DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of CBS and Jerry Bruckheimer.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Y: The Last Man is a most excellent comic about the day every human with Y chromosomes drops dead, except for one.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"What's going on?" Sofia asked as she walked into the break room. A crowd had gathered in the tiny room. Their heads focused on the television set, as someone stood on a stool trying valiantly to work the rabbit ears. They were all eerily silent, a thick tension silence that filled the air. One she'd felt before and thought she'd never feel again.
Sofia had been sleeping the day the world ended. She awoke to the sounds of screaming, metal grinding against metal, more screaming. Ran out of her house in nothing more than sweatpants and a sports bra, gun in hand. She ran out to see a world in chaos. Cars that had been in motion mere moments before, smashed against each other, steam spilling out. One driver staggered from the open door, blood pouring from his eyes, nose and mouth.
It was just an accident. But, the screams didn't stop, nor did the crashing. All around her, it was all the same, men - young and old alike, in the final throes of death.
It had taken her an hour, a drive normally 15 minutes, to get to the station house. The streets littered with crashed vehicles, panicked women and dying men.
She'd thought it was a terrorist attack. When she arrived at the station, she knew it was something much, much worse. It wasn't just the men in her neighborhood who were dying. It was all the men. Within the span of minutes, half the population of Las Vegas was dead on the street. It had been like that all around the world.
"Hey," she nudged Sara with her shoulder. "What's going on?"
Sara acknowledged her with the tiniest of glances before returning her eyes to the screen. "They found some men."
"Off the coast of Oregon in a submarine of all places," Wendy piped in, her voice barely above a whisper. "Apparently, they got word of what was going on and stayed under water. They've been patrolling the coast ever since."
"..I heard there were a dozen ships.."
"..over five hundred men.."
"..gonna be held in quarantine in San Francisco.."
"What does it mean?" Sofia asked. Her eyes joining the others, transfixed on the screen where a newswoman, her lips moving but no sound coming from the set, reported on the events.
"What does it mean?" Catherine snorted. "It means someone's actually getting laid tonight."
Sofia couldn't help the smile pulling at her lips as Sara rolled her eyes at the woman. Catherine and Lindsay moved into Catherine's father's ranch, along with Wendy and then several others. Safety in numbers. Women were supposed to be the fairer sex, the weaker sex. Someone should have told the women. The first few weeks afterwards were the worst. The panic, the chaos, the murders, the roaming street gangs armed to the teeth. For Sofia, the mass suicides were the worst.
It was as if the world had become a rudderless ship for no other reason than because the rudder held all the power and now was gone.
But they picked up the pieces, the women did. Slowly but surely, order was given to chaos in the strangest of all places, a city known for the worst of man's sins. They picked themselves up by the bootstraps and made the best of the worst.
Sofia brushed her hand across Sara's shoulder. Sara turned her head towards Sofia, keeping her eyes glued to the screen.
"C'mon," Sofia whispered. "Let's get out of here."
"You know what I miss?" Sofia broke the silence after taking a long pull on her soda. Like many things, soft drinks had become a luxury in the New World. A luxury Sofia had traded for a pair of her sunglasses to a van filled with drifters from the East.
Sofia used to bring beer. Then one night, Sara, after having one too many, told Sofia how she'd found Grissom lying on the kitchen floor. Told her of how the blood oozed through his pores, his eyes wide with fear as his body convulsed and the life drained out of him. It was Catherine who'd found her, two days later, still sitting on the kitchen floor cradling Grissom's body.
After that, Sofia stopped bringing alcohol.
They were lying on the hood of Sara's Bronco, backs on the windshield, staring up at the night sky. The lights from the city still burned, just not as bright as before. To save power, many of the neighborhoods went dark, some of them permanently. To the Southeast, they could see the flames from one of the neighborhoods still burning. There hadn't been enough women in the fire department to put them all out.
Sara answered with a low murmur.
"I miss the planes," Sofia tucked an arm behind her head. "I miss looking up at the sky and seeing planes. Silly, huh?"
"I miss The Price is Right," Sara answered with a tiny chortle.
"It was my favorite game show. Well, my favorite game show to fall asleep to anyway."
"Oh my God," Sofia laughed. "What was the one with the little climber? You know, the yodeling one?"
"Cliff Hangers," Sara laughed, deep and throaty. A sound Sofia hadn't heard since before the world ended. And she laughed along with her, until they were laughing for the sake of laughing because there seemed to be so little of it these days. Laughed until tears filled their eyes and their stomachs cramped.
Sofia's eyes snapped closed as the first ripples of pleasure cascaded across her skin. The air in the Bronco was thick and wet. The pillows crumpled, blanket soaked in sweat. They'd spent more time in the back of Sara's vehicle than in either of their beds, but Sofia didn't care. This was neutral territory, familiar but alien compared to both of their emotionally loaded living spaces.
Like the proverbial saying, Sara couldn't be with the one she loved so she loved the one she was with. Sofia knew she played second fiddle to a ghost. But Sofia didn't care. She didn't care when Sara's fingernails were scraping along the inside of her thighs, lips wrapped around her clit, fingers deep inside her finding the one spot that made Sofia's back bow, turned her insides to jelly torched with fire, all accented with a keening wail that erupted from her throat.
