Archive: Just let me know where.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. They are owned by CBS. I'm just borrowing them. I'll return them, I promise!
Author's Note: I'd like to thank my beta who helped make this fic what it is: Papillondae.
Summary: A bullet and a man meet one day... and lives are changed.
Chapter 7 - Visiting
Even with her heavy gauge room-darkening blinds it still seemed so light in her room and these days it was just too much. So she got up and decided she would go back to the hospital. This was ridiculous. She could just as easily rest with her head on his bed as on her own pillow. So that's what she did.
As Sara was walking down the hallway toward his room, she heard some familiar voices.
"I'm worried about her Cath..." Nick was saying in his typical texan drawl. "Have you seen those bags under her eyes? I don't think she's been sleeping much..."
"I know..." Catherine said, her voice a hushed tone of worry. "I see them too."
"But you know Sara: pushes herself until there's nothing left to push..." came Warrick's deeper soothing voice.
"I know.. she has to stop this... It's not helping Grissom," Nick was saying. "She's gonna be next in that bed when he's ready to leave this place..."
Catherine said nothing.
Leave? Was he awake?
Sara rounded the corner, poking her head into the waiting room where they were all standing. "Hey guys..." she said, eyeing them all one by one, plastering a fake smile on her face, which she hoped they would not see through. The last thing she wanted right now was a group therapy session. Just show them you're fine, and they'll leave you alone... she thought to herself.
They regarded her with a mixture of concern, apprehension and a sort of knowing sense. She stared back at them, keeping her smile in place. "Any news?"
Catherine approached her. "Grissom woke up a little bit this morning -"
"What?! Why didn't anybody call me??!"
But before Sara could go racing down the hall, Catherine grabbed her arm. "Sara, he's coming around slowly but he's still in a lot of pain -"
"- and drugs." Warrick chimed in.
"So, you know, he's not really up to any sort of sane conversation." Nick finished.
Sara looked from one to the other, not believing her ears. He had woken up and nobody had bothered to call her?
"Sara," Nick said, seeing her expression of confusion. "By the time you would've gotten here, he would've been under again..."
"But he was... he woke up..." she said, not really knowing what she was saying. She wanted to be here, dammit!
Catherine squeezed her arm a bit. "Look, we all know how you feel about Grissom, Sara. We know how much you... like him." Sara looked pointedly at Catherine, narrowing her eyes as she absorbed the older woman's words. "But if you're going to be any good for him, you need to rest. You can't go collapsing on him as soon as he opens his eyes because you're refusing to sleep -"
"I'm sleeping!" she interrupted.
"- yes but, how much? Enough to operate properly? Enough to be able to think clearly? Enough to be there for him when he wakes up?"
Sara stared at Catherine, her eyes mirroring her internal turmoil. What was she supposed to do? Sleep?! While he lay in that hospital bed, maybe dying?! Catherine didn't understand.
"I know you think you I don't understand. I have a daughter, and when she's sick do you think I sleep? No, I don't. But I rest, I try to. And you need to do that too, Sara. You need to rest - "
"- Not run yourself ragged." Nick finished.
Warrick shook his head. "You're not fine, girl. Look at yourself. Bags under your eyes, hands shaking - when was the last time you ate? You're living on coffee - caffeine - and that stuff's gonna kill ya like pouring acid down your throat."
"Look. I'm gonna go check on Grissom, make sure he's fine and then... I'll go home to rest , alright?"
Warrick sighed. Nick just looked away, too frustrated to say anything, and Catherine just smiled that smile of the all-knowing matriarch. And Sara left.
When she pulled back the curtain, he was still there, still on the bed and still looking as though he were sleeping. There were fewer wires around him this time, and none obscuring her view of his face.
She walked quietly into the room, settling herself on the chair that was now a fixture beside the bed. He was sleeping again and now that she knew he had woken up, there seemed to be a more relaxed atmosphere in the room, as well as a pervading sense of privacy disturbed. Even though she had been there everyday that week, holding his hand, talking to him about what had been going on - how they had caught the young man who shot him (turned out to be a scared victim who thought he was only protecting himself), and other cases that had come up, simply because that was what she was used to talking to him about - she shied away from anything any more emotional or personal than that. For some reason, there was this persistent idea that maybe he could hear her and she preferred to share such intimate details of her feelings for him when he could respond, even though another part of her desired to be free of these secrets.
And now that she knew he was merely resting, the thought of touching his hand - holding it - seemed like such a break in protocol. Hell, even being here, as though she had snuck into his bedroom felt strange and awkward. But there was an overwhelming need to see him awake, alive and well. So she had come again.
