Author's Notes: Not mine, almost wish they were tho :-)

I technically consider the setting as post-Secrets & Flies, no spoilers in this section that I can see.

Taking A Chance

Part I: Working Hard

Gil Grissom sat in his office drinking a cup of cold coffee. It was cold because he had been sitting there for a long time. In fact, a very long time. He was beginning to inadvertently memorize the words on the case processing papers from filling them out so many times. The cases kept coming - the bodies, the evidence, the stories, the crime. It never stopped, never took a vacation. And therefore neither did the paperwork.

So now, here was Grissom. Sitting at a desk pouring over the said paperwork that unfortunately went hand in hand with the rest of his job. He had been at this for hours, catching up on dozens of cases he had never had a chance to go through.

Surprisingly, there was a knock on the door. Surprising because he had turned the blinds down on his windows - his trademark "Do not disturb" signal. He looked up curiously. He took off his glasses and sat back, "Come in."

The knob turned and the door opened wide enough for a head to squeeze through. A brown head belonging to one Greg Sanders came into view.

"Hey, sorry to bother; I thought you'd want to know the results came back on the Haley Macabee case. Marcus Finch - the ex husband - his prints were all over the gun. Warrick and Nick went to make the arrest. Shift ends in half an hour, Sophia and Catherine are coming back from processing a case, and Sara's gathering the rest of the finished case files for you to write up."

Grissom sat silently and gave an appreciative nod, sighing a little. "Thank you, Greg." The lab tech began closing the door but stopped at the sound of his boss's voice. "Hey. If you keep this up, maybe I'll appoint you as my personal secretary."

An appreciative laugh. "Thanks, but no thanks. You couldn't pay me enough. 'Night, Griss." And with that Greg left, a smirk on his face.

Gil watched the door as it shut, sighing again and standing up. He walked to the windows and opened the blinds, deciding to take a break. 'Take a break, yeah. I need a vacation is more like it.' It wasn't that he didn't enjoy his job, in fact, he loved it. Nothing excited him more than putting together the puzzle pieces of a crime, honing his skills to catch the bad guy. But everyone needs time to sit back and relax - even if they work at something they love.

He peered into his coffee cup and stuck a tentative pinky in. Just as he thought -currently undrinkable. He headed to the break room with the cup, deciding to visit the resident microwave for a moment. Once there he saw the sign on the counter that reminded him - the microwave was broken. He shook his head and turned to the coffee machine, wondering if he should bother making a new batch before shift ended.

'Forget it. I have a headache anyway, might as well take some aspirin instead.' He left his cup and turned around, heading back the way he came. Right when he got to the doorway of his office he noticed someone in his chair already. It was Sara. She was turned to the side looking at his book collection, oblivious to his presence.

He pondered her a moment before speaking up. "Hey, is this a sign I should be worried for my job?" He leaned against the frame, arms crossed.

He was surprised when she didn't turn, her voice sounding tired and dull. "No, no need to worry. I've got a long way to go before I meet you on the ladder." She looked up with a small smile, her eyes giving away her state of exhaustion.

"Hard day, huh?" Grissom stepped further into the office, sitting on the corner of his desk facing her, hands in his lap.

"Not hard, just..." she was at a loss for words. Her brain definitely wasn't cooperating in her current state.

"...weary?" Grissom offered.

Sara nodded in agreement, closing her eyes with her head on the chair. She spoke like that, a faint whisper escaping her lips, "Sometimes I wonder what I would be doing if I hadn't come here. If I had stayed in San Fran."

Grissom looked at her curiously, wondering what she was getting at. "Do you regret coming here?" His voice was quieter than he meant it, probably a subconscious mimic of hers.

She peeked out of one eye at first, then both opened into little slits. "Regret?" He nodded; she looked out the windows of his office. She stared for a few moments before answering. "I dunno," she turned back to him, "I just wonder sometimes, ya know? Kind of like the choices all these people make to go out and kill their friends and family, people they don't even know...," a pause, she tilted her head, "If it were all different, would it matter? Would I be any happier back there, or here, or Timbuktu?"

He studied her face as she stared at him, slowly formulating a response. "I happy you are is not so much about where you are, but maybe about what you do with the where, the when and the why." Grissom smiled at her kindly, leaning in slightly, "Although I'm pretty sure you wouldn't like Timbuktu. It's kind of dead since the whole change of trade routes and all."

Sara laughed a little, getting up out of the chair. She walked around the desk and turned back to Grissom, watching as he turned to stand in front of his chair but not sit. "I brought the remaining case files, thought I'd save you the trip." She watched as he opened his desk drawer and took out a bottle of aspirin.

"Headache?" she asked, raising an eyebrow and rubbing her arms slightly at the chill in the office. He nodded, popping 2 pills into his mouth and taking a drink from the water bottle on the corner of his desk.

"I get them from time to time; I've deduced a possible direct correlation between the pain in my head and how many years of life I've cumulatively spent filling out paperwork for cases." He pointed to the stack of manila folders sitting neatly on his desk, right next to the small pile Sara had set on his desk on her arrival.

Sara nodded in understanding. "Well...hey, shift is over in a few minutes, how 'bout we grab what's left and I'll help you finish them over breakfast at the diner?"

Grissom looked at her with an eyebrow raise similar to the one she had given him a minute before. "Shouldn't you go home and rest? A moment ago I was afraid I you would pass out in my chair."

She shrugged, "I wouldn't be able to sleep right now anyway. I had two double shots of espresso two hours ago. I'm tired, but wired," she smirked at her unintended quip.

Grissom thought about this a moment, looking at his watch. It was 5:53am, and he was pretty hungry. And with Sara's help he could have the paperwork done by 8, go home, take a shower, and fall asleep before time turned double digit.

"Okay. But you're sure you want to help? You know I can't pay you overtime." He looked at her skeptically.

"Yeah, sure. I probably worked half those cases anyway. Might as well finish the job, right?" With that she picked up the stack she had placed on the desk, turning away from Grissom and heading for the door. She turned her head before walking out, "I need to grab some stuff from my locker, I'll meet you out front. We can take your car."


Next Chapter ETA: November 12.

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