DISCLAIMER: CSI Miami and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By sinjenkai


Part 2

The next morning, the women awoke to a heaviness of an impending storm, moisture in the air, even the wind seemed to blow at a much slower pace. Natalia got out of bed first, kissing the still snoring blonde on the shoulder before going into the bath to take care of her needs, shower, and get ready for work.

By the time that she was finished, Calleigh had made the bed and was walking into the bathroom with a glass of orange juice and some vitamins. Handing them to her wife, she took off her clothes and started to get ready.

Calleigh was sitting on the bed, pulling on her boots when Natalia walked back in.

"It looks like we get to ride together today. Horatio just called. There's been a home invasion with a triple homicide on Peach Tree Lane. We're supposed to go straight to work, pick up our Hummer, and head right over. The entire team is gonna be there for this one."

Standing and stomping her feet a couple of time to settle her pants around the boots, Calleigh walked over to place her hands on Natalia's hips, "Well then, we had better grab breakfast on the way, but we don't go anywhere until I get my morning kiss."

Smirking, Natalia stepped into the embrace, "Oh really, but what happens if I want my morning kiss first?"

"I do believe that I can be gracious enough to let you get your kiss first. I gotta keep you happy." Calleigh drawled.

"Aw, that's awfully kind of you darlin'." Natalia drawled back before leaning down to capture her wife's lips with her own.

The kiss was slow and gentle, with all of the promises of things to come. Natalia ran her hands up Calleigh's forearms, enjoying the play of muscles underneath her fingers.

Pulling away slightly, Natalia looked down to see Calleigh looking up at her with shiny eyes, "I know that look... What are you thinking?"

"I think that I'll save my kiss for later on in the day.... Who knows, maybe we'll need a pick me up."

Stealing a quick kiss, Natalia took a step back and looked at her wife with an arched eyebrow. "We are not going to do anything at work."

"Aw darlin', you take all the fun out of it."

Natalia placed a soft kiss on Calleigh's forehead, "Just in case I haven't told you lately, but as much as I love it when you wear all black, I love it just as much when you wear a white button down shirt. There's something about you in a white shirt that just does something for me."

Calleigh raised her eyebrows. "Hmm, I'll have to remember that."

They were soon on their way to the station to pick up a Hummer and to head to the scene. Once they got there, they found Horatio standing outside talking to Frank Tripp.

"Ladies, this one is particularly vile. Adan Farias, his wife Cynthia, and their dog were found this morning with their throats slit. From what we can put together, Mr. Farias was an international courier, and whoever broke in, evidently wanted whatever he had recently brought in."

Calleigh asked, "Do we know his recent travel itinerary?"

Shaking his head, Horatio answered, "Not yet. Ryan is doing a search right now and Eric has already started processing inside. Why don't you go on in?"

As they neared the front door, something caught Natalia's attention, but she couldn't place her finger on it. Walking through the entranceway, she stopped to take a long look around, still thinking that something just wasn't right.

"Hey Cal. Would you mind if I took a few minutes to look around? There's something more here going on, but I just can't put my finger on it."

"Sure, take your time. Eric's been here long enough to gather most of the evidence anyway."

Opening the door to the closet nearest the entrance, Natalia noted the contents inside and nearby before, she made her way into the living room, where she slowly looked over the room, mentally cataloging the items.

Starting on one side of the room, she saw a pair of matching computer desks with desktop computers on each one. Looking at the differences between the two computers, Natalia became more confident that her hunch was correct.

Walking over to the bookcase and thumbing through the CD's, DVD's and books on the shelves convinced her that she was right.

While her wife was doing her version of a walk-through, Calleigh was busy photographing the bodies and surrounding area. Kneeling next to the German Shepherd, she quickly took the shots that she needed, and then took a closer look at the animal. Its chest was well muscled and the coat was well maintained, there were indentations like the animal had worn or carried something recently.

"Hey Cal! Haven't seen you in awhile. Work been keeping you busy?" Eric strode up and stopped beside her.

Standing up, Calleigh took one final picture of the animal before answering, "Yeah, been playing catch up, but I think that I'm finally ok. How have you been?"

Leaning against a nearby wall, the young man crossed his arms over his chest, "Working hard, especially today since Natalia is trying to find some music to listen to."

Taking a deep breath, Calleigh chose to ignore his little jab as she moved over to Mrs. Farias's body.

