by Battus philenor
Archive: Please ask first I might say yes.
Disclaimer: I have no claim to anything CSI related. I get nothing from this but happiness in doing things that those who do own CSI would never do.
Summary: With a little help, Grissom tries to be happy again.
Copywrite © by Battus philenor 8/2004
With one movie down and the first batch of popcorn gone, they slipped into a casual conversation which was reminiscent of those they used to have before he had asked her to come to Vegas. Sitting close on his couch, leaning into one another, neither had a thought that went beyond friendship.
Having started with small inane chatter, Grissom realized he felt the need to share more with Sara, the person who was quickly becoming his best friend.
"You know, my Mother had Otosclerosis." With the admission shared, he looked to her, comforted when her only response was to snuggle closer into him.
"It's a degenerative hearing disorder. That's what happened to her hearing so many years ago. It can also be hereditary." Glancing again to gauge her reaction, he paused watching her become lost in thought.
Sara's mind flashed back to the obituary. That was the thing she couldn't put her finger on. She had known there was something else, something right there for her to discover. All the times he'd ask her to repeat herself, or would stare at her lips while she spoke, it was all becoming so clear.
Then another realization hit her. He didn't do those things any more. He had taken several consecutive days off for the first time she'd known him.
"You had treatment." She said it matter of factly; it wasn't posed as a question or said with any rancor, it just was.
Somewhat surprised she'd put everything together so quickly, he answered her simply.
"Yes. I had surgery."
"I'm sorry, Grissom. I wish I'd have known, I would have been there for you."
"I know. I guess that's one of the reasons I didn't tell you."
Blank faced and blinking, she let his words sink in for a minute. "I don't understand."
"Sara, I knew you would have been there, with me, no matter what. I felt weak enough, already so inadequate; I would have viewed any comfort or assistance as that given out of pity. I couldn't handle that."
She watched him look away from her, hanging his head, seeing his hands fidgeting in his lap. Squeezing his shoulder she tried to comfort him without judging. She was surprised when he continued speaking.
"I was scared, Sara. There was a real possibility that the surgery wouldn't work. I was scared I would lose my job; the thing that defines me, has defined me for too many years now. And I was afraid I would lose you, your friendship and others over it."
She knew how much courage that admission had taken for a man like Grissom. She was sad that he'd gone through that alone, but relieved that he could at least tell her about it now.
"I understand, Grissom. Just know that you can tell me anything. I won't judge you or pity you, and I'll always respect you, both as an investigator and as a man. I'm your friend, and I'll respect your wishes and your privacy." With one final squeeze to his arm, they sat, letting the silence wash over them, cleansing them of those memories and any lingering doubts about their admissions.
A few more weeks passed, each with the same routine of daily talks and a weekly daylong movie and popcorn fest. And both were growing quite comfortable with their renewed friendship.
Neither having an innate ability to share or give up parts of themselves, their communication skills and knowledge of each other was growing exponentially. Movie day was always the day when larger admissions were made.
While standing in his kitchen, making popcorn together Grissom wondered briefly what Sara thought of his relationship with Lady Heather.
"Sara, can I ask you a question?"
"Of course you can, shoot."
"There were... rumors about me and Lady Heather?" He watched her hand freeze in the middle of sliding the pan over the burner on the stove where she was melting butter.
"Yes..." An uneasiness crept up into Sara's stomach. Sharing was great, but there were certain things she thought were better left unsaid.
"I find it interesting that people will jump to conclusions about a friendship, without even bothering to ask those involved first." He watched her still, trying to see if she had bought into those rumors too.
"Well, you know Grissom, sometimes even when the information is shared by one of the people involved, it isn't believed anyway."
As she finally looked at him, he knew she was no longer talking about his relationship, but hers with that paramedic. Guilt washed over him, for not believing her.
"You're right. I guess sometimes all the reassuring in the world won't compensate for our insecurities."
A silence passed over them and they continued with their popcorn making tasks. They sat on the couch in their usual spots with the snack between them.
"I enjoyed her company."
Sara jumped at the sound of his voice. Unsure of exactly what he meant by company, she just waited, hoping he would continue.
"She was interesting. She had a fresh perspective on things. She didn't judge; she was very perceptive and accepting of everything. I think that's rare."
"I think you underestimate some of us, Grissom."
"Perhaps. But people did expect there was more to that relationship than there really was."
Breathing a silent sigh of relief she realized she was just as guilty as Grissom was. She'd assumed there was more to that relationship, just as he had about her and Hank.
"People assumed that Hank and I were closer than we were too."
"But you dated him, Sara." He wasn't sure he wanted to know the answer, but he had a need to know what she meant by close.
"Just because I went out with him a few times doesn't mean that I ever felt anything more than friendship for him. We had an ease, we could talk about everyday things, but I never felt anything deeper for him."
"I guess we both made assumptions. I'm sorry, Sara. I should have known better." A grin came over his face and he added, "I just didn't like him very much."
A sound that might almost be classified as a laugh escaped from her. "Me either."
"I'm sorry for how he treated you, Sara. You deserve better than that."
"Yeah. I'm sorry I assumed about you and Lady Heather too."
An easy silence fell about them again before Grissom finally reached for the remote and started their movie. He was relieved that the time they shared was not strained; there was no tension or need to progress more quickly. The leisurely pace at which their relationship was rolling was easy and greatly appreciated.
Sara wondered how they thought they ever knew each other at all considering how much they had recently learned about each other. Thankful for their time together, she was pleased to have the opportunity to get to really know Grissom.
A few weeks later at work, Sara was paired with Nick. In the garage; combing through an old Chevy Nova, hoping to find evidence that this particular vehicle had transported their victim.
"Yes. Got a long brown hair in the back seat, Nick."
