Title – Infliction
Author – forensicsgirl
Pairing – Grissom/Sara
Rating – T (PG-13),
Author's Note – This, along with the rest of the series, is set in the first half of the 5th season of CSI - pre-Nesting Dolls, so nothing about Sara's past has yet come out. I am sticking with Canon (as we know it right now) with regards to her past, and I will be dealing with it (in a slightly different way than the show did) in this story.
Things were getting a bit too happy in my little GSR universe, so I'm upping the angst in this one. You have been warned!
Addendum – As with the other 3 stories in the series, this is an edit version, with any corrections I have made during recent archiving.
Disclaimer - I don't own CSI yet. I keep bidding, but they won't sell! All characters you recognize belong to CBS/ Anthony E Zuiker/Jerry Bruckheimer Productions. Any copy write infringement is utterly without malice and done in the spirit of love and respect.
'Only the one who inflicts the pain can take it away.'
Chapter One – Free Time & Interruptions
Miraculously, no calls from work had interrupted them that night.
Sara had marveled at this fact as she lay in his arms, utterly sated from their love making. It was a sign. This was going to work.
No visible barriers lay ahead of them now. They had both finally let their respective guards down and let each other in. The work angle had been taken care of. She had already composed the letter to Cavallo in her head, and later she would put it all down on paper. Then it would be done – work could no longer prevent them being together.
And then as she lay there, cocooned in his arms, believing with all her heart that nothing could make her happier that she was at that moment, she thought she heard Gil Grissom whisper that he loved her.
She awoke that night in an empty bed. A cold chill crept over her, a sadness that she immediately berated herself for. She rolled over and the sight she beheld on the other pillow drove the chill from her heart and replaced it with a giddiness she hadn't felt in a long time.
A small bouquet of white violets she recognized as coming from the garden outside her apartment building. And a note.
Gathering the flowers to her to inhale their pleasing scent, she picked up the note and recognized his precise handwriting immediately.
Did you know that all flowers have meanings? The meaning of the white violet is 'Let's take a chance on happiness'. I'm sorry I wasn't there when you woke up, but duty called and you were sleeping so peacefully I didn't want to wake you. I'll call you when I get off shift. Yours, Grissom.
'You've come along way, Gris,' she thought to herself, smiling at the memory of the plant he had sent her so long ago, with a card that simply read 'From Grissom'. Burying her face in the pillow he had slept on, she inhaled his scent and slept once again.
Sara decided to keep her word to Catherine and take a full two weeks holiday from work. Afraid that if she didn't do something useful in the time she'd become frustrated or bored, she assigned herself tasks to occupy the time. Her first day off was consumed with her organizing her chaotic desk, and filing away journal articles into some kind of order.
The second day, she had the burning desire to get out of the house, so she decided to go shopping. Ever the champion of practicality, she avoided the more feminine pursuits of clothes shopping, and headed straight for the nearest hardware store.
Armed with paint and brush, she tackled the living-room first, exchanging the shade of purple that she had loved when she picked it, for a warm butterscotch cream. The room instantly felt brighter and more spacious.
She had agonized over the color she would paint her bedroom, talking herself out of the rich Moroccan red that she had fallen for initially. As much as she loved the shade, she knew that, even confined to one wall, it would only contribute to her difficulty in sleeping. Bearing in mind the psychology behind color schemes, which she had read about once in a journal article, she picked a restful shade of lilac and spent her fourth day off applying it to the walls of her small bedroom.
The rest of her first week off was consumed by on of her major passions – reading. She devoured several journals and a number of books, filing away the information in her mind like a diligent archivist. Alongside forensics and physics, she insured that entomology was featured among her intellectual pursuits. She intended to be ready for Grissom next time he went off on a tangent about bugs.
Grissom's work schedule prevented them from seeing each other all week, but they spoke every day on the phone. Tonight, however, was his night off. As she showered and changed, preparing for their dinner-date at his townhouse, she couldn't suppress the excitement building in the pit of her stomach. It would be their first evening together since their relationship had progressed to the next level. The thought of spending another night in his arms sent the usually cynical Sara giddy with delight.