Horatio and Ryan walked in as Natalia asked Calleigh a question.

"Hey Calleigh, what was Mrs. Farias's job?"

Ryan interrupted, "She owned a computer engineering company that was doing research in data storage applications."

Taking a step towards Ryan, Natalia asked. "Was Mrs. Farias blind or was her husband?"

Eric snorted lightly. "Where in the world did you come up with that lame idea?"

Giving Eric a brief glance, Horatio angled himself so he was facing the brunette. "How did you come up with that, Ms. DuVista?"

With a small smile, Natalia continued. "The first thing that caught my eye was outside. There are no steps whatsoever. Not even a small one at the doorway. Secondly, in the closet there are a number of harnesses and canine backpacks similar to what we used with Mallory when Calleigh couldn't see."

"Please go on."

Walking over to the computer desk, Natalia pointed out. "If you notice, this computer has different software, a set of headphones attached, and a reader board." Motioning over to the bookcases, she continued. "There are audio books, DVDs, and books that either have Braille labels or are written in Braille. And I bet that if you look at their fingertips, one of them will be calloused."

Inclining his head slightly, Horatio slid his sunglasses off. "Excellent job. Did you see anything that might lead us to what Mr. Farias was hired to transport?"

"Actually, I think that I might. Ryan said that Mrs. Farias was doing research in data storage applications and in one of the journals that I've been reading suggested that industrial grade diamonds may be used in that capacity."

Pushing away from the wall, Eris couldn't help but scoff. "So Mr. Farias was a diamond smuggler? Yeah, right."

Shaking her head, Natalia pushed up her shirtsleeve, reached into a small fish tank that was nestled on one of the bookshelves and pulled out a few clear stones that were of different shapes.

"I believe that if you check these out that you will find out that I'm right. In the journal, it went on to explain about how cube, triangular, and round shapes were being experimented with in regards to storing data. According to the journal, diamonds will be used to hold vast amounts of data. They are saying that even a sliver of diamond will be able to hold close to a terabyte of information."

Laughing softly, Calleigh nudged Ryan as she walked over to examine Mr. Farias's body. "I'm married to a genius."

He couldn't help, but tease back. "Yes, but can she cook?"

Muttering more to herself than to anyone else, Calleigh responded. "You have no idea."

Kneeling next to the body, Calleigh carefully examined its fingers and was pleased to find out that Natalia was correct they were calloused.

Smiling as she stood up, Calleigh stripped off her gloves. "Looks like you're batting a thousand. He has very thick pads. Now all we need to do is to find out who has a need for industrial grade diamonds in the area."

Ryan spoke up. "I'll check to see if there are any other computer companies in the area doing the same kind of research."

Sliding his glasses back on, Horatio simply stated. "We need to find out who would murder a blind man, his wife, and his guide dog and help them to see the error of their ways. Ryan, you and Natalia head back to the lab and get to work on the computers and the evidence. Eric, you come with me while Calleigh finishes up here."

Eric took a step towards Calleigh, "I really think that I should stay here, and help Calleigh finish up."

Horatio disagreed. "No, I need to go over a few things with you regarding the Wilson case." Turning to his second in command, he told Calleigh. "I'll leave an officer outside just in case you need anything."

Natalia grabbed the stones out of the fish tank, while Ryan disconnected the computers and got them into his Hummer before they headed back to the lab.

On the drive back, Ryan felt the need to apologize for Eric's remarks. "Hey, I'm really sorry that Eric can't seem to just let things go and let things get back to normal. His remarks were really out of line."

Reaching over to pat her friend on the arm, Natalia reassured him. "There is no reason for you to apologize. I know that it's gonna take a while for him to adjust and I expect to hear something like what he said today for awhile, but I do thank you though."

"Well, I'm just glad that you're taking him so well. I don't know if I could be that gracious."

Chuckling, Natalia clarified. "I can take anything Eric Delko dishes out as long as it's aimed at me. Now the minute that he goes after Calleigh, he's gonna see a whole other side of me that few people have."

"Ha, you have to remember, I've seen that side of you when Jethro started threatening Calleigh and you went after Stetler. I thought for sure, you were going to shoot him."

Natalia turned to look out her window while quietly responding. "You have no idea how close I was to actually doing it. If Calleigh hadn't stopped me, we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. When it comes to my family, I'm like a mother bear, the claws come out, and I will do what I have to do to protect them."

