Author's Note: There are no spoilers for this story, and so it can really be set whenever you want it to be...prior to whenever it is that you think Sara and Grissom became an official couple. Do I think this would really happen? Hmm. Not necessarily; Sara can seem a bit reticent sexually on the show, although I always thought that was a bit of a front (or was that hoped?). Do I think Grissom thought these things while he watched Sara over the years? Oh, yeah. You bet. I like to think that this could be a "just before" story, set months or weeks or days--or even hours--before our favorite couple finally gives in to their baser, sweeter impulses. Because, can't you just imagine what they do after breakfast? To quote an annoying but in this case appropriate phrase: yum-o. Oh, and if you want me to figure out what they do after breakfast, let me know. I could be convinced to write a second chapter...

Disclaimer: Grissom and Sara belong to Tony and the kids at CBS; Yum-O belongs to Rachael freakin' Ray. I belong to William Petersen, and someday I'll tell him so.

Sometimes I wonder if she notices me watching her. I can't really help it—she's like an addictive living painting, always captured in a beautiful or fascinating light, always unconsciously striking a pose that cries out for further study and appreciation. Her dark hair, whether falling in soft curls or in angular curtains around her perfectly oval face, catches the glint of whatever light she's in and casts it around the room, be it morgue or diner or the living room of her apartment. Her eyes can be a hundred shades of brown—such a simple, ugly word for the complicated colors that dress the windows to her soul—sometimes holding flecks of gold or smudges of green, sometimes burning a bright, hot hazel and or sinking into the shadows of an angry or impassioned chocolate. Her lips frame a wide and expressive mouth, painted in delicate brushstrokes of antique rose without the aid of cosmetics, and her smiles can range from slight to wry to brilliant, and each captivates me before releasing me to relish the joys of re-attainment.

And that's just above the neck.

I try to be respectful and focus mostly on her face—something a younger man driven by the blood rushing south to take up residence might not understand—but there are days when she makes it difficult, and I'm not including the days when she makes it impossible. When she falls asleep in the break room, head gently pillowed on her folded arms, the limpness to her long and slender limbs reminds me of a child; when she wakes up and stretches, breasts arching and back bending and legs splaying slightly as she tightens all the muscles in her body and then releases them, I am reminded of something very, very different. Something it has been a few years since I have experienced, and which I find myself unable to contemplate again without her image sliding unexpectedly into the frame of my own imaginary erotic film.

I love her in jeans—something about the fabric of denim is oddly appealing to me, at once smooth and rough, heavy and clinging—and I love her in black, because it is uniquely effective in bringing out the luminescence of her skin, the darkness of her eyes, the highlighted espresso of her hair. She never wears heels, probably because in her bare feet she is as tall as Nick or I, and taller than Catherine. But when I am alone—which is almost always, when I am not at the lab—I sometimes picture her in heels, something slim and black with straps lacing from her slender ankles all the way up her calves, and I would be lying if I said the image was unpleasant. Or that it didn't make me want to press her up against a wall and see if her skin tastes as delicious as it smells.

Every once in a while, I catch a particularly enticing snapshot of her, displayed as if for my personal aesthetic pleasure: she is striding across an arid Nevada front lawn, pale blue blouse clinging slightly to her back in the heat, the hem of her khakis riding up slightly to reveal the sunburst tattoo over the front of her left leg, just above her foot. My brain wanders briefly to the lovely and warming thought of running the tip of my tongue over every line of ink pressed into her pale skin.

Or: she stoops to take a photograph of a piece of red silk dangling from the thorny outcropping of a bush, and the thin strap of her tank top slides down one perfect shoulder to loop around a defined upper arm, leaving an unobstructed line of freckled flesh from the pulse point of her neck to the edge of her collarbone. I imagine pressing my lips to every inch of that skin until she says my name, my real name, which Catherine and Brass and even Robbins use carelessly and never, ever crosses her lips.

Also: she is lying on her back on a small wooden board, face buried beneath the body of a car, endless legs and flat abdomen and small but perfect breasts covered by navy cotton, and at the sound of my voice she scoots out from beneath the tons of steel, dark hair pulled back with strands curling around her cheekbones and jaw, and the zipper on the jumpsuit is down just far enough that I know she has nothing on beneath it, at least from the waist up. Not unusual, to protect one's street clothing from the dirt and fluids the examination of a vehicle can offer up as gifts, but I cannot erase the image of sliding that zipper down and taking advantage of everything she will offer to me in the backseat or on the hood of that vehicle, evidence be damned.

