Disclaimer: I own nothing. No money was made from this story.
Rating: R (language, non-graphic sexual themes)
Pairing: GSR
Spoilers: 6x24 "Way to Go"
Summary: Need. n. "A condition or situation in which something is required or wanted."
Author's Note: My muse rears it's ugly head… well maybe it isn't so ugly. I've read the spoilers for 6x24 and this had to be written. That means there are spoilers in this story, so if you want the finale to remain somewhat of a surprise, don't read this. This story has not been beta'd. Any mistakes are mine and mine alone.

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Sometimes all we have left are photographs. They convey happiness, elation, formality, sorrow, solitude and family. I have some spread out on my coffee table, most of them from when I moved here. There is one of Greg and me, taken after his promotion. Another one has Nick and Warrick arm wrestling at the diner near the lab. I've forgotten who won.

The pictures of Jim capture my interest tonight. It must be luck that I have so many of him smiling, having fun, goofing off – or maybe it is because he's just that way. He may not have been a CSI, but he was always a part of our team. Was. I should stop thinking like that. Jim is a fighter… he'll pull through. In fact, it isn't really him that I'm worried about. The doctors and surgeons… they're the best this area has to offer. He is in good hands. But there is one man out there, carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.

I heard Grissom had to make a tough decision. Not directly, of course… but you know how the grapevine works. I just hope it hasn't been deciphered incorrectly. I don't think something like "Grissom had a meltdown" could be misunderstood, though. He isn't an emotional guy, but tell that to the wall he decked.

I have pictures of him. Just a few… most are from before I came to Vegas. A couple from the seminar, I'm even in them. My friend Nicole took this one. He's actually holding me, albeit distantly. Just a hand on my waist, an arm behind my back, a torso next to my right arm. We're smiling… him as the proud professor, me as the aspiring student. Maybe it wasn't special to him, but it was to me. That's why I have the picture. Well, two pictures. Nicole snapped two pictures that day… the one I have here on my coffee table and the other I have tilted up on my bedside table lamp. That one is slightly different, a little more personal. Instead of smiling at the camera, he's whispering something into my ear and I look shocked.

"Smile, Sara…"

It was husky and intimate. It is also why I'm blushing in that first picture and why his smile contains a fleeting smirk.

As I peruse over the photos, my thoughts wander back to Jim. He has been such a friend over the years – like a protective older brother. If he were here right now, I'd probably flip him shit about being older… but now isn't appropriate. If he were here, I wouldn't be reminiscing over pictures, the wall that Grissom punched would be whole and Vegas' finest wouldn't be in a frenzy.

A soft knock echoes through my silent apartment. An odd sense of realization passes over me – I already know who it is. Should I be surprised? I've stopped denying the weird link we have with each other. I wonder if he has too.

As I get up and walk to the door, recognition stops me in my tracks. If that's him, it probably means he brings news. Good news? Maybe. Bad news? More than likely. The child in me screams something about "if you ignore it, it'll go away" – completely irrational, sure, but I want to listen to her. If I don't answer that door, I don't have to know. Great plan, Sara! Another soft knock, a bit more urgent this time, halts my egress to the couch. The rational side of me appears. "You weren't really going to ignore him were you? C'mon… he could have good news!" I've never been a glass-is-half-full type of girl. But I listen anyway and go to the door.

Unlocking the bolts, I gently open the door to my apartment and come face to face with… nothing. Only after my eyes darted around the hallway directly in front of my door did I see the broken man sitting against the wall, head tilted back, eyes closed, arms folded over his knees. I could see the stress, the worry on his face. The bandage on his right hand let me know how hard the wall fought back.

"Grissom." I waited for his eyes to open and meet mine. When they didn't, I popped off a question my mind wasn't ready for. "Is it about Jim… is he ok?"

Eyes closed, he replied, "No."

Something stole my breath and punched me in the gut. Jim isn't ok. Oh fuck. Oh no…

"… I mean… Sara. Shit… this isn't about Jim."

