DISCLAIMER: Don't own it… Don't make any money on it… Don't have any money for anyone to sue for… I just like playing with them from time to time. :D

SUMMARY: Post Season 6 Finale – A little piece of fluff that I wrote to prepare myself for the angst hell I have planned next. GSR to the MAX!

RATING: T for Teen – Not really anything in here to offend most, but just to be safe I cranked it up a notch.

A/N: This one is all me (after that last one, the betas needed a vacation)… I was in the mood for some fluff and I hadn't done any post-ep fics yet, so I decided this just might be fun… Yeah, it was fun :D

REVIEWS: Reviews are the way I know if people are enjoying the work or not. So, if you leave one, THANKS! And if not, I hope you found at least a little something to brighten your day, and thanks for taking the time to read.


Days like the one she had just completed required extra effort to remain sane, but they also served to provide her with a glimmer of hope. They had solved their case, and their friend was on the mend. Despite the stress, strain and turmoil, things were actually looking up.

Her side trip to Jim's place had been an interesting experience. She had gone over there to retrieve some personal items for the man, but what she found had made her understand so much more. There was wood paneling and leather over anything that would stand still for it, and scattered throughout the place were pictures of his daughter and various items of memorabilia from his career in law enforcement. Apparently, Jim was the sentimental type. She had mentioned that to him when she dropped off the items at the hospital and he had only shrugged in response. The only comment he had made, was that he was surprised she had gone over there, since he had asked Grissom to do it for him the night before. She was able to cover that easily enough, by telling him that Grissom had gotten tied up at work, and asked for a volunteer to run the errand. She then told him that she was the only one with a closed case last night. He only nodded and thanked her for picking up the things for him, because had really never been much of an exhibitionist and those gowns were murder on his complexion. When she left the hospital, she remarked to herself that she was terribly glad nothing had happened to the man's sense of humor during the ordeal, because that truly would have been a tragedy.

However, she was finally home after a long day, and an even longer week. She wanted nothing more than to curl up in the darkened bedroom and sleep for the next two days. But first, she wanted to take a bath, in the worst way. It was not often that she felt the need for a bath, but after something like she had been through over the last week, it was certainly one of those times.

Almost without a sound, her key slipped into the lock and turned the tumblers to allow her entry into her home. She hung up her purse and jacket on the peg and then walked to the refrigerator for a cold drink. She was in luck, because on the inside of the door to the fridge she had one Amberbock left, grabbing it from the door she reached up and took the bottle opener down to pop the cap. When the bottle gasped from its pressure release she inhaled sharply over the bottle top and then took a satisfying draw from it. It was both smooth and cool as it slid down her throat and gave her a little piece of comfort in its rich taste.

She was about to take another long drink when she felt a weighted warmth wrap itself around her from behind, "Is there another one of those for me?" His voice vibrated across her ear as his equally warm breath blew over her skin.

She leaned back into his grasp and sighed a little before taking sip from the bottle and said, "Nope… Last one." He turned her slightly in his arms, just so that he could get a glimpse of her impish grin. "But I might be convinced to share." He leaned his head down and captured her mouth in a slow moving and deeply sensory kiss. When he finally pulled back, her eyes had closed of their own accord and she was practically purring.

As she opened her eyes, she found that silly half grin of his plastered over his face and he said, "I could get used to sharing like that."

She finished turning around in his arms and laid her arms over his shoulders (careful not to spill the beer). "Oh yeah?" It was more of a challenge than a question, and he met it full on. Their lips pressed tightly together, he plied his tongue past the gates of her mouth to duel with hers as their kisses deepened into a very comfortable passion.

As much as she was enjoying their playful, physical banter, she truly was exhausted and eventually she slumped over his chest and held her just a little closer. "That good, huh?" He asked as he began to stroke her hair with one of his hands.

"I'm sorry, the heart is willing, but the body is about to collapse." She spoke in the crook of his neck where she rested her head.

