Don't Leave Home

By Miss Jazz

Category: Angst/Romance, GSR

Rating: PG

Summary: Now here he was, on his knees in the desert, desperately wishing that he could take back his harsh words and take Sara into his arms and love her the way he had always wanted to.

Spoilers: Something small from Scuba Doobie Doo but I think that's it! The story is set after Mea Culpa but before Snakes and Nesting Dolls.

Disclaimer: A rhyming couplet: CSI does not belong to me. It belongs to the powers that be.

The heat was more than intense and Grissom could only watch helplessly as Sara tore off in the direction of her Tahoe, tears streaming down her flushed cheeks.

It only took five seconds for Gil Grissom's world to fall apart. There was a stifled cry. Then the piercing slam of her vehicle's door. The glaring roar of the engine. Loud music. Thick, billowing clouds of dust. And then nothing but the Nevada desert, extending for miles and miles into the distance until it met the rising sun and the deep blue sky. His heart thumping wildly in his chest, Grissom stared into that shadowy distance, his eyes searching, his knees trembling.

Come back, Sara. Talk to me. Trust me, he called out to her silently. But Sara was already out of sight and only the echo of her painful words remained.

"Well, I'm sorry for caring, Dr. Grissom." A tear had fallen."I'm sorry for ever giving a damn!"

Grissom's sweat turned icy cold as Sara's voice rumbled through his consciousness and he shuddered, remembering the pain and frustration in Sara's soft, delicate features. Her face had been so twisted in anger and her eyes so empty and cold, all their usual warmth washing away, flowing quickly, steadily. He could still see her tear-stained face. He could still hear her words. He could still hear his words. He could still feel the pain. He couldn't breathe–it hurt too much.

Oh God. Grissom dropped to his knees beside his field kit, staring at his hands. What have I done?

His body remained rigid but his mind moved a mile a minute and he silently analyzed his inappropriate behaviour. I was unreasonably harsh, unpleasant, unfair, undeniably inconsiderate and unbelievably awful in so many ways–I deserved every word she said. The guilt washed over him, surging through his body and seeping all the way into his bones. He was sweating profusely from both heat and shame but he managed a few unsteady breaths. His tired eyes wandered along the sand until his gaze fell unceremoniously upon a large, familiar object. Grissom suddenly felt as if he were going to be sick to his stomach. The shovel.

Sara had used that shovel for hours, carefully digging into the earth, searching for buried clues and not finding a single one. Now it stood upright, firmly anchored where she had driven it into the ground with incredible force. Grissom closed his eyes, remembering how she had proceeded to throw off her gloves and then how she had turned to face him, shaking, staring deeply into his eyes. They had spent hours and hours digging, searching for any evidence all, sweating away the early morning hours, tiring and finding nothing. He had never been so discouraged or so demanding. He had never been so disgusted with himself or his abilities. He had never been so sharp with her or so inconsiderate. He had never been so wrong.

Forgive me.

She was right all along. He should have taken a break. He should have taken a few minutes to collect himself, to clear his head, as she often put it. Sara's voice had been so gentle even though she was so visibly upset and she had been persistent, her body stiff with frustration and her smile absent. But she was always gentle, always kind to him. She always offered to take a walk with him when things became too stressful and she was always there to make sure he had the help and support he needed. He loved the way she supported him and he had always been grateful but today–he had punished her for it. He had taken his own frustration out on her and ignoring all the deep feelings he had for the beautiful, younger woman, he had treated her like she meant nothing at all to him.

Miss Sidle. He had called her that and his tone was very sharp when he did it, his words loud and unforgiving. He had accused her of doubting his abilities, even though he was full of doubt himself, and Grissom knew right at the time that he crossed a line but he hadn't been prepared to see Sara melt in front of him. Her first tear had sent his heart plummeting to depths previously unheard of and by the time she started to shake, his world had already stopped turning. It was ironic–the only time he was able to find his words while in her presence and he used them to hurt her. But he had only ever wanted to do the exact opposite.

