DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: mrswoman prompted me to write around the scene where Catherine interviewed Sofia. She'd also asked for a prior relationship between the two women. Well...sort of.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

A Friend in Need
By Ann


Feet pounded heavily on the pavement, leading the distraught detective away from her home and hopefully away from the confusing, heart wrenching thoughts that had been plaguing her since the shooting. The kaleidoscope of images had become a constant in her life, and she found that no matter what she tried or where she turned, she couldn't escape them. They followed her everywhere, even into her dreams. So, she turned to her last resort, running.

Physical exertion had always been Sofia's outlet, the one place where she could free any and all worries from her mind. Turning the first corner, she concentrated on her breathing, in and out, in and out; clear steady breaths. She'd actually managed to make a block before she saw Bell's body fall to the ground. Shaking her head, Sofia blew out another breath and picked up her pace.

A few strides later, she saw Catherine's face, looking at her with a mix of uncomfortableness and something akin to pity. She knew the CSI was only doing her job, but why did she have to look at her like that, why couldn't she just focus on the weapon and on Detective Ortega, why did she feel the need to look at her the entire time?

Sweat began to trickle down the detective's face, and Sofia welcomed the beads of perspiration, hoping that the tears welling in her eyes would be mistaken for the salty drops sliding down her cheeks. Waiting for the light to change, Sofia jogged in place, staring at the red light which was keeping her from moving on. The light became more crimson in color, almost the exact shade of the blood flowing from Bell's neck. The red changed to green, and Sofia took off in a dead sprint.

Moving towards the park, the traffic in the streets became less crowded until only a vehicle or two passed the running detective. Images of the interrogation jogged right along with her and back into her thoughts.

Ortega had asked if she remembered Officer Bell being shot, and his image had immediately slid into her consciousness. She saw him fall heavy to the ground before she flinched and asked the interrogating detective to repeat his question. That's when Catherine had asked her if she needed a moment.

And she had needed a moment. She'd needed more than a moment, and she'd also needed the woman asking the question. She'd managed to keep Catherine out of her mind and out of her life since she'd returned to Vegas as a detective. When all was said and done, apart from the occasional release of tension, the fuck that they'd both needed after a tough case, there was really nothing between the two. Before, when they'd both been CSIs, it had been so easy to seek the other out. They weren't working the same shift, so they kept their contact to the times they could get together between shifts. No one had been the wiser, and they'd both benefited from the arrangement.

Sofia cursed and picked up her stride once again, upset at herself for admitting that she still needed Catherine. Right now, though, she didn't think she could turn to Catherine, not because of all the time that had passed – she was fairly certain Catherine would welcome her with open arms – but rather, because of something Sara had said. Even though the dark haired CSI had pissed her off when she'd pointed out that Sofia had no business in the CSI building, deep down, Sofia knew she was right, and that was why she couldn't seek Catherine out.

Visions kept morphing for the detective as she continued on her quest to rid them altogether. From Bell to the interrogation to Catherine's expression during her interview to Catherine's face when she used to lie under her, their bodies coated in sweat as they'd greedily took their pleasure from each other. No one exuded sexuality like Catherine Willows.

Sofia's steps faltered and she came to an abrupt stop. 'Catherine.' The detective uttered the other woman's name with such reverence, allowing her focus to shift to how much she'd truly missed the red haired CSI. Towards the end of their time together, Catherine had meant more to her than just a fuck buddy, she'd slowly crept into Sofia's daily thoughts, but stubbornly, Sofia had never said anything to Catherine, she'd just continued with their unspoken pact.

Turning, Sofia headed for home.

The route back was much the same, traffic began to pick up, the sounds of the city grew louder, and the living nightmares continued. Three blocks from her apartment, Sofia came to a disturbing conclusion; she was convinced that she'd shot Officer Bell, and she didn't know how in the world she could live with herself. Her brief career would be over.

The tears from earlier were back, intermingling freely with the sweat pouring down her face, and Sofia made no effort to hide her tears. She allowed them to flow, not caring about maintaining her tough image. The sidewalk became a blur for the detective, and had she not been in her own apartment complex, she'd have been at a loss to her current location.

Stopping at the base of the stairs which led to her once safe haven, Sofia bent over at the waist and placed her hands on her knees, heavy breaths and stifled sobs flowing from her lips. Moments later, she blew out a cleansing breath, rose to a standing position, and looked directly into a pair of sad, blue eyes.

Catherine was sitting in her Denali, next to the curb. She'd knocked on Sofia's door and hadn't received an answer, but when she'd climbed back into her truck, she'd caught movement out of the corner of her eye. She'd watched Sofia race up to the building and bend at the waist. Catherine was able to make out the sobs from inside her closed vehicle. Seeing the usually in control Sofia weeping so freely had broken her heart.

Sofia stared at Catherine, wondering if her eyes were playing tricks on her, wondering if she'd conjured the image up because she'd been thinking of the other woman. She blinked rapidly to remove her tears, surprised when the picture stayed the same; Catherine was still there.

Catherine reached for the door handle and stepped from the car. She slowly walked towards the detective, but stopped the moment Sofia held up her hand.

"You can't be here, Catherine. You can't talk to me. I'm under investigation."

"Sofia." The word was spoken so softly, but it was said with such care.