Reaching over, Ryan patted the brunette on the shoulder. "You don't have to explain anything to me. I agree one hundred percent. I'll try to keep Eric off your case though. I'll have another talk with him."

"Seriously, don't worry about it Ryan. Eric's a little boy in so many ways, and one day he'll find someone new that he will obsess over, and he'll forget about Calleigh."

By unspoken agreement, the subject of Eric Delko was not brought up again for the rest of the ride.

Later on that morning after Natalia had gone through most of the DNA evidence; she straightened up from her microscope, stretched her back, and looked outside. The skies had opened up, and now it was raining in earnest. Glancing at her watch, she saw that it was after twelve and she wondered if Calleigh had stopped off to get something to eat.

The elevator dinged, and its doors slid open to release Calleigh, who walked through the door with her head held proud, looking like a drowned cat. The same shirt that Natalia had commented on earlier that morning was now see through, and leaving nothing to anyone's imagination. Everyone in the hallway, stopped to stare, and Natalia caught more than a few lustful looks, and then sprang into action as Eric started forward.

Pulling off her own lab coat, she strode of out of her lab to hand it over to her wife as they walked down the hallway towards the locker room, "I had to tell you that you looked good in white, now everyone knows," she muttered.

Reaching towards the blonde, Eric tried to waylay her, "Hey Cal! Are you cold or just happy to see me?"

Growling, Natalia started towards him, but with a gentle tough on her arm from her wife, she ignored him while Ryan punched the young man on the shoulder. Eric looked over to Ryan. "What? I was kidding…. It was a joke man."

Ryan stood in front of him, blocking the sight of the women walking away, "You just don't get it. What you are doing can be considered sexual harassment, and if they don't file, it's because they, on some level still consider you a friend and they are trying to protect you, but I gotta tell you. If you don't quit, I'm gonna file because this is just wrong."

Eric tried to push his way past the young man, "What are you, their new body guard?

"No man. I'm their friend. You do remember what that is, don't you? Ah, forget it. You're not worth the effort." With that, Ryan walked off in disgust.

They were almost to the locker room when Natalia stopped, placing a hand on her wife's shoulder, "Babe, I hope that you don't think that I'm paranoid, but I think that Eric will try to walk in there while you are changing and I don't trust him. Not after that little display, and all that he said this morning. I'm not going to apologize, I just don't trust him."

Calleigh stepped closer to the brunette so that she could speak without being overheard. "It's ok, I agree with you. He's getting bolder with his remarks, and I don't know how far he will go before he decides to take the next step. Would you mind going to my locker, and getting my sweats, brush and a couple of clean towels, then meeting me in the gun vault? I can change there without him walking in."

"No problem. Just give me a few minutes and I'll be right there."

Going into the locker room, Natalia made her way over to Calleigh's locker, opened it, and took out what she needed. As she walked out the door, Natalia caught a glimpse of Eric heading in her direction so she quickly made her way to the vault. Knocking on the door, she slipped inside when Calleigh opened it.

"Any problems?"

"No, but what are you doing still dressed? You're going to catch a cold if you stay in those clothes much longer." Natalia reached forward to start unbuttoning the soaked shirt.

"I didn't want to start undressing in case someone came with you." Calleigh chattered as her hands shook a little.

Reaching around her wife to snag a towel to start drying her off, Natalia laughed. "We definitely need to check the weather the next time you wear white, because you just gave everyone out there an eyeful of something they have no right to see. I almost slugged Eric."

Peeling the soaked shirt off, letting it drop to the floor, Calleigh sat on a nearby chair to remove her boots before taking off her slacks. "As much as I feel he deserves a good punch, work isn't the proper place to do it, but you have my permission once we're off the clock. Hell, I'll take pictures if he's stupid enough to start something."

Taking the towel, Natalia began briskly rubbing her wife's body, trying to dry her off and warm her up. "I think that you're gonna need to take off your underwear too babe. It won't be good for you to keep on anything wet."

"Darlin', you're warming me up just fine."

Smirking, Natalia couldn't help, but respond. "Well, I think that I should get you out of those cold, wet clothes and get me into to something warm and wet, and I think that I can do a better job if I warmed you up from the inside first."

A blonde eyebrow rose in question. "Oh really! And just how do you plan to do that?"

Leaning down, Natalia captured her soft lips with her own while pushing her back until they were up against a wall between two metal shelves.

