52 – Home for the Holiday

There really is no better place to be. Grissom and Sara share in the simple joy of a quiet post-Christmas afternoon in Vegas.

A continuation of Surviving Christmas.

Takes place circa December 2009.

*******

Again with apologies and thanks in advance for allowing the indulgence in (more than) a little fantasy.

And with special thanks to J for the lead on the perfect gift.

*******

By the time Grissom and Sara finally stepped through the door of their Vegas townhouse, it was nearly noon the day after Christmas and both were exhausted and yet extremely thankful that yet another holiday had come and gone.

Working nearly thirty-six hours straight tended to do that.

As he helped Sara off with her jacket, Grissom quipped, “I love what you’ve done with the place.”

For despite her threats to redecorate while she was there, not much in Grissom’s old place had changed. She had taken down the dust cloths and moved out the various piles of boxes, put a few pictures up on the fridge, but other than that, had made few adjustments, so the place felt a bit more spartan than it had been the last time they were here together.

“I’ve been a little busy,” Sara rejoined as he hung up their coats in the closet.

“So I’ve heard.”

Nor was he much surprised that she hadn’t bothered to decorate for the holidays.

They were headed downstairs and into the kitchen when Grissom, his small suitcase in tow, asked solicitously, “Hungry? We could stick with your specialty.”

“You mean order in?” Sara laughed. “You go ahead. But right now, all I want is a shower and sleep. And I’m not even sure about the order of that.”

“I’ll start the water,” Grissom suggested, ducking into the bathroom to do so before joining her in the bedroom to undress.

That was one of the nice things about their place in Vegas; it had a shower and hot water supply large enough for two to share.

Although the cares of the last day and a half were not so easily discarded, they slowly shed their clothes and shucked them into their respective laundry bin. Even as they soaped up, they were still discussing the cases, reviewing the day like they so often had done countless times before and with all the ease and comfort as if it were the most ordinary thing in the world for the two of them to come home after working a long shift together.

With the warm, gentle pressure of hands making their familiar routes to smooth soap over skin, it was that peace and quiet, the stillness of each other’s presence that proved to be far more effective and refreshing than the water in washing the last remains of the shift away.

Having worked a second helping of shampoo into her hair, the better to wash out the last remaining stench of death, Grissom paused to knead the tight knot that had formed at the base of Sara’s neck. She sighed appreciatively before returning the favor.

Gently, she ran her closely cropped nails along his scalp, eliciting from her husband a low, deep rumble of pleasure, the sound of which always left her feeling more than a little breathless herself.

As she eased his head under the spray, Sara caught the glint of gold. The flash of her wedding ring a sudden reminder of just how much had changed since the last time they’d been here together like this, her lips twitched into a soft, fond smile.

The last of the shampoo, and in his case the smell of smoke, rinsed away, Grissom’s face tilted forward, but before he could reopen his eyes, Sara covered his mouth in a heady sort of kiss.

Although she’d caught him off guard, that was only momentary. For soon, he was returning her kiss with equal measures of affection and longing until the kissing, which had begun gentle enough, became imploring on both their parts.

Then when his eyes finally opened, the naked desire there mirrored Sara’s own.

And all talk ceased. And the business of washing up was soon replaced by caresses that were anything but business-like. And there were no more thoughts of work or anything but each other.

*******

After more than a decade of working the graveyard shift, Sara Sidle had learned to sleep through a great many things. The smell of Grissom’s cooking wasn’t one of them.

If not for the delightfully intoxicating scent that had so unwittingly woken her perhaps she could have still believed that the last two days had been nothing but a very blissful dream. Except she’d also woken up sans pajamas, and Sara wasn’t exactly prone to sleeping in the nude alone.

So it was within the realm of memory and not fantasy Sara momentarily luxuriated in. In the moments just before she’d fallen asleep, after the two of them, flush and breathless and spent from lovemaking, had slipped beneath the bedclothes, snuggled close and still touching and kissing, conversed in whispers until sleep had carried them both away.

