Author: Klee Wyck
Spoilers: Season 8
Disclaimer: Still love them. Still not mine.
Summary: As he faded out and faded away and the black waves came rushing in, over and above him, he thought: Yeah, I've had a pretty good life. Especially the Sara parts.
Sequel, and conclusion, to Terminus and Stasis.
Quietus: 1. Something that serves to suppress, check, or eliminate; Release from life; death; A final discharge, as of a duty or debt.
A/N: This story hasn't happened. Yet.
When I leave CSI, there won't be any cake in the break room. I'll just be gone.
The course of true love never did run smooth.
A Midsummer Night's Dream
It started out like any other afternoon.
Almost, but not quite and darker, actually, because he'd overslept, for the first time in more than 20 years.
He rolled onto his back and contemplated the hours and hours that lay ahead and why he was so reluctant to greet them with smiles and a happy heart.
Sara had been back for two weeks and he'd seen her for a total of maybe 49 minutes, partly by choice and partly by necessity.
Self preservation, if he was being honest.
He didn't want to get used to her being around. This constant coming and going wasn't good for his heart.
She was still living in her apartment. He was still living at the townhouse.
And never the twain shall meet.
More things were missing from the townhouse. More things were filling up the apartment.
An old pair of running shoes.
A red bucket and a sponge, for God's sakes. Oh, and a half-empty can of Comet.
He wondered when she came. He wondered if she actually sat in the shadows, watched him leave, then sneaked in, grabbed what she wanted, and left. Quiet, like a cat. He wondered if she looked around at all, deciding what to take and what to leave, if she was sad, at all, if it hurt to cleave these little pieces of herself from him.
He wondered why she didn't just come clean, didn't just break up with him already.
Grissom tried not to think what it all meant, and he didn't ask, because really, what could she say? Nothing that he wanted to hear, he was sure.
So, they continued to work together and he paired her with Nick, or Warrick, or Greg or anyone available and she never complained, never said much about anything, really.
He was having a hard time remembering what her voice sounded like, what it really sounded like when she laughed and teased, when she was angry and distraught. When she yelled or cried.
He struggled to sit up, to face another shift, another case, another night listening to Greg yammer on about…something.
He swung his feet over the side of the bed, thought about showering alone, again.
He tried to remember the last time he felt happy.
He stood. He rubbed his arm.
This is going to be a shitty night, he thought.
And it was.
It was funny the things he was remembering about their all-too-brief time together. Flashes of conversations, snippets of speech, a look, a scent, a touch.
As he drove to work that evening he recalled something he'd forgotten, something he'd pushed into his subconscious and branded as inconsequential and recalling almost made him cry, which is why he usually shoved these sudden, unbidden reminiscences away with brutal force.
But this one he chose to ride out, just for kicks. Just because. Because he was tired and his arm kind of ached and he was worn out with the monumental effort of Not Remembering.
Months ago, maybe even a year, this memory. Lying in bed together, holding hands, maybe. He couldn't remember that part, so he embellished. All right. They'd been holding hands, fingers entwined, the way he liked it best, and her head was resting on his shoulder. Her hair smelled like…like…vanilla.
They'd been watching something. Again, he couldn't remember what, but it was mindless, which is what they both preferred, particularly after working a bad case. It didn't matter what they'd been watching, he decided, because it was the conversation he recalled with such clarity it made his heart ache.
"Let's get out of here," he'd said.
"Have you ever noticed how many movies contain that particular line?"
"Really?" She stared at the flickering screen. "Let's get out of here."
"Yeah. Pretty much all of them, it seems."
"Well, not all of them."
"Most of them."
"Huh. That's weird."
"I mean, you'd think the writers could come up with some variations once in a while." He thought. "Let's go."
"Let's make hasty retreat."
"Let's shuffle off to Buffalo."
"Let's make like a tree and leave."
"Let's make like a drum and beat it."
"Ha, ha." She smiled at him. "Yeah. I guess I should start paying closer attention."
She kissed him. He kissed her back.
"Yeah. You should."
Now he gripped the steering wheel tighter and bit the inside of his cheek hard, because he wondered if they'd ever have another conversation like that, if they'd ever move beyond the polite Hello, how are you? I'm fine, thanks. And you? phase of greeting again.
Funny, the things you remember.
It had been a long time since anything had seemed Funny Ha Ha to him.
They were all waiting for him, because he was late.
Seven minutes, by the break room clock.
