Confessions on the Rooftop
Henrika- I am so sorry that this has taken so long. I've had to rework this chapter a couple of times because it just didn't look right and it was driving me nuts. That being said, I think I'm finally happy with the conclusion of this story. You guys have been absolutely awesome and I've received more htis for this story than any other. Hurray! Enjoy and review!
It took him nearly two hours, with stops and starts included where he was too choked up to talk, for Greg to relay the entire story of the past few weeks to Grissom. They stayed on the roof (Greg was more comfortable that way) though the younger man did allow his superior let the hospital know where he was.
After that, Grissom had calmly made true to the promise he had made nearly two years ago when he found Greg's hands shaking a few weeks after the lab explosion. And though they were nowhere near his office and though there was no door to have open, Greg took up the offer wholeheartedly.
"Do you remember the vacation time I took a few weeks ago?" Grissom nodded. "That was for Papa Olaf's funeral. It was in San Francisco. He died of a heart attack. No warning at all; he was perfectly healthy. 'Healthy as a horse' he always used to say to me."
"I'm sorry for your loss." Grissom paused, trying to word his next statement as tactfully as possible. "But you could have told us that you were having family issues." It still came out harsh and Grissom winced.
"I…" Greg stopped suddenly, his mouth hanging open slightly. He didn't know why he hadn't told them. For his part, he even knew that it might have helped him grieve. But instead he had ignored that rational side of himself and put in as much overtime as he could. "I don't know. It was a nice service. He would have liked it. He has Norwegian on his headstone. He said that if there's a God then he knows how to read Norwegian and he'll have no problems." Greg laughed slightly, coughing as it irritated his ragged throat. Grissom rubbed his back for a moment, then encouraged him to go on. "He was the kind of man who wanted to put the "fun" in funeral. But I just couldn't believe he was gone. He was the only family I had left. I didn't want to accept it. So I didn't. And I know how stupid it was because I've seen it one too many times in our line of work, but I still didn't want to be an adult about it. I worked as much as I could when I got back because if I was on a case, I couldn't afford to concentrate on anything else."
Grissom remembered with mixed guilt how he had been proud of Greg's work ethic, even though it hadn't occurred to him to why it had swung to such an extreme in such a short period of time.
"And you ended up in the hospital because…?" Grissom prompted.
"Because I stopped thinking about everything but the cases and Papa Olaf's death." He scratched his head sheepishly. "I kind of forgot to take care of myself." He paused for a moment, catching his breath. "I think I knew on some level what I was doing, but it just didn't occur to me that I could hurt myself this badly. I passed out in my living room four days ago. I had to start taking a cab to work, because I was so afraid of doing that while I was driving. I coughed up some blood in the shower and I still couldn't comprehend what was happening. And then Ecklie called me in to run DNA and I felt fine so I came in and ran the shifts and then I went up to the roof for some fresh air and I felt kind of dizzy and then…well, you know what happened after that."
Greg stood, albeit shakily, and went to the edge of the roof. Grissom accompanied him, allowing the younger man to lean against him as the short walk sapped his strength. "Why do you come to the roof to think?" Grissom asked quietly, settling on a neutral topic of conversation.
The spiky-haired brunette enjoyed the wind that was gently playing with his hair for a moment before he answered. "I think it was after the lab blew up. Even when they re-built it, there was no way it could be the sanctuary it used to be." Grissom mused upon the use of the word "sanctuary" for a moment, wondering what Greg needed to protect himself from before realizing that he felt the same way about his office. "So I started going around the lab, trying to find some place where I could think. And I found the roof. It was nice too." He said. "When the wind was blowing, I couldn't even tell that my hands were shaking."
"They're not shaking anymore, are they?"
"No." Greg agreed. "They're not."
"Then let's go back inside." Grissom held out for his arm for support and Greg looked out at the peaceful, electric glow of Las Vegas one more time before he took it.
Dr. Harper stood over Greg's bed a few days later, eyeing the young man who was fiddling anxiously with his IV lines. He turned to the assembled CSI team who stood next to him. "I will only release Greg to the care of one of you. Otherwise he stays here for the next few weeks."
Greg gave the team a look that managed to appear horrified, puppy-eyed pleading, and desperate all at once.
"You can stay with me Greggo." Nick offered.
There was a pause that no one expected to be broken by Grissom's quiet voice. "You can stay with me as well." To Grissom's annoyance, the entire team looked surprised, though Greg smiled after a moment, mouthing a 'thank you' before he spoke.
"If it's okay; I wouldn't mind staying with you Nick."
"No problem at all man. I could use the company." The last part was said softly, but they all caught the thread of fear that had laced the Texan's voice ever since his ordeal.
"I'll do the laundry or the dusting or something." Greg promised.
"You'll do the dishes. Laundry I don't mind, but dishes I can't stand."
And Greg started laughing suddenly, causing a smile to break over them all. It was a little rougher than it should have been, but it was a sound that they hadn't heard in a long time. Greg looked up at them and smiled, Sophia's far away words that he used to be a funny guy echoing in his head. "Have you heard the one about the chicken?"
Henrika- What did you think? Did it wrap up alright?