Disclaimer: I do not own CSI, Grissom, or Sara. I do, however, own a white dogi and an orange belt. Almost the same thing

Spoilers: One for Strip Strangler

A/N: This is actually the first fan fic I started, months ago. I had a crush on my Karate teacher. Lots of love to Sassy, who beta'd this like twenty minutes after I sent it to her. Thanks, girl.

He stood patiently at the back of the room, not wanting to interrupt the karate class in session. He waited until he saw that the instructor noticed his presence and then turned his attention to observing the room in front of him. With the exception of Miss Keys, who he was here to speak with, the other people in the room were faced away from him.

They were dressed in matching white Dogis but with different colored belts denoting their rank. They moved in perfect synchronization to the repetitive count of Japanese numbers. Ichi, nee, son...

The instructor motioned to a lanky young man, a black belt wrapped around his waist, who joined her in the front of the room. "Mark, please continue the count."

The chanting of numbers continued. When she reached the back of the room Grissom introduced himself. "You must be here for the video tape." She wiped the sweat from her face as she spoke.

"Yes." The liquor store across the street had been robbed the previous night. When examining the surrounding area, Grissom had discovered that this was the only building with a surveillance camera. He hoped that the perpetrators had been caught on the film.

"I have the tape in my office. I'll be right back with it."

Grissom leaned back against the wall, to wait for her return. He returned his attention to observing the movements of the martial arts students. It was almost like watching a show, the way they all moved in the same way at the same exact time. A punch with the right arm, a block with the left, followed by a front kick. Each move was deliberately executed. Even without knowing what the different colored belt meant, he could have told which students were more advanced.

There was one woman in particular, standing in the front row of the room, who he could tell had been practicing for a long while. Her belt was brown, and each motion she made spoke of confidence and precision. There was power behind each move she made, and Grissom could well imagine that she was capable of defending herself in a fight. Her brown hair was pulled into a ponytail, and Grissom was struck by how, from the back, she looked almost like... Sara.

She turned in that moment, joining the rest of the class in a spinning side kick. It was such a quick move, and she was so focused, that she did not notice the man standing in that back of the room. He noticed her, though, and took a step forward before stopping himself. The last thing he wanted to do was disturb her, or call attention to himself. This was a rare opportunity to watch Sara Sidle outside of work, and without her being aware of him.

He had known she practiced Karate, remembered the argument about it from years ago. His reaction when hearing of her offer to bait a serial killer, her cool rebuttal.

"He's not going to kill my CSI." His voice was firm, and he had to work to keep out the anger, the fear. No way was he going to allow Sara to be used as bait for a mad man.

"I'm going to do it, Grissom." Her words had shocked him. It was one thing for Culpepper say that she had volunteered, another to hear Sara say the words. "I want to."

"You want to put yourself in the path of a psychotic killer?" Over his dead body. "I'm trained in weaponless defense." "Too bad, because that's what turns him on -- women fighting back. Gives him a greater sense of power when he makes his final kill." "Grissom ... " "Sit down, Sara."

Everything had happened so quickly after that. The grocery store, the copy cat, his suspension.

He hadn't given their confrontation another thought. Until now. Watching as Sara executed a series of kicks and punches, Grissom wondered if his reaction would have been any different if he had seen her like this before that meeting with the FBI. Shaking his head slightly, he admitted to himself that it wouldn't have changed how he reacted. Sara in danger wasn't something he would ever willingly let happen.

They were kneeling down now. Bowing towards the front of the room in a show of respect before the lesson was finished for the day. Grissom noticed that Miss Keys was standing outside of her office, the tape in her hand. She made no move to walk towards him, and Grissom assumed that she was waiting for the ceremony to be complete. As if on cue, the whole class stood up, bowing one more time from their waists. The group that had moved together with such procession now broke apart, moving around to collect bags and water bottles before leaving the room.

"Here you are, Mr. Grissom. Don't worry about returning it. I have more blank tapes."

He accepted the black cassette with a nod, forcing himself to turn away from the sight of Sara, bent over and riffling through a gym bag. "Thank you."

"Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help," she said, before walking back in the direction of her office.

Grissom stood still, trying to decide if he should stay and let Sara know that he had seen her, or leave before she noticed him. At that moment she picked up her bag and turned around, solving his dilemma. "Grissom?" She closed the gap between them with a handful of steps. "What are you doing here?"

"Follow up, on the robbery from last night."

"A robbery here?" Her eyebrows knit in confusion. "I didn't hear anything about it."

"No, across the street." With his empty hand, Grissom motioned out the window. "How long have you been practicing karate?" His curiosity got the better of him, and he had to ask.

"Almost fifteen years. I took a self defense class in college, and then joined the karate club on campus. Took a couple years off in grad school, but picked it up again when I moved to Frisco." She set down her bag. "What about you? Any martial arts in your history?"

He had never mentioned it, but there was a lot he knew that he didn't talk about. Not until it came up during a case. The sign language, the poker playing, his love of baseball. "Years ago, when I was in high school. Gym was a requirement, and karate counted." That had been more then thirty years ago, he realized.

"Let's see what you remember." Sara rolled the sleeves of her white dogi up as she returned to the middle of the room.

"What?" Her challenge came as a complete surprise.

