A/N So now I've fallen in love with CSI and the many amazing Snickers stories I've discovered on this site. Now, I figure, I'll have a go at it!

This is an edited version of the original Falling – I hope you enjoy with the minor changes. BTW when you see a C:#, it's a new chap.

Falling

C:1

Nick Stokes shut his locker and headed for the break room, ready for a good night's work. He was early for shift and so, thought he would be alone for a while.

When he entered the break room, however, he saw the familiar brunette hair of his co-worker, Sara Sidle. Sara was seated at the table, which was covered with photos from her latest case, and lay with her head on her arms, fast asleep. Nick recognised the slim-fitting black shirt he'd admired on her the previous evening. What had been amusement turned to shock and realisation hit: Sara hadn't left since the previous shift.

"Geez Sar," he muttered, "How long have you been here?"

Not wanting to wake her, Nick closed the door and moved to the table, skimming over her notes. It appeared she'd solved the case, as a half-finished report lay covered by her arm. Nick's eyes moved from the papers to Sara. She looked beautiful asleep – so innocent; like an angel. Nick's heart fluttered. Lately he'd been working a lot more with Sara and he'd begun to see a different side of her – the quirky, witty, sweet side that she generally hid at work. He'd soon realised that he was falling in love with her as his friendly admiration turned into a new, passionate adoration.

Nick suddenly realised that he was staring shamelessly at Sara and quickly pulled his eyes away to look at the clock. Shift was officially starting in a half-hour so he thought it best to rouse Sara before Hodges, or worse, Ecklie, found her first.

"So Sleeping Beauty's still at it, huh?" a voice came from behind Nick. He turned and wasn't surprised to see Hodges leaning arrogantly against the doorframe.

"What?"

Hodges nodded towards Sara. "Warren from days said she was here the entire day. Apparently got them to haul her suspect in around five. They were in the interrogation room for ten minutes. When they came out, she had a full confession based on the evidence she found – the evidence I processed."

Nick snorted at Hodges need to constantly draw attention to his own work.

"Well that's good." He said, trying to ignore then tech's arrogance.

"Yep. Dunno how long she's been asleep but it must be pretty deep. They hauled a cursing druggie through here a while ago and she didn't even flinch. Actually, she'd better watch out – the boss doesn't like people who sleep on the job."

"Like you?" Nick couldn't resist.

"Yeah, whatever," it was Hodges' turn to snort. "All I'm saying is Sara'd better not crash here again. I mean Ecklie's just looking for a chance to haul her into his office."

Nick frowned. "Don't you have somewhere to be?"

Hodges paused, considering whether or not to take Nick's words as an insult. He decided to say nothing and promptly left, headed for Grissom's office.

Nick turned his eyes back to Sara and went over to the table. He leaned over her shoulder to whisper in her ear as he gently rubbed her back.

"Sara. Honey, wake up."

Sara shook awake almost immediately.

"Wha-?" She sat up straight then paused to look around. Her eyes fell on Nick.

"Oh God," she groaned, running her hands through her hair, "How long was I out?"

Nick shrugged and sat down on the chair next to hers, his hand still on her back. "Dunno. I just got here."

Sara frowned and looked over at the clock. "What! I can't believe it!"

"Yeah…" Nick shrugged. "Tempus fiure."

Sara smiled weakly, "Time flies," she repeated.

Nick scanned her face. She was deathly pale, her eyes weary. "Sar? You gonna be okay?"

"Sure. Aren't I always?"

"Yeah, but you've been here for ages and you pulled a double two nights ago. You're exhausted. When last did you eat?"

Sara raised her eyebrows doubtfully at him, but her wide yawn contradicted any argument she could have made.

He chuckled, "Oh yeah. That's nothing for you – the eternal workaholic." He winked. "You want a cup of coffee anyway?"

"Please!" Sara smiled and Nick's heart flushed with warmth.

"Anything for you dahlin'," he grinned.

C:2

"Okay everybody. Let's get started. We've got a full night ahead," Grissom announced, entering the break room.

Nick sipped his coffee and cast his eyes around the room. Catherine and Warrick were seated next to each other at the table, across from Sara who sat, clutching her cup of coffee and dressed in a fresh shirt – a white long-sleeved T-shirt that she kept in her locker for emergencies. She looked alert, but Nick knew better: she was riding on caffeine and the few biscuits he'd found for her when he discovered she hadn't eaten. His eyes suddenly caught her eye and he winked. Sara smiled back and sipped her coffee.

