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Annotations & Observations
By The Datajunkie


From the journals of Catherine Willows – October 1, 2009

I never thought I would see her again.

When she left over a year ago, she made a surprisingly large hole in our group. The graveyard shift never really recovered from her loss and neither did Gil. He became even more withdrawn, if such a thing were possible. The new girl didn't stay long and we've had three more CSI's try to fill the impossibly large shoes of Sara Sidle.

We were never friends. I freely admit part of that was my fault, God knows I never cut her any slack, but there was always something about her, so indescribably tragic that I felt compelled to test her, to push her. No one could be that dark and still function, could they? And why for God's sake would anyone that messed up work at this job? I couldn't understand why she had left. She had finally gotten Gil, who she had obviously longed for for so long. She'd survived a horrible ordeal, and came out apparently stronger for it, but something had been in her eyes…

I went looking into her background after she left. I was horrified at what I found, but in a way I wasn't really surprised. Hadn't the signs always been there? The overreaction on 'those' types of cases? The dogged pursuit of justice for the victim… perhaps to make up for the lack of justice she herself had never gotten? No, I wasn't terribly surprised, but I was ashamed. I prided myself on my ability to read people, but with Sara I had failed completely. I had seen the signs and ignored them, dismissed them.

Never look back, Never regret. My motto, my mantra… my hubris. I would always regret the way I handled my relationship with her…

When she left the graveyard shift was shaken in ways that no one could have foreseen. I think Ecklie's gloating was the worst though. Several times Nick had to be held back from taking a swing at our resident weasel. He wasn't so pleased when the lab dropped to number four in the country. Surprise Ferret-face! Looks like we needed Sidle just a little more than you thought.

We had fought our way back up to the second ranked lab in the country, but it had been hard, frustrating work. We had never realized how much Sara had done while she was there. Or maybe we had just gotten lax while she was with us. Either way, no one could ever say that Sara hadn't been a key part of our team.

Everyone handled her departure in their own way, but they did handle it. We mourned and moved on. I vowed to never let myself behave that way to another person again and tried to treat each of the CSI's who tried to replace Sara better than I had her…

But like I said, I never thought I would see her again.

The club was dark and crowded, creating anonymity with its numbers. I've always loved that about clubs. The music pounded though me as I danced, carrying me on its rhythm and teasing me with its tempo. I wasn't really dancing with anyone. I didn't need to. Me and the music were all I needed tonight.

I twirled around and stepped into someone's arms. Laughing, I smiled up at the taller person and started to apologize. "Sorr-." I couldn't believe it. "Sara?!"

A slight smile perched on her lips and she winked at me before taking my hands and pulling me more securely into her arms. "Catherine."

I shivered at the sound over her voice as it rolled over me, like something living. The music shifted from the fast song I had been dancing to into a slow one and instead of letting me go, we began to dance. I could feel the length of her body pressed against mine, could feel the cool leather that covered her shoulders as I gripped them. I glanced down and realized that she was dressed completely in black. The black turtleneck made her face seem ghost-like and as she looked down at me, her eyes seemed to glow in the darkness.

"Where," I started to ask her where she had been, but she pressed a cool fingertip to my lips and shook her head. We danced without speaking and all the while, I became more and more aware of my body's reaction to hers. My heart was pounding, and the smell of Sara's skin was making me tremble. In a part of my mind, I knew my common sense was screaming at me that this was Sara, a woman, Gil's girl, an ex-coworker, a woman…

The song was winding down and I realized that Sara had been steering us across the dance floor, towards one of the corner tables. We sat down and instead of sitting across from me, like I might have expected, she sat right beside me. Her leather clad arm around my shoulders. I looked up at her in confusion and she smiled that little smile again before cupping my cheek with her free hand and holding me still. Her lips were cool against mine and I couldn't stop a shiver. She pulled me closer, and deepened the kiss. I knew I should push her away, I knew I should stop her. But when her tongue touched mine, I was lost. She delved the depths of my mouth, plundered and claimed them. I clenched my hands in the leather of her jacket and just held on, helpless to stop the whimper that escaped me when she finally pulled back. She smiled again and kissed my forehead. "I've missed you, Cat."

I looked up at her, my confusion plain. "Sara… why… I don't understand."

"I know." She kissed my temple, my cheek, her lips trailed down my jaw and I felt the hot rasp of her tongue against my neck. "Oh God!" Her husky laugh made my belly clench, low and tight. "Sara..ah!" Her teeth grazed the skin over my pulse and unexpectedly, I was afraid. I pushed her away and stood, swaying unsteadily. "What are you doing? Why are you, what about Gil?"

Sara leaned back in her chair and looked up at me, her eyes boring into mine. "I'm seducing you." I paled at her words and she took my hand, raising it to her lips and pressing a soft kiss to the inside of my wrist. "And Gil was a mistake."

I was suddenly angry. "A mistake?! You chased him for years and when you finally got him you just leave? He was miserable when you left! He still is."

Sara shrugged dismissively. "He was a mistake. I thought he was more than he appeared. I was wrong."

I stepped back and turned to leave. Unexpectedly Sara was right in front of me. Impossible. There's no way she could have moved that fast. Cold hands were cupping my face again and lifting my gaze to meet hers. "Run little Cat. I'll see you soon."

And just like that I was terrified. I shoved past her and ran. The fear that rode me was unlike anything I had ever felt before. I felt small and timid, like a rabbit that's running from a wolf. I unlocked my car and slid in, fumbling to lock it again. My hands were shaking and I missed the key slot twice before shoving it home. The engine started and I gasped in relief, only then realizing that I had been afraid that it wouldn't. I took three deep breaths and forced myself to calm down before putting the car in gear. I drove straight home and rushed inside. I got my gun from the safe and checked the house, making sure all the doors and windows were locked, before finally sinking onto the foot of my bed. I was safe. The gun dropped to the floor as I covered my face with my hands and began to cry.

Excerpt from a Memo from Conrad Ecklie, Supervisor, Las Vegas Crime Lab to Sheriff Mobley

- I've reviewed CSI Sidle's file again, and feel that I have been too hasty in my dismissal of her abilities. She was a definite asset to the lab and while there were areas that needed improvement, she assures me that she has used her time away to address these issues and is anxious to get back to work. I think it would be a good idea to hire her again and give her the chance to prove that she's changed as much as she appears to have.

In regards to her relationship with Graveyard Supervisor, Dr. Gil Grissom, she has assured me that she and Dr. Grissom are no longer seeing each other and that there is no animosity between them. -

From the personal notes of Dr. Gil Grissom.

