Title:               The Dangerous Kind

Author:           Burked

Rating:            PG-13 for one or two really, really naughty words

Email:             res0rvm5@verizon.net

Summary:       G/S. Coroner David Phillips proves to be the most dangerous kind of guy, setting into motion a new chain of events.

A/N:                This is pure fluff (no case to speak of), the kind you'll never see on CSI (unfortunately), so it's the type of story I read but normally don't write:  not because I don't like it, but because it's hard for me to write.  There are so many of you who do a much better job at it, but I'm working on it.  E-mail me with specific suggestions for improvement.  Thanks!

For those of you who have asked for sequels to earlier fics, I'm not ignoring you.  I just don't know if you'd really like what would probably be in the sequels!  It is my considered opinion that Grissom would screw it up and they'd be back somewhere near square one.  That's why I stop the stories at the initial resolution.  The series is frustrating enough without my adding to it!

* * * * *

"Uh, Sara, um. ... I was just wondering ... uh ... if you would like to ... um ... I mean ...," David Phillips sputtered, his face red and his eyes downcast in embarrassment.

"Just ask, David.  I promise I don't bite!" Sara laughed, trying to ease his anxiety.

"Oh, okay.  Well, uh, I would like to, um, take you to ... dinner ... sometime ... if you don't mind ...  It's okay if you don't want to ... Never mind, forget I asked," he said suddenly, turning to escape before she could shoot him down.

"David!" she called down the hall, getting not only his attention, but apparently half of the staff's as well.  "I'd be happy to have dinner with you.  When?" she asked, her voice echoing against the walls and into the labs along the corridor.

"Oh, you would?  Anytime would be fine with me.  Whenever you aren't busy.  I know you must have a lot of dates.  I mean, you're so pretty ... I'm sorry, I'm rambling, aren't I?" he asked, the crimson of his cheeks oozing down his neck.

"Let's check the schedule to see if we're both off any time soon," she suggested, walking with him towards the locker room to finalize their plans.

Greg ran into Jacqui's lab, wide-eyed and breathless.  "Did you hear that?" he wheezed.

"Yeah, I heard," she answered, laughing.  "Looks like David beat all out you guys out in the competition to date Sara."

"You are too cold!" Greg reprimanded her.  "I don't think he's ever had a date in his life.  Maybe she just feels sorry for him – a mercy date, you know?"

"You wish," Jacqui said dismissively, going back to her work.

* * * * *

"You've got to be shitting me!" Nick yelped. 

Warrick held up his hands and shrugged.  "Look, I'm just telling you what Greg told me."

"Greg.  That figures.  I think he's just jerking your chain," Nick said hopefully.

"I thought so, too," Warrick conceded, "but I asked Jacqui, and she said it was true."

"What's true?" Catherine asked, breezing in the door.

"Greg said that David asked Sara out on a date and she accepted," Nick informed her.

"Which David?" Catherine asked, her brows furrowed.

"David Phillips," Warrick clarified.

"Oh.  How sweet!" Catherine said, heading for the coffee pot.

"Sweet?" Nick asked, squinting at the thought of Greg's news.

"Yeah, sweet.  He's a nice guy.  Maybe she's finally found someone who won't screw her over."

"You've got a point there," Warrick agreed, nodding sagely.

"Yeah, but, David?" Nick asked again.  "He's sooooo not her type."

"What, exactly, is her type, Nicky?" Catherine asked pointedly, beginning to become annoyed.

"I don't know!  But it's not David, for crying out loud," he answered defensively.

"Look, it's just one date.  Why are you making this into such a big deal?" Catherine asked impatiently.

"I guess it's not," Nick relented.  "It just seems so weird.  I've never heard of David going out with anyone."

"Maybe he doesn't feel like he's got to publish his social calendar in the departmental newsletter.  But it doesn't matter whether it's his first date or his thousandth," Catherine said brusquely.

"You need to let it go, man, before you really piss her off," Warrick advised.

"Okay, okay," Nick said, holding his hands up in surrender.  "It's ... sweet."

