DISCLAIMER: CSI and all characters are the property of CBS and Bruckheimer.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Through season 4 of CSI.

Map of You
By zennie

Part Thirteen

For the third time, Catherine lifted her hand to knock on Sara's door, only to drop it back to her side again. If I keep this up, I'll be standing out here all day. But how can I go in there to talk when I don't know what to say? Or actually, I do know what to say, but it's going to sound insane: "Sara, I've been thinking about you all the time, fantasizing about you, and I think I want to kiss you. And that's why I've been acting so weird around you". Yeah, that sounds sane and rational. Shaking her head to get rid of the thoughts that had been circling around her head for the last eight hours, Catherine raised her hand and knocked on the door.

Sara opened the door almost immediately, as if she had been waiting anxiously for Catherine to arrive. Catherine handed her the bag she had been holding. "I brought donuts and bagels," she said brightly, trying for at least a few moments of breathing room.

Sara took the bag and headed back into her apartment. "You want coffee?" Setting out the donuts and bagels beside the fresh fruit salad she had prepared, Sara poured them each a cup of coffee, and they managed to have a somewhat normal, relaxed breakfast, chatting about Lindsey and work gossip. As Sara cleared away the dishes, Catherine wandered out to the living room and settled on the couch, dreading the moment that Sara sat down beside her. When she did, she simply sat there, waiting for Catherine to speak.

"I'm sorry I've been weird lately," she began, stalling for time. "If it helps any, it's me, not you."

"What's 'it'? What's going on?" Sara asked, her expression puzzled. "Knowing what's going on will help."

"I… it's complicated. I'm just feeling… awkward around you." Catherine tried to put a reasonable explanation that would satisfy Sara but wouldn't expose her, her what? Infatuation? Lust? What exactly am I feeling? Hence the reason it was so hard to explain. And through all of this, she wanted to preserve the friendship she had managed to build with her young co-worker.

But Sara, of course, didn't have the same problems being direct. "Why?"

"I don't know."

"You don't know." Her voice was flat, emotionless. "What do you know?"

I know you drive me crazy. I know I want to kiss your lips, touch your body. A sudden realization hit Catherine as she sat, playing with her coffee cup. I've been feeling like this for a long time. As the realization flooded her consciousness, a wave of fear washed through her. "I… I…"

"You what? What, Catherine?" Sara jumped up on her feet and began to move around the apartment like a caged animal. "What's going on here?"

"I don't know. Maybe if you just give me some time, I can figure this out."

"Figure what out, Cath? You haven't told me anything!" Sara paced behind the couch, her agitated movements nearly knocking a lamp off the table. "I told you, I'm not a yo-yo. I'm not… I can't just keep doing this." She stopped in her pacing, head down, her brow furrowed. "I think maybe you should go," she said quietly.

I'm going to lose her any way. If I don't tell her what really is going on, she's not going to continue our friendship. And if I actually tell her what's going on, she won't have anything to do with me. In the sudden quiet, Catherine made a decision; she sighed. "Sara, please… sit down."

Sara looked suspicious, but sat down, twisting in the couch so she faced Catherine. Once again faced with the woman I, what? She wasn't sure how she felt, what to label the feelings that had overwhelmed her for the last week, and she found she couldn't explain, what to say, so the silence stretched again as Sara's eyes grew colder and colder and her mouth… Catherine's thoughts came to a halt as she stared at Sara's lips, and before she could stop herself, she leaned across and captured those lips with her own.

Catherine lost herself in the feeling of Sara's soft lips beneath hers, her warm breath flowing into her mouth, and it was as heavenly as she thought it would be, until she realized that Sara wasn't kissing her back, that her body was stiff and unmoving, her lips were unyielding. Catherine drew back immediately, staring in shock and embarrassment as Sara stared back at her, obviously puzzled. Oh no, what have I done? The thought spurred her to action; grabbing her jacket from the back of the couch, Catherine sprang up and headed for the door before Sara's words caught up with her. "Where are you going?"


Sara slowly stood and turned to watch as Catherine snapped her purse up from the kitchen island and hurried through the hallway. "You kissed me." In the part of her mind that was still rationally processing what was happening, the tiny part that wasn't screaming, "get out' over and over again, Catherine noted that Sara's tone didn't seem angry or upset.

"You're observant,' she tossed back over her shoulder. "Have you ever considered being an investigator?" Catherine had reached the door and was pulling on the doorknob in a desperate attempt to escape, but the door wasn't cooperating.

"I thought you wanted to talk?" Sara's voice was closer, in the hallway right behind her.

"Yeah, well, I think that was a conversation-stopper," Catherine replied. As well as a friendship-killer. Damn, what is up with all these deadbolts? What can't I just get out of this damn apartment? She stopped throwing bolts suddenly, dropping her head down and clenching her arms across her body.


Why? Huh? "Why what?"

"Why did you kiss me?'

"I don't know. I just did. It just happened." How could… Her thoughts a whirl of confusion, Catherine almost laughed hysterically at the thought that Sara was asking for an explanation.

"Catherine… talk to me." Sara's voice was quiet, and so close Catherine could almost feel her breath against her hair. She closed her eyes tightly against the temptation to turn, to look, to lose herself in the dark, murky depths of Sara's eyes, and she said nothing. A light touch on her shoulder was almost her undoing. "Look at me,' Sara breathed.

"Sara…." Damn it, just let me go. "I just want to…" She slapped at the offending locks that she couldn't see anymore through her tears. "I have to go."

Wordlessly, Sara reached over her shoulder and worked the locks, and then the warm presence on her back was gone. Catherine swung open the door, letting the bright sunlight into the dark apartment, and stepped out into the hallway, catching a glimpse of Sara standing and watching her with a concerned look before the door swung shut.


Catherine sat in her Tahoe, staring blankly at the instrument panel, having no memory of getting into the car. Her mind kept replaying the kiss, the feeling of Sara's lips, warm but unresponsive under her own, and it spun in a confused circle over and over. I did it, I kissed her, damn it, I can't believe I did that, god, it felt so good, damn, why didn't she…

She jumped as a loud tapping broke her out of her daze. The worried look on Sara's face through the glass snapped her to the realization that she was still outside of Sara's apartment. She tried the window, but it didn't go down, so she opened the door, a slight breeze surprising her with its coolness.

"You are going to get heat stroke," Sara chided gently, but Catherine's confused expression didn't go away. "What?" she asked, looking around as if she wasn't sure where she was or what she was doing.

"Heat stroke. You've been sitting in a closed-up car in 110-degree heat without air for over half an hour."


"Catherine, come inside." Her odd reactions were scaring Sara, and she found herself reduced to trying to coax her out of the car, when what she really wanted to do was pull her out of the car and shake her until she got an explanation for her strange behavior. "We'll talk, ok?" As she said the words, she saw a look of panic cross Catherine's face, and she grabbed for the door a second too late. Catherine started the car and peeled out of the parking spot before Sara could try anything else, leaving her standing on the super-heated asphalt.

