by Amanda Hawthorn
Rating: PG-13/ maybe R when finished
Pairing: Grissom/Sara Romance Nick/Sara/Warrick friendship Cath/Sara/Lindsey friendship
Category: Angst/eventual Romance
Spoilers: Lady Heathers Box, Crash and Burn, and could be an alternative Play with Fire
Archive: Sara and Grissom and my site http://www.pink-martini.net/amanda/
Disclaimer: CSI belongs to CBS and Alliance-Atlantis Productions. No infringement intended.
Feedback: Love it, but no flames please I'm fragile!!
Author's Note: This is for my huge online family at the Grissom and Sara Yahoo group. Your support and encouragement means the world to me, as do you all. As always for Niff, Phon, Geena, Rosa and Shroedy, my wonderful friends. Also for Dutchie, who never fails to leave her words of encouragement in every review. Thank you...
Thank you for all of your reviews. Comments on vocabulary have been noted, thanks for pointing that out for me. Also, as requested, this chapter is longer...
Summary: When tragedy strikes in the lab, Sara's maternal instincts leap into motion.
© Amanda Hawthorn August 2003
"Hey," Nick smiled, his obvious delight at seeing a familiar face reaching through to his dark eyes.
"How are you feeling?" Grissom asked softly as he came into the room easing himself down into the chair next to Nick's bed.
"Been better," he mumbled as another wave of pain washed over his body. "Dammit," he groaned.
"Are you okay?" Grissom asked worriedly, climbing to his feet.
"Yeah, just can't move without my leg hurting." Laying back into the pillows, Nick waited for the pain to subside before slowing his breathing to somewhere resembling normalcy.
"Do you want me to find your doctor or something? Maybe you need a new dose of medication."
"Any more and I'll be way out of my head," he smiled only to wince as a twinge of pain reminded him that his body didn't look to kindly on being moved too much.
Grissom sighed heavily as he sat back down into his chair. "What happened Nick? You and Sara are lucky to be alive."
"Wish I knew Griss," Nick whispered brokenly, closing his eyes against the memories that haunted his mind. "We were talking, then Sara took Lindsey to the bathroom and then all I remember was this huge explosion and then the whole place covered in rubble." Turning his head slightly, he watched the change of emotions visible in Grissom's eyes. "How's Sara?"
Looking up, Grissom couldn't hide the smile that danced on his lips when he thought of her. "She's hurt pretty bad."
"I wish I could see her," Nick sighed, closing his eyes as he spoke. "She was blaming herself for Eddie's death again. I found her reading the case file, and well, you know how she can get?"
"Yeah," Grissom nodded, "Yeah I do."
"So I dragged her out of the break room," he smiled "She wasn't exactly kicking and screaming, but you know Sar, she protested anyway!"
"I can imagine," Grissom smiled, visualizing the image in his mind. Sitting forward he lowered his voice a little as he spoke, "Has your doctor explained what's wrong with your leg?"
"Yeah," he sighed, "apparently some of the metal from the chair legs sliced through my thigh and into muscle. It hurt like hell at the time."
"Still hurts like hell," he smiled.
Grissom glanced over to the younger man in the bed and offered him a small smile. "At least you're able to laugh about it."
"Yeah well the way I see it, if it hurts then at least I know it's there right?" Nick closed his eyes briefly then laid back into the pillows.
"I should let you get some rest," Grissom said softly, starting to stand until Nick opened his eyes to watch him.
"No, it's okay," Nick told him with a smile "If you don't mind me saying Griss, you don't look too good yourself."
"Yeah I know," he sighed, "it's been a rough few hours."
"You know Sar's stronger than you think she is. She'll be able to handle this."
Looking up towards his friend again, Grissom felt the tears sting his eyes once more to reveal the depth of feelings that lay hidden beneath his façade. "What if I can't?"
"Well then maybe you should tell her how you feel," Nick offered. "Look she's my best friend, it hasn't been easy for me to watch her go through the hell you've been throwing at her."
"Now I know you didn't realize you were hurting her, but you were. But this is Sara, she's tough and smart." Taking a deep breath he clenched his hands against the sheet that wrinkled beneath the pressure of his fingers, until the wave of pain passed.
"I'll find your doctor," Grissom told him quickly as he stood up. "You shouldn't be in this much pain."
"No," Nick whispered, laying back into the pillows as far back as he could, "he told me to expect this."
"But isn't there anything they can give you to ease it even a little?"
"This IS easing it a little," Nick smiled, his eyes registering the release of pain from his system. "I start physio in a few days so compared to that this is a piece of cake."
Turning around, Grissom came back into the room, returning to the chair beside Nick's bed. "I'll have to go back to the lab at some point. I'm sure Cavallo is reading the riot act right about now."
"You think the lab will still be in use after what happened?" Nick asked in surprise. "I thought Warrick said that they had to set up temporary labs or something."
"I don't know Nick, I haven't been near the lab since they brought Sara in." Grissom's eyes dropped down into his hands, focusing on his fingers as he spoke again, "I don't want to leave her."
"Watch it Griss," Nick grinned, causing his friend to look up and meet his eyes. "Don't let Sara hear you talking like that, she'll kick your ass for sure."
"Yeah," Grissom chuckled, the mental image impacting into his mind. "Right about now, I'd welcome it."
"She's tough," Nick told him seriously. "Look she loves you, she'll fight with everything she's got if she knew you felt the same way as her, and by the looks of you I'd say you do."
"That obvious huh?"
"We've known for the last three years Griss," Nick smiled, "it's just you that didn't see beyond your nose."
