Chapter 23

"Well, if it isn't the happy couple." Sean said, attempting to sound angry. He was, at a certain degree. He didn't like being lied to anymore than the next guy, but deep down he understood why they had done what they had.

"Okay, we deserved that." Sara smiled softly. "Can we come in?"

"You got a warrant?" Sean joked.

"Oh, so we've moved onto cop jokes now have we?" Sara laughed. "Not even we deserve those."

"Remind me to never let him talk to Brass." Grissom requested as he shut the door.

"What do they want?" Allison asked, jerking her head in Grissom and Sara's general direction, but not looking at them for long.

"We want to explain." Sara offered. "We're sorry if we upset you, but we had no other choice."

"Fine." Allison muttered, "I guess you better sit down."

"Look, we know you're angry," Grissom started. "but we couldn't tell you the truth, it could have put us all in danger."

"Give us a second chance." Sara smiled, "We have one day left. Lets all spend it together… as friends?"

Allison crumbled and smiled when Sara offered friendship. "Okay. Just one more thing though," she added, gesturing between Grissom and Sara. "you two really aren't married?"

Grissom laughed a little. "No, it was all part of the ruse."

"Well, you could have fooled me!" Sean exclaimed and grinned.

"Could have?" Sara joked, "We did!" she teased, taking Grissom's hand and moving towards the door. She turned as they reached the door, smiling warmly. "Me you both for breakfast? The usual place?"

Sean nodded. Allison held the door open and smiled. "Of course. Goodnight Sara. Gil."

When the door shut behind them and they were walking away, Grissom let out a lungful of air. "That was easier than I anticipated."

With breakfast, lunch and a walk out of the way, Allison and Sean went to the bar for a night alone while Grissom had plans for Sara and himself.

Sara stood in the living area, sipping creamy coffee as she gazed out at the city, absurdly thinking how it looked different from so high up and from a different perspective. No crime scenes, no death and no work. It was bliss in every aspect… except for the reason for being in the position they were in, being brought into an FBI case and basically plundered for information, however little that information turned out to be.

After placing her empty cup on the table, she smiled at the sound of Grissom in the bathroom, showering. She had strangely become accustomed to sharing a bathroom with someone else, and Grissom of all people. Although it was all eggshells in the beginning, they could both now tolerate and get along with each other. Not only had they shared a 'holiday' of sorts together, but they had shared a bed together. That was something that only occurred in Sara's wildest dreams, and Grissom's, or so he says.

Smirking at the thought and making her way towards the slightly ajar bathroom door, she tapped on the wood and called out. "Gil?"

"Hmm?" was the only response she got.

Smiling, she shook her head. "What are we doing tonight?"

A moment of silence followed and the shower turned off. Hearing pattering of heavily feet, she was startled when he pulled the door open, wearing only his towel wrapped around his waist. Something else she was amazed at. For such private people, they were quick to pull down some heavily fortified walls that had protected them over the years.

"Well," he began shyly, scratching at his stubbly chin. "I thought, we could stay in." Seeing her eyes wondering, he snapped his fingers and raised a challenging eyebrow at her obvious observations.

Not even blushing, she pushed past him and opened the bathroom cabernet. "I guess we could." She agreed, pulling out his shaving kit. "But wouldn't you rather go someplace? We've only got one night left here, and the FBI have cleared out already…" She trailed off when she looked up into the mirror and caught his reflection staring at her with something close to smouldering blue eyes.

Shuffling to stand behind her, he stared at her in the mirror, keeping his eyes locked with hers. "Room service? Dinner? Wine? Candle light? The two of us?" His eyebrow made another trip upwards in question.

A slow smile spread across Sara's face as she got his meaning. "I see… A night in. Hmm, I like the sound of that." She turned and gazed up into his eyes for a moment. "We do have a 'do not disturb' sign on the door, don't we?" She inquired slyly.

Grissom's cheeks reddened slightly even with the steam from the shower. "I'll let you order." He murmured softly, taking his razor from her hands. "Red wine?"

