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 10x8

Many thanks to Cincoflex for a last-minute beta, and her patience! *grin*

The ring of her phone distracted Sara from watching Catherine gutter a ball once more, and she turned a little ways away from the excitement, hoping that it wasn't a call-in. "Sidle."

"Sara." The warm voice made her grin, and she stuck a finger in her free ear to block out the cheers and jeers. "Did I wake you?"

"Would I care?" She grinned wider. "No, I'm out with the gang. Did you know Nick could bowl?"

Her husband chuckled. "No, but it doesn't surprise me. You guys are bowling?"

"Well, we had this case. It involved a head. Long story." Sara shrugged, even though he couldn't see her. "Best saved for e-mail."

"I can imagine. Did you know that bowling dates back to 3200 BC?"

"Why does it not surprise me that you know that?" Sara laughed, and then sighed just a little. She still loved her work, but she missed her husband. "How are the lectures going?"

"Slowly. It's raining almost every day here; quite a change from the desert." She heard a car door open and close under his voice, and raised a brow.

"Did you call me while driving? Naughty, Gil."

"I did not," Grissom said with dignity. "I parked first. I miss you."

The last three words made her eyes prickle, and Sara bit back a surge of loneliness. "I miss you too."

Ray passed by her with another set of shoes, raising his brows in query, and Sara gave him a quick smile of reassurance and retreated towards the snack bar for a little more privacy. Raising her chin, she made her voice cheerful. "When does Christmas break start? Seriously, Gil, I know you're rich but there's no reason for me to book tickets at the last minute."

"Patience," he told her, and she could hear the amusement in his voice. "I have my reasons for delay. Who's there?"

Sara glanced back over her shoulder. "Just about everybody but Bobby and Brass. Bobby hates bowling, but I don't know what's holding Jim up."

"I think he had an errand to run," Grissom said thoughtfully, which made her blink. "You like bowling?"

"It's physics," Sara pointed out cheerfully. "Vectors, angles, and application of force. Objects in motion. You know."

His chuckle was warm. "Mm-hmm. And the fact that it's fun doesn't have anything to do with it?"

"Wellll..." She grinned again, and watched Greg dance in celebration at another spare. "I wish you were here."

"So do I, sweetheart." The wistfulness she expected was replaced with amusement. "You know what's special about the holiday season?"

Sara closed her eyes, wondering if crossing her fingers would help, though it never had when she was little. "Lots of things, but what are you thinking of?"

Warm fingers slipped under her own, pulling her cellphone away from her ear, and her eyes popped open to see Grissom standing in front of her, his other hand holding his own phone and his smile the one he saved just for her. "Wishes can come true."

Sara gave herself one second to gape, and then threw herself into his arms. They were real, strong and warm as they closed around her, and she growled into his ear, laughing. "You bastard!"

He squeezed her tightly. "Indubitably."

She pulled back far enough to cup his face in both hands and kiss him as thoroughly as a public venue would allow. He tasted like coffee, and when she finally pulled back she could see fatigue in his face under the delight. "When did you get here?"

"Just now. Jim picked me up at the airport." Grissom kept his arms around her. "I wanted to surprise you."

"Clearly." Sara hugged him again, thrilled. "I am so glad to see you."

Grissom pulled her into another kiss, laden with promise. "We can still do Christmas in Paris, honey, but I needed to see you sooner," he whispered when they parted.

She raised a brow. "I'll hold you to that. How tired are you? We can go as soon as I say goodbye--"

Grissom shook his head. "I slept on the plane. Besides, Catherine will never forgive me if I don't go say hello at least."

Sara slipped her arm through his, plucking her cellphone from his grip. "C'mon then. Want a beer?"

They were only halfway to the group when Greg turned and saw them, and his beaming smile warmed her heart. And then his bellow cut through the laughter and shouts, and everyone was turning, and they were swept up into the--family.

Nick's right, she thought as Grissom good-naturedly put up with Catherine's excited hug. This is family.

And maybe that was why she'd come back, in the end. There was more than one kind of family, after all. And if Grissom was her heart, that didn't mean there wasn't room for others.

Nick pushed a beer into Grissom's hand, and Sara retrieved her own, catching Jim's eye and smirking at his smug wink. "I'm going to go get shoes," the captain said, tapping Grissom's shoulder. "Want me to grab a pair for you?"

Sara waited for his refusal, but Grissom glanced back at her and smiled. "Sure, why not."

Laughing, she took his beer so he could sit and pull off his loafers. "Why do I think you're going to kick some ass?" she said quietly.

His glance was ostentatiously innocent. "I have no idea."

"It's your turn, Sara." Hodges was flushed, his usual superciliousness all but vanished. Sara set down both bottles and rose to take up a ball.

Well. Might as well give Gil a run for his money. She eyed the frame, pulled back, and sent the ball flying--and watched with satisfaction as the pins all tumbled and spun away.

Mad cheers rose around her. Turning back to her husband, Sara saw him raise his bottle in salute. And she smiled.

Family. Yeah.

It was good to be home.