Passing of Seasons
by Camilla Sandman
Author's Note: For Lynn, who asked for a baby, a move of OOC by Grissom and mention of a US sitcom. I've tried to give as best I can. "When the glacier sees the spring sun, he weeps" is a Norwegian proverb and is in the public domain. The book titles are all invented by yours truly.
This is in four parts, one for each season (obviously).
What he remembered afterwards was the pattern of tiny hairs on the back of her hand, almost invisible in the flat light of the lecture hall, but rising against the touch of his skin, almost seeking him, as he shook her hand.
"Sara Sidle," she said.
"Gil Grissom," said he.
"Entomology is our friend," she repeated and her smile made the hairs on his hand stand. "Fascinating seminar, Doctor Grissom."
He echoed the smile. "Not creepy?"
"Just creeping," she replied and he could feel her mind behind her words, rising to met his too.
'All animals seek symmetry in their mates,' he thought and watched the brown in her eyes glint at him.
"Well, nice meeting you. I'll see you at the next seminar," she said after a moment and walked away, pausing after a moment to give him a half-smile over her shoulder. It occurred to him that seeing her smile and returning it already felt almost like a habit.
It was spring, and Gil Grissom wondered if it was the start of more than one thing.
"Grissom, what the hell is this?"
Sara Sidle annoyed was among the top five signs it would be a long night, right behind Ecklie looking for him and anyone asking to have "this bug stuff in English, please", Grissom had long since come to know. But there was something strangely reassuring about it nevertheless, familiarity in the repetition, like every winter being followed by a spring. And it was spring now, as much as it was ever spring in Las Vegas and the desert.
"I thought I was working with Greg on our hit-and-run?"
"You were. Now you're working with me on the overdose in the desert," he calmly replied.
"I thought that was just that - an overdose."
The light of the hallway and the shadows from his office were battling each other across her as she stood in the doorway and he could only vaguely make out the furrowed lines across her brow as she considered her own words.
"It's no longer just an overdose, is it?"
"No," he said cheerfully, and she smiled, the shadows on her lips fleeing as she stepped in. "Tox screen came back. Not enough amount to have killed him."
"So what did kill him?"
"Homo sapiens with with an object heavius. One hit to the head."
She nodded, following his thoughts. "First hit's free, as we both know. No blood."
"No blood," he agreed. "But the mark was clearly visible when the hair was shaved off."
"And you need my help."
"Yes," he said, and it was a lie and a truth both, as it had always been. "We're going back to the scene, see if we can locate the object heavius."
"A Latin dictionary?" she suggested and her smile was almost the past returned.
She followed him as they walked through the hallways, steps in sync almost by a will of their own. Always seeking the symmetry, the pattern, the dance. A habit, perhaps, born out of repetition as habits were. There were days he wondered just how many habits a human could have, but habits were never really noticed until broken and thus were hard to count.
It hadn't stopped him trying to make a catalogue in his head.
They drove to the crime scene mainly in silence; Sara looking over the photos of the head wound, him looking at the road and road lights keeping a line of light in the darkening day. Spring nights were still chilly, but warmth was starting to creep into them from the warmer days. Not that the desert yielded too much change from one season to another. Dust rose and fell in the winter and summer sun alike.
He sometimes missed the clear passing of seasons, the illusion of change through the habits of the Earth. Spring to summer to autumn to winter to spring. Moving forward but never moving away.
"Do you think the body was dumped in the desert?" Sara asked after a moment, eyes still on the black and white of words on a page.
"No. No sign of car tracks. Foot prints, but normal prints and not indicating a heavy weight being carried. I think it's our crime scene."
"Mmmm," she said non-committingly. "The killer could have taken the object with him, though."
She threw a sideways look at him, then lightly shook her head. At just what, he didn't know. At times, he caught himself wanting to ask, but he always steered back, knowing it would give her the right to ask him back. And he didn't want to lie and feared to speak the truth.
"You're not taking me out in the desert on some wild object heavius chase here?"
"Yes. I know you, Grissom."
He said nothing, merely watched the dust twirl up around the car as he drove it up to the yellow tape glinting in the fading sun. Know was a dangerous word. He knew bugs and used it to bring justice. What would Sara use knowing Grissom to?
Perhaps he already knew.
He had already looked over much of the scene, but with the purpose slightly changed the scene revealed new possibilities. Rocks in all shapes littered across the dust, one of which might have been used to end a life.
"What do you think of this one?" Sara called after a few minutes, carefully holding up a photo to a rock the size of his palm.
"Could fit," he agreed. "Bag it."
"Rocks aren't much use for fingerprints."
"But blood is good for DNA," he pointed out, pointing to the small red smear. "Looks like blood to me."
"No blood from the victim... Blood from the killer?" she suggested. "Cut himself on the murder weapon? I wish all cases could be as easy as that."
"You have no sense of fun."
"Grissom, the last experiment of yours had my hair smelling for a week!"
He grinned. "I thought bacon grease was a very becoming smell on you."
"Tell that to the dogs who wanted to lick me."
