By Miss Jazz
Category: Humour/Romance, GSR
Spoilers: "Grave Danger" and "Bodies In Motion."
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. I'm just borrowing and having a little fun with the characters!
Author's Note: I've had this story on my mind for awhile now, and I really needed to start writing it, regardless of the fact that Faithful Light is still in the works ;) This story is set after Grave Danger and after the team is back together, but before Bodies In Motion. I'm going to overlook the fact that Warrick is married! It just didn't really fit in! I'd also like to mention that TriplePirouette has a wonderful story out there called "Wide As The Ocean Is" and I am going to be careful not to make my story too similar, because they are both based on the same concept–just a little different. I highly recommend you read her story though–it is fabulous! And a Faithful Light update is coming in the next few days! Thanks for all the wonderful reviews for the last chapter! I hope you enjoy the first chapter of my next WIP :)
"Do we get a movie on this flight?"
"Do we get those little packages of pretzels?"
"And then do we get lunch?"
"And then do we get more of those little packages of pretzels?"
The tiny flight attendant might have replied again if Greg Sanders hadn't been whisked off of his feet.
"Sit down, sir," a very impatient Sara Sidle commanded, as she firmly pulled an over-excited Greg down into the seat next to her. "Just sit down, put your seatbelt on, and read your safety manual," she instructed, loosening her grasp on the younger CSI's arm. Then, putting a smile on her face, she turned to the blushing flight attendant and she shook her head."I'm so sorry. His pills haven't kicked in yet."
The flight attendant blinked rapidly. "I understand," she blurted out. With wide eyes, she gave Greg a very strange look and then promptly disappeared.
Greg tried to scowl at Sara as he fastened his seatbelt, but his smile was too powerful. "Thank-you for that," he said, managing an almost serious snivel. "Now she's going to be scared of me for the whole flight!"
"Really?" Sara raised one eyebrow. "I'm sure I had nothing to do with that, Greggo."
"And I'm sure you did," he countered, grinning at Sara and elbowing her as he tried to get comfortable in his seat. "Just because you're allergic to vacations doesn't mean you get to sneeze all over the rest of us. I was having fun with that flight attendant."
"Yeah, but she wasn't having any fun with you."
"You don't know that. How can you even say that? Everyone has fun with me! Even you have fun with me!"
Sara rolled her eyes. "Well, the end of the world must be near then, Greg, because she was definitely not having fun with you." She handed him her safety manual. "Here, prepare for the worst."
"Thanks but no thanks," Greg replied. And then, in mock exasperation, he reached in front of Sara with his finger pointed and ready to poke Nick Stokes firmly in the arm. "Hey, Nicky–"
Nick looked up from his travel magazine just as Greg's finger connected with his shoulder. "Hey, G. What's up?"
"If the booze cart comes down your aisle first, will you get Sara something? Please? I think our intrepid traveller could use a little boost of happiness. You know, something to help her loosen up? Anything?"
"Sure," Nick replied, winking.
Sara sighed. "Give me a break, guys. We haven't even taken off yet–"
"Precisely," Greg interrupted. "We haven't even taken off yet and you're already pining. For the lab."
"What can I say? I miss my luminol."
"Sarcasm noted, Sar," Nick chuckled, as he patted her arm. "No worries.'Rick and I will keep an eye on this aisle. If we see it, we'll fix you up."
On the other side of Nick, Warrick Brown–upon hearing his name–bent over, peering across the row of seats. "See what first?" he asked, as he tucked his bag under the seat in front of him.
"The beverage cart," Sara said dryly. "The one with alcohol. After we take off, they want you to help flag it down for me. Apparently I'm not happy enough about being squished into the middle of the middle four seats with you three."
Warrick smiled softly. "Ah, lighten up girl. They just know how hard this is for you."
Greg nodded vigourously. "And alcohol at a high altitude just might make you a happy vacationer, which would be a very good thing."
"Thanks guys," Sara breathed. "But I'm working on cutting back."
"Cutting back?" came a booming voice from the aisle next to Warrick's seat. "What should be cut back is the fee you have to pay for overweight luggage and the time it takes to actually go and pay it." With a slight shake of his head, Jim Brass waved at the four CSIs and then made a dramatic gesture toward Gil Grissom, who was wedged in the aisle beside him."Guess who packed his whole library?"
