Disclaimer: I do not own or profit from CSI or its characters. I just like to borrow them. The title is borrowed from a wonderful Lonestar song that I don't own either but I think will fit the premise of this story nicely as it goes on.
Special thanks to Giwu for being my beta on this piece. I hope you all enjoy it.
Dr. Gil Grissom and his wife of nearly two years, Sara Sidle-Grissom walked hand in hand in the mall about 25 miles outside Las Vegas . When the couple was able to share the rare night off with one another they wanted to escape the chaos, the noise, and the memories of human frailty.
As they walked, Grissom used this thumb to gently rub the back of Sara's hand in small circles. He could not get enough of touching her and while they were definitely well suited sexual partners, it was the small non-sexual touches he liked the best. She leaned towards him and on him as they strolled, her head near his shoulder, soft brown hair brushing his cheek, the smell of her vanilla shampoo teasing his nostrils. By nature, Grissom was observant but it was not the softness of her skin or the sweet scent of her hair that got his utmost attention, it was instead the path of her gaze.
From minute one in his seminar to just the previous night processing evidence Sara challenged him professionally, never afraid to expand on his ideas, provide her own, or totally disagree with him. Personally, though she was more subtle, maybe even submissive not really giving voice to her desires or wishes and rarely challenging his with any force. In the workplace she was an asset and at times a worthy adversary. At home, she was a staunch supporter, a quiet alibi, and sometimes seemed to be very cautious and unhappy. He would ask her what was wrong but she'd only kiss him and smile, so he carefully learned to watch her, to study her that was the only way to learn what was truly on her heart.
There had been a central theme to her visual exploration lately; Carter's Outlet, Motherhood Maternity, Baby Gap…similar to what occurred after they'd been dating a and living together for awhile at his townhouse. She had started reading the classifieds for a larger place, window shopping at jewelry stores, and Pottery Barn, never voicing her internal wishes or desires, but when he'd caught on and she saw he had cared enough about what she'd wanted to study her and read her heart he was rewarded by the one thing he wanted from her above all else, he beautiful smile. That was all he really needed, to make his wife, his love, his Sara happy.
He stiffened though realizing what train her thoughts were on, they'd never discussed a child or a family at all. He never thought Sara would want to have children, she was nervous and even skittish around them. She would even avoid Lindsay, but still the evidence never lies and all her "evidence" indicated Sara was indeed feeling the time wind down on her biological clock. He would mention it at home before bed that night. In the mean time, Sara had felt him tense. She was always sensitive to the slightest chance in his mood and his tension prompted a soft, "Gil?" The way she said his name spoke volumes and asked a hundred questions.
"It's nothing, Honey," he replied. "I was just thinking."
She nodded, "Are you getting tired?" Neither had been sleeping well lately and for a change his insomnia had been worse than hers. It was her fault, he could read her like a book and she'd been sad recently. He would always ask her why, because he wanted to help her feel better and deal with whatever issue she was battling. She would never say, because she could never trust him enough not to be angry or hurt that she placated him, even though it never worked.
He nodded, "Not really, just tired of this place. What do you say we head home?"
She agreed, "Sure. Can we get one of those pineapple smoothie things first?"
He chuckled and smiled at her, "All right, Honey. I'm not sure how you came to actually like those after…"
"Do not even think about finishing that sentence," she warned playfully as they joined the line.
Sara sipped at her smoothie as they drove home, a Mozart CD filling the car with music. As Gil carefully concentrated on the road making sure not to miss any possible hazard, Sara got her chance to study him as he always studied her. His eyes were tired, there were bags beneath them and silently she vowed to put her body's urges to rest setting her own mind at ease and by association her husband's. It wasn't fair to him, he'd promised her his love, protection, fidelity, and devotion and he'd delivered. She had taken enough. She had no right to ask for more.
"What's going on inside that head of yours?" he asked as they hit the interstate exit near their townhouse.
