DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Originally written for the FSAC :: Dog Days of Summer 2006.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By Caitrin Torres
"Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign. At this time, we ask that you please turn off all electronic devices and check that your seat is fully upright and your tray table stowed. A flight attendant will be...."
As the garish lights of the strip glowed on the horizon, Sara felt the tension of the past eight days begin to melt away. She saved her report and closed the lid on her laptop, and she laughed a little when she saw the man next to her abruptly look away. "Interesting reading?" she asked him. He looked from the forgotten book in his hand back to her, and before he could do more than try to stammer out an answer, Sara pressed on. "Really, I'm curious," she said. "Community education is important, and murders are never boring. If there's anything you couldn't figure out by reading over my shoulder, just ask."
She smirked when the man gave her a dirty look and made a show of putting his book away. A flight attendant stopped to collect their pretzel bags and prevented her from saying anything else. Which was probably just as well, she had to admit. Mouthing off to taxpayers, no matter how deserving, was frowned upon, and she was tired enough to not much care.
The landing was smooth; she'd give the pilot that much credit. She recognized the crew from the flight to Seattle. A steady rain there had made the runways slick enough to be interesting, and it felt like the rain hadn't let up at all in the eight days she was there. She never would have guessed that one day she'd find herself missing the desert.
Sara winced. "Sorry." A case full of evidence wasn't the easiest thing to maneuver down the aisle of a plane. She hitched her laptop higher on her shoulder, took a firmer grip on the case handle, and looked ahead to the door of the plane where there'd be room to set it down on its wheels. "The next time Ecklie wants evidence hand-carried back to the lab, the bastard can go get it himself," she muttered, and she winced again at the look she got from the woman in front of her. "Sorry."
Some things are inescapable in Las Vegas, Sara knew. When she pulled out her cell phone to check her voice mail on the walk down to the baggage claim, she automatically turned the volume up a few notches. Slot machines were noisy things even without the cacophony of an airport behind them.
"Sara, when you land, I need you to...." Grissom. He could wait.
"Ms. Sidle, this call is to remind you that...." Dentist. Damn.
"Sara, also, could you...." Grissom again.
"Sara, hey." Sara smiled as she recognized the voice. "Call me when you get this to let me know you made it home. I miss you." The smile turned into what she was sure must be a silly grin. Even after three months, she wasn't entirely used to having someone feel that way about her.
She glanced at her watch and sighed. It was much too close to the beginning of the shift to think about meeting her for dinner. If she was lucky, she'd be able to stop by after she logged in the evidence. "If there's no case, she might be in," she said to herself.
As she stood waiting for her luggage to trundle by on the carousel, Sara debated the merits of contacting dispatch to have a squad car come pick her up. The evidence she carried would make it a legitimate request. On the other hand, the car would have to come get her and there was a line of cabs already waiting just outside....
"Finally!" She reached around someone to yank her suitcase off the conveyor belt. As she turned to leave, she plowed into the person coming up behind her. "Sofia?"
Sofia took the evidence case and set it down next to the suitcase at Sara's feet, then pulled her into a much-needed hug. After a long moment, Sara reluctantly pulled away. "I'm not complaining, but what are you doing here?," she asked. "I thought you were on tonight."
"I am," Sofia said. Sara raised an eyebrow at that and waited for her to explain. "After the time you had this week, the least the department can do is send an escort to make sure this," and she hefted the evidence case, "makes it back to the evidence vault in one piece."
"That's your reason?" she said, clearly amused. "In that case, I applaud Homicide for their show of interdepartmental cooperation. It's very kind of you to help out now that the hard work is over."
"Let me try this again." Sofia gave Sara a quick kiss and then nudged her towards the exit. "I'm technically on tonight, but after we drop this off, I'm taking the rest of the night as comp time. I'm here because I didn't want to wait until tomorrow morning to see you. How's that?"
"It'll do." Sara took her free hand in hers and didn't let go until they reached the car. It was good to be home.
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