DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

A Long Night
By Kristina K


The crime scene was exceptionally gruesome that time. Sara could tell there was Hell waiting for her when she arrived at the scene and the first thing she saw was a young cop, fresh from the Academy, puking his guts out by the side of the squad car. Even some more experienced officers she knew had greenish color and a queasy expression on their faces. And when she came closer to the house, she saw why, right away.

"I thought I'd seen it all by now." The look on Sofia's face was one of utter disgust. "But I guess there are still some people who know how to give murder a new twist."

Putting down her kit and standing in the doorway, Sara scanned the living room of a small family house. "How many?"

"Five, six? Ten?" Sofia shrugged. "Your guess is as good as mine. We won't know until the ME puts them all back together."

Looking at the sea of red in front of her and pieces of what used to be live human beings scattered all over the place, Sara stated flatly, "Like Happy meal toys. Gotta collect them all."

"I'll never get used to this." Catherine said to no one in particular as she picked up a bloody piece of cut up flesh, something that might have been one of the victim's internal organs, and placed it into the evidence bag. It slipped from her fingers towards the end and landed into the plastic with a muffled splat. Catherine cringed slightly and Sara snapped another picture just to the side of her.

"Done." Catherine exhaled with relief and handed the bag to Dave who placed it with the rest of the packages on a big gurney, ready to be rolled out. "Now if you don't mind," she said, "it's the end of my shift, and I am out of here." Putting all of the collected evidence together she announced, "I'll go drop this off at the lab and then go home and forget about everything I just saw here tonight for a few hours."

Sara smiled slightly behind the camera and snapped another picture. "Good luck with that."

"Sa-yo-nara!" Catherine yelled out and made a beeline towards the exit of the house.

"Are you okay?" The familiar, calm voice came from behind Sara's back and she turned around for a second to give Sofia a quick nod before she returned to documenting every detail of the bloody mess around her.

"Although, I could use something stiff to jolt me back to life after this," she said in between the snaps of the camera.

"I don't know about stiff, but would beer do?" Sofia smiled, still behind the CSI's back.

Sara stood upright and turned around to get a better look of the blonde detective. She squinted her eyes, "What do you have in mind?"

Sofia shrugged, "I was thinking… after you're done here… We go get a pack of beer, go back to my place, see if there's anything good on TV… A girl's night." She explained casually.

With a cocky smile on her face, Sara hunched down and resumed her work: "One would think that you had better things to do tonight than to spend an evening drinking beer and watching movies with a colleague from work."

Sofia returned the smile, "Well, I don't." she tilted down a little to get eye level with the busy CSI. "So what do you say, Sidle?"

The brunette blinked and gave a shrug. "Sure. Why not?"

When she first walked into Sofia's home – the detective letting her in first while she closed the door and went to put away the groceries she bought on the way over into the kitchen – Sara slowly spun around herself taking in every detail around her. The room was small, but not crowded with furniture, there were sporadic, but nicely displayed photographs of what seemed to be members of Sofia's family, friends and maybe a current or past lover. The abundance of books, and to Sara's surprise some of them were in Spanish, French and German; mostly professional literature and some fiction classics. The music varied from classical, old 50's rock and blues to ambient and Sara smiled for herself when she found her favorite album's empty CD case lying on top of the stereo system.

Sara's long legs lay outstretched over the stack of decorative pillows next to the armchair she made herself comfortable in. Sofia was lounging on the sofa to Sara's right. Some 70's B horror movie was on and the crunching sound of popcorn being chewed up accompanied the leading lady's shrieks while the swamp monster chased her.

Sofia studied the CSI as she so avidly followed the movie, gripping a beer bottle in one hand and shoveling popcorn into her mouth with the other. The detective had to smile at the sight of her colleague so keen on watching something like that after the real life horror she witnessed only a few hours ago.

"What?" Sara's voice startled Sofia; unaware that the CSI noticed her pointed look that lasted for over twenty minutes. But she did notice it, without ever removing her eyes off the screen.

Sofia smiled, "You don't talk much, do you?"

The monster was about to grab the woman and Sara leaned a bit forward in anticipation. "Nah."

"I was thinking we could talk."

"Why do they always scream so much?" Sara mused, obviously not addressing Sofia. The woman on the screen tripped and fell, the monster came within feet of her, growling menacingly. She got up and ran inside an abandoned house. "Pft!" Sara exclaimed, "Don't run into the house! Moron."

Sofia crossed her arms over her chest and inhaled deeply, bracing herself for another try. "You never tell me anything."

Disappointed by the choice of shelter the chased woman opted for, Sara put another pinch of popcorn into her mouth, "I tell you stuff," she answered.