I was shocked when I saw her again, but also I found that I was angry. She'd left so abruptly, giving me no chance to talk her out of it. She sat down in the chair across from my desk and smiled that familiar smile. "Hey Gris."

"Why are you here?" My voice was harder than I'd been trying for but I found this entire situation hard.

Sara sighed and leaned forward. "I'd like to get my old job back."

I shook my head. "Sorry. Position's filled." Actually Mark Donovan, the latest person we'd hired to replace Sara had quit last week.

She scowled at me and her eyes seemed to burn into mine. "I really didn't want to do this."

I wasn't sure what she was talking about and I never got the chance to ask. Warrick came in and saw Sara. He laughed happily and hugged her. Within moments Nick and Greg were in my office as well. They were thrilled she was back and Greg ruined my plans by telling her that there was an opening on the graveyard shift.

I glowered at him and turned away. To my surprise I saw Catherine glaring daggers at Sara from the doorway. The boys dragged Sara towards the break room and I looked at Catherine. "What's wrong?"

Catherine wrapped her arms around herself and shook her head. "I just don't think she should come back." I narrowed my eyes as I studied her body language. She almost seemed… afraid.

The phone rang before I could ask her what she meant and Catherine took the opportunity to leave. I picked up the phone and spent the next fifteen minutes listening to Conrad Ecklie expound on the wonders of Sara Sidle. When he hung up I looked at the phone for a few minutes in disbelief. What could have made him suddenly sing Sara's praises? He hated her.

I finished out the rest of my shift without running into her again and left on time for once. After performing my evening rituals, I have sat down with pen and paper to try and make sense of what I am feeling and what happened today. I'm sure there's some logical explanation for today's events, but I'm… And of course the doorbell rings. While I'm tempted to ignore it, part of me hopes that it's Sara.

Excerpt from a letter from Nick Stokes to his mother, Mary Stokes.

- I was so happy to see Sara again. We've tried to replace her for a year and no luck. No one seems to fit in with rest of us on the shift and everybody gets so stressed when there's a newbie underfoot. I thought Greg was going to pop he was so excited, but when we wrangled Sara to the break room, I saw Grissom's expression. He wasn't happy that she was back. I guess I can't blame him. They were seeing each other and she just up and left. Has to hurt something fierce. I asked Sara about it later and she just shrugged and said that she and Gris were over. There was something in her voice that set off my alarm bells but then she smiled that gap-toothed grin of hers and I let it go. Not my place to get into her and Grissom's business anyway. We dragged her out to eat that morning and demanded that she tell us where she'd been and what she'd been doing.

She just laughed and said she'd much rather know what we'd been up to. So we told her about some of our more interesting cases and caught her up on some of the lab gossip.

We didn't mention the fact that Catherine had blown off going with us, but Sara didn't seem to mind when she did. She'd actually smiled at Catherine and winked at her. Funny though, Catherine seemed to flinch when she did that and then she headed for her office. She walked, but I got the impression that she was running. Weird. I guess she's upset on Grissom's behalf. I know she and Grissom have been friends for years so that makes sense. I figured that the next day was going to be a little tense. Grissom was pretty mad when we left.

But he wasn't which was just strange. He was all smiles and greeted Sara just like he used to before they started dating. Catherine was staring at him like he'd grown a second head and I saw her glance at Sara and then quickly look away. It's hard to explain but it was almost like she was afraid to meet Sara's eyes.

Anyway, the team is back together again and while there's some odd currents in the air, everyone seems to be pretty happy.

I'm scheduled to take a week off next month, over the Thanksgiving holiday and I can't wait to see everyone.

Give everyone my love, Pancho

From the journals of Catherine Willows – October 9, 2009

I can't believe that she's here. She hasn't said one word about what happened at the club, or what she said, but I've caught her watching me several times. We've yet to have a case together, thank God, but I know it's only a matter of time.

What I can't understand is Grissom. He was so angry when she came back. I was sure that he'd refuse to hire her; that he'd demand that she leave. But he didn't. The next day he acted like he and Sara had never been more than friends and for some reason that worried me. I cornered him in his office later that night. "What's going on Gil?"

He looked up at me and raised a brow. "With what?"

I sat down in the chair in front of his desk and scowled. "With you and Sara!"

"Nothing's going on Catherine. We're fine."

"Come on Gil, you were furious yesterday, and now you're all smiles? I don't think so."

He sighed a little and shrugged. "She came by the house last night. We talked and settled things between us."

I stared at him incredulously. "Just like that? So are you two seeing each other again?"

Grissom shook his head. "No, we both agreed that our relationship had been a mistake." He smiled. "Live and learn."

The smile was wrong, the words were wrong and a ripple of goose bumps crawled over my skin. "Gil… so you're over it? Just like that?"

He cocked his head and stared at me. "What's the problem Catherine? Sara and I are two mature, rational adults. We discussed the situation and made our peace. Why is that so hard for you to grasp?"

"Because love is messy and painful when it ends, Gil. I don't care how intellectual you think you are; when the heart hurts it's messy." I couldn't believe this was the same man that had wept when Sara had left.

Grissom sat back and smiled at me, almost indulgently. "I think I know what this is about. Catherine I don't have a problem with you and Sara seeing each other. I think it's great."

I was stunned. There was no way he just said what he had. "S-Sara and I? But that's not-." He held up his hands. "Please Catherine. It made so much sense when Sara explained it to me. All the fighting was just the sexual tension between you two manifesting itself. I'm happy for you, really."

"Sara explained…" I was having trouble getting enough oxygen. "She… I don't understand."

Grissom nodded sagely. "Sara said that you were still nervous about the situation. But really Catherine," He paused and his face seemed to go blank. "You can't run from her little Cat. You're hers now."

He blinked rapidly and then smiled at me again. "- it is Vegas after all. I hardly think two women together will stir much of an interest."

I slapped a hand over my mouth to stifle my cry. It wasn't possible. I had not just seen what I thought I had. I hadn't heard.. oh God! I got to my feet and backed out of Gil's office. He watched me go, a perplexed smile on his face.

In the hall way I spun around and dashed to my office. Once inside I locked the door and rested my head against the cool wood. As I stood there, trying to control my frantic heartbeat, I realized that something was out of place. There was a heavy, sweet smell in the air. I slowly turned to look at my desk.

There was a rose on my desk. I didn't want to see it, didn't want to touch it. I didn't want it to be there, because I knew… I knew it was from her.