Part 14

"Rick? Hi, it's Sara."

"Hey, Sara, what's up?" Warrick sat up in his bed, trying to shake the cobwebs from his head. He had barely been asleep an hour when the phone woke him.

Sara realized she had woken him, and bit back a curse, but she had been driving around the last hour and had no other leads. "I'm sorry, I just didn't know who to call."

The worried, almost scared, note in Sara's voice snapped him completely awake. "Hey, no problem," he soothed. "Is something wrong? Are you ok?"

"Yeah, no, I mean…" she stopped, drew a breath, and started again. "It's Catherine. She… you know she's been acting weird lately, and well, she came over this morning to talk." Her sigh of frustration carried clearly over the line to Warrick. "But she acted even weirder and left, and now… I can't find her. I checked her house, work, a couple of bars she's gone to… Do you have any idea where she might go if she's, I dunno, freaking out?"

Warrick frowned, very concerned now. Usually if Catherine had a problem, she would deal with it or come to a friend for help, usually him. "I don't know. Damn!"

"Warrick? Where did Catherine… dance?"

"You think she might have gone back to her old strip club?' he asked, incredulous. He never would have even considered that.

"I dunno. It's just a hunch."

"On the Strip. Place called "Showtime."

"Yeah, I've seen it. Thanks."

"Sara? Do you want me to go?"

"No, I'm the one who needs to talk to her. I'll call when I find her. Thanks, Rick."


The doorman looked her up and down as he took her cover, taking in every inch and leering at her. Sara immediately wanted to take a shower, but instead she forced herself to smile past the bile rising in her throat and asked him if another woman had been in today. The expression on his face got even more dirty, something Sara would have not thought possible a second before, as he nodded his head and gestured toward the curtain covering the entrance. "Yup, it's ladies night or something." Sara just nodded, afraid to try to form words the way her stomach was clenching. "You girls have fun,' he said as she passed him, and she clamped down on the urge to hit him, hard. Getting arrested for assault was not a good idea, regardless of how good it would feel.

Sara blinked the spots out of her eyes as she adjusted to the dark, smoky interior of the club, spotting Catherine's silhouette easily in the mostly empty club. She was leaned back in a large, soft chair, her hand lightly holding a glass that she raised to her lips every few moments. She was right up front, close to the stage, but the strippers seemed to be ignoring her and catering to the other, male, customers. Sara took a quick detour to let Warrick know she had found Catherine before she slid into the chair beside her, noting the three empty highballs on the table as well as Catherine's 100-yard stare.

"Hey," she said, watching the dancer closest to them grind out-of-time to the music before swinging around a pole. As if noticing her interest, the stripper moved closer and began a set of more intricate moves, none of which Sara found particularly interesting or sexy.

Catherine hadn't said a word, hadn't even looked her way, and Sara tried not to be too obvious as she snuck glances at her, keeping her attention on the stripper for the most part. "You want me to buy you a lap dance?" she asked finally, the humor sounded off even to her ears. Catherine swiveled her head to Sara, her eyes unreadable, before turning back to the stage. The waitress appeared beside her, and she nodded her head toward Catherine's empty glasses before ordering a beer for herself.

As she paid the waitress, she slipped another twenty into her hand, holding it up for the dancer before sliding it under the elastic of her g-string. "I could never have done this," she mused her eyes still trained on the dancer, who looked pretty under the caked, unflattering stage make-up.

"You'd be surprised what you can do when you have to." Catherine stunned her by answering, and Sara bit back a sigh of relief. "When you have no choice. And," she began with a sideways glance at Sara's tall frame, "you wouldn't have done half bad."

Sara sniffed in amusement at that as she pictured her graceless body trying to dance and look sexy. "Yea… no. I would never be able to do it."

"It doesn't really take talent,' Catherine countered, her tone conversational.

"It's not the talent. I wouldn't have the nerve… the courage… to get up there. "

"If you need to eat, a place to live, you could do it... trust me." Catherine knew Sara Sidle; if she put her mind to something, she couldn't imagine her failing to do it.

"I would've lived on the street, starved, and died young." This was said in a flat, low tone, with a certainty that surprised Catherine, and she looked more closely at the hard, set features of the younger woman.

"I don't think so. You do what you have to do." It was a simple statement that reflected her survival instinct, Catherine knew, but she also knew that it was true, at least for her. She would always do what she needed to do to survive and protect herself and Lindsey; it was one of the absolutes she lived by. "You want to know the secret?" Catherine asked quietly, continuing before Sara could reply. "A snort of coke will keep you on your feet and moving so fast you don't even see the people, really, except as disembodied hands holding bills. Dulled the pain of the shoes, insulated you from the creepy looks, and gave you the nerve to go back out there, night after night."

Catherine was surprised by her admission, and even more surprised at how the straight-laced Sara seemed to take it in stride, nodding in quiet agreement and understanding. "Funny, at times I can see you doing this, and other times I can't imagine it. So right and so wrong for you. all that the same time." Sara tilted her beer to show the waitress she needed another.

"It was better than a lot of my other options," Catherine replied, a little coldly. "And it wasn't like I had someone to pay my Harvard tuition."

Sara winced a little at the barb, and answered, in an absolute monotone, "Yeah, my life has just been perfect." Catherine swung to stare at Sara closely, noticing a haunted look in Sara's dark eyes.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean…"

"It's ok," Sara said, her words comforting except for the distant, sad expression that spoke of a deep hurt. She was years and miles away, Catherine realized. Slowly, Sara seemed to return to the present,. Taking a sip of her beer, she said, "You've always made the tough choices and never apologized. That's… admirable. Not… everyone can do that. Not everyone is that strong."

Sara had Catherine's full attention now, but she was back to watching the dancers. What is she trying to say? Is she trying to say something about us, or her… It struck Catherine then that she knew so little about her brunette co-worker; she never even knew how she had met Grissom or where she had grown up. I know her resume, I know her at work, and I've learned a few things in the last two months, but I really don't know her at all.

Sara's eyes slid over, seeing Catherine watching her intensely, and she said in her deliberately bland voice, "Why did you kiss me?" The diversion worked; Catherine flopped back in her chair as if her skeleton had suddenly given way and she groped blindly for her drink.

"Because it's all I've been able to think about all week." Now it was Sara's turn to swing around and stare at her, in that quiet way she has of showing her surprise. The music droned on in the background, and dancers moved around the stage, but in the bubble surrounding them, everything seemed to have stopped. Until Sara spoke again, shattering the stillness.

"So why did you leave?"

Sara's lips, warm, uninvolved, that sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, she doesn't want this, the overwhelming need to get away… "I may not have a lot of experience with women, but I know when someone is responding to a kiss," she replied coldly as she rose from her seat. "You weren't." She saw Sara open her mouth to say something, but she cut her off. "There's no explanation needed – I understand." With that, she headed toward the back entrance with as much dignity as she could muster, squeezing her eyes against the tears that threatened.

