Title: Out In the Rain
Rating: PG-13, or R
Spoilers: Through Butterflied
Disclaimer: I know, I know. They aren't mine. I don't own 'em.
Summary: Major angsty GSR piece. Grissom and Sara are in an accident that leaves them stranded… sort of. Case-file, too.
The sun had set on Las Vegas nearly three hours ago, and Sara Sidle was wide awake as rain poured down around her. At eight o'clock, she had reported to the L.V.P.D. crime lab for the routine staff meeting. Grissom had quickly handed out that night's cases and the team had split up. Sara had been paired with Grissom while Nick and Warrick took a case together and Catherine was working solo.
"Allison Conners, twenty-one, junior at UNLV. Two students found her face down in the pond while they were jogging," Brass had told them when they had arrived. "Signs of asphyxiation. She's got no family in the area, originally from Seattle; driver's license was in the back pocket. Her roommate called the police this afternoon to report her missing, claims Allison never came home after work on Tuesday."
It had only taken moments for Sara to get to work on the scene. Grissom had disappeared, mumbling something about the roommate, and he had not come back. Sara collected what little evidence that had not been disrupted either by the students who found the body or the early evening rain. She was crouched down beside the pond, collecting samples of the water, when the thought of Grissom floated across her mind.
Sara had been glad when he had left her alone at the scene. Grissom and her needed to put some space between them every now and then. He had paired them together on the last six cases they worked. Being near him so often was beginning to get to her. She had once told him that she over talked around him and the more and more they worked together, the more Sara talked. Sometimes she worried that Grissom could hear her heart beating as loudly as her voice, but he never mentioned it; never mentioned how much she talked or the awkwardness between them. She appreciated the way he had pretended not to notice.
She jumped at the sound of Grissom's voice very close behind her. Sara placed both hands on the ground to steady herself as she swayed toward the lake. She pushed herself up and turned to face him.
"Allison's roommate just gave me the name and address of the bar were Allison worked. Wanna tag along?"
"Sure, I'm done here anyway," Sara told him, gathering her kit. "There's nothing left for me to do, the rain washed most of the evidence away."
Once they were in the Grissom's Tahoe on the road to the bar, the rain came down harder. Sara noticed that she could not see more that fifteen feet out the front window and she glanced over at Grissom. He was squinting to see through the sheet of rain pounding against the windshield, swearing absentmindedly. Sara smiled a little at his words, but was worried about the weather at the same time.
"Maybe we should pull over," Sara suggested, grabbing the dashboard as the SUV slid a little to the right.
"If I could see the damn road we would pull over," Grissom snapped, "But I don't want to put us in a ditch."
For a minute, Sara wasn't sure if Grissom was mad at her suggestion, or the weather.
"How far out of town is this bar?" Sara asked. Now she closed her eyes as the car slid again. When she opened them, it was just enough to watch Grissom jerk the car back onto the road.
"The bar is in Gainesville, Sara. It's about a thirty-five minute drive from the UNLV campus," Grissom replied coolly, still focused on the road, "We may have to stop and find some place to wait out the storm."
A thought immediately formed in Sara's mind. She and Grissom alone in a motel room during a storm, there'd be two of them if Sara had anything to say about it. There were so many different directions in which she could take that fantasy, but she shook it away. They had a case to work on, there'd be nothing personal about their stay. No matter how much Sara wanted it.
Suddenly, the car slid completely off the side of the road, causing Sara to slide sideways into her door. Her head hit the window with a dull thud and she reached out for something to hold onto. She found it as Grissom's warm fingers wrapped around hers. The car began to slow with the friction created by the mud but they didn't come to a full stop until the SUV was up on one side. Sara was leaning heavily against her door and Grissom was struggling to stay in his seat. Their fingers were still latched together as they searched themselves for injuries.
"Are you all right?" Grissom asked.
"Yeah, bumps and bruises," Sara replied, "I don't think anything's-"
"You're bleeding," Grissom said abruptly, staring at the small gash on her forehead. He adjusted his vision and looked around the interior of the car. "We need to get out of here."
"Maybe I can kick out the windshield," Sara suggested.
She squirmed around in her seat for a second before placing her booted feet against the glass. She pushed with all the strength her body would give, but the glass wouldn't budge. A light bulb flickered on in her brain and she reached for the service revolver resting in the small of her back.
"Turn away," she told Grissom as she did so herself.
She fired two shots into the windshield and the bullets created two large spiderweb cracks. Sara kicked again and the glass fell from the frame. When it was completely empty of shards, she unbuckled her seatbelt.
"Be careful," Grissom muttered, releasing her hand as she began to crawl out of the vehicle.
Once Sara had exited the car, Grissom undid his own seatbelt and followed her lead, making sure to grab the keys and shove them in his pocket.
"Do you have any dry clothes in the back?" Grissom asked Sara.
She nodded. Grissom took her hand again and began to lead her to the hatch of the SUV. He noticed the trouble she was having walking through the mud and glanced down at her shoes.
"I think I have an extra pair of work boots with me," he told her, regarding the high boot she was wearing, "They'll be warmer and easier to walk in."
Grissom opened the hatch and began examining their supplies: 2 field kits, 2 LVPD issue ponchos, a change of dry clothes for each of them, two cell phones, Sara's laptop, his extra work boots and Sara's service revolver.
