DISCLAIMER: Jerry Bruckheimer, CBS and various others own CSI, not me. I just played in their sandpit for a while.
SERIES/SEQUEL: Fourth part of 'The Nina Simone Suite', following Little Visions of You, Mia-Anderings and Let It Be Me.
SPOILERS: Set during and after the episode "No Humans Involved"
SOUNDTRACK: Nina Simone: The Human Touch (from the CD And Piano)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
DEDICATED: For the one I love as always.

The Human Touch
By Celievamp

I watched Catherine Willows stand in the corridor, watching her colleagues interact with one another. I guess she was finding it difficult to figure a new place for herself since her promotion. She wasn't one of us anymore. And Grissom had moved right on without her as his right hand or so it seemed. He had certainly got very tight with Sofia this last couple of months.

Then I watched her watch Sara. She was working something up on her computer, her expression intense, even for her. There was something closed off about her that sent warning bells through me. And the expression on Catherine's face. They all knew that Sara and I were an item now. We had not hidden the fact that we were together. And Catherine's expression was one of regret, the infinite complexities of 'what if'. Too late, girl, I told her silently. You blew it. You missed your chance. She sighed, looked at the floor for a moment then turned to go back into her new office, closing the door behind her.

Now it was my turn to watch Sara. I was in a bit of a quandary. Yes, we were in a relationship, yes things were going really well between us, but the expression on her face spoke to me of deeply personal and troubling things. You did not have to be psychic to know that Sara had demons. You just had to see the way she tackled the job sometimes to know that. I mean we all despised perps who hurt kids but with Sara those cases turned personal, became missions, almost a crusade. And this last case had been a doozy – a five year old starved to death and two kids near death when Sara found them. Everyone involved in that one was looking more than a little frazzled.

So I had to decide what to do. Leave her to work through whatever was troubling her on her own or let her know that I was there to talk or listen or whatever she needed. She did not have to work through this on her own if she did not want to. And if she told me to go away then at least I had made the gesture. In the end it wasn't such a hard decision. I wanted to have a relationship with this fascinating woman and if that meant shouldering some of her demons then so be it. I rapped gently on her door and then walked in.

"Hey," I smiled. "Well, my shift's over so yours must be. One hell of a day, huh."

She nodded. "One hell of a day." Whatever she had been looking at was still on the screen. She made no move to turn it off.

"Hopefully those two kids will be safe now. But you've gotta wonder how it's going to affect them. Not something you easily forget I reckon."

"No, it isn't," Sara said quietly.

Hell. That sounded far too personal. Earlier I had noticed her talking to one of the kids from the foster home. Had she been in the system at some point. Was that why this type of case got to her so badly. Had she been abused as a kid? There was no way I could ever ask her straight out. But she was gazing at me, that uncompromising assessing look in her eyes and I realised that she had been able to follow my thought processes as easily as if I had been using Sofia's 'talking herself through it' system.

"Not here," she said.


"Not here. I can't tell you about it here. Take me home, Mia. Please."

I cradled my lover to me and thought about the story she had told me in fits and starts throughout the evening. I had noted the faint scars on her back before but had never asked her directly about them. Now I knew. Now I knew what drove her, what gave her that legendary focus. And my heart ached for her.

She hadn't cried. Not once. She detailed the waking nightmare that her life had been up to the age of fourteen and the slightly less awful existence in the so-called care system before she escaped to college.

I wanted to hold onto her and never let her go, protect her from the world and all its hurts, but I knew she did not want or need that from me. I stroked my hand down her long slender back, loving the way, as I had from the first, that our skin colours contrasted. Chocolate and cream. In the dim light she looked almost luminous. At first I wasn't sure if she liked me touching her like this when we were just together. At work, there was something just so self-contained about her, not precisely stand-offish but… not welcoming of physical contact. But when we were alone together like this, she seemed to crave my touch lying full length against me, skin to skin, her face buried in my shoulder.

"Only Grissom knows some of what I told you tonight," she said softly. "I think Catherine suspects that I had a less than perfect childhood. We had a case a year or two back. Two girls who had been abused by their father. The older girl arranged for his murder – and that of her mother and brothers. We thought she was protecting her little sister. Turns out she was protecting her daughter. The little girl kind of bonded with me. I was the only one she would talk to. I tried to back off but I couldn't. Even though it hurt me to look at her, I couldn't just abandon her, you know. I still keep in touch."

She raised herself up to look down on me. "I didn't want there to be any secrets between us, Mia. Every day I see the price of keeping secrets, the destruction and the lies. I don't want that to happen to us. I… I like you a lot, Mia. One day I might even be able to tell you that I love you. You've come to mean a lot to me these last few months."

"And you mean a lot to me as well, Sara," I said. "More than anyone has for a very long time. And I'm honoured that you trusted me enough to tell me those things about yourself, your past. I won't forget that trust." Or betray it, I told myself. She might not be able to say it yet, but I could. And I could wait for her to say it. "And if there's ever anything…"

She smiled at me, that slow, sweet gap-toothed smile that set my heart racing every time I saw it. "Well, you could start by kissing me."

Human Touch, The (Nina Simone: And Piano)
   Lyrics by C. Reuben

No one seems to care as much
No time to smile, laugh or cry as much
Have we lost the touch that means so much
Have we lost the human touch

No one wants to be alone
To walk or talk and sleep and weep alone
Have we lost the touch that does so much
Have we lost the human touch

Touch me now and let me know
Hold me tight so I can go
Through this misery unafraid
And really knowin' what lift is all about

No one wants to live alone
Who wants to smile, laugh or cry alone
Have we lost the touch that means so much
Have we lost the human touch
Yes, yes, yes

The End

Sequel Little Girl Blue

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