Sara nodded and smiled. "Fish?"

Grissom's eyes lit up. "I better finish up in here then." He gently pushed her towards the door.

Dinner and desert soon ended with one last glass of wine and small talk on the couch. Both turned towards each other and both listening to nothing but the sound of their voices. It was relaxing and very exhilarating.

They were both alone. Finally finding the right moment to let go of that last wall and share something of themselves. Past, present, aspirations for the future. It was all out on the table and both were absorbing each others words.

"How do you think Sheridan will take the news?" Sara asked.

Grissom sat back and released a sigh. "I guess, he'll be…" Shrugging, he smiled at her, slowly moving his arm to rest along the back of the couch. "Sara…"

Turning slightly red under his intense eyes, she shuffled closer, smiling when he took her half empty wine glass and placed it on the coffee table. She looked up into his eyes. "You were saying?"

"No more talking." He murmured quietly, leaning a little towards her.

"What about Sheridan?" Her voice was innocent, but her meaning was definitely meant to taunt him.

Chuckling, his arm slipped from the couch to drape over her shoulder. "No more talking." He repeated, lightly brushing his lips across hers.

"I can't promise you that." She said breathily as his lips parted and his arm drew her against him.

Walking down the brightly lit corridor, Sara began to realise how much this place had taken over her life and how much she had missed everyone in it.

"Hey Sara, your back!"

She was pulled out of her reverie by Greg bounding down the corridor towards her.

"Whoa. Easy tiger." Nick called after him. "You don't want to crush her! Welcome back Sara." he smiled.

"Thanks." she said, returning the smile. "You guys cope without me?" she teased.

"We got by." Warrick smiled as he and Catherine joined the group heading towards the break room.

"You solved your case then?" Catherine asked.

"As if there was ever any doubt." Sara smiled, hoping that would be all the questioning she was going to receive.

"Well, if it isn't Mrs. Grissom herself." Brass said from the doorway, smiling as he saw Sara blush all over and everyone turn to her.

"Very funny Brass, but those jokes don't apply anymore. That goes for all of you." she added. looking straight at Greg, who had a 'Who? Me?' expression on his face.

"Really?" Brass questioned, "Then why do you still have that?" he asked. pointing to her left hand.

Sara looked down at the band of gold that she had reluctantly put on two weeks ago but was now so much a part of her, she had forgotten all about it.

"I guess I forgot." she smiled nervously, removing it and handing it to Brass, her heart aching as she did so.

"Right," Brass said knowingly. "So did Gil. I had to go ask him for his too."

Sara looked down at the floor, suddenly feeling unsettled with where this was going, especially with the others around. It was no secret to Brass that the two of them were closer now, but she didn't want him to make a big deal out of it, especially not before she had spoken to Grissom.

"Yeah, where is the boss man anyway?" Nick asked Sara.

"How should I know?" She answered a little too quickly, partly because she was nervous about them figuring something out and partly because since their return she hadn't heard from him, and she was a little worried.

"Just figured you two would be pretty tight now. Spending all that quality time together and all." Nick looked at her, his hidden meaning struggling to stay hidden.

Sara opened her mouth to dispel any ideas of them being 'tight' as it were, but was cut off by the man in question coming through the door.

"First day back on the job and you're late." Catherine mocked. "What would Cavallo say?"

"Actually he's why I'm late. He wanted a progress report." He informed them, giving Sara a knowing look. People had been pressuring them for reports since they had left.

All eyes were on the 'would-be' couple. Every pair of eyes trying to search for some difference in behaviour but failing, it was as though nothing had ever changed and the story that Ecklie had seen them kissing was getting less and less believable.

How do they do it- They all thought.

"So, anything interesting happen while we were gone?" Grissom asked, knowing they were probably thinking the same about him and Sara, who he was having trouble not getting up and holding. He hadn't called her since they had been back because he knew if he had, he would never have made it back to work. He just hoped she understood that and wasn't mad at him.

