Disclaimer: Ok, so unless Subway decides to dramatically up their wages, I so don't own CSI.

Summary: Grissom comes to a few realizations. G/S

A/N: Ummm… apologies for the way this kind of rambles incoherently… and for the weird corny bits… and the OOC-ness… and for anything else I've forgotten…

Contrary to popular belief, Gil Grissom did not fall in love with Sara Sidle the first time that they met. In fact, it wasn't until halfway through the second lecture he had given that he even took any real notice of her at all. And it wasn't until the two weeks of seminars he was teaching at Berkeley were almost over that he noticed that, somewhere in the middle of the countless coffees and dinners they had shared, she had stopped looking at him with innocent respect and was instead gazing at him with complete adoration.

All through her time working for him in Vegas, he was still not in love with her. He cared for her, certainly, in a way that he well knew he shouldn't, but he wasn't in love. And when she looked at him with those big brown eyes it really did hurt him to turn her down. But he was still able to do it, because he didn't love her.

When he finally agreed to go out with her, Nick's abduction, Heather's downfall, his mother's constant nagging, the seeming emptiness of his own life, (and always, those soft, dark eyes), finally wearing him down till he thought 'Ah, fuck it.' and turned up at her apartment at the end of shift, he still wasn't in love with her.

In fact, the realisation of love didn't hit him until several months into their relationship, when she had ended a phone call by saying "love you" and he had replied without thinking. He was so sure of himself around her, to the point of being arrogant; he was always the one holding all the cards, he who was the dominating force, the more detached, rational one. It was he who had agreed to let her into his life, he who was doing her the favour by being involved.

All of a sudden he realised it was not her who called ten times a day just to hear his voice, who knew his sandwich orders at the local deli off-by-heart, who always just assumed he would be there when she got home, and refused to spend the night without him beside her, even if they didn't have sex.

No, that was all on him.

For the first time in his life, Gil Grissom was completely and utterly terrified.

So when she had shown up half an hour later with take-away Chinese and a chaste kiss pressed to his lips, and begun to make herself at home on his couch, just like every other night, he informed her that he felt they should take some time apart and practically threw her out of his townhouse, tears streaking down her pale cheeks. He had reached his arm out to her shoulder in a gesture of comfort and she had hit him. She had actually hit him. He stood there in a state of utter shock as she flew down his front stairs, and the most horrible feeling settled in the pit of his stomach and the middle of his heart, that he couldn't figure out and couldn't begin to shake.

He couldn't shake it they next day either, or the day after that when she didn't show up to work. And it intensified a thousand times over when she had arrived at work the day after that, her eyes equal parts distraught and cold, and had brushed past him on her way out of the break room, and he thought he might pass out at how terrible he felt.

It was also in those few days that he came to the realisation that he couldn't comfortably survive longer than a few hours without touching her. Not in a sexual way either, although he was also desperately longing for the feel of her body under his, her breath warm on his skin. He simply couldn't go without touching her; laying his hand on her arm, resting his head in her lap, wrapping his arm around her waist when they were alone at the lab, laying his hands on her perfect shoulders when they were working a scene. It was like he was dying of some obscure disease and her soft, healing skin was the only remedy.

It got to the point that he reached out to her in the middle of processing a murder case in the desert, laying his hand on her hip for a few seconds before she whipped her head to face him, furious and confused and hating him but pleading with him at the same time. He stumbled through some sort of apology without any real explanation and for the first time since he was a child his eyes disobeyed him and stung with tears as she walked away.

It was in that state that Catherine found him hours later in his office, and it was the first time ever in their long friendship that she didn't have to press him for anything.

"How do you fix something when you've deliberately fucked it up so badly, Cath?"

She had knelt down beside him and, also for the first time in their friendship, had dropped all pretences of being the strong, know-it-all, independent one, resting her hand on his and saying "You go to her and beg like hell, Gil. "

So he turned up at her apartment and scared the shit out of the old lady next door by knocking for twenty minutes straight until Sara finally relented and opened the door a fraction, leaving the chain attached. "You planning on waking my entire building?" she rested her head against the doorway, arms crossed around her waist in a protective gesture that caused a lump to form in his throat.

True to character, he hadn't though of anything to say past getting her to open the door. "Sara…" his voice trailed of on a sigh, that same tone he had used to melt her knees for fifteen years, and she hated herself because deep down she already knew she was going to let him in. "What do you want, Grissom?"

He stretched his hand out to rest on her cheek, passing his thumb across her skin. "Sara, honey, please…I… I'm so sorry, baby, please…"

She sighed in defeat and hung her head and he swore to himself that he would never make her settle for anything again for the rest of her life.

She swung the door open and he wrapped his arms around her waist before she could move back inside, burying his face in the crook of her neck, body pressed tightly against hers.

"You are so not getting out of this easily, Grissom."

"I know, I know, god, I'll do anything, I know…"

She sighed and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, fingers in his hair, rocking him slightly from side to side as he pressed kisses along her jaw and cheek.

Later that night he had a trashy-romance-novel-style epiphany as pushed slowly inside of her (despite her repeated threats that he'd be sleeping on the couch for weeks), and for the first time in his life actually understood what the word completion meant. He came thanking every deity he could think of for whatever he had done to be deserving of Sara.

"I love you." he whispered, lying sprawled on top of her, trying to get every inch of his skin touching hers. She could hardly breathe under the soft, warm weight of him, but she slid her arms around his shoulders and drew him closer anyway, making a sound that was half laugh and half sigh, the movement travelling through her body to his. "Babe," she whispered softly, "I've been waiting for you to realise that for years."