Title: It's Okay
Summary: Can't really describe this, you'll just have to read it - it's only a drabble, anyway.
Rating: T, just because I can.
Disclaimer: I do own them.. My name is Anthony Zuiker. I did create them ... oh, hang on, that was only in that dream last night. The one where I was snorting crack with CM.
Author's note: Hmmm? Oh, I don't use betas per se. I do, however, find it very amusing that I am listening to a Blur song called 'Bugman' whilst writing this. It can be found on the album '13'. Oh, and the story? Just a little idea that I had, and it's working on the premise that our two favourite geeks are already in flagrante delicto.
Sara was with Nick when she got the phonecall. It came completely out of the blue, and it didn't really arrive in a particularly pleasant manner. It was so unpleasant that she insisted Nick take her straight back to the lab so she could pick up her things and head home.
Nick's mood towards tearing Grissom away from paperwork was rather ambivalent. On one hand, Grissom might be pleased that someone had provided him wth a distraction from the small rainforest that sat before him on his desk. On the other hand, it was perfectly possible that he would be pissed off having to do administrative work, thus being short and surly with anyone who came within a three-foot radius. On another hand (providing, of course, that one had more than two hands), Grissom would be extremely grateful to have another, more immediate task than pen-pushing, only to discover that this immediate task would be very troubling.
Nick tapped lightly against the door, trying to supress the sensation of foreboding that had crept up his oesophagus and sat on his tongue.
Grissom's head rose at the sound, the light from his desk lamp striking the corner of his metal-framed glasses and glinting wickedly. "What can I do for you, Nicky?" he asked softly, dropping his pen on the sheaf of paper in front of him.
"Uh, there's a problem with Sara," he murmured gingerly.
Grissom's movements adopted a sense of urgency. "What happened? Is she okay? Did she blow up at a suspect? Is she hurt?"
Nick held his hand up to stop Grissom's flow of words. "No, no, it's not to do with the case we're on now. When we were out in Henderson, she got a call. Something 'bout a guy named ... Shelby? Milton?"
"Scott Shelton?" Grissom inquired, knowing the name would mean nothing to Nick.
"Yeah, that's it. Anyway, she just went pale and told me to drive her back here." Nick stood back from the door, his posture indicating that Grissom should abandon the paper and take up this cause.
Gil followed the prompt, grabbing his glasses and pushing his chair back to his desk. "Where is she?"
Grissom asked Nick to leave him when they arrived at their destination, but the younger man only did so only on the proviso that Sara would be in safe hands, and that Grissom would somehow get in touch wth him to let him know what was going on. Grissom grudgingly conceded to the latter point, knowing that in regards to the first criterion, there would be no safer pair of hands than his own.
He stood and watched her breifly before announcing his arrival, his heart breaking at the sight of her slumped shoulders. He frowned, then cleared his throat softly.
Sara had already known he was standing watching her - she could always sense when he was in the room, almost as if he emitted a low frequency buzz that she tapped into. "Hey," she whispered, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath.
"What happened?" he asked tenderly, coming to sit next to her on the bench. He slipped his hand into hers and squeezed it gently. "Nick mentioned about Shelton."
Sara looked up, but not at him - her gaze was focused on some distant or non-existent point in the room. "The DA called - Scott Shelton passed a parole board."
Oh shit, was all Grissom could think. Two months ago, the DA had gotten in touch with him, asking for the Kaye Shelton casefile to use in Scott Shelton's parole hearing. Grissom had obliged, but neglected to tell Sara, for the main reason that he didn't feel that she should know anything about it unless Shelton was paroled. Obviously, the priors for spousal abuse and murder didn't mean anything to the parole board.
"According to the DA, Shetlon has become the ideal inmate - works in the library, helps out in the chapel, turned to God and denounced his wife-beating days." She managed a bitter laugh, and finally tilted her head to Grissom.
"Are you okay?" It seemed the only appropriate thing to say, given the circumstances.
Sara grimaced. "Not really. But I need to get back, otherwise Nick and I will never get that case sorted."
Grissom squeezed her hand once more. "I think you should go home. You're obviously upset."
"If I go home, I'll just sit around doing nothing, thinking about Kaye." She made to stand up, but Grissom wouldn't let her.
"I'll come with you, then. I'm sure Catherine will be more than able and willing to cover me for today. Caseload's slow." He finally allowed her to stand, and told her to meet him at his car.
