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26 June 2007 @ 08:34 am
The Best of Me, The Rest of Me [CSI; Sara/Grissom/Catherine]  
TITLE: The Best of Me, The Rest of Me
FANDOM: CSI
PAIRING: Sara/Grissom/Catherine
RATING: PG
SPOILERS: All five seasons are fair game.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Trust me.
SUMMARY:


*****

For five years Grissom had been silently preparing. Going over what could be said and done when the situation arose. Yet, as much as he prepared himself, the kiss caught him off guard. He staggered a bit against the sudden slight weight and braced himself with his hands on Sara's slim hips... which she took as invitation to further the kiss.

That was when his senses cleared enough for him to pull away from her lips. "No."

Liquid chocolate irises stared up at him in a heart-shattering mix of confusion, affection, disappointment, and understanding. Her lips began to move, but the question was never voiced as she stopped and just stared some more. A silent conversation passed between his eyes and hers, abbreviated but definitive:

'We can't.'

'Why not?'

'You know why.' Then, he watched as her jaw tensed, a fierce spark lighting her eyes as she gave one curt nod.

He'd always admired the fire within her... envied it, even, as it far magnified his own. The passion in Sara bubbled just beneath the surface, ready to spring out at the slightest provocation, whereas he kept a tight lid on his own, knowing that unleashing it could at times create quite a problem. Like now. She stepped back from him and his hands that had been on her hips hung, frozen, in the air.

As Sara flounced out of his office with a flick of her shoulder-length sable strands, Grissom caught eyes with the strawberry-blonde standing just outside his door... out of view from the brunette that was currently stomping toward the locker room, but well within his own line of vision. In her eyes, he saw a similar fire, a similar spark; both women were apparently furious with him, this conjecture becoming more evident as Catherine gave a huff and took off toward the parking lot, her heels making sharp clicks on the tile.

Grissom could do nothing but stand staring out the door, hands still frozen in the air, mouth slack with shock and confusion. What the hell just happened? Without saying anything, without technically doing much of anything, he'd managed to toss quite a wrench into both his professional and personal life. When did it come to this?

When he began his work in forensics, his focus had been solely on the science. The cold, hard facts. There was no time for dealing with emotions or relationships of any kind. Then, somewhere along the line, things changed. Loneliness became somewhat of a work hazard... a cloud that loomed over his head threatening to open up on him and release a downpour of things he wasn't ready to deal with.

Then Catherine came along. Everything that he wasn't, Catherine unknowingly drew him in. Her quick mind and sharp tongue snagged him from their first meeting, her good heart and bruised soul tying him to her shortly after. Cold, hard facts took a backseat then to emotion, to their relationship. He hadn't even realized he was in love with her until it was too late. By that time, she had met and married Eddie Willows... was even pregnant with his child. Grissom had no choice but to move on -- to dedicate his life once more to the science that had become his companion before Catherine.

He moved to San Francisco for awhile, needing time and space to clear his head, to try to rid his heart of any traces of Catherine Willows. He was back again to being just a scientist -- "just the facts, ma'am" as that old Dragnet line went. He'd assisted the San Francisco crime lab, he'd given guest lectures at local community colleges; he'd taught seminars.

Then Sara Sidle came along. She was bright, vivacious, easy-going and very straight-forward. She set out to be his star pupil from day one and nabbed the role effortlessly. She continually surprised him by her seemingly never-ending thirst for knowledge, and he soon found himself wanting to know her better. They never dated; not once did they socialize in a way that could even be construed as being a 'date' -- they simply spent time together, formed a friendship borne of shared interests and similar ways of thinking. She was him, in female form.

In both cases, with both of these women, he'd kept his distance. He'd done nothing in either instance that could cross the line. So... if everything had been kept platonic... why, when Sara came to Vegas, did everything suddenly become so damned complicated?

There had been tension between Sara and Catherine from the start. Catherine immediately assumed the position of alpha female, defending her territory against an unwanted intruder. Grissom could never ascertain whether he, himself, was considered part of her 'territory' or not. Sara initially sought a truce, but as her affection toward him became more apparent, she too then began vying for the role of alpha female. It had been this way for the past five years, growing more and more complicated by the day.