Now here he was, on his knees in the desert, desperately wishing that he could take back his harsh words and take Sara into his arms and love her the way he had always wanted to. But he had pushed her away and he knew that he deserved to be all alone and full of regret. It hurt to know that he had caused her pain and it hurt when he realized that he didn't even have her as a friend anymore. Perhaps now he wouldn't have her in any way at all. Perhaps he really would be alone forever.

There was a hesitant cough from somewhere close by and Grissom paused, his rapid thoughts screeching to a halt. He lifted his head quickly and found himself staring up at a familiar face, one that was full of questions. "Uh, Grissom?"

Greg. He had forgotten about Greg. Greg had been there too. He was still there. And he clearly didn't want to be. Grissom had been so absorbed in his thoughts that he had convinced himself that he was alone. He sure felt like it. But Greg was indeed still there, trying not to glare at his supervisor and failing miserably. He paced back and forth in the sand, surrounding himself in a thick cloud of dust, just like the one Sara's Tahoe had created.

Stop it, Greg. Grissom gritted his teeth. I feel bad enough already.

Grissom studied the pained look on the Greg's face, realizing that he probably hurt him too. The younger man looked at him both angrily and quizzically, his hands clenched and his face red in the mounting heat. He was obviously doing his very best tosilently stand up for Sara. At least Greg has been there for her, Grissom thought, feeling both guilty and grateful. Greg was a loyal friend, someone Sara could trust and confide in and Grissom, as much as he tried to ignore his feelings, was jealous of their growing relationship. It hurt to know that Sara could no longer trust him and his outburst had only made everything ten times worse.

"Why are you still here, Greg?" Grissom asked dryly. His voice was almost inaudible and he wore a blank expression, staring straight ahead into the desert morning. He couldn't help but wonder why anyone would stick around, especially after what he had done.

Greg sighed and then took a breath, trying to calm himself. "Uh, well–my ride just left. And rather promptly, may I add." The young CSI quickly bit his lip and winced, his eyes widening as if he were suddenly aware of the tone he had just used with his supervisor.

Grissom wasn't quite sure if he had ever seen Greg without his usual wit and charm. He certainly had never seen him so angry. Grissom just nodded passively, acknowledging the blunt comment and then he continued to stare, watching Greg pace uneasily, wondering if he would finally leap into the long, stinging lecture that Grissom knew he deserved. But instead of speaking, Greg just came to an awkward stop in front of his supervisor and eyed the shovel that Sara had angrily driven into the earth. Grissom followed his gaze and then nodded again, slowly, clearly reading Greg's bitter thoughts.

"I know," he mumbled. "I dug my own hole–and it's a deep one." I've been digging this hole for years. Grissom took a deep breath, feeling absolutely sick. He pulled his tired body up from the ground, dragging himself into a standing position, rocking slightly to one side. He stood in front of Greg, defeated, his head bowed and his heart still racing.

Greg stared at him sullenly, his eyes full of disbelief. "God, Grissom," he muttered nervously. "She looks up to you." Then he sighed and lowered his voice. "We all do."

Greg's words went straight to Grissom's heart and the impact was devastating. Sara looks up to me. He knew that for sure. Greg looks up to me. Confirmed. So what should I do now? He had no idea. Get Sara back, somehow. Get over yourself and tell her how you feel. He swallowed the lump in his throat and steadied himself. "Can I fix this, Greg?"

"I don't know, Grissom," Greg replied honestly, without missing a beat. "She's going through some stuff right now."

Grissom didn't reply. Instead, he gathered up the evidence, the little bit they had managed to collect, and then he picked up his kit and put it in the backseat of his Tahoe. Grissom remained completely silent as he finished up at the scene and Greg seemed to be doing the same, keeping himself at a distance, stealing only a glance or two at Grissom's flushed face.

