Disclaimer: In my world, everyone knows that Grissom and Sara are a couple. Also, Gary Dourdan is in love with me. Alas, this is not my world, and therefore the rights to CSI do not belong to me, and I am single. And sadly, the rights to any Who songs do not belong to me either.
Spoilers: Little things. You'll recognize a few lines if your addicted to the show.
Archive: Ask me please.
A/N: I was drowning under the weight of angst, so I took a brief commercial break to write this. A large pile of fluff, at least a little OOC. I am, as you read this, in the hospital room with Grissom and Sara, continuing their tale of angst in the next chapter of Leave of Absence.
He had to laugh when he saw her at the video store. Of all the places to run into Sara Sidle an hour before they were due at work, this is not one that would have ever occurred to him. She was walking up to the register with her selection when he spotted her, and when she saw him a faint blush covered her cheeks.
"Uh.. Grissom. Hi. What are you doing here?" She was over-talking, as was her habit when she was nervous. She was always nervous around Grissom, it seemed. "I mean, I know why your here. Movie store, only makes sense that your here to rent a movie." As she spoke she casually turned her movies around, so that the titles of the films weren't visible. Grissom noticed the gesture, and couldn't resist making a comment about it.
"What fine selection of videos did you pick out tonight?" he asked, voice brimming with mirth.
Sara stared back at him, not sure whether to be annoyed at his teasing or relieved to hear the friendly tone that had been missing from his voice for so long. One thing she was sure of, she did not want to let him see her movie choices. It was too late, though. She was cornered, and his hands were already reaching out to her, ready to grab the DVD's from her grasp. Why, of all the rental stores in the Las Vegas area, did they have to end up at the same one on the same night? She didn't even know that Grissom watched anything besides the discovery channel.
"So, what are you here to rent?" She tried to distract him, but it was too late. The stack of DVD's that had been in her hands were suddenly transferred to his. She watched as he shuffled through them, a sideways smirk on his face.
"Bambi, Monkey Trouble, Mary Poppins, Ella Enchanted? Interesting day you have planned. Never really had you pegged as a Disney musical kind of person."
Sara took a moment to marvel the fact that Grissom even knew what Disney was, let alone recognized a Disney movie by the title. "They're not for me. They're for a friend."
"Would that be Greg, or maybe Nicky?" Grissom couldn't help laughing at the idea of any of their coworkers setting down to watch one of the movies.
Sara blushed, but decided the easiest way to get her movies back and leave the store quickly was to just give him the truth. "The movies are for my little sister."
"You don't have a sister," Grissom stated, his eyebrows drawn together in confusion. "A brother, but no sister."
She was secretly pleased that he remembered such a non-work related fact about her. Sometimes he really does pay attention to something besides the job. She doubted it on occasion.
"Not that kind of sister. My little sister, as in the Little Sister/Big Sister program."
"How long have you been in the program? This is the first time I've heard you mention it." Some of the teasing had left his voice, though he was still smiling.
"Four or five months. I was a big sister when I was at Harvard. When you... reminded... me that I needed a life outside of work, I decided to sign up again. Maggie is eight. She's coming over tomorrow. My day off."
Grissom wondered at the idea of Sara with a little girl. He tried to picture her, sitting on the couch with the girl curled up to her side, the two of them giggling over some joke. It was a scene he would love to be able to see. Sara, completely relaxed. Sara, with a child not the victim of a horrible crime.
"I hope the two of you have fun. Movies beat out listening to the police scanner any day."
"Contrary to popular belief, I do not sit around my apartment all day and listen to the scanner. I just keep it on for the noise."
Grissom gave her one of his patented 'yeah, right' looks before handing her back the DVD's he had taken captive. "See you at the lab."
A week later he ran into her again, this time at the grocery store.
"Are you stalking me, or am I stalking you?" he asked as they both rounded the corner to the frozen food aisle at the same time. A quick glance in her cart reveled typical Sara-food. Fresh vegetables, tofu, a case of bottled water, and a large bag of coffee. Perched on top, however, was a box of Trix cereal.
