Rating: M (Mature – yes, the rating has changed, but don't get too excited).
Disclaimer: The story is mine. The characters are not.
Author's notes: Unlike the original 11 chapters, which were my-eyes-only before posting, versions of this epilogue have been seen and much improved by three special people. Many thanks to: dreamsofhim, whose review nudged me to write it in the first place; Domo Arigato, for her thoughtful suggestions and comments; and last but not least PhDelicious, who has been such a star in beta-ing my recent writing attempts (as well as putting up with my rambling rants about moving).
Spoilers/time frame: The story started at the end of Grave Danger and the time frame goes to before the start of season 6. The epilogue follows on directly from the end of chapter 11.
Summary: Months after Cotidie originally ended, here's an epilogue – what happened after the ball game.
For a moment, Grissom was bereft.
For a mere moment, but bereft nonetheless. One second he'd been plastered all over Sara, kissing her like there was no tomorrow; the next he was standing alone beside the car.
A moment later his brain kicked in and impelled him to the passenger seat.
Carefully fastening his seat belt, he looked over at Sara. She was unabashedly admiring him and he suddenly felt nervous.
He was keen for their relationship to progress to the most intimate level – hell, he had been agitating for it just moments ago. But was he up for it? No, not the most apt turn of phrase. He had no concerns about his physical readiness, but the old bugbear of his mental trepidations was rearing its tedious head. Would he disappoint her? What if . . .?
Sara leaned over. Her gentle hand on his cheek turned Grissom's head toward her, dragging his eyes away from their unfocussed view of the Cashman Center. Her smiling face came ever closer as she drew him in toward her welcoming lips.
"Feel, don't think," she whispered. His startled blue eyes met her soft brown ones. He could see the understanding warming them and his concerns melted away. His eyelids closed as he lost himself in the warm questing delight of Sara's lips.
Grissom leaned in closer, cupping the back of her head with a large hand. He laid tender, fleeting kisses all around her mouth, on her chin, on both cheekbones, before Sara was able to maneuver sufficiently to plant a firm one directly on his lips. Once back there, Grissom didn't want to leave. He shifted in his seat to press nearer, holding her tighter. His hands drifted down to her chest and he fondled lightly, feeling the twin contours for the first time.
Behind them, a car horn blared. Grissom's eyes snapped open and the forgotten parking lot came back into view. He sat back, breathing hard, cradling Sara's chin in his palm. "Please, Sara, don't ever doubt that I feel. I do feel. I feel so much, I throb . . .even my toenails are throbbing."
Damn. That sounded . . . desperate. Shouldn't he have more control at his age? He risked a glance at Sara and found her grinning at him.
Equally aroused, Sara knew she had to rein back a little to ensure safe driving. "OK, OK, you feel! How do you feel about going home?"
"Hey, that's how you persuaded me into the car, remember?" Grissom leaned across Sara and grabbed the buckle of her seat belt. His hand lingered only briefly on the way as he pulled it across and down, snapping it into the slot.
Finally en route to Grissom's townhouse, Sara stretched her right hand out to brush down his arm. She was thankful for automatic transmission as Grissom caught her hand in his warm grasp and carried the captured prize down to rest on his thigh. He laced his fingers between hers, and rubbed the side of her hand gently with his thumb.
He cleared his throat as he wondered how to say it. Suddenly he found himself speaking, "Uh, I was never much of a Boy Scout, but I'm . . . um, prepared, contraceptive-wise." He shot what he hoped was a responsible, rather than lecherous, look at Sara.
She teased, "What? Didn't they have a bug badge when you were a kid?"
Surprised at his presence of mind, Grissom came back with, "Yes, there was the equivalent of today's 'Insect study' merit badge, but you're avoiding the issue."
"Yeah, I got it, thank you. But, um, I've also got it covered so . . . you don't need to."
"Oh . . . ah . . . good." Grissom sat contemplating that and truly could not think of anything to say.
But it sounded great.
He leaned back against the headrest and tried to relax. Several times during the journey he drew Sara's hand up to his lips, bestowing feather-light kisses on each of her knuckles. Once she turned her hand over to cup his chin, stroking the line where smooth cheek gave way to close-trimmed beard.
They made it back to Henderson without incident and got into Grissom's townhouse with only minor delays on the way from the parking lot.
As they swirled through the front door in a passionate clench, Sara heard Grissom murmuring in her left ear, "I want this to be special. It's about our coming together."
As he continued to trail soft kisses along her jawline, Grissom felt Sara's body moving – was it shaking, or shuddering? – against him.
He stopped to look at her.