Placing Calleigh hands on the shelves, Natalia murmured. "You did say that you wanted to save your Good Morning kiss so, grab hold."

Kissing her way down Calleigh's body, Natalia hummed as she breathed in her wife's scent. Reaching down, she took one of Calleigh's legs and placed it over her shoulder. Leaning in, she ran her tongue along her lips, drawing in her essence. Growling in frustration, as she wanted deeper access, Natalia looked up at Calleigh and warned her. "Hang on tight." Then she reached down to put her other leg over her shoulder and began to draw against Calleigh's clit.

"Oh Lord! … uh….shit! was stuttered out as Natalia slid in deeper, Calleigh's scent was driving her wild, and when she couldn't get enough, she slid in three fingers and was surrounded by pulsating slickness.

Calleigh arched against the wall, tilting her hips even more to allow her wife deeper access, while desperately holding onto the shelves, trying to anchor her body down while her soul was soaring. If she had a fantasy to top all fantasies, this was it, being made love to in her gun vault. Then when her wife wrapped her lips around her clit and began to pull against it, Calleigh began to topple over the edge. Her muscles spasmed against thrusting fingers and her body shook as her nerves were overloaded, as release couldn't quite be found fast enough.

Looking up over glistening, golden curls, Natalia watched as her wife tossed her head back and forth while her eyes rolled back in to her head. 'God, I loved to watch Calleigh cum. I get so wet. Damn!'

After a few more minutes and another orgasm later, Natalia slowly withdrew from her still trembling and gasping wife, placing her feet firmly back on the floor before kissing the damp curls, slowly rising to her feet.

Kissing Calleigh's forehead, Natalia couldn't help, but mutter. "Boy, when you save up your kisses, you get a bang for your buck."

Holding up her hand, silently asking for a moment, Calleigh finally replied. "I know that this is gonna sound crude, but I can't resist saying. I got a bang for my fuck."

"Ooo that was bad love. You're right, it was a bit crude... crude, but true." Natalia laughed, and then she caught a glimpse of her watch. "Damn babe, we've been in here for almost a half hour. I have to get back. I wish that we could just go home as there are a few more things that I have in mind for you."

Shaking both hands to get the circulation going, she then reached up to pull Natalia's lips to meet hers, and purred. "There are a few things I have in mind for you too."

"Mmmm, do I dare start to imagine?"

Sighing, Calleigh released her, realizing that they had been in there way too long. "Darlin', your imagination would probably catch all the highlights, but I bet that I could surprise you every once in awhile."

Bringing up her hand to caress Calleigh's face, Natalia whispered. "Darlin', you surprise me each and every day just by loving me. I'm sorry that I've got to go, but we don't want to give them any ammo to use against us."

Calleigh couldn't help, chuckle. "We're in the right room if they want to give us ammo."

"That was just as bad as the last one." Giving her wife one final kiss, Natalia walked out of the vault and headed towards the locker room to wash her hands.

Twenty minutes later, Natalia was peering into her microscope, when there was a polite cough at her doorway. Looking up, she saw Calleigh and Ryan in the doorway. Calleigh had braided her hair into a single braid that hung down the middle of her back and was wearing her black sweatpants with a green tank top under a sweat jacket.

Ryan stepped forward, placing a folder on her desk. "Hey, I was wondering if you wanted me to grab you something to eat."

Looking at Calleigh with twinkling eyes, Natalia answered. "I ate a little something earlier, but I can handle some more."

"Cal, do you want something to eat?"

With a smirk in her voice, Calleigh's gaze never wavered from her wife's. "I can always eat something. I'll come with you to pick everything up, since I know exactly what Natalia likes."

Bumping her shoulder, Ryan turned and walked out. "Ok then, let's go."

"Right behind you. Let me see what Natalia wants to drink, and I'll meet you at the elevator."

Taking a step closer to the brunette, Calleigh spoke barely loud enough for Natalia to hear.

"Just thought that I should remind you that I'm not wearing any underwear. Be back in a bit, hon."

Turning away, she smiled as she joined Ryan at the elevators. As she got into the elevator, and turned back, Calleigh saw Natalia licking her lips, her eyes dark with need.

Ryan caught a glimpse of the look before the door closed. "Man, Natalia looks like she starving. We had better get enough to satisfy her appetite."

Underneath her breath, Calleigh muttered. "Never gonna happen."

