Disclaimers in 1st chap.
AN- Okay, guys I really messed with the CSI verse =) Because of my work hours I didn't watch the episodes in order, so I make my own order. In my little AU, 'Gentle, Gentle' happened about a month ago, and 'Grave Danger' happened about three months ago and Nick's avoiding the issue and pretending to be okay. Grissom and Sara are good friends but working towards more. Sara doesn't have an obvious drinking problem and the DUI never happened. Grissom doesn't know about Sara's past yet. LOL I hope that covers it all.
Thanks to everyone who read and reviewed this! So cool! *does a dance* I hope I don't disappoint.
Sara Sidle was watching her boss with amused dark eyes as he paced the floor of her living room. He looked rumpled and anxious, which was normally not how most would describe Gil Grissom. Sara thought it was adorable, even if she didn't understand why he was so worked up.
"So, are you gonna tell me why you invaded my apartment," she asked, raising an eyebrow. A smirk touched the corner of her lips as he turned to look at her, a startled look on his face as if he'd forgotten she was there. "Not that I'm bothered or anything. But you look like you need to talk about something."
"I have a daughter," he blurted out, "She's twenty-four and coming to meet me."
"Whoa," Sara blinked. Whatever she was expecting, that wasn't it. "You never mentioned having a kid."
"I- well. Her mother and I were... seeing each other in college. I was a freshman and she was a junior, both too young to know any better. She'd broken it off with her long-term boyfriend and we..."
"I get it," Sara couldn't help the grin that spread across her face at his round-about way of saying he had an affair when he was in college. Hell, who didn't? "So, she got knocked up and, what? Got back together with her boyfriend and told you to get lost?"
Grissom looked like he wanted to argue, but then closed his mouth. "Well, yes."
"What's her name?" Sara asked curiously as she got up to go into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. It was eleven in the morning on her first day off- not necessarily a time for her to be awake.
"Who?" Grissom followed her into the small kitchen and leaned against the counter, watching her fill the pot with water. A smile threatened at the look she sent him.
"Your pet rock. Your daughter's name, of course."
"Willow. Her name's Willow. I've known where she is for a while now, but haven't had the nerve to go see her. I've got pictures."
"Pictures? How did you get pictures if you haven't met her yet?" Sara asked as she took down a couple mugs, shooting him another look.
"I wasn't stalking her, if that's what you're implying. I contacted her mother after-" he didn't have to finish the sentence. Sara already knew. The Anderson case. It had hit them all rather hard- it always did when their cases involved children. But it seemed to hit Grissom harder than the rest of them. She hadn't been on the scene when he'd found the smothered infant, but Catherine had told her Grissom hadn't allowed anyone else to process the immediate scene. When he was done, he'd moved the small body himself.
At the time, Sara had thought it was kinda strange. Grissom wasn't the type to let himself get emotional over a case. In fact, he was always lecturing her for getting too involved in her cases. Now she understood- well kinda. She got the feeling she was going to be trying to figure him out for a long time.
"Lemme see," she grinned when he didn't immediately produce the pictures. "So, you've talked to her and she's coming to visit?"
"Yeah," he answered, fishing the small album out of his jacket pocket. "She sent these to me after we talked a couple weeks ago. She had a few things to wrap up for her job before they came out here."
"They?" Sara raised an eyebrow as she took the bright yellow album. She opened it to a snapshot of a pretty redhead standing on the front porch of a two-story house. She was smiling, the sun glinting off her hair and white teeth. The next showed her in the lap of a dark haired teenager, the two of them laughing about something.
"Her friends are coming with her," Grissom explained. "The dark haired boy is her friend Xander Harris, and the blonde is Buffy Summers. The other girl is Dawn, Buffy's little sister, but she won't be coming with them. The older man is Rupert Giles, he's... Well I guess he's almost like her boss."
"Her boss is coming clear across the United States with her to meet you?"
"Didn't make much sense to me either, but I had other things to discuss. Apparently she's known him since she was in high school, he used to be their librarian. And he's not exactly her boss, kinda a business partner."
"Business partner? What kind of business," Sara asked, a small smile touching her lips as she flipped through the photos- showing a mostly happy group of young adults. She stopped on one with Willow and another dark haired girl, this time sitting on the front steps of another house, this one a massive three-story white farmhouse. There was something in the way they were sitting- Willow a step lower than the brunette, leaning back into the other girl's embrace that made Sara come to the conclusion they weren't exactly 'just friends'. "And what about this other girl?"
"That is- or was her girlfriend, Kennedy," Grissom explained calmly, looking over at the picture in question. "That's something she explained when we talked. Apparently she wanted me to know she was a lesbian before we met. Something about not wanting there to be any really nasty surprises when we did meet."
"Was her girlfriend?" Sara looked up at him through her eyelashes. Damn, he was so sexy standing in her small kitchen. She didn't try to hide her smile at that thought. He was so freaking clueless. If he had any idea how she really felt about him, he'd probably run and hide. Or stammer about interoffice relationships and how he was her supervisor and a bunch of other nonsense. So she didn't say anything, but that didn't stop her from enjoying the view of him leaning against her counter, drinking coffee out of a mug with kittens on it she found at the local Goodwill.
"She glazed over most of the details but she said they'd broken up a couple months ago, something about finding out most relationships forged in stressful situations don't last long once the danger's past."
"Whoa, that doesn't sound like something a twenty-four year old would say. What was the business they're in again?"
"She didn't really explain. Something about running a special school for girls. But there was something more to it. I'm sure I'll get more of the story once we meet face to face." He was nervous, Sara realized. She'd never seen him like this. She'd seen him annoyed and angry, happy or amused. But never this kind of excited-nervous. It was so cute.
"So when're they gonna be here?"
"Tomorrow. They're going to be on the early flight from Cleveland," Grissom answered, then gave her a look she knew all too well. The look he usually gave her when he was going to ask her something big- something he knew she wouldn't like.
"You want me to meet them at the airport." It wasn't a question.
"No, I want you to go with me to meet them at the airport."
Wow. Sara just stared at him for a second before turning to pour another cup of coffee. "You want me to go with you to meet your daughter for the first time? Why me?"
"Because you're my friend, Sara. And to be honest, I'm not quite sure how to go about meeting her. I don't know what to say, or how to react if she hugs me. Or if she doesn't hug me. What if she doesn't like me? What if-"
"I'll go," Sara interrupted him before he ran himself out of air. She didn't hide her grin as she turned back around, exchanging his empty cup for her full one. "Didn't know you could talk that much with one breath. I'm impressed."
"It's a talent I rarely show."