DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Catherine sat at her desk, just staring at the paper work she was supposed to be doing. All she could think about was the argument she had just had with Sara. Yes, the two of them always fought but this time it as different. This time she was afraid she had crossed the line. Catherine just could not get the look in Sara's eyes, the pain that she caused, out of her mind. She knew she should apologize, but felt like it was just too late, that and Sara was called to a scene and probably would not be back anytime soon.
Sara could feel Grissom's concerned stare but was working hard to ignore it and do her job. It was bad enough she had almost let Catherine see her cry, but she sure as hell was not going to break down in front of Grissom, not again. Unfortunately, the stare was getting to be too much. Sara stopped what she was doing, but did not turn around. "Am I doing something wrong?"
"No." Sara now turned and glared at Grissom. His expression did not change so she just turned back around, attempting yet again to ignore her boss. "What happened with Catherine today?" Ugh, thought Sara, of course he would bring up Catherine. "You guys sounded like you were having a serious argument."
"It was nothing Griss. Don't worry about it." Grissom nodded and walked off to a different room just as Sara sighed. What did happen with Catherine?
Sara walked into the break room and saw Catherine staring off into space. The two of them seemed to be on a truce of sorts so she went ahead and sat next to her on the couch. "Hey Cath." Catherine looked at Sara but did not say anything. Okay, now I know something is wrong. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine Sara. Is there something you need?"
"No. I just saw you sitting by yourself and thought I'd keep you company." Catherine snorted at that as she brought her legs up and sat cross legged. "Why does that warrant a snort? I know we are not the best of friends-"
"Which I'm sure you blame entirely on me."
Quite the opposite actually, Sara thought. She slipped her shoes off brought her knees up to her chest, settling her mug on them. "I don't blame it all on you." Catherine looked up in surprise. It was just then Sara noticed the tears in Catherine's eyes. "Catherine, what's wrong?"
Catherine sighed and copied Sara's posture, wrapping her arms around her legs. "I'm old." Sara quirked an eyebrow, not really understanding what Catherine was saying. "You know that date I had the other night?" Sara nodded, having a vague recollection of Catherine saying she had a date. "Yea, well, he showed up, then made up some lame emergency and left before we even ordered out meals."
"Um, okay, you know my social skills aren't all that, so, how does this make you come to the conclusion that you are old?"
Catherine rested her head on her knees and looked at Sara. "I called him earlier today and he said I reminded him of his mother." Sara grimaced, knowing the guy was not that young. "Do I look like I could be your mother?"
"No, you don't. I mean, you don't even look like you're old enough to have a 15 year old daughter." Catherine chuckled. "You are beautiful Catherine, and he was an idiot to leave."
Sara smiled as she took a sip of her coffee. "I only speak the truth."
Sara shook her head. That scene was from the very beginning of the shift and her fight with Catherine happened a few hours later. Standing up and stretching, Sara realized she had finished processing her room. How come it always seems like our relationship changes at the drop of a dime, Sara thought bitterly.
"Ready to go?" Sara nodded and followed Grissom out to the car. As she was packing her kit, Grissom watched her. "Something wrong Sara?" Sara quirked an eyebrow at Grissom pointed to her eyes. It was just then that Sara felt a wetness on her cheek. "Are you feeling alright?"
Sara quickly wiped the tears away and nodded. "I'm fine. Eyes are just watering because of allergies." Grissom just nodded back in response and the two of them climbed into the car.
Catherine sat on the couch in her office and sighed. She was stupid. Sara was actually opening up to her and she had been a total bitch about it. Why did she say what she said? She knew it was going to hurt Sara, but that did not stop her. She just could not keep her mouth shut.
"Catherine?" Catherine looked up and was met with the concerned eyes of Warrick. "You okay?" Catherine shook her head. "Sara?" Catherine chuckled and nodded. "What she do this time?"
"Do I always blame the arguments on her?" Warrick sat on the couch next to his friend and nodded. "Well, she didn't do anything. Today it's entirely my fault." Catherine stood up and paced in front of her desk. "I said something really stupid. I took something she told me and used it to hurt her." Warrick nodded as Catherine finally stopped pacing. "What should I do?"
