Precious Things by SLynn
Spoilers: Up to 'Nesting Dolls'
Rating: R for violence and disturbing content.
Disclaimer: Not mine – well, some are mine, just not the ones you recognize.
Notes and such at the bottom… this folks is the last chapter!
Welcome to the fallout
Welcome to resistance
The tension is here
Tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be
'Dare You to Move' by Switchfoot
Chapter 32: How It Is
It took longer then the one night Greg had expected for news to reach everyone in the lab. It took two.
While neither Sara nor Greg would come out and directly say what had happened, what had went wrong, there was plenty of speculation.
Most people faulted Greg. Most people thought Greg was to blame in some way or another and he didn't contradict them. Sara would have, given the chance but no one asked her too. Mostly people left them alone and drew their own conclusions.
And if they all secretly claimed to have guessed the outcome well before the break up, it didn't stop anyone from being truly surprised upon hearing the news.
And everyone was surprised.
Greg and Sara didn't talk at work, only over the phone once a night to arrange the details. They hadn't lived in the house long enough to have enough equity to sell it without loss and Sara thought it was only fair that since Greg had made the down payment that he be the one to stay there. He didn't want to but eventually agreed. He told her once he did sell the house they'd split the profits and again she tried to reject this but he wouldn't let her. Sara finally relented and promised to be out by the end of the week.
The other details weren't so easy to arrange. The details like work.
First thing Monday morning Greg went into Ecklie's office and practically begged for a new shift. Ecklie, fully aware of the situation, wouldn't allow it. Said that there was no openings for a CSI level one on either days or swings. Truly desperate Greg offered to go back to the lab even if it would change his hours but still no luck. Ecklie really did have it in for him it seemed; was still angry at his insubordination and figured that with Greg and Sara still working together after such a public break up, maybe he'd get the chance to fire them both if things went badly enough.
During that same day Greg also told his parents. They took the news pretty hard. Maggie Sanders first tried to assure her son that things would blow over. That every couple fought like this and they'd soon make up. Greg did his best to tell her this wasn't just going to blow over but she wouldn't hear it. Maggie really liked Sara and more importantly, she'd liked the fact that her son was no longer alone. Only Jeff Sanders, Greg's father, really took his word for it. He too was sorry but understood Greg's points. Not that that made anything easier.
Tuesday Greg sat down and told the only two people he ever would exactly what had happened: Nick and Amy. He knew that they were fairly well stuck in the middle of this mess and figured he owed them as much. Sara undoubtedly would tell her side to them eventually, and it wasn't like he was trying to be first or secure their friendship as his own, he just wanted them to understand. He needed them both to understand how serious this was if only to stop them from trying to fix it themselves. If Sara and Greg couldn't do that, no one could.
Their reactions were a mixture of disbelief and acceptance. They both knew now how serious the fight was and how determined Greg was in his belief that it really was over. Nick had decided not to take sides in the matter no matter who was to blame. Greg and Sara were both his friends and he had to work with them. It wasn't going to be easy but he thought they could all get through this. Amy however couldn't help but take Greg's side. A lot of it came back to the fact that Greg was her friend first and her first friend in Las Vegas. She just couldn't overlook that or throw it away.
Warrick tried to distance himself as well. He liked both Sara and Greg and didn't think that either of them would let their private lives affect their work. He was right about that. While Grissom, out of respect for their feelings and the circumstances, still didn't pair them up, they had to see each other every night. Warrick might not have noticed a change had he not been aware of the details, wouldn't have known there was a history between them if he had not been aware of it already. They both stayed professional throughout, just quieter then normal. He had to hand it to them, if he'd been in either of their positions, he wasn't sure he could do the same.
Catherine was really the most surprised. By Wednesday night Greg, his third case with her that week, had nearly lost all composure at her relentless questioning because she really couldn't let it go. She'd meant well, only wanted him to not bottle it up like he obviously was. She wasn't trying to pry; Catherine really was just concerned for him, for them both. And just as Nick and Amy were the only two people he confessed all the details too, Catherine was the only one he told that given a chance he'd take it all back. He'd change things if he could but didn't see how. After that night Catherine didn't question him again and she didn't think she could ever forgive Sara for breaking Greg's heart.
Grissom felt the worse. Never good with people he now had no idea what to do in this situation except to keep both Sara and Greg as busy as possible with work. It was his only means of condolence to either. He felt like he was to blame and had guessed fairly accurately that his conversation with Greg had triggered their breakup. He felt responsible and useless, knowing there was nothing he could say that would change anything. Sorry for the change.
