A/N – Here's a nice angsty story that came to me. Sara's relationship with Greg is probably one of the strongest she has. This is post Sara leaving, and how the team reacts and what secrets come out. It's very much GSR and Sara/Greg friendship.
Disclaimer: CBS owns the characters and their personalities. I'm just sad Jorja Fox has left the show.
"You don't understand," Gil Grissom said to Catherine after she'd gone on a tirade about Sara leaving nothing but pain in her wake.
"What don't I understand?" she demanded.
Grissom sighed and looked around the table at his co-workers. Jim, Nick, Warrick, Greg, and Catherine had decided he needed to get out of the lab for awhile and had dragged him to this club. Rubbing his eyes, Grissom contemplated how much he should say.
"Look, Sara has her reasons for leaving," he replied wearily. "God knows she's experienced enough pain and death in her life."
"But we all have Griss," Nick put in. "We've all walked through the same crime scenes. We have all experienced the pain of this job."
"And you survived," Grissom said pointedly.
With a breath, he finished, "Part of her didn't. And it goes back farther than you can understand."
Choking down the lump in his throat, Grissom contemplated his beer and quietly said, "There's a lot more to Sara's life than you know."
"Like what?" Warrick asked, exasperated by the whole thing and angry at the woman in question for leaving his… friend this way.
Shaking his head, Grissom replied, "It's private – she'd need to tell you. I can't."
In a whisper, Greg said, "Then I will."
Grissom's head snapped up and he stared at the young CSI.
"She told you?" he asked, surprised.
"I already knew," Greg responded.
With a mirthless smile at Grissom's dumbfounded expression, Greg explained, "She didn't remember me until a little over a year ago."
Greg continued, "Remember how my mom wanted more kids? Well, when she found out she couldn't have them, she decided to be a foster parent."
"Hold it," Catherine interjected, "Are you saying Sara was in foster care? In your house?"
"Stop, Greg," Grissom told the young man, then firmly continued, "This isn't a subject up for discussion."
"Why not?" Greg retorted. "She's gone. She's not coming back, and I think I know why."
"Why not talk about it," he continued, slamming his hand on the table.
The aching grief rose in Grissom before he tersely replied, "Fine."
Jim, who had been observing Greg and the grief he'd seen shadow across his face gently said, "You love her a great deal, don't you?"
"Yeah," Greg laughed, bitterly.
Grissom hadn't been expecting this and felt bile start to rise in his throat. He hadn't realized the affect of Sara's leaving on the young man, and was torn between jealousy and anguish.
Looking at Grissom, Greg said, "She was my sister for almost six months. I was just a little kid when this teenage kid with the shadowed eyes moved in. But while other kids didn't want this little kid hanging around, she liked to play with me."
"She would watch cartoons with me, and explain things to me. She's one of the reasons I got into science. It was something she really loved, so she'd show me stuff from her books. She'd read to me," he said.
Shaking his head, he continued, "Man, she was messed up back then."
"So you know what happened," Grissom said, resigned.
"Yeah… the middle of the night screams kind of gave it away," Greg replied.
"Hold it," Catherine said, "what happened?"
"She has a scar that runs across her lower back. It's why she always wears a shirt she can tuck in or one that goes well below her waist," Greg said. "I saw it when she wore a swimsuit… we'd gone San Diego and were swimming at the beach. I was seven."
"That scar was from the buckle end of a belt," Grissom murmured. "She broke a plate."
Warrick and Nick looked at each other, both frozen with shock.
"There's a burn mark on her shoulder," Grissom said, trying to visualize the body of his lover. "It's from a cigarette. She wouldn't let me touch it for months, and cried the first time I kissed it."
"I never saw that one," Greg replied, "but I saw the scar on her leg where the bone went through."
"She was too loud," Grissom whispered.
Looking at the table, Grissom stuttered, "El-eleven bones were broken by the time she was twelve."
"Oh my God," Nick replied, his face turning ash white.
"There was so much worse," Greg said to Nick.
"Does she still have the nightmares?" he asked Grissom.
"They'd stopped by the time she got back from Harvard," Grissom replied, looking directly at Greg. "She didn't have them until after she moved to swing shift, so I wasn't home when she woke up screaming. She woke up alone," he explained, guilt written across his face.
