DISCLAIMER: "CSI: Crime Scene Investigators," the characters, and situations depicted are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer Television, Alliance Atlantis, and CBS Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "CSI: Crime Scene Investigators," CBS, or any representatives of Jorja Fox or Louise Lombard.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: So when I first got my set of prompts, I was totally stoked. I liked all three, and I had some great ideas going in my brain. And then I got busy at work and put the story ideas on the back burner. Bad idea. My muses don't like being set aside like that. And so suddenly it was time for my story to be due, and my muses had wandered off. Thankfully, I've had two relatively quiet days at work, and Sofia just started babbling at me. Thankfully, she allowed me to work in all three prompts in my story. That so rocks! I certainly hope my recipient likes this story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
SPOILERS: 5x13 "Nesting Dolls" and vague references to 5x7 "Formalities" and 5x9 "Mea Culpa"
CHALLENGE: Submitted as part of the Sara/Sofia 'Let's Get Sassy' ficathon.
WEBSITE: ShatterStorm Productions Frisked & Conquered.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

 

Misunderstandings
By A. Magiluna Stormwriter

 

"Why do you keep doing this?"

Startled, I glance up from the photos I've been studying to see Sara standing rigidly in the doorway. "I'm sorry? What are you talking about?"

She looks exhausted, like she hasn't slept in days. I suppose that's not surprising. This is Sara Sidle after all. I don't remember what her record is for hours worked straight, but she's looking like she's tripled that record right now. Plus? There's the fact that the whole lab knows she got suspended for her outburst with Catherine.

"You're checking up on me?"

Ahh. Now I see what's going on. "Not in the way you're thinking, no."

I never could have guessed her posture could get any more rigid, but I'm watching her do it right now. It's as if her spine's become a piece of re-bar. That's not as startling a change as the look in her eyes. I've only seen that defensive, wounded look in the eyes of an abused stray before. It just about breaks my heart.

"What way is that, Sofia?"

Biting back a sigh of frustration, I push away from the table. "Look Sara, I'm really not in the mood for a fight with you, okay? I just wanted to make sure you were okay. Despite what you may think, I have no ill will against you or the rest of this team. In fact, I rather like you. Well, when you're not so damned focused and insular, that is."

"Excuse me?" There's that belligerent, defensive tone again.

"Look, I just wanted to make sure you're okay," I repeat, feeling the frustration grow despite my best intentions. "Suspensions are kind of a big deal for this team. They practically never happen, so people talk. I got concerned and wanted to see if there was anything I could do--"

"I don't need your pity."

"Did I say it was pity?" I retort sharply. "You're not even supposed to be here right now, Sara. So how about accepting the friendly concern and going home to chill out?"

"Fuck you." The words are more of a growl than anything else.

"Love to, but not when you're like this," I snap back. "Now get the hell out of here and let me do my job. I don't need Ecklie coming down on my ass because you're breaking the rules."

I return to my work, trying to ignore her seething at me, but I'm still painfully aware when she stalks off. That's when it hits. The tail end of our conversation runs through my mind, and I can feel the flush of anger and embarrassment. Obviously, I spoke without thinking and said something I shouldn't have. Hopefully Sara didn't notice exactly what I said. For once, maybe her anger will work to my benefit.

I'm not proud of my attraction to Sara; in fact, I've done everything I can to stop it. I mean, leave it to me to fall for another straight girl. This is my unfortunate lot in life: clingy psychos and straight girls. There's a reason I don't date much.

But I thought Sara was different. When she's in the right mood, she's fun and, dare I say it, flirtatious. But those moments are far too rare for me. Those moments are what make me want her like I've never wanted another woman before. And then she gets into these sullen moods where I want to either protect her or slap her. There's very little middle ground where Sara's concerned.

Shaking my head, I force my thoughts and focus back to the case I'm working. No sense in getting behind because Sara rattled me. Again.


The sensation of my phone vibrating against my hip startles me out of the reverie I've let myself wander into. The combination of looking through this cold case and dealing with my brush with Sara has thrown me completely into auto pilot. Good thing Ecklie's not usually around this time of night.

I head into the break room for some of Greg's good coffee before wandering down to see what Mia's got for me. Hearing voices, I slow down to see what's going on before making my presence known. Conversations still have a tendency to die out quickly when I enter a room.

"I don't think that's a fair assessment, Catherine."

"On come on, Nicky," she replies. "It's not like it's any kind of secret that the two of them get preferential treatment. They both make cow eyes at Gil and he bends over backwards."

Despite my curiosity at swing shift still being here at nearly four in the morning, I can't help but feel indignation at what I'm sure is a dig against Sara and me. How dare she say that sort of thing when she gets away with the same shit she's bashing us for? Oh that's right. She's Ecklie's pet project now. I wonder how long it will take before he starts the condescending come-ons with her.

