You Win

Summary: (GSR) "I'm done pretending, I'm done denying it. That's how I feel, it's that simple"

Spoilers: I'm not sure. I don't recall citing anything particular, so probably vague ones up to…well; the last episode I saw was Invisible Evidence. So unless you're not clued in on the Grissom/Sara saga up to that point, you should be fine.

Disclaimer: Anything you can pick out, I probably don't own. Except for the general plot. That's mine. Oh, and there's one line I stole from a movie, and another I stole from a song…both of which will be credited at the end. See if you can spot them.

Author's Notes: (for more see end) this, while not being my first ever fanfiction (I've written several ER ones), is my first venture into the land of CSI. I know how much I hate it when people get scared of writing this at the top of their story and hide it down at the bottom so…enjoy.

Sara stretched tiredly, before leaning forward to half-heartedly fiddle with the radio as Grissom pulled onto the road. He glanced at her as she flicked through several stations, eventually turning it off when she found nothing to her liking. Dropping back to a slumped position in the passenger seat she closed her eyes, rubbing her temples with her fingers in an attempt to relieve her thumping headache.

'You okay?'

'Huh?' her eyes snapped open and she turned her head to look at him. 'Yeah I'm fine' she replied, looking back down at her hands.

'It was a tough scene'

'It's not the scene Grissom' she snapped instantly, tugging her jumper tighter around her body. 'Just leave it, 'kay?' she added, hearing his intake of breath.

'Sara, I…' he trailed off, uncertain of the best way in which to continue the conversation. He'd never seen her so exhausted…emotionally more than physically. Normally she had this insurmountable energy that seemed to transfer to whomever she came into contact with…but he hadn't encountered that for a while.

Possibly because he hadn't allowed himself to work with her since…well, too long ago. And it hadn't really been his choice to work with her today but Catherine was off and Sara was the only other CSI with prior knowledge of similar cases.

'Grissom I really don't want to talk about it'

'I do, Sara. I want to talk about it' he countered, realising seconds too late that he'd voluntarily started the conversation he'd been dreading for weeks.

'Oh right. Now you want to talk about it. Now it suits you. Now you're ready.' Her voice exploded, stronger and harsher than she meant it to, but she was too tired and angry to care. If he wanted them to talk, she'd damn well talk. Hiding away wasn't working for her anymore…it was all or nothing. 'I can't do this anymore Gris, I just can't do it'

'Can't do what?' he asked, knowing full well what she meant. She let out an aggrieved sigh and turned her head away, staring out of the window as she formulated her next words.

'This is exactly what I'm talking about. You blow hot and cold basically every time I see you. I never know what to expect. Some days you're friendly, some days you at least acknowledge me, and others it just feels like I'm not there in your eyes. Take right now. You say you want to talk about this but then you deny all knowledge of what this is.' She spoke slowly and calmly, contradicting the anger bubbling up inside her.

'I…'

'No. Don't say anything Grissom. Don't try and pretend this isn't real, don't try and pretend this never happened. Whatever I did to make you feel like this about me, I'd take it back in a second.' She turned to face him now, her wide brown eyes betraying the calmness her voice suggested. He fought to keep his eyes on the road, waiting for her to continue talking. 'I love my job. I used to love my job because it was something I enjoyed doing, and because I got to work with you. Because we worked well together and that made even the most challenging or gruesome of cases seem approachable, even enjoyable. Now I only love my job because I get a sense of satisfaction out of solving a case, out of knowing I've done well.'

She shook her head in frustration, wishing she knew the right words to break him down, to make him really consider what she was telling him. And eventually, she realised. It had to come from the heart…it was the last thing she had left to try.

'So I'm sorry, Grissom, if I offended you, or pissed you off or did anything to make you resent me. But I won't apologise for the way I feel about you. Because when I see you, I'm home. And I don't want to have to go away, I don't want to forget'

As the words escaped her mouth, Grissom nearly swerved across two lanes of traffic. Regaining control of the car he negotiated his way to the next exit, and moments later slowed to a halt on the quiet road they found themselves on. Sara calmly unbuckled her seatbelt and turned to look at him, curling one leg underneath her.

'I fell in love with you a long time ago. I'm done pretending, I'm done denying it. That's how I feel, it's that simple'

'Sara, I…'

'No, Grissom. Don't give me more excuses, I don't want to hear them. Just tell me how you feel. It's not that hard – I just did it.' She raised her hands in a frustrated gesture, dropping them back in her lap as she waited for him to say something.

