copyright 2004, by Hannah
Gil Grissom was exhausted. It had been almost 30 hours since he’d slept and he felt the beginnings of a migraine. He climbed into his Tahoe and allowed his head to fall forward onto the steering wheel for a moment before starting the engine and pulling out of the parking lot.
This case had gotten to him. It didn’t happen often.
When he’d seen Debbie Marlin in that shower he’d been shocked at how much she looked like Sara. He hadn’t needed Catherine to point out that anything could happen to anyone, the visual image had driven that point home without further comment. He’d tried to keep Sara away from the scene as much as he could. If he couldn’t help but think of Sara’s life, ended so abruptly, he could only imagine the effect it might have on her.
Sara was very like him in that she allowed her work to consume her. This had been a forceful reminder that life was fleeting, and he thought of her waking up some morning and realizing that she had let it pass her by. The realization was not a pleasant one - he knew from personal experience. He wasn’t sure when exactly his focus had shifted from Sara to himself, but it had become impossible to ignore. When he’d spoken to Dr. Lurie he hadn’t known what he intended to say, but hearing the words had been a revelation.
The only time we ever touch other people is when we’re wearing our latex gloves.
More importantly, he never allowed anyone to touch him.
Tired as he was, he found himself passing the turn for his townhouse. He needed to do this now... it had waited long enough.
Grissom pulled to a stop and got out of the Tahoe. He stood for a minute, then took a deep breath and moved forward, allowing himself no chance for hesitation when he reached the door.
Her expression grew guarded when she saw him, but she said nothing.
“May I come in?”
A slight tilt of her head was the only indication she heard the question.
“Please? There’s something I need to say to you.”
She considered him for a long moment, then stood aside to allow him in. He stepped across the threshold, taking a deep breath as she closed the heavy door then turning to face her.
“Well?” she demanded.
Not exactly encouraging... but he hadn’t expected this to be easy. He hadn’t made it easy for her. He took another breath, met her questioning stare, and plunged in.
“For as long as I can remember, my life has been my work. I’ve kept myself busy studying the world around me rather than allowing myself to experience it.” A pause. “It’s been a good place to hide.” She arched an eyebrow, her expression softening almost imperceptibly. “And it’s been enough... until now.”
“What’s different now?”
His response was barely a whisper, but his weary gaze was strong and direct.
She betrayed no emotion in her response.
“You’ve had plenty of time to decide. Why tonight?”
His eyes left hers as he considered his answer.
“Let’s just say I got a message I couldn’t ignore.”
He took a step toward her, his eyes locking onto hers.
“Sometimes the price for... safety is too high.”
She moved forward, closing the distance between them and resting a hand on his chest.
“Tell me what happened.”
He sighed. He’d have to tell her eventually, it might as well be now.
“The victim of a particularly brutal murder was a dead ringer for one of my team... Sara.” He paused to collect his thoughts. “I see myself in her. Neither one of us has much of a life outside the lab. I’ve tried to encourage her to get out more...and she’s tried to encourage me to get out with her.” He hesitated, looked away. “I considered it briefly. I hadn’t thought to be lonely until...” He trailed off, eyes coming back to hers. “She would have been... safer, less threatening.” His confession made, he shifted back to the victim. “The woman who was killed was a nurse at Desert Palms. An affair with a doctor went bad...” Gil stopped abruptly and lowered his head, suddenly far too tired for this. “He accepted the offer I turned down, and it ended badly... but at least he felt something.” With this he looked up, the raw emotion in his eyes enough to shock her. “I told him we were alike, that the only time we touch other people is when we’re wearing latex gloves. He took the gloves off, and in spite of everything I found that I envied him.”
They looked at one another for a long time, before he heard her soft voice.
“Tell me why you’re here tonight.”
“Because you’re worth the risk. I wasn’t brave enough before, and I’m afraid it might be too late, but... Heather, can you forgive me?”
Flights of Angels ~ Follow-Up to Second Chances
copyright 2004, by Hannah