So, sue me, he thought. Fuck it, he thought. I don't even care, he thought.
He shuffled his papers, pretended he knew what he was doing. He glanced at Sara, who was staring down at the table.
"Nick. You're finishing up the Delacroix scene."
"No can do, boss. I'm in court today, remember? Annie Jenkins case. I sent you the memo last week."
Grissom studied the papers in front of him, peering at scribbles and scratches. Memo what? Annie who? He glanced at Sara.
"All right. Warrick, you're with me. Triple murder at the Glenn residence."
"Sorry, Gris. Ecklie already assigned me to the Bellagio. Murder/suicide in the penthouse. Top priority, he said. Said he told you."
Again Grissom peered at papers. Ecklie? Had Ecklie told him this? He couldn't remember. He remembered lying in bed with Sara, fingers entwined, watching something stupid and inconsequential on television, but he couldn't remember whether Ecklie had memo-ed him about reassigning Warrick.
He made some notes. Chicken scratch. Whatever. He glanced at Sara. She still wasn't looking at him.
"Greg, you come with me. Sara can finish up at the Delacroix."
"Uh. Yeah. No offense, Grissom, but I've been working the Delacroix scene for more than a week. I have all the notes, the files, the evidence. Shouldn't I finish up there?" Greg's face was all helpful innocence, sure, but Grissom couldn't help glaring at him for a full 20 seconds before he acquiesced.
Of course Greg should finish up there.
Grissom rubbed his forehead, then his arm.
"Well, who does that leave, then?" He wondered aloud.
All eyes turned to Sara who was writing in her notebook furiously. She looked up, eyes locking with Grissom's for one brief instant.
Grissom sighed in frustration. Everyone heard it. Sara looked down, blushed. Greg cast her a pitying glance, which she ignored.
"All right then." Grissom rubbed his arm absently. "All right. Greg's at the Delacroix. Sara." He looked at her. She looked back. "I guess you're with me."
The drive was coldly silent. Sara stared out the window, fingers fidgeting in her lap. Grissom stared straight ahead, trying to not stare at her as she stared out the window.
"How have you been?" he said finally, when the silence began to feel like an actual entity, corporeal, a third person seated steadfastly between them, blocking his view of her.
For a moment she didn't respond, didn't even twitch, and he wondered if she'd even heard him. Finally she turned, eyes dark and darkly circled, mouth drawn tight.
"Good enough," she said.
Well, what the hell does that mean? He wondered.
"You sleeping okay? You look… tired."
She smirked, and for some reason it irritated him immensely. He rubbed his arm, stared straight ahead again.
She looked away, out the window.
"Good enough," she said again.
The Glenn family's house was a hive of activity, so to speak.
Lights, blue and red and white, piercing the night in staggered intervals.
Media. Fire. Police. Paramedics.
He and Sara made their way inside, sidestepping pools of blackblood.
Three bodies: Father, Mother, Child.
"You're in the kitchen," he said tersely to Sara, indicating the area where Frances Glenn, the mother, lay sprawled, a steak knife angled crazily out of her back like a bad joke.
Sara nodded and went to work without another word.
Grissom was starting to forget the sound of her voice.
He put his case down and forced himself to work, to process the scene where the father and son, Ed and Tyler Glenn, lay sprawled in blood with looks of horror, to concentrate on the evidence before him.
After all, it was all about the evidence, wasn't it?
Sara removing personal items from the townhouse, one by one by one.
Sara not touching him for weeks and weeks and weeks.
Sara not looking at him.
Sara not talking to him.
He put his head down briefly, willing away the pain in his chest. I will think about that later, he said. I will think about Sara another time. I am working now.
I am working.
His body wasn't cooperating.
He wondered later, much later, why it took him so long to figure out what was happening. He had all the pieces but he was unable to fit them together into a cohesive picture. It was very interesting, the entire reasoning process, the sorting of the evidence, the weighing and processing of it. Perhaps when one's own body was the only evidence available it was that much more difficult to view it objectively.
That, or he simply thought his heart was breaking, finally breaking, just as he'd always suspected it might, when he allowed it to love Sara.
The uncomfortable pressure.
The squeezing sensation in the centre of his chest.
Not painful, exactly, at least not yet. And he stayed still, crouched down by the dining room table, quiet, still, still. Waiting. Wondering.
Now there was some pain, but just a little. It spread to his shoulders, and this his neck.
