DISCLAIMER: The characters along with all rights, fame and fortune belong to Bruckheimer and CBS. I don't own them and gain nothing except the pleasure of their company in my imagination.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: << lyrics to the song "Weakness In the Presence of Beauty" which do not belong to me either. >>
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

I Go Weak

"Come on Sara, it'll be fun."

"I don't know Warrick… I'm tired and I just want to go home after shift."

He stares at me with that look that says he's not going to let me off easy.

"You need to let loose and just relax. We've missed having you around this past month, Sara. Besides, it's Nick's birthday and he'll be so disappointed if you didn't turn up."

I am about to give another one of my excuses on reflex but something in my head tells me that he is right. The last thing I need is to go home to an empty apartment with nothing more than my depressing thoughts for company. I have been doing that for the last few weeks and it hasn't got any better. Lately, I've even needed a drink or two to blur things enough so I could fall asleep.

"Okay. I'll come."

His face lights up victoriously.

"Do you need a ride?"

"No. I have something to do before that. I'll meet you guys at the bar." I want to be able to make my excuses and leave early, just in case.

"Catch you later." He leaves the break room and I turn my attention back to the file I was reading. But something else distracts my mind. Catherine.

I have just spent the last one month of my life trying to get over the only person I've ever let myself fall in love with. Only trouble was it was nothing more than a fling to her. She had succinctly told me that it was physical attraction and nothing more. After all, she could not risk her career and family by getting involved in such an unconventional relationship, least of all with a co-worker. We had kind of agreed on this right from the beginning but something changed. Or perhaps I changed and try as hard as I may, I couldn't quench the need for something more out of our tryst. Being secretly in love with her for the last four years didn't make it easier not to slip down that slope.

<<Oh it's a long time since I saw you
Well you know how time can fly
It seems like yesterday, we were lovers
Now we pass each other by>>

We had been seeing each, hell, fucking each other for the last six months and Catherine was starting to sense that I was pushing for something more. It could be the way I didn't want to leave quietly after the act or insisted she spent the night instead of slipping out of my door fifteen minutes after the sex.

"Stay with me tonight"

Her blonde head drops a little and I can hear her sigh even though I can't really see her expression in the semi-darkened room.

"No. We've been through this before, Sara."

My heart drops even though I had expected her to give me that answer. I have been working up the courage to tell her how I feel and tonight's the night.

"What's wrong with giving *us* a chance to work out?"

"Because there is no possibility of an *us*," she answers flatly.

"There is to me," I say softly.

She turns towards me, her blue eyes flashing with emotion, almost demanding that I explain myself. And I do.

"Catherine, you mean more to me than just a physical attraction and a quick fuck. I…I love you."

This time her voice is angry, tinged with disappointment.

"Damn it Sara. We agreed right from the beginning that there were going to be no strings attached, no obligations and most importantly no emotions involved in our arrangement. That was what I wanted. You knew that."

Arrangement. Another cut to my heart.

"I can't give you what you want anymore. I've changed my mind. " It's a lie but I can't bring myself to tell her that I was in love with her before we even started.

She finally turns to face me, her blue eyes are steel hard and cold.

"Then this isn't going to work. We can't see each another anymore."

I don't know what to say. If only I could stop the tears from blurring up my vision, maybe I'd be able to try, but that's impossible right now. She finishes dressing and stops briefly at the bedroom door before leaving.

"See you at work."

Just like that, she's gone. And all I can do is to curl up into a ball and attempt to control the sobs wracking through my body.

<<But if we`re left alone tonight
Don`t ask me to hold you tight
I go weak, I go weak, I go weak, I go weak
Weak in the presence of beauty>>

I tried to lose myself in work as usual and pretend nothing had happened. No one at work knew about us of course and the only thing they noticed was that I was keeping to myself even more than usual. After a week, I knew I was kidding myself. I couldn't bear to see her and pretend as if everything was all right. Even if she had no such difficulties. So far I have just about managed to keep myself together by avoiding being with her alone. Then, Grissom assigned us to work a case together.

I still remember being in the car on the way to the crime scene. She was driving and I was trying my best not to lose it all by saying something stupid. The air was thick with tension and after a few attempts to make light conversation, she gave up. I think she knew the reason for my silence and sullenness but chose not to go anywhere near the subject.

By the time we got back to the lab, I was emotionally drained from the conflicting feelings and holding up the pretence. I hated her and yearned for her at the same time. I didn't want to see her but I need to be near her.

At the end of shift, I submitted the request for a month's leave to Grissom. Thank god for my workaholic tendencies of days past.

"Hey, Sara. Over here."

