12 – No Need for Mistletoe

Continued from Upping the Ante.

J – remind me to thank you later, as this is all your fault;

F – thanks for your… uh… help…

*******

Sara was just about to rest her foot on the camp stool, the better to unlace her boots, when Grissom’s warm hands slowly slid around her waist, and the return of his mouth along the nape of her neck punctuated her long sigh of “Gil –”

Reaching back to thread her fingers through his hair, she turned just enough to allow him better access to her lips. Her breath catching in the almost intoxicating kiss that followed, it certainly showed no sign of returning once she felt his fingers begin to edge their way along the bare skin just beneath her t-shirt. His palms pressed her ever nearer.

Wanting to further savor the sensations, she closed her eyes, but with her other senses piqued, from not that far off in the distance, she could discern the radio indifferently announcing the hour.

She groaned, “We forgot to turn off the –”

Grissom’s adamant “No, I didn’t” left little room to wonder about his present intentions.  Although as he had returned his lips and attention to her throat, her “Ah” of comprehension ended up more mouthed than spoken.

And for a while, the two of them were thus breathlessly engaged.

It wasn’t until she felt him pop the button on her pants that Sara suddenly realized and remembered.

And swore.

Grissom chuckled, “That really wasn’t the response I was hoping for.”

Sara shrugged, trying to work out how to best to express what had precipitated her sudden reticence, especially as his “We have done this before,” indicated that Grissom believed her reluctance had to do with her having concerns or doubts about renewing the more physical side of their relationship. It didn’t.

But before she could even begin to explain, he withdrew and said, as if he thought he might have been a little too insistent, “Honey, it’s okay.”

Sara grasped his hands hard to halt his retreat. “No, that’s not it,” she insisted.

And it wasn’t. She wanted nothing more than to make love to him again – body and soul. It was just that —

“It’s been a while –” she began.

“I know,” he smiled.

She gave him another rueful shake of the head, unsure why she was both so embarrassed and nervous all at once. “Not that.  I just realized that it’s been a while since I’ve shaved,” she reluctantly admitted.

While she wasn’t sure what she had expected Grissom’s response to her disclosure to be, it certainly wasn’t him regarding her chagrin with bemusement and telling her, “Well, that’s easily remedied” before hurriedly disappearing off into the darkness. Of what he had ventured off to do, she had no idea. So Sara was genuinely surprised when he reappeared not long after, with a couple of towels draped over one arm, a basin of water in hand and a blithe sort of grin on his face.

He placed the bowl on the bedside table, pausing as he knelt to rummage through his trunk only to observe, “You are definitely overdressed for the occasion, my dear.”

Instantly grasping precisely what Grissom had in mind, she gaped. “You’re serious?”

When he next peered up at her there was an impish glint in his gaze. “Don’t you trust me, Sara?” he asked.

As the last time she had said as much to him she hadn’t been wielding a safety razor, it would have been more than a little hypocritical for her to balk at his proposal. Besides, she did trust him – wholeheartedly. It was just his present motives she puzzled over.

“Of course,” she stammered. “Of course I do.”

“Besides, it’s not like I’ve never shaved your legs before.”

Which was true. Several very long months with her left arm immobilized in that cumbersome cast had certainly made it difficult to refuse when Grissom had offered to help her shave her legs.

But this was different. She could tell just from the way he was looking at her that Grissom wasn’t offering because it was something that needed to be done, but rather because it was something he sincerely wanted to do. And that look was an expression of his that Sara could seldom, if ever, resist giving into, no matter how seeming strange his suggestions might be.

Plus, Sara knew all too well the futility of continuing to call his plans into question, especially once Grissom had gotten a particular notion stuck firmly in that often determined and sometimes stubborn head of his.

So while she still didn’t quite understand his particular reasons for wishing her to do so, she readily complied with his request that she take a seat on one of the towels he had laid out on the bed. Equally without comment she watched him work the laces of her boots free.

After removing her left shoe and sock, Grissom paused to examine the small tattoo on the front of her ankle. Rubbing a thumb over its dark ink, he said, his voice full of both curiosity and longing, “You never have told me the story. Not in all the years we’ve known each other.”

Certainly not immune to the lure of mystique herself, Sara only gave Grissom a playful smirk and a “Perhaps someday” in reply.

He shook his head and sighed, “But not today.”

“No,” Sara promptly agreed. But then her voice both softened and deepened all at once as she leaned in to say, “But I suppose it never hurts to keep asking.”