"Figure out exactly what you should be apologizing for, and then apologize for that, and that only." Catherine nodded. "You've never been this upset about an argument with Sara. What's different?"
"I think I'm falling for her." Warrick nodded as a tiny smirk formed. "You find this funny?" Warrick shook his head, but could not help the smirk that grew bigger. "What am I going to do?"
"I already told you what to do about the argument." Warrick stood up and walked towards the door. "The whole matter of the heart, just don't automatically rule it out as a possibility." Catherine stared at her closed door. What the hell was that supposed to mean? And what exactly am I apologizing for, besides just being an ass?
Catherine was furious. Sara had blown a gasket in front of their suspect and quite possibly ruined the whole case. What the hell was she thinking when she did that? "Time to find out," she muttered under her breath.
Catherine stalked through the hallway, looking for Sara. She needed to figure this out so it did not happen again. "Looking for me?" Catherine jumped and turned around to a frowning Sara. "Look, I know what you are going to say and please, not now. I promise I will answer any and all questions." Catherine looked at her in disbelief. "I just want to finish this case."
"You're off the case." Sara's jaw clenched. "Either explain yourself now, or remain off the case."
"Catherine, we all have those cases that really get to us and this is one of them for me."
"Not good enough."
"Fine." Sara shoved all her folders into Catherine's arms. "I'm off the case so I shouldn't be holding these." Sara then stalked off.
"Sara!" Catherine ran after Sara, grabbing her arm and swinging her around. "Tell me what is going on or I'll tell Grissom you're unfit to work."
Sara bitterly laughed at that. "You've already taken me off the case. Why should that be a threat?"
"He'll take you off all your cases."
"I only had the one." Catherine stood quiet in shock. "And you just took me off it."
"Well, I guess Grissom knew you wouldn't be fit to work right now."
Sara clenched her fist and glared at Catherine. I will not hit her. This will not escalate into something physical. Sara inwardly smirked at her choice of silent words. "Screw you Catherine." She then stomped into the nearest research room and locked the door.
"Sara!" Catherine stood next to the door, trying to get Sara to respond. "Come on Sara." She could hear Sara pacing around muttering to herself. Catherine stopped knocking and yelling and waited, hoping Sara would come out thinking she was gone. All of a sudden there was a thud against the door. Catherine jumped back in surprise, but then covered her mouth in shock. Now all she could hear was Sara crying
Catherine slid down to the floor and leaned her head against the door. She had to go talk to Sara ,but she had a feeling the brown-eyed woman would not talk to her. She needed some kind of peace offering. Catherine looked up at her desk and noticed her coffee mug sitting on top of some papers. She quickly jumped up, grabbed her coat, and sprinted out of the building, practically knocking down Warrick on her way. "Sorry Warrick!"
Sara sat in her lab, looking over the evidence her and Grissom had collected. The fight with Catherine was really bothering her. She really had wanted to share with Catherine why those kinds of cases got to her, but she knew if they talked about it before the case was over, she would either be taken off the case or she would take herself off the case. Although, apparently it didn't matter in the long run since Catherine pulled me off the case anyway.
"Hey." Sara jumped and turned around, slightly glaring at Warrick. "Sorry, thought you had heard me trip over the coat rack."
Sara blushed a little. "Um, no, I was kind of zoned out. Are you alright though?" Warrick nodded and pulled up a stool next to Sara. "Is there something you need?"
"Are you okay?" Sara looked at Warrick weirdly. "You were zoned out while staring off into space. Now, if you had been staring at the evidence you have laid out in front of you, I wouldn't think anything of it." Sara sighed and shook her head. "Want to talk about it?"
"Not really. It's kind of stupid."
"Being upset over your fight with Catherine is not stupid." Both of Sara's eyebrows seemed to reach her hairline. "I know about the fight and there isn't anything else that might upset you, at least not that I am aware of." Sara nodded. "You guys fight a lot. Why is this one different?"
"I'm always upset after fighting with Catherine. Just when I think she is finally accepting me as part of the team, we fight."
