A/N : I've been inspired by Thursday's episode, "Empty Eyes", and I wrote this oneshot As always, I can't thank enough Mingsmommy for the wonderful beta work she's done one it! I also wanted to thank everyone who voted for "Shivers" in the Sabbatical Poll. You guys are awesome, it means A LOT to me.Spoilers : Up to 7x18: Empty Eyes
Category : Angst/Romance
Pairing : GSR
Raiting : Teen
Disclaimer : 'CSI' and all its characters belong to Anthony Zuiker, CBS and Alliance Atlantis. No copyright infringement is intended.
I hope you enjoy it ;) Reviews are always loved :))
The drop gently escapes from beneath her closed eyes.
Sliding slowly down her cheek, it draws a wet trail on her pale skin, before being absorbed by the sheet of the pillow.
He would love to be able to hate them. But he can't hate anything about her. And like everything about her, he has learned to know them.
Sara rarely cries. At least, not in public.
Once she told him when she was young, she felt like she constantly wanted to cry; that in foster families the best hiding place was the shower. That it still is. This capacity she's got to maintain her composure, she's got it because she knows she's going to be able to break down later. Alone.
And yet, he knows her tears.
The sudden and spontaneous tears, provoked by an emotion so violent that she didn't even have a chance to hold them back. Those which fiercely invade her eyes, before breaking, sometimes in waves, down her cheeks. Those she immediately wipes away, using an upset and angry hand, hating the fact an audience saw them.
And then, there's the tears she fights. He can see it by the way her eyes slowly grow wet and blurry. By the way their outlines redden. He knows a mere nothing would be enough for her to be overwhelmed by her feelings.
And yet she fights.
She fights until she can't do it anymore. And when these tears finally roll down her cheeks, she lets them fall. He knows this image. The image of his Sara, broken, having lost a battle not only against the whole word, but also against herself.
Every single teardrop he watches sliding down her face makes him feel like a blade is slowly driven into his heart. A tiny burn, yes, but it spreads insidiously and painfully inside him.
From the first time he saw her crying, he's wished he could make the tears disappear, as beautiful as she could be, even weeping. He wished he could be the one whose hand would sweep those salty drops away.
But like everything about Sara, he found out there's a difference between wanting something…
…and having it.
Wiping her tears away has become a reflex.
Not that Sara spends her time crying, on the contrary.
He didn't know how often she was having nightmares, before he took the decision to stop wanting things, for finally having them. But Sara waking up in tears, it's something he has seen a lot of times since he made this choice, and it pained him. It happens less often, though, as time goes by.
He loves to be there.
He loves that she huddles in his arms, as he holds her shaking body tight, until the shivers fade away. The wet trails on her cheeks, he makes them disappear with a caress of his hand, with a brush of his lips.
He would like to say that, thanks to him, everything's going perfectly well in Sara's life now.
But it would be a lie, of course.
She lives with the scars of her past, and will always. She loves her job, but they both know that by doing it, she regularly takes the risk to see old pains resurface.
But now, he loves to think that he's here for her, when these wounds start to bleed again. Wiping her cheeks is nothing but a casual gesture. But the symbolism in it is so much stronger and powerful; they both know it, even if they don't say it.
Yes, he's here for her. Even if the job is getting harder; even if the fatigue grows, shift after shift. In his mind, he'll always be there to comfort her after a hard case, or in the warmth of their bed, when her demons take on her again.
She'll never cry alone again. She'll never have to hide again.
He is so sure of it, and yet…
When he's done with the rush of very-well-prepared words, he wishes she'd get mad.
To see her shouting would be better than watching the pain growing fast in her eyes. But she doesn't shout. She turns around, her back to him, resuming what she was doing before he decided to tell her about his choice.
"If you feel the need to go away, I'm not going to hold you back in Vegas…" she says. Her voice sounds steady and calm, as she puts her clean clothes in the closet.
But he doesn't miss the quick move she makes, her right hand briefly reaching for her face.
The burning pain in his stomach immediately spreads.
"You're upset." It's not a question. Using an interrogative tone when she's obviously upset would be a lack of respect.
She keeps going on with her clothes, refusing to face him.
