A/N - For those who started reading a version of this story earlier... it's completely changed. The premise is the same, but I really didn't like where it was going, and who all was involved, so I'm re-writing it. Thank you for your patience.

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Disclaimer: The usual


When Grissom walked into CSI headquarters, he was tired. Well into his second straight month of pulling doubles and triples, fatigue was etched into all of him. Pulling off his sunglasses, his head lowered, he rubbed his eyes as he made his way to his office. Later, he racked it up to sheer exhaustion that he hadn't seen the woman in the lobby, or heard Judy hail him from the reception desk.

Catching up to him, Judy called out, "Mr. Grissom." Once she had his attention, she said, "You have a visitor, sir."

Following Judy back to the lobby, he looked over at the only person seated.

"She's been waiting for hours," Judy explained before returning to her post.

Grissom crouched next to the slim woman, who sat sound asleep in the uncomfortable plastic chairs. Long blond hair obscured the woman's face, but not enough to hide the slender cheekbones. As he touched her knee, he watched her lids flutter open to reveal pale green eyes.

"Hi," he quietly said, "I'm Gil Grissom. Are you waiting for me?"

"Yes," she mumbled, then sat up suddenly, her eyes opening wide.

"Wow," she laughed, "I didn't actually plan on falling asleep."

Standing, Grissom held out his hand to help the woman up from her seat.

"Is there someplace we can speak privately?" she asked.

"Please, come with me," Grissom said, and walked with her to his office, where he offered her a chair facing his desk.

While he walked around his desk, he asked, "How can I help you… "

"Hunter," she supplied. "April Hunter."

Quizzically he looked at her, tilting his head. "Your name sounds familiar."

Smiling, she replied, "My husband is Mike Hunter – Sara Sidle's brother."

Grissom fell back into his chair, like he'd been slammed in the chest. Suddenly, the weariness fell away, and every nerve ending stood on end, making him wary.

"How can I help you?" he asked, his muscles tensing and folding his arms in front of his chest.

April remembered clearly how it had felt…

"For me, it was the always feeling cold that bothered me the most," she said, smiling sadly at the man across from her. "The general ache I could live with, but always feeling that deep seated cold at the core of me is what I've never been able to handle."

Impatiently, Grissom started to stand.

"Mrs. Hunter," he began, only to be interrupted.

"It's April," she informed him. "Just like I know you go by Grissom – Sara told me that."

"She's staying with us," April said, "on our ranch."

Dropping back into his chair, Grissom ran his hand over his face. Suddenly, the last month's lack of sleep began to overpower him.

"Hey," she said, gripping onto his hand, as Grissom's face turned ashen. "You don't look very well." At that particular moment, he didn't feel very well, either.

"Why are you here?" he asked, although he hadn't meant to sound so gruff.

"I've been where you are," April told him. "I know what it's like to be the one left behind. I came here, because I'm hoping you love her half as much as she loves you. I'm hoping you love her half as much as I love my husband."

"I don't know what I feel at the moment, except that it hurts," Grissom murmured into his hand, as he scrubbed it over his face.

"Mike and Sara came from the same place. They may not be related by blood, but there are brother and sister to each other, regardless," April stated.

"I know," Grissom replied.

"Grissom," April said, gently, "I've been married to Mike for nearly sixteen years. I know he loves me more than anything. However, I also know that the very nature of the system he grew up in did not foster consistency or love."

Her eyes misting, she continued, "Someone convinced Mike and Sara early on that they weren't worth loving. It's something they've had to fight their entire lives. Even after all our years together, some days Mike feels like he's an outsider, and it makes me ache."

"So I have a simple question. Do you love Sara?" April asked.

Barking a mirthless laugh, Grissom replied, "How can loving her possibly be simple?"

"I never said loving her was simple. But the question is. Do you love her?" April asked again.

"Yeah," he replied, a note of resignation in his voice. "Any choice I had in the matter was taken from me the day I met her."

"Then the real question – the hard one – is do you love her enough to work for the happiness? I don't mean typical relationship work – I mean struggle hard, especially up front, convincing her you love her so much you need her and won't give up on her."

There was only one answer Grissom could possibly give.


With a satisfied sigh and a sense of relief, April leaned back in her chair and smiled at the man across from her.

"You have no idea how glad I am to hear that," April informed him. "I needed to make sure that our instincts are right – that you are who she belongs with."

Frowning, she continued, "Sara's really not well, right now. I've never seen her… defeated before. It's a look I remember from a long time ago from Mike."

As if on cue, April's cell phone rang and she saw her home phone number pop up on the screen. Her brow furrowed, because Mike always called from his own cell, she answered. "Hello?"

Grissom could hear a high-pitched voice take off like a bolt of lightning on the other end, running at least a hundred miles an hour, and smiled. April smiled, and began answering rapid-fire questions with, "Yes. No. No. No. Are you out of your mind? No. Yes, as long as you don't blow anything up."

When the voice on the other end continued arguing, the stern look Grissom figured every mother perfected came down over her face and she sternly said, "Put Aunt Sara on the line. Now!"

At her name, Grissom's senses went on high alert.

"Sara," April said, "I have a feeling the heathens are up to something today, with Mike in the field and me at this conference. You really need to be on red alert today. And what did Caleb mean when he said not to worry about the smoke?"

Knowing it was rude, he tried as hard as possible to hear her voice. He didn't care what she said, so long as he heard the husky silkiness of her tone. However, Sara spoke too softly.

After hanging up, April turned back to Grissom, and found that familiar eagerness in his eyes that she once felt.

Laying her hand back across his, April said, "Be happy in knowing she's safe, at least physically. She's in my home, being Aunt Sara for the first time in a long time. Right now, she's letting someone else take care of her – another first in a long time."

"Mike's trying to find a way to guide her back to where she needs to be," she said to Grissom. "If anyone can do it, he can."

"I still don't understand one thing," Grissom said. "What are you doing here?"

Smiling at him, April replied, "That's easy. While Mike is guiding Sara, I'm here to guide you."


A/N - Please review