Title: Atrophy
Author: CSIGeekFan
Rating: General
Pairing: Grissom/Sara
Summary: Post ep 9x02

Sitting back in the seat inter-connected with the others around it, Sara tried to tune out the clinking of coins and dinging of the bells from the slots. Of everything in Vegas, she really didn't miss that particular sound. No longer could she separate the sound of gambling from everything fake and artificial in her former home city. If anything, her return to Vegas only reinforced the feeling that her only option was to leave. Quickly.

Waiting for airplanes sucked, she decided, reaching into her purse to pull out a breath mint. She'd forgotten to brush her teeth. It seemed stupid, considering everything that had happened over the past few days, but then again in some ways the days themselves waffled between painful and surreal. Knowing that her toothbrush lay next to the toothpaste in the medicine cabinet provided some tangential proof to her current reality.

Blowing out a breath, her cheeks puffed out, while she contemplated her time here.

Warrick Brown, the man she'd come to Vegas to investigate all those years ago lay dead, bringing her back once again. A man she'd once highly respected, the husband of a victim, confessed to killing his vegetative wife. Worse, the anger she'd pushed forcefully aside burned higher in her, reminding her why she hated the job.

With her hiatus over, she knew staying would only prolong and make more heart-wrenching her leaving once again.

"I have to leave and he can't," she murmured under her breath, almost smirking condescendingly at the sick twist of fate.

Impatiently, for she often moved impatiently when frustrated, Sara tugged her cell phone from her bag, flipped open the top, and hit speed dial.

"You know, I have no idea why men can be idiots," she stated, her brow still furrowed. She hadn't even let Gil Grissom get in a "Hello" before going on the offensive. "One day you'll need to explain it to me why your gender needs to always speak around a subject."

She didn't know whether laughter would be appropriate, considering his audible sigh definitely sounded a cross between tired, annoyed, and possibly even a tad surly.

"Well, you could stop expecting me to be anything more than I am," he replied.

A grin lighting up her face, Sara crossed one leg over another and said, "Yeah, but could you learn to stop trying to analyze everything to death? Sometimes a lemon is a lemon. Plain and simple."

"That might be true, my dear, but you are not a lemon."

Rolling her eyes, she responded, "And now we're going to a cross between over-analyzing and literal? That's a stretch even for you, Gil. Try this – your not leaving Vegas is not just about being shorthanded. It's about you. My needing to leave Vegas isn't just about the job. It's about me, and moving on with my life."

While silence reigned, Sara managed to tune out the sounds around her, although the scent of cigarettes occasionally wafted by, making her curl her nose. Eventually, though, Grissom relented and sighed, "You're probably right."

"Of course I'm right," she mused, trying not to chuckle at the note of resignation in his voice.

"We both have fears," she stated, matter-of-factly. She'd already come to recognize her fear of being alone; what made her so disturbed as of late was his inability to really recognize his own.

"True," he finally replied, his tone dropping just a hint, making the timbre more reflective. In her mind's eye, Sara could see him removing his glasses, dropping them on the coffee table, and crinkling his forehead while he accepted the words at face-value.

"Just make sure you do one thing, Gil," she said, coming to the point of the entire conversation. "Make sure you really know the difference between needing someone to walk away versus feeling obligated to stay."

The silence on the other end didn't particularly make her feel comfortable, but she'd long ago learned not to over-explain herself. One thing about Grissom – give him something to consider, and he usually did so with gusto.

Hearing her flight number called, Sara reached down for her bags and set them on her lap. "Here's something else to consider. As long as there's communication, a relationship won't atrophy."

As an attendant began to announce row number seating, she said, "I'm boarding. Goodbye, Gil."

He barely caught her before she flipped her phone closed.

"Hey Sara? I'll talk to you later."