DISCLAIMER: They're not mine, but they came to me and demanded to write this short story.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This short story is kind of an interlude for a bigger story I'm planning. I just need maybe a year to finish it. In the meantime this little thing begged me to be wrtten. Slight spoilers for season two Cold Case.
FANDOMS/PAIRING: CSI/Cold Case   Sara / Lilly
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By mirage


Finally after a long day Lilly Rush closed the front door behind her and slowly opened her thick woolen coat, welcoming the warmth of her home. She hung it up at the hook next to the door and brushed the slowly melting ice crystals from its shoulders. The winter had Philadelphia in its cold, hard grip. Her numb fingers and cold feet were evidence to this fact.

She freed herself from her leather gloves and the scarf. The later found its place next to her coat while the first were placed neatly on the dresser. With a sigh she pulled off her shoes and leaned down to knead her toes till she could feel them again.

It had been a long day and she had spent most of it outside. The winter had settled in early this year and it had taken only thirty minutes before the cold had seeped through her clothes, freezing her to her bones. That had been the most exciting part of her job today. Apart from observing the back entrance of a warehouse, while nursing a lukewarm coffee.

Now and then Scotty had tried to involve her into small-talk, but she didn't appreciate his efforts. She didn't need to talk about the weather to know that it was cold and she wasn't in the mood for references to old cases they had worked together. She craved for a real case; one of 'her' cold cases that would occupy her mind and let her forget everything else.

She breathed into her hands and placed them against her cheeks. She pinched them, glad to feel the fiery pain.

Irish coffee and her bed was all she wanted for now.

Covered in her slippers she skittered over her wooden floor and walked up to her bedroom while she opened her jacket and grabbed for her gun and holster to pull it free from her belt. She controlled it once more to make sure it was at safe before she placed it in the top drawer of her nightstand.

As she closed the drawer again her gaze fell onto the photos that covered her nightstand.

"Who else would be in your bedroom except for dead people?"

George Marks' voice sounded in her mind, his taunting, but strangely impersonal voice mocking her.

Sometimes at night, she still woke up in cold sweat after reliving the attack on her way to the store. Only this time her attacker had the face of George Marks.

After the night in 'the woods' she had banned the pictures from her bedroom, promising herself to change the course her life was taking, but slowly, without her realizing it, they had crept back in. She had allowed them to stay. In the end it didn't make a difference, if she shared the physical space of her bedroom with them or not, they were in her mind all the time. And some mornings when she didn't feel like getting up at all, their sight was the difference between giving up and facing the world again.

She slipped out of her suit and placed it back on its hanger. With a deep breath she undid the buttons of her tight fitting blouse and rolled her neck before she stripped off the last part of her armor, the last part of the tough Detective Lilly Rush. Successful in her job and respected by her colleagues, she could be proud of her professional self. But lately she felt nothing, only hollowness. Like the winter had not only settled over the city, but into her heart.

She pulled a well worn sweater over her head, stepped into her old comfortable jeans and headed into the bathroom to get rid of her make-up.

Standing over her sink, Lilly examined the dark circles under her eyes in the mirror. She wasn't vain, but with her dark eyes and the bright red lip-gloss, contrasting against her white skin, she looked like a clown. Which didn't really matter as there wasn't anyone who'd care what she looked like, she reminded herself bitterly.

A hot bath and an Irish coffee would be the better alternative, she decided. Drown her sorrows and forget her loneliness.

A nudge at her right shin, followed by a warm small body, pressing against it, reminded her that she wasn't that lonely. She looked down to find the striped cat rubbing against her leg. "Hi there." She whispered as she reached down to ruffle its head. "Nothing against you, but sometimes...." She didn't finish her sentence. There was no need to.

A small humming noise was the reward for her caress, but the nudging didn't stop. "Fine, first feed then bath." She promised as she realized that it wasn't her person, but the possibility of food that had earned her her animal's affection.

The blonde scooped the cat up in her arms to carry it down to the kitchen where they were greeted by her second cat that looked up from the empty bowl at her, its gaze one of reproach and disapproval.

"I'm sorry." Carefully Lilly placed the red cat down next to his comrade. "Chicken or beef?" She asked as she held up the cans. The cats just looked back with big eyes at her.

"You're right. Both." She decided as she opened the cans and filled the bowls. Lilly knew that she spoiled her cats, but she didn't care. After everything they had been through before they found shelter with her, they deserved to be spoiled now and then.