* * * * *

They all sat jammed into the booth, waiting on the breakfast that Grissom had offered to buy them to celebrate an arrest in a case they had all been working on to some degree or another for the better part of a month.

They sat quietly, waiting on their food to be served.  Nick, Warrick and Greg appeared to take turns staring curiously at Sara, averting their eyes suddenly whenever she would catch them.

She looked over in confusion at Catherine, who rolled her eyes and sighed.  She then turned to look at Grissom, who seemed oblivious, off in his own world, as usual.

"Okay, spill it," Sara demanded.  "Why are you guys staring at me?  Do I have something on my face?" she asked, wiping at her cheeks.

"What?  No.  Huh?  Nah," they demurred in a staccato syncopation.

Grissom and Catherine turned to look at the men, waiting to see which would have the courage of his convictions.

"You guys were so staring at me.  Now, you better tell me why, or I will find a way to make each and every one of you miserable ... and you know I can," she threatened.

"It's nothing, Sara.  We just heard ... uh," Nick said, running out of words.

Warrick took up the mantle and continued more calmly, "We heard that David asked you out."

"Yeah, so?" she asked.

"That's all," he shrugged, as if he had no interest in the subject whatsoever.

"And that's why you're staring at me like idiots?  Oh, grow up!" she snorted.  She looked over at Catherine, who was chuckling and shooting "I told you so" looks at the boys.

"So, are you going to go?" Greg couldn't help but blurt out.

"Not that it's any of your business, but of course I'm going to go.  Why shouldn't I?" she asked.

"He's so ... so ..." Greg was searching for just the right word to convey a bizarre mixture of weird, shy, and unattractive.

"Nice?" Catherine supplied.  She looked over at Grissom to see his reaction to the topic, but he had turned his face away from the group, apparently withdrawing back to his own world, uninterested.

Sara had been looking at Catherine, and was drawn to the object of her attention.  He wasn't reacting, but then she considered that was a reaction in itself.  He was the only one at the table that wasn't interested in hearing more of the details. 

"If you will excuse me," he bade, glad he had sat on the edge of the booth, "I have something to attend to.  Have a nice breakfast," he said, tossing down enough money to cover the meals and the tip.

"Aren't you going to stay and have breakfast with us?" Catherine questioned him.

"No.  I'm not really hungry.  I've got to go," he said, putting on his jacket, avoiding eye contact with her.  He strode away resolutely, putting on his sunglasses as he breeched the door.

Sara pushed Nick, yelping, "Move, damn it!  Let me out!" and slid out of the booth, following Grissom's wake.

"Good job, guys," Catherine muttered towards the three men.

"She made us say it!" Greg defended himself.

"You didn't have to be so freaking obvious!  And you didn't have to ask if she was going," Catherine said, glaring at the youngest of the men.

"What difference does it make?" Warrick asked.  "It's not like he was ever going to ask her out.  He's had all this time."

"Yeah, well, it took David three years to build up the courage, too," Catherine shot back.  "But he did it, didn't he?"

* * * * *

"Grissom!" she shouted at his receding back.  "Grissom!"  She broke into a run, just catching up to him as he was unlocking his car door.

She stopped in front of him and leaned on the car, ostensibly to catch her breath, but also to prevent him from opening the door.

"Grissom.  What's wrong?" she asked, unable to see his eyes through the dark amber sunglasses.  He face was a mask of impassivity.

"What makes you think anything's wrong?" he asked, trying to sound nonchalant, but unable to hide his annoyance.

"You invite us to breakfast, then you bail on us.  Something must be wrong," she surmised.

"I just remembered something I had to do," he lied.

"I don't believe you," she sang out, lifting her brows and smiling to soften the accusation.

"It doesn't matter if you believe me or not," Grissom rejoined seriously.  "If you will excuse me, I'd like to go now," he said, tugging on the car door.

"Does it bother you that David is taking me out to dinner?" she asked. 

"Why should that bother me?" he asked defensively.

"I can't see any reason why it should.  You make it abundantly clear that you don't want to go out with me.  So you shouldn't mind if someone else does," she retorted, more stridently than she had intended.