'It's not that simple Sara. I can't allow myself to feel something for you…'

'Bullshit Grissom. I know that you're my boss. I know that I'm your subordinate. I know that people frown upon things like this. I know there's an age gap, I know that there are countless reasons why this might not work. But have you stopped to think about all the reasons why it might be…amazing?' her voice dropped to a whisper on the last word, and she shook her head slightly, watching his face intently.

'It won't work…' he trailed off, trying to put into words why he was so petrified of anything serious with her.

'You know what? I give up Grissom, hear that? I give up. You've won. Can you just…take me back to CSI? I want to go home' She turned away again in the hope that he wouldn't see the tears that suddenly sprung into her eyes when she realised that she'd said everything she had to say…and didn't have any more energy to try…and it hurt.

More than she'd ever imagined.

Grissom sat there for a while after she silently exited the car. He had watched her locate her own vehicle, jump in and drive away instantly, not even stopping to leave her CSI jacket in her locker.

As he'd pulled into the parking lot he'd finally ventured a look at her face, and had been shocked to see the tears flooding her eyes. Her hair had fallen across her face then; as she leant to pick up her bag from the floor, but one moment had been enough.

Enough for him to realise that, metaphorically speaking, she'd handed him her feelings and he'd thrown them out of the window without taking the time to even think about everything that she'd said.

But have you stopped to think about all the reasons why it might be…amazing?

He hadn't. It was as simple as that. Clearly while he'd been caught up in all the reasons why it would be so wrong, her thoughts had been somewhere along the lines of…what he was thinking now.

What it would be like to hold her, touch her, kiss her. To fall asleep beside her, and wake up with her in his arms. To know what she looked like first thing in the morning, or when she got out of the shower. To go places with her, or to just be with her – watching television, talking, or just generally existing together…

To make love with her.

The passenger door opening stunned him out of his thoughts, and his head snapped around to see Catherine's accusing stare.

'Whatever the hell you said or did Grissom, I think you've done it this time. I don't get this thing between the pair of you, but you've seriously got to find some mutual ground.' She made her case gently, the accusing look never leaving her eyes.

'Catherine…'

'Wait.' She commanded, holding up a hand. 'I just saw Sara practically running to her car almost in tears, and that's not the Sara Sidle I know. And if I know you at all, I'd say you're hurting almost as much'

'This goes no further?'

'Grissom…' she warned, settling herself into the passenger seat as she waited for him to continue.

'Okay, okay. I…think I've fallen in love with her Catherine' he admitted, finally vocalising what he'd been hiding.

'And it finally dawns. God only knows what took you so long to figure that out Gris, but you're telling the wrong woman. I just hope you're not too late…' with that thought, Catherine stepped out of the car and closed the door, walking back towards the building. The sound of an engine starting up behind her brought a small smile to her face and, hidden by the side of the building, she turned just in time to see him pull out of the parking lot and head in the same direction Sara had taken only minutes ago.

Sara unscrewed the cap on her bottle of water, lifting it to her lips in the hope that the cool liquid would go someway to calming her. Shaking her head in frustration, she stood the bottle down and leant forward, resting her elbows on the counter and then her head in her hands.

She'd thought she wanted to know one way or the other how he felt, but the closure that eventful car journey seemed to bring around actually hurt more than the wondering. Before, she could convince herself that there was a chance he might feel the same way. When she woke up after dreaming about spending the night with him, making love and talking and kissing…she could at least cling onto the hope that one day it might happen.

But now…what did she have left? Memories of a dream about how it might have been?

It wasn't even as if there were any concrete memories, moments in time that she could remember. Because nothing had ever happened.

And now she'd never know.

Never know what it would be like to kiss him, to lie in his arms…to make love with him.

She felt the all-too-familiar tears stinging at her eyes, only this time she didn't have the strength to be strong. As a few lone tears slid down her cheeks, she tried to figure out who she was crying for.

Whether it was for him because he was too scared to take a chance…or for herself because she'd just lost that chance…or whether it was for both of them. Because unlike him, she'd stopped denying her feelings long enough ago to have been able to realise that she knew they'd be good together, if only they could stop being so scared.

And at that moment, she'd stopped being scared. But he…he clearly hadn't reached that point yet. And much as it broke her heart to admit it, she couldn't spend her whole life waiting around on the off chance that he might one day realise what he was missing.