Their eyes met and Grissom returned her grin before running a nail along her instep. The unexpected tickling sensation led Sara to let out a sharp squeal. He hastily motioned for her to be quiet and cautioned with all the seriousness he could muster, “Or you’ll wake everyone,” before proceeding to tickle her again without the least sign of contrition.

In response, Sara attempted to look indignant and shot him an it’s all your fault glare, but was unable to utter any further rebuke as she was far too busy practically purring from pleasure as he had exchange his teasing touch for massaging the soles of her feet.

Pleased at her response, he asked, “Been a while?”

“Far too long.”

He continued in his ministrations for a while before reaching up and giving each of her pant legs a firm tug. Sara lifted her hips, the better for him to work them free, and was left to perch herself on the edge of the cot in just her tank top and underwear.

At the long, appreciative look Grissom was giving her the heat began to rise in her cheeks. But he was quick back to business, positioning his reading glasses on the tip of his nose in such a way that Sara had always found winsome.

Then as if he, too, was wanting to prolong the playfulness that had sprung up between them over the course of the last several days, Grissom, after having given her now bare legs a more thorough examination, proceeded to say with a studied sort of nonchalance, “Not planning on having that torrid affair with Luis then?”

Sara rolled her eyes and replied, “No,” before giving as good as she got in saying, “Besides, I’ve never really been into younger men.”

Grissom grinned. “So Greg never really had a chance?”

While he had expected her to laugh at the taunt, instead she intoned solemnly, “While youth may have its ardor, age has its advantages.”

“Oh?” he asked and waited for her to elaborate.

But she didn’t. Instead, Sara said, “If you must know, there wasn’t a need for it. The shaving, I mean,” she hurriedly clarified. “Only tourists wear shorts and they’re certainly not practical out here. And then things have been so busy since you arrived that I honestly didn’t even think about it until –”

Grissom’s jovial tone gave way to earnestness. “You know it doesn’t matter,” he said. “Not to me.”

Sara nodded. “But –”

“Yeah.”

He did however appear to understand why it mattered to her, could apprehend her desire for things to be if not perfect — as nothing ever was — then at least as close to it as they could reasonably expect it to be.

Yeah, they had done this before, but not like this. And it had, after all, been a long time.

For while it wasn’t as if they hadn’t been intimate after Warrick died, those few times had been more about the seeking and granting of comfort than anything, and had ultimately been colored with the knowledge of how fleeting their being together was likely to be.

Tonight was something different. They didn’t need to fear interruption. There would be no jangling cell phones, call-ins; no night cut short or having to be up with the dawn. There was just the soft warble of the radio, the lamp lit tempered dark and each other.

And the shaving, Sara knew, wasn’t a means to an end, but an end all its own.

For as with most things Gil Grissom ever undertook, there was a slow, steady method to it all, but even in this there existed beneath all of his concentrated diligence a sensuality, evidenced as it was in the way he gently cradled her leg in his hand. In the cool drizzle of water and the warm, almost silky smoothness of the soap he lathered into her skin. There, too, in the slow slide of the razor, the rinse of the water, the brush of the coarse camp towels as they wicked the rest of the dampness away.

That done, at first, it was just his fingers and palms that ran up and down her legs. The touch of which were thrilling enough all on their own, but when his lips and breath began to caress their way up from her ankle and alternate along her shin and the slope of her calf, Sara had to cover her mouth with the back of her hand in order to stifle the long, drawn out moan that still managed to make its way into her nearly breathless query of “What are you doing?”

He broke contact only long enough to reply in his ever matter-of-fact way, “Checking my work.”

Sara would have sighed in reply, but Grissom had chosen that moment to progress to the back of her knee and as had happened with the underside of her foot, she squirmed and let out a loud squeal of laughter.

She was about to warn him that Two can play that game but this time her words really were cut off by a sigh as he kissed his way up her inner thigh.

All of this only served to encourage him all the more, so that kiss by kiss, Grissom trailed heat from the thin waist band of her modest white cotton briefs to just below her ribs, taking the time to long linger over working the hem of her t-shirt over the slight curve of her belly that no matter how thin she got, never did quite go away. It was a part of her that Grissom had always admired, having long secretly prized both the softness and roundness of it.

He had begun to nuzzle her nipples through her top when Sara, overwhelmed and needing to catch her breath, if only for a moment, took up his face in her hands and then both gave and took from him a heady kiss that culminated in them fogging up Grissom’s reading glasses.

