Disclaimer: They belong to a whole bunch of people who aren't me.
Summary: Grissom and Sara get involved…with the law!
Pure, unapologetic fluff.
It had started innocently enough.
Someone (Sara strongly suspected Mandy) had hung a sprig of mistletoe on the breakroom ceiling just over the coffeepot.
And someone (Nick) decided to take advantage of the situation while Sara was pouring a cup of unleaded, high-octane sludge. Oh, not too much advantage. Just a quick peck on the cheek but the subsequent (and eloquent) lecture on workplace etiquette, delivered by Dr. Gilbert A. Grissom would long be remembered for the passion of its delivery. Translation: his face got really, really red.
Nick, in spite of his good-old-boy reputation, had one teeny tiny personality flaw. If he really believed he was right about something, he couldn't keep himself from grumbling about it.
So, he did.
In front of the others. After all, Grissom's speech had been public, so why should he hold this conversation behind closed doors?
"This is our breakroom, right?" Nick asked, and Sara watched in fascination as Grissom narrowed his eyes before answering.
"And we use it for our breaks—from work? Place to relax, kick back a little before going back to our high-pressured jobs?"
"We have food in here and personal stuff on the corkboard. Some of us even use the communal fridge for overflow from their experiments. It's all laid-back and casual. So, what's wrong with a little mistletoe during the holidays?"
"Nothing," Grissom said, and Nick began to smirk in anticipation of winning this argument of logic. "It's the traditions surrounding it that are inappropriate for the workplace."
"Oh, come on, man. It was a peck on the cheek. It didn't mean any more than if I had given you a hug or a handshake. Sara didn't mind. Did you, Sar?"
Sara shook her head, reluctant to give even the slightest appearance of taking sides, and Grissom's frown deepened for a moment before inspiration hit.
"That's my point, Nick." Grissom said. "The question should have been asked before the action. Consensual, work appropriate holiday greetings will be allowed as long as permission is sought and granted beforehand."
The small smile on Grissom's face was rather priceless. He dug himself out of that one, all right.
Nicky had both won and lost his argument.
And Grissom had both lost and won his.
But, it wasn't over yet.
The next day, Sara came into the breakroom with her peanut butter sandwich. Grissom was standing by the coffee machine, intently purusing a piece of paper.
While standing under the mistletoe.
Judging by the involuntary, annoyed grunts Grissom was emitting as he was reading, she decided it was probably not a good idea. Damn. She hated to give up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"Hey, Grissom," she said, trying to get his attention. He balled the piece of paper in his fist, gave her a rather…pained…. look, threw the paper in the trash and left the room.
Well, that was unusual.
She put the sandwich on the table and found her feet moving in the direction of the trash can.
She shouldn't. It was, sort of, an invasion of privacy. Although, if it were really private, he would have taken it with him.
Sara retrieved the wadded-up paper before she could talk herself out of it, then sat down at the table and smoothed it out with her hands. No skulking around. Everything open and above-board. Even Grissom could walk in and see what she was doing—although the likelihood of that happening was just about 0 percent.
The paper in front of her seemed to be some sort of form.
I, (insert name here), henceforth referred to as the Party of the First Part, agree to allow (insert name here), a/k/a the Party of the Second Part, to engage in a work-appropriate, socially acceptable form of holiday greeting to be performed solely in the company of witnesses and underneath a specimen of Viscum Album L (commonly known as "mistletoe"), after a thorough discussion of said action, and agreement on both parts of the Parties has been voluntarily reached.
In the course of the performance of this process, lips of the Party of the First Part are allowed to touch the lips of the Party of the Second Part for no longer than three (3) seconds. Any infraction of said regulations will result in immediate withdrawal of any and all pending goodies sent from a S. Claus.
This agreement shall be rendered null and void at exactly 12 AM, December 26th.
As witnessed this (insert day here) day of December, (insert year here).
Witnesses: (Sign here) (Print name here)
(Sign here) (Print name here)
Notarized by: (Insert name here)
On this (insert date here) day of December, (insert year here)
Grissom…didn't always appreciate frivolity. Especially if it seemed to be at his expense.