"Well, all I'm saying is that I don't think Sara should be fired for expressing her beliefs."

"Nick, she accused me of using sex to get information from suspects!"

"Yeah," comes that slow drawl. "And you're denying it? Come on, Cath, we both know you've done it. Why get all pissed about it now all of a sudden? Just 'cause she called you on it?"

"Because I'm her supervisor."

"No, you're my supervisor. Grissom's her supervisor."

"Whatever. She shouldn't have done it in public."

"Maybe she was just defending herself after you attacked her in public?"

Two sets of eyes turn to stare at me; the brown eyes are curious, the blue are deadly. Oh shit! I actually said that out loud. Fuck!

"I don't think I asked for your opinion," Catherine growls dangerously at me. "This is a private conversation."

"Then have it in your office, not the damned break room. You'd think that would be a given to a shift supervisor."

"Well at least I didn't get myself demoted."

"Yet," I reply, pouring my coffee. "When you do, I'll expect an apology. Until then? Worry about your own shift, okay?"

"Whatever. Come on, Nicky, we've got work to do," she huffs, heading for the door with Nick following in her wake.

"Oh, and for the record, Catherine?" I can't help firing off one last shot. "Sara's right. You manipulate men with your sexuality to get what you want. I just hope it's worth all of the consequences in the end."

"Sofia? Catherine? Is there a problem?"

At the sound of Gil's voice, our Mexican standoff is interrupted. Catherine glares at me again but turns a tense smile on her old boss. "Difference of opinion, Gil. Come on, Nicky." And with that, she leaves the break room.

The look on Gil's face is almost comical in its utter lack of comprehension. "Okay… Sofia, are you free for a moment?"

Not sure I want to deal with him just yet, I fall back on my original plans before I stepped into this room. "I was actually going to get some results from Mia. Can I stop by your office after I'm done?"

"Sure. No rush." And then he wanders off again in typical Gil Grissom fashion.


Thankfully, there were no further run-ins with Catherine by the end of my shift. I'm quite sure Ecklie will want to speak with me when I come back from my days off. And that's fine. Catherine can cry to him all she wants. She's only going to hang herself with that rope in the end.

As I get into my truck, I can see something fluttering under the windshield wiper. My curiosity gets the better of me and I grab for it. I can't deny the very real desire to find out who's spamming cars at the PD of all places. Imagine my surprise when I recognize Sara's distinctively cramped handwriting on the envelope bearing my name.

Will wonders never cease? Sara Sidle apologizing? Wow… I don't even want to consider what this is doing for my attraction to her.

Taking a deep breath, I fish out my own cell phone and punch in the number already committed to memory. God, I'm hopeless… I can't commit details from a crime scene to memory this quickly.

"Hello?"

She sounds like I just woke her up, like sex and sleep. Oh my…

"Hi, Sara," I say softly. "It's Sofia. I got your note."

"Oh. Hi. Shift's over already?"

"Yep. Gil cut me loose for the day. Did I wake you up?" When she mumbles her assent, my mind supplies me with images of how she must look. "I'm sorry, Sara. I can call you back later."

"No! It's okay, really. Um…"

I can hear her fidgeting, can picture the look of concentration as she tries to figure out what to say.

"Tell you what, Sara. You sound too sleepy to drive, so I'll come get you and you can treat me to breakfast. How's that sound?"

"Great! Thanks, Sofia."

The relief is strong in her voice, and I'm lost in that sound as she directs me to her apartment building. Once there, I chew nervously as the inside of my cheek while waiting for her to change clothes and come down. Try as I might, I can't completely quell the feelings I have for Sara. The very thought of her in various stages of undress as she gets ready for our breakfast together has my brain in overdrive. This is so unprofessional right now, and I know that, but I can't help myself. Maybe breakfast was a bad idea after all. No, it was Sara asking if there was any way she could make it up to me. I can think of several ways, but none of them are platonic, outside of breakfast in a public place.

When Sara comes up to the truck, I can see she's looking almost as nervous as I feel. Well, that certainly helps. Jeans and a t-shirt have never looked so good.

God, I'm hopeless!


"So…" I say slowly when the waitress walks away with our order. I don't bother to hide my smirk at the sight of Sara futzing with her silverware. "You said something about making it up to me?"

"Yeah, that…" She nervously tucks some hair back behind her ear. "Look, Sofia… I overreacted, okay? It's just been a really rough couple of days, you know?"

"Suspensions can do that to a person," I reply as neutrally as I can. "For the record? I think you're right about Catherine, and I told her as much. Whether you overstepped the line with her or not, she's not exactly blameless and shouldn't be acting like you mortally wounded her."

Sara sighs and drops her head into her hands. "Damn it, this is so not good."

