Okay, I going to make you think a little here because you are going to have to guess who it is. The clues are there so if you've followed the show you should get it.

Light crept through a slit in the drawn curtains and fell over Jim Brass' face, slowly bringing him to consciousness from his deep slumber. As awareness seeped into his groggy mind small alarms rang through his brain. He wasn't in his own bed. He hadn't yet opened his eyes but he knew it already, could feel the difference. For one, the smell… there was something about it that said woman; lavender maybe? And the dips weren't right. Every bed had its own dips and bumps; he knew this from years of experiencing different beds. Nope, this one wasn't his.

He rubbed his hand over his eyes and groaned. Think… he chided himself. What happened last night? His mind's eye searched through his memories of the past twenty four hours and he just couldn't pull it together. Letting his hand fall to the bed, he marveled at the soft, satiny feel of the sheets… no, definitely not his bed.

Finally, he cracked one eye open and then the other. There was something eerily familiar about the room even though he was sure he had never been in it before. It had a feel … the décor was distinctive. And then it fell into place. "Oh…my….god…." he mumbled as his suspicions landed in the pit of his stomach. Frantically he sat up, all too aware that the sheet was his only protection. Quickly he glanced around the room looking for his clothes. Finally he spotted them, neatly laid out on a chair across the room. "Of course," he mumbled.

Just then he heard the sound of a doorknob on the other side of the room. Staring at the door in dread, he watched as the wooden slab moved, opening to reveal the owner of the bedroom. "I thought a cup of coffee might be welcome," she said in her warm, deep tones.

Realizing his options were limited, Jim gave in to the inevitable and shrugged. "Yeah, um…sure," he said huskily, no sure of anything at the moment. He took the mug that she offered and tasted the hot brew. As he let it slide down his throat he was grateful for her thoughtfulness. A good jolt of joe was what he needed, he concluded. "So um…"

She smiled that enigmatic, non-committal smile of hers as she slid onto the edge of the bed, careful not to move the sheet that covered him. "You want to know about last night, I presume?"

"Well, now that you mention it," he choked out. "Last I remember I was at the party talking to an accommodating looking blonde…"

"Oh, she would have been accommodating alright," she said derisively. "She was, in fact, so accommodating as to slip something into your drink. Really Captain Brass, I would have thought a man of your experience would have known better…" she lampooned with sparkling eyes.

He digested her tease diffidently. "I suppose I deserve that, if it happened. But how did you end up …I mean, how did we…I mean..," He stuttered, abashedly.

Her deep chuckle added to his embarrassment. "I saw what she did, slid in next to you acting as if I were your date and chased her off. But before I could stop you, you had imbibed and whatever it was already taking effect. I thought it best to bring you here rather than leave you passed out in the middle of the room at the Sheriff's party."

Jim grimaced as he pictured the uproar that would have caused. It would have taken him months to live it down. "Thank you…I think," he said finally.

"You are welcome," she replied gracefully, and Jim had to admit there was always a certain gracefulness about her.

"What I don't get is why," he admitted.

She looked at him, releasing a small sigh. "I owed you a favor," she finally answered.

Frowning, Jim couldn't remember any favors she owed him. It must have shown on his face because she added, "the last time we met…you told me to get help. You weren't especially pleasant about it but there was concern in your voice…caring. And it was good advice that I did finally follow. So you see, you did me a favor. And now I have done one for you."

"This um…favor, did it include…" he asked with a doubtful look.

The question earned him a full laugh. "No, it did not. You were too far out of it for there to be ….extended favors," she said, her eyes dancing. "Not that there would have been any otherwise. We haven't exactly been… friends." She added, her tone dripping with sarcasm.

Jim smirked. "Okay…just a guy needs to know where he's been casting the rod," he answered nonchalantly. "But if we didn't do the horizontal mambo, why are all my clothes over there," he said as he looked at the chair.

Her smile brightened his morning as she replied in kind. "I'm surprised you are able to keep track. Men like you generally have cast too many lines to count."

"Once upon a time, maybe. I'm more particular about where I fish these days…and who I fish with." He could see the sting in her eyes and regretted it. He did owe her, he thought remorsefully. "Its just that I'm getting older and maybe not as…indiscriminate as I once was. And you still haven't explained my state of….dress."

"I was trying to help you out of your trousers and they came off. You thought it was quite funny and stripped for me," she explained, unable to hide the amusement of the memory. "And the young woman last night? She was your idea of being particular? "

"Why the surprise? But…No, no she wasn't. And I really wasn't fishing. She came on to me." He paused and grinned. "Thinking about it, you are right, I should have known better. Women like her don't usually cast their nets over the older, supposedly wiser fish."

"I'm not." She replied flatly.

Jim frowned. "You're not what?"

"Surprised." When he continued to look at her questionably, she clarified. "Women find you attractive."

A chortle erupted from Jim. "Yeah, right…"

"They do. You may be older but you have a quality that women find attractive. Perhaps it is your eyes; they are very expressive when you allow it. But I believe it is the air of steadfastness that you carry. Women like that."

Both eyebrows shooting upward, Jim shook his head. "and you? Do you like that quality…in me, I mean?" He was teasing but also intent upon her answer.

There it was again, that enigmatic smile. "Captain Brass, you are in my bed, nude, and I am sitting here sharing morning coffee. Doesn't that imply….something?"

"Lady, I learned a long time ago that things are rarely what they seem. You for instance, are not as tough as nails as you would like others to believe you are. There is a very soft, gentle side to you."

She sighed and looked away. "But I don't wish to be."

"Why not?" he asked gently.

"Because…. soft and gentle results only in pain."

"Sometimes," he agreed. "But sometimes it leads you into the hearts of others. Grissom, for instance, became a steadfast friend. Catherine respects you..."

"And you?" she said as she turned and looked deep into his eyes. "Is your heart open to me?"

Jim studied her face for a very long moment before answering. "It might have been…under the right circumstances. Problem is, my heart hardened a long time ago and it doesn't open as easily as it once did. And we haven't gotten together under the best circumstances."

"But it isn't entirely closed?" she asked as she leaned forward, toward him.

As he put his hand up, cradling her cheek, he blinked. "No, no it isn't," he said tenderly as their lips met.

Even though their lips parted, they remained connected, his hand behind her head, her hand on his shoulder, their breaths intermingling. He felt so much building inside, so much emotion, so much pleasure…

"Stay?" she whispered.

His breath hitched as his body trembled. "You sure?" he replied, almost afraid of her answer.

"Despite outward appearances, I do get lonely. And even though I ran from it in my youth, I now find steadfastness very attractive. And I've always preferred men who know how to be a man. But…perhaps you would rather not…"

He pulled back slightly to gaze into her eyes. "Maybe I'm lonely too. Maybe I'd like the chance to show you how I think a woman should be treated… and while I perhaps shouldn't, perhaps I want to." Then leaning back, settling his head on the pillow, he pulled her with him to lie next to him. "And perhaps one of us isn't properly dressed," he added with a hint of a smile in his voice.

Perhaps," she agreed as she snuggled against him, her hand settling over his bare chest.

So who is she?