"Ah, but aren't you glad I had anticipated this?" She looked up into his eyes after his question and gave him a puzzled glare. "This way, madame." He turned out of her embrace and took her free hand in his tenderly, guiding her to follow him

As he gently drug her down the hallway, she had finally recognized what he was wearing. "Why are you dressed like that?" Her giggle was unmistakable, but she was unable to resist it after seeing him dressed in those baggy cargo shorts and the equally baggy Hawaiian shirt.

He turned and looked down at himself, barefeet and all. "You told me to go home and relax. This is comfortable." He shrugged his shoulders and continued pulling her along.

"Yeah, but we aren't at the lake, and this is definitely not the beach, Panama Jack." She enjoyed teasing him about his wardrobe choices when they took those precious days away from the lab, but if truth be told, she loved seeing him dress casually. She had even begun to enjoy his penchant for large straw hats to fight the Nevada sun. And she could have lived with the shirt (after all it was her favorite color on him), but those shorts always made her laugh. Especially after he had told her why he wore them, "I need the room around you… The air conditioning is just a bonus." That piece of information explained a lot to her about his wardrobe changes during her tenure in Vegas, and remembering it always brought a blush to her cheeks.

When he looked into her eyes again, he had a mock pout on his lips and asked, "But I thought you liked this shirt?"

She chose that interruption as her opportunity to move close to him and she put her empty hand around his waist, pulling him closer. "I like two things about that shirt." He kissed her tenderly on the mouth with her gesture.

"And those would be?" His eyes danced over her features, and it only endeared him to her even more.

"One, that color does wonders for those bedroom eyes of yours." She kissed at the line of his beard where it touched his neck. "And two, because it comes off really fast, without having to sew the buttons back on." He laughed at her joke and she kissed him in the space below his ear lobe.

He pulled the shirt open a bit more at the top with a snap, "That's because it has faux buttons, my dear. I learned my lesson from the first shirt, and I'm still finding those buttons with the vacuum cleaner."

She tilted her head to the side and said, "Well, THAT was an ugly shirt, so no great loss there." She snuggled into his chest with her declaration and he reveled in the feeling until a loud, shrill whistle filled the air.

The whistle sounded almost like a tea… "Kettle's ready… C'mon." He ushered her into the bedroom and then pulled her into their bathroom. Once inside, she found that he had dimmed the lights, lit the candle on the vanity and run a bath for her. "Wait here for a just a second… I need to grab the kettle from lab."

She watched in amusement as he scuttled out of the room, only to return in a flash, carrying the offending kettle with an oven mitt. He quickly slid past her and began to pour the water from the large tea kettle into the tub. "I turned the hotplate on as soon as I heard you come in… Figured it would be the best way to get the water back to the right temperature."

She shook her head in confusion and put her hand on his back as he was leaned over the tub. "But how'd you kno-…"

"Jim called me when you left to hospital to thank me for sending you over." When he stood upright again, it was his turn to look confused, "For some reason, he thought I was still at work. Why would he think that?"

She blushed at the question and told him the reason, "Well, he wanted to know why I was doing your errands, so I had to come up with something believable, didn't I?" When he started belly laughing at her she adopted a defensive posture and sulked, "I don't know why that's so funny… It's not like we're tel-…"

"No, honey…" He wrapped her up, sulking posture, pouting lip and all, into his arm, hugging her to him, "It's just that I thought you knew… Jim knows all about us… Has for months." She stiffened against him, but only for a moment.

When she sighed and relaxed against him, he put the kettle down on the vanity. "Well, you could have told me. Now I feel like an idiot."

"If it makes it any better… You are an astoundingly beautiful idiot." She elbowed him in the ribs and he just laughed again. "That's okay, he made me suffer for it, too. Spent two days trying to invite himself on our first trip to Lake Meade while he broke me down." That time she was laughing, as she imagined all the ways Jim had tortured him into finally giving up their ruse.

"Well, if we're putting the confessions on the table, so to speak, then you should know…" He held her away from him to look into her face as she revealed, "Nick knows, too."

His face turned into a mass of surprise and frustration, "That little weasel!" She was shocked at his response and she guessed the look on her face told him he needed to explain. "He's been trying to trade schedules with you for the last month. Kept asking me why you always got the good schedule. Actually trying to make me feel guilty!" It was her turn to laugh again, because she could also picture Nick giving him the good old boy charm and whine to tease him. "How long?"

