Outside the Box

By Jacquie and Sassy

Chapter 1

"Catherine, I really need to talk to Grissom. Do you know how I can reach him? It is very important." Sara said walking into Grissom's office and looked at Catherine as she sat doing the mound of paperwork that Grissom seemed to always forget.

Catherine barely looked up. "He's not here."

"Umm..duh. I know that. Haven't seen him in three weeks. This is very important. Emailing him hasn't worked." She flopped down in the chair across the desk. "He's out of town."

"You are no help." She got up and walked from the room. She pulled out her cell phone and tried his cellular one last time before giving up entirely. "Gil Grissom, you'd better pick up this phone."

"Sara...he's in the hospital," came Catherine's voice behind her. "He'll be back soon."

Her face paled. "The hospital? Is he sick?" She followed Catherine back to the office and Catherine shut the door.

'Griss is going to be upset with me that I told her.' She thought "Not exactly," she started slowly before meeting Sara's eyes. "He had surgery to correct his hearing."

"I knew something was up with him." She said more to herself than to Catherine. "Dessert Palm?"

She nodded.

"Shift is over. Do you need me for anything else?" She said standing up.

"Go home, Sara." Even as she said it, Catherine knew Sara would be going to the hospital.

The drive to the hospital was slow. Rush hour was starting. She pulled into the hospital visitor car park and took a deep breath as she parked her car. Just don't turn me out.

"Gil Grissom's room please?" She said to the nurse at the nurse's desk.

"Room 426."

"Thank you." She hit the elevator button up. She rode to the fourth floor. Standing outside room 426, she almost backed out.

She heard a voice behind her. "He's awake. Go on in." That gave her all the nerve she needed. She pushed open the door. "Grissom?"

Grissom thought he was still in a dream. He was hearing... "Sara..."

"You feeling okay enough to have visitors?" She said walking quietly up to his bedside. She had to resist the urge to move the hair from forehead.

"Sure." Grissom wasn't sure why she was here but he turned slightly so he was facing her.

"Everything okay?" he felt the need to ask.

"Yeah. I just need to talk to you about something, but it can wait." She took the chair and moved it closer to his bed before sitting down. Sara saw a flicker of disappointment and hurt before it disappeared behind his eyes again. "Why didn't you tell me, Griss?" She was angry at herself for not picking up on the signs before now.

Grissom opened his mouth starting to speak...then he sighed. "I guess...I didn't want to bother anybody with it."

------Flashback---------

Sara was nervous as she spoke, "Would you like to have dinner with me?"

He barely looked up at her "No."

Confused she pressed on, "Why not? Let's ... let's have dinner. Let's see what happens."

"Sara ..." He paused then sighed. "I don't know what to do about this."

Nodding, she continues, "I do." They look at each other. "You know, by the time you figure it out, you really could be too late." She walked out of his office and out of the building holding back her tears.

-----End flashback-------

"I'm not just anybody, Grissom."

"I know," he said softly. "And...I know this doesn't mean much coming from me...but I am sorry." Curiously enough his eyes were shiny.

"Why are you sorry?"

"I think I made a mistake turning you away."

"Did you?" She turned it around on him. She was through making the first move. He wanted her. He had to prove that he wanted her.

"I did." He took a breath. "I did make a mistake, Sara."

"How do 'we' fix it?"

"I fix it by showing you." Tentatively he reached for Sara's hand.

She let him take his hand in hers. "That's a start."

Grissom's body started to relax when he realized she wasn't going to pull away from her...but he also realized he had work to do to gain her trust again. "I need help Sara...I need you to tell me what you want from me," he said softly.

"Grissom, I just want a chance to prove to you that I don't care that you are fifteen years older than me. That 'this' isn't some school girl crush." Her eyes lowered to the floor.

His hand gently tilted her chin up.

She smiled softly. "When do you get paroled?"

His eyebrow went up at her phrasing. "You make me sound like I've been incarcerated Miss Sidle."

"Grissom, I know how you hate hospitals." She said standing up.

Grissom caught her hand. "This afternoon." Then he let go

She couldn't stand it anymore. She brushed the fallen strand of hair back off his forehead. Her fingers tingled as she touched his skin. "You growing a beard?" She said as she took in the scruff.

"You like it?" Grissom took in a sharp breath at her touch, then ordered himself to relax and let her do it.

She trailed her fingers down his stubbled cheek. She winked at him. "I do." She removed her hand. "Who is taking you home?"

"Nobody so far. Just you and Cath know I'm here. Oh and Doc Robbins."

"You aren't mad that she told me are you?"

"I was...but now not so much." At the hurt on her face, Grissom added "I wanted to tell you myself."

"Oh." She tried to smile. "I am off tonight. Can I take you home?"

"Are you sure I'm not any trouble? I don't want to stop you from taking some time off."

Never mind I'm just going to stop talking now. He closed his eyes and sighed again. "Thank you. I'd like that."

"Good, because I wasn't taking no for answer." She winked at him and hoped he got her double meaning.

He did. His voice was soft, which was uncharacteristic for Grissom. "I never want to say no to you."

She sat on the edge of his bed. "Then why did you?"

"I was afraid."

"If you live your life afraid, then you never really live." She said remembering something someone told her growing up.

He managed a smile as he fell silent.

"Do you need anything from home to get ready to go?" She said straightening the forensics magazines on the table beside his bed. She had a nervous habit of cleaning when she was nervous.

"Sara...stop." His gentle hand on hers stopped hers.

She blushed. "Nervous habit." She bit her lip.

Thinking he was doing something wrong, Grissom withdrew his hand. She mentally kicked herself. "You didn't...What I mean is..." She got up from the bed aggravated at herself. "Talking to you shouldn't be this hard."

"But it is," he said a little softer.

"I talk too much around you." She said looking back at him, the sunlight from the window glinting off her hair.

"Doesn't bother me."

She looked at him and rolled her eyes. "Come on, Grissom, tell the truth. I can handle it."

"I am telling the truth."

She smiled that gap-toothed smile. Grissom got shivers down his spine at that.

His voice cracked a little. "You hungry?"

"I could eat."

"Have breakfast with me?"

"Hospital food?" She wrinkled her nose.

"No hospital food."

"Okay. It's a date...I mean deal." She said blushing.

"You can say date." Grissom couldn't help a small smile.

She looked at him. "You owe me a real date." Her tone was serious.

"I know."

"I'm sorry...I didn't mean it that way."

"Actually I owe you the equivalent of five years' worth of dates"

"How about this." She walked toward him. "How about we wash away the past and start new? Today?"

"I was hoping you'd say that." His eyes met hers. She could see right into him.

"Want me to go for breakfast?"

"And you can get whatever you want. I'll pay."

"You are laid up in a hospital bed, I'll pay...won't take no for an answer." She said grabbing her coat. She tousled his hair and was headed out the door. She stopped her hand on the door. "What do you want?"

I already have what I want...something I thought I'd never get. "A blueberry muffin is fine."