DISCLAIMER: CSI is in no way mine, though I wish it was there would have been no GSR.
WARNING: This story contains mention of self harm and suicide.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Sofrost for the beta.
Waking up, face down on a cold stone floor, I hear the rhythmic beat of footfalls echo around me. Cracking open one eye, I look down a dimly lit corridor. Laying here the colds seeps into my body, invading my muscles and bones, turning my insides to ice. Moving, I kneel on the hard concrete and lean back on my heels to look around me for the first time. The corridor is just long and grungy. Pretty much like you'd get in the bowels of a mental hospital. I try to focus on the source of the footfalls. Turning my head from left to right, I finally notice a woman walking towards a brightly lit exit. Unsure of where I am I decide to follow her. Standing, I move over to the wall and follow her as quietly as I can. As she passes under a light I can make out her blonde hair. Watching her walk it finally dawns on me that I recognise the particular way her hips sway.
I call out to her. "Catherine."
She stops at the exit with one hand on the door and turns to face me. I can see her lips moving but I can't make out what she's saying. It's almost like she's talking in whispers. I run towards her trying to hear what she's saying to me. As I get close to her a huge wall of fire springs up between us, forcing me back. The heat is so intense. The corridor quickly heats up and I start to feel like I'm in Death Valley in the middle of the afternoon. The licking flames keep me away from Catherine, the deafening roar making it even harder to hear her whispered words. It doesn't stop me using all my strength to call to her though.
"Cath, I can't get through. I'm stuck. Get out and get help. Please." I shout to her, begging.
Suddenly the roar of the flames stops and I can hear her clearly.
"Come back to me, Sara. I love you too much to lose you." Before I can respond the roar is back and she turns and walks out the door. As the door snaps shut behind her I realise that she's gone. So have the fire, door and lights. Leaving me alone in the cold dark corridor. Alone with my demons.
I awake feeling a soft cloth being wiped over my face. Slowly opening my eyes I see the blurred outline of a strange face looking down at me. Feeling extremely light headed I close my eyes and pray for the room to stop spinning. I grind my teeth together to bite back the wave of nausea that washes over me when I realise that I have failed again. I flex my hands and feel the type of scratching that can only come from having stitches on my wrists. Unfortunately I can't stop the tears of anger and shame that cascade down my face so easily. Seems no matter what I try to do I fail. I can only blame whatever drugs these wanna be gods have pumped into me. I feel the cloth move over my face again, wiping away my frustrated tears. Shame it can't wipe me away. My eyes snap open. I honestly thought she was a drug induced hallucination.
"Hey there." The woman says smiling softly down at me. "You've had a bit of a traumatic time, haven't you? My names Nurse Williams, your partner asked me to watch over you while she made a phone call. She should be back soon." She tells me still smiling. I must be really tripping because I thought she said my 'partner'. I don't have a partner, I have no one. That's why I'm here in the first place. I'm totally useless at any sort of relationship. I'm too fucked up to function as part of a unit. I try to tell her so but my throat is so dry that the only sound I can make is a grave croak. Nurse Williams immediately moves to get a glass of water. By the time she returns to my side I have half pulled myself into a sitting position on the bed. She puts the glass on the side unit and helps me sit up fully. I take the offered glass and drink half the contents in one gulp. I try talking again, this time with more success.
"I don't have any partner." I tell her trying to keep the self pity out of my voice. "I don't really have anybody." She looks at me as though I've just kicked a small child in front of her.
"Well, what about the woman who came in with you? Um, I think her name's Catherine. She's been very worried about you. She obviously loves you very much. It was very touching to watch her care for you." She tells me, looking like she might burst into tears. Like we're some soppy romance she'd been watching. Loathing to burst her bubble, I need to set her straight. I feel a bubble of panic rise in my chest. If Catherine is really here and she walks in and hears the nurse shouting about how much she loves me, Cath might think that I've been telling her lies.
"She doesn't love me." I quickly assure the woman with a small laugh. Hoping she doesn't hear the longing in my voice. I want to leave it there but my drug addled brain is determined to betray me as my mouth continues without my permission. "Cat doesn't even like me never mind love me. She can barely stand to be in the same room as me. She'll never feel for me the way I feel for her." I tell Nurse Williams. Looking her straight in the eye, I'm determined to not break down again, but once again I have something over riding me. The drugs in my system allow the tears I was desperately holding back burst forth like a dam. I bury my head in my arms to try and hide my shame and embarrassment. The nurse scoops me into her arms in an embrace that can only describe as motherly. At first I tense at the contact and try to get out if it. But as she rubs circles on my back and coos softly in my ear the last of my resolve breaks and I cling onto her as though she will keep me afloat in this sea of emotion I seem to have found myself in. Weeping pathetically against her shoulder I briefly wonder why I am letting myself be comforted by this stranger and again I curse the wanna be gods and their damn drugs.
"Do you feel a bit better now?" She asks as I pull back and wipe my face. I feel like telling her 'no, I don't feel better. In fact I feel worse. First I fail to kill myself the most sure fire way and second I've spent the best part of 15 minutes crying on your shoulder. So, NO I don't feel better.' Instead I tell her.