She smiled and looked down, "You remember that wedding case? When his truck got stolen and ah, vandalized?" He nodded at her that he remembered and she continued, "Yeah, well, he had my keys so he could use my car to get somewhere and uh, I had gotten home and back to the lab, without my car, and gotten into my apartment without my keys."

"Well, that's because we used my-…" The understanding finally dawned on him and he threw his head back at the revelation, hanging it there for a moment. "Damn! Aren't we supposed to be better at this?"

She giggled at his reaction and answered, "Apparently not."

He held her close again and kissed the crown of her head, "Oh well… We knew it would only be a matter of time." He exhaled through his nose and into her hair, which gave her a little tickle. "I was just hoping to keep you all to myself a while longer."

She kissed the side of his neck and said, a devilish tone in her voice, "Well, we don't have to let on that we know about them, and we could use it to torture them back a little… You know, before everyone else figures it out."

He squinted at her suggestion and pulled her away from him to look into her eyes, "But if they know, who's to say the other-…"

"Oh please! Like if Catherine knew she wouldn't have been the first to call you to the carpet on it?" He had to begrudge her that analysis, because Catherine would never have been able to resist an "I told you so" lecture. "And Warrick? Well, he's dealing with his own drama right now, so I'm not sure he can see much beyond his own nose. And Greg? Well, he's, ya know-…"

"Greg, right… Anyone else in the lab catching on?" He was not only asking her, but himself as she watched him contemplate that question.

"Come to think of it… Doc Robbins did something kind of odd last week." Her face was trying to process what she had experienced as she spoke the words to him. "He was looking for you to give you a report and left it with me. Said something about knowing I could get it to you."

He mulled that over a bit in his mind and then disregarded it as nothing, "No, I'm pretty sure he would have said something to me… Plus, it doesn't really gel with the conversation he and I had last week, so it was probably nothing." She was not entirely sure that he was right, but decided to let it drop anyway when he slackened his arms and leaned over the tub to check the water. "Tsk… I'm going to heat up some more water… Be right back." He grabbed the kettle from behind her and then filled it up with water from the tub before disappearing into the hall.

She kicked off her shoes and let them rest at the doorway. She then grabbed her hair brush from the vanity and ran it through her disheveled hair a few times. She had showered before leaving on her errand to pick up Jim's things, so she was really not in need of bathing. It was the soak she was looking for, more than anything. She removed her watch and the chain around her neck to place them in the dish beside the sink. She was about to unbutton her pants when the sound of the kettle startled her. In a flash, he had appeared in the doorway, kettle in hand, and a full pout descending over his mouth, "What are you doing?"

She looked from him to herself and back again, then said, "Getting ready to take a bath… Remember?"

The sad look on his face was enough to pull at her heart strings, but his words finished the pull completely. "But I wanted to do that."

She smiled and walked to him to wrap her arms around his waist, and he lifted the kettle up high to avoid its proximity as she pulled him in tight. "I'm sorry… Should I put them back on?"

He smiled again and gently shook his head, "No… It's just that you've been taking such wonderful care of me for the last week, and I was kind of hoping to return the favor… In some small way."

She smiled in that sly and seductive manner she knew he liked and said, "Babe… With you, nothing is small."

He raised his eyebrow and responded with, "Was that a crack about my weight?"

She squeezed him tighter around the middle and said with a giggle, "Not hardly… Besides, if you keep slimming down like this, I'm gonna have to start beating them off you again."

"Again?" His somewhat confused expression caused her to blush and she had to stifle the giggle that was threatening to emerge.

"Well, let's just say that the animosity between me and a certain blonde had nothing to do with work." She demurred as she vaguely explained her remark.

He continued to look at her with a puzzled face until the clue struck him full force and he smirked as he shook his head. "You never had a thing to worry about," and then he kissed the tip of her nose.

"Well, I'm not the only one that has noticed your return to health… Catherine even made a comment the other day." She squeezed him around his shrinking waist a little tighter.

"My doctor actually congratulated me on finally taking his advice to get some regular exercise." He was flashing her with that sideways smirk of his.