"Okay, lets see here," Grissom said, his eyes scanning the files in his hands. "Warrick – Suspected foul play at the old folk's home downtown. PD thinks its just a paranoid old woman but go down there and check it out anyway." Grissom said, handing Warrick the file. "Nick and Sara – DB in a block of flats over on Tillman Avenue. Victim – a Heather Ruddick - found with a slit throat by her roommate." He leaned over to hand the file to Nick before turning his attention to Catherine.

"Catherine, you and I are heading off to the Pizzeria Italia on the Strip. Man arrived, ate his pizza and dropped dead at the table."

"Nice." Catherine said, raising her eyebrows.

Sara ignored the comments from Warrick and Grissom that followed and moved over to where Nick had laid the case file out on the now-clear table. She leaned over his shoulder and began to scan the details until a familiar scent caught her attention. Over the past couple weeks she'd gotten to know the fresh, smooth smell of Nick's aftershave – and had started loving it. She suddenly became aware of the closeness of his body to hers and she shivered with pleasure. His body was warm and comforting – it felt safe to her. It had been wonderful to wake up to the sound of his voice, even if it was a bit of a rude awakening and she remembered the warm feeling of his hand on her back and the tingles it had sent reeling around her body. In working with him, she'd fast realised that she could not deny her growing adoration of Nick Stokes. He was just too sweet, intelligent and all-out caring for her ignore. Still, Sara had vowed to keep her attraction hidden: relationships on the team could complicate things for everyone. She'd learned that well enough with Grissom.

Once ready to head out to the scene, Sara left Nick's side and went to fetch her kit – completely missing his wistful glance in her direction.

C:3

Rain was pelting down by the time they arrived on Tillman Avenue. Nick grumbled as he slammed his car door shut and looked up at the tall apartment block in front of him. It was plain enough and balconies started from the third floor upwards. The murder had taken place on the fifth floor and he hoped for an elevator.

"So which part do you want?" Sara asked as they stepped into the apartment, five minutes and 100 steps later.

"Where did they find the body?"

"Bedroom."

"Then that's where I'll be," Nick pointed and headed for the room. Sara was left to cast her eyes around the living room. The apartment was in a state of total disarray. Shards of broken vases and glass covered the floor and the few pictures that hadn't been smashed hung skew. Sara noticed that the balcony doors were open and shivered at the rain pelting down outside. She stepped over a smashed set of plates as her eyes scanned the floor. Suddenly, the back of a Polaroid photo caught her attention and she stooped to pick it up. On her haunches, Sara flipped over the photograph. Her body went cold and she gasped in shock. She stared at the picture, a thousand questions reeling through her mind. How? Why? Who? Cold fear gripped her heart. How did something like this end up here? A noise behind her startled Sara and she dropped the picture and spun around. A tall man in a pair of jeans and a black leather jacket with his hands in his pockets walked slowly across the glass towards her.

"Excuse me sir, but you can't be in here," she said, her eyes darting around in search of the officer she'd sworn had been posted at the door. There was something familiar about the man's wild eyes and auburn hair but she couldn't place him. The man frowned and took another step towards her. "You seem a little spooked," he commented.

Sara caught a familiar glint in his eye and stepped back. "Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

"Why Miss Sidle, I'm afraid that's not possible." He took another step forward. Sara slid her hand to her gun holster and a new wave of fear washed over her when she found it empty. She wanted to kick herself, figuring that she'd forgotten it in her locker at the lab in her hurry to be ready in time for shift.

The man smiled maliciously and sneered at her, "You know I never leave until I've finished my job."

Suddenly something in her mind clicked into place and Sara remembered where she had seen him. But it was too late. The man lunged forwards into her, pushing her out onto the wet balcony. She acted on her first instinct and screamed.

"Nick!"

Her breath was knocked from her as her back hit the cast iron railing of the balcony. Rain poured down, soaking her clothes as she struggled against her assailant's grip. Still, his hold on her was strong and he pushed down on her chest, bending her backwards over the railing. Sara cried out as her feet left the floor and glanced fleetingly behind her to the ground far below. She grabbed desperately for something the hold onto, but the rain had made everything slippery. Suddenly, the man stooped and grabbed her ankle, tipping her completely over the railing. Sara screamed as the rush of free-fall overwhelmed her senses.