Sara sighed and put her head in her hands. "I guess I thought it wouldn't happen this time. Catherine told me about her awful date last night and I was going to talk to her about some stuff, but when I said I wanted to wait until we finished our case, she got pissed and pulled me off the case." Warrick nodded. "I guess I really wanted to tell her, or tell someone, and she just seemed like the best choice considering everything that was happening at the time."
"You can still talk to her." Sara scoffed. "Sara, you are part of this team, this family. You have been here for seven years."
"And none of you know anything personal about me."
"Not from lack of trying." Sara sighed and nodded. What Warrick was saying was absolutely true. "Obviously what you wanted to say is bothering you. Just, talk to her. If you don't want to bring up the issue right away, then don't, but talk about something." Sara nodded and started staring off into space again. Warrick chuckled at this new side of Sara and quietly left.
A few minutes later, Catherine stood in front of the lab Sara was working in, commonly referred to as "Sara's lab." She was quietly working, her focus never shifting. Catherine looked down at the coffee in her hand and started reconsidering her plan.
"Are you going to come in or just stand there staring at your coffee?"
Catherine took a deep breath and walked into the lab. She set the coffee next to Sara, careful to avoid setting it on top of any evidence. "It's your coffee actually. I can't stand real sugar in mine." Sara looked up in surprise. "I've come to say that I'm sorry. I should have just waited until you felt comfortable enough to talk."
Sara pulled out the stool next to her and motioned for Catherine to sit down. "It wasn't that I wasn't comfortable." Catherine nodded. "I just knew if we talked before we finished the case, that I wouldn't be able to stay on the case."
"Well, if you aren't too wrapped up in this case, I could use you back on ours."
"I'd actually rather stay off right now. I hate fighting with you and I feel like this case will just cause more fights." Sara looked away shyly, not really wanting to look at Catherine right now.
"Sara?" Catherine noticed Sara was avoiding eye contact, going so far as to let her hair fall down and create a curtain around her face. "Sara, please look at me." Sara looked up in surprise at Catherine's tone. "I hate fighting with you too, and you just might be right about this case, but I hope that doesn't mean we can't ever work together again."
"Of course it doesn't mean that. Grissom kind of just threw this case in my lap and left me to do it completely solo. I couldn't really just drop this case anyway, but if there is something I can help with, don't hesitate to ask."
Catherine smiled. "Same thing Sara. Anything."
"Wanna grab breakfast after shift?" Catherine's smile grew even bigger as she nodded. "Cool, just let me know if you have to work overtime."
"I'll take a break no matter what." Sara gave one of her rarely seen gap toothed smiles. "You should smile more often." Sara blushed and looked away. "See you at the end of shift."
Neither of the women got very much work done as they anticipated their breakfast outing. Luckily, there wasn't much either of them could do on their cases. Sara stood at her open locker, smiling for no reason. She jumped and turned her face serious as she heard the door open. Turning, knowing that she would be pulled into a conversation, Sara was greeted with a pair of bright blue eyes and a huge smile.
"Hey." Sara smiled again. That makes two times today. I must make it my mission to get her to smile more often. "Ready to go?"
"So, where are we going?" Sara looked confused as she held the door open for Catherine. "You invited me to breakfast, so, where are you taking me?"
"Oh, well, I didn't even think about it." Catherine chuckled as Sara thought about where they could go. "Where do you want to go?" Catherine shrugged. "Okay, you are no help at all." Sara unlocked her door. "Do you need to come back here after breakfast?"
"Yea, but I have to pick-up and drop off Lindsay."
"Well, lets go pick her up now, go to IHOP or something, than drop her off and I'll drive you back here." Catherine looked at Sara funny. "What? You'll get to spend some time with your daughter."
"Yes, but are you sure you want to spend time with her?"
"Get in the car." Catherine smirked and got in the passenger side of Sara's car. As Sara got in she saw Catherine was still smirking. "What's with the smirk?"
Catherine's smirk grew larger and she shook her head. "You're just surprising me today. That's all." Sara looked at her, not believing that is what was behind the smirk. I can't believe I'm about to flirt with her but, "I like seeing the aggressive side of you." Sara blushed and started the car, an easy excuse to not look at her. "Do you know how to get to my sister's house?"
Sara chuckled. "Nope. How do I get there?"
