A Grissom Carol
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Category: CSI - Ship Ahoy!
Characters: Catherine Willows
, Gil Grissom
, Greg Sanders
, Jim Brass
, Nick Stokes
, Sara Sidle
, Sofia Curtis
, Warrick Brown
Genres: First Time
, RomanceWarnings: None
Three spirits come to visit Gil Grissom on Christmas Eve.
Gil Grissom had never really considering himself a Scrooge. He just wasn't one of the people that were obsessed about the holiday. To him, it was another day of the year. Besides, people didn't kill each other any less
over the holiday season. It was almost like the heat – crime tended to rise.
Still, it was a rarity for him to be at home on Christmas Eve. On one hand he was relieved that he didn't have to go and tell families that a loved one had died – but on the other, he found himself at a loss of what to do.
Finally, he made himself a Scotch and sat in his favourite armchair with a book. And so he went, quietly reading and sipping, before falling asleep...
"I'm not sure about this new rearrangement of things. I particularly don't like that closet behind curtains."
Gil almost jerked awake and blinked. He looked around, trying to find out where the voice was coming from, and he zeroed in on a figure sitting in the chair across from him. "Who's there?"
"Well that's a fine welcome from my son." Rose Grissom, as fierce as ever, if not a little more translucent, peered over her glasses at him. "You know the wonderful thing about being dead? I can hear everything."
Gil took his glasses off, blinked, rubbed his eyes and put them back on again. She was still there.
"You're dead," he said very slowly.
Rose stood up. "Yes, dear. Do catch up."
"This is not possible. Dead people cannot come to life."
"Gilbert. Don't you think I look a little more see-through than usual? I'm not alive. I'm a spirit. It's quite simple really."
"Maybe I drank too much..."
"Gilbert Grissom. Would you stop trying to explain this? We don't have a lot of time, and I for one do not intend to stand around here waiting for you to debate this in your head."
"A dead woman is chastising me..."
"Gilbert!" Rose got his attention quickly. "Stop being difficult. Now calm down and listen to me."
Gil took a deep breath and stared at her.
"Good boy. Now, tonight is Christmas Eve. And tonight, you are going to have three spirits visit you. The Spirit of Christmas Past, the Spirit of Christmas Present, and the Spirit of Christmas Future."
Gil quirked an eyebrow. "Didn't I read this in a book?"
"Don't sass me, young man."
Gil dutifully became quiet again.
"Now, I am the Ghost of Christmas Past." Rose gestured to herself. "Well, obviously."
"Oh God. Are we going to fly?"
"Well dear, how else are we going to get around? My driver's license isn't valid anymore."
Gil sighed. "This is going to be a long night, isn't it?"
Rose extended her hand. "Take my hand, dear. It's time to go."
He sighed again and placed his hand in hers.
When Gil felt his feet touch the ground again, he tried to restrain himself from kissing the ground. He slowly opened his eyes and found himself back at the house he grew up in.
"A childhood Christmas?"
"Not just any childhood Christmas," Rose said gently, "but the one I like to think may have ignited your passion in science."
Gil looked at her, surprised. "I thought I was always interested in science?"
"Oh, you were," Rose said. "But when you were eight, Santa brought you something that made you love it even more."
Gil's eyes widened. "Is it what I think it is?"
Rose pointed to the window of the house. "Go find out."
Gil made his way over to the window and peered in. He could see his parents sitting on the couch and the house decorated just as he remembered it.
Then he saw himself. Eight-year-old Gil Grissom was sitting on the living room floor, methodically opening his Christmas presents from Santa. Gil had never been a boy to tear the paper – rather he carefully undid all the tape and then folded the paper in case someone wanted to use it again.
"I remember those pyjamas," he murmured, smiling at the bug-covered top and bottoms his eight-year-old self was wearing. "You looked everywhere for those."
"Well I knew I wouldn't have a happy boy unless I got them."
Gil watched and smiled when he saw his younger self finally remove the wrapping of the gift. "My first mini-laboratory."
He heard the excited cry of his younger self, and then the methodical removal of the objects from the box. He heard his mother say she'd go start breakfast and his father offer to help him take the things to his room.
"Why are we here?" Gil finally asked. "At this Christmas?"
