Sara Sidle stood unmoving at the open window of the ballroom, arms wrapped protectively around her bare shoulders as the chilly draft raised goose-bumps across her skin. The city was a wash of dancing lights below her, a cacophony of bright colors swirling soundlessly through the steel and concrete jungle of the strip. The window was on the fortieth floor of the hotel, too far for the noise from the street to filter up to the open windows, but she could easily imagine it, the dissonant concerto of humanity, raucous and loud, undeniable proof of life.
She wasn't entirely sure how she had come to be standing here at the Mayor's annual Law Enforcement Ball. Oh, she knew that she had taken the elevator up and walked across the room on her own speed, but how she had ever been talked into being here at all was something of a muddle. She vaguely recalled some discussion during assignments the previous week when Catherine, who had originally volunteered for the task with enthusiasm, had bowed out regretfully, citing some Lindsey-oriented obligation that had cropped up. How they had gotten from there to here however, was a mystery. She definitely didn't remember offering to take Catherine's place, and yet here she was – uncomfortably out of her element, feeling awkward and graceless in her unaccustomed finery. Her gown was long and lovely, a rich blue-black satin that fit her slim hips to a 'T', but she still couldn't help but feel like an ungainly child playing dress up in her mother's clothes.
Sara blew out a breath and wondered at the time. It always felt as though these political glad-handing events lasted an eternity. She hoped Grissom would weasel his way out of Ecklie's conversational grasp soon so that she could at least have him to talk to while they waited the requisite amount of time before making their escape. They had already sat through dinner and the pompous speeches and endless rounds of self-serving applause that came after. Now it was merely a matter of doing the appropriate amount of mingling before they could slip away and not be missed.
She glanced over her shoulder to check that, yes; Grissom was still being grilled by his boss. Even from here she could tell that his eyes were glazed over and he was having a hard time paying attention to what was being said to him.
She stifled a smile. She had to admit, as she watched him surreptitiously from her corner, it wasn't just her own biased opinion that made him look stunning tonight. He wore a tux, as did the rest of the men in attendance, but he wore it uncommonly well, garnering appreciative looks from many of the other women in the room. The blue of his bowtie drew the color from his eyes like a beacon, bright and clear, though narrowed in concentration currently as he attempted to focus on Ecklie's words. His curly hair, more grey now than salt-and-pepper, belied boyishly handsome good looks. He looked even younger now that he was clean shaven – finally – after some genial badgering on her part.
She watched them for another moment and then turned back to her window, waiting patiently for him to come to her.
Being patient was something she was getting good at. Their mutual decision to keep their relationship outside of work had been the right one, but that didn't make it any less frustrating. She was able to cope at the lab. Putting personal things aside to concentrate on the job was, for the most part, second nature by now. It was times like this when she was with him, but not with him, outside the strictures of their jobs, that the urge to touch him, to take his hand, to lay simple claim to him, frustrated her.
She felt a touch on her shoulder and turned with a smile, expecting to meet a familiar pair of blue eyes and instead found herself nose to nose with Conrad Ecklie.
"Oh," she said, unable to hide her surprise.
"Well, good evening to you too, Miss Sidle," Ecklie said wryly. "Are you cold?" he asked, noticing her slight shivering. "Would you like my jacket?"
"Um, no. Thanks, Ecklie, but I'm fine." She managed a tight smile. What was it with men and exposed skin she wondered. He wouldn't have thought twice about offering if she were in jeans, but throw her in a sleeveless dress and suddenly she was a girly-girl, incapable of going to get her own wrap from her chair.
"Did you enjoy the speeches?" he asked.
"Oh, yeah." She tried to imbue her voice with more enthusiasm than she actually felt. "I thought it was very…educational."
"I bet you did," he replied, sounding more than slightly skeptical, and then struck off on what was clearly his original reason for coming over. "So, what did you think of the mayor's ideas on the Urban Crime Unit Collaboration? Sounds like a good resource for our guys on the front lines to have, don't you think? All that data gathering spread out across several different cities, chances to pool information, extrapolate statistics…"
"You're not going to rope her into pushing paper for your taskforce, Conrad." Sara felt the cool brush of silk as her wrap fluttered around her shoulders and Grissom came to stand by her side, absent-mindedly pulling the edge of the fabric up to cover her shoulder.