She stood in his doorway, the contract snapped into place on a clipboard; her half-eaten sandwich in her other hand. "Can I come in?"
He noticed the wrinkled paper immediately. "Where did you get that?"
"The same place you left it. The bigger question should be, what are we going to do about it?" She decided to invite herself in and closed the door behind her.
"I've already done it. It's just a joke. No harm in…seeing the lighter side of life."
"No, but you have to admit, it sort of borders on…insubordination."
"Not really, Sara, but I appreciate your empathy."
Empathy, nothing. She didn't want him to think she had anything to do with it. Besides, the idea floating around in her head sounded like…fun. And, as Grissom had just told her, there was no harm in seeing the lighter side of life.
"I think we should beat them at their own game."
"We should do, just what I did. Throw the paper out and ignore them."
"But, don't you see? They did this for a reaction. And they got one the moment you crumpled up the paper and threw it out. Your choices were to ignore it completely—thus taking the wind out of their sails, or beat them at their own game. And you gave up choice number 1."
He looked at her for a long moment. She always wondered what went through his mind at times like these. Was he thinking of what to say next, carefully combing through all the facts, figures and quotes in his mind for just the right response? Was he trying to intimidate her with complete silence? Or was he simply deciding which Hungry Man dinner he'd be eating after shift?
"How, exactly, would we 'beat them at their own game'?" he finally asked.
She smiled. "By writing a better contract, of course."
She was slowly chewing another bite of her sandwich and leaning forward to use the end of his desk as her work surface.
"Can I have some blank paper?"
"I can't believe I'm agreeing to this," Grissom said, handing over a notebook.
"Hey, it's lunchtime. Besides, there's nothing else going on right now. And you don't want them thinking they pulled one over on the boss," she looked down at the crumpled page, "I think we should leave the first paragraph in, don't you? Although, really, that's one hell of a run-on sentence."
"We'll fix that later. We can't have our version of the contract seem as sloppy as theirs."
"Okay. But, how about adding clauses to their second paragraph? A lot of them?"
"How is that going to beat them at their own game?"
"Well, it proves that we are playing along. We understand their humor, acknowledge it and raise the bar."
"I see. Okay, what type of thing do you have in mind?"
"Let's see. They already mention a 3-second limit on the kiss. How about something like "If the party of the Second Part cannot limit their oral contact to the Party of the First Part's cheek, and a mutual meeting of mouths is agreed upon, lips should remain tightly closed at all times to prevent any exchange of bodily fluids?"
Grissom smirked. "You can add that."
Sara laughed, licked peanut butter remnants from her lips and wrote feverishly for a moment.
"Tongues should not make an appearance," Grissom blurted out, suddenly struck by inspiration. "Not even to peek out beforehand to provide moisture to the lips, as this might be deemed a temptation and could possibly mar the professionalism of the situation."
She pointed the pen at him. "Good. I'll legalese that up and add it."
She had just enough time to see a warm smile cross his face before she began writing again.
Sara finished and looked up at him. He was watching her intently, but she had a feeling his mind was far away.
Sara had another suggestion. "How about…hands must remain chastely at one's side and not touch the Other Party. One exception shall be allowed: in the event that two pairs of unmoisturized lips lock during the execution of said holiday greeting, and tearing these body parts asunder would result in the ripping of chapped skin, the Party of the Second Part may hold onto the Party of the First Part's shoulders to yank him- (or her-)self free."
Grissom chuckled, "Are you sure you didn't write that first contract? Or were you a lawyer in a previous life?"
"Quite sure, and I had no idea you were so metaphysical in your beliefs."
"I believe in a lot of things. I have one. A clause, that is. Inspired by my early Catholic education. There should be two feet of space between them at all times. Except for their lips, of course"
"Is that possible?" Sara asked.
Grissom shrugged. "Who knows? Write it down anyway."
"Now we're talking. A distance of a minimum of two feet shall be maintained between the bodies of the Party of the First Part and the Party of the Second Part at all times. Body Part exception to clause 4.a.1: the lips," Sara translated.
