Title: UFO - Unexplained Flirting Object
Summary: Grissom gives Sara a birthday surprise.
Disclaimer: I'm just going to copy and paste from now on ... do I look like Anthony Zuiker? Or Carol Mendelson (all snide comments missed out here)? There you are, then.
Rating: M, just in case. I'm hopeless at predicting what stories will contain until they've been written, unless I start writing with smut in mind. Now? I can't tell.
Author's Note: Personally, I don't think the 'Monty Python' reference would be too OOC for Grissom - don't forget, he's a person who thinks that a good date would be synching 'Dark Side of the Moon' to 'The Wizard of Oz.' Not that I'd complain.
Sara walked into the empty locker room at the end of shift. Another year, and all she had to show for it? CSI level three, a DUI, a breakdown, strange things just going on in cases - that was all she had to show for it. Above all? A guy who was too scared to just jump in the deep end.
She hated her birthday, had done ever since she was a small child. Her parents had never really done things for such an occasion, as any time they spent discussing Sara often resulted in a trip to the emergency room. She was glad she was at school in September - if she had been a month earlier - like Grissom's birthday, ironically, she would have been smack bang in the summer vacations, and her family, like so many others in the heat of summer, were susceptible to crimes of passion in an even higher frequency than other times of the year - at least school could be a temporary escape from home. But not for long. It wasn't the day-time that scared her in her house when she was growing up. It was the night-time, or early in the morning, before her father left for work. That's when he would come to her room ...
She absently reached out a hand to open her locker, and found an envelope taped to it. Blinking in interest, she snagged the envelope, feeling card tucked inside it. Opening the flap, she found it wasn't a card, but a piece of thick, cream card, imprinted with an elegant copperplate scrawl.
It hasn't escaped my notice that today's your birthday. If you're feeling up to it, or you don't have any other plans, pop to my office before you head home. I'd like to run an idea by you.
He'd signed it with a name she never even used. The offer was sweet, even though she didn't know what it was yet. But he had something he wanted to run by her? It sounded promising, although she tried hard not to let her emotions get the better of her. He probably just wanted to see if she could help him with some paperwork, or had a case he needed a consult on. Damn him for being so oblique and vague.
Grissom smiled when he saw Sara approaching his office. His door was wide open in the hope she would read the message he'd left her and would come and see him. "Happy birthday," he commented as she sauntered through the door and, uninvited, dropped into a seat facing him. "How's your day been?"
Sara forced a sigh and shrugged. "I actually thought I might escape it this year, get through the day without anyone reminding me," she muttered.
"Oh." Wrong move? Test the waters. "How many people caught you?"
"Just you," she replied with what could barely be described as a smile. "So it wasn't too bad. I just hate people making a fuss," she explained.
"If that's the case, you can just go home now, then," he said, half-teasing, half-wondering if his plan was going to backfire on him. "But fussing is bad," he agreed. "That's why I loved having my birthday in summer break - no-one at school would ever know."
"I liked my birthday being in school-time for the exact same reason." Her words puzzled Grissom. "My family was prone to violence more often than not at family occasions. Being at school, I wouldn't have to worry about incurring the wrath of my father." She smiled sadly.
Grissom swallowed. "Not a happy time, huh?" Sara nodded. "If you don't wanna do anythin', I'll understand."
"Is that why you asked me here?"
"Yeah. I thought that maybe you wanted to do something. Nothing much, I guess it's too late to go out anywhere. But I got you a little something. I was thinking that perhaps you'd like to come over to mine, watch a film, drink a beer or two. Unwind," he finished, shrugging balefully.
That he would think of her, go to all that trouble - to buy her something, to ask her over - it touched her. "Well, I guess it beats going home, sitting in, and thinking about the past in between going to the kitchen for more alcohol." She caught his expression. "Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little - but that's what I do most years."
Grissom sighed. "If you need to talk ...".
"I don't want to remember, to be honest," Sara finished before he could. "Today, for once in my life, I'd like to forget."
Not for the first time in his life, Gil was glad to have a collection of Monty Python DVDs.
"I hope you like 'Monty Python'," he said as he pushed open the door to his townhouse. "Here." He motioned for Sara to pass him her jacket, and hung it up on a coat peg next to his. For a second, the juxtaposition of both jackets struck her - it was almost as if they were a married couple coming home from work together.
"You're a fan?" she asked in disbelief. Typical geek she was, she had sat in her room all those years at college watching the films and Flying Circus repeats on TV.
"You like them too? Thank God for that. The only real way to unwind after a day if the amusement parks are too busy," he said, showing Sara through to living room. "Have a seat, and I'll be with you in a minute. What can I get you to drink?"
Sara though for a moment. "What do you have?"
Grissom rolled his eyes. "Let's see ... beer, scotch, wine. Tea, herbal teas, coffee, water - take your pick."
"Uh, whatever you're having, please," she replied, all at once feeling as though she were intruding in this man's life. But all he did was give her a bright smile, potter off into the kitchen, and return with a bottle of scotch and two glasses.
"If you wait another minute, I'll get your present." She was still sitting with the same dumbfounded expression as when he left her. "What's up?"
"You didn't have to get me a present," she croaked. This was all slightly surreal for her. Just as was beauty, and being needed, and looking nice, and being pinned down - all too surreal for her.