Ecklie tried unsuccessfully to look affronted. "Oh come on, Gil. Sara and I were just discussing the mayor's ideas. At least give her a chance to make a decision on her own. Just because you don't think it's a good idea…"
"A good idea?" Grissom interjected. "It's a travesty waiting to happen and you know it. We're already stretched too thin. Our people will get so bogged down in reports and statistics; they won't have time to solve crimes. Forget it. If you want to pry some more money out of the city and start a new division for the 'Urban Crime Unit Collaboration', then be my guest. Just stop trying to con my people into doing more work so you look better politically."
The tips of Ecklie's ears turned pink as he tried to reign in his temper. "You CSIs have no idea what kind of financial pressure we deal with on our end. You want to get all indignant about the sanctity of your work then knock yourself out, but don't come crying to me when there's no money for new equipment and your team's hours start getting scaled back when the city isn't seeing anything for all its contributions."
"Not seeing anything?" Grissom frowned. "Don't be ridiculous. The lab has a violent crime solve rate that rivals…"
Ecklie cut him off. "Why are you trying to convince me, Gil? I work there, remember? You don't play politics and that's what happens. You might not like it, but visibility is important. You don't want to play games and I can understand that, but you know what? I don't care. You play or you don't get funding. That's how it works." He looked between the two of them. "I'd really like to see you guys put some effort into this, make the lab visible to the public, let them see what they're getting for their tax dollars."
"I have no doubt you would, Conrad," Grissom said evenly. "But, I'm afraid we have slightly more important things to do with our time…like investigating crime scenes."
Ecklie gave an annoyed sigh. "Fine. But, I'm telling you, Gil. This is important stuff. The lab needs the press to keep getting the dollars. You want to keep your team intact; you might want to think about reconsidering." He turned to leave and then stopped. "Don't forget, you are both here as representatives of the lab. I expect you to stick around and be seen. I might not be able to force you to pitch in on the UCUC, but I can insist on this." He gave them each a nod. "Good night."
Sara gave Grissom a bemused look as Ecklie walked away. "You sure know how to piss him off."
He gave her a purse-lipped smile in return, "It's the tux. It makes me cranky."
"Well worth a little crankiness then, you look fantastic."
"You don't look half bad yourself, Miss Sidle." He gave her a look that made her stomach do flip-flops. "Actually, I take that back," he continued, "you look incredible." His voice dropped, low and husky and the flip-flops turned into cartwheels. She hoped desperately that she wasn't blushing.
The small orchestra in the corner, back from its break, struck up a slow tune. A few couples began to make their way to the front of the room and the parquet dance floor that had been laid down for those so inclined.
Grissom cocked an eyebrow at her. "Do you want to…"
"If you don't complete that sentence with, 'get out of here', then we may need to reevaluate our relationship."
He chuckled. "Actually, I was going to say, 'step outside for some air'. Will that do?"
Her worried look dissolved into a gap-toothed smile. "I thought you'd never ask."
They walked elbow to elbow, but not quite touching, to the open French doors, the curtains misting in light circles in the breeze. The doors opened onto a large balcony; vaguely 'U' shaped that jutted out over the side of the hotel. A breathtaking view of the Las Vegas skyline lay spread out below them like an offering, and by tacit agreement they walked to the railing and leaned against it, looking out over the city.
"Did you have a good time tonight?"
"No," she replied with a grin. "Did you?"
"Oh, God, no," he gave her an appalled look and then chuckled. "It was nice to spend some time with you in public though. I can't say that I wouldn't rather have stayed in and watched the Discovery channel on your sofa, but as far as these sorts of things go, it wasn't half bad with you there."
She smiled and laid her hand over his on the railing, their bodies blocking the view of their entwined fingers from the ballroom. "Yeah, I think things suck less with you around too."