"Because this was your happiest Christmas. And I think it was one that changed your future. After your father died, it seemed that Christmas was more of going through the motions for you. You still enjoyed it to some extent, but not to the degree you did when you were eight. And I still
remember the look on your face when you opened that present. I'd never seen you more excited."
"It was a great Christmas," Gil said.
Rose smiled. "Come. I have somewhere else to take you."
Gil found that he was starting to get used to the flying thing. He wasn't sure if that was a good or bad thing.
When he turned around and found himself in front of Catherine's house, he lifted an eyebrow. "Why are we here? I didn't know her as a child."
"You're not a child here," Rose replied. "But Lindsey is. This was her second Christmas. Catherine was all alone that year and you stayed with her. You helped play Santa for Lindsey and you were there the next morning. Do
Gil walked over to the window. "It seems so long ago."
He heard childish giggles and watched as two-year-old Lindsey Willows crawled into his younger self's lap. He saw a younger Catherine, eyes bright and dancing, despite the extra makeup covering a bruise on her cheek.
"Santa's been, Lindsey," he heard his younger self say. "Shall we see what he brought you?"
"Yeah!" Little Lindsey clapped her hands, then rose up on unsteady feet and pressed a smacking great kiss on his cheek. "Love Unca Gil."
"I love you too," younger Gil replied, kissing her cheek as well. "And your Mommy?"
Lindsey turned and grinned at her mother. "Love Mama."
Younger Catherine swept little Lindsey up into her arms, kissing her face. "Mommy loves you too, sweetheart. Merry Christmas."
Gil watched as younger Catherine sat on the floor with younger Gil. Lindsey began attacking the wrapping paper on one of her presents. He watched younger Catherine turn to his younger self and take his hand.
"Merry Christmas, Gil. And thank you."
His younger self smiled back. "Merry Christmas, Catherine. And it's my pleasure."
"And why this Christmas?" Gil finally asked, unable to tear himself away from the window.
Rose smiled. "To remind you that your Christmases haven't always been lonely. To remind you of all the Christmases you spent with Catherine and Lindsey. To remind you of how much you enjoyed them."
Gil stepped away from the window. "Things have changed, Mom."
Rose nodded. "That's true. But that's what the Spirit of Christmas Present is for. I'm merely here to remind you of what used to be."
Gil turned to face her. "Dare I ask who the Spirit of Christmas Present is?"
Rose smiled fondly at her son. "Just that it will be someone you know well."
Gil turned back to the window. "Can we stay?"
Rose took her son's hand. "No, darling. You must go home and await the next spirit."
Gil awoke with a start, finding himself back at home in his armchair. The room was silent and was as if he had never left it. "Mom?"
There was no answer.
He leant back in his chair with a sigh. Maybe it had all been a dream. Maybe he was going crazy.
"Man, this is awkward."
Gil paused. He recognised that voice.
"And you keep dead bugs here as well? That's so not normal."
Gil peered into the darkness and watched the next spirit walk towards him. "Warrick?"
The tall man grinned. "Hey, Griss. Nice place you got here. The dead bugs are a bit off-putting though."
"Warrick." Gil stood up quickly and embraced the young man. "Warrick."
"Hey..." Warrick awkwardly patted Gil's back. "It's all good."
"It's not good. You're dead."
Warrick nodded as Gil stood back again. "Yeah, I am. But tonight's not about me. It's about you."
"I failed you, Warrick. I wasn't there when you needed me. And everything's changed – everyone's changed. I just..."
"First, you didn't fail me," Warrick said firmly. "That was all McKeen. You weren't to know. And yeah, people have changed, but only because you let them. Whether you like it or not, you've always been the guy that held the
team together. And when you stopped caring, the team stopped working. Now you got to step up to the plate again. Just because I'm dead, doesn't mean our team has to be too."
"There's so much I never said."
"You didn't need to. I knew. I always did." He smiled lopsidedly. "Look, we got to get going. We don't have all night you know."
Gil frowned. "Where are you taking me? I already know what my Christmas is like."
"Yeah, but we've got other people to see to." Warrick held out his hand. "Ready to fly?"
Gil put his hand in Warrick's. "This is very odd."
"Man, so's your house, but I sucked it up and came in. You suck it up and let's fly."
"You're a lot more insolent to me now you're dead."
"Perks of the job, I think."
