18/06/2007 22:01:00

"So…" Gil began.

The two women waited and watched him sit back in his chair, his hands folded in his lap. They sat side by side in the chairs across from his desk. Well, Catherine was in the wheelchair she was using for long trips outside the house, but Sara sat beside her in a lounge chair.

It had been a month. Catherine was still a far cry from healed, but Sara had been fully recovered for a week. Only her stiff posture and finger splint revealed her as anything but in perfect health. Catherine still wore a cast on her left leg and, though the stitches had been removed, the dressings on her right leg were still being changed daily- something Sara did gladly.

And now they were supposed to be discussing their return to work. They knew that Catherine would not be working full time and certainly not doing any field work. But she was driving everyone crazy, complaining about sitting around at home.

Sara on the other hand, fully expected to be back to working full time as of tomorrow night. But the look on Grissom's face told her that he hadn't asked them both here to talk about the conditions of their return.

"So…" Catherine countered, an edge in her voice.

Her and Sara's relationship had progressed well over the last four weeks. After Catherine's release from the hospital, Sara had been over a lot to take care of her or to take Lindsey out so that the older woman could rest. They had even been on a few dates. Nothing fancy, because Catherine could neither sit nor stand for any extensive length of time, but dinner or take-out and a movie.

Sara went out of her way at every turn to make the littlest things special for Catherine and in turn, the redhead had never felt so loved and cherished. But now, watching the man in front of them, the nerves they had been staving off all month were beginning to creep up.

Sara felt it in the tingle at the back of her neck while Catherine was aware of it because the room seemed suddenly devoid of oxygen. They had not discussed Gil since their experience in the mine, choosing instead to focus on the joys of their new relationship.

Now, both were starting to think they should have come with a plan before this. What if he didn't accept them? What if he didn't want them working together? Were they secure enough in their relationship to rebel against him if he fought their decision? These were the questions running through both women's minds and both were desperately wishing they had the answers.

"So, I take it by Catherine's ornery tone that the two of you have decided to stay together."

"Ornery? Ornery!" Catherine retorted.

As cute as she was when she was agitated, Sara really didn't think now was the time for one of her irrelevant tangent-blow-ups. She stilled the woman with a hand on her forearm, saying simply, "Yes, we have."

This seemed to be the type of answer Grissom had been looking for, because he nodded, "Both Nick and Warrick said as much, but I wanted to hear it from you. Thank you, for being honest with me."

It was Sara's turn to bristle at the accusation, "We never had any intention of concealing this from you," she hissed, "even if it isn't any of your business."

Now Catherine quieted her with a look before turning to Grissom, "The question here isn't what we're going to do Gil, it's what you're going to do. You know us both…very well. We've been friends for nearly twenty years now, you and Sara for nearly fifteen; you know us. You know what to expect from us professionally and personally; we're strong and devoted people. What can we expect from you? Can we expect your support?"

Sara stared at her lover; she always was one to hit the nail on the head. She turned her gaze to Gil. The best course of action was to simply go along with the older woman.

Gil sighed and put his hands on his desk. He was quiet for a minute longer before he shook his head, "Of course, I'll support you. How could I not? You're the best things in my life- you know how much I care for you."

Sara shot Catherine a look that she read instantly; the biggest problem in either of their past relationships with this man was that no one ever knew just exactly what he was thinking.

Grissom continued, "It's just going to take a while for me to get used to…this." He gestured vaguely at the two women.

"This?" Catherine asked, slightly annoyed.

Gil ignored her, "But as long as you two are serious, there's nothing I can, will, or even want to do to stop you. I guess I just called you in here to say I'm sorry for the way I acted before and…congratulations." The last bit was added without a hint of celebratory feeling.

"And work?" Catherine wanted to know.

"Sara can start up as early as next Monday- full time. You should wait another two weeks, I think. Your doctors told me six weeks bed rest and then we can see you part timing it- desk work and lab consults only, until you've completed your physical therapy."

"What about us and work?" Sara pushed.

"Well, I don't want to push you, but the lab will be under scrutiny by the legal system until it becomes abundantly clear that you two are an established couple." Gil shifted uncomfortably, "The quickest way to do that is for you two to register as domestic partners. I know it hasn't been that long and you're still testing the waters- I'm just letting you know what the Sheriff and Ecklie think the best course of action is."

Catherine's eyes narrowed, "The Sheriff and Ecklie think that the best idea is for us to get married?"

"They don't want to fire us?" Sara wanted to know.

"No, they do." Gil said, "Especially with all of the paid leave they've been having to give you. But I emphasized the lawsuit they would be facing if they fired you for either your accident or being a couple. So, they left you under my supervision and told me to get you hitched as fast as possible."

"Well, too bad!" Catherine said, angrily. She looked at Sara apologetically, "I'm sorry, baby, I love you, I do- but I'm not ready to get married."

"Neither am I. I mean, I'd love to someday, but I'd like us to go slow. Like go on a date where neither of us has stitches or crutches, if you know what I mean."

Catherine was smiling, "Yeah, I do." In a quieter tone she said, "You really want to marry me, someday?" She blushed with happiness.

Sara smiled right back and took the redhead's hand, "Of course I do. I just want to do it right. I'd like to propose to you and not sign some paper with Ecklie hanging over my shoulder."

Catherine shuddered at the thought, "Yeah, he's not invited to the wedding."

"Whatever my lady says goes!" Sara squeezed her hand tightly and Catherine laughed out loud.

The brunette looked to Grissom, "So, we're done here, right? I'll be in on Monday night?"

The gray-haired man nodded, "That's fine."

Sara stood and backed-up so that Catherine could do a u-turn.

"We'll see you later, Gil," Catherine called as she wheeled out.

Sara inclined her head at the older man before following the other woman out.

"So, what now?" Catherine asked as they passed through the doors of the lab and into the early morning sun.

"I don't know," Sara came up behind her and took control of the chair; because of her wrist, Catherine's arms still tired easily, "Your sister is taking Linds to school…you hungry?"

"I could eat."

"How about an omelet from the diner? Spinach, feta, mushroom?"

"Yum!"

"Hey, did I hear someone say omelet?" Nick's voice came from the door.

Sara felt Warrick's strong arm around her shoulders, "You two weren't think of going without us, now, were you?"

Sara groaned jokingly, "Can't I have a romantic breakfast alone with my woman?"

Greg ran up from behind her and took hold of Catherine's handle bars, "No! Especially, not when your woman's this damn fine!" He sped up and began pushing Catherine in circles.

"Greg!" she hollered, "Greg, you stop this right now!" But she was laughing.

Nick came over to rescue her and Sara followed with Warrick, "What do you think, hon? Breakfast with the boys?"

Catherine smiled brightly at her and her heart melted, "Could be fun. But you owe me omelets by candlelight!"

"Ho, ho! Sounds like someone's gettin' lucky!" Greg laughed.

The old Sara would have blushed and the old Sara would have shot daggers at Greg with her eyes. But the new Sara had Catherine's head on her shoulder the entire drive to the diner and the new Sara had Catherine's smile to tell her that it was just a joke. The new Sara found she didn't mind so much- or at all, in fact.

"I wish!" She laughed, "But that damn cast isn't coming off for another two weeks!" The brunette dodged as Catherine's purse came flying at her, and she banged fists with Nick and Warrick like she was one of the guys, all the while giving a glaring Catherine a smile and a wink.

Nope. The new Sara didn't mind much of anything at all.