Author's Note: Each of these eight short - they're longer than drabbles but not by much - stories works separately, but together, they form one interconnected story. Eight looks into eight different seconds that changed the relationship between Sara and Nick. The prompt used is in parenthesis, and I've arranged them in chronological order. All eight are written for 8secondsfic on LiveJournal.


A Cup of Coffee (Date)

He didn't know what had overcome him. They had been chattering away over cups of coffee about the murder-suicide in Henderson that they had just managed to solve together, and how neither of them had to go into work the next night, and then he just blurted it out, without thinking.

"Go out to dinner with me tomorrow, Sara? If you don't have other plans, of course," he said, rapidly.

The next few seconds felt like an eternity, as her face quickly shifted through the full scale of emotions from shock to confusion to contemplation to…happiness? She was smiling. This had to be good. She wouldn't smile that little smile of hers, the one where the cute little gap in her teeth showed through, if it wasn't something good.

"Of course I will, Nick," she said evenly, her eyes sparkling.


Silver Moon Sparkling (Kiss)

"Well, uh, good night," Sara said, fumbling in her purse for the keys to her apartment. "Thanks again for the wonderful dinner and company."

"Wait, Sara," he said, and she looked at him, confused. "Don't go yet."

She opened her mouth to respond, and Nick took the opportunity to dip his head down and gently kiss the corner of her lips, skimming along the edges, silently begging for some sort of response from her. Anything, even a push away and pepper spray to the face, just to know that she was responding in some way. And then, he felt it, the gentle press of her lips against his, and he knew that this was what he had been waiting for.


Three Words (Love)

He had constantly put his heart on the line when it came to her, and the past few months had been absolute bliss. As he felt her hands roam his chest, curled up against him after another night spent together, her hair draped over his arm and his other arm protectively around her waist, he uttered on the breath of the wind the three words he had known in his heart for so long, yet had never said out loud to her.

"I love you."

She nuzzled her face into his side and murmured, nearly to herself, but just loud enough where Nick could hear her, "Love you too."


What Sara Doesn't Know (Lies)

"What are your plans for tomorrow?" she asked, turned away from him as she stood at her locker at the end of the day. "I thought maybe we could see a movie, or spend some time together."

He was momentarily taken aback, as he quickly tried to think of a way to hide his real plans. "Umm…I think Warrick and I were going to watch the game together."

"Really?" she replied, furrowing her brow as she placed her CSI vest on the shelf and turning to face him. "I could have sworn he was going over to Catherine's. They've been spending a lot of time together recently…" she trailed off.

"Oh, she's watching the game with us," he said, rapidly. Nearly too rapidly. Smooth, Stokes. She's going to catch on.

Sara let out a laugh, the laugh that was music to Nick's ears. "Catherine? Watching the game? You have got to be kidding me."

"Hey, what can I say? It was her choice, after all."

"Call me when you get home from 'watching the game'?" she asked with a grin.

"Of course." They had kissed, and left the locker room, headed to separate destinations.


He thought back on their last conversation as he looked downward. A shimmering stone caught the corner of his eye, and he glanced over. It was perfect. Perfect for the woman he loved. Turning to Warrick, he motioned to it.

"She's going to love it," Warrick said, clapping a hand on Nick's shoulder.

"You'll be taking this ring?" the salesman asked, and Nick nodded, fighting back tears of joy. Soon, he could give it to her.


The Question (Engagement)

It had been the sort of date that Sara was growing happily accustomed to, on their nights off, going out for dinner and exploring the variety of things to see and do in Las Vegas. It was almost becoming routine – a comforting routine, yes, but routine all the same.

They were quietly talking, enjoying each other's company at a nice restaurant, when he grew silent. She took advantage of the lull in the conversation to pop a forkful of salad in her mouth. Turning back to face him, she felt the piece of lettuce lodge in her throat as she saw the reason he hadn't been talking. In his hand was a tiny jewelry box, open with a sparkling diamond engagement ring inside.

"Sara, will you…"

"Yes," she said quickly, gasping for air. "Yes, I will!"


For the Rest of My Life (Dance)

Sara had to admit, she had had her reservations about a Texas wedding. But as the day had gone on, she had to admit – they definitely knew how to treat one of their own…or how to treat a Californian who happened to be newly married to one of their own.

She turned to Nick, and whispered that the first dance was about to begin. As the first notes of music pierced the atmosphere of the room, she gazed into his eyes, as he took her in his arms and began gently swaying her to the beat of the music. In those few seconds, she realized that there was no place she would rather be.


Positive (Writer's Choice – Family)

He woke up to hear faint sniffling coming from somewhere, as though someone had been crying. She wasn't in bed next to him, where she normally was. "Sara? Are you okay?" he asked, getting out of bed and making his way toward the source of the sound.

Walking into the bathroom, he saw her sitting on the covered toilet seat, hair disheveled and her face blotched with tears. "Is everything…" he said, before being cut off by an angry glare and a pointed finger, pointing to the ground, where a thin white stick lay. He picked it up. It was a pregnancy test. A positive pregnancy test, at that.

He wrapped his arms around her and held her close. "We're going to be parents," he whispered, awestruck.


Happy Anniversary (Anniversary)

Hands shaking and her breathing pained, she picked up her cell phone from where it lay on her night table. Taking a nap while he was out picking up groceries for an anniversary dinner hadn't been one of her brighter ideas, and as she punched in the speed dial, she prayed he'd pick up quickly.

As he flipped open the phone, he heard her rapidly breathing. "Sara? What's going on? Is everything okay?" he asked, examining a display of cheese.

"My water broke," she said in a strangled whisper. "Come home. Now."

"I'm on my way," he replied, hanging up the phone and leaving his cart where it was. He was going to be a father.