DISCLAIMER: These characters and situations do not belong to me in any way, shape, or form. I have borrowed them as part of my sanity maintenance.
SEQUEL: Companion Piece to 'The Very Good, The Definitely Not Bad, and the Ugly for Some'.
SPOILERS: Leaving Las Vegas through to Law of Gravity.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The Extra Bit on the End
With one last look of regret, Gil turned on his heel and left Sara alone in the locker room.
She sighed, 'I'll miss you' had been his last words to her, and the lost look on his face told her all she needed to know.
Suddenly, the room felt cold and lonely. She slumped down on the seat and stared into space.
After a few moments, the sounds of life began to filter through her reverie, and she heard two voices she would recognize anywhere heading towards her.
"Was that Grissom walking away with his tail between his legs?"
"Yeah, and eyes like his long lost puppy just got run over."
Catherine and Sofia entered the locker room laughing happily together; Sara smiled in their direction.
"She's going to have to tell him, you know." Catherine's words were directed to her detective colleague; but her eyes and her meaning bore through Sara.
Sofia, understanding the feelings in the room, tried to diffuse the situation with a joking tone to her reply. "Yes, and fast, we can't wait forever, now can we?"
The two women gently bumped shoulders as Catherine accepted the get-out clause, and she winked at Sofia.
"Knock it off smartasses," called Sara.
All three laughed, and the comfort being given made Sara feel as if the temperature had risen a few notches.
Satisfied all was well, Sofia held her hand out to Sara. "Come on, let's go and drown his sorrows over a beer or two."
Sara reached for the waiting hand and allowed herself to be pulled out of the locker room. As she passed Catherine, she smiled and was infinitely reassured by the possessive touch in the small of her back.
Further down the corridor, Greg Sanders saw the three women as they passed his lab, and he quickly chased after them. Chatting animatedly with each other, none heard his presence until he called out, "Hey, are you all going for breakfast?"
It was Catherine who answered, "Yeah, we are, to the Pancake Stop. You wanna come with?"
Following behind Catherine and Sofia, he jogged happily beside Sara and, knowing that she and Catherine usually frequented another haunt after a long shared shift, he asked, "Why the Pancake Stop and not Betty's Diner?"
"Because Lindsay wants blueberry pancakes before school, you goof."
Greg grinned at Sara's answer, not really surprised that the teenager seemed to rule the roost. What did surprise him was Sofia's retort; he hadn't realized she knew Lindsay well enough to get the whiney voice so right.
"Don't forget, Sara 'with lashings of maple syrup, pretty please'."
The easy laughter of the four colleagues wafted down the hallways.
Grissom's departure was already forgotten.
'If I have something to say to you, Catherine, I'm gonna say it in private.'
Catherine sighed; her mind raced with ideas on how she could she make things right. She'd made a real mess of things with this recent case. Damn Mike Keppler and his reverse forensics theory, she should've realized her team would be able to smell false evidence a mile away. Now, they thought she didn't trust them, and nothing could be further from the truth.
She trusted her team implicitly, and she had to make them understand that. Nicky was going to take the most cajoling, Warrick and Greg less so, but it was the two others, much more important, that she really cared about, that she needed to get back on her side, and quickly. She never wanted to see that look on her lover's face ever again, and that voice, never.
She quickly left her office, intent on making things right.
Out at the scene of a body dump, Sara and Sofia watched quietly as the coroner's assistants loaded the body into the back of their vehicle.
"I can't do this anymore, Soph, it's tearing me apart. It's killing me, not being able to be what we want to be."
Sofia jumped, startled by Sara's harshly spoken words, understanding immediately.
She glanced around before holding and squeezing Sara's hand. "Don't be stupid, Sara, we are so worth all the deceit and the hiding. Give her time."
"We haven't got time; you know he's coming back with visions of making a go of things, don't you?"
Sofia sighed, she did know. "Yeah, but we're stronger than that, you watch. Come on, let's get back to station, maybe Catherine will be there."
As they entered the break room at CSI headquarters, it wasn't Catherine that was waiting but, instead, a big bunch of flowers for Sara.
Greg ran towards the two women like an excited puppy; smiling as Sara fingered the coral coloured rose blooms, he couldn't help teasing, "So, who's been upsetting you?"
At the two women's shared looks of bewilderment, he added, "15 tea roses that means it's an apology."
Sofia looked at Sara but, before she could say anything, Jim Brass came walking towards her, carrying an identical bunch of roses. He handed the bunch to her with a joyful, "Snap."
