The Puzzle

by Liz

Disclaimer: The characters of CSI were created by A. Zuiker, and are the property of CBS and its affiliates. All other characters depicted in these stories are fictional; and there you are.

Where this fits: a challenge by Ms. Grits

"You started it," Sara scowled at him as he left the table.

"I know I did, honey. I'm just..." Grissom said, abruptly walking out of the cabin.

Sara jumped up and followed him outside. Shivering, she pulled her cotton jacket around her. Grissom had walked down the short staircase from the open porch and was now lying in the hammock. His white linen shirt almost glowed in the shadows of the tall trees. His right arm lay over his eyes while his left arm rested on his chest. Sara walked to the edge of the hammock, and watched him.

"I'm sorry," Grissom said, moving his left arm, inviting her to lie down beside him.

"You're forgiven. It was just a jig-saw puzzle, Griss. No need to be upset about it." Sara said, as she settled next to him.

"I know, it just brought up some memories that I had thought were quite buried." Grissom said, softly.

They lay together, listening to the wind rustle the leaves around them; feeling the motion of the trees as they swayed in the breeze.

"A hundred thousand elephants, a hundred thousand horses, a hundred thousand mule-drawn chariots, are not worth a sixteenth part of a single step forward." Sara whispered out loud.

"Sun Tzu?" Grissom asked, on the verge of sleep.

"Close, Buddha, from 'The Connected Discourses of Buddha'," Sara replied. "Tell me what you remembered," she suggested.

Grissom moved his hand from his eyes and looked up to the sky through the thick branches above him. Sara felt his arm tighten around her shoulders as he was making up his mind.

"Terri," he started, "it was her puzzle. She sent it to me for my birthday; said it helped her relax." Grissom said quietly.

"There's a name from the past." Sara murmured.

Sara thought of the energetic blonde biology researcher from Harvard. They had met while Terri was pursuing her PhD and Sara was an undergraduate and quickly became friends. One day, Terri invited Sara to a lecture on Forensics and history was changed. Grissom met Sara and was enchanted. She learned later that Terri and Grissom used to date, but both had realized that they were too involved with their careers to pursue a real relationship.

Sara remembered the day six months ago when Grissom learned that Terri had died. He finished his shift and went home, speaking barely two words to anyone. Sara and Grissom had been dating for a month at this point, but he still had barriers that she couldn't penetrate. She pulled up in his drive and walked up to the front door of his townhouse. Sara had keys but somehow, that day, she felt that Grissom needed to invite her in. Sara rang the doorbell and waited. A few minutes later, Grissom opened the door. She took a quick breath and reached for him, seeing the abject despair in his face as tears started to run down his cheeks into his beard. Sara held him tightly, pushing him back into the living room so she could shut the door. She stayed with him until shift the next day, listening to his stories, comforting him while he grieved, holding him while he tried to sleep.

Grissom and Terri had kept in touch through email and phone calls. He knew about her marriage and subsequent divorce just as she knew of his struggles with his hearing. He hadn't known that she was dying.

Sara shifted her position, rolling towards him slightly to rest her hand on his chest. He reached his hand to hers and grasped her fingers, holding them tightly. She looked at his face and saw his raw emotion as two tears traced back to his ears. Sara squeezed his hand and hugged his chest. A short time later, Grissom fell asleep and she followed.

Sara woke up, shivering in the late afternoon air. She looked at Grissom and was surprised to see him awake. He looked at her and brought her hand to his lips.

"Let's go inside," Grissom said, softly kissing her hand.

"I'll start a fire in the fireplace." Sara said, rolling out of the hammock.

Grissom got up and walked up to her. He put his hands on her hips and leaned over to give her a passionate kiss. He reached his arm around her waist and they walked together back to the cabin. Sara immediately went to the fireplace and lit the pre-laid wood. Soon the crackle and a little smoke filled the main room. She stood in front of the fire and tried to warm up. Grissom walked up to her with a glass of red wine in his left hand, and a glass of bourbon in his right.

