The characters and situations in this story belong to Alliance Atlantis, CBS, Anthony Zuicker and other entities, and I do not have permission to borrow them. No infringement is intended in any way, and this story is not for profit. Any errors are mine, all mine, no you can't have any.
Spoilers: general sixth season
It was getting to her. Sara admitted it to herself, at least, somewhere in the depths of her mind. It was definitely getting to her.
Not that she was going to show it, of course. But she'd heard the rumors, the stories, and she'd observed Grissom's excitement--both before and now. And the truth was, they were all grating.
She didn't want to walk past the layout room, but she had to; the only other way to reach the morgue required her to leave the building, and that was just stupid. So she lifted her chin and kept her back straight and strode down the hallway, glancing briefly to one side only because not looking would be more conspicuous.
And there he was, of course, bent over a table full of bones, standing shoulder to shoulder with the forensic anthropologist. Not too close, but…close.
Sara didn't let her steps falter. Their backs were to her, but she could see that Grissom and Dr. Miller were deep in conversation, oblivious to passers-by. She wondered what Dr. Miller could tell Grissom that he didn't already know. Maybe he called her because the case needs the official stamp. After all, she's got the degree.
Doc wasn't in; a small sign reading "Back in five minutes" greeted her instead, sitting primly in the center of a pristine morgue table. Sara sighed, folding her arms and shifting her weight to one leg as she waited for him to return.
The cool quiet of the morgue was an ideal arena for facts she wasn't sure she wanted to face. What's your problem?
She wasn't worried about Grissom's loyalty. Not any more, anyway. A small and private smile came to Sara's lips as she thought of his apologies, his confessions, his professions of love whispered into her hair or against her skin as she held him tightly or sank into sleep. He was hers, firmly and forever; he'd finally figured that out.
No, Sara decided, her bad mood was simply irritation. Grissom's enthusiasm was probably mostly to do with the knowledge that Dr. Miller possessed and his opportunity to gain some of it. It was Dr. Miller who was doing the irritating.
Okay, so Grissom wasn't wearing a ring or any other visible sign of their relationship, though Sara smirked briefly, knowing that there were a couple of signs that were hidden under his shirt at the moment. But Dr. Miller--Teri--didn't have to be quite so…blatant.
Practically the whole lab had heard the forensic anthropologist say that she was divorced, Sara thought sourly. And Teri had greeted Grissom with a familiarity that belied the fact that the two of them hadn't so much as e-mailed each other in over a year. Sara had faith in Grissom, sure, but she realized with a tinge of black humor that she had no faith in the woman at all. In fact, Sara wanted to go in to the layout room and make it extremely clear that he was taken, just to keep Teri from flirting with him.
Sara snorted. What are you going to do, Sidle, pee on him? Please. He's an adult and perfectly capable of protecting himself.
The sound of the double doors swinging open made her start and turn; Doc was limping into the room, smiling apologetically. "Sorry, Sara, I had to step out for a minute--"
She shrugged. "That's okay," she reassured him, and let his report on her vic drown out thoughts of kicking Teri's ass.
They resurfaced as she walked back to her work, and she scolded herself as she went. You're being completely childish. Stop acting like Teri's playing with your favorite toy. Gil's definitely not a toy.
But as she passed the layout room, Grissom leaned out the door, face lit with the excitement of learning. "Sara, come in here for a moment, you like bones."
She thought about refusing, but she couldn't bear to dim his joy, so she let him wave her into the room. Dr. Miller gave her a cool smile, very professional.
Grissom explained the positioning of the bones, and the unusual tool mark on the thigh bone, and Sara listened to him and watched as Teri Miller positioned herself in the subtle fashion that let Sara know that Teri considered Grissom her property, even though Sara had made no move to indicate that she had any interest in Grissom at all.
Sara gritted her teeth and reminded herself that insulting a visiting consultant of such stature, even with a smile, would win her no points with the department or Grissom, and did her best to be professionally polite. Fortunately, Grissom didn't keep her long, and after a few minutes Sara escaped to her case, trying not to fume.
The whole night left her in a sour temper. By the time she'd finished with her evidence and returned it to the locker, the shift was over, and Sara got her stuff and swung by Grissom's office to check in before heading home. She'd thought that Dr. Miller was long gone, but as Sara neared his office she heard the woman's cultured tones coming from the open doorway. "So are you going to take me to dinner this time, Gil?"
Sara's stomach twisted sharply and she turned on her heel, unwilling to hear Grissom's reply. He had every right to go to dinner with Teri, as colleagues and friends, but Sara didn't want to listen to it. She just…didn't.
She took her time going home, running a couple of unnecessary errands and stopping in at the high-end supermarket to treat herself to a thick tuna steak, since she figured she would be dining alone. It wasn't until she got out to her car that she realized she'd gotten the usual size--one big enough for the two of them.
Sara bit her lip, then tossed the bag into the back seat and headed home.
Grissom's car was in the lot. A little taken aback, Sara let herself into their townhouse, wondering wildly if Grissom had, for some unfathomable reason, brought Teri home with him. But he was quite alone, sitting at the big table and frowning at some papers.
A rush of relief filled Sara's heart, and she gave him a smile that didn't have to be forced. "Sorry I'm late."
Grissom stood up and came over to kiss her, a slightly longer one than usual--not that she minded--then took her bags. "I thought you'd be here when I got home."
Sara shrugged, taking off her sunglasses and putting them with her keys on the counter. "I stopped at the grocery store. Did Dr. Miller get off all right?"
Grissom, unpacking the bags, nodded. "Yes, I dropped her off at her hotel. Her flight's not until this afternoon."
"Mmm." Sara kicked off her shoes, struggling to find something positive to say about the woman. "She really is the best in her field, isn't she?"
Grissom didn't answer. He shut the refrigerator door, then turned towards her, rubbing the nape of his neck with one hand and looking…sheepish. Sara's brows drew together as she stared at him, puzzled, but he wouldn't meet her eyes.
"Sara--" he began, then sighed, and started again. "I have something to confess."
A dozen scenarios whiplashed through Sara's head, from Teri Miller ambushing him with a kiss to the two of them having a torrid quickie at her hotel, but Sara dismissed them all as absurd. "Um…okay."
Grissom blew out a breath, and Sara observed with uneasy fascination that his ears were actually turning pink. "I, uh, I was trying to make you jealous today."
Sara felt her mouth drop open. All the little moments she'd observed over the course of the night suddenly took on a different meaning. "You what? Why?"
He shrugged, looking thoroughly ashamed. "I…I'm not sure. It's just you're younger, and so gorgeous, and I just wanted to…I don't know." He stared at the floor. "I should have known better, I mean, it obviously didn't bother you."
Sara held back a slightly hysterical giggle. She'd forgotten--how could she forget?--that he was just as capable of feeling insecure as she was. Probably more, in fact. She figured she should be angry, but he was so embarrassed, and so cute, and just so lovable.
Walking around the breakfast bar, she put her hand to his cheek and lifted his face. "Gil, it worked."
His eyes met hers with a blink of surprise, and she amended her statement. "Well, I wasn't jealous exactly, but I did want to go in there and make it very clear that you were, uh, mine."
Grissom let out a faint laugh, and wrapped her in a hug. "I'm an idiot," he said quietly in her ear. "Forgive me?"
Sara put her arms around his neck and grinned a little. "So long as you never do that again, sure."
"Never," Grissom agreed into her hair, nuzzling his way to her neck, and Sara tilted her head to give him a better angle. "Yours always..."
Closing her eyes and purring in pleasure, Sara made a mental note to spend more time reassuring Grissom.
And took a very brief moment to pity Teri Miller.