A/N:     Crime statistics are from

This is my response to Michelle B's "where they were when the lights went out, what they did, what they were doing when the lights went back up again" challenge

*****

"Grissom, you know, I'd really rather take the stairs," Sara sighed as she trudged behind him into the lobby of the Hilton Times Square. "New York is so dirty, and these elevators are so . . . just so 'ugh'!"

"You know, they're not so bad that you need have them sterilized before you go in," Grissom informed her over his shoulder, not slowing his pace. "These hotels employ thousands of maintenance workers, Sara; I doubt that you'll catch anything deadly in the minute that the elevator takes to reach the forty-second floor."

"I'm not . . ." Sara began, only to realize that Grissom, having dismissed the problem in his mind, was no longer paying attention.

"One of these days, I'm gonna . . ." she muttered under her breath. Then, deciding not to waste energy talking to a man who wasn't listening, she shifted her suitcase to her other hand, shot a dirty look at her boss's back, and reluctantly continued following him.

When Grissom finally came to a stop in front of a large bank of elevators, Sara poked him in the shoulder. "It's 4:10 on the 14th, Gris. What the hell are we supposed to do until the workshop starts at 7:30 on the 15th?"

Grissom turned to her, eyebrows raised. "I would suggest dinner, then sleep. It's not that hard a concept, Sara. You've done this before, so why are you so antsy all of a sudden?"

"Because I've never been to New York, and all I know about it is the scary things I see on TV. They, like, kill people for fun here."

He chuckled. "You shouldn't believe everything you hear on TV, Sara. And you say 'kill people for fun' like we don't see the same thing in Las Vegas."

"Well, but still, it's more dangerous to live here than there!"

"Las Vegas isn't nearly the size of New York City," he said in his schoolteacher voice, "and we don't deal with as much gang activity there. Besides, you should always check your facts – of the 25 largest American cities, New York has the 23rd highest crime rate. Among the 182 American cities with populations above 100,000, New York comes in 136th – close to the crime rate in Boise, Idaho. It's really become quite safe within the past twenty years."

Sara crossed her arms in front of her. Should've expected a lecture when she'd brought up the topic, she supposed. "Well thanks for that lesson, Grissom. I'll be sure to impart that information to Nick when we get home, in an equally condescending voice."

Grissom's response was cut off as a bell dinged and the doors of the elevator in front of them slid open. Stepping back, he ushered Sara into the car with a surprising show of gentility.

"You know," Sara said slowly, examining their surroundings as the doors closed behind them, "this doesn't actually look too bad. But I'm still glad that we're not going to be in here for longer than a minute or two."

Looking at her quizzically, he said, "Why's that?"

"Because I get freaked out 'cause they might . . . well, I saw Speed one time too many, ok?"

Grissom blinked. "Speed?"

"Yeah. The movie where people get stuck in an elevator that's rigged to blow? I just get worried that I might get stuck in one too."  She shut her mouth with a snap as the lights in the car suddenly flickered. "Oh, we are SO not getting stuck riding the rest of the way up in the dark."

"I doubt that we will, Sara," Grissom said in an attempt to sound reassuring. "These places very seldom have things so disorganized that a light bulb that's close to burning out wouldn't be replaced."

"Well you never know, ok?" Sara said sharply as the lights flickered again. "I prefer to plan for the . . ." Whatever Sara had been about to say was replaced by a yelp as the elevator simultaneously went dark and stopped moving. "Oh no. No, no no," she said incredulously. "This is not happening."

"Relax," Grissom instructed. "The power probably just burped or something, we'll be moving again in a second."

Sara blinked hard, trying to find any source of light around her. When she couldn't locate even the faintest trace of one, her composure slipped another notch. "It's really dark, Grissom."

"Good thing neither of us is afraid of the dark then, huh?" Grissom joked.