The rest of the trip was quiet other than the radio and Catherine giving directions. The two women could not believe that they were able to comfortably sit in silence. Catherine used the time to watch Sara. There was just something about the brunette that called to her. She listened as Sara quietly sang along to the radio, her finger tips drumming on the steering wheel. She looked so calm right now. I've never seen her relaxed like this.
"Is there something on my face?"
"Nope." Sara looked over at Catherine then quickly turned her attention back towards the road. "There it is." Sara pulled into a driveway. "I'll be right back." Sara nodded and watched Catherine walk to the door. She blushed as Catherine turned around and caught her eye. When Catherine came back to the car with Lindsay, she was still slightly red.
"Hey Sara. Are you okay?"
Sara turned around and smiled at the younger Willows. "Hey there Lindsay. Yea, I'm fine, just kind of lost in thought." Sara smiled at Catherine as she buckled up. "Do you Willows women like pancakes?"
"I love pancakes!" Lindsay exclaimed, jumping around in her seat.
"Buckle up so we can go." Lindsay moaned about having to buckle, but did as she was told. "All set?" Lindsay groaned again and tugged on the shoulder strap to show her mother she was buckled in. "Good."
"Let's go then."
After they had filled up on pancakes, Sara and Catherine walked a little behind Lindsay, who was jumping and skipping her way to Sara's car. "Man, I feel bad for her teachers." Catherine chuckled as Lindsay stood next to the car, impatiently waiting for the slower adults. "I thought she was hyper before she wolfed down that stack of pancakes covered in sugar."
"Yep, and she'll crash as soon as school is over."
"Mom! Sara! Hurry up!"
"Patience Lindsay." Sara pushed the button on her remote and Lindsay quickly climbed into the backseat. "I don't think I have ever seen her happy like this, not since Eddie at least." Sara nodded as she frowned. Catherine looked over and noticed it. "Shit Sara, I'm sorry, I wasn't even thinking. I was in the process of thanking you for doing this and then I have to go and screw it up."
"Don't worry about it Cat." Catherine made a quick face, but it did not go unnoticed by Sara. "What's wrong?"
Catherine turned and looked at Sara. "Nothing is wrong. It is just weird hearing you call me Cat, especially since I usually bite people's heads off for calling me that."
"Oh, I'm sorry. It just slipped."
Catherine smiled. "Don't be sorry. Notice how I didn't bite your head off?" Sara chuckled and nodded. "Let's get Lindsay to school so we can get back to the lab." Sara nodded again and they got in the car and left.
Catherine walked into the break room at the beginning of shift, smiling. Nick noticed the smile and saw what the redhead was wearing. He wolf whistled, causing everyone else in the room to turn and stare. "You have a hot date tonight Cath?"
"Not tonight Nicky, at least not yet." Catherine looked over to where Sara was making herself a coffee. "What do you think Sara? I could really use another woman's opinion."
Sara turned around and handed Catherine a mug. "You look gorgeous Cat."
Everyone cringed as Sara said the forbidden nickname. Catherine just smirked as Sara winked at her. "Thanks Sara." All the guys looked at each other, trying to figure out what was going on.
"I only speak the truth." Catherine's smirk turned into a smile as she remembered the last time Sara spoke those words. Sara sat at the table and started flipping through a forensics magazine. Everyone was watching the two women as Catherine sat next to Sara. "Did I hear you have a hot date?"
Catherine chuckled and shook her head. "Nope, like I told Nicky, at least not yet. I dressed up for myself today. Thankfully I told Grissom I wanted to stay in the lab tonight unless it was unavoidable for me to go in the field."
"Yea, I can see how you'd be freezing." Catherine smirked, but said nothing.
Grissom walked into this unusual scene, Catherine and Sara friendly chatting away and the guys staring at the two of them. Grissom, being Grissom, did not comment. "Assignments are up. Nick, Warrick, DB at the Luxor." The two guys nodded and took off. "Greg, there's a serious back log in the lab; we need you in there helping out." Greg groaned, but headed towards the lab. "Catherine, you all done with your case?"
"Just need to finish the report."
"Sara, how's your case coming along?"