The now unnecessary spectacles having been further rendered quite useless, Sara gently eased them free before placing them on the table. She smiled as she returned her gaze to the man still kneeling before her. His eyes had darkened as they always did. They were his weakest point, she knew. The place where he never could quite conceal his desire.

They were smiling, too, his eyes, as well as his lips.

Ever since he had come, Grissom had been smiling more.

And it was so good to see him smile like that again. See him happy in ways she had almost forgotten and hadn’t dared to hope for again, especially as for so long she wasn’t sure she ever would. But he was here and smiling now and that was what ultimately mattered.

She leaned forward and kissed him, full and hard and yet gentle all at once, knowing from times previous, that Grissom would ultimately take his cue from her as to how the rest would proceed. So with her lips still on his, Sara pulled him up onto the cot beside her.

Part of her wanted to draw it all out, not just to tease or tempt him, which of course was part of it, but also in order to return the attention he seemed so determined to lavish upon her.

It wasn’t long however, before her fingers commenced an attack upon the long line of buttons down his front. But as the kisses grew longer and deeper, hungrier and more desiring, their motions slowed, almost stilled and Grissom, who was typically amused by her often awkward attempts to thus undress him, became uncharacteristically impatient.

For while he did indeed want to savor the process, the sheer overpowering nearness of her made him wish he had worn a polo instead. So as much as he was an avid advocate of patience, he let out an involuntary groan when she fumbled the fifth button with very little grace.

Sara laughed. “In a hurry?” she asked as at last the button slipped free and then urged “Patience,” in the same way he had so often done with her.

Although that word held little real weight. For while several buttons still remained, she soon forewent the rest of them, giving his shirt a swift tug from his jeans before chucking it over his head.

Grissom chuckled, more than a little pleased to find that she shared his sense of urgency. That and there was still yet another thing that hadn’t changed.

His laughter did not last long. Nor did the urgency.

Sara’s expression had turned appreciative, even more so than earlier.

Honestly, that look was something Grissom never did or really ever could comprehend. Despite everyone’s assertions that he was absolutely socially oblivious, he had seen similar looks directed at Nick, certainly at Warrick, and even at Greg at times, but he never really considered the possibility that anyone would regard him in that way. He simply had never really thought of himself as attractive, especially not in that particular manner.

When the topic had once come up a few years back between Sara and himself, both of them had been frankly baffled by the notion that they were capable of eliciting powers of physical attraction. Grissom didn’t understand her assertions any more now than he had then.

Although at this particular moment, he wasn’t all that interested in further contemplation of the matter. Sara had begun to replace the warmth of her gaze with that of her hands, the feel of which as ever rendered thinking of any sort the last thing he really wanted or was able to do.

There had always been something electric about her touch. His very skin hummed with it.

For while her hands were more worn and calloused than they had been in Vegas, he could not help but revel in how she alternated running the smoothness of her fingertips with the firmness of her nails along the full length of his bare back, both in ways that were a far cry from the softly soothingly comforting caresses of the previous days.

He gasped into her mouth with the thrill of it.

“Been too long?” she echoed his earlier query.

To which Grissom offered no response, at least not one with words.

Sara smiled as she pressed a kiss into his shoulder. There was nothing she loved more than the feel of his skin beneath her fingers. That and the way his breath would hitch and catch and emerge as a moan in response.

When a particularly loud, low, rumbling growl reverberated in his chest, she hurriedly shushed him. At his sudden display of umbrage, she mouthed “What?” and then bemused said, “You can tell me to be quiet, but I…”

But Grissom interrupted the rest of her remonstrance with a long, deep kiss that only ended when they both broke away laughing.

Realizing that their laughter might be a little too boisterous for such a late hour, Sara tried to muffle hers in his neck; he buried his amusement into her hair, or tried to. Both were never more grateful for Bernie’s radio still droning off in the distance.

The levity, however, soon morphed back into desire.

Feeling flushed and as if she were suddenly wearing way too many clothes, Sara gave her own tank top a tug over her head. Grissom’s hands soon settled on her bare stomach then grazed the sensitive skin just below the swell of her breasts before slipping around to reach behind her in order to undo her bra. He hesitated for a moment, confused when he didn’t find any clasps.

“New bra?” he asked.