Later that afternoon, Natalia was coming down the back hallway after delivering some results to Tripp when she ran into Eric coming around the corner.

"Sorry about that Eric, I wasn't watching where I was going."

He took a step back with a look of disgust. "Yeah, you're not watching a lot of things these days. And if you don't be careful, you're gonna get someone hurt."

Natalia placed her hands on her hips. "What exactly do you mean by that?"

"Don't think that you have me fooled for one minute Natalia. You went from me to Calleigh in nothing flat, and you're gonna end up leaving her for Horatio. You're working your way up the ladder, and you're gonna end up hurting Calleigh, and that is something that I will not allow to happen."

Taking a step towards the young man, Natalia poked him in the chest with a finger. "Why can't you get it through your head that I am married to Calleigh, and that I love her, and I will never do anything to hurt her."

He pushed her back against the wall, pressing his body against hers, his arms on either side of her body, growling. "I know you Natalia Boa Vista. This DuVista shit is ridiculous. I know that you won't be able to give up men. You're too much of a slut."

He was leaning forward to try and kiss her when Ryan came around the corner and saw what was going on.

"Hey! Get away from her!" Grabbing him by his arms and slamming him against the opposite wall. "Are you completely out of your mind? What the fuck are you thinking?"

Natalia slid down the wall, shaken.

Eric pushed Ryan back. "She was coming on to me and I was giving her what she wanted."

"That's bullshit. I know her."

Snarling, Eric backed away. "I bet you do. I bet that you take her all the time when Calleigh's not around. You just wait, I'm gonna be there for Calleigh when all this shit hits the fan." With that, he turned and stomped away.

Turning back to his friend, Ryan knelt beside the shaking woman, carefully reaching out to take her hand. "Are you alright? Did he hurt you?"

Sniffing, Natalia cleared her throat and took the offered hand to help her stand up. "No, I'm fine. He just scared me, that's all."

Making sure that she was steady on her feet before he released her hand, Ryan balled his hands into fist. "I can't believe that he did this. We need to tell Horatio right away."

"NO!" Natalia laid a calming hand upon his arm. "No, we can't tell anyone about this. Eric would lose his job, and that just might push him over the edge. He might do something really crazy then. No one can ever know what he did."

Leaning forward, Ryan tried to reason with her. "You need to at least tell Calleigh, Natalia. She deserves to know what he did. You said that you wouldn't keep any more secrets from her."

"I can't tell her Ryan. She'll go after him, and there's no telling what will happen, or who will get hurt. We're just gonna have to watch more carefully what he does." Taking a deep breath and straightening her clothes, Natalia started walking towards her lab. "Please go along with me on this."

Ryan fell in step with his friend. "I will just this one time, but if something happens again, I'm going straight to Calleigh and Horatio. He can't get away with it, not anymore."

When they arrived at Natalia's lab, they found Calleigh just walking up. "Hey! I'm done for the day. Are you ready to leave this popsicle joint?"

Sighing, Natalia agreed. "I am so ready to go home and put my feet up."

Looking at her wife closely, Calleigh could tell that something was wrong. Glancing over to Ryan, he looked back at her while shuffling his feet with his hands in his pockets. That told the blonde that something had happened and that she needed to get it out of her wife.

"Well, I guess that's my cue to get my wife home, and give her a foot rub. We'll see ya tomorrow Ryan. Hope that you have a good evening."

Nodding his head, the younger man smiled, as he knew that Calleigh had caught what he was trying to say. "Yeah, you two have a great evening."

After getting their personal items from their lockers, the two women were soon on their way home. The ride was quiet as Natalia stared out the passenger side window as Calleigh carefully maneuvered through the still wet streets. The rain had finished hours ago, and now the air was just plain humid.

Turning slightly in her seat, Natalia looked at her wife, knowing that she should tell her what had happened, but couldn't take that step to break Calleigh and Eric's friendship, even though she hadn't done anything wrong.

Sighing, she reached over to take Calleigh's hand into her grasp. "Have I told you lately how much I love you?"

"Well darlin', not in so many words, but you sure did show me earlier. I won't be able to go into the vault now without getting a visual."

Natalia chuckled. "That wasn't my intention, but you looked so damn sexy that I couldn't help myself."

Looking over at Natalia while they were at a stop light, Calleigh purred. "Never let it be said that I try and stop you when you can't help yourself. I am yours to be used as you wish."

