Title: An hour. Disclaimer: blah, blah, don't own them, blah, wish I did, anyway.all that yaya.

Author's notes: I'll do it short and to the point: I hope you like it. Thanks to plaidtiger for the beta-reading!!





She heard his footsteps behind her, the rocky shoreline scrunched under his feet.

Grissom, she thought.

She took a deep breath of the hot air and then blew it upwards to cool down her face. The air felt heavy and muggy. She remembered Grissom staring at her when she started to wave a hand in air, expecting some kind of resistance, as if the air had somehow transformed into warm invisible water. Her hand hadn't found any, air continued to be air, you were just more aware of it when it was this hot. As her uncle had said one summer when she was seven, 'Sara, you are one strange kid'. "We've got", he glanced at his watch, "one hour before David gets here. Do you want to go back to the lab or wait here?" He stood beside her.

"Can we stay here? There's not much we can do until we ID the body and this is", she waved at the scene, a beautiful vista of a placid Lake Mead, "*this* is nicer than the lab.I mean, if that's ok with you," she promptly added.

They'd been processing the scene in the scorching sun for hours only taking brief breaks to drink water and peel off some unnecessary items of clothing. It had been, Grissom thought in retrospective, like working inside a sauna with ten sweaters on but somehow, if it was humanly possible, infinitely worst.

It had been only three days since their last big case. Grissom still felt weary and the stifling heat hadn't helped perk him up. Sara must've been just as exhausted because as soon as they got inside the Tahoe, her eyes started to close and she fell sound asleep. It had been as if someone had taken out her batteries, her body went slack, her face relaxed and she napped the whole trip without stirring a muscle.

Now she was cheerful and alert. That power-nap during the trip to the lake had taken her from a hazy state of exhaustion to a lively second wind. Grissom was glad to see her back to her old self. Maybe some of her Energizer-bunny-like energy will rub off on him.

"Ok with me. It's not *so* hot anymore. I thought we'd melt a few hours ago." She threw a stone with her right hand and watch it as it ricocheted off the surface of the water twice and then sank heavily.

"I could never do that," he said.

He'd rolled up his shirt's sleeves up to his elbows and he'd loosened the first three buttons sometime during the day. His hair was a bit ruffled and wet. She'd seen him pouring half a bottle of water over his head before coming to the lakeside. This casual, sexy look had not been at all lost to Sara.

She took two wobbly steps on the pebbly shoreline towards him, "Wanna learn?" her eyes sparking with excitement.

Grissom studied her for a moment before answering. Her eyes had turned from brown to honey in the golden glow of the late afternoon sun and her cheeks had a cute rosy pink, probably from today's exposure to the sun. She was completely relaxed and beautiful. He gave himself a mental slap to break the spell of the light and forced himself to speak.

"Sure," he mumbled. She held up a stone at eye level so he could see it.

"This is the stone you want to find", she explained, suddenly sounding very business-like, "One side has to be somewhat flat, see?"

Grissom narrowed his eyes, and nodded at every word she said as if it where a matter of National Security, "Then you take it like this," she showed him. He nodded grimly again.

She punched him lightly in the arm, "C'mon, don't make that goofy face, Griss," she smiled mischievously, "Wanna learn or not?"

He nodded. "Ok, look at my wrist as I throw the stone."

Diligently, he lowered his eyes and glued them to her wrist.

She looked at him before throwing the stone. He looked younger with his shirt and hair like that; his green eyes were covered by his long fair lashes as he looked down at her wrist. For some reason she felt as though she was twelve again, frolicking on some lake or beach with cousins and friends without worrying about the time or coroners picking up bodies. The only worry was the end of summer.

She gave herself a mental shake and sent the stone flying to the lake in one graceful movement. One, two, three skips before the stone disappeared.

"Wow, three. Don't think that happens too often", she clarified.

She swiveled her head to look at him only to see that his eyes were riveted on her wrist or more specifically, on the area where her wrist had been. She stifled a laugh while she folded her arms across her chest.

Where could it be? he thought as his eyes moved south of her wrist, down to her legs and then up again, oblivious to the fact she was staring back at him.