Nick heard a strangled scream from the living room and immediately dropped his torch. He rushed into the living room and his eyes fell on the balcony. He'd arrived just in time to catch a flash of brown hair as Sara's feet rose from the ground and she tumbled over.

"Sara!" he screamed, instantly rushing at the man responsible in a rage. The man turned and grinned sadistically at him – until Nick unleashed his fist. The man managed to get a couple blows in but in a matter of moments, Nick had him and lying on his stomach, firmly trapped under Nick's weight and with his gun at his temple. Nick held him firmly as he fought against the inevitable tears forming in his eyes as his mind processed what had happened. She was gone. Sara. A low chuckling from below him caught his attention and he glared down at the man.

"You think that's funny, do you?" Nick sneered.

The man nodded, "Sidle finally got what she deserved."

Nick couldn't find a way to verbalise his anguish and rage at the man's obvious smugness and so, let loose another blow to his head.

Breathing heavily, Nick tore his eyes away from the man. A Polaroid was lying on the floor nearby and he reached to retrieve it – something to distract his grief until the cops arrived. Nick flipped the picture over and gasped. A chill ran through his body. It was a long-distance snap-shot of Sara, standing outside the lab, by her car.

Nick recoiled with horror as the reality of the picture hit him.

"Is this yours?" He shook the man and shoved the photo in his face. "Sick bastard."

The man responded by chuckling arrogantly.

Seconds later, footsteps echoed in the hallway and and two cops came rushing in. Nick moved for them to cuff the man and stood to holster his gun. With the picture still in his hand, he walked slowly over to the balcony. He stopped at the door – did he really want to see Sara lying dead on the asphalt below? No. It would kill him.

Nick turned and leaned against the doorframe, sighing heavily. He scanned the picture again. Sara's sunglasses were perched on her head and she was wearing the blue shirt he remembered joking with her about. A grief-stricken sob escaped him.

"Oh…Sara…"

Suddenly, a sound from below caught his ear. A pained gasping. Flinching, he put his head over the balcony railing and looked down. His heart flipped.

Sara was not dead, but hanging onto the very bottom of the balcony railing two floors down. She tilted her head up, squinting against the pouring rain and looked up at him. Her face was pale and her hair, sopping.

"Nick! Help!" Pain was evident in her voice.

"Sara! Just hang in there! I'm coming!"

"Hurry! I'm not gonna be able to hold on for long!"

Nick's eyes caught a red streak down her side and he shuddered. Sara's arm was cut deeply from her shoulder to her elbow and blood was running down her body and staining her shirt and the side of her jeans. Casting his eyes around, Nick saw a rusted piece of wire jutting out from the fourth floor balcony – obviously the cause.

He leaned over to Sara. "Hold on! I'm coming to get you!"

C:4

"Okay. I'll be right over – just checking in with Sara and Nick," Brass said into his cell phone as he stopped his car on Tillman Avenue. "Yeah, I left them with a couple rookies and I gotta check they're fine."

"Okay. While you're there, tell Sara I need her input on some angles Cath and I found." Grissom's voice came over the line

"Yeah. Will do." Brass hung up and got out, pulling his rain jacket over his head. He noted Nick's Denali nearby as two uniforms came past, hauling an auburn-haired man who was scowling and muttering. Brass missed most of it, catching only traces of "Sidle" and "bitch". He chuckled to himself, presuming that Sara had given the man a dose of the cynical, dry sarcasm she saved for criminals. He assumed the man was going in for questioning – perhaps he was a nosey neighbour who didn't want to talk or a potential suspect. Either way, Brass continued on to the front door, eyes downward, as he endeavoured not to get wet. When several red droplets on the sidewalk caught his eye he stopped, frowning, and glanced upwards.

Nick growled in frustration as he pounded on the third floor apartment door. He was about to knock it down when an old lady pulled it open.

"Nick Stokes Ma'am. I'm with the crime lab and I urgently need to get onto your balcony!" He flashed his department ID card and looked at her desperately.

Taken aback, the old woman stepped back, holding up her hands as if in surrender, and nodded.