He and Catherine never discussed the underlying possibilities in their relationship -- never analyzed the looks, the touches, the seemingly reciprocated feelings. They drew close a few times, one such instance standing out in his head occurring at Desert Palm before his surgery, but instead of discussing the implications, they took solace in the solidity of their friendship and working relationship, probably each convincing themself that it was better this way.

And, for how much he and Catherine tried not to talk about their relationship, Sara made every effort to try to define their own relationship. She would make ambiguous comments, make subtle yet very clear advances on cases... silently demanding a definition to what had been between them since San Francisco but never receiving a definitive answer -- Grissom didn't have one to give, after all. He couldn't even figure out what was between them. He knew he couldn't risk his work for her, that much was clear. He'd even told a suspect the same thing. But, beyond that, what did he feel?

In a mere five years, Grissom's life had turned into a soap opera. He decided then with fixed determination, his hands still hanging in the air, that it was time for the soap opera to end. Feelings needed to be confronted, decisions needed to be made.


*****

Upon arriving at his townhouse, Grissom strode purposefully over to his stereo, waving his hand in front of the device to open the glass doors... then reaching down to grab the chosen disc. After popping it in and selecting track two, he made his way to his leather couch and stretched out, kicking off his shoes and reclining as the first strains of a concerto filled the air.

Closing his eyes, Grissom pictured the two most important women in his life: Catherine Willows and Sara Sidle. Was he attracted to both of them? Of course; they were both beautiful women in their own unique ways. Did he get along with both of them? Most of the time. Each had their own ways of pressing his buttons and stirring his ire from time-to-time -- Catherine did this through years of familiarity, knowing what made him tick, what irked him, and by her own unique stubbornness; Sara did this through the clashing of their similar views but different behavior, or when she would have bouts of acting childishly, and by her own unique stubbornness.

Did it pain him to watch them both battle their demons? Absolutely. When Catherine was fighting to overcome her cocaine addiction, those had been some of the most painful times of Grissom's life, as well as continually comforting her and caring for her when Eddie started to become abusive. And when Sara was fighting her alcohol addiction, as well as struggling with the ghosts of her troubled past, it had seared Grissom's heart.

Did he want to shield both of them from harm? Of course he did. He had. When a car was tearing recklessly down the street just a few years ago, he had grabbed Sara's arm and pulled her back up to the curb, then held her arm as they crossed to safety. And, during a somewhat recent car-bombing, upon hearing what sounded like shots being fired, Grissom had banded his arms around Catherine's waist and pressed her up against an SUV, shielding her with his own body.

Did he love both of them? That was the biggest question to ponder. And, as he considered all of his previous inner inquiries, the answer became clear: without a doubt. He loved them both, in ways as unique as they were, themselves; but he knew his heart could only belong to one of them. And, if he wanted this soap opera to end, he needed to decide here and now which one that was.

"Brandenburg Concerto number two," a smooth voice behind him stated plainly.

He jumped at the sound, familiar but startling, and glanced behind him at the alto-voiced intruder. "Sara..."

She shrugged slender shoulders, throwing up her hands slightly as part of the shrug, then waving one toward his door. "Your buzzer was busted, and your door was unlocked, so..." She paused, wincing slightly. "I'm sorry."

He nodded. "It's okay." He cleared his throat and managed to give her a slight smile, commenting, "You know your Bach."

Sara took this light comment as invitation to step further into his home, approaching the couch where he sat. "Yeah, I uh... I listened to classical music a lot in college. It helped me study." She smiled. "Sometimes I still listen to classical music, even if there's nothing to study. It's relaxing."

Grissom's eyebrows quirked slightly at this, and he nodded. "Yes. It is." He gave her a look then. "Unless you have people breaking into your home, of course."

"Hey!" a chuckle made its way through her indignant tone, and she gestured again to the door. "I told you, your buzzer was--"

"I know, I know. It was a joke." He motioned toward the other end of the couch. "Sit."