She was silent for a long minute, nearly forgetting to breathe as she waited for something – anything – to happen to prove that they weren't stuck in this elevator. "I'm not afraid of the dark, no," she agreed when a sign didn't come. "I'm just afraid of being stuck in something that could drop forty floors in two seconds, or be rigged to blow up by terrorists, or something. Plus it's a tiny space."

She bit her lip, glad that Grissom couldn't see the action. "So maybe I'm a little unsettled right now, ok?"

"Ok," Grissom voice said, closer to her ear than she had expected. "You're allowed to be unsettled. Just don't go nuts on me, ok?"

"I am not going to 'go nuts'!" I am a professional trained to work in dangerous, dark places. I won't freak out."

"I heard you the first time, Sara," Grissom said quietly. "I'm not accusing you of anything."

As Sara opened her mouth to accuse him of accusing her, the lights suddenly flickered back on and the car began to move again. "Oh, thank god," she moaned. "Not that I was going to 'go nuts' or anything," she added quickly, "but having the lights on is . . ." The car went dark again and jerked to a stop. ". . . better," Sara finished forlornly. "Well this is just great. Why don't they fix the damn power?"

"I'm sure they're trying," Grissom said calmly. "I imagine it costs them less to try to fix their power supply than it does to pay for all the lawsuits the hotel patrons will bring against them, or to try to rescue people from dark elevators."

He couldn't see anything in the absolute dark, but when Sara spoke again, her voice came from near the floor. "Don't say that. Let's pretend we're not stuck in an elevator, ok?"

"No dice, Sara," Grissom said levelly. "We are stuck in this elevator, at least for the moment, and you'll be better off if you face reality and stop trying to convince yourself we aren't."

Sara said nothing, and silence filled the small area for a minute. "Sara?" Grissom finally tried again.

"I'm here," she replied softly. "Not many other places I could be, if you think about it." 

"Are you ok?"

"Fine," she said shortly, incredibly glad that Grissom couldn't see how hard she was shaking.

She heard the sound of flesh bumping against something hard. "Sara?" Grissom said again. "Where are you?"

He was feeling for her, she realized. She wondered what he would do if he found her – especially since he wouldn't be able to tell what part of her body he was touching. "I'm sitting on the floor, against the side wall to the left of the doors," she said.

Grissom's hand thunked into something closer to Sara, but he still didn't touch her. "I'm trying to find you with my hand, so don't get scared if something touches you," he explained, then felt blood rush to his face as he realized how that statement could be interpreted. "I'm aiming for your head or your shoulders, I mean."

Despite the warning, Sara jumped when his hand closed over her left shoulder. "You found me," she somehow managed, despite her shallow breathing and the dryness of her mouth. "That's my shoulder."

"Ah," Grissom said simply, and breathed a quiet sigh of relief. "I'm going to sit down next to you."

"Mmkay." She heard his body sliding down the wall as he used it for guidance. She was leaning her head against the wall and trying to get her breathing under control when something heavy hit her from the side. Grissom must have lost his balance, she realized as the sickly feeling of having your breath knocked out of you swept over her. She managed a "whuff" sort of sound, but that was it.

His hand hit the wall again and Grissom muttered a curse, then reached for Sara. He assumed it had been her that he'd fallen on, since he didn't recall there being anything else on the car's floor. "Hey," he said, "I think I tripped over you; are you ok?"

Her only answer was a wheezing sound, and Grissom's heart sped up. Hoping he hadn't hurt her, he groped toward the general area of where her shoulder had been, trying to make sure he hadn't knocked her over.

Sara let out a startled squeak when a hand made contact with her breast with rather more force than either of them would have liked. "Ow!" she spat, finally able to get some air back into her lungs. Shoving his hand upward to a safer area, she added, "That was not my shoulder!"

Grissom gave the dark a pained look. "Uh . . . oops. Sorry." He left his arm exactly where Sara had just put it, afraid to move it again for fear of hitting another forbidden body part. "Did I, uh, hurt you?"

"Well, I don't take too kindly to being punched in such a sensitive area," Sara said. "You do realize that that was one of my boobs, right?"

