Title: Guilt by Glow

Author: Summer Reign

Rating: T

Spoilers: The Good, the Bad, The Dominatrix (and pretty much everything that came before)

Disclaimer: CBS, TPTB—all own it. A few of them should be sued for not caring for the characters in the proper manner, but that's another story.

Summary: Brass comes to a logical conclusion. GSR.

A/N: This is in response to Gibby's challenge. We were supposed to reveal how Brass found out about Grissom and Sara. Here's my little fluffy attempt at it.

XXXX

Saved by the stiff.

Good thing, I guess. Yeah, I know how close I came to spilling the beans and how I should be ashamed of myself. I know it, okay? But, truthfully, I'm more disappointed than relieved. It's not every day a guy gets 100 percent grade A gossip and--to have to sit on it--well, where's the fun in that?

And, I suppose, it's a betrayal of sorts. And the person being betrayed is, technically, my best friend. But, you know, it's not like we're teenaged girls with this BFF thing. Putting aside the whole saving my life thing, we're basically a couple of middle-aged guys who share a shot of scotch when cases get bad. Should that really take priority over the chance to one-up Catherine? Just the thought of it is more fun than my last wet dream.

There's part of her that's still that nasty little snot in the schoolyard—curls glistening in the noonday sun, nose in the air, sing-song-ing, "I know something you don't know." And the worst part was, she usually did.

I love her (like a really stacked sister); don't get me wrong. But, sometimes, she's annoying as hell.

And telling her about Grissom and Sara would have been…really, really good.

But, anyway, it didn't happen. Like I said, I dropped a large hint, she seemed interested and then—boom, dead body at our feet.

'Aint that the way it always goes?

Over the past year, I guess, I witnessed a lot of random moments…things that made me go "hmmmm…" like the song said. But the big light-bulb-going-off-over-my-head moment came last week.

But I'll get back to that. I've been hanging with the geeks too long. There is a precise scientific process that needs to be rehashed before one can draw a logical conclusion. And that's how I'll have to present my evidence when that glorious moment comes, so I can beat the eggheads at their own game and gloat over how these trained CSIs let something so HUGE take place right under their noses while they noticed nothing.

So, the first time I knew Sara Sidle must be 'getting some' was on this case we worked where a pair of rocket scientists managed to mangle themselves with a chainsaw. Don't ask. This is why I keep away from power tools. Anyway, Sara and Gil were processing the scene when I walked in. She was on the floor by the now one-armed corpse and, well—don't laugh—but, she glowed. Not glowed like with an alien green florescence but like this…inner light. Sitting there in the standard issue coveralls that always seemed about two sizes too big for her, with her hair up in a ponytail or something, a bit sweaty—but lit up like a Christmas tree. All flushed and pretty. Eyes sparkling.

I gotta admit, my eyes drifted to Grissom immediately. I wanted to see if A) he noticed this lovely, glowing creature in front of him (he didn't) and B) if he was somehow responsible for the glow (by all outward appearances—I'm dropping the mother of all hints here—no).

That's when I felt really sorry for the bastard. I mean, come on. He was more interested in the DBs than in the living woman in front of him. And, also, because that glow was caused by someone—and that someone was not him. And, again, he seemed to have no clue that the woman he secretly pined over (well, when bugs or corpses weren't around) was obviously getting laid and seemed pretty happy about it.

Poor bastard.

Wait, I gotta backtrack here. See, Catherine (who, as I already stated, I love like a slutty sister) would glow simply from the reintroduction of sex into her life. Eh. Who am I kidding? Catherine is a rotten example. She's past the glow for anything stage. With Sara, though, I was pretty damned sure some potent feelings went along with the physical stuff.

Truth be told, I got a weird kind of feeling about this kid. It's not romantic, exactly, and not paternal, exactly. I mean, she's younger than me, but that's never stopped anyone of my gender before. It's just—well, for one thing, I've always considered her Grissom's girl—lucky bastard. And then, I don't know. She's just like a little island of a woman, if that makes any sense. So independent and isolated—like no one knows exactly what's gone on with her, or what's going on with her, and she'll only bestow herself on who she wants, whether they deserve the honor or not (hey, don't be shocked at the romantic imagery. I took a poetry course in high school, once).

