Disclaimer: I have no actual right to these characters. I'm just borrowing them for a little while. All I get out of this is warm fuzzies from good reviews.
A/N: Sequel to "Valentine's Victory". Part 2 will contain spoilers for 6x18: The Unusual Suspect.
If she'd learned one thing in the past months, it was that Gil Grissom, a man often accused of being unfeeling and socially inept, was a romantic soul. He'd always been able to quote the Bard and poets at will. He'd even tried during their abortive first attempt at a relationship, though she hadn't realized it at the time. It wasn't that she hadn't appreciated the flowers that sporadically appeared on her table or the home cooked meals at the time, but they'd been over shadowed by the stress of establishing herself in her new job and town without being able to publicly acknowledge the man in her life as more than her boss.
This time they were being open with their relationship, though not flaunting it, and in the three months they'd been together, including two months of living together, Grissom had gone out of his way to make it clear that he was committed to this relationship. With the help of the other members of the night shift, he'd managed to schedule them one night off together a week and those nights had been reserved as date nights. They'd gone to see KA by Cirque du Soleil and had dinner at Chinois as well as doing more mundane things such as visiting the Impressionists exhibit at the Bellagio, visiting the body farm and going to the movies. So when Grissom had informed her that they were going to have off March 30th and to be prepared for a fancy date, Sara hadn't been overly surprised. She'd even decided to splurge on a new outfit and asked Catherine to help her shop.
Sara had been hesitant about the trip at first, even though it was her idea, because the only true common ground she shared with Catherine was being female CSIs, but it had taken less than ten minutes for her to convince herself that it had been the right choice. She'd expected Catherine to suggest one of the casinos' malls or the designer outlets and had been relieved to hear the name of one of the local malls rolling of Catherine's tongue instead. They met at the Boulevard Mall on morning after shift.
"Hey Catherine. Thanks for helping me with this."
"Shopping for clothes by yourself is pointless. You always need a second opinion, especially when it's for a big night."
Catherine headed for a rack of dresses and started piling them into Sara's arms.
"Let's start with these."
Looking at herself in the dressing room mirror Sara had to admire Catherine's ability to pick out clothing. She should have looked fantastic in all of the dresses. Unfortunately she didn't feel comfortable in any of them and it showed. Grissom might not have noticed, but Catherine did.
"No, huh? All right, wait here."
Sara stood awkwardly in the empty room for several long minutes, fidgeting with the skirt of the floor length black dress she'd tried on last, before Catherine returned a pair of simple black tuxedo pants and a burgundy tank.
"Cath, I already have a…"
"Not like this you don't."
Catherine held the shirt up to the lights revealing beadwork details on the chiffon over layer and an asymmetric hem line. Sara took the items from Catherine and headed off to change. The pants fit well and the top, well she'd have to wear a different bra, but she opened the door to her stall and stepped out to show Catherine.
"Damn I'm good. Fancy enough for a night out but still you and you can pair the pieces with other things after. Do you know where Gil's taking you?" Catherine gestured her to stand in front of the three-way mirror.
"Michael Mina at the Bellagio." Sara blushed and looked down at her feet. She'd checked the place out online. The restaurant was highly praised for its food and elegant atmosphere. They even had a six course vegetarian meal.
"Wow! He's really doing things up right this time."
Sara's head snapped up as she whirled to face Catherine.
The slightly panicked look on her colleague's face told her everything she needed to know. It hadn't just been a figure of speech.
"How long have you known?"
"I didn't at the time, but later when you asked for leave. It'd been a rough few shifts for all of us and I invited myself over for drinks after shift. I bugged him until he talked."
"So the plant was your idea?" Sara asked Catherine, not quite sure whether to be flattered or annoyed.
"Nah, I just told him he needed to fix whatever was wrong between the two of you. Apparently he did something right, since you're still here."
She'd been tempted to call in sick and skip shift; she was still that upset with Grissom. But she hadn't done that in a year, not that she expected him to make the connection, it just seemed like a bad time to be tempting fate. After all she'd given him, given them, a year to work things out and he'd never even tried to talk to her again. And then last night, she'd come so close to strangling him when he'd looked at her completely confused and asked if this was 'about the hamburger thing'. Sara marched determinedly into CSI, fingering the letter of resignation in her pocket.