Leaning over, the brunette brushed a gentle kiss against her wife's cheek. "Talk about visuals… I can't choose where to begin."

"Hmm, well we could start alphabetically, top to bottom, bottom to top or in the middle and work our way around."

Closing her eyes, Natalia hummed. "Aw, damn babe. I... uh… refuse to answer that on grounds that I can't make up my mind."

The rest of the ride was quiet, but the air was charged as each woman was running different scenarios that they wanted to try through their mind.

When they finally made it home, the vehicle parked and they were walking into the kitchen, Natalia turned to Calleigh. "Why don't you go ahead and take a shower? Give me the wet clothes and I'll get a load of laundry started before I start dinner."

Before Natalia could walk off, Calleigh grabbed her around the waist and pulled her close, Natalia's back to Calleigh's front, nuzzling her neck.

Natalia instantly melted into the embrace, her mind releasing the tormenting images of Eric's crazed eyes. Sighing, she rubbed the arms that surrounded her gently, knowing that if she could, the woman who held her would protect her with her life. Simply holding her seemed to quiet the demons inside, keeping the shadows at bay. That is what loving Calleigh meant to her, the demons and shadows had been banished into the abyss as Calleigh's golden light surrounded and shielded her.

Calleigh rested her forehead against Natalia's neck taking a deep breath. "Darlin', Talk to me. I know that something is bothering you."

"It's just that Eric's snide remarks are getting to me. I just wish that he would accept what's right in front of him."

The momentary tightening of the arms around her waist was the only indication that Calleigh was concerned. Her voice remained even as she asked, "What did he say this time?"

Shaking her head, Natalia took a step to break the embrace and headed for the laundry room. "Nothing for you to worry about love, I'm just tired and am letting him get to me. Go ahead and take a shower. I'll start dinner in a minute."

Clinching her jaw, Calleigh breathed through her nose, trying to get her emotions in check. 'Damn him all to hell! Why can't he just grow up?' She thought to herself as she went into their bedroom, removing clothes before getting into the shower.

After putting Calleigh's damp clothes in the washer with a few other things that needed to be cleaned, Natalia went back into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator to see what she wanted to make for dinner. Looking through the vegetable crisper, she decided on stir-fry, so she got out celery, sprouts, bean pods, broccoli, an onion and cabbage. She spent the next fifteen minutes, slicing the items, allowing that simple act to clear her mind of everything else, but what she was doing.

When Calleigh walked in, she took one look at what Natalia was preparing, then reached for the wok and a pot to boil water. "Rice or noodles?"

"Rice." Was the one word answer, and for the next 10 minutes, the two women worked in companionable silence, never saying a word, but somehow knowing when the other needed a certain ingredient, and handing it to them.

Once everything was sliced and ready to start cooking, Natalia went to wrap her arm around her wife's waist. "I'm gonna take a quick shower if you can get it started."

Draping her arms over Natalia's shoulders, Calleigh nuzzled her neck. "What exactly do you want me to get started? Dinner or myself, because if it's me, too late. Already there."

Chuckling, Natalia gave her a light kiss. "You're always ready babe. That's one thing that I love about you. Start dinner and I'll be right back."

With that, she walked off with a very sexy sway to her hips, leaving her wife watching with a slightly agape mouth. 'Damn that woman has more moves than a Swiss watch, and I do love to wind her up.'

Calleigh got busy heating up the wok, and soon sizzling sounds, along with tempting aromas filled the air. By the time that Natalia walked into the dining room with damp hair, wearing a pair of lounge pants and a tank top, she was ladling the steamy food into bowls and setting the table.

"Perfect timing darlin'. You wanna grab me a bottle of green tea?"

Reaching into the refrigerator, Natalia grabbed them both a bottle of their current favorite drink, and went to sit down at the table. The conversation during dinner was about how they both wished that the weather would cooperate and dry up a little bit so that they could go riding, and how Calleigh wanted to get their family crest placed on the horse equipment. She was still amazed that they had their own crest, and loved to show it off when she could.

After dinner, they made quick work of the dirty dishes, and were soon headed towards the living room to relax.

"Babe, would you mind if I go ahead, and go to bed? I'm really tired, and just want to go to sleep." Natalia asked.

Calleigh gently took her hand to lead her into their bedroom, and over to the bed, With one quick motion, she pulled down the comforter and the top sheet before she lay down, opening her arms. "You read my mind. It's been a very long day, and all I want to do is hold you, and fall asleep with you in my arms."

