Title: Face to Foot Encounter
Author: Summer Reign
Rating: T
Category: Humor/Romance, GSR
Spoilers: Bite Me
Summary: It's easy to wear your heart on your sleeve when you aren't looking in his eyes (vbg).
Disclaimer: Not mine. They belong to The Powers That Be (or Bee).

A/N: I'd just like to thank everyone for the positive feedback on my first CSI story. It was a warm and lovely welcome to a community that means a lot to me.

Over the past few months, Sara Sidle had become a rather heavy sleeper. Her normal sleeping patterns had always been erratic, even before working the night shift. She woke before her alarm blared its siren song and any change in sound, temperature, or even her own position in bed, would knock her right into consciousness. But things had changed. Even on days when she expected to sleep lightly, she found herself experiencing the dead-to-the-world rest of the truly sated.

She thought this day would be different, though. It was the morning after the very first glitch in her newly perfect world had presented itself, leaving her surprised and hurt. At first, she decided to drop the subject beyond the brief comments she had made in response to his at the crime scene. Later, she took his words to heart and decided to back off. Back way off.

Of course, the truly sated sleeping thing got in the way of her plans.

The alarm had apparently been ringing for a while before she was aware—somewhere in the depths of her mind—that Grissom must have slammed the off button. A second later, she was jarred fully awake by a jostling of her foot and the sudden string of expletives coming from the head of the bed.

Oops.

Sara sat up quickly. "Are you all right?"

"Damn it, Sara. What the hell are you doing down there?" Grissom rubbed his eye a bit and looked toward the foot of the bed, where Sara was staring at him from the pillow she had resting to the right of his feet. Apparently, in his attempt at an early morning, post-alarm /pre-work embrace, he encountered a toe in his eye. Luckily, his eyes were probably closed at the time and it was more shock than pain that was causing his outburst.

Sara lay back and stared at the ceiling. It looked different from this angle.

"Sara?" Damn. He expected an answer.

"I was removing myself from temptation," she said.

"What?" he asked, as he stopped the rubbing and began the cautious blinking. He was fine. In more ways than one. But that was not a thought Sara needed to entertain at the moment.

She turned to her left and ran a finger over the top of his foot. He had the nice, well-kept feet of a bachelor who was well-acquainted with his slippers and never walked barefoot on any surface. Sara didn't even own a pair.

She was stalling, which was somewhat surprising. They were normally so good at answering each other's direct questions.

You want to take a walk around the block? Get some air?" "No."

"Would you like to have dinner with me?" "No."

Well, maybe that wasn't completely fair. After all, there had been the surprising:

"Since when are you interested in beauty?" "Since I met you."

Sara, herself, was even good at volunteering information not directly requested.

"You've always been a little more than a boss to me."

"Why do you think I moved to Vegas?"

She wasn't so sure how much that trait was prized by the recipient of the information, but she was good at it and one should always acknowledge one's strengths.

But this was one question she didn't want to answer; one conversation she didn't want to begin. But she knew she should and knew she would.

"If I slept next to you in the usual position, I wouldn't be able to resist the temptation to snuggle."

He sighed, releasing a good deal of the tension that had been in his face since he was so rudely awakened. "And that's a bad thing?" He asked, the crow's feet making their appearance next to the sparkling blue eyes.

"Well," she said, running her whole hand over the top of his foot and rubbing slightly, "I guess some might view the act of constant snuggling as somewhat suffocating."

There. The ball was in his court. He could deal with it or not but he didn't have the protection of a crime scene as a buffer. He could either explain his cryptic comment or do with their intimate relationship what he had done with the platonic for years.

"Sara, snuggling is not the problem and it's definitely preferable to a toe to the eye."

"Well, that wasn't supposed to happen, either. After you fell asleep, I fully intended to leave but I just … fell asleep. I really thought I would wake up first and leave you with a few hours to yourself before work. I overslept and I apologize for that."

"Sara…"

Why was there always this hesitation after he said her name? Like she was supposed to take that 1.3 second interval to figure out everything in his head and heart from just the inflection in his voice.

"I kind of didn't think you were referring to sex," she volunteered.

"What?"