Sara felt her eyes grow moist. The pain rippling through her back and arms was excruciating and the blood loss was making her dizzy. She felt her arms begin to shake and winced. It felt like ages since Nick had found her and she felt cold and weak as she clung desperately to the slippery railing. Inside, all she hoped was that Nick was okay.

"Sara?!"

"Brass?" She dropped her head and looked down to see her friend staring up at her with a shocked, pale face.

"What the hell's going on? What happened?"

"I'm fine – just find Nick! Where's Nick?" Sara shouted back, the desperation in her voice was evident as she flexed her cramping fingers to get a better grip. Suddenly, a warm hand enfolded hers.

"I'm right here Sar!"

Sara sighed with relief as she cast her eyes up to see his comforting face.

"Nick…" her voice was pained. "It hurts."

"I know, honey. Just hold on – I'm gonna get you up."

Nick stood and braced his foot against the opposite railing then leaned over to grasp at Sara's wrists as he silently thanked for the narrow balcony and short railing.

"Sara! Hold my wrists!"

"Nick, I can't. I… I just can't." He looked down and saw despondent tears in her eyes.

"Yes you can! Look at me Sara! I won't drop you."

Her reply was a nervous whimper.

Nick's heart bled. He had never seen confident Sara so utterly terrified and it scared him. He glanced down past her and saw Brass standing below, looking up with wide eyes. His eyes returned to Sara. She was paler than ever, her breathing haggard but what sent chills through his body was the total defeat in her eyes. She looked up at him in absolute terror.

"Don't do it, Sar. Don't give up. I've got you. Just take my wrists!" Their eyes met for a second and Nick sent her all the love and concern he'd been feeling for her. She smiled sadly and he thought she'd given up, until he felt Sara's cold fingers grip his wrists. He braced himself and flashed her a nod.

"Hang on Sar!"

Then he began to pull.

Pain screamed through Sara's left arm and it felt as if it was being slowly ripped out. She cried out, squeezing her eyes shut as tears ran down her cheeks, mixing with the rain. The pain intensified and her world began to swirl around her. It was all too much: if she didn't fall to her death, she would surely die of the pain. Suddenly, Sara felt something warm wrap around her body. She opened her eyes again as Nick pulled her all the was over the railing. Sighing with relief, Sara noticed the pain beginning to fade, but the fog in her mind remained.

Below Brass sighed with relief and turned to shout irately at a group of recently arrived EMTs.

Nick collapsed on the balcony, pulling Sara's trembling body into his lap. He wrapped his arms around her.

"Thank God," he cried, kissing the top of her head. "I don't know what I would have done if I'd lost you."

Sara moaned hazily and clutched at his shirt. Nick noticed goose bumps on her arm and pulled her closer as he scooted out of the rain, into the old woman's living room. He leaned against the nearest wall and sighed. Sara's slender body was cold and trembling in his arms

"Oh honey, you must be freezing!" He cried.

Sara sniffed pitifully, "I was so scared."

"I know. But you're safe now."

"Thank you," she said softly, casting her eyes up at him.

"Like I said – anything for you Sar." He moved his arm to her shoulder and she winced, pain flashing in her eyes. Nick suddenly remembered her injured arm and cast his eyes down. Blood was now running from her arm onto his shirt.

"Oh no," His eyes went immediately to the old woman who stood back, looking completely shell-shocked. "Ma'am, do you have a towel I could use?"

The woman nodded slowly and hurried off to get one.

As he waited, Nick noticed Sara's eyes becoming glazed and hazy. "Sar? You okay?"

"Dizzy." She said drowsily.

"Hang in there."

"Nick, I- " Sara started breathlessly.

"Shh… It's okay. Rest."

"No. Nick, you- gotta…know. I lo… I …" Sara's words faded as she slipped into unconsciousness.

C:5

"Sar? Sara can you hear me?" the voice was vague and distant, but it was there.

"Nick?" she asked softly, forcing her eyes to open. Sara found herself lying on the carpet with her head on a jacket in Nick's lap. Moving tentatively, she found an IV in her wrist and a thick bandage fixed firmly around left her arm, which rested in a sling. She moved to sit up but Nick put a hand on her shoulder.

"Whoa there Sidle. Lay still for a moment," he said. She smiled up at him.