"As I've told you before, you deserve to have a life.  But that doesn't mean I need to hear all the details," he explained.

"Damn!  You are a stubborn man!  There is absolutely nothing I can do right ... short of joining a convent.  You don't want to see me, but you don't want anyone else to either.  That's not fair, Grissom."

"I never said it was fair, Sara," he huffed out, jerking the door free from her hand.  He threw himself inside and slammed the door, desperate to get away.

She stood fuming, her arms crossed at her stomach, her face pinched in fury.  "You know what, Grissom?" she barked out, suddenly leaning forward into the window, her arms resting on either side.  "Fuck you," she spat out, whirling around to stomp back to the diner, leaving him stunned.

* * * * *

"You know you're in big trouble now, don't you?" Catherine asked Gil, picking up her vodka and orange juice.

"I don't have any idea what you are referring to," he answered, downing his scotch and reaching for a refill.

"That game doesn't work on me.  I've known you too long," Catherine advised him.  "You know good and damned well that I'm talking about you and Sara."

"There is no 'me and Sara'," he clarified.

"Yeah, and who's fault is that?" Catherine asked.

"It's not a fault, it's a reality," he told her.

"You've had her in the palm of your hand for years.  Even when she was dating that dumbass Hank, all you had to do was whistle and she'd be right there."

"She's not a dog, Catherine," he said, not wanting to reply to the point of her statement.

"No, she's a woman.  And you're a man.  It really doesn't need to be any more complex than that," Catherine said, a bit condescendingly.

"But it is more complex.  We are more than our genders."

"Yes, but genders are a good place to start," she laughed.

"There is no reason to start something that can only end badly," he explained.

"You can read the future now?"

"One does not have to be precognitive to be able to deduce the outcomes of known events with known consequences," he answered pedantically.

"Oh, for God's sake, Gil!  This isn't a fucking science experiment!  You guys are flesh and blood, with free wills to determine you own futures.  But you better do something fast, before she goes out with someone like David," Catherine advised, pouring herself another glass.

"I have to admit that I was surprised.  I would have expected it to be one of the guys on the shift, or another outsider.  Not David.  I never thought of David," he muttered into his glass, shaking his head negatively.

"Well, apparently she did," Catherine retorted.

"Evidently," he agreed, taking another sip of the sweet, smoky liquid.

"He's the most dangerous kind.  You know that, don't you?" Catherine queried.

"How so?" Grissom asked, eyebrows heading north.

"He's nice.  He's thoughtful and sweet.  And he's crazy about her.  He would worship her and never, ever hurt her.  I think she knows that at some level.  If you don't do something quick, you are so screwed," Catherine advised him.

"I have no intentions of doing anything whatsoever to interfere," he said unsteadily, casting his eyes from his glass to Catherine's eyes.

"You're gonna lose her!" Catherine warned.

"I never had her!" Grissom barked back.

"You've always had her.  You just never did anything with her.  She's been waiting for you."

"It didn't look much like she was waiting this last year," he said, hurt peeking through his words.

"Hank?  Shit, he was just a placeholder.  Just someone to kill time with until you pulled your head out of your ass."

"But David is different?" he asked.

"Hell yes, David is different.  He would treat her like a princess.  That's hard to resist, Grissom."

"Then why should I deny her that?  Since he is obviously the better man, let him make her happy.  God knows I can't," Grissom breathed out in resignation.

"You can't or you won't?" Catherine challenged him.

"What difference does it make?  It won't happen either way.  Let her move on, Catherine.  Let her find someone who will treat her right.  Why do you want to fuck up her life?  I don't.  I refuse to do it on purpose," he said, downing the glass and standing up.  "I've got to go," he said suddenly.

"You can't drive," Catherine stated flatly.

"I'll walk," he said.  "I need to walk.  To get my head on straight."

Catching his arm at the door, she pulled him around for a final thought.  "I heard everything you said, Gil.  And I'm not going to argue anymore, I promise.  But consider this:  she's had her pick of men here for three years.  The only one she wanted was you.  I think she's in love with you.  And if I'm right, the only way you'll make her happy is to let yourself love her too."  Catherine said, slurring slightly, but still fully aware of what she was saying.