He gave her a puzzled look and she bumped him playfully with her hip. "I'm kidding, Griss."
"Yes, 'ah'." She shivered lightly beneath her thin wrap.
Noticing her discomfort, he asked, "Do you want to go in?"
"No." She shook her head. "It's nice out here…quiet too." They were alone on the balcony; their own voices the only sound, underscored lightly by the soft music coming through the ballroom doors.
"Well, in that case..." Grissom shrugged out of his tuxedo jacked and draped it around her shoulders, helping her arms into the sleeves and pulling the lapels together with slow deliberation, looking for all the world as though he might let propriety be damned and kiss her anyway.
"Thanks," she said and gave him a crooked smile, feeling like a girl at her prom.
She felt silly for liking it when he took care of her, but her heart warmed at every little affectionate gesture. She snuggled into the coat, redolent with his scent – the clean, musky smell of him.
The little intimacies of being a couple still captivated her, delighting that after so long, they were privy to the tiny unimportant secrets of each other, the fact that he hummed while he shaved, that he was completely tone deaf while he did so another charming facet of him, her complete inability to hold still, even while at rest, jiggling her foot or tapping her fingers, boundless energy that was only absent at night, when she lay replete in his arms. It was knowing those little bits of each other that were usually held back from the rest of the world, not because they were important, but because they weren't, that made them wholly a part of each other's lives. She cherished every little nuance.
"Why don't you dance?" Grissom asked her suddenly, startling her out of her reverie.
He shrugged. "I'm curious – call it an investigator's prerogative. I've never seen you dance."
"Well good grief, Griss. When would you have had the chance? It's not like we do stuff like this very often." She gestured toward the room behind them, taking in the hotel, the guests and all of the associated trappings with a sweep of her arm.
"So you do dance?"
"Well, I didn't say that," she replied. Seeing that he wasn't going to drop the issue she gave him a dark look and continued. "No, okay? I don't dance."
He was persistent. "Why not?"
"Why would I?" She shrugged. "There's never been an occasion that called for it."
He nudged her with his shoulder. "What about now? Dance with me."
She gave him an incredulous look. "Now?"
He shrugged. "Sure, why not?"
She turned to face him. "Two reasons. One – We're less than thirty feet away from a room full of people who could easily ruin both of our careers if they found out we were together and decided to make an issue out of it." She gave him a meaningful look.
"And two...?" he asked expectantly.
"Come on, you said two reasons. That's just one. I'll admit it's a good reason, but still not sufficient. What's the other reason?"
She rolled her eyes. "Fine. Two – I don't know how to dance." The look she gave him threatened physical harm if he dared to laugh.
"Oh, is that it?" He waved his hand at her dismissively. "That's not a reason."
"What? Of course it's a reason," she objected. You can't dance if you don't know how."
"No. Not knowing how to dance is a good reason for a guy not to dance, Sara. Women don't dance so much as…follow."
"And I look like the kind of girl who likes to follow to you?" Sara asked dryly, one eyebrow arched into her hairline. She relented. "Okay, I'll bite. Do you know how to dance?"
"You're forgetting how much older I am than you," he said matter-of-factly. "Of course I do."
"You're surprised? Admittedly I haven't actually done it in years, but that sort of thing used to be compulsory…pretty tortuous on impressionable young boys of course." He looked thoughtful. "Maybe that's why they don't teach it anymore – emotional trauma."
Seeing that he was about to embark on some philosophical theorizing on the effect of dance instruction on the development of human behavior or some such, she called him back to the present. "Grissom…"
"Dance with me."
"I'm not dancing."
He stepped away from the wall and took her hand. "Come on, CSI Sidle, where's your investigative spirit?" He gave her a playful smile. "Where's that hunger for information and passion for knowledge in all its forms that I know you value so highly?"
"Those are back at home with my work shoes," she said primly. "In two inch heels all you get is me walking in a straight line and not falling over…if you're lucky." She stepped towards him though, allowing him to wrap an arm around her waist. She cast a meaningful look towards the open doors, eyebrows raised in question.