Before I realize I'm doing it, I reach over to gently touch her arm. "Sara, I know enough about you to know that you're very passionate about what you believe in. Yes, that's gotten you into trouble before. So what? Gil believes in you and your work. So do I, for that matter. You're a good CSI, and you're an incredible advocate for the victims. If Catherine and Conrad Ecklie can't see that, they're idiots."

"You mean that?"

"Of course, I do. I don't say things I don't mean."

An odd look crosses her face at the same time that I realize I'm still holding her arm. I try to pull my hand back, but she grabs it with her own. "Really?" I instantly recognize that tone as the one she uses to tease the guys. Fuck! "So you meant it when you said you'd love to fuck me?"

Now it's my turn to drop my head into my hand. My mother warned me that my mouth might well get me into trouble one day. And here it is. Just need to remember that she's straight, and so not available to me. "Look, Sara…"

"Are you saying you lied?" she asks, squeezing my hand. "Because if you did, then you just lied to me again."

I close my eyes as the images of doing just that assault my brain. I need to figure out what to do at this point. I've really stepped in it, haven't I? I take a deep, fortifying breath to clear my mind and raise my head to meet her gaze. The fact that there's no recrimination in those expressive eyes is a good sign, right?

"I didn't lie," I murmur, embarrassed by the flush burning my skin.

"I'm sorry. I don't think I heard you. Could you repeat that?"

I narrow my eyes at the amusement in hers, but do as she's asked. "I said I didn't lie. But, Sara, I know you don't return the sentiment, and that's okay. I've worked hard to keep our work relationship as professional as possible, and I'll continue to do so. I'm not going to corner you in your lab and make out with you or anything like that."

"Pity."

I'm quite sure that whooshing noise is the sound of my jaw dropping open; that, or my brain completely flushing out of my skull. Did she just say what I think she said? "What? But you're straight."

Sara's delighted laughter has more than a few patrons turning to look our way. Great! That's all I need. "Sofia, what on earth ever gave you that impression?"

"I--"

I'm saved from answering her when the waitress brings our food. Sara digs in with gusto, and I do the same. She's watching me the entire time we eat, this amused expression on her face. I try to ignore her as I eat, but I can't help myself. Did Sara just admit to me that she might share my feelings?

As we both finally clear our plates, she drops several bills on the table and gets up, tugging at my hand. "Come on, Sofia, let's finish this conversation somewhere else."

Still dumbfounded, I follow her out of the diner and back into my truck. I sit there for a long moment, staring at her, and try to figure out if she's pulling my leg or not. "Sara…"

Before I can say anything else, she leans across and pulls me close as her lips seek out mine. I want to pull away and ask her what the hell she's doing, but my body simply won't let me. I tug at her arms, trying to bring her closer to me, as her tongue flicks at my lower lip. This is so much better than I'd ever imagined it could be. I don't want it to end…ever.

When she pulls back, I swear I let out a whine like a petulant four-year-old losing her favorite candy. This elicits a throaty chuckle from the woman who's starred in some of my more erotic dreams of late. "Take me home, Sofia. We'll continue this then."

Her words trickle through the lusty haze that is my lizard brain. "No."

"No? Sofia, what's--"

"We can't do this, Sara." What in god's name am I saying? "You don't have to do this to repay me or anything."

"Sofia!" she growls, tugging none too gently at my hair. "My reaction is not some sort of gratitude. I like you. I'm not straight. I've wanted to kiss you like that for quite a while now."

"But you were so angry with me last night."

"Well, yeah, you pissed me off."

"But… I'm so confused," I whine, rubbing at my forehead in confusion.

"Okay, let me try this again." She takes a deep breath and smiles at me. "I've been attracted to you for a while now. I've also been fighting it because of the whole investigation thing of Ecklie's. I don't like people digging into my life, personal or professional. And the anger and attraction have been ducking it out in my head this whole time. When Grissom told me to figure out my issues with you because you're part of the team now, I spent several hours thinking about this. And then I came back and left the note for you."

"What made you change your mind?"

She shrugs nonchalantly, but I can see the effort that apparent ease requires. "I used to have the same love-hate relationship with Catherine. It never went anywhere, but it fueled a helluva lot of fights between us…and some of the best work I've done. Grissom asked me if I noticed anything in common between you and Catherine besides my being pissed at you both. And when I figured it out, it seemed so obvious. And I felt like a total ass. I mean, I know we'll have to do a lot more talking and figuring out our boundaries, but I think it's worth the risk. And you should know me well enough to know I don't take personal risks easily."

She tucks hair behind her ear again; the gesture makes her look so damned adorable, and I can't help myself. I tug her close for another kiss. After all, this is what I've wanted for how long now? I want so much more, but it'll have to wait until we get somewhere more private. I don't intend to share this side of Sara with anyone else.

The End

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