Title: Beer Five
Summary: Response to Drunk Cop Challenge. At Sara's prompting, Grissom gets the team together after work.
Disclaimer: I own nothing (just borrowing). CBS owns CSI. God owns CBS. God owns CSI. Argue that logic.
NOTE: Updated to fix a couple of grammatical errors pointed out by my husband.
Please please please (begging here) review this story. I'll love you forever.
Gilbert Grissom wasn't entirely sure how he'd been talked into this… and being here. It had started with a simple request from his new wife, and ended with the options of sleeping on the couch or complying. So here he sat with Catherine, Jim, Nick, Warrick, and Greg in a booth at a club on the strip.
"So, boss," Nick asked, "Any particular reason you called us all here?"
Grimacing, Gil took a swig of beer and sat back in his chair.
"Well, I've had it pointed out to me that maybe I need to sit down and talk to you guys about… stuff," Gil weakly stated.
Enjoying watching him squirm, Catherine grinned. This is gonna be interesting, she thought.
"So… who is responsible for this change in… attitude?" Catherine asked.
"That would be me," Sara said from behind Catherine. Turning to Grissom, she said, "Scoot over, honey. Let me in."
"Yes, dear," he replied promptly, and moved.
"Gilbert and I realize you were taken by surprise by our… relationship," Sara said. Looking at Grissom a bit nervously, and for the first time second-guessing this idea she continued, "I realized none of us really knew what was going on with each other anymore."
Sadly, she looked straight at Nick and said, "There was a time when I knew who you were dating. I don't even know what you do after-hours anymore. Are you still watching Animal Planet?"
Shifting her glance to Warrick, she said, "I'd never met your wife, and you're in the process of getting divorced. I haven't just hung out with you in so long, sometimes you feel like a stranger to me."
Getting misty-eyed, she looked at Jim, "You've always been a shoulder to lean on. We used to just sit and talk, sometimes for hours."
Greg leaned forward and grinned, "You know about my book, though."
Laughing, Sara leaned back in her chair. "Yes, Greg, I know all about your book." The idea of Greg blushing slightly as he admitted he was writing a book about Vegas still made her grin, and when alone, giggle a little.
The waitress approached the table, checking to see if anyone needed a refill. Gil was surprised by the empty beer bottle in front of him and ordered another.
"Catherine," Sara said, "I've seen more of your mother lately than I have you."
Sitting back, Gil sighed and put his hand on Sara's lower back. She was getting upset again. If she got upset, he got upset. It was as simple or complex as that.
The waitress brought over Gil's drink, and Sara leaned into him a little. The movements were small, and in some ways easily recognizable… his hand on her lower back, the slight tilt of her head, the question in her eyes, and the answer in his. Very small, everyday movements, but away from the office, away from their usual environment, they were telling.
"Ummm," Gil cleared his throat and continued, "We thought maybe we'd try and get to know you a little better."
Sara smiled up at him and finished his sentiment, "We feel like we've lost track, and we'd like to get that back, if you are willing."
"That's why we asked you here. To talk. To ask questions, and maybe get some answers," Gil finished.
At this, Nick piped up, a big Texas grin across his face, "I think I can answer a question or two."
He took a swig of his beer, put down the bottle, and said, "I haven't really been seeing anyone, and I haven't watched Animal Planet in over a year. I gave it up cold turkey."
With a twinkle in his eye and a quick laugh, Nick looked at Grissom, "Now I have a question for you, Griss."
Way out of his comfort zone, Gil took a hefty swig from his bottle and nearly squeaked, "Fire away."
"Do you and Sara live together," Nick asked?
"Yes," Grissom replied. He picked up his bottle, and realized he'd already drained it.
Nick followed with, "When are you going to get married?" hoping to elicite some kind of response.
The response he got was unexpected, when Sara shyly looked at Gil and said, "We already are."
It seemed to stun everyone into silence, until everyone started shouting and demanding a recount of the wedding. After question after question regarding the details were answered, everyone sat back to reflect on this.
"So," Greg began, "Do we call you Grissom too?"
That got a laugh out of Warrick and Nick.
After flagging down the waitress, the group ordered another round of drinks.
"So Catherine," Sara started, "What's going on with Lindsey? How is she doing in school? Is she asking to date yet?"