This is how I know that watching Sara has changed me. When I met her, she was twenty-five, all eager questions and vibrant eyes, and I found her cute and bright and interesting. She was a student who became a friend, and if I pretended I did not see the way she watched me, I can hardly be blamed. Distance and age seemed impossible barriers, and sometimes fantasy is better than reality. Better to let her think of me as the handsome professor that got away than as the aging entomologist who would not stop calling her in the middle of the night to discuss insects and dead bodies. Yet somehow, because of our friendship, I was certain I had become the latter.

When I asked her to come to Vegas, and she agreed and then stayed, my eyes would stray to her occasionally, but no more than Catherine or Terri or any other attractive woman who crossed my path and made her presence known. I was not particularly interested in dating, or even always in sex—solitude had made me patient, accustomed to silence, set in my ways; accommodating someone else's belongings or lifestyle or even presence in my bed upon waking was not always bearable. But over time, I began to realize that she was always there. More than Catherine, even—one of my oldest friends in the lab. She was slipping into my office to present her latest findings, or wandering the ghostly blue-lit halls with a stack of files; she was showing up at my crime scenes with a camera and a ready smile, or accepting my assignment slips with an accidental brush of her finger against my wrist. Her eyes would fix on mine with an enigmatic gaze or a wry quirk of her eyebrow to rival my most enigmatic and wry expressions, and the sense of kindred spirit would wash over me in a tingle of overwrought nerve cells on the surface of my skin.

But for every moment I was made painfully aware of her presence, there was a corresponding ache at the realization of her absence; for every expression and movement and turn of phrase that screamed of similarity, there was a tear or a moment of defiance or an unexpected sentence that alienated me and spoke to how little I knew her. The day came when I was distracted from a witness's statement by the sensation of her body heat as she stood close behind me…the moment came when I almost overlooked a key piece of evidence because some sarcastic double entendre exited her lips and shot straight to my groin…the second came when I stopped caring about destruction of fingerprints or gunshot residue or blood evidence because there was an opportunity to kiss her, touch her, take her—and I knew. Watching Sara had changed me.

Today, I know she knows that I'm watching her, and I've decided not to care. We are in the locker room, she and I and Nick and Warrick, and shift has finally ended. The younger men are carelessly stripping off their work-weary shirts—Warrick buttoning a black silk shirt over a white tank, Nick trading a pale blue tee shirt for a dark green—and Sara could be watching this unconscious display of flesh, but instead her eyes are on me, where I am standing, locker open, my blue forensics coat being traded for a black leather one the team has probably seen me in infrequently enough to count the instances on one hand. It is actually a favorite jacket, given to me years ago by a woman whose name I have not forgotten but whose embraces were entirely forgettable, its affectionate preference in my off-duty wardrobe due to my secret love of the smell of leather and my less secret love of black, and not at all to the hazy memory of its giver. I can almost feel the trail of her eyes burning into my skin…she starts at my temples, sliding down my face until she takes in the beard I have grown oddly fond of, then my shoulders, torso, and down to parts of me I never imagined until a few years ago she would actually turn her gaze to. I know what she sees—dark red polo, black slacks, black leather shoes, and now the addition of a rarely seen and highly prized piece of dressy clothing. I wonder if she thinks I have a date. I, of course, do not.

The sensation of her eyes on me is too much to resist, and while our coworkers banter away about something masculine and social and entirely out of my realm of interest, I return her speculative stare. She is especially lovely today; the rich purple of her silk blouse, its short sleeves a comment on "winter" in Las Vegas, is almost as complimentary to her skin and eyes as black, which she has kindly wrapped around her long legs in form-fitting, wide-hemmed pants. A black-ribboned choker with an amethyst set in silver nestles in the hollow of her throat, and I briefly contemplate tearing it off and replacing it with my lips, a far more worshipful piece to rest against her skin. She lifts one hand and slides it into her thick hair, shaking it out, and I realize we have been standing here for well over a minute, simply looking at each other. Nick and Warrick have fallen silent, and their eyes are turned to us in confusion.

"Uh, Gris?" Warrick says, as Nick calls over him, "Hey, Sar?" We turn; she smiles and I arch a brow.

"Is everything all right?" Nick asks finally, his eyes darting back and forth between us. "You guys were staring daggers into each other for a minute there."

Sara smiles sweetly. "Everything's great. Anyone interested in breakfast?"

Both men shake their heads, offering up excuses I don't even pretend to pay attention to. I close my locker firmly and look up at her again. "Breakfast sounds good."

She does not bother to hide the pleasure on her face, and we part ways with Nick and Warrick in the parking lot. She slides into the passenger side of my SUV easily, as if we have done this a hundred times. I climb in beside her, turning the key in the engine, turning my face to her. She is studying me openly, and her dark eyes look mischievous, secretive, and slightly haunted.