"Yeeeeah," Grissom said hesitantly, thoroughly mortified now. "I wasn't reaching for it . . . um, you . . . um, that."

"I kinda figured that," Sara said, forcing her voice to sound light. "You don't generally feel me up at any other time, so why start now?"

"I said I was sorry," Grissom said pettishly.

"You're forgiven," Sara replied. "Just don't do it again." Then, feeling emboldened by the dark, she added, "At least, not so hard." She couldn't help smiling when she heard Grissom suck in his breath.

"Mmm," he muttered noncommittally, deciding that in this case, silence was golden. They sat in silence for a few seconds, beginning to relax again. Grissom allowed himself to enjoy the contact with her and curled his arm slightly tighter around her.

After a few seconds, it hit him that something wasn't right. Sara was shaking? She hadn't sounded that frightened . . . "Are you cold?" he asked.

"No."

"Then why are you shivering?"

"I told you, Grissom. I don't like elevators to begin with, and now we're trapped in one, and it's just making me a little worried. Is that okay with you?"

Feeling like he'd kicked a puppy, Grissom loosened his hold on her. "You don't need my permission, Sara; you never bother to ask for it anyway." Letting his hand slip down an inch, he rubbed her upper arm lightly. "I wasn't trying to annoy you; I was just curious. Guess I'm not used to having my Sara be afraid of something."

"His" Sara? Hmm, Sara thought, now that was a new development. "Well," she said softly, "at least I'm not here alone. I'd probably be tearing my hair out by now if you weren't with me."

"No offense, but it seems like you're pretty close to that now," Grissom pointed out. "Anything I can do?"

"Shut up."

"Okay, okay," he said teasingly. "I guess that's a 'no.'"

A few seconds passed and then Sara said, in a voice so low that Grissom almost didn't hear it, "Can I lean against you? My back's getting kinda tired 'cause I'm so tense."

"Of course," Grissom replied indulgently. "I'm told I make a good pillow." That was the wrong thing to say, and he knew it as soon as it was out of his mouth. Sara immediately stiffened up and pulled slightly away from him. "By Lindsey," he said, fighting the useless urge to hide his face in his hands. "Lindsey's the one who told me that."

"Oh." She didn't move any closer to him.

"Come on," Grissom said gently. "Relax, take a nap or something." He used the hand that was still around her shoulders to cup her cheek and draw her face toward his shoulder. Sara allowed herself to be guided toward him, though the idea made her nervous.

With good reason, too, she decided a few seconds later when her head made contact with Grissom's body not against his shoulder, but against his cheek. She drew in a breath, preparing to say something light-hearted, but the words caught in her throat as Grissom turned his head slightly and her lips grazed his face.

Both Grissom and Sara froze. Neither of them said anything for a long moment. "Sorry," Sara finally whispered breathlessly.

"S'ok," Grissom whispered back, and turned his head the rest of the way toward her, brushing his lips against hers.

They stayed like that, exchanging gentle, light kisses. It wasn't so much necking, Sara later realized, as it was a way of exchanging comfort and acknowledging their closeness.

Grissom had intended to give her a light kiss. Just something to reassure her, to help her calm down so she could rest comfortably. It didn't work like that, he realized too late; Sara's touch overruled his innocent motives. His arm slid further around her until he was hugging her to him. One of Sara's hands was resting on his chest, occasionally moving as her fingertips did their own exploring.

As much as she didn't want to, Sara pulled her lips away from his after a few minutes. Her heart was pounding from the exhilaration of the moment, but at the same time, her eyes were heavy. "Mmmm," she managed, and laid her head on its original destination, his shoulder.

"Hold on," Grissom whispered when he felt her weight back against his arm. "My arm's going to sleep, let's switch sides."

"Why are we whispering?" Sara whispered back, a smile in her voice.

"I have no idea," he replied, slightly louder. "It just seems appropriate. You got a better idea?"

