Chapter Ten: Defeated

Pulling the door closed, Sara listened for the lock to click before turning and following Grissom along the landing to the stairs. As they reached the parking lot, Sara hesitated when he continued to his car.

Grissom turned just as he unlocked his door. "Sara?" He asked, seeing her standing on the path in front of her own car.

She shook her head and sighed. "I don't think we should ride together tonight."

His eyes lingered on her car for a moment. "Why?"

Sara looked at him. "Catherine." She almost spat, suddenly tense that he had forgotten so quickly.

"Sara," He said her name to get her attention, but when he didn't get it, he walked towards her. "It's jealousy. Nothing more."

"Yeah, and she's going to ruin our careers because of it." She listened to the silence for a moment before turning to him and placing her hand on his chest, right over his heart. "Talk to her, you need to talk." She pressed, trying to rid the bad feeling in her stomach.

Grissom stared into her dark brown eyes and saw the worry in them. "If you think it'll help." He asked in a soft voice.

She nodded and dropped her eyes from his to stare at her hand.

~*~

Grissom handed out assignments with a distracted mind. He couldn't stop from looking up and down the corridors to see if Catherine was lurking at the corners. It was starting to get on his nerves.

Half way through shift, he was called into the field to investigate a suspicious phone call made to the police. Nick and Warrick were working a DB near Henderson and Sara was solo at the Monaco with a suicide. It was a fairly quiet night. Everyone was waiting on results for additional cases they were working on, but the crime rate of Vegas wasn't going to slow down to please the criminalists tonight.

Arriving back from her crime scene, Sara dropped her single piece of evidence off with Greg and proceeded to the break room to write up her report.

"You're back early." Grissom greeted as he entered the room shortly after her.

"Nothing much to process either. Just some blood, most likely the vics."

He nodded and headed to the fridge. "Hey, you think Warrick would mind if I ate his sandwich?"

Sara looked up from her paperwork and shrugged. "You want to pass me some water?"

Reaching for the water, he pulled out two bottles and grabbed Warrick's chicken sandwich. "I'll buy him a sub at break." He offered as he sat down and stuck into his claimed lunch.

"You need any help with your case? What was it again?" She asked as she signed her name and closed the file. Picking up the bottle of water, she unscrewed the cap.

"Suspicious circs." He said around a mouthful. Swallowing, he went into more detail. "Brass got a call from the west side of the Strip. Officer on duty at a parking garage got a mystery call. When he took a look around, he saw some legs sticking out from under a car. When Brass got there, he noticed a bullet hole in the guys head."

Sara winced for good measure. "Ran over and shot?"

Grissom nodded and took another bit of his sandwich. "Looks like it."

"Ouch." She shook her head and sighed. After a few minutes, she looked up at him and tilted her head slightly to the side. "Have you seen her yet?"

Wiping his mouth, he sighed. "Not yet, but I'm sure she'll be here before shifts over."

Nodding, she swallowed some of her water.

By the end of shift, Warrick and Nick were sitting on the couch in the break room, playing on their game console. Sara was relaxing with a book in the single armchair opposite them. Grissom was working on his current case paperwork at the table.

"Nothing changes huh?" Came an amused chuckle.

Warrick and Nick immediately dropped what they were doing to rush to the door and hug the newcomer.

"Cath! What you doing here?" Warrick hugged her.

"You left without a word!" Nick waited his turn.

Grissom turned in his seat to look at the display. He glanced at Sara sitting in the corner. She was watching them too.

After the 'hellos' and 'how are yous' came and went, the boys stepped back to let her pass into the room. Nick was the first to say something after a lengthily silence.

"Look Griss, Catherine's back." Nick looked between the too with a happy grin.

"I know Nicky." Grissom stood and faced Catherine. "Guys, could you leave us." It was more of a command than a question.

Warrick and Nick nodded and headed for the locker room to gather up their coats. Sara slipped on her jacket that was lying on the back of the chair before walking out of the room and straight for the exit.

