Summary: Greg makes a discovery that helps Sara with her confusion over the 'butterfly on a stick.'
A/N: Another Sabbatical Fic. I know that it's over now, but I wrote this fic after watching Meet Market and reading some of the discussion about the 'butterfly on a stick.' Hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer: I don't own CSI.
"Uh, Sara?" Greg's voice startled her.
She was bent over a couple of photos in one of the labs, too focused on her task to have noticed him coming up behind her.
"Greg, I'm busy." She tried to shoo him away without even looking up, but Greg didn't move.
Irritated by the interruption, she collected the photos and stowed them away in an envelope. She decided to finish up here because she sensed that Greg wouldn't just give up. When she finally turned to face him, she was surprised by what she saw.
The expression on his face and his whole posture told her he was nervous. He was fidgeting and had trouble meeting her eyes. They were darting around the room, refusing to settle on anything. Something was seriously wrong.
She stood up and moved directly in front of him, forcing him to look at her.
"There is something I think you need to see." He was stumbling through his words and turned to leave before she could stop him.
Without really knowing what was going on, she followed him and was surprised when he led her to Grissom's office.
He stopped right outside, not daring to enter.
Sara was more than a little bit confused by his behavior. Why would Greg be too scared to go in?
She took a look around the office, but she couldn't see anything out of order. Questioningly, she looked back at Greg, who only pointed to the glass tank to the left of the desk.
Sara swallowed hard, wondering if this had anything to do with the chrysalis she had put in there.
She had been hurt; hurt that Grissom would send her something so confusing without adding an explanation. She'd done some research only to find out that what she thought to be a butterfly was just an empty shell. The butterfly had never developed. Grissom must have known that, so why had he sent her this empty thing?
Frustrated and hurt, Sara had left it at the office. Back at home, she just hadn't been able to sleep without waking within half an hour, plagued by dark visions of the future. To end it all, she had driven back to the lab, intending to throw away the stupid stick and the empty shell that haunted her in her dreams. In the end, though, she hadn't been able to do it.
Now, she didn't know what was worse: throwing it away or putting it with Grissom's pet spider. Because that's what she had done.
Right now, her anger was forgotten and she felt guilty. Had she acted too rashly?
Hesitantly, Sara entered the office and made her way over to the terrarium. As soon as she was close enough, her eyes sought out the chrysalis, but she was shocked to discover its absence.
What had she done?
Frantically, she circled the shelf, looking everywhere for the small whitish thing that had hung between the branches, but it was nowhere to be seen. It was gone.
Sara could feel tears rising up in her eyes, but just before her vision blurred, something else caught her attention. There was a small shiny object next to a root, guarded by an eight-legged, hairy pet with fangs.
The tears were gone instantly and she had to fight to breathe. There was a ring in there.
A ring…and no chrysalis. No, he wouldn't…yes, he would.
"Greg, did you put this in there?"
She had to make sure that this wasn't a joke. She couldn't take it if it was.
"Are you kidding? No one touches Grissom's baby besides you. Do you know what Grissom would do to us if anything were to happen to his precious spider?" He looked at her expectantly, but she turned back to the matter at hand.
There really was a ring in the spider tank and it had to have come from the chrysalis.
She tried to calm down, knowing that it would be better if her pulse wasn't through the roof when she reached in.
Once she was sure that she had it at least slightly under control, she took the lid off and chose a treat for the spider to feast on. It was feeding time anyway.
She didn't watch as the spider devoured the cricket, instead concentrating on reaching in to grab the ring.
It was a bit dirty, but its beauty still took her breath away.
Greg had come up behind her, looking over her shoulder. She didn't mind, mostly because her thoughts were tangled up in the puzzle of Grissom's present. She needed to know if this was real, if it meant what she wanted it to mean.
A quick glance at her watch told her that Grissom would be awake, so she used her cell phone to call him.
"Why?" She stopped his greeting midway, needing to get to the bottom of this.
At first, there was only silence on the other end of the line, but she had expected that.
Her eyes still on the ring and her mind thousand miles away, she didn't hear Greg close the door, leaving her alone. This was a private conversation.
She listened to how her own breaths seemed in tune with Grissom's until his voice grabbed her attention again. "I'm sorry."
It seemed that this was about to become one of their cryptic half-conversations, but that just wouldn't do today. If he didn't come out and told her what this was all about, what he had intended with this, then this would be over.
"That's not good enough." She had to make it clear to him that she needed more. It was a tall order, but if they were about 'forever' then he needed to open up enough for her to understand.
"For putting you through this. I should have found another way." His voice was low and raspy, and she wanted to tell him that it was okay, but it wasn't. If she gave in now, they would be back at the beginning.
When she didn't respond, he continued. "I said, I'd miss you and I do. So much it hurts."
He was throwing her these little crumbs, seeing if she would take them. Sara clutched the ring in her hand, drawing strength from it. She couldn't give in.
"That's why I bought it. Because I…I've…never missed someone like that."
Those words allowed the tears that she had been holding in since she'd noticed that the chrysalis was gone to fall. She cried in silence, still needing more. She knew it wasn't only that she needed to hear it; he needed to hear himself say those words.
"Because…I love you." His voice was nothing more than a whisper at this point, but she could still hear the strain. He was giving it all up. For her.
Gil Grissom was finally laying his soul bare…and it was over the phone.
Suddenly, everything felt so wrong and she wanted to make him stop.
Just when she was about to speak, he continued. "I am a coward for not doing this in person, but there's no going back now. I love you, I need you and I want to show you that what we have is real. Will you marry me?"
Suddenly, nothing else mattered. She had been waiting for these words and he had finally done it.
It didn't matter that their parting had been painful and awkward, that he had been a coward and that they were doing this over the phone. What mattered was that they were doing it at all.
"If you want, I'll do this whole thing again, properly, but…" He seemed to have used all of his words up because he fell silent.
"I miss you too. And I love you. And…" The tears were choking her, but she swallowed it down, fighting to go on. "Yes!"
There was still silence at the other end, but she wasn't worried. He probably needed time to process her answer.
It took him about a minute to regain his senses and grasp that she had already answered his question.
"Thank you." He paused again and she could hear some rustling in the background.
"Honey, I'm coming home. I'll show you that you are more important than anything else."
For the first time since he had dropped the bomb of his departure on her, she was able to feel it bubbling up and let it escape.