"Oh, all right," he said and backed away, towing her gently to the far side of the balcony, putting a large outcropping of decorative stone frontage between them and the room full of interfering eyes.
Sara laughed breathlessly as they reached their hiding place and he tugged her more firmly into his arms. "There," he said, "That's better."
"Grissom…" she chided, "how many glasses of wine did you have?"
He gave her a wounded look. "Are you trying to imply that I wouldn't do this if I hadn't been drinking?"
"Yes," she said with amused sincerity, "that is exactly what I'm suggesting."
"Ah. Well, you're probably right." He threaded a hand through hers and wrapped his free arm around her back. "Now dance with me."
She capitulated with a laugh and relaxed into his arms. "Alright, Grissom – show me how to dance."
He arranged her arm around his shoulder and curled her other hand into his chest, snuggling her close to him, sharing the warmth of his body with her as he moved them slowly in time to the faint music. He kept her pressed close, his hand spread possessively on her bare back beneath his jacket as they sketched a faint circle in their protected little niche in the sky.
"Is that all there is to it?" she asked quietly after a few minutes. With her curly head pillowed on his shoulder, her breath was a warm caress against his throat and he tightened his grip in response.
"That's all there is to it," he replied, his voice equally soft in the strange sanctity of their hideaway. "I'd show you how to tango, but I don't think there's enough room."
Her chuckle was a low vibration against his skin and he closed his eyes against the sudden rush of desire for her. She was a lovely, lithe thing in his arms and not for the first time, he mentally reproached himself for having put her off for so long. Just as quickly as he felt it however, he pushed the feeling away, needing to focus on the present and the exquisite feel of her here and now.
He held her close, his heart aching with the pleasure of having her near him. He couldn't imagine a time when it wasn't natural to have her nestled in his arms. Had forgotten what it was like to wake up without the scent of her shampoo lingering on his pillow even when she wasn't there, or that radiant smile hadn't been a balm to his weary soul. She had taken the mundane life of an old man and reworked and reshaped it into an existence filled with joy and laughter and a meaning that he had never hoped to realize.
Suddenly unable to even contemplate resisting the urge, Grissom stilled and brought a hand up to cup her chin. He could see the glitter of moonlight in her eyes and thought she had never looked more beautiful. Her head tilted back to look at him, and before he could stop to question the advisability of his actions in such close proximity to their coworkers; he lowered his face to hers and kissed her, gently, warmly and thoroughly.
Surprised and hesitant at first, she slowly relaxed into his mouth, letting her eyes drift closed, and kissed him back. Almost unconsciously, her free hand slid to the base of his neck, her fingers tangling in his curls as she changed the angle of their kiss, her mouth opening under his gentle pressure.
He let out a soft breath that was almost a moan as her tongue met his, tightening his grip until her pliant body was pressed firmly against his own. He tasted wine on her lips and drank deep, savoring the warmth of her mouth and the delicate curve of her cheek, her alabaster skin cool as marble against his fingers.
He never tired of touching her, had kissed and loved her a hundred different ways by now, but each time was a new experience. Each time he discovered a new facet of her to be studied with pleasure, a breath, a sigh, a throaty moan, a gasp as she fell apart beneath him. She was electric, humming beneath his skin like a current, leaving electrons charged in her wake, drawing him to her like a magnet to true north.
He lost himself in the delicate touch of her tongue, in the scent of her light perfume and the glorious texture of her hair as he threaded his fingers through her dark waves. It was just the two of them, together as one, floating on top of the world.
And then, in the worst case of bad timing ever recorded, Grissom's pager went off.
"Damn." Grissom broke their kiss and swore softly under his breath.
Sara gave a frustrated laugh and pulled reluctantly out of his arms. "Time to go to work," she said with a disappointed sigh. She flashed him a lopsided grin. "Just as I was getting good at this too."
"You've always been a quick study," Grissom replied with a smile as he checked the display on the offending piece of technology. "Looks like I've got a date with a 419 across town."
"You want me to come with you?" she asked hopefully.
