Disclaimer – I don't own CSI, I'm just borrowing them and I promise to return them in the same condition. And I don't have a beta so all mistakes are mine and no, you can't have them.
Sorry this took so long. This is the last chapter so my A/N is also a thank you to everyone who read this and a special thanks to those who reviewed.
"It was a Saturday night and it was mine and Gil's night off," he said smiling, ignoring their pleas. "We'd arranged to meet up and go out for drinks. We were meeting at his place…"
I stood outside his door, shivering in the unusual and rare cold night of Las Vegas.
Jesus Gil, take your time why don't you!
I rang his bell again. Nothing. Maybe its not working, I thought. Gilbert Grissom wasn't the most organised person on the planet. Plus, it was fucking freezing and if he didn't open the door soon I'd go and get drunk by myself.
I lifted my hand to knock on, but was surprised when it opened to my touch. That's weird. That's really weird. I'm a detective – an unlocked door that wasn't being answered is never a good sign.
I pushed the door inward with my shoe, checking it quickly for any telltale signs of forced entry. There wasn't any and the lock looked intact. Who the hell would insanely private Grissom open his door to? As I entered I looked at the back of the doorbell – the batteries were missing, lying useless and abandoned on the floor.
I guess I could forgive him for not opening the door.
I proceeded slowly into the house, listening for movement and looking for signs of a struggle. I didn't have to do either too hard. Furniture was everywhere, his house looked a mess. Bug specimens and photos were strewn on the floor and there was a shoe on the stairs. I looked at it – probably a man's size 11, about Grissom's size.
Furniture all over the place, an abandoned shoe, pictures on the floor…
And noise coming from upstairs. Sounded like a struggle.
I should call for back up, screamed the rational, cop side of my brain but it was drowned out by the din the other, larger side was making which told me to go and save my friend before anything happened to him.
I slowly edged up the stairs, gun now drawn, my gunshot wound in my chest throbbing as a reminder of the last hostage situation I was in. If this was a hostage situation and I wasn't walking to an almost certain death. Deep breath, keep calm.
I reached the landing and I could hear the struggle coming from a room at the end. Someone was whispering but it was so low I couldn't understand what he was saying. I could hear Sara in my head, telling me off for thinking it was a 'he', but no woman would be able to tackle Grissom, he was stronger than he appeared, in nature and looks – I'd seen a punch bag after the bug man had been at it.
"Since when does Grissom hit a punch bag?" asked Catherine.
"Do you want me to tell the story or not?"
I edge forward, clicking off the safety on my gun. There was a low chuckle - this bastard was laughing at hurting my co-worker and friend! I moved slightly faster, careful not to make any noise. My attempts were in vain as I stepped on a loose floorboard. Shit! The sound echoed round my head as I silently cursed myself. The movement in the room stopped for a second. I heard someone whisper something, but I couldn't make it out.
"Its just Bruno," said Grissom, his voice strained.
Bruno? Oh, the dog. I remembered him; he was a great dog but, as was being proved with the intruder and myself, a lousy guard dog.
"Either way, you have a gun," continued my friend.
The intruder seemed satisfied with that answer for he the rustling continued. But my brain was on overdrive – the guy had a gun! Hopefully I had the element of surprise but that was assuming there was only one of them. Fuck! And it was too damned late to back out now. Fuck! But…
Gilbert Grissom was a smart man, no doubt about it. He knew I was coming and he'd said that sentence pretty loud. The front door was left unlocked. He knew me as well as he let himself know anybody; partner that with my cop intuition then… – maybe he'd guessed it was me! He would have issued some kind of warning if I was going to be in danger, I had to do this!
I crept forward again until I was outside the door. My heart was beating a drum roll inside my chest and I was sweating with anticipation and worry. My breathing became laboured and doubts started floating into my mind like usual before I risk my life for someone else's, a feeling that had escalated dramatically since being shot. He would do it for you, my conscious reminded.
I took a deep breath and kicked in the door, gun raised and in front of me, adrenaline my fuel source.
There was a yell and a "What the fuck!" before my eyes started to register what I had seen in the past five seconds and when they did, hell they gave me a kicking.
I'd burst into be greeted with the sight of Grissom leaning over a half-naked woman, him in his boxers, her in just jeans and socks and I assumed pants. After I had made my not-so-subtle announcement, Grissom had fallen off the bed and the mystery woman had grabbed the bed covers and thrown them round her.
Laughter rang round the hospital room, none being emitted from Grissom but from everyone else. Brass was an amazing storyteller!
"Jesus Christ!" I yelled, spinning round, one hand over my eyes, trying desperately and without success to erase the images from my mind. "Jesus!"