"At the crime scene. I mean the thing you said at the crime scene. Well, at first I thought you might have been. Referring to sex, that is," Damn, this was hard. She took a small breath. "I never really thought I was asking for more than you wanted to give but you're kind of hard to read sometimes. But, then, you seemed to expect me to come home with you this morning and you definitely initiated …everything. So, I thought maybe it was all the romantic peripherals that were getting to you."

He laughed. "Romantic peripherals? Is that some new software I should be aware of?"

"If only it were that easy," she said, sitting up with every intention of getting out of bed and leaving him alone for a while.

Grissom stopped her by clamping his hand down over her ankle.

"Damn it, Grissom. Can't you ever just give me a straight answer? You know this is bothering me and you're letting me overtalk again while you're saying nothing. I feel like I'm trying to yank out a wisdom tooth with a tweezer or something."

He gripped her ankle again. "Lay back down, Sara. Please?"

She did, reluctantly.

"Talk to me, Sara."

She would have to fire off another email to Webster's. "Irony: see Gil Grissom, Ph.D."

Talk to him. Yeah, she'd do that. Right away.

She lay her face against his calves and rubbed her smooth cheek against the hair of his legs. They used the L word all the time—both of them did, surprisingly. But only as part of foreplay really. Never afterwards. What would he say if she "talked" to him about exactly what she was thinking or feeling at this moment? How much she adored this curmudgeon of a man in spite of himself? Probably something along the lines of "Stop…Sara…can't…breathe."

She smiled to herself for one moment, then raised up on her elbows to look at him.

"Grissom? It's not just sex, is it?" She could handle the answer. She really could. She couldn't handle Grissom grabbing her feet and relentlessly tickling their bottoms. She laughed, shrieked and kicked until he released her and, in a surprisingly panther-like motion, reversed his position to join her in her upside-down world.

He leaned over her and looked in her eyes. "Sara, if it were just sex I was after, there are definitely easier paths to choose than a full-blown relationship with you."

She wasn't sure if she should be insulted or not but didn't have enough time to debate the subject, since he rolled off the bed and went into the other room.

So much ado about something, that he was going to treat as nothing. Some things never changed. She guessed their conversation was over. It's not just sex, but whatever it is, is smothering.

Something landed on her stomach. She picked it up and held it in her hands. It was a small, velvet pouch with a drawstring.

"For me?" she asked, giving him an exaggerated flick of her eyelashes. Really. She didn't know how to react to a Grissom-gift. If she got emotional, there was a good chance there was something completely unsentimental in the bag and her overreaction would embarrass both of them. Light and breezy was the way to go from now on.

He sat on the bed and covered the hand holding the pouch. "Yes, for you. And, for the record, this was the reason for my comment at the crime scene. It really was a case of 'it's me, not you.'"

He released her hands and nodded toward the pouch. She opened the top and pulled out a key on a very unusual keychain. It was a chubby, yellow and black striped bee wearing a crystal tiara. It was so damned cute. She couldn't help the smile that instantly graced her face.

"Queen Bee," he explained. "Of course, I'm using her as a metaphor. I'm not trying to imply you are nothing but an egg-laying machine. And, of course, she's not physically correct, either. But, ignoring that, I hoped the stereotype of the Queen Bee would get my point across on every level."

Dream on, Grissom. She still wouldn't mind him spelling that one out, since she had no idea what he was talking about.

Something in her face must have given her away because he gave her his best put-upon sigh.

"You now have the keys to my hive and my heart. Okay?"

"Well, if you are sure you can handle it and breathe at the same time…"

"Sara. I was ashamed of that comment, the moment it passed my lips. I'm my worst enemy sometimes. I needed a moment to get used to doing something I really, really wanted to do. You know that, don't you?"

She knew that. Yes, she did. And if there was any doubt, the intensity of his eyes would have dispelled it.

But it was so nice hearing it.

She slid her arms around his neck and kissed the soft hair on his face. His arms tightened around her.

"I adore you, Sara," he said and did what he had tried to do earlier that morning and nuzzled his nose against the warm crook of her neck.

Adore.

Damn.

Her perfect little hive was back in business. She'd be sleeping well, and right-side-up tomorrow.

The End