DISCLAIMER: They're not mine, but they came to me and demanded to write this short story.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Sequel to Interested? and second piece in a till now untitled series.
FANDOMS/PAIRING: CSI/Cold Case   Sara / Lilly
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Meet the Geeks
By mirage


Lilly readjusted the shoulder strap of her dress and examined the result critically in the mirror. She turned to her right to watch her profile before she brushed over the fabric that covered her flat stomach. Like always when she was nervous, her hand involuntarily reached out to push a strand of hair back behind her ear.

In the small shop in Philadelphia the dress had seemed more fashionable, even extravagant in comparison to the clothes she normally wore, but here in Las Vegas, compared to the glitter of the city and its inhabitants, the light summer dress with its small flower imprint looked naïve and cheap. It hadn't been very expensive, but for someone like her who turned every penny twice before spending it, even the fact that she had bought a new dress for Las Vegas was a small miracle. A small miracle even she herself didn't understand.

Lilly stepped closer to the mirror and arranged a few strands of her bangs. For tonight she had decided to wear her hair loose, a look she only wore on seldom occasions. Seldom occasions like going out or really rare occasions like dates.

A smile played around her mouth and her gaze went to the small box that wrapped in simple blue paper and adorned with a golden bow rested on the table. She hadn't intended to get Sara a present, but when she had seen it she had known that it was perfect for her. And this time it didn't hurt her to spend money.

Lilly looked over at the clock on her nightstand. She still had some minutes before she had to go down. Sara had offered to come for her, but she had insisted that she would find the way down on her own. They had spent most of the last two days together and she had enjoyed every minute of it. But she couldn't shake off the feeling that she held Sara back. At their first breakfast, shortly after Sara had picked her up from the airport, the brunette had shoved a flyer marked with seminars and lectures in front of her. Sara had watched her closely over the rim of her coffee-mug and Lilly had smiled over the thoughtfulness of her friend.

It didn't take her long to figure out that Sara had only chosen events she thought might be of interest for the detective. Lilly had made her own selection, choosing only the most complicated sounding lectures and had pushed the flyer back. Sara had raised an eyebrow in question, causing the blonde to shrug. "If this is my program," she pointed at Sara's selection, "than this is yours." The only mutual lecture was Sara's. When the brunette finally understood her smiled broadened. In the end they had made a compromise.

But still Lilly couldn't get rid off her feeling, always wondering if Sara wouldn't prefer to discus newest theories with the professors and doctors that populated the conference, instead of babysitting a detective. Whenever they were at one of the lectures that were of interest for the CSI Lilly had enough time to watch her friend. She didn't even try to understand a single word that was spoken, enjoying silently the fascination and enthusiasm that emanated from Sara. Every now and then the brunette would lean over and whisper into her ear, telling her about a case or her own findings and opinion. Their heads only inches apart, Lilly would tilt hers nonetheless, Sara's soft curls tingling against her cheek. And even though Sara's eyes were still glued to the screen in front of them, showing complicated graphs only the CSI could decipher, Lilly would smile at her friend.

The definite highlight had been Sara's own lecture. Beforehand the brunette had been nervous, her long fingers fiddling with her index cards, but as soon as she entered the rostrum the lanky brunette had transformed, turning into this self-confident, all-knowing scientist. She had an answer to every question, a comment for every idea. Only once did the CSI falter when her colleague Greg snatched a picture of her at the end of the lecture. The glare he earned caused him to scoot down in his chair, hiding as far as possible. That didn't hinder Lilly to give him her card, asking him to send her the picture per email.

Once again Lilly tucked a few loose strands of hair behind her ear and checked her make-up.

It was time to go down.

With a last glance at the present, deciding that she would give it to Sara later and not at a party surrounded by strangers, Lilly closed the door and headed down to the ballroom.

Slightly nervous she entered the hall and scanned the room for Sara. The ballroom was already crowded well, making it hard for her to overlook the whole room. Lilly was sure that Sara was already there, the brunette was always on time. She had taken her time in her room, not only because she still mused if the dress was appropriate, but because she had wanted to give Sara some time to talk to some colleagues, tie professional important relations or just exchange the newest theories on criminal investigation.