Her lips were pressed together firmly, her eyes alive with amusement. Grissom pulled back slightly, frowning.
"What? What's so funny? Was I doing something―"
She was giggling openly now and managed to squeak out "Griss" before she gave up trying to speak and simply shook her head.
He was befuddled. Why was she laughing at him? He was well aware that he was a bit out of practice, but his tender attentions weren't that pitiful, were they? He was starting to feel a touch insecure by the time she got enough control over her vocal chords to speak.
"Gris – som. Gil." She started out very deliberately, enunciating each syllable carefully as she fought to tamp down the effervescence inside her. "I do know what you mean. And it's . . . I want that too. I just, um, took it another way."
"Uh, how?" He was too taken aback by her giggling to work out what she might mean. He didn't like feeling as though he was the butt of a joke he didn't get.
Sara concentrated on a couple of deep, careful breaths before speaking again. "Um . . . it's just that 'coming together,' particularly the first time, is pretty unlikely."
That was – perhaps – a tiny bit funny. He narrowed his eyes at her, but no longer felt like frowning. They were getting ever closer to having sex for the first time and that was a pretty good thing. Wonderful in fact, after so many desolate, haunted years of yearning.
So why was he standing like a fool, squinting at the woman of his dreams?
There she was in his arms: beautiful, flushed flesh and pounding blood – OK, he was guessing at the latter, but his own pulse was definitely racing.
And here he was, wasting time.
Her words came back to him. 'Feel, don't think.' You're thinking too much again. Don't think. Trust your feelings.
And so he did.
Grissom's hands inched under the edge of Sara's T-shirt, feeling for the first time the smooth skin of her lower back. His fingers found the delicate twin depressions at the base of her spine, and his thumbs dallied there briefly.
At face level, serious kissing was under way.
Without words, they had agreed to step back from their frenzy at the ball park. There was no doubt what was going to happen tonight, but each wanted to linger a little, to savor the sensations of their first time. Waves of urgency lurked just beneath the surface, surging forth as tongues met and toyed with each other, and receding only slightly as Grissom's lips renewed their tender assault on Sara's neck, while her fingers deftly unfastened the buttons of his shirt.
Her hands slipped under the blue and white fabric, brushing it back over his shoulders. He broke his soft grip on Sara's nape and waist for the instant it took to shake free of the shirt.
Sara's lips were tracing a trail down from the edge of Grissom's beard and approaching his navel when he intervened. "Honey – arms up."
Initially annoyed at his interruption, Sara then realized it was only fair, and helped in the removal of her T-shirt.
Grissom's hands had had no recent practice at undoing bras, but he silently thanked the years of delicate work with evidence, which stood him in good stead. Then all thoughts of work were swept away as Sara dipped her slender fingers inside the back of his jeans and tugged his hips firmly against her. The half-naked full body press was intensely tantalizing.
Grissom dragged his lips away from hers to gasp, "So good, so . . . Sara." Then he gave up trying to speak and tugged her with him as he took a step back so he was leaning on the arm of his big sofa. He drew her into the vee formed by his splayed legs and reached his hand up to caress a breast.
A tiny portion of Sara's brain was still functioning and it was thinking that getting horizontal, and soon, was a great idea. Her body wanted to do things other than remembering how to stand up.
"Mriss, mup?" It was hard to speak while nuzzling the deliciously soft skin just behind his left ear. She forced herself back an inch. "Bed? Up . . . upstairs?"
Grissom was deeply involved in nibbling one of her nipples while he softly kneaded the other breast. He looked up at her, his irises a vivid ring of blue around enormous pupils. "Up? Yeah . . ." He bent back down to his self-appointed task, pulling her nearer.
She resisted. "C'mon, upstairs." Even though she'd previously tested and approved the comfort of Grissom's larger sofa, the bed would allow for more freedom of movement. And she felt like moving, a lot.
Turning, Sara grabbed his wrists and made for the stairs. Grissom willingly followed, settling his hands onto her hips and trying to lick the small of her back as she started the climb.
Had all his inhibitions been shed with the shirt? Sara momentarily boggled at what might happen once he was completely naked. She kicked off her flip-flops as she went, and his loafers followed suit.
Halfway up the stairs Grissom accelerated, attempting a precarious back-hug. He almost tipped over because he wasn't at all clear on where his feet were. Body contact, as full as possible, was what he craved. His emergency clutch of the handrail and Sara's laughing tug pulled him back from the brink; at last they made it to the library area outside his bedroom.
