Title: Respite

Grissom/Sara, post-Grave Danger, pg

Summary: "She was shaking slightly and staring at the spot on the door frame directly beside the handle."

xxx

She was shaking slightly and staring at the spot on the door frame directly beside the handle. As far as she could remember she'd rung the bell, but either he was taking a long time answering the door or she in fact never had. She wasn't worried about waking him; she knew he wouldn't be able to sleep, just as she couldn't.

A moment later her unarticulated question was answered as the front door opened, yet she continued to stare.

'Sara?'

Finally, she looked up. 'Hi.'

He studied her, eyes silently checking her over for anything that seemed out of place. 'Hi.'

Now would've been the time for her to explain the reasons behind her visit, except she wasn't exactly sure what they were. Instead the door frame appeared fascinating as she stared into space, not really taking in anything at all.

He asked her, eventually, trying to understand. 'What are you doing here?'

'I don't know,' she replied honestly.

'Do you want to come in?'

She shook her head, confused eyes finally rising to meet his. 'I don't think so.'

He pursed his lips thoughtfully; she'd always confused him but today he really was at a loss. 'What can I do for you, Sara?'

'I just…' she stopped. Her eyes were suddenly full of pain and he could see fear mixed in there too. Fear of him or the situation she'd found herself in, he wasn't sure. Maybe it was still lingering fear over having lost and found Nick. She looked so small standing on his doorstep, hands pulling down the sleeves of her top to cover her knuckles, biting her lip, trying not to cry.

'You just what?' he asked softly, looking at her with an emotion he rarely allowed her to see.

She stepped forward hesitantly, seeming to snap back to reality. 'I just needed a hug.' And then she held her breath, because she was suddenly terrified of creating ripples in the calm waters they'd been treading in of late. They'd been friends again and she'd missed that, and now maybe she'd gone and ruined it all again by simply asking for more.

Strong arms wrapping around her disproved her latest theory and reassured her that maybe she hadn't made a mistake and that maybe this was a step in the right direction. And then she stopped thinking because she realised that if she didn't hug him back soon he was going to let go, thinking she hadn't meant it, and make some excuse to return swiftly into his apartment to hide his embarrassment. She definitely didn't want that. So slowly her arms wrapped themselves around his waist and her head lowered itself to his shoulder and suddenly she was crying.

He held on to her but didn't say anything, because there wasn't anything to say. Their friend had almost died and Grissom had seen the traumatic effect it had had on every single member of his team. He remembered Warrick's guilt over Nick having taken the case instead of him, he remembered Catherine's desperate attempt to convince him to accept the ransom money she had procured regardless of where it had come from, he remembered Greg impressing him with his attitude towards the situation but showing his own deep hints of his anguish, he remembered Sara's calming presence that slowly transformed into real fear, and most of all he remembered how proud Nick had made him that day.

And now Nick was safe in hospital and with his parents, and he'd seen Warrick and Catherine finally leave together, and Greg and Hodges returned to the lab, a board game between them - a welcomed distraction. Sara had left, briefly saying goodbye to everybody; but obviously hadn't been home yet. Instead she was here suddenly, in his arms, and crying though she didn't want him to know so. He wondered if she thought that maybe he wouldn't notice that his shoulder was slightly moist.

'Have you been home yet?' he murmured against her ear.

She shook her head, tightening her grip on him; sniffling slightly.

'Sara…'

'I'm okay,' she sniffled once more. 'I just… needed this.'

He wondered what she meant by that as the scent of vanilla invaded his senses; he wondered too what she would say were he to suddenly announce that he approved of her choice of shampoo. She needed what, exactly? She needed a hug? She needed comfort? She needed him?

'Me too,' he found himself responding before he realised what he was doing. He froze, and she smiled slightly to herself, loosening her grip.

'We found him,' he finally said.

She nodded. 'Yes, we did.'

'He's going to be fine,' he added.

Again, she nodded. 'Yes, he is.'

Finally she pulled back, her eyes dry and her face showing almost no evidence of her having been crying. But where she would have been embarrassed a couple of years before, now she merely smiled her thanks, admitting that in that time she had needed him and that she was okay with that.

'Nick's going to be just fine,' he said, feeling the need to reiterate the truth.

She stepped back, smiling sadly. 'Yes. But it makes you think, doesn't it?'

He looked perplexed, unsure of her meaning. 'About what?'

'It could happen to any of us.'

She maintained eye contact before breaking off, and then her lips were gently pressed against his cheek and he was warm for a second in the cool night air. But as quickly as the warmth had appeared it disappeared again and he was left watching her retreating form, pondering her words and wondering if he'd ever be brave enough to let her know that if anything ever happened to her, he would be far from okay.

Fin