Title: Missing Milestones

Pairing: Warrick/Sara

Rating: PG13

Spoilers: Up to Bloodlines to be safe

Word Count: 1,444

Notes: For the LiveJournal warricksara challenge #1 firsts

When it comes to her relationship with Warrick, there are a lot of milestones, a lot of firsts, the memories of which never fail to make Sara smile.

Maybe not so much the first time that they ever met; in a casino on Blue Diamond Road, a meeting fuelled by mutual antipathy and suspicion, the nadir reached when she told him, coldly, callously, that Holly Gribbs had died twenty minutes earlier.

All these years later, that's the memory that still makes her cringe.

Much better is the first time that they worked together as a real team, stripping a Jeep into its component parts in the search for a missing bullet in an officer involved shooting. She remembers the stifling heat of the garage, the back-breaking nature of the work, how her shoulders and arms ached for days afterwards. But she also remembers how they worked together, hardly needing to speak to know what came next, their shared vision and experience rendering words superfluous. Just like she remembers the rush of exhilaration that came when he found the bullet, sucked up in the spare tyre, how all the hard work was suddenly worthwhile. That rush of exhilaration paled into comparison, though, when compared to the rush that had flooded her body when she and Warrick had been walking to the ballistics lab, and he'd turned to her, flashing her that million-dollar smile of his.

Good as that memory is, it can't beat the first time that she realised that he was there for her, that he would cover her, help her out, that he'd never let her down. That came during what she was convinced was the first case of Spontaneous Human Combustion. He was the one who kept trying to get her to put the breaks on, to look at other options, but she hadn't listened to him. Finally, after a night standing beside a burning pig, a night where they'd talked about anything and everything, she'd been proven wrong and he'd been proven right, but there had been no I-told-you-so's, no mocking in front of the other lab techs. Instead, he covered for her with Grissom, had done so without as much as a pleading glance from her. She'd never expected that he'd put himself on the line like that for her, was surprised to discover that she liked it.

She was surprised to discover that she liked a hell of a lot of things about Warrick.

There are other firsts that she can remember too.

There's the first time she met Grams, how welcome the other woman had made her feel.

The first time she heard him play a piano properly, not just idle fingerings at a crime scene.

The first time she'd danced in his arms, his warmth encircling her, the music wrapping around them like a blanket, cocooning them, cutting them off from everything else in the world.

The first time she'd cried in front of him, a month back in Vegas after over six months away, six long months without letters or phone calls, contact of any time. That was also the first time she'd ever put herself on the line like that for anyone, begging him to give her another chance, because she'd lived without him for too long, didn't want to do it any more.

The first time he'd called her his wife, on the first day of their honeymoon, when the hotel concierge had asked him if he'd ever been to San Francisco before, and he'd replied "My wife grew up nearby." She'd never considered herself the sentimental kind, had had to look down to hide her blush, but when she'd chanced a glance up at Warrick, she'd seen a grin on his face too.

There are so many firsts, so many milestones to their relationship that she treasures.

But she doesn't think she'll ever get over the missing ones.

Their first kiss.

The first time they slept together.

She knows – and she knows that this should, and does, shame her, but compared to what follows, it's mild – that these two milestones happened on the same night.

Intellectually, she knows that. Because she'd been hanging out with Warrick a lot, and sure, there was a vibe between them, but they were just friends. Nick laughed when she told him that, and Greg just rolled his eyes, but she knew that she was right.

Until that night.

They went out, a group of them, to celebrate the end of a long case. Cars were left at home or at the lab, because this was going to be a major celebration, and that's how it had ended up. And she can remember large amounts of it, can remember laughing with Nick and Greg, the two of them sitting across from her and Warrick, can remember how Warrick's arm would occasionally brush against hers as it reached for something across the table. She remembers the shock of goosebumps that rippled across her flesh every time it happened, remembers the knowing glints in Nick's eyes, in Greg's smirk.

She remembers that, but she doesn't remember going home.

She remembers waking up though, remembers being in an empty bed in a strange room, hearing the shower going in the bathroom next door. She remembers the way the sheets slid against her naked skin as she sat up, pulling the covers up to her chin, looking around her frantically, trying to pick up any clue as to where she was. The movement made her head reel, had her closing her eyes and breathing deeply, and that's when she caught the faintest hint of a familiar cologne, and when she managed to open her eyes, the first thing she saw was a very familiar blue shirt thrown haphazardly on the floor.

The same shirt Warrick had been wearing the previous night.

Her stomach pitched and she swallowed hard, running a hand through her hair, and she just about kept back a muttered exclamation of, "Oh my God."

She kept back the words, but could do nothing about the look on her face, mingled horror and despair and mortification, a combination that couldn't even be erased by the surge of lust that coursed through her veins when Warrick made his first appearance of the morning. Barefoot in blue jeans, shirtless and running a towel over his hair, he stopped dead when he saw the way she was looking at him, and only someone who didn't know him well would have missed the quickly-hidden hurt in his eyes.

He didn't call her on it though, saying simply "Shower's free… I'll make us coffee," before turning around and walking out, and she wished at the time, still wishes now, that she'd called after him, stopped him, because she'd known what he was thinking. That she was regretting what they'd done, that she hadn't wanted it.

He was wrong, of course.

She'd wanted it, just not like that.

How could she tell him that though, was her dilemma. How did a person just tell their best friend that, yes, they were attracted to them, yes, they might even be falling for them, and yes, they really did want this change in their relationship, except that, oh dear, they couldn't remember a thing about it?

Being called on having a possible problem by Brass hadn't made her change her ways. Nor had being brought home by Grissom after avoiding a DUI charge by the skin of her teeth.

But this? This was different.

And staring at his back as he walked out the door was the first time she admitted to herself that she had a problem.

Getting over it was harder than she had thought, and she ended up taking a leave of absence, not telling anyone why, not even, and especially not Warrick. And when she'd returned, she'd been afraid to go back to him, afraid that he'd moved on, that he hated her.

Until one morning after a particularly bad shift where she appeared on his doorstep and begged for her life.

He'd taken her into his home, into his bed, into his life, and she'd known then and there that she never wanted to leave again.

And she never has.

She falls asleep in his arms, and if she's really lucky and she falls into a deep sleep, she wakes up in them too. When they make love, she commits every kiss, every caress, to memory, and she thinks that if she remembers enough of them, she might forget that she can't remember the first time they did this.

She's not so sure that's ever going to happen, but she keeps on trying.