The two men shared the continued bemusement of Sara and Sofia, who could be sending these two ladies the same flowers, and yet, too busy trying to read the name of the roses' sender, they missed the defining moment.
Catherine entered the room and locked eyes with both of her female colleagues.
Sofia turned to Sara with a grin, to see a matching one reflected back at her. She whispered, "I told you."
Sara held her flowers tightly and thought back to the cocoon Grissom had had delivered a few days previously and how she'd hidden it away in his empty office unlike these that she'd sit proudly in her living room for all to see.
"For fuck's sake, Catherine, it was one night, a mistake. When will you let it go?"
Catherine's eyes flashed with anger as she stared Sara down.
"So what's all this then?" she stabbed her finger on the handwritten letter lying open on her desk, "Even though we're far apart, I can still see you as clearly as if you were here with me. I said I'll miss you, and I do."
Sara sighed, damn Grissom and his sudden desire to be romantic, how was she going to explain this one away.
"It's him. He just can't seem to get it through his thick skull that I don't want him and never have. It was a mistake. Cath, please, I need help here, not this. Please."
Sara looked around her, gazing wistfully down the corridor, her eyes rolling as Catherine continued, her jealousy not allowing her to hear Sara's need.
"Sonnet 47 though, it must mean something." Suddenly, a barely audible sound filtered through both women's consciousness, and they looked towards the door. Reinforcements nearby, Sara realized exactly what she had to do. Biding her time until the right moment, she locked eyes with Catherine.
As the door handle began to move, she pointed at Catherine and herself, and then swept her arm outwards, whispering firmly and clearly, "I have everything I want right here."
The look in Catherine's eyes as she held Sara's gaze told her she'd said the right thing, and she couldn't help the cocky smile as Catherine greeted her saviour.
"Hey Sofia, you'd better come and join us, we were just talking about you."
The blonde looked between the two women, their smiles belying the heavy atmosphere only just beginning to dissipate. "So, tell me, what did I miss?"
Sara stared out of the window, waiting for something to happen. She really hated quiet shifts, and so far today, there had been a job for everybody but herself. Worse still, Catherine had only managed to give her a cursory glance as she'd rushed out of the building, according to Warrick, on her way to meet up with Nick and Mike.
She frowned. Catherine's glance was causing her some consternation; these days, they always managed to share at least a warm greeting before either rushed away to work.
A light tap on the lab window alerted her to a friendly visitor, and her frown changed to a full blown smile.
However, her smile slipped immediately as Sofia ripped into her; it was obvious she'd had a similar problem to Sara.
"Have you done something to upset her again?"
"Well, I didn't receive a butterfly chrysalis last week, and I certainly didn't receive a sonnet from my-not-so-secret admirer, now did I?" teased Sofia.
Before Sofia could add to her teasing, Warrick popped his head around the door.
"Sorry to interrupt, ladies; Sara, we've got a job."
Sara jumped up, brushing her hand across Sofia's back and calling back over her shoulder, "We'll finish this later."
And, it was later when Catherine pulled Sofia to one side as they passed in the hallway. Glancing around, she made sure they couldn't be seen before leaning forward to caress her lips softly over Sofia's embarrassed smile.
Deepening the kiss for a swift satisfying moment, Catherine grinned. Then, with a sheepish look, she spoke, "I'm sorry."
"Whatever for, kissing me? Well don't, I liked it."
"No, not for that, though we shouldn't here, it's just I... I... I'm sorry for being such a bitch."
Sofia touched Catherine's cheek. This woman she adored never apologised, or very rarely apologised, always so confident and sure of what she was doing with her life; something must really be bothering her.
"What's wrong, Cath, really?"
"I'm not sure, I just... I just think we're going to lose her. He's just called my cell, he's back. What do we do?"
"We're not losing anything. You'll see. She's happy, I'm happy, you're sometimes happy."
Catherine gave a low chuckle and smiled at Sofia. "I'm always happy, you were the best thing to happen to us..."
"... and you were the best thing to happen to us."
This time it was Sofia that dared to break their self-imposed rule as she kissed Catherine's lips. Suddenly, she drew back and pushed Catherine further into the niche, hissing in her ear, "Shush, listen."
The two women watched as Grissom greeted Sara for the first time on his return and heard the flatness in her voice as she greeted him.
"Hey! You're back?"
They shared a smile as he moved towards Sara, and she backed away like a scared kitten. Her eyes darted side to side, and she almost arched her back in defense.
They couldn't hear her exact words, but they guessed it had something to do with her case as Grissom finished her sentence, " a garbage dump?".
