Summary: A bad day, a hot bath and baseball.
Disclaimer: The characters of CSI are the property of CBS and Alliance Atlantis.
Acknowledgements: Sincere thanks to clarice and phdelicious for the quick beta, as well as csishewolf and brandie for their input.
Author's Notes: Written for the BestKeptPrivate fic challenge. Prompt: candles. Cross-posted there and at GeekFiction. Takes place between CSI Seasons 6 and 7.
When it rains in Las Vegas, it doesn't fool around – it comes down in torrents. Sara Sidle was certain most of it was falling on her windshield, putting a miserable end on a miserable day...or rather, day and three quarters.
The shift had started out all right, but her case – what had seemed like an accidental death – quickly went south when Doc Robbins found the victim had been poisoned. She'd had to go back to the scene to collect evidence and discovered a huge cache of chemicals. Chemicals that all had to be analyzed. Great.
That would have been bad enough – a hundred identifications at least – but word came down that the victim was the Mayor's nephew. Her case now a priority, Sara realized she wouldn't be going home any time soon. As one shift stretched into the next, she caught herself humming "one hundred bottles of beer on the wall" as a kind of mental scorecard; when she got down to that last bottle of beer she'd be on the last sample. Once all the samples were in trace, she could go home. That was the theory, anyway.
Unfortunately, the victim's girlfriend was brought in for questioning about that time, which meant a trek to PD and a long, pointless interrogation. Just when things looked interesting she lawyered up, leaving Sara wanting nothing more than to skip the trip back to the Lab to complete paperwork.
The rain started as she left PD. It wasn't pouring yet,just hard enough to frizz her hair which was annoying in and of itself. By the time she finally headed home it was raining in earnest. Visibility sucked. Traffic was backed up. Forty five minutes and two near misses later, Sara topped the day by discovering her umbrella was not in the car. When she got in the house she was soaked to the skin, out of sorts, and tired enough to cry for no good reason.
Grissom's day off was almost perfect: a Cubs double header, a brand new HD widescreen TV to watch it on, enough junk food for the duration plus a cold twelve pack of Sam Adams Boston Lager in the fridge. A bachelor's dream.
The only thing missing was Sara.
So much for the bachelor's dream. Despite his suspicions to the contrary, Sara was quite the baseball fan. He couldn't pin her down about the origin of this interest but whenever it was, her fondness was genuine. If he could only get her to eat hot dogs. Sometimes the craving for a Chicago style dog was an almost physical pain…oh well, he could pass on the hot dogs and eat, God forbid, tofu dogs if it made her happy.
Which was something she most certainly was not today. She'd called several times to vent; he'd listened and told her he missed her. When five o'clock rolled around and still no Sara, he gave up the second game to prepare a homecoming to help her put aside her awful day.
A quick survey of the fridge showed several kinds of cheese, tart apples, and two kinds of grapes. Fortunately they'd shopped yesterday, so the French baguette was still good. There was a bottle of good champagne, too: he put that in a bucket of ice to chill. Listening to the game with one ear Grissom put together a tray to tempt her with…he knew she'd be hungry when she rolled in but too tired to eat if it meant having to fix something.
Having the leisure to pamper Sara was a luxury. Now that they were living together there was a bit more time, but the truth was they lived busy lives. Both worked hard in an emotionally and sometimes physically brutal job. When their schedules didn't mesh because of a case or court, they paid for it by seeing less of each other. After so many years apart it was odd that now even a few hours' separation was hard to take.
Grissom was on his knees in the hall closet when he heard Michael Barrett drive in a triple to win the last game of that double header. "Dammit!" he grumbled, quickly unearthing himself to catch the instant replay. "All right, Barrett…we might get out of the basement this season after all." He took the last swig of beer from the bottle left sweating on the coffee table and went back to his excavations.
"I know that box is in here somewhere," he muttered just as his fingers brushed against the plastic storage bin. Tugging it out of the closet he pulled off the lid. Candles. Hundreds of candles. Pillars, tapers, tea lights, votives…no birthday candles, but virtually every other combination of wax and wick was represented.
