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Looking In
By wonderingraincloud


Greg Sanders let out a wistful little sigh, and shifted uncomfortably on his cheap plastic chair. A wry smile had finally overcome the grin he'd been wearing for the last ten minutes, and he was starting to feel a little out of place. It was strange the way your dreams came true sometimes, he mused.

If he was honest with himself, he'd started having this particular dream since the moment he'd gotten to know Sara Sidle. From the first time she'd smiled at him while rolling her dark eyes at his antics in the lab, letting him see a little bit of what she kept hidden from everyone else, he'd found himself imagining this scenario in the odd, quiet moments, late at night. He'd seen himself sitting next to her in a small hospital room, just like this one, while she held a new-born close, and he peered into a tiny face, trying to work out which features were his.

This baby had inherited his straight, Nordic, nose, and a hint of his firm jawline, but the rest was all her mother. With wide, exotically slanted blue eyes, a fringe of pale blonde hair, and high, delicate cheekbones, Natasha Sidle might have been given Sara's last name, but she was a Curtis through and through. It hurt more than he had expected.

He'd always known that he didn't stand a chance with Sara. Between the way her eyes followed Grissom's every move, and the simmer and flare animosity she had with Catherine, he'd never have been able to hold her attention for long enough to have anything beyond friendship. That had been OK. He was glad to be her friend. Even when he'd worked out what was really going on between Sofia and her, he'd been happy. Although, he supposed that it helped that it hadn't been much of a surprise.

Tall, striking, and oddly charming for all her brash confidence, Sofia drew people to her without really trying. Sara had noticed her the first time she swaggered into the lab on their shift. They clashed at first; both too sharply intelligent, and stubborn, for their own good; but that soon mellowed into something else. He'd caught Sara checking out Sofia's ass as they walked down the corridor together after the Kyman case, although when he'd tried to gage Sara's feelings on their new colleague she'd given him a look that would stop a Mac-Truck and stormed off. Then he'd walked in on them processing the evidence from Bruce Eiger's play room.

That's what they should have been doing when he walked in, at least. He doubted that much work had actually been going on. Sara had been stood behind Sofia at the microscope, so close that her breathing had disturbed the fall of soft blonde hair in front of her. One hand had rested on Sofia's shoulder, while the other gently caressed the backs of her fingers as they worked the fine adjustment knob. Neither woman had said anything that he could hear, but the air of intimacy between them had been enough to force him back out of the room to give them some privacy. Three weeks later, when Sara had told him she was seeing someone, he'd been able to give her a knowing smile and tell her that he hoped Sofia would make her happy.

From what he saw, the spirited blonde had managed just that. They were little things, and he only noticed them because he knew to look, but they were there. Sara smiled more easily now, and seemed more comfortable with herself. In the rare quiet moments he'd see her staring at nothing with a soft expression on her face. She worked less overtime too, and there was a dried carnation and a postcard from their trip to Hawaii taped to the inside of her locker. Greg often wondered what Sofia had done to convince Sara to take the ten days off from the lab, but he wasn't masochistic enough to ask either woman. Whatever it was, Sara came back tanned and happy, with a slender white gold ring that she wore on a chain around her neck while she worked, but moved to her left hand as soon as her shift was over. Catherine noticed it one night, and asked about the mystery guy she'd met and married while she was away, but instead of snapping at her to mind her own business, Sara had just laughed and told her that it wasn't a wedding ring, and that there hadn't been a guy for three years. Sofia was clearly very good for her!

Their relationship was good for him too. A more content Sara meant a more relaxed mentor for him. The atmosphere in the lab was lighter somehow, and working with Sara actually helped him get over the horrible things he found in the field now rather than compounding the problem. She was still dedicated, still shared her expertise freely, but there was room for his eccentricities too. They had his music on when they were working alone, and she'd give him her own version of Sofia's smirk when he danced around a dismantled car, or, far more rarely, throw in a couple of moves herself.

Being the token 'person who knew' had brought him closer to both women outside of work as well. He was invited into their home; where he felt privileged to watch these two intensely focused women unwind. Sometimes the three of them conducted grand, but ultimately doomed, experiments in the kitchen –where he soon figured out that Sofia was the only one of them who had any talent for cooking at all, and what she gained from ability she lost by impatience! Most of the time, though, he just hung out and talked about anything but work. Sara bought him after shift breakfasts to say thank you for helping her move her book cases to their new place, and Sofia bought him coffee and concert tickets when he helped her sneak a bouquet of lilies and cherry blossom into the lab for Sara's birthday. When they finally came out as a couple he got to stand back and watch the chaos.

It had been a semi-official party to celebrate Sofia taking over the Narcotics Unit. Uncomfortable in her dress uniform, and sick of being haunted by the Undersheriff, the newly minted Lieutenant had cut in on Sara and Grissom's awkward waltz, pulled the other woman into the centre of the dance-floor, then kissed her silly when the music came to a close. The ensuing shocked gasps and smashing glassware were loud enough to drown out whatever Sara had to say when the very public kiss finished, but incredibly, as Sofia leaned back to gently stroke the side of her face, she was smiling. The expressions of their co-workers were priceless. Catherine had managed to hold on to her wine glass, but she seemed to have lost control of her jaw muscles, and she stood there staring at them with her mouth open in shock. Nick's surprise was quickly overcome by a broad grin, but there was something like longing in his eyes that made Greg think he wasn't as pleased by their obvious affection as he was trying to make out. Brass was. His eyes were crinkling in that way they did when he approved of something but didn't want to say so, and Warrick had to grab his arm to stop him punching a fellow officer who made a comment about having always known that 'Curtis strapped on more than her gun belt in the mornings!'. Grissom just looked like one of his own skewered bugs.

Probably the most impressive site, however, was McKeen. He stood where Sofia had left him only minutes before, slowly turning an interesting shade of red. His fists were clenched, and he was almost vibrating with rage. Greg could have sworn that he saw the veins at the man's temples throbbing when he eventually collected himself to spin around and stalked out of the room. It turned out that the Undersheriff had found out that Sara and Sofia were living together, and was trying to use the knowledge to pressure Sofia into using her new position to get one of his friends out of a charge of possession with intent. The kiss had cut his slimy blackmailing legs out from under him. It was a great night.

Three weeks later, and it was Greg's turn to be taken by surprise. They'd asked him over for some carefully ordered Thai takeaway, which was pretty normal when they all had a night off, but they ate in uncharacteristic silence, Sara's right hand clenching nervously around Sofia's right until Greg was half way through his second premium European larger when she let go and blurted:

"We- want- you- to-consider-donating-sperm-to-help-us-have-a-baby-I-know-it's-a-massive-thing-to-ask-for-and-its-fine-if-you-want-to-say-no-but-we'd-like-it-to-be-you!" all in one breath.

The response was immediate. Greg choked.

The choking got worse when Sofia, who had apparently got over her nerves enough to be wry turned to her lover while she was patting his back, and said "God, Sara! He's no use to us dead!"

He'd said yes, of course. There probably wasn't anything that either of them could have asked for by that point that he'd have said no to. So he'd become intimately acquainted with a plastic cup; and after eight and a half months of hiding coffee (properly this time, not the token effort he still made with his blue Hawaiian), and holding back hair, and stealing ultrasound photos, he found himself here. He was sitting next to his best friend, staring down at a perfect baby girl that had half his DNA, but would never really be his. She was gorgeous. She was going to break hearts. She'd already broken his. Because although her mothers would let him be part of her life, he knew he'd always be on the outside, looking in; just like he was with Sara.

The End

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