Title: "You're not fooling anyone"

Author: Taya

Word Count: 3106 (It's something of a beast)
Rating: Teen, I think.
Spoilers: Lets call it…. Post "Leaving Las Vegas" but no Keppler and a complete disregard for any episodes after that. Sara's attitude does conform to spoilers though.
Pairing/Characters: Nothing heavy, all characters mentioned.

Disclaimer: I own nothing. If I did I would not be living off a student loan in uni accommodation with zero heating eating only pasta and toast (not together) for months at a time. If I did own them I would advise everyone to be afraid because I have a nasty sadistic streak and like to cause pain to my favourite characters.

Something was very wrong.

Nothing he could really put his finger on but she was just… 'Off'. Quiet. Too quiet, in the break-room. A new personal record for overtime despite having no discernibly complex cases. And perhaps, most disturbingly, that look was back in her eyes.

It was the 'don't fuck with me' look and the 'I'm already broken' look all rolled into one and he hadn't seen it in months. Watching her as she shuffled the papers in the file back to a semblance of order he debated whether or not to mention it. He really needn't have thought about it though as the decision was rapidly taken out of his hands.

She was looking at him. Obviously waiting for him to respond to…'something'. Unfortunately he had failed to listen to a single word she may have said and in opening his mouth neglected to actually engage his brain and just spewed his first concern.

"Are you Ok?"

"What?" The confusion was more than evident.

"It's just. I don't know, are you hungry?" She didn't even justify that with a response beyond the narrowing of her eyes.

"No, I know. I just thought maybe we could grab some lunch or something." At least it would get her out of this place.

"I'm really not hungry Jim. I just want to get the guy and file this case away." She was succinct. Matter of fact about the work and dismissive of the invite.

"Yeah, I figured. Look Cookie…" She frowned then and looked back at the file in her hands. Obviously the familiarity wasn't what she was receptive to right now. A quick glance down the corridor and he figured it was all or nothing time. Grasping her arm he pulled her into his office and gestured towards the chair whilst pushing the door shut. "I don't want to pry but you look a little tired and you're not really very 'sun-shiny' at the moment."

She quirked an eyebrow. "Sun-shiny? Is that even a word?"

A good natured glare in her direction and he sighed. "You know what I'm getting at. Is it, Is this about the Grissom thing?"

"What Grissom thing?" Her nonchalant response wasn't fooling either of them.

"I might not be 'nerd-squad' material but I'm not blind or stupid. Come on, give me a little credit. He takes off and you're clearly on edge. I know more than one person who's got money riding on how soon it'll take you to snap at Ecklie and even a couple of people who are betting on how long it'll take you to snap his neck."

"There's always someone pissed at Ecklie. Now please Brass, I'm fine." With that she sent a fake smile in his direction and headed towards the interview room. Ending the conversation to all intents and purposes.

Muttering under his breath, the detective moved to follow. "I have never been less convinced in my life."

Forty five minutes into the interview they had essentially gotten as far as the geographical centre of 'no' and 'where'.

The suspect, 'Jacobs' sat back in his chair with a perpetual smirk on his face. Brass knew he'd done it, Sara knew he'd done it, the guy's lawyer knew he'd done it, in fact the queen of Sheba might as well have been so convinced of his guilt that she decreed it carved in solid marble, for all the good it would do.

They had nothing concrete. They could place him in the general area of the attack. He owned the type of boot that left the footprints kicked into her body and he clearly had motive. Unfortunately the boots were standard uniform issue with no individual characteristics which meant there were roughly another two hundred pairs in Las Vegas and motive was not enough to link him to this crime.

It was increasingly clear that they couldn't hold this guy and everyone in the room was very aware of that fact.

"You know what buddy… you're right. We're not going to hold you. But I am going to be watching you very carefully. Sooner or later you're going to make a mistake and we'll be waiting." With a menacing smile Brass got up and stepped out into the corridor holding the door open to let the guy and his lawyer leave.

The lawyer led the way with Jacobs and Sara close behind. Just as Jacobs reached the door he turned and leaned over in Sara's direction. "You know you'll be waiting a long time." He grinned foully.

Sara merely regarded him darkly and responded… "I'm patient".

Brass grinned briefly for a fraction of a second before all hell broke loose.

Jacobs turned in the blink of an eye and threw Sara across the interview room, flipping over the table and landing with force against the wall. In the meantime his foot had connected with the lawyer who slammed into Brass knocking both out of the doorway and letting the door slam shut.

In a split second he was wrapping his hands around Sara's neck, lifting her into the air and slamming her head violently into the wall.

Brass scrambled to his feet hollering for the deputies and drew his gun kicking the door open.

"Turn around and put your hands in the air."

Well… he acquiesced on one point. Jacobs turned around spinning Sara around with him and drawing his own gun from God only knows where. Raising the business end to Sara's temple he grinned maniacally in Brass' direction. "One move and I put a bullet through her brain." His other hand moved from her arm and crawled across her stomach moving under her shirt.

Sara was somewhat disorientated but her eyes nonetheless glittered dangerously and she took a deep breath ignoring the thin trail of blood that was creeping from her nose slowly down her face.

