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Penance

copyright 2004, by Hannah

Disclaimer:    CSI and it's characters were created by Anthony E. Zuiker.  They are used herein without permission, but in the spirit of admiration and respect.  No infringement of copyright is intended, and no profit, of any kind, is made by the creator, maintainer or contributors to this site.

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Gil Grissom sighed as he rose from his desk and headed out into the bright morning sun. Without work to distract him, his thoughts predictably turned to Heather. It had been months since he’d last seen the beautiful dominatrix, but her memory haunted him. Not knowing how to approach her in the wake of his betrayal, he had lapsed into the same patterns of avoidance he employed in most other aspects of his personal life. It had been a mistake, and one he bitterly regretted, but as time passed, any chance at redemption seemed increasingly hopeless. He’d tried to put Heather out of his mind, but that was impossible. So a growing determination to win her forgiveness had taken hold in recent days. The question was how exactly to go about it.

Six months to the day of his offence, he arranged for a courier service to make a delivery to The Dominion... an exquisite antique volume of de Sade’s Justine knotted in a long scarf of crimson silk. The envelope tucked inside the front cover read simply 'Lady Heather.' The heavy card stock in a rich dove gray bore the same precise script...


Impose me to what penance your invention can lay upon my sin
- Gil


       
Her reply was delivered by the same courier service that afternoon. It was an abrupt invitation in an equally precise script on expensive cream card stock with a wide black border...


Join me this evening, 10pm                                


It was not a simple matter to make himself available on such short notice - a fact he was sure Heather was well aware of - but for a chance to make things right with her, he would do whatever she asked of him.

Unfortunately, there was only one person available to cover his shift. He called Sara, telling her that he needed a shift covered but failing to mention that it was his own. She agreed a little too readily, and he felt a brief flash of guilt at taking advantage of her. It passed quickly. The young CSI had been insufferably sullen and belligerent lately, and he was frankly losing patience with her moods. Another call to Catherine to let her know she would have to take the lead tonight was less uncomfortable than he’d feared, but only because she was unavailable. He was relieved to be directed to her voice mail, though aware that it was only a temporary reprieve. She would make it a point to question him about his sudden absence when he returned to the lab, but it was a small price to pay.

When he left his home that evening, he took neither phone nor pager. He had no wish to be disturbed and couldn’t imagine anything that could compel him to abandon Heather’s company.

The young woman who answered the door ushered him into the front sitting room and left him with a promise that Lady Heather would be down soon. He was far too anxious to sit and didn’t want her to find him pacing. Annoyed with his inability to master his nerves, he found himself looking about the room for some distraction, his back to the door when she finally appeared.

“Mr. Grissom.”

He turned, too quickly, to find her standing just inside the doorway, even more beautiful than he had remembered her.       

“Lady Heather.” She stood with hands clasped loosely in front of her and regarded him with an unwavering stare. “It’s good to see you again.” An uncomfortable pause. “I’ve missed you.” She arched an eyebrow, finally moving fully into the room.

“Have you?”

“Yes,” he whispered.

“I’m surprised that you were able to accept my invitation with so little notice.”

He took a step toward her but stopped abruptly when cool green eyes flashed a warning. He met them with unmistakable determination in his own.

“Nothing could have kept me away.”

Her full lips pursed slightly but she offered no response. He was unsure just what she expected from him and so decided it was best to remain silent and wait for some indication from her. She studied him for a long moment, and he forced himself to hold her gaze.

“Your gift was lovely. Thank you.”

“I’m glad it pleased you.”

“It was a touch extravagant, no?”

He offered her what he hoped was a disarming smile.

“I wanted to get your attention.”

She nodded.

“You have it.”

It was clear from the challenge in her tone and the expectant stare that held him. This was his opportunity to find the words that would convince her of his repentance.

“You were right,” he began, lowering his eyes. “I was afraid... but less of you than myself, I think.” Her eyes narrowed, but she said nothing, simply waited for him to go on. “I’m accustomed to being in control. I’ve built my entire life on it, but with you... I was terrified of what I might let myself...” He stopped, brought his eyes back to hers. “You allowed yourself to trust me, and clearly I didn’t deserve it. I’d give anything if I could change that, but I can’t.” Then, after a moment. “Please, Heather, let me try to earn your trust. I’ll do everything in my power to make sure I don’t disappoint you again.”

She said nothing for a long moment, and when she did speak, it was hardly what he expected.

“Sit.” She indicated the sofa behind him with a slight nod of her head. He sat. She walked toward him slowly. “It is possible that you could earn my trust, Mr. Grissom... but only if you can allow yourself to trust me.” She reached the sofa, but made no move to sit with him. “Are you prepared to do that?”

“Yes, I am. I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”

She drew in a deep breath and lowered herself to the cushion beside him.

“Good. You can start by telling me exactly what you were so afraid of.”

He knew this was a test, but couldn’t resist teasing her for a moment... or perhaps he was stalling.

“I assumed you’d know, Lady Heather.” A playful note in his voice.

“Oh, I do, Mr. Grissom.” Her voice held the hint of a playful note as well, but emerald eyes flashed a challenge. “I just want to hear you say it.”

A resigned sigh escaped him, but he held her gaze and forced himself to plunge ahead.

“I slept with a suspect in an open investigation. I compromised the case, put my reputation and my career at risk. My feelings for you were obviously too strong to control. I told you I was losing my balance... I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find my footing again... and even more afraid that I wouldn’t want to.”

“And you’re not afraid of that now?”

“It’s too late.”

Her full lips curled into a satisfied smile, and she leaned closer to him. Her eyes flickered to his mouth then came back to meet his gaze.

“Kiss me, Mr. Grissom.”

He leaned in and brought his hand to her face, fingers brushing across her cheek then slipping into the dark silk of her hair. His eyes stayed locked on hers, lips barely brushed hers as he spoke.

“No penance, Lady Heather?”

She brought her lips a fraction closer to his and offered him a wicked grin.

“What gave you that idea?”

 

FIN

copyright 2004, by Hannah

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