Title: Forgiveness

Grissom/Sara, post-Burden of Proof and Primum Non Nocere, pg

Author's notes: Thanks to Devanie for beta-reading this!

Forgiveness

xxx

Sara Sidle walked into the Las Vegas Crime Lab, head held high. She wasn't about to let show the emotions raging inside of her. She was filled with certain regret, and, she hated to admit it herself, but fear was also present. Fear of what she wondered? Come on, who was she trying to kid, fear of the whole damned situation that she had gotten herself into. Not without help though, of course, Grissom had played a major part in her whole 'leaving' thing.

She didn't want to leave. Hell, of course she didn't want to leave, that was the last thing she wanted to do. She loved it here, she loved her job, and she loved the people she worked with, well most of the time anyway. Sara Sidle actually had friends, who would have thought? And she was leaving.

As she signed herself in, not as early as usual, she heard Nick and Warrick further down the hallway, debating whether or not some baseball team would win their next game. They smiled at her when the saw her approaching.

'Hey Sara!' shouted Warrick. 'Ready for another night of solving crimes?' he asked with a smile on his lips.

She just smiled back at him faintly, and uttered a quiet 'Yeah', and mumbled something about having to go dump her stuff in the locker room. Nick and Warrick exchanged a worried glance as their friend walked off down the hallway.

'I wonder what's up with her.' Commented Nick, almost to himself.

'I don't know, Man, but she's usually way more enthusiastic about her work than that' replied Warrick.

xxx

The quiet privacy of the locker room was perfect for Sara. As she had walked down the hallway away from Nick and Warrick, the tears had built up in her eyes and she had only just managed to make it into the locker room before she could no longer contain them and they came spilling out. She was thankful that there was no one in the locker room, as she closed the door and lent against it, tears running down her cheeks.

'Stop it Sara. This is ridiculous, you've had all day to cry and you pick now to start!' she scolded herself. She knew somebody could walk in at any time, and the last thing she wanted was for someone to see her crying.

She dried her eyes and checked her appearance in the mirror. She looked a mess, with huge dark circles under her eyes, which her now red and puffy from crying. She waited a couple of minutes, hoping to make it look less obvious that she had been crying, as she put her stuff in her locker, and prepared herself for the night ahead. She decided that coffee would be the best way to start a long night.

As she strode into the break room making a beeline towards the coffee machine, she noticed a plant sitting on the break room table. It was beautiful, and she felt drawn to it. She walked up to it, distracted for a second from the coffee she so desperately needed, as she hadn't slept at all the day before. The first thing that came to mind was that it was part of some experiment that Grissom doing. She never did know what he would come up with next.

As she thought about that she realised that she would no longer be around to see his strange experiments, or to hear Nick complaining that Grissom had left certain unsavoury things in the community fridge. She would no longer hear Catherine talking proudly about Lindsay, or listen to Warrick talking excitedly about some new scientific toy he was playing around with, knowing full well that the government would never grant the money it would cost to buy it. She was going to miss them all so much, even though she would never let it show. She felt the threat of tears for the second time that night. So she returned her thoughts returned to the plant to try to disctract herself.

'But no, Grissom wouldn't have left an experiment in the break room would he?' She pondered. 'Must be for Catherine.' She carried on towards the coffeepot, anxious to get her much-needed dose of caffeine. Not once did it cross her mind that the plant could be for her.

As if on cue, Catherine walked into the room, and looked at Sara. She smiled at her, a knowing smile that Sara did not understand at all, and just looked back at Catherine with a confused look on her face.

'So...' Catherine started, 'do you like the plant?' Catherine could not keep the grin off of her face as she watched Sara look back at the plant sitting on the table, the same confused look on her face.

'It's beautiful' came the soft reply. 'Who sent it to you then?' she carried on, a little louder this time.

Catherine was not expecting this. Now it was her turn to look shocked.

'What are you talking about? It's not for me.'