Ankle? Hip? Back? His eyes traveled slowly upwards until his gaze locked with hers. He smiled nervously when he realized he'd been caught red- handed.

"Why are you---", she searched for the right word, "*what* are you doing?" She said with a baffled _expression on her face. His green eyes opened wide. Sara bet his mother had seen that same innocent 'uh-oh' look every time little Grissom had been caught misusing his Chemistry set inside the house.

"I'm sorry", his eyes still wide, "It's just that a little bird at the lab told me you had a tattoo somewhere and.well I was trying to figure out where and what---," he stopped himself, "Sorry."

I'm going to kill Greg and make it look like an accident, Sara thought.

"That bird doesn't happen to be named Greg, does it?" she asked.

"I don't know", he dug his hands in his pants pockets and looked skywards, whistling as he rocked back and forth on his heels, "I don't remember."

Sara's heart melted, he looked so.'adorable'. It was hard to reconcile *that* image of Grissom with the Grissom that had said to her 'get rid of that stuff'. The meat, yuck. She was starting to think there were two, very defined, faces of Grissom. That, or he had a twin brother. Hey, wouldn't *that* be nice? What am I saying? she wondered. Greg? Oh, right, *Greg*.

"I'm going to ram a microscope down his throat", Sara said. Grissom chuckled, amused by the whole conversation but still aching to know where the tattoo was and what it was.

He bit the inside of his cheek nervously, his eyes darting around the lake. Unable to hold his curiosity at bay another second he said, "May.can.can I ask where is it.what is it?"

She glanced at him, "Of course you can," she replied.

He waited a few seconds but no words came out of her, "So? Where is it? What is it?"

"I said you could *ask*, I never said that I would answer," she quipped. Grissom looked at her with a "fair enough" _expression. He loved witty women-especially this one.

"Let's keep some things a secret otherwise you'll get bored with me," she said lightheartedly. It had been a small comment; it had left her mouth without consulting with her brain first. Grissom interpreted it as something more serious. She knelt on the floor to pick up some more stones.

What did she just say?! She must be suffering from heat stoke, Grissom concluded.

"First", he started, one finger raised, talking as if she could see him although she was still rummaging thought the stone littered ground, "I could never get bored with you. Angry, impatient, exasperated and frustrated maybe, but never, never bored", he replied.

And other things I can't tell you right now, he thought.

She snorted, "Angry, impatient, frustrated.I'm a ray sunshine, aren't I?" She said softly, as she picked a stone and examined it as if it were a piece of evidence.

"On the good days you are, on the bad days.I try to remember the good ones. Besides everybody gets grumpy once in a while."

"I guess you're including yourself in that 'everybody', right?" She said as she tossed an inadequate stone over her shoulder. He smiled and shook his head slightly, "You don't let *anything* go, do you?"

"When it comes to you, you I don't," she said smiling up at him.

I can't believe how close I came to sign that stupid leave of absence, Grissom thought. Grissom doubted seriously she would've come back after six months or a year of leave. 'The lab needs you' would've been the last Sara would've heard from Grissom in a year, maybe more.

"Anyway, *second*, you think I know *that* much about you Miss Sidle?"

She shrugged, "More than I know about you, Mr. Mystery," she said as she placed her hands on her knees and hauled herself up.

Now they were balancing on a tight rope. Sara had just brushed against the privacy issue.

"Don't change the subject, young lady," he warned playfully but firmly, "You don't say much either," he argued.

"*I* don't say much because *you* don't ask much," she countered.

Except of course, now, she reminded to herself. What is it with him and tattoos? Maybe I should tell him I had a 'this is Chuck's property' tattooed on my left butt cheek. That would be fun, she mused.

He snapped his head back as she walked behind him.

"Relax, Griss, I'm not going to kill you," she said as she took one of his hands in hers and placed the stone on his palm. They held on to each other's hands a second longer than necessary.

"You know, it's true", he admitted, "I don't ask much questions and sometimes I don't pay attention", he swiveled his head around to see her.

