Chapter Eleven: Moving On
He had gone home, crawling into bed without even changing clothes, pulling the covers over his head in vain attempt to forget all that had happened. Several hours later had found in him in much of the same position, still wide awake. Even as tired as he was, Greg knew he wouldn't be able to sleep. But staying here meant he didn't have to face the reality of the situation.
He counted his breaths, tried to blank out his mind, anything to welcome the slumber that was so close, yet at the same time seemed so far away. Yet there was another fear…the uncertainty of what his dreams would bring.
It was ridiculous; Greg reminded himself firmly that it was all over. The suspects were caught, and he knew that Grissom and the rest of the team would do everything to see a full investigation was done. This also meant that Greg would have to identify them to ensure they served their time.
The thought scared him, for the first few seconds before he cleared his head again. They couldn't hurt him…they couldn't hurt Sara. Even if they got away…would they dare to even try?
The simple thought of Sara overwhelmed Greg, reminding him of the friction he had caused between them. Sara was disgusted with him, and that was putting it lightly. Greg couldn't really blame her…everything she had said had been true. He had lied…time after time to a point that it had become easy to do so. She had trusted him with her feelings, her secrets, and he had abused that trust.
But would she ever forgive him? Perhaps…but surely there would forever be an indifference between them. Greg knew from experience that she would be sore with him for a while, but once things passed over she would let up.
For a while it had seemed real, the possibility that they could be together. Greg could still smell the lilac scent in her hair when he held her close, the soft taste of her lips when they kissed…it hurt to realize that he would no longer have that.
Greg wasn't sure when he did fall asleep, only remembering waking up to pounding headache, and an empty stomach. He honestly could not remember the last time he had eaten anything, and sprawled out on his bed he couldn't even remember if he even had something edible in his apartment.
He lay there for a time, not wanting to move from the very spot. Greg knew he would have to sooner or later, his stomach feeling as though something was being drilled into it, his mouth dry and throat scratchy. It was about as close as you could possibly be to being sick.
It was about noon when he finally rolled out of bed, one hand on his pulsating forehead as he stumbled out into the kitchen. The phone was ringing, but he chose to ignore it, heading straight for the fridge instead.
There were bits of leftovers from Chinese, a week old, a few slices of pizza from three days ago, and another container of something he didn't even want to try and figure out how long it had been sitting there. He settled for the pizza, the answering machine picking up the call as he pulled the plate out.
"Greg, its Sara…give me a call when you get this…"
He listened to the pause, knowing that she was waiting for him to pick up late. She said a quiet goodbye once it was apparent that he wasn't going too. Greg bit into the cold pizza, leaning against the counter. He knew he should call her back, but the guilt was overwhelming and instead he just took another bite. Why would Sara all of the sudden be calling him?
She called back twice more; each time Greg refusing to answer, only listening to her messages instead. It was the oddest transition. Before all he had wanted was to hear from her, to know if she would ever talk to him again or not. Now he realized he simply wasn't ready to face her. What would he say, after all the lies?
Did she honestly want to talk with him, or continue her rant from the previous day? Or was it Grissom, forcing her to make amends before allowing her to come back to work? Whatever the case, Greg did not want to find out, not just yet. Perhaps it would be better, to let her cool down before attempting to work things out.
By the time the afternoon rolled around, Greg was feeling better, at least in a physical sense. There were no more phone calls, at least not from Sara; two were solicitors, the other from Grissom, only wanting to hear from him. Greg knew that he would start a panic if didn't respond, so he took the call, however short it was.
The television droned on in the background, Greg's eyes never left the set but he wasn't really watching it. The problem with television was the simple fact he had seen most of it in real life, many of the shows mimicking forensics, murders, dying…there was enough of it going around that there was no real need for him to pretend it was happening.
The knock on the door came a surprise, and he turned only his head, as if he could see the person on the other side through pure will power. Of course he knew that wasn't the case, still he didn't move from his spot on the couch. Not even when the round of knocks sounded again.
"Greg…its Sara. Let me in, will you?"
Now he definitely didn't want to answer it. He frowned, sinking lower into the couch, turning up the volume on the TV. The only thing that would complete this circle would be a cold beer…it was a shame he didn't have any.
"I can hear you in there," Sara's voice continued, this time sounding a bit more edgy. Greg was even more convinced that it had been Grissom who had sent her. She was never this desperate to talk with him unless it involved gaining a higher prize. "I'll wait out here all night if I have to."
He rubbed his head, considering the option. Although Sara had been known to do a few crazy things…surely she wouldn't be that outrageous. Besides, once she figured that he wasn't opening the door, she would leave. Grissom couldn't penalize her for trying.