When her cats were satisfied she filled the water kettle and put it onto the stove before she sat down and watched her cats, their soft feeding noises the only sounds that filled the big empty house.

Normally Lilly liked the peace and quiet of her home, but today she craved for someone to fill it with their voice.

Someone who would understand.

There had been a time when she had thought that Scotty could be that person. But he had proved long ago that he wasn't an option. At least not for her.

Her mind was filled by another face that would understand.

That of a brunette criminalist she had worked with on a cold case.

Sara Sidle, CSI 3 at the crime lab of Las Vegas.

The brunette had contacted her when one of the cold cases of Las Vegas turned up with a trail to Philadelphia. They had talked over the phone, sharing their information and throwing back and forth theories. It had been the first time Lilly had worked this close with a criminalist as they seemed to play a different, more visible role in solving crimes in Las Vegas than in her city. But she found out that she liked the sharp mind of the CSI and her dry sense of humor.

When they finally had a lead Lilly had used the opportunity to demand Sidle to work the scene and to meet the woman whose voice she often had listened to in the last weeks.

Complications had arisen when another woman from the lab, the CSI that had worked the case years ago, insisted of coming to Philadelphia instead of Sara.

Lilly never had been a friend of power games, and in her first conversation with the other woman, she realized that it was power what all this was about. She disliked the other CSI from the beginning, her attitude and her try to use Sara's hard work for her own forthcoming only adding to this impression. But Lilly could play the game as good as anyone else and finally it had been Sara whom she met at the airport.

And the brunette's tooth gaped smile had been worth all the effort.

She smiled as she remembered the first time they had met at Philadelphia's airport.

The long, lean body covered in black trousers, a navy-blue coat keeping her warm and a duffle-bag thrown over her shoulder, she looked more like a sailor on shore leave than a criminalist. The only thing that gave her away was her big metal kit, she didn't give out of her hand, even as Scotty offered to carry it.

With long strides she crossed the arrival lounge, heading straight at them. Back then Lilly wondered how she could have known they were the detectives to pick her up. Later she learned that the CSI had done some research on them before she got onto the plane.

A slender hand reached out into her direction. "Sara Sidle, I'm with the crime lab." She greeted with a smile that revealed her tooth gap.

The smile was warm and open and Lilly answered with a shy smile of her own and pushed a strand of hair behind her ear before she took the offered hand and shook it.

They had offered to take her to her hotel, but the CSI had shrugged her shoulders and demanded to see the crime scene first. "I don't need sleep." Sara Sidle had explained with a grin.

Their time together had been short but successful, and she had missed working with Sara instantly.

The last time she had seen the brunette had been at the trial. They hadn't had much time to talk as Sara had only come back to make her statement before she flew back to Las Vegas. "The lab needs me." She had explained and Lilly liked to believe that she had heard regret in her voice as they said there good-byes.

Of course they had shared the usual meaningless phrases when Sara suggested they should stay in contact.

Two weeks later when Sara Sidle had called her, Lilly found out that the other woman didn't believe in meaningless phrases.

Now their calls were a constant factor in Lilly's life. A constant she relished. First their calls had mostly been about work. Both their lives circled around their work, so there wasn't much to share outside from it, but slowly their reasons to call had changed. Now there was a personal note to their conversations.

Sara was her first female friend since her sister had abused her trust twice and Lilly was careful to give her trust away again, but somewhere deep down she hoped and believed that Sara Sidle was worth the try to trust again.

She remembered the dark brown eyes that looked intensely at her and she remembered the feeling of familiarity rushing through her body, like they shared a bond. It could be that they both tried to find peace and justice for others or something deeper she didn't allow herself to think of.

Whatever her reasons were, she longed to hear Sara's voice and before she could change her mind Lilly had speed-dialed Sara's number.

"Hi Lilly." Sara's always husky voice answered after the third ring. Her voice had a unique sound to it, every sentence sounding like a question. Lilly had learned that Sara questioned everything. It was part of Sara's personality.

"Hi Sara." Lilly's own high voice retorted.

She looked down at her feet and wiggled her toes. Suddenly calling Sara didn't seem like such a bright idea anymore, especially not as she heard faint music and people talking in the background.

"Oh sorry, you're occupied. I shouldn't have called."

"No, you're not disturbing anything. I'm just at the store. I need lemons. Actually a lot of them." Sara sighed theatrically.

"A party?" Now she felt even lonelier than before.

