Title: Wash Away

Author: Manigault

Disclaimer: I don't own them. I simply enjoy messing with the characters.

Note: Based own my own disillusionment with WP's comments in TV guide, USA Today and ET, this is my way of handling the let down and venting my frustrations in a more creative context. Although, THAT episode has aired and it fell flat, I'm still venting WP's comments.

Spoilers: Somewhat, I started writing this based on spoilers from Pirates of the Third Reich and changed little since.

Summary: Grissom screws up. Sara gets her life together.

GSR gradually, because despite my frustration, I do love the GSR.

January, 2006

Thursday

"I don't know what I feel when I'm with her." Gil Grissom admitted to Catherine Willows who had pressed him for an answer to the rumors concerning himself and Lady Heather. "She knows me like nobody else ever has, and sometimes, I think she is my intellectual equal. I find her fascinating."

Sara felt her heart fall to her toes and shatter into a million pieces. She stood outside of his office, the door cracked partway open where she had turned the knob only a few minutes before. She could not see his face, but she pictured his tortured expression as he confessed his feelings to Catherine. She did not wait to hear Catherine's response, and quickly let go of the door knob and walked away from his office, away from the man who had crushed her spirit for the last time.

January, 2006

Monday

"Are you going to answer that?" Sofia asked, nodding to the cellphone that rang for the fifth time in an hour. She did not try hide the annoyed expression as she watched Sara ignore the continual ringing.

Sara bagged another piece of evidence. "No." She said at last as she continued working with an intense focus, determined on closing out every thought, every emotion. She was building her wall with steel and concrete and this time was not including a gate. She refused to allow herself to wonder why Grissom was persistently calling her while she was on a case. She refused to think of Grissom at all. At least that is what she kept telling herself, again and again, as thoughts of him crept into her mind and she relived that previous Thursday.

After hearing his confession to Catherine she had grabbed her bag from her locker, left her case report with Nick to give Grissom, and left for the day. She turned her phone off and drove her Denali west, away from Vegas. She was not sure where she going and soon realized that it did not even matter. Once again, she found herself not having to answer to anyone. She was off for the next three days and had planned to use them to help Grissom recuperate after his emotional experience on this last case, the weird ass case involving that dominatrix. She had heard the rumors concerning Lady Heather, but had not believed them for one minute. Now she knew she had been wrong, and now there would be no more Grissom swinging by her apartment after shift. She glanced at her keychain with a frown. There would also be no more visits to his townhome, where she had practically lived for the last four months. Mentally, she calculated all of her clothes and other objects that had been left in his home.

Pulling into a gas station, she felt her pager vibrate and glanced down at the name that flashed on the small screen. With a grimace she flung the pager across the seat and refused to ask herself if she was doing the right thing. Maybe she should have confronted him. She should have gone to his townhouse and waited for him to come home where they could sit like two adults who had been seeing each other for the last ten months. Instead, she watched the numbers fly past as the gas flowed into her cars tank. Grissom had been acting funny lately. Ever since that leather bitch had become a central figure in Grissoms last case, he had not been himself. He closed her off and would not talk about what was bothering him. Over the past ten months they had rebuilt a solid friendship that began with a simple breakfast and had evolved into an intimate relationship that was everything she had ever dreamed it would be. She had not thought that Grissom was missing anything physically or intellectually. She had felt complete and had assumed he did as well even if they had never discussed their future.

Frowning, Sara realized that they had not made love in over a week, when prior to this case they had been inseparable when away from the lab. Although they slept in the same bed, he would roll away from her, presenting his back. With an inner shudder, Sara clearly saw that he had been pulling away from her since Heather had entered the picture. Only once had they had sex in that time and it was when he had woken her from a sound sleep and they had the roughest, most intense sex of their relationship. Later, he had confessed that he had stopped Heather from killing a man. In that instant, she realized he had been using her to forget a nightmare, using her to absolve some unresolved feelings about that bitch. She did not categorize that meeting of bodies as making love. It had left her feeling physically satisfied, but strangely alone. He had ignored her for the next two days and she had returned to her own apartment without a comment from him.

"Sara?" Hearing his voice cut through the thoughts that she had been keeping at bay, Sara dropped the tweezers she had been using to pry small fibers from the corner of the floor and the wall. She heard the anger in his voice, the question. Without glancing back at him, she retrieved the tweezers and attacked the fiber once again. "Sara, I need you to meet me outside."

Aware of their audience, Sara was surprised that Grissom would risk any exposure by coming here and demanding her attention. She glanced over at Sofia who watched Grissoms retreating back with a curious expresson.

Without a word, Sara followed him outside of the crime scene and walked over to where he stood beside his Denali. Sara glared at him as she approached. The sadness of the last few days had been replaced by levels of anger that were not foreign to her. She stopped in front of Grissom and raised her eyebrows in a questioning manner.

"Where were you this weekend? Why haven't you been answering your phone or returning my calls?" Grissom asked. He was so perplexed with her behavior that he did not know if he should be angry or scared.

"I had some thinking to do." Sara said to him as she watched the emotions dance across his face. "I made a decision, Grissom."

"A decision." Grissom repeated her statement as if it she were speaking some language that he had no clue how to decipher.

"I'm releasing you from our-." Sara paused, and rephrased her thoughts. "I'm letting you go, Grissom. You can be with someone who is more your intellectual equal."

Understanding flashed across his face. "Catherine told you what I said?" She heard the anger in his voice.

"No, I was bringing you my case report and overheard you talking to Catherine." Sara felt the sadness return and wondered how healthy it was to bounce between sadness, anger and acceptance, sometimes within minutes of each other. "That's all I heard." She shook her head with spent emotion. "When you told me that I was your soulmate, you know I believed you?"

Turning her back to him she added another layer of steel. "I have a case to solve. I don't think we should speak about this for a while." She felt his eyes boring through the wall and clenced her jaw. "I plan to go by your place and get my things sometime soon. I would appreciate it if you were not there."

She did not hear Grissoms' reply or if he did reply because the gate was closed and she was focused back inside her shell.

January, 2006

Tuesday

"You got a minute, Catherine?" Sara asked the older woman as they drove to a crime scene.

"Sure, what's on your mind?" Catherine glanced over at Sara, who was gripping the steering wheel like it was going to fall off. "I heard what Grissom said to you about Lady Heather."

"You what?" Catherine's eyes widened in shock. "Oh, I see." She swiveled around in her seat to study Sara. "Are you okay with it? I mean, you have been over Gil for years now, haven't you?"

Her lips curled into a thin smile and she slightly nodded her head. What Catherine did not know, she did not have to know. It was a relief, however, that Grissom had not shared their relationship with Catherine as he seemed to share his other most personal feelings. All the same, she had to be honest with Catherine. "I will always have strong feelings for Grissom, but I only wish for him to be happy." She took deep breath and risked a look at Catherine. "Do you think he would be happy with her?"

Catherine measured her words carefully, not sure if Sara could handle what she was going to say and then deciding that she was one of the strongest women that she knew. "I think so, Sara."

"Okay." Sara said with a calmness she did not feel, and, as the tears clouded her eyes, she pushed them back. "Then tell me about the case." With that, their conversation was over and it was the last time she brought it up with Catherine or anyone.

TBC