Sara was quiet for the whole journey back to their apartment, staring out of the passenger window in contemplation. She made no attempt to leave the car when it stopped in the parking lot, and was jolted out of her thoughts when Grissom put a hand on her knee.
"You okay?" he repeated, at a loss for words.
"Huh?" Sara blinked, looking rather like a startled rabbit, for want of a better description.
"Come on, let's get you inside," he coaxed, exiting the driver's side and coming around the car to help Sara out. He wrapped an arm around her waist and held her close. "I'll make you a coffee," he said.
"I just want to go and lie down," she murmured.
"Ok-ay," he replied. She had been hit worse than he thought, although it occured to him that he shouldn't be surprised - he just hoped her bad dreams wouldn't return. He hated seeing her like this, seeing her upset, but what was more acute was the fact that this time Grissom was partly (albeit inadvertently) responsible for her anguish.
Nevertheless, he made her a coffee, and made his way to the bedroom. It broke his heart to see her like this, lying on their bed despondently, floored by the fact that a man they both thought they had put away was free to kill again.
He set the mug down on her bedside table, and chivvied her along the bed, kicking his shoes off and laying down beside her. He slipped an arm around her and held her close, realising that he would have to tell her what he knew.
She stirred and grunted. "Hmm?"
"I have something to confess. I knew that Shelton was getting paroled. The DA called about eight weeks ago, asking for Shelton's casefile. He hoped it would be enough for Shelton to fail the parole hearing, but obviously it wasn't."
Sara pushed his arm away from her. "What? You knew? Why didn't you say anything?"
Gil tried to reach for her, but she pulled away, and he was left adrift. "I ... I know how much that case upset you. You still have bad dreams about it. As far as I saw it, there was no reason in saying anything unless he was freed."
Sara laughed humorlessly and pursed her lips. "How come I got the call?"
He mimicked her mouth action, and let out a sigh. "You were down as joint CSI, so the DA must have thought I'd already told you about it."
"Bullshit." The statement was coarse, and a surprise to them both - neither ever particularly felt the need to swear, but it seemed to Sara to be the right moment to do so.
"Don't be like that honey." God, how he detested coming across as a whingeing schoolboy.
"And don't 'honey' me either. I'm really pissed off now." Her cheeks had turned red, and he could feel her anger emanating from her in waves. "I trusted you, Gil. And you had to go and pull a prank like this."
It was Grissom's turn to give in to anger. "I did it to protect you. Do you know what it does to me to see you upset? To see how you react to these cases? You've never told me why you react so violently, so all I can do is try my best to protect you. But I need your help to do that." He stood in exasperation.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm extracting myself from this situation before I do or say something I wouldn't otherwise do. You obviously don't want me around you at the moment, so I'm just going to go and sit in the study until you've had a chance to get yourself together." With that, he turned on his heel and departed from the room.
Sara hadn't expected Grissom to act so ... professionally? She was quite prepared to believe that he would bumble and stumble his way through an excuse and vague platitudes, but he had dealt with it in a commendable manner. All she needed to do was convince herself that she wasn't angry with him.
She reclined on the bed and closed her eyes, trying hard to gain some sort of insight, or closure, or anything that might help her feel better about what was going on. Of course she was upset that Shelton had been released, and she was more than a little pissed off that Grissom had left her in the dark, but she could understand his motivation. She would never be able to shake from her mind the look of sheer fright on his face when she had woken from a nightmare. It had been four months previous, the first night they had made love. It had been slightly disappointing, with no small amount of bumbling and fumbling, but they had both been so exhilarated that they had finally consummated their relationship that it didn't really matter. They had drifted off to sleep in each other's arms, but Sara had woken him with her cries and movements. All he could hear was 'No, Scott, no, don't do it, leave her alone,' and for some reason, the fact that Grissom had an insight into her dreams scared her more than falling in love with him did.
He had held her close and whispered soothing words in her ear, holding back the urge to ask if these nighttime visions were a regular occurence. But he didn't need to ask; almost every night they had spent together since then had culminated in Sara waking up in a cold sweat, Gil holding her to him protectively.
It was a strange situation, being in a relationship with a person whom she had always wanted to be with; frightening, almost, especially considering that this person had, for the most part of ten years, tried to avoid a relationship with her. God, he was even more intense about being with her than she was with him, and such a feeling of intensity was something to which Sara was unaccustomed.
