DISCLAIMER: These characters and situations do not belong to me in any way, shape, or form. I have borrowed them as part of my sanity maintenance.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Minor for S08E11 'Bull'

It's Not Dead
By Debbie


Catherine stared at Gil. How could somebody write such a sappy love poem to a bull when there were so many beautiful women out there?

Sometimes she wished she had a romantic bone in her body; wished that she could write poetry, or even just have that ability to quote poetry. She was a woman who knew how to accept romance; in fact, had never had a problem attracting the kind of men, and occasionally women, who loved to wine and dine her. She never had a problem receiving roses, but when it came to chasing, to romancing, she was a novice.

She'd lost her chance with Sara years ago because she'd not known how to take a chance on calling on the passion that always flared between them. It'd been obvious that Sara didn't know how to make a first move either, and so they'd just never happened.

Catherine smiled at her own ineptitude. Surprisingly, it was the man sitting opposite her; stoic, thoughtful Grissom; a man who appeared to have no passionate thoughts in his brain, who'd known how to win Sara's heart. He'd known to send her gifts and poetry; it might have only been a chrysalis and a piece of Shakespeare, but with Sara, it worked.

And Catherine had watched as they'd slowly torn each other apart with their seriousness and their depth, until she'd been helpless in the face of Sara's growing anguish. She'd tried so hard to be the friend that cared, and yet, Sara had gone. She'd left Gil, Greg, Warrick, Nick, and Catherine behind, and it still hurt like hell.

Catherine wandered into the locker room and stared at herself in the mirror. She looked like death, and she knew why. It was all happening again. She'd fallen for someone and been unable to do anything about it. And this time it was worse; Detective Sofia Curtis was interested, had even dared to push, yet Catherine had refused the offer of a date, and now Sofia had disappeared off the radar screen.

It had all come to a head with Sara's kidnapping. Sofia had comforted her, had kissed her so deeply she'd forgotten all about Sara for five precious minutes, and Catherine had been so guilty she'd ran. And afterwards, Sara had been broken enough to need time from Catherine, and thoughts of Sofia and romance had been pushed safely to the back of Catherine's mind.

Unable to stop Sara from leaving and missing her like crazy, Catherine had turned to stupid drunken nights with her mother and Sam's poker playing buddies, until one day, she'd walked into work and realized Sofia had gone too. She was too late.

Banging her head against the mirror, she missed the sound of a locker door opening.

"You're not looking so good, Catherine, is there anything I can do for you?"

Catherine spun round at the smarmy voice and snapped, "I'm fine thank you, Hodges, and it'll be a cold day in hell before I ask you for any help."

David smiled, no matter how vehement she was in her denials, he'd watched her enough to know something was wrong, and he thought he knew the reason. He bowed his head in feigned submission.

"Oh sorry, was only trying to help."

As Catherine stormed towards the exit, he muttered a few more words.

"You could always have a word with Captain Brass."

Two old friends sipped an iced tea as they looked over San Francisco Bay and talked about their journey to here.

"She wants you, you know."

Sofia turned towards Sara and smiled ruefully.

"So, where is she, Sara?"

"I can't answer that, Sofia; I'm the wrong person to be trying to explain anyone else's actions but my own. I'm just stating a fact of which I'm certain." She laughed. "In fact, if you pushed me, I'd give you some cast-iron scientific proof, but I guess that's not what you need, huh?"

Sofia laughed with her friend. It had been a lovely surprise when Sara had turned up a few hours earlier, and their easy chat about Vegas and their colleagues had made her somewhat homesick. At least now, if she decided to make her temporary assignment to San Francisco's Vice Squad permanent, she knew she'd have a friend nearby.

Sara looked down at her watch and indicated that she had to leave. Sofia showed her to the door, and they hugged their goodbyes.

"It was so good to see you, Sara, please come again."

"Go home, Sofia, you can't win here."

Without waiting for an answer, Sara left to meet up with her mother.