"Well it's all changed now," Grissom sighed wistfully, "I thought I'd lost her this time."
"One thing I know about our Sara," Nick mused, a small smile tugging on his lips, "when she loves you, she loves you with everything she has. There's no falseness, no hidden agenda, just her."
Nick's words caused a momentary flash of jealousy to rear up into his eyes, but he pushed it away before the feeling had time to emerge. "Sounds like you love her too."
"Of course I do," Nick told him, turning to face his friend with perfect clarity in his eyes. "She's my best friend."
"Sorry," Grissom blushed slightly, returning his gaze down to his hands. "I guess I'm just not used to all this emotion."
"Well get used to it Griss," he smiled, "don't you think it's about time you realized we're family?"
"I think it's slowly starting to become clear there Nicky," he smiled softly, his eyes widening slightly when Nick stifled a yawn. "I should leave you to get some rest."
Yawning again, Nick turned to him with a sleepy smile. "Sorry."
"Don't be. You get some rest okay, I'll stop by later to see you."
"Sure," Nick whispered as his eyes lost their battle to keep open any longer.
"Night Nick," Grissom smiled again. Creeping over towards the doorway, he took one last look behind him and headed out of the door.
Warrick and Catherine scanned the piles of files on the table before them. They had pulled everything from August onwards from every case that Catherine had been involved in since her time as a CSI.
"This is like looking for a needle in a haystack," Catherine groaned in frustration. "It could be anyone."
"Here's one from August 4 years ago. Does David Wells mean anything to you?" Warrick asked.
"David Wells?" she asked, closing her eyes as she tried to conjure up the image of his face in her mind.
"He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for the rape and murder of a 14 year old girl." Warrick's eyes scanned the paper before him. "It says here that you found the murder weapon."
"Yeah I remember," she sighed as the distorted image of the victim came into her mind. "She was just a baby. He snatched her from her own backyard, she didn't stand a chance against him."
"Well he has the perfect alibi, so I guess we look through some more of these," he groaned, his hands fingering the pile before him.
"Yeah I guess so," she sighed. "Listen can you take over for a few minutes? I need to check in with Greg."
"Yeah sure," he smiled, "take your time."
"Thanks," she grinned, as she reached down into her purse to pull out her cell phone. "I won't be long."
As she passed, she reached down to his shoulder, squeezing it in thanks. The two of them had developed a strong bond since this nightmare began and she found it increasingly difficult to be away from his presence.
Stepping outside into the hallway, her eyes met with the rubble and destruction that still reigned its chaotic residue over the adjacent walls. An image of her daughter trapped and bloodied sprang into her mind, causing her to catch her breath. She needed to be away from here, if only for a few minutes to regroup her tattered emotions.
Making her way out into the cool night air, she took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Lifting the small object in her hand, she started to press in the number that she knew so well. Thoughts of her mystery caller came back to haunt her mind once more. Who the hell was he anyway, and how did he get her number?
Her musings died away when she heard the familiar voice at the other end of the phone.
"Hey Greg it's me."
"Catherine?" he gasped, "where have you been I've been trying to call you?!"
Catherine's heart started to pump wildly inside her chest. "Why? What's happened, is Lindsey okay?"
"Yeah she's fine. She wanted to talk to you."
"Greg don't do that to me! You almost gave me a heart attack," she groaned miserably. "Where is she? Can I talk to her?"
"Hang on," she heard him yell her daughters name and then waited until she heard the muffled sounds at the other end of the line, waiting until the heavenly voice that washed away all of her frustrations.
"Mommy," Lindsey said excitedly, "I had cookie dough ice cream."
"You did?" she gasped dramatically, giving herself a mental note to remind Greg to cut back on the treats. "Oh baby I'm sorry I wasn't there when you woke up but I had to go into work."
"Greg told me I could go and see Sara if you said it was okay," she beamed, her small voice sounding so alive that Catherine could barely contain the emotion welling up inside her eyes and heart.
"Well don't you want to come with Warrick and me later? It's not fair on Greg taking you if he doesn't feel well." Catherine heard the disappointment in her daughters voice as she let out a mournful "Mommy, I want to see Sara."
Closing her eyes against the wetness in them, Catherine felt her resolve slipping slightly, "Tell you what, let me talk to Greg first so he can call the hospital. If Sara isn't up to visitors then I'm sure Nicky would love to see you."
"Mom," Lindsey whined, then, knowing she wouldn't be winning this battle of wills, gave up and relented. " Okay, but will you and Warrick let me go with you too?"
"Of course baby, I love you," she beamed, "now run and get Greg for me and I'll see you later."
"Love you too, bye mom," Lindsey giggled, as she squealed out Greg's name begging him to stop tickling her.
"Hi Greg," Catherine smiled unable to hide the humour in her voice, "I see you and Lindsey are getting on well."
"She's a great kid," he grinned, "She wants to see Sara, so I checked with the hospital already and she's doing a little better, so if it's okay with you...?"
"Yes Greg, it's fine with me," she smiled, "Give Sara and Nick our love won't you?"
"Sure will," he smiled, "and we'll see you after shift."
Turning off the phone, Catherine's eyes focused on the darkening sky. Looking up, she spotted a few stars that twinkled brightly above her. If only she could make a wish like she used to when she was a little girl. Fighting away the feelings of embarrassment, she looked around her sheepishly to see if she was alone before closing her eyes. "Please end this nightmare," she whispered, "and help me find the man responsible for this."
Opening her eyes again, she glanced up into the darkness. If only life was as simple as it was when she was a child. Taking a deep breath, she turned back towards the labs where the chaos waited to undoubtedly overpower her once more again.
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