"Nope." Rather than standing up, Sara crawled over Grissom's legs to get to his other side.

His hand on her waist stopped her movement before she could finish it. "Stay there."

"Uh, where?" Sara asked suspiciously.

"Here," Grissom answered, shifting her so that she sat sideways across his thighs, her torso leaning against his chest. He wrapped his arms around her back loosely, allowing one to rub her back gently through her shirt and the other to dangle over her hip.  Their heads were at nearly the same level, and Grissom kissed her again. "Go to sleep, we might be here for a while. You'll feel better when you wake up."

Sara's only answer was a sigh as she settled in against him, and Grissom smiled to himself. There must be some hallucinogenic gas coming through the air ducts, he decided, because this was the most surrealistic situation he'd ever been in.

That he and Sara were across the country at a workshop together was strange enough, but that they were now trapped in an elevator during a prolonged power failure pushed the situation over the line between "This is weird" and "This isn't happening." The fact that he'd kissed Sara in the pitch-blackness, and that she was now cuddled against him, snoring lightly, moved it into the realm of impossibility.

Philosophically deciding that he'd try to get some rest too, at least until he was done tripping, Grissom rested his cheek on top of Sara's head and closed his eyes.


*****

Grissom was awakened from his half-sleep by the simultaneous occurrence of two things. The first, the sound of metal screeching against metal, indicated that rescue workers might finally be getting around to the pair in the elevator. The second, a crushing sensation in his groin, indicated that Sara was awake and panicking. "Oomph," he muttered. "Could you maybe move your hand, Sara?"

"Oops," Sara said thinly as she moved her hand experimentally to try to figure out what it had been touching. Then, realizing her position, she hastily removed herself from Grissom's lap, ending up in an uncoordinated heap on the floor.

"No problem," he responded, imagining the look on her face. "You hear that?"

The sound came again, an obscene squeal that under any other circumstances would have made them wince. "Yeah," Sara said. "Think it's hotel people, or firemen, or something? How long have we been in here?"

"Don't know," Grissom sighed. "It's a little difficult to see my watch in the dark. But yes, I think that we are, indeed, about to be released from our nice, comfortable elevator."

"Hello down there!" a voice called from above, echoing through the elevator shaft. "Anyone in this elevator?"

"Yes!" Grissom and Sara yelled in unison. "Took you long enough," Sara added under her breath.

Grissom touched her arm. "Be nice, or they'll leave us here."

"Shut up. You're not the one who's about to have a panic attack, here."

"What," he said teasingly, "you want to sit on my lap again?"

"You did NOT just say that!" Sara said disbelievingly. "Please don't tell me you're an insane murderer who killed Grissom while I slept and is now using his voice to lull me into complacency."

"Er . . . nope," Grissom said, just as a faint light emerged through the crack between the elevator doors.

"How many?" the voice attached to the light asked, sounding like it was just on the other side of the door.

"There's two of us," Sara shouted back. Seconds later she jumped back in surprise as a crowbar suddenly appeared in the crack between the doors. Backing up, she rejoined Grissom against the far wall, expecting to see light flood into the elevator.

The only light that came, though, was that of a large flashlight, held by a fireman who abruptly dropped into the car from an incongruous position at the top of the doors. "Hey, folks," he offered. "You both ok?"

"We're fine," Grissom replied, nodding. "Can you tell us what's going on here?"

"City-wide blackout, believe it or not. What time did you get in the elevator?"

"About 4:15, I guess," Sara said, elbowing Grissom aside. "Why? What time is it now?"

"7:30," said a voice from above and behind the doors. "You've been in here about three hours. Come on, Jay, let's get 'em out."

"Right." The fireman pointed up to where the voice had come from. "You're sort of between floors right now. That opening up there is the fortieth floor, so I'll give each of you a boost from down here and Kevin, up there, will help pull you up."