"You and me, and a little sparring. Light contact or no touch?" She was watching him, a glimmer in her brown eyes. More importantly, her mouth drawn up in a smile. A real one, not one of those 'I'm fine, really' ones she wore at the lab. That all was almost enough to make him do whatever she asked.

"I have evidence, and..." he tried to think of another excuse. "The evidence is obviously not time sensitive, if you waited until now to collect it. Shift was over a couple of hours ago. You're either planning on working a double for a liquor store robbery, which I doubt, or your going to drop it off on your way home. So come on. Unless your chicken?" She added this last in a mocking tone, her eyebrow raised in an expression more often seen on Grissom's face.

He felt himself grinning back at her, and knew that he couldn't say no. "I'll go lock the evidence in my Tahoe. Be right back." It only took him a minute, since his truck was parked right in front. When he returned, he sat on the bench next to the door to remove his shoes, socks, and jacket. In tan chinos and a black polo shirt, feet bare, he joined Sara in the middle of the red padded floor.

"Don't worry. I'll go easy on you." She raised her hands in fists, and settled her feet in a fighter's stance. Grissom mimicked her pose, finding that despite the years it felt familiar. "So, light contact okay?"

Grissom didn't answer, just cocked his head to the side and waited for her to make the first move. She did, with a punch to his shoulder. He tried to return the move, but she easily blocked him. "Surely you can move quicker then that." Sara looked him straight in the eye, gaze not wavering as she once again punched him, this time in the stomach. It was barely a tap, but he winced anyway. Reflex, more then anything else. The third time he was ready for her. He blocked her punch with his right arm, while snaking his left arm down to the side of her ribs. Another punch, and she had to laugh. "You can hit harder than that, Griss. I'm not going to break."

Grissom opened his mouth and closed it again. He studied her, as if evaluating whether or not her claim was true. "I don't want to hurt you."

"You won't." Not this time. Not physically. Whatever else had happened between them, physical harm was never something she worried about when it came to Grissom. Emotional? Hell yeah. But never physically. She didn't doubt that he was incapable of violence, though. She had seen the flashes of anger in his eyes, the sharp tone in his voice. Like all the other facets of his life, it was kept under tight control. In that respect he was her polar opposite. Busy contemplating, Sara wasn't paying attention and missed Grissom's next move; a kick to the outside of her leg had her stumbling sideways. She turned the motion into a spinning kick, trying to make it look like the misstep had been planned.

A few more moves and Grissom seemed to loose his reticence, hitting Sara with an equal force to her own blows.

"This is... what I do... after difficult cases," Sara told Grissom between heavy breaths. They had been sparring for almost half an hour, and their faces were dripping with sweat. "It's my... distraction."

Grissom was breathing too labored to respond, just nodded in understand. Karate was her roller coaster, the way she let off steam and cleared her mind. He was relieved to learn that she had something. It worried him, when he saw her get wrapped up in cases, and then spoke of going home to listen to her police scanner. It had been the better part of a day since Grissom had slept, and he could feel the fatigue starting to get to him. He needed to find some way to end this impromptu workout, but hated to admit so out loud.

In a move he didn't know he still remembered, Grissom hooked his leg behind Sara's, and threw of her balance. She fell backwards, landing on the practice mat with a 'thwack.' "Are you alright?" Grissom asked, worried that he had been too aggressive.

"I'm fine. That was quite the move there." Sara made no move to get up. She was just as tired as he was, it appeared.

"You sure?"

"Well, Mr. Scientist, let's try an experiment and you can tell me how I feel." With that brief warning Sara caught his ankle in her hand and yanked, hard. Grissom came crashing down right next to her. Literally, right next to her. As in the only thing separating them was the layers of their clothing. "See, told you. It's fine."

"You didn't have to do that," her groused.

"What? You, Grissom, would have been willing to take my word over empirical proof?" she teased. Sara struggled to sit up, only then fully realizing the situation she was in. Grissom's leg was covering her, pinning down her hips and preventing her from sitting.

Her and Grissom, horizontal and together off shift... How many times had she dreamt of this exact scenario? Once or twice or a thousand times, give or take. Grissom also was aware of their position. As quickly as possible he moved his leg. He was touching Sara and they weren't at work and she was hot and sweaty and... it all lead to bad thoughts.

Thoughts that he shouldn't be having, about doing things he had only dreamed about. Focus, Gil. This is not the time to slip into fantasy mode.

Sara mourned the loss of his warm weight on her the instant he moved. She sat up and looked at him, contemplating the thoughts that were running through her head. He was here, so close, and every nerve ending in her body was screaming at her to touch him. She could fight it, had done so for years. On this morning, however, she decided to give in. To hell with logic and restraint. "Griss..." she began.

"Uh, Sara, I should be..." He scrambled to think of what exactly he thought he should be doing, but nothing came to mind.

"Shh..." Sara leaned in and silenced him with a kiss. Running her tongue along his bottom lip, she drew in the saltiness of his sweat. He moaned against her lip, allowing his own tongue to join hers in the gentle exploration.

Sara kept the kiss light, simply enjoying the feel of his lips on hers, marveling that after all of these years their first kiss would be in a karate dojo. All the attempts she had made in the past, dressing differently, wearing makeup, reading entomology textbooks to impress him, and here she was sticky with sweat, having just spent the past little while hitting the man. Life never ceased to amaze her.

The End