Yet another time that night, Sara and Grissom stood a few feet apart, eyes locked in a staring competition. Yet another time that night, Sara was incredibly angry, and yet another time that night, Grissom was aware that he had made another horrible mistake. He was indeed tongue-tied--he desperately wanted to fix the mess he'd made, but he was terrified that if he said anything else, she would leave. Forever. It was for this reason that, when Sara started toward him again, he once again started to back away.

'That's right, Griss. I advance, and you retreat. You know this dance very well...' Sara thought about all the times they'd done the same thing, just not physically. Flirt, run away, insult, flatter. As sick as she was of the whole thing, she knew that if he managed to pull her in again, she'd go willingly. He'd have to work pretty hard for this one, though. Sara was also terrified--terrified that this would be the one time Grissom backed away without taking her with him. She had a sudden, strong urge to just pour out her soul to him, to tell him how she felt. As much as it would throw him off his feet, it would probably just blow up in her face again. 'Let's go to dinner. Let's see what happens...' Sara shook her head vehemently, trying to rid herself of the recurring nightmare.

"What would I tell Greg, Griss?" Sara stepped closer. "How I was angry with you, how I confronted you? How I had to force you to kiss me? Should I tell him how many times you told me to stop?" Sara shook her head again. "Is that what you think I ran to tell Greg?" Grissom was shocked at her interpretation. Was that really how it had seemed to her? That wasn't how it went!
"That wasn't how it was!"

Sara couldn't let him distract her.

"Which part, Griss?" Her sarcastic tone was wounding. "'Sara, stop.'"

He interrupted her without thinking.

"You didn't force me into doing anything I didn't want to do!"

Sara hadn't heard him.

"'Sara, don't,'" she was saying. "I just can't seem to get the message, can I?" Sara asked the question, but sounded as though she was really asking it of herself.

"I didn't mean to hurt you, Sara." Grissom tried to smooth things over, but once again it appeared to be the exact wrong thing to say.

"...but you don't feel that way about me, yeah, yeah. I know Griss. You don't have to worry anymore. I finally got the message." Sara's eyes were once again tearing up, and she couldn't believe she was actually saying these things to him. How was she ever going to face him again?

"Sara!" Grissom saw her turn away, and her next words forced him into some harsh realizations.

"I promise I'll give up," she said, her voice cracking with the strain of holding back her tears. "I'm through chasing the man," she spoke again, in a near whisper. "Next time, I'll let the man chase me." Sara turned and fled, leaving Grissom with the feeling that someone had just handed him a live wire. Her words had caused him to reevaluate, in a split second, all the interactions he'd had with her over the past three years. Seen in a slightly different light, he was almost able to see what she had been referring to. His next thought was to realize that Sara believed he didn't care about her, whereas he had just realized, just then, how much he really and truly couldn't live without her. 'I'll let the man chase me...'

Grissom realized his journey over the past few months, his search for himself, had come to and end, and the conclusion he came to was that he was incomplete. He needed someone. He needed Sara. Suddenly, for him, the need to comfort her--to reassure her--was stronger than his need to maintain his dignity.

Grissom ran like hell after Sara.

Sara was impressed to find she had made it into her car without collapsing in tears. 'Correction,' she thought to herself. 'TO the car.' Sara laid her head down on the hood of her SUV and let loose. She had parked in between the two streetlamps that lit the CSI parking lot, and she was glad for the darkness. The vehicle was still slightly warm under the hood from having been driven only an hour or so before, and its warmth was somewhat comforting to Sara. At least, it was until she realized it, and the thought of her being comforted by her car instead of by him drove her into another bout of weeping. Thus distracted, she missed the frantic figure of the man who came flying out of the front of the building, eyes searching for a particular person.

Grissom couldn't hear a thing but the sound of his heavy breathing and the anxious beating of his heart. 'Where is she?!' His eyes scanned the parking lot for her license plate--he had memorized it long ago--and in his haste he failed to see it. Grissom looked in despair at the road leading from the lot, not really expecting to see her car. His breathing slowed, his pulse relaxed, and still he stood there. He began to perceive sound, the ambiance of the Las Vegas night, and then he heard it. At first he thought it was an animal, and then his heart crumbled when he realized what it was. A woman crying. Sobbing, in fact. And it was his fault.

He once again scanned the parking lot, this time seeing her car parked in the dim light of the early morning. He started toward it, finally seeing the pathetic figure of his Sara, crumpled on the curb, head in her hands, leaning against the hood of her car. The sight pierced his heart.

"Oh, Sara," he said, hastening toward her to ease her misery. At the sound of his voice, her head jerked up, and her hands rushed to her face to wipe away the evidence of her tears. She looked at him accusingly, as if to ask him why he had followed her, if not to mock her in her pain.

"I don't need your pity." Sara said it with such vehemence that he felt the stirrings of anger. 'Why was she so difficult!?' He saw her reach for her keys, and turn to get into the SUV.

"It's NOT pity, Sara." Grissom stopped her with a rough hand on her arm, moving to stand in front of the car door.

"Don't worry, boss--I won't file for sexual harassment," Sara said, cruelly. She wasn't sure why she said it, she guessed she just wanted to hurt him like he had hurt her. It had worked, too--she could see it in his eyes. She spoke again, quickly, before she lost her nerve. "After all, it was only a kiss. I wouldn't drag your name in the mud."

"Only a kiss?" Grissom was really angry, now. He was distracted enough by it that Sara almost got past him to the door of the car. Almost, but not quite. Grissom reached out and snatched her keys from her hand and threw them back over his shoulder, uncaring where they went as long as he could keep her from running away from him again.

"Only a kiss?!" Grissom grabbed Sara's hands and pinned them up against the car window, mimicking the posture they'd taken a few weeks ago, in the guise of solving a case.

"Grissom!" Sara didn't know what to make of his reaction.

"I wasn't accusing you of anything, Sara--and you couldn't drag my name in the mud, you've never even USED it!" Grissom was nearly shouting now, and Sara was surprised to find she wasn't frightened at all. It seemed she'd finally gotten though the thick brick wall he'd erected around himself. She'd finally gotten through to him. She felt her traitorous heart grow weak and hopeful.

"Grissom," she began again, only to be interrupted again.

"Gil, Sara. My name is Gil." Grissom grasped her wrists with one hand as he silenced her with his other hand on her lips. He held his hand there, slightly trembling, as he looked into her eyes again, this time allowing all the emotions he'd been afraid to express show loud and clear. He felt honored to watch the shifting emotions in her own beautiful eyes--the shock, the disbelief, the fear, and then, finally, the awe. His grip loosened as her eyes misted with tears yet again. He slid both hands down to her shoulders now, and he held her tightly as he asked,

"Gil. Say it Sara, please?" Sara laid her hands on his chest, gently, and stared at them for a minute. He allowed her a second to process all the new emotions before he slid a hand up into her hair, gently coaxing her head up to look at him. Sara finally did, and when their eyes met, she smiled.

"Gil," she started to say, but he stopped her with a kiss. The last coherent thought in Gil Grissom's mind was that he was kissing her with his name on her lips.

And so it ends, this story of mine,

But story goes on, beyond the last line.

That tale will be told; never you fear--

With me at the helm, the end's never near!