Santa's Surprise
Rating: K

A/N: This is just a bunch of silly, cliché ridden, holiday fluff to try to get my muse interested again.

Response to the 12-19-05 Unbound Challenge: First and last lines given with 1,000 words between. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

He watched, stunned for the moment, as Santa walked around the lab. It wasn't entirely unheard of for someone to dress up as Santa and parade through the lab urging everyone to join the holiday party. In fact Greg had joyfully volunteered for the job his second Christmas at CSI. But this Santa had a way of moving, Grissom decided, that suspiciously resembled Sara's.

Grissom rose from the comfort of his desk chair and followed the apparition through the halls towards the break room. From his angle, the padded body suit could not completely hide the fact that its occupant was lean and leggy. Santa stopped unexpectedly just inside the break room door and Grissom walked straight into him. The rotund figure turned and spoke in a surprisingly deep, slightly mechanical voice, "Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas!"

Grissom flinched; the voice distinctly contradicted his assumption that Sara was inside the bright red costume. But as he peered closer, he spotted several dark brown wisps of hair peaking out from behind the hideous bearded wig, ruining the illusion. The merry twinkle in Santa's bright brown eyes urged him to play along.

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Claus."

"No matter. I'm glad you could join us in time for the presents. Sit, Sit."

Startled, Grissom glanced around the room and noticed that everyone else was present. He shuffled past Santa, nearly tripping over the duffle bag on the floor and took a seat at the table between Warrick and Greg. Santa hefted the bag, removed the first package and handed it to Nick. After Warrick, Greg, Catherine, and Grissom had each received a gift, Santa looked around the room, confused.

"I have gifts here for a Sara Sidle and a Jim Brass."

"Sara's probably got her nose stuck in a database. I'll take her present," offered Greg.

"I'm meeting Brass in 20 minutes to interview a suspect. I'll take his," said Catherine, rising to relieve Santa of the last present.

"Thank you. Now I must be off. I left the sled out front in a no parking zone. I hope they haven't towed it. Merry Christmas!"

"Thank you Santa! Merry Christmas!" chorused the CSIs, except for Grissom who was still wondering why Sara was playing the part of Santa and how he was going to rescue her gift from Greg.

As soon as Santa left the room, the others began tearing into their gifts.

"This really isn't funny," grumbled Nick as he pulled a can of shaving cream and a pack of disposable razors out of his box. "I already shaved it off."

"This way you have no excuse to stop." Warrick's quip was hard to hear over the laughter Nick's gift had caused.

"You think you're funny huh? Just wait until you see what Greg got you!" retorted Nick.

"Whatever man, it's not like I've done anything that stupid this …Greg!" Warrick's voice shifted from playful to annoyed instantly as he held up a copy of "What's Your Name Again? 101 Tips to Help You Survive a Vegas Marriage."

Grissom decided, as Greg batted his eyes in false innocence, that now was a good time to make his move. He slipped Sara's present towards him and rose taking both gifts with him. He studiously avoided making eye contact as he hurried from the room.

Grissom made a beeline for the locker room, gifts clutched tightly to his chest, not noticing the number of people who turned to stare at his flight. Hopefully Sara would still be changing out of the ridiculous costume. He pushed open the locker room door and stopped short in shock, watching with his mouth open as Sara, her back to him, fished inside her locker for a moment before pulling out a green sweater and drawing it over her head. Grissom stepped fully inside the room and the sound of the door clicking shut caused Sara to turn to him. A blush to match the bright red pants she was still wearing slowly bloomed across her face as she realized that Grissom must have been there long enough to see her topless.

She stuttered slightly, and dropped her eyes to the floor, "H-ey Grissom."

"Sara," he acknowledged. "Or should I still be calling you Mr. Claus?"

She looked up at Grissom, surprised by his teasing, and sighed. "I should kill Greg. We flipped a coin to see who had to go dumpster diving earlier and I lost."

"Greg chose to climb around in a dumpster over being Santa. But I thought he loved doing the Santa thing?" Grissom was astounded.

"Apparently the amusement factor of making me do this was greater than the ick factor of that particular dumpster. It was a pretty clean dumpster. Was there something particular you wanted?"

"Oh, I just…" Suddenly uncomfortable, Grissom thrust the prettily wrapped package at Sara. "I didn't want anything to happen to it."

Sara accepted her gift and then sat down on the bench looking at it uncertainly. She looked up at Grissom and, pushing the Santa costume to the floor, patted the bench beside her. "We'll open them together."

He pulled out a pocket knife, plopped down next to her and began to cut through the tape holding the wrapping paper together. Sara, on the other hand, tore into her gift paying no attention to the trappings. She was pulling tissue paper out of her box before he'd finished removing the paper from outside of his. He turned his attention to her when she stopped suddenly, her expression stunned. Nestled inside the mound of stuffing was a delicate, hand-blown, glass ornament with streaks of red, blue, and purple evoking a pair of butterflies forever circling each other.

"Griss," she whispered. "It's beautiful."

A single tear trailed down her cheek as she glanced up at him. He studied her for a moment, watching the tear's progress intently, before reaching out and brushing his thumb along her cheek, wiping the tear away.

"Merry Christmas, Sara."