DISCLAIMER: CSI and all characters are the property of CBS and Bruckheimer. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Ok, I know the premise is a little far-fetched, to begin the fic, but hey, I'm trying to move fan universes here. It's really hard work. I could do a mythology reference just to make myself feel better, but really, it would be pretentious.
And I personally think people who write crossover fics should be regulated to the 9th circle of hell, so, well, of course I decided to write a crossover fic. So if anyone wants to know what this circle of hell is like, I'm down here, stoking the fires.
SPOILERS: Through the current seasons on CSI and SVU.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Between Love and Hate
By zennie

4. Escalations

The door shut as a uniform lead their perp away, leaving Olivia, Sara, and Greg sitting in stunned silence in the interrogation room. After a long while, Greg asked, "He arranged for the deaths of five people as a publicity stunt?" The incredulous tone in his voice spoke for all of them. "To promote a bed and breakfast?" Two dark heads nodded in unison in answer to his question. The two women had obviously reached some kind of a truce and had worked well during the investigation, but they continued to be tense near each other, Greg had noticed. Greg looked between the two women as they sat at the table, Olivia playing with her pen distractedly and Sara re-reading her notes from the interview, and decided that the atmosphere in the room left something to be desired. "Time for breakfast," he announced, jumping up from his chair with flourish, drawing two sets of brown eyes to him. "Come on," Greg said, sweeping a hand toward the door.

"Greg…" "I'm really not…" They both began, but he shook off their objections. "Nope, we're going to breakfast." He stared down Sara's stubborn glare and played his trump card, "You owe me. Both of you, for having to put up with you during this investigation," he asserted, seeing Olivia about to speak. "Now come on." Matching shrugs greeted him as the two of them gathered their papers and followed him out the door.

Sara excused herself at the door and headed to the bathroom, telling them to order her a cup of coffee, and it wasn't until she threaded her way through the bustling diner and saw Olivia and Greg sitting in a booth that she realized her miscalculation: she was now faced with having to choose one side of the booth or the other. She hoped neither of her dining companions noticed that her steps stuttered as she approached, running the options through her head quickly. If I sit by Greg, he'll tease me about liking him for days, but if I sit by Olivia… She couldn't even finish the thought. The tightness in the pit of her stomach grew as she gazed at the auburn-haired detective who was smiling widely as Greg kept her amused with his stories. Taking a huge breath to steel herself, Sara made her decision and slid into her seat.

Olivia turned her smile to the woman at her side as the brunette perched on the far edge of the bench and toyed with her silverware. The waitress dropped off their coffee, giving Sara something new to fiddle with as Greg continued his flow of patter. Sara contributed as much as she usually did in non-work related discussions, which is to say that she was her usual guarded, withdrawn self, and Olivia wished they were alone so she could tease Sara into opening up, but she wasn't about to do that in front of Greg, whose own attempts to draw Sara into the conversation were falling flat.

Sara, for her part, found the edge of the bench an uneasy perch, and she edged closer to Olivia, finding her body pressed against the detective at the hip and thigh and feeling the heat where their bodies touched. Olivia was telling an involved story about a case back in New York, and every few moments she would glance over at Sara, her smile widening with every look, and Sara found herself drawn in to the warm hazel depths of Olivia's eyes. So when Olivia patted her thigh, an amused expression on her face, the contact made Sara jump. Sara realized she had missed something and had to backtrack to Olivia's request to be let out of the booth. Blushing, she let Olivia out and slid back into the booth, facing a smirking Greg. "What?"

"You were really zoned there. Care to share?"

Sara glared at him. "I'm tired."

"Jim, I'm not going home! I'm still on this case, damn it, and I'm not going to drop it."

"I'm not removing you from the case, Olivia, but you are going home." Brass stared at her firmly, not relenting. "Look, you've canvassed and interviewed everyone you can. The case is dead-ended right now because the trace tech is out sick and there's nothing you can accomplish by staying around. Go home, get some sleep, and tonight when you come back, maybe some of the other lab results will be back and there will be something you can do. But if I see you back here before tonight, I'll send you home for the entire weekend." He half-smiled to soften his words. "Ok?"

Olivia felt the urge to slam her hand into the locker beside Brass's head, but instead she took a deep breath, remembering that she had ended up in Vegas because she hadn't stepped back from cases when she should have. Brass must have seen her decision reflected on her face because he had her elbow and was already steering her out the door. "I'll see you tonight.

