by Amanda Hawthorn
Spoilers: Set loosely in season 4.
Feedback: Love it, but no flames please I'm fragile!!
Archive: Grissom and Sara [dot] com and my site 'Something to talk about'
Disclaimer: CSI belongs to CBS and Alliance-Atlantis Productions. No infringement intended.
Summary: A tiny bundle discovered on Christmas Eve morning, turns Sara's life upside down.
Sara regarded Grissom carefully, silently trying to decipher the compassion in his eyes before she could trust her own voice. What kind of game was he playing here now? Had he changed the rules once again, just to throw her off course and bring her down once more? He had shown himself more than willing to take Catherine's side on many occasions of late, and that in itself spoke volumes to her battered heart.
"Tell me what you're thinking," he asked softly, urging her to break the silence that had built up around them.
Sara lowered her eyes from his piercing gaze, unable to release the words that desperately tried to tumble from her mouth. How could she tell him her fears when he could use them against her? "You're my boss," she whispered finally. "You don't have to apologize to me."
Reaching closer, Grissom encased her fingers with his own, pulling her into his warmth. "Sara. I need..." taking a breath, he closed his eyes briefly before opening them again. "I don't know where to start."
Behind them, a telephone's shrill ringing broke the silence and Sara lifted her eyes to see Brass at a nearby table. Pulling her hands from Grissom's, she pushed her chair backwards. The accusations in her eyes almost caused Grissom to sink to his knees on the floor beside her feet. He couldn't remember a time when he had ever seen Sara's eyes so empty. "Sara," he whispered hoarsely. "It's not what you think."
"I don't think anything Grissom," she told him coldly, pushing herself up to her feet. "I'm going back to the hospital. I'll see you at work tonight."
As she pushed past him, all Grissom could do was watch in bewilderment, wondering once again how he was going to make things right between them.
"Sorry Gil," Brass mumbled when he came to sit down in Sara's vacated chair. "The mother's turned up. She's a 19 year old student who decided she couldn't cope."
Grissom lifted a hand and rubbed it over his face tiredly. "Where is she now?"
"She's waiting for us back at the station. It seems she thinks she can abandon her child and just pick up where she left off."
"I guess we shouldn't keep her waiting then," Grissom muttered tiredly as he moved to stand.
"Maybe you should go and wait with Sara at the hospital," Brass suggested. "I have a feeling things are gonna get ugly when I turn up with the mother."
"Jim, Sara may be some things but she's not stupid," Grissom growled angrily as he leapt to her defense. "She knows what has to be done here, and she won't let her personal feelings stop her from doing what is right."
Back at the hospital, Sara walked slowly along the corridor. She knew she shouldn't be here, she knew that her brief moment with motherhood had turned her whole world upside down, carving a deepening wound into her aching emptiness, but it was over now. Everything was over now.
Sinking down into one of the plastic chairs that lined the corridor, she leaned her head back against the wall and closed her eyes. She couldn't understand why this baby had affected her so deeply, it's not as if she'd ever been that maternal to start with anyway. Taking a deep breath, she sat forward in her chair, cursing herself for being so stupid over feeling that she shouldn't even be feeling. Everything was so confusing.
Looking up, Sara found herself looking into the eyes of the nurse who had taken charge of the little boy. "He's settled down now," she smiled as she came to sit down beside her. "Would you like to see him?"
Sitting back in her seat, Sara bit down on her bottom lip. "I... I don't think that'd be such a good idea."
"He's asleep," Tina offered hopefully, "he won't even know you're there."
Sara could feel her heart beating wildly inside her chest at the prospect of opening herself up for more anguish, but at the same time she wanted to look in on him one final time. Swallowing the lump in her throat, she nodded silently.
"Follow me," Tina smiled warmly, standing up to walk back down the corridor, taking Sara with her. When they came closer to the open door, she ushered Sara inside, whispering quietly that she would be back in a few minutes.
Sara stepped slowly into the room, careful not to awaken the sleeping child who slept soundly on his side in a clear plastic cot. Coming to stand beside him, she looked down into his tiny face and felt another wave of emotion pass through her. "Hey," she whispered softly. Her eyes clouding with tears as she reached into the cot to stroke a strand of his hair.
Grissom made his way into the hospital, heading down the corridor. Catching a glimpse of the nurse who had taken care of the child previously, he caught her attention. "Can you help me? I'm looking for a friend of mine, she brought a baby in a while ago."
"Oh you mean Sara," she smiled. "Yes she's in with Toby now."
"Toby?" he asked curiously.
"Well, we couldn't keep calling him baby," she grinned, "and Toby seemed to fit."
"Well detective Brass has located his mother. They should be here in an hour or so."
"Oh," she sighed, plastering a fake smile on her lips. "Then he'll be home with his mother again for Christmas. Let's hope she's capable of caring for him."
"It's not our job to judge," he warned, feeling a little uncomfortable with the direction this conversation was heading.
"Of course we're not," Tina nodded, turning away from him as she spoke. "Sara's down this corridor, third door on the left."
"Thank you," he answered, already walking away from her. He slowed down when he came closer to the open doorway. Hearing Sara's soft voice, he leant on the doorframe, watching in total amazement as she stroked the baby's head.
"You're gonna be okay," she whispered warmly, her fingers smoothing the silken strands between her fingers. "You wouldn't have liked it with me anyway. I have these control issues, and that's not a good thing to grow up with." Lifting a finger, she wiped the beginnings of a tear away from her eyes. "I bet you're gonna be a real heartbreaker when you're older, and all the girls will be dropping at your feet. You certainly got this one hooked on you." Smiling down into his sleeping face, she lifted her hand away and leant slowly down over the cot to kiss his head gently. "Goodbye baby," she whispered before stepping away from him.
Grissom's heart was aching with worry as she backed away from the cot, her gaze still fixed on the child's sleeping face. When she finally turned around to leave the room, she stopped in her tracks and gasped in a breath. "How long have you been here?" she asked worriedly, her voice still hushed.
"Long enough," he told her sadly. "How is he?"
Looking back over her shoulder, she swallowed down the lump in her throat and nodded, "He's gonna be okay."
"How about you?"
Turning to face him, Sara took in a shaky breath before trusting her voice. "I'm fine."
"Sara we have to talk," he whispered, reaching out to touch her arm as he slowly guided her out of the room. She followed numbly, her heart screaming out its protest, knowing that uncertain doom would soon befall her. Stopping just outside the doorway, she folded her arms close to her chest and waited for him to begin his new wave of torment, her eyes fixing him with their unwavering gaze.
"Sara," he began, his breath catching in his chest as he forced the words from his lips. "The child's mother is on her way here."
Grissom waited for the inevitable explosion that was Sara Sidle, but none came. Her focus on him unwavering as if she was trying to read his eyes for some sort of hidden truth. "Sara, did you hear what I said?"
Swallowing against the growing anger inside her, Sara turned away from him and walked back into the baby's room, standing guard over the sleeping child like some kind of guardian angel. She stood a little away from the cot, her arms folded and remaining perfectly still. Stepping into the room to stand beside her, Grissom knew this stance all too well. She was angry, and a pissed off Sara Sidle was like having a ticking time bomb ready to explode and just as deadly. He had to defuse the situation before the mother arrived, and he had to do it soon.
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