"Using my keenly honed observation skills I am going to take a wild guess and say that your little sister is visiting again. Either that, or you've discovered a fondness for sugar and food dye masquerading as breakfast food."
No response was necessary, but Sara couldn't resist rolling her eyes. "Wow. With such amazing skills, it's no wonder they made you supervisor." She was about to make a quick excuse to leave when a hurried voice stopped her.
"Sara, Sara! I found it."
Grissom couldn't help grinning as the small girl ran up to Sara and threw what appeared to be a box of microwave popcorn into the cart. She looked like a little elf. If he didn't know any better he would have guessed they were mother and daughter. The little girl's dark brown hair fell to her chin in a pixie cut. Her brown eyes twinkled with interest as she tugged at Sara's hand.
"Sara, whose that?" she questioned, finger aimed at Grissom. "Is he your boyfriend?"
Out of the mouths of babes. Sara didn't know whether she should be mortified or amused. Take that, Grissom. Even an eight year old can tell there's something between us. She bent down to Maggie's level to answer her question.
"This is Dr. Grissom, my boss at work. Griss, this is Maggie, my little sister."
Grissom mimicked Sara's movement, lowering himself to eye level before solemnly extending his hand to the girl. "I'm glad to meet you, Maggie."
Maggie giggled as she shook Grissom's hand. "Is it true you have a bazillion bugs at your work?"
"Not quite a bazillion." Grissom looked over at Sara, and smiled. He wondered at the significance of her having talked about him to Maggie. Probably none. But maybe... A sudden cough behind him made him realize that they were taking up the entire aisle, and he stood up to let the annoyed customer past. He knew that he should get his own cart and continue with his shopping, but he was strangely reluctant to leave. Seeing Sara in a non-work environment was rare enough, but seeing Sara as relaxed as she appeared to be in Maggie's presence was, for Grissom, like Christmas morning. She was still crouched down, listening intently to whatever Maggie was whispering in her ear. Grissom took the opportunity to silently observe the two interact. Sara's head was tilted to the side and all of her attention was on the little girl. Her hand rested on Maggie's shoulder, and she smiled as she agreed to whatever it was the girl had asked her. For just a moment Grissom was surprised to find himself jealous. Not of Maggie. Not really. He just realized that Maggie got to see a Sara that he didn't. He saw work Sara, she saw weekend relaxed Sara. His Sara was always tense, moving even when sitting still. She was always doing ten different things. His Sara? When had he started thinking like that?
Maggie ran down the aisle once again, obviously on a mission to find something. Grissom was silent for a moment, unsure of what to say. He was reluctant to bring up work in anyway. It had been too long since he had seen Sara's face free of the tension she always seemed to carry. Maggie, he thought. That seemed to be a safe topic.
"She's a cute little girl." he said, nodding in the direction Maggie had disappeared to.
"What's wrong with cute?"
"Nothing. Just not a word I ever thought I would hear out of your mouth."
"Not a word we use at work, is it? Oh, what a cute fingerprint," Grissom smirked.
Sara had to laugh as the mental picture of Grissom telling Brass they found a cute finger print at the scene flashed in her mind. She had to admit, though, if only to herself, that 'Grissom' and 'cute' were not a totally foreign combination in her mind. There were times when he was excited about a piece of evidence and the tip of his tongue would peek through the corner of his mouth. He looked like a kid in a candy store. Cute. Once in a while when they were out in the field he would turn his CSI cap backwards to get a better look at something. The curls on his forehead would peak through. Defiantly cute.
A small hand tugged at Sara's larger one, pulling her out of her thoughts.
"I founded the licorice." Maggie was grinning.
"Well, that's everything on the list. We ready to go?" Maggie nodded.
"See you tomorrow night, Griss."
She was halfway down the aisle when his voice stopped her.
"Sara, wait." He caught up with her, and rested one of his hands on her cart as if the motion would stop her from leaving.
"Would you...I mean the two of you, like to... I mean... May I take you beautiful ladies out for ice cream?"