"CSI Sidle, Sara" She stopped, surprised, when the normally quiet receptionist called her name. Waving towards a potted plant on the desk, the receptionist continued, "That was dropped off for you earlier today."
Reluctantly Sara walked over to the desk. She inspected the plant carefully, looking for any signs of tampering. She gingerly lifted the envelope from its holder. It was unsealed and the plain card slipped out easily. She flipped the card over and the harsh bark of laughter she let out upon seeing the sentiment startled everyone in the lobby. The name was familiar, but the handwriting was not. She stuffed the card back into the envelope, dropped them both in the potting soil and hefted the plant. She called back over her shoulder as she headed deeper into the building, "Thanks."
She headed straight for Grissom's office, not caring whether he was in yet or not. The door was shut. There was no response when she knocked so she tried the handle and when the door swung open before her Sara walked right into the office. It was empty. Placing the pot on Grissom's desk, Sara considered his sanctum, the jars and terrariums, the uncomfortable chairs facing his desk. She plopped herself down in his more comfortable desk chair, propped her feet up on his desk and waited.
It wasn't a very long wait. He usually came in a little after her and she'd purposefully been later than usual this evening. His footfalls paused just outside the door she'd left ajar and then it was tentatively pushed inward, revealing a confused Grissom. Confusion turned to wariness as he spotted Sara behind his desk.
Sliding her shoes off the desk she leaned forward in his chair and tapped the plant.
"Is this a going away present or a half-hearted attempt to get me to stay? Because I never expected to get something like this from you at work. I wonder how many people got curious and checked the card before I got in today." Grissom blanched at her taunting, making a part of Sara that she wasn't proud of very happy. She folded her hands together on top of the desk. "Figures. So did you sign my request for leave?"
"No. Sara, I…" He stepped fully inside his office, shut the door behind him and began to pace. "The lab needs you."
"No it doesn't. You have three other very competent CSIs on this shift and I'm sure not everyone from days and swing is abysmal."
He stopped pacing to stare at her. After a long moment his eyes flicked away to the plant on his desk before closing. A hand rose to pinch his nose under his glasses.
"Grissom…Griss, when I said we both needed time to think about what we wanted from each other, I didn't expect you to completely ignore me for a year. Did you even realize that yesterday was exactly a year from the day of that conversation? For that year you've either ignored me or treated me like a rookie. I figured you'd made your wishes obvious. So, I repeat, what is this? What do you want from me?"
The hand that had been pinching his nose pulled his glasses off completely while the other rose to scrub over his face as he collapsed into one of the other chairs. As he stared at his knees, Sara pushed up from the desk chair and came around to perch on the desk.
"I want…" Grissom sucked in a deep breath and released it slowly looking up at her. "I want you to stay."
"Stay?" she echoed quietly. "Where?"
She glared at him, but he just looked confused. "As what?"
Understanding was slow to dawn in his eyes, but when he figured out what she was asking, his gaze broke from hers to dart around the room uncomfortably.
"You know what? Never mind. Forget I asked." Suddenly tired of the confrontation, Sara cut him off and headed out of his office. "Greg should have my DNA results by now."
He'd sought her out at the end of shift, she remembered. Walked into the locker room and set the plant down on the bench beside her.
"You forgot this in my office," he'd said. Then he'd handed back her leave of absence form, signed. "Your resignation would be unnecessary."
She'd gone home and used the leave of absence form as a coaster for her new plant.
"Sara?" Catherine's amused tone cut through the memory.
"I asked if you need to get shoes while we were here."
"Oh," Sara blushed. Catherine's first question hadn't registered at all. "Umm, no I think I have something suitable."
"Okay, good. Look, I'm sorry to run out on you but I'm supposed to be dropping something off at Lindsey's school, and if I don't leave soon I'm going to be late."
"Sure. I'll see you tomorrow."
Sara stiffened a bit as Catherine leaned in and gave her a quick hug.
"I hope your date goes well. You guys deserve it," called Catherine, over her shoulder as she headed out of the dressing room.
"Uh, thanks," was all Sara managed to get out before the other woman disappeared.