Author Notes: I'm glad I always put ETA instead of "this is definitely when I will update" because yea...I'm not very on-time
Also, I'm usually way too lazy when I post to do last-minute betas, so hopefully while i reread it a million times mid-writing, I do a good clean up job :-)
Taking a Chance
Chapter 3: The Grave Truth
A few minutes passed as the vehicle drove on before Sara felt the need to say something. "Grissom, where exactly are we going? This seems pretty cliche, even for you."
An almost unnoticeable smirk graced his face, "Sara, in all the years you've known me, have I ever given you reason to doubt me?"
She pondered this a moment, "Well..."
At this Grissom gave her a confused look, then turned back to the road, going back between the two.
"No, not really. But that still doesn't answer my question."
Grissom let out a breath, "Patience, Sara. It's a virtue."
"Don't I know it," Sara whispered under her breath as she sighed to herself. Grissom heard her, but didn't comment. Instead he tentatively touched her hand as it lay on the seat. He gave it a quick squeeze, lingering a moment before letting go.
She looked at him open mouthed; a question mark might as well have smacked her in the face. She turned back to staring out her window, wondering what planet she had just landed on.
Fifteen minutes and the ride was over, Grissom parking in an empty gravel lot. They were only about five minutes outside the Vegas casino district, middle class neighborhoods scattered around down the roads. Grass spanned a wide area from the road to twenty yards away. Passed that were grave markers and a giant marble sign reading "Desert Falls Cemetery", a large fountain spraying mists of water behind the sign.
Sara stepped out of the car, stretching her limbs. She still wasn't sure about the reasons behind this field trip, but hell if she wasn't going to find out. Her gaze travelled to Grissom as he walked up the field toward the cemetery. 'Well, if he wanted my attention, he's got it,' she thought as she followed his lead.
The two walked until they seemed to be directly in the middle of the burial plots. Grissom suddenly stopped and turned, startling Sara as she almost ran into him. He held his hands out to steady her, lightly holding her arms until he was sure she wasn't going to fall over. "Sorry," he looked at her bashfully, his arms dropping to his sides.
A beat. "So, uh...why exactly are we here?"
"Statistically speaking, if you cross referenced all cases dating back to when I first joined the Las Vegas Crime Lab you'd find that 47 of all victims we've dealt with are buried here," he gestured to the area, then paused. Looking up then back down at his hands,fidgeting with a napkin from the diner, his voice lowered, "I first started coming ten years ago. I was just curious to see how the other half lived --"
Sara interrupted, confused, "--the dead half?"
Grissom nodded thoughtfully, "Since my first visit I've made a habit of coming out every two or three years. Sometimes I can find the names of the newer victims we helped give peace of mind to. I'm not sure whether I should be happy to have helped or sad that I needed to in the first place."
A solemn look crossed his face. Sara put her right hand on his left shoulder, gazing out at the tombstones. Grissom noticed her gaze lock onto something, turning to follow her as she walked toward one of the graves. She squatted and traced a finger gently over the engraving.
Grissom went to stand next to her, Shakespeare bubbling in his mind as he recognized the inscribed name. "Death lies on her like an untimely frost; Upon the sweetest flower of all the field."
"Debbie Marlin," Sara stared at the marker. "You know...until that case I never bought into the whole 'everyone has a twin somewhere in the world' thing. But after...seeing her...," she looked up at Grissom, "I felt like everyone was avoiding me during the entire investigation. Like if they breathed on me too hard I'd suddenly become Debbie Marlin and Sara Sidle would just disappear."
Gil crouched down to meet her gaze. He grabbed one of her hands in his. "It was unsettling for all of us. Personally, sometimes my imagination would get the best of me and instead of seeing Debbie, I saw Sara. It was...difficult. And I don't think I was the only one - everyone else became just as acutely aware of how human the team really is. That anything could happen to any of us at a moment's notice."
He turned her hand over, looking at it and noticing where the faded scar from the lab explosion lay. His thumb brushed over it, tracing it from the middle of her hand to the beginning of her index finger.
Sara watched him, not sure how to react to this...what? What was it? Affection? Their eyes made contact, but Sara felt the need to look away. She dropped her head, smiling helplessly for a moment before standing up. Grissom followed, almost reluctantly letting go of her hand.
Sara crossed her arms as she walked back to the car. When Grissom was only few feet behind her she felt the need to speak. She hesitated while turning toward him, having trouble finding her voice. "I, uh, just wanted you to know - um...you're not too late. Well, maybe you're late, I mean--," she stopped, "...but not...overly - uh...late...," she tried to make sense of what she just said, but gave up, shaking her head in frustration. "Never-mind." She quickly got into the car, mentally kicking herself at her lack of finesse.
Grissom simply smiled at her, though she couldn't see from inside the car. He joined her without another word and they were off, heading back to the lab.
Next chapter ETA: Between Saturday, Nov. 26 and Saturday, December 3rd.