He stood and tried to pick up the box. Not a good idea. Thinking a moment he padded off to the garage, returning with a hand truck. "And she wanted me to get rid of this," he grinned. Once he muscled the bin on the truck, he dragged it upstairs to the master bath.
If Grissom had been surprised that Sara had a thing for baseball, she was equally surprised that he had a serious thing for bathrooms. The one off his bedroom was bigger than the kitchen in her old apartment and much better appointed. Originally the upstairs of his townhouse had three bedrooms: the master bedroom and two small guest rooms. He'd sacrificed the smaller of these to expand the master bath.
As he flipped on the lights Grissom thought back to the renovation a little over two years ago. He'd really liked the old bathroom until the Marlin case, but when he finally got home after who knows how many multiple shifts, it was more than he could bear to take a shower in here…the black and white tile, the pale aqua walls, the free standing tub…it was too much. Feeling queasy, he'd looked up a contractor before he showered downstairs.
This new room bore no trace of its former décor. Warm yellow walls and bright white tile predominated. The open shower took up one wall; an oversized platform tub the wall opposite. In between was a window seat set into an alcove created by a dormer on the roof. Toilet and double sink were at right angles to the tub, leaving part of a wall free for the doorway and a linen closet.
Parking the handtruck in the middle of the room, he removed the lid from the storage bin. Thirty minutes later he'd covered every horizontal surface with candles. Checking his watch he risked a quick call to Sara.
She practically snarled her greeting. "Sidle."
"It's me," he said, tickled again there was now someone who knew his voice so well he could skip his name. "Am I interrupting?"
Sara yawned noisily, "Oh, no...I'm on my way home. I meant to call you, but it's raining and I just missed getting creamed for the second time...I forgot."
"I fixed you something to eat…want me to get a bath ready?" he asked, smiling to himself.
"That would be great. I could use a hot soak. I'll be home in maybe…twenty minutes."
"Okay. Drive safe, honey."
Grissom pulled several towels out of the linen closet and hung them on the towel warmer, flipping the switch and resting his hand on the topmost bar to feel the heat. Then he took the empty box and the handtruck back down to the garage, stopping only to retrieve the grill lighter, which he stuffed in a back pocket.
As he readied the bread, cheese, fruit and wine, he listened to the Cubs' optimisitic post-game commentary. "If they have a team this year I will eat this cork," he thought as it popped out in his hand. Placing the bottle back in the bucket, he took the food and wine to the sideboard next to the door. "What am I forgetting…glasses," he thought, going back to the kitchen for two flutes.
He looked around the room for anything else he might have forgotten. "Towels." Retrieving two from the downstairs bath so she could dry off when she walked in the door, he dropped them next to his little feast. After pouring two glasses of champagne, he tucked the ice bucket under one arm, picked up a glass, dimmed the lights and made his way back upstairs.
"Gil, I'm home," she called as she squelched into the house. When she didn't see him in the living room she called out again, "I'm home and I'm wet."
"I'm in the bathroom, Sara. I left towels for you on the sideboard. Have some food and come on up," he called down the stairs.
"OK...thanks...I'll be up in a minute." Tossing down her phone and keys, she started peeling out of her wet clothes until she realized her boots had to come off first. Pulling her jeans back up and duck-walking over to the couch, she put a towel down to keep the leather dry and tackled the sopping wet boots. Wet leather shoestrings are not the easiest things to untie. While picking at the knots she glanced at Grissom's new widescreen TV. Their TV, she reminded herself with a smile. It was tuned to WGN-Chicago. "Must have been watching the Cubs...wonder who won?" she thought as a promo for a festival of movies like A League of Their Own, Bull Durham, and Field of Dreams dubbed 'Baseball Week' went by.
When the strings finally surrendered she stuffed dripping socks in her boots, stripped off her jeans, panties, shirt and bra and took the whole mess to the laundry room. Wrapping herself in a towel…wondering what Grissom had been doing all this time when he should be down here kissing her bad day away, Sara snagged some cheese and a few grapes, took a sip of champagne and headed upstairs.
Warm moist air scented with lavender greeted her halfway up the stairs. Sara could feel herself relax anticipating a hot soak.
"Gil? Where are you?" she called as she stepped into the darkened bedroom.