I approached the desk and the flower as if either one of them could explode at any second. The bloom was full and heavy, its scent lying thick upon the air. The color was red, but not just red. Deep and dark, the color was almost purple. I don't remember reaching out, but suddenly the flower was in my hand, its soft petals tickling my nose as I inhaled the heady fragrance.

The door clicked open behind me and my fingers tightened around the stem, causing the wicked sharp thorns to pierce my flesh. I didn't want to turn around. I didn't want to see the person standing so close behind me. Because I knew, I knew without a shadow of doubt that it was her.

A hand came around me and cupped my hand, the one holding the rose. Cool fingers gently pried mine open and took the rose from me. It landed on the desk and three of the petals fell away, scattering across my desktop like drops of blood. I stared at them a second and then looked at my hand. Three crimson drops swelled from the thorns and a small sound escaped me as she pulled my hand to her lips. Her mouth closed over the first wound and sucked it, milking the blood from the small cut. I looked at her face and froze. Sara's eyes were closed and the expression on her face… She moved to the next cut and her arm wrapped around my waist, pulling me into her. Her low moan of pleasure made me shudder and I found myself pressing closer. Sara's thigh slid between mine and she moved so that I was pressed against the desk, riding her leg. The press of her muscles against my heat was shocking, blatant… right.

Sara opened her eyes and stared into mine. "Little Cat." She kissed me and I could taste my blood on her tongue, the sweet tang was almost overpowering. Sara kissed me until I couldn't tell where her mouth began and mine ended. And suddenly she was gone. I sagged against the desk and gasped, staring at her in confusion. She was sitting in the chair in front of my desk, a faint smile playing on those slightly red lips.

"Wha-." There was a knock on my door and I looked at it blankly for a moment before running a hand through my hair and stepping forward on shaky legs to open it. Greg had picked up the DNA results from the lab on the case we were working together.

Sara stood and grinned at Greg as she left. "See you soon, Cat."

I took the folder from Greg and sat down at my desk. The rose lay there, its trailing petals looking more and more like blood to me. I blinked, realizing that the bloom was the exact color of blood. The rich arterial blood that flows deep within the body and only turns crimson when it's touched by the air. I carefully picked up the flower and set it aside before opening the folder.

Instant message record between csi_sanders and csi_stokes,

1:23 a.m., October 10th, 2009

csi_sanders: Hey U never belve what I jst saw

csi_stokes: ?

csi_sanders: Sar in Cath's office.

csi_stokes: So?

csi_sanders: So! Catherine was totally looking kissed!

csi_stokes: U mean Pissed.

csi_sanders: Nooo. I mean KISSED. Her lips were swollen, and her hair was messed up a little. And get this: there was a ROSE ON HER DESK!

csi_stokes: get out

csi_sanders: Seriously! And Sara shot me this grin when she left.. she had Cath's lipstick on her lips!

csi_stokes: Damn! U think G knows?

csi_sanders: ouch. I don't know, but I'm not going to b the one who tells him

From the journals of Catherine Willows – October 12, 2009

I think I'm losing my mind.

After what happened in my office the other night with Sara, I was more than happy that I had the next night off. Lindsey was with her grandmother this week and while I missed her I felt better that she was away somewhere safe. And the feeling that I wasn't safe was what had been preying on my mind since Sara had returned. There wasn't any logical reason for me to feel this way. So she had said that she was trying to seduce me, it wasn't the first time someone had tried, hell it wasn't even the first time a woman had tried. Why was this time any different? What was it about Sara that had me so nervous?

She wasn't the same woman that left here a year ago. She'd changed in some way that I was having trouble defining. There was something very strange going on and I wasn't the only one it was affecting. Ecklie was practically a one man cheerleader for Sara now and that business with Gil and the comment that he didn't even seem to remember making. And I couldn't explain why I didn't push her away in my office. Why was she having such a powerful effect on me?

My dreams are even being invaded by her.

I tucked my gun into my nightstand before I went to sleep this morning. When I woke up the sun had set and I was startled to see fog outside the bedroom window. I mean, fog happens even in Vegas but the weather had said nothing about it. I sat up and glanced at the window on the other wall. The night was clear. I blinked and looked back at the window beside my bed. The thick white mist was rolling and swirling against the glass, almost as if it were trying to find a way in. I froze when I heard a scraping sound and saw the window rise slightly. The white mist poured into the room and rose into a cloud beside the bed. I bit back a scream and scooted back on the bed as the mist began to draw inward, thickening, taking shape. The dark figure of a person stood where the fog had been just moments before. I couldn't see their face, but their eyes… burning dark amber. They bore into me and I was frozen. I couldn't move, couldn't scream. I knew that I should get my gun, but my body wasn't mine to command anymore.

The figure slid onto the bed and swept over me in a great black wave. I found myself on my back, looking up into the pale face of Sara Sidle. My mouth formed her name, but no sound emerged. She just shook her head and kissed me, her eyes still that unearthly hue.

She kissed me and I was lost. Everything after that is hard to remember. Bits and pieces of what happened flashed through my mind and there was no order, no sense.

Her naked flesh pressed against mine. Her tongue curling around my nipple, her teeth scrapping against my breast. The sounds and sights of her body loving mine. I can still feel her long, cool fingers deep inside me. Talented fingers. Talented Sara. Her mouth sucking hard on the flesh of my inner thigh. So hard it almost hurt. The orgasms that rendered me helpless in her arms. Over and over again she drove me to completion, until I was begging her to stop, to let me touch her. She finally relented and I mapped her long lanky body with my hands and lips. And then...

I had to have been dreaming. Because I couldn't have…

I remember her holding me close to her, running her fingernail down her chest and leaving a trail of blood. I remember her hands gripping my head and forcing my mouth to the wound. Her voice whispering above me, around me, through me, "Drink."

I had to have been dreaming.

When I woke up it was morning again and I was alone. The window was closed and I was sure that I had only been dreaming. But even as I write this, I'm trying to stop shaking. You see I just showered. I sat down to shave my legs and that's when I saw them. They were high on the inside of my thigh and I wouldn't have noticed them normally. Perhaps I was looking for them subconsciously. But they're there. I'm awake and they're still there.

Two small, round puncture wounds.

But if they're real, if the dream was real…. Then I drank…. Oh God.

From "The First Century is the Hardest, the Eternal Memoirs of Sara Sidle, Vampire."

I never wanted to be a vampire. Seriously.

