Disclaimer: CSI and its characters are the property of CBS and Alliance/Alantis Networks, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. I'm writing this story for entertainment purpose only. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's note: I wrote this story a few weeks ago. I hope you'll like it! Enjoy!
A huge thank you to Missy, Devanie and of course Geena! You're the best!
English is not my native/first language. If you find an annoying writing error in this story, please email me (instead of mentioning it in a review) and I will correct it immediately. Thanks!
With All My Heart
Drip, drip, drip, drip… A strange and unfamiliar sound fills the room. It's dominating – silencing any other sound – and almost deafening. It doesn't belong here; it doesn't belong anywhere. The sound stands for everything that is bad and isn't supposed to be.
He opens his eyes slowly. His vision is hazy and for a few seconds the room is a complete blur. The sharp light of the fluorescent lamps blinds him and he sees moving, bright-colored spots on the white walls. Everything is white. The walls, the floor, the ceiling, the closet, the bedside table… Everything. It makes the atmosphere cold and impersonal.
His gaze hesitantly travels to the bed next to him. The bed is also white, just like the sheets and pillows. He tries not to look at the person on the bed – her appearance is more than he can bear – but somehow he can't stop himself. He's being drawn to her presence.
She's lying still. So still that for a dreadful moment he's afraid that she's dead. But the monitors standing next to the bed reassure him that she is very much alive. Her heart is still beating in the same rhythm as yesterday. The line moves periodically up and down. Liquid is dripping into an IV in her hand.
Carefully he takes her hand in his, pressing her fingers against his cheek. They're cold, almost as cold as the victim's fingers he often has to touch. He wishes he could make them warm again. He wishes a lot of things, but he can't do anything besides sitting here, talking to her and letting her know that she isn't alone. It's all he can do for her, but it's not enough.
It's not enough for everyone. Nick, Warrick and Catherine… They come here every day, relieving each other so that there's always someone with her in case she wakes up. Even Lindsey often comes to visit her, talking to her about school or some silly story about her doll's adventures.
Catherine has tried her best to make the room more personal, more comfortable. Flowers are standing on the bedside table, together with a picture of the entire team that they made a few weeks ago before all of this happened. On the foot of the bed lies a teddy bear. He knows it's Lindsey's. The girl wanted to leave it here for comfort, for when she wakes up. They all want her to wake up – to make this nightmare end – but no one knows when that will happen. Maybe never.
He looks at her, letting his eyes run over her face, printing every line, every curve in memory. Her name is written on the door and on the chart, but if he didn't know any better, he would say that this isn't her. Not anymore at least. He's holding the hand of someone he doesn't recognize. She's so entirely different from the woman he once knew.
Her skin is pale, translucent even. It's almost as white as the sheets, making her look like a porcelain doll that you put in a showcase. The one you look at from time to time, but don't touch because you're afraid of breaking it.
Her eyes are closed; her thick black eyelashes lie scattered on her pale cheeks. She used to have such a bright complexion. The moment he opened the doors to the break room and handed out the assignments, he could see the sparkle in her eyes and the anticipation and excitement written all over her face. He loved watching her enthusiasm. She was so lively. She…
He shakes his head widely. He doesn't want to think of her as in the past tense. She's not dead. She's still alive. As long as her heart keeps beating there's still hope. He has to remember that; it's his only straw right now.
He startles out of his disturbing thoughts when he hears a door being opened. A young nurse appears next to him. She has come to check the monitors and update the charts. He can see a trace of sympathy in her eyes as she looks at him, but it is soon covered by the mask of professionalism that she has to maintain. He can relate to her. He knows that you can't get personally involved. He not with his cases, she not with her patients.
And so she doesn't know the story behind the picture of the man holding the woman's hand. She knows everything about the woman's condition, but she doesn't know who the woman is. The nurse has never heard her laughter, never heard her hum or sing and never seen the broad smile on her face. She doesn't even know the color of her patient's eyes: brown with little golden spots.
He knows her as a person. He knows her better than anyone else probably does. And that's what makes it so difficult. He always tried to seclude himself from others, and he was pretty good at it, but this time he has failed miserably. In so little time she has become so special to him, much more than just a subordinate.
That's also the reason why he's feeling so much anger and despair now. Normally he always made sure that he had total control over everything he did, but now there's nothing he can do. Everything has been taken out of his hands. He feels powerless.
He stands up. The atmosphere in the room is suddenly very tense, threatening to choke him. Gently he places her hand back on the white blanket.
"I will be right back," he says softly, though he doubts whether she can hear him. Still, he feels the need to talk to her, to let her know that he is not leaving her.
Outside, in the hallway, the buzzing drives away the fog in his mind. He starts walking without really knowing where to go. He has no sense of direction whatsoever. He turns the corner, only to find himself in another corridor. They all look the same: white, impersonal and cold. The smell of disinfectant is nauseating. Nurses are walking around, talking and laughing. Every day they are surrounded by so much misery – they have to experience death, sadness and despair – yet they can still laugh.
He keeps on walking until he finds himself standing in front of a door. A frown appears on his face when he realizes where he is. It's strange. Why would he go here? Normally this would be the last place he would go to, but now in this frightening and uncertain situation it's only logical. He knows that this is exactly what he needs.
He opens the door and steps into the room. The serenity of the place immediately descends on him. It is a holy serenity. He walks over to the bench, silently crosses himself and sits down. There is no one in the chapel. He's all alone with his thoughts and fears. And he is thankful for that. He does not want anyone to see his struggle, to see his pain. He does not want to hear the crying of someone else – the crying that will break the silence – right now he has enough of his own distress.
