DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

A Christmas to Remember
By Ann


"I can't believe we're both off Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. How lucky can we get?" Sofia uttered in total disbelief at their very fortuitous situation.

"Well, you got lucky, but I've worked every Christmas Eve and Day for the past six years. I've earned it," Sara replied, opening the door to her apartment and ushering her lover inside.

Taking off her jacket and laying it on the back of the sofa, Sofia offered, "Actually, I think Jim had something to do with me being off. He overheard me talking to Catherine yesterday when I was asking what she got Lindsey for Christmas, and I remarked that you'd be off and that I'd be working. When I saw him in the doorway, he was grinning like he had just collared a perp who happened to be carrying an empty smoking gun."

Laughing, Sara placed her jacket beside her lover's and moved to sit on the couch. Plopping down, she leaned her head back and said, "I don't want to leave this apartment until it's time to go back to work. Think we could find something to occupy our time for a couple of days?"

"I think that could be arranged, but first, let's get some sleep," Sofia suggested, stepping in front of her partner and reaching for Sara's hands to pull her up. A few minutes later, both women were headed toward the bedroom, hand in hand.

Hours later, Sara awoke in the arms of her lover, and she glanced at the clock to note that she'd gotten her requisite six hours. Her nightmares usually returned at this time of year, and she was grateful that, so far, she'd managed to avoid them. Looking at the sleeping blonde, she wondered if Sofia was the reason they'd stayed away.

Sara carefully untangled her body from Sofia's and made her way into the kitchen. Grabbing a bottled water from the refrigerator, she sat down at the table to make plans for their mini-vacation. A few minutes later, Sofia shuffled into the room and proceeded to crawl into Sara's lap.

"Hey, did I wake you?" Sara asked her lover, kissing her gently and trying to hold on tightly so that Sofia didn't fall to the floor.

"No, I've been dozing on and off for the past hour. I didn't even feel you get up," Sofia replied. Giving Sara a quick hug, she stood, and taking the water from her lover's hand, she guzzled the rest of it down and threw the empty bottle into the nearby garbage container.

"Okay, let's do something," Sofia decided, although, she didn't have the foggiest as to what exactly something was.

"Like what?" Sara answered and hoped it wouldn't involve going outside.

Shrugging, Sofia replied, "I don't know. Just something; something special; something that we've never done."

Grinning from ear to ear, Sara said, "Grab the popcorn and put it in the microwave. I've got an idea." Rising from the chair, she left a puzzled Sofia standing in the middle of the kitchen.

Sofia pulled the second bag of popcorn out of the microwave and added it to the bowl. Reaching into the refrigerator, she pulled out a couple of cokes and slowly made her way into the den where she found Sara sitting on the floor with dozens of DVD cases surrounding her.

Placing the bowl and drinks on the coffee table, she moved to sit beside her uncharacteristically excited lover. Sara was smiling as she picked up a DVD, looked at its title, and laid it in the appropriate stack, only Sofia had no idea as to how she decided what went where.

"Um, sweetie, what are you doing?" Sofia asked gently while trying desperately to read the titles of the various DVDs.

"Huh? Oh, I'm organizing these according to decades. I've always wanted to take a couple of days and watch movie after movie after movie," Sara explained, not noticing the slight grimace on Sofia's face. "Okay, I'm all set. Where's the popcorn?"

Sofia pointed to the bowl on the table, and Sara smiled broadly. Standing, Sara picked up a stack of DVDs and made her way to the player. Sofia pulled herself up and headed for the couch, wondering if maybe she should call the station to see if she was needed.

A few minutes later, the bowl of popcorn sat between the two women as Sara hit the play button. The beginning credits went by quickly, and the movie had begun. Sofia squinted at the screen and asked, "Sara, what's wrong with the TV?"

"Nothing, why?" The brunette answered, keeping her eyes glued to the television in question.

"Well, there's no color," Sofia offered. She turned to her lover and wondered if perhaps it was time to get Sara's eyes checked.

Bumping shoulders with her partner, Sara grinned and said, "Of course there's not, you doofus. It's a black and white movie. I thought we'd watch the earlier stuff first."

Glaring at the other woman, Sofia replied, "I am NOT a doofus." Sara grinned again and leaned over to kiss the blond gently. Pulling away, she turned her attention back to the screen. Sofia reluctantly watched as well, but she made sure Sara heard her whispered response. "I'm not a doofus."

An hour later, Sofia was engrossed in the movie and asking question after question after question much to Sara's dismay. "So, Ilsa was really still married to Laszlo when she had an affair with Rick?"