"I'll see your hair and raise you some blood on the floor board."
"Really? How much?"
"Not sure yet, I only found a small drop. We'll spray it up and see if somebody tried to clean up a larger area." Reaching for the luminol, Nick couldn't help notice the old excitement so evidently back in his coworker, the sparkle that had found its way back into her eyes.
"How are you doing, Sara?"
"Good Nick, I've got three long brown hairs from this seat now. He didn't clean the side edge good enough." Flashing him her widest grin, she showed him the tweezers with the 3rd hair dangling from their grip.
"Good, but I meant how are you doing? You seem happier lately. Things are going well huh?"
"Oh. Yeah, I guess Nick." Immediately feeling uncomfortable, she tried to turn the conversation back to the job.
"Uh, you ready to light it up yet?"
"Almost. Anyway, I just... I'm glad that's all. Things are much better lately all the way around. Not as much tension at work you know? It was a good thing you did for Grissom." He knew he was treading on unsteady ground. This could go either way, and he was hoping her mood was such that she would take the compliment without a fuss.
"No big deal Nick."
"Okay. Well, you both seem much happier, that's all. Now hand me that light will you?"
Thankful to get back to the task at hand, Sara passed the light and prayed for the lovely fluorescent glow. She was not disappointed when the whole floor board lit up before their eyes.
"Sweet! Grab a sample of that and I'll run it down to Greg, Nick."
Thankful to be out of her discussion with Nick, she dropped the samples off with Greg and decided now was as good a time as any for dinner. Veering into the break room Sara headed directly to the refrigerator without even noticing Catherine's presence at all.
Jumping slightly the embarrassed brunette turned sheepishly to her older coworker. "Hey Cath, I guess my mind was on food, I didn't even see you there."
"On food huh? How are things going?"
"Good, you know. Same old, same old."
"How's Gil doing?" Leery of the gleam that had entered Catherine's eye, she decided to try to nip this in the bud immediately.
"I don't know, why don't you ask him?" Turning back to the fridge Sara mentally patted herself on the back. Her response hadn't been too snippy or mean.
"You know, we all think it's great that you're helping him through this difficult time, Lord knows he needs somebody, we just don't want it to be too much for you."
A flash of anger coursed through Sara's body suddenly, livid at the implications of the word we.
"What the heck! We Catherine? We who?"
"You know, just me and the guys, Warrick and Nick."
"I'm fine Catherine, and as far as I know so is Grissom. I'd appreciate it if you all didn't discuss me, him, or us behind our backs."
"Sara, don't get mad. We weren't discussing you really. We just noticed the change around here. The environment is much more pleasant since you two have started... hanging out, mending your fences."
"It's still not right Catherine, talking about people behind their backs."
"Okay. Point taken and you're right. But, Sara, how you two interact does affect all of us whether you like it or not, and we care about you, both of you. I just want you to know that you've done a wonderful job. Grissom's like a whole new man. Hell, you're a whole new person too."
"Who's a new person?" Came the deep voice from the doorway as Warrick strolled into the break room.
"Apparently I am." A smirk graced Sara's slightly less irritated face as she grabbed a paper towel from the counter.
"Ah yeah, you and Gris both. Nice Sara, that was a sweet thing to do."
"Yeah, don't spread it around." With that Sara left the break room; part of her wanting to tell her coworkers to mind their own business, and part of her intrigued that they thought her and Grissom had changed so much.
Back in front of the microscope, comparing the hairs she'd found in the Nova to those of their victim, she let her mind wander. It was true that she and Grissom's friendship had grown as they spent every free moment together. Sara also realized that she still loved Grissom, that she would always love him, but she also knew that she didn't want to push him.
If it was going to happen at all, she wanted this to happen at his pace. She absolutely wanted a physical relationship with the man, but she was so happy just spending time with him.
Lost in thought while comparing hairs, she never heard Grissom approach. A smile crossed his face as he watched her for a moment, completely engrossed in her task.
Making himself move before anybody could witness his transgression, he advanced a little less stealthily trying to warn her of his presence. A startled Sara Sidle was not something he wanted to contend with.
Having seen her nearly rip off Nick's head previously for making her jump with fright, Grissom knew better than to ever sneak up on her.
"Who's coming up behind me?"
"Ah, the bearer of a classic movie for after work, if you're interested that is."
Turning around Sara graced him with her widest of smiles; making him thankful he'd been born.
"A classic huh? I'm always interested in a classic. What have you got?"
"Goldfinger." Cringing a little he waited on her response; hoping that James Bond would be acceptable to Sara.
To say that he'd grown accustomed to her company while watching movies lately would be an understatement. In all honesty, he didn't think he ever wanted to watch a movie alone again.
Between the stimulating conversations they would get into while watching the movies; often resulting in extended pausing of the movie, and the fact that she often sat quite close to him on the couch, watching alone would be devastating.
He was almost certain he could go to the store and pick out the exact brand of shampoo, soap, and toothpaste that she used now. Having memorized every detail of her scent made the whole movie watching experience a wonderful treat.
"I don't know that most people would classify Bond movies as classics, and Pussy Galore, Grissom? Of all the Bond movies, that's the one you pick, huh?"
Even though she was smirking at him he couldn't help the blush that had taken over his face.
"Well, she's a very talented... pilot."
"Relax, you're so lucky that I have a thing for Sean Connery."
With a brilliant grin and a small blush of her own she turned back to her microscope.
"Sean Connery huh? Isn't he a little old for you?"
"Nah, I have a thing for older men."
And with that she got up to disappear down the hall, leaving him with his mouth hanging open. He hoped she'd just given him a clue, but he didn't want to rush anything with her.
They had been enjoying a closer friendship for some time now, and even though he wanted more, he didn't want to jeopardize what they had right now.
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