Title: Work Sucked Today

Author: fanofkdc

Summary: Based after 6 x 19, The Unusual Suspect. Works on the assumption that the 'ship has already been established.

Rating: T

Disclaimer: How many times? They are not mine, damn it!

Author's Note: Me and syrup ... tut tut tut.

"How was work today?" Grissom opened his front door anticipating that it would be Sara returning from work. He intently observed the down-trodden figure in front of him - brunette hair askew, grey jacket and black top rumpled, grey suit trousers in the same condition.

Sara sighed dolefully and ran a hand through her hair, stepping through the door. The sight of Gil and how fresh and bright he appeared made her want to scream. She pulled a face, refusing to say anthing.

Gil nodded, gave her an understanding smile. "Can I get you a drink? Beer, maybe? Or would you like something stronger?" He was still becoming accustomed to having Sara come over to his place. After three weeks of official dating, he would have considered her staying over frequently to be a hasty progression, but taking into account the fact they had known each other for years, it was now starting to bother him less.

She shot him a thankful glance. "Beer sounds good," she murmured gratefully. "You mind if I shower first?"

"Help yourself. Clean towels are in airing cupboard, you've got a pair of fresh pyjamas in your bedside table."

Another appreciative look. "Thanks. Won't be long."

"Uh, were you planning on eating anything? 'Cause I could probably rustle up something quick for you. Or I can order out. Pizza or something." He raised his eyebrows, searching for approval. He hoped he was doing all this 'doting' stuff properly.

"Maybe later, Griss," she answered. "I'm not too hungry right now."

Sara stepped from the shower and towelled herself dry, wallowing in the warmth the bathroom, clean towels and fresh clothes had to offer. She felt more refreshed, but her melancholia and frustration had not diminished. Sighing, she trudged into the living room, dropping petulantly on to Grissom's leather couch.

Smiling, Gil carried over two bottles of beer, handing one to Sara. "What happened?" he asked, his voice quiet and respectful. He slipped an arm around her waist and pulled her closer to him, relishing her smell - it was, he realised, his smell; it was, after all, his shower gel. That knowledge instilled in him a strange feeling, not entirely unpleasant.

She relaxed in his grasp, allowing her tense body to, relax. She sipped her beer. "You know that kid who murdered the popular girl?"

"Marlon? And his sister confessed to killing her?"

"The same. Jury found him not guilty. After the case, when the family came back to the PD to retrieve his belongings, I started talking to the sister. Smart kid for her age. Hoodwinked me," she added, a hint of bitterness inflected in her words.

"How come?"

"She's smart, Gil. Plus, she read me like a book."

"I'd imagine you were very similar to her when you were twelve. Except taller."

At that, Sara allowed herself a tiny smile. Her height had been a constant issue with Grissom - he was constantly referring to it, and seemed to revel in doing so. "And not as intelligent," Sara contradicted. "No. I was concerned about how this kid was going to cope if she was found guilty. Turns out she won't be. Found guilty, I mean."

Grissom raised an eyebrow. "And she's certain of that?" He looked vaguely amused.

"Yeah. Nick and Ecklie were right. She was protecting the brother. And I fell for it. I fell straight into her trap." The disgust in her voice was punctuated by the heavy, angry swig she took from her drink. She breathed deeply and smiled ironically. "I can't believe it."

"Honey," Grissom murmured, holding her slightly closer to his body than before, "everyone makes a mistake at some time or another. Emotion can cloud judgement. Especially if you identify with a suspect," he added meaningfully. "I know you musn't be feeling great about this. But try to keep in mind it's happened to nearly every person who works at LVMPD. Shit, it's probably happened to at least one CSI from every single forensics lab over the country. And I bet she's a master at manipulating people." He saw that Sara remained unconvinced by his argument, and he took both beer bottles, setting them down on the coffee table. "Sara," he insisted, turning to face her and taking both her hands in his. "If she's anything like you, she would have seen the similarities between you two, and she would have appealed to your sense of empathy. She exploited your feelings, and she got away with that. There's nothing you can do."

"It's my fault she got away with it," Sara whispered, keeping from staring back at those violet orbs.

"Hey, you weren't in the jury. You didn't hand in a slip that said 'not guilty'. You didn't exploit evidence."

"But in my heart ... I believed her, Grissom." She tried to keep herself together.

"Yeah, and that happens sometimes. Just learn from the experience and put it behind you, okay?" He smiled and touched her cheek.

Sara found it in herself to smile back, but the truth was that she didn't feel much better. Well, maybe she did, after the shower and the beer and the smiling Gil Grissom holding her hands. Yeah, maybe felt a little better. Just a little, mind.

He broke the spell. "You want something to eat now?"

"Maybe just some toast."

"Honey, you gotta eat more than that," he chided. "How about pancakes? Or soup. Just something a little more sturdy than that."

"I swear you're trying to beef me up," Sara joked, sitting back into the couch.

"I like how you look with curves," he stated simply. "Just put the TV on, and I'll make us some pancakes," he told her. "Oh, and no forensics programmes," he called from the kitchen.

"Not even National Geographic channel?"

"Nuh uh. Hockey, baseball - some kind of sport," was the answer.

The pancakes didn't take all that long to make. Anticipating that he would be able to convince Sara to eat something when she got in from work, he had already made the batter before she had come back. He watched over the pan contemplatively, wondering when Sara was going to stop beating herself up over things over which she had no control. Then again, he was guilty of the exact same thing. He thought maybe it was related to their difficult childhoods, the early loss of their fathers. But he wouldn't bring that up. Not now. She needed to be cheered up. The heavy stuff could wait for a day when they were feeling, ironically, light enough to just delve into the past.

"Fruit? Or syrup?" he called.

"I should pick fruit, but my heart's telling me syrup."

"Oh, I'll just bring both in." He quickly cut up some strawberries, peaches and apples, dropping them into a bowl, and carried through their food to where Sara sat.

"Hey," she said in greeting as he sat down beside her. She accepted the fruit bowl, plunging her hand in and retracting it, scattering fruit over her pancakes. She motioned for the syrup bottle and drizzled a liberal helping over the food. "What?" she asked indignantly when she saw Grissom's face. "I thought you wanted me to eat."

Gil shrugged, and reached carefully for the fruit, almost as if he had some sort of divine quest with it. He fiddled about for a minute or so, then nudged Sara.

Sara looked at his pancake. With the fruit, he has made a smiley face, and the scene was so absurd - Gil playing with his food - that she burst out laughing.

Grissom smiled happily and dug in to his food, glad he had finally been able to make her smile genuinely.

Sara finished her food first. Because I don't play with my food, she smirked, and she rested in the warm grasp of the leather. She felt relaxed, sitting here with Grissom, having just eaten, watching NASCAR, for some completely unkown reason. The baseball had looked boring, and this was the next thing she'd come across.

Grissom laid his plate down on top of hers and cleared his throat. Sara looked up, and was caught off-guard when he pressed his lips to hers. He smiled against her mouth as he sensed her surprise, then pulled away. Sara leaned forward again, and they kissed properly, their mouths slightly sticky with syrup residue.

"I'm gonna go and clean my teeth," Grissom whispered, tearing away reluctantly.

"Give me a shout when you're done," she said, smiling beatifically. "I'll got push the dishes in the dishwasher."

Grissom nodded. "You feeling better now?" he pressed gently.

Sara nodded. "Yeah. But you needn't have asked."


"No. You're about to find out."