"Guess not." he continued, when he got no answer. "I suppose I'll just have to give you more work next time."

Sara smiled and looked him in the eye from across the room and he knew then that she wasn't mad and smiled back, unnoticed by the others who were getting used to the fact that Grissom was back and the work was back with him.

"Well, here are your assignments. Sara, you're working with Nick, you must be sick of me by now." he said knowing full well that she wasn't, and knowing if they worked together so soon the rumour mill would be in hyper drive.

"You know it." she joked, "One more bug comment and I think I might have committed my own homicide."

Grissom smiled at this and headed towards the door, but not before winking at her. Things were going to be just fine. Sara followed him, not able to believe that he had just done that and knowing that the others would be dieing to talk about them.

"Please tell me you guys saw that too?" Nick spluttered his coffee across the table.

Warrick and Catherine just smiled as Greg sank into his chair.

"I knew it." Catherine cheered, heading out of the door. "I knew it!"

"I don't believe it!" Sheridan growled, frustration evident on his face, "You're telling me I wasted time and money on a case that was never a case!"

"'Fraid so." Brass shrugged, trying to hide his smirk. He knew he shouldn't be laughing, but he couldn't help but be happy at the FBI messing up…again. Though he'd come to like Sheridan, a little.

"Cavallo wasn't too happy when I told him earlier either." Grissom pitched in from the couch where he was seated next to Sara, the touch of her thigh against his burning through him. "He actually looked at me like it was my fault."

"What are we supposed to do if the victims aren't victims?" Sara sighed, putting her arms up in a questioning manner. "I can't believe they managed to leave their old lives behind and start new ones in a different part of the country without a trace."

"Not without a trace, Sara." Brass smiled. "You should know, something always gets left behind."

"Well, as I'm not needed here for the debrief, being a lowly subordinate." Sara grinned wickedly at Grissom, who had to endure the debrief. "I'll take that as my cue, because when Brass starts acting like he appreciates Locard, you know something's up."

"Hey, can't a cop be a geek too?" Brass teased.

"Oh, I was disputing you being a geek Brass." Sara grinned, which caused Grissom to chuckle and Brass to mock glare.

"Sorry to interrupt." Sheridan butted in impatiently. "But I have better places to be."

Throwing her hands up in mock defeat, Sara slipped from the room leaving the guys to discuss the case.

"So, Gil." Sheridan started. "You're telling me, that the couples weren't kidnapped? That they just got tired of their old lives and moved on?"

"I know. It sounds absurd." -Even I thought so when Sara was ranting about it- he thought back. "But that's what happened. Sara and I questioned Dr. Jenkins, apparently he had suggested it to his clients and some of them took him up on his idea. Apparently, they forgot to contact their families and friends once they were settled, Slipped their minds, so to speak."

"I've heard of being forgetful," Brass muttered, "But that is just stupid."

Grissom raised his eyebrows in a 'what can you do' expression and turned to Sheridan. "So, are we done here? There's no evidence to present and the lab's pretty busy." Grissom lied, he just wanted to get out of there.

"Sure." Sheridan sighed, closing the file. "No need to waste any more time on this than is necessary… Nice work on this Gil," he added a moment later, causing Grissom and Brass to share an 'am I dreaming look?' and a smirk as Grissom closed the door on the office and the lonely chapter of his life as his mind was filled of thoughts of Sara.

"So much for seeing how it goes." Sara said from the doorway of his office. "I can't believe you were so indiscreet earlier. You're usually the master of subtly."

Looking up from his files, he walked towards her, pulling her into the room and closing the door.

"They were going to find out later. What was the harm in helping them along?" he smiled.

"I just didn't think you'd want it to be public knowledge." Sara explained.

"Like it wasn't obvious before. They knew I loved you before I did." he snorted, kissing her forehead.

Sara stepped back and stared at him in wonder.

"What?" he asked, slightly worried.

"Hearing that never ceases to amaze me." she smiled shyly, brushing her lips against his and whispering, "I love you too."