That night, as Olivia was driving to the PD only half an hour early, her pager beeped and she pulled into the lab parking lot instead. Sara was leaned over a microscope in the trace lab, amid heaps and heaps of evidence bags still evidently awaiting the sick tech. She was still dressed in the green sweater and black pants Olivia had last seen her in, looking decidedly worse for wear, but the tired smile of welcome she flashed Olivia as she straightened still managed to light her eyes.

Olivia couldn't recall the first time Sara smiled at her like that at work, but now every time she stepped into a room with the CSI, there was a special smile just for her regardless of the circumstance. She recalled her favorite memory of that smile, stepping into the garage seconds after a mishap splashed radiator fluid all over Sara, earning her an earful of colorful language and an eyeful of a radiant smile when Sara realized she had an audience. Laughing heartily, she had accepted the towels Olivia had held out for her, wiping ineffectually at the mess as she pointed out the bullet lodged in the grill. Like so many of Sara's little quirks, Olivia found her dedication to work endearing, pausing to look back one last time as she left Sara, oblivious and still dripping all over the floor of the garage as she extracted the bullet.

Returning Sara's smile, even though her frustrations with the case gave her no reason to, Olivia stepped further into the room, gesturing toward the stack of files on the table. "I thought the tech was out sick."

"He is. I, ah, stuck around today to run the trace." Seeing Olivia's raised eyebrow, she continued, "Don't worry, my specialty is materials and trace analysis, so I know what I'm doing."

Olivia leaned against the counter and folded her arms across her chest, still looking at the tall CSI doubtfully. "I'm not worried about that. Why were you allowed to stick around today?" Mentally adding, While I got sent home?

Sara managed to look a little embarrassed, and she shrugged a shoulder. "Brass isn't my boss so he couldn't order me home."

"And your supervisor didn't notice you stayed in the lab all day?" Sara shrugged her shoulders again, not bothering to look up from her lab report. What could she say anyway? My supervisor tries very hard not to notice me at all? She launched into a recitation of her days activities, explaining that the trace found in the car tracks came back paint chips and some assorted metals, leading her to the junkyard where the mother's boyfriend worked. "Since none of the cars at the house were used to transport the body, I thought maybe he had access to a truck at work. And he did. There were trace amounts of blood in the truck and we have a DNA match to the vic," she finished triumphantly.

"What! You… went there… without me?" Olivia asked incredulously, feeling her anger from the morning rising once again, but this time there was a better target for rage standing right in front of her. "You shouldn't have been out in the field without me!"

"I took two uniforms," Sara said, a defensive tone to her voice. While Olivia's eyes kept their hard glare, Sara explained in the conciliatory tone she used that seemed to heighten her accent, "I was only there to process any working trucks on the lot to make sure none of them were used to transport the body. I didn't interview anyone and I had backup with me."

Olivia snorted at Sara's attempt to mollify her, furious that she had been kept out of the loop on the case. "Look," Sara said, with a touch of anger she appeared to be keeping under tight control, "You were sent home with strict orders not to come back in and I was just following a hunch that might not have gone anywhere. I didn't want you to get in trouble with Brass or have to explain my own unauthorized overtime."

Olivia released some of the tension in her body through a long exhalation, trying to avoid fighting with the CSI. "So I should go pick up the boyfriend?"

Sara frowned and looked away, obviously unhappy. "He's on his way in now."

Olivia whipped around, her hand colliding with a chair to send it flying across the room. Her mouth hung open but she couldn't get a coherent sentence out, "He's, already, why…" Sara had retreated a step or two back from Olivia, but the expression in her eyes wasn't fearful, merely concerned… and understanding.

"I was going to call you," she began, in a quiet tone.

"Why didn't you?" Olivia ground out, one hand clutching the table edge to keep herself from advancing on the younger woman.

"I got the lab results and dispatched a patrol car to keep an eye on our suspect. I was about to call you with his location when the patrol called and told me he was leaving with a packed truck and I asked them to pick him up rather than let him leave the jurisdiction." Sara took a step closer to the detective, laying a light hand on the clenched fist. "Olivia," she said softly, dipping her head to meet Olivia's eyes, "I'm not keeping you out of the investigation, you know that."

Olivia locked eyes with the brunette, immediately recognizing the expression in those hazel eyes as one she saw on rare occasions when Sara let the walls down and opened herself up. She saw patience and understanding and felt the truth of the words, and her anger evaporated in the face of that. "Yeah," Olivia's reply was equally soft, "it's just the case…"

"I understand."