A vegetarian casserole was simmering in the oven, and Grissom inhaled its pleasing aroma as he crossed the kitchen to lay a basket of fresh five-grain rolls on the table. Giving a last check to ensure everything was ready, he glanced at his watch again. 7.55. The ever punctual Sara Sidle would be here in five minutes.
Twice he picked up his cell phone and seriously considered switching it off. He didn't want anything to spoil this night. Only his (at this moment in time, annoying) sense of duty and guilt stopped him from pushing the switch-off key. Maybe the fates would smile on him and he'd have a blissfully crime free evening.
This past week had been unexpectedly difficult for him. Being used to a solitary life for so long, he was surprised to find himself thinking of Sara constantly during the week, their phone conversations not coming close to filling the gap in his life that her absence had left. This newfound need for her was both frightening and exhilarating. He had never wanted to become dependant on another human being for his happiness – that in his experience led only to loss of identity and heartache. But he found his heart opening up in unexpected ways and he knew that he would not be able to close it now, even if he wanted to.
At precisely two minutes to 8, a soft wrap on his front door stirred him from his musings. Smiling at her punctuality, he hurried to the door and opened it to reveal her smiling face.
His eyes drank in the sight of her like a parched man at an oasis. 'Hey!' He stood back to let her into the town house and shut the door behind her. She was the picture of understated elegance in brown pants and an olive green top with shoestring straps. Her hair hung to her shoulders in loose curls. 'You look… stunning.'
'Thanks,' she said, turning to look at him. 'Something smells good.'
'Just a casserole…'
She grinned suggestively. 'Actually? I wasn't talking about the food.'
She crossed to him in two long strides and ran a hand up his arm. 'A week is too damn long,' she told him. Her hand made its way across his shoulder and into the curls of his hair. 'Too damn long.'
'I know what you mean,' he breathed, stooping slightly to capture her lips with his own.
She moaned lightly at the contact, placing her hand at the back of his head and pulling him closer, savoring the taste of him in her mouth. Backing across the room slowly, Sara pulled him towards the couch, negotiating her way around the coffee table, unwilling to break contact even for a second.
Tripping at the last moment, she fell backwards onto the sofa, pulling him down on top of her. Laughing like teenagers, they locked eyes, torn between amusement and desire. Desire won out, Grissom turning his attention to her neck, making her purr with pleasure.
'God, Sara,' he breathed into her skin. 'I've missed you so much.'
Emotion welled in her throat, rendering her mute. Instead she ran both hands through his hair and drew his face to hers once more. She was hard pressed to pinpoint a time that she felt happier. And that scared her. So much of her life had been spent making herself self-sufficient. She had never needed to be with people to survive, not since she was in her early teens. And now… now she was completely swept up in this man. A man she had desired for so many years, yet barely dared to believe she would ever get. And it frightened her to realize how much she needed him.
Grissom ran a hand up her back, taking the flowing material of her top with him. Her skin was soft and pale and he could feel her shiver slightly under his touch. Moving his lips across her throat in a gentle caress, he sat up partially and grinned playfully, before moving down to kiss her flesh just north of her navel. She shivered again with delight.
His hands were moving further north, raising her top higher, when his phone chirped to life.
'Damn it!' he groaning in frustration. 'I knew I should have switched the damn thing off.' Pulling himself upright, he gave Sara an apologetic look.
'You were going to switch your phone off?' Sara asked, both surprised and amused. 'Doesn't the world end if you do that?'
'Don't start,' he admonished her, before picking up the offending phone. 'Grissom,' he spat out, and Sara felt sorry for whoever was on the other end.
'Can't anyone else handle it? … It is supposed to be my night off… Yes, I know we're short handed at the moment, but… Fine, Jim. I'll be right there. What's the address?' Noting the information down on a pad, he ended the call and turned to Sara. 'I'm sorry, but…'
'Duty calls,' she smiled, unable to keep a tiny hint of disappointment out of her voice. 'It's okay.'
'A 417 in Henderson.' He straightened his shirt and picked his jacket up. 'Listen. Stay here, okay? Have something to eat, watch some TV. I'll be back as soon as I can.'