The church is beautiful in its own special way. Paintings cover the white painted walls. They portray the Way of the Cross. In the front there's a small marble altar, covered with a red cloth and surrounded by several beautiful bouquets and wreaths.
Dozens of candles light the room. Their bright flames cast strange, almost eerie shadows on the walls. It seems as if they're playing a game of hide and seek. It fascinates him. The way the shapes change, how they almost touch each other and then go their separate ways again. And how slowly the flames die, one by one.
He smiles wryly. The flames remind him of his own situation. Their game is his reality. It's a reality of attracting and rejecting, afraid of coming too close, but yet at the same time drawn by this irresistible attraction. He knew what was standing right in front of him, but he chose to close his eyes for her. It has taken him this terrible accident to understand what he is about to lose. And although he knows that things will have to change, the thought that he has to open up and let her into his life is terrifying. But he will do it. He has to, if he doesn't want to lose her again. If it's not too late already.
The peaceful silence in the chapel slows down the fast beating of his heart. He sits there for what seems like hours. When there's nothing to be done, people come to this place to turn to the last person who can help them. But unlike them his lips don't move. He does not pray for her. He does not ask God to heal her, to make her better. He doesn't say anything. In his perception it would be egoistic of him to do so. He does not pray, he does not speak with God or go to confession. He doesn't think you need to pray and confess to truly believe. He believes in God, but in his own way.
And so he remains silent. His glassy, almost icy gaze is focused on the cross that is hanging above the altar. His hands lay still and helpless, like a bird that can't fly, on his lap. There's nothing to be done. There's nothing to be said. He closes his eyes, becoming one with the silence.
Slowly he opens his eyes again. It takes him a few seconds before he remembers where he is. He feels like he's waking up from a dream or, more accurately, a nightmare. He shifts on his chair. His legs are slightly contorted; his hands clenched. His whole body is tense. It's a feeling he has not experienced in a very long time.
He heaves a deep sigh. It's time to go back and face his demons again. She needs him. Reluctantly he stands up and looks around for one last time, taking in the impressions the place has left on him. The activity and commotion in the hallway contrast sharply with the silence of the chapel. Reality hits him in the face, and he begins to make his way back to her room. He's only a few meters away from it, when something makes him freeze in his tracks.
Catherine is standing next to the door, her back against the wall. She has hiddenher face in her hands, but he can see that she's crying. Her shoulders shake from restrained tears. She looks so lonely, so lost.
His mouth becomes dry. His stomach contracts and shivers start running down his spine, as if his heart has suddenly turned into a chunk of ice. Her crying can mean only one thing. 'No.' He closes his eyes, trying to dismiss what he already knows. This can't be true. Not her.
"Is she…?" he wants to ask. His lips move, but no sound comes out. His voice falters as emotions overwhelm him.
Catherine looks up, suddenly aware of his presence. Her eyes glisten of unshed tears, but her face isn't contorted with sadness or pain.
"Is she…?" His voice is husky this time, more like a whisper.
Catherine conjures up a trembling smile. She quickly shakes her head, taking away some of his worries. "No, she isn't. She's awake. Sara is awake.
Slowly the words get through to him, though his mind doesn't seem willing to comprehend them. Something about Sara? About waking up?
Then without thinking twice he walks straight pass Catherine, knowing that she would understand, and storms into the room. At first sight nothing seems to have changed. She's lying on the bed, just as still as always. But then he notices that everything has changed in fact. The tubes have been removed; the dripping sound of liquid is gone. The loud and escalating beating of his heart has taken over the role of dominating sound.
He sits down next to her. "Sara?" he asks softly, hesitantly even as if he's afraid of saying her name. And he is. He's afraid that he will be disappointed, that they made a mistake.
His heart misses several beats when he sees her eyelids tremble. He holds his breath as she opens her beautiful, brown eyes. For a moment she has trouble focusing, but then she senses the presence of someone at her side. Slowly she turns her head to see who it is. Recognition appears in her eyes when she sees her supervisor. Her lips curl as a warm feeling surges through her body. He has come. She needs him so much – especially now – and he has come to her. Finally.
Her voice, soft and husky, is the most beautiful sound he has heard in a long time. The fear in his eyes makes place for relief, his breathing becomes regular again and the sinking feeling that has been haunting him for so long disappears at the sound of her voice.
"Sara." Grissom takes her hand in his. "You gave us quite a scare." He pauses for a few seconds, then continues in a whisper: "Don't ever do that again."
There's so much more he wants to say to her, things he should have said a long time ago, but it can wait. He has her back; that's all that matters.
Sara blinks her eyes with difficulty. He can see that fatigue has taken over again. He is right. She's so tired. She feels like she has worked for months at a row without a single day off. Her eyelids feel like lead; she has trouble keeping them open. And actually she doesn't want to. She wants to sleep again, to slip into the comforting and beckoning darkness of dreams.
"Tired," she murmurs.
Grissom smiles. "Then go back to sleep."
She looks intently at him with all the strength she has left. "Will you be here…?" Her voice is pressing.
He squeezes her hand reassuringly. "I won't leave you. I promise. Now go to sleep. You need to rest."
Sara's features soften as she lets her eyes close. Just before she travels to dreamland, she feels some light pressure on her lips. As if someone kisses her…
I hope you liked this story. Please let me know what you think of it. Thank you! - Karin -