Title: Play Misty for Me
Author: Summer Reign
Spoilers: Snakes, general season 5 tone
Disclaimer: TPTB have moved on from UST and are now into portraying RST that's so powerful, both parties have to live on other continents. In fact, the mere mention of the male member (so to speak) of this team is enough to trigger spontaneous orgasm so He Who Shall Not Be Named is, in fact, never named. Ipso facto, this little story is not theirs. No Sirree, Bob.
Summary: A tiny slice of life, UST-y story featuring our two favorite CSIs on New Year's Eve.
Author's Hint: If you want to download Misty for background music while reading, feel free. Not necessary, though, since someone will sing it later. Oops. That was a spoiler.
You can say that you're leading me on, but it's just what I want you to do…
Sara had the night off. The lab had instituted a new policy (well, Grissom had) and rotated holidays so everyone would eventually have a chance to celebrate each holiday. And, this time, New Year's Eve belonged to Sara.
On paper, anyway.
She showed up for work the night before--a double was pulled--and before anyone realized exactly what was happening, the old year slipped into the shadows and the new year was welcomed in Las Vegas' usual, raucous way. A dead body, suspicious circs, was what brought them to the Bellagio. And it took several hours before they realized it was, in all probability (pending autopsy results), an intricately designed suicide.
"I'm sorry about your day off, Sara. We're just about done here, so…go…celebrate the New Year."
She shrugged her shoulders and left.
Or so he thought.
Fifteen minutes later, when he was ready to call it an evening, he went out to the parking lot and found her car still there.
That was something he didn't like. Not at all.
He went back inside and found her.
She was on the veranda, sitting outside one of the grand ballrooms. And kind of … gazing…at the handful of couples who left the noise of the hall so they could dance in the moonlight, as alone as they could get on a night and in a place like this. Sara had removed her vest, but she still looked completely underdressed as she sat on a low bench in the corner, watching the couples rather…wistfully? Did Sara Sidle really do wistful?
Yes, he decided. She did.
It's not like she planned it.
She was just tired. And annoyed. Not at pulling a double. She had rather emphatically stated that she never needed New Year's Eve off. She wanted it to go to Greg, or even Sofia, for that matter. Someone who actually had a social life. Besides, there was just so much Ryan Seacrest New Year's Rockin' that she could take.
But, no. Grissom had insisted. He had done that type of thing since her near-DWI a few months before. She hated that. Absolutely hated it. To be set apart for reasons that had, really, nothing to do with work. Especially by Grissom. No one called him out on his workaholic behavior. Ever. And for all his talk about diversions, she very much doubted he'd been out riding roller coasters in a very long time.
All talk and no action.
But, that wasn't her business or her concern.
She was annoyed that, after her NOT getting New Year's Eve off, after all—which she didn't mind—he had the nerve to tell her to go off and have a great New Year's celebration. Like life was put on perpetual hold waiting for him to give her permission to live it again.
And even more annoyed that it wasn't him giving her the permission, it was Sara, herself, waiting for it.
Shit. She was better at psychoanalyzing herself than that PEAP person (for the record, she was annoyed at stupid acronyms, too. PEAP. She had half-expected a yellow chick to be leading her head-shrinking session).
"Sidle, you are losing it," she thought, as she went back to the ballroom they had spent half the night and all of the day next examining in minute detail. The ballroom where one of the hotel's many New Year's Eve celebrations was to be held and where one guest "arrived" early. Swinging from the chandelier with a New Year's Eve tiara on her head and a noisemaker crazy-glued to her lips.
Sad, really. Not only killing yourself on a holiday celebrating hope for the future, but attempting to set up an ex-lover in the process. Well, the course of true love and all that jazz…
She retrieved the cell phone she had left on the sideboard of the un-used ballroom and then looked out onto the balcony. All night long, there had been sheets shielding the glass doors. This was a suicide that was really being kept under cover, quite literally. The official word was that a broken pipe had forced them to switch ballrooms for that particular party. Las Vegas hotels were quite adept at working around their crime scenes.
As soon as the coroner's truck had left, the sheets had been removed.
She could clearly hear the music now that she no longer had a crime scene to concentrate on. Something slow and romantic, straight out of the 50s, she would guess.
Begin the Beguine.
She had a thing for that type of old music. The results, she supposed, of too many nights in too many strange families' homes, watching their abandoned small television sets—straight through to the morning. A time when old musicals, comedies and romances played out in glorious black and white, and Sara sometimes fantasized about what her life would have been like in an Ozzie and Harriet world.