Thursday morning Greg had gone to his appointment with Dr. Jennings as usual. He'd skipped Tuesday, the first time he'd missed an appointment since her confrontation with Ecklie. He told her what happened rather stoically. That Sara and he had split up. He didn't blame Sara, just himself. Greg still felt that it must be him. That there must be something wrong with him if she couldn't love him or trust him. Dr. Jennings was truly sad. She hadn't thought this would happen and really feared for what it might do to Greg's overall wellbeing. But all she could do was listen; that was her job.
Friday was probably the worst day. That was the day that Sara called him and told him that she was moved out. That he could go home again. He nearly laughed and told her that he had no home but bit his tongue. There was no point in being uncivilized now, they'd come too far to start trading barbs.
That afternoon he checked out of the hotel and went back to the house for the first time in nearly a week.
The house was so empty.
And suddenly it was really happening.
Friday really was the worst day.
That night at work everyone had been particularly somber. It was as if they knew and Greg could only guess they did. Sara couldn't have moved herself out. He imagined Nick or Warrick had helped. He imagined but couldn't ask.
Sara was off that night so at least he didn't have to face her right away and thankfully they were busy. So busy that before he'd become really aware of it the shift had ended.
Greg sat down in front of his locker and just stared.
He didn't want to go home. He didn't want to move. Honestly, he thought breathing was too much effort right now.
What Greg wanted was to fade away. That's what he felt like doing. Just fading away from it all but that wasn't possible.
"Hey man," Warrick said interrupting his thoughts and rousing him into action.
"Hi," Greg returned standing now and opening up his locker door to retrieve his things.
"So what are you doing today?" Warrick asked turning to him.
"Feel like grabbing a bite to eat?"
Greg looked at him, questioning his motives. It wasn't that Warrick wasn't his friend, it just seemed that everyone now fell into two categories. Those who pitied him and those that thought he had it coming.
He didn't like being pitied.
"No," Greg said shaking his head and looking down, "another time."
"Come on," Warrick insisted, "Nick is already in and I can't sit through a whole meal with just Nick. Do me a favor, alright?"
Greg considered it for a moment, really thought about sticking to his original answer but as Warrick quirked his eyebrows once more and gestured to the door Greg couldn't refuse.
He nodded a few times and Warrick smiled.
"Let's go," Warrick said and waited for Greg to close his locker, walking with him just to make sure he really would come.
It wasn't completely unusual, but only after Greg drove with Warrick to the diner did he realize that it was just going to be the three of them.
Usually when they had breakfast after a shift the entire shift went. Sometimes one or more of the lab techs joined, but almost always all the CSIs on duty came. But not today. Today it really was just him, Nick and Warrick.
Greg had to admit he was glad.
He didn't think he could sit a whole meal with everyone there and try to act normal. Greg just wasn't ready for that.
Instead, the three of them talked normally about nothing in particulars: sports, caseloads, family, any thing and everything but women. Nick didn't even mention Amy's name, which was completely out of character for him, especially lately. Greg assumed it was for his benefit and instead of resenting the effort, was actually grateful. It was hard to hear about someone else's perfect relationship when yours had just gone belly up.
"So what are your plans for today?" Warrick asked Greg again just after they'd gotten their food.
"I told you I don't have any," Greg said shaking his head.
"None?" Nick asked and Greg looked at him oddly.
"None," Greg echoed and looked from Nick to Warrick really confused.
"Well you have plans now," Warrick said firmly.
"What do you mean?" Greg asked still looking between the two of them who were now smiling.
"We're taking you out tonight," Nick answered.
"Griss gave us all the night off," Warrick explained further.
"Why?" Greg asked still not getting it.
He didn't want to go out. He wanted to go home, draw the blinds, curl up and possible stay that way until forced to get up again.
"Greg," Nick said sounding surprised that he wasn't getting it, "It's your birthday. You're thirty man, we've got go do something."
Greg stared at him blankly for a moment as it dawned on him. He'd completely forgotten. With everything that had happened during the past week he hadn't even been thinking about it.
"Sofia offered to take a shift for me," Warrick said, "Work a night so that we could all have the same day off. Thought we could go to a jazz club I know, nothing big, fairly low key. Just hang out and celebrate this thing right."
"You guys don't have to do this," Greg said already shaking his head, "I know why you are but I'm really not going to be good company."
"Greg we're not taking no for an answer," Nick said firmly.
"Yeah," Warrick seconded, "even if we have to drag your scrawny butt out we're going."
Greg laughed a little at that, it was the first time that either of them had seen him so much as crack a smile all week. They both thought it was a good thing.
"No," Nick said shaking his head, "No. You are not sitting home alone on your birthday. Period."