"I wish it were that easy," he exhaled, walking away.

* * * * *

"Uh, Sara.  Could I talk to you?" David asked, poking his head out through the autopsy room doors.

"Sure, David.  What's up?"

"Sara, this is kind of embarrassing," he began, looking everywhere but her eyes.

"What is it?" she pressed.  "Just spit it out quickly and it will be all over in a second," she advised.

"I need to cancel our dinner date," he blurted out.

"Okay.  No problem," she said.  "Now, that wasn't so hard, was it?"

"Actually, yes.  I've wanted to go out with you for a long time.  But something has come up.  Besides, I know I'm not the right guy for you."

"How you do know that?" Sara asked compassionately, putting her hand on David's shoulder.

"Oh, I just do.  But it's okay.  I have to be honest.  I met this girl.  She's a really sweet girl, like you.  But she's not as pretty as you," he blushed.  "But I think she's a lot like me.  Anyway, she asked me out."

"David!  That's great!" Sara gushed.  "Is it someone here?"

"No.  She goes to my church.  But I'm not the kind of man who dates more than one person at a time.  So she's waiting on my answer.  I didn't want to say yes until I talked to you."

"That's very noble of you, David.  You have got to be the nicest, most thoughtful man I've ever met," Sara said honestly.  "The world would be a better place, at least for women, if there were more like you," she said, causing him to blush even more deeply, the crimson starting to splay across his forehead in addition to his cheeks and ears.

"So, we're still friends?" he asked shyly.

"We will never stop being friends, David," Sara said.  "I swear, if I weren't already interested in ..." she started, then thought better of it.

David looked up and down the hall for eavesdroppers, then pulled Sara into the autopsy room.

"You can't be too careful around here," he warned her.

"Don't I know it!" she snorted.

"So you were saying?" David asked.

"I was saying, that if I weren't already interested in someone else, you'd be the perfect man," Sara answered in a conspiratorial whisper.

"Oooooh!," David nodded, looking around the room, half-expecting to see Greg lurking in the shadows.

"Is it who I think it is?" he asked in a hushed voice.

"Depends on who you think it is," she answered playfully.

"Does it start with a 'G'?" he asked.

"I feel like I'm on Wheel of Fortune.  The board is showing two 'g's," she laughed. 

"I'd like to buy a vowel, please.  How 'bout an 'i'?" David asked.

"You have two 'g's and two 'i's," Sara said.  "Care to try to solve the puzzle?"

Sara and David began to laugh when David adopted a "Duh!" look on his face.

"Don't you hate it when the morons have something obvious on the board and are only missing, like, one vowel, and they either insist on buying the wrong freaking vowel or they can't imagine what the phrase is?" Sara complained.

"Yeah.  It's very frustrating.  I like Jeopardy better," he said.

"Me, too.  But the questions aren't near hard enough," she said.

"My luck, if I ever got on, the entire theme would be something I didn't know anything about, like sports."

"Oh, God!  That would be a nightmare!  Like I'd know Ty Cobbs's batting average.  Or even Babe Ruth's.  They should feel lucky I even know their names."

"Well, I've got to get back to work, Sara.  But it's been nice talking to you.  And thanks for understanding," he said, holding out his hand for a shake.

Sara grabbed his hand and shook it firmly, then pulled him over to her and kissed him on the cheek.  "Just wanted you to know what you'll be missing," she teased.

* * * * *

"I swear on my zygotes!" Greg said earnestly.  "I saw her kiss David on the cheek in the Autopsy Room."

"Not while we're eating, Greg!" Nick groaned, pushing his sandwich back. 

"They haven't even gone out yet," Warrick said evenly, impressed with the speed with which David was progressing. 

"Well, I don't think they ought to be kissing right out in public!" Greg said.

