Most of 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; most of the others are mine, and if you want to borrow them, you have to ask me first. This story does contain some real people, and if they don't like it they can thump me. Heh. 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.

Spoilers: through "Ch-ch-changes".

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The view was gorgeous.

David sat back a little in his chair and looked out over the water. The ocean just beyond the restaurant deck was shimmering in the light of sunset, a stunning array of colors mingling on both the horizon and the water. I never thought orange and purple could go so well together, he thought, and chuckled.

The little table for two was well-situated, but then he'd reserved it well in advance. This evening was special. Very special.

He touched his tie, making sure it was in place, remembering some friendly advice given him a few years back--something about losing the coat and growing some scruff. He hadn't taken it, and as it happened...

Well, she loves me the way I am. He blinked, a tiny smile appearing on his lips. And sometimes I still can't believe it.

The breeze ruffled the umbrella overhead, making it rustle softly. The air was soft and cool; it would get chilly before too long, but the deck had heaters, and the ambiance was unbeatable.

David patted his pocket one more time, and thought back over the last year or so, all the way back to the DNA lab explosion. He'd been washing a corpse at the time of the disaster, losing his grip on the hose when the shattering boom had rolled through the hush of the morgue. He'd spent the next forty-five minutes helping triage injuries--a degree in nursing was good for many things--and fortunately most of the injuries were minor. Poor Greg had been the worst of them.

Among those whose cuts required attention had been a tall, slim young lady wearing a visitor's badge. He barely remembered her face among all the others; she had been just one more person to disinfect, bandage, and reassure.

But he definitely remembered her from the next evening, when she came back to thank him. He was sure he'd turned crimson from his hairline to his toes at her words, and he'd been even more astonished when she'd leaned over to press a shy kiss to his cheek.

And then she'd turned and gone out, blushing herself. And I thought that was that. After all, she was just visiting, a doctorate student studying criminal psychology, at the lab to talk with field investigators as part of her dissertation. He expected that she'd never give him another thought.

Until he got her e-mail message.

They'd started writing, back and forth between Irvine and Las Vegas. Awkward, formal notes at first, then longer letters as they grew easier with one another, finding a harmony of thought and an acceptance. He'd gone out there for New Year's, just to visit, and after the first five minutes of bashful glances they'd remembered they were friends, and had laughed away the stiffness. It was the first time David had run into anyone outside law enforcement, or his family, that didn't mind what he did.

Sylvie understood his ambitions, his desire to understand death that he might help the living. In turn, he encouraged her in her struggle with the twists of the criminal mind, knowing she would make a superlative psychologist.

He still didn't know, exactly, when they'd fallen in love.

She was scheduled to finish her dissertation next spring. He himself still had plenty to learn, but Doc Robbins had been making noises about a colleague of his in Mission Viejo who was getting ready to retire and would soon be looking for a capable coroner to take his place...

He'd miss Las Vegas. But perhaps it was time to come out of the night.

"David?"

He blinked again, unable to stop the smile that spread over his face, and not trying anyway. Sylvie always looked stunning to him, but tonight she was even more so, her blue dress and jacket rippling a little in the same breeze that was tangling her black curls. He rose to kiss her gently and pull out her chair, and she settled into it with the small shy smile he loved so much.

"I'm glad you're here," he told her.

Their meal was long and comfortable; they ate and laughed and talked as the sun vanished and candles were lit along the deck. David was in no hurry for the evening to end. He'd taken a week's vacation for this, and while he'd given no reason and Doc Robbins hadn't asked, he'd seen the older man's eyes crinkle and his knowing look when David had made the request.

He'd blushed, but only a little.

They ordered dessert eventually, and held hands while waiting for it. At the other end of the deck, the waiters were gathering, and an amateur but enthusiastic chorus drifted back--"Happy anniversary, Ben and Kaye, happy anniversary to you..."

Sylvie was watching the singers, her face a little pensive. "I wonder what it takes to make it work."

He couldn't ask for a better opening. "I--I think we could. Make it work, I mean."

She turned to him, open and inquiring, and he reached into his pocket for the small box whose contents his sister had helped him choose. "Sylvie, will you marry me?"

He watched the green eyes fill with tears. They would have alarmed him, but for her smile.

End.