Title: Everything Will Be All Right
Author: Klee Wyck
Spoilers: Season 5, post-Committed
Summary: Of all the glorious, tender, passionate and, yes, often pornographic fantasies he'd entertained of himself and Sara Sidle over the past five years, not one of them had included her being held at knifepoint by an insane asylum inmate.
A/N: Yeah, it really is a post-ep for Committed. Because everyone knows this is the episode that finally brought them together. Right? Right. And yeah, I've gone way past my due date on this one. It's been gestating in my cramped brain for, what, three years? Time to push this baby out.
Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?
He ended up following her home, anyway, even after she told him, maybe three times, that she was all right.
"I'm all right, Grissom," is exactly what she said, just in case he'd misunderstood. "Really." When he didn't say anything in return, just stood in the parking lot staring at her, she smiled, as if to show him just how all right she was. Finally, when he realized how long he'd been staring and she'd been smiling, he nodded.
"I know," he said. "I'm just…uh…" What, he thought, worried? Confused? Hungry? Desperately in love with you? All of the above and then some?
"Tired," she supplied. Yes, he was that, too. But fatigue was the least of his concerns at the moment. Sara crossed her arms over her chest, nodded towards her car. "I'm … uh … gonna head. Only have a 12-hour pass, you know. Have to be back at the asylum in the morning."
He tried to show appreciation for her attempt at levity by smiling a little but what he really wanted to do was grab her, throw her in his car and take her home with him. And then.
And then what?
Of all the glorious, tender, passionate and, yes, often pornographic fantasies he'd entertained of himself and Sara Sidle over the past five years, not one of them had included her being held at knifepoint by an insane asylum inmate.
What he really wanted to do was grab her, throw her in his car, take her home, and then hold her. And never let her go. Ever.
Which surprised him because he'd also spent the better part of the past five years desperately trying to not think about anything that involved touching Sara Sidle in any way.
"So…" she said. "I'm going now."
He nodded and stared. Say something, he shouted at himself. Anything.
"Drive carefully," he said. Oh, bravo.
"I will," she said. "Uh…you too."
But neither of them moved an inch.
"See you tomorrow," he said.
"Yep," she said. "Uh…Grissom?'
He looked at her.
"You all right?"
No. I'm not. Don't go. Don't leave...me.
"Fine," he shook his head. "I guess I am tired."
"Yeah." She looked down, scuffed the asphalt with the toe of her shoe. "Me, too."
He sighed, turned his head to watch the cars whizzing by the parking lot, heading to God only knew where. He wished they were in one, going… away. He tried to swallow past the incredibly large lump in his throat.
"Grissom?" she said quietly. He looked at her. She was watching him with an expression he immediately classified as vulnerable. She was going to say something really profound, he thought, something that might possibly alter the entire course of their weird and wonderful relationship. Then she, too, swallowed. "Night, Grissom."
And then he followed her home.
He hadn't planned on it, but his car's steering wheel seemed to have taken on a life of its own and he was simply a helpless passenger. He let one vehicle get between them and then shifted his mind into neutral, because if he really thought about what he was doing, he would have been more than slightly appalled.
This is what stalkers do, a Voice in his head said, very slowly and solemnly.
It's also what people in love do, Grissom replied, just as solemnly.
Same difference, the Voice countered logically. And, since when have you loved her?
Grissom was starting to hate this Voice.
Since when have I not loved her? he thought.
He couldn't remember a time.
You're in big trouble, the Voice giggled, sounding suddenly and suspiciously like Catherine.
Oh, fuck, yes.
She turned into her apartment building driveway and pulled into her designated parking spot. He maneuvered his car over to the curb and shut off the engine. For two long minutes he watched her sit in her car's dark interior, staring at the windshield.
Get out, Sara, he thought. Get out and go inside. I need to see you do that. Get out and go inside and be safe. Now. Do it now. Okay. Now.