"Grissom," came three synchronized replies.
Sara was the one who held back. "Oh come on, Brass," she said playfully, a second later. "We all know Grissom's library wouldn't even come close to fitting on this plane." For a moment, her eyes sparkled.
"I only packed a few books," sighed Grissom.
"And he's got a few more of them in his carry-on too,"added Brass. "It's a pretty heavy sucker, let me tell ya." He gestured againat Grissom, who was clearly struggling to hold up the weight of his big duffel bag. "Well, at least we finally made it on."
"Let's just find our seats,"grumbled the CSI supervisor. "We're holding up the line."
Brass pressed his lips together and let out an amused huff. "Lindsey Willows and I must go."
"Lindsey?" Warrick said in confusion.
Brass was ready with an answer."Gil has Lindsey's assigned seat, and Lindsey has Gil's," explained the detective. "They traded so she can sit with Catherine. I'm too much of a bad influence, I guess." He laughed. "Anyway, we're behind you a couple of rows. On the side. I'm calling the window seat!" And with that, the two men moved down the aisle, with Grissom practically dragging his bag behind him.
"So where are Cath and Lindsey?" Nick asked, his eyes scanning the interior of the large plane. He knew they'd been right behind him in the boarding line, but he hadn't seen them since then. He briefly wondered how it was possible to lose two people in such a small amount of time–and space.
Greg was about to open his mouth, to say that he hadn't seen them, when Catherine and Lindsey Willows came down the aisle on his side, both of them looking pretty desperate to find their seats.
"Do you want the window seat, Linds?" Catherine called out, her voice tight from stress. "I'm pretty sure our seats are on the side." She looked down at the boarding passes in her hand and nodded. "They are. Do you want the window?" she asked again.
Without replying to her mother's question, Lindsey came to a stop next to Greg and she smiled broadly. "Hey!"
"Well hey there, Lindsey," said Greg. "What happened to you two?"
The blonde girl giggled. "Mom thought she left her sunglasses in the washroom, so we went back to get them but then we realized that they were on her head the whole time!"
"And she hasn't stopped laughing since," Catherine said, as she dropped her purse into one of the seats across the aisle from Greg."This is us, Linds. Are you taking the window?"
Lindsey eyed Greg mischievously. "I'd rather sit in the aisle seat," she decided. "Can I, Mom?"
"Yeah, just let me slide over." Catherine quickly tucked her carry-on bag into the overhead compartment and then collapsed into the window seat, looking over at Greg in pure relief. "I can't believe we finally made it on," she sighed, her face flushed.
"That seems to be the universal reaction," replied Greg. "Brass just said the same thing. I guess they finally managed to get Grissom's million pound suitcase loaded–for an additional fee."
Catherine nodded. "I heard all about it. They were right in front of us two minutes ago." She sat up a bit, looking around to see if they'd found their seats. Her gaze came to rest on the other side of the plane, about four rows back, where Brass was looking comfortable in his window seat and Grissom was looking very, very lost. "Well, with his books or without them, I still can't believe he came," she said, a strong smile curving her lips.
"Who?" Lindsey asked, as she plopped down into her seat.
"I think she means Grissom," Greg replied, giving her a wink.
"Oh." Lindsey seemed surprised. "Why wouldn't Uncle Gil want to come?"
Now it was Greg's turn to be surprised. "Uh, Lindsey? How well do you know your Uncle Gil?"
"As well as he lets anybody know him," Catherine replied for her daughter.
Lindsey looked confused but she nodded anyway. "Right. Um, well I was just thinking that you'd have to be like completely insane to not want to go on a cruise!"
Grinning, Greg elbowed Sara sharply. "You hear that, Sara?"
"Ow, dammit! Yes."
Lindsey's dancing eyes widened. "Sara doesn't want to go either? What's up with you people?"
"Sara and Uncle Gil want to go," Catherine explained patiently. "They're just not used to this sort of thing. Their idea of vacation is working only one shift a day, so they're going to need a little encouragement."
"They don't know how to relax," Greg said simply. "Or how to have a good time, or how to be sociable for more than ten minutes, or how to–"
"Greg!" muttered Sara. She looked over at Lindsey. "It's not true."