"Lindsey has turned into the typical teenage pain in the ass," Catherine stated, then grinned at the group. "God, I hated that age – a young teenage girl, starting to get into guys, feeling everything with a thousand times the emotions." She sighed, "I wouldn't go back for anything to redo those years. But overall, Lindsey's doing well. She's smart, and God willing won't make the same mistakes I did."
The waitress returned to the table with the next round of drinks, and Sara glanced over in time to see Gil take a swig from his beer bottle. Then she felt his hand, which had been on her lower back, slowly move around to her side, so she leaned back a bit more into him.
Sara relished the feeling of Gil's arm around her, and she relished the heat. She also smiled softly as she felt his contented sigh, and felt him relax a bit. She'd known it would be uncomfortable for him at best. It was uncomfortable for her, as well, but she also realized that if the graveyard shift was going to thrive, they needed to regain some of their old dynamics.
"I actually have a question for Greg," Nick stated. "You said you knew about the two of them, but I'm not totally sure I believe you."
This statement received stunned looks from Sara and Gil. They looked at each other, then over to Greg, waiting for him to elaborate. Gil took another long drink of his beer.
"Actually, it wasn't that hard to figure out," Greg explained to the table at large. "Look at the evidence. The fact is, I think we've all known on some level that there was a dynamic or tension between those two." Greg waved his hand at Grissom and Sara.
"Second," he continued, "It seemed that at around the same time, they both became… happier. It was pretty obvious Sara was seeing someone. She was humming more at work."
Gil choked on his beer, though, when Greg smirked, "Plus, I saw them holding hands in a coffee shop about six months ago."
Sara just stared at Greg, then burst out laughing. She laughed so hard, tears streamed down her face.
Gil just looked at Sara, grinning like an idiot.
God, I love to watch her laugh… or smile… or weep at stupid commercials, Gil thought, and absent mindedly took another swig of his beer.
Jim, who sat on the edge of the booth facing the couple noticed when a couple of Grissom's fingers slid up under her shirt, touching her skin. He also noticed the contended sigh coming from Sara, as she leaned even further into Grissom. All of this seemed very un-Grissom-like.
Gil went to take another drink, and noticed he was empty again, so he waved for another from the waitress.
After receiving his drink, Grissom figured maybe it was his turn to ask a question. He was feeling significantly looser and more at ease with the whole hanging out with the team thing.
"So, Warrick, how are you really doing with the divorce? Are you okay?" Grissom asked.
Warrick looked down into his beer bottle, sighed, then addressed everyone at the table.
"After Nick was kidnapped, I reacted… badly," Warrick started. He looked at Grissom and said, "It seemed like everything was falling apart on us, and for some reason I thought marriage would provide some stability."
Warrick continued, "I had this feeling that life was too short to not take what was in front of you, so I asked a woman I barely knew to be my wife."
He addressed Grissom when he said, "I'm actually okay with the divorce. I just wish I hadn't moved so quickly in the beginning. It's hard to admit I made a mistake this big, then failed to be the kind of husband I should have been to Tina."
Warrick sighed and leaned back in his chair. "I'm struggling to feel like I have something successful going in my life right now, so I'm focusing on work, and it's helping."
Grissom thought about Warrick's last statement and replied, "Sometimes focusing on something you know you can achieve makes all the difference in the world, Warrick. Just let us know if you need anything outside of work, too."
Warrick picked up his beer bottle, looked at Grissom and replied, "Thanks, Griss. Actually, it's nice to know you guys are here for me," and then he saluted the table with his beer bottle and took a swig.
Catherine had spent the last twenty minutes, watching the dynamics between her longtime friend and his significant other. How she hadn't seen it before just amazed her. She'd been holding back, just watching for the most part, but she also noticed how Gil had become looser and looser with every drink he took. The fact that he'd downed nearly four beers since arriving, while everyone else was currently nursing on their second was telling – Gil Grissom was nervous, and Catherine got a real kick out of it.
"You know," Catherine said, "I have a couple of questions for you."
Sara had a feeling Catherine would have a number of questions, and braced herself. Gil, on the other hand, leaned into Sara a bit, ran his hand completely under her shirt, so his entire palm braced itself on her skin.
Sara was so distracted by the feel of his hand slowly rubbing her side, all she could do was stare at Gil as he finished off his beer, and pray he didn't stop the rubbing. She didn't even hear Catherine's question.
"Yoo hoo! Earth to Sara!"
"Yes," Sara stammered, "You asked me something?"
"I wanted to know just how long the two of you have been together," Catherine stated.
