Rating: PG to be on the safe side.
Spoilers: Spoilers for Unfriendly Skies.
Archive: Please ask first!
Disclaimer: If I had even a fraction of a percent of the rights to CSI would I be writing fan fiction? Well, yeah, probably, but that doesn't change the fact I own nothing to do with the show.
Author's Note: Probably a good idea to read Poetic Injustice first, but I think you can follow this story if you don't. Thanks to Burked and Ann for beta-ing this chapter.
Summary: A sequel to Poetic Injustice. A bit of fluff - Sara and Grissom want to repair their friendship. Greg wants Sara. Ecklie wants the Red Creeper. Catherine wants a night off. And a mystery man from Sara's past is back.
Recognizing the name, Grissom turned to the younger man. A furrowed frown formed as he finally faced the feckless, fawning fop of a fellow with whom Sara had foolishly fulfilled a frolicking flirtatious in-flight fornicating fling.
Grissom eyed the man in distaste. There are certain truisms about the 'big man on campus' type. Inevitably, they go bald, go flabby, have failed marriages, and/or end up in dead-end jobs. The effect is so well known, it's practically its own set of karmic laws.
Unfortunately, the cosmos were outside of the Las Vegas Crime Lab's jurisdiction, or Grissom would have Fuller arrested for flagrantly breaking all of them.
The man looked like he stepped off the cover of a magazine - and not the type favored by prison inmates. He was buff, a sharp dresser and in full possession of his hair and teeth, neither of which were graying.
And, as far as Grissom was concerned, he was being far too friendly to Sara.
"So, you two have met before?" Cavallo asked after introducing himself.
"Yes, we know each other."
"We went to college together," Sara answered, wondering if the situation could get any more awkward. Fuller was looking at her like she was the buffet, but they weren't in a situation where she could respond the way she wanted to.
"What are you doing here?" Ken asked, giving her a wolfish grin.
"I work at the Las Vegas lab."
"Really? I always figured you'd land a job in a big research lab. I never imagined you'd wind up in forensics."
"Well, who would have guessed you'd end up a traveling salesman?" Grissom asked, smiling broadly. He did not like this man.
"Actually, I normally don't do shows, but our rep got sick at the last minute. I've never been to Vegas, but heard it's an exciting place to be."
"There's all kinds of things to do here," Sara answered vaguely.
"Well, it has to be more exciting than my flight from Boston," he said, flashing Sara a grin. "I've definitely had more fun on a plane before."
Grissom scowled. Besides Ken and Sara, he was the only one who understood the private joke. Since it was a private joke, he couldn't exactly comment on it. Crossing his arms, he slouched back in his chair.
"Broken ankle?" Fuller asked, turning to give Sara a wink. "I remember when you broke your ankle. Don't imagine the situation was the same, though."
"No," Sara said, shaking her head as she tried to think of a way she could page herself so she'd have an excuse to get away.
Grissom's scowl deepened as Sara blushed. Fuller had been the one responsible for her breaking her ankle in a drunken romp in the shower years ago.
"Ahh, the demonstration is about to start," Fuller said, glancing down at Sara's hand. His smile deepened when he noticed the lack of a ring. "Are you busy tonight?"
"I work nights."
"How about dinner beforehand?"
"Sorry. Already have plans."
"Well, I'm in town all week. We'll have to see what comes up," he said teasingly.
Grissom's mood lifted slightly when he caught the evil glare Sara gave Fuller's back as he moved on stage. She seemed as unimpressed by Fuller as Grissom did. Sara had said she considered her involvement with Fuller a mistake.
Turning back to the demonstration, Grissom didn't notice Ecklie watching them closely.
Greg removed the CD from the burner and smiled broadly. This had been inspired, even for a funky and brilliant lab whiz like himself. Sara was sure to appreciate this little token of his affection.
Originally, he intended to give her a framed set of their respective STR DNA analyses. The X-ray strips would be a nice bit of scientific proof they were literally made for each other. He changed his mind once he realized Sara would want to know where he'd gotten her DNA to run the test.
Not to mention Grissom wouldn't be happy that he'd used the lab's resources to run the test. He didn't see what the big deal was; a single DNA test only cost several hundred dollars in supplies and salary. With all the tests they run, who'd notice an extra one?
Greg ignored the little voice that was trying to point out Grissom would be more interested in why he was giving Sara such a present, rather than how he acquired it.
Deciding to hold off on that gift, he settled on a personalized music collection. It wasn't a random selection, though. All the tunes were ones he'd heard Sara singing around the lab. Since it was a habit she rarely engaged in, coming up with enough songs to fill a CD showed he'd paid attention to her preferences.
That was more than Grissom could say.