Grissom gave him a dubious look in the faint light, mentally calculating the amount of space between the floor above them and the top of the elevator. "I'm not too sure that . . ." he began, then cut himself off with an "Oof" as Sara's fist made contact with his shoulder.

"Me first!" she chirped, grinning at the men in front of her. Without hesitation, she stepped into the cup the first fireman made with his hands and extended her arms toward the second. A few seconds later, she was wiggling through the gap and into the arms of a sweaty-smelling fireman.

"Ok," she said into the opening. "I'm through. Your turn, Gris."

Grissom's ascent wasn't nearly as graceful as Sara's, but he managed to squeeze through the narrow space without tearing his clothing or his skin. "Phew," he said, dusting himself off as he stood up and his suitcase came skidding out of the elevator. "And it's no lighter up here . . . somehow I was picturing it being light, even during a blackout."

"Yeah, everyone seems to be feeling that way," the fireman standing with them said with a nod. "City hasn't gone dark since '77, so it's hard to imagine the area without light." As a second suitcase joined the first on the floor, he wiped his palms on the t-shirt showing through his open jacket and added, "Now let's get you out of here."

"Um," Sara began, " 'out'? Don't you mean 'up'? Our rooms are two floors up."

"Oh . . . yeah," Jay said, hoisting himself out of the elevator with a grunt. "Forgot to mention that part. You're not allowed to stay in the hotel. Liability issues."

Sara blinked. "Then where are we supposed to go? Are they moving us to another hotel?"

"I don't think so," Kevin said, "but you'll have to check with the hotel bigwigs to be sure. Our job's just to get you out of here safely . . . sorry."

Just as Sara's temper was preparing to boil over, Grissom touched her hand. "Don't worry about it right now," he whispered. "We'll figure that part out once we're out of this dark building."

With a sigh, Sara subsided. Picking up her suitcase with her right hand, and leaving her left in Grissom's grasp, she allowed herself to be led out of the building.

*****

"What do you mean, 'wherever'?" she shouted twenty minutes later, staring at the hotel manager in the light of a burning trashcan. "Are you telling me that you're just putting us out on the street?"

"I'm really sorry, ma'am," the man said resignedly, "but that's the company policy, because it's too dangerous to allow people to stay in our building like this, without power. There are some shelters being set up on either side of town, and . . ."

"Gaaaahhhh!"

Grissom took that as his cue and, pushing Sara behind him, addressed the manager more kindly. "Can you give us the locations of the shelters? We're both a little tired."

"Sure," the manager said with a nod. "They're setting up tents and sandwiches down in Battery Park, another at Bleecker and 6th, and one at either end of Central Park East."

"Which one is closest?" Sara asked tersely.

"The south end of Central Park is about 12 blocks. The one on Bleecker is around 30 blocks, and the north end of Central Park is about 50. In distance, that makes the nearest one about half a mile away, then a mile and a half, and then two and a half. No mass transport is running at this point, so I suggest you walk up to the Park."

*****

It was Grissom's turn to snap now. "What do you mean, 'there's no room'?" he barked at the tired-looking volunteer in front of him. "We just walked here from Times Square because they told us there was a shelter here!"

"There is a shelter," the woman snapped back. "There just isn't any more room in the tents, and the sandwiches are gone. Listen," she said more kindly, "we're in a park right now. You can bed down relatively comfortably in the grass, and I'm sure there's some hot dog vendors around here somewhere."

"We don't . . ." Grissom began.

"Don't," Sara said, putting her hand on his arm and yawning. "I don't care where we sleep, as long as we sleep. We'll take the grass," she told the bristling woman, who relaxed and offered them a small smile. "Come on, Gris."

"But Sara, we . . ."

"Come ON," she repeated, jerking on his arm. "Grass, Gris."

*****

Fifteen minutes later, Sara rolled over to face Grissom. "I'm hungry."

"Too bad," he muttered, throwing an arm over his face.

"Oh, come on," Sara wheedled. "The lady said there's food around here somewhere. Please, come with me to find some?"