"Well, be prepared to hear it a lot more." he said, staring at her hands as she rubbed her ring finger with her thumb.

Looking down, she blushed a little as she realised what she was doing,."I guess it feels weird without it." she smiled.

Maybe you wont have to be without one for too long- Grissom mused, before wondering where the hell that idea had come from in the first place. Neither of them were ready for that.

"How was the debrief?" she asked, trying not to sound smug that she didn't have to stick around.

"Pointless." he smiled as he tickled her ribs. "I can't believe you ditched me!"

"You didn't need me!" she laughed.

"I always need you." he admitted soberly, causing her to smile and kiss his cheek.

"I better go, there must be at least twenty more rumours circulating about us by now. I mean, you never shut your door. God knows what we could be doing in here!" she exclaimed in mock horror, teasing him until he smiled.

Grissom shuffled forward, pushing her into the door and pressing his lips against hers. "I think I like my door better when its shut." he whispered seductively.

"Me too." Sara sighed, slipping out from under him. "But, I really have to go."

"Do you want to come by my house later?" he asked nervously.

"Sure." she nodded, kissing him again. -God, if I don't stop, I'll never leave-

Pulling herself away, she slipped out of the door before she could change her mind again and walked down the corridor determined to keep her mind on work, but not knowing how she was going to do that when he was everywhere she looked.

Damn this place and it's glass walls- she thought, not entirely sure if she was really angry.

"So, Nick, what've we got?" she asked when she breezed into the layout room.

Gil smiled to himself as he heard a soft knock on the door, knowing instantly who it was.

"God, I missed you." he sighed as he pulled Sara inside.

"How?" she questioned with a startled laugh "You've been with me all day."

"Yes," he agreed, "but I couldn't do this all day," he breathed as he kissed her neck and wrapped his arms around her waist.

"Hmmm." Sara sighed, "In that case, I missed you too." she smiled as she kissed him.

Sitting down on the couch, Grissom intertwined their fingers and rubbed the back of her hand with his thumb. He had never felt so at home in his house before.

"Sara, I've been thinking," he began, but stopped when he saw the spark of fear in her eyes and felt her fingers tense up, "Don't worry so much," he reassured her, "It's good thinking, I promise."

"Okay." Sara answered, still a little apprehensive. "Care to share?" she asked as Grissom had drifted back in to his own little world.

"When you left my office this morning, I'd never felt so alone… I know this is a cliché, but I'd never realised just how much I needed you before…" he rambled on.

Sara traced his lips with her fingers and spoke softly, "I know how you feel."

"Well, what I guess I'm trying to say is, that, you're the most special and important thing in my life, and that being without you is something I don't think I can do anymore. Last night when I was here without you I realised that this house is just that, a house, but with you here it finally feels like a home. So, slowly getting to the point, I would like to ask you to move in with me… and be with me… that is, if you want to?" he added as an after thought, realizing that she may not want this yet.

Sara just sat staring, unable to believe how far their relationship had come in just two weeks and how much Grissom had changed. Two weeks ago she was barely allowed in his office, now he wanted to share his home and his life with her. She opened her mouth to answer but her words caught in her throat.

Grissom frowned as he thought he'd overstepped the mark. "I'm sorry." he muttered as he stood, "It's too soon. I shouldn't have asked. Just forget I-" He was silenced as Sara placed a hand on his shoulder and kissed his cheek lightly.

"I would love to." she beamed. "On one condition…"

"Anything." Grissom whispered, taking her hand.

Looking into his eyes, she squared her shoulders."I get to negotiate a second honeymoon some time in the future."

Grissom smiled and pulled her to him. "I can't think of anyone else I'd like to share one with."

Standing in their embrace, both of them knew they had just taken a huge leap, they had effectively agreed to get married one day. But what surprised Grissom most about that was that he wasn't surprised, it just seemed natural to him that they would be together. Looking into Sara's eyes, he pulled away and started to give her the tour of his home, happy in the thought that the next time they shared a honeymoon it would be for real.