DISCLAIMER: Jerry Bruckheimer, CBS and various others own CSI, not me. I just played in their sandpit for a while.
SERIES/SEQUEL: Third part of 'The Nina Simone Suite', following Little Visions of You and Mia-Anderings.
SPOILERS: Set around and after the Season 5 Episode: Ch-Ch-Changes.
SOUNDTRACK: Nina Simone – Let it be me.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
DEDICATED: For the one I love as always.

Let It Be Me
By Celievamp

"I can't believe Ecklie did that, split us up for… for what!"

"I've met his type before other places… he plays politics, it's how he gets his kicks. I know you've worked together a long time. But the way I see it there were going to be changes anyway - Catherine Willows was already angling for a promotion… she just didn't get the one she wanted," I said. "Things would have been different whatever strings Ecklie decided to pull. Look, I'm just the newbie here. Sometimes change can be a good thing, Sara. I know it has been for me."

She smiled at that. "I suppose. I don't know how it's going to be working with Sofia though. She's got to be hurting the way Ecklie burned her." She stared at her plate, playing with the leftovers of her breakfast.

"But she proved herself her own woman not playing Ecklie's game," I said. No one knew for certain what had been said in that meeting between Ecklie, Grissom and Sofia Curtis. But the changes in staffing that Ecklie had announced afterwards took everyone's breath away. And Sofia Curtis, formerly blue eyed girl of dayshift had been effectively demoted to work alongside Sara and Greg on night shift. Not quite CSI's most unwanted, but getting that reputation. Catherine, Nick and Warrick had been moved to the swing shift.

"That Ecklie," Sara shuddered. "He wanted me to say that Grissom was a bad supervisor that he did not care about his staff. Just because he hadn't put something on my personnel file. I mean it was nothing, I didn't tell him formally, just in passing… but Ecklie… Grissom… he's the best… Ecklie is… I mean if this is what it's going to be like working for him, I might…"

"You're not thinking of moving on, are you?" I asked, trying not to show that I had anything at all invested in her answer. I mean this was only our third breakfast date… and I would hesitate to call it a date. We talked shop mostly. She knew the techniques of my job almost as well as I did. And she was up on all the latest techniques. Every time we had a conversation I realised again just how bright she was – and hell, I'm no slouch in the brains department.

Sara shrugged. "I really wanted to get my next grade and another year or so of experience under my belt before I looked elsewhere but this thing with Ecklie has really soured it for me."

"At least you're still working with Grissom," I offered.

"I suppose. To be honest, there's nothing else to really hold me here. I mean I'm not…" she glanced across at me. "What is the word on my love life these days?"

I smothered a grin. "Nothing to write home about. I've heard rumours that you and Grissom have a thing." She pulled a face, sighed.

"Not any more. Not that it was really anything… nothing happened between us. We've never dated… we've never even kissed. On my part it was almost… hero worship I suppose. I think he was flattered… scared to death of me, but flattered…"

"Well the current gossip has him paired with Sofia now anyway. Number one reason why Ecklie is so pissed at him. Sofia turned him down for Grissom."

She considered it for a moment. "Nah… I won't say he wouldn't be interested in her but if she was obvious enough for him to notice then he'd back off."

"Then there's the gossip about you and Catherine Willows," I said, greatly daring.

""It took us three years to get to the point where we were civil to one another so I can't see that happening anytime soon," Sara said. Then she realised what she said and started to backpedal "Not that I 've ever… I mean Catherine's not… never."

This was it. I laid a gentle hand on her arm. "It's okay, Sara. I'm a friend… family you might say. I can see how you feel about Catherine."

Sara closed her eyes tightly. "Nothing's ever… will ever happen. She's not… not that I don't think she wouldn't be open to it."

I nodded. "From what I've seen of her, I think she'd be open to experiment but not if you're looking for a relationship… " I paused. "Are you looking for a relationship, Sara?"

"What I said earlier about there being nothing really to hold me here," she looked at me directly and I was taken again by how dark and deep her eyes were. "I'm willing to see that change."

My hand was still on her arm, my fingers moving very softly over the bare skin of her forearm. "What are you doing for the rest of the day?"

"Didn't have any plans," she whispered, gazing at me. "How about you?"

"Nothing that can't be put off for another day," I smiled. "Sara, can I kiss you?"

I made her blush, the great unflappable Sara Sidle. And that smile, that cute gap-toothed grin. "Yes, I'd like that."

She tasted of coffee, blueberries and maple syrup. Her eyes had fluttered closed whilst we kissed long and slow, exploring each other's taste. I drew back a little, watched her face as her eyes opened again and she gazed at me with those wonderfully dark enigmatic eyes. She reached out, stroking her fingers gently down my cheek. I turned my face into her touch, let my lips graze her palm. "Shall we?" she asked.

I nodded, smiled. Sara fished in her jacket pocket, threw a few notes on the table to cover the bill and we left the booth. By the time we got to the door her hand had gravitated into mine.

Nothing ever felt so right before.

Let It Be Me – Nina Simone (from the CD: It is finished)
   (Music & Lyrics by Gilbert Becaud, M. Curtis, Pierre Delanoe )

I bless the day I found you,
I want to stay around you
and so I beg you, let it be me.

Don't take this heaven from one,
if you must cling to someone
now and forever, let it be me.

Each time we meet, love,
I find complete love.
Without your sweet love
what would life be?

So never leave me lonely,
tell me you'll love me only
and that you'll always let it be me.

If for each bit of gladness
someone must taste of sadness
I'll bear the sorrow, let it be me.

No matter what the price is
I'll make no sacrifices.
Through each tomorrow let it be me.

To you I'm praying,
hear what I'm saying.
Please, let your heart beat
for me, just me.

And never leave me lonely,
tell me you'll love me only
and that you'll always let it be me,
let it be me.

The End

Sequel The Human Touch

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