Lindsey laughed while Greg shook his head."Yes, it is, Sara," he said, as he grabbed the crime novel she'd been clutching and handed her his travel magazine. "Page ten. Look carefully."
"What's on page ten?"
"Open the magazine, Sidle."
Sara bit back a laugh as she flipped to the tenth page, with both Greg and Nick looking over her shoulders."This is what's waiting for us in Miami?" she asked, in clear amazement, as her eyes scanned the colourful photographs on Greg's favourite page. "It's really, uh, big. I swear, it didn't look that big in the other pamphlets."
"Seven Days Of Spectacular Southern Sun," Nick said, reading the headline out loud.
Sara smiled. "And what if it rains?"
"Then we can forego sunbathing for one of the other hundred activities on this thing," Nick replied lightly. His eyes continued to follow the small text under the photos. "From top to bottom, from bow to stern, and from port to starboard, this ship is full of enjoyable activities for everyone! Highlights include several outdoor pools, a covered pool, an arcade, a casino, a theatre, sports deck, various bars, lounges, and discos, cafes, restaurants, a huge main dining room, shopping, a spa, a cinema, art gallery, a library, enrichment seminars–"
"Library? Enrichment seminars?" Sara's eyes shot open. "Really?"
Greg smirked. "Yep. Should be lots of fun–for you and Grissom." Sara's heart skipped a beat. "The rest of us will be off having real fun, of course."
"–cooking classes, a healthy eating on vacation program, a full gym with all types of exercise equipment, yoga and aerobics classes, organized events daily and even mini-golf! Thirteen decks of fun and relaxation in the Caribbean sun! And don't forget the sensational ports of call!"concluded Nick. He took a deep breath, looking more content and relaxed than he had in a long time. "By the time we're done all this, we'll need another vacation!"
"Even if we do none of it, we'll need another vacation," spoke up Warrick. "Don't forget–we're working doubles for weeks when we get home." He groaned inwardly at the thought of the long shifts to come, when they would all be working extra time so the other shifts could take their holidays as well. It was only fair.
"It'll be worth it," announced Greg. "So worth it."
Nick nodded. "Hey–where's day-shift going again? Last I heard it was something in Jamaica?"
Greg shook his head. "Days picked an all-inclusive in the Bahamas. Sofia was telling me all about it. Sounds pretty nice."
Sara pursed her lips. "Remind me again–why did we pick to get stranded at sea for a week? And why didn't Sofia come with us?" She searched her memory, trying to recall the reason why the blonde CSI-turned-night-shift-detective had chosen to accompany day-shift instead.
"You agreed to the cruise, Sar," Nick reminded her. "We're not going to be stranded at sea. We're stopping in a bunch of different places and it'll all be amazing."
"And Sofia is going with days because Brass is coming with us," said Warrick. "She said something about scheduling." He shrugged. "I don't know. She knows day-shift better anyway. Worked with them longer. Makes more sense to go with them, I guess."
"I think everything worked out the way it should," spoke up Catherine. "Everyone's happy–" She paused, eyeing Sara from across the aisle. "Or they will be."
Sara threw up her hands. "It's not that I'm not happy! I am. I'm just–"
"Afraid?" suggested Greg. "Afraid of our escapade?"
Greg pointed at page ten again, his finger tapping over a small paragraph that Sara and Nick hadn't read yet."See right here? The magazine describes this trip as a 'sunny escapade,'as in adventure, romp, or fling," he scanned the text again quickly. "And–wow, I think they actually managed to use every one of those words in this paragraph–"
"That's, uh, really great, Greggo. And I know what 'escapade' means, thank-you."
"Of course you do, oh queen of sarcasm." He studied the odd expression on Sara's face and a sly grin curved his lips. "You're going to have the time of your life, Sara, and you're freaked out beyond belief."
"I'm not freaked out."
"Yes you are."
"Greg, what are you, five?"
Greg just smiled and leaned back in his seat. "Ah well, I can't wait for this," he said, just as the plane's engines started up. "Some pilot introductions and emergency instructions, and then we'll be on our way." He gave Sara a dramatic look and then patted the top of her hand. "Sit back and enjoy, Sara. There's no turning back now."
"There's no turning back now," Sara said, repeating Greg's words to her reflection about two hours into the flight. Locked in one of the plane's tiny bathrooms, Sara was making an honest attempt to talk herself into relaxation mode. But so far, she wasn't having any luck.