"What's going on?" Sara asked, looking around her.

"You lost too much blood and passed out," Nick explained , "Hence the IV," he pointed to the bag of blood hooked up to the small tube. "You're lucky the EMTs had it with them."He paused then asked, "Sara, who was that guy?"

She sighed. She was silent for a moment before saying, "His name's Tom O'Malley. I helped put him in jail a couple of years ago – rapist, among other things. I guess he got out."

"He didn't…hurt you did he?" Nick asked tentatively.

"You mean aside from throwing me over a balcony?" Sara chuckled wryly, "No, he wanted me dead and wasn't going to waste time."

"Bastard." Nick muttered, "I found a photo of you. It was his so he must have been following you for a while. It's probably a good thing you've been spending too much time at the lab or he might have attacked you at home."Sara paused, thinking, and then looked up at Nick. She sat up slowly and turned to face him.

"Thank you Nick. If it wasn't for you, I'd probably be a pancake."

Ignoring her joke, Nick looked deep into her eyes. "I don't know what I'd do if I lost you Sar."

She blushed and averted her eyes. "Nick. I decided not to tell you this and maybe you really don't want to hear it. But I'm going to say it anyway. We can forget it afterwards, but I need to tell you this."

She looked into his eyes. "Nick. I love you. I don't know how else to put it."

Nick's heart leapt at her words – could it be true?

"Sara – I love you. I have for a while now but I didn't know how to tell you!"

Sara's eyes shone in surprise and she smiled. In a heartbeat, he had his lips pressed against hers. Her eyes widened then melted shut as she relaxed into the kiss.

"Erm… Miss Sidle?"

Sara pulled away from Nick, blushing as she looked up at the EMT. "Yes?"

"How are you feeling? Are you okay to stand?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. Thanks," Sara said, casting a quick glance back at Nick and moving to get up. Her legs trembled and Nick hurried to put her arm around her waist to support her.

"Thanks," she flashed him a smile. "So back to work, eh?" Her cheeks were still flushed from the kiss but Nick was more concerned about her health.

"No way," Nick said, "I'm taking you straight home."

"Nicky…" Sara whined, "We've got a case to solve."

"No Sar. You can barely stand."

"Nick." She said seriously.

"No," he matched her irritable tone. "Sara, you haven't eaten in God-knows how long and you're overworked and injured. I'm not having it. You're going home."

Sara said nothing, knowing she was beaten. "Well then can we at least stop at the lab so I can pick up some stuff?"

"Yes, but you're going straight home afterwards."

Noticing that the bag of blood was nearly empty, the EMT placed a swab on Sara's wrist and pulled the needle out. "You lost a lot of blood," he explained as he applied a bandage, "So you'll need bed rest over the next couple days. You also pulled several muscles in your shoulder, probably from catching the railing so that sling will be there for a while too."

"Great." Sara said flatly. "Anything else?"

"You probably shouldn't drive now – or do anything stressful either," the EMT added with an apologetic grin.

Sara sighed heavily and turned to Nick. "Please tell me you caught O'Malley. 'Cause if you didn't, I'm gonna track him down and kill him myself."

Nick chuckled, "Don't worry Sar, I got him." He held out his hand to her, "Shall we get going, love?"

C:6

Catherine was elated. The tox results she'd been waiting for had come back positive – proving her theory that their vic was poisoned before he entered the restaurant. She was on her way to Grissom's office to enlighten him when two cops came past, hauling a smug looking man towards the interrogation room. She stopped, frowning. He looked familiar.

"You got nothing on me!" He yelled at the officers.

"Other than your previous record and the fact that a CSI saw you kill Sara Sidle?" one of them said cockily. "You'll be in prison for the rest of your sick life."

Catherine's body went cold. 'Kill Sara Sidle?'

She dashed after the men. "What did you say?" she asked the man frantically.

He sneered proudly, "That's right. I killed Sara Sidle. Threw her right off the fifth floor. You geeks'll probably have to scrape what's left off the sidewalk."

Catherine recoiled in horror. Could this revolting man be telling the truth? Her mind began to spin. She and Sara were just becoming friends, after the incident with Hank. Grissom would be devastated – another CSI killed in the field. And he did always seem to have a special relationship with Sara. Her thoughts went to Nick. He would be taking the news worst of all. She'd noticed him and Sara lately; seen the small glances, brief touches – it was obvious they were in love though neither had admitted it.

