Title: Harmonic Waves
Spoilers: Thru 8x11
Ficathon: Elemental (Spiritual)
Disclaimer: I own nothing of CSI, except a couple of seasons box sets.
Summary: Grissom gets a different perspective from Greg.
Greg was tired. Plain and simple tired. Making his way through Frank's, he spotted his supervisor sitting in a booth at the back, and his step faltered. Should I join him or leave him in peace, Greg wondered, his tired mind thought, standing still and staring at Grissom. For a moment, the older man's face lay open and unguarded, and the shadows that normally never lay there were open and pressed across the CSI supervisor's face for anyone to see. Deep smudges marked Grissom's eyes, and Greg made a bold decision.
Stepping in front of the booth, Greg muttered, "Hey. Want some company?" and didn't wait for a response before sliding in opposite his boss. By the time he caught Grissom's eyes, Greg noted that his supervisor's mask of blank detachment had slammed down over his face.
"I'm so tired I can barely stand," Greg yawned, sitting back and closing his eyes. "A triple, followed by two doubles." Opening his eyes to stare at the hazy blue ones across from him, he boldly stated, "I don't know how you do it – doubles and triples every day for the last month."
The baleful stare did little to affect Greg's nerves, although he knew it was the stare Grissom usually gave when he wanted to be left alone. When the waitress came by, asked if he'd like coffee, Greg waited as it was poured, picked up the cup and the menu, and took a long draw of the boiling hot liquid. He didn't care about the scorched tongue. At least pain meant he was still among the breathing, and the fatigue of the case weighed so heavy on him, he'd begun to even doubt that over the last few hours.
He inwardly smiled when he heard Grissom heave out a heavy breath, and finally ask, "How's your case going?" The tone left no room to doubt the supervisor in him had forced the question from Grissom's mouth, but Greg didn't mind. At least the man was talking, and not sitting silently alone in the corner, waiting for life to pass by.
The question finally sank in, though, and Greg found himself falling back into the horror of it all. It must have been the bone-weary tiredness that had him choking, "I don't understand how people can do things like that to kids," and staring unseeing at the table top.
Something must have penetrated the haze Grissom usually wandered in and out of, because he said, "You can't let it get under your skin, Greg. You can't let the case take hold of you, or you'll spend every waking moment tormented." Leaning back a bit, Grissom added, "Sometimes, Greg… we have to accept the responsibility of the bad in order to achieve something for the good."
Smiling slightly at the words, Greg sat back in the booth, cocked his head at his supervisor, and murmured, "I had someone say something like that to me about my music once." With that one statement, Greg knew he'd captured the curiosity of his supervisor.
The smile widened when he explained, "I told you my mom held me close. No sports. Nothing dangerous. However, we made a compromise when I was nine. I could take scuba lessons, as long as I studied the violin."
He laughed at the surprised look on Grissom's face. "Yes, I played the violin. I practiced long and hard, so I could scuba dive. I love the water. I would live in it if I could, and have been certified as a Master Scuba Diver."
"I had no idea that you're a man of so many talents," Grissom smirked at the young CSI.
"When I was sixteen, I jarred the bridge of my violin, and it went flying into the rocks of the beach where I would sometimes play. The bridge is that small piece of curved wood that sticks up from the body, holding the strings off the body. It'll pop out now and again, but there are grooves where it has worn down where it sits on the body. Anyway, I was sitting down at a beach by the bay in San Francisco, practicing as I watched the water. When I got home that day and told my mother what happened, she gave in and told me I didn't have to play anymore. The bridge was gone, lost somewhere down on the beach. I could get another one, but I think mom had just given up the battle," Greg explained.
More softly he said, "I think of everything like I think of music. When the team was split, I felt like everything was falling flat, and I could only hear half the chords."
As Grissom stared blankly at the coffee cup, Greg added, "Lately, it seems as if I'm hearing nothing but noise; there's no music. Everything is strained – like if I'm not careful, it might all fall apart. I'm not missing the chord. I'm missing the bridge, which controls the tone and tenor of it all." Taking a last drink of his coffee, and deciding to leave the older man in peace, Greg stood and laid a couple dollars on the table for his tab.
"Sara is the bridge," he quietly stated. "Without her, nothing is worth playing." On that, he left Grissom alone.
X X X
Grissom arrived early, yet again, grabbed his mail, and made his way to his office, unseeing and generally tired. Dropping his mail into his 'In' box, he rounded his desk, and found a case sitting on top.
Curiously, he flipped the tabs, and opened the lid. Sitting on top of the well cared for violin lay a note.
What you should know is that night I went back to that bay in San Francisco and hunted until I found that bridge. It took me awhile to locate it. The bridge knows its place on the instrument. With its help, I found where it gives off a beautiful sound. The tone is different, because the base of it was slightly scraped. It can never be the same. It's changed. However, when I pick up my violin, I still find a peace I can find nowhere else. I play out at Lake Mead whenever I can, because the water gives me solace, and the sound soothes my soul. You are welcome to join me whenever you wish.
For several minutes, Grissom stared at the instrument, until he tentatively reached out and touched that small piece of wood that held up the strings in the middle of the body. That small piece of wood allowed the music to flow, and for a moment he recognized a bold truth he'd been avoiding.
She needed to deal with her past, but he needed her, as well. Flipping open his cell phone, he hit #1 on the speed dial. While it rang, he rehearsed in his mind what he wanted to say. Sure, they talked occasionally, but he had no idea what was really going on with her. Their conversations were short, tense, and sporadic. Something had to change.
When he heard Sara's soft, "Hey, Gil," he smiled and let out a soft breath.
"Sara, we had a pretty harmonious life before everything happened in the desert. We used to talk… and laugh. I want that back, even if you aren't here."