DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Caught in a Web
By Ann


"Aw, come on, Greg. You can be a little late meeting up with your buddies," Sara whined uncharacteristically, pleading with her colleague to grant her this one small favor.

"Sorry, Sara. Ted said if I wasn't on time, they'd leave me, and I've been looking forward to this camping trip for weeks. Why don't you ask one of the others?" Greg suggested to his friend.

Plopping down on the couch, the brunette replied, "I did. Warrick has a breakfast date with Tina, Nick is working a double, and Catherine has more of a phobia than I do."

"What about Sofia?" The junior investigator asked, adding, "I think she's still in the building."

Before Sara could explain her reasons for not wanting to ask the detective, a voice was heard from the doorway.

"What about me?" The blonde asked, walking into the room and glancing back and forth between its two occupants.

"Sara needs someone to go with her ... ," Greg began, only to be interrupted by a sharp protest.

"Shut up, Greg," the brunette ordered her friend, and then turned to the detective, offering, "It's nothing, Sofia. Greg's just being a pain in my ass."

Raising an eyebrow, Sofia said, "You know, I've been around plenty of times when Greg was being a royal pain, and he always had this teasing lilt in his voice. I didn't pick up on that this time."

"You really are a wonderful detective, Sofia, and you're right. I wasn't playing with Sara. I was serious about her asking you to accompany her to Grissom's house to feed his pet spiders. It seems our tough as nails, Sara Sidle, has arachnophobia," Greg supplied, this time in an obviously teasing tone.

Chuckling softly, Sofia asked, "Sara, why would you agree to take care of Grissom's pets while he was away, if you're so deathly afraid of spiders?"

Knowing she couldn't confess to her relationship with her superior, Sara quickly ran through the different responses she could offer to the one person who could make her forget she was ever attracted to Grissom in the first place. She certainly didn't want to be alone with the person she longed for, especially in the home of the person she'd settled for.

The brunette's hesitation proved to be a blessing in disguise as the detective came up with her own answer to the question.

"You didn't want to confess your phobia to Grissom, did you?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah, right. That's it. I mean, I couldn't very well tell Grissom that I was afraid to step into his house," Sara replied, suddenly realizing that she'd never had to voice her reason to her lover before because he'd never asked her to his home. Whenever they found the time to be together, it was always at her apartment.

Lost in her thoughts, the investigator almost missed Sofia's next words.

"Well, I don't have anything planned for today so I'd be more than happy to go with you to feed the creepy crawlers. You can treat me to breakfast afterwards as payment," the detective suggested with a smile as Greg winked at the blonde on his way out the door.

Torn between her fear of entering the spider-infested apartment alone or with the beautiful detective, Sara opted for the only choice she had. Her fear of the arachnids was just too great; she'd just have to rely on the blonde to help her out of this situation. Maybe if things went well, she'd ask Sofia to accompany her each time she needed to make the trip until Grissom had finally returned.

The two women agreed to ride in Sofia's car, and the detective offered to return the investigator to the lab's parking lot, only after Sara treated her to breakfast, of course.

Placing the key in the lock, Sara slowly turned the doorknob, anxious to finally see the inside of Grissom's safe haven, but at the same time, nervous to be seeing the living space with Sofia at her side. If she didn't suffer from the damn phobia, she would've been able to take her time and look around freely.

The brunette entered the house first, immediately noticing the rather mundane appearance of the den area. Neat was the first adjective that came to mind to describe the room, and Sara couldn't help but feel a little sad that warm or inviting weren't even a close second or third. In fact, neat was the only word she could come up with.

"Hmm, rather dull, don't you think?" Sofia asked, glancing around the room as she stepped next to the brunette.

"Huh? Yeah, I guess," Sara supplied, turning to look for Grissom's office, no longer caring to view the rest of the house. If the den was this boring, she was afraid to see what the bedroom looked like.

Following Grissom's instructions, the brunette headed for the hallway and the first door on the left with Sofia following in her footsteps. Opening the door, a shiver ran down her spine, and the investigator couldn't be sure if it was because of the rather large spider web spun across the room, or the detective literally breathing down her neck as Sofia had stopped directly behind her.

"Holy shit. Please tell me that Grissom doesn't allow those things to run loose," Sofia exclaimed, stepping around Sara to enter the room.

The detective's words slowly filtered into the brunette's brain, and Sara immediately had the urge to jump into the blonde's arms, but instead, she opted to take a giant step backwards as she remembered Grissom speaking fondly of his favorite tarantula, Spike.

Sara stayed rooted in the hallway, her eyes slowly taking in all the different jars on the many shelves, while Sofia slowly moved forward to check on the containers. Focusing on the silky web, the investigator wondered how she ever let herself get trapped in a relationship with Grissom. If the blonde's hearing hadn't been so keen, she probably would've never heard the brunette's whispered words.