"Just thinking about everything you've given me," she replied. "You've given me everything, you know?" She absently twirled her simple gold wedding band on her finger; neither had wanted nor saw the need for a fancy token.
"No more than I've gotten in return," he replied. "A beautiful wife, a home, not just a place without work related things but a real place to relax, unwind…"
"And put up your Ecklie dart board," she laughed. "And we waited nearly ten years to do this because…?"
He frowned before softly replying, "Because I had to say the words to you and I couldn't."
"I didn't exactly say them to you," she soothed knowing he deeply regretted his inaction.
Grissom manipulated a turn into their driveway, cutting the engine, and shifting to park before turning to face his wife. He reached for her cheek with his left hand, their motion detector light reflecting off his wedding band as he brushed a strand of her hair behind her ear. Their eyes met, his were thoughtful and tender as they held hers like a pin to a butterfly. She always froze when he looked at her with that intensity. He didn't say anything he simply tilted his head and kissed her, a gentle kiss, his upper lip between her upper and lower lips pulling and tugging gently, a lover's caress. Once their lips parted he refuted her prior absolution in a whisper, "You did, Honey. You told me a hundred times, in a hundred different ways. I'm sorry."
Sara brought her hand up to cover his and pressed her cheek against the inside of his palm, "That's over, now. All I have to do is look into your eyes to know you love me," she whispered leaning a bit to place a light kiss on his lips. "Cherish me," she gave him another kiss, this one a bit more lingering. "And worry needlessly about me." This time she traced the darkness under his eyes with her fingertip before placing two gentle kisses there, one under each eye. "Your feelings for me come out louder and clearer like this than any other way."
He smiled gently at her, "Let's move this inside, Honey. We both need a good night's sleep."
She nodded and the pair exited their vehicle. Their townhouse was exactly that, theirs, even with opposite likes or dislikes in some cases. That in return for her overlooking his pet tarantula and insect specimen on the book shelves he kept his fetal pigs and experiments at the office, not in their home refrigerator. It took a bit of doing but they finally reached the pleasant accord.
Sara headed for their bedroom immediately while Grissom let their dog out to his business and run around for a bit. She turned down their bed while thinking of a way to get this weight off her mind. Maybe if she just mentioned it to Gil offhand she could put her mind at ease. Still it was not something they ever discussed though she thought he'd probably be open to it. She was in the bathroom changed into a silk navy blue nightgown he had given her for their anniversary. She usually preferred his shirts but he liked to see her wear more feminine sleep wear every now and again. She turned on the water faucet to clean the paste from her toothbrush as Grissom entered their room and stripped down to his boxer shorts and undershirt before joining her by the sink.
"Was Jerry hungry?" she asked. He'd been occupied longer than it usually took him to walk Bruno.
"No, just lonely," he replied putting toothpaste on his brush.
"Can spiders be lonely?" she asked clipping her hair up before exiting the bathroom.
"I'm not sure. Entomologists can be," he replied.
"Well you don't have to be anymore," she answered. "Why? Do you want to get your uh, Jerry, a companion?"
He laughed at the name, "I still cannot believe you named my spider."
"Makes it easier to forget I actually married a man with a pet tarantula if I call it by a name," she replied with a smile.
Grissom rinsed the toothpaste from his mouth, "I'm haven't really thought about a companion. It's not a bad idea. He might flourish with one." He slipped into his side of the bed and opened his arms to his wife, "I did."
She snuggled into his warm, solid embrace resting her head on his chest like a pillow. They laid there is silence, his hand absently caressing her arm, occasionally kissing her temple lightly. "Sara, you know whatever it is that's bothering you, you can share it with me?"
She began to tense and pull away but he held fast, "Come on, Honey," he encouraged.
"Gil…" she sighed his name in a weak protest. "It's nothing. It's not important."
Placing another light kiss on her temple he countered, "If it is important enough for you to hide; it's important enough for me to know. If it's keeping you awake nights, I need to know so we can talk about it."
She nodded, "You're right. You always are."
He grinned, "I know. That's why I can't understand why you continue to clam up on me."