~*~

Shutting the door quietly, he turned. "Ok, say what you've got to say and leave."

Catherine sat down in the chair he was sitting in moments ago. "Funny how things go." She said wistfully. "I go away and nothing changes." She smiled up at him. "You'll always be doing paperwork."

"It's part of the job." He said tolerably.

"And on the other hand," She continued. "Something's do change." Her eyes darkened and narrowed. "Good thing we weren't married huh? You'd have really had a problem then, right?"

"That was a fleeting moment Catherine, which is long gone."

"Yeah, still, you talk about marriage to a girl; she might think it's a serious commitment. Something you're no good at, evidently." She mocked.

Grissom kept his face as expressionless as possible and his voice as steady as a rock. "You can talk."

Raising her eyebrows, she smiled sweetly. "You noticed that huh?"

"How couldn't I?" He asked. "Running off without a word. You used me to get those charges dropped from Sam Braun."

"Don't be silly Gil. I wouldn't go that low." She laughed.

Stepping forward, he shrugged. "How would the DA and the Sheriff like it if they knew that you pushed buttons to get a murderer off the hook? I know the Director wouldn't like it. No one in the world would employ you after that gets out."

"Well, good thing you aren't going to tell anyone. You're not that kind of man Gil, face it. Would you really put yourself in it to get back at me?"

He stepped back again. "Won't know will we. But the point of fact is that you aren't going to get your job back no matter what you do or how much you threaten Sara." He watched her eyes widen slightly. "Oh, you didn't think I'd hear it? Those alone will keep you from working here Catherine. You should have thought of a better way to intimidate than leaving evidence a mile long to implicate you."

A sense of smugness filled him and his amusement wasn't absent from his eyes when he looked at her. "I'd think about what you're going to do, because if you do anything to hurt Sara, you'll be answering to me and a work of shit. Not to mention a few rumours for good measure to some of my colleagues to stunt your job searching." A smirk appeared, but it easily slipped into a smile.

"Good to see you though." He finished.

Catherine sighed. "Fine. Enough of the macho bull."

Grissom sat down at the table. "Why did you come back?"

"Missed everyone. I can miss my friends Gil."

He nodded. "Yeah, but what about me? You can't just up and leave without a word, then turn up out of the blue. You scared the crap out of me and Sara this morning."

"I didn't expect to be breaking up a two man party Grissom." She snapped.

Sighing heavily, he rubbed his forehead. "Well, to stop that from happening again," He held out his hand. "I'd like my key back."

She reached into her purse and handed it over. "I thought you weren't interested in Sara anymore. Isn't that why you were with me in the first place, to warn her off?"

Grissom nodded. "Partly." He looked at her as he pushed the spare key into his pants pocket. "I do love you Cath, but… not like that anymore. I'm not entirely sure if I ever really did."

"I can relate I suppose." She admitted.

"I didn't need to think about that, but yes, I knew you went off with that guy you met a while back."

Catherine leaned back and looked around the room. "So, what is going on between you two? You work things out or what?"

"It wasn't easy and it's not going to be. I've been really hurtful and mean to Sara since me and you started seeing each other. She's not to blame here Cath; she's the victim out of all this. I was just too selfish to see it."

"Well, something must have gone right if you two ended up in bed." She prodded.

He shook his head sadly. "You can call that what you want. Releasing pent up emotions, but underneath it all, and before you barged in, it was a lot more."

Looking guilty and saddened by the fact that she was making things worse than they should be, she sighed and stood. "I came back to work and see my friends."

Grissom nodded. "Sadly, I was telling the truth about your job here Catherine. You quit. That's not a good reference on your CV."

Nodding in understanding, she headed for the door.

"Cath," He called. When she turned to him, he continued. "You need to apologise to Sara. She's scared. Those things you said were frightening. She's afraid we'll both lose our jobs over this."

"Can you do it for me?" She asked. "I think it's best if I just head back and stay with my mom for a while longer. Lindsey loves it up there anyway."

