A/N: I always feel so conceited for apologising for not updating – it makes me sound like I expect a horde of neurotic, obsessed readers to all be sitting, biting their nails and jittering nervously at their computers, drinking cup after cup of coffee and refusing to sleep until I update.
That said, I meant to get this up sooner, so I'm sorry for the fatigue-caused delay. If anyone falls into the above category, any fan mail, cookies, or cash donations are welcome, since I'm pretty much broke at the moment. :D
Catherine glanced at the clock on the microwave as she reached across the wall for the light switch in the break room. The fluorescent 04:03 blinked back at her, and she made her way over to the fridge, not noticing the two sleeping figures on the couch until she turned around to leave, her bottled, low-fat banana smoothie in hand. Nick and Sara were fast asleep on the couch, breathing deeply and evenly as they leaned on each other, and both looking refreshingly relaxed. Sara's head lay atop Nick's shoulder, who rested the side of his own head on top of hers. Though briefly contemplating waking them up to ask what was going on, Catherine instead crept over to the TV, switching it off with the remote she eased out of Nick's hand. She noticed, where the fabric of the blanket they were huddled under had moved down a bit, that Nick's other hand had its fingers gently entwined with Sara's, resting on her leg.
Catherine smiled affectionately at her younger co-workers, wondering if there was something going on between them that was either very recent, or that she'd been too busy to notice. She slipped out of the room, switched off the light, and clicked the door closed behind her quietly, almost bumping straight into Greg as she turned to get back to work.
She blinked at him, startled. "Oh, Greg."
"Sorry, Cat. Little case of the midnight muchies." He gestured to the room, grinning.
"Greg, it's after four a.m."
"Well, my internal clock's a little weirded out at the moment. Anyway, this is the first chance I've had for a break since I got in. Grissom's had me on evidence for the Esposito case for the past three hours, and there is a lot of stuff to look over." Sighing exasperatedly, he leaned towards the break room door, wrapping his hand around the handle.
Catherine smiled sympathetically. "So I've heard. Glad I let Grissom take that one." She placed her hand over his on the door handle, speaking quickly as her maternal instinct kicked in. "Uh, listen… Nicky and Sara are in there, fast asleep. Anyway, they've both been a little out of it lately… you mind if we let 'em nap a little longer? I don't want to wake them."
Greg's eyes lit up. "Sara? And Nick? Asleep in the break room together?" He pressed his face against the glass window, peering shamelessly inside. "And they're on the couch?"
"Greg, let it go. They must've been watching TV. It was on when I went in."
"Ahhh." He turned from the window suddenly, staring accusingly at Catherine. "Hey! You got to go in there, but I can't?"
Catherine grinned. "I didn't know they were in there… and anyway, I needed my smoothie."
"And I need my Snickers bars! I've had two hiding behind the paper towels for a week, just waiting for a moment like this." He rolled his eyes at Catherine's expression, grumbling as he turned to walk back to the evidence room. "Fiiiiine… on one condition: You make sure Nick tells us everything afterwards. Lucky bastard."
Catherine called over her shoulder as she sauntered off down the corridor. "Keep dreaming, Greg."
Sara's first thought when she woke up was how agonisingly comfortable she was; she felt like she never wanted to move again. As she opened her eyes and slowly became aware of her surroundings, she also got around to noticing exactly whom she was with, and their physical positions, in relation to one another. More than anything, she couldn't shake the thought of how nice it was to wake up beside Nick Stokes.
She yawned a little, and turned her head to look up when she heard his voice.
"Morning, sleepyhead." She smiled lazily at his soft expression and rumpled hair.
"Hey." She blinked a little, focusing her eyes. "Oh, I guess I fell asleep on you."
"It's fine. I slept really well, actually." He stroked her thumb with his, and it was only then that Sara realised that he still held her hand, just as he'd done hours ago. "Any scary dreams?"
"Uh, no, not really." A thought suddenly hit her, and she prayed she wasn't blushing as she remembered what she'd actually dreamed about…
"No? That's good."
"Yeah." She reluctantly released his grasp on her hand as she lifted her hands over her head, stretching. Nick couldn't help but think how cute she looked, the wrinkle impression of his shirt on her cheek, and her hair a mess. He'd always found her attractive, but watching her sleep that night had made him realise something important, that, now he thought about it, he'd been trying to deny for a long time. He absent-mindedly went to stand up to get a glass of water, and was surprised when Sara pulled him back down, laying against his arm once again and mumbling sleepily.
"No, stay here. You're comfy."
"You just wanna drool on me again?" Sara looked instantly horrified.
"I so did not drool on you!" She pulled her face back to examine his sleeve. "Did I?"