"Because I'm…I'm never sure…" she began and trailed off.
"None of us are," he replied. "But you and I…we know each other very well. So usually guessing about what the other person is feeling or thinking isn't very hard to do. For example, I all ready know what's been on your mind, I just…"
She cut him off and cuddled closer, "You just want me to get to a place where I can tell you outright and you don't have to read the clues."
He rewarded her with a quick kiss, "You see," he complemented. "You can read me well. You never, ever, have to be afraid or nervous about talking to me about anything, including this. Please, Honey tell me what's on your mind."
"You see," he complimented . "Please, Honey, tell me."
"I'm almost 36 years old and by my age most women…I finally have with you so much love, happiness, and I…I really…"
"You'd like for us to have a baby," he finished knowing she would still be struggling to tell him on her own.
She nodded, "Yes. I…I want to have a baby, your son or daughter." Her eyes shone with excitement as she spoke. "I don't know why but I always wanted to be a mother and you…Gil, you would be…Any baby would be so lucky for you to be his or her…"
"Sara…" Grissom began but she continued.
"Imagine a child, Gil. Most children ask such hard questions and most parents can't actually answer them, things like 'Daddy, why is the sky blue?' But you could and without having to go to the internet to find out and I could…"
"Sara," he said again a bit louder while sitting up to break her out of her dream world.
"What?" she asked, still beaming with excitement.
Grissom shook his head, "No."
"No? No what?" She asked feeling confused and beginning to feel scared.
"No baby. I don't want to do this, Sara," he clarified firmly.
Sara stared blankly at Grissom eyes filling with tears. She couldn't believe what she just heard, "You knew…you knew what I was going to say. If you didn't want us to have a child why did you push it? Why did you want to talk about it so badly?"
"Because you did," he replied smoothly, sliding his legs over the edge of the bed. Sara was sitting up straight, cross-legged with her elbows resting on her knees. She looked so hurt he knew he couldn't keep his resolve if he had to look in her eyes.
"You see, this is why I don't want to talk about anything with you," Sara told him getting off their bed to expand their physical distance.
"Because I wouldn't agree with you?" he asked. She never said anything like the before.
"Because you wouldn't hear me," she replied. "You wouldn't ever hear me."
Sara's voice choked up as she said that and she was battling to hold back tears of hurt and humiliation. Grissom realized there was more to her upset than his not wanting to have a child.
"I do hear you," he countered, rising and moving to stand next to her. She was crying and turned her back to him when he approached her. "You need to hear me. I'm not always going to be in agreement with you, we both know that but it does not mean we can't talk and share. Before we got married we shared all the time, since, you've been you've been holding everything inside of you."
"I…" She sniffled and let him put his arms around her to comfort her. "I guess I felt I finally had…All I ever wanted was you…Us. I didn't think I had the right to ask for more from you than that."
His reply was to pull her closer and slightly sway back and forth. "You can ask anything of me. I may not always be able to give it, I may not always agree it is best for us, but I'll never turn you down to hurt you. I promise."
She nodded against him, then pulled away, "But I am…Hurt, that is."
"Because I said no?" he asked.
"Because of how you said no," she replied. "You didn't even give me a reason. You…you spoke to me like you speak to Bruno when he's pawing through the garbage. That hurt."
"I know it did," he acknowledged. "I wasn't trying to hurt you, but…As much as I thought I knew what you wanted it caught me by surprise. Let's start again, I will listen to you and talk with you as long as you promise to do the same."
"Would you like some tea?" she asked, her way of agreeing to explore the topic further.
"Mint," he replied and followed her to their kitchen.
Sara brewed their tea while Grissom sat at the table petting their dog, collecting his thoughts. After a few minutes Sara sat down across from him passing him his cup. Her eyes were still tinged red from crying as she delicately sipped her drink waiting for him to speak. He finally did, "Where did this idea of us having a baby together come from?"