Greg frowned as he placed the label on the disk. Why was he thinking about their supervisor? True, the hamburger scene a couple of years ago showed Grissom didn't know she was a vegetarian, even though everyone else knew it. But it wasn't like he was competing with him. Sara would never consider doing .... that ... with Grissom.
The lab tech shuddered involuntarily at the thought. Not that he had anything against their boss, but the idea of them ... together ... was so wrong on so many levels. Of course, that hadn't stopped the rumors that they were attracted to each other. And Sara had left with Grissom that morning.
He leaned back in his chair while the CD liner printed. Greg brought his mind back to the present, wondering when to present the present to Sara. Timing would be crucial. Relying on her sympathetic nature had earned him a first date, but caution was in order.
During their coffee break, Greg had been careful to remain subdued, leaving Sara to think his feelings were still hurt. She was still feeling sorry for him, making a second date more likely. That could work in his favor for a little while, but eventually she'd get irritated at him.
Besides, he didn't want her to think he was pathetic.
Grissom darted his eyes to the side quickly. He had a hard enough time trying to read Sara's emotional state when he could observe her openly. Trying to do it subtly in a crowd that included Cavallo was proving impossible.
Sara had dated that muscle-bound, brain-dead ingrate paramedic and the muscle-bound, brainy ingrate VP on the stage. He knew she wasn't a shallow person, but that didn't stop Grissom from feeling uneasy. He really was starting to show his age. It'd be more obvious once his clothes were off.
While she'd been the one to openly express an interest in going that route, it didn't change the fact she'd end up comparing him to those two. Grissom doubted he'd fair well in that regard.
It was especially irksome considering Fuller was a first-rate jerk. Throughout his presentation, he continued to flirt with Sara, but had managed to be very tactful about it. The man had the crowd eating out of his hand.
Grissom sat up as the question session began. There was one area where he had no doubts about how he rated, and that was forensics. Time to put this guy in his place.
"Your new reagents are a little faster," Grissom said snidely, holding his thumb and index finger microscopically apart, "but most of the time in a test comes from preparing the samples. Will that change if we switch to your product?"
"No," Fuller conceded.
Grissom smirked as the crowd the muttered. His reputation in forensics was stellar. If he wasn't impressed, they wouldn't be impressed.
"How about the accuracy? Are your new tests any more accurate?"
Grissom leaned forward as he went in for the kill. The other lab supervisors were behind him.
"Well, why would anyone consider changing to your product?"
"Because the expense is less than one-third what the current tests cost."
As the appreciative ohs and ahs resounded across the room, Grissom sulked as he leaned back in his chair.
Across town, Catherine tossed in her sleep. She'd finally gone to bed after watching the disaster unfold across the street. A visibly shaken Guido had bungled every trick he tried. Children make for a vicious audience, and they had let their displeasure be known loudly. That did nothing to help with his nerves.
Finally, Horace decided to recreate the excitement from earlier in the morning. He grabbed his mother's purse and started chasing Guido around the yard, treating him like a personal piñata.
She'd watched in rapt horror; Horace was going to be in for a big surprise if he managed to knock open Guido. It wouldn't be candy he found inside.
Luckily, Lindsey had been too distracted looking for a video to notice the commotion. Catherine didn't want to explain how she'd mistakenly assaulted a clown that morning.
Despite, or because of, the three screwdrivers she had before heading to bed, Catherine's sleep was troubled. She was having nightmares of deranged little men on pink chocolate llamas chasing her through the streets of Las Vegas.
Sara tilted her head as she approached the turn off to the lab. As she suspected, Grissom was still staring at her. They had left the trade show immediately after Fuller's demonstration. The entire time, Grissom had been quiet, but he'd been watching her with a curious expression.
It was starting to get unnerving.
"What?" she finally asked.
"Are you seeing someone?"
"You told Fuller you had plans for tonight before you went to work," Grissom said with a measured look. There were some things about Sara that he knew were fact: she couldn't lie well, and she had no hobbies. If she had plans, it must be with someone.
"Oh, that," she said with a smirk. "I'm going to rearrange my sock drawer."
"Yeah, I'm going to arrange them by color and yarn weight. Makes it much easier to find the right pair."
"You're making fun of me."
"No, I really do sort my socks. Look, I couldn't exactly tell Ken what I wanted to with Cavallo sitting next to me."
"Oh," Grissom said, smiling as she pulled her Yukon beside his car. "In that case, well, if your sock drawer can survive another day, would you like to come over for dinner before work?"
Sara dropped her head to hide her grin. Despite his attempt to sound casual, she could tell Grissom was nervous. She was surprised; she hadn't exactly been subtle in letting him know how she felt.
"I'd like that," she said, smiling when he let out his breath.
"Do you sort your other clothes?" Grissom asked as he got ready to get in his car.
"You'll have to get in my drawers to find out," she teased as she drove away.
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