Sometimes they made love. Sometimes. Mostly, it was like tonight hurried and frenzied, loving as it was punishing. In the morning, there would be bruises, scratch and bite marks in places no one would see. And still, Sofia didn't care. It was better than the alternative. Better than being alone, alone with the ghosts and the memories and the nightmares.
When her shudders subsided, and her afterglow was nothing more than sticky skin and shallow breaths, Sofia returned the favor. Used the strap-on Sara occasionally brought with her. Sofia never questioned where she got it or why. Instead, she pleasured Sara how Sara wanted it, fast and hard until every jut of Sofia's hips brought a yelping wail from Sara's throat. Pleasured her knowing when Sara closed her eyes it wasn't Sofia she imagined. It wasn't Sofia's back Sara raked her nails down.
Sara came as she always did, with soft choking grunts, as if she were holding something back. The tears came next. Sara always cried when she came, she'd explained one night when Sofia thought she'd gone too far. Sofia did then as she did now, softly kissed the tears away. Ending with Sofia's lips against Sara's, tasting each other, Sofia gently rolling her lips until Sara came again.
They fell asleep in each other's arms. Sofia dreamed of tomorrow. Sara dreamed of yesterday.
The sun had crested the horizon by the time they reached Sofia's apartment. An uncomfortable silence filled the air. Sofia watched Sara's hands as they gripped the steering wheel tight. Something Sara did whenever she had something difficult to say. So Sofia sat and waited.
"Catherine," Sara finally spoke, eyes still glued forward. "She asked me if I wanted to move into the ranch."
Sofia nodded her head. Months after Grissom's death, Sara continued living in his house. Everyone mourned in their own way, but Sofia had never been sure if how Sara dealt with it had been entirely healthy. Sara could be, at times, a contradiction stronger than she looked and at the same time delicately fragile.
"What do you think?" Sofia asked.
"I don't know if I'm ready to move out. I just," she paused, leaning back in her seat. "I just know I have to."
Sofia nodded unsure what to say. Moving in with Catherine would be good. Catherine would look after her, take care of her. Make sure she was safe. Make sure she stayed sane. Sofia couldn't help the clench of jealously in her gut over Sara finding a shoulder to lean on that wasn't hers.
"It's just," Sara paused, readjusting her fingers on the steering wheel to release the tension. "I loved him."
Sofia felt something in her stomach drop. Even in death, Grissom was always there. "Sara.."
"Sofia, please," she cut her off. "I'm not very good at this. And if I don't say this now I'm not sure I'll ever be able to say it."
The air thickened. Sofia exhaled, resolving herself for the worst.
"I loved Grissom," Sara continued. "What made it all so hard was knowing the time we had together was so precious and not realizing it. I don't want to make that same mistake twice. Not with you."
If she'd been standing, Sofia realized her knees would have buckled.
"I know I used you. And I should have stopped long ago. But I couldn't because I didn't want to lose you too."
"What are you saying?"
"I'm saying is I'm ready to start over. And I want to do it right this time."
Sofia inhaled deeply. They'd opened the windows to air out the space. The property had been seized a year ago by DEA, long before the owners had a chance to move in. The air still smelled of paint, fresh building wood and glue. It had taken Sara and Sofia two months of begging, bartering and pleading just to get the acquisition rights. Another two months to fill out the paperwork. The Old World may have collapsed, but the bureaucracy remained.
There were still boxes to be unpacked, furniture to be moved. There was a house warming party to be planned because Wendy insisted upon it and wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. But it was new. And it was theirs, not Sofia's, not Sara's, or the ghosts of the past.
She climbed the stairs towards the bedroom, their bedroom; where she found Sara waiting for her, wearing nothing but a large toothy grin
"What took you so long?" Sara asked, folding her arms behind her head. "I was about to get started without you."
"Were you now?" Sofia smiled back. She stepped towards the bed as her hands began unbuttoning her shirt, feet kicking off her shoes. "Somehow, I doubt that."
"Well," Sara purred from the feel of Sofia's lips traveling up her stomach. "There's a first time for everything."
"True," Sofia pressed her weight onto Sara, skin against skin, molding herself to Sara as if she'd been built just for her. "And then there's 'if at first you don't succeed'."
"Are you saying you're going to do it wrong?"
"No," she pressed her thigh harder into the apex between Sara's legs, slowly grinding until she felt the brunette arching into her. "I'm saying I'm not going to stop until I get it right."
Sara purred, running her hands up Sofia's back and pulling her closer. "I guess you should get started then."
It was a night of firsts, their first time with each other in an actual bed and not the backseat of Sara's vehicle, or a supply closet, or the floor of a lab room. The first time Sara closed her eyes and saw only Sofia behind them. The first time there weren't any ghosts between them. They explored each other, slowly and leisurely, as if they had all the time in the world but cognizant of each precious second together and savoring it. They fell asleep in each other's arms.
Sofia dreamed of tomorrow.
And, for the first time in a long time, so did Sara.
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