But today was New Year's and she missed almost all of it. This party, she was sure, was winding down soon enough. It was almost 2 AM. She removed her vest and went out to see what was going on. There were a few couples outside, shunning the indoor revelers. She sat down on a marble bench in the corner of the veranda and watched. One couple, in particular, got her full attention.
So in love. So…not together. Not yet, anyway.
They were older. Probably rapidly approaching 60. He was swinging her sharply around, even though the move was totally out of synch with the music. And she was looking into his eyes and laughing with abandon.
It was a beautiful sight.
She smiled, in spite of her sour mood.
"May I join you?"
Uh, oh. Buzz kill alert.
She moved over and let Grissom join her on the bench.
He brushed her shoulder with his own.
"I saw your car in the lot. I was worried."
"I don't know. The holidays bring out strange emotions in people."
Direct Buzz kill hit. With all the subtlety of an B-52 coming in for a landing.
"You're kidding me. You think I'd work a crime scene like this and then off myself because I didn't get to spend the evening with Dick Clark?"
"No, of course not. Dick Clark?"
"New Year's Rocking Eve? Don't you ever turn that little box with the pictures in it ON?"
"Of course I watch TV. And know who Dick Clark and New Year's Rocking eve are…but, I just didn't picture you watching that."
"No, you pictured me doing…what? Once you set me free tonight? Picking up some random guy? Drinking myself into a New Year's stupor? Or hanging myself from the rafters of that ballroom?" She knew she was getting herself worked up, probably over nothing, but…really…enough was quite enough.
"Sara…I'm sorry. None of this was…I never thought about any of this. I really didn't know what you had planned for this evening. All I knew was that I ruined it for you. Well, work ruined it for you and I didn't even realize it was past midnight until it was too late. And I really wasn't thinking about you doing something strange. I thought about someone else potentially doing you harm…you know, foul play? The types of actions we run into every day? "
Of course. Now, she was feeling borderline foolish. What else was new?
She took a deep breath and tried to laugh it off.
"Oh, well. Never mind, then. I guess controlling my need to rant should be on the top of the resolution list, huh?"
He smiled and brushed her shoulder again.
"Why did you really come out here?"
"I don't know."
"Yeah, I guess I kind of do."
"Did you have actual plans or were you just talking about the televised celebrations?"
"No, I just meant in general. I miss celebrating life. The celebrations of life. Most of the time, I don't even remember to miss them…it's…sad."
"I guess it is," he said, and went into immediate pensive mode. Her middle-aged couple was still at it. He was kind of hard to read. She …wasn't. God, that was something else she missed. She missed celebrating love. Those moments when being in love made the blood in your veins course a little faster, a lot warmer.
She remembered her first year in Vegas. Her blood was doing a lot of that in those days. She still felt remnants once in a while but, now, it was bittersweet. She just didn't know what, if anything, Grissom allowed himself to feel for her. And his resolve to not get involved with her still seemed to be going strong, in spite of that moment in his office a week ago when he seemed to be on the verge of…something. The fact of the matter was, he never went beyond the verge. No follow through. Not this time, not ever. So, what good were warm tingles? Other than to remind her of what she probably would never have?
"They look happy," Grissom said, looking at the couple she had stared at before.
"I think they are. But there's something in the way there."
He watched them in silence for awhile. "Yes," he finally said. "I agree. She seems happy but there is a tension there. He seems more relaxed."
"She's hanging on to the moment."
"Is that what it is?"
"I think so. She let's go for a second and then waits for the next moment. And … moments pass," she said, suddenly feeling a bit melancholy. Until the next song. "Ooh, Misty. I love Johnny Mathis," she said, without thinking about how strange that might sound to her bench mate.
Grissom turned to her then. "You? Ms. 'Doesn't This Thing Play Heavy Metal 'when we're in a car together, likes Johnny Mathis?"
She shrugged and smiled softly. It was nice to surprise him. "I like thinking back to what life must have been like in the late 50s or early 60s. Everyone had their assigned roles. Kind of a step back for womankind, but…maybe life was easier back then. What do you suppose I would have been to you back then? A secretary?"
"Maybe you wouldn't have worked for me," he said, his tone even and measured. "I could picture you as a pioneer in some field, in spite of the confines of the time you might have been born into."
"Pioneer, huh? Well, maybe then you could have worked for me."
He laughed. "Maybe."
