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dear lord it's a new fic post

Title: In the Silence Between Heartbeats
Series: Sleeps with Butterflies
Fandom: CSI
Pairing: Sara/Grissom
Timeline: Present day/Post finale
Rating: General
CW/TW: slight references to alcoholism
Disclaimer: Is it worth doing one anymore? I mean, we know CBS never hired me and that I don't make money off of these two. But if they want someone to write the post-series Grissom and Sara relationship ...
A/N: This jumps ahead the year and a half since the finale. My canon has definitely kept going even if I haven’t been writing. Hopefully you won’t be too lost. ;)

It all went to hell in France ...



Once, when her father had been lucid, before the drinking and depression and managing her mother’s ever spiraling breakdowns had turned everyone in the Sidle house upon each other, he’d put her up on the counter at the bed and breakfast and explained something to her. Even as a child, she’d known the smell of whiskey on breath and on her father, even in his clear moments, the odor had seeped from every part of his body. But he was focused on her and only her and his hands weren’t mean. So she’d sat still. And listened.

“There are three stages of love, Sara Anne,” he’d said. “No. Not stages. Kinds. See, there’s passionate love and that’s the kind of love I feel for your mama. And there’s platonic love. And there’s friendly love. And you need all of it to make a relationship work.”

She’d been aware enough to understand then and there that she didn’t want to ever be in love. In any kind of love.

And then she’d met Gil. Sweet, awkward, truly in love with his work more than humanity Gil. And she’d gone from not believing in love to engaging in the most co-dependent construct of it. Whiplash of the worst design and at times, her neck still hurt.

The ups and downs and working it out and figuring it out and loving and leaving and divorcing and partnering, all of it just boiled down to never quite feeling comfortable in the idea of expressing love how they needed it expressed. She loved him. She was in love with him. He loved her. He was in love with her. But the questions on how to express that were bigger than she expected.

And now they had to figure out how to unpack over twenty years of lust and love and anger and pain and separate out interdependency from co-dependency. And do it without Vegas in the background.

“It all went to hell in France,” she said.

It was morning. Not early. Not late. Just morning. They were sharing a suite in a decent motel in downtown Seattle while deciding exactly where to live. The house in Vegas had sold too quickly for them to really do anything more than pack - although there were some lovely places available near the campus where Gil would be teaching. She still hadn’t found a job and in this moment, she was regretting her retirement, even if she couldn’t in good conscience serve the present executive administration. Still, she could have stayed. Maybe they should have tried long distance again. They’d learned their lessons. They could do better. He could teach and she --

No. She’d been the director of the busiest lab in the country. She wouldn’t have been able to just up and go visit him. She knew what his skill in visiting was like. At least with this choice - her stepping down and his teaching, they were making choices together. She hoped. God, she hoped it wasn’t yet again her following along on his path.

All of this felt very much like Paris all over again.

“What?” He looked at her, still sleepy, over his coffee. A bagel had gone stale in front of him.

“Paris,” she said, trying to focus his absent eyes. “You were teaching. I didn’t have a focus. I couldn’t get a job. And I felt more useful all the way back in Vegas where my needs were met. You were working and all I was really doing at the time was compiling your research. Vegas gave me a purpose.”

He was quiet for a long time - in that way that told her he agreed with her but wasn’t sure how to voice it without making her angry. It was a fair worry.

“We talk a lot about how things went to hell when we tried to get pregnant, but no. It was France,” she continued. Over-explaining.

Slowly, he put his coffee mug down. And the silence between the heartbeats stretched out, eternal, until he took his breath to speak. “You’re right. And I don’t want Seattle to be a repeat of that time.”

“I mean, hopefully, it will be easier for me to find a job,” she quipped. “I at least speak the language.”

That made him smile. He reached across the small table to take her hand and she looked for a long moment at the differences she’d noted over the years that were somehow so much more expressed. He was an old man now. With liver spots and wrinkles and his hand shook from time to time. Hardly headed for the grave, but age was catching up to him. She covered his hand with her own before linking their fingers. Once, she’d have admired the simple golden wedding bands but now she was glad for the co-habitation. She appreciated that they weren’t bound by marital pressures. She’d loved being married, but perhaps, she shouldn’t have been married to him. Doug floated in her vision for a split-second before she banished even the idea. What Might Have Beens were the worst baggage to bring into their lives.

“Here,” he said. He pulled back, touched a couple of buttons on his tablet, and handed it back. Before her were pictures of a house he’d found - for rent. They’d both had the discussion that honestly, they should put the money from the sale of the house into savings and hold onto it, knowing they - she - would eventually need it to live on. It was four bedrooms, two baths, a rambler as opposed to the loft style of their last place. No stairs for his arthritic knees. What he said next surprised her. “One room for each of us - a space just for us. No questions if we don’t share a bed at night, just communication. If we need to be in a place where we are roommates, we can do that. But we can also have a space for us, together, too.”

She nodded - it was a similar setup to what they’d adapted in Vegas, honestly. And the house was beautiful. Open and airy without feeling like it was a place for two old people to sit down and garden for the rest of their lives. Quiet. She liked quiet.

“Let’s go take a look,” she said.

He nodded and took the tablet back, tapping on the “contact” icon to set up a time. Sara stood and refilled her coffee, listening to the silence as it again descended. In the back of her mind, she heard her father’s voice and, looking over at the man she loved as much as life, she could only wonder how their love had evolved and where it was going.

TBC

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
helsinkibaby
Mar. 30th, 2017 10:21 pm (UTC)
Interesting start! I actually caught the end of the finale on repeat only last week so it's nice to see some post finale fic for these two! And as you know, I was a Sara/Warrick girl, for my sins, so I have no issues with you exploring another relationship, even briefly!
vegawriters
Mar. 30th, 2017 10:26 pm (UTC)
I did a post fic finale the night it all aired because I was SO PISSED at how things (possibly) turned out. And then I went off to finish a novel. lol.

But yeah, I might play with them some more. Hell, the CSI world is so good for dabbling in the multiple pairings and it lives on. We'll see. And I could start writing a new thing consistently again tomorrow.

I'm glad you liked it.

And I miss playing with Sara and Warrick too ....
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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