Gil sighed. "Let's go then."
"Great. Oh, and Griss?"
"Thanks for being with me. When I died. It meant a lot."
And with that, they flew.
They touched down in front of a rambling old house with a porch. Gil didn't recognise it, and was almost ready to query Warrick as to why they were there, when the young man started to speak.
"Yeah, you don't recognise it. Neither would the rest of the team. Check out the window."
Gil did as he was asked, and found a brightly decorated lounge room. Inside sat Greg Sanders, feet on the coffee table, with his arm around a woman that Gil didn't recognise. The two seemed quite content with each other, and Greg was singing to the Christmas carols on the television as the woman groaned and clapped her hands to her ears.
Gil blinked and turned around to Warrick. "Greg's getting married?"
"He proposed just after I died. His therapist was worried at first that it was a knee-jerk reaction, but Greg was rational about it." Warrick snorted, amused. "Amazing Greg could be rational about anything."
"Greg's seeing a therapist?"
"The kid got blown up, then beaten up, then he had a trial, then Nick got buried alive, then you and Sara announced your thing, then Brass almost died, then Sara left, then I died. All those things affected him."
"I guess I never realised how much."
Warrick gestured to the girl. "She helped him some. Greg missed having his old boss around. You know, the one that used to joke with him, ride his ass, that kind of thing."
"I'm not that person anymore, Warrick."
"Oh, he's still around somewhere in there." Warrick wrinkled his nose as Greg kissed his fiancÚ. "Damn, let's get out of here before I see something I can never forget."
The next stop Gil recognised. It was Jim Brass' townhouse. Gil realised he'd never known what Jim did at Christmas.
"Does Jim have family with him?"
"Ellie sent him a card. But he's not alone." Warrick gestured to the window. "Go take a look."
Gil peered inside and found a half-decorated tree. He saw Jim almost being engulfed by a tangle of Christmas lights, and then his eyes widened as a tall blonde laughed and started to fix the problem.
"There was a reason she left to go to Boulder City. He was it."
"He never told me."
"He didn't tell a lot of people. But, you know, he hasn't really had time to talk to you. Life's been busy. He's been dealing with a lot. He still has nightmares from when he was shot. He feels guilty over a lot of things –
"He never talked to me about what happened when he was shot. Did he talk to anyone?"
"He talked to her. He wouldn't see a shrink. Just talked to her. But he's doing okay. Sort of talking with Ellie every now and then." Warrick turned to his former boss. "Come on. Time to go."
Another place Gil didn't recognise. Actually, he didn't think they were still in Vegas, because there was snow. "Where are we, Warrick?"
"Welcome to the state of Colorado. Where it's damn cold." Warrick grinned. "And luckily I can't feel a thing."
"Who's in Colorado?"
Warrick gestured to the window of the small house they stood in front of. "She is."
Sara Sidle sat among a small group of people, talking and laughing. There was a small tree, and a few Christmas decorations scattered about. And, Gil realised with a wrinkle of his nose, something that looked suspiciously like tofu turkey.
"Who are they?"
"Some friends she's made. She's been travelling a bit, taking some classes, participating in some research. She needed to find herself again. She lost part of herself in Vegas. But I think she's getting it back."
"The cases sucked it out of her."
Warrick nodded. "Some. But things happened to people she cared about, things that she didn't understand and didn't think was fair. Things happened to Greg, to Nick, to Cath, to you, to Brass and to me. That, and all the
despair she saw – she needed to see something happy. She needed to laugh."
"She seems happy."
"She is. Part of her will always miss Vegas and the people she left there. But she needed to get away. It's been good for her."
"Part of me always wondered if I made a mistake bringing her to Vegas in the first place."
"Nah," Warrick assured him. "It was what she needed, maybe what we all needed at the time. But Sara's changed over the years. She's found she needs different things and that some things she can't live with anymore. She'd
never have learned that if it wasn't for you."
"Does she stay happy?"
"Hey, Griss, Spirit of Christmas Present here. I can't predict what will happen in the future."
"Right. Sorry. Where to next?"
Warrick grinned. "We're off to spy on Nicky-boy."
Nick Stokes was currently surrounded by at least ten children, all of whom were begging for a hug. Women swarmed around him, including, Gil noticed with a surprise, an overwhelmed looking Mandy Webster.