He watched her head drop onto the steering wheel. He watched her hands ball into fists and slam down on her lap, once, twice.
"Sara," he said. "Honey."
What would she do, he wondered, if he suddenly opened her car door, pulled her out and wrapped his arms around her? What would she do?
What would they do?
Too soon, or too late — he wasn't sure which — she emerged on her own and walked steadily across the parking lot. She unlocked the front door, went inside. He waited, and waited some more, for the light to appear in the third story window, second from the left. It did. He saw movement, briefly, saw a figure pass by the curtained window, saw it pause, then move away.
Then, darkness again.
His heart hurt.
"Oh, Sara," he whispered.
Only then did he start the engine and drive away.
It was one of the rare nights he couldn't sleep.
He'd learned very early on in his job to compartmentalize his life because trying to eat and sleep and live after spending the day examining mutilated, engorged, swollen, slimy, dismembered, beaten bodies was about as easy as pretending he didn't have feelings for Sara. So, he learned to close his mind off to those feelings and images and smells and after so many years, he was an expert.
So he thought.
Except for tonight, apparently. Because every time he closed his eyes he saw her, Sara, eyes wide and panicked. And he saw Adam behind her, eyes wide and crazed, his arm tight across her chest, his clay knife pushed into her neck.
And he saw himself as she had seen him, perhaps, on the other side of the door, the glass, helpless. Completely and utterly helpless to do anything, except pray that the attendant would open the fucking door before Adam opened her vein. He could have shattered the glass with his bare hands, he supposed, except it was probably fashioned from something unbreakable to keep the sane people safe and the insane people out.
He'd felt insane. Insanely frantic, insanely upset, insanely in love.
Dear God, Adam could have killed her with one swipe of the knife, one deliberate, smooth, steady motion, up and through, her blood spilling, gushing, pooling on the worn linoleum floor and there Grissom would have stood, watching. Helpless.
And with a grinding twist in his gut he remembered all the times she had tried to connect with him over the years, small, human connections that he should have felt utterly grateful for, but instead had rebuffed, over and over and over. The little looks, the touches, the invitations, innuendoes, some subtle, some not. And he had refused, over and over and over.
I haven't even kissed her yet. She could die before I even kiss her, is what he thought as he stood there watching her watch him through a pane of Plexiglas.
This is fucking stupid, he thought.
I'm fucking stupid, he thought.
Because, in the end, after all the pain and suffering and bugs and slime and death, life, was, well, it was still about life.
And this was not how he wanted to live his.
"I'm still all right, Grissom," she said the following night in the same parking lot with the same smile on her face.
But I'm not, he thought.
"It's been…a hard case," he said, hands shoved deep in his jacket pockets. "I wanted to make sure…"
"They're just memories," she said brightly. "Can't hurt me too much, you know?"
No, but a homemade knife held to your throat certainly could, he thought.
"One more day," he said, as positively as he could manage.
"Yeah," she said, "then back to your everyday, boring B&Es, murders, car accidents."
She bit her lip, smiled at him, then looked away.
"You…you've done a good job on this case, Sara," he said. "I'm…proud of you."
God, you would have thought he'd told her she'd won the fucking lottery by the way her whole face lit up.
"Thanks," she said, grinning. Grinning.
I don't give her enough compliments, he thought.
I'm an asshole, he thought.
God, she's beautiful, he thought.
"Well," she said eventually when she realized he was going to just stand there staring at her. "Night, Grissom."
"Yeah," he said. "Night, Sara."
This is getting kind of creepy, the Voice said as Grissom shifted into second and turned the corner. Sara's car zoomed ahead. She always drove so fast.
It's not creepy. It's…protective. He sped up, trying to keep her taillights in his sight.
It's also punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than one year and a maximum term of not more than six years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $5,000. The Voice had been doing its homework. Shit.
Jesus! Grissom countered. It's not like I'm some crazy stranger. She knows me! We're…friends.
