I currently don't have a beta, so please excuse the mistakes..
Sorry for the wait, I hope the nice long chapter makes up for it. Please enjoy….
The entire group came to their feet as the doctor spoke.
"Let's take a seat," the doctor said and politely waited until everybody had taken their seat again.
Sara placed her shaking hands between her knees and took a deep breath, trying to calm her wildly beating heart. Brass saw her nervousness and quickly placed his arms around her shoulders to show his support. Sara looked up to him, gave him a quick smile and leaned into him.
"Before I begin, I need to ask if your husband is an alcoholic." Doctor Berndt asked.
"What?" Brass asked shocked.
"You see Doctor Grissom's immune system is severely compromised. That is the main reason why the infection grabbed such a quick and strong hold," the doctor said.
"Grissom is immune-compromised?" Doc Robbins asked shock evident in his voice.
"Doc? What does that mean?" Nick asked, not liking the look on the coroner's face.
"It means that his immune system isn't as strong as it's supposed to be. He'd get sick easy and if I remember correctly drug addicts and alcoholics are on the top of the list," Al explained.
"That's correct and as we didn't find any illegal drugs in his system when we did his blood work when he was admitted, we ruled that out, that's why I asked if he was an alcoholic. I apologize if I offended you, but I had to ask. We need to get his immune system back on track to help him fight this infection. Right now we are doing tests to identify the infection and we are working towards lowering his temperature. At the moment it's still dangerously high, though."
"How are you treating Gil?" Doc Robbins asked after a few minutes of silence.
"Well, right now we're using cold compresses, but if it gets higher we'll have to take more drastic measures. We'll need to give the antibiotics a chance to work and then see where to go from there. The one good thing so far is that he hasn't had any seizures and that is a good sign."
"Can I see him?" Sara asked, her voice quivering and her eyes glistening with unshed tears.
"I'm afraid no," the doctor said sadly, "we need to keep a close eye on him and be prepared for anything. Give us a few hours and then you can see him." With that the doctor stood up and walked out, leaving a shocked group of people to wait again.
After a couple of minutes Brass gave Sara a hug and stood up.
"I'm gonna get something to eat and some coffee, I'm bringing something back for you, ok?" Brass said looking at Sara.
"Thanks Jim, but I'm not really hungry," Sara answered, giving him a weak smile.
"I know, but you have to eat something. That's why I didn't ask. Anyone want something?"
"No, thanks, Brass," Nick said still looking a little shocked.
"Can you bring me a coffee?" Greg asked.
"Sure, black with two sugars, right?"
"I'll come with you," Al said and stood up to follow Brass out the door.
"I'm gonna phone the lab and give them an update. Hodges is threatening to come over and we can't have that," Greg said getting the desired chuckle from Sara and then left after patting her on the shoulder.
Nick came to sit down next to Sara. He placed his arms around her shoulders and she leaned into him and he could feel her thin body shake slightly.
"Did I ever tell you why I'm pissed off with Grissom?" Nick asked softly.
Sara shook her head; it was something they never really spoke about. Nick and Greg were both pissed off with Grissom, but that was without actually knowing the true story. They had thought (or so she assumed) that Grissom was the cause for the break-up and subsequent request for divorce.
"He let you go, just like that. He didn't even fight for you. After all the years the two of you danced around each other, all the obstacles you had to overcome, he just let you go. It made me angry because you are worth fighting for Sara," Nick said. He wasn't looking at her; instead he was staring at the opposite wall. Sara swallowed hard; she didn't know Nick felt this way, if she did, she would have told him that she was to blame too.
"Nick, you have to listen to me. Grissom isn't the only one to blame. When I first met him and I fell in love with him, I knew that it would not be easy. Grissom lives his life in a shell, he lives for bugs and science and the rest is just there, not important to him. I knew all of this, but I also knew he loved me and that if I cracked his shell, I would have to tread carefully. Grissom feels things deeply, Nick. He just doesn't show it. Warrick's death hit him hard. You saw it, you were here. If you want to blame someone, blame me as well," Sara said. During her little speech she had turned and was now watching Nick as he absorbed what she had said.
"But he went to Lady Heather. He didn't even talk to Jim or Doc Robbins. How can you still love him after that?" Nick asked disgust clear in his voice.
"Nick, Lady Heather and Grissom never did anything. She listened to him and saw through all his shields. He told me that he went to her, and he just slept. She comforted him. With Jim and Doc Robbins, he had to be the strong one, the reliable one. To Cath he had to be the friend she could lean on, you know how close she and Warrick was. To you and Greg he had to be the mentor, the teacher, the scientist that doesn't let life get in the way. He had to be the strict supervisor that made sure the job gets done despite the horrible tragedy. As for me, I wasn't here. I came for a while and comforted him and left him again with just a note, but even I didn't realize how hard Warrick's death hit him. Lady Heather, as much as I hate to say this, was the only one who he didn't have to pretend for," Sara said.