Mild? Intense? Somewhere in between, he decided. No panic yet. No reason to sound the alarm, so to speak. He didn't move. Didn't twitch. If anyone looked over at him, looked over at Gil Grissom, CSI, crouched down by the dining room table, nothing at all would seem amiss. He was simply Doing His Job.
Heavy weight now, some tightness, some burning. Still located mainly in the chest, and more in the neck, radiating a bit to his jaw. Shoulders still tight, arm now aching.
He wondered if he should stand, if he should perhaps walk it off, flex the muscles, swing his arms around. He started to stand, then realized no, that wasn't going to happen right now.
Shortness of breath.
Now he was getting a bit concerned.
His heart, his pitiful, broken heart wasn't giving up just yet, however. It was now racing irregularly, trying to keep up, trying to keep pace and he was very aware of his heart, that precious muscle, inside his chest, beating, racing, thudding, breaking. The pain in his chest had abated a bit, and he took a deep steadying breath. He kept his head down, he gripped one table leg with his right hand and he noticed the palm slipping along the shiny wood.
Both his arms hurt now.
Now the pain was returning to his chest, squeezing the breath out of him, filling him to bursting. It was getting worse, he realized, not better, each time it returned.
He closed his eyes.
Well, he'd been right about one thing at least, he thought. This was turning into a really shitty night.
He put his hand to his forehead, wiped away beads of sweat. He thought he might pass out, or vomit, or both.
He tried to sigh.
The evidence could no longer be ignored.
I wonder if I'm having a heart attack? he thought.
Which was followed very closely by,
I think I'm having a heart attack.
Which was followed almost immediately by,
I want Sara.
Black waves. It was the only image he could conjure up that accurately defined what was happening to him. Black waves rolling, roiling, covering him, smothering, choking him.
With monumental effort, he stood up.
That hurt. A lot.
He looked for Sara. Where was she? His eyes scanned the room in desperation and finally locked onto her figure. She was talking with an impossibly young police officer, face serious. She was in full No Nonsense Work Mode.
Smile, Sara, he thought. Life's too short.
Look at me, he thought. Look at me. I need you.
She looked at him and smiled a little, coolly, professionally, but she did smile, and that was something, and then she looked questioning, like What do you want?
Then she frowned.
Grissom? He saw her mouth form his name.
His hand on his chest, face contorted, knees starting to give out. Classic Heart Attack Pose. He really needed to sit down. No, he amended, he needed to lie down. Now.
"Grissom!" she yelled, as if from a great distance. Then she was running, running, running to him.
True love, he thought.
Tristram and Isolde, he thought.
He died of grief before Isolde could reach him, he thought.
How could I have ever forgotten the sound of her voice? he thought.
Shit, he thought.
He was falling. He remembered that. It seemed to take an inordinately long time. He supposed he finally did fall because then he was on his side, face to face with the smooth, brown legs of a chair.
Hello, chair, he thought.
Other things were happening. There was a sudden flurry of activity around him.
You're compromising my crime scene, he shouted. Don't touch anything.
No one seemed to have heard him.
"Paramedics!" he heard someone yelling hoarsely. "Get the paramedics! Now!" It was Sara's voice. It occurred to him that he had never heard her yell quite like that before. She sounded like she didn't have enough air in her lungs, like her throat was very dry and she might have been getting a cold.
Breathe Sara, he thought. Breathing is important.
He eventually found himself on his back, looking up, looking up at her face.
Sara's beautiful, beautiful face.
Oh, he loved her. He never thought he'd love anyone in his life, ever, and yet there she was, the only person he'd ever loved, looking down at him and touching his face, kissing his face. She was saying something maybe, but to him it sounded like she was speaking under water. And speaking of water, he could feel droplets of water falling, falling, on his face from above, running into his mouth. A warm, salty rain.
Don't cry, Sara, he tried to say, but the great crushing weight in his chest wouldn't let him. I hate it when you cry.
Had he told her loved her enough? No, of course not. Of course not. He thought it, every day, all day. But had he said it?
No. Not nearly enough.
He tried, now. He moved his lips and tried to make a sound, form the words.
"I—" he managed to choke out before the waves returned, thick, noxious, crushing.
"Don't talk, Gris," he heard her say, shaking her head. "Don't talk. The ambulance is coming, okay? Okay? Hold on. Hold on."
She leaned over, leaned down, put her lips on his forehead, his nose, his cheek, his lips.
He tried to remember the last time she'd kissed him.
Months and months.
