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.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Before I went on my holiday I asked darandkerry for a prompt. She gave me 6, always been greedy like that. Anyway, one of them was CSI… a weekend getaway to the mountains is just what Sofia and Catherine's relationship needs to move forward… You all know my current CSI 'pairing'
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Letting Go
By Debbie


Catherine stood, looking out over the rolling surf of the Californian shore. Occasionally, she'd glance back towards Sara's cabin, expecting the door to open and a voice to call out that supper was ready. She sighed, that wasn't happening today.

She spotted Sofia walking towards her, her bare feet scuffing up the fine sand, hands in her pocket, and her head bent deep in thought. Catherine let out another sigh.

Sofia came and stood beside Catherine, and both women stared out to sea, neither needing words to know that each of them still needed time to digest their loss.

After many long moments, Sofia spared a moment to glance at her lover. She sighed at the angry set of Catherine's jaw and the sparkle of defiance that still glowed. She spoke Catherine's name in question.

"I can't do this."

Sofia wasn't surprised at the protest in Catherine's tone; she'd expected it, known that she'd have to fight to subdue it.

"Yes, you can; she's gone."

"I know that, Sofia, I was there remember." Catherine turned to glare at Sofia. She knew Sofia was hurting as much as she was and couldn't understand why the strong woman wasn't putting up a fight.

"Then let her go; it's what she wanted."

"I don't care what she wanted, we want this."

"Yes, but, we have to let her go now, it's only right."

Sofia remained calm and gentle in the face of Catherine's anger. It was obvious the other woman was hurting in her special way.

Sofia put her arm around Catherine's shoulder and pulled her in close, giving them both the comfort they so obviously needed.

It had torn both women apart to see Sara being carried into the ambulance and Grissom diving in beside her as if it was his God given right.

And then, they'd both been swallowed up in the nightmare that was a crime scene involving someone they loved. Catherine had worked professionally, but in a complete daze, to take whatever scraps of evidence she could to ensure Natalie Davis went down for a long, long time. Eventually, Warrick had pulled her to one side, pointing towards Sofia and saying, "I think you two have somewhere more important to be."

Sofia had had the dubious pleasure of escorting Natalie back to the compound, luckily with Brass as company. She wasn't sure which one of the two had actually prevented the other taking their own swift retribution. Deep down both police officers trusted their CSI colleagues to get the job done. At last, Brass had declared their work finished, and he'd pushed Sofia into the nearest car saying, "Go and get Catherine now; you're needed elsewhere."

Neither woman had stopped to question how their colleagues had known they needed to be together and needed to be elsewhere, they just accepted the friendship and understanding.

And now, they were here, staring down at the woman who held a piece of both their hearts. Catherine sobbed quietly into Sofia's shoulder, and Sofia stroked her hair.

"Catherine, please don't cry, I'm okay now, honestly."

Catherine dropped to her knees and rested her head on Sara's stomach as Sofia sank into the nearby chair and held onto Sara's hand for dear life.

"Oh God, Sara, we thought we'd lost you. If you leave us like that again, Sofia will shoot you herself."

Sara watched Sofia's face and let out a laugh at the ridiculous statement only Catherine could make.

Catherine and Sofia joined in the laughter; the laughter that came from the release of knowing a loved one had cheated death, this time.

Sara rested her hand on Catherine's head and stared into Sofia's eyes. "I thought I'd never see you both ever again, it would have killed me to never do this again. Hell, if I'd had Sofia's gun, I'd have shot myself."

The manic laughter that followed soon died out into perfect silence.

After long moments of shared understanding, Sara whispered, "I'll never leave either of you again, I promise."

And yet, two weeks later, as far as Catherine was concerned, Sara was already breaking that promise.

"Don't go like this, Sara; we can work through it, I know we can."

Catherine held Sara's frail body tight, trying to keep her lover with her, but Sara pulled back and glanced upwards to the departure board.

She pulled Sofia into her arms, still speaking to Catherine. "I know you could, Cath, but I have to go. If there's one thing I learned waiting to die, it's that I have some issues to finish."

Sofia held Sara and understood more than Catherine; she'd shared too many long nights in Sara's nightmares, before Catherine had arrived to calm them, to not understand why her lover was doing this. It didn't mean she wanted Sara to leave, so she held on as tight as she could, too.

"Flight BA1230 to London, Heathrow, is now boarding. Please make your way to the departure gate."

Sara cocked her head to the side. "That's me. I have to go."

She opened her arms to both women and spoke to both at the same time.

"Never forget I love you both, and never forget my promise; I will never leave either of you again. As long as you think of me, I will be here with you."

Catherine lifted her head. "But…"

"No buts, Catherine, I need this time, and you two…" She kissed each woman soundly before continuing, "… you two need this time to find each other. When you've done that, you'll find me again."

"But…" Catherine tried again, and this time it was Sofia that stopped her words.

Sara smiled and turned to leave. After taking just a few steps, she ran back to give her women one last hug; it might be her decision to leave, but it was the hardest decision she'd ever made, and it was difficult; too difficult.

"Just love each other for me, okay; I'll be back."

This time she just kept walking, right on, right out of their lives.

"What do you mean it's only right?"

Catherine turned her head to the side, staring hard at Sofia's profile.

"Don't you think that this," Catherine pointed to herself, Sofia, and then back towards Sara's cabin, "is right?"

Sofia smiled sadly, resigned. "Yeah, I do, but we have to let her go or she may never come back."

Catherine's sigh was heavy, and Sofia could feel the incredulous stare boring into her shoulder. She refused to look into Catherine's eyes, knowing what they would say.

Catherine didn't need her eyes.

"That has to be the stupidest thing I've heard since she said she was going. It doesn't make sense."

"Yes, it does."

Now Sofia turned and held out her hands, inviting Catherine to take hold. When she did so, Sofia squeezed hard and finally locked her gaze with Cath's.

"If we chase her down, Catherine, she'll resent us for not being strong enough to let her go, and you know Sara, probably more than even I do; she'll just keep running."

Catherine's eyes showed she did understand.

"If we let her go, let her find herself." Sofia leaned forward to share a soft kiss with the other woman. "If we find ourselves without her, then she'll always have us to come back to."

"But I don't need to lose Sara to know I love you, it doesn't make sense."

"Yes, it does, you've only loved me with Sara in the background, and I've only loved you with Sara in the background. If we can do this without her, she won't ever need to be our background again."

"She wasn't my background and I'm damn sure she wasn't your background."

"No, Catherine and Sara, foreground; Sofia and Sara, foreground; she thought she was the bit that held us together. Sara couldn't cope with that."

Catherine let out a wry laugh.

"Damn Sara, damn Natalie Davis; we had something good until that bitch decided to give Sara time to think, and we know how bad that is, huh?"

Sofia joined in with the laughter. "Yes, we do; but we love her anyway, and we still will when she comes back."

"You know she's coming back?" Catherine's words were full of her own insecurity.

Sofia's weren't, Sofia's were full of confidence. "I know she'll come back. She knows how good all of this was, is, could be; she'll be back."

Catherine's sigh was much lighter as she pulled Sofia back towards the cabin. "Come on then, let's go and make good on our part of the bargain."

The End

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