Sara looked at Gil, both of them thinking the same thing, and started chuckling.
"That depends on who you ask," Sara laughed out.
They ordered another round, and waited for the waitress to return with their drinks before they started the story.
It took several minutes, with Sara and Gil occasionally stopping to laugh over some private joke, to relay their conversation with Ecklie to the group. Sara explained how she'd told Ecklie they'd been intimate for two years, while Gil had stated nine years. Everyone laughed about Ecklie's comment that they needed to get their stories straight.
"So in the end, I think I surprised Gil," Sara said, "by switching to swing shift. He'd wanted to move, but it didn't seem fair or right. Graveyard wouldn't be graveyard without him."
At that comment, Greg replied, "Yeah, but it's nowhere near as much fun without you."
"I do miss you guys," Sara replied softly.
Gil reached out with his unoccupied hand, tilted Sara's face to him and laid his forehead against hers.
"We talked about my moving. You should've let me take swing shift, hon," he said quietly.
"You know how I feel about that," Sara replied. "Let's not rehash an old argument, okay?"
Sara leaned up, kissed Gil's cheek, then looked over at Greg.
"Anytime you guys want to join me on a case, you know you're always welcome," Sara told her friends.
Sara closed her eyes, leaned even further into Gil's warmth and sighed, relishing the feel of him against her. The feeling itself wasn't foreign. They often snuggled on the couch at home while watching a movie or a baseball game. The only point of discomfort was snuggling in public. Sara tended to be careful with public displays of affection. Gil tended to simply never show affection in public.
It was when Sara realized Gil's hand had moved under her shirt all the way around her body, and onto her abdomen that it suddenly hit her just how many beers Gil had drank.
Gil didn't drink much beer. One would usually loosen him up. Two would give him a semi-decent buzz. Three, he'd be on a really good buzz. Four he'd be feeling extremely happy. And five… his current beer… he started talking. And talking. And talking.
Sara had learned a long time ago that if she wanted to know how Gil truly felt about something, it was beer number five.
On more than one occasion, she purposely fed him beer after beer until he started drinking number five. She never told him and never would, because it was manipulative and sneaky. Yet useful. Sara always believed in using her resources wisely.
Sara turned her head to Catherine, "You said you had a couple of questions?"
"Yes," Catherine replied. She stopped and thought about the best way to phrase her question and continued, "Can you convince me you're truly happy together, Gil?"
"Oh yeah," Grissom replied, looking at Sara, then back to Catherine.
"I never thought I'd get married," he continued, "I've dated occasionally. I've had a couple of affairs. But it all came back to Sara. I'd go out with someone and find myself comparing them to her. No one ever matched up – not with brains, not with looks, not with anything. It's always been Sara."
"I was scared to death," Sara muttered, "but it was always you too."
"Yeah, well, I played the stupid push-pull game with you for how many years? I was scared, too. But the worst thing is that I was stupid," Gil said to Sara. He took her hand, placed his lips over the sensitive skin of her wrist and whispered, "I love you" softly.
It felt like a blissful eternity that they sat there, staring into each others eyes.
It took a couple of coughs to get their attention, but Jim finally managed to gracefully interrupt them.
"You've been sitting there pretty quiet, Jim," Nick remarked.
"Just watching the show," Jim replied, then grinned.
"Are you okay with this?" Sara asked Jim nervously. Of everyone here, his opinion mattered more than anyone but Gil's.
"Yeah," he smiled and answered. "You two actually look good together. I'm really happy for you, and in reality, I kind of hoped you would eventually work this out."
"I know I haven't spent much time with you lately," Sara stated. "It seems like we haven't just sat down, had a beer, and talked like we used to."
"Apparently, you haven't needed any advice like you used to," Jim smirked.
"Yeah, but Jim, don't you have any questions for them?" Greg asked.
Jim stopped, thinking about the single question he'd been forming. He'd spent the entire time watching and waiting for just the right opportunity. He'd watched how they leaned into one another, seemed to anticipate each other's needs with ease. It was Grissom's hands that decided on the final question of the night. It was the way he rubbed protectively over her stomach, the way she looked at him when he rubbed, and the way his hand splayed across the now exposed abdomen. And the way Sara never drank a single thing.
The last thing Gilbert Grissom could recall from their little gathering was Jim Brass's question. Sara later told him he'd finished beer number five and pretty much passed out.
Jim asked, "Is it a boy or a girl?"