"How long's that been going on?"
Warrick smirked. "Yeah, he kept that one well hidden, didn't he? Anyway, Nick's mother ordered him to bring Mandy home with him this year. On account of everything she did for him...after me."
"Nick closed the case. Went home. Promptly got drunk. Then she turned up on his doorstep and laid into him. Told him that I'd never forgive him if he turned up to my funeral sober, and that he was to go have a shower cause he smelt." Warrick grinned. "She was right."
Gil watched as Nick snaked an arm around Mandy's waist and began to introduce her to everyone. "He looks happy."
Warrick nodded. "Took him a while. He still has his down moments, but he's tough. And she's tougher." He sighed. "Nick looks up to you, Griss. After what's happened, he's lost. You and Sara, then me...He needs your guidance. And your support."
Gil watched Nick for awhile, relieved to see young man looking at least a little more happy than the last time had seen him. Then he remembered there was someone they had yet to see. "Warrick? What about Catherine?"
Warrick smiled and took the man's hand. "Let's go."
"To the left. No, a little to the right. No, too far. Back a bit."
Lily Flynn sat on the couch, directing Lindsey and Catherine as they tried to hang some lights. Gil watched as Lindsey and Catherine exchanged a look. He grinned.
"In some ways," Warrick answered carefully.
"But not in others?"
Warrick gave his former boss a long look. "What do you think?"
"I hurt her, Warrick. We've been growing apart for a long time."
"Yeah. But that doesn't mean it has to stay that way. She misses her friend. She misses you."
"What can I do?" Gil murmured. "She's already moved on."
"No she hasn't, Griss." Warrick smiled. "If there's one thing I've learned about dying young, is that I left a lot of stuff unfinished. Don't leave this unfinished. There's a reason we're seeing Catherine last. Catherine's
the key to your future. Don't mess it up."
Gil found himself in his armchair again, quite alone. "Warrick?" He tried not to cry. There had been a lot he wanted to say to the young man and he knew there was a lot he wanted to say to all his team. To people he'd been
neglecting – especially Catherine. He needed to do something. Right away. He had to...
"Mommy always said that your townhouse had lots of creepy bugs in the upstairs. I'm glad they live downstairs at home."
At first Gil thought it was Lindsey – but Lindsey was older now than this cherub of a child. She looked a lot like Catherine though, but he could see something else in her.
Gil fell back in his chair. "Who?"
"You don't know me yet. Technically I don't exist yet. But I get to come here now, cause I'm the Spirit of Christmas Future."
"Who are you?" Gil said quietly.
"Me? I'm Rose Grissom. I'm seven years old." She opened her mouth and pointed to a gap. "I lost a tooth. See?"
Gil blinked. "Yes. Yes I do. But I don't understand."
"I'm the spirit of the child yet to come. Your child."
The girl sighed as if explaining these things was a big effort. "I'm the child that could possibly be. An example of one of the futures you could have."
"I could have more than one?"
"It depends on what you decide to do." She smiled. "I'm going to show you the good side. Because the bad side scares me. I'm only seven you know."
"Why does it scare you?"
"You and Mommy aren't there. Everyone has moved away and don't talk to each other anymore. You live by yourself in some city whose name I can't say yet. And you're sad."
Gil smiled at the little girl. "That doesn't sound like somewhere I want to go either."
Rose nodded. "Uncle Warrick showed you what was happening now – what you need to fix, right?"
"Yes." Gil paused. "Wait. How do you know Warrick?"
"You and Mommy and Uncle Jim, Aunt Sofia, Uncle Greg, Uncle Nick, Aunt Mandy," Rose was ticking names off her fingers, "you all told me about him. I seen pictures and everything. Plus, I got to meet Eli. He's fun. Even if
he does play with his boogers."
Gil blinked, trying to absorb all this information. "Where are we going to go?"
"To our house, silly! Where else?"
Gil found himself in front of a house he didn't recognise. There were strings of lights over the front porch. Rose grinned.
"You put those up. Mommy kept saying you were going to break your back and she wouldn't talk to you the whole time you were doing it. But when you did it you brought her out here and then you guys got all mushy and stuff."
"Ah." Gil wasn't sure he understood. "Who owns all these cars?"