Sofia shook her head as another sob was wrought from her lips. Looking at Catherine one last time, she turned and headed up the stairs, not turning back, ignoring the inner voice screaming at her to turn around and grab hold of Catherine, never letting go.

The detective flew into her apartment, slamming the door and throwing her keys on the coffee table, never stopping as she headed for the bathroom. Quickly shedding her drenched running clothes, she stepped into the shower. Turning on the hot water, she grabbed the soap and washcloth and began to rub her skin raw, her choked sobs echoing loudly in the small room as she slid down the tile and hugged her knees tightly.

Sofia barely registered the shower door opening or the water being shut off; however, she did feel the warm towel being draped over her shoulders.

"Sofia? Get up, sweetie. Let's get you dried off."

Sofia looked up into tear-filled eyes. "Catherine?"

"Yes, it's me. Now, come on, out of there."

Sofia slowly rose and stepped onto the mat, allowing the other woman to gently dry off her skin. Goose bumps rose on the detective's arms, and she wasn't sure if it was because of the cool air on her overheated skin or the touch she'd been craving for so long. She stood silently as Catherine continued to wipe the moisture from her body.

"Catherine? Catherine, I think I shot Officer Bell." The words were out before Sofia could call them back.

"Shh, you don't know that. You need to wait until we've finished the inquiry. You can't punish yourself for something you may not have done, and besides, it was an accident. It could have come from anyone's gun. It was total chaos out there, Sofia."

"He looked right at me, Catherine. He looked right at me after he was shot. He knew. He knew I'd done it." The sobs were back in full force, and Catherine didn't hesitate to pull the other woman tightly to her. Sofia grabbed hold of her lifeline, burrowing her face in Catherine's neck.

"It's okay, Sofia. Let it out, honey, just let it all out."

The two women slowly slid to the floor, never losing their hold on each other as Catherine continued to whisper comforting words to her former lover. Finally, Sofia quieted and laid her head on Catherine's shoulder, content to just sit in silence, drawing strength from the strong arms wrapped around her.

As time passed, Catherine slowly lifted back, taking Sofia's face in her hands.


Sofia just nodded her reply, offering a sad smile as her thanks. They sat on the floor, staring into each other's eyes until Sofia's focus moved to the soft lips she'd been missing for so long.

Catherine smiled and tilted Sofia's head up until the detective's blues were fastened back onto her own. "Let's get off this floor."

When Catherine moved to stand, Sofia stopped her. "Please, Catherine."

"What Sofia? What do you need?"

"I need you. I need you to make me forget. Please, make me forget."

Catherine slowly moved forward, and Sofia took it as the invitation she'd been looking for. Pulling Catherine to her, she latched onto the other woman's lips as she moved her hands to the button of Catherine's pants. Sliding her tongue into the redhead's mouth, she pushed her hand under the waistband, moving lower and still lower until she could feel Catherine's arousal.

Knowing how badly Sofia needed her, Catherine allowed the blonde free reign of her body as she began to unfasten the buttons of her shirt while Sofia moved her lips to the silky skin of Catherine's neck. It didn't take long for them to fall into their old routine, with Sofia controlling the fuck and Catherine following her every lead, knowing soon, it would be her turn. She rode the other woman's hand with abandon; no one could fuck her like Sofia. Catherine closed her eyes and gripped Sofia's shoulders tightly. She wasn't ever going to let go of her again.

Lying side by side on the towel that had once covered a grief-stricken Sofia, Catherine reached out and gently touched the detective's face.

"I've missed you."

Sofia smiled. "I've missed you, too."

"How are you?" Catherine touched Sofia's forehead. "Here. How are you doing here?"

"I'm still upset and confused, but you've brought me back. You've grounded me."

Catherine lightly kissed the nearby lips. "I'm glad. You do know, there's still a very good possibility you're not responsible?"

"Yeah, intellectually, I know it, but here," she moved her hand over her heart, "here, I'm not so sure."

Catherine took the hand and kissed it. "Time will tell, Sofia. You can't dwell on this. You need to wait until the cause of death has been determined."

"It's hard not to dwell on it. I'm suspended. I'm not supposed to talk to Brass. I can't talk to Grissom, and I shouldn't be talking to you."

"Sofia, I'm not here as a CSI. You can tell me whatever you want."

Sofia stared at Catherine, biting her lower lip to keep from speaking her thoughts aloud.

"What?" Catherine could see the indecision in the clear blue eyes. "What are you thinking?"

"What are you here as?"

Sofia's words surprised the other woman, and to be honest, Catherine wasn't exactly sure of her answer; however, she did know that she felt something for Sofia, something very strong, something she'd not felt in a very long time.

"A friend. I'm here as your friend."

Sofia chuckled, glancing down at their naked bodies. "A friend, huh?"

Catherine slapped Sofia on the shoulder. "Yes, a friend. A very good friend."

"I'd certainly say so." Sofia grinned widely, pulling the other woman closer and kissing the swollen red lips.

A moan escaped from Catherine, but she forced herself to pull away. "Uh uh, not so fast, Curtis. It's my turn, remember?"

Sofia nodded and moved to stand, pulling Catherine up with her. "Let's move to somewhere more comfortable, shall we?"

Catherine smiled and turned, tugging Sofia behind her as she headed towards the bedroom. This time she planned to make sweet love to the other woman. It was finally time to take their relationship to the next step. They'd deal with the aftermath together.

The End

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