A/N: Just a quick one-shot that takes place Post-Bloodlines. Brass/Sara friendship :)
She was sitting huddled up in the farthest corner against the outside of the lab. She didn't know where else to go; everywhere in Vegas had that one mini-mart, or that one bar that she passed on her way home. And home was out of the question, she had a six-pack lying in her fridge, just waiting to be opened.
Why was this so hard? She had gotten a DUI, she should have learned her lesson. But the addiction was still there. Addiction to the liquid in the brown bottles was not the only problem- it helped her get through the horrific sights and events that come everyday in her line of work. But she had promised herself she wasn't going to get drunk again, that she wasn't going to make a mistake like she had before again.
But it was so hard! Damn it, the bottles were calling her name. Why was it that her one source of comfort had to have such a negative aftermath? If she got into another situation like she had that night she was driving home from the Strip, she could say goodbye to her professionalism and credidation, and her job. And her respect.
Sitting against the wall of her second home, Sara Sidle looked out into the parking lot. It was empty except for her car and one other. Someone else was here...but who was it? She didn't think anyone was at the lab right now, it was dusk and shift didn't start for hours. If someone else was here, she was leaving. She wanted to be isolated to collect her thoughts. And she also didn't know how she would face everyone else again.
About to get to her feet, Sara looked up just in time to see none other than Jim Brass walking over to her. He had a small smile on his face and Sara could see that he had something held behind his back. He motioned for her to sit back down and she did as he asked, watching as he walked over and joined her, sitting right next to her and leaning against the building.
"...It's a bit lonely out here, don't you think?" he asked, looking over at her.
"I want to be alone," Sara sighed. "After making a mistake like...that...something just...so...stupid...I don't want to be anywhere near a mini-mart or a bar," she explained. "And there's a six-pack waiting for me at my apartment, so that's definetly not a place where I can go to right now to collect my thoughts."
Brass nodded slowly, looking down at the grass. "...You know, Sara...do you remember that time I talked to you?" he asked. "About that case with the rich couple who got gunned-down in front of their house? You were popping cough drops," he said, trying to help her paint the image in her mind once again.
"..Yeah, I remember," Sara sighed.
"...Why didn't you tell someone something then?" he asked. "...The answer is not at the bottom of a bottle. I know...that...it seems like that sometimes, but...it's really not true. I know from experience, I used to be a very heavy drinker."
"Jim, you've told me this before.." Sara said.
But Brass kept going. "Remember? The...'cure for my cold'," he said. "...But then, I realized I had far too much to live for for me to be doing something so stupid, so reckless," he explained. "Life is precious," he told her. "And I don't want you making the same mistakes I did."
"...Jim, I appreciate you trying to help me," Sara said, slightly biting the inside of her lower lip. "But...uh...I'm in some real trouble here, I've dug a hole and I need to dig myself out."
"Sara, let us help you, heck let me help you. I admit, it doesn't sound very appetizing...I mean, I'm an old guy who's gradually losing his hair.." This earned him a small smile from Sara. "...But I do know things, believe it or not. And alcoholism used to be one of my favorite past-times. I'd come home after a long day, crack open a twelve-pack and sit in front of the TV, drinking my worries away," he said.
Sara watched him, listening to what he was saying.
"Drink away my problems...cure my cold," he said again. "Eventually, my mind went numb, which is what I wanted. And I'm sure it's what you want, too. That's why you're doing this, isn't it?"
Sara slowly opened her mouth to make a remark, but closed it, taking a deep breath, looking up at the sky. "I've been having a hard time lately, just the cases, and the suspects...it's coming to be too much. And I don't want to become a burnout, I want to be useful, I want to help people."
"Well of course," Brass smiled. "It's what you do best." Before Sara could say something, Brass continued, "...Aren't personal demons a bitch?"
Sara stared at him for a moment, shooting him a look. How would he have been able to tell?
"...So I've got six little buddies here," Brass said, reaching over and grabbing what he had held behind his back from before. "Six bottles of comfort."
Sara stared at him for a minute before taking her gaze to the six-pack of beer he held in his hands. Oh god, it was like a goldmine! She wanted so badly to just snatch it and get drunk, right there, in front of the lab. Was this a test?
"...Sara, I'm going to put these bottles right here," Brass told her, putting them down in front of them. Sara watched him put them down, her gaze never faltering. "...If you pick the bottle up, you lose this fight. Do you realize that? You're a strong person, hell you're the strongest person any of us have ever known," he said. "...But if you pick this bottle up, you lose the battle."
Sara looked over at him, studying his face. His expression was soft and calm and he returned her gaze, his hands folded-over in his lap.
"But if you don't pick up the bottle," Brass said, "Then you win. Now you made a promise to yourself, that you weren't going to let yourself make the same mistake again," he reminded her. "...And you promised Grissom, too. He doesn't want you to let him down, Sara. He knows you better than that. You can triumph over this, all you have to do is not pick the bottle up."
Brass watched Sara for a long moment. She was contemplating this, he could tell by the look in her eyes. They shot back-and-forth from her hand, which was held in mid-air, to the pack of beer sitting in front of them on the ground.
"What are you going to do, Sara?" Brass asked.
Sara didn't know what to do. She honestly didn't. She wanted the bottle so badly, she could already taste the substance in her mouth...but Brass was right. She had promised herself that she wasn't going to do this, and she had promised Grissom, too.
But it was calling her name.
Sara finally made her decision after about ten long minutes of silence. Her hand slowly moved toward the pack of beer.
Brass shut his eyes tightly, lowering his head.
"Sara, if you pick the bottle up I won't stop you. You have to stop yourself."
Sara wrapped her fingers around the nose of the bottle, slowly taking it out of the package. Holding it up in her hand, she stared at it- the label, the designs on the bottle, the little bubbles inside the bottle.
Damn it, she had caved in. That was what Jim Brass was thinking. But he wasn't going to stop her...she needed to stop herself. She needed to restrain herself, to take the reigns.
Sara slowly got to her feet, holding the bottle in her hand. Looking around, she spotted no one in the distance and made her decision. Bringing her arm behind her head, she shot it forward, letting go of the bottle as it propelled forward. The bottle went a long distance until it shattered onto the ground in the parking lot, the liquid inside receeding into the gutter on the sidewalk.
Brass' eyes widened and he quickly got to his feet, staring at Sara in shock. She had done it.
Sara turned back around and looked at Brass through dark strands of hair that were covering her face. A small smile creeped around her lips and she finally gave in and shot him a wide, toothy grin. "Thank you, Jim."
"No problem, Sara," Brass smiled. "But, uh...you're going to need to clean that up," he said, motioning to the broken glass on the pavement.