"Do you have active evidence in your field kit?" Grissom asked.
"Yeah, from the lake," she told him.
"All right, I'll empty my case to keep our clothes and phones dry," he explained, "Take your laptop, it's likely that it wouldn't be here when we came back. And put on your poncho."
Sara pulled the plastic poncho over her head and watched Grissom do the same. He handed her laptop and she slung the case over her shoulder so it hung around her neck. Grissom transferred their dry clothes into his waterproof field kit, placing their cell phones and his wallet on top of the pile. He picked up his boots and held an arm out to Sara, "Come here."
Sara stood rooted in place for a moment, not sure that she could handle anymore intimate touching. She looked into Grissom's eyes and gave up all idea of a fight. She took a struggled step toward him and into his arms. He helped her lean against the back seat of the SUV and picked up her right foot. He pulled off her muddy leather boot and threw it into the car. He slid his heavy work boot onto her foot, lacing and tying it for her. He repeated the action with her left foot before letting her go.
"Much," Sara told him, "Thank you."
When Grissom had locked the hatch on the SUV, he and Sara began to make their way down the abandoned Nevada highway.
"How far do you think we are from Gainesville?" Sara asked.
"At least ten miles," Grissom replied, looking down at his watch. It was nearly midnight now and he wondered how long it would take them to walk to Gainesville. He prayed that they'd find some place to get out of the rain, Sara was getting soaked.
"Great, I'm gonna freeze," Sara muttered.
Grissom reached over and pulled Sara closer to him, "I won't let you freeze."
Sara shivered absently, rubbing her hands together and moving into Grissom's arms.
"Although, if I don't get you some where warm soon, you may develop hypothermia."
Nick Stokes sat in the break room, his case file open on the table in front of him. His coffee was cold now and he barely noticed as Warrick entered the room.
"Have you heard from Gris or Sara?" Warrick asked.
"What?" Nick muttered tiredly, shaking his head, "No, not lately. You?"
"Did you get anything from the house?" Nick asked, now a little more focused.
"Nothing solid, only partials off the counter and the window sill," Warrick replied, sitting down across from Nick. He sighed, "Why the hell do we always get the shitty B n' Es and Grissom and Sara always get the interesting stuff?"
"Cause it's Gris and Sara, man," Nick said, "You can't tell me that you've never noticed the way they work together, it's different."
"Yeah, it's sexual," Warrick told him, "In a really freaky way."
Nick laughed, "So I'm not the only one?"
"'Not the only one' what?" Catherine asked, entering the room behind Warrick.
"Uh, nothing, Cath," Nick said, looking back down at his file.
"Right," Catherine said, going to the refrigerator, "How's your case coming?"
"Not too great," Warrick replied.
"Not very interesting?" Catherine asked.
Nick and Warrick glanced at each other and said, at the same time, "You could say that."
Grissom felt Sara shiver again. He rubbed his hands over her arms and shivered himself. He had removed his glasses, shoving them in the pocket of his now soaked jeans, and the rain beat against his face. He was probably as wet as Sara was, but because he had the larger body structure, he knew he was warmer than she was. That, and she had no meat on her bones, she ate like a rabbit. He felt himself shiver again and realized that he was starving. Hell, if I don't get warm soon, I'm going to develop hypothermia.
"Gris, are you all right?" Sara asked, noticing the way he swayed against her.
"Fine," Grissom muttered. It wasn't true; he was freezing.
Sara knew that the simpleness of the word had been a lie. Somewhere, in the back of her mind, she knew that Grissom would never be as honest with her as she wanted him to. She knew that, if he said he was fine, that it meant that he'd survive. He was a private man; she knew that, it had only been by accident that she'd discovered his otosclerosis. He hadn't told her himself, she heard it from Catherine. Grissom's life was his own, he didn't like to share it with anyone else.
"What time is it?" Sara asked.
She felt Grissom jump before he answered, "It's one thirty, Sara."
"Hmm," Sara sighed, squeezing Grissom's hand as lightning flashed in the distance. "Maybe we'll find a hotel."
She bit her tongue as the thought was spoken out loud. She turned and caught Grissom staring at her out of the corner of his eye. She smiled weakly, lowering her gaze to her feet. Over talking again, Sidle, this is getting a little out of hand.
Grissom simply squeezed her fingers in turn, "Maybe."
As Jim Brass entered the forensic lab, he caught Catherine and Greg bent over a microscope discussing her case. He cleared his throat, causing Catherine to jump slightly in surprise.
"Something wrong Jim?" Catherine asked.
"Have you heard from Grissom or Sara?" Brass asked in reply.
"Not since the meeting," She told him, "Why?"
"I tried to reach them on both of their cells, but neither of them answered," Brass explained, "They were on their way out to Gainesville and I'm thinking they may have gotten caught in the storm."
"I'm sure they're fine," Greg said, "It's likely that they lost service on their phones, a storm will do that you know."
Brass and Catherine glared at Greg and the lab tech turned back to his microscope.
"I don't think it'd be a good idea to go looking for them just yet," Brass told Catherine, "Greg's right, it's possible they just lost service on their phones. Just call me if you hear from them."
"I will," Catherine called as Brass left the lab.