"They weren't kissing in public, Greg," Catherine shot back.  "They were kissing in the Autopsy Room, where I might add, they no doubt thought they were safe from prying eyes like yours!"  She glared at Greg, but he wasn't looking at her.  His eyes were round and his mouth was hanging open, his face a caricature of shock.

Catherine spun around in her chair to see Grissom standing in the doorway.  She turned back, dropped a silent f-bomb, and hid her head in her hands, disbelieving her bad luck.

No one breathed until Grissom turned silently away, walking purposefully towards the exit.

"God DAMN!" Catherine shouted, slapping her forehead.  "Why didn't any of you 'gentlemen' tell me he was back there?" she screamed.

"He just walked up, Cat," Warrick said calmly.  "We didn't have a chance.  It was just bad timing all the way around.  Seems to be happening a lot to him lately."

* * * * *

Grissom rounded the corner of the building and made a beeline for his car.  He plopped his backside on the hood, trying desperately not to visualize what he had heard.  It was acceptable for her to belong to someone else – or at least it was expected.  But it was unbelievably painful to see it, even if only in his mind's eye. 

He thought about the car crash into the restaurant a few months ago.  He, Catherine and Sara had responded, and it turned out Hank was there.  Seeing her make over his injury, wrapping it up, smiling at him, made Grissom unable to think, unable to breathe.  He was grateful that another call came in that he could split off to.  Nick could probably have handled it alone, but Grissom was sure he couldn't handle watching Sara and Hank together.

Grissom fought to put the image out of his mind, along with the image of David and Sara kissing.

Sara watched him surreptitiously from the back wall of the building.  She was invisible in the shadows, taking a smoke break.  She used her vantage point to observe him.  It was obvious that something serious was on his mind.  She wondered whether he was still angry about her outburst yesterday morning, but she assumed he would be.  She knew from personal experience that he held grudges against her a very, very long time.

She oozed out of the shadows and approached him, effectively cutting off his retreat back to the lab.  "You okay?" she asked softly.

"Fine," he said curtly.

"You don't sound fine," she said, tilting her head, appraising him.

"I'm fine," he repeated, forcing a fake smile to briefly curl his lips.

"Okay, if you say so," she said, shrugging.  "Look, I want to apologize for yesterday.  I was way out of line.  They told me in a seminar once that it's rarely a good career move to say 'fuck you' to your boss," she laughed, trying to lighten the somber mood.

"Or ask him out," Grissom added pointedly.

"Yeah, well, that must have been in the part I missed when I went to the bathroom."

"I should warn you that the whole lab is abuzz with Greg's latest revelation," Grissom said tersely.

"What revelation?" Sara asked.

"The kiss in the autopsy room," Grissom answered hoarsely, his mouth suddenly becoming filled with cotton.

"Oh, that.  It wasn't a 'kiss' kiss.  It was a 'see you around' kiss.  A parting kiss," she explained.

"I'm just telling you what the staff is talking about," Grissom shrugged.

"Look, Grissom.  David just broke our date, and he was afraid I'd be upset.  I told him we were still friends.  We shook hands and I kissed him on the cheek to let him know it's okay.  That was all there was to it," she said with a hint of exasperation. 

"He broke your date?" Grissom asked, confused.

"He met someone he liked better," Sara answered matter-of-factly.  "He's not the type to two-time, so he begged off.  Very sweetly, I might add.  The guy at least knows how to let a girl down."

"Evidently.  He got a kiss.  I got an ultimatum."

"Yes, but he was honest and told me exactly what was going on and exactly how he felt about it.  He cared about how I felt about it.  And besides, he appreciated the kiss.  You definitely would not have," she said plainly.

"Why can we still be friends?" Grissom asked plaintively.

"It's different with us.  Other than friendship, I have no emotional ties to David, no history.  He can walk away or I can walk away and no one is hurt."

"Yes, it ... bothered me ... when you walked away," Grissom agreed.

"You didn't have to let me go," she countered. 

"I couldn't very well tie you down," he said.

"Hmm.  Sounds fun," she snorted.

"Jesus, Sara!" he exclaimed, shaking his head in disbelief.

"Just kidding!  ... Well, maybe not," she shrugged, flashing him a smile.

