Spoilers: Through Season 8
A/N – Okay, I'm back to writing stuff. This is a little different, but I think it came out well. Let me know what you think.
Disclaimer – I don't own CSI. It's the property of CBS/Paramount, and whoever else gains a profit from it. All I know is, it's not me.
She figured it out long before he did, and Grissom was never quite sure how to feel about that – she figured out they were bound years before he did. With his tendency to focus deeply, he often boxed up what was sitting on his emotional or psychological shelf and stuck it alongside his experiments. With single-minded determination, he could research, analyze, and close anything – a case, an experiment, a relationship. Then, with ease he pulled down a box from the shelf, opened it, and delved into that until he satisfied himself with its contents.
The problem for him was that Sara wouldn't really fit into a box. And nothing with her ever sat still long enough to categorize. So in his mind, there were about three dozen boxes, and he'd lost the lid to all of them. In one small box, he put her pain; in another, her beauty. Box after box, he tried to separate out the parts of her that he couldn't help but notice. Boxes of every shape and size cluttered the meticulous storage area next to his experiments. For seven years, he attempted to put them aside, yet failed miserably. Without lids, the different parts of her simply escaped.
He still remembered the first gap-toothed smile she gave him at the conference for forensic sciences in San Francisco years ago. The bombardment of questions had intrigued him, and the coffee afterward had enthralled him.
For that matter, it had welled to fantasy more than once in the back of his mind, and he kept seeing this… girl… vividly whenever he let his mind drift. The distraction upon his return from the seminar had been enough so that he created this little box, wrote Her Smile on it, and placed it on the shelf next to his tarantula. Every now and again, when things got too hard, and he needed to know he could still relate to another human being, he'd greedily sneak a peek inside, and let out a breath of relief. Its contents didn't start to randomly escape on him until she came to Las Vegas.
"Hey Gris," she said, frowning at a folder one day, sauntering into the office. Lifting her head, she asked, "What do you know about kick-boxing? I've got a nasty one here, and I could use your help." Sara had been in Vegas for a little over a year, and as she laid some pictures in front of him, she bent over his shoulder squinting her eyes at the photos.
It took him a moment to build a little box, label it Her Scent, forcefully stuff the contents in, and put it on the shelf. Yet it kept sneaking out, wafting through the air until he inhaled it, and that part of her was held within him.
It was the single fateful day when he didn't even have to turn around that he remembered the husky quality of her voice. Knowing he'd never be able to contain it, he didn't even attempt to box it up. Instead, he created a container, labeled it My Wordsand put it in his pocket. More than once, over time, he felt stupid for always carrying it around, but he did anyway.
"Since when are you interested in beauty?" she asked.
The contents of the container slipped out, "Since I met you."
He didn't know whether the pressure in his chest was a good thing or a bad thing, but every now and again Grissom figured carrying his words around wasn't such a bad thing.
The hardest part to stuff into a container was her empathy. It impressed and scared him all at once. So one day, right after a particularly nasty assault, he built a massive box that sat on the floor next to his desk. He labeled it Her Compassion. Whenever he sat alone, he would look at the contents, and concern would grow over how much of her sat in that box. Wisps of emotion would roll out upon occasion, and he'd see her staring sad and tired at the picture of a victim on the board.
For the longest time, he didn't know what to do about it. It would guide him away from what he worked on to a place where he could actually see pain of her compassion flow from the box to her eyes. He always kept track of this box, because this is the contents that drove her hardest. She may have never told him – trusted him – with the secrets she'd buried deep, otherwise.
"Do you think there's a murder gene?"
He held himself still and gave the typical 'scientific' response, because his damn words were unable to assist. Unfortunately, his words did not know how to interact with another box he'd made a couple of years before.
Upon getting pulled over for the DUI, he'd held her hand. Hers had seemed so small and vulnerable encased in his large palm. In her eyes, he saw raw ache, and something deeper and more tormenting.
That desire to drive away her demons had him fashioning another box that night, based on his fantasy – the fantasy of every man. With a big black marker, he flourished Her Dragon Slayer and placed it in her locker. In it he poured that portion of himself that wanted to protect her, even if she didn't need or want his protection. Unfortunately, years later when the Dragon Slayer emerged, the words in his pocket had no idea what to do.