He shook his head. "No, you can stay and enjoy the rest of your night." He ignored her pointed eye roll. "I'm only on the guest list for bug detail. I should be done in an hour or two. Would it be alright if I stopped by your place after I finish up?"
"I'd be offended if you did anything else," she said, shrugging out of his jacket and handing it back to him. "It isn't often we get the same night off together. Seems a shame to waste it." She gave him a sultry look, eyebrow raised in blatant invitation.
Breath hitching, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her again, hard and fast, and then released her, leaving them both a little breathless. "I'll be there as soon as I can," he said gruffly and turned to leave.
"I'll be waiting," Sara replied, her voice husky, quirking a smile when he glanced back and nearly collided with the dividing wall. He gave her a wry look and then he was gone.
She turned back to the Vegas skyline, smile lingering on her lips as she leaned on the railing, relishing the cool solitude of her perch for a few more minutes before she bowed to the inevitable and returned to the crush of people in the ballroom.
Half an hour later she was eyeing the door longingly over the Sheriff's shoulder as he and Ecklie continued to extol the virtues of the hypothetical UCUC in glowing terms. She had attempted to make her escape, and very nearly managed it too, before Ecklie had cornered her by the door. She reigned in the desire to yawn as the two men worked their sales pitch, clearly expecting her to go back to the lab to champion their cause to the rest of the team. She simply smiled and nodded as pleasantly as she could while she mentally cursed Grissom for not taking her with him whether he needed her or not.
"New York and D.C are spearheading the process," Ecklie was saying, "San Francisco and L.A. are already on board, and have started implementing some of the new reporting processes…" He trailed off. "Sidle, is that your pager?"
Sara started, the buzzing coming from her purse finally penetrating her consciousness. "Oh," she felt herself flush. "Sorry." She rooted around in her handbag until she came up with the cheerfully trilling device.
"Everything alright there, Sidle? The Sheriff asked as she read the message off of the display.
"Um, yeah. Everything's fine, I just have to go," she waved the pager in explanation and flashed them a smile that she hoped didn't look too relieved, as she stuffed it back into her bag, "duty calls."
Breathing a sigh of relief as she finally left the noisy, crowded room behind her, Sara made her way to the bank of elevators and pulled her pager out again, rechecking her message as she waited for a car to ascend to her level. A soft smile played on her lips.
It wasn't so unusual as far as calls went. She'd gotten hundreds of them just like it over the years. It was an address and a code – pretty standard information for paging a CSI to a scene. What had her smiling was which address flashed at her from the display window, Room 1623 of the Maximus, the hotel she was currently standing in, and the caller-id. It was a number she knew as well as her own, Grissom's cell phone.
Sara stepped out of the elevator on the sixteenth floor, her heels sinking into the plush carpeting as she made her way down the hall, stopping finally outside the appointed room and knocking lightly. She was unsurprised, but her stomach still fluttered when Grissom opened the door. Still dressed in his tux, he leaned against the door jamb and gave her one of his quirky half smiles.
"Hi, yourself," she replied. "CSI Sidle, reporting for a call." She waggled her pager at him. "I understand there's been a 314 on the premises."
He raised an eyebrow. "Indecent exposure?" He gave her satin-clad body an ironic once over. "Not yet, but I'm working on it."
Her pulse tripped at the tone of his voice, all latent heat and promised passion. "Well," she said, slowly letting her wrap slip from around her shoulders. "What are you waiting for?"
He reached for her then, using the ends of her shawl to draw her into the room and letting the door swing shut behind them.
"Your 419 cancel on you?" she asked with a smirk as he towed her to the center of the suite.
"Let's just say I owe Warrick a favor."
Sara laughed. "You got Warrick to bail you out of the mayor's ball with a fake 419?"
"You can think of a better way?" he asked rhetorically. Releasing her in the middle of the room he added, "Stay here".
She did, kicking off her shoes with relief and burying her toes in the heavy pile carpeting as she watched him move around the room, turning the volume up on the softly playing music and dimming the bright overhead lamps until the flickering light of dozens of candles was all the illumination they had. She raised an eyebrow as she surveyed the elaborate setup. The large room was awash in candlelight, groups and singles scattered over nearly every horizontal surface. A bottle of champagne sat chilling in its bucket next to two crystal flutes on a side table and the snowy linen on the bed had been turned down and strewn generously with scores of red rose petals.