"In the event that unprofessional, non-workplace-related feelings should arise," Grissom continued, "said feelings must be extinguished immediately. There shall be no repeat of the aforementioned 3-second touching of lips. There shall be no touching of the other Party's body (exception noted above in clause 4.a.1). There shall be no invasion of personal space. No roaming of hands. No…"
"Wait. Wait. I never took shorthand, you know."
"Sorry, I got a bit carried away there."
Sara wrote for a few more minutes and then looked up at him. "Anything else?"
Grissom frowned for a moment, "I'm still trying to figure out how to work the word, 'fornication' in there."
Sara laughed. "This is…fun."
"Yeah, it is."
She looked at him. He was flushed again, but—this time, in a good way. Damn, if the opportunity ever presented itself again, she hated the thought of having to negotiate this contract before grabbing hold of it (and him).
"Do you really hate mistletoe, Grissom?"
"No, it's a fine tradition. I remember, when I was young and quite shy, it was a nice way to kiss a girl without having to woo her at all beforehand."
"What? No contract? No consent?" She knew she was failing to keep the glee from her voice.
"None whatsoever. I guess that makes me seem like a hypocrite?"
"Nah. You're just looking out for your employees."
He cleared his throat and looked at her with a somewhat shy, playful look on his face, "You've always been more than an employee to me, Sara."
She stifled her inclination to drop her jaw to the floor and softly smiled at him in return.
"Well, so…we're really going to type this up and replace their contract with ours?"
"I don't think so."
"Let them think they got the better of me. It's my Christmas gift to them. But, I would like a copy of that, if you don't mind… As a souvenir…of our first date."
"Yeah. We're having lunch, together. Alone. Not really talking about work. Having a good time. That's a date, isn't it?"
"But you didn't eat anything."
He glanced down at the tiny morsel remaining from Sara's peanut butter sandwich. "May I?" he asked, and she nodded.
He stood up, took the bite-sized bit in his hand, and scooped a tiny bit of peanut butter on his finger. Then he leaned over his desk, and ran his finger over Sara's lower lip almost simultaneous to his leaning forward to kiss it off. It was quick, unexpected and so smooth and seamless it was downright unbelievable. This time, Sara's jaw did drop.
"Wow. Who knew you believed in kissing on the first date?" She finally said.
Grissom smirked and took the clipboard from her. He wrote furiously for a moment.
"You thought of a way to add fornication?" Sara asked, and Grissom smiled again before passing the paper back to her.
Addendum: Any actions occurring under mistletoe not on Las Vegas Crime Lab property are at the sole discretion of the Party of the First Part and the Party of the Second Part, and…no one else's damned business.
"Eggnog and mistletoe at my place?" he asked.
She looked at him for a very long moment. In spite of his uncharacteristic words and actions, this was still her Grissom. Still had that bit of shyness in his smile, that tiny hint of uncertainty and a "don't hurt me" glint in his eyes. But those same eyes were also sparkling. He was happy, and just a tiny bit proud of himself. She nodded and headed for the door.
"Bring the peanut butter?"
She double-backed and gave him a quick peck on the lips.
"1.5 seconds. I follow the rules," she said, with a wink. "At least on Las Vegas Crime Lab Property. See you later."
Yup. It had all started off innocently enough.
But, that's not the way it ended.
Not by a long-shot.
And, it was a very Merry Christmas.
A/N: I can't avoid these things, especially when I'm feeling sentimental.
I love Christmas-fic. Love it. There can never be enough. Especially in July, which is my favorite time to read the stuff. But, anyway, I really hadn't planned on writing one this year. I really thought last year's contribution kind of said it all, and I will be a total blow-hard and say that one was in my own personal "top 5" of all the stories I've written.
But, I guess there's always room for more and when this silly little ditty flew into my head…I had to do it.
Anyway, I hope you had fun reading it. And I wish you a very happy holiday season, whatever holiday you may celebrate. Once again, it's been a privilege to write for such a warm and wonderful group of people. And, among the things I thank the good Lord for at the end of the year, is the opportunity to play with these wonderful characters and share my toys with you guys.