Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot…

Summary: Sequel to "Santa's Surprise" and "New Year's Notions". Holiday fluff and old friends bring the geeks together. GSR

Disclaimer: still hasn't changed

A/N: I wanted to include some of this in "New Year's Notions" but it didn't fit within the confines (read length limits) of the Unbound Challenge. So here is an attempt to answer some questions; though I've heard that it just raises more (Thanks Joan!)…
This story is complete and will be updated daily until it is all posted. Thanks.

Grissom had no idea how long he had been standing in Sara's apartment, arms wrapped strongly around her as she sobbed, but his legs were going to give out on him soon. He loosened his grip so that his hands rested on her hips instead of wrapping around her waist, and awkwardly shifted his weight from foot to foot. Sara's breath puffed sporadically against his neck as she tried to calm herself. When her breathing had evened out, she lifted her head from his shoulder and looked up at him for the first time since she'd allowed him into her apartment.

What are you doing here? Am I dreaming?

The words weren't spoken aloud, but Grissom read them clearly in her gaze. In response he stepped back and led her to the couch. He sat down and when she tried to move past him to sit in the nearby chair, he tugged her down alongside him instead. As he turned to face her, Grissom brushed an errant strand of hair from her face, caressing her cheek with his thumb as he went. Using the same hand and a gentle pressure under her chin, he encouraged her to return her gaze to him. When she did, he held her eyes as he finally spoke.

"I didn't put it together until after shift had ended. One of the hospitalized victims, Melissa Lang, perky blonde woman just about your age…she's Mel from San Francisco."

Grissom paused for confirmation from Sara, even though he'd already talked to Gary Thomas, the San Francisco lab's assistant director, and called the hospital. He'd even spoken to Melissa long before knocking on Sara's door. She nodded woodenly.

"I never knew her full first name, let alone her last name. She only came to the first lecture of my seminar series."

Sara's tears had slowed as Grissom spoke. And she even managed a faint smile as she momentarily lost herself in the past.

"She never was a fan of bugs. She always managed to avoid cases involving them."

But the smile faded with the memory and Sara placed her hands on her thighs to stop their trembling. Grissom tentatively brushed his fingers over hers. When she didn't draw away he squeezed lightly.

"I didn't even know she was in Vegas. Nothing in her Christmas card, no emails, no phone calls. I found out that she was in Desert Palms from a case file."

"She's going to be all right. I called the hospital. We can go see her if you'd like."

Sara looked away from Grissom and down at his hand resting atop hers on her thigh, just above her knee.

"I don't think she wants to see me," she mumbled.

Sara's uncertainty was clear and Grissom decided to take advantage. He rose and held his hand down to her.

"Why don't we go see for ourselves?"

Tentatively she placed her hand in his and allowed him to pull her to her feet. He ushered her towards the door and picked up her purse and keys as she slipped on a pair of shoes.

"I'll drive."

Sara looked askance at Grissom, but made no comment as he locked her door behind them.


As he stood outside Melissa Lang's hospital room watching Sara tentatively approach the bed, Grissom remembered a time when there had been no awkwardness between the two women.

They had come into the lecture room together engaged in animated conversation, two tall, beautiful women, one blonde, the other brunette, and both slightly older than the undergraduates filling most of the rest of the seats. At first glance the blonde reminded him of Catherine, but it had been the brunette who had held his attention. They'd come down to the front of the auditorium, but consciously avoided the two empty front rows. They'd remained animated throughout the lecture, writing notes and whispering between them. He would have been annoyed, but the insightfulness of their questions had proved that they were paying attention.

After the lecture, the brunette had come down the last few rows of the auditorium but instead of jumping in with the few other students eagerly cornering him, she waited until they cleared out.

"Sara Sidle," she stuck out her hand for him to shake.

"Gil Grissom." He responded automatically, startled by his body's response to the slide of her palm against his.

"That's Mel." She gestured to the blonde, still sitting in the third row. "We were going to go get some coffee. Would you join us? I could use your advice on a case I'm working."

"I'm not sure that would be appropriate."

"We're CSIs, not students. I needed to brush up on my bugs."

"Oh." Grissom quickly reviewed his schedule. He wasn't sure this was a good idea, but he couldn't think of a solid reason not to and the lure Sara's smile was more than enough temptation. "Uh, I guess I've got time."

That decision had led to stilted, moderately uncomfortable conversation over two cups of coffee. But Sara had been back the next day and the day after that. There had been more coffee, a visit to the San Francisco Crime Lab, leading up to dinner and a long evening of flirtatious, innuendo laddened conversation. Grissom would never forget their goodbye.

"Here. Please keep in touch." He handed her his card as they stood outside his hotel room in the early morning hours.

Sara took the card and slid it into the back pocket of her jeans. She pulled her own card from her front pocket, but instead of merely holding it out to him, she closed the distance between them. Holding her card between two fingers, she tapped it against his chest and then trailed it down across his stomach.

"I intend to."

Her nimble fingers tucked the card into his front pocket as she rose up and pressed her lips to his briefly before restoring the space between them. His tongue darted out instinctively and the taste of her exploded on her tongue. He'd been sorely tempted to close the distance himself and reward her temerity. Only the thought that she deserved better than a one night stand stayed his hand. When it became clear to Sara that he wasn't going to reciprocate she'd taken another step back and turned towards the elevator. He'd always been glad that he'd watched her all the way there because as the elevator doors dinged open she'd turned, waved, and flashed him a brilliant smile.

"Excuse me Sir. Sir, you're blocking the hallway." The rough voice of a nurse pulled Grissom back to the present.

To get out of the way he stepped just inside Melissa's room, not overly surprised to see tears trailing down both women's cheeks as Sara stood beside the bed.