Lilly craned her neck in an attempt to oversee the room. When she scanned the crowd for the third time she finally caught a glimpse of a lanky brunette at the other side of the hall. The brunette had turned her back to Lilly, but she would recognize the CSI anywhere. Even in the short time they had worked together in Philadelphia she had learned the way Sara moved. She sometimes appeared like her movements didn't come natural, but were a result of a conscious progress of thinking. The outcome looked awkward and strut, like a teenager which made her first moves in an unknown, grown-up world.

She lost sight of her again when Sara sat down, but it had been long enough for Lilly to have a direction. Lilly decided against the shortest way over the dance floor and walked around it. When she neared the table she noticed that most of Sara's friends and colleagues had already arrived. Besides Greg she remembered the other two men at the table. Sara had introduced them earlier at the conference. Whom she didn't recognize was the woman next to Warrick Brown, but, considering Sara's description, she couldn't be Catherine Willows. In addition the way Warrick's arm rested at the back of her chair indicated that they were intimate.

Lilly looked over at Sara who talked animatedly to Greg. As if she felt Lilly's eyes resting on her, the brunette looked up and a smile lit up her face, causing Lilly to smile back involuntarily. Seconds later she found herself in Sara's embrace.

"You look great," Sara said as she stepped back to get a better look at the detective and even though Lilly didn't share her opinion, she knew that the other woman was serious.

"Thanks," she stammered as Sara's eyes raked her body up and down. "You look great, too," She gave back the compliment.

Sara just waved her hand. "I never feel comfortable in dresses," She admitted and looked down at her black trousers and fitting shirt.

"Yeah, I've only seen her in a dress once," Greg interrupted. "When she lost that bet."

"And when she played bait for that serial killer," Nick added. Sara shot them both a glare, but only Greg seemed to notice that she didn't want to discus that matter.

She turned back to Lilly. "It's nothing. It was years ago," Sara explained at Lilly's shocked expression and lowered her head as her hand reached up to scratch her neck. "I freaked out and the guy was only interested in my wallet." She shrugged, but it didn't help to ease Lilly's sudden fear. Even though it had been a long time ago, long before she even knew Sara, the thought that Sara put herself in danger scared her. She knew that CSIs played a more prominent role in investigation in Las Vegas than in Philadelphia, but CSIs weren't supposed to endanger themselves, they were supposed to collect evidence, nothing more.

"Aren't CSIs only supposed to collect evidence?" Lilly winced at her choice of words, she hadn't meant to degrade their work.

"Yeah, really boring," Nick snorted. "We go to a scene, collect the evidence and head back to the lab to analyze it. Nothing dangerous about that," He said bitterly and took a swig of his beer.

The reaction of his colleagues told Lilly that there was more to Nick's words. Warrick clenched his hand, Greg starred at his friend his mouth slightly ajar and Sara's gaze was filled with sorrow before she lowered her head. A tension filled silence fell over the table, the only one unimpressed by this sudden change in atmosphere seemed to be Nick who leaned back with his bottle in the hand.

It was Warrick's companion who finally broke the silence. "Looks like my husband forgot to introduce me," she said with a side look to him, her hand rubbing soothingly over his. "I'm Tina, Warrick's wife." The woman extended her free hand with an open smile.

Everyone seemed thankful for the deflection and Lilly could hear as Greg took a deep breath. "I'm Lilly Rush from Philadelphia." She shook the offered hand.

"So you're here for the convention?" Tina asked.

"Yes, and to visit a friend." The last part was directed at Sara and Lilly noticed that the brunette smiled at her words.

"Take a seat," The brunette offered and motioned at the seat next to her own as she sat down again. Lilly followed the invitation and place her small purse next to her. "What do you want?" Sara asked as she waved for the waiter.

"A beer would be nice."

"Anyone else?" Sara asked, but Nick was the only one to raise his now empty bottle. They stared at each other silently till Sara took a deep breath, obliviously losing their battle. She showed the waiter her bottle and raised two fingers.

"So Sara," again it was Tina who provided the conversation. "Warrick said you did great this afternoon."

A proud smile played around Sara's lips, but she shrugged nonchalantly. "I think, I did okay." She gazed at her bottle, rolling it between her fingers.

"It was really fascinating," Lilly added. "I've learned a lot."

Greg snorted. "Trust me, it's only interesting for the first ten times you hear it, after that it's unbeaaaarable..." He prolonged the last word, underlining it.

His answer earned him a slap at his arm. "Ouch," he rubbed the place theatrically . "It's true, I had to listen to this lecture at least two hundred times. I could have done it." He glanced at Sara, still moping about her slap. "And I still think you should have used the joke."