"You're on vacation," she said quietly, over and over again, as she stared down the pale, thin brunette in the mirror. "Just relax. Take it easy. Enjoy. Get some sun and stop raining on everyone's parade. You wanted to come, Sidle. You weren't going to be left behind. There's a reason why you're here. So many reasons! Just have fun. Have fun and shut up and relax."
Sara gave her reflection a strained smile, allowing herself to drift off into a brief daydream. For a moment, she was able to picture herself laying on a deck chair by the pool, enjoying the sun and the feel of the gentle breeze as it danced through her hair. She could almost smell the ocean, and hear the waves. Completely surrendering herself to her little dream, Sara tried to imagine what it would be like if she actually got to spend some time alone with Grissom during the week. Perhaps they would be able to sit and talk one day, and spend some time looking at the sea together. Was that idea too far-fetched?
"Of course it is," Sara whispered, pulling herself out of the dream and moving to unlock the door. "I promised not to do this to myself anymore. So I won't." And then, with determination, she left the washroom, taking only a few steps before smacking right into Jim Brass.
"There you are," Brass said, as he helped peel Sara off of his chest.
"Here I am–" Sara replied, letting out a long, uncertain breath. "What's up, Brass?"
"Warrick said that you have Tylenol in your purse."
"Extra Strength. Why? You okay?"
Brass nodded. "I'm fine, but your fellow party pooper over there is not."
Sara followed Brass' gaze and found herself staring over at Grissom, who was almost asleep in his seat, with a book–most likely about bugs–in his hand and his glasses nearing the tip of his nose. Sara smiled warmly at the sight, just for a moment, before letting her concern shine through. "What's wrong?" she asked, leading the way back to her seat to grab her purse. "Is he alright?"
"Bad headache. He's trying to sleep it off but we have two very loud, talkative women sitting behind us. So loud and talkative that I'm pretty sure Gil and I could tell you their life stories. Condensed versions, of course."
"I think I'll pass," Sara said, as she came to a stop. She was about to lean over Greg, to get her purse, when Lindsey reached across the aisle and slapped the youngest CSI's arm. Hard.
"Greg!" she hissed, a huge grin plastered on her face. "Mom's sleeping with her mouth open! You have to take a picture!"
Sara and Brass immediately looked over at Catherine who was, indeed, sleeping with her mouth open. Exchanging a surprised look, the pair then turned to look at Greg, who was fumbling wildly for his camera, and then at Lindsey, who had launched herself into a fit of pre-teen giggles.
"Well there's something you don't see every day," Brass commented, as his gaze shifted back to Catherine. She looked comfortable sleeping in the seat, with her head leaning against the window and a blanket pulled up to her chin.
"And that's why we take pictures," Greg declared, leaning into the aisle to get closer.
Giving Greg yet another mischievous look, Lindsey bent down, dropping her head between her knees while Greg took a picture of Catherine in the midst of her siesta."Please, please, please blow that up and frame it!"she squealed, her voice muffled. Then, still laughing hysterically, she turned her head to look at Greg. "You have to put it someplace where everyone will see!"
"Wow, you're quite the little instigator, aren't you?" Greg grinned and reached over, giving Lindsey a high-five. "I think we're gonna have a lot of fun on this trip, little lady."
Sara actually laughed as she retrieved her purse. "Don't get her into too much trouble, Greggo. I'm not sure Cath would appreciate that."
"I was thinking it was going to be the other way around,"chuckled Greg. "She's the one with the great ideas."
"Well I know better than to underestimate you," Sara replied. Then she followed Brass back up the aisle and across to the other one.
By the time they reached Grissom, the plane was bouncing along in a patch of turbulence and the seatbelt signs were illuminated. Well isn't that fitting? Sara grumbled to herself, as she searched through her purse for the small bottle of Tylenol she'd brought. "Hey, Griss," she said softly, as she hovered over his aisle seat.
"Relief is here," announced Brass. "Sara keeps pills in her purse."
Sara gave the detective a brief glare. "Tylenol," she quickly clarified. "And some Gravol, in case I get seasick. Or airsick. Or just–sick. I came prepared."