Thinking that it might be best, he agreed. "Don't be a stranger Cath. We all love you, I love you, but I'm going to do well by Sara. Just like I should have done years ago."

Walking back towards him, she cupped his cheek and smiled down at him. "Love you too." She placed a light kiss on his lips before leaving him sitting alone in the break room.

~*~

Yuki smiled as Sara leaned against her. "It's ok sweetie. Things work out in the end."

"I hope so." Sara sighed.

Hugging her, Yuki looked up to see Grissom standing at the front of the courtyard. "I think everything's going to be just fine." She whispered.

Sara looked up before turning to see what Yuki was looking at. Yuki got up and left them alone. Sara stayed seated on the bench, waiting for him to sit down.

"Hey." He smiled, sitting beside her.

"Guess you talked to Catherine then?" She asked, looking down at her feet.

"Sure." He said eagerly. "Few home truths, threats, the usual." He took her hand and twined their fingers. "She's going back to her mothers. She won't say anything, and she says to say sorry about the messages. She was upset and angry."

"You wouldn't have noticed with the way she was saying, 'it's nothing personal'" Sara intoned sarcastically.

He chuckled and pulled her into his side to hold her. His arm circled her shoulders. "Everything will be ok Sara. Just give it time."

"Time." She sighed. "I've been waiting nearly 4 years. I'm nearly 35. I've got no life. A family I rarely see. A hectic time demanding job. A boyfriend who's driving me crazy and his ex who's threatening to ruin me. Seems to me that time is running out."

"I wouldn't say that honey." He soothed. "Half that stuff is irrelevant now any ways."

"Don't see my family as much as I'd like though." She said sadly.

Grissom held her close. "I think I've got plenty of vacation days saved. I know you have." He chuckled. "We can go see them if you'd like."

Sara pulled away and stared at him. "You want to meet my parents?"

He nodded as he pushed errant hairs out of her eyes. "Well, you'll want to meet my mother at some stage, right?"

She nodded slowly. "I'd like that." She smiled and settled back against him. "What about my crazy boyfriend?" She asked.

"Hmmm, I'll have to think about that, but I'm sure we can solve the no life aspect at the same time, don't you think?"

"I'm not getting any younger either." She laughed softly.

Grissom chuckled. "I'm sure that's my line, but I'm positive we can sort something out. At this moment, I want to spend all my free time with you. Get that life you want so much."

"Let's go back to your friend's barn sometime. That was fun." She sighed lightly, slipping her arm around his waist. "I kinda like it when you're around me." She teased.

He chuckled again and kissed her head. "That's good to know."

Sara pushed her head onto his shoulder and kissed his jaw. "I'm tired. Let's go upstairs and relax."

"Would this relaxing involve dancing?" He asked as they stood up.

"We'll, I'm sure I've got a country CD somewhere about the place."

"Hmm, I've got breakfast in the car. I'll be up in a minute." He watched her climb the steps before he turned and headed for his car to get the bag of food he had picked up from the store.

As he entered the apartment, he could hear country music playing. He placed the bag on the kitchen counter and put the cold items in the fridge. "Sara?" He called before heading towards the bedroom.

"I'm in the shower!" She shouted.

Standing by the bed, he eased the buttons loose on his shirt. "You hungry?" He asked as he unbuckled his belt.

"No!"

Kicking off his shoes, he pulled his pants and socks off, leaving him sitting on the bed in his undershirt and boxers.

Sara walked into the bedroom wearing a large white towel. She smiled at him as she towel dried her hair with a smaller towel.

Grissom reached out for her and pulled her forward between his knees. "I brought salad and sandwiches for later." He told her as his hands ran down the back of her legs.

Dropping the small towel, she grasped his shoulders and leaned down to kiss his forehead. "Are you willing to do what it takes to be with me Griss?" She asked, raining kisses all over his face.

"I'm with you." He whispered breathlessly. "Not to mention willing." He chuckled.

She smiled against his mouth and kissed him.

THE END