Wait, what? "What do you mean Grissom? He's ok then?"

He sighed. "I don't know."

"How 'bout you come inside, Griss." I didn't want to have this conversation in my doorway anymore. When he made no move to get up, I grabbed his uninjured hand and gently pulled. His eyes opened at the contact and alternated looking at me and then to my hand and back again. "C'mon."

I led him to my couch, where he sat down while I went to my refrigerator and grabbed 2 bottles of water. I didn't need to ask, I just knew. When I returned to the couch, I found him looking at the photographs I had strewn about the table. Quietly, I sat down next to him, placing his water on coasters. His injured hand lightly touched the edges of the paper prints.

"I got home today and couldn't sleep… I needed to see some happy times."

"I don't remember when a lot of these were taken." Dejected, he knew why. "It's because I wasn't there."

"Yeah… we go out sometimes. For food, beers, whatever. It's a good way to decompress." I couldn't help feeling sorry for him, but it isn't like he wasn't invited.

"Jim is in a lot of these," he noted and glanced at me.

Nodding, "Mm hmm. He needs to decompress just as much as we do. He's pretty fun to be around when he's buzzed." I chuckle softly. "He never had any qualms about going out and having fun… living."

"I know that," Grissom snapped.

The snaps have stopped affecting me like they once did. Sure, they still sting a little. But that's just Grissom. "Okay… sure you do." Changing the conversational path a tad, I ask, "Is he ok? Did he have surgery?"

"I don't know. Probably. Maybe." He's still staring at the pictures.

"Grissom why are you here? You didn't come here to tell me about Jim's condition, so what is it?" I don't like how that came out, but I can't change it now." Griss, what's going on…?"

"I remember this." He's looking at the picture of the two of us and moves to pick it up. Holding the picture as if it were made of glass, he commented, "I think I remember why you were so red too."

He is dodging the subject and suddenly I don't care. He looks lost in the memory, his face impassive except for the slightly upturned corner of his mouth. It doesn't take me long to lose myself in the memory right along with him.

"Jim was right… you were right."

"About what?"

"He had his issues. Everyone has them. But he didn't let them stop him. He still got out there and lived a life, no matter how much shit he was wading through at work." He paused and turned to me. "He's in bad shape, Sara… I don't… I don't know if I made the right decision. I can't be in control of his life… I'm barely in control of my own."

"I'm sure you did the right thing, Griss. It's what you felt was right… that's all he would ever ask for. He trusts you."

"Do you trust me?" Pleading eyes meet mine. This shouldn't be about me, but now it is.

"Yes." My chest hurts. I know where this is going.

"I don't think I could do this if it were you, Sara. I couldn't… if I made the wrong decision…"

Shit. He was right. This wasn't about Jim. It never was. Taking a chance, I softly place my hand on his arm. He didn't flinch like I thought he would. His skin is cool except for where mine meets his. "Grissom, I'm right here, I'm not in the hospital, and I wasn't shot. I'm. Right. Here." Those last words were punctuated with the caress of my thumb on his arm and a smile.

The smile was never returned. Or at least I don't think it was. I can't remember the last 45 seconds. Has it been 45 seconds? I'm not really sure. Grissom's lips on my own have that effect. I should write a paper, "Time Travel in Relation to Grissom's Lips"

I don't feel assaulted, that I do know. Even as his mouth covers my own, subtly seeking, probing, memorizing, I feel fine. More than fine. Even when his uninjured hand makes its way to the back of my head and his body presses flush against mine, I feel fine. When my own hands find the nape of his neck and move to his back and lower body, I realize he feels fine too. We feel fine together.

His lips leave my mouth to trace my jaw line, nipping here, licking there, finding his way to my ear and neck. I sigh as I crane my neck to the side, giving him better access. His beard, slightly unkempt, stings a little bit more than I thought it would. It feels fine. My right hand encircles the back of his head, bringing it closer to the point where my neck and collar bone meet. He alternates licking, sucking, nipping. I moan quietly, as does he but a little louder than my own.