He rejoined her in the circle of muted light, drinking in the sight of her pale beauty, burnished gold in the warm glow of the candlelight. He brought a hand up to cup her face, his thumb brushing lightly across her cheek. "You are beautiful, Sara."
She blushed and turned away, uncomfortable under the intensity of his gaze. He stopped her with gentle pressure, forcing her to meet his eyes. "You are." His voice was tender, but firm. "You're intelligent and accomplished and the most brilliant woman I've ever known, but you're also the most beautiful creature I've ever laid eyes on." He stepped away from her then and held out his hand, "now dance with me, Sara."
She gave him a crooked smile and allowed him to pull her firmly into his embrace. "Candles…music…dancing…" she said. "Who knew Gil Grissom was such a romantic?"
"I am capable of many things, but only in love do I fly," Grissom quoted softly into the tumbled curls of her hair. He leaned back so that he could see her face and gave her a shy smile. "I've never really had the inspiration for this sort of thing before. I just wanted to do something…special."
"It's wonderful," Sara assured him, bringing cool fingers up to rest at the base of his neck. "But you didn't have to do all of this. Just being with you is enough. I don't need a big romantic production to make me happy."
"I know," Grissom replied with a gentle smile. "That's why I wanted to do it."
He pulled her in and for a moment merely held her close, burying his face in her hair and relishing the contact between their bodies. Her scent was intoxicating and he felt himself harden in response. It wasn't just the subtle dab of cologne that she indulged in on rare occasion, but the natural, more elemental musk that was hers alone, and it never failed to stir him. On some clinical level he pondered the attractive potential of pheromones and marveled at the chemical reactive nature of human attraction and then he moved and they were dancing.
He curled their clasped hands into his chest, pinning them just above his heart, wondering if she could feel its pounding rhythm even through all the layers. God, she was beautiful. Did she really not see it? He could make out her own pulse beating rapidly in the hollow of her throat and felt an unexpected thrill of possessive pride course through him – I did that. I'm the one that's making her cheeks flush and her heart race like that. He tightened his arms reflexively and she looked up at him, a curious expression on her face. Her eyes were fathomless in the glowing circle of candlelight and he wondered for a fanciful second if, in direct opposition to all the laws of physics, it really was possible to drown in their darkened depths. He shook his head with a self-conscious smile, kissed her brow and gently pressed his cheek against her curls as she relaxed back into his embrace.
They etched out a space in the middle of the room, silent but for the soft sounds of their breathing as they moved. Flaring and guttering in the flickering of the candlelight, the shadows danced soundlessly along with them.
The steps were simple, nothing elaborate, nothing that would break the contact between their bodies as they moved slowly in each other's arms. He guided her with the light pressure of his hands and hips, glorying in the feel of her body's response to his wordless requests. They moved together in silence, neither speaking lest they break the peace of their glowing sanctuary.
It took a moment for either of them to realize that they had stopped moving. The music played on, but they stood still, wrapped in each other's arms.
Slowly, Sara lifted her head. She was flushed, her eyes heavy-lidded with desire. Again Grissom felt the glow of satisfaction, the innate joy of knowing without a doubt that it was him that she was looking at that way, and him whose bed she would be sharing, and soon. His hands came to cup her face, nearly of their own accord. He whispered her name just as she breathed his, and brought his lips down to meet hers with tender force.
He explored her mouth with the fervor of an investigator, touching, tasting, learning, making her his by uncovering her secrets one at a time. She moaned softly into his kiss and he broke away, trailing down her throat to the sensitive spot behind her ear. She shuddered in his arms as he teased and nibbled delicate flesh, sending delicious chills down her spine to settle as a warm burn low in her belly.
With her eyes closed, Sara let her head fall back and gave herself over to the moment, glorying in the sensations that coursed through her body as Grissom worshipped her with lips, hands and tongue.