With her eyebrow raised in a suggestive manner she asked, "Is that what we're calling it now?"

She knew what he was going to say even before it came off his lips, because she had unwittingly set him up perfectly to deliver the line. "Feel the burn." She still giggled and buried her forehead into his chest, because it really was one of the things she found undeniably attractive about the man. One of the many things.

He reached behind him and took her hands apart so that he could, once again, dump the hot water into the tub to warm it up. As he deposited the kettle back on the vanity, she watched his every movement, as though it were a delicate ballet. He grabbed the big, baby blue bath sheet from the linen closet and took out a royal blue towel as well. Setting them down on the edge of the tub he took one last survey of the scene and tested the water temperature. "Perfect," he declared and then spun around to face her again. "Well, almost perfect… I am still in need of the bathing beauty." When he leaned down to gently press his lips into hers, she could feel that he was fumbling around in the vanity drawer behind her for something. As his hands trailed their way up her back, over her shoulders and painfully slow along the back of her neck, she was thrilled to feel his hands in her hair as he pulled it up and placed it into the hair clip he had found in the drawer. "I can still smell your shampoo, so I guess we'll have to save that for another time." His voice was like warm honey the way it caressed her ears, and she closed her eyes to enjoy its soothing melody.

Before she could open her eyes again, she felt his lips pressed tenderly to hers and she exhaled softly into him, as the sensation truly was wonderful. When the air touched her shoulders, she realized he had been distracting her so that he could remove her blouse unnoticed. "Mmmm… You really are getting good at that."

He did not answer her with words, but with his lips trailing down her neck. When she inhaled sharply, in response to his warm lips reaching her shoulder, she felt her bra fall away. God, is he getting good at this. Her only regret in that delicious moment was that she was likely to fall asleep the moment she sat down in the tub. She was just so exhausted and was certain she would not be able to participate in anything beyond falling asleep.

And, almost as though he was reading her thoughts, he said, "Don't worry, this is all about letting you unwind and relax." Her shoulders slumped just a little with his warm and tender words, and he knew that she understood him.

Slowly, he nudged her towards the tub with her back to it. When she felt it resting against her calves, he held her hands and motioned for her to sit on the edge. That was when she realized he had already unfastened her pants and had them, as well as her panties pushed down. Either I'm a lot more tired than I realized, or he's been planning this one.

He brought the clothes all the way down and then tossed them at the hamper. Under normal circumstances, she would have reminded him not to make such a mess, but she was unbearably tired and he was doing such an amazing job of tending to her, so she just went with the flow. There would be time later to deal with her neat freak tendencies. "Don't worry, I'll clean up when you go to sleep." She looked down with the embarrassment of having been caught rising in her cheeks and shook her head. "I'm getting used to it." He took her hands in his and kissed the fingertips gently.

When he stood back up, her hands still in his grasp, he led her to stand as well. Once up from the tub, she leaned in to him and they kissed once more. She has assumed that those kisses would eventually lose their power to make her weak in the knee, but so far, that had yet to be the case. But I don't mind being wrong about that one.

He guided her to step into the tub, and when she did, she found that he had gotten the water just right: warm enough to be soothing, but not hot enough to pink her skin too badly. As she sunk down into the water, she realized that he had also put in some bath salts when her skin immediately began to absorb the moisture and the scent rose into her nostrils. He may not have believed in perfumes or colognes, but his one weakness was the flowery bath salts that he had brought into her life. This time it was a very subtle lavender: perfect for lulling her to sleep. When the purr escaped her throat, she did not have to keep her eyes open to know that he was smiling at her response.

The bath had only just begun, but she was already in heaven with the warm, scented water lazily lapping at her sides. Her eyes were closed, but she could tell that he had dimmed the lights a little bit more, so when she opened them again, she could not help but giggle. "Gil, what are you doing?"

"You don't like it?" It may have been dark in there, save for the flickering candles, but she could see his pout. "I'm just trying to make it easier for you to relax." He came closer to her and sat down on the edge of the tub.

She reached up out of the water and took his hand, "But how am I supposed to see you in the dark?"

