So I wanted to write something different- I'm so use to writing Greg as the good guy and I thought you know what let's give this a go.
Huge shout out to Charlie for all of the help getting this written.
Warning: Contains alcoholism, physical/verbal abuse
Please review- let me know what you think.
Disclaimer: I own zilch
Walking On Ashes
The darkness seemed to consume her as she brought her knees to her chest sitting in the centre of the bed her eye focused on the beam of light drifting from the crack in the door to the foot of the bed. It was a night like any other. She had been restlessly waiting for his entrance, the fireworks, and the frustrations as he staggered through the front door but now the noise filled her ears she wanted for it all to impede.
"Sara" It was the sound of her own name being called from the hallway that sent a shiver down her spine. Greg's voice came out in a slur as the sound of him stumbling at the bottom the stairs travelled to her.
"I'm coming" She replied realising that perhaps the best thing she could do was to meet his drunken demands; it had become second nature to follow his instructions. Sara recognised that his temperament wouldn't allow for rational thinking and her resistance would only add fuel to the fire forcing his hand into an onslaught of castigation.
Sara made her way down the stairs nervously pulling on the pyjama top as she approached the ground floor of their house. Greg laid in a heap by the front door a dazed smile on his lips as he stared aimlessly into the distance. The deep purple of the bruise beneath his right eye stood out against his skin, the grazes across the cheek and the blood dripping slowly from his lip speaking of where he had been that night.
"You should see the other guy..." He gloated forcing the words into the air. Sara rushed to him her heart leaping into her throat as she tried to pull him to his feet. With a small amount of resistance Greg let her help him to the kitchen, his exhausted body leaning against the sink as she soothed the grazes with a damp cloth removing small bits of gravel as she went.
"What have you done to yourself...?" She muttered under her breath but it was loud enough for Greg to hear his mood visibly shifting. She tried to avoid the storm brewing in his eyes, the vicious glare he now wore burned into her skin until she felt herself physically flinching from it.
"You think I did this to myself?" he spat, his eyes never leaving her.
She withdrew her hand, the blood soaked cloth suddenly feeling incredibly heavy. She had been here before, on the receiving end of a tirade for saying the wrong thing. She wondered if she would ever learn the art of keeping quiet and disappearing into the shadow's when he was like this.
"That's not what I meant Greg I..." She mumbled attempting to sooth him realising that her words were being wasted.
"Then what did you mean?" He growled at her demanding to know. She studied his eyes, hers pleading for a sign that deep down he was still the man she was so desperately in love with.
"I...I just...It did mean anything..." Sara tired to turn away by his hand had found her jaw forcing her to look at him. At the blood and bruising his features had endured.
She involuntarily took a step back, the alcohol on his breath churning her stomach and the anger radiating from him overwhelming her. The fear in her eyes went unnoticed but her retreat did not. Within second's he closed the space between them, backing her up against the counter with no means of escape.
"What did you mean Sara?" he hissed, his nose almost touching her cheek as he moved her about with ease. The sweat beading on his brow mingled with the blood, streaking down his face like raindrops on a window. She tried to focus on them; on the path they took rather than see the hatred in his eyes. She couldn't bear to see him like this.
With one single movement he had her pinned against the counter, her head colliding with the open door and rattling against it violently. For a second she was dazed and unsure what had happened, a warm bead of moisture slid down from her temple and even without the bright red staining on her fingers she knew it was blood.
"This is your fault" he muttered indicating to her head, the anger seemingly seeping out of his body as exhaustion took over.
She nodded, words forming in her throat but falling silent on her lips as she stood there awaiting her fate but he didn't move. He didn't strike, he didn't shout, he didn't throw her around like she expected. He didn't even move away from her it was like he was frozen there.
"Greg...?" she questioned quietly, hoping she was doing the right thing.
His eyes opened slowly, a frown furrowing his brow as he looked at her. Without a word she went back to cleaning his wounds, pressing the cloth against his head as tenderly as she could. Greg seemed to completely still, not moving an inch as Sara finished cleaning him up.
"Let's get you bed..." She smiled softly moving towards him her body stiffing as she did so, deep down scared he would lash out at her. But nothing happened. Greg simply just moved in the direction she guided him in his expression blank.
They made their way up stairs in silence barely looking at each other not wanting to confront the emotions that the night had stirred. He sat down on the edge of the bed staring at the wall in front of him. Sara carefully undressed him placing his bloodied clothes aside to be washed separately, placing the blanket over him. His eyes were closed within seconds his body giving into the tiredness.
Sara crept to the bathroom switching on the bright light illuminating the space; standing before the mirror she examined the cut on her head. The blood had dried but as she cleaned it away it became clear that the corner of the cupboard door had left a deep impression.