Sara caught up with her in the alley as she tried to blink her tears away to find her SUV. "Catherine… hey." Sara put a cautious hand on Catherine's shoulder, feeling the shaking of her slight frame under her fingertips. She stepped around so she was standing in front of the shorter blonde, both hands coming up to cup her face, raising one set of reddened eyes to her own. "Hey," she breathed softly, comfortingly, as she brushed her lips across Catherine's forehead, then the tip of her nose, and then her lips.

Part 15

The kiss was brief, a feathering of soft skin and warm breath, and when Catherine opened her eyes, Sara's dark eyes were looking at her intensely. "Now do I have your attention?" she asked with a crooked half-smile playing across her lips. Unable to form words in the haze from the alcohol and the kiss, Catherine simply nodded, feeling Sara's fingertips stroke her cheek where her hands still framed her face.

"I'm… sorry about, ah, before. If… you had asked me what was possible during that visit, I..,." That rueful half smile twitched just a little wider and her eyes broke to the left as Sara shrugged her shoulder, "would have put you kissing me somewhere under that guy showing up with the Publisher's Clearinghouse check—which I never enter" she emphasized hurriedly, as if cutting off a comment from Catherine, "or the Crique du Soleil deciding to hold an impromptu live performance in my closet-sized bathroom."

Her fingers continued to caress the curve of Catherine's neck, the line of her chin, her cheekbones as the tone of Sara's voice dropped to an intense whisper. "To say I was surprised would be an understatement. In fact, stunned doesn't even begin to cover it. I…"

She didn't get any further in her explanation. Catherine tilted her chin up, returning the feather-light kiss, her eyes open and searching Sara's face for her response. When she drew her head back a little, Catherine, scared that she was going to be rejected again, moved to push Sara away until she felt Sara's hand sliding through her hair to cradle her head, tilting her head back a little more before capturing her lips. Her hands ended up at Sara's waist, winding around the slight frame, pulling her closer. Sara playfully rained kisses all around her lips, never stopping long enough for Catherine to deepen the kiss. Her groan of frustration earned her a chuckle from Sara, her lips twisting against her own into a smile.

"Um, Cath, maybe I should take you home," Sara whispered against her lips. "This, um, really isn't…" Her glance took in the dirty alley, overflowing dumpster, and rusting Pontiac.

"Mmmm, yeah," Catherine purred. "We could use a little privacy," she said, watching as Sara blushed at the suggestion.

"Um, actually I was thinking of dropping you off so you can sleep." As Catherine's eyes narrowed in suspicion and hurt, Sara continued quickly. "It's late and Linds will be home in a few hours. You need to sleep it off before she comes home." Even in Catherine's muddled brain, she knew Sara was making sense, but it didn't stop the wave of disappointment from sweeping over her. "This, um, can wait. Your daughter can't," she finished gently.

Nodding in quiet acquiesce, Catherine turned toward the parking lot. "Cath, you really shouldn't drive. Let me drive you home."

Sara pulled into the driveway of the small split-level where Catherine had lived for years. The drive over had been mostly silent as both women had been tied up with their own thoughts, the radio loud enough to provide a cover to the quiet in the car.

Catherine turned in her seat to smile at the younger woman just as Sara stuttered out, "So I'll, um, see you tonight?"

"I'm off tonight. Um, tomorrow?"

"Maybe we could, uh, get breakfast after shift? Or something?" Sara added hurriedly, not wanting to seem like she was dictating, but then almost groaning when she realized what it sounded like when she suggested something else.

"I'd like that," Catherine replied, smiling at little at the awkwardness as she leaned over to give Sara a peck on the cheek, and feeling that smile widen at Sara's reaction. Seeing the older woman's eyes glance down at her lips, Sara self-consciously licked her lips, moistening them and let out a shaky breath when Catherine did nothing except perch there over the console for a long minute. "Tomorrow night, then," she whispered, and then was gone.


Catherine took extra time dressing that night before shift, trying on many different combinations before putting on the perfect pair of dark grey pants that were professional but hugged her hips just right, pairing them with a sleeveless button-down shirt in a rich purple that was just a little tight around the curve of her breasts, even with the top two buttons unbuttoned. Avoiding her perfume, as much as she wanted to put it on, she lightly powered her face and added a slightly darker shade of lipstick than she normally wore and surveyed her results. Perfect, she thought. Now if I can just get rid of these butterflies in my stomach, I'd be all set. I can't believe I'm even more nervous about going to work and seeing Sara than I was last week. I didn't think that was possible.

But once she got to work, she couldn't find Sara. The locker room was deserted, as was the break room, and Catherine had the sudden suspicion that she was either way late for work or way too early. Just then, Nick and Warrick appeared in the doorway of the break room, arguing over the spread for some football game. "Hey Cath," Nick called as he strode to the coffee maker, before stopping in his tracks to stare at the cup holder in front of Catherine. "Did you bring us coffee?" he asked, his grin wide enough to light up the room.

"Yeah, I did," she replied, extending a cup toward Nick and one toward Warrick. "Dark roast with a shot of espresso and a large Americano." Both the men took their cups gratefully and sank into chairs around the table. "So anyone seen Sara?" she asked, nonchalantly as possible as her heartbeat raced at the mere thought of her co-worker.

"Yeah, I saw her in with Greggo a few minutes ago," Nick piped up as he took a cautious sip of his coffee.

Catherine stood hurriedly and snatched up one of the remaining cups. "Um, maybe I should take her her coffee now, before it gets cold." She strode through the halls quickly, taking a corner too fast and just managing to not run down the person coming from the other direction, but not managing to avoid brushing against the papers in their hands, causing them to go flying. Damn, she thought as she dropped to her knees to start gathering up the scattered papers. "Sorry about that," she said, and then cut off her next sentence as she realized that Sara was kneeling next to her, also picking up papers. Sara looked up as well, and she saw Sara's eyes widen as she also realized who she had run into.

"It's ok…" "I brought you coffee…" They spoke at the same time, eliciting a nervous chuckle from Sara. Catherine handed the cup to Sara, almost dumping it on the younger woman as Sara juggled the papers and the cup. "Sorry," she said again, feeling a blush make its way across her cheeks. This is going well.

Sara, for her part, was trying not to gape at her blonde co-worker as she took the coffee cup in suddenly nerveless hands. Wow, she looks great. That color looks great on her, brings out her eyes and cheekbones. She glanced down at her creased jeans that she hadn't had time to change in the last 24 hours and the loose peasant shirt she had barely looked at when she had gotten dressed the day before. And I look like shit. Perfect.

"It's ok," she repeated. "Thanks." Catherine took the papers from her hand and straightened them as they rose to standing, taking in Sara's rumpled clothes and tired lines around her eyes. "You ok?"

