DISCLAIMER: I don't own the characters. I don't make profit from this.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Story is set after episode 1.10 "Sex, Lies and Larvae" since I only have the first 12 episodes on dvd. And a HUGE thanks to my beta's Rachel & Steff.

By Ellen

Sara sighed deeply. This last case had reminded her of her past. It reminded her of too many things that she had tried so hard to forget over the years. She did a pretty good job at forgetting too, but now it was all coming back again. She could feel a headache coming and felt the urge to drown it before it began to hurt too much.

Catherine's day had been relatively easy. She and Warick had solved their case swiftly, and if it hadn't been for child services, her day would've been perfect. She had heard about Grissom and Sara's case and the effect it had on Sara. They were all shocked to hear about the outburst from the otherwise so calm woman. She wasn't surprised however to find the younger woman in the layout room; it figured that she would still be at work. But there was something different about her, she seemed so fragile. She tapped on the door to get Sara's attention.

"Hey, are you all right?" She couldn't find anything better to say so she just settled for that.

"No, not really. I can feel a headache coming on." Sara knew that wasn't really what Catherine meant. She had guessed that they would all find out and was actually surprised that it had taken this long before anyone asked something. She was even more surprised that it was Catherine who asked first. It wasn't like they were close friends, but then again, she wasn't really close with anyone here.

Catherine recognized the evasion and tried again. "Ok.. Wanna go for a drink? I know I can use one after all the stuff child services put me through."

Sara wanted to object but didn't. Simply because she was too tired and because it was exactly what she wanted. "Err..Ok, give me a minute to put all this stuff away, ok?"

Catherine hadn't expected that she would accept the offer so quickly but didn't let it show. "Yeah sure, I'll wait outside."

Catherine was lost in thought. This last case seemed to have affected Sara a lot; she looked so tired and vulnerable. She wasn't used to seeing that side of Sara.

"Ok, all set." Sara spooked her out of her thoughts.

"So.. Any suggestions?" she asked, although she was the one who'd asked to go for a drink.

"Nah, not really. Do you mind if I ride with you? Not really in the mood to drive myself." Sara responded.

"Ok, sure, jump in."

The drive was quiet, the women lost in their own thoughts. Both women affected by the last days' events.

A few moments later they found themselves at a bar on Hillpointe Road.

"How did you find this place?" Sara asked, as curious as she always was.

"Heard some people talk about it. It's supposed to be good and there's a Karaoke bar." Catherine smiled.

"You like singing?" Sara shook her head in disbelief.

"What? I don't qualify as the singing type to you?" Catherine feigned shock as they entered the place and found a place to sit.

"Er.. Hadn't really thought about it to be honest. As long as you don't expect me to sing, it's all fine by me." Sara talked her way out of it.

They both ordered a beer. On stage someone was singing Puddle of Mud's "Blurry" and Sara listened to the lyrics.

Everything's so blurry
and everyone's so fake
and everybody's empty
and everything is so messed up

She couldn't help but agree with the last line.

Catherine was studying Sara who appeared to be lost in the music. She never noticed before just how young and innocent Sara seemed to be. She never noticed before how cute it was when she was focussing.

"So.. You wanna talk about it?" Catherine finally gathered enough courage to ask.

Sara didn't know how to react. She knew that she had to talk about it one day, but she just wasn't ready to spill it to someone she hardly knew. "It brought up some stuff from my past.." She started but than she closed up again, it was still too painful. "I'm sorry.. I can't.. I.. I'm sorry."

Catherine quickly realised her mistake as she saw Sara panicking. "It's ok.. Really, sorry for asking."

"Can you take me home, please?" Sara asked, suddenly feeling the need to get out of there as quickly as possible .

Catherine hadn't been prepared for the request, but decided not to say anything and just do what the younger woman wanted, afterall it was her own fault, she shouldn't have asked.

"Ok, but you'll have to give me directions," she replied, trying not to let her disappointment show.

A few moments later Sara directed Catherine to her home. It seemed as if neither of them wanted it to be over yet. So Sara did the only thing she could think of, she invited Catherine inside.

"Wanna come in?" Not waiting for the answer, because she didn't think that she wanted to hear the rejection of her offer, she rushed out of the car and tried to find her keys.

By the time she found them, Catherine was standing next to her and she couldn't stop herself from smiling.

Inside there was an akward silence. Neither of them knew what to say.

"Do you want some coffee?" Sara tried to keep a conversation going.

"No thanks, I think I should be heading home. I do need some sleep you know." Catherine tried to lessen the tension.

Sara couldn't keep the look of disappointment, hurt but most of all fear, off her face. She just hoped that Catherine had enough to drink and wouldn't be as observant as usual.

Catherine did notice the look on Sara's face though. "Something wrong?"

Sara inwardly groaned and then wondered why Catherine's opinion mattered so much to her. She had never considered that their relationship was particularly close.

"It's just that.. I don't want to be alone tonight. Please stay? I can sleep on the couch if you want," she replied weakly.

It was out of her mouth before she knew it. She didn't dare looking at Catherine so she looked at the floor instead, hoping that Catherine wouldn't be angry with her. She knew that she had to think about Lindsey too.

There was something in that look and voice that made Catherine decide to stay immediately. She was feeling protective towards the younger woman and decided there and then that she would let nothing or no one ever hurt Sara again. She promised herself that she would find out what it was that had hurt Sara that much in her past, even if it meant having to wait until Sara was ready to talk. She would do everything in her power to support her through it.

For a moment, Catherine wondered where her thoughts had originated from before she reluctantly admitted to herself that she had harboured feelings for the other woman since she had met her. She had been a coward and refused to admit it. It was time to change that.

"It's ok, you don't have to sleep on the couch. I'll stay," she reassured Sara gently.

"But what about Lindsey?" Sara asked, hoping that Catherine wouldn't back out now, but she had to ask first.

"It's ok, she's staying with my sister this weekend." Catherine wasn't going to back out now.

She tucked Sara into bed and got in on the other side. While the other woman fell asleep rather quickly, Catherine herself couldn't find sleep. But she wasn't complaining, now that Sara was asleep, she could study the younger woman without the risk of being caught. She noticed how peaceful she seemed in her sleep, how soft her features were now that she didn't have to worry. But most of all she noticed just how beautiful this young woman was. After a while she felt two arms embrace her into a tight hug. She settled herself in the arms and before she knew it, she too fell asleep.

The End

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