When Grissom fumbled back to his vehicle, he was feeling still feeling the intense heat, as well as all the pain he had caused. "Get in the truck, Greg," he instructed, his voice full of emotion. Greg did as he was told and Grissom wasted no time driving back to the lab. He dropped Greg and the evidence off with an apology and then headed over to Sara's apartment, praying that he would finally find the right words, praying that he wasn't too late.

Grissom's whole body was shaking when he knocked on Sara's door.

Please be here, Sara. Please be safe. Please talk to me. Please give me another chance.

His heart leaped when the door opened slowly and then rapidly plummeted when he saw Sara standing before him, still red, still trembling. Her hand clasped the doorknob uneasily and she wouldn't meet his gaze. Instead, her eyes lingered on the floor and then along the base of the door–the door that she could close at any time. Grissom knew that she could shut him out and he winced slightly at the thought, praying that he wouldn't feel the door rapidly connect with his nose. He was aware that she could hurt him physically and he'd recover but if she refused to speak to him–it would shatter his heart.

He was lost in his throbbing thoughts when she interrupted the awkward silence. "You here for a reason, Grissom?"she asked almost lifelessly, her voice small and hoarse. She was staring up at him now, her eyes searching his, her tears still falling. She was in so much pain and for once, she wasn't trying to hide it. Grissom shuddered when he realized that maybe this time, she wasn't able to.

God, I hurt her.

He knew it and he stared at her, completely unable to find his words and almost certain that if he did find them, his internal messages would be so twisted that he would end up stumbling over them anyway. So he stood there with his heart pounding and he gazed at her sadly, hoping that she would just give him a minute to think, to pull himself together. She had already given him four years, after all.

Sara didn't say anything and for one more silent minute, Grissom pondered his deepest emotions and summoned all his courage. He wanted to apologize but he knew it wouldn't mean very much if he didn't tell her how he trulyfelt. And he would need all his strength for that. He had already gathered enough strength to know that he had to do it. He had to tell her. He had to do something. If only his mouth would open. If only he could set himself free.

She was crying quietly while she waited. And waited. And waited some more. Tearfully, Sara dropped her gaze back down to the floor and Grissom's heart sank again. "Look," she said, her voice shaking wildly. "You should just go. I don't expect an apology. It's okay."

Sara brushed her tears away, moving to shut the door and Grissom cleared his throat quickly in a desperate effort to stop her. It's not okay. He sighed painfully. It's not okay to just stand here and let you think that I don't love you. How he wished he could say those words aloud! How he wished that she would just invite him inside! He wanted to sit down with her and brush her tears away himself. He wanted to take her into his arms and never let go. He wanted to be with her every day and every night for the rest of his life. He wanted to be able to tell her how he felt.

When Sara froze, Grissom realized that he had just been given his last chance and it quickly became apparent that it was her last chance too. His heart full of fear and sorrow, Grissom watched as Sara suddenly crumbled to the floor, her hand still clenched tightly around the doorknob, her tears spilling madly down her flushed cheeks. In that second, as Grissom frantically dropped to his knees beside her, he realized that he really was about to lose her for good.

"Sara-" Grissom bit his lip, instinctively wrapping his arm around her shoulders, helping her lean against the door. She shook her head slowly, burying her face in her hands and drawing her trembling knees close to her. I did this to her, Grissom realized. I pushed her away. Feeling thoroughly defeated, Grissom sat there next to her as she sobbed and all the memories came flooding back–so many beautiful smiles, too many secret emotions and way too many lost chances to count. Your world is so small, Gilbert Grissom, he silently told himself. And you never do a damn thing about it!

Last chance. Grissom took a deep breath, his heart still pounding out of control. He knew that he would never be ready. He knew that he would never know exactly what to do about this. But he did know what was deep in his heart. He knew that he was about to reveal his true feelings, his deepest, most meaningful sentiments and he had never been so scared. He felt as if he were about to share his secret emotions with the whole world instead of admitting his love to one person–but then again, this was Sara and she meant absolutely everything to him.