She did as he bade, taking a seat against the opposite arm of the couch and angling her body to face him. He followed suit, but his eyes remained focused on his hands, putzing in his lap. "Sara, listen, we--"

"Need to talk, I know."

"Yes." He raised his eyes to meet hers. "For the past five years, things have been a little, shall we say... strained, between you and I, mostly because--"

"Because you keep sending mixed signals," she finished for him once again, leaning forward slightly to place her elbows on her thighs, her hands clasped in the space between her knees.

"I have. And, I guess, part of the reason I've been doing that is because I am... I was... uncertain, as to how I felt about you. I--"

"It doesn't have to be so complicated, you know," she reasoned softly, the comment catching his attention.

He absorbed this for a moment. Finally, he responded. "And yet it is."

Sara let out a sigh and rose to her feet, suddenly restless as she paced near the counter. "Grissom, I just... I don't understand what you want. I don't understand what you want from me, I don't understand what you want from Catherine..." She watched his eyes glint at the mention of the strawberry-blonde, and her heart sunk just a little. "And I think that you don't even understand what you want."

"I didn't," he agreed, rising to his feet to join her near the counter. "Until today, you're right. I had no idea what I wanted, from either of you."

She watched him carefully, her large brown eyes shifting back and forth between his own, searching them as if they'd give her the answers she was seeking. "But now you do?" When he nodded, she took a breath, sighed it out, and went straight to the point. "Grissom, do you love me?"

His answer came without hesitation. "Of course."

Sara was in his arms before he could process what was happening... not seeking another kiss, but merely an embrace as her arms went around him, her chin resting against his shoulder. His arms hung frozen in the air for a moment before he wrapped them around her in turn, tenderly but apprehensively hugging her. Her voice sounded over his shoulder, low and hushed, her tone wry. "Like a daughter though, right?"

Grissom ran one hand up her back and then down again. "No Sara, not like a daughter."

She gently pulled away, once more searching his eyes as her hands landed on his upper arms, which were still around her waist. "Then how? How do you love me?"

"How?" He asked the question not for clarification, but more to himself, as he pondered. "Like..." When she ducked her head, preparing for the most platonic explanation, he placed a finger under her chin and lifted her eyes back to his. "Like I never want to see you get hurt. Or, when and if you do, I always want to find a way to make it better. I love you, like... I always want you to be happy. I want to know that, no matter how horrible and tragic our job is, that you will always have the ability to smile."

A smile lit her eyes at this comment, just barely reaching her lips, and he smiled back. "And Sara, I will always want you in my life. I will always want to know you. Hell, I always will know you, extremely well, because it's like knowing myself." Daring to move a strand of sable hair out of her promptly-dampening eyes, he continued. "You and I think alike, act alike, even talk alike at times. You are me, but with even more passion, more of a zest for your job, for the science that you hold so dear. I guess you could say, Sara, that you're the best of me."

"Grissom..." She was in his arms again, snuffling against his shoulder as she attempted to gain control of her emotions. Obviously such a heartfelt response from him was utterly unexpected. "You know that, that I--"

"I know," he finished for her, one hand on her lower back while the other ran through her hair. And he did know. He'd known for years. She loved him and, in a way, would probably always love him. He would always have a place in her heart, just as she would always have a place in his. But...

"What about Catherine?" She was tense in his arms now, and he pulled back, quickly wiping the few stray tears on her cheek with his finger before repeating her question.

"What about Catherine?"

"Do you love Catherine?"

Her eyes bore into him, and again he didn't hesitate as he sighed out, "I do."

"How?"

Grissom narrowed his eyes slightly as he studied the brunette in front of him, eyeing the fixed determination in her stare. Did she really want to hear this? Obviously she did, for her gaze didn't relent. Sara wanted those five-year-old answers, and she would stare him down until she got them.

He sighed. "Like... when she's hurt, I feel hurt. When she cries, I want to cry with her. Like... there's nobody else out there like her, nobody else that understands me the way that she does. I love her, like... like she's a part of me. I love Catherine how I love breathing. I love her as a necessity to my existence."