"Okay," Greg said relenting. "Not that I have much choice."
"Good," Warrick said smiling at him and tapping him on the shoulder. "I'm coming by to pick you up at seven. Be ready because I am serious about that whole dragging thing."
"Oh I believe you," Greg said quite serious himself making the other two men laugh.
For a few minutes they all ate in silence.
"Thanks," Greg said quietly into his plate.
Warrick just nodded and said nothing more as Nick clapped him once on the back also choosing to stay silent.
Greg took a few more bites of his meal and realized that he was going to be okay. It wasn't going to be easy. It wasn't going to be fun. And it wasn't going to happen overnight. But eventually, he was going to be okay again.
His friends were going to make sure of it.
A/N: First things first, and I don't say it enough, thanks to my two beta's who I work overtime: Tripp3235 and RivenSky! Okay, no one throw things, hear me out. Yes this is the end of this story. Yes I (gasp) broke up Greg and Sara. Yes there is a sequel. And yes I lied, there was no wedding.
To be fair, I did plan to have a wedding in this story, but it was never going to be Greg and Sara. It was going to be Jennifer and Mark. I may add a short story to my 'Project Procrastination' piece that goes into Nick and Amy's trip to San Fran for that wedding, but not anytime soon.
This one was painful to write. I hope it wasn't too painful to read. I think I said that this one was going to be a rollercoaster ride and I meant it. I'm exhausted. Drained. But, still writing. Always writing.
The sequel should be started shortly and I'm still labeling it a Greg/Sara piece if that's any consolation.
And now on to the thanks:
Tripp3235 – Thank you so much for the pre-views and for helping me keep this thing rolling and in character. And the word crunching. I needed that. And for the record, no one blame her – she fought me tooth and nail over this story line!
RivenSky – Even though you didn't review here cough, cough you did so regularly at LJ and I thank you for it. And for all the help you gave me word crunching. My
grammar is so bad I need twice the help, oy! Thanks again!
grrlnorth – For the record, I promise to always write Greg/Sara and only dabble in the other pairings. Even if that means torturing the heck out of poor Greg, but its out of love I swear it!
white rose01 – I like to mix my angst with my fluff! I'm glad you like that too. Thank you for all your reviews I really look forward to each one!
Emmithar – whose stories I enjoy almost as much as I do your reviews wink thank you for all your kind words. I still think we need to have an angst off. Dueling crime scenes or something like that.
BeyondMyStar – Thanks for all your reviews and I appreciate that you like how I weave them (you might really like the next one, well I hope everyone does)!
Jewelbaby – Thank you! You review nearly every chapter and help keep me motivated! Thanks!
GottaGetGreg – Glad you've enjoyed it! I think you're my #1 Betty fan!
veryevil – This last walkout was the serious one (as I say duh to myself because it's over) but I put the first few fights as the build up to it. And Greg staying with Betty was a complete fluke! I needed him nearby for the next chapter and Betty was the obvious choice!
fwe – boy I hope you still read my stories after all the torment I've put you through! I promise happier times, I do and this time I mean it!
Duckie! – your name keeps changing… my serious fluff cannot be posted here… glad you do like the scenes I can manage! Hope you're still reading my stuff after this one…
Hannah – Thank you so much! I appreciate the reviews!
Pukah – I gave plenty of reasons for Greg to be angry at Sara throughout this story…I love my angst!
Kelly – thank you for the encouragement, hope everyone still likes this now that its done!
Fan4fanfic – relationships were really what this story was about. That and trust. I haven't had them really working on their relationship until this point (ironic now that its over right?) but I figured now was the time. Oh, and the sequel.
CMELO – Greg waffled a lot in this piece but I felt at the end he had to learn not to give in if he really wanted a change.
CatherineLouise – I think you gave me the best compliment I've ever received. I'm blushing even! Sorry if you had to wait too long for this one, it came out slower then the others. I promise at least one more after this (and I say that every time). Thanks for the reviews! And yeah, I kind of live by the cliffhanger…sorry about that! And my serious fluff is all located at my LJ account or at CSI Forensics files.
HelloTimeBomb – love your name! I really want Greg and Sara together too. I'm kind of sad about this and I wrote it.
Mar – I love me some cliffhangers! That one was particularly mean, but it had to be done!
josie22 – thanks so much! I'm not sure how I feel about this one, 'Issues' is my own personal favorite.
Once more thanks to everyone who has read this and the others even if you don't review, I appreciate your time! There will be a sequel. Sadly, I've already started it! The crime will be less angsty and it will likely be the most character driven piece I've done.