Sofia scoffed, "Work related, yes. We never talk. Like, small talk, getting to know each other, sharing stories… everyday stuff. You never tell me anything about yourself."

"There's nothing to tell."

"Of course there is." Sara couldn't see the exasperated expression on Sofia's face. "I refuse to believe there's nothing more to Sara Sidle than what I know from work. And I know nothing really."

Sara chuckled. The monster finally got a hold of the woman it chased and with one swift move of its clawed paw, severed the poor woman's head off, sending buckets of so obviously fake blood spurting in all directions. "Ow!" Sara jumped, clearly cheering for the swamp monster and its score.

Sofia huffed and reaching for the remote in frustration, she clicked the TV off.

"Hey!" Sara's eyes grew big when the film got so abruptly interrupted. She turned to the side and met Sofia's serious stare. The CSI exhaled in defeat and putting the popcorn down on the floor, she pivoted in her seat so she would be face to face with her host. "Fine. What do you want to talk about?"

The detective smiled with a hint of triumph in her eyes, "I'd like to get to know you."

"What do you want me to say?"

"Whatever." Sofia shrugged and got nothing but a blank stare from the CSI. "Like…" Sofia exhaled, blurting out the first thing that popped into her mind, "What's your favorite color?"

They both smiled at the triviality of the question. "Navy blue," Sara replied.

"What's your favorite movie?"

"American Beauty."

"Really?!" Sofia made a face, tilting her head to the side in surprise. Sara nodded with a smile. "I kinda saw you as a Tarantino type."

The brunette chuckled, "Reservoir Dogs is a close second."

Sofia nodded her head in understanding, mirroring her guest's smile. She squinted her eyes with a mischievous grin forming on her lips, contemplating on her next question. Sara took a swig from her beer and waited patiently. After a moment, Sofia asked: "How old were you when you lost your virginity?"

"Whoa!" Sara laughed out loud, some beer escaping through the side of her lips and she instinctively reached over with her hand to wipe it. "That's a little bit too personal, don't you think?"

Sofia shrugged, "No. It's a perfectly innocent question."

"You want me to believe that you'd ask any colleague this question?"

"Sure." Sara gave her a 'yeah, right' look and the blonde continued: "Just the other day I asked Greg that." Leaning in, and lowering her voice to a whisper, she added, "By the way, he's still a virgin, even though he tells people otherwise."

Sara shook her head in amused disbelief. She picked on the label on her beer bottle, refusing to return the teasing blonde's curious stare. When Sofia saw that the CSI wouldn't volunteer the information, she offered her own:

"I was eighteen," Sofia begun and Sara lifted her eyes, giving the detective an amused once over. "We were lab partners in chem class. Erick." Sofia smiled at the memory. "We weren't officially dating or anything, but he was so handsome and smart… I just couldn't resist. I gotta give it to him, he really tried… but, my god, it was so bad." She chuckled. "Practice makes perfect, I guess."

Sara remained silent for another minute, Sofia's expectant and teasing look urging her on. The detective could tell that her colleague was struggling with the decision to share and just when Sofia wanted to change the subject, Sara spoke out:

"I was fifteen…" She said, quietly.

Sofia raised her eyebrow and smiled, "Well, someone was an early bloomer."

Sara smiled back, lowering her eyes and fixing them on following her fingers' movement as they slowly pealed the label off the bottle. "It was summer and I remember this little stream that flowed through the forest. We liked going there; it was a good place to hide away from the people. I can't think of anyone else with whom I'd rather have had spent that day. It was perfect."

Sara's words trailed off, replaced with a distant and content smile. Her eyes were still downcast when Sofia quietly added, "He must have been something really special, huh?"

"Yeah," the brunette's smile became wider as she went back to that day in her mind. "She was."

Stunned by Sara's statement, Sofia's arm froze half way to her mouth, as she was getting ready to take another sip of her beer. When the detective remained silent, Sara lifted her eyes finding mixture of surprise and amusement on Sofia's face.

Finally, after a moment of careful contemplation, Sofia's movement unfroze and she downed the last of her beer from the bottle.

"I'm a…" Sofia fought the urge to chuckle at the sudden and very unexpected discovery, "I'm going to get myself another one of these." She pointed at the empty bottle. "Would you like another one?"

Sara smiled widely at the detective's demeanor and nodded her head, "Sure."

"Good." Sofia exhaled, getting up from her seat. "'Cause, I have a feeling this is going a to a looong night."

The smile on the CSI's face lingered as she watched her host scurry over to the kitchen to grab fresh drinks. She leaned back in her seat letting her head rest against the back of the plush chair. Sofia had a very nice place to live. It was quiet, cozy and a faint scent of once burned vanilla candles was still detectable in the air. It felt safe.

Sara could get used to that.

The End

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