53 Down

Spoilers: Leaving Las Vegas

Disclaimer: I don't own anything or anyone in regards to CSI; the show and its characters belong to a bunch of people who aren't me. I am merely borrowing the characters for my own amusement. Dance puppets, dance.

Author's Note: Somehow with all the angst of Leaving Las Vegas, I managed to produce a fluff piece. A little something to make me feel better about…that ending.

Thanks to EllipsesBandit for encouraging me on this one. And not just fixing the commas ;)

October 2005

Monday mornings.

People dread them. It signifies the beginning of another work week: five long days to contend with commuter traffic, long meetings, and inept coworkers.

Sara Sidle was one of the few who loved Monday mornings. She usually arrived home (well Grissom's home lately) right after shift because most criminals completed their work on Friday and Saturday nights. But it wasn't just the fact that there were rarely brutal cases; it was the day she and Grissom did their weekly crossword puzzle.

Even before they started seeing each other, she learned Grissom had a serious obsession with crossword puzzles. He called it a fascination, but Sara identified it as a compulsion. He completed at least two or three puzzles per week, whether it was from the newspaper or his online subscription to the New York Times.

She knew he didn't like it when others leaned over his shoulder and tried to decipher clues with him. Greg once made the mistake of announcing the answers when he sat next to Grissom in the break room. After the third offense, Grissom glared at the newest C.S.I. and let out a harsh sigh. The supervisor promptly retreated to his office. The next night Greg had been assigned a decomp case.

So it surprised the hell out of her when Grissom had said a clue one morning. She thought he was just thinking out loud, and went on reading her novel. It wasn't until a few moments later when he called her name that Sara looked up to find him waiting for response. She stared at him, completely dumbfounded, before offering an answer.

The next week the same thing happened again, only this time he told her there were letters from other answers. She tentatively asked to see his laptop, and there was no hesitation when he lifted his arm. Within minutes they solved the clue. Sara went to move back to her side of the bed, but Grissom's arm around her tightened slightly. He went on to read 15 across, and she smiled to herself.

Thus began their weekly crossword puzzle ritual. The two curled up on the bed, and depending how tired they felt, completed it that morning or the next day. Grissom recently had created a joint email account so they could both access the alerts for the latest puzzle.

After drying her hair and donning pajamas, Sara headed to the bedroom. She leaned in the doorway to admire Grissom propped against some pillows. There was something endearing about her scientist wearing a white t-shirt with Joe Cool Snoopy boxer shorts. He stared intently at the laptop monitor with pursed lips and deep wrinkles in his forehead, meaning he was stuck on a clue. Apparently tapping the period key helped him think.

"Are there not enough boxes for ellipses or have you found punctuation puzzles?"

His eyes never left the computer as he responded with, "What's an eight letter word for bumptious?"

Sara scowled at him, muttering, "Smart ass"

"Perfect," he said, raising an eyebrow.

Climbing into bed, she settled against his left side. Grissom placed an arm around her shoulders, and placed a soft kiss on her forehead.

"So which one are you on?" she inquired.

"10 across. A five letter word for stolid."

Sara tried. Really she did. But an amused snort escaped her lips anyway. Her eyes found his confused frown, and it was all she could do from laughing out loud.

"A five letter word for stolid," she began once she composed herself, "is stoic, one who is seemingly indifferent to emotions."

Grissom didn't react while he dutifully typed in the word. His voice remained impassive when he said, "You should be able to get the next one then. Contumacious."

She thought for a few moments before admitting she didn't know the definition. That was when he grinned triumphantly.


January 2007

The Thursday evening Grissom left had been difficult for Sara, but the weekend shifts stayed busy, keeping her thoroughly distracted. It wasn't until the following Monday morning she felt the weight of his absence.

She walked into the bedroom to find it deafeningly quiet. There was no tapping on the keyboard or the familiar voice asking the definition of troglodytic. Not even bothering with her own laptop, she buried herself under blankets and tried to fall asleep.


The second Monday Sara found herself at the dining room table with her computer. She surfed the internet for about an hour, checking out some music downloads Greg suggested. Before signing off, she drummed her fingers on the wood, debating on what to do next. She gave into temptation, and typed in necessary information.

A crossword puzzle appeared on the screen.

About an hour later she had completed most of the puzzle. Twelve clues remained with one in particular bothering her.

53 down: One who loves big words. 14 letters.

She became irritated after searching several internet dictionaries with no luck. She would have filled in Gilbert Grissom, but the word from 72 across didn't make that possible. Going into her email account, she decided to ask for help.


I saw on the news a cold front is moving through the East coast. I hope you don't plan on taking your students outside for any experiments. Massachusetts just doesn't have the weather San Francisco does. And remember there's nothing wrong with teaching in a warm classroom.

I started the crossword puzzle this morning. Don't worry there are still some clues for you. The puzzle is attached to the message. Take a look at 53 down; I looked through a few websites, but I couldn't find it.

I'll be in court Wednesday and Thursday, but I'll try to call you afterward. Take care of yourself. I love you.


Between the insistent questions from lawyers and a ten hour shift, Sara was exhausted. She collapsed on the couch Thursday morning after she made through the front door. Needing a few moments to clear her head, she pulled out her computer. The machine made a series of beeps, altering her to new email messages. She didn't waste anytime opening the reply from Grissom.


The coldest days will be Thursday and Friday, but it'll be back in the late 30s by Monday. True there's nothing wrong with staying in the classroom, but it's also necessary at times to venture to the outdoors. But I promise to warn my students beforehand.

Speaking of the cold, thank you for the Berkeley sweatshirt. I'm glad I found it in my suitcase since I managed to leave the one Hodges gave me in my office.

I was able to finish the crossword between classes. This one was certainly more challenging than some of the other ones we've done. The answer to 53 down was sesquipedalian. It comes from the Latin word sesquipedalis, meaning "a foot and half long, hence inordinately long."

There's a pint of Ben and Jerry's Vanilla Heath Crunch in the back of the freezer if you don't make it to the stand again. Try to get some rest. I love you, honey.



P.S. Thanks for not turning my name into Gilbert Grilsom. Too bad 72 across was comely.

It was the first time in two weeks Sara's face hurt so much from smiling.

February 2007

Sara opened the bathroom door, but not just to let the steam out. The classical music wafting in didn't cover up the faint tapping sound of Grissom's computer. He was home.

He returned late Thursday afternoon, which seemingly coincided with her scheduled three nights off. She hadn't taken her eyes off of him for most of the weekend. Grissom looked lighter, not as if he carried a heavy weight on his shoulders; his hair was slightly thicker; and the dark circles under his eyes had disappeared.

Padding into the bedroom, Sara closed the heavy burgundy curtains to keep the Monday morning sunlight at bay. By now he would be opening up their joint email account, discovering--

"There are alerts in here from the last four weeks," he said in a puzzled voice.

"Yeah," she replied easily as she put his shoes in the closest

"They've never been opened."


"So the ones you sent me…"

"Were from the website's archive section."

At the foot of the bed she watched his lips turn upwards, and then finally broaden to show those crooked teeth. Her heart swelled knowing she could make Grissom smile like that.

She settled next to him against the pillows, her head finding the soft skin of the crook of his neck. The wonderful scent of him filled her nostrils: fresh soap, cotton, and the slightest hint of cinnamon. And for this morning, Grissom traded in his usual kiss to the forehead for a few delightful presses to her mouth. Then they finally both turned their attention to the screen.

"One across," he began, "affiance…"


The End