Title: Matchmaker

Author: Ann

Summary: Gosh, I hate this part. What happens when you do your roommate's laundry.

This is my response to the Unbound challenge. First and last lines were given. And I totally butchered the word limit. May it rest in peace.

Thanks to LK and Mossley for the betas and constant poking and prodding...and threatening.

CSI is not mine.

Her socks were mismatched again. After lacing her boot the rest of the way up, she stood up from the locker room bench and made her way down the hall.

Sara tapped on his doorframe before entering, knowing that without the commotion he would continue to be hypnotized by his paperwork.

"Oh, hey," Grissom said cheerily as he rose to meet her at the door, having instantly closed and set aside the folder he had been reading.

She wasn't used to being placed before his work, and even after the last few days to get used to it, an eerily wonderful shiver still swept through her body.

The whole damn scenario was eerie, when she took time to think about it. If someone would have told her weeks, even days, ago that Gil Grissom would be staying in her home, she would have laughed in their face. Hysterically.

But when he casually mentioned that he would be staying at the Luxor while his townhouse was being renovated, she had not-so-subtly hinted that she had an extra bedroom. He had stared at her wide-eyed and nervous, slowly blinking only when it became a necessity. At the very moment that she was planning to excuse herself to huddle in a corner and die of humiliation, he evenly accepted her implied offer, stating that it would be nice. They both stood stock still, in apparent disbelief of what had just transpired.

He cleared his throat and she nodded, both making it clear that this was enough craziness for the moment.

And that was that.

He had showed up on her doorstep the next morning after shift with a suitcase and a smile. She showed him to the spare bedroom that had served only as storage space since she moved to Vegas on a whim. Thoughts of sprucing up the room didn't come until she was showing him in, kicking and tripping over boxes in the path to his bed. Warning him that opening the closet door could cause a dangerous avalanche prompted a chuckle from him.

She apologized profusely, and Grissom chose that moment to remind her that he was the imposition here, and that everything was perfect. Thankfully she had enough couth to bite her tongue and refrain from offering to share the big-enough-for-two bed that resided in her own room.

Between the double and triple shifts worked the last three days, they had only seen each other in passing, making their temporary living arrangement much less awkward than there was potential for.

With the multiple-homicide in Henderson now neatly wrapped up, they were ending shift on schedule. She glanced at her watch. If panic were going to set in, it would be happening in approximately ten minutes.

"Sara?"

"Hmm?" She was jerked from her thoughts abruptly.

"I said I was going to pick up a few things from the grocery. Can you give me an idea of what we need? Dinner?"

This uber-sweet Grissom freaked her out a bit. All she wanted to do was go home and play house with him. And thoughts of that nature freaked her out even more.

"Grissom, that's okay. You don't have to do that."

"It's the least I can do."

"You brought most of the perishable groceries from your place over. You've done plenty," she argued.

"I don't do anything, Sara," he rebutted, clearly confused that she would imply that he'd done his fair share. "You're saving me a pretty penny by offering me free room and board." Grissom watched her shake her head, formulating another argument. Before she could contest, he shoved a small notebook and a pen into her hands and put on his most convincing smile. "Humor me?"

After sighing, grumbling, and giving him the evil eye, she began scribbling a few items down.

"I can be useful, you know? Doing laundry isn't enough to earn my keep."

"That's an understatement," Sara mumbled under her breath, suddenly remembering why she was headed to his office in the first place. "That reminds me," she directed towards him, wincing when he still had his charming face on. She didn't want to hurt his feelings.

Like ripping a band-aid off...

"I think I'm wearing your socks. Sock. Just one," she corrected herself with a grin.

"Why?" he asked, innocently.

She just wanted to wrap her arms around him, kiss that dumbfounded expression right off his face, and wear mismatched socks for the rest of her life.

No. No she didn't. Well, not the sock part anyway.

"Grissom, you suck at laundry." She scrunched the material of her pants in her fists and jerked upwards, revealing her long legs.

He panicked internally. What the hell was this? He had dreamed about those legs, in all sorts of places and positions, but he wasn't prepared for this.

Wait. The socks.

"Oh," he blurted, laughing nervously. His eyes trailed up one leg to where the black sock stopped, halfway up her calf. Then he tracked back down the other, pausing where the tip of the short navy sock stuck out from the top of her boot. "Sorry," he shrugged apologetically.

"Well, it's not just the socks."

He was sure he was going to pass out as she began unbuttoning her blouse and walking towards him. His hands found his desk as he leaned back into it, tipping his Rolodex onto its side and scattering a few papers about in his bid to get a grip.

No doubt about it. She had gone crazy.

"This was my favorite tank top," she pouted as she pulled the ends of her shirt apart.

Well, it was now his favorite tank top. The white material scooped down her chest and rode up her ribs, leaving only a little more than her chest covered. "It looks...fine." He practically ogled her with a sexy gleam in his eye.

"Shut up!" she pointed her finger at him, laughing as a flush crept up her face. There was no way he was flirting with her in his office. "How do you get to work in one piece?"

"I manage."

Hell, she could flirt too. "I've noticed." She gave him a wink as she headed towards the door, throwing the grocery list back to him when she reached the frame. "I'm heading home."

"Button your shirt first!"

XXXXXxxxXxxxXXXXX

After knocking several times with no answer, Grissom readjusted the grocery sacks looped around his wrists and dug the copied house key from his pocket. He had refrained from using it unless absolutely necessary for fear that he'd get a little too comfortable with this current living situation.

Alas, he did feel comfortable using it. Just as comfortable as he was kicking his shoes off at the door, packing away the newly bought groceries, and roaming around the house in search of his gracious host.