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have taken my frustrations with the case out on you."

Sara shook off the apology. "It's fine." When Olivia opened her mouth to say something else, Sara interrupted by saying, "The suspect should be here in a few minutes. We should head over to the PD."

Their suspect, the boyfriend of the murdered girl's mother, looked scared as he sat in the interrogation room. No, strike that, he looks terrified. He didn't look like the person who beat an 8-year old near to death, strangled her, and left her body in a wildlife preserve to be mangled by animals. Instead, he looked like a confused, terrified, grieving parent. Well, looks can be deceiving, Olivia sighed as she squared her shoulders and headed into the interrogation room with Sara a step behind.

"So Mr. Wilkins," she began as she leaned against the wall beside the door and Sara settled into a seat at the table, "we brought you in to answer some questions before you left town." He flinched at her tone as well as the implicit accusation, but said nothing. He had declined the offer of a lawyer, which puzzled Olivia, but she wasn't going to waste the opportunity. "Have you ever seen this truck?" she asked, as Sara slid a photo out of the array, the image sitting between them like a silent condemnation of his guilty.

He swallowed visibly and muttered, "Yeah. At work."

"You have access to this truck at work?" He nodded. "Do you have access to your workplace during off-hours?" Again, he nodded mutely, since these were questions Olivia already had the answer to and he had no way to deny the truth. Olivia paused for a moment to let the man squirm before asking, "Did you use that truck to transport Cassie's body to the dump site?"

"No," he answered quickly, not meeting her eyes.

"No? Then can you explain her blood in the bed of the truck along with your fingerprints all over the truck?"

"I drive the truck at work all the time. I don't know anything about any blood."

Olivia leaned over Sara's shoulder to select a picture from the file, holding it in her hands as she walked around the table to stand behind their suspect. "Cassie's body was dumped in a wildlife preserve. Are you saying you've never been there?"

"I went there. With Cassie. A few months ago."

"But not three nights ago? You didn't dump her body so the animals could do this?" With that, Olivia tossed the photograph down, a crime scene photo of Cassie's mangled and mutilated body. Fred Wilkins started, then paled when he saw the photo, closing his eyes tightly against the sight. "You had to have known that the wildlife in that place would get to her. It takes a sick individual to do that to someone they knew. Usually, family members cover the bodies out of guilt, but you, you dumped her there. To be mutilated. That's sick."

Throughout Olivia's stream of words, Wilkins was shaking his head vehemently in denial while tears streamed down his face. "No, no," he sobbed quietly as Olivia kept talking. "You must have hated that little girl to do that. You beat her, you strangled her, and then you dumped her."

"No!" he yelled and looked up then, his tear-streaked face inches from Olivia's. "I love her. I didn't hurt her. I…" he gazed down at the picture in front of his face, "couldn't hurt her."

Sara, who had been watching the scene in front of her in silence, asked quietly, "But you dumped her body at the preserve?"

His eyes closed again and he nodded, his hands curling around his head as he sobbed. "She said I had to do it. She said she would tell the police I killed Cassie and that I would go to jail. I love Cassie. I wanted to adopt her and make her my own daughter. I took her to the preserve because she loved it there. She loved animals and we had so much fun. I wanted… to put her someplace happy." His words died off and only his sobbing was heard as Olivia stared over at her partner, trying to get a read on what Sara thought about his story. Sara was watching the man with cold eyes, but a hint of compassion.

"Mr. Wilkins, who killed Cassie?" Sara asked directly.

"Aimee. She did it, she killed her."

"Mr. Wilkins, I'm sorry, but that's impossible." When the man in front of her looked up at her with disbelief, Sara continued, "Cassie had defensive wounds on her hands, including skin under her fingernails from where she scratched her killer. We ran DNA on that skin and it was unknown." He shook his head, not understanding. "If her mother had killed her, the skin would have shown some markers in common with Cassie. There were no markers in common, so no one related to her attacked her."

He stared at her, stunned, for a long moment. "Aimee isn't." After a pause, he explained further, "Related to Cassie, I mean." Olivia and Sara exchanged a startled glance. "Cassie was her ex-husband's child from his previous marriage. When he was killed in a car wreck, Aimee adopted Cassie."

"She did?"

"Yeah, to keep all his money for herself. She didn't like Cassie, she just didn't want to give up any of the life insurance… but I liked Cassie. I wanted her to be my daughter," he said, his voice breaking again as he began crying again.