'Well who is it for then?' Sara asked, more curious that confused now. It couldn't be for one of the guys could it?

'Man, is she totally clueless or what?' thought Catherine. So, finally unable to contain her excitement, she said: 'Who do you think it's for? It's for you Sara, the plant's for you!'

Sara turned around to look at Catherine, staring her straight in the face to see if she was joking. Who would want to send her anything, especially a plant?

'Well come on, look at the card!' Catherine exclaimed. Of course, she already knew who it was from, but she was overjoyed that she could be there to see Sara's reaction, knowing full well what was on the card. Grissom had been completely oblivious to Catherine eavesdropping his phone call.

Sara slowly turned back towards the plant, the hint of a smile playing at the corners of her lips. She hadn't noticed the card the first time she had looked at the plant, as it was hidden between the leaves.

She picked it out, and slowly opened the envelope, taking the small card out to read it.

As her eyes darted over the words on it, her face broke into a wide grin, and she turned away from Catherine, trying to hide her happiness.

Catherine saw it, and smiled to herself. It had worked.

'So, who's it from?' she asked innocently.

Sara turned around, her smile slowly fading. She looked as if she had forgotten that there was even anyone else in the room with her.

'Um, just a friend.'

'A friend, huh?'

Sara just smiled, mostly to herself, and replied softly 'Yeah, a friend.'

Catherine smiled to herself for what seemed like the umpteenth time that evening.

'Word of advice, Sara. Don't forgive him so easily. Make him grovel.' She said with a grin, as she turned to walk towards the door to the break room.

Sara's full attention was now directed at Catherine. She was shocked at Catherine's remark. 'She can't know it's from Gris, can she?' she thought.

'What are you talking about?' she asked, trying to fake obviousness, but Catherine saw right through it.

'I might as well tell her' she thought.

'It's from Grissom' she stated.

'What? No it's not, it's...'

'Yes it is Sara, I was there when he ordered it for you.' Catherine .

'You what? You were with him? Well no wonder, you must of talked him into it, I knew it was too unlike Grissom...' Sara ranted.

'What? No, Sara, I didn't convince him to do anything, it was totally his idea to send you the plant. I wasn't even in the room, I was...um...eavesdropping.' Catherine replied with a twinkle in her eyes.

Sara was, for once, speechless. Thoughts were running through her mind. 'What was Catherine doing at Grissom's house? Did Grissom do this of his own accord? Did she talk him into it?'

Catherine could see the different emotions flashing through Sara's eyes. As if to reassure her, Catherine said:

'Look, Sara, I know we haven't always seen eye to eye...' This brought raised eyebrows from both Sara and Catherine, as they both remembered Catherine's attitude towards Sara when she first arrived.

'...But,' Catherine carried on, 'I feel like we've got past that, and have even become friends. I know everyone here adores you, and it really won't be the same without you.'

It was now or never. Sara had a choice. She could brush it off, say it was nothing, and leave like she had planned, or she could finally open up to Catherine. She chose the latter.

'Grissom doesn't.' She replied, so quietly that Catherine had to strain her ears to be able to hear.

Catherine rolled her eyes. 'He does Sara, more than you know. He values you so much, but you know what Grissom's like, he'll rarely ever show it.'

'That's the whole problem.' Sara replied softly.

'Well what does the plant tell you? He doesn't want you to leave. If he wanted you to leave he would have written 'good luck' or something like that on the card. He didn't.'

Sara smiled at Catherine's persuasion.

'I can't believe after all this time he didn't even know I was a vegetarian.' She joked.

'That's just Grissom for you! He doesn't remember the simplest things but he can remember whole families of bugs!' Catherine joked back.

'Yeah, I guess you're right.'

'So, does that mean you're going to stay?' Catherine asked hopefully.

'I don't know. I mean, how am I going to face him after all of this, it's bad enough that you know.' Sara suddenly looked almost scared. 'Nick and Warrick don't know about all of this do they?'