"Stay with me," she said. "Please, please."
Don't stop kissing me, he tried to say. If this was It if this was The End, he really couldn't think of a better way to go.
To beat a hasty retreat.
To get out of here.
To shuffle off this mortal coil.
That was a good one. He'd have to remember that one and tell her, later.
Later, when this stupid heart attack thing was over.
"Stay with me, Grissom," she said. "Stay with me, okay? Stay with me."
He closed his eyes and tried to think about something other than the great stabbing pain radiating from his chest down his arm. He felt her mouth close to his ear, her warmth, her tears. She was shaking.
"Don't leave me," he heard her say. "Don't leave me. Please."
Now she really was crying, hard, holding his shoulders and head in her lap, her hands pressing almost painfully on each side of his face. She rocked him, back and forth, back and forth. It felt nice, like gentle waves on an ocean.
"Don't leave me. Don't leave me. Please. Don't leave me."
Don't want to, he said. He thought. Believe me. Don't ever want to. I just want you back.
The waves receded a bit, giving him a reprieve, breathing room, a chance to remember. So many good things, really, but it always came back to the same thing.
Sara touching his face.
Sara kissing him, gently, gently.
Sara kissing him, fiercely, passionately.
Sara hurt, by him.
Sara drawing pictures on his back.
Sara arching and writhing beneath him, gasping his name.
Sara loving him.
Sara leaving him.
He tried to hold on, to not leave. He tried to stay. He really, really didn't want to leave her.
This sucks, he thought.
Then suddenly there didn't seem to be enough time to say goodbye to the person he loved because the waves were rising again and it was all he could do to hang on for the final ride.
As he faded out and faded away and the black waves came rushing in, over and above him, he thought: Yeah, I've had a pretty good life. Especially the Sara parts.
It is a wise father that knows his own child.
The Merchant of Venice
It wasn't what he expected.
What, exactly, he'd been expecting he couldn't say, but it definitely wasn't this.
A garden in full, lush, glorious growth. Plants, flowers, trees heavy with fruit. He moved closer, curious. Amazing. Each leaf, each bud, covered with the most exotic, interesting array of insects he'd ever seen. Bugs he'd seen only in photographs:
And dipping and flitting around his head, butterflies, bright as jewels, lighter than air.
Mother of Pearl Salamis (Salamis parhassus).
Peacock Swallowtail (Papilio blumei).
Pink Glasswing (Cithaerias phantoma).
He watched them, entranced.
He wished, suddenly, that he could show Sara.
He realized then it was cold. So cold.
But there was no pain, and for that he was suddenly, inexplicably, tearfully thankful.
He could see his breath billowing in front of his mouth, small white clouds.
He turned at the sound of the voice, both eerily familiar and eerily not, and found himself face to face with a man he hadn't seen since he was nine years old.
Grissom stared at him, stared at the man who resembled him, who could easily be him.
"So," his father said. "Here you are."
Grissom nodded again.
"That's what took me out, too," his father said without much remorse.
"I know," Grissom said. "I mean, I remember."
His father approached him, studied him. They looked to be about the same age and Grissom had the odd feeling he was looking in a mirror.
"How do you feel?" his father asked.
"Good enough," Grissom said, then smiled.
"What?" his father said. "Did I miss a joke?"
"Not really. I mean, it wasn't very funny."
"Walk with me," his father said, and he did. They wandered together for awhile along a cobbled path through the garden, pausing every now and then to examine a particularly fascinating bug or plant. His father pointed out his favourite Odontoglossum and a beautiful flowering Anthurium.
Finally, the inevitable.
"I'm dead," Grissom said quietly as he watched a Sunset Moth (Urania riphaeus) flutter by his shoulder. "Right?"
"I don't know. I'm not in charge of things like that."
"Oh." He paused. "Who is?"
"Haven't figured that out yet."
They walked some more.
"Sara," Grissom said without warning.
"Sara," his father echoed.
"What will happen to her?"
His father laughed. "Same thing that happened to your mother. She'll die a little, curl up into herself a little, spend the rest of her days missing you, waiting to see you again."
"Maybe not. She hasn't been…too happy with me lately."
Grissom paused. He shook his head. "She hasn't been too happy…with anything."
"She went through something pretty horrible."
"Do you blame her?"
"Do you love her?"
Apparently crying was possible even after death. He could feel tears pooling in his eyes, overspilling and dripping down his cheeks. He made no move to wipe them away. Why bother?