Sara's guttural laugh sounded through the line. "Yeah, me, my shower and two pounds of lemons."

Lilly frowned, not getting the inside joke. She wanted to ask when she heard an unfriendly voice talk to Sara, but couldn't decipher the words. What she could hear was the brunette's answer. "I'm out of here as soon as possible." The next words were directed at her. "Lil, can you wait a second?"

She heard further muffled discussions and what sounded like Sara stepping out into the street. "I'm back."

"Something wrong?" Lilly asked concerned.

"Except that I need to find a new store to get my groceries from, nothing."

"What happened?"

"You don't want to know." Sara promised amused.

"Truth." The detective challenged and bit her lower lip in excitement. She felt like a school-girl as she leaned back into her chair.

There was a small pause before Sara answered. "Okay, but I warned you." A new pause and a deep breath followed. "You're sure?"

Lilly could imagine the big grin that plastered Sara's face. The brunette loved challenges.

"I am." She nodded, even though Sara couldn't see her. She wasn't someone to give in either.

"A car was found in the desert. In its trunk was a body, wrapped in at least three layers of plastic. It was at least five months out there. More liquid than anything else. The only solid thing was the smell."

"Sounds....................interesting," Lilly said slowly and shook her head before the visuals could settle in. "Lemons help?"

"The only thing that helps," Sara's answer sounded like this wasn't the first time she was in urgent need for a lot of lemons. "but you didn't call to talk about lemons. What's up?"

"Nothing, I just needed to hear a friendly voice." She commented shyly.

"And you ended up calling me?" Sara teased her, but there was an undertone Lilly couldn't decipher.

They chatted for half an hour till Sara had reached her apartment and hung up to get rid off the 'smell of death'.

Lilly felt better after her phone call but still, a phone couldn't replace a human face and contact. She had lived for a long time without human contact, but in the last weeks she had longed for it more and more. Most of the time when the need had overwhelmed her she had found herself dialing Sara's number.

The thought that she depended on a single person that much, scared her, scared her more than staying alone.

Tonight she was in the mood for self-pity, the blonde realized. She was exhausted and the Irish coffee had warmed her up. Lilly decided to refrain from a bath as the alcohol in her coffee had started to do its work and to head straight for her bed.

She made her usual walk through the house, checking everything before she went up to lie down. Her cats had already occupied their favorite place at her couch and she was just about to turn off the lights as she remembered that she had forgotten to bring in the mail earlier.

Conscientious as she was, she knew that she couldn't wait till tomorrow to get it. Mentally steeling herself for the cold outside, she opened her door and unlocked her mailbox. It wasn't much, three letters at all. As fast as possible, she closed her door again and locked it.

She skimmed over the letter, but stopped when her eyes fell on a white, plain envelope, the address of the CSI Headquarter Las Vegas neatly covering the left top.

She walked over to her desk and took the paper knife. A clean cut later the envelope was open and the content in her hand. It was a flyer and a thick program for a convention being held in Las Vegas. The big yellow post it, fixed in the middle of the flyer, only read two words.

'Interested? - Sara'

Lilly frowned. The brunette hadn't mentioned the convention earlier.

Was she interested?

The question wasn't easy to answer.

She didn't even understand half of the title the forensic convention was held about, let alone all the lectures the small program listed. She cross read them, her head swirling from the mass of criminalistic jargon. Her eyes stopped when she found a familiar name at the bottom of page three.

She possible had to study at least four years physics to understand the content of the lecture, but what was more important was the speaker.

Sara Sidle.

Her fingers brushed over the black inked name.

She didn't understand why, but somehow she was proud of the brunette and flattered that she had asked her to share this important moment with her.

The brunette was enthusiastic about her work and hearing her talk about it gave Lilly the strange feeling of affection. She didn't allow herself to think too much about the implication of this, but enjoyed this rare emotion.

"Affection." She let the word roll off her tongue, tasting the strange, unknown sound of it.

Was she ready to let another person into her life?

Her Irish coffee in one and the flyer and program in the other hand, Lilly climbed the stairs to her bedroom.

She placed the flyer on her nightstand on top of the photos and sat down, staring outside. It was still snowing, the snow-flakes twirling in front of the houses at the other side of the street.

"Looks like I have to go, to find out." Lilly whispered into her empty room.

Considering the weather front that had settled over her city, maybe that wouldn't be such a bad idea.

The End

Return to C.S.I. Fiction   Return to Cold Case Fiction

Return to Main Page