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.
Once the meal was over, Sara quickly hopped up to clear away the dishes. Grissom was staring again. All through dinner, he'd looked at her questioningly, making her wonder if she had lettuce stuck in her teeth. The damned gap was problematic that way.
A quick check in the reflective surface of the toaster ruled that out. Leaving the kitchen, she found Grissom on the living room couch, his cast resting on the coffee table. He waved for her to join him, watching her expectantly as she closed the distance.
Sara was getting an idea how his bugs must feel, and it wasn't a pleasant sensation. While there wasn't any chance he was going to pin her to a board, she doubted he was going to pin her down either.
"What did you want to talk about?" he asked once she'd joined him on the couch.
Sara understood his concern now; over the past week, they'd spent several meals talking about the various issues they were working through. Since she asked him to breakfast originally, he must have thought there was another point they needed to address.
"Oh, nothing," she said, smiling sweetly. "I just wanted to hang out with you."
Sara thought the statement would put him at ease. Instead, Grissom looked mildly panicked as he shifted on the couch, his hands fumbling together as he scanned the townhouse quickly.
"Oh. I, um, I could go pick up a movie. No, it's a little late for that. We don't have time to watch it before work. Um, music. Would you like to listen to some music? We can't dance. Well, I can't dance with my ankle..."
"Sorry, I wasn't expecting to entertain you," he said, starting to get up to look for a diversion.
"I'm easily amused," she said lightly, flashing him a toothy grin.
He gave her an apprehensive look before collapsing back on the couch. "I'm not an exciting person. I don't do much, Sara. You'll probably be bored."
"Socks, Grissom. Remember? It's not like I'd be having a wild party if I'd stayed home."
"You could have gone out with Ken."
"Why in God's name would I want to?" she exclaimed emphatically, causing Grissom to smile. "Come on. What would you do if I weren't here?"
"I'd be taking care of my bugs."
"Okay. I'll give you a hand."
"I thought you didn't like bugs," he asked, leading her to the room that held his comprehensive collection of caged creepy, crawling critters.
"Only when they're munching on people."
"It's a natural occurrence."
"So's a shark feeding frenzy. Or a volcanic explosion. Wouldn't want a front row seat to those, either."
Grissom gave her a smile as he directed her in the feeding of his charges, adding bits of trivia about each species. When it was clear he wasn't putting her to sleep, he started to relax. Considering her reaction to bugs at crime scenes, he'd never imagined Sara would ever share in his fascination.
"Did you ever get your komodo dragon?"
"No. The store kept running into problems getting one."
"Too bad. I always..."
Sara stopped in mid-sentence as she caught sight of his workbench. She moved to it slowly, taking in the contents. The evidence was right there. He couldn't deny it. When she looked back, Grissom's embarrassed expression confirmed he hadn't wanted her to view this.
"I forgot that was out."
"I can't believe you would do this," she whispered softly, looking at the mutilated bugs. After a minute, she looked over her shoulder at him. "Sweet!"
Grissom beamed as he hobbled over to join her. Sara leaned over to examine the oversized plastic millipede spread out on the work surface.
"You slit all of its wrists, uh, ankles."
"Be careful. The paint is probably still wet."
"You added the blood pool. Did you do all of the bug suicides?"
"Not the hanged tarantula. You liked that so much, I decided to add some more."
"What are those?"
"Rejects. I kept accidentally amputating the millipede's feet."
"I can't believe you did this. This must have taken hours."
"And you pouted every time I saw a new dead bug on my plant."
"I didn't want it to be obvious that I was the one leaving them. I worried that you'd figure it out when I left the pistol case-bearer moth. Those aren't common."
Sara tilted her head to smile at him. Leaving staged bug suicides for her enjoyment was creative, if a bit gruesome. Probably not a story she'd be sharing with her parents. "And you were worried I wouldn't enjoy myself."
"I'm glad you like it," he started to say, but was cut off by Sara's quick kiss.
"Thank you," he managed to get out, looking at her in surprise. The kiss had been fleeting but more than enough to get his heart racing.
"Any more bugs to take care of?" she asked, thinking he was ready for a safe subject.
"We still have some time before we have to go to work. Want to go over some of those product brochures?"
They settled together on the couch, comparing the new equipment introduced at the forensic supply trade show. Grissom kept stealing sideways glances at Sara. His hesitation at starting a relationship was quickly eroding. For every concern he had, she showed him it wasn't a problem.
It started out innocently enough. He leaned around Sara to grab another brochure from the stack. Her neck was right there, looking exceptionally tempting. He brushed his lips lightly across the soft flesh.
Sara jerked at the unexpected touch, whipping her head around quickly. Grissom's nose bore the brunt of the motion.
"Sorry," she said softly, gently kissing his nose. "Better?"
Grissom licked his lips, smiling slightly as he pointed to them. "You hit these, too."
"Sorry," she repeated, moving her lips across his.
Somehow, they ended up sprawled on the couch, making out like a pair of hormonally gifted teenagers. Grissom was on his back, with Sara on top of him and his cast resting on the back of the sofa.
"Sara. Stop," he forced out between pants and kisses. "Work. Tonight. Us. Go."
"I'm sorry. I do want this."
"I noticed," she said, dropping her eyes downward briefly, chuckling when he blushed. "It's very noticeable."
