A/N: Just a one-shot, GSR songfic... But don't knock the story just because it has a song in it! It fits perfectly if you'd give it a chance! So, please? Read & Review? I'll love you forever, and review back! And special thanks to my wonderful and speedy beta, forensicsgirl97!!! I love ya girl, and especially after now! All of you, bow down to that girl right there! Lol
Disclaimer: I do not own any part or whole of CSI. Wrong person. I don't even own the song, Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle. Obviously, because my name is not Bob, so HAH!
By: MC New York
"Gil! Honey! Come here!"
Stopping mid-sentence on my notes to my most recent insect infected cases that I categorized as the "take home" cases, I dropped my pencil and exited my secluded and comfortably silent study. Gazing to my right down the hallway, the doorway leading to the bedroom was shut tight, signifying that my wife was not in there. Treading to the left and to the top of the staircase, I began my descent to the living room, my second guess as to where she could've been.
Slowly halting to a stop, I leaned up against the open doorframe that leads into the living room of the home that I'd shared with Sara Sidle-Grissom for the past quarter of a century. A warm smile came to my lips as I stared at the back of Sara's head as she sat on the couch, looking at something important enough to pull me from my work. I forced down a chuckle as I saw a single streak of gray hair in her still vibrant brown hair.
Sensing my presence behind her, Sara rotated in place to signal me to come and sit next to her. As I drew closer and seated myself on the plush couch, I noticed a photo album placed conveniently in her lap, closed. The rectangular shaped book of memories had a light cream colored background with a small family picture of our family that we'd made directly in the center. Sara, our two daughters Amelia and Leah Sidle-Grissom and our one son Lincoln Sidle-Grissom, and myself all stood against the background of Lake Mead, smiling and as radiant as the sun that'd beat down on us.
"I suppose it's not the 'Lost Album' now, is it?" I grinned over at Sara before returning my eyes to the album. "Where'd you find it?"
"It was in that box we got yesterday in the mail." She responded, gliding a hand over the thread covering. "Lincoln had it all along."
"He always was the sneaky one." I commented. "I blame Greg."
Giving me a light smack on the arm with the back of her hand, Sara lost her playfulness a moment later. "Wanna open it now?"
"Sure." Said I, completely forgetting about the case upstairs. It was evident that the victim had died within the day of being found. My bugs told no lies.
Flipping open to the first page, which, instead of pictures was an inscription. To my lovely sister and her beautiful family. Love always, Adam.
Sara's brother had finally straightened up his act enough for either one of us to allow him into our children's lives after they were born. He'd dropped all of the drugs and alcohol abuse at Sara's command, and I was happy to invite him into the family that had been created. And as a token of appreciation for a second chance, Adam had made this photo album for us.
I caught the brief smile on Sara's lips as her eyes read the last part. Silently, she flipped the page over and to the first four pictures. We both couldn't help but burst into laughter when the first picture that popped up in the first slot was a genuine close up of Greg Sanders smooshing his face against the glass window of the breakroom, sliding down to the floor in the process. I could remember that day perfectly because it had been the day that Sara and I had announced our relationship and that Sara was officially pregnant with our first child, Leah. Poor Greg didn't know what to do with himself.
"I think Greg took it the hardest, don't you think?" Sara said once she stopped laughing.
"That's why I appointed him Leah's Godfather." I reasoned as my eyes traveled to the next few pictures.
This had been a family album, so that meant that it had our crime lab family and our actual family. It only seemed right. Try as I might, I just couldn't accept everyone on my old team as just close friends and co-workers. They had been the only family I'd known before Sara, Leah, Amelia, and Lincoln had come along. So, along with pictures of my children and beautiful wife, there was the lab. Nick, Greg, Warrick, Catherine, Jim, David, Mia, Doc. Robbins, and even Sophia in a few shots. The lab pictures came first, but once we got a few pages in, then came the pictures of a pregnant Sara, carrying my first child Leah Marie Sidle-Grissom.