Anyway, by this time, I was kinda bleeding for my friend, Gil, until I remembered Sara's track record (cough: Hank :cough). By the time Gris caught onto the fact that the girl had a glow, it would probably be extinguished by a wave from the sea of heartbreak (all right, I'll leave the poetry to Grissom from now on).

So, like I said, I witnessed something that I misinterpreted. And I moved on. I didn't take particular note of the fact that Sara's glow did, indeed, dim around the same time as Grissom's migraines became a nearly daily thing and he decided to go off on sabbatical to teach innocent kids about mosquitoes. Yeah, mosquitoes. I mean, other than the fact that Off doesn't really seem to kill them, what else do you need to know about the blood suckers?

Basically, I thought I could explain away her sudden moppiness. She must have missed him on a professional level. After all, they seemed to be working together more and getting along better.

But, reality didn't hit me until the glow came back with a vengeance. One day, I'm walking down the hall and she turns a corner. She's back in the baggy overalls, reeks to high heaven, and slams into me because she's looking down, shaking her head back and forth and grinning and glowing like a Glo-Worm.

"Jim! I'm so sorry," she said, steadying her hand on my chest for a second and backing away.

Jim? I'm sure she's called me Jim at one time or another but it's not an everyday thing.

I forgive her and send her on her way and turn the corner she just came from. And there, standing and staring at the empty hallway is none other than Jeremiah Johnson himself, fresh from Mosquitoville.

Hmmm…No Grissom, no glow. Grissom returns, glow returns.

I see a possible correlation. All those years of supervising CSIs paid off, huh?

"Gil. Welcome back," I say and am pretty much ignored. "Uh, I hate to break it to you, but Christmas isn't for another ten months."

"What?" he said. Glad something got his attention.

I gestured to my own chin. "You're preparing for a gig as a department store Santa, right?"

He gives me a smirk. "I've had a beard before."

"Yeah, I noticed. But not like the one you have now."

He shrugged, started to move away and turned back. "Too much?" he asked.

Now, I don't know about you, but I was a little freaked out by Gil Grissom asking ME for grooming tips.

Surely, that's gotta be one of the signs of the apocalypse.

I shrugged, told him it was good to see His Hairiness, and moved on

So, okay. There's some circumstantial evidence but no real proof. And that's what I continued to get, although I became more and more convinced that my initial interpretation was wrong and I was now on the right track. Gil giving me attitude about calling him in on a Saturday morning? Normally, he'd just send me an FTD thank-you bouquet. Then there was the dog hair on his jacket. I asked him how it got there. He told me his neighbor got a dog. A week later, Sara's in her court duds and there is dog hair on her jacket. Hey, maybe I haven't worked the microscope lately but that light amberish color looks like the same stuff on Grissom's jacket.

Ooooh, Sara….you have dog hair on your jacket. Where, pray tell, did it come from?

Well, shock of shocks. Your neighbor got a doggie? Must be a freaking pooch epidemic.

Oh, and add this to the dossier. She went on about this alleged neighbor and her alleged dog for ten full minutes. Sara's a terrible liar. Embellishes too much. Just the facts, ma'am. Even if they aren't true.

And then I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, when Gil and I were discussing blow jobs. Yeah, not exactly tea time conversation but the subject came up, sort of speak, in the course of the work day and I saw something I hadn't seen in years (take your minds out of the gutter). Grissom smiled. Not his usual, half-assed smirk. A full-on, eyes sparkling, newly shaved cheeks glowing smile. A moment between best buds talking about possible anaphylactic shock through sucking and it was all over. Because he wasn't just talking like a scientist. He was talking like a man who actually had sex and didn't just read about it.

And, I knew—KNEW—who he was having it with.

And from the smile, I knew it wasn't just about sex, but much more. The stuff we guys don't like to talk about but secretly, kinda, want. Feelings (don't think of the song now).

All the stuff I had seen before began to make sense.

And when I saw the two of them in the break room one day, as I was in the hall…and saw her flicking dog hair off of the back of his jacket, well, as far as I was concerned, that put a great big certified, You-Are-Right-Brass stamp on it. Genuine relationship, right there.