Olivia gestured to Sara and they conferred in the corner of the room. "What do you think?"

Sara shrugged. "Easy enough to check out. We can get his DNA to compare with the skin sample and do a records check on the mother. The paperwork has to be in the system." Olivia nodded, and they both stepped back to the table as Sara set her case on the table. "Mr. Wilkins, will you consent to a DNA sample? We'll use it to try to confirm your story."

He nodded his head eagerly, looking at the two women with hope in his eyes. "Anything. I didn't hurt Cassie."

Olivia gestured to the uniform in the corner. "We need to hold you on the transportation charge, but if your story checks out, then we can probably arrange for a deal in return for your testimony." He nodded again and left with the officer.

Sara slumped back against the table, and Olivia noted the deep lines around her eyes and the exhausted set of her shoulders, seeing the around-the-clock day finally taking its toll on her companion. "We should get a warrant for the mother's DNA," she stated, reaching for her cell phone.

Sara shook her head. "DA probably won't go for it until we have something to collaborate his story. If we run his DNA and confirm that the girl is adopted, then we'll get it."

Olivia nodded in agreement, and stared at the exhausted woman in front of her. "You should rest while we wait."

Sara straightened and squared her shoulders, "I'm not going home," she snapped.

"Ok, but you need to get some sleep."

Relenting, Sara waved a hand, "Sure. I'll drop off the DNA sample and then take a nap in the break room."

"The break room? Don't you have a crib where you can actually sleep without people walking in every three minutes?"

"No." Seeing Olivia's look, Sara shrugged her shoulders. "It's ok. When I'm tired enough, I can sleep through most of that."

"Come on." Olivia grabbed Sara's arm and lead her through the halls of the PD, Sara digging in her heels a little to slow Olivia's headlong path to her office. Closing the door behind them, Olivia pushed Sara toward the couch wedged into the tiny office and started rummaging through a file cabinet. Sara stumbled a little in the middle of the room on rubbery legs, but she crossed her arms over her chest and glared at the pillow and blanket Olivia had in her arms.

"The couch probably isn't any more comfortable than the one in the break room, but it's quiet and nobody will bother you," Olivia explained, extending the bedding. Sara's patent stubborn expression was marred by her drooping eyes and a huge yawn. Olivia carefully extracted the evidence bag from Sara's hands while depositing the pillow. "I'll drop this off and you rest." Sara's resistance crumbled as exhaustion weighed down her body, and she slipped off her shoes and settled onto the couch. She was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow, oblivious to the soft hands that draped a blanket over her.

Hours later, Olivia tiptoed into her office, closing the door carefully to avoid jarring Sara awake. In the low light from the office lamp, Sara's face relaxed in sleep looked impossibly young and unscarred, and Olivia felt a familiar surge of protectiveness wash over her at the sight. Olivia wondered briefly what Sara Sidle had been like when she was younger, if she had been more or less passionate, more or less devoted the cause of justice that seemed to consume her life now.

Setting two cups down on the desk, Olivia couldn't help reaching out to run her fingers along the smooth cheek, surprised when Sara turned into the caress so that her lips slid under Olivia's fingertips in an inadvertent kiss. Resisting the temptation to lean down and kiss Sara awake and relive a treasured memory, Olivia shook her shoulder gently. "Sara? Sara, it's time to wake up." When the sleeping CSI mumbled something incoherent and showed no signs of waking, Olivia shook harder. "Our suspect is on the way in. We need to be in the interview room in ten minutes."

Sara rolled over to snuggle in tighter to the couch back. "Five more minutes," she muttered, tightening her hold on her pillow.

Grinning at the sleepy woman but knowing they didn't have time for her to enjoy the scene, Olivia tried the one sure-fire way she knew to get Sara to respond. "I have coffee. And not the stuff from the break room either, but from Espresso Hut."

Sara grunted and extended her arm straight up, making a grabbing motion with her fingers, and Olivia chuckled. "Nope, it's here on the desk," she explained, patting the desk beside her, "You have to get up to get it." Sara simply dropped her hand back to the pillow and made no other effort to move, and Olivia stifled a laugh, afraid that would just encourage Sara.

"Look, as cute as you are right now, all tired and tousled," Olivia began, finally getting a response as Sara turned her head to glare up at the detective, "you are much cuter when you are in the interview room intimidating a suspect with all that evidence and science Or…" And here Olivia's eyes glazed over a little as she contemplated a favorite image, "when you are in your lab coat and latex gloves leaning over a microscope."