Nick looked at her and he could see the seriousness in her eyes and realisation hit him. For the last couple of years, he was angry that Grissom had taken Sara for granted. The woman he had always seen as a sister was being ignored and hurt by the man he saw as a father and he tried to protect her from it. He didn't see that maybe Grissom was also hurting.
"Now I feel like an ass," a voice said from the doorway, causing both Sara and Nick to look up.
"Greg?" Sara asked, not sure why he would look as guilty as he did at that moment.
"I agreed with Nick. I went as far as actually hating Grissom. For leaving, for letting you go, for leaving us behind. All of it, but what you said just now, made me think that maybe I was wrong," Greg said a little sheepishly. He had walked into the room as he was speaking and pulled a chair closer.
"It's not just Grissom, was never just him. I'll agree that he didn't make things easier, but thinking about it, neither did I," Sara sighed. "I guess after everything I just got tired of fighting for something I might never actually have. Our relationship wasn't moving, nothing happened to make me want to stay and with Griss getting the job and me just being the wife, I needed to find myself again and I just left him in Paris."
"He could have followed," Nick said stubbornly. "Look I hear what you're saying and maybe I have judged him too hard, but I still say he could have followed you back."
"I told him not to," Sara said, looking down at her hands in her lap. "When I told him I'm coming back to Vegas, I said that it would only be for a couple of months and then it became longer. We saw each other as you both know, but it wasn't enough. I didn't want to give things up and neither did he. Then the divorce came and by then things were so out of hand that it wasn't worth the fight. Or so I thought. But then he called and I saw him at the diner, Nick he was so thin and old. I've never seen him like this. The hurt in his eyes shocked me and I wanted to be angry at him, I really did, but I couldn't. I saw the man I fell in love with and still love, fall apart and even though we could play the blame game, I did that. I caused him that pain. Something I swore I would never do."
"It wasn't your fault," Greg piped up defending Sara against herself.
"I know that, Greg, but it wasn't all him either. His actions now are what matters and his sacrifice that may well cost him his life, and now I know for sure that I made the first mistake, I just hope that I have the chance to tell him."
"He came back for a second chance didn't he?" Brass asked quietly. He and Al had returned a few minutes earlier and had heard part of the conversation. Both men knew Grissom well enough or rather as well as he let anyone know him, to know that Sara was the one for him and he would do anything to have her back.
"Yeah, and I wanted to tell him that we should try again when those kids came through the doors and after that it's been one big nightmare," Sara said and then broke down crying, the stress of the last few hours getting the better of her.
Al walked over and pulled her up into a hug.
"Grissom is going to be fine, you'll see. He's come this far and he won't back down now. Besides, you can remind him that we all have a bone to pick with him when he wakes up so he'd better wake up."
The last sentence was met by a few laughs. A throat being cleared caused everyone to turn to the door where a nurse was standing with a nervous smile.
"That's me," Sara answered moving towards the door.
"Doctor Berndt said that you could visit your husband for a little while, please follow me." She turned without waiting for a reply and Sara followed quickly, sending everyone a little wave.
"Doc?" Nick asked as soon as Sara was out of ear shot.
"Yeah?" Doc Robbins answered. He'd been expecting this. He could see both younger men had questions, but for Sara's sake they held off. The little emotional conversation they had had a few minutes ago was also necessary even if it should have happened a lot earlier. He also knew that the younger guys might not actually like the answers to the questions.
"You said earlier that alcoholism and drugs are the most common reasons for immune-deficiency, right?"
"That's right. There are quite a few, but those are the most common. Why?" Al said. He kept his eyes on his folded arms on his lap, not wanting to look up. He could hear the desperate confusion in the younger man's voice, but he couldn't take the look in their eyes.
"If Grissom isn't using drugs and he doesn't drink, what caused the deficiency?" Greg asked this time and Brass had to smile. These two boys would make Grissom proud with their deductive skills.
"Neglect is one of the others along with illness or disease. Cancer could also be a cause. Using certain medications too, but those are a little rare," Al answered and finally looked up, and as he had suspected, both Nick and Greg's faces were filled with a myriad of emotions. Guilt, confusion and fear all fighting for the top spot.
Guilt because they treated (even if it was only in their minds) Grissom like he was the worst person alive, without knowing the true story.
Confusion because they weren't exactly sure how to act or what to feel; the same way they were trying to figure out what was wrong with their former boss.
Fear because regardless of anything else, they were scared to lose Grissom. He had become part of their family and whether they wanted to acknowledge it or not, he still played a part in their lives and careers.
"Well, cancer would have been picked up in the blood tests, the same with illness or disease," Nick said thoughtfully.
"Ok, we can rule out medications as well, because that would also have come up in the blood tests," agreed Greg. "That leaves neglect."
"Which doesn't really make sense," Nick said and turned to Al for an answer. It was Brass who answered, though.