Greg wasn't even aware that he had fallen asleep, not until the ringing of his phone brought him out of a dreamless slumber. Foggily he groped for the side table, where his cell phone was not only ringing, but vibrating as well, dancing on the fake wood.
"Sanders," he stated in greeting in between a yawn.
"How are you feeling?" Grissom's tone wasn't missed, the older man was concerned. Obviously Sara had called him. Greg's eyes searched for the clock as he responded.
"Fine…I feel fine."
"Brass has everything ready, we just need confirmation," Grissom started; there was no need to explain what. "You can choose from a photo if you want, if you don't feel up to it…"
"I can do it," Greg cut him off. Was he ready? Greg wasn't sure, but there was no reason to make the crime lab think that he was even more of a chicken. "Just give me a few minutes to get cleaned up."
It had been hours, several to say the least since he last remembered being awake. There was not much else he had to do other than shower, but he lingered a few minutes anyways, trying to get a strong grip on his mind.
It was simple, easy…all he had to do was walk in, jot a few numbers down. They would never see him. Still they would know that it was him. And if they did walk…Greg let out a bitter sigh. That time would come later, what he had to focus on was now. And now, he had to get to the crime lab.
Throwing on a light coat he grabbed his car keys, only to pause once remembering his car was at the lab. It seemed as though he was taking a taxi tonight. He had taken only a step outside, frowning as he came to a stop.
Sara glared up at him from where she sat. "You know, you are stubborn as hell."
"And that makes you what?" he questioned, offering her hand.
She ignored it, making her own way up. "I've been waiting for hours, what the hell did you do, fall asleep?"
"Yes actually," Greg replied blandly, making his way to the street. Sara was close behind, not even pausing in her talking.
"Look we need to talk."
"I already know what you're going to say," Greg cut her off, "And I know why you're here."
"And what reason would that be?"
He stopped, turning around to face her. For once she looked a little intimidated, forcing Greg to relax his features some, speaking a soft voice. "Grissom wants you to apologize."
"Yes," Sara stated matter-of-factly. "But that's not why I came."
"So you're not done insulting me," Greg mused. "I really don't have time for this."
She growled, muttering under her breath as she chased him out into the parking lot. "Where are you going?"
"Grissom's waiting for me," Greg replied blandly.
Greg nodded, coming to another stop. "I need to identify them…"
Sara let out a soft breath. "You want me to come along?"
The offer was enticing; he needed a friend right now, but was Sara really the best choice? "I don't need pity," he answered quietly, taking in her sullen look, "but you can come if you want to."
The ride over there was quiet, but once inside the lab it seemed as though everything had become deathly silent. More so it didn't help that it as in between shifts, leaving the hallways empty.
Brass and Grissom were waiting for him, a slight nod in a greeting. He could already see them through the glass, already knew them by heart. They looked different in the light than they had that night in the alleyway, but it was as true as he first believed. You could never forget a face…a voice. It haunted you in your dreams, the threats replaying in your mind. Greg wanted to do nothing more than forget, yet somehow his nagging subconscious wouldn't let him.
"Three, five and six."
It had come out easily, easier than he expected.
"Are you sure?" Grissom inquired.
Greg nodded, watching as they continued to call the suspects to step forward. He hadn't even needed a second look to know. A sigh left his lips, a heavy weight already leaving his shoulders. After all this time, and that was all he needed to do? He felt worse than before.
Making his way back out into the hallway he seated himself in one of the hard plastic seats, blinking as he stared at his hands. It couldn't really be that simple, could it? He didn't look up as the chair next to him was taken, the warm presence meaning more now than it had before.
"Is that it?"
Greg nodded, looking up at her. "That's it…for now."
"They're not going to walk Greg," Sara told him in confidence, somehow reading his thoughts.
"Maybe," Greg agreed, "but you're not a judge."
"No," Sara smiled, "but I'm a damn good investigator…and so are you."
Greg laughed, shaking his head. "If I was so good then why can't I do something even when I know its right?"
Sara's smiled lessened as she shifted nervously in her chair. "We all make mistakes Greg…I thought it over a long time, and I still couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. Not until Grissom told me what to do."
"What was that?"
"He told me to put myself in your place," she answered quietly. "It took a few tries, but one thing that I've learned from Grissom is to view it from all perspectives. Then I found out something that I didn't know. I would have done the same thing you did…maybe," she added quickly. "If you started dating a guy I probably would have said something."
Greg laughed, even without meaning too as he shook his head. Her answer had caught him off guard, and he wasn't sure if it was making him feel any better or not. He caught Sara's eyes briefly before turning away. What was happening between them?
"You want to get some coffee?"
He smiled, turning to face her again. Maybe it was being a little too hopeful, but how could ignore the bait when it was so willing? So it was a small step, but one that led forward none-the-less.
"Coffee sounds nice."