Never turning her head from the screen, Sara replied, "Yes, but she thought Laszlo was dead. Now, watch the movie, Sof, or you'll miss something important."

Sara's words seemed to do the trick as Sofia began to concentrate fully on the screen. In fact, Sara never heard another peep out of her until the very last scene; although, it wasn't actually a peep, it was more of a sniffle.

Turning toward her lover, Sara noted a single tear escape the blonde's eye. Putting the popcorn bowl on the floor, Sara scooted closer to Sofia and put her arm around her lover. Sofia placed her head on Sara's shoulder as 'The End' flashed across the screen.

"That was so sad. I'd heard all the clichés from 'Casablanca,' but I'd never actually seen it," Sofia whispered, wiping another tear from her eye.

"Hey, how about I put on something a little livelier? Have you ever seen 'The Philadelphia Story?' Katherine Hepburn is great," Sara suggested, standing and moving to the player to change movies.

At the end of the second movie, Sofia was lying with her head in Sara's lap, smiling. "That was a good one," Sofia critiqued. Suddenly, she sat up and asked, "Hey, this is Christmas Eve, have you got any holiday movies?"

Sara smiled and headed back to the player. Soon, "A Christmas Carol," starring Alastair Sim, was playing in the background. A choice was given on the start menu for black/white or color, and of course, Sara chose the black and white version.

When the movie ended, the couple decided to take a break and order a pizza. Sofia wanted to go pick it up to save time, but Sara insisted that they not leave the apartment unless it was absolutely necessary. Sofia wasn't at all happy when it took an extra half hour for the pizza to be delivered.

"I don't see why you gave him a tip; he certainly didn't break any speed limits getting here," Sofia mumbled as Sara opened the pizza box.

"Where's your spirit of Christmas, Ebenezer?" Sara teased, pulling a couple of beers from the refrigerator. Sofia responded by rolling her eyes at her partner's corny reply.

The two women stuffed themselves with pizza and beer before returning to the couch, and Sara let Sofia make the next selection, but it ended up being a game of eeny, meany, miney, moe since Sofia hadn't a clue of any of the titles.

Sara smiled when the game chose "Sunset Boulevard." Sofia was in for a real treat with this one. In Sara's estimation, it was the greatest black and white film ever made, and at the movie's end, Sofia wholeheartedly agreed even though she'd only seen her first one today.

On the next go round, the Christmas theme won out again, and Sara put on a true classic, "It's a Wonderful Life." Sofia nervously admitted that she'd switched the channel every year when it had come on, and Sara vowed that tonight, Sofia would watch it in its entirety.

Problem was that Sofia drank another beer during the last movie, and she was sinking fast. With her head comfortably settled in Sara's lap, she made a valiant attempt to keep her eyes open, but half way into the movie, she was sound asleep, and Sara didn't have the heart to wake her. Stroking her lover's hair, Sara turned her attention back to the television.

A tinkling sound woke Sofia, and she muttered, "What's that?"

Sara leaned down, kissed the blonde's cheek, and replied, "It's only Clarence getting his wings. Go back to sleep, sweetie." Sofia smiled and snuggled closer to her lover.

Hitting the stop button on the DVD player, Sara placed the remote on the nearby table just as the clock on the bookcase lightly chimed, and Sara could hardly believe that it was already midnight. In the previous years, she'd be working on some evidence in one of the labs or bringing her evidence to trace or DNA right about now.

All those Christmases and New Years were totally meaningless. In fact, she couldn't remember the last Christmas that meant anything to her, but this year, everything was different. This year, she was happy and in love.

Lightly caressing her lover's cheek, she whispered, "Sof? Sofia, it's time to go to bed."

Sofia blinked her eyes sleepily and asked, "What about the movies?"

Smiling, Sara replied, "They can wait until tomorrow." A groggy Sofia stood, and Sara joined her, placing her arm around her lover's waist. Still half asleep, Sofia leaned heavily on the brunette as they made their way to the bedroom.

Sara helped Sofia remove her clothes and pulled the covers of the bed back. Sofia didn't need any further assistance as she climbed into the bed and immediately fell back asleep. Standing to the side, Sara pulled the sheet over her lover and lightly kissed her brow.

"Merry Christmas, Sofia," was softly whispered as Sara prepared for bed.

Minutes later, she pulled her lover into her arms and joined her in the land of dreams, and for the first time since she was a little girl, Sara's dreams were filled with hope and promise, but more importantly, her black and white dreams had turned to color.

The End

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