"Pretty good. Brass is attempting to find our suspect. I've done all I can think of with the evidence, but want to look at it again, make sure I didn't miss anything."
Grissom nodded. "Well, unless she's busy, maybe have Catherine look over it, a fresh pair of eyes and all." Sara nodded and started gritting her teeth until she felt a hand placed lightly on her thigh. "Catherine, you said you wanted the night in so I expect some finished paperwork on my desk at the end of shift."
"Of course Gil. Just let me finish my coffee and I will start right away, unless Sara wants my help." Grissom nodded and left. Catherine squeezed Sara's knee before removing her hand. "I know you don't need my help, but if you want it, like Gil said, I'll be working on paperwork and any escape from that is a godsend."
Sara laughed. "Well, how about a delayed start?"
"Sounds good to me." Catherine grabbed the two now empty mugs and brought them to the sink. "Everything in your lab?" Sara blushed a little, still surprised that everyone called that particular lab hers because they noticed she was always in it. Of course nobody actually knows why. "Then, let's go, I can drop my jacket off in my office."
"Cool." The two of them walked side by side down the hallway, drawing looks from everyone they passed. "Why exactly is everyone looking at us?" Sara turned to look at Catherine and chuckled. "Never mind."
"I do not think people are just looking at me." Sara stopped just inside Catherine's office. "It is a weird sight to see of the two of us, walking together being civil when we are not working on a case together. They are probably just waiting for us to bite each other's heads off."
"You like that saying."
Catherine glared, but could not help but laugh. "Besides, you don't look too bad yourself there Sara."
Sara looked down at her slightly worn leather pants and tight sleeveless top. "Well, I decided to ride my bike into work tonight."
Two hours later Catherine was in her office, supposedly working on the stacks of paper on her desk. In reality, she was watching Sara in the lab across the hall. The brunette was so immersed in the evidence; she was oblivious to Catherine's obvious stare. Every now and then, when Catherine would shake her head and get back to work, Catherine would swear she felt someone watching her, but the feeling would disappear right before she looked up and then she would start watching Sara again. After an hour of this vicious cycle, something or someone actually obstructed Catherine's view. The redhead jumped with a start, her hand flying to her chest. "Jesus Warrick! You scared the shit out of me!"
Warrick chuckled as she turned around and noticed an alarmed Sara about to run across the hall. He winked at her as he turned back to the redhead. "Sorry Catherine thought you heard me knock." Catherine shook her head as her heart rate finally started slowing down. "I just thought I would see how all was going."
"It's going alright although I can't seem to focus very long." Warrick looked across the hall to see Sara bending over the layout table. He turned back around and smirked at a blushing Catherine. "Okay, yes, I'll admit that I have been enjoying a certain distraction, but Grissom wants most of these reports on his desk by the end of shift."
"And all I can do is picture Sara on a Harley."
Warrick almost fell out of his chair from laughing so hard. "Wearing leather pants?" Catherine blushed as images less innocent than that flashed in her mind. She then noticed something behind Warrick causing her to smirk and shrug her shoulders. Warrick stopped laughing. "Catherine!" he gasped right before his jaw hit the ground. Catherine just laughed and her smirk grew bigger.
Warrick looked at Catherine, curious as to why she's was smirking, until he jumped as he felt two hands grab his shoulders and heard someone say "Trying to catch flies Warrick?" He spun around to see a smirking Sara. "Did I scare you Rick? I'm sorry."
"No you're not. You're getting me back from scaring you earlier." Sara moved her hands away. "Possibly even helping Catherine get back at me too."
She walked closer to Catherine, winking at Warrick. "Cat, I was wondering if you would like to grab some breakfast after shift again? Just us girls?" Catherine shivered as Sara stepped right next to her. "I hope you mind us excluding Lindsay this morning."
"Um, sounds good."
Sara smiled. "Awesome. I have an extra helmet." Sara leaned next to Catherine's ear. "I'll take you for a ride." With that, Sara walked out of Catherine's office, adding a little extra sway in her hips.
Warrick was the first to recover. "Well, it looks like you just got your hot date."
Catherine smiled as she remembered her earlier conversation with Nick and then Sara. "I told Nicky it was only temporary."
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