"Here, sweetheart, it won't really warm you, but you won't care that you're cold!" he said, with a small smile.

"Thanks," Sara said, taking the offered wine and taking a big sip.

Grissom stood next to her, feeling the heat from the fire on the front of his body. He sipped his bourbon, holding it, feeling the burn, before swallowing the smoky liquid. Very slowly, he reached his left hand across to her right and held it. He rubbed his thumb on the back of her hand in a familiar gesture. Sara took a slow step to her right and softly bumped his shoulder. He smiled, but didn't break his stare at the fireplace. They stood for another ten minutes. Grissom was lost in his thoughts and Sara was practicing some relaxation exercises that Dr. Wu had taught her.

"I'm sorry," Grissom said, turning to face her.

"Ah, sweetheart, you don't have to be. It's just you and me here, kiddo; warts and all. You never have to apologize for your emotions to me." Sara said, lifting her right hand in his left to his jaw.

She caressed his beard and he tilted his head in towards her hand. He kissed her fingers, his left hand snaking gently behind her neck to draw her in to him. They kissed softly at first and then let their passion grow. He looked at her, staring deeply into her brown eyes.

"I'd like to try now," Grissom said so softly, Sara had to concentrate to hear him.

He dropped his hand down to her waist as they walked to the walnut table by the window. Setting his glass down, he reached over and turned on the light. He looked at the table and sat slowly in the straight backed chair. Sara set her wine glass window sill and stood behind him, putting her hands on his shoulders. He took a breath and let his mind go as his fingers seemed to find the missing pieces his mind sought.

An hour later, he had finished. Sara had moved to a club chair by the fire, her long legs folded under her, reading that month's edition of Forensics Today. Slowly Grissom stood and looked at the image that he had created and smiled. The puzzle had arrived in a plain cardboard box with no photograph to go by. Now he looked at a collage that Terri had made of photos of Sara, Grissom and herself that year that he was lecturing in Cambridge.

"Sara?" he called, not breaking his look.

Sara stood, putting the magazine down on the chair and walked to see what he was looking at.

"Oh, wow, Griss." Sara said, slipping her left arm around his waist.

"Yeah," Grissom said softly.

She looked at him and held him tighter. He reached his arm around her as well, holding her tightly, still unable to break his gaze.

"Griss? Let's get it framed, okay?" Sara suggested.

"Yeah, I'd like that. We'll hang it in the Lab room." Grissom answered.

"Sure, right above your drawing board." Sara said, her voice becoming full of emotion.

Grissom turned to her and held her in his arms, his face buried in her dark hair as he struggled to hold onto his emotions. She held him as well, feeling his breathing change. Grissom pulled back to look at her.

"Sara, I loved her." Grissom said, his voice catching slightly.

"I know, bugman. You loved her, and she was my best friend." Sara revealed.

"How can I be so lucky that the two of you met and liked each other?" Grissom whispered.

"Because we were both attracted to you. You started it; this relationship between the three of us. You were the catalyst." Sara said softly.

Grissom looked at her. His blue eyes were tired and bloodshot. He smiled; the fatigue showing on this face.

"Sweetheart, why don't you take a nap and I'll make dinner?" Sara suggested.

Grissom's smile widened. "Honey, I do love you, but you really can't cook. Besides, Brass has the fridge stocked. Let's go find something we both can eat and I'll make dinner."

"All right, if you don't want me to make dinner, what can I do to help you?" Sara asked.

Grissom's eyes clouded and his smile disappeared as he pulled her into an impassioned embrace.

"We will discuss that in detail after dinner." Grissom said, his voice husky and low.

Sara grinned as she went to refill their glasses, thinking of the 'dessert' portion of the meal.

  Please post a comment on this story.
Search for another story

Failed to execute CGI : Win32 Error Code = 2