Sara nodded, silent tears scudding down her face now at his admission; not what she wanted to hear, but... judging by the expression on her face... exactly what she'd expected. "More than just 'the best of you.'"

He nodded sadly, attempting in vain to wipe away her tears, his heart sinking when she swatted his hand away and took a step back. "Sara, there is the best of me, and then there is the rest of me. Catherine is the rest of me."

She cut her eyes to the side, blinking rapidly in succession to rid them of the tears clouding them, while responding softly, "I see," and then averting her gaze to her shoes.

Grissom stepped up to her, toe-to-toe, and once more tipped her chin up so she would meet his eyes. He let his own sparkle their apology at her, for he knew he could never find words suitable enough for such a devastating apology.

She nodded in response as if he had spoken, her gaze understanding. "Thank you." When she saw the vertical crease appear between his eyebrows, she clarified. "I needed to hear all this, Grissom. I was tired of living a soap opera--" this line made him smile slightly, "--and I decided I had to know how you felt, one way or another, and move on from there. Now I can."

He nodded, placing his hands on her shoulders and rubbing gently. "Good."

Sara drew in a breath, holding Grissom's gaze, then let it out slowly in a mix of a sigh and a rueful chuckle. "I really hope Catherine knows how lucky she is."

He chuckled back slightly, but spared a verbal response. He hoped like crazy she did, too, though he didn't dare mention it to Sara. Instead, he slid his hands down her arms to grasp her hands, giving them a light, supportive squeeze. "Are you going to be okay?"

She nodded, smiling a genuine smile. "I will be."

"Are we going to be okay?"

Sara chuckled again. "We will be."

He nodded in response, unable to help the smile edging across his lips. His heart felt lighter than it had in the past five years. If only he'd done this sooner. Sara held his gaze as she rose up slightly, their hands still clasped together as she brushed her lips chastely against his. "Goodbye, Grissom," she whispered against his lips, and slowly drew back.

She released one hand to reach up and glide her thumb gently across his bottom lip before cupping his face briefly, then she turned to head for the door without waiting for his response. He stared after her, wanting to walk her to the door and make sure she got to her car okay, but finding he was cemented to the spot. He could only watch as she pulled open his front door... his breath then catching in his throat as she came face to face with--

"Catherine," he breathed.

The strawberry-blonde eyed the situation before her, gaze flicking from Grissom, to Sara, then back again. "I'm not interrupting anything, am I?" she asked, tone pregnant with barely-repressed fury.

Sara shook her head and attempted a friendly smile, one which quickly withered under Catherine's stare. "You're not. Not at all. I was just leaving."

"Maybe I should be leaving too." When she, too, started out the door, Grissom's heart clenched in his chest.

"Cath, please!"

She spun on her heel to face him, the red-gold arcs of color swinging around her face creating a beautiful halo... quite the contrast to her ice cold stare. She gave no response, and managed to glare death at Sara while the young brunette brushed past her.

She jumped when Sara laid a hand on her shoulder, her soft voice killing the threat about to pass Catherine's lips. "Please believe me when I say, you have nothing to worry about."

Grissom would have smiled at the crease that appeared between Catherine's eyebrows... evidence of her confusion... had she not been mad as hell. She exchanged a look with Sara before Sara stepped away.

Then, Catherine's ice cold stare once more settled on the entomologist across the room. "Gil, what the hell is going on?"

His eyes flitted toward Sara, who gave him a supportive smile, a promise of a deeper friendship in her eyes. He nodded once, then watched as she turned to head down the stairs. His eyes met Catherine's again. "Cath, please come inside and sit down. We need to talk."

"No good ever comes from hearing those words, Gil."

Grissom's eyes implored her, pleaded with her... and he wasn't above getting down on his knees. "Please."

That got her. With a huff, she strode quickly inside and plopped gracelessly onto his couch. Grissom slowly followed her, half-fearing for his life. "Catherine, listen--"

"So help me God, Gil, if you tell me you're in love with Sara..." She left the threat dangling and his imagination was all too willing to fill in the blanks.

"I'm not going to tell you that."