I had never valued one child over another ever, but I had always felt that I connected the best with Leah. Amelia was attached to Sara, and when Lincoln wasn't admiring Greg like a God, his love and devotion was split equally amongst his Mother and I. Sara and I had found out quickly the reason why Sara had so much heartburn during her first pregnancy was due to the full head of curly chocolate brown hair that Leah possessed. Soon after the filmy covering of her eyes had disappeared, she had the definitive electric blue eyes like I had, and my Mother as well. In her five-year-old picture, there was a picture of both Leah and me in the backyard examining Lycosa Pardosa, or the American Wolf Spider.
"I was gonna kill you that day if you allowed our daughter to keep and bring that spider into our house." Sara proclaimed, pointing at the noticeable arachnid accusingly. "It was the size of a small dog!"
Scoffing and throwing my wife a sideways glance, I rolled my eyes as I said, "Now dear, don't you think you're over exaggerating just a bit?"
"All right..." She dragged the word out for several beats. "A gerbil."
That had been another thing that Leah had inherited off of me beside her big blue eyes and curly hair – her love and fascination with the insect world. Sara hadn't been enthralled the first time Leah came into the house from the backyard at three-years-old with a common jumping spider perched in her hand, questioning her Mother what it was. But I had jumped at the chance to educate our daughter on everything she wanted to know, after getting it out of her hand in fear that it would bite her.
There's two things I know for sure:
She was sent here from heaven
And she's Daddy's Little Girl.
On Leah's eighth birthday, I had been completely puzzled as to what to get her. Sara still hadn't given either of us permission to buy Leah her own pet tarantula like she'd ask for after her seventh birthday. It had been a let down to the both of us seeing as we both had a set name for it and everything. So, it had left me at a loss as to what to get her for her eighth birthday until I had come across a butterfly pendant in a jewelry store. Inscribed on the front of the golden wings was, Daddy's Little Girl, and it wasn't long after when I'd made the purchase. Leah has never stopped wearing it since, even as she is going on into her mid-twenties now.
It was futile to deny it at this point. My heart ached for the days of her childhood to return just once more so I could relive it all. All of our children have grown up and left us. Leah is finishing up her PhD in Biology this year while Lincoln is taking a year off now to travel the country before coming back to settle down into college to become a lawyer. Amelia is finishing up her third year in college, on her way to become a fashion designer. That, I concluded, was all of Catherine and Lindsey's doing for neither Sara nor I were heavy into fashion. After all, Catherine was Amelia's Godmother, which qualified Lindsey as her God sister, I supposed.
As I drop to my knees by her bed at night
She talks to Jesus and I close my eyes
And I thank god for all the joy in my life
Oh, but most of all...
I missed the nights I used to spend at Leah's bedside just before I left for work. Solid science was our policy, but I still believed in God, just that I don't have to live by certain rules to gain purity. So, Leah would lead the prayer while I simply marveled over this little life that I'd created with my wife. In my opinion, there was no greater feeling. And every night after the prayer, we'd seal it with a butterfly kiss, the future symbol for our affection for one another.
For butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer;
Sticking little white flowers all up in her hair;
"Walk beside the pony, Daddy, it's my first ride."
"I know the cake looks funny, Daddy, but I sure tried."
In all that I've done wrong
I know I must have done something right
To deserve a hug every morning and butterfly kisses at night.
Flipping to the next page, there was another picture of a seven-year-old Leah Sidle-Grissom perched up on a pearl white pony with a white lily behind her right ear that harbored her soft brown curly hair at her seventh birthday party. Catherine had gone all out when Sara and I relinquished all of the party planning over to her, simply too tired to know what to do. And that meant everything was included in this party. Clowns making animal balloons, a dunking machine in which Warrick, Nick, and Greg alternated positions sitting in, and pony rides for all the kids. And of course, the cake which looked like it belonged at someone's wedding, not a child's seventh birthday party. Leah, though, had utterly refused to let the young man leading the pony around a set course for the children to lead her around. Instead, she'd persistently insisted that I lead her ride, since it was her first time on such a momentous creature.
After the party had ended, even though I had lied to Leah and said that I'd had a piece of the cake, Leah had set to work in making me my own special cake with as little help from Sara as possible. To her disappointment, it hadn't come out looking exactly picture perfect, but I told her that anything she made looked beautiful to me. That had brought about her gap-tooth smile as we sat at the dinner table and talked about that pet tarantula she wanted for next year.