Friends don't follow each other around without saying they're following each other around, the Voice said. Because it's creepy. But, hey. Whatever.
Grissom changed lanes quickly, narrowly avoiding an SUV but not a rude hand gesture.
I want to make sure she's safe. I'm simply doing what any self-respecting boyfriend would do under similar circumstances, Grissom thought.
But you're not her boyfriend, the Voice said.
Not yet, he thought, then, Shit! Where did that come from?
Where did that come from? The Voice laughed. Face it, buddy. You've blown it with her. She's been giving you openings for five years and you've rejected her so often it's embarrassing. Look at her! Look at yourself! She's not that desperate.
No, thought Grissom. But I am. And everyone knows you don't mess with a desperate entomologist.
The Voice rolled its eyes.
Her long, loping stride.
Her long legs.
Wrapped around him.
Grissom squinted as she walked to her apartment's front door.
She was looking down, shaking her head.
She was still grinning.
"All done," he said. They stood together under the parking lot floodlight.
"Yeah," she said. "Feels good."
"Yeah," he said. "I'll finish up the paperwork tomorrow."
"Do you need any help?" she asked.
"Uh…don't think so." He took a breath. "But thanks."
"Okay," she said. She shifted her shoulder bag, puffed out her cheeks, scuffed the toe of her shoe. And again.
"You hungry?" she said suddenly. "There's this vegetarian Thai place I found. I mean, they have meat, too, you know. If you're hungry."
"I'm not, actually. I packed a lunch today. Ate it just before we left."
"Oh." She nodded. "Well, that was prudent."
I'm a moron, he thought.
I'm an idiot, he thought.
I'm the biggest moronic idiot on the face of the planet, he thought.
The Voice said nothing.
"Okay, then," she said, smiling. "See you tomorrow. Night, Grissom."
She got away from him, but it didn't matter because he could have driven the route to her apartment drunk and blindfolded by now.
He fought back small prickles of anxiety as he realized he couldn't see her car ahead of him and he drove faster and faster, his mind nowhere close to being in neutral tonight.
The ritual of watching her cross the apartment building parking lot, of unlocking the door and then appearing in her window moments later soothed him more than he realized. It made him feel that maybe, maybe, everything could be all right again.
He pulled up to the curb. Her car was there, parked where it always was, but it was empty.
Had she made it inside? Was she safe? Had someone grabbed her before—
Shit. Stop that.
He peered up into the darkness, looking for light in her window. Where is she? he thought. What is she doing?
I should just go up. That's what I'll do. Just go up. Knock on the door. Say, Hey, I am hungry after all.
Yeah, if I want to sound like a lecherous old man.
But, what if she was changing, though, or, God, showering? He felt a sweetly familiar tightness between his legs and his hand moved there involuntarily to relieve the pressure, the unbearable pressure—
Forget jail, buddy, the Voice said. You're going straight to hell.
His phone rang.
"Shit!" he said. He grabbed it. Holy Mother of God. Sara. "Grissom," he choked out.
"Hey," she said.
"Hey," he stammered.
"What are you doing?" she said and he could hear her smiling.
"Uh…Just on my way home, actually."
"You sound out of breath," she said.
"I'm fine," he said.
"Did you…did you want to come up?"
His eyes snapped up then, found her window. There was movement at the curtain, a dark shadow.
"I mean, I could use the company." She paused and he heard the smile grow. "If you're not doing anything."
They sat staring at the floor, the walls, the furniture, for a full five minutes. She had offered beer, juice, water, all of which he had refused, politely. There didn't seem to be anything else to say after that. He crossed his legs, then uncrossed them again. He steepled his fingers, pursed his lips.
"Why are you here, Grissom?" she said finally, not rudely, but bluntly curious. She was sitting across from him, folded in on herself, hands hidden somewhere in the folds of her sweatshirt. She was fidgeting.