"Yeah, yeah, just a hot case. I, um, stuck around today to go over some trace since Hodges was backed up." She accepted the papers from Catherine and they continued back the way Catherine had come, walking so closely their shoulders brushed with each step, breaking apart only when reached the room and walked in to sit with their co-workers.

"Sara," Nick chided gently, "don't tell me you stayed here all day to work with that trace."

She smirked at him. "Ok, I won't tell you."

He glared at her, but knew criticizing her work habits would only get him into more trouble. "So where are we?"

She sighed. "Standstill. The impound guys are bringing the car around in a couple of hours, though. Might give us something to work with."

"Ok. Grissom came by already and said we're to continue working on this case since there's nothing new yet, so you should go take a shower and get freshened up before we go over the evidence again." Sara opened her mouth to protest, but he cut her off. "Sara, you look all grungy."

Horrified, Sara risked a quick glance at Catherine, who wasn't looking at her, but had caught Nick in a death glare. "Manners, Nick, manners," she snapped, feeling satisfied when Nick's face contorted into a horrified look of his own, and he mumbled a scared 'sorry' to Sara before bolting from the room.

"Errr, um, I guess I had better go take that shower," Sara mumbled, beating her own hasty retreat from the break room, leaving Catherine to Warrick's amused grin over the lid of his coffee cup.


Later, Catherine paused outside of the layout room, where Sara was hunched over the table, staring at a bunch of leaves as if she were waiting for them to speak to her. She had obviously showered, as her jeans and loose shirt had been replaced with a pair of straight-legged black pants that highlighted the angles of her body and a black-and-grey body shirt that hugged every inch of her torso like a glove. Forgetting the reason she had been passing by, Catherine leaned against the doorframe and engaged in some overt staring. If she had been any less caught up, she would have stopped herself from such a public display of ogling her co-worker, but at that moment, nothing was further from her mind.

"What?" Sara's question startled her out of her fantasy, the rich warm tones of brunette's voice complimenting the private smile gracing her lips as she stayed bent over her work.

"Oh, um…" Catherine cast about for anything remotely work-related she could use to pass off her behavior, but nothing came to mind. She took a couple of steps into the room, casting a hasty look behind her to make sure the coast was clear. "I was just admiring how gorgeous you are."

What? She, what? Gorgeous? Sara had felt Catherine's eyes on her, but she had been totally unprepared for the compliment, and she whipped her head around to frown at the blonde standing over her. "Oh, yeah, right," she snorted, rolling her eyes. There was Catherine, dressed to the nines and looking great, and she was just lucky the change of clothes in her locker had looked remotely good with each other and weren't too badly wrinkled.

Catherine leaned in closer, whispering, "You know, I just thought of a new use for the layout table." She watched Sara's face, hoping for a flush of desire to match the one that she knew she had.

Sara's reaction took her completely by surprise. Sara's frown deepened, and she let out a sigh of exasperation. What, is she upset that we're at work? Is she reconsidering? That last thought caused Catherine's breath to stop in her throat, and she found she couldn't meet Sara's eyes as she straightened and turned to face her.

"Come on, Cath," Sara said, a trace of disbelief in her voice. "You really don't have to try so hard."

"What?" Catherine shook her head and spread her hands wide, trying to communicate her complete confusion.

"Gorgeous? Are you kidding me?" Sara kept her voice low, but made sure Catherine heard every word. "I'm not exactly the type to inspire, um, out-of-control urges or lust-filled fantasies… in anyone." She gave a weary sigh. "So don't try, ok?"

Catherine knew her mouth was hanging open as the quiet vehemence in Sara's words registered. She really doesn't get it. Sara had moved back to study her leaves, obviously trying to ignore her now.

"Are you kidding me?" Catherine asked with equal vehemence. She laughed at little at the irony. "I… you… I've been… for days!" She took a deep breath, trying to get her thoughts into order. "I can't think when I'm around you. I deliberately touched you when I helped you change." Sara looked up again, then, eyes wide with shock. "In fact, I've used all kinds of excuses to touch you or be near you for weeks now. I, I feel like a school girl with my first crush, I'm giddy when I think about seeing you and then when I see you, I…" Her eyes drifted down the layout table, knowing that Sara read her thought by the sudden nervous way she bit her lower lip. "Yes, gorgeous. And irresistible. And a bunch of other words I can't think of right now because I'm standing beside you."

Sara's expression was one of a cornered animal trapped in the headlights of a car. "Uhhh…"

"There you are!" Nick exclaimed from the doorway, causing Catherine to spin around so fast she almost toppled and Sara to jump back, bumping her hip against the table with a solid thump. "Man, I have been looking all over for you." Nick suddenly noticed the odd tension in the room, and he looked between the two women, puzzled. "Um, impound dropped off the car.'

"Oh, oh, ok."

Nick was disappointed by Sara's lack of enthusiasm; usually she loved working in the garage. "It's totaled and the owner is dead," he said enticingly, "You know what that means…"

A glint and a predatory smile suddenly graced Sara's expression. "Power tools."

"Yup!" He smiled, but then noticed a glance exchanged between the two women. "So long as you are done here?"

"Um, I think so," Sara stammered, looking to Catherine for confirmation.

"Yeah, we'll, ah, finish our conversation over breakfast."

Nick interrupted Sara's nod. "Breakfast? Cool, I'm there. Rick coming too?"

Catherine cast a 'sorry' look at Sara and was happy to see she looked as disappointed as Catherine felt. "Um, sure, I'll tell him."

Sara caught Nick's arm to pull him out of the room. "Come on, that car isn't going to process itself." As they headed down the hall, Catherine overheard Sara suggest to Nick, "Hey, wanna see if Greggo wants to learn to dismantle a car?"

Part 16

Catherine sighed in irritation over her coffee cup as Nick tried to convince Sara to go out on a blind date with a friend of his. Even though Sara had cut off every attempt he had made before, he never seemed to give up. Sara was in the process of shooting down his arguments one-by-one when he came out with what he thought was is winning argument.

"Sara, you might as well go out with this guy."


"Well, it's not like you are dating anyone else."

Sara swung her head up, suddenly, from her coffee cup, just barely managing to avoid shooting Catherine with a guilty look. Oh, damn, I did not cover that well. The curious expressions on both Nick and Warrick's faces, coupled with the amused grin that seemed to be teasing Catherine's mouth, told her she was in big trouble.

"Oh, it's on now," Warrick laughed, as Nick chimed in with a "You are seeing someone? Who?"

Um, let's see, denial, not gonna work. The truth…no, absolutely not. Say nothing accompanied by a death glare? That usually works, but not this time.

Nick had started going through the list of every guy in the lab and PD during her panic attack, as Warrick and even Catherine commented on the romantic possibilities. Sara glared at her for her betrayal, and reconsidered telling the guys the truth. Hey, guys, it's just that Catherine has been chasing me around the layout table and smooching on me during the off-hours. Not sure where it's going, but it's definitely better than your frat-boy friend, Nick, sorry. Yeah, that would definitely get rid of that smirk on her face. Kill any chance of the two of us, but it would be funny.