Brass experienced very clearly that sinking feeling that he had come to associate with a CSI about to do something very stupid. He had to bite his tongue to keep from warning her not to move and if it hadn't been for the fear of drawing Jacobs' attention back to his hostage he would have been delivering a very strong lecture in her direction.

As it was, there was little he could do but steady his gun and be acutely aware that he had almost no control in this situation. He could only hope that Sara would calmly try to talk the dangerous but frankly idiotic man down.

That hope lasted about as long as it took for Sara's arm to shoot up and allow the base of her hand to forcefully meet Jacobs' chin with an audible crack. Her body meanwhile twisted away out of reach of the awkward angle of the gun which discharged clumsily, the bullet ricocheting off the wall just above her shoulder.

Not wanting to loose his impromptu hostage. Jacobs grabbed her wrist and tried to pull her back, twisting it painfully in his grasp. He was momentarily distracted by the solid connection of her knee with his groin and he stumbled backwards loosing the grip on the gun as he hit the wall.

Sara's left fist connected with his cheek and she kicked the gun out of the way, leaving him the only option left to him which was clutch even tighter on her wrist and attempt to yank her to a position where he may still achieve some form of strangle hold. A sickening crack caused the still present deputies to wince but Brass merely stepped forward, put the barrel of his gun to Jacobs' head and grimacing as he growled fiercely, "Let. Her. Go." With each word painstakingly enunciated.

Jacobs grunted and released his grip on the CSI who moved smoothly towards the deputies showing no outward signs of distress. Brass performed the arrest and none-too-gently dragged him off to get processed, shooting a 'we need to talk' glare in Sara's direction on the way out.

By the time Brass returned to the interview room the deputies had straightened the minimal furnishings back to their original positions and Sara was nowhere to be seen. "Where'd she go?" He gruffly demanded of the young officers, receiving nothing but shrugged shoulders and unclear murmuring in return. Abruptly turning on his heels he left the room loudly demanding to know who was responsible for the weapons search of the suspect in a tone that left no doubts as to who's balls would be separated from their owner and mounted on a board in the detectives office by the end of shift.

Stomping down the corridor he caught the other object of his frustrations attempting to sneak out of his office. "Sara". She looked up guiltily. "My office. Now."

There was really no arguing with the mood Jim was currently in and the brunette reluctantly found herself sat in the chair before his desk staring at the floor.

"You realise you could have been killed?" He began, lowering himself heavily into his chair. "Since when has it been good practice to cause chaos when there's a gun against your head? Jesus Sara do you have a death wish? Because it sure looks like it at the moment."

There was no small amount of defiance in her eyes as she met his gaze and hotly retorted, "No, Brass I don't have a death wish but I'm not just going to stand there while fate does a coin toss over my life. What would you rather, that I passively stand by until someone pissed him off further and he splattered the contents of my skull against the wall?"

"I expect you to have some faith in this department and in me Sidle. This would not have been my first attempt at a hostage negotiation. We're trained to talk the situation down and you know that." Brass' own voice was loud and increasingly aggressive.

"So this would be a display of faith in the department that failed to notice a suspect was armed despite supposedly performing a body search before allowing him into the room?" Her expression was incredulous and her features were flushed from the argument, she was clearly just getting started. One of them was about to say something inherently stupid and Brass was almost grateful for the interruption as his office door flew open and Catherine and Greg stormed into the room.

"What the hell happened?" Was the first thing out of the blond CSI's mouth, and it was directed at Brass. As he mumbled something along the lines of a short summary Greg went to Sara's side and reached his hand tentatively towards the rapidly darkening patch on her left cheek bone.

"Damn Sara, he did a real number on you." His voice was low and full of concern, effectively silencing the tense argument that had been full force mere seconds before. Brass reddened and found a seemingly fascinating and apparently invisible spot on the floor that drew his attention, marginally ashamed that he hadn't considered any injuries she may have sustained.

Catherine gravitated towards the other side of Sara's chair also radiating concern although it was rapidly brushed off as the stubborn CSI dismissed the gestures of her colleagues with a brusque, "I'm fine," rising from the chair, the cool 'all business' mask slipping over her features. The effect was somewhat diminished by the wince and the sharp inhalation as she stood which did not go unnoticed by anyone in the room.

"You need to go to a hospital." It could have come from anyone but in this case it was Catherine that made the snap decision.

"No." The response was sharp and instinctive. An octave higher than might otherwise have been expected. A steadying breath calmed her voice and she attempted to clarify. "I'm fine honestly. Just a couple of bruises, they'll heal up fine."

Whilst the other occupants of the room remained severely unconvinced of the accuracy of the statement, no-one was willing to resume an all too obvious argument that was waiting in the wings to fulfil its scripting commitments.

Glancing at his desk, Jim picked up a pen and spoke, "Here, just sign off on the incident report." Throwing the pen at her he watched as it was snatched out of its arc and then promptly dropped as Sara withdrew her right arm with a muffled sound akin to a gasp. Furrowing his brow, Brass stepped around his desk and held out his hand for her arm having proven his point and drawn attention to a detail she was conveniently ignoring.