"You're not helping," he sighed, closing his eyes.
"Want me to give you a hand?"
"Sorry," she laughed as she sat up, straightening her clothes. "I'll see you at work."
"No goodnight kiss?"
"Sara," he warned when she started to lean over. "We'll never get out of here if you keep that up."
"I like it up."
Grissom groaned as she made her way out of his townhouse.
O'Riley's page came before Catherine could finish her cup of coffee. She tracked down the detective, casting warning glares at everyone who looked like they were going to snicker at her.
"And good evening to you, too. Homeless guy was right. The license plate number he gave us really does belong to a red Chevy van," he said, handing her a printout. "Registered to a Ryan Severn."
"Lives on Fraternity Row. Big surprise. Dee and Dwe will be happy."
"Don't know about that."
"Why wouldn't they be glad to get that Pooka thing back? They seemed... attached," she said delicately.
"They were here this morning."
"I know," Catherine said icily.
"They needed a police report for their insurance claim."
"So what's a pink, stuffed llama worth?"
"Half a million."
"What? Chocolate kisses?"
"That sounds suspicious."
"Policy is only a few months old, too."
"I'll kill them," Catherine muttered.
"Let's go talk to frat guy first."
"Fine. Then I'll kill them."
"You're looking awful chipper."
Sara smiled at Nick before going back to work examining some clothing for trace.
"Okay, what's up?"
"What's up with what?"
"Ecklie got you a pass to the show. You blackmailing him?"
"That would require that I know something about Ecklie's personal life," she said, giving Nick a pointed stare. "I don't want to know anything about Ecklie's personal life."
"You sweet talk him? Whoa, whoa! Just kidding there, girl. He after the Red Creeper?"
"You gonna share?"
"No way, Nicky," Sara said, grinning as she turned the jacket over.
"This is so not fair. You get the Red Creeper from Grissom. You get to go to the trade show with Ecklie," Nick pouted. "They always give away the good stuff the first day."
"Yeah, they do."
"Oh, rub it in, why don't ya?"
Nick became serious as looked around, then leaned over the table. "Did everything go okay?"
"I walked by Grissom's office earlier. He looked... I don't know. Not himself."
"What do you mean?" Sara asked as she made a show of concentrating on the evidence.
"I don't know. He looked like... like he didn't want to be here. And his hair was still damp, like he had taken a shower just before coming in."
"Maybe he was running late," Sara offered, trying desperately to contain her laughter. When she saw Nick give her a knowing grin, she forced a serious expression. "I'll go check on him later."
"You do that, Sar. You do that."
"You're not the stripper," a longhaired shirtless young man stated to O'Riley. He turned to Catherine.
"I'm the ex-stripper... with the warrant."
"Yeah. You Ryan Severn?"
"No, dude. He's inside. I'm Bubba. Ryan! Dude! The cops are here for you!"
Catherine and O'Riley followed the man into one of the inner rooms of the frat house. All the signs of a party were in sight - kegs of beer, bottles of whiskey, bags of chips and a pink llama.
Pooka had been dressed in a fringed sombrero and a brightly colored poncho, with a joint in her mouth. She'd been backed up against the frat house's stuffed grizzly bear in an indelicate manner.
"There's Pooka," Catherine said, jumping at a crashing sound coming from the side of the house.
They moved back to the front door, where the officers from outside appeared with Dee and Dwe. The twins were dressed in matching body suits and hats. Unfortunately, they picked a pale yellow, making them look like a pair of pared pears.
"What's going on?" she sighed.
"We're here for the reward," one of the twins stated nervously.
"To give the reward."
"They found Pooka."
"They saved Pooka."
"We're here to retrieve her."
"No need to press charges."
"No need for you to be here."
"Charges? Huh?" The group turned to see another young man descend the steps. "For what?"
"For nothing!" one of the twins piped in.
"We'll take Pooka and go."
"Are you Ryan Severn?" O'Riley asked.
"We're here about the stolen llama."
"Did somebody steal the llama?" Ryan asked sadly, rushing back to the other room. "Huh? She's still here."
"It was stolen from these two," Catherine said as she moved in to follow him into the party room.
"What? No way, lady. They paid us to take it. Said it was performance art."
Catherine whipped around to see the pair shaking in an apoplectic rage.
"You were supposed to keep her safe."
"She's been defiled!"
"She's been despoiled!"
"Relax, little dudes. We were just having some fun with the fleabag."
Before anyone could react, Dee and Dwe flew at Severn, screaming at the top of their little lungs. Catherine shrugged; they hadn't been joking about being flexible.
"Get them off me! Get them off me! Owww! They're biting me."
Despite his advantage in size, Dee and Dwe were winning the battle. Severn spun around, trying to dislodge the pair, each of which had grabbed onto one of his arms and were biting his hands.
"Let go," Catherine snarled as she wrapped her arms around one of the pair. O'Riley stepped forward to help, but Severn was spinning too quickly for him to grab the other artist.
"Stop spinning! Stop biting, or I'm calling animal control!" the detective ordered.
Momentum finally won, and the twins went flying through the air. Catherine, still attached to her suspect, went along for the ride. She landed in the middle of the kegs, dislodging the taps.
"I need a vacation," she sighed as the beer drenched her from all directions.
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