"Well it's Christmas. Everyone is here." Rose pointed to a window. "Go lookie."
Gil walked up to one of the windows and his eyes widened. The living room was filled with people – Jim, Sofia, Greg, his fiancÚ, Nick, Mandy – and a whole lot of children running around. He could see Rose, and a small
blonde-headed boy. Greg's fiancÚ was pregnant, and Mandy had a toddler sitting on her lap. Lindsey was chatting with a young man. He blinked.
"Who's the little boy? And the boy Lindsey's talking to?"
Rose looked in. "Oh, that's Jake. He's Uncle Jim and Aunt Sofia's son. Uncle Jim said you and him got to be old daddies together. And that's Lindsey's boyfriend. He can do magic tricks."
Gil watched as Catherine walked in. She looked a little older, but for some reason he couldn't understand, a whole lot happier. She was carrying a plate of vegetables, and as she sat them down on the table, she urged the children to sit down.
And then he saw himself come in. He was older, for sure, but he looked happy. His older self placed a roast turkey on the table, then turned to kiss Catherine.
Gil found that he was envious of himself. Freud would have a field day with that one.
"Is this what it's going to be like?" he asked Rose.
"That depends on you," the little girl said. "You've got a lot of work to do before you can have this. What you do next will decide whether this can happen."
"How do I get it?"
Rose smiled broadly at him. "You already know the answer to that, Daddy. In there." She reached up and pressed a finger where his heart was.
Gil felt the touch of the little girl acutely. He reached down, his hand taking hers. "And you'll be there?"
She rolled her eyes. "Duh." Rose flung her arms around Gil. "I love you, Daddy. Even if you aren't my Daddy yet."
Gil tried to sort that out in his head.
Rose giggled. "Don't think about it too much, Daddy. You'll hurt your head."
Gil relaxed and put his arms around the little girl, hugging her back. He smiled.
Catherine Willows rubbed her eyes and opened the front door to the incessant knocking. "Gil? What the hell? It's two am on Christmas morning!"
Gil looked at his watch. "Oh. Right. Merry Christmas!"
She narrowed her eyes. "Merry Christmas. What are you doing here?"
"Well, I." Gil stopped. He couldn't exactly tell her that the previous evening he had been visited by his dead mother, Warrick and their future child. It might freak her out a little.
"Can I come in?" he finally asked.
"Okay," she said slowly, letting him in and closing the door behind him. "So...?"
Gil turned around to face her. "I love you. I've loved you for years, probably since before Lindsey was born. I love the Christmases we spent together. I want that again, with you and with Lindsey. I want us to be together with our team around us and all the kids."
Catherine's eyes had slowly widened with each comment, but almost bugged out of her head with the word 'kids'. She took a deep breath. "I...Gil..."
"I'm sorry for all the hurt I caused you – not just with Sara, but everything before that. I've been an idiot. I love you, and I want to spend Christmas together. I want to spend the rest of our lives together."
She began to wonder if he'd been drinking. "Gil..."
"I'm not sure if I can find another way to say it without sounding totally ridiculous, so..."
And with that, his lips found hers and he was kissing her. A long, deep kiss that conveyed all his yearning and the depth of his love for her.
And she kissed him back. She felt like a teenager, giddy and excited as he deepened the kiss. She moaned and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer into the kiss.
Lindsey Willows stood at the door to the foyer, her eyes wide. "Mom? Why are you and Mr Grissom making out in the hallway?"
Gil reluctantly broke the kiss, his fingers tenderly caressing Catherine's hips. "Merry Christmas, Lindsey."
Lindsey blinked. "Merry Christmas." She looked between them. "Okay, I'm going back to bed now."
Catherine turned back to Gil. "Did you have some kind of mental breakthrough last night?"
Gil grinned at her. "You could call it that." He cupped her face. "I realised what I've been missing, and what I've been neglecting. I want to fix it, to fix the pain I've caused the team, and especially the pain I caused you. Most of all, I want you to be part of my life – for the rest of my life. I love you."
"I love you too, but..."
Gil put a finger to her lips. "That's enough for now. We can talk about everything else later. Including Rose."
Catherine paused, lifting an eyebrow. "Who's Rose?"
He responded with another kiss and she gladly kissed him back. They'd discuss Rose later...in perhaps 12 months time.