Again, he moved towards her and, again, it was obvious Sara backed off, heading in the two watchers' direction.
Despite Catherine's recent worry about losing the woman they were both watching closely, it was Sofia that gave the biggest gasp at Sara's mumbled words, "um you look good."
Catherine wrapped a free arm around Sofia's waist, whispering urgently, "Shush, look at her eyes, she's all confused. You know what she's like when she's cornered."
"Oh yeah, I do." Sofia smiled.
It was abundantly clear that Sara was desperate to get away now and, as she and Grissom neared the cubbyhole, the two women could hear her words clearly now.
"I'm going to go clean up now."
Again, Gil tried to follow but, this time, Sara just turned and strode towards the locker room.
Catherine watched as Grissom called out, "I'll see you later?" and she grinned widely when she saw Sara's shoulders heave in a weary sigh.
At Sara's reply, "Yeah, you will," Catherine nudged Sofia into action.
The blonde pulled the rushing brunette into their hidden niche and quickly wrapped her arms around her waist, watching as Catherine swallowed Sara's protests with a kiss. Sofia whispered, "Calm down, you; we've got you now. Okay?"
Sara caressed Cath's face and turned around to nuzzle cheeks with Sofia.
Comfort given, the three women left their hole, all heading in opposite directions.
Gil Grissom was sitting in his office, staring at the pile of paperwork and at the butterfly chrysalis in the case before him; Sara really would be surprised when it finally hatched. He'd been back over four hours now and, still, he hadn't managed to have a real talk with Sara.
Sitting quietly, he couldn't help but think about Sara, the young woman that had chased him unashamedly for five years, until finally ensnaring him on the night of Jim's shooting. That night, he'd been unusually distressed, and she'd offered him the comfort he desperately needed. The comfort he'd never had the courage to accept before and the comfort he'd refused to accept since.
During his sabbatical to think through all his confused feelings, he'd come to a decision, he finally had the courage to take what Sara had to offer, and Sara, she'd waited, hadn't she?
Now, he wasn't so sure. Four weeks ago, when he'd admitted he was going away to sort out his feelings for her, she'd brushed his thoughts off without a care, and earlier today, if he didn't know better, he'd have said she was trying to get away from him.
Suddenly, his thoughts were interrupted by a ringing phone; it was Brass calling him to come to the scene of an officer shooting. Mike Keppler, his replacement over the last few weeks, had been shot.
Within minutes, he became emotionally embroiled in a situation he really didn't understand. Arriving at the crime-scene, he found a heartbroken Catherine. Gil offered the comfort he could give but, not understanding for one moment the extent of Catherine's anguish, he called Sara.
Arriving back at headquarters, Gil looked up, hoping to at least have a quick word with Sara. He was stunned to see Sara standing close together with Sofia, both looking pale and worried. As soon as they saw Catherine, they rushed over; ignoring Grissom, they hugged her tight and guided her into the depths of the building. Gil lost sight of his colleagues and was swallowed up in dealing with the scientific aftermath.
Sara and Sofia had no interest whatsoever in police work or in criminalist's work, all they could focus on was Catherine. The two women just held onto their lover, both whispering words that needed no reason, soothing in the only way they could, by just being there.
Eventually, Catherine calmed enough to request a drink. Sara stood to fetch a glass of water while Sofia pulled Catherine's head onto her lap, soothing and petting her hair, now in silent understanding.
As Sara decided to slip a soluble aspirin into the water, she stared into space, wondering how long it would be before they could safely take Catherine home.
It was this vision of Sara that Grissom saw as he peered through the window of Catherine's office. Something in Sara's manner made Grissom do something he rarely allowed himself to do, he eavesdropped; he was immediately stunned by the tone and endearment in her voice as she approached her stricken colleague.
"Hey, hon, I've slipped a little something in this, should help to starve off that headache."
Catherine rose up a little to take the cup and, grasping hold of Sara's hand, she gazed into the concerned face. The wealth of words being exchanged in that one gaze was too much for Grissom and, as Sara crouched down to kiss Catherine's cheek, he nearly missed her actual spoken words.
"I'm so sorry, love, he was a good man."
Shocked at the loving exchange, his heart nearly short-circuited, when he spotted Sofia's hands, one comforting Catherine and one gently caressing Sara's back.
At last, he saw; saw what he'd failed to see for he guessed many months now. He saw the easy, comfortable intimacy of these three.
Quietly, he turned away, defeated,
Theirs was the courage he had never had.
Theirs was the courage to be different.
He was simply Grissom.
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