Author's Note: Hints of both N/S and GSR, though there are no actual relationships in the fic. I don't know where this fic came from since I don't really consider myself a shipper for either pairing--but my muses are crazy, so it's probably best I don't try to figure it out.
"If you try and chase two rabbits you end up losing them both."
-- Grissom, Too Tough to Die
Nick was her safety--the one that would put her together again and never ask for anything in return. She leaned on him so often it was a wonder he had not fallen beneath the weight. She could flirt with him to keep herself sane, and she didn't have to worry about hurting his feelings. He always smiled the next day, after she had walked away. He was the one she could imagine herself living with in the suburbs sometimes, when idle moods struck and she had nothing better to do than sketch fantastical futures in her mind.
Grissom was her Rosetta Stone, and try as she might she couldn't get him to leave her head. He held a promise of his own kind of safety, safe because he would never take a risk on her. When she thought about Grissom, she couldn't see a future, she didn't see kids--she saw mysterious dark hallways, she saw them smiling at each other in crime scenes and running experiments all through the night. She had elaborate dreams of Grissom opening up, telling her the things he had never told anyone--and it always made her sad when she woke up, because she knew that he never would.
Sara sighed and returned her attention to the crime scene photos. Her mind had been wandering lately, and all of her feelings had begun running together until she could hardly tell the different ones apart. The case she was working wasn't helping, because it was another one of those cases in which all of the evidence was pointing in a different direction than her heart. She would have sworn that Mrs. Klein killed her husband in cold blood, but she could find nothing to support the theory. The man had drown in his swimming pool, apparently after having a mild heart attack, and she could find no evidence to support foul play.
She knew what Grissom would say, that evidence was all that mattered. She wasn't so sure, because every time she met Mrs. Klein's eyes she saw a killer. That was why she had paged Nick to bounce ideas off of. He was more likely to understand her predicament than anyone else, and they had worked this kind of case together before. One of her most satisfying cases had been proving that a woman had been drown in her bathtub by her husband and not by accident--and even though the husband was yet to be arrested, things were at least going badly for him. It was a small piece of justice but it was something, more than had been there before.
And all because of a hunch, because Jim Brass saw something other than the evidence.
There was a small tap on the doorway, and she looked up to see Nick leaning against the wall. "You wanted me?" he asked playfully.
She suppressed a grin and nodded towards the pictures. "A second opinion, actually. Meet Dave Klein, he was found dead in his swimming pool two days ago, after having a heart attack."
Nick moved into the room and looked down at the pictures. "What's the punch line?"
"I don't think I buy it," Sara said, frustrated. "I was so sure the wife did it, but I can't find the evidence to prove it--and I can't even think of a way she could have…"
"The tox screen?" he asked.
"Clean," Sara said with a shake of her head. "He wasn't drugged."
Nick's eyes strayed back towards the pictures. "There can be a lot of causes for a heart attack."
Sara got a flash of Mrs. Klein standing at the edge of the pool, a gun pointed at her husband, screaming at him. When Mr. Klein grabbed at his chest she backed away, the gun falling to her side in confusion--until she realizes what had happened, and watches as he drowns.
Nick's soft voice brought her out of her thoughts. "If you think there's something more there, Sara, then you have to follow your hunch."
She shook her head. "What the evidence is telling us is clear, Nick--"
He sighed and interrupted her, frustrated, which was unusual for him. "Then you don't have a problem, do you?" He stood up abruptly, and grabbed his coat.
"Nick," she said, startled at his reaction. "I was just asking for your help to work through this."
He sighed and glanced over at her. "Why do I get the feeling it's not my help you want?"
She bit her lip to keep from snapping back, and when she spoke again it was calmly. "I'm just saying, even if she did somehow induce a heart attack, watch him drown--there's no way to prove it, and even if we could, is it criminal…?"
"You seem to have explained away any point of further investigation, Sara, I don't see why I'm here."
He began to walk away and she found herself calling him back. "Nick--" She was at a loss at first what to say. When she began to speak again her voice shook, as though she was fighting for more than just Mr. Klein. "The evidence tells me to close the case, and even if I follow my hunch, I don't think there's anything to find. I don't know what I should do."
"If you want to close the case, Sara, close it. If you're looking for absolution from me, I can't give it to you. But you know the way it goes, we watch scum bags go free every day and there isn't a damn thing we can do about it if there's no evidence--we can't take responsibility for it all. All we can do is try our best."
"Which you don't think I'm doing," Sara snapped.
Nick sighed, all of the frustration melting away and leaving something in its place that Sara couldn't identify. "I never said that. Grissom is one of the best CSIs in the world, and he would close this case."
Sara met his eyes. "But you wouldn't."
"You can't have it all, Sara. You know what Grissom always says," Nick told her quietly, as he started for the door. "If you chase two rabbits you lose them both."
And as he disappeared, she couldn't shake the feeling that they weren't talking about the case anymore.