If the aroma of freshly made pancakes hadn’t insisted in tugging her out of bed, she would have lingered longer there, enjoying the quiet languor and restfulness that she only ever seemed to feel after an afternoon with Grissom in the bed beside her. For she really did sleep better with him there, even if he did tend to snore from time to time.

Instead, she rose and hurriedly slipped on a robe before heading off to the kitchen. As she expected, she found her husband there in his usual casual at home wardrobe of undershirt and flannel pants accented with one of his simple green aprons busy as he was in the act and art of flipping pancakes onto a plate. She simply stood there and watched him at it, a contented grin spreading over her face. When he met her eyes, Grissom returned his wife’s smile with real enthusiasm.

As she leaned in to kiss him in greeting, he said, “Your timing’s impeccable, my dear. Breakfast is just about ready.”

“Anything I can do to help?” she offered.

Grissom gestured to the kettle, which had just begun its incessant whistling. Sara set about making tea, before upon surveying what Grissom had already done, going to pull fruit from the fridge. These she proceeded to cut up with her usual deftness.

“Improvising again?” she queried, gesturing to the large jam jar still brimming with the thick amber richness of late summer honey. The last time he’d made her pancakes drizzled in honey had been when he hadn’t been able to scrounge up any syrup on their honeymoon.

“Necessity,” he answered. “Kitchen’s a little bare.”

“I wasn’t exactly expecting company,” Sara rejoined. “But at least I’m not raising anything in the refrigerator.”

For there had been that one time she’d gone back to visit him in Paris only to find that her husband — in direct violation of their long standing pact that refrigerators were not for the keeping of experiments, only food — had been keeping something very much alive in their fridge.

She’d extracted the offending carton of live mealworms and quipped, “You weren’t planning on eating these, were you?”

Having been caught, he’d unfastened the lid and popped one into his mouth.

Although not partial to entomophagy herself, Sara had had to admire Grissom’s willingness to eat his words.

And thankfully he’d seemed to learn his lesson.

The late afternoon’s breakfast preparations nearly completed, she was just about to take her customary seat at the end of the island when Sara, having spied in the middle of her plate a small brown box tied up with a simple, unprepossessing bit of ribbon, asked, “What’s this?”

Pancakes in hand, Grissom simply shrugged in response. “What does it look like?”

“You already sent me something.”

“That wasn’t for Christmas,” he replied.

“Like your coming wasn’t present enough.”

He shot her a look that plainly said, Humor me.

Sara still shook her head in protest. “You do realize that your gift is sitting in Paris right now?”

Grissom didn’t seem to be the least bit concerned by that fact. He placed the steaming plate of pancakes between them and then, his hand brushing hers said, “I already got what I wanted.”

She thought for a moment that he was about to kiss her. But when his eyes flicked up to hers there was something else entirely in his grin.

“That look on your face,” he continued, “back in the break room. It was priceless.”

Sara rolled her eyes. “Well, you certainly know how to make an entrance, Gilbert.”

He only smiled further at this.

“If you’ve exhausted the last of your protests,” he said when she still hadn’t begun to unwrap the gift, “why don’t you open it before breakfast gets cold?”

She took the hint, tugged the bow loose and eased off the lid. Any lingering exasperation in her expression was soon replaced by a look of wordless wonder.

“He’s… It’s a he?” she asked after a long moment.

Grissom nodded. Like most animal species, male butterflies tended to be the showier of the sexes.

“He’s beautiful.”

“I know he’s slightly less exotic than what you’re used to,” Grissom replied. “But I couldn’t resist.”

“What is he?”

For while Sara had personally cataloged representatives of more than a third of the thousand known species of Costa Rican butterflies and could recognize nearly as many others by sight, she was wholly unfamiliar with this one.

“You tell me,” Grissom replied.