"Sara?" he called out as he cautiously turned the corner to her bedroom.

Nothing there.

He started getting nervous after checking the bathroom then peering out the window, confirming that her car was present.

"Sara?" he repeated, louder this time, as he entered his temporary bedroom.

She looked perfect sprawled across the bed, boxes piled around her on the mattress.

He breathed a sigh of relief as she cracked her eyes, blinking furiously and gathering her bearings. "You're late," she whispered huskily, slipping onto the floor at the foot of the bed and digging through another box.

"The vegetables in the refrigerator are my peace offering. So, whatcha doing?" he asked, throwing his jacket on the bed and sliding down on the floor in front of her.

"Cleaning. And reminiscing," she sighed wistfully.

"Huh. Want some help?"

"Cleaning, I assume? Sure; grab a box."

He did as he was told, pulling a small box onto his lap and holding up an item for a 'yea' or 'nay' verdict from its owner.

"You know, I can reminisce too."

Sara looked up, momentarily confused until she saw what he had found. A Polaroid of the two of them standing in front of a lecture hall was wedged into the corner of her framed diploma.

She smiled sadly, taking the items from him and placing them in a larger box that she had labeled "KEEP" in green marker. "I miss the snow."

"I miss you."

Wow. Boy, he sure knew how to throw out the loaded comments.

And then run from them...

She watched him as he lowered his head and rummaged through another box, feigning interest in more of her childhood memories.

There was no way he was getting off the hook that easily.

"Hey." Sara nudged his leg with her toes, getting his attention. "How can you miss me when I'm right here?"

"I don't know," he whispered, surprising her by easing her legs onto his lap. "I just do."

"Hmm."

"We're different now. Not bad different," he corrected immediately.

"But not good different either?" she prodded.

"It's...intense. Scary different." He could feel the weight lifting from him as he admitted these little things to her.

"Do you ever wish you could go back?"

"Back where?" he inquired, his seriousness matching hers.

"Anywhere. Just...not here. Not now. It could all be so different. Life," she added, after he looked at her quizzically. "Life could be different."

"Too different." He paused, briefly imagining a life without her in it. "I'd rather not chance it."

"Some days I'd gladly chance it."

"Why?" Grissom worked her feet gently in his hands, amazed that she was accepting his touch, but scared to death at where this conversation was heading.

"It would be easier, I think."

"All things are difficult before they are easy," he promised.

"It's about time they got easier," she chucked and flexed her foot against his hand playfully, hoping to add a more positive spin on their conversation.

"I definitely think they will." His hopeful smile seemingly dissolved the unwanted tension surrounding them.

Sexual tension still remained. Full force.

He leaned forward, letting his strong fingers slide up her leg, caressing her calf casually.

"What are you doing?" she asked, the catch in her voice noticeable.

"Taking my sock back," he answered teasingly, sliding the fabric down and off her foot.

Gripping the hem of the other sock, he tugged lightly.

"Wait a second. This one's mine," she laughed, digging her heel into his thigh to halt his progress.

"What can you do with one sock?" Grissom growled sexily, switching positions and trapping her legs against the carpet when she began squirming forcefully.

"I know what you can do with one sock," Sara grinned. "Shrink it, fade it, pair it off aimlessly--"

"Hmm." Her devilish grin almost had him undone. Hovering the rest of the way over her body, forced her down against the carpet, pinned underneath him. "Why are you still wearing this shirt if my laundry skills are so horrid?"

"I told you. It's my favorite shirt," she pointed out, self-consciously yanking on the ever-rising item of clothing. "Lucky too. This is the reason I haven't had to process a floater in almost a year."

"Oh, luck has nothing to do with it, dear. That could all change overnight."

"You wouldn't." She smiled as he warily pulled together the ends of her blouse, buttoning one in the center to hide that lucky tank top.

"I might," he taunted gruffly, wondering if they were still talking about his clout over case assignments.

As she raised herself to her elbows, touching her chest to his, he realized that he might be willing to do a whole lot more.

"How about I do my own clothes for the next week, I pretend to be oblivious to your lack of laundry knowledge, and we call it a truce?" she teased, tantalizingly slithering her feet along his.

"Uh uh."

"What more can you want?"

She barely got the question out before his mouth landed on hers, taking her breath away.

Their eyes met awkwardly when he pressed his lips to hers more insistently. "You're making me nervous," he mumbled against her mouth.

"Sorry," she whispered, pulling him down to her, deepening the kiss.

Their little make-out session sent them rolling across the carpet and careening into box after box. Neither seemed to care as long as they had their turn to regain control. When Sara landed on top of him, straddling his waist, she took the opportunity to unbutton his shirt between kisses.

"I don't have a lucky tank top," he pointed out as she kissed his bare chest.

"You can have mine," she offered, guiding his hands to her breasts.

Just as his fingertips slipped under the tight fabric, she felt a strong vibration against her belly.

He groaned into her neck and she whined, "Please tell me that you're just really gifted and that's not what I think it is."

"I'm not that talented," he grunted, moving off of her and unclipping the offending pager from his belt. "Brass."

"Okay. Well," she ran her fingers through her hair and down her clothes before grabbing a box and moving towards the door. "I'm gonna go do some more reminiscing."

"Sara?" He caught her attention just as she was leaving.

"Yeah?"

"As soon as I get done here, I'll find you. I'm tired of reminiscing," he said with a soft, but intense, tone. "I want to make new memories."

"Me too."

Minutes later, h
e found her on the back porch blowing soap bubbles.