Title – Valentine

Author – forensicsgirl

Pairing – Grissom/Sara

Rating – T (PG-13), with a warning for some strongly suggested violence throughout and bad language in chapter 11.

Author's Note - Valentine takes place less than a week after First Date or Second Thoughts, and is the third part of my Grissom & Sara series (the first of which was Cold Vengeance) All these fics take place in the early part of CSI series 5 - just after Down the Drain / Harvest.

Disclaimer - I don't own CSI or any of the characters from the hit TV show. Any characters you don't recognize from the show, I made up. Don't sue me Mr Bruckheimer sir, I'm flat broke...

Author's Note Addendum – Having re-read and re-edited the entire series, this is an updated and improved version of the story.

Chapter One – Almost Perfect

Moonlight reflected gently on the lake as soft strains from the jazz quartet on stage added to the romantic mood. Two empty plates, that had once held exquisitely cooked calamari and vegetable risotto respectively, were cleared by an unobtrusive waiter and coffee poured. Grissom had been true to his word. Everything had been perfect.

They had spent the evening chatting. Becoming reacquainted, Grissom called it. They had grown far apart in the past few years, each keeping the other at a distance in order to avoid getting hurt. Now they were re-establishing the comfortable relationship they once shared. When she first came to Las Vegas, they used to chat easily about many things; science, poetry, their own personal beliefs. They had engaged in semi-innocent flirtation and shared a mutual trust born out of mutual respect. Now, slowly but surely, they were getting back to that place once more. And Sara couldn't be happier.

Now they were reminiscing about their first meeting, many years before in Berkley, where Grissom had come to teach a seminar on crime scene investigation and the role entomology could play in solving crimes. Sara had never found bugs very interesting, until she heard him talk about them, that is. Grissom laughed at her admission.

'So, it wasn't the lecture you found fascinating?' he said, the mock-offence in his tone teasing her. 'And there I thought you loved to learn.'

'I do, Grissom,' she said with a smile. 'But your eyes distracted me that day.'

Grissom blushed, unused to the compliment. There were so many things he wasn't used to. Being on a date that was going so well was one of them. Usually he felt awkward, unsure of what to talk to his dates about. But with Sara, they already had so much in common. And now he was discovering even more. Science was not the only thing Ms Sidle found fascinating – she enjoyed many of the same literary works that he did: Henry James, Emerson and Shakespeare, although she didn't have an encyclopedic memory for it like she did for science. Amazingly, they hadn't resorted to talking about work once during the entire evening.

Grissom's eyes darted over his companion's appearance for what was probably the hundredth time that night. Sara was breath-taking in a satin, ivory-coloured halter-neck and dark blue pants suit. Her hair, which usually hung loose about her shoulders, was swept up to reveal her long, elegant neck.

He was building up the courage to tell her how beautiful she was, when the moment was spoiled by his cell phone. Its ringing had never sounded so harsh and unwelcome. He looked apologetically at Sara as he fished it out of his pocket.

'I'm really sorry.'

'Hey, it's not your fault,' Sara told him with a soft smile. 'Look on the bright side. We made it all the way to coffee. That's got to be some kind of record.'

He flipped the phone open, silencing its incessant ringing, and held it to his ear. 'Grissom.'

After he listened for a few seconds, Sara knew from his face that the evening was over. 'Where are they? Okay. Don't let anyone except David near the bodies. I'll be there as soon as I can.' With that, he hung up.

'Bodies?' Sara asked.

'Two bodies were found in the desert. They've been there a while. Apparently there's a lot of insect activity at the scene.'

'Well, you are the bug guy,' Sara said with a grin, getting to her feet.

Grissom had also risen, and was taking cash from his wallet to pay the bill. 'I wish people would stop calling me that,' he said good-naturedly, pretending to frown. 'Come on, I'll drop you at home before I go to the scene.'

'Do you want a hand?'

Grissom shook his head. 'No, Nick's meeting me there. You just enjoy the rest of your night off.'

They had reached the front door now, and Sara paused with a sudden idea. 'I can take a cab from here if you want to go straight to the scene. I don't mind.'

Grissom looked at her and smiled. 'This evening didn't go quite to plan. But at the very least, I'm going to see you home to your door.' He offered her his arm as they left the restaurant for the cool, night air.

'Ever the gentleman, Grissom,' she replied, taking his arm and smiling warmly at him.

Grissom arrived at the scene 30 minutes later, having dropped Sara off at her apartment. He smiled at the memory of the soft kiss she placed on his check as she thanked him for dinner and got out of the car. One of these days, he thought, I'm going to get through an entire date without interruption.

Getting out of his car, he made his way to Jim Brass and Nick Stokes, the latter of whom looked like he had just arrived at the scene.

'Well I'll be,' the younger CSI remarked. 'I never thought I'd see the day when I beat you to a scene, Grissom.'

'I was otherwise engaged, Nick,' Grissom told him. 'It is my night off.'

'Sorry 'bout that Gil,' Brass told him. 'What? Did we interrupt you on a date or something?'

'Something like that,' Grissom answered cryptically, moving away from them and towards David, who was bending over two dead bodies several meters away. Bugs were rife, crawling over both the corpses.

'Any idea about time of death, David?' Grissom asked the coroner.

'Difficult to say,' the earnest man looked up and peered at Grissom through his glasses. 'A couple of days, at least. You'll need to do your thing with the bugs to get a more precise timeline.' With that he got up and stepped back from the bodies, allowing the entomologist a better look. 'They're all yours. I've done all I can here.'

'Cause of death?'

'Dr. Robbins will be able to tell you better after the autopsy, but they've both been shot. Point blank, back of the head,' David answered. 'But someone worked them over pretty well with a knife too.'

He pointed out the large wounds in both victims' chests, barely visible through all the blood. Grissom bent down for a better look and looked up at his colleagues with a mild expression that belied his true feelings of revulsion.

'It is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart,' he remarked. 'Unfortunately for our two victims, they appear to have lost theirs.'

Nick bent over to see what Grissom was seeing. 'Lost what?'

'Their hearts. Someone's cut them out.'