Rating: R for subject matter
Spoilers: No real spoilers.
Archive: Please ask first!
Disclaimer: Obviously, I don't own anything related to CSI. If I did, I'd be on a tropical beach right now.
Author's Note: Thanks to Burked and all the others who previewed this for me.
Summary: After viewing a horrific accident, Sara makes some hard decisions about her life. Obviously, a Sara-centered story, but with lots of friendship and a little bit of G/S at the end.
Sara hunkered further down in her chair, hoping the fool approaching her position could take a hint. Tonight's talk was just a preliminary one, and there weren't many people in the auditorium. She'd deliberately taken a seat in the middle of a side aisle so she could be alone.
Out of the corner of her eye, she could make out a pair of blue jeans heading in her direction. Burying her head back in the book on American Sign Language, she wondered if this guy would leave her alone if she pretended to be deaf.
Closing her eyes, she tried to recall the exact motions again. It had been four days since Grissom had left. A bemused smirk formed as she recalled his reaction to her wake up call. From his expression, she gathered he thought it had all been a rather pleasant dream.
Later, while he'd grabbed a quick shower, she'd thrown together some sandwiches for an impromptu dinner, sorry she didn't have anything better to offer. They ate in silence, but exchanged bashful smiles throughout the meal. When the time came for him to finally leave, she could tell he was struggling to find something to say.
"There's nothing you can say that could make tonight any more perfect," she told him, hushing him with a gentle kiss. He'd given her a grateful smile, then pulled her in for a last, passionate kiss. Stopping at her door, a twinkle in his eye, he quickly signed a parting message before leaving.
Now her curiosity had won out, and she wanted to know what he had said. Translating sign language was proving harder than she thought it would be. Sara thought the first part was "good-night", but she was certain he'd repeated that motion.
Deciding this was hopeless, Sara made a note to just ask Grissom what he'd signed the next time she called him. Unfortunately, they hadn't had much time to talk, as he'd been busy at work, catching up on all the paperwork that had accumulated while he was on vacation.
Stifling a groan, she lifted the book to cover her face as the blue jeans took a seat directly next to her. Jimmy had discreetly directed attention from the other staff members away from her, understanding she wasn't looking for a companion. That hadn't stopped a string of hopefuls from other departments, though.
"I can teach you sign language, if you want."
Sara's eyes darted up as she slowly lowered the book. Turning first her eyes, then her head, she found herself looking into a pair of incredibly blue eyes.
He smiled at her look of astonishment.
"The receptionist said your whole section would be attending this talk."
"I know why I'm here. Why are you here?" she asked in shock.
"I still owe you dinner," he said in mock seriousness.
Sara cocked her head in amusement. He'd traveled 300 miles just to take her out? Before they could continue their conversation, the lecturer took her place. She smirked as she watched Grissom lean forward, resting his chin on his hands as he tried to follow the discussion. Even after reviewing a backlog of journals, she had trouble keeping up.
"Where would you like to eat?" Grissom asked casually as they walked towards his rental car after the lecture.
"Depends. What time does your flight leave?" she asked, checking her watch. He couldn't be staying very long if he had to be back tonight.
"Eight-fifteen. On Thursday morning."
Sara stopped to look at him in astonishment. Three days off in a row was a luxury in their field; taking it immediately after a vacation was unbelievable.
"You took off right after coming back from vacation?" she asked incredulously. "Do you have a death-wish?"
Grissom chuckled as he opened the car door for Sara. "Well, let's just say I used up the last of any residual sympathy the others may have felt for me."
She stopped him before he could start the car. "Grissom, seriously, why are you here?"
"I ... planned on taking this time off to visit you anyway. In case I didn't get to see you last week. Well, in case I chickened out, or screwed up and needed to apologize," he paused to lick his lips nervously. "Sara, I didn't plan what happened. I never meant to take advantage of you when you were that upset."
"Do you regret it?" she asked cautiously.
He gave her a gentle smile, but his voice held a trace of nervousness mixed in with humor. "I don't know. Do you still respect me?"
"Grissom, after that night, I have whole new levels of respect for you," she said, smiling when he dropped his head, chuckling. Reaching over, she placed a reassuring hand on his arm. "And, if you remember, I initiated the second round. You weren't taking advantage of me."
"Do you regret it?" he asked in return.
"Regret? No. It was wonderful. Was it fair to you? Probably not," she admitted with a shrug. "I'm still not all together."
Grissom turned around in the seat so he could watch her more easily. She looked wonderful. Getting away seemed to help her, a fact she confirmed when he brought it up.
"There's no expectations here. No one knows who I am. Back in Vegas, my picture was always on the news. Every time there was something else to report about the accident, they'd pull out that shot again. I couldn't go anywhere without people knowing me. It was weird.
"Plus, no one here knows about my problems. Jimmy has an idea, but I didn't tell him everything. No one looks at me, like they're wondering what crazy thing I'll do next. No one thinks I'm going to go jump off the roof," she said, poking a finger in his arm.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to scare you," he said, reaching out to caress her hand.
"You meant well," she said, flashing him a grin. "I can't believe you flew out here again."
"I miss you. And I do want to talk," he said simply, turning to start the engine. "Come on, I'm hungry. Point me in a direction."
They settled into a dark corner of a local haunt, splitting a pizza and a pitcher of beer, initially keeping the conversation light. He brought her up to speed on what was going on in the lab, and she answered his questions about the earlier lecture.
