AUTHOR: fanofkdc







"Okay, well I'll be finishing my shift in an hour or so, should I just pop over then? I take someone's at the reception desk all the time." Sara was sitting in a corner of the break room, huddled up and speaking quietly into her cell.

Nick, Catherine and Greg all exchanged glances with one another, straining their ears to try and hear what Sara was saying.

Nick spoke when Sara flipped her phone shut. "Hell, girl, for a moment there you had me thinking' you were on a date, but what sort of date takes place at the body farm at five in the morning?"

Sara smiled faux sweetly and returned to the journal she had been reading. "Mind your own business." Her pager beeped, and she checked the device at her hip. "Greg, Hodges has got our evidence, I'm gonna go and check it out, see if he was able to get anything definitive off that sample." Her lanky frame pushed itself out of the chair, and she slouched from the room.

"I vote we dig up the dirt, see what's going on," Catherine said immediately after Sara exited.

"Yeah, Blondie, because that's what we're all about," Greg retorted.

"Who you callin' Blondie, you spiky …. blonde …. thing? Oh I give up," Catherine replied in resignation.

"Indeed, Greg, who are you calling Blondie?" a voice from near the door asked. The CSIs turned and saw Grissom leaning against its frame, his arms folded and an inquisitive expression upon his face. "Shouldn't you be working?"

"Well, we're not exactly working as applying the skills we acquire with this job to Sara's life."

At the mention of Sara's name, Grissom inwardly jerked, but on the surface he appeared neutral. He rolled his eyes. "Can't you just let her alone?" he asked.

"Nuh-uh," Nick answered. "We thought she was makin' arrangements for a date, but who would go on a date to a body farm?" He saw the look on Grissom's face. "Second thoughts, don't answer that."

"I have an idea," Greg piped up. "How about you go and follow her, see what she's up to? I mean, you go there all the time, right? It wouldn't look sus if you were there. If any of us, on the other hand, went there, she would know we were following her."

"My God, Greg actually has a use," Catherine commented. "Come on Gil, don't tell us you're not intrigued. Besides," she added, "she doesn't know you know about this phone call. You'd be pretty much in the clear, as far as she's concerned. Just a little coincidence that you're there."

Grissom considered the thought, trying to justify it by telling himself that he would be doing out of Sara's best interests. "Sure. What time is she going?"

"After shift," Nick replied.

"Not much time to waste then, is there? I'd better finish that paperwork," Grissom said, turning to leave the room.

"Since when do you do paperwork?" Catherine asked in bewilderment.

"Since whenever," Grissom replied nonchalantly.

Grissom had made sure that he had left the building at exactly the same time as Sara, without her realising that he was following her. He managed to successfully tail her all the way to the body farm, staying two or three cars behind her for the journey, surprised at how much traffic was on the Strip at this time in the morning. His Tahoe pulled up in the car park just as she entered the reception area, so he thought that he might as well get out of the car straight away and follow her in.

"Oh, hey Sara. Didn't expect to find you here." Grissom left it a few seconds to say anything, waited until he had walked up to the reception desk, where she was waiting.

Sara smiled at him. "Funny, 'cause it doesn't really surprise me that you're here. I guess you spend half your life here, huh?" She looked him over once, imprinting on her memory what he looked like with his beard. Despite what she had once told David, she always thought guys, or at east Grissom, looked better without scruff, but now his facial hair was growing on her. Not literally, of course.

Grissom smiled a little sadly. "Bugs and dead bodies. What the hell are they gonna put on my tombstone?"

"I should think it's a little early to be thinking about that."

"So, uh, I know I'm here all the time, and I know that you always wanted to come here, so I guess you're taking a look at some of the bodies. I gotta tell you, there's one, it's a bit gruesome, but it's what happens when flies lay their eggs in open wounds. I've seen a few, but this one …. I've never seen anything like it."

Sara smiled, becoming caught up in his enthusiasm. "Actually, I'm not here to look at bodies tonight. Considering what I said to just now about your tombstone comment, I guess it's a little hypocritical."

Grissom raised an eyebrow. "Why?"

"Um, I'm putting my name down on the register to donate my body when I die."

That was interesting. "Oh. Why? You planning on staying in Vegas for the rest of your life?"

Sara shrugged. "Got nowhere else to go, no-one else to run to. Might as well throw myself into my work, shun human life and never have a meaningful relationship. Hell, I might even work my way up to being night-shift supervisor," she added sourly. Her facial expression changed as the young male receptionist returned from a filing cabinet in the back of the workspace.

"Here's the form to fill, Ms Sidle," he said, handing her a piece of paper. Are you interested in looking around tonight?"

Sara glanced sideways at Grissom. "Uh, yeah, but my friend here, Mr Grissom, he'll be showing me around."

"Ah, good morning Mr Grissom," the 'boy' said, nodded a greeting. "One of our most frequent visitors aren't you sir?"

Grissom attempted a smile and nodded. "Nowhere else to go," he echoed.

Grissom had waited for Sara to fill her form in and hand it, and held the door to the farm open for her.

"So I take it, after our discussion, you're still dealing with your issues with authority." He'd never forget that, never wipe from his mind her face as she told him about her tragic past.

"Oh, I've still got plenty of problems," she answered angrily. "One of them is walking alongside me right now."

Grissom's mouth moved in agreement. "You ever thought about trying to sort it out?"

"Actually, I had the problem with it because he was incapable of showing any human feelings. So I guess it's my problem for choosing emotionally unavailable men," she said in echo of their conversation.

"Do you have an alcohol problem?" he asked frankly.