Sliding off the flimsy strap, he kissed a path across her shoulder, relishing the softness of her skin. He moved behind her, never stopping in his gentle ministrations, always touching, always tasting, hands tracing delicate patterns along her arms, raising goose-bumps that made her shiver.
"You are beautiful, Sara," he whispered softly, the warmth of his breath tickling the delicate hairs at the nape of her neck. He kissed her there and grasped her hips, pulling her to him, evidence of his arousal firm against her backside. "There," he said. "See what you do to me?"
Sara felt herself flush, for once not caring about the telltale blush that bloomed on her fair skin, masked as it was in the dim light of the candlelit room.
"Open your eyes, Sara," he commanded softly, nuzzling the back of her neck. "See how beautiful you are."
She did, and realized she was standing in front of the full length mirror. She was almost startled by the appearance of the woman in the reflection, all golden skin and sparkling eyes, hair curly and mussed, lips swollen from use. Grissom stood behind her, hands on her hips, a soft smile playing on his face.
"See," he breathed. "Isn't she amazing?"
All the while holding her gaze in their reflection, he slid his hands down the outside of her thighs and drew up the hem of her dress, slowly rucking the heavy fabric across the smooth skin of her legs to reveal the barest hint of the white panties she wore beneath her dress. Holding the skirt out of the way with one hand, he used the other to leisurely trace the inside of her thigh, dragging his fingers lightly over the sensitive flesh, moving marginally higher on each pass until he barely brushed his knuckles against her sex, sending her jolting against him with a gasp.
He smiled into the soft skin of her neck and more deliberately explored the cotton-covered vee at the apex of her thighs. Still barely touching, he lightly drew his fingers across the warm fabric, watching her in the mirror as she gazed back with half-lidded eyes, taut as a bowstring against him as she anticipated his touch.
He continued his gentle onslaught, fingers dancing lightly over sensitive skin until she shook in his arms. He watched her closely as he teased, able to read the pleading in her eyes though she never spoke a word.
Finally he showed her mercy and equally gave into his own desire and on his next pass dipped his fingers under the waistband of her panties and into the moist heat he found there.
Someone moaned, but whether it was him or her, Grissom wasn't sure. She was hot and wet and desperate for contact, moving against his fingers as he touched her. He built a rhythm, sliding his fingers in concert with her unconscious thrusts. Letting the skirt fall, he unzipped the back of her dress and slid his other hand under the bodice of her gown, cupping her breast, feeling the nipple harden in his palm.
Sara moaned softly and let her head fall back against his shoulder.
"No, Sara. Open your eyes." His voice was demanding. "Watch."
Her eyes snapped back open, meeting his in their candle-fired reflection
He dropped his hand from her breast and freed himself quickly, not bothering to do any more than the bare minimum in his haste. His other hand never stopped moving, rubbing in light circles over her most sensitive spot, fingers covered in her juices as she writhed against his touch. This wasn't how he had anticipated culminating the evening, but he couldn't wait any longer.
He leaned her forward, helping her brace her arms against the wall, her gaze never wavering as they locked eyes in the mirror.
He dispensed with her sodden panties, helping her step out of them before re-positioning himself behind her. His fingers returned to their gentle torture as he pulled up the back of her skirt, pressing himself into soft skin between her legs with a shudder.
"Grissom," she spoke finally. Her voice was choked, desperate.
"Sara," he said hoarsely in reply, her name like a prayer on his lips. He aligned himself quickly and thrust home with a single motion, burying himself fully in her depths.
Sara gasped at the immediate intrusion, her arms buckling as he pressed into her. Grissom dropped his gaze, burying his face in her shoulder to keep from crying out himself. He forced himself to freeze, embedded in her heat, bringing himself under control before he lost his head completely.
Finally he began to move, slowly at first, taking his leisure in her body, relishing every inch of contact between them; drawing out the exquisite pleasure of their joining. He was gentle and patient, denying himself the urge to fall over the edge and take her quickly, to use her hard and fast and spill himself inside her NOW. He could wait, he could make this good for her,
"Faster." It was no more than a whisper, but a demanding one. Grissom opened his eyes, taking in the nearly pained expression reflected back at him in the surface of the mirror. Her eyes were shut tight, lips parted as she panted soundlessly for breath, waiting.