She heard, "In here, honey," through the closed door to the bathroom.
A cloud of steamy air enfolded her when she opened that door. The sunny yellow walls were alive with light reflected from hundreds of candles. Grissom grinned broadly at her shocked expression. "If only I could bottle this…" he thought.
Sara stood open-mouthed in the doorway, taking in the ambiance. Candles. Candles everywhere. Pillars, votives, tea lights, tapers…all white, all burning brightly. In the middle of it all – Grissom, water up to his chest in that enormous tub, smiling at her with open arms. "Your bath is ready."
She was much too busy staring at the scene to speak. Looking around in wonder she walked slowly into the room and stood completely still.
Grissom watched her, relishing her surprise. When she finally turned that million watt smile on him he swore the candles actually dimmed for a moment. He'd more than pleased her…a part of his heart, where the regret lived, eased a bit – as it did every time he made up for an old hurt. She hadn't kept track of that stuff but he had, and the list was long.
Grinning, on the verge of giggling, Sara walked up the two steps to the tub and sat on its broad lip. "And here I thought you'd done nothing but watch the Cubs all day."
"They won the second game. Barrett homered a triple to beat the Giants 6-2," he said, grinning back at her. He took her hand. "Care to join me?"
Sara untucked her towel wordlessly and slid into the bath. Leaning back against his chest, resting her head on his shoulder, she sighed and let the day dissipate in the hot water and the warmth of Grissom's arms wrapped around her waist.
"Bad day, huh?"
The flickering light cradled them in perfect counterpoint to the steaming water. When Sara picked up a sponge, Grissom took it from her and wet it to bathe her himself. She let him go, giving over to the sensations on her skin. Once he added kisses along her neck, a different kind of heat bloomed in that bathroom.
Sara sighed deeply.
"Feel good?" he asked.
"Mmmm...can we just stay like this?" she sighed.
He breathed in her ear, "For how long?"
"We'll get all pruney."
Shifting in his lap, she said softly, "I don't care...this is wonderful...I want it to last."
"Okay, three days it is," he said, a smile in his voice.
Turning her head to look at him, she said, "Oh, I don't think you'll last three days."
He cocked and eyebrow, "And why's that?"
She reached up and pulled his head down so she could reach his lips. "You can't stay still that long."
"Yeah," she said, shifting again in his lap, "You're moving already."
He grasped her hips and pressed her down into his growing erection. "And whose fault is that?"
Sara smiled hungrily, "Oh, mine...completely...it's all my fault."
The buoyancy of the water allowed him to lift her easily and flip them over. Water splashed everywhere and Sara squealed in surprise before surrendering to his lips. Giggling, she said, "See, I told you you couldn't stay still that long."
"Not my fault," he said, attacking her mouth. "God, you move me, Sara."
The smirk died on her lips when she saw the fire reflected in his eyes. This was how she loved him best...raw...male...wanting her and only her. "Show me."
Candles around the tub were extinguished in waves. Silhouettes on the wall merged and parted again and again until, finally, their release echoed off the glowing tile.
Warm, dry, and sleepy, Grissom and Sara lay curled together in bed, listening to the television muttering dimly in the living room.
"You didn't turn off the TV," she chided.
"It's okay," he said, not wanting to get up, "It's new…needs to be broken in."
Sara grinned into his shoulder and relaxed. They both savored the lassitude that settled on them.
"They're running baseball movies this week," she sighed.
Recognizing snatches of dialogue, Grissom said, "Do you want to go watch? Sounds like Bull Durham...you like that one."
"Crash and Annie will have to get along without us just this once," she sighed contentedly.
A few minutes later, they both chuckled as the familiar voice of Kevin Costner drifted up the stairs:
"Well I believe in the soul... the cock...the pussy... the small of a woman's back... the hangin' curveball... high fiber... good scotch... that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent overrated crap... I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a Constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. Goodnight."
"Grissom?" she asked sleepily.
"What do you believe in?"
"Us," he sighed softly.
"Mmmmmm," she mumbled, not really hearing him as sleep took her.
"G'night." Grissom kissed her temple and drifted off, too.
'Bull Durham' was written and directed by Ron Shelton, 1988.