Sweet 16 today
She's looking like her Mama a little more everyday
One part woman, the other part girl.
To perfume and make-up from ribbons and curls
Trying her wings out in a great big world.
Before I even knew it, Sara had the pictures set to when Leah was just turning sixteen, Amelia was just about fifteen, and Lincoln was just getting his first taste of the teen years. I remembered thinking that it would be a nightmare for me since Amelia, Catherine, Lindsey and her little daughter Elizabeth were beginning to get Leah to accept the female teenage world of make-up and every other female beauty enhancing product. I had feared that my little butterfly would now lose interest in insects and concentrate on the opposite sex instead. Thankfully, I had made the wrong assumption, partially. I couldn't begin to count the number of times where I'd caught more than one pair of eyes staring holes into my daughter's back when I came to pick her up from school. The fact that she was turning sixteen didn't ease any of that discomfort at all.
She was beginning to look like her Mother's doppleganger, just with curls instead of wavy hair and blue eyes instead of brown. And I knew, remembering my own thoughts of when I first laid eyes on Sara Sidle at my lecture at Berkly College, that these young men were not staring in a daze with a puddle of drool forming beneath them because of the fact that she was carrying an A.P. Physics text book during her Junior year. And the fact that in two short years, she'd be out on her own and I'd have no legal say about anything she did, who she dated, if she dated, and what she did with her life, frightened me to a ghostly shade of white at most times.
But I remember
Butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer;
Sticking little white flowers all up in her hair.
"You know how much I love you, Daddy,
But if you don't mind I'm only gonna kiss you on the cheek this time."
With all that I've done wrong
I must have done something right
To deserve her love every morning and butterfly kisses at night.
All the precious time
Like the wind, the years go by.
Spread your wings and fly.
The time had seemed to go faster and faster since then. Before long, pictures had begun to surface of Leah's prom and her prom date. I had originally wanted her to just take her "Uncle Greg", but both had vehemently refused seeing as Greg had a date with his fiancée and it was brought to my attention by both Sara and Leah that Leah had a blue eye already on this boy at her school. A boy by the name of Seth Green. A later target of my anger and hatred that I never knew I could hold for a minor.
My cellphone began to ring persistently from within my pocket, the ringtone signifying that Leah was the one trying to reach me when "Butterfly Kisses" began to play. Sara and I pulled away from our previous tongue locked position on the couch were things were beginning to get heated between the two of us.
"Hello, honey..." I paused for a moment, hearing sniffles and held back sobs on the other line. "Honey, what's wrong?" I sat forward now, my heart racing as the multiple reasons why my daughter could possibly be crying on her long awaited prom night.
"Daddy, please come pick me up. Please?" Leah's cracking voice pleaded desperately. "I'm right outside the school."
I had been up and retrieving my shoes and coat before she'd even requested it. Sara gave me the same panicked look that I donned also. She appeared to be getting up and getting on her shoes and jacket as well when I stopped her without a word. "I'll be there in five minutes, sweetie, just stay there." Despite the fact that the school is twenty minutes from here.
"Gil, what is going on? Is Leah all right?" Sara stood right in my path of the front door.
"I'm not sure, but she was crying over the phone. But if this Seth Green did anything to hurt our daughter physically or emotionally, prepare to bail me out of jail for assaulting a minor." Unknown to Seth Green, I'd just made the first official threat towards him as I exited our home.
True to my word and with a total disregard for the speed limit, I screeched to a stop in front of Silver Bullet High School exactly five minutes on the dot. There, sitting on the steps in front of her school in the arms of some boy was my daughter, absolutely shaking with tears. And though it was evident that this boy was consoling my daughter, that hadn't stopped me from getting directly in his face once I got close enough. The boy had enough sense to stand up and let go of my daughter when I first arrived. I could see every detail of his face through the dark, from his hazel-green eyes to the bruises and cuts on his face.
"You better not have any participation in the reason my daughter is crying now, either directly or indirectly." I told him in a very low and precarious voice, scaring the poor boy shitless.
"N-no sir, I didn't. I wouldn't." He stuttered out his response as I felt my daughter tug me away by my jacket sleeve.