Sara is the world. She truly means the world to me.

He didn't know what to say first but Sara seemed to sense that his words were finally on their way. Her sobs subsided and when she caught her breath, she turned to face Grissom, her chin still quivering.They locked gazes again and this time, Grissom could see right into her soul. He could see her pain, her frustration, her love for him and even a little bit of understanding. She was definitely hurt and definitely angry but there was hope, love and forgiveness in there too. Now all he had to do was open his soul to her.

Sara took a ragged breath and then spoke very quietly. "I think I need to disappear for awhile, Griss," she whispered.She swallowed slowly and Grissom felt hisbreath catch in his throat. "I need to get away. I can't keep playing this game with you."

Grissom nodded reluctantly and he finally spoke. "I know, Sara." His voice faltered slightly.

Her body still shaking, Sara continued to speak. "When I came to Vegas–" she paused, her voice breaking. "I–I actually felt like I was home. For the first time in my life, I was somewhere I wantedto be and I was with people whowantedme there." She dropped her head, a new wave of tears storming her cheeks. "I don't feel that way anymore, Grissom."

Tears pricked at Grissom's eyes and he took a breath, hoping to calm his nerves. "Sara," he breathed, reaching out to squeeze her shoulder gently. "I'm–I'm so sorry."

She nodded sadly, her forehead against her knees. "I need to leave. We both need some time."

Grissom was about to reply when Sara completely broke down again, her gasps causing her body to jolt against Grissom's side, and he knew–right in that instant–that his words would have to wait a few more minutes, no matter how much they both needed to hear them. Grissom knew that his courage was fragile but he also knew that he was running out of time.So he pushed all his thoughts away and he let his heart lead him closer to Sara, pulling her shaking body into his strong arms, holding her tightly, rocking her gently.

They connected in the silence and Grissom tried to memorize that exquisite moment, as Sara melted into his embrace and cried against his broad chest. "Please forgive me," he repeated over and over again, whispering softly into her ear, his voice tight with his own unshed tears. Yes, he had been the one to hurt her but he was also the only one who could comfort her and Grissom tried to remember that beautiful feeling, the sense of being needed, loved. His mind raced. Could he really lose her now? Did she mean what she said? Did they need time apart? She can't leave. She needs me. I need her. We need to talk–about so much!

"I actually felt like I was home." Her words haunted him as he cradled her in his arms. Sara was looking up at him and Grissom brushed her hair away from her delicate face, examining her tearful expression. You're still home, Sara, he thought, staring into her glistening eyes. I'm going to change. I'm going to be here for you. Always. Her home was still right there, working at his side, where he could see her every day, where he could see her beautiful eyes and her beautiful smile–the smile that he knew belonged to him. Her home was in his arms. All he had to do was tell her that.

Grissom held her even closer to him, feeling the rapid beat of her heart against his own. He had a feeling that he had already been forgiven but he still needed to tell her how he felt, to put into words the incredible joy that was now racing through his body. She rested her head gently on his shoulder and he stroked her hair, leaning in to whisper into her ear. "Don't leave, Sara," he begged softly. "Don't leave home."

Her smile appeared for the first time that day and it was the most beautiful smile Grissom had ever seen. He smiled back, finally enjoying the incredible heat. They were home. Together.

The End.

Author's Note: This is my first attempt to write Grissom! He is such a hard character to write for but he's definitely interesting and I love him! I hope I did him some justice. Please let me know what you think! Special thanks to those who reviewed my second story, Twenty Questions: Lifeguard, kristy87, svcmc, Jennifer, willowaus, rokothepas, niff74, Eaglesei, wanda57 and the wonderful velocityofsound! Thank-you all for your great comments, I really, really appreciate them!