Sofia watched as her friend turned the corner, and then, with a heavy sigh, turned back to look over her lonely apartment.

She wandered back to the large open French doors, stepped out onto her balcony, and pondered her life right now. Working the vice squad in this cosmopolitan city was more than interesting work, but there was something missing, and it was that something that was stopping her from making the final decision on whether to make her move permanent.

She kept in regular contact with Jim Brass and knew that her post in Las Vegas was still waiting for her; all she needed was a sign that there was something other than work to come back to, and she'd be on a flight back in days.

A knock at her door broke into her reverie. Throwing open the door, she shouted before looking.

"What have you forgotten now, Sara?"

But it wasn't Sara; it was a bemused looking young guy carrying one of those boxes that usually contained a rose of some sort.

"Ms. Curtis?"

Sofia nodded her head and accepted the delivery.

She looked at the box to see there were no indicators of its sender, just the details of a local florist. She allowed a smile to cross her face as she played a game with herself; a game she'd played as a child whenever a parcel arrived, a game in which she had to guess who'd sent the parcel. Like then, her excitement got the better of her, and she ripped open the box.

Inside was a single long-stemmed red rose with a small card nestling underneath. Fingering the rose, she turned the card over to read the words.

'Number 1: Please don't make any decisions until the 14th, C.'

Sofia's detective brain kicked in immediately and came up with nothing. C could only be Catherine of that she was certain, but the 14th held no significance whatever. She checked her calendar, the 14th was twelve days away, but that was all it told her, there was nothing else due to happen that day.

She allowed a grin to cross her face; it meant nothing whatsoever as yet, but at least it was the sign she'd hoped for, that maybe Catherine remembered her.

Five more days passed, and each day a red rose arrived with a note that literally counted down the days.

Staring down at the card that read, 'Number 6: Please don't make any decisions until the 14th, C.', she heard her phone beeping. Grabbing it up, she muttered, "Detective Curtis."

Her posture stiffened noticeably as she heard the voice of her San Franciscan captain speak. "Sofia, I'm going to need an answer from you about the post we have on offer here. Your boss has been in touch to say she wants you back. Can you let me know by the 14th?"

Sofia switched off her phone and flopped backwards; damn Catherine Willows, why couldn't she just come out and say 'please come home' instead of teasing her with roses each day? Could she even be certain that C was Catherine? She racked her brains to find another C and came up blank.

Something tickled at the edge of her thoughts but refused to come out until three days later; Captain Morgan had said 'she wants you back'. There was no way Jim Brass could be called a 'she', maybe this was another silly clue.

Finally, the morning of the 13th arrived, and sure enough, another red rose appeared; this time though there was also an envelope enclosed, and this time, she'd surprisingly had to sign for her package.

Putting the rose in with her others, she spent a moment gazing at her gift. She'd never been the sort of woman that received flowers, for some reason her suitors had always thought she preferred football tickets, but, she had to admit, flowers made her feel good. Then it hit her, twelve red roses, didn't that have some significant meaning or other?

She opened the envelope to find an airline ticket dated the 14th and a small note.

'Yes, Detective Curtis, twelve red roses, and yes, it does mean something. What it means is up to you to decipher. All I can say is that I want you here with me. I'm not sure I can give you forever, but I can give you now, and in my books, that is the most important place to be. Sofia, you know my motto in life, 'never doubt, never look back'; come home, please, let's go forward and see where this leads.'

At last Sofia had her sign.

Captain Morgan opened the letter waiting for him just as Catherine Willows spotted the flight from San Francisco deplaning. She checked her watch; it was dead on time at 9am.

'Thank you so much for the last three months, I have learned so much I can't say; unfortunately, I won't be accepting the permanent position, I have a life to live back in Las Vegas…'

Catherine smiled.

Sofia strutted towards her as if she'd never been away, and Catherine knew, for once in her life, she'd gotten the romancing just about right.

The welcome kiss they shared easily erased the memory of all kisses shared before.

Romance wasn't dead; not by a long shot.

The End

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