The characters and situations in this story belong to Alliance Atlantis, CBS, Anthony Zuicker and other entities, and I do not have permission to borrow them. No infringement is intended in any way, and this story is not for profit. Any errors are mine, all mine, no you can't have any.

This is in response to the Elemental challenge at the Your Tax Dollars At Work forums. In addition to working in the given elements, I've played a trick using one of them. Bonus points if you can figure out what.

Spoilers: general fourth season


"You'd rather kiss a what?"

Sara folded her arms. "A tarantula."

Grissom stared at Sara, incredulity giving way to amusement. One corner of his mouth twitched up. "I could arrange that," he said thoughtfully.

She rolled her eyes. "It's a figure of speech, Grissom!" She gestured at the graduated row of painted dolls on the counter. "Dusting those things is going to take hours. Why can't Greg do it, since he's so hot to be a CSI?"

Grissom raised his brows. "Because he's backed up in DNA. And because I said so. They can't all be exciting, Sara." His voice was cooler. "What's got into you?"

Sara huffed a little, then reined in her temper. "I--sorry, Griss. I don't know." She grimaced, a bit sheepish. "Long week, I guess." They'd managed to mend their friendship a good deal, and here she was taking out her mad on him.

Grissom's expression gentled. "That's okay. Tell you what, when you finish those, come find me. I'll have something more interesting for you then."

She sighed. "All right."


Grissom left her grumbling behind him, and tucked his concern into one corner of his mind until he had some solitude to deal with it. As he passed the DNA lab, Greg stuck his head out. "Hey, Grissom!"


"Can you answer a question for us?"

Grissom looked past him to see Archie seated on one of the lab stools, looking as though he wanted to gag Greg on the spot. Since practically every machine in the lab was processing, Grissom decided not to ask him if he had enough to do. "The question is, should I?"

Greg grinned. "We were just wondering--shut up, Archie!--when people started calling you by your last name."

Grissom snorted, too amused to be affronted. "People have been calling me Grissom since before you were born, Greg." His answer made them laugh.

Entering the breakroom, he pulled out his favorite coffee cup, the one with the chipped rim, and poured himself a cup, substituting creamer when he found that the carton of milk in the small fridge had spoiled. Taking a sip, he scowled at the taste, but took it with him anyway. Dead bodies might wait patiently, but the chief medical examiner was another matter.

Normally the morgue was hushed, but as Grissom pushed through the doors, music greeted him, and it took him only a moment to identify it as the soundtrack to "Singin' in the Rain." David was nowhere to be seen, but Doc Robbins was slicing busily at their corpse, humming along with the music.

"And how are you today, Al?" Grissom asked dryly, and Robbins looked up with a wide grin.

"Fit as a fiddle, Gil. You?"

Grissom took another sip of coffee. "Fine, thanks. I assume it's not our body that's got you so happy..."

The grin widened, and Robbins dropped a slice of tissue into a pan. "I am now a grandfather."

"Congratulations," Grissom said, genuinely pleased, and set aside his cup to snag a coverall.

"A beautiful girl," Robbins continued, waving Grissom closer. "I'm looking forward to seeing my son discover the joys of the three a.m. feeding and the dirty diaper."

"Revenge?" Grissom deduced, pulling on gloves.

"Justice," Robbins corrected, and handed Grissom a forceps.


Two hours later, Grissom retreated to the quiet privacy of his office. There was plenty of work waiting for him, but he wanted to think. He was determined to be a better friend to Sara, and so far he felt he'd succeeded, but their mutual attraction was making it complicated, and her bad mood earlier worried him a little. Sighing, he pulled open a desk drawer in search of a snack. Low blood sugar made cogitation more difficult.

His hand brushed past his jar of chocolate-coated grasshoppers--he wasn't in the mood for that much sugar--and landed on a small paper bag. Upending it on his blotter, he chose one of the three fortune cookies and cracked it open, popping the pieces into his mouth and unfurling the little strip of paper.

"To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late," he read aloud. "Well, it makes about much sense as it usually does."

Grissom crunched his way through the remaining cookies, finding fortunes that read "Your life is about to change" and "Avoid travel by water," and swept the crumbs into the trash. Sighing, he leaned his elbows on his desk and gazed into the terrarium on one corner. "I still don't know what to do, Moses," he told the tarantula quietly. "I know what I want, but I don't know what she wants."

Sara lifted the last print with a sense of relief. She often found dusting for prints soothing, but the small curved surfaces and the need to handle the toys so delicately had quickly palled the process. She stretched her aching back, then glanced at her watch and packed everything away. She could drop the prints off with Jacqui on the way to Grissom's office.

His door was open, but he wasn't there. Just as Sara was about to turn away, he came up beside her in the hallway. "Good morning."

"Hey," she returned, and at his gesture preceded him into the office. He shut the door behind them.

"Grab a chair, would you?" Grissom rounded his desk and sat.

Sara collapsed into a chair, rolling her head on her neck to work out the stiffness, then waved at the terrarium. "Hi Moses."

"What, no kiss?" Grissom inquired wryly, and Sara snorted.

"I had to dust the dolls. No kiss."

"Just as well," Grissom said, eyes crinkling. "He might turn into a handsome prince, and then I'd be short a tarantula." Sara snickered, and he shot her a sly look. "Of course, one has to wonder if he leaves handsome prints."

Sara groaned, but there was nothing to throw at him. "You promised me something more interesting," she reminded him, unable to resist grinning at his smug chuckle.

"I did." Grissom tilted his head and regarded her, sobering a little. "How about breakfast?"

"That's interesting?"

"Shift's over," he pointed out.

Sara rested her hands on the armrests and looked at him for a long moment. He was as quirky as ever, as maddeningly attractive as ever, and there were still times when she wanted very much to find out how his mouth would fit against hers. But she didn't know how he felt about it anymore. "Okay," she acquiesced. Breakfast with Grissom was always interesting, even if it wasn't what she'd thought he'd meant.

They rose, Grissom picking up the terrarium to replace it on its shelf. "Sure you don't want to give him a try?" he asked, smirking a little.

Going on impulse, Sara leaned in close to him. "I can think of better things to kiss," she murmured.

Grissom halted, gaze fixing on her face as she straightened, then slid the terrarium into place. To her utter surprise, he cupped her cheek in one hand. "Sara," he said, so quietly she almost couldn't hear him. "Sara, be kind. All I do is dream of you."

His eyes were so serious, so deep, so...vulnerable. Sara drew in a breath. "Then make it real," she whispered.

He fit perfectly.