DISCLAIMER: Some other lucky beggar owns the characters. Sorry for treading on any toes.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Minor for Bloodlines.

Hoping and Wishing
By Debbie

The joining ceremony was taking place in a beautiful garden belonging to one of Vegas' more salubrious nightclubs, courtesy of Sam Braun.

The tall dark haired figure stood towards the back of the room, watching Catherine Willows join in partnership with another was heartbreaking enough, but knowing she was joining with the wrong person was even harder to bear.

Arms clasped rigidly behind hiding two long fingers crossed in the internationally recognized symbol of hope, the watcher whispered a small prayer to God, to Angels or to some other greater Deity; a wish that Catherine would see reason, would recognize that she was marrying the wrong 'one'.

Watching the blonde woman and her tall, dark partner exchange vows the watcher remembered.

Catherine Willows and Chris Bezich were sitting, in deep conversation, at the restaurant that Sara Sidle had just entered. Spotting Catherine Willows immediately, Sara grimaced at the scene in front of her. Of all the Italian restaurants in Vegas she had chosen this one to bring her date for the night. The whole idea behind this date was actually to forget Catherine, and there she was, large as life, and sharing intimate conversation with her new beau.

Turning to her date, Sara murmured, "I've changed my mind, babe. Let's go to that Thai place around the corner."

Jenny Delgado, the fingerprint expert that tended to work the opposite shift to Jackie Franco, replied, "Huh? Sara, you've been enthusing about this place all the way over. What's got into you?" Glancing over Sara's shoulder, Jenny too spotted Catherine. "Oh, I see, you're avoiding Catherine as always. What is wrong with you two? You work so well together surely you can be friends? Come on, let's say hello and then enjoy ourselves."

Sara sighed as she followed Jenny across the room. The truth was, Sara had a crush on her older work colleague. She had started out hating the woman and her special place in the hearts of all the Graveyard shift, and then Catherine had wormed her way into the heart of Sara too.

Recently, she had come to realize her feelings for Catherine had changed to a deep felt desire. Caught DUI a few months previous, sharing a deep and meaningful conversation with Grissom, she had known her desire for him was only secondary to what she felt for the blonde. During the following enforced vacation she had decided the only way to forget Catherine was to get out more, to enjoy herself and, maybe, to find a special person to love and cherish.

On returning to CSI she had met Jenny, a petite blonde, with gorgeous blue eyes. Accepting the similarities to Catherine as normal, she had pursued Jenny quietly and intently and just lately they had become a couple in all sense of the word. Deep down she knew that she wasn't yet in love with Jenny, that she still had feelings for Catherine, but she did care for Jenny and she did want to make it work; she had to.

Now, looking at the beautiful woman holding hands with her date and flashing him "that" smile, Sara's heart lurched and she knew her desire for Catherine had not lessened, if anything it was even stronger. There was no denying, she lusted after Catherine Willows with a passion.

Sighing she heard Jenny approach the couple, "Hey Catherine, we just saw you here and thought we'd say hello before taking our seats. Are you both well?"

Catherine looked up into the smaller woman's eyes and smiled in recognition. She turned to see whom Jenny was with and almost gasped out loud when she saw Sara. Covering up quickly, she smiled at Sara and answered, "Hey Jenny, Sara, meet Chris Bezich. Chris, meet Jenny Delgado from day shift, and Sara Sidle." Catherine didn't qualify whom Sara was as she was pretty sure Chris had heard her speak of her colleague often enough.

Watching as Chris smiled at the two women shaking their hand pleasantly, she couldn't help but see Sara's eyes as she shook Chris' hand. The brunette CSI's eyes held a look of barely disguised dislike; Catherine was mystified as to where that contempt had come from. Sure, her and Sara weren't best buddies but they had developed a sort of friendship over the years, surely Sara wanted some happiness for her.

Ignoring the hurt she felt at Sara's look, she addressed Sara with her next words, "So Sara, you didn't mention that you were eating here tonight. Do you eat here often?"

Before Sara could even attempt an answer, Jenny who was used to talking for the normally quite reticent Sara, broke in, "It's our one month anniversary, so we're celebrating. How about you two?"

Stunned at the revelation Jenny had just let slip; Sara and Jenny were dating, Catherine could only stutter, "Oh! Um… Chris wanted… um, Chris brought me here… he, um…"

"What she's trying to tell you," butted in Chris Bezich, obviously elated with his news, "is that, she has just agreed to marry me. I proposed and she said yes. Show them, Cath honey."

Grabbing Catherine's hand he showed them a sparkling ring nestled on Catherine's ring finger. Sara's eyes met Catherine's with such a look of despair that Catherine couldn't miss it. The older CSI shrugged her shoulders and threw a questioning look at Sara, but Sara just turned on her heel and left.

Jenny watched her go with a puzzled frown. Smiling at Catherine and Chris she offered, "That's great news you two, congratulations." Then, trying to lighten the intense mood that seemed to have settled over Catherine, she added with a chuckle, "Please excuse Sara, I guess she doesn't like to share me. I'll maybe catch you tomorrow Catherine, goodnight Chris."

With those words Jenny Delgado left the dining couple and chased after her errant girlfriend, leaving Chris bemused and Catherine confused and angry at Sara's behavior.

"I, Catherine Willows, agree to share the rest of my days with…"

At that moment, Catherine Willows glanced around at her guests, wanting to share this important moment with each of them, she shared a warm smile with her family and friends. The love and happiness shining in her eyes was obvious for all to see; she had found the love of her life and she was about to make that commitment and that truth public.

At that point the watcher felt a moment of total and utter defeat, Catherine Willows belonged with another and there wasn't a damn thing in the world that could put that asunder. Unexpected and unwelcome tears began to fall.

Taking one last look at the gorgeous blonde staring with open adoration into the bright ebony eyes of her lover, Chris Bezich turned on his heel and left to the echoing words of his conqueror.

"I, Sara Sidle, agree to share the rest of my days with…"

The End

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