Still behind her, Grissom was tussling ineffectually with the multi-pronged buckle of Sara's belt while he dipped his mouth into the tasty curve of her neck. Giving up on the belt, he started walking her to the bed, compelling her legs to move with insistent pressure from the rear. He shuffled them closer to the bed and, after turning Sara around for a lengthy sloppy kiss, he gently pressed her to sit down on the end of the mattress.
Sara lay back, undid her jeans and raised a foot to rest on his hip. Waving her other foot at the pants leg, she whispered, "Pull".
There was a slight hitch around the ankle, then it was off. The same procedure, more smoothly executed, followed with the other leg.
She was nearly naked, displayed ravishingly before him, but Grissom was still half-dressed. And his normally loose-fitting jeans were now too tight for comfort. He wanted out – and then in, he thought giddily. He dragged Sara's hands to his waist band. Ever quick on the uptake, she undid the button and gently eased the zipper tab down. Her long fingers stroked the hard ridge of his erection through his boxers.
Even as he leaned into her touch, he groaned in near agony. Trying to draw out the pleasure was great in theory, but the demands of his body were becoming petulant. Grissom shoved his jeans down hastily. They dropped to the floor, then he was dismayed to find his feet were ensnared in the crumpled denim. Basic coordination was a monumental effort in his hugely aroused state. He found he had to lean on Sara to wiggle first one foot then the other out of the shambles.
He looked up, feeling stupid, and saw her smiling at him, her cheeks flushed. His momentary unease was dispelled as she quickly shucked her underwear and reached forward to help tug down his boxers.
Finally they were clothing-free and all awkwardness vanished. Sara pulled him down onto the bed and they rolled together, legs entwining and arms everywhere, reveling in the exquisite feeling of skin on skin.
It was too much; it was not enough. Their lips found each other again, and eager tongues deepened the connection.
Their hands ranged feverishly, hips pressed urgently; mumbled endearments mingled with panted breaths.
Grissom trailed his right hand down over her stomach, fingers briefly twirling around her belly button before heading south. He slipped his right hand between Sara's legs and touched her center lightly, barely there.
She jerked away.
He recoiled, perturbed.
"Wha—" He could scarcely speak, let alone think, but he couldn't bear the idea that he'd done something wrong, that Sara wasn't enjoying this. This was a huge step for him, for them. It didn't have to be perfect, but . . . surely they should err on the side of passion, not pain.
Sara's eyes were tightly closed. She was trying to calm down, to last a little longer, but Grissom's tender touch had so nearly undone her. Suddenly she realized that he had pulled away, breaking all contact.
She opened her eyes to see Grissom lying stock-still beside her. Flushed and panting, jaw clenched, he was watching her with dark, misty eyes.
He looked like the world was disintegrating around him as he stammered, "Sorry, I'm sorry, I - - did I hurt—"
Whuh . . . help! She wasn't sure what had happened, just that she was hyper-sensitive. Wait a sec, she did recall a jolt. Had that been her?
Way to cut the mood. He looked so . . . worried, scared even; Sara rushed to speak, "No, no, NO! You didn't do anything wrong. It was just . . . too much. I - - I . . . we've just waited so long."
He stared at her, still uncertain. She reached out and with whisper-light fingers traced his sternum. Her hand stole up to cup his neck, gently drawing him closer.
Grissom relaxed, his eyes brightening, and his hand snaked out around her hip. "Yeah, we have." He pulled her against him. "Let's not wait any longer."
Doubt disappeared and desire took over. They let their minds go as their bodies united in the age-old way. They gave themselves up to pleasure.
In the afterglow, breathing slowed and hands wandered slowly over newly-discovered skin, until Grissom and Sara drifted off to sleep.
It was their regular 'day' time; so both were awake again inside the hour. Sara woke first and lay happily, just watching Grissom sleep.
She had vague memories of hot kisses, urgent caresses, grinding pelvises and enthusiastic thrusting, an awkward cramp in her left hip, sweaty skin, tangled hair, and Grissom crying her name as he followed her into rapture.
Yes, she felt sticky and a little sore, but overarching all was a delicious sense of completeness, of having finally come home.
No, it hadn't been perfect. But she'd never thought it would be. They were both human – very human, she recalled with a thrilled giggle – desperately wanting, and it had been their first time. But they were also scientists, and the prospect of further experiments in this specific area of human biology with the love of her life filled Sara with renewed glee.
The man in question was now resting peacefully beside her, the lines of his face smoothed by sleep. He seemed to be smiling. Sara leaned over and brushed his lips with the merest of kisses. She was dismayed to see his eyes open as she drew back.