"I don't feel much like joking," he said impatiently.

"What do you feel like?" she asked, genuinely concerned.

"I feel like I've been hit by a train.  Like I went twelve rounds with the heavyweight champion.  Like I've been chewed up and spit out," he said, rubbing his forehead.

"You say that like it's unusual," she said lightly.  "I've felt that way for a long, long time.  You'll get used to it.  Sort of."

He looked at her, cocking his head, studying her wordlessly.

"At least you didn't get blown off your feet ... literally," she added, trying to add some perspective.  "Now that really adds a new dimension to it," she chuckled sadly.

His face pinched involuntarily, and she could see anguish float through his eyes.  Or was it guilt?

"I'm okay now, Grissom," she assured him.  "All the cuts are healed and most of the scars are fading.  Though some of them look like their going to stay.  But they give me character, right?  Or does that just work for men?" she asked.

"What about the scars inside?  Are they fading too?" he asked, his annoyance being slowly supplanted by concern.

"The ones from the explosion?  Yeah, mostly.  It's still a little weird walking down that hall, but I'm getting used to it.  You can get used to almost anything, in time," she said enigmatically.

"Do you have other scars?" he asked quietly.

"I have lots of scars, Grissom.  Some old, some new.  They all give me character.  They make me who I am." 

"That's a very Zen way of looking at them," he said admiringly.

"Scars are thicker than the normal epidermal tissue.  They are designed to protect against a recurrence of similar injuries," she said in a Grissomian tone, knowing that he knew all of that as well as she did.  "But you have to leave them alone to let them heal first.  If you keep reopening them, they will never heal properly."

"I tried.  I tried to leave you alone.  Let you ... heal," he stuttered, feeling the need to take honesty a step further, even if nothing else could progress.

"Grissom," she began, then took a deep breath to calm herself, "There is a difference between 'leaving alone' as in 'stop hurting' and 'leaving alone' as in 'abandoning'.  I wanted to be with you before the accident, but I needed you after it.  You weren't there."

"I know how that feels, to be dealing with something alone.  Needing someone to be there for you, but not ever telling them.  You didn't tell me you needed me."

"I didn't want your pity.  If you couldn't tell I needed you, then I wasn't going to ask," she replied.

"You couldn't tell when I needed you," he countered.

"When was this?" she asked in confusion.

"For the last year or so.  You never even knew anything was wrong, did you?" he asked accusingly.

"I knew something was wrong, but I didn't know what.  I still don't," she said. 

"It would seem that neither of us can read minds, and neither of us was there when the other needed them," Grissom summarized.

"Is everything okay with you now?" she asked, worry evident in her tone.

"It's better now," he nodded.  "It will never be completely okay," he said with resigned acceptance.

"Can you tell me what it is?" she probed, hoping not to overstep whatever the new limits of their honesty were.

"I have a genetic hearing disorder that was progressing.  I've had surgery.  It should stop the progression of the disorder, but I've lost about twenty percent of my hearing," he answered more directly than he realized he could.

"That explains a lot," she said distantly, her head slowly bobbing.  "I wish I had known.  I know I couldn't have done anything about your problem, but I could have been there for you, supported you.  I would have, you know," she assured him.

"You were ... otherwise occupied," he said with a slight hint of bitterness.

"I was never so occupied that I wouldn't have been there for you any time you needed me," she countered.

"In case you hadn't noticed, I don't share well," he said acidly.

"You wouldn't have had to share," she retorted sharply.

Grissom shrugged, knowing it was set in the immutable stone of the past.

"Do you still need me?" he asked gingerly.  "I want to help, but I don't know how.  I want to be your friend, even if I can't allow anything else."

"You made a good step tonight, finally telling me some of your secrets.  Friends share secrets;  it's a bond of trust.  And you've finally ended the confusion for me.  I thought that you were going back and forth between wanting me and not wanting me.  Now I see that it's not either/or, but both.  I just see different sides at different times.  You could have told me a long time ago that you were attracted, but that I didn't have a chance in hell.  It would have saved us both a lot of heartache over the years.  But it's out now, so we can move on, right?" she said unevenly, trying to put on one of Grissom's stoic masks.