I see that Warrick, Nick and Greg have truly settled into the celebratory mood by the time I enter the bar. Grissom is no where to be seen but I guess that bars aren't exactly his scene. And did I mention that the only reason I had even considered coming was that it's Catherine's night off? If I know anything about her, it is that the last thing she would do on her day off is to spend it in a bar with her colleagues rather than with Lindsey.

A bottle of beer is shoved into my hand before I can even sit down properly. I take a long swig and lose myself in the conversation and camaraderie. Warrick is right. This little outing is doing me good and for the first time in weeks, I am actually laughing. Never mind that the beer and the mood of the moment is all to do with it. It feels good to laugh and forget about my problems even for just a few hours.

Greg is in the middle of telling us one of his jokes when Warrick gets up from his seat.

"Cath, what took you so long? You have some serious catching up to do."

My head spins around so fast I'm sure my neck will ache later. Shit.

"I had to get Lindsey over to my sister's place first. What did I miss?"

Nick grins in reply, "Nothing much except Greg's bad jokes."

Greg responds by punching Nick on the shoulder and rolling his eyes.

I feel very sober all of a sudden and for some strange reason, nervous. The conversation flows again but I have lost the ability to do anything more than sit there and pretend to listen.

<<All my friends keep asking
Why I`m quiet while you`re around
They don`t know I think I`m so lucky
To stop myself from falling down>>

"Sara, what do you think?"

It takes a moment to snap out of my reverie. I realise that I have absolutely no idea of what Nick is asking me.

"Think about what?"

He groans slightly, "Man, you weren't even listening to me…" Fortunately, he is inebriated enough not to ask why and directs the question towards Greg instead. I am stone cold sober by now. I started drinking coffee about an hour after Catherine joined us because that was all the time it took for me to realise that I can't be here.

Thankfully for me, the guys are too buzzed to notice the fact. Even Catherine is flushed from the alcohol. Time for me to make my excuses and slip away.

<<So later if you`re on your own
Don`t ask me to take you home
I go weak, I go weak, I go weak, I go weak
Weak in the presence of beauty>>

"Listen guys, I'm going to cut out now. Enjoy yourselves."

The tension was bearable under the buzz of alcohol but now that it has faded, I just want to get out of here as fast as I can.

"Wait, Sara." Even half-drunk, the sound of her voice calling my name is beautiful.

"Can you give me a ride home? I don't think I can drive and they are even worse off than me."

"Yeah, you give Cath a ride home. We'll be all right. In fact, I don't think we'll be leaving anytime soon." Nick winks and smiles at us.


I am telling myself that I am doing the polite thing but deep down inside, I know that I just want to be near to her.

<<'Cause if we're left alone tonight
I'll have no choice
But to hold you tight
I go weak, I go weak, I go weak, I go weak
Weak in the presence of beauty>>

The drive to her house is short as the traffic is unexpectedly cooperative tonight. She has her eyes closed but I know she is still awake because she is humming softly to the radio. I pull up outside her driveway, like I have so many times in the past.

"Catherine, we're here."

Her eyelids open and I can see that her eyes, in their semi-awake state are a deeper blue than usual.

"Thanks," she mumbles as she tries to open the door but not quite managing the first time. Finally, she manages to get out of the car and stumbles towards the front door. The alcohol is running havoc on her dexterity it seems because she drops her bag a couple of times fumbling for her keys. After she fails for the third time, I get out of the car and walk towards her.

"Here, let me." I take the bag out of her grasp.

She's too far gone to protest and instead drops her forehead onto my shoulders for support. My breath hitches at the sensation of her breath on my bare skin and I inadvertently snake an arm around her waist to keep her steady. She leans more heavily against me and I am virtually the only thing holding her up at the moment.

I find the keys in less than ten seconds and open the front door. She lifts her head from my body but stills my arm from moving when I start to let go.

"Stay with me tonight," she breathes huskily into my ear.

The voice, the whisper of warm breath sends a familiar tingle down my spine. I want nothing more than to give in just for one more night. But I know that if there is to be the slightest chance for my salvation, tonight cannot end like this.

<<I go weak - Darling I love you
I go weak - There's no control
I go weak - I go weak, Weak in the presence of beauty
I go weak – You're my world
I go weak - I used to be your girl
I go weak - I go weak, Weak in the presence of beauty >>

"It's late. I've got to go." I muster as much determination into my voice as I can. My answer seems to bring a little lucidity back to her senses. She moves away from me and steadies herself against the doorframe.

I see a little surprise and hurt in her eyes. Something I've never seen before in all out time together. I don't know how to interpret this reaction but it doesn't matter anymore.

"Good night Catherine."

And I leave her standing at the door knowing that she is capable of looking after herself now. It feels good to be strong again.

The End

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