Grissom was waking up from a beautiful dream. He could feel a soft, warm presence beside him. Slowly, as he emerged from the clouds of drowsiness, realization struck that it was no dream, but an actual memory. He smiled, breathing in light wafts of jasmine and finally opened his eyes to see Sara's face three inches away. So close, in fact, that he couldn't focus.
"Oh, hey, I didn't mean to wake you." She sounded worried, and he brought a hand up to brush her cheek.
"Hi, beautiful. You OK?"
"Um, yeah. You?"
"Wonderful." A big grin creased his face. He couldn't help it, even if he wanted to. He rolled over to face her. "But I'm a little . . . embarrassed." He pinkened and looked adorably bashful.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I would've liked to have been at least a tiny bit suave, but then I couldn't even get out of my jeans without help."
"I don't want suave; I want you."
He felt so good, he couldn't feel miffed. He squinted at her, trying to hide his amusement.
"Uh . . . maybe that didn't come out quite right." It was Sara's turn to redden with embarrassment.
In his time, Grissom had said a lot of things that hadn't sounded tactless in his head, but somehow morphed into callous insensitivity when spoken out loud. Sara had often borne the brunt of his faux pas; he figured she had plenty of leeway and easily shrugged it off. He moved in for a kiss, which started out gently but soon became very involved.
Finally drawing back, Grissom smiled softly at her and Sara realized that she'd forgotten whatever it was that she'd been concerned about. She was reminded of something else, however. "OK if I use your bathroom?" She was going anyway, but it didn't hurt to ask.
She looked at him a touch quizzically, but nature was calling very loudly and she had to answer. She untangled herself and slipped out of the bed.
She'd evidently found his pajamas under his pillow and she shrugged into the jacket as she rose. Loose on him, the blue and white stripes billowed around her like a circus tent. He feasted his eyes on her long, long legs as she headed into the bathroom.
Grissom lay back, sighing lightly. They had been so long in getting to this point; for years, no, decades, he'd been in an emotionless limbo. Now he was impatient to solidify things, to prove to her that he was serious, to finally start living – with Sara. He already knew that he wanted her with him always – he had even daydreamed about getting his grandmother's ring out of the bank safe deposit box and asking her . . .
His mind was racing ahead, but he was also certain that he would need to tread softly. He reined in his emotions and forced the logical part of his brain to reflect more calmly. Sara's independence and self-sufficiency had been forced on her early and no matter how much she wanted to be with him – he permitted himself a little shiver of delight – giving up her apartment and the autonomy that entailed would not necessarily be easy for her. He was assuming that she would sometime move in with him, but maybe she'd prefer that they look for a new place together? And another point, he'd lived alone all his adult life; he was doubtless going to have to make adjustments too. He wasn't at all sure how easy he'd be to live with, but he was brimming with the hope that Sara would be willing to try.
Taking baby steps was fine by him as long as they took them together.
They'd already made huge strides tonight and he thought, all things considered, it had gone pretty well. And they could have another try again soon. He grinned at the ceiling, still enjoying the sated lassitude that comes from the release of sexual tension, intermingled with the potent exhilaration of knowing that all his yearning had not been in vain.
Sara returned to his bed, refreshed – she had found a clean towel and washcloth in the capacious cupboard beneath the sink; deferring thoughts of a shower, she had had a thorough wash. She snuggled into Grissom's encircling arm, laying her head on his shoulder.
"I didn't know―"
Sara looked at Grissom's serious face and tried to turn the corners of his mouth up into a smile. He captured her hand and kissed it before clasping it against his heart, and he started again. "I didn't know how good it would be."
"What would be good?"
"Ah . . . moving past my fears and allowing myself to love you; opening up to you, letting you in. Finally accepting that you really want to be with me." He twisted a strand of her hair that had strayed over his shoulder. "How did you know?"
"I -- I didn't know anything." She leaned her head into his stroking hand. "Maybe that's not quite right. I knew I wanted you. But that was only the inspiration, the catalyst. I've learned the hard way that you don't get anything worthwhile without working to make it happen." She pulled back a little and grimaced at him, but not before he'd caught a glimmer of a smile. "Although I admit, you were a harder nut to crack than I'd expected."
He expelled a long breath, almost a sigh, and bit his lip. He didn't want to think about all the time they, he had wasted in getting to this point. He reached out a shaky hand and brushed the curve of her cheek, and she smiled openly now.
"But you came out of your shell eventually. All I had to do was help you, nudge you along."
A long, heated kiss followed. As Grissom drew back, bright blue eyes staring deeply into Sara's chocolate depths, he whispered, "Thank you."