Despite my years of working the night shift, I really didn't consider myself to be 'one' with the night. It was just the way it worked out. The Las Vegas Crime Lab was where Gil worked and he worked the graveyard.

When I left Las Vegas, I had hoped to find some kind of peace with myself. I had let myself get involved with Gil, when I had already gotten over the crush I had had on him and that mistake had almost cost me my life. It had cost me Catherine. And that was why I couldn't stay in Vegas after that.

When I had been stuck under that car in the desert, I had been forced to look at my life and how I had gotten into such a predicament. And I had been ashamed at what I had seen. I was using Gris. I had driven Catherine as far away from me as I could to make it easier to hide what I felt for her. Then Grissom had approached me and it had been too easy to give in. Catherine gave Gil her blessing on the relationship and I knew I couldn't stay. It was killing me, seeing her, working with her, and not being able to touch her. To tell her that as I'd walked through that desert the only face in my mind had been hers. That she was the thing that kept me putting one foot in front of the other.

So I left.

I didn't do it the way I should have. I didn't tell Gris the real reason and I didn't tell Catherine that I loved her. Basically, I was a chicken shit. I put my stuff in storage and hit the road. Years of working myself into the ground without having a life had given me a nice nest egg and my knack for finance had taken that amount and done amazing things with it. I really didn't have to work for a living at this point. I wasn't going to give Trump a run for his money anytime soon, but I could live comfortably and well on what I had.

So I decided to see the country, hell, maybe even see the world. Somewhere out there could be an answer to this hole inside me. I figured it couldn't hurt to try. I bought a Ford Escape and did. Escape I mean. I drove up to the Rockies, down through the heart of the Midwest and up to New York. Three months after I left Las Vegas I walked into a bar that would change my life.

Rasputin's was an edgy, over the top dance club that had been taken over by the Goth crowd back in the nineties and then started to decline in later years. Some friends and I had hung out there one spring break and it had had a special place in my heart ever since. It still had a fair number of Goths, but more and more 'norms' were coming in, driving the Goths out. I took a seat at the bar and looked down at myself. Dark blue sweater, faded jeans and the dusty cowboy boots that I had picked up in Oklahoma. Hmm, guess I was a norm tonight.

I ordered a beer and looked around, taking in the semi-crowded dance floor, the tables tucked away into corners and the stairs that led up to the next level. My eyes drifted upwards and I scanned the tables above me, realizing that I was looking for someone. It was an odd thing to realize and when I met the blonde's eyes I was too busy trying to figure out why I was looking to realize that she was looking back. I sipped my beer and shook my head. Am I really that desperate that I'm in a bar trying to get laid?

I looked back up and met the blonde's eyes again. Damn. I guess I was. I picked up my drink and headed for the stairs. When I reached the second level, the blonde was gone. I scowled and peered into the darkness, trying to spot her. As I neared the far corner, a pale face emerged from the darkness and I blinked. She took my hand and pulled me into the darkness with her.

Hmm. If I'd only known how appropriate that thought was at the time.

Her name was Simone. The faintest French accent clung to her words and I was captivated. She was elegant and mysterious and I was trying very hard not to think about how much she reminded me of Catherine. Not in looks, I mean, she was blonde but that wasn't it. Catherine had a presence. You knew when she was in a room because she owned that room. It was the same with Simone. We drank and talked and flirted the whole night, until the lights flickered and last call was given. I was shocked to find that we were the only ones left in the club. We'd shut it down. I offered to walk her to car and she seemed amused.

We exited the building and she pointed down a narrow alley. "My car is parked in the next street over."

I wasn't thrilled about the darkness in that narrow little space. It was New York City after all, not downtown Mayberry. Still, she had to get her car and I wasn't about to let her walk into that darkness alone. So with all senses on alert, I took her hand and we plunged into the shadows.

I had no trouble finding her car as the little black BMW was the only one in the street. She deactivated the alarm and unlocked the doors all from her keychain. I was looking around the area, eyes peeled for trouble when she slipped her hand behind my neck and pulled my face to hers. The kiss was sweet and hot and interrupted by the sharp pain in my lower back.

I hit the ground as my knees gave out and looked up to find three teenagers surrounding us. The matching bandanas didn't escape my notice and I realized that we'd been unfortunate enough to come to the attention of some local gang members. Shit. My hand curled into a fist and I could almost feel the weight of my service piece in my hand. Unfortunately that weapon was back in Vegas. Shit.

The baseball bat that had hit me in the back was now being pointed at Simone. "Give me the money and the keys, Bitch!"

Simone rolled her eyes and pointed at him. "You have thirty seconds to leave before I take your life."

He was furious and the bat was pulled back to strike. I could feel my legs again so I swept one out and took Batboy's legs out from under him. I rolled to my feet and turned to face the other two. I had a split second to see the outline of the gun and then it was thundering. I was on the ground, looking up at the night sky and realized that while I couldn't see stars, I didn't see clouds either. Did light pollution hide clouds as well as starlight?

Then the pain came roaring along my nerves and I gasped. My hands grabbed my chest and I felt something hot and wet under them. Oh shit. I looked up at Simone, trying to get enough breath to tell her to run, but she wasn't looking at me. She was holding Gunguy up in the air… with one hand. I had a moment to be impressed with her strength when the darkness overwhelmed me.

When I woke again, I was no longer laying in the street. Instead I was in a huge bed, in a room that made Martha Stewart's decorating look like trailer chic. I was trying to remember how I had come to be here when the door opened and Simone came in. She was wearing a long sleeved men's shirt and nothing else. Have mercy. I sat up and winced as I felt a tightness across my upper chest. I touched the area and wondered how much damage the bullet had…. Whoa! Memory returned in a rush and I pulled the neck of the t-shirt I was wearing down to stare at my chest. There was a faint round scar that looked like it was months old. I looked up at Simone in confusion. "I don't understand."

She sighed and sat on the edge of the bed, reaching out to push a stray tangle of hair out of my face. "No I don't suppose you do. All I wanted was a little company, a little sex. But that was not to be." Simone offered her wrist to me and I took it automatically. My lips pressed against the inside of her wrist and suddenly I remembered doing that before. I felt something moving in my mouth and then I was biting down on her wrist, her blood flooding into my mouth. I swallowed several times and then flinched as I realized what I was doing. I lifted my head and met her icy blue eyes. The heat rolled through me like a wave and I licked my lips, catching every stray, salty drop. I backed away from her, across the bed and almost fell when I staggered to my feet on the other side. "What? What's going on?"