'No, unless Grissom's told them, which I think is highly unlikely, don't you?' Catherine said with a smile.

Sara nodded and smiled back. It faded again though as she though of the situation she was involved in.

'I never wanted to leave.' She began again softly, her eyes glistening in the light from more unshed tears. She looked up to see Catherine watching her with a look of understanding on her face.

'I'm glad you didn't.' She replied kindly, moving to place a friendly hand on Sara's arm.

Just then they saw Nick and Warrick walking along the hallway towards the fish bowl, with Grissom walking in front of them. They were laughing and talking, when Warrick noticed the private looks on both the women's faces, and halted Nick and Grissom, making some excuse that he just had to talk about something to do with a case before they went any further.

Catherine smiled at him gratefully through the glass walls, and Warrick smiled back, an understanding look on his face. She then turned back to Sara.

'Remember what I said Sara. Don't let him get away with it so easily. Make him think that you're still leaving for a while.' Catherine said wickedly.

Sara's first reaction was to completely dismiss the idea, but as she thought about it, she realised that it could be fun. She could act bitter for a few hours, couldn't she?

'Ok, deal. I'll let you know how it went later on tonight.' Sara grinned back.

Just then Warrick, Nick and Grissom entered the break room, and began to sit down at the table.

'Wow, so who's the plant for then?' Warrick asked jokily.

'It's mine thank you very much' Sara replied happily, as she too sat down at the table.

She could barely contain the smile on her face. Everyone, including Grissom, seemed to notice, so Catherine shot Sara a warning look, telling her to remember what part she was meant to be playing. Warrick and Nick exchanged a glance, both noticing that Sara was a lot happier now than she had been a few minutes ago.

'What are they up to?' thought Warrick, as he had seen the look Catherine shot Sara's way.

Grissom handed out the cases, and Sara found both herself and Catherine working with Grissom.

'This should be fun.' Thought Catherine, as she eyed Sara discreetly looking over at her plant yet again, and then looking at Grissom. Grissom, luckily, didn't seem to notice, he was too busy telling Nick and Warrick about their case.

When they were filling out of the break room, Warrick pulled Catherine aside, and waited until everyone had left the room. Sara had shot a weary look at Catherine, she was confused by Warrick's behaviour, and was worried that Catherine would spill.

'So?' Warrick questioned, 'what was that all about?'

'What was what about?' Catherine feigned innocence, yet again.

'You know what I'm talking about Cath. Sara comes in in the worst mood I've seen her in in months, and then you two talk, laugh, exchange suspicious glances, and then all's well again?'

'Pretty much' Catherine grinned at Warrick.

She was proud of herself, and he could tell.

'Tell me later?' he asked.

'Yeah' she agreed, and again smiled at him.

They did a small high five, then went their separate ways to their cases, with the plan of meeting up later for a good gossip. Catherine knew she could trust Warrick, she always could.

xxx

'Act bitter, act bitter' Sara kept telling herself. On one hand she was finding it hard, this was Grissom, she could never stay mad at him for long. On the other hand, he had treated her like shit, and he should pay for it.

'Wow, Catherine really is rubbing off on me' she thought, as she sat next to Grissom, looking out on to the ice rink.

They made smalltalk about the case, until somehow they began talking about sports.

'You just don't like sports.' Sara said, with an added tinge of bitterness.

' I like baseball.' Came Grissom's reply.

'Baseball. That figures. All the stats.' Being bitter wasn't all that hard.

'It's a beautiful sport.'

Sara turned around to look at him. 'Since when did you become interested in beauty?'

Grissom thought for a moment.

'Since I met you.'

Sara was shocked. The plant was one thing, but this? 'Screw Catherine's 'be bitter' ' she thought, 'he's forgiven!'

She gave him a brief smile, which he returned in his own half-smile way, before they both returned to working the scene. Yeah, they were going to be ok.

xxx