He felt the last vestiges of his tenuous control break, torn away by the power of a single word. Letting himself go, he dug his fingers into her hips and surged into her.
Almost viciously, he tore the rest of her bodice away, baring her breasts to his gaze and the hungry grasp of his fingers. He cupped them; lightly brushing the sensitive tips with his palm, making her gasp and arch into him.
With something like a growl low in his throat, Grissom dropped his hands to her waist and increased his pace, withdrawing and thrusting, bearing them forward until Sara was mere inches from the face of the mirror.
She pressed back into him, meeting him halfway, making inarticulate noises as she strove towards her own release.
Grissom bowed over her body, chest to back, and covered one of her hands with his own, supporting his weight. He reached around her with his other hand then, burying his fingers in her swollen folds. She bucked under his touch, torn between the desire to meet his thrusts and to press herself against his hand, blind to everything at this point, but her own driving need. She whimpered in frustration.
"Shhh," he crooned into her ear, matching the rhythm of his fingers to the movement of his hips. "You're almost there."
He felt her begin to shudder then, quivering in his arms as she let go and came finally with a soft cry. Her shaking arms gave out and they avoided a complete collapse only because Grissom had the presence of mind to straighten up and support them both.
Sara sagged against the wall, breathing heavily. "Wh…what the heck was that?" She turned her head to look at him, still not 100 sure her legs would support her if she tried to stand up.
Breathing heavily, Grissom managed to look apologetic. "Sorry. I uh…didn't exactly mean for it to turn out this way. I sort of got, um…carried away."
"Sorry?" Sara looked incredulous. "You're sorry? For that?"
He shrugged uncomfortably, and tugged at the remains of his bow tie. "Well, I had this whole idea about champagne and rose petals…"
Sara cut him off with a long kiss and then broke away with a laugh. "Oh, Griss. I do love you." She cupped his cheek with her hand. "This was perfect. You losing control makes it even more perfect." She gave him a satisfied smirk. "The fastidious Gil Grissom throws all his well laid plans out the window and nails his girlfriend up against a wall. Who'd have thought it possible?"
Grissom cut her an offended glare. "I'm not so very fastidious as all that."
"Well I certainly don't think so anymore." She said with a grin, enjoying his discomfiture.
"Hmm," he replied, studiously avoiding her gaze as he started to straighten his decimated wardrobe.
"What are you doing?" Sara asked, batting his hands away. "Stop that."
Grissom gave her a puzzled look. "What?"
Sara shook her head in exasperation. "We are so not done here."
Grissom fidgeted awkwardly. "Well, I…this was supposed to be about you."
"And it will be," she replied with a wicked smile. "Come on." She pulled him to her with the ends of his tie and kissed him again. "I think we might still have a little time left over for champagne and rose petals." Taking his hand, she led him across the room to the waiting bed and sent him sprawling on the white linens with a gentle shove.
She smiled down at him as she stripped out of her gown and let it drop to the floor in a puddle of blue silk. "I might not know much about dancing, but I do have a move or two of my own. Care to see them?"
Much later, as the candles began to gutter and wink out, Grissom pulled Sara into his arms, pillowing her head on his shoulder as they caught their breath. He brought her hand to his lips and kissed her palm before placing it over the thrumming beat of his heart.
"Thank you for tonight," Sara said sleepily as they started to drowse, "for all of this, for teaching me to dance…for everything"
Turning his head, Grissom placed a soft kiss on the tangled curls that lay across her brow. "You're welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed it." He was silent for a moment and then quoted softly into the darkness, "and those who were seen dancing were thought insane by those who could not hear the music."
Sara lifted her head to look him in the eyes, her own glittering in the waning candlelight. A sweet smile curled across her lips as she gazed down at him. "I hear the music, Grissom. When I'm with you – there's always music."