Happy Birthday?

By Ria

W/S friendship. Mentions Hank.

'Sara!' Warrick yelled as he entered the garage. The sound of crashing metal, and a loud yelp told him that Sara was at least there, just maybe not able to answer him at the moment.

He stood in front of the Buick taking up residence in the garage, admiring the cherry red paint, till finally Sara appeared, at the trunk end of the car, not looking impressed at being disturbed. 'What?'

'Nice to see you too.' Warrick said with a grin, noticing that oil from whatever Sara was working on under the car had completely ruined her white t-shirt. That would be a bitch to remove.

'Sorry. What are you doing here? I thought you were off.'

'That was yesterday. And today being a new shift, I'm back on again.' Warrick said, his grin widening. 'Gris told me to help you out. What you working on?'

Sara regarded him suspiciously for a moment before explaining. 'Married man, with two kids, goes to driving range for a knock about with a colleague. Ends up with a 22 in the back of the head.'

'What's the car got to do with it?' Warrick asked, running his hand lovingly down the paintwork.

Sara shook her head at the action. What was it with men and cars on steroids? 'Well, before we knew the cause of death was a gun shot to the back of the head, the car was found down a ditch on the old Miners road. I'm just curious how it got there.'

'Nothing doing with the rest of the investigation?'

'Nothing. Complete dead end. No murder weapon. No motive. No useful clues.' Sara shook her head. 'This is it.' She finished, gesturing towards the car.

The shrill ring of a phone suddenly broke the quiet of the garage. Sara looked over at her cell phone, balanced precariously on the edge of a workbench, before looking up at Warrick. 'Can you get that?' She asked, holding up her hands, which were caked in oil.

Warrick glanced at the screen, the screen no help as it said "Withheld Number". He pressed the answer button. 'Sara Sidle's phone.'

'Oh. Hi. Is Sara there?' A male voice asked.

Sara was giving him a questioning look, so Warrick asked who it was.

'Tell her it's her brother.' The voice said, a hint of a laugh to his voice.

'It's your brother.' Warrick told her, not bothering to cover the phone up.

A smile lit up her face. 'Tell him I'll call him back.'

'You hear that?' Warrick asked into the phone.

'She'll call me back. What's she doing that she can't take a call from her brother?'

'She's currently covered in oil.' Warrick explained.

'Oh. Tell her not to bother calling, I'll call in the morning. Just tell her I said Happy Birthday, and that I promise her present is in the post. Or it will be tomorrow, at the latest.'

Warrick rung off, relaying the message to Sara, before adding. 'You never mentioned anything about a birthday.'

The smile faltered on Sara's face. 'I know.' She said, busying herself with finding the release for the hood, popping it open.

Warrick waited a beat before asking 'So…?'

Sara looked at him over the hood. 'So, what?' She asked.

'Oh I don't know. Don't you think not telling us it was your birthday requires some explanation?'

'Uh…no?' Sara said, ducking under the hood again.

Warrick shook his head, as he walked around the front of the car, taking away Sara's shield. He looked over the engine, before looking sideways at Sara. 'Aren't you gonna say anything?'

Sara sighed, looked sideways at him. They were both leaning against the edge of the car, and were at about the same height. 'What do you want to know?' She asked in a long suffering voice.

Warrick went back to studying the engine, a smile to his lips. 'Oh, I don't know, how about, what birthday are you celebrating?'

'I'm not celebrating any birthday.' Sara said, leaning down closer to the engine. 'Well I think I know why he ran off the road.'

Warrick followed her gaze. 'No brake fluid.'

'No brake fluid.' Sara echoed. 'That would explain the absence of skid marks.'

'So, was this before or after the guy was shot in the head?'

Sara looked back at him, and shrugged. 'I haven't got that far yet.' She stood up, stretching her back slightly.

'So why aren't you celebrating?' Warrick asked, as she walked over to pick up a cloth, in a useless gesture at cleaning her hands.

Sara looked up at him. 'Something to do with being thirty, and single, and a workaholic.' She muttered.

'You're thirty? That's big. That's celebration big.'

'No!' Sara said firmly, turning round and staring him in the eye. 'No celebrations, no parties, no cake, no streamers, no banners. Nothing! This is not big.'

'But-'

'No buts. And if Greg finds out it's my birthday, you might find one of Grissom's experiments in your locker.' Sara threatened.