"No way, I never would use that stupid joke about a toilet and a black hole." Sara shook her head vehemently, sending her hair flying.

"I would love to hear that joke," Nick said with a twinkle in his eyes, his earlier sudden change of mood forgotten.

"Yeah, me too," Warrick added. "Come on Greggo, enlighten us." He rested his arms at the table and leaned closer.

"Please no," Sara groaned and emptied her beer. "Oh great more beer," She greeted the waiter enthusiastically and took the two bottles. One she handed to Lilly, but as Nick reached for the second one, she kept it out of his reach and shook her head. "You listen to the joke." Sara raised the beer to Lilly smugly and the two of them clanked their bottles.

The brunette leaned closer and Lilly could feel Sara's hot breath on her skin and her hand on her back, eliciting a small shudder. "I'm glad you came," The CSI whispered before she took a deep gulp and leaned back contently in her chair.

Suddenly at loss of words Lilly just nodded and nursed her own beer. While the three colleagues teased each other and told embarrassing stories, Lilly just sat there, listening. It was different than when she went out for a beer with her boys. Although they had their share of jokes, it didn't feel as easy as between the CSIs. Maybe it was because they all were about the same age and shared a love for science. And there was another difference. They all looked like they just had stepped out of a fashion magazine. She chuckled as she imagined their department dressed up like that.

"Oh mama," Greg suddenly whispered, his glance directed at the dance floor.

The others followed his gaze. "Dressed to kill," Nick added appreciatingly.

Lilly looked over at Sara who just shrugged. "Catherine's entrance," She explained, pointing with her chin at a blonde woman in her forties coming their way.

Nick was right; the woman who headed their way was dressed to kill. Her short red dress clung to her body like a second skin, leaving nothing for imagination. In contrast to Lilly she didn't bother to walk around the dance floor, but walked right through it like she owned the place. Her movements were fluid, even in harmony to the music.

When she neared the table she flipped her blonde mane, conscious of the lustful gazes men and even a few women flashed her. Catherine positioned herself in front of the table, one hand challenging akimbo to her side. "Hi guys," Her eyes wandered over the men, lingering for a moment at Warrick, before she added like an afterthought, "and girls."

Lilly registered that she wasn't the only one who had noticed the lingering look at Warrick as Tina's eyes narrowed for a moment before relaxing again when her man pulled her closer with his arm still over her backrest.

Finally Catherine's gaze ended at Lilly, her eyes examining her up and down. Lilly suppressed the sudden need to lower he head and to fidget with her strap, wishing for the umpteenth time she hadn't chosen that dress. The smug smile that settled at Catherine's face unnerved her. Catherine had sounded out her territory. Still standing, the older woman extended her hand. "So we finally meet Detective Rush."

Lilly let her professional self surface and took the offered hand, feeling the pressure Catherine laid into the shake and answering with the same strength. "Yeah, finally a face to put to the voice," She answered, her blue eyes cold, remembering Catherine Willows who won their last battle. She wouldn't let a woman with an oversized ego humiliate her. For a moment they stared at each other before Catherine suddenly smiled and arranged her hair.

"Where's Grissom?" She looked around as she sat down on the only free seat, the one next to Lilly.

"He called earlier," Sara spoke. "Something about his bugs."

"So the drinks are on him?" Catherine asked and Warrick nodded. When Catherine saw that everyone was drinking beer, she shook her head disapprovingly. "Beer? You can't be serious. It's the third time he gave a lame excuse to skip, so kids the bill we'll present him should at least show him how good we can party." She stopped the waiter as he walked past their table. "Bourbon. Your best," she ordered before she turned back. "So what did I miss?"

"Greg told us a joke about black holes and toilets," Warrick explained.

"Thank god the babysitter was late." Catherine leaned back in her chair. "I can do without this joke. I already heard it from Hodges and it wasn't funny the first time."

The mention of this name caused a round of newest lab gossip and even though Lilly didn't knew the people they talked over, she enjoyed the harmless banter.

"Sara, did Wendy work with you in San Francisco?" Greg asked with a gleam in his eyes.

The brunette shook her head. "She was hired after I left."

"What a shame," Greg sighed, earning a suspicious glance from Sara. "I heard, over there you start your shift with hugs."

The blush that crept over Sara's face told Greg everything he needed to know. "Sara Sidle," he exclaimed, "I never knew you were hugging material." With a look and a wiggle of his eyebrows at his male colleagues he added, "Maybe we could start this tradition over here."