"We'll lose our spot."

"Uh, Grissom – news flash. We're lying on the ground. In the grass. It does not matter if we lose this particular patch of grass. Pleeease?" she tried again, shaking his arm.

"Will you be quiet if I get you some food?" he asked in exasperation.

"Yes!"

"Fine," Grissom sighed, sitting up. "What do you want?"

"I don't know. I'll go with you to look, like I said."

"It's easier if you stay here and watch our stuff. What do you want? I think a pretzel is about as much as you're going to get, though."

"Pretzel's fine," Sara said with a grin. "Two, even – you haven't eaten either."

"I'm fine. Not hungry at all. Ok," he said, moving to stand up, "wait here."

Before he could react, Sara stood up with him and gave him a light kiss. "Thanks."

"Sara," Grissom said in a repressive tone.

"Bite me." With that, she released him and resumed her previous position, curled up in a nest of clothing from their suitcases. "Do NOT bring me a hot dog, or you're dead." Grissom didn't respond, only waved an annoyed hand at her over his shoulder.

Sara smiled slightly as he walked away, then moved her attention to the atmosphere around her. Central Park resembled a carnival right now more than it resembled a refugee camp. All around, barrels of paper burned and flashlights shone, providing plenty of light for what was going on.

A crowd of people from a nearby apartment building had staked a claim on a small hill and begun grilling dinner on a hibachi grill. It sounded like they'd broken out a few beers, too, she thought with a grin as the sound of twenty people singing "Hey Jude" drifted over to her.

Many of the people lucky enough to have cots inside the tents had abandoned them for the moment and were also gathering outside. Someone had set up a boombox and was playing a Bon Jovi CD, to the delight of several people who were dancing and cheering; someone else had tuned their radio to an AM station that was broadcasting continuous coverage of the blackout. The latest installment had informed the crowd that the power would probably not return any time tonight, but no one seemed to care - they were having too much fun in the dark.

She had just closed her eyes and begun mouthing the words to "Livin' on a Prayer" when something hit her in the chest. Opening her eyes, she discovered a bag of sweet-smelling nuts and looked up. "No pretzels?" she asked Grissom, who was smirking at her.

"I got you one of those too," he replied, sitting down and brandishing two pretzels wrapped in napkins. "And one for me, since you were so concerned about my appetite," he added with a wink. "The nuts are good, they're candied or something. Try one."

Sara did, popping a small almond – at least, she thought it was an almond – into her mouth. "Hmm" she agreed after a few seconds. "These are good – you got these off a hot dog cart?"

"Off of a nut cart, actually, but it's almost the same thing." Grissom snitched a nut from the bag she held and tossed it into his mouth. "You know, this is somehow just not what I pictured happening during a New York City crisis," he said, looking around at the revelries.

"I know, isn't it cool? I talked to a woman a little while ago and she said that people are just like, 'After 9/11, this is cake. An excuse to have fun tonight and not to go to work tomorrow!'"

"Works for me – a party in the park is much better than looting on the streets."

"Agreed." Sara cocked her head to the side, listening. "You ever listen to Bon Jovi?"

"I've been known to catch a song or two. Why do you ask?"

"Listen. They're playing 'It's My Life'."  Then, eyeing him tentatively, she added, "Wanna dance?"

"No!" Grissom said quickly. Then, knowing he'd sounded abrupt, he said, "I don't really like to dance. Besides, I'm from a completely different generation of dancing – I wouldn't know how to do the things people do on dance floors these days."

Sara simply raised an eyebrow at him and began to sing along with the chorus.

It's my life

It's now or never

I ain't gonna live forever

I just want to live while I'm alive…

"Sara?" Grissom said.

Her response was to continue singing.

My heart is like an open highway

Like Frankie said

I did it my way

I just wanna live while I'm alive

"Sara!" he said again.

