DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written days before the airing of the episode "Leaving Las Vegas." I've only seen the promo and taken the first two lines to begin the tale.
CHALLENGE: Written as part of the 1001 Nights Challenge - Time Waits for No One.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Time Waits for No One
By Ann


"So you're going?" Sara asked, her voice wavering as she struggled to hold onto her fragile emotions.

"Yeah," Grissom answered simply.

The brunette waited in the doorway for him to say more, or say anything for that matter, but he just shrugged and gave her a sad smile.

"Okay. Well, then have a safe trip," Sara offered, returning his smile and turning to leave. Her hopes for him to call her back and hold her close vanished into the thin air as she made her way down the corridor with a deathly silence accompanying her every step of the way.

Walking into the dressing room, she sat on the bench and stared at the dull, gray lockers, wondering how she was going to survive the next four weeks without him.


***four weeks later***

Grissom walked into the lab and headed directly for the break room. He'd missed his friends and colleagues and couldn't wait any longer to see them again.

Warrick was the first to notice his supervisor, and he jumped from his chair to greet his old friend with open arms. A smiling Catherine and Nick looked on and waited their turn to join in on the hugging.

Greg entered a few moments later, and he too, took the rare opportunity to hug his mentor. Smiles and laughs abounded from the group, and Grissom finally asked the question that had been on his mind ever since he'd walked into the room.

"Where's Sara?"

"Probably with Sofia," Greg muttered, and Warrick reached over and cuffed his ear.

"Ow, what did you do that for?" The junior CSI whined, but his colleagues ignored him and turned towards the door when they heard familiar laughter heading their way.

"Yeah, right. That waitress was hitting on you, not me," Sara said with a chuckle as she and Sofia stepped into the room.

You could've literally heard the drop of the proverbial pin when the newcomers looked up to find Grissom standing in the middle of their friends.

"Grissom?" Sara asked just to be certain that she wasn't seeing things, or that perhaps, someone had cloned her former lover.

"Hello, Sara," the graying man replied, noticing how good Sara looked and how calm and at ease she seemed.

Smiling, Sofia offered, "Welcome back, Grissom." Glancing at her watch, she added, "And I'm sorry to have to run off, but duty calls."

Sara reflexively reached for her lover's hand and gave it a light squeeze, and there was no way anyone could misconstrue her next words. "See you in the morning?"

Returning the squeeze, Sofia released the brunette's hand and replied, "Always." She waved to the others as she turned and left the room.

"Um, Gris? We were just on our way to our crime scenes. How about breakfast?" Warrick asked his old friend.

Nodding his head, Grissom replied, "I'd like that, Warrick. I'll be in my office."

The rest of the team departed one by one with each reiterating how happy they were for their superior to be back. Catherine kissed Grissom's cheek on her way out, leaving Sara alone with her former lover for the first time in weeks.

Turning to his lover, Grissom asked, "How've you been?"

"You're kidding, right? I haven't seen or heard from you since you left, and you have the audacity to ask, how I've been? Grissom, you have more gall than anyone I've ever met. You want to know how I've been? Well, fine. I'll be more than happy to fill you in," Sara replied vehemently.

Grissom held up his hand to stop the barbs and said, "Now, Sara. Don't be like this."

"No, Grissom. You don't be like this. I cried myself to sleep every night for a week, desperately waiting for my phone to ring. I didn't eat, I didn't sleep, and I didn't give a damn about anything, including my work. But you know what? I survived, and all because a beautiful woman refused to let me drown in my self-pity. She pulled me from the depths of my depression and showed me what it's like to have someone truly care for me," Sara explained in a passionate voice.

"Sara...," Grissom began, but his words were cut off by his former love.

"It's Sofia, Grissom. I'm happy with her; happier than I ever was with you, and we've only been together for two and a half weeks," Sara stated, turning and walking toward the door as she'd said all she needed to say.

"Wait, Sara. What about us?" Grissom asked, and he smiled when Sara stopped in her tracks and turned back toward him. That is until he saw the expression on her face.

"Time waits for no one, Grissom. You of all people should know that."

Turning, Sara walked from the room and out of their relationship. Heading for the Denali she smiled, more grateful than ever to have Sofia in her life.

The End

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