"Only if you don't need your arms in the next months. Complicated fractures heal very slowly," Sara threatened as Greg extended his arms, stopping him successfully.

"I though the hugging thing was just an excuse to hit on me," Catherine threw in.

"She what !?!" Greg leaned over the table in disbelief, his eyes big. Warrick on the other hand had to cough violently as he choked on his beer.

The smile that played triumphantly around Catherine's mouth showed that she had gotten exactly the reaction she had aimed for.

"Guys, think we could raise the level of this conversation?" Sara asked. "I have a guest here I try to impress with my smart colleagues. And guess what, I don't think it works."

"Don't pay heed to me," The detective from Philadelphia said and raised her hands. "I find this really interesting and informative." Her gaze locked with Sara's and again the brunette blushed, breaking the contact as she lowered her head.

"So you want information?" Nick chimed in, his eyes already glazy from alcohol. He rolled up his sleeves. "I can give you a lot of information about Miss Sidle over here."

"Don't you dare." Suddenly Greg's arms were around Sara, holding her down.

"Spill it Nick," Greg encouraged his friend as he started to tickle the brunette.

"Okay no more booze for you." The motherly side of Catherine emerged as she took Greg's and Nick's beers and put them out of their reach.

"Let me go Greg, or I tell everyone just how tiny your...." The rest was silenced as Greg's right hand covered Sara's mouth.

Everyone's eyebrows went up and Lilly felt a sudden pang of jealousy, wondering how Sara knew about the 'size' of Greg. "The decontamination shower was really cold. Very, very cold. At least I was a gentleman and didn't look."

"Sure man, very cold," Warrick snickered.

For the next hours they kept on teasing each other and Lilly learned a lot about Sara, she didn't know before. She learned that an experiment with a dead pig turned Sara into a vegetarian, that she could handle blood and stomach contents, but had to gag when she had to process spit. She even learned to smile to keep down the gag reflex. After a couple of more beers Greg even spilled that Sara had at least one tattoo, revealing that he hadn't been such a gentleman after all.

But instead of strangling him, Sara laughed out loud before she tilted her head and batted her eyes, playfully flirting with her friend. "What a shame you only saw that one."

If Catherine's earlier revelation had shocked the younger man, this one paralyzed him. When he finally found his voice again, he stammered, "What are you? The Angelina Jolie of the labs?"

Sara leaned forward, closer to her colleague. "You'll never know. You missed your chance." And just to tease Greg even more she brushed through his already messed up hair, tousling it even more.

The young man drew back, combing through his hair. "You ruined my hairstyle."

"Man, you have to have a hairstyle first for anyone to ruin it," Warrick grinned.

A new round of friendly bickering started again and it didn't take long before they started to share stories about their weirdest cases, a topic Lilly could keep abreast of them. Even Tina chimed in, revealing that nurses had their fair share of crazy incidents. Just as Tina was talking about a very gross case, a slow Country song could be heard from the dance floor, causing Nick to hum along to the lyrics, a blissful smile on his face.

Suddenly he jumped up, positioning himself in front of Lilly. "May I?" He asked and offered her his hand. When she hesitated he added, "Please, or I have to ask Sara and she is a miserable dancer."

A feeble protest could be heard from the brunette beside her and even though Lilly wasn't a keen dancer, she couldn't turn down the hopeful brown eyes that were directed at her. After a few moves she had to admit that Nick was a great dancer, leading her skillful over the dance floor. The rest of the table joined them, the married couple slowly and in synchrony, while Greg and Sara joked around, both of them not very familiar with traditional dance moves.

Lilly watched as Sara laughed and threw her head back, before she shook her head about a silent offer from Greg. The brunette seemed to vibrate with life and despite Nick's earlier words danced fluidly to the rhythm, revealing a side of her personality Lilly had never seen while they worked together. Back in Philadelphia most of the time the brunette seemed very self-conscious and careful about every move she made. Only on rare occasions she had seen a glimpse of the carefree person, she now could so openly observe. It had been these smiles and the sparkles in her dark eyes as well as the dedication she showed for her work and the victims that caused Lilly to feel a connection to the brunette she still couldn't completely decipher.

It was then that she realized that as much as she loved the conversations on the phone that those couldn't compensate for the real thing. Back in Philadelphia she would miss the brunette even more.