"Then what has been going on? The kissing... her being over here..."

He met her eyes and realized in an instant that, in a way, he and Catherine were already in a deeply-committed relationship. There had been no declarations of love, no promises, and yet... for years they'd seemed to have an almost unspoken betrothal to one another. "I'm sorry," he started.

"For what?"

"Everything. For every time you've ever been confused about what's between us, or between Sara and I. I'm sorry if I've ever sent you mixed signals, or made you think that I don't care about you, because really Catherine, the exact opposite is true."

"I know, Gil," she responded softly, and for the first time since she'd arrived he didn't hear a trace of anger in her tone. He took that as a good sign.

Reading her mind, he jumped straight into her train of thought. "And I know that doesn't explain what I was doing with Sara. I've been trying to sort out my feelings for both of you, and... I finally think I have it figured out."

"What made you figure it out?"

"Sara, actually. That kiss finally gave me the push I needed to make a decision."

Catherine's eyebrows flicked upward. "Well, I guess that's a good thing. It was kind of a shock, though... seeing your lips plastered to hers."

"I know. And I'm sorry. I didn't initiate it."

"I figured."

"But like I said, I did a lot of thinking, about you and about Sara. About how I feel for both of you."

She raised her eyebrows expectantly, angling her body toward his. "And?"

He reached for her hands and squeezed them, like they were his lifeline. And maybe they were. Maybe she was. "I love you both, but in very different ways."

Catherine rolled her eyes. "How ambiguous of you, Gil." She started to pull away.

He just gripped her hands tighter and forced her to meet his gaze again. "Please listen to me. I love you both, in different ways. I love Sara because she's a more passionate, more vivacious, more ambitious version of me." He held her gaze. "But Catherine, I love you because you're everything to me. I love you more than my own life. You're my right and left hand, you are my partner in every sense of the word. Sara's the best of me, but Catherine you will always be the rest of me."

Catherine's gaze softened, and she squeezed his hands in return. "Gil..."

He attempted a teasing smile. "Sorry it took me so long."

Catherine laughed, accepting of his answer, and pulled him in. After twenty years, their lips finally connected, and their arms held each other tight. When they pulled apart, their foreheads met, and Grissom opened his eyes to see Catherine smiling at him, stroking his cheek with their foreheads still touching.

"At least you finally got a clue," she quipped wryly, and he pulled her in for another kiss.



FIN



{x-posted to graveshiftcsi}
 
 
 
The keeper of lonelinesswanderlonely on June 26th, 2007 02:07 pm (UTC)
Just seeing the title makes my heart ache, that's one of the best titles for a G/C fic, for a G/C relationship, and this fic? Beautiful and emotional, thank you. ♥
a.: C2; it's just that it's delicate;regalish on June 29th, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
Awwww, thanks so much babe! Glad you liked it. Anytime I address the G/S thing I always get a little nervous, lol, so I'm glad you think this one turned out okay :D

The keeper of lonelinesswanderlonely on June 29th, 2007 08:30 am (UTC)
Oh your pretty iocn. ::dies::

I have to say that I didn't the GSRness in this one, lol, but you still write it beautiful, sigh, you're a really good writer, I can never wtite nice GSRness in my GC fics. XD

a.: C2; send some salvationregalish on June 29th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
Hee! "Delicate" Cath? That's by _impress_me. She always makes GORGEOUS Cath icons.

And if it makes you feel any better, I didn't want to write nice GSRness, hehehe. But I felt it had to be done ;D

нσω ∂σ уσυ нσℓ∂ α мσση вєαм ιη уσυʀ нαη∂?: GCfiddlings on June 26th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
I have to be honest...this had just a little bit too much GSRness in it for my taste. However, I still really liked it. I loved this look into Grissom's head. And the way he described his love for Catherine was just...breathtaking. Thanks for this; it was beautiful!
a.: G/C; and i'm tangled up in you;regalish on June 29th, 2007 12:27 am (UTC)
Hey, thanks! Glad you ended up enjoying it. Sorry to hear you thought there was too much GSR; I thought I had been careful to emphasize the point enough times that Grissom loves Sara in a platonic way, but... to each their own, I suppose. :)