"I…Zachary Anderson," she replied. "I saw you kneel down and pick him up, hold him close…"
"That's ancient history," Grissom cut in. He hated remembering that case, he avoided anything to do with it.
"No it's not, Gil," she countered. "If it was, you wouldn't wake up screaming in a cold sweat. Additionally, you can't tell me what happened between us that night is history."
Grissom was quiet a moment recalling the day they had found Zachary Anderson's little body swaddled in a baby blanket on a golf course green. He'd held the little boy praying holding him would make him come back to life. Never before had he lost his professional aloofness to the point of nearly destroying evidence on any other case or to the point of shedding tears on the shoulder of a subordinate coworker. Even then, Sara was even then so much more than that.
Late April 2001
Sara should have been surprised when she opened her apartment door to reveal Grissom, eyes red, face tear streaked, looking completely lost and handsomely vulnerable, but she wasn't. She'd regretted her harsh words to him a few weeks back and now felt the urge to console him as he battled with his feelings. She looked at him and simply stepped to the side of the door to silently invite the sad and broken man that was Grissom inside. It was all he could do to walk through the door.
"Griss," she said softly. "Come sit down on the sofa."
He didn't move, just stared blankly at the floor Sara moved to him led him towards the sofa. "Sit down," she urged and he did. She sat down next to him and took his hand. "Grissom, I have no idea where you are right now, but I want to be here for you if you need me to be."
He squeezed her hand and cleared his sore, hoarse throat. "Could…Could I have a glass of water, please?"
Sara went to rise and bring it to him but he didn't let go of her hand. "Griss, you have to let go so I can get you the water. I'll be right back."
He let go and she brought him a cold glass of spring water. She sat next to him and offered it to him. He didn't move to take it so she set it on the coffee table and took his hand again. They sat there silently for awhile until he finally spoke, "I'd never held a baby before, never actually planned to either but…What's that charity commercial…A child should not die in the dawn of life. He was so small, so light…" He stopped and his voice cracked as the tears started again.
"Come here," she urged and pulled him close. "I can't say anything to make this right. I wish I could..." Her own tears began to fall then moistening Grissom's hair. His response was to press his cheek more firmly against her breast and tightened his arms around her.
Grissom's head was pounding, a fierce migraine taking grip squeezing mercilessly at his skull. He couldn't help in his vulnerability emitting a small noise of distress. Sara had heard it before, during two incredible yet chaste nights in San Francisco. She knew what it meant, "Grissom," she said gently. "Do you have your medicine?"
"No," he replied, his voice strained from tears and pain.
"Stay still," she replied. She went again to the kitchen, this time for and ice pack. She returned quickly and sat down again encouraging him to lie down his head in her lap. She held the ice against temple and stroked his forehead until he fell asleep.
For that night he'd been vulnerable, for that night their emotional safeguards had been released as two hardened souls grieved for the loss of a truly innocent life. They never spoke of it again, to each other or anyone else until that very moment. "It's not," he replied. "We found our something special, but just because I held and mourned a wrongfully dead little boy doesn't me I should be a parent."
"You…You just looked natural even in that horrible moment and from then I've dreamed about a little boy or little girl with my hair and your eyes being held like that, close and safe, though very much alive," she confessed.
"Honey, I'm not the father type," he replied.
"How do you know unless you try?" she asked.
"Trial and error, Sara?" Grissom sighed. "Being a parent isn't something you try and fail at. You of all people should know that."
"I do know that," she replied. "You are not going to fail. Is that why you don't want to do this? Because you are afraid you won't be a good father?"
"No," Grissom protested. "No, that's not it at all. There are a lot of reasons, but that is not one of them."
"He protests too much," she quoted as Grissom's cell phone rang.
"Grissom," he barked into the phone partially angry, partially relieved. "No it's all right Jim. I'll be right there."
Sara raised her eyebrow at him over her tea cup in silent question, "Desert dump decomp, they need my help to establish time of death. I've got to go." She nodded as he leaned over to kiss her before grabbing his field kit and walking out the door.