Pursing her lips thoughfully and obviously awake now, Sara slid off the couch and made her way over to pick up her coffee cup, taking a large swig, studying Olivia's face intently all the while.

"So, detective," she began, a playful light in her eyes, "are you telling me that you fantasize about playing mad scientist and test subject?" When Olivia choked on her coffee at the images flooding her mind, Sara grinned and headed out the door, leaving Olivia flat-footed and staring after her.

Finally, she muttered "I do now" under her breath before hurrying to catch up with Sara.

Standing behind the one-way glass, Sara sipped her coffee and watched the woman nervously pacing around the room, mentally preparing herself for the interrogation while Olivia picked up the warrant from the desk clerk. If the witness statement was correct, this woman was a monster and Sara was having a hard time reconciling that knowledge with the tiny, frail-looking woman whose agitation seemed to be increasing with every moment. Sometimes, I hate my job. I hate knowing that monsters hide beneath the most innocuous facades and that people are capable of the most inhuman acts possible. You'd think I'd be used to it by now…

Olivia was greeted by this pensive expression as she opened the door to the observation room and gestured for Sara to join her in the interrogation room. Sara sighed and picked up her case. "She's not handcuffed," Sara observed as she glanced over the warrant.

"Nope, she came in voluntarily. I told her we arrested her boyfriend and that we're charging him and that we needed to ask her some questions."

"So she doesn't know she's a subject?" Sara cocked an eyebrow questioningly. "She'll know when we spring this on her," she said, waving the paper in her hand.

"Yeah, but I figured the element of surprise…"

"Can't hurt," Sara finished for her, gesturing for Olivia to precede her through the door. Once in and settled, Olivia asked a few warm-up questions, confirming the earlier statement and getting on record her denial that she knew Fred had transported the body. Then she dropped the hammer. "And we have a warrant for your DNA," she said, slapping the paper down in front of the woman.

"What?" Aimee leaped up from the table as if she had been slapped. "You have a warrant? You suspect me?"

"Yes, we'll need a DNA sample."

"I want my lawyer."

Olivia nodded. "That's fine. We still need your DNA." Sara had set her kit on the table, popped the locks, and pulled on gloves.

"Not until my lawyer gets here," Aimee spat out. "I know my rights, you can't just…"

Sara interrupted, "Actually we can. You can't refuse a warrant."

"Yes, I can."

"Ma'am, if you don't allow me to take this swab, I'll have you restrained," Sara warned as she stepped closer to the woman, swab in hand.

"You bitch," she exclaimed and struck out at Sara, one fist connecting with Sara's cheekbone and staggering the taller woman back. She pressed her advantage and took another swing, knocking the swab from Sara's hand. A second later, Aimee was picked up and then slammed into the table as Olivia twisted her arm behind her back, pinning her there. Sara watched the scene for a moment as Olivia restrained the woman, the uniforms rushing into the room entirely too late to help.

Olivia handcuffed the woman quickly, but kept her pinned on the table. "You are under arrest for assault of a police officer and pending other charges in the death of Cassie Jones. And we'll get that DNA sample as specified in our warrant now." She gestured to Sara, who had righted her case and was reaching for a fresh swab.

After taking the sample, Sara packed up her case and left the room, followed a second later by Olivia. Sara was leaned against the wall, rubbing her cheek. "Let me see," she said, pulling Sara's hand away and running a thumb over the pink mark marring Sara's complexion. "Does it hurt?"

Sara pulled back as far from Olivia's hand as the wall behind her head would allow and shook her head. "I'm ok; I was more surprised than anything else. Thanks for…" she gestured back toward the room. "Um, I'm going to get this swab to DNA. I'll page you when I get the results, ok?" With that, she pushed off the wall and headed out, not waiting for a response from Olivia.

Olivia leaned against the wall, admiring the view as Sara stared intently into a microscope. She knew the younger woman had noticed her, but she took the opportunity for some unabashed staring nonetheless. Finally, she pushed off the wall and stepped into the layout room, saying, "I got your page."

"Lab results came back. Scrapings from under the fingernails are a match." She waved a hand at the stack of folders beside her without looking up from her samples, inviting Olivia to take a look, which she did.

"So we got her."


"Whatcha working on now?"