Grillows for the win, always. :D
нσω ∂σ уσυ нσℓ∂ α мσση вєαм ιη уσυʀ нαη∂?: GCfiddlings on June 29th, 2007 12:36 am (UTC)
I thought I had been careful to emphasize the point enough times that Grissom loves Sara in a platonic way, but... to each their own, I suppose


You actually did a great job of that; that's why I ended up liking it as much as I did. :) I guess my comment wasn't really clear; I just meant there was too much Grissom/Sara interaction, not necessarily romance. True, Grissom professing his love, even though platonic, was a bit more than I would have liked, but I love that you actually addressed the issue instead of ignoring it, like a lot of authors would.

Long live GCR! :) (And I really like your icon, by the way.)
a.: G/C; and i'm tangled up in you;regalish on June 29th, 2007 03:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, well thank you! I must've misconstrued the comment too, hehehe. I would've rather NOT done any G/S interaction, but I felt it had to be done; almost to ease my bitterness over the whole thing I had to get out MY interpretation of it before I could move on. And now look at me! I'm... still... well, bitter. Heh. But the fic helped a bit!!!

And isn't that icon just so pretty? It's by 2ndcommandlove, and it's actually THE icon that persuaded me to give in and watch the season 7 finale of CSI -- just to catch that G/C moment. It was totally worth it. ;D
нσω ∂σ уσυ нσℓ∂ α мσση вєαм ιη уσυʀ нαη∂?: GCfiddlings on June 29th, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC)
And now look at me! I'm... still... well, bitter. Heh. But the fic helped a bit!!!

Haha, yeah, know how that goes! I tried writing a G/S/C fic...my plot bunny ran away with my muse somewhere around the middle of the third chapter. Now it's just sitting on my hard drive collecting dust. Figuratively speaking, obviously. ;)

Hey, now I have something to blame all my bitterness on. It's because I haven't finished that fic! What a break through. ;D

Yes, your icon is gorgeous! And I agree; that moment was the best! It made me smile. :D
csiAngel: csi chemistrycsiangel on June 26th, 2007 09:51 pm (UTC)
Another great fic Caroline. I love the title, and the sentiment behind it. It really is about time Gil got a clue :-)

Happy birthday! :-)
a.: G/C; i cannot be without youregalish on June 29th, 2007 12:29 am (UTC)
Aww, thank you so much, Jac! Glad you liked it, despite the slight G/Sness :D

And thanks for the b-day wishes!! ♥
(Deleted comment)
a.: G/C; through the good through the badregalish on June 29th, 2007 12:32 am (UTC)
Wow! Thank you so, so much! That is so sweet of you to say. And I agree, in a lot of Grillows fics, he is very two-dimensional. I've always thought he was so multi-faceted and enigmatic, I love writing him.

I'm sure I'll end up doing more Grillows fics. As against the premise of the show as I am now because of the G/S... Grissom/Catherine is still one of my truest loves, hehehe. I just can't seem to let go of them ;)

Thanks again, so much!
(Deleted comment)
a.: G/C; i'm on fire when you're near me;regalish on June 29th, 2007 12:35 am (UTC)
Awww, thanks Anne! Glad to know you've got faith in me ;) I can't betray my beloved G/C, BUT I had to address the Sara stuff too. Glad you liked it.

Also? Cranky Cath is SOOO much fun to write. Hehe, our lovely little fireball :D

Thanks again!
(Deleted comment)
ouroborossnyderouroborossnyder on September 7th, 2007 08:32 am (UTC)
Very Nice, so soft and gentle. I LOVED it =)
Oh and I totally caught that "Brandenburg Concerto number two" ...it was so off The X-Files =) *Wink*
~Snyder~
a.: LE; she runs on 100-proof attitude powerregalish on September 9th, 2007 05:39 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I was quite worried about posting it because of the Griss/Sara-ness, so I'm happy to hear it went over okay :)

Also? YAY YOU for picking up on the XF reference. I think you're the only one to catch that. :D

Thanks again!