Continuing, he said, "She was back to seeing the knife in her father's chest. She was back to seeing her mother coated in blood. But now she was drowning in that blood, trapped under a car, unable to escape. She told me before she left that she was pinned down, unable to move, and she was tasting the blood she swam in."
Looking down, avoiding the attention of the others, he said, "And there was nothing I could do. She wouldn't talk to anyone. She wouldn't talk to me."
"She said something to me," Greg whispered, "but I didn't hear."
"Maybe if I'd really listened, I would have heard her," Greg lamented. "I could have said something, and maybe she'd still be here."
"No, Greg," Grissom replied. "She needed to leave. She needs to take care of it herself, or it will always be someone rescuing her. I think I get that now."
"She said something to me," Greg quietly confessed.
His eyes pooled when he said, "The other day she talked about being tired of dealing with death… of how the murder rate was going up and there was nothing she could do about it. She talked about being sick of death and being here in Vegas."
"If I'd realized… if I'd really listened…" Greg choked out.
"She would have still left, Greg," Grissom gently told him.
Taking a deep breath and swallowing the sob, Greg nodded.
"I'm worried that she won't be able to figure out where she belongs," Grissom murmured.
Catherine replied, "I'm concerned we'll lose you…"
"That's not going to happen," he responded.
Continuing, Grissom looked at Greg, and said, "I knew you were close… she made sure she checked in on you. I knew you were good friends. And I haven't asked how you are… not once."
Shaking his head, Greg finally gave way to the sobs that had been building up, and laid his head on the table, his shoulders heaving. Catherine went over to Greg and laid a hand on his back, until he quieted, and lifted his flushed face from the table.
"God, I'm sorry about that," he choked. "I think it's been building since she left…"
"If you see her again, what do you think you'll do?" Catherine asked Grissom.
"I don't know," he replied. "I don't know if I'll hold her because I miss her so much… or yell because I'm so angry right now."
"What about you?" he asked Catherine. "What will you say to her?"
"I wish I could say. I was angry before. Now I don't know what to feel. If she'd talked to me, maybe…" Catherine left off.
"Sara has spent her entire life following every rule, because if she didn't follow every rule, she generally got slammed – hard," Gil said to the table at large.
"That's about right," Greg added. "I don't know how many times I've bent or broken rules and gotten away with it."
"Sara and I broke some rules by having a relationship. It scared us both, but it was worth it," Grissom said. "And then Natalie happened, and we both felt exposed."
"Would you have ever told us about your relationship?" Warrick asked.
"Probably," Gil responded, "but I don't know when or how."
With a self-deprecating smile he said, "I realize I'm an emotionally distant person with a tendency to hold back what I'm feeling. I also know I hurt her time and again by not telling her what she means to me."
"I also know she's a passionate person who empathizes too much and gets hurt too much," he continued.
"I should have fired her or forced her into more counseling a long time ago, but part of me needs her near me just to be able to breathe," Grissom admitted.
Looking at Greg, he said, "Yes, I know that makes me selfish. But I didn't know what else to do."
With a genuine smile, Greg replied, "It's okay, Griss. Because I think what you have with her is what's given her the strength just to survive lately. She's been truly happy with you. I realize Sara and I didn't know each other long when we were kids, but I remember the sadness in her eyes… it's faded over time, since we've become friends as adults. I've seen her smile before, but not in the way she has in the last couple of years, mainly when she looks at you."
"Maybe somewhere along the way, she'll find a way to smile on her own," Gil said.
"But will you?" Jim asked.
Sighing, Gil thought back to before Sara… to the emptiness, the vague feeling of something missing, and said, "I might learn to smile, but I don't know if I'll feel complete without her. I think fate or something like it decided that the day I met her."
"We want you to be okay, Gil," Jim told his friend. "We need you to be okay."
"I will," Grissom replied, looking around the table and making probably the most important decision of his life in that instant.
"I'm giving her a year," he told the occupants of the table.
He stunned them when he said, "If she can't come back to Vegas within a year, then I'm going to her."
Finishing his beer, Grissom stood, laid cash for the tab on the table and walked out. For the first time since she left, he had a plan.