"And Nick?" she blurted suddenly. "The other CSI – where was he?"

"That macho?" the man's look darkened, "How do you think I got here?"

Catherine sighed in relief. At least Nick was okay. But Sara…

"Catherine? What's wrong?" a concerned voice asked from behind her. She turned to see Grissom emerging from his office, frowning with concern.

"Gil…" She rushed forward to him as tears threatened to flow. "It's Sara."

Noticing she was upset, he put a comforting arm around her and said seriously, "Cath, what happened to Sara?"

Catherine took a deep breath, "She's…She…That guy said that he'd-"

"Dammit Nick, I said no!" an aggravated voice rang out down the corridor. Catherine recognised it immediately.

"Sara?"

Nick came around the corner, carrying a very irritable Sara, hero-style. Both were soaking wet and covered in blood. Catherine noted the sling on Sara's bandaged arm. A nasty purple bruise was forming on her neck and her face was unnaturally pale. Nick looked okay, save a split lip and the blood covering his hoodie. He stopped in front of his supervisor and gently put Sara back on her feet. She wobbled a little and he put an arm around her waist to hold her steady.

"Sara! You're alive!" Catherine cried, rushing forward to her, "They hauled some guy through here that said he'd killed you!"

Sara's eyes perked up, "O'Malley's here?"

"Hang on a second," Grissom stepped forward, "What's going on here? What happened to you two? Who's O'Malley?"

"It's a long story, Griss," Sara started. "Could we finish it in the break room – my head's getting a little fuzzy?"

"Sure," he said, looking sceptical.

"Here honey," Nick said, handing Sara a glass of water.

'honey?' Catherine raised a suspicious eyebrow. Could Nick have made his move?

"Thanks," she responded from her seat on the couch. "So that's what happened. Nick saved my life." Her eyes met his for a moment before she turned them back to Grissom and Catherine.

Grissom looked shocked. He frowned, "You should have gone home Sara – what are you doing here?"

"But-"

"No", he replied firmly, "You've been through I lot. You can barely even stand straight. You nearly died! And Hodges told me earlier you didn't go home after shift yesterday." He looked into her eyes. "Sara, you can't work like this. Go home. Get some rest. Don't make me force you."

"Yeah, okay," Sara grumbled irritably. "But I want-"

"Sara! What happened?" Greg stood in the doorway, flabbergasted.

"An old friend decided to visit me at the scene," she said vaguely.

"Visited? Sara, the guy tried to kill you." Catherine said.

"Damn." Greg said, raising his eyebrows.

At that moment, Brass popped his head in the door. "Nick? We're ready for you?"

"I'll be right there," Nick nodded.

Brass looked to Sara, "You ok?"

Sara smiled weakly and nodded, "I'm fine."

"Good. I thought we were really gonna lose you there for a moment," Brass added. He smiled and turned to go.

"Jim?" Sara asked, "What's going on now? Where's Nick going?" Brass stopped and turned to look reluctantly at her. Sara's eyes followed his to Nick.

Brass hesitated, then explained. "We've got O'Malley in for a little chat."

"I want to talk to him!" was Sara's immediate response.

"I don't know Sar…" Nick's voice trailed off.

Sara shook her head, "Oh no! You're not going to do this. I'm talking to him – if not me then who?"

"Sara…"

"No Nick. He threw me over a balcony railing. I think that gives me the right to interrogate him – and see the look on his face when he discovers I'm not dead."

"What?" Greg interrupted, "Over a railing? As in off a building?"

"Yeah."

"Damn – you deserve some satisfaction." Greg said, his eyes wide. He and Sara both turned to glare at Nick. He shrugged and looked to Brass.

"Well okay then." Brass looked seriously at Sara, "You sure you'll be okay? You still look pretty weak."

"I'll be just fine. Nick I need you to do something for me."

C:7

O'Malley sat smugly in his chair in the interrogation room. He'd been here before, on the very day that Sara Sidle proved him guilty, and knew just what to expect. Some smug CSI who thought himself omniscient would sweep into the room and ask a bunch of questions, the answers of which he already knew. Last time he'd tried to conceal his guilt, but not this time. He had killed. And he was proud of it.

