DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks go to Renegade, my wonderful beta for going through this with her usual fine-tooth comb. *love to you*
CHALLENGE: Submitted as part of the Sara/Sofia 'Let's Get Sassy' ficathon.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Sara absently thanked Wendy as she exited the DNA lab and headed for the break room. All of her DNA evidence had been rendered useless by her suspect's apparently liberal application of bleach to the crime scene. She hadn't figured on getting much, but that shred of hope had always been in the back of her mind, pushing her forward. Now she was fast running out of leads to follow.
Her frustrations were only compounded by the instinctual knowledge of who had killed Carol Jenkins--the ex-boyfriend that Carol had dumped when she decided to straighten out her life. And Carol had been doing a damn fine job of getting things together until Clayton Hammill took her continued brush offs as evidence that Carol thought she was too good for him. Personally, Sara thought it was true, and when she had voiced her suspicions and her opinion to Clayton, she had seen that murderous glint in his eye that she had seen for the first time in her mother's eye and then later in her life as her career developed.
The evidence is there, she told herself. You just have to find it.
With such thoughts in her mind, she pushed open the door to the break room, absently flipping on the television for background noise while she heated her lunch. She continued to mentally work through what evidence she did have when she heard Grissom's voice speaking from the television. She was momentarily confused before she realized that someone had left the TV on the channel that had hosted their temporary stalkers in their quest to see the "Real CSIs."
Content to let her thoughts stew in the back of her mind, Sara focused more on the screen and watched with amusement at how the rest of the world saw the lab. She grinned openly at Nick's dislike of the camera and smiled in pride when Sofia shut the camera out of the examining room. She flushed in self-conscious embarrassment when she told the camera off and nearly jumped out of her seat when Greg's voice came from behind her.
"You know, that was kinda hot." He glanced down and grinned sheepishly. "Sorry."
"How long have you been there?" she asked, even more embarrassed that someone else had been there.
"I just came in," he said, bouncing over to the coffee machine and the minifridge to find his own lunch. Sara would have laid money that he had just collared his suspect. Sara kept half an ear on his whereabouts as he fiddled around their small area. When he sat down next to her, Sara gave him a small smile and offered the remote. "Is it any good?" he asked, tilting his head toward the TV.
Sara shrugged. "It's weird to see everyone on camera. I swear you can see Hodges in the background of every shot in the lab."
Greg snorted at her observation and shook his head at the remote. "Sounds like some good lunch TV."
Sara gave a snort of her own and laid the remote down between them. Comfortable silence descended between them as the commercial break ended and Catherine came on screen.
A few minutes later, the camera zoomed in on Sofia and Brass discussing how to crack their waiting suspect. Sara brought her drifting mind back to the TV in time to hear Sofia ask something about a guilty conscience. She raised an eyebrow to see Sofia's ironic grin as she unbuttoned her blouse enough that her cleavage was much more visible than was normal.
Greg gave a whistle of appreciation . "She can interrogate me anytime!" he enthusiastically noted.
Sara watched, fascinated and something else as Sofia flipped her hair across one shoulder and bent over the table, giving the suspect an ample view. When the suspect didn't even twitch, Sofia glanced at Brass, apparently disappointed, and stood back up. Sara continued to stare at the screen for another minute, that one scene burned in her brain before she suddenly stood up, quickly gathering her plate to throw away.
Surprised at Sara's jerky movements, Greg looked curiously at her. "Everything okay?"
Sara nodded quickly. "Yeah." She plastered a fake smile on her face. "I just remembered an important piece of evidence," she lied, wanting to get out of the break room.
Greg merely nodded. "Let me know if you need any help. I'm free until I get another call."
Greg's focus on her gone, Sara bolted from the room and made a beeline for the secluded lab she usually worked out of. Once in her pseudo-sanctum, Sara sat down hard and took a moment to relax her breathing. What the hell was her problem, anyway? She replayed that scene over in her mind, ignoring her body's reaction to the image of Sofia unbuttoning her blouse. She concentrated, instead, on what that other emotion had been. Over and over, she replayed that scene, trying to put a name to that elusive feeling.
She glanced up when she heard laughter through the closed doors. Through the glass walls, she saw Sofia and Wendy talking animatedly about something as they walked down the hall back toward DNA. Wendy briefly laid a hand on Sofia's arm and Sara felt that same emotion clench her gut, harder this time for the fact she had been feeling it over and over again for the better part of a half hour.
She felt a punch to her gut then, as realization dawned. "Oh, my god," she breathed to herself. Jealousy. She was feeling jealousy. Certain that Sofia could feel her gaze, Sara dropped her eyes and stared at the evidence table, silently begging it to offer up better answers than what she had just found. After all, what the hell did she have to feel jealous about anyway? The most she and Sofia had ever shared were heated looks. Lots of heated looks. That hardly made them...anything, really.