"He's definitely interested in Sara," Warrick opined, "but she'd never go for that."


"Mmmmm, any woman would go for that," Catherine purred. She wished she had a video camera to capture the way Sara's face went from an annoyed glare to a jealous narrowing of the eyes back to conniption fit in the space of a minute. Jealousy, she noted, looked good on her.

"Nick," Sara was surprised by how level her voice was; she was pretty sure that if he didn't stop talking in the next minute, she was going to have to get rid of a body. "If I'm seeing someone, that's my business. The last time I let you all know about my social life, work—in the form of a severed finger—ended my first date, so excuse me if I'm not overeager to share other details of my life with you guys." Nick and Warrick had the decency to look abashed at the reminder. "And if I was dating anyone, trust me, it's not a guy from the lab." That, at least, was the truth. "And finally, regardless of my dating situation, I'm never going out with one of your frat-boy pals."

"Hey!" Nick looked insulted by that last. "Those are good guys."

Sara exaggeratedly cocked her eyebrow. "You turned out ok, but most of the guys you talk about sound like they never left the frat house. Or they desperately want to go back to a time when they were young, drunk, and boorish." She tapped her finger on the table to emphasize her point. "Not. My. Type. Got it?"

"Damn, she schooled you, bro," Warrick said into the silence that descended onto the table. It held for another minute before Nick himself started to chuckle. "Maybe not boorish, but I'll give you young and drunk."

A wave of weariness washed over Sara as the conversation turned to Nick's friends. After a minute or two, she excused herself and headed to the restroom for a minute of quiet. Leaning over the sink, she splashed some cold water on her face, trying to restore some semblance of wakefulness. She jumped when she opened her eyes to Catherine's reflection in the mirror in front of her.

"Damn, Cath," Sara cursed as she tried to calm down, scrubbing her face with a paper towel.

"Sorry. Are you ok? You've been in here a while," Catherine explained, trying, for the moment, to avoid making it sound like she was asking about the dating conversation. Because if you ignore the elephant in the room, it will go away, right? Sara rubbed her face with her palms, and Catherine noticed the dark circles under her eyes and the exhaustion in her tall frame. I forgot she just got off a triple. Damn. "Of course you aren't," she said, answering her own question. "You need to go home and go to bed."

Sara felt a rush of energy bolt through her at the word, 'bed,' and she saw she wasn't the only one who had a sudden mental image as Catherine blushed and she found something extremely interesting in the bland grey cubicle wall, anything besides looking at Sara, who, exhausted and worn, still looks good enough to eat.

"Ummm, yeah, I should sleep," Sara agreed as she took a step closer to the blonde in front of her.

Catherine gave a nervous chuckle. "You know, I never really realized how convenient a women's restroom can be for, um…" She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

"Yeah, it can be… convenient."

Catherine couldn't resist closing the distance between them and pressing a soft kiss against Sara's lips. "I've been wanting to do that for 48 hours,' she sighed happily. "But you know the guys are already wondering what happened to us."

"Yeah, now might not be the best time for making out in the women's restroom at Denny's." Sara smiled smugly as Catherine's blush intensified. "Some other time, maybe."

Sara started to walk by Catherine to the door, when Catherine caught her arm and pulled her in for a deep, long kiss that left them both breathless. "Oh, you can count on that," she said, winking as she left Sara staring after her, speechless.


That night, Sara was out in the field almost all night, and Catherine wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I'm not ogling a co-worker, good. But I'm not ogling Sara, bad. No layout table fantasies, good. No form-fitting shirts, bad. Ability to speak because she's not in the room, good. Sara not being in the room, bad. She finally gave up her attempt to have the list give a definitive answer, since all it was making her think of Sara anyway, which she had to admit was bad for her concentration. Luckily, her case kept her attention most of the time, except for those odd moments when she was driving to the PD or waiting for lab results.

Catherine was disappointed when the end of shift neared, and she hadn't seen Sara at all. She bagged and tagged her evidence, putting it away for the next shift with a sigh of frustration before she headed to the locker room. As she walked by a row of lockers, she stopped dead at the sight of Sara pulling her shirt off, her black bra stark against the pale skin of her back. Forcing herself to close her mouth, Catherine pretended to be casual, especially since she knew Warrick was in the row beside them. "Oh, hey, Sara, I didn't see you around tonight. How, um, was your case?"

She jumped, and swung around, the shirt she was trying to button flying open at the movement. "Catherine, you have to stop sneaking up on me like that," her voice louder than normal as she tried to process that Catherine had once again surprised her and was standing there staring at her breasts. In the locker room at work, no less. She pulled the fabric of her shirt closed, giving Catherine a comical cut-it-out look as she motioned in the direction of Warrick. "You are going to give me a heart attack one of these days," she said, her voice returning to normal as she turned away from Catherine to button her shirt. "Our case is interesting, but nothing conclusive yet." Sara chattered about the case while Catherine opened her locker, taking out her purse. Warrick finally walked by, waving at the two women as he left.

Silence ensued as Sara's nervous chatter died, until they both closed their lockers and faced one another. "Ah…" "Umm…" "You want to try…" "Are you interested in…" "breakfast without the boys?" "getting something to eat?"

Sara erupted in peals of laughter first, Catherine joining her after a second. They sank down onto the bench beside each other, chortling heavily. Wiping the tears from her eyes, Sara glanced at Catherine. "I feel like I'm in high school again," she groaned, "and I really thought I left those days behind me."

Catherine hopped up, extending her hand to Sara. "Come on, let's go eat."


After the suggestion of a nightcap, Catherine found herself back on Sara's couch, nursing a highball of Scotch. Aware of the bed not 10 feet away from where they sat, Catherine kept a careful distance between them, once again unsure of herself. They were talking about music, the conversation light, and Sara seemed to find her cup of tea interesting because she was paying careful attention to dunking her teabag. A stray lock of hair slipped down from where it was tucked behind her ear, and Catherine reached over, marveling at the smooth, soft skin under her fingertips as she pushed the lock back into place. That one light touch was the necessary spark, as Sara's head snapped up, looking at Catherine with a startled expression.

Catherine took the cup of tea from Sara's hand, setting it on the coffee table without moving her hand from Sara's face, her thumb caressing Sara's cheek as her fingers curled under her chin. Sara's hand mirrored the movement, coming to rest on Catherine's neck as she pulled her closer. The space between them evaporated as they met in the center of the couch, lips and then bodies pressed tightly together.

Winding her arms around Sara's waist, Catherine slid her hands over the muscles of her back, feeling Sara shiver in response. Sara had pushed Catherine back against the cushions of the couch, using her advantage in height to tilt Catherine's head back and gain access to her mouth. She sucked her full lower lip into her mouth, pleased by the low moan in Catherine's throat. Catherine pulled the shirt out of the waistband of Sara's pants, finally stroking the skin like she had imagined in the locker room earlier.