I turned back slowly to face my friend, who was now standing and glaring at me. Although I was in shock and would need serious therapy after this I couldn't help but notice that he looked in good shape for a man of fifty. He looked better than I'd seen him for a long time actually (of course he'd been wearing clothes during the times I was comparing it to), which led my brain to believe that… this… was a bit more than a one-night… thing… and had been going on for a while.
"Jim!" he growled. Oh dear, I was in deep shit!
"Hey Griss," I said slowly and steadily, making sure not to look at the bed – I was in enough crap without being accused of being a pervert.
"What the fuck are you doing here?"
Now, most people when confronted with that tone of voice hurry and explain what they were doing and then apologise until they can't breath. But I don't because technically, technically (and this was a huge technicality), this wasn't my fault.
"Hey! You invited me here! Remember drinks?"
Grissom winced at the memory and there was a moan from the bed. Keep eyes on Grissom!
"So I knock to find the door open, the bell sabotaged, the house a tip, and somehow come to the conclusion that you could possibly be in trouble!" Sarcasm is a wonderful thing. "Then I hear struggling coming from a room so I go to investigate. I don't know it's your bedroom because I have never been to the upstairs of your house! And I think, Grissom is a very clever guy, he doesn't forget stuff easily – except when it paperwork," Grissom scowls, "- so he needs help because he wouldn't forget we were going to go and get pissed. So I come in here to save his ass to find that he's made different sort of plans," Grissom bushes…
Brass shot Catherine a glare.
… "and then he starts to blame me when it is technically his fault!" Grissom rolls his eyes. "For fuck's sake, oh sorry, slip of the tongue," Grissom glares. "I meant, for God's sake, I thought the guy had a gun…" My voice dies as I say this. Grissom looks like a rabbit stuck in front of a moving car. "She has a gun," I mutter to myself.
Jesus, I want to know who his girlfriend is! You just have to have a quick look. No! Bad Jim!
Okay, think. Women Grissom knows who have guns. Sophia – nope, they may have had something but that crashed and burned.
Grissom rolled his eyes.
Catherine – she's been flirting with Nick and Warrick too much.
Think Brass, think… Oh God – Sara! He's been acting differently round her – at today's case they were talking about when they met in San Francisco at a seminar. I didn't think much of it then but…
"You've been sleeping with Sara!"
"And for a second there Jim I was doubting your eye sight," countered Grissom, his voice along with his humour dry.
"Hey, I didn't look!"
"He didn't Griss, I was checking." The voice came from the bed again, and I kept my eyes glued on Grissom, for more than one reason now.
"It's okay Brass, I'm changed." I let out a breath I didn't realised I'd been holding and turned to look at her. While being dressed in jeans, socks and one of Grissom's shirts didn't really count as being dressed in my book, especially on Sara, a woman who reminded me, sometimes painfully, of my own daughter…
"Aww, thank you Brass."
He just smiled.
… it was better than the… state… she'd been in before.
I looked at her, Grissom and back again.
"You two have some serious explaining to do!" At that moment Bruno came bouncing up the stairs, his tail wagging gleefully.
"Right on time," mutter Grissom sourly.
Greg didn't think he'd laughed that much in a long time. His sides still aching he was able to manage, "I can't believe he walked in on you two!"
Sara smiled, the tips of her ears slightly red being the only indicator that she was embarrassed at all. Grissom on the other was looking firmly at the wall, blushing profusely. Catherine was still giggling, leaning over and shoulders shaking, Warrick, Nick and the Doctor grinning like Cheshire cats. Brass looked very happy with himself.
"Well, is that an accurate version Grissom?" asked Nick, his smile growing wider every second. Grissom muttered something that resembled "Piss off", making the rest smile, and in Catherine's case laugh, harder.
Grissom checked his watch and stood up.
"I got to go."
"What?" said his girlfriend, looking understandably shocked and slightly hurt.
"I will be back in about an hour, but there's something I need to take care of," he answered as a means of an explanation. Sara didn't look impressed but kissed him when he gave her a peck and watched him leave with no complaint, just a sour look on her face.
"So girl, when's the Sidle family gonna be arriving?" asked Warrick, trying to take her mind off her boyfriend's abrupt departure and at the same time satisfying his curiosity – Sara never talked about her family.
"They won't be," Sara said simply.
"I think Grissom phoned them," said Greg, misunderstanding her reason for thinking that they wouldn't be meeting her family.
"Told or not, they're not coming," she murmured.
Not taking the hint that she didn't want to talk about it, the younger CSI men persisted, not noticing Catherine, who was deep in thought as she recalled Sara being terrified of her parents being in the hospital.
