DISCLAIMER: They're not mine, because if they were, there'd be far less fic that would need to be written to set things right. Unfortunately, the characters belong to Bruckheimer and Co. and I must return them after I finish playing. I also reference the Counting Crows cover of "Big Yellow Taxi" and I don't own that either. Don't sue. Money from starving students is like blood from a stone.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Big Yellow Taxi
By Pandora


Safely away from the confines of the office, Catherine Willows found herself infuriated and confused as she drove home. She had heard nothing all day but the news that Sara Sidle and Sofia Curtis were an item. Once they were over their shock, the general response had been overwhelmingly positive. Even the ever-stolid Jim Brass had looked on like a proud papa as the two had held hands and accepted rounds of congratulations. Catherine, as a supervisor and fellow girl in a boys' world, had felt obliged to add her well-wishes to the chorus, but as she'd looked into Sofia's shining eyes she'd seen victory and had felt her own defeat.

By all accounts, they were an odd couple. Sofia had been forced to join graveyard in a combination of unfortunate events and departmental manipulations. Anyone with eyes could see that she was uncomfortable with her new position and that the others were having a hard time accepting her presence. Sara had seemed particularly cold, though with her Grissom-like lack of social graces it could've merely been that she had no idea how to handle the situation. And yet, there they were, happily together and the new darlings of a close and inclusive department. And here she was, fuming in her car and breaking every speeding law in Vegas. What the hell was going on? Angrily, Catherine flipped on the stereo. It was only as one of Lindsay's favorite bands began to play that she began to clue in.

Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got 'till it's gone?

You paved paradise and you put up a parking lot.

Angrier still, Catherine shut the stereo off, thinking back to when Sara had joined graveyard. She too had been the outsider, brought in during a hard time, her presence the cause of resentment. She, Catherine, had been cold. Cuttingly so, on so many occasions. Hell, their battles of will were legendary. They'd never really made peace, though Sara had tried on several occasions. Catherine couldn't bring herself to it. So, was this guilt that she was feeling? Was Sara a better person? That was some of it, but there was more. Where did Sofia fit into all this? Why was the anger overwhelmingly directed at her? Her ever-helpful subconscious contributed its two cents with her trademark precision:

'Cause she's a hell of a lot smarter than you, isn't she? She saw what you had and it's gone.

As she weighed the evidence in her mind, recalling the events of the day – the happiness in Sara's eyes and the protectiveness in Sofia's, the acceptance, goodwill and admiration of colleagues, her own reactions – she realized what she'd never seen and what she had given up. Pulling into her driveway, she popped the CD out of the stereo before shutting off the ignition and entering the house. Catherine could do nothing but kick off her shoes and drop her things at the front door before putting the CD in the player and pouring herself a glass of scotch. Resignedly, she dragged herself to bed, draining her drink at a go, and prayed that sleep would come.

The End

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