Finally, he feel into silence, wondering how to progress. It had taken him several days after she left before he could return Kane's phone call. His advice had been to be honest, but Grissom wasn't sure he still knew everything that he felt. He wanted to apologize, but she needed to understand why he had been hesitant.
"I'm sorry," he said slowly. "For taking so long to answer. I... I'm really not good at all of this. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what I wanted to do. It was too much, too soon. I guess I was overwhelmed. I am sorry."
"Grissom, it's all right. I know I hurt you. Bad. I wasn't joking. I wouldn't blame you if you gave up on me," she said softly.
He watched her intently, smiling as he reached to take her hand. "Why didn't you ever give up on me?"
"I thought you might be worth the wait," she quipped.
"I feel the same way," he said kindly. "I want this to work, Sara. Can I stay with you? Just to talk. If it gets to be too much, I'll get a motel room, but I want to see if we can spend some time together."
She licked her lips nervously. It sounded like a nice idea, but she was worried about blowing up at him. They had to try sometime, but was it too soon? Sara looked up when Grissom squeezed her hand.
"It's not like we'll be seeing each other all the time. You'll be at work during the day," he said gently. "I know you said you weren't ready, yet. I won't rush you. We can start back at the beginning, if it'll make you feel better. I was serious earlier. I didn't plan on us becoming involved that soon. There doesn't have to be anything... physical."
He watched in confusion as she blushed and started chuckling.
"Sorry. Uhm, the... physical? That's a moot point right now. You picked the wrong days to visit," she said, smirking, but not able to keep eye contact.
"Oh," he said as realization hit. "I guess I really do have bad timing."
"Your timing was incredible," Sara smirked again, this time suggestively, causing Grissom to laugh.
"Is it all right to stay with you?"
"Sure. I'd like that," she said finally, squeezing his hand in return.
As they curled up to sleep that night, Sara remembered to ask Grissom what he had signed before.
"'Good-night, good-night. Parting is such sweet sorrow'," he said, planting a kiss on her cheek.
"Romeo to Juliet."
"You know, Grissom, they didn't exactly have a happy ending," she said, turning over to face him.
"They had too many people interfering with them," he said gently. "I haven't told anyone about us. I, I think this would be easier for me the fewer people who know. For now, anyway."
"How are we going to do this? You can't keep flying out here every couple days. Your schedule is too erratic."
"No, but we can keep in contact. I know you're happier here, but do you think you could come out to Vegas? Maybe on some weekends? You can stay with me. I won't be able to get off all the time, but that might be better. I wouldn't be around to bother you," he said lightly.
"I don't know," she said honestly.
"Think about it," he said, brushing a gentle kiss on her forehead. "Let's see how these next few days go. If you think you can handle a visit, let me know. I'll send you the tickets. If it bothers you, we'll stick you back on a plane. I'll try to come back here later. We might have to settle for occasional one-day visits."
Sara snuggled closer to him. That might be able to work. "No promises, but it sounds like a good idea."
She was happily surprised at how well things went during his visit. While she went to work, he would visit museums, or catch up with colleagues in the area, twice meeting her for lunch. In the evenings, they went out to dinner. Afterwards, they curled up on the futon talking, or watching movies. He never pushed her about coming back to Las Vegas.
On the last night, Grissom woke up to find Sara struggling under the covers, just before she screamed. Waving him off, she dashed to the bathroom, locking the door behind her. When he heard the shower start, he waited impatiently on the edge of the futon for her to return.
"Sorry," she murmured, rubbing a towel over her hair. "Look, go back to sleep, Grissom. I won't be able to. I'll do something else."
"What are you going to do?" he asked gently, moving his arms to indicate the small room. Other than the bathroom, there was no place else for her to go to. "Come here."
Grissom turned her as she sat, so her back was facing him. He began to slowly massage the tension from her muscles. "I thought you said the nightmares were getting better."
"They are. They're not as bad. Only getting one or two a week now," she said simply, groaning as he hit a particularly tight muscle..
He leaned forward to kiss her neck. "I had no idea," he said. That nightmare had been terrible. He couldn't imagine what it must have been like to go through worse ones every night.
"I get nightmares anyway. Even before the accident. Guess that's one reason I never had much luck with relationships. Scare the guys away," she said nervously.
Grissom gave her neck another kiss. "I get migraines. From what I've been told, I'm not pleasant to be around then."
Sara sighed, rolling her neck as she felt the tension melt under his care. "You don't get those often. Not really the same."
He didn't answer, but gently laid her down so he could move his massage lower down her back. After several minutes, he could tell she was relaxing. "Feel better?"
"Good," he said, shifting her body so her head was up by the pillows. Pulling the covers back over them, he curled up behind her, draping his arm around her. "Try to go back to sleep. I'll be here."
"Thanks, Grissom. For everything," she said, wrapping her hand over top of his. After a few minutes, she drifted off to sleep
The next morning she watched Grissom from the edge of the futon as he got up to fix coffee, acting as if nothing unusual had happened the night before. He really was determined to make this work, she realized. It seemed like a good idea; they could still be together, but keep a safe distance while she finished recovering. She smiled as she thought of a way of letting him know her answer.
"Hey, Grissom, come here for a minute," she said, waving him over. "Let me see your T-shirt."
He cocked his head, but complied with the request, stripping off the garment. "Why?" he asked in confusion as she tossed it aside.
"So it doesn't get in the way," she said, leaning forward to kiss his stomach, smiling when she felt his intake of breath.
Slipping her fingers under the waistband of his boxers, she paused when he squeezed her shoulder. Leaning back, she saw the questioning look in his eyes. She gave him a reassuring smile as she pulled down his shorts.
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