"No, I'm not." She finally replies. But he can't do anything but hear the crack in her voice.
He doesn't dare say a thing. He doesn't dare make a move. All he can do is watch her, his uneasiness growing fast, as she's finishing her task. Then, without a single glance at him, she opens the bathroom door, and rushes into the room.
For a second, he thinks of going to talk to her, explaining thoroughly the reasons he needs to leave.
But then, he hears the shower start behind the door.
And it hurts him more than any insult.
The door opens, revealing a Sara still very wet from her shower.
She has already provoked sharp reactions in him just by standing less than three feet away from him, when she was covered with smelly dirt. No need to explain what effect she has on him right now, being even closer, wearing nothing but a bathrobe, her hair still wet.
But when he focuses on her face, his happy thoughts immediately cool off.
Any trace of the smile she had on her face a few hours ago has disappeared. Her expression is shuttered.
And above all, her eyes are red.
She quickly moves away from the door, letting him enter the apartment.
"You cried." He simply says, feeling a defeated panic overtake him.
"And you grew back your beard." She replies, her voice slightly irritated, standing at the other end of the room, her arms folded across her chest. "Can we please not point out the obvious?"
He's troubled. There's such a huge difference between her behaviour in the lab, and the way she is right now.
He's far from being stupid, and he's very far from thinking she's stupid. He knows he hurt her by leaving; he also knows he's the only one to blame for that. And yet, he doesn't regret his choice.
Being away from Vegas, away from her, it made him realize what his priorities are now. Made him understand with painful clarity he never wants to be without her that long again. He wants to show her. He wants to prove her that the annoying part of him, which had remained uncertain, disappeared when he was deprived of her smile.
And when he had seen her in the lab, radiant, it had made him think that it would be easier than what he'd feared.
But obviously, it's going to be exactly what he was afraid of.
"Sara, I-" he starts, before being stopped by her short and annoyed chuckle.
"You know what drives me crazy, Gil?" she asks, upset.
He walks towards her, trying an apologetic smile: "Me?"
She purses her lips and shakes her head. She smiles too, but hers is clearly ironic: "You don't know how right you are." She sighs, before resuming: "Since I met you, I've had so many opportunities to try persuading myself that you were a jerk. And every time, I succeed pretty well. I tell myself that this time, you went too far, that I'm going to stop forgiving you everything." She shrugged. "And then, you just have to…turn up early, when I'm covered with trash, smelling like rotten fish, and you stare at me like we really weren't in the middle of the lab, and I just- "
She finally stops, taking a deep quivering breath, carefully avoiding his eyes. He has kept moving forward as she talked, and finds himself less than two feet away from her now. He 'patiently' waits for her to go on, his heart beating strangely fast in his ears. He can feel the resignation emanating from her whole body. What's scaring the Hell out him is that he doesn't know if the resignation is for her and her alone, or if it's for them as a couple.
When she looks up, locking eyes with him, he can't help but feel a new sting in his heart when he sees the moisture in hers.
"I shouldn't even have smiled to you, Griss…" she says, her voice tightened. "I spent the month telling myself that I would not smile at you, or let you get close to me, until I knew exactly what you want from me."
They stare at each other for a timeless moment, before she asks a question. The question she's already asked in this room, two years ago:
"What do you want from me, Griss?"
"I want all of you, Sara." He immediately replies, without a second of hesitation, and with a real sincerity, proving that he doesn't have a doubt about his answer
Considering the surprised expression on her face, she surely expected him to stammer, or to speak in a riddle, or…to use some quotations. But she had a clear answer, direct and honest. She stares at him without saying a word for a few seconds, before a slight smile appears on her lips, a smile which is clearly a little defeated; a tear rolls on her cheek as she closes her eyes.
The discussion is far from being over; he knows he has a lot of things to say, to explain to her. He knows he has to do better than that if he wants her to forgive him everything. But somehow, he also knows deep inside of him that right now, he's already forgiven, and that she believes him.
But when he reaches to wipe her cheek, she turns her head away.
He has rarely seen her so concentrated.
The hand she has put close to his ear hasn't moved since she started.