Simone made a tsking sound and crawled into the bed, leaning back against the headboard. "You were shot Sara. You were dying. I had to decide whether or not to let that happen. Normally I would not get involved with human matters but you were injured trying to protect me."

I shuddered as my stomach dealt with what it had just drank. How could anything feel so good? "I. This is impossible… what did you mean human matters? What are you if not human?"

She smiled at me and the fangs that flashed made me whimper. "No, no, no, no. This isn't real. It can't be real. Because that's just not possible." I was not handling this well and I think Simone was a little disappointed. My heart began to clench and I felt the room twist around me. I cried out and reached for Simone. Vampire she might be but right now she was the only one who might be able to help me. She caught me as I fell and then carried me into the bathroom. I was gasping, trying to drawn breath but my lungs weren't cooperating.

I could hear her talking to me, as if from the other end of a long tunnel. "Shh. It's all right Sara. You are dying."

Dying?! I cried out, my mind filling with one thought, one face. "C-atherine!"

And so I died.

When I awoke again I lay perfectly still trying to recall if I had dreamed what had happened or if it had actually happened. My skin felt like it was on fire and every brush of the silk sheets was almost torture on my hypersensitive flesh. I sat up and pulled the sheet away, starring down at my naked body. I remembered what Simone had said to me as I lost consciousness and touched tentative fingers to my throat. There was no reassuring beat beneath my fingertips. I inhaled and then exhaled. Then waited. Nothing. There was no need to draw breath; my lungs didn't burn from lack of oxygen. I looked around and saw her watching me from across the room. "Simone."

She smiled and climbed into the bed with me, this time I didn't pull away. I wrapped my arms around her and held her cold body to mine. I felt safe in her arms. I wondered at that as I looked up at her. Simone seemed to know what I was thinking because she kissed my forehead and then spoke. "You are a vampire. I am your Sire. It is a bond that exists between us now."

It sounded wonderful and I kissed her, tasting the faint hint of fresh blood. Suddenly I was hungry, starving. I moaned and she smiled knowingly at me. "You need to feed, my petite Pierrot." She helped me from the bed and led me from the bedroom. I followed willingly, my mind playing over her words. I knew from my own language studies that she'd called me her little sparrow. I wasn't sure I agreed with the moniker but the pain gripping me was more important at the moment.

We went down a winding stair case and through a large kitchen. She unlocked a door in the corner and we descended another staircase into the basement. I blinked as she flicked on the light. Against the far wall were three familiar faces. I stared at them blankly, not sure why they were there. Simone pulled me closer to one of the teens and I realized that it was Gunguy. "That's the punk that shot me."

Simone chuckled. "Yes. I love the irony, don't you?" She gestured to his hands and I realized that he and the others were shackled to the wall. "You must feed, Pierrot. What better first victim than the man responsible for your death?"

Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew this was wrong. But the reasons that it was wrong were kind of hazy. So what if I fed on him? It wasn't like he hadn't asked for it. Besides, he was only human. And humans were just food, right? I had hauled him to his feet and had my fangs in his throat before I had even finished the thought. Hot, rich and salty, his blood flowed over my lips and to my astonishment; I felt something like an orgasm wash over me. Suddenly I was aware that I was naked and while I remembered that I was too shy to wander around like this, another part of me shrugged the need for modesty off. After all, who cares if your dinner sees you naked?

The next six months were a time of learning for me and if there's one thing I'm very good at, it's learning. Simone taught me what I needed to know to survive and I taught her how not to leave forensic evidence on her victims. In between lessons, we made love and she taught a whole different set of skills.

I was surprised at how much myth was reality and how much wasn't. Turns out that vampires don't go poof when they're in the sun. We lose a great deal of our strength, making us almost as weak as humans and we can't easily change form but the sun doesn't kill us. Stakes through the heart don't kill us either. Well not exactly anyway. While the wood is in place our bodies go into a kind of torpor. Once the wood has been removed we're fine. The two things that can kill us are fire and beheading. Good to know.

I don't have to avoid Italian restaurants for fear of garlic and I can even go to church if I want. I could even wear a cross if I was so inclined, which I'm not. What I can't do is eat. Well, actually I can but I will be throwing up anything I eat a few hours later. Annoying necessity but the ability to eat is great camouflage.

Speaking of which, on our first night out hunting, Simone presented me with an ankle length, black leather duster. I loved it but couldn't help remark that it was a little cliché. She got a very serious look on her face and then tartly informed me that when you are hunting in the shadows, it's best to be able to blend in.

She was right and I was embarrassed. I apologized and she smirked at me. "Besides, the black leather, it's great for wooing the ladies. I bet your lady will swoon when she sees you."

I blinked. "My… lady?"

She pinched my cheek and nodded. "Oui, my petite Pierrot. The one you called out for as you died in my arms… Catherine?"

I stammered, "She's… she doesn't feel…. She's not…" I trailed off and she looked at me in sympathy.

"Then you must rise to the challenge and take her."

"Take… But I couldn't do that to her." My protest was not as strong as it should have been, as my mind was filled with images of Catherine in my arms, my fangs buried in the soft flesh of her breast, her fangs buried in mine. A finger tapped my nose, shaking me out of my fantasy. I met Simone's all too knowing eyes.

"If she is not one of us then she is food."

I flinched and shook my head sharply. Catherine may be many things but she would never be food. I looked at my sire and frowned slightly. "You said that you hadn't made a new vampire in centuries. That it wasn't something to be done lightly or quickly. Why are you encouraging me to take Catherine?"

Simone sighed deeply and covered her face with a pale hand. "Because I had the opportunity to keep my love with me and I did not take it. I decided that she would be happier living as a human than to be forced to dwell in the darkness with me. But in the end she died of an illness a mere two years later and was forgotten by all but me." She dropped her hand and glared at me. "I must live with what I lost for the rest of eternity. See that you don't make the same mistake I did, Pierrot."

The pain in her voice was plain and I could only nod gravely. I would listen to my sire and not repeat her mistakes.

One of the hardest things that I had to learn was how to change form. Tapping that strange power that now ran through my veins instead of blood, I could shift into animal form or into fog. Oddly enough, getting into the different forms was easy. It was turning back into me that was hard. I spent three days trapped in wolf form before Simone took pity on me and helped me change back.

But aside from that little mishap, I was picking everything up fairly quickly. I had learned how to dominate the open minds of the humans around me and how to cloud them so that they would doubt or forget what they had seen. I could plant compulsions into their minds and make them willing allies or I could plant nightmares and drive them mad.