"yeah, as well as I can when I'm hopelessly in love with my co-worker who loathes the very sight of me." I chuckle weakly, silently damning my mouth for not keeping quiet when it should.
A gasp from the doorway draws my attention.
"God, Sara, do you really believe that?" Wow, I'm definitely tripping I swear that Catherine is standing there with hurt and dismay marring her face. It's only when Nurse Williams stands to leave that I realise that for once the drugs aren't fucking with my head. She really is there.
"I'll leave you both to it. Take it easy OK? You're still a bit woozy from the anaesthetic, I don't want you relapsing. I'll be at the nurses' station if you need anything, just press the call button, OK?" She asks. When I nod yes she pats my leg and squeezes past Catherine who's still standing in the doorway, looking like a parody of the first time we met. Looking at her I feel a tug of a smile on my face for the first time in what feels like years. Meeting her eyes any smile that may have been on my face vanishes. Heeding Nurse Williams' advice I try to avoid any kind of scene. Plus if I'm honest I don't wanna have to defend myself from Catherine's interrogation techniques when I have enough drugs in my system to take out a baby elephant. So I offer her a weak,
"Hey, Catherine." Looking her in the eye, I know I have a lot of explaining to do.
She heard it all. My message and my rant to the nurse. She probably only came to my flat to laugh in my face and then stuck around to tell me how pathetic and how much of a loser I really am. I know that I have a lot of work to do to keep a harassment complaint out of my file. The longer the silence stretches out between us the more I wish I could read minds. Against my will I chuckle at the thought of reading other peoples minds. I can barely understand my own mind, what chance do I ever have with someone else's? My laughter seemed to have broken something between us because Catherine gets a strange look in her eyes as she continues to stare at me.
"Do you think this is funny? Do you have any idea how twisted all this is?" She asks with sadness in her eyes. "Do you really believe that? That I, what was it? Oh, yeah 'loathe the sight' of you? You know what? Please don't answer that just now, I don't think I could take the answer. Plus we have plenty of time to go over it when you're feeling better." She tells me, finally leaving the safety of the door frame. She moves slowly into the room and I feel like I'm being stalked by a lion on safari. I bite my lip to stop myself from laughing out loud at the image of Catherine chasing me through the Savannah. Finally she reaches my bed and sits on the edge. I really can't help the chuckle that escapes from my lips. I finally have Catherine on my bed and all I had to do was try and kill myself.
"What the hell are you laughing at? Do you think it's funny that I've been worried sick about you?" She asks, her voice dangerously low and fire in her eyes. "I was so scared that you'd be taken from me. That I'd never get a chance to fix things between us, that we'd never get a chance to be friends and that you'd die thinking that I hate you. God, Sara, I don't hate you" she says burying her face in the bed beside my leg. Too stunned to initially do anything, I sit staring at this usually strong woman weep shamelessly on my hospital bed. My drug addled brain finally catches up and make the connections. I reach out my hand to stroke her hair to try and offer her some comfort when her head snaps up and her eyes sparkle with un-shed tears as they meet mine.
"I'm sorry." I tell her weakly, my hand dropping lifelessly to the spot where her head had been. All the times before I'd always been ashamed and disappointed when I survived my failed suicide attepmts. Now though, I was ashamed and angry at the pain that I'd brought to this beautiful, caring woman before me. "I never....."
She holds up her hand to stop me. Looking into her eyes I can see a different light, her stance has also changed. I have to admit it frightens me a little bit. The moment quickly passing, she asks. "Have you been told when you get out of here?" Too afraid to speak and too scared of the look in her eyes, I shake my head no and keep my eyes on my bandaged wrists. "Ok, well when you do you'll be coming to stay with me." I almost sever my neck when my head snaps up at hearing her say that. I open my mouth to argue but she silences me with another raised hand. "Don't even try to argue with me." She says lowering her hand to my leg.
"I've spoken to Grissom and we're both on leave until you recuperate. He's going to call Ecklie and tell him you've had an accident, hence you needing time off and you need someone with you, hence me needing time off. The boys have been told the same thing. So," she stops to take a deep breath. "It's only you, me and Grissom who know the true story. Now, there is a condition to Gil lying for you though. Before you come back to work you've got to speak to a psychiatrist. He wants you to attend at least three full sessions before he'll even let you in the building." By the look in her eyes I know that she's serious.
She breaks eye contact and looks at the invisible pattern she is absent mindedly drawing on the blanket covering my thigh. "Now the reason that you've to come home with me is to get you outta here sooner. Gil says that you hate hospital? So I thought if we got you out of here as soon as possible, you'll heal quicker." I grab her hand, sure that she's unaware of what she's doing to me, even in my drug-fuelled state I try to protest.
"Cath, I can't stay...."
"Don't think that you'll be putting me out" she interrupts. "Actually, you'd be doing me a favour. You see, Lyndsay's on holiday with my sister and nephew and I hate a quiet empty house." She tells me looking down at our joined hands. A small smile spreads over her face as she gently rubs her thumb over my knuckles. Slowly she raises her head to look me in the eye. Suddenly the room seems to have taken an electrical charge to it. She slowly leans forward and I find myself captivated by her lips. I close my eyes in anticipation of our first kiss. I can feel her breath brush lightly over my lips, when an alarm goes off somewhere breaking the moment once again. Catherine jumps from the bed as though she had been electrocuted. Looking slightly startled she walks to the door.
