Author's Note: This was originally written for the LJ community, summerbits. Each author had to write seven fics, ranging from 500-1000 words, about the various characters in the CSI verse. This takes place after the season 7 finale, so if you're unfamiliar with "Living Doll," turn back now. Note – I haven't read any spoilers for season 8 so if there are any similarities between this and the show, it's coincidental. Definitely not intentional.

Reviews are always welcome.

Warm Against Cold
By Duckie Nicks

They seemed to live in separate time zones, appeared to be living two completely different lives. And without Bruno and medication, Sara almost believed she lived alone. In her mind, the truth was their life had completely, maybe irrevocably, changed; he kept trying to reclaim what they had while she wanted to remove herself from that life completely.

It wasn't that Grissom didn't try. The brunette knew that he did. He was the one who found her, the one to pull at her tired body, the one who carried her out of the mud. Sara remembered very little of those moment, but she did remember that much – the feeling of wet on dry, of cold cheek against warm stubble.

Grissom hadn't left her beside at the hospital, and she was quite certain that if she hadn't pushed him, he wouldn't have returned to work at all. These days the aging man preferred to dote on her, brought her her medicine, glasses of water, warm buttered toast – anything he thought she needed. And after work each week, he'd stop and buy her the latest science journals (even the ones about subjects she didn't enjoy) for her to read over.

His bedside manner wasn't perfect, but he was so sweet to her, tried so hard. And that made it all the more worse. Grissom was more open and honest about how he felt than ever before. He'd changed for the better, it seemed, but Sara couldn't appreciate it at all.

She thought a lot while he was at work; that was the only time she felt safe enough to sort through her brain. And she had decided a week ago, on one of the hottest days of the summer, what she would love to change in her life. In the back of her mind, there had always been the cheating boyfriend and how she wouldn't date him again or go through that in another lifetime. But now, Sara realized, if there was one thing she could change, it had to be this relationship.

It hadn't always been that way. For a while, she had lay awake at night, the sound of the dog and Grissom snoring keeping her awake. The thrum of the air conditioning hadn't stopped her from wondering why she had gone into that parking lot. Why hadn't she fought her off?

But weeks of what ifs and whys had only led Sara to one conclusion: there was nothing to be done in that parking lot. Even if the CSI had successfully fought back then, she would have found another way. And if that were true, which Sara was sure that it was, then the only way to avoid any of this was to have never fallen in love with Grissom.

Any other path, and she still would have ended up underneath that car.

The irony of it all was not lost on her. She could finally have the relationship with Grissom that she always wanted. He still had hang ups, of course, but he finally realized what a world without her might be like. And yet, while he no longer took her for granted, she only wanted to escape, to end the relationship.

Naturally though, leaving him was easier said than done. During the day, even when Grissom was gone, she felt guilty about it. Never more stricken did she feel than when Bruno would come over to her and lick her feet or rest his head on her lap as she read. She would think, as the boxer settled down next to her, that it was impossible for her to leave. How could she when the dog depended on her for so much, including a jogging companion?

Not that they could do that anymore, the summer heat too dangerous for him, the possibility of being outside and defenseless too much for her.

And that surely had to be another obstacle. Sara was weary of Grissom, but there was nowhere else to go; she didn't feel nearly as safe anywhere else.

Besides there were times when she would jerk awake in the middle of the night so sure she was watching over them. Then, when Sara felt so afraid and frozen, Grissom would reach out to her and pull her towards him. Just as he had that night, and his warm cheek would rest against her clammy forehead, and leaving became the last thing on her mind.

In those moments, she was content to let him hold her together, and afterwards, if only for a few seconds, there seemed to be some hope for them. The night would wear on, but Sara swore she saw nothing but the sun.

End 1/1