She was standing on the tips of her toes to be at the same level he was. He felt her body against his back, her breath on his neck and the distinctive sweet, faint aroma he could only describe as 'Sara'. Her left hand rested on his left shoulder for support, dangerously close to the sensitive skin of his neck. His face came almost nose-to-nose with her.

It wasn't just the closeness that made his heart seed up, Grissom thought, it was the knowledge of what he couldn't do next (get an inch closer) that troubled him. He wanted to forget about that inch, let nature run its course. See what would've happened all those times they'd been an inch apart, all those exquisite moments they'd been so engrossed staring at a piece of evidence that they hadn't noticed they'd been hip to hip, shoulder to shoulder, standing as close as any regular couple. Just forget what they did, forget horrible words like 'supervisor', stash it all somewhere, lock it, throw away the key and see *what* happens.

Yeah, right, Grissom thought sarcastically, what'd happen when the Sheriff asks me if I'm really sharing a bed with a woman I should be supervising? I can see his face now, scowling at him because if the story hit the papers, who could know? It could make him look bad.

The media was creature of moods, if they got a whiff that the always stoic Gil Grissom was romancing some young CSI that worked for him and some reporter decided that could be sellable gossip, they were doomed.

If she, more like, when she gets a promotion it would be smeared by the fact that 'she sleeps with the boss'. He didn't want that to happen to her. If he couldn't protect her from himself at times the least he could do was protect her from that.

Grissom knew all of that were simple conjectures and 'what if' 's. It might never happen. He might never muster up the strength to take a chance and tell her he wanted to be more than merely friends. For all he knew, she might not even love him. Although that wasn't exactly what Catherine had told him.

Maybe the media wouldn't give a toss about them. But there was always that lingering feeling they would. A few years ago a reporter had asked him a few questions about a case, so he'd answered. Turns out that woman had posted a picture of him along with the short Q&A-like interview she'd made. Lo and behold the article had taken a rather 'yellow press' twist and now he was something like a 'sexy, SINGLE, mysterious man that surrounded himself with even sexier and dangerous people when he investigated murders' or something along those lines. Phones had started ringing with women who wanted to talk to him. It'd been a circus. Needless to say Grissom now avoided the woman like the plague.

A sour taste of what the press can do. He didn't want to think what would happen if that same woman (which he still saw milling around crime scenes as part of the press regulars) knew Grissom was having an affair with a co- worker.

But then again, they were just people, idling time away near a lake while the sun silently started to set. Enjoy the moment, he told himself, these things don't happen too often.

He returned to Sara and the lake and close the lid on his worries for the afternoon, "I don't ask questions but I'm asking one now, where is that tattoo?"

She stared at his eyes for a second, debating whether or not to tell him. Nah, she thought, let him wonder. He's let *me* wonder on more than one occasion. Pushing softly the tip of her index finger on his cheek, she swiveled his head back towards the lake.

"I won't tell you", she said, grinning wickedly.

"It was worth a try," he said with a shrug of his shoulders.

She took his hand again and pretended she was throwing the stone, "See? You have to do it this way", she said as she repeated movement in slow motion. "Now you do it," she stepped back to give him room.

He looked doubtfully at her as if he were an eleventh grader who'd been told there'd be a surprise quiz. She left as if their roles had shifted, she was the teacher and he was the student.

Grissom threw the stone and it skipped. Once. He looked back at her, all smiley and proud.

And to think I'd kissed those lips, she mused, and nobody at the lab knows it.

"Not bad, boss. Not bad," she said breaking the stare.

They both fell silent for a moment as they admired the landscape. The lake looked like a huge shimmering oval mirror, reflecting distorted images of the orange and red sky, sun and mountains that surrounded it. A bird gilded silently over the lake.

"Why don't you ask?" she said.

She felt a brisk breeze dispelling some of the sultriness of the air. She took a lungful of air and released it slowly in a sigh.

"If I started to ask you questions it would mean *I* would have to answer yours," he explained as he lobbed a stone at the lake.