"Hum, I better go and see about getting you out of here." Stopping at the door she turns and fixes me with her piercing blue eyes. "Oh, and um, don't think we won't be talking about this whole episode. You had me terrified and I thought that I was going to lose you and I don't like being terrified" she says before leaving the room.
Watching Catherine leave the room I release a breath that I hadn't realised I'd been holding and slump back against my pillows. I nearly kissed Catherine Willows. That thought is roughly forced from my mind as I remember that I'm going to be staying with her. Alone. In her house. Just the two of us. I don't think I'm going to last a day with her. I've never been so bloody scared in my whole life. The thought of staying with Catherine is scarier than having to spend time talking to a shrink. Catherine will get further into my head in twenty minutes than any shrink will in twenty hours. I seriously have to find away out of staying with her. Asking me to stay with Catherine is like asking an alcoholic to tend a bar and not drink the profits. I can't do it. Especially after we nearly kissed. I know that she was just relieved that I hadn't died. Maybe she doesn't hate me as much as I initially thought. Suddenly I feel very tired. I fight to stay awake but unfortunately between the drugs and the emotional roller coaster I've just been on have really tired me out and I drift on into a restless sleep.
Waking up some time later I keep my eyes closed to protect my retinas from being seared by the
light that's spilling into my hospital room. Turning my head away from the window I slowly open my eyes. The pain isn't too bad so I am able to see with the minimum amount of spots and squiggly lines. Once my vision had cleared completely I notice the mass of Catherine's blonde hair laying on the bed next to my hip. I reach out tentatively to push the hair behind the delicate shell of her ear. I can't help stroke my fingers down her strong jaw. Catherine stirs slightly and I still my fingers. No matter how hard I try, they seem to have taken on a life of their own. I try to remove them before she wakes up but it seems now they have felt a small patch of skin they want more. As my fingers travel down her cheek towards her full lips, her eyes slid open for a few seconds then close again. For the second her eyes were open I snatched my hand away and my heart starts to beat a tattoo in my chest. I watch her as she arches her back up, stretching like a cat. She slowly sits back against the chair and looks at me. I'm still taken aback by her beauty. As she sit there with her rumpled clothes and ruffled hair, she still manages to take my breath away.
"Sara, are you ok?"
Damn. I must have been staring to long for her to ask me that. Trying to think of a good reason to be caught staring I realise that I still have a lot of anaesthetic in my system. My sluggish response makes her sit forward and take my hand. Stunned by the contact I manage to stammer out an excuse.
"Um, yeah, I'm fine. I was just thinking about staying with you for a few days." I tell her looking at our joined hands. "I don't have a change of clothes or any toiletries or anything. I think I'd be better off getting a cab back to my apartment. I'll be fine and in the morning I'll call the doctor and schedule my first session. That way you won't have to miss out on work and I can call you, you know. That way you can get on with your life but you'll also know that I'm ok." I tell her in a rush feeling that she just might take me up on the offer. I raise my eyes from our hands and my heart sinks as a slow smile spreads across her face. I know I've lost. I'll be staying at her house. With her alone. Just the two of us. God, I'm doomed.
Catherine bends down, never letting go of my hand, and picks up an overnight bag from the floor. Oh yeah, I've definitely lost. I'm about to go on the defensive about her invading my personal space when she tells me.
"Don't worry. I went in and packed some shirts, vest tops and jeans. We'll have to stop at a store or swing past your apartment for underwear and socks. I know we're both women but I didn't feel right rooting around in your drawers." She says with a flush of embarrassment moving across her cheeks and down her neck. "I also picked up your wash bag but again if I've forgotten anything we can easily get it." She continues as though she's not embarrassed. Her face darkens slightly and I can't help inch towards her. "Um, Gil said no scanner or journals, so he came and picked them up. I'm sorry I couldn't stop him. He says it's only for two weeks then you can have them back. I did try to get him to let me take them but he wouldn't hear about it. I'm so sorry. Sara, please say something."
I sit staring at her, torn between shock and fear. I'm going to have to stay with her for a minimum of two weeks without any distractions. I have no scanner or journals, nothing to keep me occupied and my mind off her. I look at Catherine and I know there's no way I'm getting out of here any time soon unless I take her up on her offer.
"Ok, ok. I surrender. I'll come and stay with you for a wee while." I look her in the eye and try to hide how defeated I'm feeling. Looking at her sitting on the chair smiling like the cat who got the cream I can't stop myself grinning along with her. Regardless of how I feel inside.
"Good." She says standing and letting go of my hand. "I'll go tell the doctor that you're ready to check out and we'll get going." She leans in and kisses me on the forehead then turns and practically skips out of the room. When she's gone I let my head drop back against my pillows and raise my fingers to touch the spot where Catherine kissed me. I groan out to the empty room.
"Doomed, I'm Doomed."
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