Twenty Questions

By Miss Jazz

Category: Angst/Romance, GSR.

Rating: PG

Spoilers: "Snakes"(Episode 5x12) and a few little things from all seasons.

Summary: Sara Sidle needs some answers. Follows "The Talk" from "Snakes," the best two minutes of the entire episode!

Disclaimer: CSI doesn't belong to me. I don't own anything but I wish I did!

A good scholar always has at least twenty questions they want to ask.

Sara Sidle always made it a practice to follow her own rule. She always had at least twenty things that she wanted to know about, at least twenty places she wanted to explore and at least twenty people she wanted to understand. In fact, she had spent her entire life searching high and low, looking left and right and travelling near and far for answers, desperately seeking, always wondering. Sara had always strived to be the best she could be and her devoted quest for knowledge had taken her many places–both mentally and physically.

Passionate, experienced and extremely dedicated, Sara found herself in Las Vegas–four and a half years after she moved there. She merely blinked and almost half a decade was gone, lost in a sea of unanswered questions and undefined emotions. People, places and things were constantly changing, defining her purpose and designing her journey. Sara suddenly found herself in a world that was spinning out of control, armed only with her queries and her intelligence. Once upon a time, she thought she knew who she was, where she was and why she was there. Once upon a time, she considered Gil Grissom to be her friend.

Gil Grissom.

Twenty questions would never be enough to explore the man she had loved for so long. Sara was quite certain that even twenty million wouldn't do it. Complex and secretive, Grissom was absolutely anything but easy to understand. His unique personality had always been an endless riddle, a puzzle that continuously perplexed even his closest friends. Bewildered and hopeful, Sara had arrived in Las Vegas with countless questions for her mentor, for the friend she might never really know.

And she was still there. Invisible, apparently–but there.

She was there because she always liked to take chances, to contemplate possibilities and to follow the evidence. She was there because she always liked to know where she stood–with herself and others. She was there because she always needed to have an important purpose, a meaningful reason to wake up each day. She was there because Grissom had, at one incredible point in time, wanted her by his side. She was still there because nothing else existed.

Nothing at all.

Sara knew the undeniable truth but she still wondered why her feet were so firmly planted. She even dared to wonder why she was in so much pain and why she still bothered to search for answers when it had become so difficult to ask her questions. She had spent years and years asking Grissom so many things, accumulating facts and theories, relying on his advice and his opinion. She had created a world in which she would always be his star pupil, the intrigued young woman in the front row who wrote down absolutely everything he said and who was interested in absolutely everything he did. She had always asked him questions and absorbed his answers, his infinite wisdom, his mysterious ways. She knew that she was no longer his young student but that she was still the same passionate woman who just wanted to be close to him in any way she could.

And she still needed answers.

Sara knew why she had moved to Vegas and she knew exactly why she was still there, despite the confusion that now characterized her daily life. Deep down in her heart, she really knew. But did Grissom know? Did he care for her the way she wanted him to? Did he even care for her at all? Did he remember the student who used to ask him so many questions? Did he remember the friend he always said he could trust? Did he realize that she had disappeared? Sara wanted to know so much–she needed to know. She needed to ask her twenty questions and then she would need to ask twenty more. She needed to know why he was now teaching her a different lesson and why he so often retreated into strained silence.

But there was so much tension.

She couldn't just ask twenty questions like she used to. She could no longer ask Grissom to spill everything he knew about forensics, about literature and about life. He was too distant now, too unfamiliar. But she could ask one question–a rhetorical one. Sara still knew Grissom well enough to know that he liked those. While her question would certainly stir his thoughts, he wouldn't have to provide any answer at all. He would be able to just sit and stare at her, shielded by his silence, perhaps managing a stutter or a prolonged sigh. Eventually, he might attempt to speak but his words would dissolve before they curved his lips and he'd swallow them away as if they meant nothing at all, as if they never existed.

Oh yes–Sara knew him well. She knew him very well, indeed. But she opened her heart anyway, gathering all her courage and strength, hoping beyond hope that he would hear her question and see through it. She wanted him to see right into her soul, to see her pain and all her love for him. She wasn't sure if she could send that message through one simple question but she had to try–she had to know.

"Why do you think I moved to Vegas?"

It was one powerful question but Sara had essentially asked twenty–and many, many more. She barely managed to find the words she needed to say but her eyes said the rest, asking Grissom a million things all at once, silently storming him with all the questions she had only ever dreamed of asking. Her eyes connected with his heart, passionately demanding the answers. She wanted to know exactly how he felt, she wanted to know about all the things he'd left unsaid and all the secret emotions he tried to ignore. And she was right there with him, processing her own question, her mind dancing and slowly unlocking secrets.

He could say anything at all and it wouldn't make a difference–for Sara had just seen the truth in his eyes. It was all truly beyond words, beyond all questions and all answers. He fumbled, as she expected, searching for something to say but he really didn't need to and they both knew it. His gaze, bursting with guilt, love and longing, gave her every answer she wanted, even though she wasn't quite sure what to think. She felt the sweeping warmth of Grissom's gaze in every part of her body but she didn't tremble–she just soaked it in, staring at him, communicating with him. His eyes were full of emotion–just like hers–and Grissom definitely had more than twenty questions of his own. Sara could only hope that he would soon find the courage to ask one.

Until then, they would both wait in silence.

Author's Note: I love feedback and I just want to thank everyone who reviewed my first CSI story, The Deep End. Your awesome reviews meant so much! Special thanks to: Dreamy-Orion, vsky, tassiegal, laura27md (thank-you SO much for the recommendation as well!), velocityofsound and SMKLegacy (thank-you both for your very kind comments!!), TR, Willowaus, djkittycat, Ladybug07, Eaglesei, wanda57, Erica, Saryn, Emily, angry penguin, Chicklit, DolphinAnimagus, Courtney242, rokothepas (you rock! Thanks!), Amanda Hawthorn, An, Caia, brainfear, Utmb and anyone I missed! Thanks!