The invitation was so unexpected that Sara didn't know how to answer. Maggie did.
"Oh, yes! Please Sara, can we?"
Sara looked from Grissom's anxious expression to Maggie's hopeful one. "Sure."
"Sorry, Grissom. Codis didn't have a match." Greg expected Grissom to be disappointed, or perhaps indifferent. He was surprised, to say the least, to see the huge grin spread across his supervisor's face.
"Grissom, did you hear what I said? It didn't match." It was then that Greg noticed that Grissom wasn't paying any attention to him. He was looking past him to something on the other side of the glass wall. Greg turned, and found a smile growing on his own face. Sara was standing in the hallway talking to Warrick. Clinging to her hand was a brunette bundle of energy in the shape of a little girl.
"I thought Sara had the night off."
"She does," Grissom said as he left the room. He watched from behind as Maggie introduced herself to Warrick.
"My name is Margaret Mauve O'Shannon, but you can call me Maggie. Everybody does, 'cept Mr. Grissom. He calls me Cricket, 'cause he says I jump around as much as a real cricket does."
"That you do."
"Hey!" Maggie turned around and skipped down the corridor to greet the entomologist. "Sara forgot something in her locker, so we hadda come get it. I'm gonna spend the night at her house. Can I see your bugs?" The little girl had given him a quick hug, and was now standing in front of him bouncing on her heels. "Can I? Please?"
Warrick smiled to see the tall man and the young girl walk into the office.
"Cricket?" he asked Sara
"Uh, yeah. Griss took us out for ice cream the other day. He, uh, made an impression on her." Not just on her.
"You and the boss man. Nice."
Sara couldn't say anything. Warrick's words were a little too close to home. Not that anything had happened between them. She just glared at him.
"Don't you have an elsewhere to be? Hopefully a nice smelly decomp to process."
"Picture that." Warrick turned towards the DNA lab, leaving Sara alone in the hallway. She followed the giggles that burst forth from Grissom's office. Giggles in Grissom's office. There's something I never thought I'd hear.
"Mr. Grissom, that tickles."
Sara wished she had a camera to catch the scene before her. Maggie was sitting on the edge of the desk, legs swinging. Her hand was held out in front of her, cupping a tarantula. Grissom stood to her side, large muscular hands supporting her small ones. Sara had never noticed how strong his hands were. Strong, but incredibly gentle at the same time. Stop thinking about his hands, Sara. Your here with Maggie, and he's your boss.
"Sara, look. I'm holding the spider. His name is Boris."
"Your kidding me, right? Boris?"
"Why did you name a spider Boris?" Why did you name a spider at all?
"He's named after the song." Grissom raised his eyebrows, apparently surprise that an explanation was required. "Boris the Spider, by the Who. Look, he's crawling up my wall/ Black and hairy, very small/ Now he's up above my head/ Hanging by a little thread."
As he spoke he gently removed the spider from Maggie's hand and returned it to the terrarium.
"Your musical education is sadly lacking. Boris the spider is the first song John Entwistle wrote for the band." Grissom sighed, as if this oversight in knowledge was on par with not recognizing a key piece of evidence at a scene.
Sara stared at him and slowly shook her head. "Sure."
At that moment Catherine joined Sara in the doorway of Grissom's office.
"I just saw Brass. He asked me to tell you that your suspect is here. O'Reily is with him in the interrogation room."
"That's our signal to leave, Maggie. Say goodbye to Boris."
"By Mr. Grissom. Thanks for showin' me the bugs, and the baby piggy." Maggie slid of the desk and hopped across the room to join Sara.
"Bye, Cricket. Next time you come and visit I'll let you feed my tarantula."
"Oh, cool!" Her eyes grew round in excitement.
"Thanks, Griss." Sara smiled as she turned and left the office doorway.
Grissom watched her as she left, forgetting for a moment that he had things to do. When she turned the corner, Maggie skipping alongside her, he reached into his desk for a pad of post-it notes. Boris the Spider on CD, he scrawled. Sticking the note in his briefcase he stood up and walked out of the room.