So, evidence presented. Conclusion drawn and here we all are. My chance to tell my lovely, annoying, stacked, slightly-slutty sister substitute about this juicy gossip had come and gone and I couldn't find another opportunity because everyone had their panties in a bunch over the return of Heather (Lady, my ass) Kessler.

Oh, she's an operator, that one. Kind of got to Grissom at a vulnerable time. During Sara's Pansy Paramedic Period. Heather took advantage. Probably figured that having a CSI in her back pocket (or other hidden compartment) could be useful. And I saw him almost fall for it. But, when push comes to shove, the guy's got integrity. Of course, he's also a Catholic (lapsed or not) and has a good healthy dose of guilt in him. When he treated her like the suspect she was, well, I think he's still trying to make amends for that because I'm sure…something…happened. But, not much. I know the guy. If he had done the deed with the woman, he would have backed off the investigation completely.

Anyway, he was now her "friend." Yeah, the woman seems to need one, but man—she can pull them out of the woodwork when it comes to avoiding jail time. And, if you ask me, she needs a lot more than just a friend now. And, unasked for, I told her just that.

But Grissom was still trying to play Dr. Phil. And agonizing over it. Any fool could see that. And the off switch seemed to have been triggered on Sara's glow meter. Poor kid. I wasn't all that happy myself. They can't break up before I spread the word, can they? Who'd believe me then?

Besides, I think they're good for each other. I mean, really good for each other. Catching them during their moments of happiness this year has been—well, actually, a little scary—but nice, too. They deserve more than they've ever given themselves.

So, maybe the big reveal shouldn't be to Catherine after all.

"Gil, a moment? I said to him as he was signing papers after doing God only knows what all day while Sara was looking for evidence to help out old Heather.

He looked up and gestured to a chair. I went in and sat. This might be fun.

"I have a theory," I said.

Gil pulled his glasses off and put them on the desk. He let out a world-weary sigh. "Before you start, I was there as her friend."

Ah, Hurricane Catherine struck before me. It didn't matter. She didn't know squat. Nothing she said could have done anything but piss him off.

"Hey, I know that," I continued, smooth as silk. "My theory doesn't concern Heather. It's about Sara."

Eyes dipped down to his paperwork before flicking back up with as nonchalant a look as he could muster. These people are too easy.

"What about Sara?"

"I think she's having an affair."

Fingers gripped against the wood of his desk for a moment. "What does that have to do with me?"

"Nothing. I'm just sharing gossip."

"It's gossip? Around the office?"

"No. Actually, I'm probably the only one who noticed. So far."

"Noticed what."

"I know this is going to sound nuts but, she glows."

"Glows?"

"Yeah. It's been going on for a while. Although, well, actually, since about the time you went on that bug course, the glow has dimmed and now, well, it's gone out over the last few days."

"Really," he sat back slightly and interlaced his fingers. It didn't take him that long to catch on.

"So, my theory is, while I think she's having an affair, she may have another—what was his name—Hank. Yeah, Hank on her hands."

"I doubt that," he said and, if I didn't know better, I'd think the man might be mortally offended at the comparison.

"Really? Why?" I asked.

"Well, I would imagine the odds are in her favor. She's a smart woman. I don't think she'd make the same mistake twice. And I would think that most men would fully appreciate having…a woman like her in their lives."

"You'd think that, wouldn't you? Well, maybe you're right. I can only go with the evidence. The glow was burning bright enough for a cynical old salt like me to notice and, now, poof. Gone. It's kind of sad. If, of course, I interpreted the evidence correctly and, in this case, I hope I didn't. She's a good person. Loyal. Patient. Kind of the real deal in a world of phonies. I'd like to see her happy."

"So would I," he said, looking straight at me in that way he had.

Message delivered. Message received.

The next time I saw them, they both kinda glowed. And, as usual, I seemed to be the only one to notice.

I decided not to spill their secret. They are in a…delicate…phase of their relationship and deserve a chance. In the long run, when it comes out, I'll have Gil tell Catherine I was the first to know.

That ought to be good for a cheap thrill.

And, hey, I get my entertainment wherever I can find it.

The End.

A/N: Writing Brass is fun. I think his deadpan "Do I look like Paula Abdul?" has to be one of the funniest things I've heard all year. I hope I did him a small amount of justice.