A/N: Thanks for reading! A note about MRI: the imaging does no harm to a fetus but there is a possibility the noise may affect a baby's hearing, so that's the reason Sara was padded for her MRI.
Now-on to this chapter!
When Sara sank to the porch, feeling as if her head was splitting open from some unseen blow, everything around her seemed to unfold so slowly that it became dreamlike, and for that reason she wasn't quite as scared as she should have been. Yet somewhere in her brain, she understood that her day was being radically altered.
When cold water hit the back of her throat, she gagged and tried to vomit. Sunlight dimmed and she knew she was falling before the light became a gray nothing. It was a while before she realized there were hands all over her—not in a bad way—as she felt her body being lifted, no effort extended on her part, as she was moved, gently, as someone held her head. And voices she did not recognize were asking her questions she could not answer. Or maybe she didn't want to answer because her head ached so horribly—unbearable to the extent that she sighed and rolled back into an unconscious state.
Without knowing how she knew, time had passed—minutes or hours—because the air had changed, the sounds had changed. She was cooler; the air was purer. For a few minutes her brain responded to some stimulus and she swam to a confused wakefulness. The whirring thumping she heard knocked her memory back to a time when she was fighting for her life—and she fought again. If life was playing some strange trick of fate, pushing her back to that night in the desert, she wasn't going without a fight. When she cried for the one person she trusted to save her, she did not get a response—just more questions—questions she did not understand.
In her semi-conscious state, she realized she was in a helicopter with three strangers, one repeating over and over that she was going to the hospital. A cool relief flooded her body. Her last thought before passing into unconsciousness was the relief was so rapid it had to come from drugs.
Somehow, Sara dragged herself out of nothingness, no memory of a dream, past caring, a welcomed oblivion from the dreadful ache in her head and heard a beloved voice near her ear. Attempting to open her eyes to see the wavy curls of hair gone white, the lined, patient features of his adored face, and the blue eyes looking into hers with love and longing, she relaxed and tried to smile, tried to open eyes that would not cooperate with her wishes.
She wanted to say, "Help me, Gil."
And he responded as if he had heard by kissing her cheek, by touching her face, and by whispering very clearly into her ear that he loved her. She tried to say "yellow—as splendid as the sun" when he talked about painting the baby's room. The baby—she had forgotten—how could she forget she was pregnant? But she could not be in labor—having a baby was nothing like this. Her scrambled thoughts coalesced into a certainty—she had a baby and his name was Will. And she was going to have another. How could she have forgotten not one baby, but two! The pain in her head had drained her of the ability to think—she was a wife and a mother—she had married Gil Grissom, she had his child, a son, and soon she would have his daughter. She wanted to laugh, but the thought caused her headache to return with a vengeance.
Drifting between a whirling dream-filled sleep and a medically induced blankness, Sara tried to focus on the one constant certainty of her life—she loved Gil Grissom and he loved her. His face would come into focus for a moment, and then go away on a tide of pain; but the memory persisted, and while he was with her she knew she would not die.
As Sara was carefully and skillfully placed into an anesthetized sleep by a team of Las Vegas' best anesthesiologists and neurosurgeons, a small rectangle of her scalp was gently shaved of its dark hair; the woman doing it had performed this process dozens of times and her secret talent lay in removing only as much hair as needed for the incision. She had practiced leaving enough hair so that if surgery was not a success, the family's last image would not be flawed by the lack of hair on their loved ones head.
Another equally talented and proficient team of obstetric and neonatal professionals tended to an array of extremely sensitive monitors on the small baby within Sara's body. In these rare circumstances of particularly delicate surgery on a pregnant woman, the baby was considered and treated as a separate patient. Blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels were monitored for any irregularity as carefully as those of the surgical patient.
While Sara's skull was drilled, cut, and removed, while her brain was delicately parted to expose a ballooning aneurysm almost an inch in diameter and a tiny titanium clip attached to its neck, her husband waited. He made no attempt to hide his fears as his hands twisted, his eyes darkened, and his face etched with helplessness.
As promised, a nurse arrived every fifteen to twenty minutes with an update, a progress report—Sara and her baby were fine—repeated three or four times in one hour. Grissom's response was a nod, a word of appreciation, as his mother tightened her hold on his hand. In the time it took for all three to settle into their seats, to say a few words of relief, the anxious waiting began as they waited for the next report.