Sara rolled her eyes and gritted her teeth as she held out her arm for inspection. The detective carefully rolled up her sleeve revealing the start of an intimidating bruise with clear finger impressions on an increasingly swollen wrist. The colors stark against her pale skin. "Damn." Breathed Greg as he surveyed the damage.

"Right, hospital. Now."

"Cath, it's fine really."

"You're going to the hospital if I have to call for an ambulance and have you knocked out for transportation. You're not walking around like that until you've been checked out." Opening the door of the office, Catherine fingered her car keys. "Jim, Greg, hold down the fort here and I want a full report by end of shift. You," she said, gesturing at Sara, "Go and get in the car."

Within the hour, Sara was sat on a hospital bed with a sizeable scowl on her face waiting for the doctor to return with the X-rays. Apparently having a certain blond CSI waving Crime lab identification around and using ominous words like 'incident' and 'police reports' meant exceedingly quick tests and minimal queuing. In her attempts to lift herself with one arm in order to hop onto the bed she had unwittingly revealed the extent of the injuries sustained whilst being thrown into a table and full chest scans had promptly followed.

Needless to say Catherine was less than pleased when the results were back and Sara's definition of 'fine' was revealed to be a cracked rib, a spiral fracture of the wrist and deep bruising across her shoulders from impact with the wall. A reluctant confession of dizziness and nausea also admitted to the probability of a mild concussion and the younger CSI was released only with strict instructions regarding being woken every two hours that night and the refusal to allow aspirin. The cast on her arm had added to Sara's foul mood and the wheelchair that she was instructed to sit in as they left could quite believably have melted under her glare.

As a result the atmosphere in the Tahoe was more than a little tense as Catherine drove them back to the lab. Pulling into the parking structure she was clear in her instructions. Get your stuff and sign any active cases over to Nick and Warrick. I'll meet you in the break-room in half an hour.

She then proceeded to her office to phone her sister and explain that picking up Lindsay would be easier said then done and that she would be running decidedly late.

Thankfully Sara was in the break-room as instructed leaving one less battle. All the team was there with concerned small talk the order of conversation. With a snort she observed that Sara was impatiently trying to dismiss them with comments like "It's just a little fracture, it'll heal fine."

"You're not convincing anyone you know," confessed Nick. "Catherine phoned us from the hospital, so don't even try and mislead us. Me and Greg are coming over to keep you awake and you're supposed to take a couple of days off."

The objection on her face was clear but there was little opportunity to complain. As Warrick explained, "Lab policy. Sorry girl but it's non-negotiable." He grinned at her answering pout and addressed the room. "So… who's phoning Grissom?"

"No-one. He doesn't need to know."

"He's going to find out anyway cupcake, he's back in three weeks and that cast is on for six." Brass shook his head at her attitude. The Grissom 'thing' was clearly still an issue.

"Well there's not a lot he can do about it. Let him find out when he comes back."

The argument effectively stopped there with no one wanting to be the target of the venom in her voice at that moment in time.

"Anyway…" It was Greg that attempted to discharge the tension, "have you got any decent video games or are we stuck watching 'chick flicks'?"

"You can watch whatever you want but you're paying for it. I'm staying at the 'Claremont'."

"Why are you in a hotel?" Greg's surprise was mirrored by the others.

"Oh, umm, my place is being renovated." She said flatly. She had moved out of the shared townhouse immediately after Grissom's departure and had no wish to explain her residence there or the reason for her temporary relocation.

Besides a few quirked eyebrows no-one called her on the blatant lie for which she was extremely grateful.

"Hey!" Exclaimed Greg excitedly. "That means you have housekeeping! We can trash the place!"

A good-natured wallop round the head from Warrick disabused him of that notion but the half grin from Sara was worth the momentary pain.

"Alright then, lets get this show on the road."

A long five days later and Brass had swung by the hotel to pick up Sara for her first day back at work.

"You ready?"

"Oh, yeah. I was about to start climbing the walls in there."

"Sounds about right." He knowingly smirked at her. "Did you ever get around to calling Grissom?"

"Why would I?" She cast a suspicious glance in his direction.

"I think he'd want to know."

She turned to look out of the window absently drumming the fingers of her left hand along the cast. "Well we don't always get what we want." Her voice was low and aimed at no-one in particular.

"You need to talk to him. If only to make him apologise."

"For what?" The question was soft and held more sadness than he had anticipated.

He looked at the brief unguarded pain that showed in her eyes before answering. "For whatever he did that hurt you and whatever it was that I need to yell at him for."

She smiled a little despondently and the mask slipped back into place. "I'm fine." She stated.

Brass shook his head and returned his attention to the road ahead as the car grew silent. The thoughts in his head were clear. 'You're not fooling anyone, kiddo.'

The End

This grew out of a monster of a random conversation with 'thegreatbluespoon'. Hope this meets with you're approval. It's my first fic in this fandom although I am a long time lurker (think months, not weeks!).

Now if you'll excuse me I've been writing for about 2 and half hours and I really need to get up and let the circulation return to my extremities.

Please read and review.

It's unbeta'd so constructive criticism is more than welcome.