"Trace from the Anderson suicide. Nothing contradicts the initial ruling, so it looks like we can put that case to bed as well." She looked up then, but only to scratch a few notes on the pad beside her before looking back down the scope. Olivia slapped the folder against her palm, "Well, um, good work on this."

"Yeah, you too." Sara told the microscope, and Olivia rolled her eyes. Another scribbled note, and then Sara paused in her work, frowning at the wall, reluctant to meet Olivia's eyes. "You do that often?"

"Do what?"

"Manhandle a suspect like that?" When Olivia gave her a quizzical look, Sara looked a little abashed. "That was… um… interesting," she finally got out, a hint of a blush staining her cheeks. She busied herself with gathering up her scattered papers and samples while Olivia tried to catch her eye but Sara's hair obscured her face.

When Sara drew alongside Olivia in the doorway, Olivia stopped her with a smirk and a teasing question, "Don't tell me that you fantasize about playing bad cop and resisting suspect?"

Sara stopped dead in her tracks, flipping her hair as she turned her head and met Olivia's eyes. "Maybe," she answered before walking away, once again leaving Olivia caught completely off-balance in her wake.

A few seconds later, Olivia chuckled as she caught up with the fleeing CSI.

"What?" Sara asked, suspicious of Olivia's sudden good humor.

"You are warming up to me."

"Maybe," Sara confirmed, still suspicious, her increasing stride as they walked through the halls a signal of her growing discomfort. Olivia reached out and caught her arm, pulling her around so that they were facing each other. She didn't release her hold on the tall CSI, cupping her elbow to keep her still, and close.

"Enough for dinner?" she asked.

Sara looked puzzled. "You want to get something to eat after shift?"

"No. We both have tonight off; let's go out and have a nice dinner." Sara stared at her blankly, like she was scrambling to keep up with the line of conversation.

"Detective, we eat together all the time."

"I'm not suggesting a work dinner. I'm suggesting a dinner date."

"A date?"

"Yeah, you know, when two people who like each other go out and spend time together? You've heard of this, right?"

Sara glanced around the hallway nervously, gathering her thoughts before replying in a cool tone. "I never said I liked you, detective."

Olivia's lips curved into a flirtatious smile and she leaned closer, "No, you never said it," she agreed, chuckling a little as Sara's mouth opened but she didn't say anything. Reading her acquiesce in Sara's eyes, Olivia smirked and said, "Pick me up at 7. Make reservations at someplace quiet, not too touristy, so we can have a conversation."

"Me?" came Sara's incredulous reply.

"You know the town better." Her teasing smile widened and her eyebrow quirked up. "Besides, you're more butch than I am." And this time it was Olivia's turn to leave Sara stunned and speechless as she walked away.

Greg found Sara a few minutes later, still rooted to the spot and staring at the space Olivia had vacated. "Ah, Sara, just the woman I was looking for. I understand you have tonight off and I was wondering if you want to trade nights off. Warrick and Nick have VIP passes to this new club and I was hoping…"

"I have plans," Sara said, cutting him off.

"You have plans?"

"Yeah… um, just dinner with a friend, but I don't want to cancel. Sorry." With that, Sara wandered off into the maze of labs, searching for a quiet place to pretend to do her paperwork in peace while Greg made his way back to the break room.

"So, did you switch with Sara?" Warrick asked.

"No." Greg answered, despondent, as he dropped into a chair.

"No?" Nick laughed, "Let me guess, she's already scheduled herself to work on her night off so she can't switch?"

"No, she has plans."

"Sara? Has plans?" Both Nick and Warrick asked in unison.

"Yeah. She said she was going to dinner with a friend."

"Dinner with a friend? You mean Sara has a date." At that, Greg threw his hands up in the universal gesture of surrender, not sure what to tell his friends. None of the men in the break room noticed Grissom passing by the door just as the words 'Sara' and 'date,' were used in the same sentence, so they missed the slightest of pauses in his step before he continued on his way.

Olivia frowned at the display a second before answering her cell, talking the instant she got it to her ear. "Sara, if you are calling to cancel, you can't, we are going out tonight, you agreed." An amused chuckle cut off her pre-emptive ramble.

"I'm not calling to cancel. I need to change the time."

"Oh, oh, ok, sure."

"I'll pick you up at 4. Dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes. We're going to have some fun before dinner."

"Um, sure, ok. I'll see you this afternoon, then."

"Yup. And, uh, detective, you almost sounded worried there for a minute." Olivia could visualize the smirk on Sara's face perfectly as she hung up.

Part 5

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