And as I learned I planned. I would return to Las Vegas but it would be different this time.

I had followed her to the club that night, had watched her dance, watched her and wanted her. But I knew that I couldn't just take her and turn her. I would have to seduce her. I wanted her to want my touch, my kiss. When she spun around, I moved into her path and caught her. Oh her skin was so soft beneath my fingers! The smell of her was filling my senses and the heat of her body called to me like a siren's song.

We danced and I had to exercise all of my hard-earned control not to sink my teeth into her flesh. To feel it part under my teeth and flood my mouth with her honeyed blood. I guided us to a dark table in the corner and sat beside her, reluctant to move too far from her warmth. She looked up at me and I was lost in the azure blue of her eyes. I kissed her and in that moment I felt like I was home for the first time in my life. I couldn't stop kissing her and traced the line of her jaw with my lips. I could hear her heart pounding against me, could hear the liquid rush of her blood flowing through the large vein under my lips. I opened my mouth and tasted the sweet flesh above her jugular and felt my fangs emerge without meaning to. One brushed against her skin and she gasped, pulling away.

She was angry now and I could taste her fear. Catherine was asking about Gil, but all I wanted was her.

"What are you doing?"

It was a simple question so I answered her. "I'm seducing you." I took her hand and kissed the delicate skin on the inside of her wrist. "Gil was a mistake."

Catherine was even angrier now, this time on Gil's behalf.

"I thought he was more. I was wrong."

She's leaving now, turning from me. I move quickly and she's shocked when I seem to appear in front of her like magic. I raised her face to mine and whispered, "Run little Cat. I'll see you soon."

Manipulating Ecklie was easy and he would have jumped off the roof for me if I'd asked him by the time I was done. I might just do that later, no one deserves it more I'm sure.

The real problem was Grissom. I regretted leaving him like that, I regretted getting involved with him, but I still considered him to be a friend. I don't like the idea of screwing with a friend's head but he was being very un-Grissom like and I didn't have the time to deal with his hurt feelings. He was glaring at me when the guys took me with them out of his office and I knew I would have to 'fix' his attitude. I looked at Catherine as I left and couldn't stop the wink. She flinched and I smiled. Soon she'd realize that there was no reason to fear me. I loved her and we were going to be together forever.

I saw her flee Grissom's office and dash into hers. I heard the lock click into place and grinned. Obviously the little 'hidden message' I had left with Gil had been delivered. I stood in front of her door and felt it when she turned away. I heard her breath hitch and knew she'd seen the rose. I touched the lock and the door unlocked. I slipped inside and stood behind her, seeing the tension in her body.

She knew I was here of course. I stepped closer and had to close my eyes when I smelled the blood. I reached around her and took her hand, taking the rose from her and tossing it onto her desk. I stared at her hand, mesmerized by the sight of her blood. I drew her finger into my mouth and tasted my love's blood for the first time. My eyes slid closed as pleasure raced through me and I pulled her closer as I moved to the next wound. I couldn't stop the moan and I didn't realize that I'd moved her even closer until I felt the heat of her pressing against my thigh. She moved against me and I opened my eyes. "Little Cat."

I had to taste her. I kissed her, sharing the flavor of her blood with her, and bit back a mental scream as I heard Greg approaching. I released her and was sitting calmly in her chair when she managed to force her eyes open. I couldn't help but smile at her confusion and then there was a knock at the door. She tried to smooth her hair and then opened the door to Greg. I knew I wasn't helping her concentration any so I decided to go. I smiled at Greg as I left. "See you soon, Cat." It was a promise.

She was so beautiful as she lay there sleeping. Night had fallen and I was at my full power. She had locked the bedroom window but that didn't matter. I shifted into mist and was opening the window when she awoke. Catherine saw the mist but it didn't register at first. Then the window opened and she paled. I flowed into the room and assumed human form again. She stared up at me and I couldn't stop myself from going to her. She was under me, looking up into my face. I saw her mouth form my name and just shook my head. There was no need for words now. I kissed her, letting her feel all the love that I had for her.

What followed was glorious. I worshipped her body, using all of my power and knowledge to make it perfect for her. Again and again I made love to her beautiful body until she was begging me to let her touch me. I was thrilled and happily let her do as she pleased with me. I don't know whether she'd ever been with another woman before but Catherine managed to show me a few things that even my centuries-old sire hadn't known. I found myself between her legs again and I knew that it was time. I brought her body to climax again and as she shuddered I let my fangs pierce the sweat-dampened skin inside her thigh. Her blood filled my mouth, her scent filled my senses and as I drank, Catherine filled that hole that had been inside me for so long.

Catherine was drifting, almost senseless by this point. I held her close and she watched me through heavy lidded eyes. I raked my thumbnail down my chest and her eyes widened. I gripped her face and steered her mouth to the wound. "Drink."

She fought me at first, but she was tired and at that first taste of blood she stopped struggling. Her mouth pulled at my chest and I threw my head back as my body responded. "Catherine! My Catherine!"

I very reluctantly pulled her away a few minutes later and let her collapse beside me. I traced the shape of her face and let myself drift into sleep beside her.

I hated to leave her. But I needed to go to work tonight and that meant that I had to succumb to the daysleep for a time. I could fight it and Simone said that I would be able to stay awake for days without it when I got older, but right now I still have to have at least four hours of rest during the day.

From the journals of Catherine Willows – October 14, 2009

I didn't see Sara until shift was over. I had managed to avoid her all night and was getting my bag out of my locker when she appeared behind me. I let out a small scream and pulled away from her, colliding with the locker behind me.

She frowned in concern and steadied me as I regained my balance. I stepped away and shook my head. "D-don't. Don't touch me!"

Her eyes darkened and a tiny sound of fear escaped me as I saw them glow gold for an instant. It was her. It had been real. All of it. Oh God! I pulled the chain I had been wearing under my shirt out and thrust the cross at her.

Sara flinched at the action and stepped back. Thank God. The cross worked. I held it between us and backed to the door. "Just stay away from me Sara."

When I got home, I hung a cross in front of the bedroom window and the two others I had gotten on the other window and on my bedroom door. I was so tired, I felt drained and then found myself laughing somewhat hysterically at the thought. I curled up in the bed and tried to sleep.

