pg-13 | no warnings apply

Her hands were trembling.

She was desperate to keep him from noticing, although she wasn't sure why. She was pretty sure she couldn't be any more mortified than she was at this moment. When she had gotten behind the wheel, she had tried to remember how much she had to drink, and what the formula for determining blood alcohol concentration, given her weight. She was unable to remember either the formula, or how many beers she had consumed.

That should have tipped her off.

But Warrick and Nick had been with her all evening. They had seen her drink and they hadn't insisted that she call a cab. She had turned on the ignition and used that as her rationale.

Even blowing into the breathalyzer, she was convinced she would be below the legal limit.

And now here she was, in her boss's car, sitting in the parking lot of a drugstore as he ran in to pick up something. He had left the car running, with the air conditioner on, so she took that as a good sign, at least. He didn't think she was so irresponsible that she'd steal his car.

Lost in thought, she was startled when he rapped on the window of the driver's side door.

"Forgot to leave it unlocked," he yelled.

With a shaking hand, she reached over and fumbled with the handle. He tossed the plastic bag in the backseat and glanced over at her before pulling out onto the highway.

"Are you cold?"

"Yes. No. I. No."

Wordlessly, he turned off the air conditioning.

She couldn't remember there being so many red lights between her work and her home. It normally took her fifteen minutes; he seemed to have been driving forever. There was an accident three blocks from her place, and she started shuddering violently.

That could have been me. I could have hurt somebody or killed somebody or oh, God.

With a press of a button, Grissom turned on the heat.

Finally, he arrived at her apartment. She practically bolted from his car, instantly regretting it once her head started to spin. It wasn't the alcohol; enough time had passed for the effects of the drug to mostly wear off. It was lack of sleep, lack of eating, combined with the stress of the past ... well, two years. But she was sure he was going to assume she was still plastered.

"I don't feel well," she murmured when he stepped to her side, one too-warm arm wrapping its way around her waist.

"I got an anti-emetic at the store. Among other things. Come on. Let's get you inside."

"I'm not drunk," she felt pressured to tell him. "I pretty much sobered up when I was pulled over. I just haven't eaten."

The instant it was out of her mouth, she regretted telling him. His face screwed up into an unreadable expression.

"You need to eat." He never took his hand off her back as he guided her to her door. It didn't help the nausea.

"I'm not hungry. I should really just get some sleep."

"I'm not leaving until you eat something."

There was a time when she would have arched her eyebrow at him for that comment, when she would have made some semi-flirtatious remark in response. Now, the thought of him staying in her apartment made her feel ill, and she wanted nothing more than for him to go. He brought her to the sofa, laying her down as if she was an invalid. After rustling for a spoon in her kitchen drawer, he brought her a bottle of medicine and sat on her coffee table.

"Here. Take a tablespoon of this. I'll fix you something."

"Grissom, I don't -"

"Do I have to make it an order?"

In spite of the commanding words, his tone was soft, his face pleading. Rolling her eyes, she complied, swallowing the sharp liquid. He made good on his threat to prepare food, ransacking her refrigerator and cupboards, muttering to himself about the lack of provisions. She lay down, closing her eyes in the hope that maybe he would just leave. As much as she wanted to pretend she was over him, she wasn't, and his being here only made it harder for her to move on.

"Sara, wake up, honey."

No. Not again.

She let out a small grunt as she sat up, the smell of food permeating her nostrils and making her feel ill again. She wanted to snap at him, to slap him for using a term of endearment - again. She wanted him to go back to the insensitive, unfeeling bastard that she had been cursing under her breath for months. It wasn't fair, for him to attempt to revert to his old self now.

She ate, because he sat on the sofa, staring at her, and she knew he wouldn't leave until her plate was clean. While it probably was delicious, the taste was lost on her, as she refused to allow it to linger on her palate for long. When she was done, she presented her dish to him, like a child, demonstrating that she ate all her peas and was entitled to dessert. He took it from her and put it in the sink. She settled down on the couch again, waiting for the sound of him leaving.

Instead, he returned to sit with her.

"Sara. Is this my fault?"

She groaned.

"Not everything is about you, Grissom."

"But. I'm part of the ... I'm assuming I bear some ... would you talk to me?"


She whispered the word as she burrowed into her furniture, panicking slightly when she felt him move closer to her. His hand (too warm; why was his body so warm?) rubbed her shoulder and she sat up with a start, almost knocking him over.

"Why do you care? Why now?"

"I've always ... I'm just ... not that good at ... showing ... Sara."

His hand had migrated to her hand again, his thumb tracing the same path on her wrist, over and over.

"It's lots of things." She offered him a vague explanation, a cop-out, even though she knew he wouldn't take it. His fingers were caressing now, too, heating her flesh. Words were bubbling below her surface, and she knew they would be let loose. At least she could blame it on the alcohol or the food or whatever. "I settled for a boyfriend. Not the one I wanted, but one who made me feel attractive and wanted. Then I find out he's cheating on me. And actually, he wasn't cheating on me; he was cheating on his real girlfriend with me. I was just some cheap mist..."

Her voice died as she snuck a glance at him. He had the same expression he wore when she confronted him in the lab, after she had made the mistake of asking him to pin her down. Babble, babble, babble, she always babbled while drunk; she should have kicked him out when she had the chance.

"That's why you broke up with him?"

"Should I even ask what the rumors around the lab said?"

His hand tightened on hers. "All I heard was that you ended it. I didn't ask for more details."

"Yeah. Well. That's what happened. Then I have to have a friend of mine arrested. The lab blows up and nearly takes me and Greg with it. I made the mistake of asking my supervisor out. Then when I'm just about to get over that, I ... I get my hopes up again. You give the promotion that I thought I deserved to Nick -"

"No one got the promotion."

"But if the funding had been there, he would have. Because of your recommendation. I bury myself in my work, Grissom, because my personal life sucks. But you're there, because it's your lab, and it's clear to me now that I'm never going to get anywhere in your lab."

The look on her face made her think she had gone too far. After all, even if she did work up the nerve to turn in her resignation, she'd need a good reference. His fingers were moving again in soothing circles.

"That's not true."

"Isn't it?"

"No," he replied, more firmly this time. "Honey -"

"Don't. Don't you dare call me that. That's a term of endearment. It implies that you feel something -"

"You obviously don't know me at all, Sara, if -"

"- about the person you're addressing, and -"

"- you think that I don't care about -"

"- it's clear to me that -"

"How can you not ... dammit, Sara." She froze as he leaned into her, his fingers so tight around her wrist that it was bordering on painful.

"You act like you don't feel anything," she breathed.

He blinked and she watched his eyes clear. As he sat back, he licked his lips, obviously trying to regain his composure. She didn't give him a chance, didn't give him an opportunity to play with her heart again.

"I'm good now," she said flatly. "Please go."

He hesitated, giving her just the slightest bit of stupid hope. Maybe, maybe, maybe he did feel something for her. Maybe, maybe, maybe she hadn't been fooling herself for years. But then he blinked again, tilted his head to the side and let out a small chuckle. The minute he was out the door, she briskly crossed the room to lock it.