Nick chuckled. "No, you didn't. I was kidding."
"Oh, phew. I was ready to just die right now." She lay back against him, and felt him rest his head on top of hers. "Did you turn the TV off?"
"No, actually. I had it muted for the last part of the movie, but I fell asleep before I forgot to switch it off."
Sara suddenly gasped. "Oh, my god, I missed the end of the movie!"
"Relax." He stroked her arm. "I enjoyed watching you sleep more, anyway. And, so you know, it was Stu and Billy."
"Stu and Billy? Yes! I knew it." She pumped her arm triumphantly, a cover-up to her reaction to the first part of his statement. She wasn't sure what had changed between them so unexpectedly, but the way he was looking at her made her feel… awkward, almost, but for all the right reasons. It wasn't that she didn't think of him in that way (if anything, the exact opposite – she'd harboured a little crush in the back of her mind for most of the time she'd worked with him), but she'd just never thought anything would even come close to happening between the two of them. The mere idea of a relationship sent Sara's head spinning, and she felt her instinctual need to run growing into a knot in her stomach. Instead, she forced herself to relax; to be human, for once.
"Of course you knew it. You're a pretty good CSI."
"Just pretty good, huh?" She elbowed him in the chest; not looking directly at him made acting normally much easier, though his next comment completely counteracted that.
"Well, pretty, and a good CSI." Nick wondered if he'd gone too far, but was then slightly disappointed when she shrugged it off. He'd have almost sworn that she'd been acting a little more into him that morning, too.
"Uh, thanks." She eased herself off the couch, bracing herself on his knee for support. "My mouth tastes like too much sugar. I'm gonna go brush my teeth." She turned back to him as she walked past the counter. "Hey, we never cleaned the microwave out."
"We'll blame it on Greg." Sara giggled, and Nick felt his pulse run a little quicker. He smiled back at her.
"Back in a sec."
"Okay." As Sara left the room, he stood up, pacing across the floor a few times, trying to clear his head. Grabbing a glass of water, he became aware of the effects of too much junk food combined with no toothpaste, and decided to make a quick stop to clean his teeth, too.
When Nick returned a few minutes later, he was surprised to see that Sara still wasn't back yet. Worrying that she'd gotten uncomfortable and left or something, he busied himself with cleaning up the coffee table, and was relieved when she came back a few minutes later, with her hair brushed and wearing a different shirt.
"Nick, you didn't have to do that."
He turned around, folding the sleeping bag as he spoke, teasing her. "Well, I wasn't sure how long you were gonna be in there." His wide smile made his eyes twinkle, and Sara leaned against the doorframe for support, feeling momentarily light-headed.
"Hey, you can't rush dental hygiene."
"Or changing outfits, apparently." He gestured at her turquoise button-down, grinning. "Don't worry, I got pretty much everything taken care of."
Nick placed the folded sleeping bag on the table, and then turned to Sara, hoping to avoid any weirdness between them. "I haven't slept that well in months, y'know."
"Well, maybe we should sleep together more often." Though she said it with a sarcastic smirk and her trademark raised eyebrow, her forwardness surprised them both.
Nick's expression was smug. "Maybe." He walked to stand beside her at the door of the room, his shoulder up against hers as they surveyed the room together. "You going home now?"
"I have today off, anyway, so yeah. You?"
Sara sighed dramatically, twisting her head to look at him. "This is the saddest part of any sleepover… the morning after, having to say goodbye to everyone."
"Who said anything about goodbye?"
Staring at each other, the events of the past ten or so hours playing through their minds, Sara and Nick both felt suddenly overwhelmed by the mere sight of each other. They both saw the other go to turn away, then changing their minds and holding the stare, and they knew they had one of two options; to laugh self-consciously and leave as quickly as possible, or to do something about the profusion of undeniable sexual tension that had hung between them for so long.
It was lucky that they both knew each other so well, because they both knew in a second what the other would do, and they both knew they wouldn't mind at all. They were suddenly kissing, in the neon glow of the lab's light bulbs, in the middle of the break room, where anyone could see. Neither of them was thinking straight enough to remember how it even happened, but as long as their lips were colliding, Nick and Sara were satisfied. The fact that their lungs weren't was the only reason for their pulling apart just as abruptly as they had crashed together.
Nick's eyes were bright, his face as flushed as Sara's. "I've been wanting to do that for as long as I can remember, but especially since last night."
Sara grinned exposing the gap between her teeth and tilting her head shyly. "Me too."
"You wanna get some breakfast?"
She slipped her hand into his. "You wanna make s'mores instead?" He grinned coyly at her, before kissing her quickly and leading her out of the break room.
"Your place or mine?"
Thank you so much to everyone who reviewed. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!