He leaned over and kissed her forehead before softly saying, "All you need to do is hear my voice, and feel my touch… Just keep your eyes closed." His voice was so warm in her eyes, and his soft breath washed over her face in a caress.

"I'll be asleep in no time, if you keep that up." She teased him, but she also knew that it was not far from the truth as well. She had gotten stuck on a hot case, and they had worked it straight through for close to thirty six hours. Nick had been right there with her the whole time, and she had driven him home, since he was unable to keep his eyes open as Det. Vega had taken their suspect away to be processed. She had no idea what it was that kept her going when everyone else was falling down, but she had always been that way. However, she now had a reason to go home after every shift, and so her days of the triple triple week were behind her. Now, when they came up, they wore her out completely.

Her thoughts were interrupted by his thick fingers reaching for the skin of her back and urging her to lean forward, so she complied. She felt the soapy, natural sponge slide over her shoulders and down onto her back in lazy circles. The worries of the day were being washed away with every swipe of the sponge as it was pressed into her skin.

Before her whole mind was wiped away by the sponge, she felt his hand grip her shoulder and guiding her to lie back once again. Then he reached down and took her right arm into his hands as he worked the sponge down the outside of the arm and back up the inside. When he brought the sponge down her ribs and across her diaphragm, below the right breast, around and over the breast, and then he made sure to gently scrub her whole chest, she was completely lost in the comfort of the act. Her eyes were closed and her body was no longer her own. She merely drifted on the warm, scented water as he paid tribute to her skin.

She inhaled a lazy and full breath of air, feeling the warm moisture rising from the tub and once again she was filled with the relaxing aroma of the lavender. The gears that ran her mind like a well oiled machine were gradually coming to a halt. With each pass of the sponge over her skin the world seemed to get farther and farther away. Soon, the only thing that was registering to her was the feel of his touch over her body and soft hum that was coming from his mouth. It was nothing short of an intimate symphony that seemed to exist only between the two of them.

At one time, they only experienced that kind of complimentary symbiosis in their work, but at some point it began to flow across every aspect of their lives. Anymore, it seemed that he was handing her a tissue at the very moment she was about to sneeze, and she always seemed to know exactly when he needed a moment to breathe. She would miss working with him so closely, but they both knew it would have to end once their relationship was made public. She sighed with that knowledge and continued to drift in the comfort of the water and gentleness of his caresses.

This moment, probably more than any other, demonstrated to her that her life; her world was finally at peace. Her work and her personal life were coexisting in a way they never had before, and she was beyond grateful for it. Her demons were slowly losing their grip over her heart and her thoughts no longer drifted straight to them again. She knew they would never go away, but now she could use them to her advantage instead of allowing them to consume her. And it was that ability that had finally given her the chance to find happiness. Putting aside those demons from her past had given her more comfort and confidence in everything she did, both in her work and her life. She had grown in that time and she had finally found the ability to be happy without having to resort to outside influences. That was when it happened.

Their comfort level had begun to return, very gradually at first, but before she even knew what was happening, they were talking again. The first time they met for breakfast after shift, she was shocked to find out how easy it was for them to talk. They discussed recent journal articles, the Rubens exhibit coming to the Guggenheim Hermitage, the Mayor's latest public relations stunt, the spring training projections (though admittedly, she only listened in those instances), and about their friends. As their breakfasts increased, and their conversations progressed she had failed to notice that they were becoming friendlier and that the topics had begun to take on a personal nature. So, the first time he took her hand, she had to ask herself what had happened that would have caused him to comfort her. When he smiled at her confusion she was drawn to smile back, and then they both laughed at the humor of the situation. It was their shared laughter that started it all.

Relationship was probably not the best word to use when describing those early days, but it certainly turned into one. It was not without pitfalls, however, and they had various periods of time where they barely tolerated one another. They bristled at different stages of the relationship as they progressed, and it sometimes took a concerted effort to get past those milestones. They seemed to sail through the big issues, but always got hung up on the little things. If we could agree on the death penalty, why was it such a struggle to decide on a dish soap? In the end, they both decided that the only thing that mattered was that they agreed it was worth it to keep trying. And as her thoughts continued to swirl in and out of focus, she knew more than anything that it was most certainly worth every heated debate over which radio station to listen to in the car if it meant they always got there together.