"Think about it, Nick. How many times have we had to remind Grissom to eat and sleep? How many times has he worked himself halfway to collapse before any of us noticed? How many times have you or you, Greg, walked up to Sara or Catherine to get Grissom to eat or take a break?" Brass spoke quietly, but his voice was edged with a little bit of anger.
"Damn," Greg said and Nick nodded his head to agree with the sentiment.
"Grissom stopped caring about himself when the one thing he cared more about than his bugs, seemingly stopped caring about him," Al said.
"But Sara didn't stop caring about him!" Nick jumped to Sara's defence.
"I know, Nick, but remember we are talking about the two people who might as well live in a silent movie when it comes to communicating," Al replied.
There was nothing to say, but agree with Al. After that the four very worried people became silent, engrossed in their own minds with thoughts of better times and a very uncertain future.
Sara didn't know what to expect when walking into her estranged husband's room. She stopped dead in her tracks and her breath hitched with shock. Every picture she had dragged up in her mind didn't seem adequate when compared to the real scene in front of her. Grissom was lying on the bed surrounded by machines that seemed to be growing out from everywhere. And he was restless. That was the one thing that made it all too real for Sara. She had spent countless nights next to this man and when he slept, he was completely still.
Grissom's head was moving from side to side, his legs was kicking uncontrollably, the sheet was fisted in his one hand, the other still bandaged tightly to his chest to keep it immobile. Not that it helped much in his restless state. The biggest thing that got to Sara, apart from the machines that made her husband look like something out of a Star Trek movie, was his mumbling. She couldn't make out everything he said, but she heard her name repeated several times as well as the word 'sorry'.
"Try talking to him, maybe he'll calm down a bit," the nurse said as she went about checking monitors and leads.
"How's his temperature?" Sara asked shakily.
"It's holding steady. As long as it doesn't rise, there's still a chance that his fever will break sooner rather than later," the nurse replied. Sara nodded and moved closer to the bed. She tentatively reached out and stroked his sweat-soaked hair.
"Shh, Griss, I'm here," Sara spoke softly. "You have to get better soon, Bugman. There's people that want to have a very serious discussion with you. Al said to tell you that. Brass just wants to hurt those two boys that shot you. Nick and Greg, they're here too and I guess they need to see you get better as well. As for me, I need to thank you for saving my life. I want to slap you too, though for that stupid stunt you pulled." Sara was quiet for a few minutes, just stroked her husband's fevered brow.
"He's calming down," the nurse said softly. Sara had forgotten she was there; she was so focused on Grissom.
Sara nodded and leaned in closer and whispered in Grissom's ear, "I have to tell you how much I love you and that we have to try again. I can't see my life without you anymore; I don't think I can be happy without you. You have to get better, for me please."
Sara missed the nurse's small smile as she tried to focus on her notes, but the affection of the brunette for her sick husband was just too juicy. She couldn't hear what Sara had whispered to the man on the bed, but she did notice when the man on the bed's restless movements stilled.
As Grissom's movements stilled Sara looked into Grissom's face and smiled at the feverish blue eyes that stared back at her.
"Hey, welcome back," Sara smiled and gently touched Grissom's cheek.
Grissom slowly leaned his head into her hand and his lips formed a small smile. His voice was weak when he answered Sara, but it was the most beautiful sound she's ever heard.
"I love you too," and with that statement his eyes closed and he fell into a healing sleep.
OK, how was that? Was it worth the wait? Press the button and let me know, please.
*Caution: very long A/N to follow*
I have to apologise (again), for taking so long. I actually have been working on this chapter for a while and between my brother (the medic) and my mom (the retired nurse), I tried to be as realistic and authentic as possible, but if mistakes popped up especially on the medical side of the chapter, please forgive me.
RL really killed me these last couple of months, first we had matric trial exams, then the final term was upon me and it was craziness in the form of learners. The final exams came up with marking and final marks had to be in along with me having to step up as temporary grade head. Just as I started working on the chapter again, I came on holiday to the Free State (and we won't mention the temperatures), then my oldest brother was robbed at gun-point and we had a real scare which threw me off my game a bit and after that it was Christmas and New year and eventually I got the chance to sit down and finish this chapter along with a one shot I've working on called Pirates and a new story I want to try. I wrote a story in the Criminal Minds fandom, but apparently it wasn't realistic enough and uncool, so I don't know where that one is going. OK, rant over.
Thanks to all the wonderful reviews for this story, this chapter is for cas2908 for being review number 50 and for leaving such a nice review as well as Calim11 for nominating this story in the CSI forever online fan fiction awards. Hope you enjoyed it.
*Very long A/N over*
This story was written at the beginning of the year and was sent to my previous beta, and after waiting for a (long) while decided that I couldn't wait any longer, so while I am still looking for a beta, I am going to post this chapter and hope that the beta situation is resolved soon. I really hope it was worth the wait.
The next chapter is in progress and the Exhibitioner final chapter is also almost done. I really am hoping to post those ones as soon as I can. Please let me know what you think.
I don't own any of the characters, although I certainly wish they did.
Till next time,