Only years later did his Dragon Slayer and Words merge to give him what he needed, when he needed it.
In the desert, they snuck out and the Dragon Slayer asked, "Where is she, Catherine?"
After that, they became connected, and he would often feel the contents of the Slayer whisper need to his Words. However, without experience, they stumbled and fumbled. They led him to follow her from the lab to LVPD, when she questioned Hannah. They spoke when they should have remained silent. They were utterly confused, because the contents of yet another box had begun in the last couple of days to overwhelm them.
Grissom could often be concerned, but he tended not to worry, as he respected the individuality and independence of those around him. Yet he'd seen more and more of her compassion escape from the box after her time alone in the desert. The box he built was made only of paper in the shape of an origami cube. It was flimsy, but in it he placed His Worry.
It was Worry that confused the Slayer and his Words, and had him following her. He didn't say what he wanted to say, because Worry kept trying to take control. In the end, Worry managed to blast out an entire side of his cube, because he blew it so bad. Of course, Grissom had no idea how bad he'd blown it until the kiss…
It must have escaped from the box he labeled years ago as Her Lips, where he kept the distracting thought of their form and their taste. At home, he reveled in their escape and diversion. At work, they surprised him only the one time.
The only thing that ever shocked him was when the one piece of her that always stood unboxed. It was a part of her he could always count on being viewable and obvious. Her Independence stood proudly on the floor, next to his door, always poised to take on the world, and ready to do so with pride and grace.
When she left, he was stunned. Every ounce of Worry poured around him, having fully escaped from its confines. It was when he walked into his office, and found her independence gone from its place, Worry naturally made its way back into the cube. She took her Independence with her, and he found a place of pride in him that admired her strength.
Yet time marched on, and within a month, he built a box that he always carried in his hands. He didn't label it, because it needed no label. It was His Loneliness. It would talk to him constantly, reminding him of his flaws; but back in his office in that empty place where her Independence once stood, he'd gather strength and fight back Loneliness. Then one day he had an idea to battle back Loneliness.
She'd been gone a few months, when Grissom made his way to the largest work table in his office and cleared its contents. From every part of his lair, from his pockets, from her locker… everywhere, he took the boxes and tipped their contents onto the clean surface.
When very little tipped out, he made a startling realization. Somewhere along the lines, he'd become accustomed to the cacophony of swirling hums of them constantly floating about. They were not even remotely contained in the boxes any longer, and had never really been held there in the first place.
With startled eyes, he looked around the room. Her Compassion and his Slayer tentatively touched along their wisped tendrils; but they pulled back at the slightest contact, attempting to become accustomed to one another. It was like watching a child gingerly put a toe into a swimming pool to test the waters. They danced together, until finally their tendrils wound. Satisfaction gleamed through his eyes, when he knew they would bind and protect. Some of that hum would go to her, when she called. Another part would stay with him until they found each other again. Of that, he was sure.
It was a stunning realization that had him sitting at his desk, unable to move, though. Carefully settled in a place of pride, right below his beloved irradiated pig were two good size boxes. One was labeled Her Love, and the other His Love. He knew the box labeled His Love, because he'd written the words and placed in it everything he had to offer. It wasn't until that moment he'd seen the other box… labeled in Sara's scrawl.
Breathlessly, he stood, peered inside, and found everything he'd ever asked for or desired from her. Still contained, their contents beat in unison, and he emptied them onto his desk. Unlike the other containers, the contents of these two instantly bound, while he watched.
Fatigue fell away, as he realized how futile it had been to attempt to trap any of it in a box. Somewhere along the way, the need in him to control his mind, emotion, and space had given way to the constant thrumming of another life beside him. Smiling, he held out his hand, and her Love caressed his fingers. Looking once more in the doorway, he smiled wider.
Once day her Independence would once again grace his doorway, either as request or return. Closing his eyes, he called it all to him – every emotion, every demand, every grace given, and felt the swirl encase him. Until her Independence returned to battle back his Loneliness, he knew she was still around him.
In fact, he was the box.
A/N – Let me know what you think. The review button is right down there on the left.