He can feel the sweat that has formed between her palm and his temple, but he's far from finding this sensation unpleasant. Her sweaty skin again his has never been an unpleasant sensation. But actually, he's way too focused on what he's seeing to really give it much thought.
He stares at her face without a break, as she handles the blade with great care.
And he knows that her deep concentration isn't only focused on her right hand and its movements.
At first, he thought her reaction was only the result of the palpable tension that was filling the air around them. He was looking at her so intently that he had quickly noticed how her cheeks, already pinkish, had darkened, never losing their warm colour after that. And it didn't take long for the sweat to appear, where their skin was touching.
But something else happened. Something he knows and mostly dreads.
He notices it by the way her breaths become deeper, and yet faster at the same time, even if it's almost subtle. Proof that she's clearly controlling her breathing.
He also sees it by the way her eyes shine. If it initially has something to do with the heat surrounding them, it hasn't anymore. The moisture becomes thicker.
And he's concerned.
Not because he fears she doesn't see what she's doing.
But because he's not sure he understands the reason behind the powerful wave of emotions overtaking her even as she fights it.
He's been back for two weeks now. If she may have been a little hesitant at first, she's not anymore. Her doubts seem to fade away one after the other, as she realizes that he's really willing to change.
He doesn't change everything, of course. Just enough to make her face regularly display a sincere, and often pleased, surprise. Like she did earlier, when he asked her to shave his beard.
By leaving, he has shaken the trust that was established between them. But it's growing stronger day after day, now. His answer to her question, a little while ago, proves it.
So why is she obviously on the verge of tears?
"Are you okay?" he asks softly, searching her eyes.
But she carefully doesn't look up, keeping her attention on his left cheek, which is almost done. She just nods her answer, and he can see perfectly the tears growing thicker in her eyes.
"Sara…" his voice is as gentle as his hand, when he slowly reaches for hers, moving the blade away from his skin. "Look at me."
She does so, hesitantly looking into his eyes. She takes a sharp new breath, as two heavy drops finally drop free, falling silently on her reddened cheeks.
"I'm sorry" she tries to laugh, but it just sounds…odd. "I feel really stupid."
She raises her free hand towards her face, but he softly holds her back again.
Then, freeing her fingers, he lays his hands on her cheeks. She doesn't turn away this time.
his thumbs, he gently wipes away the wet trails, hardly brushing her
Looking up to lock his eyes with hers, he doesn't really notice when new tears flow.
"You're not stupid, Sara…" he murmurs.
He finds her in the break room.
It's not the first place he thought to check.
He checked the locker room. His office. Even the garage. He knew she still was inside the building. She wouldn't have left alone. Not today. She must have taken refuge in a calm room, surely a dark one, where she could hide if she broke down before they went home.
Because her battle is coming to an end.
He saw every sign of it, all along this terrible case. A young woman died in her arms, and she held on. She'd been in a hard situation with the killer, and she held on.
But he knows her enough to know that she's not going to hold on much longer. That's why he started looking for her, in a calm room. A dark one.
Not a single word is spoken when he takes place next to her, as she stares at the TV.
He also seems to be focused on what's moving on the screen, but he's not. All his attention is on Sara. Even without looking at her, he can feel the pain emanating from her whole body, and it squeezes his heart. He doesn't even listen to what the journalist is saying; the only thing he can hears is her breathing, a little louder, and less steady than usual.
When David Marlon's face appears on the screen, he hears the shaking breath she takes, before her voice comes out in the quiet room, broken by the emotion:
"I held his hand."
He turns his head, and she briefly looks at him. Just long enough for him to realize that the tears have already made their way down her cheeks. Just long enough for this killing pain to spread through his entire body. He can't take his eyes off of her pale, glowing skin.
"Just like I held hers." She adds, and her voice is full of defeat and suffering when she states, almost murmuring:
"I lost perspective…"
His Sara. Broken. Having lost the battle against the whole word. And against herself. Hating herself for that. Letting the emotions overwhelm her, without opposing any kind of resistance.
Letting a new tear slide down her cheek, not even trying to hold it back or erase it.
She doesn't have to do it anymore.
Because he's here to stop the bleeding of her wounds when she's hurting.
To wipe her tears away.
To wipe this tear away.