Her head pounded against the table as she tried to make sense of the ferocity of her feelings. Surely she hadn't let her feelings for a co-worker develop this far without noticing. There had to be an explanation. Grasping at straws, Sara quickly counted the days in her cycle. She was disappointed when she realized that it couldn't be hormone related. At least not those hormones. Maybe it was just other hormones. Except it had been almost thirty-six hours since the last time she was near enough to Sofia for hormones to mean a damn.
She lifted her head and banged it once more into the table. How was she going to work with Sofia now that she had this figured out? God (and her raging libido) only knew how different this was from what she had felt for Grissom. What she might have once called smoldering looks between herself and Grissom were only moments of gas compared to what she felt when she shared those some glances with Sofia.
A shadow passed in front of the door and she looked up in time to see Sofia open the door, a concerned expression on her face. Sara let years of experience fall across her own features and mask her turmoil. Sofia frowned.
"You okay?" she asked. She stood right inside the door, not sure whether she was wanted or not.
"Yeah. Just trying to get the evidence to cooperate." Sara plastered a smile across her face, trying to be convincing. Sofia raised an elegant eyebrow. Maybe the smile was too much.
"You sure? Maybe you should take a break, let your mind have a rest."
Sara immediately waved the idea off. "That's okay; I just took one."
Sofia nodded, seemingly more to herself than to Sara. "I just saw Greg. He said you two caught part of that silly documentary they shot here a few months back."
Sofia saw it, but only because she had been watching for it.
Sara sighed and slouched a little on her stool.
Sofia abandoned her post at the door and came to lean near Sara. "What is it?"
Not trusting herself to be in such proximity to Sofia, Sara stood and put the table between them, feigning interest in the evidence. "It's just the case. I know this guy is guilty, but I can't seem to find the evidence to prove it."
Sofia glanced at the table, pictures splayed in gruesome testament to what they'd both seen earlier that week. "You're full of shit, you know that?"
Sara looked at Sofia, the words completely unexpected. Sofia had to repress an amused grin at the complete lack of understanding on Sara's face. A full minute later, Sara finally managed to stammer, "What?"
"This has nothing to do with the evidence," she stated, her usual confidence shining in her words as she stared Sara down.
Still reeling from the complete lack of grace Sofia had displayed, Sara could only repeat herself. "What?"
This time Sofia did smile. That small, intimate smile that said she had Sara exactly where she wanted her.
"I had an interesting conversation with Greg before I came in here," Sofia said, seemingly coming from left field.
Sara adopted a bored expression. At least, as best she could manage while her mind still tried to comprehend Sofia's inelegant statement. "Okay."
"He didn't mention you angsting over your evidence. He said you were in a good mood which was surprising since I know you haven't slept in at least twenty-four hours."
Sara finally found her footing as indignation rose within her. "What, are you stalking me now?"
Sofia shook her head, ignoring the touch of anger colouring Sara's words. "I'm just concerned."
"Well, don't be." Sara could have slapped herself for her harsh words, but she kept the anger on her face as glared at Sofia. After a few moments passed, she turned back to her evidence, uncomfortable with maintaining that eye contact. The smolder had started again.
Sofia came around the table and lightly tugged on Sara's arm until the brunette was forced to look her in the eye again. "What if I want to be? What if, when Greg told me what seemed to set you off earlier, I hoped it was because you were a little jealous?" Sara's eyes widened as Sofia calmly gave voice to feelings she herself had only just put a name to. "What if I think you look cute as hell right now and I want nothing more than to kiss you?"
Sara pulled back, her eyes immediately breaking contact with Sofia's. Her mind was working beyond light speed, trying to make sense of everything that was happening. She waited for Sofia to say or do something more, but the detective remained silent for what seemed like hours. In frustration she finally looked back up.
"Dammit, Sofia! You can't just dump all this on me! Not when I only just realized this might--" Sara stopped herself before she revealed way more than she meant to.
Gauging Sara's mood and realizing that she may have moved a little too fast, Sofia took a step back, giving Sara a little more breathing room. "Do you want to go somewhere and talk about it?"
Sara took a deep breath, closing her eyes and rubbing her forehead. "Honestly?" Sara took another cleansing breath, deciding she might as well air certain things that Sofia had apparently already guessed at. "I want to go somewhere and show you just how jealous I can be." Sara finally opened her eyes and met Sofia's now shocked gaze. She let that information sink in for a moment before adding, "But coffee will work for now."
Sofia nodded mutely, still absorbing Sara's statement. And trying to calm the incredible arousal she had felt at her words. "Let's go, then." She started to move past Sara, intending to lead them to a nearby cafe so they could at least figure out what they were going to do.
As she came abreast of Sara, however, strong arms wrapped around her waist and pulled her into an unexpected kiss, Sara's body molding against her own, trying to make as much contact as possible. Sofia stood still for only a moment before she pressed Sara against the table, giving just as much as getting.
Sara finally pulled away, a devilish smile on her face. "I really wanted to kiss you, too," she explained before heading for the door. "Now, I heard something about coffee?"
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