Disclaimer: Characters within do not belong to me, no matter how much I delude myself.

Author's Notes: Happy Season Six Premiere Day, everyone! And thanks for reading!

Six Months

by Kristen Elizabeth

Cause it's you and me and all of the people with nothing to do,
Nothing to lose.
And it's you and me and all of the people,
And I don't know why, I can't keep my eyes off of you.

Greg Sanders had never been quite as nervous as he was right then. Valedictorian speech at his high school graduation…easy. Asking out his college crush, the sorority princess who let him do her chemistry homework…no prob. Facing Grissom after failing his proficiency test…piece of cake. But this was bigger than public speaking or dates or even his career. He was about to ask Dr. Bethany Clyde, the lab's on-site forensic psychologist, and his girlfriend of six months, to be his wife.

And the entire LVPD crime lab was watching him.

Damn the glass walls.

"My money's on her saying 'yes'." Warrick Brown produced a twenty from the pocket of his pants, never taking his eyes off the couple in the main corridor of the lab. "She likes his music, his hair and his jokes."

"Still gotta go with 'I need time to think'." Nick Stokes added his own twenty to the pot. "The music's a fluke, the hair can be considered trendy, and as for the jokes…there's no accounting for taste. Nothing solid there."

"You're still sore that she wasn't into you."

His friend made a scoffing sound. "I have a rule against dating shrinks, even forensic ones. You know that."

Warrick waited to reply until Greg got down on one knee in front of the pretty doctor in question. "I wouldn't blame you if you were. Old Greggo really hit the lottery with her. Beauty and brains and she doesn't get sick over decomps."

On the other side of the glass-walled corridor, Sara Sidle had the same thought as she watched the scene unfolding in front of them. Her CSI eye for detail took in every expression on Dr. Clyde…on Bethany's face. Puzzlement to shock to teary happiness…and Greg hadn't even flashed the ring yet. Did the woman, who Sara had only recently started to consider a potential friend, have any idea just how lucky she was?

Six months had passed since she'd been hired by Ecklie, his first executive decision that truly benefited the lab. Only six months since she'd met and started dating their tow-headed young colleague. Only six months. Not six years.

As much as she hated the feeling, Sara couldn't help but be jealous of Bethany Clyde, soon to be Sanders if the look on her face was any indication of what her answer might be. She had found love in the crime lab. And it hadn't run away from her, rejected her, or sent her a plant for her trouble. Instead, it was kneeling in front of her, looking deathly nervous, but bravely asking to be a part of her life forever in front of God and all of their co-workers.

Yeah, she was just a teeny bit green with envy.

"Sara, where do you and Greg stand on the Ely rape…" Gil Grissom trailed off as he entered the room, looked up and saw her staring through the glass wall. "What's going on?"

She pointed to where Greg was finishing up his speech. He reached into the inside pocket of his corduroy jacket and produced a jeweler's box, the same one he'd shown to Sara earlier for her feminine approval. One and a half karats set in platinum. Hard to disapprove.

"Greg's proposing to Bethany," she said, careful not to let any excess emotion into her words. Grissom would pick up on it. He always did. Even if he never acknowledged it.

"So soon? They've only been dating for…"

"Six months." She lifted one shoulder. "Guess some guys just know right away."

She felt him come up behind her, to watch over her shoulder as Greg opened up the box to reveal the ring. Bethany's hand flew to her mouth; Sara was surprised she didn't blink in the glare of the massive diamond. She had.

"I think you're paying him too much," Sara noted. He had a presence that surrounded her when he was close; it pulled her like a magnet. She fought back the desire to lean back, into the solidity of his body.

"A man in love ought never to enter a jewelry store."

"Who said that?"

"An old friend of mine."

She loved his voice, would do or say anything to keep him talking. "I take it he spoke from experience."

"Well, he was married twice, and had, if rumors can be believed, just as many mistresses. I'd imagine a large portion of his salary went to keeping women placated with shiny objects."

In the corridor, Greg took the ring out of the box as he continued to talk; she wished she could hear what he was saying. Whatever it was, it was working. Bethany smiled through a steady stream of tears.

"Not all women need shiny objects," she said, a bit wistfully.

There was a long pause, during which Bethany began nodding. Both Sara and Grissom, as well as the rest of the lab, watched as Greg slipped the ring onto his new fiancée's finger and stood up, a wide grin on his face.

"I wouldn't need them" Sara continued. "I'd just need…words."

Bethany threw her arms around Greg's neck as he lifted her off the ground in a tight embrace. There was a smattering of applause all around them, but the couple was completely oblivious.

Sara struggled with a sudden lump in her throat. "The Ely rape." She turned to face Grissom for the first time since he'd come up behind her. "DNA is pending. Hodges says the fibers are nothing but white cotton. Impossible to trace. I can check with Mia if…" She stopped to take a breath, but never picked back up.

His eyes were so sad as they stared into hers. "Sara," he started. "I need to…"

"Grissom. You don't." Sara sidestepped him and started for the door. "I'll beep you with the DNA results as soon as I get them. Greg's gonna be useless to me today."

She stopped on her way to the locker room just long enough to congratulate the happy couple. Once inside the relative privacy of the empty room, she let the lump in her throat dissolve into twin tears. They were the last two, she told herself. The very last tears she would ever shed over Gil Grissom.