As ever regarding Grissom’s strange lack of experience and finesse when it came to the removal of certain feminine undergarments as one of his more endearing traits, Sara gave him an affectionate smile by way of a reply before deftly making short work of removing said bra as well as what remained of the rest of her clothes.

Grissom tugged her close, lingering to luxuriate in the press of her bare skin against his own as he kissed her. Sara drew him beside her onto their makeshift bed. They were a fervent tangle of limbs and hands until she drew back breathless to murmur, “Now who’s overdressed?” and took his lack of protest as an invitation to remedy the situation. Which she readily, though a little clumsily, did.

Now with nothing left between them, it became lovemaking in earnest, even if as of yet just barely begun. Lovemaking done with eyes and lips and breath and hands and skin. Inexplicable as it was in the twin sensations of strangeness and familiarity that their years together and months apart had given them. It was an unhurried passion, as if they were both intent on relearning every inch of the other, determined to remap the secret places to kiss and caress that only the two of them had ever known. So that just as they had over the past several days taken the time and care to reacquaint themselves with the other’s thoughts and hearts, they were now equally determined to do the same body and soul.

So they did.

For Grissom, after having spent so much of his life surrounded by the sight and sounds, even the smell of things, with Sara like this it was always the taste and feel of her that ultimately overwhelmed him.

Tonight her mouth tasted of sweetness; her skin, the tang of sweat. And beneath his fingers he could feel how her body had changed since they were last like this. The muscles had tightened, tautened with a firmness not of the almost sickly sort of thinness she would sometimes acquire as a result of too much work and too little food and sleep. Instead, he could feel new strength there and pleasured in it.

But even with all the changes and all that yet remained, her body responded even better to his touch than he remembered.

And how he loved to watch the rapture and joy play over her face, the way her eyes would linger shut at the slightest caress.

And Sara, not merely content to delight in his attentions, eagerly returned them in kind, until it all became an ever spirally nearness.

“Gil,” she whispered and in that single syllable was the same loving and longing, hoping and having, needing and wanting he was feeling, that Grissom yearned to share again with her.

He gently covered her body with his. Though when her head fell back with a gasp he feared that he’d hurt her. But Sara beamed up at him with an expression born and bred out of far more than desire. Nor could she contain the tender smile that tugged at her lips at the way the lamplight seemed to dance in his bright eyes. But seeing something else crinkling at the edges there, Sara took his face into her hands and smoothed his hair before catching his lips up in a kiss that was no less passionate or desirous than their earlier ones.

For a while neither moved, both breathless in that finally coming together again.

Then her body arched into his as natural as if it hadn’t been months since they had been like this. This time, however, it was an intimacy born of hope. Hope in their hands and lips, in their whispers and sighs. And joy, an all-consuming joy, had supplanted the sadness.

Longing for nearness, that utter nearness, she drew him deeper inside her until they were so hopelessly lost — and found — in each other.

I love you, they each longed to say, but there was barely air enough for breath, let alone words, so eyes and hands and lips had to convey all they could not say.

Besides, they had both long surrendered to the reality that lovemaking had a language all its own. One made up of sighs and moans, kisses and caresses, of heat and warmth and touch and taste that never could quite be translated into thought, let alone spoken into words.

It was being, simply being, even but for those long breathless moments.

It was life.

And it was overwhelming. Had always been overwhelming, this lovemaking as it ever was in the most truest sense of the word. For neither had ever known or loved or been loved like this. Completely. Absolutely.

Except Grissom didn’t want to be overcome, not just yet. He tried to focus on her face. On the open mouth kisses where they both tried to stifle their moans. On the feel of her fingers grasping at his arms, along his back, threading themselves through his.

But there was his own name breathy against his skin; hers soon freely tumbled from his lips.

Then only breath.

Not quite yet wanting or willing to forgo the sweet pleasure of the feel of skin on skin, Sara enfolded Grissom to her and held him near until both their breathing began to return to normal.

When they eventually rolled onto their sides to face each other, she tugged the blanket from the end of the bed over them both and they slipped beneath it, snuggled close, fingers and breath and lips still lightly caressing.

While Grissom knew all too well that they should probably get dressed and soon, privacy being as at a high a premium as it always was here, he was enjoying the brush of her bare skin against his own far too much not to want to give into the temptation to linger ever longer.

Soon, a satisfied sort of sleepiness stole over them. Curled up, still connected as they were, unbothered by the rush and buzz of the insects and the world around them, they continued to make love in whispers, then dreams.

Continued in No Time Like the Present.

*******

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