"I see", she nodded absently, "That would be *awful*, answering Sara's questions, why would *anyone* want to be subjected to such a hideous verbal torture", he rolled his eyes at her, "What if I actually got to know you? Maybe, heaven forbid, I might like you more than I do now. Ahhh!" she made mock of horror.

He smiled warmly, what a woman, he thought, she knew him more than she let on.

Something inside him stirred. What would be like to *live* with her? he wondered, not just to share a few meals every once in a while or seeing her only during work hours but to wake up next to her, drive with her to work, watch TV, rent a movie, make dinner. According to Catherine if such a thing as a simple human being with crystal clear explanations to justify every action and not too much emotional baggage existed, Sara was the absolute opposite. She'd said it was too bad they weren't a couple. She'd love to see that. Grissom had just coughed slightly, nearly choking on his salad.

Somehow doing mindless soothing activities like throwing stones into a still lake and watch the ripples surf to shore made them feel at ease. Thoughts transformed easily into words there than at the lab. Plus, they were basically alone. A long pondered question popped into Sara's head again.

"Did you and Catherine.ever.mmm.had.I mean.were." she stammered.

Did I say that out loud? she thought horrified.

He seemed briefly stunned; obviously her question had taken him by surprise.

"What would make you ask that?"

"Curiosity and." she shrugged dismissively, "You two seem like-I don't know, like she knows you better than anyone." she lobbed a stone at the lake. It sank into the water with a 'plop'.

"You know Sara.curiosity killed the cat," he said, watching completely hypnotized as the ripples traveled slowly through the lake's surface in concentric circles.

"Obviously the same cat got your tongue because you didn't answer my question". He smiled.

He wished David's car made a wrong turn somewhere. The golden light had a tingle of orange now and half the sun was behind the mountain's ridges. The temperature was falling.

"It's funny to me how you two asked me the same question about the other one.must be a chick thing," he mused out loud as he picked one of the a stones from Sara's palm.

"Catherine asked you if you and I had ever." she asked incredulously.

"Yeah, she asked. Very casually over dinner once, you know how Catherine is," he shrugged and lobbed the stone far inside the lake and watched the reflection of the sky an a few clouds being distorted by the ripples, "She said she picked up a strange 'vibe' between us", Sara's eyebrows rose, "Yeah that's what I thought. Weird huh?"

"What did you tell her?" she asked, lobbing a stone at the lake herself.

"The truth, Sara, the truth," he replied with a seductive smile, "I said 'no'."

They glanced at each other. They knew what the other was thinking and that involved a table in a certain empty lecture theater one summer night not unlike this one.

"Well, that *is* the truth, right? At least to the question she asked." She chuckled at his comment. He was right, nothing serious had happened but it had almost had. How it had started or who, she didn't remember but she did recall that neither of them had been able to stop it. It had been like a strange flash of 'something' or maybe it'd been a waft of 'Love Potion NÂș 9' that had been floating aimlessly around the room. Sara never knew. One exchange of gazes, one brush of the lips and something was unleashed. She still hated the guts of that disoriented woman for wondering into the wrong room thinking it was the bathroom.

I mean, buy a freaking compass, lady, she thought.

After that, Grissom had apologized several times as if the fault had been all his because of the age-thing.

How sweet, she thought now, I was younger than him, not stupid or blind.

Grissom had a swarm of women around him *every* time he gave a conference or a lecture but he managed to loose most of them in less than fifteen minutes or at least the ones he wasn't interested. He hadn't made any attempts to loose Sara.

The subject was never discussed again. Nothing had happened, except for that kissing frenzy none of them couldn't or didn't want to explain.

He still didn't answer my question, Sara thought.

"So did you?" she asked tentatively.

"I've known her for a long time," he started, the sun inching its way under the ridges of the mountain, "It happened once. A long time ago," he said, stressing the word 'long'.

Grissom glanced at her. She had a faraway look on her eyes. He wondered what would've happened if that damn woman hadn't opened that door.

He would know where and what that tattoo was. *That's* what would've happened, he thought.