The song stopped and the music changed to a faster rhythm. A rhythm both of them, Lilly as much as Nick, preferred to skip. They separated when Nick offered to get them drinks from the bar.

She stayed back and searched for Sara when a pair of arms snaked around her waist and a breathless voice that whispered into her ear caused her to lean back into the embrace. "Why so sad?" the CSI asked and Lilly shook her head.

"Nothing," She answered instead.

Sara turned the detective around, searching the answer in her eyes. "You're sure?"

Lilly nodded. "Just a little tired that's all," She tried to reassure Sara. It even was the truth, at least some of it. Sitting in uncomfortable chairs for almost three days and listening to very theoretical lectures, had taken their toll. She looked at the CSI. Her cheeks were flushed form her dance with Greg, but her eyes were clouded with concern. Concern for her.

"You want to go to your room?"

The blonde shook her head. "No I'm not that tired. And it's our last night together." Lilly smiled shyly, Sara's flush deepening at her words.

"You want something to drink?" Sara offered as they went back to the still abandoned table to sit down.

"That's not necessary. Nick already offered." Lilly's eyes went to the bar, searching for Nick. She finally found him at the end of the bar, deeply absorbed in a conversation with a blonde in a very tight black dress.

Sara's eyes followed her gaze. "Doesn't look like you'll get your drink any time soon. She's exactly his type and she looks interested," She said as the blonde at the bar laid her hand on top of the CSI's lower arm.

Lilly tilted her head and looked up at Sara. "And what would be your type?"

Sara concentrated on her empty glass, her finger circling the rim. She took her time before she answered and Lilly feared she might have overstepped a boundary when the brunette finally answered, "Someone I can trust, who I can turn to after a tough shift. Someone who will let me close." Realizing that the atmosphere had turned serious, she added as an afterthought, "smart and good looking won't hurt either." Her laugh was guttural, but didn't reach her eyes.

Lilly's hand reached out to stop Sara's finger rounding the rim again. "Isn't that what we're all searching for?"

"For some it's just easier to find them." Sara gazed at the dance floor where Warrick and Tina where still dancing, their bodies close to each other. There was a longing in her eyes Lilly could understand just too well.

"You'll find your perfect one." She gave Sara's hand a squeeze and waited till the brunette looked at her. "And till then, whenever you feel like it you can call me and tell me all about your day. Even about liquid decomps before breakfast." The last sentence earned her a real smile from her friend.

Sara took a deep breath and leaned back in her chair. "We definitely need to lighten up the mood." Her hands rubbed over her thighs. "So how is Vera?"

"He's fine. Grumpier than normal, but fine." Lilly crossed her legs and smoothed out her dress.

"Why's that?" Sara asked with true interest. She and Vera had met in Philadelphia and even though no one could understand why, they had liked each other from the first minute.

"He's on a diet."

They stayed on light conversation, enjoying to be together and not thinking about tomorrow when Lilly had to go back. Only when Tina and Warrick returned to the table to say their good-byes they noticed how much time had past. The hall had emptied, leaving behind only the hard-core party-goers and them.

"Yeah, I probably should get Greg and Nick home." Sara looked over at her colleagues who had settled down at the bar. "What are they, twelve?" The brunette asked with played desperation in her voice as she saw the looks the two very drunk men gave two women. "I should get them home before they get themselves into trouble."

Warrick, after a silent nod from his wife, waved his hand dismissively. "Don't worry, we'll take care of them." He looked around. "What about Catherine?"

"She left hours ago with that CSI from Chicago." Lilly had lost sight of Catherine after a handsome looking man had asked her to dance with him, but it looked like Sara had paid closer attention. "Don't worry about her, she'll find a place to sleep tonight," The brunette stated.

"So that just leaves the kindergarten over there. It was nice meeting you, Lilly." Warrick gave his wife a kiss on the cheek before he walked over to the bar to collect his two drunken friends.

"Maybe we'll meet again." Tina leaned down and hugged Lilly. The blonde was slightly surprised about the gesture, but returned it. The nurse then followed her husband and the two remaining women watched amused, how Warrick tried to get Greg and Nick to stand upright and maneuvered them out of the bar, Tina behind them carrying their jackets.

A yawn escaped Lilly and Sara watched with a crooked smile how the blonde tried to hide it. Her hand rested on Lilly's shoulder, the touch cold on the blonde's heated skin. She shuddered slightly, a sign Sara misinterpreted. "Let's get you to bed. I don't want you to sleep over your pancakes at breakfast."