"She loves you?"
Now, that was the question, wasn't it? He shook his head, lifted his shoulders.
"I don't know anymore."
His father smiled.
"Yes you do, Gil. Don't let your pride get in the way now, for God's sakes. You're practically dead."
Grissom closed his eyes. He pictured her face as he'd last seen it, hovering above his, frantic, desperate. Her heard her sobs, tasted her tears. He felt her fingers digging into his skin as if her grip alone, flesh on flesh, could keep him from crossing over into the unknown.
"Yes. Yes, she does."
"All right then," his father looked pleased, as if he'd finally taught his son a Very Important Lesson. "And the sex? It's good?"
Grissom laughed. It felt good, to laugh. His father joined in and Grissom wondered what kind of relationship they would have had, father and son, if he hadn't lost him, so long ago.
"Yes. Yes. Very good."
"Excellent. It's important, you know? It's not everything, of course, but it's not nothing, either, right?"
"Good boy," his father said, laughing. "You don't know how lucky you are."
"Maybe I do."
Grissom shivered then, and his father eyed him. "What is it?"
"Hmm. I was never cold when I got here."
His father shrugged. "I think….I think you might have another chance. A chance to go back and make everything right."
Right? How on earth, or heaven, could he do that? It hurt too much to even contemplate.
"What if I don't want to?"
"We don't get a choice in these matters, Gil." His father's face fell then, and Grissom saw the sadness there, the chances missed, the opportunities lost.
"What if she still doesn't want me?"
"We don't get a choice in those matters either, Gil. But, isn't it worth fighting for?"
Grissom covered his face with his hands then, fighting back tears. Stay, or go? If he didn't have a choice, after all, then of course, Sara. Always Sara.
"I'll see you later?" he said quietly to his father.
"My dear boy," he said enfolding him in her arms finally. Grissom felt his father's arms around him and he cried more, harder, for everything he'd lost and everything he'd never get back. "I'll wait for you, just as Sara's waiting for you now."
"She is?" he managed to say.
His father nodded.
"She is. She is. Go home. Go home, Gil. Take care of her and yourself. And say hello to your mother for me. I miss her."
Grissom nodded, even if he didn't believe any of it. This wasn't even happening, right?
"Good bye, Dad."
Good bye, again.
His father stepped back, swiped at his eyes, smiled.
"Good bye Gil. I'll see you again … in 37 years."
Pray, do not mock me:
I am a very foolish fond old man,
Fourscore and upward, not an hour more or less;
And, to deal plainly,
I fear I am not in my perfect mind.
Beep. Pump. Hiss.
Sara sat, tense and tightly coiled, hand covering his, eyes riveted on his face, then his chest as it rose and fell, then his face again.
She'd promised herself she wouldn't cry, but she just couldn't wait any longer.
She just wanted him to wake up.
"Gris," she whispered, feeling the tears gather and drop, one after another. She counted six wet circles on the white bed sheet before he opened his eyes and looked at her.
"Sara," he said. "Sara." Then, "I'm back." He looked lost. He looked like he'd just been found.
She touched his face, smoothed his hair.
"Hi," she said, wiping at her cheeks with her sleeve. "Hi. Oh, Gris."
He watched her, his gaze never leaving her face.
"What are you doing here?" he said quietly.
She smiled, waveringly. "What do you mean?" She picked up his hand, squeezed it, pressed her lips to his fingers. He didn't squeeze back.
"Why are you here?" he said and she felt the first small prickles of unease work their way up the back of her neck.
Still he watched her and there was something in his eyes she couldn't identify. Something angry, something distant. Something nakedly frightened and closed off all at once.
"Grissom…" she began tentatively. "You're in … the hospital."
"I know exactly where I am," he said. "I just don't know what you're doing here…with an old man like me."
He pulled his hand free then and closed his eyes.
"Grissom," she said, feeling waves of nausea and pain rising dizzily around her, threatening to choke her, send her over the edge. "Don't say that. Don't ever say that."
"I'm tired," he said. "So tired. Think I'm going to rest now."
She closed her own eyes but the tears slipped through under her lids anyway. More little wet circles. Ten. Eleven.
Plop. Plop. Plop.
Twelve. Thirteen, Fourteen.
"Okay. That's a good idea." She leaned over, kissed his temple. She felt him twitch under her lips.
"Sara," he said.
Still he wouldn't look at her. He shook his head. "I'm sorry."
