Disclaimer: Most of the characters and situations in this story belong to Alliance Atlantis, CBS, Anthony Zuicker and other entities, and I do not have permission to borrow them. No infringement is intended in any way, and this story is not for profit. All others belong to me, and if you want to play with them, you have to ask me first. Any errors are mine, all mine, no you can't have any.
Spoilers: through season 7; this is an AU, though.
My entry in the Brasslove Summer 07 Ficathon. My prompt was Yosemite.
The sun was hot on his shoulders, his feet were cold, and he stank of insect repellant. Jim was standing as still as possible, waiting for the faintest quiver of movement from the tool in his hands.
He was having a blast.
Jim was no expert with a rod and reel, but he knew how to handle them well enough, and while he hadn't yet caught anything, for him the catch wasn't really the point.
The point was that he was waist-deep in river and miles away from his cell phone. Any brewing crisis would have to wait until he got back to camp.
Plus, there was the view...
Las Vegas had its beauties, certainly; the desert's starkness could take one's breath away at the right moment, and the mountains were always there to distract the eye. But the thick greenery around Jim now was a vivid contrast to the aridity of home. The mountains were right overhead, majestic looming crests of rock, and the river smelled cool and full of life.
He glanced upriver a bit towards his companion, who was just making a cast and was paying no attention to Jim at all. That suited him fine. It was too noisy to talk anyway, even if they were to violate the fishing tradition that required silence amongst river anglers; the air was filled with the rush of water, the rustle of branches and leaves, and the song of birds and bugs.
And the occasional plop of a fish leaping.
Grissom had caught and released two trout already, both of them too small. Jim had fish in mind for dinner, but if that didn't work there was always good old corned beef hash.
Jim reeled in his line and cast again. He was using a dead drift method, which involved less effort and suited his lazy mood; he would let his hook sink to the bottom and drift as long as possible. His mind drifted with the hook, down to their camp in the valley near Bridalveil Falls; the two of them were sharing a big dome tent, but the site had flush toilets nearby. We're both too old to be digging latrine trenches.
The thought held no sting. This vacation had been unexpected, but surprisingly relaxing. Besides fishing, he and Grissom had done a little gentle dayhiking, rather more driving to scenic spots, and one visit to view the giant sequoias. In addition, Grissom had taken his telescope up to Glacier Point two evenings to stargaze.
Jim had left him to it; all the fresh air and sunshine made him sleepy. Or at least it was a decent excuse.
Their week in the semi-wilderness was drawing to a close, though. Not really before time, Jim reflected; even an air mattress got to be hard sleeping after a while, and he missed civilization. Still--
His reverie burst as he felt a fish strike his hook. Grinning, Jim began to play the line.
Later, when the five trout were nothing but bones and twilight's shadow had poured down to fill the valley, he and Grissom sat on the picnic table outside their tent and watched night arrive. Jim was savoring the smoke of a very fine cigar--a rare indulgence. "Want one?" he offered around its girth. "Good for keeping off the mosquitoes."
The quirk of Grissom's mouth told Jim what the scientist thought of that little myth, but he didn't comment, merely shaking his head. "No thanks."
Jim shrugged amiably. Here in summer the park was fairly well busy with campers and other folks, but they'd chosen a site on the edge of the Bridalveil Creek ground, and the murmurs from the other sites were not too intrusive.
The week had been interesting for more than the obvious reasons, Jim reflected, and not just due to the peculiar bugs that Grissom insisted on bringing back to the campsite. Jim had drawn the line at live ones in the tent, though.
For instance, he'd figured Grissom snored, but had never actually experienced the weird little growl that the entomologist emitted at irregular intervals. It had taken Jim a little while to get used to that, though when he'd pointed it out Grissom had merely pointed out dryly that Jim snored too.
When Jim had yanked his chain by asking how Sara put up with the noise, Grissom's smirk had been unexpected. She thinks it's cute, Brass.
Well, she would.
But Jim doubted that even Sara knew that her lover had a secret passion for s'mores, or that Grissom insisted on using vanilla wafers in place of graham crackers. Or that Grissom toasted his evenly all around, instead of letting it char and then removing the husk the way Jim did.
That was one time the camera phone came in handy. The image of Grissom glaring indignantly, his glasses lit by the flash and the chocolate marshmallow sandwich poised at his open mouth, was going into Jim's permanent files. You never know when blackmail material will come in handy.
"You ever been here before?" Jim asked, suddenly curious.
Grissom leaned back, bracing his hands on the tabletop behind him, the coals of their fire just enough to separate him from the darkness. "A few times, when I was a kid. Before my father died."
Jim nodded, waiting to see if he would continue, and after a moment he did. "It was a different world to me, so vivid and wild. Dad would tell me about all the different trees, and I would keep track of every kind of animal I saw."
A scientist even then, evidently. "Ever see any bears?"
Grissom chuckled. "No, alas. I wanted to, though." He peered thoughtfully up at the mountain peak that was blacker than the sky above. "I think the firefall was the best part."
"The what?" Jim squinted at him.
"The firefall. It was a tradition begun in the late eighteen-hundreds and carried on up through 1968. A huge fire made of red-fir bark was pushed slowly over the Glacier Point cliff, as a spectacle. It was extremely popular."
Jim whistled softly, trying to picture it. "I'll bet." He'd have to look it up when he got home. Or maybe they'll have postcards in the shop.
They sat in silence for a while longer before Jim prodded Grissom again. "Ready to go home?"
"I think so," Grissom replied easily. "We could always leave tomorrow morning instead of the day after."
Jim recalled the stern warning his wife had given him about how badly he needed a vacation. He knew for a fact that Grissom had gotten the same lecture from Sara. The two women had put their heads together and presented their spouses with a fait accompli and orders to take a full week off, and Jim decided suddenly that there was really no need to disobey orders this time.
After all, Heather angry was not something to be taken lightly, and Jim wanted his full share of welcome-back kisses when he returned.
"Mm--there's no hurry," he said.
Grissom smirked again, but didn't argue.
They sat and watched the moon rise.