.
"Well," Catherine explained, "Last year was the only time since we started this tradition that you showed up early and stayed until the end. Greg always has. I didn't think of it until now."
"Yeah well, we weren't always very discrete. I'm really shocked only two people did find out, well, until…"
Sara dropped it. She didn't like recalling anything about that time.
"I knew," Jacqui piped up taking another soda from the fridge.
"You did not," Catherine argued.
"Sure I did. Okay, I thought I knew. Greg may have been sick then, but he was so happy. Obviously in love. I worked next to him too long not to notice the subtle differences, like he was no longer hitting on anyone who would sit still long enough."
Sara and Catherine laughed at this. It was a pretty accurate description of the Greg that was.
The doorbell rang and Catherine left to answer it. Warrick beat her there with a smile but she stayed to greet the new arrivals.
"It's about time you two got here," Warrick greeted.
Amy walked in first, kissing him on the cheek by way of greeting. She and Warrick were much closer friends having spent that night in the hospital together waiting for the news on Nick. She felt much more at ease with him and he felt like he finally understood her.
"Cath said two," Nick argued, shaking Warrick's offered hand and gently maneuvering through the door so as not to hit his left side, "We're still early."
"You know how this thing goes."
Nick shrugged before Cath, who had already hugged Amy, caught him up in a gentler one.
"It's my fault," Amy offered, still holding on to the dish she'd brought, "I took the wrong exit. We practically had to circle Vegas to get back. I still don't know what I'm doing on that beltway."
"I wasn't going…"
"Yeah right. You were just waiting till I was out of the room to tell him," Amy cut Nick off mid sentence.
He gave her a smile, all but admitting it.
"Sara, Jacqui and I are in the kitchen," Catherine began, "As you can see Warrick has commandeered the living room and television along with Bobby here."
Bobby said hello to them both, rising and shaking hands with each.
"Greg and Gil are out back, attempting to start the grill. Nick, you might want to give them a hand."
"Well, I hope they only need one."
Amy and Nick followed her through the living room and into the kitchen. Nick stopped only to say hello to the ladies there before heading outside. Amy helped him with the door, he still wasn't getting around too well, and he kissed her quick before he was gone.
"Meeting of the minds?" Nick asked seeing both Greg and Grissom obviously confounded by something as simple as a gas grill.
"I give up," Greg said after looking it over once more, "Let's call for pizza because this thing is broke."
"You just don't know what you're doing."
"And you do?" Grissom asked.
"Yes," Nick answered confidently.
The first thing he did was pick up the tank and put it back down again.
"I told you that," Grissom said turning to Greg.
Greg shrugged and began to disconnect the old tank.
"I think Catherine keeps a spare in the garage," Grissom said, taking it from him and heading that way.
"I'd of figured it out," Greg tried.
Nick just nodded and laughed.
"How's the arm?"
"Not bad. I had to stop taking the pain meds. I couldn't stand the way they knocked me out. I'd rather have it ache then that."
Greg nodded in understanding.
"I trust Amy's taking good care of you."
"She is," Nick said smiling still. "It's nice having her around."
Greg smiled back at him, taking a seat on the nearby patio furniture. Nick followed suit. Grissom was obviously taking his time.
"So you two going to make that arrangement permanent?"
Nick didn't know what to say. The question sounded friendly enough, but sometimes it was hard to tell with Greg. He really did seem to have an honest protective streak about Amy and if Nick hadn't known better he'd of thought he was questioning his intentions with her.
Because of the shooting Amy had practically moved in with Nick to help him out. He really did need it since his left arm was going to be immobilized for another month but he was also glad to see so much of her.
"What do you mean, like move in or what?"
Greg looked behind him briefly; they had a pretty clear view of the kitchen from where they sat.
"I don't know. Moving in together is a start."
"Well, I'd be surprised if she wanted to stay after this things off, but I wouldn't mind if she did."
Greg smiled at him, hearing him loud and clear. Nick wasn't going to push it. They'd had a lot of ups and downs lately and he was glad they'd been on an up for so long. Amy had patched things up with her parents, let them know in no uncertain terms that not only was she staying in Vegas but she was staying with Nick as well. So far the truce had held.
"What about you and Sara?" Nick asked.
It was his turn to harass. As close as he was with Greg, he still felt that he needed to put himself out there a bit more for Sara. To be as protective of her as Greg was for Amy. It was hard to explain.
"What about us?" Greg countered.
"Come on, you two have been together over a year. You've bought a house together. It's got to be heading somewhere, right?"
Greg looked at him for a moment before once more looking behind him. He caught Sara's eye quite by accident, but they both smiled.