She was feeling a bit mischievous. "And, you know what? On a night like this, I'd throw a New Year's party and probably serve you a bit too much champagne, just to see you break out of stodgy work-mode, and then I'd be a totally inappropriate boss and ask you to dance to Misty with me."
He looked at her again, his expression unreadable.
"Well, you are about fifty-five years and 3 minutes too late. The song is almost over."
"Par for the course, I guess," she said, listening to the last lines of the song as it faded into the distance and watching as her newly discovered second-favorite couple shared a tentative kiss. "You know, Grissom, I…don't make New Year's resolutions, but…I really would like to make you see me as someone other than what I seem to have turned into this past year or so. I…did know how to celebrate. Life. Love. All that stuff. I wasn't always so dour."
Now, his unreadable face registered surprise. "I know that."
"Do you? Do you really?"
"Of course. I was actually feeling that way myself when I asked you to come to Vegas. Too much responsibility—coming too quickly. I thought I was going to lose myself in the process of becoming 'the boss.' I asked you to come because I knew you'd snap me right out of it. And you did. I know…things have turned in some strange directions, but I never lost sight of that Sara Sidle. And I know she's still very much a part of you."
Just the other day, she spelled out her reasons for coming to the lab. Just in case he forgot. And now, he confirmed her suspicions of why he asked her. He did know her. And he trusted her. At least she'd always have that. Damn. She felt her eyes get a bit misty themselves.
"When is the last time you rode a roller coaster, Gris?"
"I don't know. Too long ago, I guess..."
"Are they open tonight, do you think?"
"I doubt it. But…" he stood up and cleared his throat…"Look at me, I'm as helpless as a kitten up a tree," he croaked in what she supposed was a Johnny Mathis imitation.
She started to laugh, while he held out his hand.
"I'll stop singing if you would afford me the pleasure of this highly inappropriate New Year's dance," he said, no doubt or hesitation in his eyes this time.
She stopped laughing and put her hand in his.
It was big and warm and a teeny, tiny part of a long-held dream.
How could she resist?
Sara Sidle had, indeed, been wistful.
Sometimes, looking at her broke his heart.
Too many of her moments, deferred. Denied. All those frustrating D words. He supposed he was, at least partially, to blame. But, tonight was really not about analyzing "issues" too deeply.
He watched her as she looked into his eyes.
She wasn't holding onto this moment with desperation. She was just…soaking it in. Enjoying it. And he was enjoying dancing slowly in the shadows of the veranda, in work clothes, holding his employee and not thinking too much about propriety.
He'd blame the dance, as well as the soft kiss he placed on the back of her hand at the end of their performance, on moonlight or the champagne they didn't drink, or the way-too-many hours they worked.
Or maybe he wouldn't blame it on anything. It was just something special to hold onto.
Until the day he felt he was ready to hold onto Sara…
Voluminous author's notes:
Disclaimer: I moved the time line for Snakes up by about a week. In actuality (according to Google), it aired the first week of January, but that didn't suit my purposes and it was so out of place in that yucky episode that I am sure it was MEANT to be on a pre-Christmas episode. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Misty was written by Erroll Garner and Johnny Burke. My favorite version belongs to the man himself, Johnny Mathis. It reached #12, in 1959, which—yes, kiddies—means Grissom was wrong! (Alert the media!)
I suppose this is a song fic but I'm not quoting too many lyrics because it's all about the delivery of the song. I'll tag them onto the end.
And this is where the inspiration came from (not that anyone asked but I feel like chatting). I was on my way to the family Christmas Eve gathering. In the back of my uncle's car, listening to the oldies station play Christmas classics. And a Johnny Mathis Christmas song came on and I started blathering about how much I loved him and I really should buy a CD. So, I did. The Essential JM. And, on it, was Misty—and I got…well, misty myself. Such a romantic song and it put me in a semi-melancholy mode. So, never one to waste a good depression—I channeled it into something positive for Grissom and Sara.
2010-be kind to all of us, please.
Again, thank you so much for reading. You bring me great joy and I thank you for it.
Look at me,
I'm as helpless as a kitten up a tree
And I feel like I'm clinging to a cloud
I can't understand,
I get misty just holding your hand
Walk my way,
And a thousand violins begin to play
Or it might be the sound of your hello
That music I hear,
I get misty the moment you're near
You can say that you're leading me on
But it's just what I want you to do
Don't you notice how hopelessly I'm lost
That's why I'm following you
On my own,
Would I wander through this wonderland alone
Never knowing my right foot from my left
My hat from my glove
I'm too misty, and too much in love
(HAPPY New Year!)