Disclaimer: 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. Any errors are mine, all mine, no you can't have any.

Spoilers: through "You Kill Me"


He hadn't bothered to put up a Christmas tree this year; without someone to celebrate with--without Sara--it just didn't seem worth it.

Grissom figured he'd send out the obligatory holiday cards eventually; he had a few elderly cousins who expected them, and it was only courtesy to return the greetings he received. But that was the extent of his holiday plans; in fact, it was only Under-Sheriff McKeen's order that had forced Grissom out of the lab for the holiday evening. McKeen's lecture about "getting on with life" had been neither welcome nor particularly well-phrased, but somehow Grissom couldn't find the energy to argue about taking the night off. He'd climbed into his car and driven dully home, trying to ignore all the signs of the season around him.

No. No Christmas dinner, no carols on the stereo, no lights around his door, and definitely no tree.

Which is why the sight of one standing in his living room, twinkling with lights and complete with ornaments and even a few gifts beneath, was not what Grissom expected to see when he walked into his townhouse.

He looked at it in bemusement for a moment, wondering absurdly if he'd somehow unlocked the wrong door, but the figure rising from the couch dropped the tree into immediate insignificance.

"Um...hi," Sara said hesitantly, her eyes wide and her hands curled into loose fists at her sides. "I, uh...merry Christmas?"

She filled all his vision. Grissom stared at her blankly, trying to assimilate the fact that she was real, that she was there.

Sara bit her lip, and began to babble. "Look, I took a chance, I know I should have called--are you mad?"

His feet carried him forward, hasty steps.

"I can go if you--"

Shewas real. Real and warm and solid in his arms, her words smothered against his cheek, her embrace wrapping around his shoulders like the one thing he'd been missing forever.

His knees wouldn't hold him. They sank slowly down, Grissom feeling his throat closing with the pressure of anguish relieved; he found himself kneeling, his face pressed to her lap, his hands gripping her hips. Real, she was real. Blessedly, firmly real.

Sara's hands were stroking his hair, his shoulders, and he could hear her voice choking on tears. "Gil, I'm so sorry--"

And he couldn't find breath to explain that she didn't have to apologize.

She'd meant what she said. Sara had never known a real home, a home that was all it should be, before she'd moved in with Grissom. And the heart of that home was this, the two of them together, skin on skin and exquisitely, silently content.

The lights were still twinkling on the tree she'd set up, though they would soon be dimmed by the rising sun peering in the blinds. The presents waited for later. Grissom lay stretched out on the couch, cradling Sara against him; she didn't think they'd been parted for more than three minutes, tops, since he'd come home.

She'd told him a little of what she'd been doing, the ghosts she was trying to lay. Some of it he knew already; some of it he'd deduced.

That was one of the things she loved about him; how he understood.

But she wasn't done yet, and the knowledge was an undercurrent of sorrow beneath the present happiness. She'd come home for two reasons--to see if Grissom could forgive her, and because she could no longer be away from him.


His voice was soft, hardly more than a whisper against her crown. "You're going back, aren't you?"

No anger, not even resignation--just the question. Sara tightened her grip on him.

"Yeah. Two days. I still have stuff I need to work through." She swallowed. "I'm sorry."

She felt his smile forming. "One more apology, Sara, and all you'll get in your stocking will be coal."

A small laugh bubbled out of her, half-surprised, even though he hadn't let her make any kind of real amends all night. She raised her head, able now to say what she couldn't before, even though it was her heart's desire. "I'll come home, Gil, as soon as I can. I promise."

He looked at her for a long moment, the love she coveted so much shining in his gaze. "I have only one thing to say to that," he said gravely.

Despite a night of reassurance, unease still teased her spine. "Yeah?"

His grip tightened, and then he flipped them both so that she was underneath, and rubbed his chin along her throat until she was squirming and giggling helplessly at the delicate prickle.

When he lifted his head, his face was full of mischief. "What are you doing New Year's Eve?"