"It's not like I haven't tried."
Nick stared at him, unsure if he'd heard correctly.
"She doesn't want to get married."
"And you're okay with that?"
"I love her. I have to be."
The afternoon wore on and much food was consumed. Greg and Sara both worked that night so they ended up leaving a bit earlier then normal, just after eight.
Sara noted how silent Greg was but assumed he was just tired. They usually weren't awake all day like they had been and tonight was going to be a long one.
They got home and she checked the answering machine while he mechanically opened the fridge. Greg wasn't even hungry, it was just a habit. Shutting it again, he sat down and rubbed his eyes.
"I'm not going to make it through a complete shift," Greg sighed, "would you cover for me if I slept in the AV room?"
"No," Sara laughed, "because then I'll have no where to go."
"I'd make room for you."
"That's what we need," she smiled, "to get caught sleeping together in the lab."
Greg smiled back at her mischievously.
"Not the AV room. That's boring. The break room maybe. Or the locker room, that I can definitely…"
She slapped him lightly on the arm, stopping his train of thought.
"Sorry," she said sounding anything but.
He smiled at her still, enjoying the easy silence but after awhile it faded.
"What's wrong?" she asked, feeling it coming on.
"I don't know."
Sara continued to look at him and he continued to look away.
"I'm just… I don't know."
She sat staring at him for another half minute before he spit it out.
"It's Nick and Amy. I think Nick really wants to ask Amy to move in with him, you know, officially, but he's worried she'll say no."
"And this is what's bothering you?" Sara asked.
"Kind of," Greg said, looking down at his hands as he tore up a stray paper napkin. "I just, what would happen if she did say no? Would that be it or would they just go on like before? And if she did say no, how would he ever get the nerve to ask again?"
Sara studied him silently for a minute. Greg continued to not meet her gaze, blushing even, as he tore at the paper in his hands.
"Are we still talking about Nick and Amy?"
"Forget it," Greg said standing up and leaving the room.
"Greg," Sara called following him to their bedroom. "You weren't were you?"
Greg stopped before he'd gotten to the bathroom, not sure what to do next.
He turned around now and quickly dug something out of his side of the dresser before sitting on the bed. After a brief pause Sara joined him. Still silent, he looked at her once before depositing what he'd been holding into her hands.
"This isn't how I'd planned it," he said quietly. "But then again, I've been holding on to it for three months now so, I don't know, now or never right?"
Sara suddenly seemed to realize what exactly she was holding. As she did, she instinctively brought a hand to her mouth in shock. They'd talked about it, they'd talked plenty, but every conversation had ended with her saying she wasn't ready. She'd never understood until that moment just how serious those talks were for him.
She was clutching it now but couldn't bring herself to look inside.
Greg was watching her now, not sure what to think anymore. He gently removed the box from her hands and opened it for her.
"Looking won't obligate you," he managed with a smile. "I want you to have it, no matter what. I bought it for you."
Sara watched transfixed as he took it out of the box and held it out to her. It was nothing short of beautiful in her eyes. Simple but elegant, exactly the type of ring she'd of picked out herself.
"I can't help how I feel Sara," Greg began, his voice even but still full of emotion. He was sure of himself now, in ways he hadn't been before. Sure of what he meant. "I love you and I want to marry you."
Sara had never wanted to get married. She'd never seen a reason for it, never understood it. It probably had a lot to do with her own home life, her own parents, but she never allowed herself too much time to think about that. Regardless she had determined early on that she didn't need marriage, any part of it. That she didn't want it.
Thirty-three years had passed, each day reinforcing that sentiment inside of her. Each day making it grow. Until now.
Now she saw the reason. Saw it clearly reflected back to her in Greg's eyes. He needed her in ways she didn't understand and loved her in ways she'd never comprehend. And he wanted, more then anything, to marry her. To always be with her for no other reason then that she was who she was.
She'd been silent so long Greg almost put it away. He was on the verge of doing it when she stopped him and took the ring out of his hand.
"Okay," she said quietly, nodding her head slightly for emphasis but not able to look him quite in the eye. Her own were bright with unshed tears.
"Okay what?" he asked confused.
Now she did meet his eyes, tears slipping down her cheeks as she wore an odd smile.
"Okay. Yes I'll marry you," she said almost laughing at his sudden denseness.
"You know technically I didn't ask."
"Greg," she said warningly.
"I'm joking, of course I'm joking," he said wearing a huge grin as he fumbled to actually put the ring on her finger. "I should rush you off to an all night chapel to make sure you don't change your mind."
Sara put her hands on his face, noting now how close he looked to tears, before kissing him deeply.