"Where to?" I ask, letting my voice take on the faint accent of a Chicago cabbie, and she smiles.

"Anywhere," she replies, and I shift the car into gear and drive.

There is a small restaurant on the outskirts of Henderson that I want to take her to. It is excessively out of the way, but the food is exceptional, and I have never taken a woman there before. She might never know it, but this excursion will be a date in the recesses of my brain, something to hold me over during the endless nights when I sleep alone, dreaming of her.

We are on the highway, desert rolling by in endless waves of dry and dusty sand, when I catch a movement from her out of the corner of my eye. She has shifted her seat back as far as it will go, stretching out her long legs, and tilted it back. Her eyes are shrouded with sunglasses that are slightly purple. But what catches my attention so thoroughly that I almost steer us into the wrong lane is the idle movement of her fingers on her thigh, tracing circles and mindless patterns on the black fabric. She sighs softly, a faint sound accompanying the release of air. I force my eyes back to the road, grateful that at 8 am in the middle of nowhere, we are relatively alone.

"Do you like this color on me?" she asks. Her voice is low and sultry, and I am as badly startled by its sensual sound as by her words. I flick my gaze over to her, my own eyes hidden behind dark lenses. She is fingering the wine-colored silk of her shirt with the hand that is not busy inscribing secret messages on her thigh. I clear my throat.

"It's a good color," I allow. We drive in silence for a minute or two, and then peripheral movement distracts me once more. I almost slam on the brakes. She has unbuttoned the blouse over her pale skin and what I can now see is a bright blue lace bra. Her fingers are trailing over her stomach, and she is smiling softly as she stares out through the windshield, as if this undressing beside me is the most ordinary thing in the world.

"What are you doing?" I choke out, dragging my eyes back to the road. Still empty. She laughs lightly.

"Letting you watch," she purrs, and things low in my body tighten. "It's what you like to do, isn't it?"

I hear the snick of a clasp being undone, and then the rasp of a zipper. My breath is caught in my throat. I cannot drive and let her do—whatever it is she is planning to do. I will lose my mind. With an abrupt wrench of the wheel, I jerk the SUV over to the side of the road and throw it into park, my hands trembling on the steering wheel. I slowly turn to Sara.

She has one slender hand lost between her legs, hidden from me by her pants. Her hips are rocking slightly, however, and it is no mystery to me what she is doing. Her other hand is teasing one nipple over the lace of her bra, and her lips are parted, releasing soft pants into the hot air. Her sunglasses still hide her eyes enough that I cannot read their expression, but they are not turned to me anyway. They are still staring out through the glass of the windshield, taking in the desert landscape as she pleasures herself beside me in my car.

I want to reach for her, to replace her hands with my own, but she has had faith in my reticence, and it is well-placed. I am paralyzed as I watch her, her hips arching higher off the seat as she moans softly, her fingers pulling down the lace of her bra over one perfect breast to reveal it to me, and to her restless hand.

My mouth is dry, my eyes tight, and my body painfully aroused. Everything feels a bit hazy around the edges, as if this is another one of my rare but powerful dreams of her. I know that I should start driving again, that I should stop her with a sharp command, but the battle between what I should do and what I want to do leaves me effectively helpless. I watch Sara as her thighs tighten around her hand, as her back arches, and I know she is very close. I move at last, reaching over to pluck her sunglasses from her face and toss them to the floor, to turn her face towards mine with firm fingers under her chin. She opens her eyes, and their darkness collides with my gaze just as she climaxes, a long moan escaping her mouth.

I watch Sara come.

When she comes down, when her mindless sounds quiet, she gently pulls away from the hand I still have beneath her jaw, to hold her stare to my own. She has not cried out my name in the throes of orgasm, or confessed an undying love. She has merely noticed my voyeurism and forced it to the next level, taking all the power with her. I realize I am shaking. She calmly zips up her pants and fastens the clasp, tugs her bra up over her breasts, re-buttons her shirt. She looks faintly flushed, incandescent, and not the least bit ashamed.

"God, I'm starved," she says in a faintly throaty voice. "Where is this place, anyway?"

Taking my cue, I throw the SUV into drive and pull back out onto the highway, trying to ignore the throbbing of my body insisting that I take her home instead of to breakfast. "We're almost there," I tell her quietly, even though it will be another twenty minutes. She nods, content with my answer, and leans her head back and closes her eyes, her breath slowing and easing. Within moments, she is asleep. From the corner of my eyes, I watch her sleep, her chest rising and falling evenly, her hands resting limply by her sides, one strand of hair drifting down over her cheek. She is beautiful.

I continue to drive.