Sighing, Natalia joined her wife in their bed, gratefully draping an arm across her stomach, while sliding a leg between her wives'. "I love you Calleigh, so very much."

Kissing the head that was nestled on her shoulder Calleigh whispered. "I love you too darlin'."

Soon both women were sound asleep.

Natalia was in a dark, cold place, someplace where the air was heavy and she was being held by something unseen. Try as she might, she couldn't move from where she was standing.

The wall in front of her was as black as black could be, no light escaping at all.

Shouting Calleigh's name, she realized that her voice was muted and not loud at all.

Suddenly the wall sprang to life with images in such vivid colors that it hurt her eyes briefly until she got used to the brightness. And there Natalia saw her lover crying on her hands and knees as if pleading for something. Natalia looked around, and saw nothing out of the ordinary, just an empty room with no windows. The more Natalia screamed; the harder Calleigh seemed to cry, her shoulders shaking with the effort.

As Natalia was about to rush to her beloved's side, she heard a chilling voice in her ears. "Stop. She can't hear you." She froze in fear; Nick's voice still brought forth a natural chill that ran from the tip of her spine to the base of her neck. She wanted to run to Calleigh's side all the more, if Nick was around then all the more reason to shield Cal from her ex husband's tyrannical and cruel ways. She started screaming at Calleigh, her hands bawling into fists, angry that her screams when unheard. Her throat was beginning to burn in an uncomfortable way, but the blonde was deaf to her pleas.

"Can you believe that she thinks that she's too good for me? Just like you did. I'm gonna have to teach her differently, and I don't think that she is a fast learner." Nick's voice echoed in her mind. "But luckily, I'm not the only one that can instruct her. I have some new friends that are very eager to help…. I think that you know them both."

"Hello Ms. Natalia, I am so glad that I have this time with your beloved since you cut short my plan last time."

Instantly, Natalia's stomach dropped as Jethro's sneer filled the room. "I had so many plans for Ms. Duquesne last time that I can hardly know where to begin."

Natalia screamed and struggled against her unseen bonds, as she saw that Calleigh was now strapped to the same wooden chair with the taser leads taped to her body. Suddenly Jethro was walking into the room switching the taser on and off, causing the blonde's body to spasm and writhe.

"She cannot hear you here; she is in my world now. Do you think Ms. Natalia, that I should brand your name into her skin? I do so love the smell of burning flesh."

Eric stepped into her line of sight. "No, the best way to get to Calleigh to learn something is hands on, and I want to get my hands on her body right now."

In a blink of an eye, Calleigh was tied spread eagle on a bed, clothed only in her underwear and Eric was striding towards her with a twisted grin on his face. Then he stopped, before turning to Natalia. "I don't think that you will want to watch this." And with a flick of his wrist, Natalia felt like she was twisting and falling through the air, and when she landed, she blacked out.

Things were out of focus. She didn't know anything, but darkness and a feeling that crept up her spine, making the baby hairs on the back of her neck stand up. Something tugged at her. Was it her subconscious? She couldn't tell anymore. Too many emotions to try and sort through. Everything was blurry.

Somewhere in front of her, she felt Calleigh. She knew she was there. Feeling hot tears well up in her eyes, Natalia struggled for focus, willing her lips and tongue to push Calleigh's name from her suddenly parched throat. No sound came out. Letting fly a silent cry of rage, Natalia jerked forward unsteadily, her legs turning to jelly under hear, refusing to support her weight. She felt like a marionette whose strings had been cut by some cruel god as her body slumped dreamily to the ground.

Helpless on the ground, feeling Calleigh's unrelenting sobs, Natalia began screaming, feeling her vocal chords tearing with the effort. The blackness that closed in on here swallowed her cries of horror.


Natalia froze, her eyes going wide.

"We told you. She can't hear you."

A white-hot rage filled Natalia's heart. She had never before felt the tendrils of hate creep into her, but she felt enriched with a power she had not before known. Sinking her fingers into the ground, she clawed her way in Calleigh's direction, every muscle straining against failure.

The blackness retreated and Natalia saw, glowing as if she was ethereal, the sunken figure of Calleigh, clutching desperately to a picture, her shoulders shaking with the effort it took to keep herself upright as sobs shook her slender shoulders.

