Disclaimer: The characters and situations in this story belong to Alliance Atlantis, CBS, Anthony Zuicker and other entities, and I do not have permission to borrow them. No infringement is intended in any way, and this story is not for profit. Any errors are mine, all mine, no you can't have any.

Spoilers:through "Goodbye and Good Luck".

Many thanks to DreamsOfHim for an on-the-spot beta!

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"I need to know where she is, Jim."

Brass' mouth was drawn tight and he wasn't in a listening mood, not even for the man standing in his office doorway. "I bet you do."

Grissom cocked his head, not looking anywhere near as upset as he should. "What's with you?"

"I don't know where she went," Jim said dismissively, stacking papers on his desk. "She's a big girl, she can look after herself."

There was a second of silence, and then-- "She hurt you, didn't she?" Grissom asked softly.

Jim glared at him. "Oh, so you get laid for the first time in a decade and you turn into Mister Sensitive, huh?"

Grissom gave Jim the gently chiding look he used when he was concealing amusement, even though his eyes were rubbed red. "Jim. You know she's already regretting it."

Jim scrubbed a hand over his face, trying to wipe away the weariness and the memory of Sara's eyes. "Your point?"

"How is she going to apologize if she thinks no one wants her to come back?" Grissom shook his head. "She has to know, Jim. I have to tell her."

There was something wrong with his logic, but Brass couldn't quite pin down what.

But he'd fallen down that pit before himself, where every detail of a case was a jab at raw nerves, where nothing was worth the effort and everything ended in loss. Where every indrawn breath tasted bitterly of defeat.

Sometimes, it still lingered on the back of his tongue, a ghost of hopelessness--

He'd never wanted to see that in anyone else's face.

And in the end he couldn't throw stones, because he'd lost enough that way. She at least had the brains to quit before it was all gone.

Or maybe it was guts. How should he know?

"I'll see what I can find out," he said abruptly.

Something flared in Grissom's eyes, and Jim realized that this mattered a whole lot more than his old friend was letting on. "Thank you."

"Mmph." He wasn't in a mood to be generous, but Jim knew that Grissom was right; that Sara had probably been kicking herself for her angry words before she'd even cleared the city limit. "Tell her when she gets back I'm gonna give her a good spanking." Right after he hugged her half to death, but that was a given.

The corner of Grissom's mouth twitched upward. "I'll do that."

He turned to go, and glanced back over his shoulder. "Jim…don't take too long."

The shadow falling across his face made it clearer what this was costing him. Jim gave him a short jerk of a nod, and then Grissom was gone.

The memory of Sara's anguish, though, lingered.

Jim let out a slow breath, and reached for the phone.

End.