But she tried to focus on the main point of why she was so pissed at Grissom. It wasn't that he had betrayed her trust - it was almost as if she were trying to find an excuse to hurt him, to pay him back for years of neglect so he knew what it felt like - she could find fault with him, so at least then she would have an excuse to be mad at him.
Great. So I'm pushing away the only person in my life who actually gives a damn about me. It was a typical coping mechanism, though. Don't let them get close, then they can't hurt you. It was the reason she had never had many friends, why she threw herself into her work, why she didn't mind about being put into care - no-one could hurt her. But with Gil, her whole system had been hijacked - he was the only person who had ever completely drawn her attention, and when she fell, she fell hard.
So, the long and short of it was that Sara had used Grissom's misdemeanor as an excuse to push him away due to her own fear of being rejected. Brilliant. All she had to do was explain, and things would be not quite all right with the world, but nearly there.
Grissom slumped over the kitchen counter, too lethargic to hold his coffee cup. He understood that Sara was upset, and was perfectly willing to condone it, but he felt that her reaction was overly strong. Did she really feel so strongly? Or was there something else to it? Maybe she just didn't want to be with him after all. That thought filled him with terror.
He heard a whisper of clothing from somewhere behind him, and turned slightly towards the noise.
"Hey." Sara's voice was cracked and low. She hovered by the door, unwilling to invade Gil's space any more than she needed to.
"Hey." Grissom's voiced maintained a monotone. "You feeling any better?"
Sara lifted her her shoulders laconically and breathed out heavily. "I don't know," she conceded. "I guess ... I've done some thinking, if you wanna know."
He turned to face her fully, ready for her to announce that she was going to leave him. He wasn't prepared for her to approach him and rest her arms on his shoulders and lean her head on top of his. Surely women didn't do this if they were getting ready to ditch you.
"I'm sorry that I got mad at you. I was upset that you didn't tell me about Scott, but I realised that I knew why you felt you didn't want to tell me what had happened." She felt Grissom raise his hands to hers, his thumbs gently stroking her skin.
"What do you mean?"
"So why did you feel so strongly?" He felt a hitch in Sara's breathing. "It's okay, you can tell me, I won't be mad."
"I've always tried to cut myself off from people, so that it's hard for me to get hurt. How I feel about you - it's very intense, and scary. And it took us so long to get to this stage, so I keep wondering if it's all in vain, you know, that sort of thing. And I just ... I look for excuses to get mad at you so I can push you away before you can do it to me."
"Oh, honey," he whispered. "I know took me a while, but I'm not about to waste four months and leave. I'm in for the long haul. I love you," he told her earnestly. He pulled her to him and held her tightly.
She buried her head in his chest. "I'm just not used to feeling like this. It's very ... strange."
"I know," he replied against her hair. He leaned back and gave her a once-over. "Is that all? Do you feel any better?"
"I'm glad I told you. I'm happy you know how I feel."
He flashed a sympathetic grin, and touched a hand to her face. He wished he could make her feel better by waving a magic wand, and he could only think of one thing that could make her feel better. He dipped his head and kissed her softly. "Any better now?"
She kissed him back, then rested her forehead against hers. "Maybe," she replied, returning his smile.
"Thank you," Sara mumbled as they lay spooned together. Since their rather shambolic performance four months previously, each had grown more confident and able in pleasing the other.
"For what?" Grissom nuzzled the bit of sensitive skin behind her ear with his nose
"For being understanding. For giving me a chance to sort things out on my own, and for not being angry, and just for being a wonderful person in general."
He chuckled. "Oh, I don't know about that. But I kinda realised that I would have to be more direct with my feelings for you. Thank you for waiting for me."
"If I didn't have you, I'd have no-one, so I had no choice."
"Not Nick? Or Greg?"
Sara turned in his arms and kissed his cheek. "You don't get it, do you? I love you. Nick and Greg are too immature for my liking, and Warrick and the Doc are married, and Brass is just ... Brass."
"I love you," he said suddenly.
"I love you too."
"Have you had any bad dreams lately?"
She avoided his gaze. "Occassionally. But I find your arms to be a good cure for bad dreams."
"Good. Come on, get some sleep."
And it was as easy as that. Oh, there would be some tears, and fights, but if it meant Sara got to make love to him, and got to have his arms around her every night, she would have no problem.