Her breath fanned across his face as she attempted to hold back sobs. She wouldn't cry like that in front of him. He wasn't dying. He was fine. He was fine.
"You have nothing to be sorry for."
His hand groped on the sheet, fumbled for hers and found it. This time he squeezed her fingers so tightly she would have gasped if she hadn't been so thankful for his sudden show of strength.
"You're wrong," he said. "You're wrong. I have so much to be sorry for."
Day doth daily draw my sorrows longer,
And night doth nightly make grief's length seem stronger.
She sat vigil for three days and three nights, rarely leaving his side and barely acknowledging the steady stream of people who came to see that they were both all right.
She would have laughed, if she could have.
They all came, and they all cried, but she didn't cry again, because what good was crying?
It wasn't that long ago that they'd been here for her, but it seemed another lifetime, and laughable, really, when she looked at Grissom, his pale, drawn face and body covered with monitors and poked with needles.
Had he watched her as she watched him now? Had he felt his own chest rise and fall in unconscious rhythm with hers?
In, out, up, down.
Good. Breathing is important, Grissom. Keep breathing.
One night she ventured home to her apartment, under orders of the doctor and Catherine, showered quickly, then sat in front of her computer without realizing she was going to do so. She pulled up an old file from several years ago. Resignation, it read. She typed the current date on it, then did a quick search for Jobs — Teaching. Jobs — Forensics. Jobs —
The listings filled the screen quickly, completely.
I can't do this anymore, she thought as she browsed the titles, the places. Maine, Florida, Idaho, Washington. Somewhere, anywhere other than where she was right now.
Not running away this time, she thought. Just being practical. Pragmatic.
Get Grissom well again, then.
Then, move on, away from here, because really it hurt too much.
I can't work with him anymore.
I can't be a CSI here anymore.
Feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy
She sat like patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief.
The doctor warned her, but she didn't listen.
The heart needs to heal, he said. Give it time.
When they finally allowed him to get up he stretched
The next time they allowed him to get up he walked the halls of the hospital, up and down, up and down, for five minutes the first time, 10 minutes the next, then 20, then half an hour.
She stayed by him, walking beside him, but not touching him. They didn't talk much, which was fine. She wouldn't have known what to say, anyway.
I'm glad you're here.
I'm glad you didn't die.
Don't even think about leaving me again, ever.
Would he believe her? Why should he, after all she'd put him through.
During the second week, when he was stronger, more mobile, they put him through a stress test, to check the condition of his heart. He walked on a treadmill and they measured his vitals, and from those results they formulated an exercise plan for him to follow. She watched everything, listened to everything, took copious notes, encouraging silently, but he barely looked her way.
The doctors and nurses had accepted her without a word of explanation. She was Gil Grissom's girlfriend. His Significant Other. His lover.
She didn't bother correcting them.
"We have a booklet of recipes here, if you'd like," the doctor handed the blue folder to Sara, who took it. "Low fat, low cholesterol, low salt."
"Thanks," Sara said, leafing through it.
"We're also going to look at dealing with stress, relaxation training and deep breathing techniques. There are classes available here at the hospital, and throughout the city. We'll give you a list of facilities to contact."
"Excellent," said Sara.
Grissom said nothing.
"You're going to need to keep a close eye on him, find ways to keep him calm, monitor what he eats and how much exercise he gets. We'll need to see him back here every week for the next month, and we'll see how it goes from there."
"Of course," said Sara.
When they were alone, Grissom glanced at her as she read through the recipes.
"What does this mean?" he said quietly. "You're moving back in?"
"I need to be there."
"What if I don't want you there?"
She looked at him. "What if you don't?" she said.
"I don't. Not if it's out of…guilt. Or pity."
She shook her head, hard. "Don't say that," she said quietly but with violent force. She put a hand to her face, pushed at the bridge of her nose. "Don't ever say that. I didn't leave because of you. Don't you get that? I left because of me."
He stared at her profile because she refused to look at him. He watched with some fascination as one errant tear slipped from beneath her fingers and slid down her cheek. When she realized one had escaped, she swiped at his viciously. His heart thumped.
God, Sara. Don't you know? Don't you know?
He slid his hand across the expanse of white sheet. She took it, without looking down. Their fingers entwined in silence.
And that's the story of how Sara finally moved back home.
They are in the very wrath of love, and they will together; club cannot part them.
As You Like It
"What is this?" he asked, none too politely, staring at his plate.