But the threatening tone didn't seem to have any impact, if the thoughtful look on Warrick's face had anything to do with it.

Sara sighed, before gesturing for him to follow him. 'Let's see what the wife thinks of the lack of brake fluid.'

Come the end of shift, and somehow everyone knew it was Sara's birthday. As if she couldn't guess how. The font of all knowledge, as usual, seemed to be Greg. She hadn't made good on her threat yet, but that was because she was waiting for Grissom to do a particularly nasty experiment, preferably one that was very smelly, too.

She came out of the locker room, already to end the shift, and get home. She and Warrick were none the wiser of why the man had come to die, and had given up for the day. There wasn't really anything more they could do now.

Sara was about to cross to the break room, to say bye, see how Nick and Catherine's case had finished, when she caught a flash of pink streamer, and half of the banner strung up through the slightly open door. She rolled her eyes. She couldn't face trying to be happy about her birthday, so instead turned, and walked out instead, feigning ignorance of the event.

She was just at her car when Warrick called at her from across the lot. She thought about hightailing it out of there but dutifully turned round and leaned against the door, waiting for Warrick to catch up.

'It was Greg's idea.' Was the first excuse out of his mouth.

Sara went with the withering look. 'And how did Greg know?'

'Ok, so I told Greg. I had to.' Warrick said. 'I'm sorry. I just felt bad as we hadn't done anything.'

'But I didn't want anything.' Sara said exasperated.

'But it's your birthday.' Warrick said, sounding just a little confused. 'At least let me take you out to breakfast?'

'I don't know, I was just gonna go home.'

'Come on, it's the least I can do for telling Greg.'

'You just don't want a Grissom experiment in your locker.'

'That's just an added benefit.'

'What about the rest of them?' Sara said, gesturing in the general area of the lab.

'They'll think you shot me down and I went to sulk.' Warrick said instantly.

'You don't sulk.' Sara reminded him.

'Oh, let them think what they want. Come on, I'll introduce you to Sparkie.'

'Who's Sparkie?' Sara asked as she followed him over to his car.

'He's my secret. The best pancake cook in Vegas. Guaranteed.'

Sara got took her seat in the car before saying 'I'll have you know that I'm a damn fine pancake maker.'

Without reason to doubt this statement, Warrick didn't disagree. But he couldn't believe they would compare with Sparkie's. 'Just wait till you've tasted these.' He said.

He was right. They were the best pancakes Sara had ever tasted. And she'd had a lot of pancakes.

'So, why are you so down on your birthday?' Warrick asked after they'd both savoured their pancakes.

'It's not the birthday, so much, as the age.' Sara admitted.

'Being thirty's not that old. Look at me. I'm 33, I survived.'

'Yeah, but you don't have to listen to my mother go on about weddings and grandchildren and biological clocks and the fact that all the good husbands will have been snapped up.'

'I have a grandma for all that.' Warrick said with a smile. At Sara's questioning look he carried on. 'She wants to know why I can't find a nice girl to settle down with, give her some babies to fuss over.'

Sara laughed.

'So, I do know what you mean.'

The laughter faded, as Sara absently stirred her tea. 'It's just…I try not to let it get to me, but she's got a point. I work graveyard. And if that's not bad enough, I view dead people on a daily basis. I thought I had something with Hank…' She trailed off, her look unfocused. She finally shrugged. 'I think I'm doomed to be an old spinster with cats, who lives alone and goes slowly mad.'

'I can't imagine you with cats.' Warrick said, unable to keep from smiling. 'I think you underestimate yourself.' He said more seriously. You're only 30. You're a successful CSI- one of the best I've worked with.'

'Yes, but my mom can't brag about that.' Sara said with a smile, hoping that Warrick wouldn't notice the blush slowly creeping up her neck. 'She can't have pictures of that on her mantelpiece.'

'Send her a picture of Greg; he's cute.'

They both grinned at this image.

'I think you're making too big a deal about it.' Warrick concluded. 'It's just a day, just a number.'

'Thanks Warrick, for this.' Sara said.

'My pleasure. Happy Birthday, Sara.' He said, with his coffee mug raised.

Sara clinked her cup, taking a sip, a smile playing on her lips. 'Although technically it's not my birthday anymore.' She pointed out.

'Well if you'd told us earlier I could have taken you out yesterday morning instead.' Warrick pointed out. Sara laughed, and he realised how much he liked hearing the sound coming from her.