"What are your secrets, Sara?" Grissom asked, wanting to deflect the attention.

"My big secret?  I already let that cat out of the bag when I asked you out.  My secret is that I want someone I can't have.  Always have.  Probably always will.  I pretend to be smart, but I demonstrate on a daily basis just how stupid I am," she allowed.

"I can relate to that," he nodded.

"Ah, so we do have something in common!" she laughed.

"Evidently so," he chuckled.

"One of these days, it doesn't have to be tonight, but one of these days, you will need to explain to me exactly why we can't have what we want.  It's not fair for you to be the only one who knows!"

"Your 'unanswered whys'?" he asked.

"Yes."

"There are several whys.  One of them was aptly demonstrated by the episode between you and David.  It wasn't two seconds after he asked you out before it was all over the lab.  I knew you kissed him almost before you did.  That's how things are around here."

"Yes, but David and I weren't making any effort at all to be discreet.  We didn't need to," she shrugged.  "Everything we said and did was right here at the lab.  As long as nothing is said or done here, no one will know here."

"So you are willing to hide and sneak around like an adulterer?  Lie to your friends?  Live a double life?" he asked unbelieving.

"I'm willing to maintain privacy in my private life.  It's not lying.  It's none of their business.  But what are you so afraid will happen if people do find out?"

"We could be fired," he answered gravely.

"Yeah, sure, right.  I think maybe you underestimate yourself.  You think that Mobley or Cavallo are stupid?  You've taken this lab to the top.  You're a well-known and well-respected forensic scientist and entomologist.  But you're not ambitious, not out for their jobs.  You are their wet dream, Grissom.  And you think they are going to fire you?"

"They might fire you," he countered.

"Same reasoning applies.  They will bend over backwards to not piss you off.  Sure, they like to rattle your cage, just to keep you humble, but they aren't going to do anything to make you leave.  They would sooner cut off their own arms."

"People will assume you were given unfair advantages," he cast out.

"I will put my work ethic and solve rate up against anybody's," she answered definitively. 

"You have an answer for everything, don't you?" he chuckled.

"I told you I knew what to do about 'this'," she said, circling her hand between them.  "But you didn't believe me."

"One of these days, it doesn't have to be tonight, but one of these days, you will need to explain to me exactly what you think should be done about 'this'," he said, repeating their adopted sign for 'relationship'.

"I'd be happy to.  Just let me know when and where," she grinned.

He cocked his head, looking intently into her eyes, wondering if she really had the key to making it possible.

Sensing his thoughts, Sara said gently, "Grissom, I think you will find that being together will be infinitely easier and less painful than the hell we've gone through to stay apart.  Can you honestly say you're happy now?  I'm not.  Even if I can only make you a little bit happy, isn't that better than what you have?"

"You could live to regret those words," Grissom answered.

"When I'm lying on my deathbed, I'm not going to regret the things I said or did.  I'm going to regret the things I didn't say and didn't do."  Without warning, she leaned forward and kissed him on the lips – not lingering too long, but not just a peck.  She smiled into his shocked face and said, "I love you, Grissom."

She took a step back and told him, "Now I won't have to regret what I didn't say and didn't do."  She turned abruptly to walk briskly back to the lab, head held defiantly high.

"Sara!" he called out to her, but she kept walking.  "Sara!" he called again, as he walked quickly to intercept her before she could enter the building.  He caught her by the arm and gently turned her around.  She fought to maintain a neutral, open expression. 

"I'm off tomorrow night.  If you could find someone to trade days off, would you like to have dinner with me?" he asked uncertainly, like a teenager asking a girl out for the first time.  "We don't have a day off together for a couple of weeks," he explained.

"Poor scheduling on someone's part," she teased.  "I'll see what I can do, and let you know later," she said with a confident smile.

"I do hope you know what you're doing," he warned jokingly.

"I do," she said, winking before she turned to step through the doors, leaving him shaking his head in sweet defeat.