All of the things that I want to say just aren't coming out right.
I'm tripping on words;
You've got my head spinning.
I don't know where to go from here.

Sara allowed herself one glass of wine at the end of what had been the longest shift of her entire career thus far. She told herself it was to toast Greg's future happiness, but in reality she need the warmth of the alcohol as it pooled into her empty stomach. And she didn't care if it was a step backwards. She'd never been an alcoholic; she'd just made a few bad choices. Everyone deserved a single drink after an emotionally challenging day.

While sipping her single drink, she debated the merits of fashioning a meal out of the various leftover cartons of Chinese in her fridge, or scrapping them all and ordering fresh ones. She had just about decided on a steaming order of dumplings over a reheated batch when her phone rang.

Confused, she hesitated to answer it. The bulk of the calls she received were work-related, and those all came through her cell. Her land line was usually the recipient of telemarketing calls. But maybe shooting down a bored, underpaid telemarketer would make her feel a little bit better. She reached across the counter and answered on the third ring.

"Sara?" the voice on the other answer replied to her greeting.

"Grissom?" She nearly choked on the rim of her wine glass. "How did you…I didn't know you had this number."

"I do," he replied. A second passed. "I'm going to start talking, and you're not going to interrupt me or stop me, even if I pause for more than a few seconds, all right?"

"What do you mean?"

On the other end, she heard him sigh. "Just let me do this, Sara. You've done all of the talking in what has thus far passed for our relationship, and now it's my turn."

She took another fortifying sip. "Go ahead."

"All right." Grissom cleared his throat. "You are…important to me. Important to me like my work is important to me, and you know how I am about that."

She wanted to say something to that, but per their agreement, she silently nodded.

"The colleague I mentioned earlier, he was my thesis professor at UCLA, for my master's, and again for my PhD. A great scientist, probably one of the smartest people I've ever known. But when it came to relationships, he was deficient. To say the least. Marriages, affairs, he had plenty of them. But he couldn't keep any of them together. And eventually…it affected his work." He paused. "At my final graduation ceremony, the pinnacle of my academic career, I was hooded by a professor I'd never met because my mentor was being served with divorce papers by his second wife, who happened to be a former student of his."

He took a breath, then continued. "I was twenty-two. It was probably unwise to form my own opinions about work and romance and the relationship between the two right then, with such a bad example in front of me. But I did. I told myself that you could be good at one or the other, but not both. Obviously, you know which one I chose to concentrate on."

"You were only seven years old when I was setting those opinions into stone, Sara," Grissom went on after another short pause. "If you'd told that twenty-two year old idiot that there was a little girl out there who would someday grow into a beautiful woman, and that she would challenge every belief he held dear, he would have…well, he probably would have ignored you. But internally, he would have been laughing at you. Condescendingly, I might add. Because he was so sure of himself. So sure that he'd figured it all out. That he knew what he wanted from life, and that he knew how to make it happen, and more importantly, he knew what he had to sacrifice in order to have it. He didn't realize how wrong he was…or what a complete ass he was…until the day you walked into his lecture hall."

A full minute went by without anything more. Sara could hear him breathing through the phone, so she knew he was all right. He was likely recovering from the depth and breadth of the speech he'd just given. She'd never heard him talk so much about himself in such a concentrated amount of time. Ever.

But when another minute passed and he still hadn't talked, she finally said, "Why are you telling me all of this now?"

Grissom spoke clearly, precisely. "In six months, I'm going to ask you to marry me."

The mostly empty wine glass slipped out of Sara's hand and shattered on the kitchen tiles.

"Sara! Are you all right?"

She ignored the broken glass, ignored the tiny shard that had embedded in her bare foot, and concentrated on breathing. "I'm fine. Except maybe for my hearing. Did you just say…"

"You heard me fine," he said. "Sara, I'm turning fifty this year. I'm probably the leading authority in America on forensic entomology. I've devoted the majority of my life towards being the best. But I live alone, in what some have described as a hermetically sealed townhouse. I can count the number of people I personally care about on my hands, and only one of them isn't a co-worker. I've made the sacrifice to get where I wanted to be."

"Yes, you have," she whispered. "No risks taken."

"No risks taken," Grissom repeated. "Until now."

"I don't…" Sara pressed a hand to her chest, surprised at the strength and pace of her heartbeat. "I don't understand."

"Six months, Sara. Six months to do everything we should have done six years ago. Six months to get to know each other again, to find out if we're sexually compatible, romantically compatible. Six months to figure out a loophole in the employee fraternization rules. Whatever we have to do. But six months from today, I am going to kneel in front of you in the middle of the lab and ask you to be my wife."

When she found her voice again, she had only one more question for him. "Why?"

"Because." She could almost picture him frowning in adorable puzzlement. "I love you. Haven't I mentioned that?"

"No." A tear slipped down her cheek. She let it go; she'd only banned tears of sorrow, not of joy. "But they're always welcome words."

Several seconds passed. "Are you really all right?" Grissom asked. "I heard something break."

"I have glass in my foot," she replied, smiling. "I can't even feel it."

"Can I do anything? I have a first aid kit in my car."

She thought for a second. "Come on over."

Cause it's you and me and all of the people with nothing to do,
Nothing to prove.
And it's you and me and all of the people,
And I don't know why, I can't keep my eyes off of you.

- Lifehouse, "You and Me"