But suddenly the pressure on her lips and body was gone, as Sara pulled back, a serious expression on her face. "Cath, should we slow down or something. I…" She didn't get a chance to continue, as Catherine took advantage of the opportunity to push her back into a sitting position, straddling Sara's thighs as she slid onto her lap. Pushing her hair and head back, Catherine smothered her words with her mouth and tongue. "You are so beautiful," she breathed into Sara's skin.

"Really?" The quiet question surprised Catherine.

She pulled her head up and floated her fingers along Sara's cheekbones, watching as the ghost of the touch made Sara's breath catch. "Really," she whispered when Sara's eyes sought hers. The serious look had returned as Sara gazed up at her and Catherine wondered what she saw. Unable to admit to insecurity, she fished for a complement. "What about me?"

A secret smile pulled at the corners of Sara's mouth in the pause before she spoke with quiet conviction. "You are beauty personified. The essence of beauty made flesh and placed here on earth for mere mortals to admire from afar."

Catherine forgot to breathe for long moments, and could only press a soft kiss on her lips in reply. Finally, she broke the silence, teasing, "Whatever school of sweet talk you went to, Sidle, wow, you are good."

"It was the truth. No need for sweet talk." Sara's fingers trailed up and down Catherine's spine, enjoying the feeling of her skin under silk. Licking her suddenly dry lips, she gazed up into Catherine's blue eyes, clouded with desire. "I always thought you were beautiful."


"Really. From the moment I met you." Catherine continued to run her hands through Sara's hair, caressing the back of her neck and shoulders with each pass. This time it was her turn to nibble playfully at Sara's lips.

"Sleep with me?"

Catherine laughed quietly at the question. "I think we're getting there."

"Sleep, no sex," Sara correctly quietly, hoping Catherine would understand, or at least not question. Catherine leaned down for another soft kiss, and then slipped off her lap, extending her hand to lead Sara to the bedroom.

Part 17

Out of habit that she had acquired from long practice, Catherine woke a few minutes before the alarm beeped, turning it off before it could wake the slumbering form beside her as she relaxed back into the warmth of Sara's arms encircling her waist and her body snuggled up against her back. Catherine smiled to herself when she remembered those last few clumsy moments before they had laid down, as Sara had verbally stumbled over how to offer pajamas, and her eyes widening comically when she turned to make the offer to find Catherine already beginning to undress.

"Um, Cath, you want… pajamas?" Catherine had already stepped out of her pants and thrown them over a chair back, watching Sara's nervous, but decidedly hungry look, as she watched her strip. Catherine fought the urge to perform a striptease, knowing that any provocation on either of their parts would send them both over the edge, and while Catherine wanted that, she also wanted to make sure it was the right time. Now is not the right time. But soon…

The quiet worry in Sara's voice when she had asked if they could sleep had warned Catherine not to push as hard as she wanted, and while she wished she knew what Sara was worried about, she had decided to let Sara tell her in her own way. "Yeah," she replied as Sara pulled out the linen pajamas out and started to rummage around in a drawer. Catherine moved to the foot of the bed, standing right behind the taller woman so she could wind her arms around Sara's waist. "Why don't we share?" she suggested, deciding that while she had agree to be good, she wasn't going to be too good. After all, she had her reputation to think about.

"Share?" Sara's voice was patently disbelieving.

"Yeah," Catherine whispered against her back as she slid her hands up so Sara's shirt slowly hiked up. "You told me you liked to sleep in boxers, so I assume that means you like to sleep topless." Catherine heard the audible gulp as she exposed more and more of Sara's skin to the chill air of the apartment. "And I like sleep shirts so… share." She whipped Sara's shirt off with a flourish, recreating the view from the locker room earlier.

"Cath…." Her nickname came out a cross between a warning and growl as she teased the smooth skin under her mouth with her tongue, nibbling delicately at Sara's shoulder.

"Please?" The teasing note in her voice left, and Sara caught the change.

"Ok," she agreed. "But I'll warn you, these scars are not pretty," she admitted, turning and trying to avoid self-consciously covering the offending area with her hands, the small pockmarks dimpling her arm and shoulder at irregular intervals. As if the body in question was not her own, Sara watched as Catherine ran her hands along the scar tissue that was slowly fading to a dull pink instead of the angry red. She was surprised when Catherine caught her eyes and purred, "You're beautiful," and even more surprised when a warm finger cut off her next words. "Really." Catherine's mouth replaced her index finger for a slow, lingering kiss. She finally let them breath, glad to see Sara's eyes glazed from the kiss, and she smirked as she said, "So, ready for bed?"

Sara's glare didn't quite hide her rueful grin as she handed Catherine the pajama top and watched as she pulled off her tight t-shirt.

They finished changing quickly after that and slid under the covers, snuggling their bodies together, Sara wrapped around Catherine's back and her face buried in the sweet, strawberry smell of Catherine's hair. Catherine had been surprised at how quickly she had dozed off, soaking up the heat from Sara's body. And here she was again, soaking in the warmth, but knowing she had to get up.

I could get used to this, Catherine thought as she ran her fingertips lightly over the back of Sara's hand, really really used to this. She still had a few qualms, and occasionally a voice in her mind questioned what she was doing getting involved with a co-worker, much less a female co-worker. She had never dated a woman before, and she had to admit she was surprised at how quickly she had transitioned from the idea to the actuality of being in Sara's bed, but then she thought of these moments and knew. This just feels so right. I don't know why, I can't explain it, but this is right.

Rousing from her ruminations, Catherine eased Sara's arm up so she could slide out of the embrace. Sara has the night off, and, pausing to look at peacefully face, I'm not going to wake her. Catherine risked a brush of her lips on her forehead, smiling at both the impulse and the fact that Sara slept through it, before changing her clothes and heading out to pick up her daughter.


Catherine's phone vibrated at her hip, an angry buzz that cut through the gossip she had been exchanging with Nick. With an apologetic look, she brought the phone up to her ear as she exited the break room. She hadn't checked the name, but she wasn't surprised to hear Sara's throaty voice on the other end.

"Missed you when I woke up." There was a pause on the other end and Catherine let her find her words. "I should be used to waking up alone, but suddenly, I'm not." There was a hint of self-deprecating laughter in Sara's voice, like the admission of wanting or needing someone was an admission of weakness, and Catherine understood. Everything was going so fast, and neither of them seemed to be able to put on the brakes.

Glancing around the hallway to make sure no one could overhear, Catherine sighed. "I never had such a hard time leaving someone sleeping in my life. Usually, I'm good at that," she admitted. "No strings, no complications…"

"Yeah." Another long pause stretched between them, as neither seemed to want to voice their thoughts.