"We get each other Christmas presents, and you got me a voucher for my birthday last month, even though I didn't deserve it," he told her, as though buying her a present was the most logical, natural thing to do. "It's not just one. There's a couple of things I saw that I thought you might like, so I got them." Again, the smile her gave her conveyed the attitude that this was an entirely normal situation for them to be in. He handed her the heavy, neatly-wrapped package and smiled in expectancy.
Sara accepted it from him, and opened carefully, almost hesitant that whatever it was that was in there might jump out and attack her. "A book on Nash," she murmured appreciatively. "You know, past 'A Beautiful Mind', didn't think there was much else to read about him." She returned her attention back to the present when Grissom cleared his throat. "And ... Richard Feynman? My God, you have such a knack for finding books," she enthused. She flashed him a bright smile as he sat down next to her.
"Like I said before, happy birthday," he said. He gave her a brief hug, surprising her, then just as quickly pulled away, reaching over for the bottle of scotch. "Would you?" he asked. "So I can get the DVD player sorted?" She nodded. "Which film do you wanna watch?"
"I'm in the mood for something absurd," she replied. Like this situation. "'Holy Grail'," she chose.
He cued up the film as she poured their drinks, and he settled back on the couch with her. "I take it you like your books then," he stated simply.
Sara turned her head to look at him. "They're wonderful. It was very thoughtful of you," she added. She felt an air of uneasiness settle over him. "What?"
"I didn't say anything."
"You didn't need to, I can read you like a book," she admonished gently.
She heard him take a breath. "At the risk of sounding like a teenager going to the movies with his girlfriend, you mind if I put my arm around you?"
Woah. "Uh ... sure. My I ask why?"
"It's just a nice way to sit next to a person. Plus, I figure you're still feeling a bit lonely at the moment. Just thought you might want a bit more ... comfort? Recognition that you exist?"
"Is that why you hugged me?"
"Partly. That, and I wanted to."
"Don't worry, I don't have a problem with it." She moved closer to him and felt his arm slip around her shoulder, resting into his side. He was warm and soft, and smelled good, despite having been at work all day. "I thought you didn't wear aftershave," she murmured.
"Not normally. But I was doing paperwork all day today, no point in not putting any on."
"I bet you're trying to impress me," Sara said, narrowing her eyes in mock-suspicion.
"Maybe I am. Would it be working if I were?"
"You're already doing a pretty good job."
"Thank you. Oh, I'm so stupid, can I get you anything to eat?" He leaned his head on top of hers.
"No, I'm good thanks."
Grissom pulled away and regarded her carefully. "You sure? You look a bit pale, you should keep your energy levels up."
Sara smiled and leaned back into him. "Honestly, I'm fine," she insisted. She knew he didn't believe her, but she truly wasn't hungry.
They watched the film in silence, mostly, except for the times when they found things so hilarious that they just laughed aloud, the sounds of their laughter vibrating within them, deep and trembling, vibrating through their touching bodies.
Grissom stood up and turned the TV off. "What would you like to do now? Eat?"
Sara smiled sleepily. "Still not hungry."
"Honey," came his gentle tone, "you should really eat something."
"I will do when I get home."
"When will that be? 'Cause I'm not letting you go home, not after the amount of scotch we put away. You're slim enough as it is, but that alcohol will act on you if you don't eat anything. Come on, just a bowl of cereal, some toast."
"Oh, okay, you wore me down. Is there anywhere I can drop off for a bit? I'm tired."
"Use my bed, just get in," he said absently. "I'll bring through some food, and then I'll leave you to it. I'll sleep on the couch."
Sara's eyes widened. "That couch is way too short for you."
Grissom thought for a second, something he considered that he and Sara were both doing a lot at the moment. "Well, it's your birthday," he said thoughtfully.
Grissom sighed. "I like you," he said, his meaning not escaping her. "If you're not fed up of waiting, I'd like to ...".
"Well, I'd like to do many things right now." He closed his eyes. "Romance doesn't come easily to me."
"I guessed. Look, if this is a problem, I can go."
"No!" Grissom's eyelids flew open. "Sara, I'm for life, not just for Christmas," he joked. "Us doing something tonight ... that wouldn't just be it. And it wouldn't mean that we wouldn't have things that we needed to discuss. But for tonight, maybe we could just forget everything that had happened in the past, just for tonight. Let me ... I wanna give you a nice time, for one of your birthdays."
Sara smiled. "This is hard for you, isn't it?" she murmured sympathetically. He nodded. "Well, it would be rude of me to say no ...".
"You're not obligated to do anything," he muttered. "To be honest, I don't know if you still feel anything for me."
"Oh, I'll always feel something for you. I want you, Gil, there's no denying that. But I need a promise that we won't return to how things were before."
"Never," Grissom insisted sincerely. "Sara, I want you. I always have done. And you should know that I wouldn't just make love to you and then walk away."
"So it wouldn't just be sex?"
"Fuck, no. Much deeper than that. Excuse the pun," he added, grinning slightly.
Sara nodded, and Grissom approached her tentatively. He questioned her with her eyes, and she nodded, allowing his mouth to press gently against hers.
"I promise things won't regress," he gasped, pulling her to the bedroom.