For a few minutes, Sara studied the half-dollar sized specimen, aided as she was by the unusual floating mounting that allowed her both dorsal and ventral views. She took in the rounded cream-colored wings, splashed at the tips as they were with a fiery orange along the forewings, the mottled reverse of the hind ones veined in a brilliant yellow, the hoary thorax.

“From the Pieridae family,” she said, speaking of the large group of butterflies made up of white, sulphur and yellow hued species. “Some sort of Pierinae.”

Instead of confirming her hypothesis, Grissom said, “You remember that new species of beetle the guys found in Costa Rica?”

“You mean the one they keep threatening to name after you?” she questioned in return.

“You already have that distinction. Actually there are several Sara species. But this one comes from California, just like you.

Anthocharis sara sara,” he supplied.

Awed, she said, “How did you manage to get it?”

“I had a little help,” Grissom admitted, then teased, “Good thing M. Morel is sweet on you.”

Deciding to let this jab go without comment, Sara merely replied, “You will thank him for me then.”

“Of course.”

Grissom was just about to heap pancakes onto her now empty plate, when the sound of her calling his named stilled him.

“Gil,” she began. “I didn’t get much of a chance to tell you earlier, but I’m glad you came.”

He smiled in return at this and said, “I hadn’t noticed.”

But then Sara leaned in and plainly evidenced just how much and in such a way that left absolutely no room for misinterpretation.

*******

Sara was pulling into the lab parking lot, having just returned from dropping Grissom off at McCarran (despite all of his protests that there had been no need for her to do so). As she got out of her Prius, she was indulging in one last remembrance before turning her mind towards the thoughts of what she knew to be a rather depressingly enormous post-Christmas backlog.

And although the lingering kiss good-bye they had shared just before he’d stepped inside the bustling airport had certainly been memorable enough, she was at that moment more preoccupied by his rejoinder to her admonishment for him to Be Safe.

He’d looked perplexed for a moment, then reminded her that he was just off to spend the next four days with a bunch of entomologists. And how much trouble could they really get in?

Sara had grinned and said, “If they’re anything like you — plenty.”

Both of them had laughed at this, neither able to deny the truth of that.

Sara had been so preoccupied by this musing that on her way to hang up her things in the locker room she almost crashed into an even more harried than usual looking Catherine.

After hurried apologies on both their parts, Sara said, “Have that good of a holiday?”

Catherine let out a rather aggrieved, “Don’t ask.”

“Wow, that good, huh?”

Catherine nodded, then asked, “You?”

“Uneventful,” Sara replied.

*******

Catherine Willows plunked her burgeoning pile of files on top of her desk with a heavy sigh, thinking as she did so that whoever said there was no place like home for the holidays never had to spend it with a problematic teenage daughter and an irrepressible mother, or perhaps it had been an irrepressible teenage daughter and problematic mother. It didn’t really matter. It all lead to disaster in any case.

She should have just worked. At least then she wouldn’t be knee-deep in case reports.

She flipped open the top folder, had begun reviewing the shift summary when her eyes fell on an unexpected and yet very familiar name in the staff log.

Which explained a lot.

Including the what had seemed at the time to be a rather strange phone call she’d received around noon from Langston volunteering to head the early call-in queue for the day.

And no wonder Sara looked far more relaxed, refreshed and rested — almost glowing and even more so than usual as of late — than Catherine would have expected her to after heading the dreaded holiday shift from hell. She should have known something was up. Sara had been in way too good a mood.

Catherine tugged off her reading glasses and with an equally exasperated shake of the head muttered, “Uneventful, my ass.”

*******

Have a question or want to leave a comment or concern and don’t have a wordpress account? Please feel free to email me at kadhmercer@gmail.com

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. mbonthecorner
    Feb 22, 2010 @ 17:54:46

    well! A story that begins with Sara and Gil showering together, ends with Catherine’s ass, and features Grissom eating a bug in the middle. A perfect way to celebrate WP’s birthday-thanks!~

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