So they did it. I knew it. Sara watched as a bird, soaring over in the lake banked steeply to the left, loosing altitude as if it were preparing itself to land on the liquid tarmac but opted to skim the mirror-like surface of the lake instead. Almost touching its watery double, its wings were spread out and frozen in place as if it were a bird made out of wood. Sara was convinced that bird was showing off in front of them.

"Hello?" he leaned in front of her.

She smiled faintly, "I'm here," she said.

"David should be here by now," Grissom commented. She nodded. The sun had set behind the ridges, leaving behind a pale orange-red and yellow aura that was quickly darkening to blue and black as the night pushed its way in.

He liked talking to Sara. He never knew what was going to come out of that pretty mouth of hers.

"Four men sat down to play," she started, knowing that Grissom was always up for a riddle, "They played all night 'till break of day, they played for gold and not for fun,"

Grissom frowned at her but quickly smiled when he realized it was a riddle and listened with rapt attention, "With separate scores for everyone. When they came to square accounts, they all had made quite fair amounts. Can *you* the paradox explain", she said leaning towards him, "If no one lost, how could all gain?"

Grissom folded his arms across his chest, "Mmmm, four men sat down to play." he stroked his chin and squinted at the now dark sky. Crickets started to chirp. "With separate scores for everyone." Sara started at him expectantly, waiting for him to answer.

"Need a hint?" she said.

Before she could open her mouth he shushed her by delicately placing one finger over her lips. Sara held her breath. In one heart stopping moment she didn't know what was going to happen next.

He didn't say anything for a second, too stunned to speak and suddenly tempted to start again with what that woman had interrupted years ago.

"No hints," he said finally, his voice husky. He dug his hands in his pockets again. The temptation was still there but rationalism had tamed it. "Mmmm, none of the four men were named Lou right?"

This man can be very unpredictable when he's surrounded by nature, Sara thought.

She gave him a quizzical look, "What's that got to do with anything?"

"Absolutely nothing", he said he kicked a stone at the lake, deep in thought, "None of them where married to a red-haired, green-eyed Kansas native woman right?"

She shut her eyes for a second. Was she hearing things?

"What? I-I don't know. Griss, are you.feeling ok?"

"I'm perfect, couldn't be better", he informed with a shrug, "Did any of them have appendicitis?"

"What has their appendix got to do with the riddle, Grissom? C'mon", she started towards the path leading to the crime scene, "I'm taking you to the Tahoe, you need to lay down, you're dehydrated."

"Bare with me," he said, catching her by the shoulders as she walked past him and leaving his hands there.

He narrowed his eyes as if something in her eyes would reveal the answer to him. She playfully mirrored his _expression, "They weren't playing in August, right?"

Sara opened her mouth to say something but she couldn't utter a word. Grissom started to laugh. He leaned forward, his hands on his knees, laughing his ass off.

"Why are you laughing?" she asked, glancing sideways. "*You* have finally lost you marbles. All this fresh air must've done something to your brain."

"If you could've just seen yourself," he mimicked her earlier puzzled face, "It was priceless, I could've snap a picture of it and frame it."

She rolled her eyes, "You're just making fun at me because you, my friend, don't know the answer," she said, tapping a finger on his chest.

He gasped, "How dare you!" they laughed, "Tell you what.I'll tell you the answer if you tell me where and what it is," he offered.

She arched an eyebrow, her face blank. This was the part of Grissom she loved the most. Most of the time he was serious and quiet but he could be just as naughty and playful as Nick.

"I'm sorry to be the killjoy and spoil all your fun but.did you honestly think I would tell you the riddle without knowing the answer?"

"No", he admitted reluctantly, "I was just checking if you'd changed you mind. People change their minds about things like 'this'," he snapped his fingers just as a voice put an end to their hour of leisure.

"Mr. Grissom! He's here!" the officer yelled from somewhere behind the bushes.

"Well", he sighed, "Time to go. Thank you for enlightening me about the techniques of stone-skipping," he said as they trudged back to the crime scene, shoulder to shoulder.

"It wasn't for free. I demand a pay raise, effective immediately."

"Would you tell me where and what it is if I did?" he whispered in her ear before greeting David.

FIN If you liked it, tell me. If you didn't.well, tell me that too.