"I'm not changing my mind," she said upon pulling back.
"Good," he said with an honest smile before pulling her back into another searing kiss, breaking again quickly. "We should call work."
Not willing to stop yet, she kissed him again, almost taking his breath away.
"We can tell them later," she managed, each word accented by her mouth on his.
"I know that," he supplied, getting away just long enough to say it before momentarily losing himself to her again.
"No," he said finally detaching himself from her, "I meant to tell them we'd be late."
Sara stopped and considered it. Her face was flushed. So was Greg's. Both of their breathing was a bit irregular.
"They'll figure it out," she said with a shake of her head before attaching herself to him again.
Greg smiled through her kisses as they fell back onto the bed. Nothing had ever felt more complete, more real or more right in his life until now. Best of all, it finally felt deserved.
A/N: Whew! It's over! Okay – thanks to everyone you read this monster (and the two before it) and especially everyone who took the time to review it. A lot of times you've helped me improve the story, grammar and content, and it's always nice to hear what people think of it even if they don't always like it.
A few notes: I have plans for a fourth. I can tell you the three things I know about it as of right now: 1) it'll deal with the case Greg and Nick picked up in ch 28 of this story. 2) there will be a wedding and 3) it will not be started until I finish 'The Body'. Of course, 3 is flexible since I said I wouldn't start 'The Body' until I finished this one, but 1 and 2 are firm.
Thanks and such:
white rose01 - glad you found the chapters real. I did really have him quit in the heat of the moment and now that this is over I can say why he needed that job so badly was because I'd always planned for Ortega to either confront or attack Greg and Nick on scene and if Greg wasn't working that would be hard to do! Do I dare say this… Nick and Amy are still going to have some problems ahead.
Duckie – Greg was my first favorite too! I'm a big Nick fan as well and just recently grew fond of Sara. It took awhile for me to warm up to her. Actually, I like everyone on that show now, except Ecklie. I even like Hodges, somewhere deep, deep down. :)
GottaGetGreg - I still really like Nick and Amy, but I'm trying to write it that they still don't know each other that well, it's not like they are Greg and Sara who have known each other for years before getting involved. Make any sense?
Grrlnorth – thanks for the advice throughout and the intro on LJ, I obviously kept my sappy ending! Oh and the porny thoughts still makes me laugh!
Fwe – who tireless reviews every chapter! Thanks and thanks again.
tabbi – I did look up all sorts of stalking laws and it's kind of scary what you can get away with. The thing I wrote about the photographs is true. Anyone can photograph you at any time and as long as they are on public property, even if they're using like super quality telephoto lens to looking into your house, it's legal. Scary.
Katie – I'm glad you like my twisted imagination!
BeyondMyStar – you know I never explained why Griss was so sure it wasn't Archie or Hodges doing it, but I just felt he'd never think that of someone in his lab, that he was protective of his people like that. I really had to think through that bruise thing, glad you liked it!
Tripp3235 – Same response as I gave BeyondMyStar, I kind of assumed Grissom would defend anyone working for him until he had proof. I'm going to try branching out and doing more Sara POV in the future. I couldn't resist not taking your advise and having Sara have an almost encounter with her. I think it's just you and me on the Sophia's an alright gal train. :)
ichigatsu– Thanks for the help! I do appreciate people pointing out my mistakes even if I am slow to fix them. It makes me try harder each time I sit down to not keep making them. my original 'jump the shark' fix for Greg to get his job back was that the entire thing was a set up. That Greg was only supposed to get everyone to believe he quit in order to draw out who was harassing him and Sara, but ultimately that didn't work. I like how it did.
ThreeDollarBill - I'll take the Ecklie portrayal as a big compliment because I've only seen about five episodes with him in it. I started CSI late!
Emmithar - After all the trouble it took to get him rehired, from my perspective at least, I'm never letting him quit again! Seriously, I've been trying to write Greg as growing in confidence throughout the last three of these stories, not just at work but personally as well.
Two Dollahs - I hate it when the chapters don't show but I really don't know how to fix it. :(
Jen – I thought I was making Ecklie too nice as well.
Jewelbaby - I pledge to never, ever, kill off a main character in my CSI fics!
miss-andromache – everyone knew it was Ortega! Originally it was going to be the reporter, but he was just swarmy, not insane. :) my next story will have as much, if not a bit more, Nick and Amy then this one. I still haven't thought up one that's based entirely on them…sorry.
carolann – the next installment will have lots more information on what exactly was found at that scene.
Vanessa – Yeah! At least I had someone going:) It did start off that she was just going to be mean, but I realized she wasn't just mean but hostile.