It was leaning against her locker when she came in for work the next day. 30 Years of Maximum R&B. There was no note of explanation, just the CD with her name stuck to it. She turned it over, scanning over the list of songs until she found what she was looking for. Sure enough, there it was. Boris the Spider. Her burst of laughter got her some strange looks from the few day shift CSIs gathering their belongings to go home. Sara ignored them.
"You didn't have to buy me the CD." Sara found Grissom in the break room, pouring a cup of coffee. Two cups, actually. He had started the second one when he heard her walk in, and was now adding her customary three packets of sugar to the caffeinated brew.
"I couldn't let such an oversight as not knowing the song continue. There's some other great songs on there too. Who Are You and Won't Get Fooled Again are two of my favorite. Plus, you can play Boris for Maggie the next time she visits." Grissom handed her the coffee.
"She loved your spider. When her mom picked her up yesterday she asked if she could get a pet tarantula. Her mom said no, by the way."
"Why not? Tarantulas make great pets for kids. I had one when I was her age."
"Somehow, that doesn't surprise me."
The rest of the team entered the break room then, and talk of music and spiders turned to the less pleasant, but more necessary, talk of crime.
"Lion King is in town next week."
Sara was about to leave for the day when Grissom caught up to her in the hallway.
"What?" Her mind was still on the case she had just finished, and Grissom's words made no sense to her.
"Lion King is in town next week. It's playing at the Bellagio."
His words still made no sense to her. What did a Broadway musical being in town have to do with anything?
"I bought three tickets. I was hoping I could take you and Maggie to see it."
Sara stared at Grissom in open mouthed amazement. Grissom was asking her out. Correction, he was asking her and Maggie out. It's not a date. He was just doing this for Maggie.
"That is... incredibly sweet. We would love to go. I just have to check with her mom."
"Good. The tickets are at my house, so I'll call you with the date when I get home."
He picked them up at her apartment. Standing outside her door he suddenly felt nervous. His palms were sweaty, and there were seventeen different species of butterflies in his stomach. Snap out of it, Gil. He was just taking Sara and Maggie to a show. A simple evening out, a special treat for Maggie. Yes, this was all for Maggie. It had nothing to do with spending time with Sara outside the lab. Right.
With his right hand he knocked on Sara's door. His left hand held two long stem roses, one yellow and one a deep blood red. It honestly never occurred to him that the color of a rose had meaning, for those who chose to read into it. The vibrant color had simply reminded him of Sara, just as the bright cheerfulness of the yellow had been meant for Maggie.
"He's here, he's here!" The childish voice could be heard through the door, excitement obvious. A moment later the door swung open, and Grissom lost the ability to speak.
Sara was wearing a dress. And what a dress it was. Midnight blue fabric draped elegantly around her. As she moved the light caught on silver sparkles, causing the dress to shimmer. She wore no jewelry, and with her hair done up in a french twist Grissom was very aware of the simple beauty of her bare neck and shoulders. A neck that was perfectly designed for... Stop it, Gil. Don't even go there. She's a friend, a coworker, and, if you want to get technical about it, your her boss. Bad thoughts. Bad, bad thoughts.
"Look Mr. Grissom. We got dressed up."
For the first time since the door opened Grissom remembered the little girl. He forced himself to turn his attention away from Sara and focus on Maggie.
"You certainly did. You look beautiful, and such a beautiful person should have a beautiful flower." He leaned down and gave her the yellow rose.
"Oh! It's pretty. Isn't it pretty, Sara? Is that flower for Sara? Is it time to go yet?" Maggie clung to the flower as she looked from on adult to the other. Her hands were shaking from barely restrained excitement.
"We need to put the flowers in water, and then we can go." Sara also clutched a flower in her hand after Grissom had silently handed it to her.
"Yeah! I'm going to a play, I'm goin to a play!" Maggie proceeded to dance around the apartment, stopping only when Sara motioned to her that they were leaving.