He paused. Tongue on Sara's skin, tasting... No. Best to kill that mental image right away.
"Sorry. Lost in grease there for a moment."
"You're odd," she said, but there was affection in her voice as she followed him back to the car, darkness creeping in across the desert.
"So are you," he replied, letting a truth out in for a moment in the dust as it rose and fell, rose and fell and answered the wind.
There was something changing around him. Not just the lab, with Warrick married, Catherine sharing duties with him, Nick rebelling and Greg growing less Greg and more CSI Sanders. Not just the season, with the sun growing warmer and the wind milder. Not just the country, fear and the desire for safety driving changes that soon seemed they had always been so.
The symmetry was changing.
"Who would get drugged up in the middle of the desert?" Sara muttered, shaking her head as she leaned against the hallway wall, watching Brass lead away Fred Jennings.
"What seems odd to us makes perfect sense to others," he replied. "Tilt the glass and the image changes."
She didn't look surprised at these little revelations anymore, but her lips did still curve in a faint smile. "Fred Jennings will have a lot of time to try that out. Killing his roommate over unevenly sharing their drugs... Never ceases to amaze me what people will kill each other over."
"If it ceased to amaze you, not sure this job would be right for you anymore."
"If it ever was," she said softly.
"You are a good CSI, you know," he said clumsily.
She laughed, and the laugh was bitter. "You sure kept that well hidden. Nick, Greg, Warrick... You've encouraged them. Why not me?"
"Because the encouragement might not only be professional encouragement."
"Because I'd take it as something more, you mean."
"No. Because it might be something more."
She looked at him and very slowly, the disbelief faded from the brown in her eyes.
There was something changing around him and it was him.
Spring sun and changes and Sara in his house, staring incredulously at his bookshelf. Come for the entomology textbooks, stay for the invasion of privacy.
And yet, he had been preparing for it for weeks.
"Desirous Moors? Silver Moon Seduction? Grissom, what the hell are these?"
"Romance novels," he replied calmly, crossing his arms.
"You read romance novels? All right, who are you, how did Ecklie hire you and how much is Grissom being held for?"
"I read romance novels. My habit number eighty-six."
"You number your habits and read romance novels. Now, the first part doesn't really surprise me, Doctor Grissom, but number two..." She shook her head, but couldn't hide the amusement in her voice. "Care to enlighten me as to why?"
"My mother used to read them before my father left. Before... They make me remember."
She didn't laugh at him, didn't scoff, didn't pretend it hadn't been said.
"Sometimes," she said distantly, past in her eyes, "my father would let me rest my head in my lap and I felt safe, as I never did the rest of the time. Sometimes, I still pretend my pillow is a lap."
There was a million ways he'd pictured a first kiss, a million different fantasies. None had her pressed against Scandalous Satisfaction, none of them had the spring sun blinding him, none of them had her lips tasting still of onions from the breakfast he'd treated her to.
None of them had been real.
"I suspect this is research for The Ecstasy of the Eccentric Entomologist," she whispered and he laughed and kissed her again, because once you were invaded, you might as well take whatever pleasure out of surrender you could.
Kiss #1: In his house at noon a Tuesday, pressing her against a bookshelf, spring sun against his back.
Kiss #2: On his stairs sometime past noon Tuesday, his fingers in her hair, the memory of the first still on her lips.
Kiss #3: Thursday, the desert, dust in his eyes, work waiting, darkness embracing them.
Kiss #4: Saturday, leaving faint lipstick on his lips at the end of a date, or whatever the hell he could call taking her to see rare skeletons in flat light.
Kiss #5: Monday morning, a cricket in her hair he meant to remove and with the lips of hers he was finding it hard to.
"When the glacier sees the spring sun, he weeps," Greg had said once, watching ice melt. Words of Papa Olaf again, another proverb taken across the sea from a land where winter held a visible grip. Familiarity to cling to in the unfamiliar, the lifelines all humans created.
Grissom had wondered if he'd clung onto his for too long and forgotten how to swim.
"What have these years been?"
She looked up at him as he traced the sides of her neck carefully, her head warm in his lap. Her skin was unfamiliar to his still, but he was learning the feel of it.
"You call hurt, rejection and insecurities foreplay?"
"A relationship is hurt, rejection and insecurity," he replied. "Yes, I call it foreplay."
He had kissed her five times now and she had a right to ask these questions. He still had to fight the urge to flee from them.
"You have a seriously depressing view of relationships."
He shrugged. "Parents."
"Parents too," she said softly. "Do you think it's possible to unlearn what your parents teach you?"
"I don't know. We'll have to conduct an experiment."
She closed her eyes and he let his drift to the horizon. Spring sun and the glacier weeping for the silence and peace lost with winter's passing. There was always something lost in the change, as there had to be or all would stay the same.
Time to lose something.
"You're my habit one hundred and eighteen," he whispered, "the one I don't want to break."
When he looked at her, he saw her eyes open and focus on him, the smile an echo of the first she had ever given him.
It was spring and everything was beginning.