"I won't sleep if my company is entertaining enough," Lilly answered with a smirk.

"Well then I should ask Greg to join us," Sara said pouting and got up.

"I think you will manage, I'm not that demanding."

Sara opened her mouth, but closed it again when she didn't know what to retort. Lilly crossed her arms over her chest, challenging the other woman with a triumphant smile. Sara turned on her heels and headed for the elevators. "The Elvis imitator at the café can entertain you," She muttered under her breath, but loud enough for Lilly to hear. When she was sure that the detective was following her she turned around. "I tell him you're a huge fan and give him an extra, so he can sing for you through your whole breakfast."

"Don't you dare!" Lilly laughed as she reached out to grab the other woman, but Sara dodged out of her reach and sprinted to the elevators, giggling like a high-school girl.

Lilly chased after the other woman and just reached the elevator as the door was about to close. The blonde slipped through the closing doors and leaned against the opposite wall next to Sara. Slightly out of breath the detective brushed a strand of her blonde hair out of her face and tucked it behind her ear. She looked over at Sara and the brunette returned her gaze. As soon as the two women looked at each other, they started to giggle again. Sara shook her head, broke the contact and looked up at the roof. She rolled her eyes and muttered something that sounded like "I can entertain."

This triggered a new round of giggling from Lilly that only increased when the brunette glared at her. "If you want to entertain me, you can show me your tattoos," Lilly said impishly between two laughs.

"You're just like Greg," Sara accused her and crossed her arms over her chest. Her features softened as her dark eyes once again rested at Lilly. "But you're better looking."

The comment successfully stopped Lilly's giggling. She opened her mouth to reply, but closed it again, when the elevator stopped and the door opened to reveal Lilly's floor. Sara pushed herself off the wall and stepped out of the elevator. With a nod of her head she motioned the blonde to follow her and gave her a full gap-toothed smile.

The thick carpet muffled their steps as they walked down the floor silently, both women absorbed in thoughts.

"I had a wonderful night," Lilly finally broke the silence.

The brunette looked at her skeptically, one perfect curved eyebrow raised. "Lab gossip and embarrassing stories?"

"I learned a lot about you tonight."

A sad expression whooshed over the other woman's face, but it vanished as fast as it had emerged. "Sometimes it's better not to know everything." It wasn't the first time that Lilly wondered if anything happened to Sara in her past. Their pasts were a topic they didn't touch often in their telephone conversations. She had told the brunette as much about her past as she told everyone, but Sara had only revealed the basics. That both her parents had died and that she hadn't had contact to her brother in a long time.

"I liked everything I've learned so far." Lilly hoped that Sara understood the truth behind her words. No matter what might be buried behind these dark eyes, it couldn't keep her from wanting to spend more time with the brunette. Time she didn't have.

"Here we are," Lilly announced sadly as the reached her room and leaned against the wall. She didn't move to retrieve her room key form her purse, but looked at Sara, her clear blue eyes locking with bottomless brown eyes.

Something changed in Sara's expression as if she had just made an important decision. Slowly like she wanted to give Lilly the possibility to stop her, she entered the blonde's personal space.

Lilly blushed and lowered her head like a small school-girl waiting for her first kiss. Her eyes widened slightly as she realized that it was exactly what she was waiting for. The thought scared and excited her at the same time and she held her breath as Sara, without ever breaking the eye-contact, took one step closer to her.

Lilly swallowed at the serious expression on Sara's face. The brunette rested her left hand next to Lilly's head on the wall and hovered slightly above her. They were now close enough for Lilly to feel Sara's warm breath against her cheek like a faint caress. The dark brown orbs held her captive and she read the unvoiced question, the plea in them.

She closed her eyes, but tilted her head slightly to give the brunette better access. Her heart beat painfully against her chest in the agonizing long moment it took Sara to lower her head down to her.

A startled, sharp intake of breath was heard from Lilly as Sara's lips met hers before she relaxed, her lips tingling with the soft touch of Sara's lips. Lilly's hands reached up, but stopped mid-motion as Sara's teeth nibbled softly at her lower lip, asking for permission to enter.

Unconsciously Lilly's head rose from the wall in the effort to feel more of Sara's lips, her hands placed tightly against the wall, giving her the support she needed.

Her nostrils were filled with the faint smell of latex as Sara's fingers brushed over her cheek. The sweetest fragrance Lilly could think of.