"What am I doing here? He's just a collector of odd things. I guess I must've fit the profile."

The detective filed Sara's words away to ponder later, and instead checked the clear glass containers housing the various arachnids, only to find each occupied. Frowning, she moved toward a nearby shelf just as Sara suddenly came out of her trance.

"Sofia! There's a spider loose somewhere in there, let's just throw out some insects for him to munch on and leave. The others can waste away and desiccate for all I care."

Turning towards the upset investigator, the detective replied, "I think we need to feed the ones still in captivity and find the one, or possibly ones, that aren't."

"Ones?" Sara asked, stepping back until she was flush against the far wall of the hallway. "What do you mean ones?"

"Grissom must have more spiders elsewhere because all of these are in their container. I find it hard to believe he'd keep them separate from each other, but he must have," the blonde offered, moving towards the other side of the room, the side where the intricate web ran from corner to corner.

"Watch out for Spike!" Sara shouted in a frantic voice, stopping the detective's progress.

Glancing at the doorway, Sofia could just see the obviously frightened brunette, plastered against the painted sheetrock. Biting her lower lip to keep from laughing, the blonde asked calmly, "Grissom has a dog?"

The brunette shook her head vigorously and replied, "No, Spike's a huge tarantula. He's got to be the one responsible for that massive web."

No longer able to keep her mirth contained, Sofia laughed softly and said, "Sara, tarantulas don't spin webs, and besides, I think Spike is in one of the containers I've already checked."

"Well, I don't care. Just feed the ones in the container and leave some insects out for the one that's loose. Grissom can corral him when he gets back," Sara responded, inching down the hall and away from the office.

Tilting her head, the detective asked, "Are you sure? I could just look around a bit."

"No! You don't know what kind of spider it is. What if it's poisonous and you get bitten? No, just throw some bugs in the containers and let's get the hell out of this place," Sara replied, immediately deciding that Greg could take over spider feeding duties until Grissom returned.

Sofia quickly and efficiently removed the tops of the containers, feeding the numerous spiders. Taking a moment to place a few dead insects near the web, she turned and headed towards the door.

Exiting the room, she found Sara nervously glancing around in the den, and the brunette looked up sharply when she caught sight of the detective.

"All done? Can we go now?" The investigator asked hopefully.

Smiling, the blonde replied, "Yes, we can go; however, I really think we should try to find the escaped arachnid."

Taking one last look at the hallway, Sofia spied a large spider near the doorway of the office. Gesturing in its direction, she said, "Hey, look. There he is."

Sara took one look at the huge beast and fled the room. In fact, she didn't stop running until she'd reached Sofia's car, and when the doors wouldn't open, she took extra precautions to protect herself.

A few moments later, Sofia turned the lock on the door of the house and closed it behind her. Walking towards her car, she almost doubled over in laughter.

There, sitting on the hood, was Sara. She'd situated herself against the windshield with her arms wrapped around her knees, and her eyes were peeled toward the sidewalk leading to Grissom's house.

Moving to the front of the vehicle, Sofia grinned and said, "You can climb down now. I found the empty container and wrestled the beast back into it."

"Really? You're not just trying to pacify me are you?"

"No. He truly is back in his domain. Now, give me your hand, and I'll help you down."

The brunette hesitated for just a moment before reaching for the outstretched hand, wishing that the blonde was offering because she wanted the contact, instead of lending a helping hand. A brief thought of Grissom crossed the investigator's mind, and she tried to remember if he'd ever offered his hand so freely.

Grasping the brunette's hand, Sofia slowly pulled Sara forward until she was standing firmly on terra firma once again. Squeezing the investigator's hand, she reluctantly released it and moved to the driver's side while Sara moved around to the sidewalk.

With one last look at the house, Sara climbed into the car, grateful that Sofia hadn't made any comments about her foolish actions. Grissom would've surely given her a lecture about how spiders could climb tires just as easily as they could walls. Intellectually, she knew, but for her own piece of mind, she needed for it not to be true.

"Where would you like to go to breakfast? Remember, you're buying," the detective teased, hoping to pull the investigator out of the funk she seemed to have fallen in.

Looking straight ahead, Sara grinned and replied, "I'll go along with whatever you want. You decide."

"All right," Sofia countered, wondering how she could talk the brunette into dumping Grissom to spend more time with her. After all, Sara did say she'd go along with whatever she wanted.

Smiling, Sofia pulled from the curb and headed down the street, leaving Grissom's house in the rearview mirror, and hopefully, leaving Grissom and his web of deceit behind as well.

Sara might suffer from arachnophobia, but Grissom suffered from something much worse, fear of commitment. The beautiful investigator deserved to be with someone who wasn't afraid for others to know about their relationship, and Sofia intended to pull her free of Grissom's web and become that someone.

The End

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