Catherine had always been able to get her good friend to talk but today his responses were monosyllables that turned into bare recognition of her presence. She left the small room and returned with cups of coffee, muffins, and magazines—and made two telephone calls while she was gone. Returning, she placed one of the cups in Grissom's hand.
"Drink this, Gil." She tore a muffin in half and placed it in his free hand. "Eat," she commanded. "I called Nick to report and Will is in the bathtub, happy as a clam. They are staying with him until…and I called Jim Brass."
Grissom looked up. "Jim?" A ghost of a smile crept around the corners of his mouth. "We haven't seen him in weeks. He was going to Alaska on a cruise—and drive back."
"He's coming over," Catherine said. The waiting could go on for hours and she wanted a friend, another person who Grissom trusted to be here.
Another update came; this time Grissom stood as the nurse entered the room, shook her hand and thanked her. After she left, Grissom leaned against the wall.
"How much longer, Catherine?"
She stood and placed a hand on his back. "It could take five hours."
"What would I do without her?" His voice quivered, barely a whisper. "For so long, I was such a fool."
Catherine started to protest; Betty moved to his side just as a soft knock tapped against the door.
Jim Brass stuck his head into the room; his face was a map of worried concern, but, seeing the anguished faces, he managed a smile before asking, "How's our girl doing?"
Grissom stumbled, hesitant in forming a response.
Catherine pulled him into a hug. "It's so good to see you, Jim! So far Sara's doing fine—we get a report every fifteen minutes." She hugged him again. "I'm so glad you came!"
He hugged Betty Grissom and signed a compliment that made her laugh. Turning to Grissom, he said, "My mother always said a sorrow shared is a sorrow halved. You should have called me hours ago. What about the baby?"
The frankness of Jim's question might have startled another person, but Catherine smiled as Grissom answered. "The baby is being monitored—she's okay but there's the possibility of premature delivery." He sat down and everyone else did the same. "You should have seen all the people with her—enough doctors to stuff a ballroom at the Bellagio." He raked a hand across his face. "She doesn't want to live in a vegetative state—not as an invalid." Tears filled his eyes and just as quickly, he wiped them away. "I don't know what I'll do—she has to be okay—I—I don't know what I'd do without her."
Brass cleared his throat. "Don't go there, Gil. Sara's going to be fine. She doesn't know all this is going on—and when she wakes up, you need to be the face she sees. And don't look like you are standing at her graveside." He chuckled. "Remember when I got shot? When I woke up and saw your face, I knew angels didn't look like Gil Grissom, so I was still living—now if Catherine had been there…" He chuckled again. "How are you doing, Catherine? Are you happy to be home?"
Quickly, Catherine responded, "Very! I didn't realize how much I'd miss the place until I left." She wrinkled up her nose. "And federal employment is great—but not for me. I like to have my head on the same pillow night after night."
"I tried to tell you to stay in Vegas," Grissom said; his eyebrow lifted slightly as he spoke.
She laughed, "You were one to talk—if I remember correctly, you were gallivanting all over the world at the time! Poor Sara was holding down the home front—and you were home once a month!"
Betty, who had been lip reading the conversation, laughed and started signing. Grissom translated, laughing as he did. "She says she would never have had grandchildren but Sara put her foot down and ordered me to come home." He signed as he spoke, "How did I get to be the subject of this conversation? Jim asked if you were happy to be home!"
Catherine talked while Grissom signed. She had returned to Vegas, was spending a lot of time upgrading her house, and taken a position on the board of her father's casino. "Not much actual work, but I'm there for the ribbon cuttings." She had traveled for the FBI for several years, "not many murders, but financial and white collar stuff" she explained.
"Didn't you investigate a murder in Florida?" Brass asked.
"Oh, right—I talked to you about that one. A lawyer's wife from Tennessee was killed in Florida and the FBI got involved because locals thought it was a contract murder—across state lines—that was one of my first cases." She shared the results, adding, "That case was shown on one of those crime television shows because the killer was never found."
Brass and Grissom shook heads as Brass said, "Some never get solved—we've had our share."
A knock on the door stopped their talk; as the door opened, Grissom stood. Dr. Tippen, the neurosurgeon, stood in the doorway. Sara had been in surgery for nearly three hours.
A/N: Thank you! We appreciate hearing from you and more to come!