I don't know what it was that woke me later but it was dark outside. I looked down at the foot of the bed and was horrified to see a large dark brown wolf standing there. I scrambled for the gun that was lying on the table beside me and screamed when the wolf leapt onto the bed, the lethal jaws clamping around my wrist. I was too terrified to move and I could only watch in shock as the wolf let go of my wrist and gripped the gun. A quick shake of its huge head sent the weapon flying across the room and then I was staring into its eyes. Burning amber eyes. I pressed back into the bed as I realized what I was seeing. "S-Sara?"

The animal seemed to shudder and I watched in disbelief as the fur seemed to melt away and the features shifted into the familiar face of Sara Sidle. She caught my wrists in her hands before I could lash out her. "Shh. Calm down Catherine. I'm not going to hurt you."

She pressed her body along mine and I realized that she was naked. I flinched and tugged uselessly at the hands that were holding me. Sara changed her grip, holding both of my wrists with one hand and dropped her free hand to my blouse. Nimble fingers quickly undid the buttons and then pulled the material of the shirt up my arms, tying it tightly around my wrists and then to one of the metal bars of the headboard. I jerked helplessly, trying to free myself, even as I kicked at her, trying to throw her off me. She kissed my temple and threw a strong leg over mine to hold me still. "Shh. Why are you fighting me? You were so beautiful and willing last night."

I blushed. "I thought it was a dream!"

Sara smiled slyly. "Isn't it nice when dreams come true?" She undid the front clasp of my bra and pulled it away. I expected her to flinch away from the sight of the small gold cross lying between my breasts but she just smiled. She picked it up and gave a sharp tug, breaking the thin chain. I stared at her in dismayed surprise. "But the cross..."

Sara grinned and traced the tip of my nipple with the metal. The hard edge dug slightly into my skin and I flinched a little, even as I felt my body responding. She dragged the cross up my chest, across my throat and then began to trace my lips with it. "I hate to disappoint you but the effects of crosses and holy water are just a myth." The gold glittered as it arced across the room to land next to my gun. Sara tugged my skirt and stockings off, leaving me in my panties. She stared down at my exposed body and smiled, her eyes turning gold again. "So beautiful. I hardly know where to start."

"Don't." My voice was a faint whisper but she glanced up at me. "Please Sara, don't do this."

Sara shook her head and bent her head to take the tip of my breast between her teeth, tugging playfully. "You begged me to touch you last night, to let you touch me. Don't tell me you've changed your mind now."

I was getting angry now. "Damn it Sara! Last night I didn't know you were…" I was still having trouble believing it, much less saying it. "…that you are a vampire."

Sara's face grew still and as she looked down at me I realized that I was truly terrified. Her eyes were blazing and their heat raked me but her face… it was cold, still, like a statue. "Sara?"

Sara dropped her head again and began to suck strongly at my breasts, kneading them with her hands, pulling them up to meet her mouth. The almost too rough treatment had me writhing in moments and she ignored my pleas to stop, biting and kissing her way down my body.

The seductive tenderness of the previous night was gone as Sara brought the dark edge of pain into her touch. The kind of pain that rode the line between actual hurting and kinky pleasure. I felt her fangs pierce my skin several times, but not enough to draw more than a drop of blood at a time. She ripped my panties away in an abrupt move that made me cry out in surprise. Then her mouth was on me and I was crying out for a completely different reason. Her teeth gripped the folds of my labia and tugged sharply, forcing me to rise up, to thrust myself towards her face. She spread my legs wide and began to feast. The orgasm was fast and unexpected, but Sara didn't stop until I was once again crashing over that precipice of sensation.

I felt her teeth against my thigh, where the other marks were and tensed. There was no pain, but I knew she had bitten me again. I could feel her mouth sucking at my flesh, I could feel the room begin to spin as she fed and my resistance grew weaker.

I don't know how much time passed before she climbed back up my body, but when she did I knew what was going to happen. She untied my hands and pulled me into her arms, kissing me deeply until I was clinging to her, my mind blurry with need. I was so weak from blood loss that even if I had wanted to I couldn't have stopped her.

She cut her chest and I didn't fight her as she guided my mouth to her once again. Her blood filled my mouth and in that instant I realized that it didn't matter. It didn't matter that she was a vampire. It didn't matter that she'd seduced me, done most of this against my will. As her blood flowed into me I realized that Sara and I were now connected. It hadn't been for the sex, at least not just for the sex. Sara wanted me. She wanted me… forever. She was giving me her blood, giving me her life force, giving me her... gift.

Sara was turning me into a vampire.

From "The First Century is the Hardest, the Eternal Memoirs of Sara Sidle, Vampire."

I was so angry when she resisted me. I let my temper get the better of me and treated her roughly, not with the love that I felt for her. By the time I had forced a second climax from her I was ashamed and saddened by what I had done. I almost didn't feed, but the hunger wasn't easy to deny and once the bonds of the change have begun then there was no denying them. I drank deeply this time, draining her as much as I could. I had wanted to do this gradually over several days but her denial of what we'd shared had infuriated me and made me afraid. I couldn't live without Catherine and if she found a way to deny our bond then I would be lost. I didn't let myself think, I just opened up a deep wound in my own chest and brought her too me. She didn't resist and I wondered if she was willing to do this or just too tired to struggle. Her mouth's pull made me groan aloud, unable to suppress the sounds of pleasure that this act could wring from me. Catherine pulled me closer and sucked harder, her leg slipping between mine. She was moving against me as she fed, pushing her thigh into my center again and again. My head swam both from the energy she was taking from me and from the sensations she was creating inside me.

I shuddered against her as I came and as the tremors began to quite I felt more than heard her chuckle against me. Pulling back a little, I looked down into her face, my eyebrow arched in question.

Catherine just shook her head and curled more firmly against me. "Don't leave this time." She was asleep within moments and I stared down at her in shock.

I reached across the bed and used a small amount of power to bring my coat to me. I pulled my cell phone out and called Ecklie, asking him for the night off for me and Catherine. He thought that was a wonderful idea and as I hung up I decided that I wouldn't have him jump off the roof just yet. He was too useful to have around.

From the journals of Catherine Willows – November 30, 2009

I never thought I would see her again.

I rolled over and stared down at the sleeping face of my lover and grinned, feeling my fangs descend. I stretched languidly before rising above Sara and leaning down to nip at the rounded swell of her breast with my fangs. She jerked in her sleep, her nipple tightening and then she was awake and rolling me over to pin me to the mattress. "Little Cat." She kissed me, tangling her hands in my hair and holding me still while she explored my mouth.