"C'mon Sar, don't say that! They'll be here, I mean, you were under a car," Nick assured.
"Could someone go and get me some water or something?" she asked, changing the subject. The men, finally taking the unsubtle hints, nodded and Brass and Al, saying they were hungry, left with them. Now it was just Catherine and Sara.
"So," said Sara, filling the awkward silence.
"What's Grissom like as a boyfriend?" asked the blonde suddenly. "Actually, scrap that! What's he like in bed?"
The younger woman studied Catherine for a moment before coming to a decision.
"Depends," she said finally.
"On what?" the CSI asked, intrigued.
"On who you're going to tell."
The blonde smiled at this statement.
"Okay, say I tell someone."
"You won't have anything to tell them," countered Sara.
"Say I don't tell anyone."
"Not a soul."
Sara studied her again, decision making once more in progress.
"Shut the door."
Catherine leapt out the chair, slammed the door shut and regained her seat so fast Sara swore she could have beaten Mohammed Ali.
"Well?" inquired Catherine.
"He's amazing! Seriously, I don't think I have ever met someone so unlikely to be that romantic! He really makes you feel care about, but not in like a stupid, I-have-no-control way."
"He has the control?" the blonde asked, astonished.
"Depends on how I feel." They both smirked.
"What about the marriage front?"
"Well, he's all for it," Sara said slowly.
"Grissom? Hold on, what about you?"
Sara paused. This was an area she was reluctant to discuss, even with Griss.
"I don't know," she said reluctantly.
One perfect blonde eyebrow rose.
"Don't get me wrong, I love Griss, more than I have ever love anyone. I want to spend the rest of my life with him. But… Marriage wasn't very well advertised to me."
Confusion spread over the older woman's features as she remembered Sara's fear about her parents once again and her certainty that no one from her family was coming to see her. But this time she also remembered Sara and herself arguing because the younger CSI had got too emotional about a domestic abuse case. Again. Like always.
Catherine had never really thought about it but Sara experiencing domestic abuse was becoming more of a likelihood.
"What about kids?"
"Again, Grissom's fine with having kids."
"But you're not." It was more of question than a statement.
"Again, not very well advertised." Sara was now avoiding Catherine's eyes.
"Hey guys!" said the group as they re-entered, breaking Catherine's chance from any more chance to question Sara further.
The group talked for ages, on everything and nothing; families (not Sara's), hospitals, bleach.
When Ecklie and the rest of the lab plus Sophia joined them briefly they had another shock – Sara was planning to return to work two days after she was discharged. What was more surprising was Ecklie agreeing.
People are weird creatures – when another person gets hurt or is put in danger when they are innocent, another persons feelings towards them can change dramatically – Ecklie was even being polite in a non-arrogant/arsehole kind of way!
Sara mood, if possible, seemed to rise after that, and after the millions of other people left the seven friends resumed the pointless conversation.
At about 11 o'clock Grissom returned.
"So, where'd you go?" asked Sara.
"There was just something I had to do," was his only reply.
50 minutes earlier
To say that the priest was surprised to see Grissom arrive and take a place on one of the back pews at the beginning of Mass was an understatement. His jaw dropped and his eyes widened in disbelief – maybe he was finally starting to hallucinate, after all he was getting older.
But Gilbert Grissom didn't leave; he prayed with the rest, head bowed, hands joined. When he came up to receive communion the priest had to believe that the entomologist was real, and it was the same man who had suffered self-disappointment so badly when he couldn't convict the real murderer of a case and instead had to accuse the killer's innocent, younger brother of the crime, leading the youngster to commit suicide.
At the end of the service, when everyone else had left the church, the crime lab's night-shift supervisor was still there, at the back praying. When he finally got up to leave the priest called him.
The man turned. "Father," he said as a form of greeting. "How are you?"
"Well." The priest studied the CSI's face but found it unreadable. "I had long given up on expecting you to come here, but God never gives up. He obviously found a way to bring you here."
"Hopefully next time it won't be so dramatic, worrying and bad for my mental state," Grissom replied.
"May I ask what happened?"
"My…" Girlfriend had always sounded so childish to Gil. "My partner was place under a car by a serial killer and left for dead."
"Oh," said the priest simply. I guess there's no real reply to that answer thought Grissom.
"I came to say thank you," said Grissom as a form of explanation.
The priest nodded his head solemnly.
"Will we have your presence on a regular basis then, Dr Grissom?"
"I'm not sure," answered Grissom non-committing. "I haven't made up my mind yet. Good night Father."
And with that he left.
This is meant to be the last chapter but I can write an epilogue if anyone's interested.