Catherine finally broke it. "Sara?" I've got to be the one—I don't know what's going on with Sara, but she's terrified of getting hurt. The Gil thing, maybe, or that woman in San Francisco. Something…


"I miss you… I'm so used to seeing you at work." Should I tell her I wish I could walk in on her changing again? Mmmmmm…

"Hey," her usual greeting took on a deeper tone as Sara asked, "you wanna come by for breakfast? After shift? I slept so well, I was going to run to the grocery and cook… something."

Catherine could almost see her shrug her shoulder and her eyebrows shift down as she realized she didn't know what she was cooking, and her agile mind going over the list of things she might fix. "Whatever you fix sounds good. I'll see you about 8?"

"Sure." Catherine was surprised by the quick reply, as if Sara expected her to refuse. All the chasing I'm doing, and she's acting like I'm not interested? Catherine suppressed a sigh, and instead said, "I can't wait," putting all the warmth she could into her voice.

"Me too."

Catherine closed her phone reluctantly and turned, almost running into Warrick who had walked up behind her while she was on the phone. He laughed, shaking his head. "You too?"

When Catherine looked at him, puzzled, he explained, "First Sara gets a new guy, and now you? Love must be in the air."

Smiling a secret smile, Catherine nodded and her head and agreed, "Must be."


Work had been filled with the usual horrors, death and stupidity, including a teen dying of neglect. Catherine was actually glad she hadn't had Sara working with her that night, since Sara took domestic cases hard at times, and the case had been sad and sickening and Catherine was glad to leave it behind at work and just soak in the sunlight as she sat at the breakfast bar and watched Sara putting together a breakfast casserole. And even though her stomach growled, a different hunger dominated her thoughts.

"Stop that," came Sara's gentle admonition from where she stood with a whisk and a bowl, her back to Catherine as she bent over the kitchen counter, her hair pushed back behind her ears.

"Stop what?"

"Devouring me with your eyes." Sara finally turned to face Catherine, a knowing smirk on her face. "Besides, you'll ruin your appetite if you have your dessert before the meal."

Catherine let her eyes roam over the slim figure in front of her, the tattered, low-slung jeans, the tight crimson Harvard t-shirt, and licked her lips, "Dessert, huh?"

Sara's cheeks tinted pink, but stood her ground. "Maybe… if you clean your plate." Seeing the look in Catherine's eye, she said, "And if you have a hearty dinner, you'll have energy for later."

"Well…" Catherine drawled, "that's a more convincing argument than your first one."

"Uh huh." Sara turned back to her bowl, pouring the ingredients into a casserole, and completely missed Catherine padding up behind her. The brunette started when Catherine's arms circled her waist and her mouth fastened on her neck. "Hey!" Her body played the traitor as it relaxed back into Catherine's embrace. "I thought you said that second argument was convincing," Sara said weakly as Catherine's tongue teased her ear, her breath leaving her body in one long exhalation.

"I said it was more convincing, but not convincing enough," Catherine whispered against the warm skin of Sara's neck. She saw Sara catch her lip between her teeth and felt her weight shift back even further as she blew lightly in her ear.

"I need to work on my persuasion techniques, huh?" She turned in Catherine's embrace, her stormy dark eyes meeting Catherine's as she lowered her mouth.

"Let's just say I'm more persuasive," Catherine said as she wound her arms around, snagging the belt loops of Sara's jeans, keeping Sara's body tight against hers as she started a slow retreat to the bedroom.

Part 18

Catherine's slow walk back to the bedroom ended when her knees hit the edge of the mattress, and she toppled down, keeping her hold on Sara's belt loops so that the brunette fell on top of her. Releasing her hold at last, Catherine slid her hands up under Sara's shirt, enjoying how Sara squirmed against her as she dug her fingernails into the soft skin along her spine. Catherine hiked up her shirt more with every trip up and down her spine while Sara seemed content to feather light kisses along Catherine's cheekbones and eyelids. She was unsure how long they laid their, lazily touching, exploring and kissing, the touches and kisses light and airy but it seemed like hours before Catherine felt the kisses get more insistent. Funny, she thought, after all my impatience, I could lie like this forever. I've never felt so cherished, so special, so… loved.

Sara sucked her lower lip into her mouth and lightly sucked and nibbled at the soft flesh until Catherine's lips parted in invitation. The passion of that first deep kiss surprised her—given that she had been doing all the pursuit, Catherine had harbored fears that Sara wasn't as interested in what was happening between them as she was. But she tasted the raw need and want as Sara explored every inch of her mouth until she was breathless and moaning, digging her fingernails into the smooth skin beneath her hands and feeling Sara's back arch in response. The kiss ended, leaving both of them panting. "God, Cath…" Sara gasped, her voice a low, harsh whisper as Catherine twirled her fingers into Sara's hair and pulled her mouth back down.

This time, Catherine gave as good as she got, battling with Sara's tongue for the chance to explore in a competition to see who could cause the other to squirm, moan, or gasp as their hands got busier and more aggressive. When Catherine got too much of the upper hand, though, Sara would break the kiss and come at her lips from another angle, a strategy that worked until Catherine realized that being on the bottom afforded her easy access to long muscles of Sara's stomach and the swell of her breasts above. Flicking an experimental thumb across Sara's nipple, Catherine felt her stomach muscles contract and a sharp inhalation disrupt the assault on her lips, and she smiled her triumph.

"Cath…" her name came out a cross between a moan and a growl as she increased the speed of her thumb, alternating between quick, playful flicks across the sensitive flesh and gentle squeezes. Sara's labored breathing sounded in her ear as she sucked and nibbled at Catherine's neck, unable to hide the hitch in her breath every time Catherine's fingers discovered a new way to tease and touch. Catherine's fingers finally left her breasts, sliding up her back to finally rid her of the light cotton tank, but Catherine realized her strategic mistake when Sara's hands trapped hers above her head as she finished pulling the fabric off. One hand held her hands up while Sara's mouth descended further down her neck, along the collar of her shirt, and down between the swell of her breasts. Suddenly, it was her turn to squirm as Sara pulled her shirt down just enough to cover the tip of her breast with her mouth. Sara's warm breath began the subtle assault, followed by a gentle sucking and another breath that seemed to travel up and down her spine. She struggled, then, against the gentle restraint of Sara's hands, unable to be so still and passive as the fire raged up and down her body. Sara didn't relent, and Catherine could feel her smile against her tender skin. Sara moved between her breasts, using her mouth expertly, tongue, lips, and teeth playing along her flesh as Catherine moaned, wordlessly, mindlessly, lost in the sensations.