A cough from the doorway startled us both and Sara dragged the sheet up to cover us and as we turned to face Lindsey. The fifteen year old had been surprisingly accepting of my relationship with Sara but I had to admit I was still a little nervous. Lindsey could be so unpredictable. Actually her acceptance had been almost too easy. I was beginning to think that Sara had been 'tweaking' her behavior. Now I just had to decide if I really wanted to know and if I really wanted her to stop if she was.

"Not to interrupt but Aunt Nancy will be here soon to pick me up." She smirked at our disheveled state and rolled her eyes before leaving the room. I wasn't sure whether I should take that as an insult or not.

Sara stood up and strode toward the bathroom, her hips swaying deliciously as she walked. She stopped at the door and looked back at me. "Coming?"

I bounded out of the bed, feeling magnificent. I hadn't felt like this since I was a teenager and I glanced at my body in the mirror as I went past. This was it. Like a photograph, my face and body would not age any more. I looked at the lines near my eyes and smiled. I like myself this way. I'm beautiful, but not so young that I won't be taken seriously. A pale hand reached out and beckoned me into the bathroom. "Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty." I smacked Sara's hand and pushed her into the shower.

Sara wrapped her arms around me and we stood under the hot stream, letting it raise our body temperatures until they were almost normal. I kissed the base of her neck and sighed as I leaned into her.

I had 'died' forty-seven days ago. I found out quickly why Sara had tried to bring me over so slowly. A fast transition was a scary, painful thing. She'd wanted to spare me that. My stubbornness had forced her to act quickly and I had felt myself die instead of going in my sleep the way Sara had tried to arrange. Live and learn. I laughed suddenly and looked up at her. "You have to stop screwing with Gil's mind, Sara. He was humming the other day in the hallway. People think he's finally snapped."

Sara grinned evilly. "I will… just as soon as he asks Jackie out again." I stared at her in shock. "I just want him settled and out of our way."

I couldn't argue with her reasoning. We really didn't need anyone looking over our shoulders at work. We'd been unable to resist using our powers at work and Sara had gotten really good at 'talking a perp' into a confession. She had never made anyone confess to something that they hadn't actually done, but Sara's power made it impossible to lie to her. Bad guys beware, Sara Sidle, CSI has your number.

I was loving working with her and not trying to kill each other this time but I also knew that we only had about ten to twelve years before it would end.

I know there will come a time when we will have to leave. We aren't going to get any older and people will notice. Sara has already started to plan, her eyes set on Australia. I'm okay with that. Just as long as we're together I don't care where we live.

I never thought I would see her again.

I am so glad that she came back for me.


The Epilogue

I never thought I would see them again.

I had come to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower with my wife, Carrie. We had wanted to go for years but our schedules had never gotten cleared enough or one of the kids had been sick or about to have a baby, etc. But I'd retired from running the Las Vegas Crime lab last year and had nothing but time on my hands. I was sitting at a little café near the tower people watching, waiting for Carrie to get done invading the dozens of little shops that lined the street. I thought at first that I was seeing things, but as they came closer, I realized that it was them.

Catherine's strawberry blonde mane was blowing wildly in the breeze and Sara was trying to help her tame it under a bright yellow scarf. I was staring at them in stunned surprise when Sara stiffened and turned to look right at me. I smiled and nodded in greeting. Her face was so still and I realized that she'd never wanted to run into any of us again; I could understand that. We would have asked questions. We were CSI's there's no way we wouldn't have asked questions. I nodded at the extra chairs at my table. "Join me?"

They sat down, their expressions blank and I swallowed hard, realizing just what a dangerous thing I'd just done. I pointed to my head of solid gray hair. "I retired last year ladies. I leave the CSI stuff to the younger kids these days."

Sara smiled a little and I felt my eyes tear at that familiar gap-toothed grin. "I've missed you guys, you know?"

Catherine nodded and reached out to pat my hand. I felt the cold press of her fingers and realized that it confirmed the wild theory that was forming in my mind. "Just for me, not to tell anyone else, not even my wife… are you what I think you are?"

Sara glanced at Catherine and then nodded once. "Yes. I'm sorry we couldn't tell you."

I grinned and shrugged. "I understand. I really do. You came back for Catherine, didn't you?"

Again Sara nodded once.

"I thought there was something different about you but I couldn't put my finger on it. The paleness, the cold touch. I thought maybe you were sick and hiding it."

I leaned back in my chair and sighed. "Thank you for telling me. Your secret is safe with me." I crossed my heart with my finger and made the Boy Scout pledge. They both laughed at that.

"You were never a boy scout."

I grinned at them and then paused when I saw another familiar face exit one of the shops behind them. "Kept it in the family, huh?"

Lindsey spotted me and cried out in pleasure. "I can't believe it!" She dropped her shopping bags on the table and threw her arms around me. I returned the embrace and ignored the cool chill of the young woman's body. "What are the odds?!" She dragged another chair away from a nearby table and sat down with us. Sara and Catherine were frowning at her and she rolled her eyes. "Come on! If you were trying to hide it from him then you shouldn't have sat down at his table to chat."

I laughed at their twin expressions of dismay and looked at Lindsay. She was as beautiful as she'd been when they'd left Las Vegas all those years ago. "So did you follow in your parent's footsteps and take up crime fighting?"

Lindsey nodded. "Yes, I did the whole CSI thing for a few years, then we moved and I tried the cop thing. Then I tried the doctor thing. It's been a lot of fun actually."

I realized that they would of course have to keep moving to a new place every dozen years or so. "Do you ever get tired of having to move like that?"

Lindsey shook her head and smiled widely. "You know you'd think that, but there's just so much to see and to learn. I have yet to be bored."

We sat and talked for a little while longer and I looked at my watch, knowing that Carrie would be returning soon so that we could have lunch. "I hate to break this up but my wife will be back soon and I'm afraid that she's seen your pictures too often to not recognize you."

Lindsey gathered her things, hugged me goodbye and told her moms that she would see them back at the hotel. Catherine hugged me and though I saw no tears, I knew she was crying. "Goodbye Cath."

I turned to Sara and saw her watching me with an expression that made my own blood chill. Would she trust me to keep their secret? I really couldn't blame her if she didn't. I smiled at her and nodded once, accepting anything she felt she had to do to protect her family. After a long moment she seemed to come to a decision. Sara hugged me, her cool lips brushing my cheek. "Goodbye, Greggo."

I felt my eyes water as she let me go and when I wiped them clear they were gone. Across the street I saw Carrie coming towards me, overburdened with bags and went to help.

From the memoirs of Dr. Greg Sanders, March 11, 2049

The End

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