Directly my attention away from the young man only momentarily, I embraced my daughter tightly as she continued to sob. I shrugged off my jacket, exposing my forearms to the cold of the Las Vegas night air to place my jacket over her bare shoulders. Then, my fiery glare was back on this teenage boy, already accusing him of a crime he claimed he hadn't committed. And to reduce a young lady such as my daughter to tears, it was a federal offense in my book.
"Daddy, Seth tried to rape me... But Caleb," I could only take the implications that the young man that stood before me now was Caleb. "stopped him. Daddy, I just want to go home."
My greatest fear had been practically confirmed, but I owed it to this young man who I had nearly made pass out from fear earlier that it hadn't happened. It occurred to me that those bruises and cuts he had on his face were most likely from protecting my daughter. That immediately boosted his status on my latter to well above where every single other teenage boy stood, right down at the bottom of the barrel with Conrad Ecklie. And I'm not just talking a little bit – this put him tied with Adam Sidle, who wasn't necessarily at the top but was damn close to it.
With one hand over my daughter's head, I extended my free hand out to the young man in a peace offering. "I'm sorry for that explosion, Caleb. Gil Grissom."
"Caleb Alonge. It's all right, Mr. Grissom. It must be hard to see your daughter hurt and in tears." The man spoke with knowledge of the pain and worry I felt for my daughter. "I set Seth straight as soon as I knew what he was trying to do."
"You have my eternal gratitude for that Caleb." Shaking hands, I began to repair the damage I'd done. "Do you need a ride home as well, or..."
"My Mother is on her way to pick me up now, actually, but thank you for the offer sir." Caleb said, cautiously approaching my daughter, stilling having a circumspect eye on me. He rubbed lazy circles into her back and for the first time, Leah chose another guy's arms over my arms.
And yet, I felt that my daughter was just as safe in young Caleb Alonge's arms as she was in mine.
End of Flashback
And to my knowledge, after that night, they had been going out ever since.
Now, pictures of Caleb and Leah sitting comfortably on the couch in the very living room we sat in right now were beginning to sprout from out of the pages. Her head rested softly against his shoulder as he held her around the stomach, like I'd "advised" him to do when they were in my presence. Leah had always gotten a good laugh when I continually reminded Caleb not to grab my daughter around the hips or waist, and to this day, Caleb will only put his arms around her shoulder when I'm in their presence. Which led to Leah's wedding pictures.
She'll change her name today.
She'll make a promise and I'll give her away.
Standing in the bride-room just staring at her.
She asked me what I'm thinking and I said "I'm not
sure-I just feel like I'm losing my baby girl."
Everything had been perfect for her wedding. Once again, Catherine and being financially fortunate since Sam Braun's death all those years ago, had come to the rescue. A high-end dress had been purchased for the occasion, along with the cake, chapel, dance hall for the reception, and everything else that had to do with this wedding. The only difference between Leah's wedding and her seventh birthday? There was no Bobo the Clown making crooked animal balloons for the children or seven-year-old Leah Grissom on a white pony begging for her Dad to lead her around. Everything was perfect, with the exception of this feeling that held my heart captive as I sat in the bride-room with my own wife watching the bridesmaids get ready and Catherine with the assistance of Lindsey and Amelia who was her Maid of Honor, get her make-up and hair done. Once again, I couldn't see the point in putting make-up on my naturally beautiful daughter, but to each their own.
Once all had settled down and the room had cleared out considerably, I began to think about how I was losing my little girl. She had officially turned eighteen just three months ago and Caleb Alonge had proposed to her after their graduation. And while I now already considered Caleb as a son-in-law with or without the marriage certificate, I couldn't help but feel slightly greedy in not wanting to give my daughter away so soon. I felt as if I'd barely got to see her live, even though I'd been there for her practically every moment of her life.
Sara had struck up a conversation with our daughter, Amelia, while I sat there in silence, staring at our first daughter through the mirror she was looking in. It didn't take long for her to recognize that I was watching her with a forlorn and awed look, nor did it take long for me to realize that she'd caught me staring.
"You've got your thinking face on, Daddy... If I find out that you're thinking about a new species of an arachnid that I don't know about without me, that will put a damper in my day." Her same gap-toothed grin was aimed at me through the mirror. "Now, we wouldn't want that, would we?"
