Disclaimer: I do not own or profit from the CSI franchise. Unless I am expressly told that I have to do so, I am not going to state this obvious misfortune at the beginning of every chapter. I think once per story ought to be enough.

Notes: In this story, Grissom and Sara are married. Sara still works at the lab, and Grissom makes a living as a traveling professor and field researcher, but is home in Vegas with Sara a lot more often than our favorite show currently has him at home. Please read and review; I hope you enjoy this!


A Different Kind of Family

As Sara slammed her locker door at the lab, she was looking forward to getting home to bed. While Hank was the only one she'd get to share the bed with tonight, the idea of comfortable sheets and even dog drool was comforting after such a long, tiring shift. She threw an absent-minded "See ya later!" at Greg as she headed toward the lab doors. Twenty-five minutes later, she pulled into her numbered parking space outside the townhouse she and Grissom had bought together. Moving hastily to the front door, Sara unlocked the door, shoved Hank off her chest as he bounded up to greet her, and then took care of all the little home making and dog owning tasks required of her every morning.

Finally, Sara sat, legs folded neatly beneath her, on the worn, brown leather couch. She had just picked up the phone to call her husband when the doorbell rang. What on earth? Sara contemplated who could be at the door: Grissom was in Atlanta and wouldn't ring the doorbell anyway. The dog sitter wasn't picking Hank up for another 8 hours, and besides, she usually knocked. Greg had been known to drop by for the occasional impromptu visit, but he was due in court at 10:00. Nick? Catherine? The Fed Ex delivery guy? Really? Knowing she hadn't recently placed any online orders, Sara was slightly wary of the thick manila envelope she was eyeing through the peep-hole in the door, but knowing there was only one way to find out what it was, she opened the door, signed for the envelope, and headed back to the couch, only after the Fed Ex guy wished her a Happy Mother's Day. Ha!

Sara had completely forgotten about Mother's Day. While she should have wished Catherine a Happy Mother's Day before heading out of the lab this morning, she'd see her again tonight and could tell her then. It's not like she really had any reason to remember Mother's Day. Yes, she had had a mom once upon a time, but it wasn't like they were close; Sara didn't even know if she was still alive. Her musings about her mother were short lived; the mysterious manila envelope was crying out for her attention.

All of her years working as a CSI had taught Sara to be overly cautious, so she was tempted to grab some latex gloves before opening the envelope when she noticed it had no return address. Her address had been typed and printed onto a sticky label. The post-mark appeared to be from Savanna. Georgia? Who the hell would send me something from Savanna? Wait a minuteā€¦ how far apart are Savanna and Atlanta? Figuring her sneaky husband was to blame for the appearance of the Fed-Ex guy, Sara smiled to herself and wondered at the lengths Gil would go to to surprise her. No return address. Whatever. She'd know the minute she opened the envelope that it was from him, so why bother driving to another city to keep her guessing for 30 more seconds than if he'd just written his name on the envelope? Sometimes, he was too endearing. Grinning, Sara eagerly slit the envelope open and pulled out a rather thick stack of papers, stapled together and bearing the title "Nevada Department of Health and Human Services" and the subtitle "Division of Child and Family Services." What?

As she moved her glance away from the rather confusing words she'd just read, Sara noticed a piece of yellow legal pad paper hanging halfway out of the envelope she had haphazardly tossed onto the coffee table. Hoping for an explanation, she tore the paper away from the envelope. In Grissom's handwriting, she read:

Dearest Sara, If I was home right now, I can guarantee I'd be seeing your eyebrows slanting downward and several creases in your forehead right now as a result of the contents of the envelope you just opened. I don't know how far into the packet you delved before noticing this note, but if I guess correctly, you've done nothing more than read the heading. If that's the case, Sara, I beg you to look carefully through each and every page of that packet. Think carefully about the implications. Call me. I will, of course, stand by any decision you make, but I truly feel that this could be a blessing for you, for us. Happy Mother's Day. I love you. Gil

Sara was more confused than ever. Happy Mother's Day? What on earth is he on about? She picked up the packet and began to peruse it. Grissom had painstakingly filled out all 27 pages of the Foster Parent Application packet, minus her signatures in various places. Foster Parent? Is he kidding me? Oh, dear God, tell me he's kidding me! Gil may have been able to pull off flirtatious teasing now and then and could certainly come up with a witty quote for any and every situation, but send her a joke about becoming a foster parent? Not likely. In no universe would she have found such a joke funny, and while he was often oblivious to people's feelings, Sara's husband certainly knew and understood that her past as a foster child was not something to tease her about. If he's not joking, this is for real. He really wants us to be foster parents.

Poor Hank was probably getting dizzy swiveling his head back and forth, back and forth, watching Sara restlessly pace across the family room floor. Her facial expressions changed so often, it seemed the dog didn't know when it was safe to approach her; he seemed glued to his spot on the hardwood floor. After 3 hours of pacing, perusing the packet, throwing it back onto the coffee table, picking it back up, scowling at it, crying, smiling, running her hands through her hair, cursing out loud, remembering her life as a foster child, and silently damning her husband for forcing those memories upon her, Sara grabbed her cell phone.