"No problem, Gris," she said with a shrug. "If you don't want to dance, that's fine. But come on, at least let yourself enjoy it!" She shifted closer to him and leaned her head against his shoulder, then elbowed him in the ribs. "You know you know the words."

"Do not," he said, trying to hide a smile.

"Do too."

"Do not!"

Sara began to sing again. " 'This is for the ones who stood their ground…'"

"Not doing it," he said, scowling at her.

" 'For Tommy and Gina, who never backed down…'"

"Nope," Grissom said firmly, shaking his head.

" 'Tomorrow's getting' harder, make no mistake…'"

Grissom gave up his protests. The mood in the park was infectious, and Sara was right – he did like the song. Giving her a beaten look, he muttered the next line with her. " 'Luck ain't even lucky, gotta make your own breaks.'"

"See?" Sara said, looking at him with a wide smile. "I knew you knew the words! That wasn't so bad now, was it?"

He shrugged. "Not so bad, maybe, but I prefer to listen to you sing it. I'll think the words, how 'bout that?"

Slipping her arm behind his back, Sara sighed. "Okay, since you asked so nicely."

"Thank you, CSI Sidle," he said laughingly, then kissed the top of her head lightly.

The party went on around them, but Sara and Grissom tuned most of it out, falling asleep well before it ended in the wee hours.

*****

The ringing of Grissom's cell phone woke them in the morning. It took him four rings, but he finally managed to extricate himself from Sara's limbs and yank the phone out of his pocket. "Hello?"

"Gil? That you?"

After a wide yawn, he said, "Yeah, it's me, Fred. So tell me what you guys are going to do now – I suspect that the workshop won't go on as planned."

"You suspect right. News is that the city won't be functioning normally until Monday or Tuesday, so we decided to cancel the whole thing this week and reschedule for some other time. The hotel agreed to move all workshop participants' reservations to another weekend in October, and we're obviously going to carry over registration fees so you don't have to pay again."

Beside Grissom, Sara opened her eyes and took in her surroundings with a confused look. "Whoa. I didn't dream it, did I, Gris?"

He didn't answer her, only smiled and held up one finger to tell her to wait, then continued speaking into the phone. "Ok, so what's the new date? LVPD is going to have a fit at losing two CSIs for another weekend."

Sara, realizing that there was news to be had about their situation, sat up and leaned toward the phone, bringing herself within inches of Grissom's face. "What's up?" she whispered to him.

"Workshop's rescheduled," he said quietly, putting his hand over the mouthpiece. "Can I finish this call before I answer all your questions?"

"Sure." She didn't move back, only put her ear a little closer to the phone. She noticed out of the corner of her eye that Grissom was giving her a dark look, and pulled back to grin at him. "I hate cells, I can't hear anything anyway!"

"Uh-huh," Grissom was saying into the phone. "October 3? That's a Friday, right? Ok, well, e-mail me any other information you guys come up with."  He paused, listening to the man on the other end of the line. "Thanks, Fred. Yeah, it's ok, we decided not to sue you this time. I'll talk to you soon. Ok, bye."

Flipping the phone closed, he turned toward where Sara should have been, only to find that she wasn't there. He finally spotted her about fifteen feet away, talking to a woman with a radio. She was nodding, he noticed.

"Ok, thanks!" Sara said to the woman who'd just given her a news update, then walked back to Grissom. "Well, I've got good news or bad news, depending on your attitude. What about you?"

"They're rescheduling the conference for early October, and all the money the department shelled out for this weekend will be carried over for that. So, the bottom line is that you and I are coming to New York again in a little over a month for 'take two'."

Grissom didn't look too displeased at the idea, Sara noticed. "That's cool, so at least we won't lose out on the education. My news is that there isn't going to be any power here until afternoon, maybe night. So we're probably here for the rest of the day and possibly the night too."

"Might as well make the best of it," Grissom responded, with what might have been a wink. "You up for some sightseeing in the park?"

"Why Grissom," Sara said, fluttering her eyelashes, "I thought you'd never ask!"