"Sounds like you have the vacation allergy," Brass mused, squeezing Sara's shoulder. He turned to Grissom. "See, Gil? You're not the only one."
"I know that, Jim." Grissom sat up straight in his seat, massaging his temples as he looked up at Sara. She handed him the bottle of Tylenol. "Thanks, Sara," he said gently, giving her a weak, grateful smile. "I really appreciate it. Mine's in my suitcase, and well–"
"It's down in the luggage compartment being crushed by a hundred heavy books," finished Brass.
Sara grinned. "It's no problem, really. I'll leave it with you, okay?"
Before Grissom could answer, the plane dropped into a rather large air pocket and Sara stumbled in the aisle. "Sara–" Grissom reached out and grabbed her arm, hoping to steady her.
"It's getting, uh, bumpy," Sara said, as she regained her footing. For a moment, she just stood there, enjoying the simple fact that Grissom was holding her arm, his grasp firm but soft. She didn't even notice that Brass had grabbed her other arm.
"Maybe we should sit down," Brass said, raising his eyebrows. And with that, he released Sara's arm and crawled across Grissom. He fastened his seatbelt right away, staring up at the illuminated sign.
Grissom released Sara's other arm a second later, with what seemed to be a little bit of reluctance in his eyes. "Yes, you probably should sit down," he said carefully.
"Yeah," agreed Sara. "I'm sure Greg already misses me."
Grissom frowned. "What?"
"I'm sure he misses teasing me about being allergic to vacations and about reading crime novels when I should be reading travel magazines and about how I need to take lessons on how to be sociable–"
His face relaxing, Grissom nodded. "Oh. Everything okay up there?"
Sara searched his eyes. "Are you talking about Nick?"
Grissom gave her a half-shrug. "In general."
"Well, I think so. Nick's snoring, Warrick won't take off his headphones and Greg's plotting with Lindsey."
"Sleeping with her mouth open."
Grissom's blue eyes widened. "Really?"
"Greg took a picture," she told him, taking a deep breath before continuing cautiously. "But, uh, yeah, Nick's having a good time. I think this is the happiest I've seen him since–" She stopped, wincing. "He's really looking forward to this, and I think it's the best thing for him."
"That's what Warrick thought too," Grissom quietly replied, remembering the day Warrick had suggested the trip. A few days before Nick had returned to work, he'd brought the idea to the team, and then he'd managed to work some sort of magic with Ecklie and the lab's director, insisting that a group vacation would help in Nick's recovery, as well as help the team reconnect with each other. The only stipulation had been that the other shifts received group vacation time as well. Of course Grissom wasn't thrilled at the idea of leaving work, but the recent events had put everything into perspective for him, and he felt like this was a family vacation–and a fresh start.
Sara, who was still talking softly, pulled Grissom out of his thoughts. "At least we'll be able to keep him busy, keep his mind off everything for awhile–" she trailed off.
Grissom was about to reply when a flight attendant–the same one Greg had been bothering earlier–came down the aisle. She looked directly at Sara."Excuse me, ma'am, but the pilot has put the seatbelt sign on and you're going to have to take your seat."
"I'm on my way," Sara replied, eyeing the packages of pretzels in the flight attendant's hand. "If those are going where I think they're going, I don't mind taking them," she offered, choking back a laugh.
The flight attendant gave her a grateful look. "They are," she said, quickly depositing the packages into Sara's hand. "Thank-you!" Looking one hundred percent relieved, she hurried off.
"I take it Greg's enjoying the pretzels?" asked Grissom.
"Almost as much as the flight attendants," Sara replied wryly. And then, giving Grissom a small wave and a smile, she headed back up the aisle and down the other, reaching her seat just before the turbulence increased.
"You have pretzels!" Greg gleefully exclaimed.
Sara dropped them in his lap. "Why don't you save them, Greg? You've had at least ten of those already. You're not going to have any room for dinner," she said. But it was no use–he had already opened one of the packages and was crunching loudly. Shaking her head, Sara settled into her seat, trying to find a comfortable position. A nap might be a good idea, she thought to herself, as her eyelids fluttered. Yes, a nap. The first step to relaxation. I could try to rest for a few minutes. It might work. Everyone would be happy if I just let myself–
And the next thing she knew, they were landing.
And Greg was still eating pretzels.