He opened his mouth to say something then realized he didn't have anything to say. He didn't know. He knew he didn't want to be at home and he knew he didn't want to be anywhere she wasn't. So, logically, he wanted to be here.
But he didn't trust his voice to say any of that with any semblance of sophistication, so he closed his eyes and shook his head. For the first time in most of his adult life, he felt close to tears. Dear God, have I really messed it all up, after all? Have I waited too long to figure it out? Is it too late? Have I—
He felt the cushion beside him depress, felt her warm weight settle next to him, smelled her hair — Sweet Jesus — as it brushed by his cheek.
"Grissom," she said. He opened his eyes. She was watching him, one corner of her mouth lifted.
"You're thinking too much."
"Really?" he frowned. "How can you tell?"
She touched his temple with one finger, so lightly. "Here. This vein. It's…uh…throbbing."
"Oh." He closed his eyes. Oh. Okay. He opened his eyes and without thinking at all moved his hand to her hair, pushed it gently back to reveal the pale curve of her neck and the small red line, halfway down, just starting to heal. Had he ever touched her hair before? He didn't think so because the sensation of the strands falling between his fingers and brushing his palm was a sensation that easily inspired a thousand new fantasies. He traced the cut with one finger and felt her shiver under his touch.
"Doesn't hurt," she said quietly.
"I'm glad," he said.
He never really figured out what possessed him to do what he did next, but she'd told him he was thinking too much, so for the first time in his life he did exactly what he wanted to do instead of what he thought he should do. He thought he should say goodnight, get up, leave with what little dignity he had left, drive home, fantasize in the shower, fantasize in his bed, sleep, go to work, begin again. What he wanted to do was kiss her. So, he did. He leaned forward, tilted his head, pressed his lips to the cut. He felt her suck in her breath, felt her hands move to his head, the back of his neck.
"Grissom…" she whispered, but it sounded like an invitation, so he accepted, kissing her harder, sliding his hands around her waist, under her sweatshirt, finding the warm skin beneath. Still he kissed her neck, the spot under her chin, in front of her ear.
This is all very surreal, he thought.
I'm kissing Sara, he thought.
She's letting me, he thought.
Take that you stupid Voice.
Then his mouth found hers and all coherent thought ceased to exist because every fantasy he'd ever conjured about kissing her paled miserably in the warm, vibrant reality of her lips, tongue, teeth, breath. His hands moved to her head, her hair, fingers tangling there as he attempted to kiss every bit of her face, then back to her neck, her collarbone. And oh God, she was kissing him back, pulling him closer, pushing closer against him, granting him access to—
"Sara—" he gasped because her mouth found his neck and she was slowly, seductively kissing his skin—
She pulled back, eyes wide and shiny, face flushed, breath hitching in her throat.
"What are you doing? What are we doing?" Her voice sounded funny, like maybe she wasn't getting enough oxygen to her lungs.
"Tell me to stop. Tell me to stop Sara, and I will," he rasped, his hands still entwined in her hair.
"Do you want to stop?"
He shook his head roughly. Never. "No. No, God no—"
"All right," she said. And she was on him again, lips on his face, his neck, fingers snaking under the waistband of his pants—
Thinking is so overrated, he thought.
"Everything," he whispered into her hair, much later, "will be all right now."
She smiled in the darkness, bit her lip to keep from laughing out loud. Their limbs overlapped, and the intense heat between them was just now beginning to dissipate. She allowed herself to bask in the utter joy that six small words could generate.
His hands cupped her breasts, his breath fanned against her shoulder.
She felt like she might burst into flame. She felt like she might implode.
"How," she said, "do you know that?"
"I just know these things," he said.
"Really?" she said.
She was going to ask him again how he knew.
Then she realized she didn't really care.
She pulled one of his hands from her breasts, reluctantly. She kissed his knuckles. She let her lips linger on his fingers. She wove her fingers into his and marveled at the wonder of everything.
Maybe he was right after all.
"Night, Grissom," she said.