The harsh ring of the doorbell crashed into her thoughts and she straightened up quickly, wiping the tears from her cheeks and running a hand through her hair as she walked to the door. Pulling it open, she revealed the person she'd least expected to see.

A moment's silence passed between the pair as she came to terms with the fact that he was actually there in front of her, and he took in her slightly red, tear-filled eyes and generally drained manner.

'Just leave me be Grissom, I don't want to argue.' Focusing on the floor, she was the first to break the silence, her voice sounding low and emotional even to her. She dreaded to think what a mess she must look, but right at that moment she was past caring.

'You don't have to say a word. Just let me talk'

'What more is there to say? Your lack of words earlier spoke volumes.' The look on his face at her slightly harsh comments caught something inside her, and despite her feelings being completely screwed up after that car journey, there was something telling her that she'd regret not hearing him out.

Whether she could handle being burned by him again or not…was something she couldn't answer.

So she stepped aside, leaning against the wall as he closed the door, not quite ready to let him into her apartment…and holding her hands out in a gesture to let him speak.

'Sara, trusting people isn't really something that comes easy for me. There's always a fear that I'll get burned – there are a lot of people who get their feelings screwed with, and I've never wanted to be one of those people.' Sara marvelled silently at the fact that she'd been thinking scarily similarly to that only moments ago. Grissom took a deep breath, before continuing.

It was now and never. And he didn't want to lose his chance.

'And that makes it easy for me to deny that I feel anything for you, or that there's any chance of it being reciprocated. But then I realised that I do trust you, Sara. I started by trusting you as a crime scene partner, and then as a friend. But it still scares me sometimes, that you can know exactly what I'm thinking, and even finish my sentences. And there are a lot of things you don't know about me…that very few people know. I'd love to be able to tell you some of those things Sara, and maybe one day I will.'

The intensity of his words was still a surprise to him, and for Sara it was completely shell shocking. The only time she'd heard him talk this much…or this passionately before, had been to do with a various crime scenes.

'And you know what else I realised? I've been screwing with your feelings. I was so concerned with the battle I was fighting; I never stopped to think how much it might be hurting you. So, I'm sorry Sara. It took me too long to realise how much I was hurting you, and I can't bear the thought that I made you cry. I wish I could take it all back, but I can't – all I can ask is for you to say I'm not too late.'

'Grissom I…don't know what to say' she eventually said softly, bringing her hand up to her face as she attempted to work through everything he'd said. 'What does all this mean?'

'It means I love you Sara' he said, softly but confidently. His eyes studied her face intently, and when she made no response for a considerable time, he got a little confused. 'Are you okay?'

'I just…never thought I'd hear you say that' she replied, running a shaky hand through her hair. The sight of her confused expression, the slight sparkle in her tear-filled eyes and the slight shake in her hands just made him fall in love with her that little bit more. And as what indecision he'd had left disappeared, he stepped forward and slowly drew her into his arms.

She let out a breath and leant her head forward to rest on his chest, as his hands began to make lazy circles on her back.

'I can't make any promises about tomorrow's Sara…but know that I want this as much as you do. And I…' he trailed off, unsure of the words to express what he wanted to say.

'Slow suits me just fine Gris' she whispered, looking up to meet his gaze as she finished his thought. He shook his head, a slight chuckle escaping his lips as the significance of both her words and the fact that he hadn't had to say anything sunk in.

'You should get some sleep, you look absolutely exhausted' he said softly, stepping away slightly and catching her hand in his.

'Yeah…and some time to digest exactly what just happened' she quipped gently, squeezing his fingers gently. 'I'll see you later?'

'Later' he agreed as she opened the door for him. He reluctantly parted their hands, and as she leant against the closed-door moments later, she brought her fingers to her lips and smiled.

It really would be amazing…

And they hadn't even kissed yet.

Author's Notes: First things first. So I don't get into any trouble:

"Because when I see you, I'm home. And I don't want to have to go away, I don't want to forget" (Sara) – taken from Finding Nemo (Dory) – don't laugh. It's a very inspirational film if you know where to look. That line was my inspiration for this entire story.

"Just leave me be Grissom, I don't want to argue." (Sara) – taken, excluding the "Grissom" obviously, from "Time" by Sarah McLachlan.

Secondly, I hope you enjoyed this, and any feedback would be much appreciated – it being my first CSI story, I'm intrigued to know whether people think I've got the characters right, or how I could improve it…so either click on the little go button just down there, or send any comments to surrender_something@hotmail.com. Thank you!