When she sighed again, feeling completely relaxed, and warm, and dry, her eyes popped open. She could feel his warmth under her cheek and the weight of his arms around her and the softness of the bath sheet that wrapped her up. Looking around, she realized that she was lying atop him in their bed. The sudden urge to stretch overcame her and so she gave in to the sensation with her arms and legs reaching and her back arching out and then in. When the low moan came from her throat with the satisfaction that yawning stretch had provided she felt more than she heard his chuckle and she lifted her head to see his face. His gentle half smile was the first thing to greet her and when he slowly opened his eyes she blushed under his gaze. He looked at her more openly now, but it still managed to send shivers down her spine and brought a blush to her cheeks every time. "You must have been more tired than you let on." He brushed a lock of hair away from her eyes and added, "Just how long had you been up, anyway?"

She huffed out a breath through her nose as she tried to come up with the answer and then said, "When was the last time we were here?" He shook his head at her answer within a question and then kissed her forehead. She felt the warmth that passed between them in that simple gesture and then laid her head back down in the crook of his neck. "I think we both still need to work on that one, huh?"

He pulled her in a little tighter and reached down to draw the blanket back up onto her shoulders again. "Yes, well, we were starting from a significant disadvantage in that area, so I suppose improvement needs to be measured accordingly."

She laughed at his analysis of their sleep patterns, because like their relationship, all progress was indeed relative. "Well, if you put it that way… We're good." She snuggled in a little closer and realized that he was still wearing his clothes. "You know what?"

He trailed a finger down the side of her face before he answered. "I'm at a loss… Something is distracting my concentration."

She smiled at his playfulness, but she had her own agenda. "Well, I think the shirt is starting to grow on me." He laughed at her comment and she continued, "But I think it's missing something."

"And what might that be?" She instantly scrambled out of the bed and rushed to the closet as she held the towel around her. As she scrounged around on the shelf his curiosity got the better of him and he called out, "What are you doing?"

She turned back to fix him with an impish expression. "You'll find out soon enough." His laughter filled her ears as she continued to search for the item. When her hand finally came into contact with it, she let out a sound that nearly could have been described as a gleeful shriek, but Sara Sidle did not shriek.

She turned on a dime and stashed the item behind her back in a flash, forcing him to crane his neck around in an attempt to spy just what it was she was hiding. "What have you got there?"

Stalking back towards the bed, she grinned at him with all the devilish intent she could muster. "Just the perfect thing to complete that outfit." When she was within his reach, he pulled her in closer by her hips. She leaned down to kiss him and as their lips met she dropped something onto his head and then stood back up to admire her handiwork. At first sight of him; his legs crossed at the ankles, atop the bed, in his baggy shorts and that ridiculous Hawaiian shirt, she could not help but begin to giggle at the straw planter's hat sitting rakishly on his head. However, when he pulled the hat down and cocked it to the side just a bit, her laughter became hysterical. When he added that salacious, crooked smile of his she had to say something. "Are these the kinds of wardrobe choices I'm going to be looking forward to in the future?"

He smiled with an almost wistful expression on his face and she frowned a little as she tried to figure out what he was thinking with that expression. She sat down beside him on the bed and took his hand, "What is it?"

His fingers began to twine with hers and he stared down at their joined hand for a moment before he finally spoke. "I guess it just hit me." He looked up and into her eyes, holding her tender gaze for another silent moment. "I actually have a future… with you."

She smiled and blushed a little at his heady suggestion, but then she knew that he was being deeply sincere, and not for the first time, she fell further into love with the man that held her hand in such a tender gesture of adoration. With her other hand she cupped his cheek and then leaned in to brush her lips up to his as she said, "Only if you keep the shirt." They both smiled at her joke, but as their kiss deepened there were no doubts as to the sincerity of their commitment to one another. Their future held the promises of bath salts, shared beers, funky shirts, intertwined fingers, tender caresses, passionate kisses, and the hours spent helping each other to relax and to forget about the world in which they lived and worked.