She could feel her hands shake as she ran the cloth in her hand under the water watching the diluted blood disappear down the drain. Turning the taps off, she glanced at herself in the mirror again her heart pounding in her chest as she took in the fine details of her reflection.
The feelings that had flooded her body that night were not new. They had been forced upon her before by someone other than Greg. And as Sara studied herself she realised that she had promised herself that she would never feel this way again. She could imagine with such detail the smell of whiskey on her father's breath, the feeling of his hands gripping hold of her and the hatred in his eyes as he punished her for something she did not understand.
Greg had looked at her that way; his brown eyes would darken and narrow as his mind created a supernova of destruction.
Sara could almost remember every one of the words that had been hurled at her as she lay curled up in a ball hoping that her father would forget her existence. The darkness that surrounded her as the shadows hide her body for an escape remained like dark clouds in the present.
The way Greg had imposed himself upon her forced her chest to constrict as the feeling of suffocation filled her airways; the way he had towered over her pressing his body firmly against hers silently speaking of the control he could obtain by lifting a hand to her.
What had happened to her will to fight? Sara thought taking a deep breath as she tried to stop herself from trembling. All of these years she had spent trying not become her mother seemed to disappear into a haze. Greg had broken down her barriers, and she had trusted him with everything she had been afraid to give any other man.
But after all of this time- she was scared.
She was scared of losing the man he was when alcohol didn't cloud his judgement and tense his fists. She was scared that by walking away she would be leaving him when he needed her the most.
He hadn't become this way overnight, life didn't beat you down with one punch. It wore down on you over a period of time and Greg was succumbing to the burdens of life as a CSI. She had seen it many times before. Stronger men than him had been broken by the system and by the injustice. Guilt turned a knot in her stomach when she thought about all the signs he had displayed before he was buried at the end of this path. She should have noticed him slipping; she should have been there to pull him back before it was too late. Now she was left wondering if she was still strong enough to do that.
With a heavy heart Sara made her way to their bedroom watching as he slept soundly oblivious to her worries and anxieties.
As she lay down beside him she recalled how tender he had been with her at the start of their relationship; how his hands would dance across her body in wonderment and how his eyes had washed over her body in adoration. Now that same touch would ignite fear, those same eyes would make her flinch.
Sara turned away from him closing her eyes waiting for sleep to wash over her but her thoughts were haunted by memories of her past, of all of those yeas she had thought she had left behind. Every so often Greg would stir besides her, her heart stopping in her chest as she worried he wake from a nightmare with more anger than before.
The morning light flooded the room after a restless night waking Sara from the slumber her exhausted body had fallen into only a few hours before. She silently pulled herself up climbing out of bed with painful awareness that Greg was still asleep.
She went about her morning routine being careful not to step on the creaky floor boards or make too much noise. The sound of Greg making his way down the stairs caused her breath to hitch slightly but Sara tried her best to ignore it as she continued making breakfast.
"Morning..." He groaned wrapping his arms around her; Sara couldn't help it- she winced at his touch. Greg let go noticing her awkward stance feeling a lump build up in his throat as he stepped away standing besides her leaning against the counter.
"So it was a rough night..." He said attempting to break the silence as Sara leant over the stove stirring porridge.
"Uh-huh" She replied quietly. Greg reached out brushing her hair away from her face, tucking it behind her ear. The cut on her head stood out deep scarlet against the pale skin and she could feel his hand tremble as he pulled away.
"What happened?" He asked looking away to the floor as he prepared himself to hear of the horrors of his behaviour.
"Nothing..." Sara cleared her throat. "Nothing... I walked into an open cupboard door by accident..."
Greg could feel the entire world slow down as he studied her. She kept her eyes focussed on her hands, her breath quivered on her lips and she kept a marked distance between them. His head was pounding, the room was spinning and there was a horrific taste in his mouth but all he could focus on was the mark charring Sara's skin until it was burned into his consciousness.
His memories of the previous night had been washed away with his leftover alcohol as he hunched over the toilet in the early hours. He should have known then when he saw her body stiffen and react to his movements, he should have sensed her fear but his body had wanted nothing more than to collapse back on the bed.
"Sara... is that what really happened?" he muttered quietly, cupping her chin gently in his hand forcing her eyes to meet his. He saw truth in them that he didn't want to see, he saw a burden he didn't want to cause.
"Of course" she whispered with a nervous nod before quickly averting her eyes.
He had done this to her.
The realisation felt heavy in his gut, weighing down his entire body and stealing all the breath from his lungs and even worse than that; she was already lying for him.
He had already turned into the person he always swore he'd never be to her.