The door behind him opened and the guy who'd taken him down earlier stepped into the room. The front of his beige hoodie was covered with blood and O'Malley felt a wave of proud satisfaction wash over him – he knew whose blood it was.

"Hi O'Malley. Short time, no see." Nick said stiffly.

"So I guess you want to know how I did it?" O'Malley responded proudly.

"Did what?" Nick raised his eyebrows.

"How I carried out my sweet, sweet revenge. How I tracked her down and lured her straight to me."

"Oh yeah?"

"It was easy, like a moth to a flame."

Nick pulled a chair out and sat down. "Tell me."

"Finding her was simple – go where the killings were. Or just sit outside this place. God," he let out a snort, "That bitch practically lived here." Nick nodded to him to go on.

"Pretty soon it became clear I wouldn't be able to get to her at home – she was barely there. So I needed a new plan. Something I knew would bring her to me because I couldn't get to her. So I killed."

The surprise in Nick's eyes was obvious and O'Malley nodded in satisfaction. "Oh yeah. That broad in the apartment was my work – the quickest way to get a CSI is with a crime scene. So I made my own. Would've been perfect if I hadn't dropped that damn Polaroid." O'Malley leaned back and put his hands behind his head.

"So you killed Heather Ruddick?"

"Yeah. And dear Sara Sidle too."

"Oh really?" a voice came from the doorway.

O'Malley's eyes widened and Nick nodded smugly at him. Sara winked at Nick as she walked up behind O'Malley's chair.

"Pity I'm not dead," she said matter-of-factly. O'Malley spun around, a look of absolute horror on his face.

"You can't be alive! It's not possible! I killed you – nobody can survive a fall like that!"

"I'm not nobody," Sara said.

Total loathing took over O'Malley's face as he glared hatred at her. "Well, then I'll just have to finish my job," he sneered. Suddenly, he sprang from his chair, making a dive for Sara. Nick was up in a second, delivering a blow to O'Malley's shoulder. The man stumbled and Nick managed to get an arm around him. Sara reacted immediately, slamming herself back into the corner of the room. O'Malley continued to swipe at her, pulling against Nick's hold on him, his body heaving with rage. The door burst open and two guards rushed in to restrain him. Nick took a step back, breathing heavily from the effort of holding the struggling man. He cast his eyes around the room and noticed Sara, who had slid down the wall to the floor. She sat with her good arm around her knees, watching quietly.

"I'll get you Sidle!" O'Malley yelled, still struggling, "Goddammit, I'll see you dead! I'll be there to watch you die!"

"Not before you do!" Nick lunged forward to stand protectively in front of Sara. "Get him out of here!"

Once the officers had hauled O'Malley away, he turned his attention back to Sara. Her face was pale, but satisfaction radiated from her eyes.

"How did that feel?" Nick asked.

"Good," Sara nodded.

"Let's get you home." He offered her his hand and she accepted it with a smile. When she was on her feet, Nick reached out to put an arm around her but stopped. He wasn't sure if Sara wanted to be 'together.' Her confession earlier was after a traumatic event. Her body was racing with too much adrenaline and too little blood. What if she hadn't meant it? Nick decided not to pressure her and turned to the door.

Sara didn't move. As if she'd heard his thoughts she asked,"Nick? About earlier… what's going to happen?"

"You tell me."

Sara shrugged. "What do you think?"

Nick pulled her into a hug and put his mouth by her ear, deciding to lay his feelings out. "I love you Sara. I want to be with you. But if that's not what you want, I'll step back."

Sara wrapped her good arm around him. "No Nick. Don't step back. I want you – and I don't want to live without you."

Her eyes met his and she smiled. Nick brought his lips to hers in a passionate kiss and her body shivered in pleasure. When they parted, both were flushed and breathless.

"Home?" Nick raised his eyebrows.

"Definitely." Smiling, he put an arm around her and lead her to the door.

On the other side of the mirror, Catherine smiled to herself. It was about time the two of them hooked up and she was happy. She made a mental note to congratulate them then cast a final glance at the empty room before her. Smiling knowingly to herself, she turned to return to the case she was working on.

A/N Well, that seems like a good place to finish. Do let me know what you think – should I sell my computer and stick to pancake making?