"Low fat, low cholesterol, low sodium casserole."
"From the HeartSmart booklet."
"It's good. Try it."
"Have you tried it?"
"I didn't have a heart attack."
He looked at her. She grinned.
He grinned back.
Things were moving back into the townhouse, slowly, steadily.
The old pair of running shoes.
Grissom said nothing, just smiled and in his head he kept a running tally.
He wondered where the red bucket, sponge and half-can of Comet might be.
"Three weeks," she said suddenly, nervously, one afternoon.
"It's been three weeks, since it happened."
"I've been doing some…supplemental reading."
"Hmm. More tasteless food?"
"The…uh…booklet said you could…have sex again in three weeks." She paused, blushed. "That is, if you wanted to."
If he wanted to.
He pulled her down onto his lap, pushing his mouth against hers clumsily, sliding his hands up her back, under her shirt.
"Slowly," she breathed, "slowly."
How long had it been? He'd lost count, didn't want to count, ever again, because she was here, flesh and bone, under his mouth, under his hands. She tugged him towards the bedroom and they fell, tangled and entwined, onto the bed. Never again would he forget the weight of her breasts, the indentation of her waist, her breath sweet against his cheek as she gasped out his name.
"Slowly," she gasped as she pushed him on his back, slid on top of him, slid onto him.
Hair cascading over his face (vanilla — he'd been right), hands on his shoulders, hips lifting.
Slowly. He laughed.
He was plummeting, falling, joyfully helpless, but this time when he fell he knew she would catch him.
"You're so beautiful," he said, clutching her tight, tighter.
Never, ever let go again.
"Grissom, Grissom," she cried.
My heart, my heart, he thought.
In the best way.
"First day back to work," she said.
"Good. There's no reason to be."
"See you there?"
He lasted half a day.
He owed himself $10.
He assigned everyone and watched them leave. He watched Sara go. He sat down at his desk and leafed through piles of papers. Nothing made any sense.
Greg came in and started jabbering at him and he looked at the clock. Three hours had passed and he'd done nothing. Nothing.
Nick came in and Grissom watched his mouth move, but couldn't decipher the words. Was he going deaf again? No. He just…wasn't interested.
Another hour passed. And another.
Okay, then. This wasn't working.
He called Warrick.
Then he packed up his briefcase and left.
She found him sitting in the shadows of his study, quiet and still. She knelt before him, reached out and took his hands. They were cold.
"What is it?" she asked softly. "Do you feel all right?"
He looked at her, as if seeing her from a great distance.
"I can't do this anymore."
Her heart froze. She licked her lips slowly. Of course. Of course he couldn't do this anymore, and she couldn't blame him. She'd pushed him too far, too hard, for too long. He was tired of her and her silly theatrics and her inability to get over herself and now he was going to say good bye—
"Can't do … what?" Her eyes shimmered in the half shadows and she hadn't realized she was going to cry. She just wanted to get it over with. Now.
He shook his head, as if coming out of a fog, as if realizing what she thought he meant.
He gripped her hands between his hard, almost painfully.
"No," he said, shaking his head forcefully. "No, no, no Sara." He pulled her to him in a hard, fierce embrace, her face pushed against his shoulder. "Not you, not us. No."
She felt his lips in her hair, his hands on her back, his breath against her face.
"I can't do this … this job, anymore."
He pushed her away, gripped her shoulders tightly, stared straight into her face, and she saw only love, for her. He smiled, and for the first time in months he looked happy.
"Don't you see? I can't be a CSI anymore."
"I've made some calls," he said one afternoon after they'd had sex. She drowsed against him, not really paying attention.
"A friend…well, a former colleague. He's at the Institute of Technology in British Columbia now. There's an opening for a teacher there. They need someone in about six weeks, he said."
"He recommended me. Plus…there's an excellent forensics lab there. Not as good as here, of course, but maybe all it would take is someone like…you to bring up to snuff."
She lifted her head then, biting back a smile.
"And you've talked to this… colleague."
"I have. I have. And we … both… have the qualifications they need. If…if we want to go."
She rested her chin on his chest, then lay her ear against the warm, warm skin.
She closed her eyes and smiled and smiled.
"Long way from Las Vegas."
"Lovely, though, from what I've heard."
"Someplace we've never been."
"So?" he said, eyes cautiously hopeful. He watched her intently, wondering what she was thinking, if she'd even say yes, if she wanted to go anywhere with him after all. "What do you think?"