'Sure.' She got up off the sofa and crossed to him. 'I'll save you some dessert,' she told him with a smile that almost made him forget the crime scene he needed to get to.
Kissing her goodbye, he headed to the door with a sigh. One of these days, the fates would be kinder.
'Sorry for pulling you away from your date, Gil,' Brass smirked at him as the CSI supervisor came up the pathway towards the modest house looking less than pleased. 'How's Sara?'
Grissom just glared at him.
'Hey, I'm a detective,' Brass exclaimed, holding his hands up in surrender. 'I detected. So sue me.'
Grissom ignored the comment and was instantly all business. 'Who called this in?'
Brass huffed out a little sigh, clearly accepting that he would get nothing from the intensely private entomologist for the moment. 'Next door neighbor. Heard screaming, yelling, the whole nine yards. When she heard glass being smashed, she dialed 911.'
'Is the husband still inside?'
Brass shook his head. 'Took off when he heard the sirens. Wife's still inside. He worked her over pretty good.'
Leading the way, Brass went back inside the house and into the living room. On the way, Grissom spotted two sets of frightened eyes peering at him through the gaps in the banisters that enclosed the upstairs hallway. The children they belonged to couldn't have been more than eight or nine, but they looked world-weary and older than their years.
The first thought that entered his mind as he laid eyes on the victim was that if Brass had told him that she had just gone three rounds with Mike Tyson, he would have believed it. One eye was almost completely swollen shut, while the other was a violent shade of purple. One of her cheekbones looked like it may have been fractured. Her lips were caked in dried blood, and he suspected she had lost a tooth in the attack. Green and yellow tinged bruises along her jaw line and other cheek bone told Grissom that this was not the first beating the woman had sustained.
'Mrs. Harper, this is Gil Grissom from the Crime Lab,' Brass made the introductions. 'He may have some questions for you. And he'll want to gather some evidence.'
The woman looked frightened at the prospect of this. 'What kind of evidence?'
Grissom sat on the edge of a chair, opposite to where Mrs. Harper was sitting, bringing himself down to her level. He kept his voice calm and soothing as he addressed her. 'I'd like to take some photographs. To document your injuries. And I may need to take DNA evidence from you. For example, did you struggle with your husband? Maybe get some of his skin under your fingernails?'
She shook her head. 'I didn't struggle. It only makes him… it just pisses him off if I fight back… makes him more violent.'
Both men struggled to keep the revulsion from their faces. Just how much more violent could this man possibly get?
'Mrs. Harper? Would you allow me to take some photographs?'
She looked hesitantly from Grissom to Brass and back again, but finally nodded her consent. Snapping off a few establishing shots, Grissom noticed that she flinched, as if each flash of the camera was another slap or punch. He hurriedly took close ups of her injuries, anxious not to prolong her discomfort.
Grissom lowered the camera slowly and attempted to keep his face dispassionate as he watched the woman before him shrink in her seat. She seemed to be attempting to take up as little space as possible, wrapping her arms around her knees in almost a fetal position. While his face remained neutral, his heart ached for the pain she must be going through, both emotionally and physically. The swelling on her face seemed to have worsened in just the short time that Grissom had been in her presence.
'Mrs. Harper? Would you like us to make arrangements for you to go to the hospital now?' he suggested.
Mrs. Harper was staring off now and didn't appear to hear him. 'Mrs. Harper?' Brass tried.
Slowly, she shook her head. 'No… no… I'm fine.'
They left the house thirty minutes later, completely unable to convince the victim to go to either the hospital or a shelter; however she did permit Grissom to collect evidence from her hands and clothing.
'That's the third call-out we've had to this address in the last year,' Brass remarked once they were outside the house. 'Neighbor always calls it in, we get here and she usually won't make a formal complaint, won't file charges. At least she's willing to do it this time.'
Grissom merely nodded.
'I've put out a BOLO on the husband. Hopefully we'll collar him before he comes back here,' Brass looked back towards the house. 'Sick bastard. As if beating his wife isn't bad enough, he does it in front of the kids…'
'It's a sick world, Jim,' Grissom replied. 'That's why we're here.'