She had no idea how long she had laid there under Sara's mouth and hands before Sara moved back up her neck to her mouth, but Catherine was sure days had passed. She managed to catch a few breaths before Sara's mouth fixed on hers again. As she did so, Sara shifted her weight, and Catherine used the opportunity to flip her on her back, straddling the younger woman's hips with her legs as she smiled down at the beauty of Sara's eyes clouded by passion as well as her pert breasts. Sara watched as Catherine's smile turned teasing, and she reached for the hem of her shirt, pulling it up to show more of the skin at her waist, slipping it further and further up as she seductively ground her body against Sara's hips. When Sara reached to touch her, or pull the slowly inching shirt off her self, Catherine caught her hands and pushed them back against the mattress with a shake of her head. "You can't touch the dancers during a lap dance," she explained with a sultry smile before she began a different groove with her hips and shirt, raising the fabric until the bottom of her breasts were exposed. Sara's eyes followed each centimeter of exposure, feverishly, her fingers gripping the sheets tight enough to tear, as Catherine kept up her slow tease.

When she finally had the shirt off, Catherine leaned over, her hands catching Sara's to keep them above her head as she offered first her mouth and then her breast to Sara, who took advantage of the opportunity. She teased Sara for a while, until every touch of Sara's tongue made her breathless, and she slid down their bodies to lay on top of the taller woman, taking tiny pecks at her lips as she tried to regain control of her senses. Sara rolled them over again, resting her body between Catherine's legs as she returned to the light, soft kisses, slowing the tempo, as Catherine's fingers stroked her back, from her shoulders, down along her spine, to the smooth skin of her lower back, just inside the waistband of her jeans, until her hands ventured further south, sliding under the coarse fabric to cup Sara's ass and pull their bodies closer, incredibly close. The kiss deepened, and their movements began to take on a new urgency as Sara undid Catherine's trousers, her back arching to help as Sara shed the garments, her hands sliding around to undo Sara's button-fly.

Once they were both naked, Sara began another slow journey down Catherine's neck and body, stopping along the way to nuzzle her breasts and nibble on her hip bones, before kissing her way down her thighs and back up again. Catherine finally moaned her name, a pleading note in her voice, as she tangled her hands in Sara's hair, trying to direct her to the place that needed her attention most. She felt Sara's smile against her stomach as she teased her way lower, the tension in Catherine's stomach and back building with every kiss.

When her breathing finally calmed and her eyes opened, Catherine found Sara had gathered her in her arms, holding her tight as the tension drained from her body. Again, the feeling of being completely and utterly loved washed over Catherine, and she luxuriated in it. But the feeling of Sara's naked body against hers cut through the lassitude as she rolled over so she was facing Sara, pleased to see her sudden move surprised the woman beside her, a gasp escaping her lips as the speed of Catherine's recovery caught her off guard. Catherine slowly explored Sara's body with all of her senses, touching, tasting, and smelling as she learned the places and sensations that made Sara's body squirm or her breathing catch or her hips buck impatiently. When Sara's words had become one long pleading moan and her stomach quivered with the lightest touch of Catherine's fingers, Catherine finally gave her release, shocked by the loud groans and near screams issuing from Sara. Snuggling against her back, damp now with sweat, Catherine marveled again at how much she didn't know about this woman in her arms, and how she wanted to spend however long it took to find out everything about her.


The sun was shining into her eyes when she woke, her body surprisingly satiated and sore until Sara remembered what had happened that morning. Catherine was still curled around her, and she dropped her head back down to the pillow heavily. I can't move, she thought tiredly. I may never move again. Mmm, that would be nice, to lay here with Catherine forever. I wonder how we could explain that to Grissom. She smothered a chuckle at the thought of his expression, and Catherine woke to that huge smile lighting her face. She snuck a kiss over Sara's shoulder, pleased to see the smile widen even more for her. "Morning," Catherine whispered, not wanting to break the mood, her fingers already tracing a lazy circle along Sara's abdomen. When her hands reached up to cup her breasts, Sara laughed a little, breathlessly, and caught her wandering hands and pulled them back down to her stomach and held them still. Catherine slid up until Sara could see her pout and she tickled her fingers against Sara's skin.


"Sara," Catherine whispered as she leaned in to nibble on her neck.

"Mmm, Cath, you have to…." Sara's sentence was cut short by Catherine's tongue teasing her ear. "Uhhhhh, Cath…" she tried again, getting even fewer words out this time.

"Have to what?" Catherine asked conversationally as Sara's eyes rolled back in her head and she took advantage of her distraction to move her hands back to cup her breasts.

"Have… to… stop," Sara panted out between deep breaths.

"Why?" Catherine toyed with her body, finding this expressive, passionate side of Sara an unanticipated surprise, and one she wanted to see as much as possible.

"Work," Sara got out.

"What time is it?" She kept the conversational tone to her voice, knowing she was driving Sara crazy.

"Cath, please…" Sara pleaded, helpless as Catherine sought out her sensitive places with her hands, quickly building her up and loving the effect she had on the younger woman. When Sara could finally roll over and glare at her, a smile teasing the corners of her lips, Catherine managed her most innocent expression for all of three seconds before collapsing back into giggles.

"We now have less than an hour to get showered and get to work," Sara accused her, "and you have to run home."

Catherine sat up in the bed, letting the sheet fall off so Sara could see her in all her glory and was happy to see an appreciative gaze sweep over her curves. She leaned in and gave Sara a light kiss. "No, I don't. I'll shower at the lab." She hopped out of her bed and pulled on her clothes in an amazing show of speed. "I'll see you in an hour," she called as she headed out of the bedroom.


"So…" Greg broached the subject with Sara carefully, "what are you so happy about?"

She gave him a puzzled look. "What do you mean?" Sara had just made it into work with three minutes to spare, such an unusual occurrence for the workaholic who tended to be hours early for every shift that everyone was commenting on it. Coupled with her unusually sunny disposition and the rumors swirling around about a new man in her life, the lab grapevine was been buzzing for hours while she had been out in the field. When she had come in from working a solo B&E, still with a huge smile, Greg couldn't contain himself.

"So what's his name?"

He got the classic death glare that told him he wasn't getting anything out of her, so he finally gave her the results she was waiting for. Her trademark smirk replaced the huge smile for just a minute before she left his lab.

"So, do we know who the lucky guy is?"

"Huh?" Nick looked up from his results, the change of topic taking him by surprise. Warrick's eyes narrowed as he tried to follow Greg's line of thought.

"Sara's new guy. She's looking like a girl who just had got lucky, so there must be a lucky guy out there somewhere tonight."

"What?" Nick looked as confused as ever, while Warrick chuckled.

"You think Sara's in a good mood because she had, um…"

"I'm saying she's in a state of post-orgasmic bliss, yes," Greg stated firmly. Nick's eyes bugged as he contemplated what Greg was saying and he gulped. Warrick shrugged his shoulders, not being one to rule out anything.

"Who?" All three turned to see Hodges in the doorway of the lab. Greg blushed, and nobody answered, but Hodges looked at them with narrowed eyes. "You think Sara had sex?" Greg glared at him, but he just shrugged it off. "Could explain her mood," he said blandly, shrugging his shoulders again before disappearing from the doorway.

Part 19

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