She could hear the catch in his throat. He cleared it nervously, balled his hands against his sides. She loved him so much right then she could have cried. She took one of his hands, kissed the knuckles.
"I think," she said, "I'd love to live by the ocean for the rest of my life with the only person who's ever called me beautiful."
"You knew this day would come," Grissom said. "I told you a long time ago."
Warrick nodded but didn't smile.
"I don't know what to say."
"I do. I've recommended you as my replacement, effective immediately."
"You can do it, Warrick. I've known since I first met you. You're the only one I trust to keep this lab at number two."
"But, no pressure."
"Of course not."
"Because I'll be checking up, from time to time."
"I have no doubt."
Warrick stood then, held out his hand.
"Good luck, man," he said. Grissom shook it.
"I'd say the same to you, but I know you won't need it."
"So, you're really doing this, huh?" Greg said. They were sitting outside the townhouse. He'd driven her home and they sat in his car, half in shadows. Sara looked out the passenger side, up at the townhouse with one light in the bedroom window, a half-smile on her face.
"Yeah. Yeah, we're really doing this."
"I'll miss you," he said quietly. She looked at him.
"I'll miss you, too. Probably more than you know."
She smiled, put her hand on the door handle.
"Sar?" he said. She paused.
"In that case," he said, then leaned over, pressed his lips against hers softly, softly, sweetly.
He pulled back.
"How'd I do?" he asked.
"Well, if it weren't for Grissom…" she smiled.
He grinned. "Good enough."
"Cheers, my friend," Brass tipped the glass of soda water back while Grissom sipped at a beer. The bar was unusually quiet and he was glad. His head hurt.
"You'll keep an eye on everything for me," he said.
"Course," Brass shrugged. "If you'll put me first on the list for a wedding invite."
"Gil…come on. Don't put it off any longer. I mean, what's it gonna take for you to ask her to marry you? A stroke?"
Grissom sucked back half the bottle in one pull.
"It's not that it hasn't crossed my mind," he said.
"Uh huh. Bullshit. You're not getting any younger, if you haven't noticed. And chasing after little kids is hard, bloody work, let me tell you."
"Okay, okay. No one said anything about—"
"Maybe not you, but what about her?"
Grissom stared at him. He grinned. "I guess we could make you godfather."
"Don't go getting all mushy on me," Jim said.
Grissom smiled. "Wouldn't dream of it."
"British Columbia," Nick said, smiling broadly.
"Yeah. British Columbia."
"You're gonna do great." He smiled again. "You both will."
"I know." She paused. "I'll miss you."
"I'll miss you, sweetie."
He hugged her, hard.
"Well stay in touch, right?" she said.
It's what everyone always said, right?
We'll stay in touch, of course.
They met at Seablue for drinks and dinner and talked determinedly about everything except what was happening.
Lots of laughing and lots of reminiscing, and no tears, she promised.
Afterwards he walked her to her car, his hand on her back. She turned suddenly, wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him. She whispered into his ear, fiercely:
"You're one of my best friends, you know?"
He nodded. He did know. Of everyone, God, of everyone, was Catherine the one who was going to make him cry?
She pulled away, wiped her eyes carefully. He looked down. When he looked up she was gone.
"Well. Well, well. Joint resignations. I must say, this is a first."
"Just making it official, Conrad," Grissom said. "I know how you appreciate rules and regulations."
Sara raised an eyebrow.
"Well…what can I say?" Ecklie tossed the papers on a pile. "You've…both…been an asset to the lab. Not without your respective shortcomings, but still." He sighed.
"Good luck, to both of you."
Grissom took Sara's hand. He smiled.
"We'll miss you too, Conrad."
The gods protect you
And bless the good remainders of the court!
I am gone.
Her apartment was empty. His townhouse was empty. All of their worldly possessions packed, mixed within cardboard, his and hers.
Boxes and boxes, stacked here and there, waiting to move.
Footsteps, harsh and hollow, echoing on wood and plaster, floor and ceiling. Their voices, calling to one another, harsh and hollow and hopeful.
They wandered through the townhouse, silent as ghosts, one last time, meeting, finally, in the foyer.
She wanted to laugh, to yell, but she also wanted to stay very, very quiet. She held her breath.
"You ready?" he said. He looked at her. She looked at him.
He loved her. More than anything.
"Yeah," she said. "I am."
She loved him. More than everything.
He held out his hand.
She took it.
He kissed it, lingered
"Let's get out of here."