My own lips only upturned slightly, wishing that I could be thinking about our blessed bugs rather than the deed that had to be done by me.
"Seriously, Daddy. What are you thinking about?" My lack of smile toward her quirk caused her to turn around, walk over to me, and bend down in front of me like I would often do when I was putting a band-aid on her knee after she fell off her bike.
Shaking my head, now knowing that it was stupid of me to think that anyone could actually take my little girl away from me, I still continued to reply. "I don't know. I just feel like I'm losing my baby girl. My little butterfly."
She leaned over...
Gave me butterfly kisses with her Mama there,
Sticking little white flowers all up in her hair
"Walk my down the aisle, Daddy-it's just about time."
"Does my wedding gown look pretty, Daddy? Daddy, don't cry!"
Oh, with all that I've done wrong I must have done something right.
To deserve your love every morning and butterfly kisses
And even at the age of eighteen, with everyone that mattered in the room, Leah planted a butterfly kiss against my eyelashes like we had when she was younger. That's when her wedding song began to play, and that signaled that I had to walk her down the aisle. Leah was taken back to her giddy school days, with a nervousness that she had when she had her first official date with Caleb. She kept asking me if the dress was okay or pretty enough. And at one point, as we stood just on the other side of the door of the crowd of people that stood on the other side, I let several tears slip out of my baby blue eyes, falling to the floor.
From beside me as I held her arm looped through mine, Leah laughed as she sniffled, reaching over and wiping away my meandering tears along with her own. "Daddy! Don't cry! You're gonna make me mess up my make-up and then that'll ruin my wedding!" Leah joked.
And after composing ourselves, we began that long walk that I didn't want to do. But as soon as I saw the look of awe and nervousness on Caleb's face as he stood beside Lincoln who was his Best Man, I knew that it was the right thing to do.
End of Flashback
More tear drops had fallen, but from my wife this time. They were happy tears, even after all of this time. I leaned over and kissed one away from her right cheek. I had done the same thing just before Leah left the chapel as Leah Marie Sidle-Grissom-Alonge and during our dedicated "Father-Daughter" dance at the reception party. Bob Carlisle's, "Butterfly Kisses" was the song I'd picked out when we had the dancefloor all to ourselves.
I couldn't ask God for more, man this is what love is.
I know I gotta let her go, but I'll always remember
Every hug in the morning and butterfly kisses.
That moment in the chapel, just as she was about to exit, she turned back and for a moment, everything froze in my mind. The sun was highlighting all of her brown hair and this day made her blue eyes dance. In front of me, I now saw all of the years of our lives spent together flash before me and saw her gradually grow into the image I'd seen before me. That once lanky and curious little seven-year-old girl had transformed into this beautiful young lady and sophisticated woman who was still in love with her dear old Dad and his bugs. Around her neck sat the butterfly pendant I'd gotten her for her eighth birthday – Daddy's Little Girl – and I realized that no matter how big she got, she's still Daddy's little girl, his little butterfly. And with that, she left.
Leah had been my little caterpillar when she was born. Some had ridiculed her for certain aspects of what made Leah Sidle-Grissom simply that, but in my eyes, she was perfect. In the blink of an eye, she'd quickly spun herself inside of her protective cocoon and the end result when she finally emerged from her silk wrapped cocoon was this beautiful butterfly, wings outstretched and ready to explore what this world had to offer her.
Sitting back now as Sara closed the book, setting it on the coffee table, I jumped a little when my four-year-old grandson, Greggory Michael Grissom-Alonge jumped up from behind the couch and flipped over the back to get between his Grandmother and I. He stared up at both of us with curious blue eyes. That's when I noticed something cupped in his small hands.
"Grandpa? What's this?"
And to my wife's horror, Gregg revealed a jumping spider perched contently in his palm. I had an ear-to-ear grin on my face at the scene, realizing that the cycle had gone on.
"That is a jumping spider, or Salticus scenicus. This particular on is a male – you see those large fangs? Those are actually its palps..." And I continued on with my explanation of the spider in his hand.
A/N2: I hope you enjoyed.
Peace out, one love,
MC New York