I can feel myself getting hotter. The only sounds in my apartment are the soft whir of the refrigerator, the rustle of clothing on clothing and our soft, pleasured noises. His lips are doing wonderful things to my neck when he slows… and eventually stops. I too, freeze, wondering if I did something wrong. When he stirs again, the motions aren't the same. The strong, encompassing man starts to quietly shake. As the shakes strengthen, I feel him burrow his head into my neck, straining to get as close as he can. I'm almost positive the moisture I feel there isn't from his kisses.

My hand, still at the back of his head, caresses the broken man, now silently sobbing into my neck.

"Shhhh… Griss… hey it's ok. Shhh…." I softly coo to him and it forces him to nuzzle my neck harder. Our previous antics are momentarily forgotten as I witness my boss, my mentor, my life, break.

"I don't want to be alone anymore," he whispers to my flesh. "Jim was alone. He had friends… so do I. But I want more. I need you."

I continue stroking his hair and back, remaining silent as he continues to seep emotions I never thought I'd witness.

"Sara, I'm tired of compartmentalizing my feelings… for you. It was naïve of me to try in the first place." He moved his head to look at me. In seconds his eyes told me stories, ones of the past, present and future. "If anything good is to come of this… I think Jim would want us to try. Do you want to try?"

He did it. He put it all out on the table. It's there for me to embrace or turn around and walk away from. I've wanted this for long before I moved to Vegas. Long before. And now I have the option of making myself, making us happy… or further destroying an already decimated man.

"Okay," I agree quietly. "Okay… let's try."

If I didn't know it was impossible, I'd say he got 6 years younger in the blink of an eye. It could be another passage to add to my Time Travel paper, I muse quietly. He grins a lopsided grin and rests his head back on my shoulder. "Thank you, Sara."

"Hey before you get too comfortable, we can't sleep here. C'mon… lets go to bed."

He picked his head up from my shoulder and gave me a curious look. "To sleep, Griss. Although if we had continued doing what we were doing earlier, I doubt we'd be sleeping by now," I giggled. "Plus you've been up for how many days now? You're exhausted… just come sleep. We both need it." Gently I pushed him off me and made my way to a standing position.

"If the hospital calls…?"

"You have your cell." Making my way to my bedroom, I stop when I don't hear him following me. "Griss… sleep." I hold out my hand waiting for him to join.

When his hand reaches mine, he stops. "I'm probably going to fuck this up."

"Probably." His jaw drops a bit in astonishment. "But I'll be here… we'll be able to fix it together." I pause. "C'mon. Bed."

We walk together to my bed but it isn't awkward. It's fine. As if practiced, he chooses his side of the bed, which happens to be the side I don't sleep on. Standing on our respective sides, we strip – him to his boxers and me to nothing but panties. His eyes capture mine but look away almost instantaneously in obvious embarrassment. I've never been modest.

"This is how I sleep, Griss. It doesn't mean I expect anything," I say as I pull back the covers and slide into the cool sheets. After a beat of thought, he does the same. Moments later, I feel him make his way to my side of the bed, his injured hand over my tummy.

"I like your bedside picture."

"Do you remember that too?" I smirk in the low light.

"Of course… I got the reaction I wanted."

"Of course you did."

Silence filled my room, save our breathing and the small rustle of sheets as we found comfortable positions.

"I need you too, you know," I whisper into his hair, his head resting on my shoulder.

"'Love me when I least deserve it, because that's when I really need it.'" My heart nearly stops as the words leave his mouth. "It's a Swedish proverb," he says to my chest, ending the sentence with a kiss to my collar.

"It's beautiful," I breathe out. My heart resumes beating, but with a renewed purpose. Love.

"Goodnight, Sara."

"Goodnight, Grissom."

END