She closed her eyes and breathed in deep. The smell of hospitals always made her slightly queasy, as though the very germs this place was designed to eliminate were running rampant and emitting their own particularly biting scent. But mixed in with this super-sterile smell was the smell of the man who had occupied her thoughts more this past week than at any other time in her life. Even here in this antiseptic environment, he still smelled like Grissom: strong, manly, with a sweet hint of tenderness. Her hands longed to touch him one last time before his eyes opened again and he was back to being Grissom: distant and aloof. Such a private man would definitely feel uncomfortable knowing he was being watched while recuperating. But she just couldn't stay away. It was a magnetic force beyond her control when she found herself by his bedside time and time again, his hand in hers. Now his hand lay alone beneath the sheet; her hands clasped tightly in her lap to keep from reaching and taking what was not hers to take.
She opened her eyes and stared at that spot beneath the sheet, willing for... something to happen... maybe it falling out and she would have to replace it. That small tease of touch might satisfy her... might.
There was a sound. She looked up.
His eyes were open and he was looking at her. She sucked in her breath in surprise. "Uh... hey!" she said meekly, trying to hide both her surprise and her embarrassment.
He stared at her with what looked like confusion on his face mixed with questions. He wanted to know why... why was she here? Here with him? His mouth opened to speak but his throat was dry again and all that came out was a whisper. He closed it and swallowed.
Sara stood up and leaned over him.
"Hey..." came his whispered comment.
She sat back down a small grin on her face. There was a glass of water on the bedside table she presumed was from when he woke up the first time. She picked it up and offered it to him. His right hand slid out from beneath the sheets to take it. Her eyes fell to it, held for so long while he was resting. She watched it take the cup and bring it to his lips and watched his throat bop up and down as he swallowed the liquid. He gave it back to her empty. "Thanks." Came his reply in a more normal tone.
Sara looked away, not knowing what to do now that he was awake and aware and responsive. She was no longer alone in a room with a man she loved whose body was there but whose person was not. She was here and so was he. And he was probably wondering why she was here and not at work on another case.
"How're you feeling?" she asked, a question that was probably asked about a million times a day and probably only meant in a fraction of those times. This was a time when it was meant. She wanted to know.
Grissom groaned. "I've been better..." and then smiled. But it was a pained smile.
"Still in pain." She said simply.
"Apparently when one gets shot, there's a certain amount of pain to endure while the body heals itself." He answered cryptically with a grin and a raised eyebrow.
Sara smiled lopsidedly. "Well, I see your distinct brand of humour is still around. You'll be fine."
He smiled in return, though she could tell it was forced, the pain in his body keeping him from fully enjoying the moment. "They'll be moving me to a new room." He looked toward the plastic. "You know, one with walls and a proper door?"
She smiled in spite of herself. "So I'll have to knock next time I... come by?" she said before she could catch herself. Next time? Would there be a next time? She only hoped she wasn't getting ahead of herself.
"You'll come back?" he said, his voice rising at the end, like a child hoping his best friend was going to come back, or a young man and the love of his life.
Sara was taken aback by his response. He sounded as though he wanted her to come back. In truth she had only come for herself. She had needed to see him, in case he.... She had needed reassurance that he was still around. "Yeah, I'll come back..." She said, hoping to sound as flippant as she hoped, but her voice came out sounding more serious. "...if you want..."
Mentally she kicked herself in the butt for adding that last part that sounded more insecure and childish and surreptitious than she had intended, but once again a part of her just needed some reassurance that it would be okay if she returned. That it wouldn't be an imposition. Their relationship - if it could be called that - had been strained of late, with them hardly speaking to each other. He knew about Hank and now she knew about Lady Heather, yet there was still that little tendril of connection that kept her by him especially in times like this. That connection that seemed to defy all boundaries of human love, where two people just wanted to be with each other even if they couldn't be together. Knowing that she would see him on a daily basis - even if there no words exchanged except for the obligatory assignation of cases - was enough to keep her going. Just to hear his voice... just to see his face and know that he was alive seemed to be enough of an impetus for her to continue.
And here she sat by his side, asking if it was okay for her to be there - here - by his side in this place, at this time, in these circumstances. If it was okay for her to feel the way she felt. He was looking at her. "I want..." he said quietly, his eyes capturing hers and holding them. She felt the familiar flush rise up from her neck to her face whenever he looked at her. Flustered at the plain example of her still raging feelings for this man, she looked away.
"Well, now that I know you'll still be around to 'bug' us, I'm gonna be going now." She got up to leave and then turned around. "I'll see you later..." she said and looked at him for a moment longer, a wistful look in her eyes and in her tone. She turned to leave when he called out to her.
She froze for a split second before turning around. "Yeah?"
He looked at her for moment, as though trying to decide what to say, or better yet how to say it. "Uh... thanks for being here."
She stood for a moment not doing or saying anything. And then she smiled that toothy smile of hers that she seemed to only give him. "Sure." She said and then with one last look, she turned and left, as quickly as her feet could take her without looking as though she were running away as fast as she could. Which is what she felt like doing.
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