As soft and careful as her fingers brushed over her skin, Sara's tongue stroke hers. Lilly's breathing stopped as she realized that this was more than an innocent kiss in the middle of an abandoned hotel floor in the first hours of the morning, but that Sara was asking for more than she was able to give.

Lilly's body went rigid and the sudden change didn't go unnoticed by Sara as the brunette stopped and pulled back. She saw the question and fear in Sara's dark eyes and it hurt Lilly to know that she had put it there.

The taller woman's hand left her cheek and Lilly shuddered slightly as the cold of the air-conditioned hotel floor hit her heated skin. She looked down at the floral design of her dress, her hand brushing unconsciously a strand of her hair back behind her ear. "I can't," she whispered, unable to look intro Sara's eyes, but she didn't need to look up to notice the staggered step back Sara made or to hear the deep, but rattled breath Sara took. "It was a mistake." She shook her head and fumbled for her door-card, the damn thing apparently not to be found in her small purse. Her fingers fumbled frantically through the contents till they finally rested against the smooth surface of the plastic key.

Relieved she slid it hastily into the lock and opened the door. As she closed the door behind her she rested against it, her beating heart loud against the sudden silence. She took deep breaths, willing her wild beating heart to slow down. Her otherwise sharp mind was blank, overwhelmed by varying emotions.

This was wrong.

A mistake.

It had taken her years to achieve what she had now. It wasn't much, but enough for her and suddenly in the middle of the night at the floor of a hotel, her world was turned upside down, all her beliefs crumbled. Her life was complicated enough without the kiss she just had shared with the female CSI from Las Vegas. She didn't need more risks, more adventures in her life. She had fought her whole life for some stability. A very shaky stability if a simple kiss could destroy it.

She didn't want to lose Sara. In the short time since she got to know the brunette she had taken a special place in her life, but she couldn't give her what she wanted. She only liked Sara as a friend, nothing more. She couldn't be more.

The emotions she felt as they kissed were born out of the moment. The affection she felt for Sara were deep, maybe even love, but love for a dear friend, not for a potential lover and partner.

Lilly shook he head in the attempt to get her head clear and to silence the antagonistic thoughts and emotions. She unzipped her dress and let it slip to the floor, took her hairband from the nightstand and pulled her hair into a ponytail before she walked to the bathroom and filled the sink with cold water. A deep breath and she dove her face into the liquid, concentrating only upon the biting pain of the cold water. Only when oxygen became an issue she emerged again.

Her gaze fell onto her reflection in the mirror. Her make-up smeared, her face angry red and wet strands of hair clinging to her, she looked pathetic and lost.

Angry at her own weakness, Lilly turned around and leaned against the sink. With the white towel, the hotel had placed at its guests' disposal, she wiped the last remains of her make-up off. The towel still pressed against her face, she inhaled the fabric softener. It smelled clean, helping her to calm her nerves.

She needed time to think, time to analyze the situation, to find a solution and maybe save her friendship with Sara. But so close to the brunette, in this foreign city she couldn't think. Las Vegas was the wrong place for this. She needed familiar surroundings somewhere she felt safe.

On the chair next to her bed laid the suit, she had intended to wear in the morning. Lilly grabbed the dark blue pants and put them on. Her light blue blouse followed next, but her fingers stopped after she had buttoned up the first button. Suddenly exhausted she slumped down on her bed and rested her arms on her knees.

Tears were burning in her eyes and Lilly shut them tight, refusing to be overwhelmed by her emotions once again. After a few moments she felt composed enough to open them again and blinked twice to focus again. She strengthened up and allowed her professional self to emerge the second time this night. With new determination she reached for the phone and dialed the reception.

She had already packed the few things she had brought along for the trip when the receptionist called back to inform her, that the airline had been able to change her booking to the earliest flight back.

She was up in the air, somewhere between Las Vegas and Philadelphia at the time of her last breakfast with Sara. Deep down Lilly knew that it wasn't fair to have left without a proper explanation, but only a few words scribbled down onto the small card, she had left at the reception for Sara.

But how could she explain something she didn't understand herself?

Lilly closed her eyes and leaned back into her seat, ignoring the man in the seat next to her who tried to start a conversation.

She wanted to sleep, forget just for a short time what had happened. But as far as she went, she couldn't flee the look of hurt in Sara's eyes and the feel of her lips on hers.

The End

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