"Only when there isn't enough," Sara joked with a straight face. "I though you thought I didn't have one."

"I could have been wrong. I can be wrong, you know," he told her.

"I know," she told him bitterly.

"Have you …. Have you considered seeking therapy? You know, after what you've told me?"

Sara stopped walking and shoved her hands in her pockets. "I've …. I've thought about it," she admitted.

"What's stopping you?" Grissom pressed gently. He tried to maintain eye contact with her, but she was having none of it.

"After that Adam Trent thing …. I didn't want to think about another place like that for a long time. It's bad enough that you have to go to one of those places when you're a kid, to visit your crazy mother, but it's even worse when you try to forget about it, and then you have to go back to one when you're older."

"Do you mean as a CSI or as a patient? Is that what you're worried about? You're so far gone that you'll have to go to one of those places? 'Cause I get the feeling that if you don't get some kind of help now, you could end up doing something further down the line that could result in you getting sent there, even if only for a brief amount of time. And that bothers me."

"Does it really?2 she asked angrily, but her voice dropped suddenly to being quiet and frightened. "That's funny, I wouldn't have expected you to say that." She scuffed her shoes on the ground, and her eyes flitted to a body lying nearby.

"Why not?" In an effort to reach out metaphorically, he did so physically, rasping her sleeve.

"Remember when I asked if you thought violence was hereditary, and you told me that you didn't think genes were a predictor of violence?" Grissom nodded. "What you just said doesn't really support your theory."

Grissom voice fell to a whisper. "I , uh …. I lied. I saw how upset you were. I didn't want to make you feel any worse. But even though genes could predict violence, I've never seen that trait in you. You're certainly passionate, and hot-headed. But we both know what sort of cases preclude such passion and anger, and so I think it's more the circumstances than a genetic predisposition. I just think you choose the wrong ways to cope with your feelings."

She knew he was right, but the problem was that he never seemed to follow his own thoughts. "Would it matter if it was genetic? What about your hearing?" She saw his face twitch. "Sorry, but I had to bring it up."

"It's not about me, it's about you."

"Yeah, but that leads on to you, doesn't it? I mean, not wanting to point fingers, but part of the reason I've gone so screwy is because of you."

Grissom's jaw clenched. "We've already had this conversation."

"Except that it was me that was being pressurised."

"Only because I care." Grissom looked her straight in the eye.

"Why are you making this mistake?"

"What mistake?" Grissom's face became puzzled.

"Don't get mad, but Cath told me about your dad. And I see you making the same mistakes as those that happened in your past."

Grissom looked away, his eyes feeling moist. "What do you mean?"

"You don't know how your dad died, and it meant that a lot of things weren't said. Now, you're not telling people how you really feel about them, and tomorrow it could be too late. It's almost been too late several times, but you've had the wisdom to drag your finger out ever so slowly and reluctantly. But one day, it will be too late."

"What would you say if I told you that the reason I hadn't told people certain things was because if I'd have done so, one day in the future, they'll die, and being close to them would mean even more hurt."

"You were close to your father? You got hurt pretty bad by not knowing how he died?"

"Yeah. I know, I'm reinforcing patterns of behaviour from when I was nine years old, and I should know better, but I feel safer this way." He had long since relinquished her sleeve.

"But the hurt of not knowing, the uncertainty, that's more painful than not knowing whether or not someone cares about you." It was Sara's turn to reach out, but this time, she took hold of his hand. "Have you ever thought about finding out how he died?"

Grissom shrugged. "I'd like to. But I don't know what I'd find. I don't know if I want to know, deep down."

"I could help," Sara suggested. "You wouldn't have to face it alone. I know what being alone when you're going through heavy stuff is like, and I wouldn't wish it upon anyone."

"You'd be willing to help me after all I've done to you? Or, more precisely, not done?"

"What sort of person would I be if I didn't? Not to mention the fact that you kept me on after I was insubordinate to Ecklie, and that you came to see me. Hell, you even held my hand when I cried." This wasn't as sincere as the preceding sentence.

"I would have held you, but I was afraid."

"Of what? That I would stab you or something?"

"Of what you'd think. I was uncertain of how I felt, and I didn't want to lead you on, I didn't want to hurt you any more than you'd already been hurt." He squeezed her hand.

"I wouldn't have looked upon it like that. I would have been grateful. And it wouldn't have hurt to have had some kind of comfort after Adam Trent held me hostage."

"You had enough guys putting their hands all over you in there. You looked like you needed space."

"I don't need space now," she told him.

"You want a hug?" Grissom asked uncertainly.

"Wouldn't do any harm."

Grissom stepped closer to her, and slowly and gingerly pulled her into his arms. They stood for a minute or two, their arms around each other, gently savouring the comfort and warmth their bodies offered.

"Did you mean what you said? Bout helping me find out about my father?" he whispered softly in her ear.

"Of course. That's what's friends are for," she whispered back.

"Thank you."

"If you think it would help, I can see about having some more counselling."

"If that's what you need."

She thought for a moment. "To be honest, they don't offer you hugs, just tissues. I'd rather have a hug from you than a tissue from them."

"What? You want to tell me about how you're feeling?"

"Well, you are my boss. Think you can cope with that? Or is it a bit too much for you?"

"I should be fine, as long as I can talk to you about my stuff."

"I've always wanted that."

"It's a deal then. We counsel each other. I'll get on the phone tomorrow, try and speak to my mother. If that holds nothing, I'll get in touch with the Santa Monica coroner's office."

They let go of each other, and Sara took his hand. "You wanna show me this really cool dead body, then?"