A deep rumble shook the peripherals of Natalia's subconscious. Was that thunder or one of her tormentor's laughter? Natalia couldn't pause to care. Her body was fighting the blackness that rushed up with the tenor chuckle from the sky. She kicked and screamed and slid back for only a moment before she let fly a cry of pure fury and leapt free of the grasping void.

She felt the blonde strands slide through her fingers as time slowed down. Natalia clutched at Calleigh's shoulders, but her visage shimmered and blurred as if she was made of golden water.

"No!" Natalia yelled, snapping awake, becoming suddenly aware of the cold beads of sweat dripping down her back, wetting the back of her pajama pants.

Her hands flew to her face, and she felt the wet caress of tears against her fingertips.


"Talia! What's wrong? Talk to me."

Gulping huge breaths of air, Natalia's hands raced over golden peach skin, even going up under her top to check for scars, then running through her hair; even Natalia's breathing seemed shaky.

"Darlin'.. I need you to talk to me please..." Calleigh gently cradled Natalia's body into her own, fearing she'd push her away. She strained to hear what her wife was muttering, her breathing was shaky, terrified, skittish like her touch.

"They can't have you… No, they're not here…. Eric can't touch you, not ever."

"Darlin'.. I need you to talk to me.. please?" Calleigh gently cradled Natalia's face in her hands, making her lock her petrified chocolate eyes into concerned jade ones.

"I.." Natalia is running her hands over her own face, tears running un-checked down her cheeks, spilling onto her white sleep shirt. She couldn't control them, she couldn't control anything. Biting her lip, she felt the damn breaking. Leaning forward, she buried herself in Calleigh's neck, her hands sliding around her waist sobbing quietly for moments trying to let her body relax.

"Hormones." Natalia hoped her words convinced her lover. She even dared hoped believe them herself. She just wasn't up to discussing anymore tonight, her body fighting exhaustion and the natural relaxation she felt in Calleigh's arms.

Calleigh responded on instinct, her hands wrapping themselves securely around Natalia. She even held her body over Natalia's like some physical shield. She whispered back softly into her lover's hair trying to calm her. "Talia... baby its okay, I'm right here.. I'm right here." She took one of Natalia's shaking hands placing it over her heart making her seek out her body warmth and pulse for proof of life.

Natalia's head turned towards Calleigh's neck, into her hair further, her body responding to Calleigh's warmth. She inhaled deeply through her nostrils, taking in the scent that was purely the blonde. She tried to find her voice and failed. Finally after the shaking had quieted some, and the tears had all, but stopped she spoke. "I'm afraid...," she whispered brokenly.

Calleigh's heart melted and hardened at the same time, she felt for Natalia, she knew the fear. At the same time, she felt almost violently protective of her wife. She knew to stay quiet however, and let the brunette speak in her own time. She was rewarded when after the tears had been wiped away, she felt the soft, warm breath move from her neck to her ear.

"I-it was Jethro.." Natalia's voice stumbled over the first words haltingly, trying to gain the strength to tell the most important woman in the world some of her deepest and darkest fears. "He had you this time.." Implying that most likely yes, there would be more nightmares, but hopefully, Calleigh would be there to weather them with her.

That thought made her next words easier to muster. "He was torturing you in the same ways he used on me." She shuddered, but continued on anyway. "I couldn't reach you, couldn't touch you.. couldn't save you." Her words had dropped to a whisper now. Her hands clutched Calleigh tightly. "That's what I'm most afraid of, that I won't be able to protect you when the time comes. I won't be strong enough. I won't be fast enough, to save you."

She bit her lip, clutching onto Calleigh tightly, trying to convince herself that this was reality, and not another nightmare from times past.

Placing a gentle kiss on Natalia's forehead, Calleigh quietly responded. "Darlin', those fears are normal, but with everything that we've gone through, they are more real for use that regular people. I have those fears everyday when you go out to a scene. What if someone else takes you like Jethro did? What am I supposed to do? What I would want to do is to hunt them down and make them suffer, but I know I can't. So I just take a deep breath, make sure that you are protected as well as you can and have faith that we can handle anything that life throws at us."

Scooting down in the bed with her wife still in her embrace, Calleigh covered then with the sheet and slowly rubbed Natalia's back. "Sleep darlin', everything will seem better in the morning." Humming a quiet tune, she was pleased that she soon heard even breathing and only then did she join Natalia in slumber.

Part 3

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