The evening passed much too quickly for all of them. After the show Grissom treated them to ice cream, where they had a lively conversation about their favorite characters from the show.
"I liked Timon and Pumba. They're so funny when they eat the bugs." Maggie started to hum Hakuna Matata.
"A future entomologist in the making," Grissom joked. "What about you, Sara?"
"Rafiki." Wise old advisor who spoke in cryptic hints. Yeah, there was just something about him she liked.
"I would have to say I liked Nala the best." A strong female who was not afraid to fight for what was important. He admired that in the character.
They cut their conversation short when Sara noticed that Maggie's eyes were beginning to droop. She fell asleep as soon as they got in the car. Neither Grissom nor Sara talked during the ride back to Sara's. When he pulled into the parking lot Grissom volunteered to carry Maggie into the apartment. Carefully he lifted her up, amazed at how comfortable it felt to have the girl in his arms. He had never spent much time with children before. He was an only child, and when his peers had been earning money by watching the neighbor's children, he had earned his spending money by assisting the local police department with animal autopsies. But now, as Maggie curled in closer to him, he wondered what he had missed out on.
Sara motioned for Grissom to lay the sleeping child on the couch in the living room, while she went into the kitchen to turn on the tea kettle. Hearing voices coming from the living room she went to the doorway.
"Shh... It's bedtime, cricket. Go back to sleep." Grissom reached for the blanket folded on the corner of the couch. Opening it up he covered the little girl.
"Do you have any kids at home, Mr. Grissom?" Her voice quieter then normal, her need for sleep obvious.
"No, just Boris."
"You should have some. You make a good dad. Do you want to be my dad? I don't have one."
Sara turned from the doorway and retreated into the kitchen, not waiting to hear Grissom's response. A single tear fell down her cheek, the poignant scene she had witnessed was so sweet and also so sad. It hit a little too close to home for comfort, and she struggled to pull her emotions under control before Grissom came in. Cold water from the sink and a few deep breaths helped, and by the time Grissom entered the kitchen she was able to smile at him.
"I put water on to heat. Would you like some tea?"
"Thanks, but I should be going." He was afraid to stay any longer, especially now that their 'chaperon' was asleep. Sara had taken his breath away earlier when she answered the door Now, standing in the kitchen without her shoes and her hair escaping from its bond, he found her irresistible. If he didn't leave soon he would surely give into one of the many thoughts that were now floating around in his head. None of them were a good idea.
"Goodnight Grissom. Thank you for tonight."
"Thank you, for coming, and for saving me from going alone. I might have gotten some weird looks." He tried to end the evening on a light note, but then she laughed in response to his comment. He wanted to pull her to him and kiss her, tasting the laughter on her lips. Defiantly time to leave.
He fought with himself for days. Every time he would convince himself that there could never be anything between him and Sara he would remember her sitting across from him in the ice cream parlor, wrapped in a glittering blue gown and smiling. He would picture her standing in the doorway of his office, laughing as she questioned him about the name of his spider. He would think of her listening so intently to Maggie, and wonder what it would be like to have all of her focus directed solely on him. Finally, in the battle of Grissom versus Gil, there was a victor.
He was in his office when shift ended. Sara stopped by, as was her habit before going home. This was it. His chance to act.
"Bye, Griss. See you tomorrow."
Sara turned back around, and took a step into the office.
"Would you like to go out on Saturday? We both have the night off." There. He said it.
"Maggie won't be over this weekend. She's going to visit some relatives with her mom." For months now he had been taking the two of them out every few weeks, and it never occurred to Sara that this invitation was any different.
"I didn't mean..." It was time to pull out the big guns. Time to use the 'D' word.
"Will you go out to dinner with me Saturday night? You and me, on a... date."
Oh, wow. Oh my God! Sara felt her heart pounding as his words suck in. Grissom had asked her out. On a date. No Maggie. Just the two of them. On a date. Wow. She took a deep breath and looked him directly in the eyes.
"I'd like that. You and me, on a date. I'd like to see what happens."