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 with a soft warmth pressed tightly against my front. I burrow in as deep as I can, I smell honeysuckle and camomile. Great, another one of those dreams. I've lost track of the nights I've woken up thinking that I have her in my arms, only for it to be the duvet or a pillow. Or think I can smell her shampoo, only to be disappointed that my subconscious has tricked my olfactory sense. Even though I know this is just another dream, I'm determined to make the most of it before I became fully conscious. I know I don't have very long. I know I'll wake up properly soon and I'll be left holding my duvet or pillow as usual.
Slowly, I run my hand over the soft plain of her stomach, enjoying the feel of her muscles twitching and jumping. I place light kisses on her shoulder and move up to her neck. She moves her head slightly to offer me more of her skin to kiss and lightly nip. She moans deeply as I take her earlobe between my teeth and lightly flick it with my tongue.
It's then the realisation hits me with the force of an arctic truck. Suddenly I'm wide awake. This isn't a dream. She's really here, in my arms, in my bed. I lift myself up on my elbow, effectively removing my body from hers. Cath lets out a groan of displeasure when the cool air hits her. I take a quick look around the room and it all comes crashing back to me. After my last half-assed failed attempt, Cath made me come home with her so she could look after me. Fresh guilt floods through me as I remember last night. The nightmares. That's what brought Catherine into the room and I asked her to stay with me. I can't think what's worse, the nightmare I had last night or the fact that Catherine witnessed me in the grips of one. Horror courses through my body as I fear that I may have hurt her. I lean over her to look at her face as best I could. Thankfully I can't see any tell-tale sign that I lashed out at her but that doesn't mean anything.
I gently remove myself from her and the bed completely. I shiver as the cooler air in the room attacks my over heated flesh. Panic slowly creeps into me making it difficult for me to breathe properly. Placing my hand over my mouth to stifle the panting gasps I quietly and quickly make my way out of the room and down the stairs to the kitchen. Standing at the back door I suck in great lungfuls of air trying to ease the irate beating of my heart. Behind me the stove clock beeps to signal the top of the hour. I don't have to turn to look at it to know the time. Thanks to the small sundial burn feeder Catherine has in her garden, I know it's 7am.
A slight breeze picks up across the garden making me shiver. I wrap my arms around tightly around me, foolishly trying to stave off the cold. Deciding I need a coffee I move back inside the kitchen towards the kettle. I stand watching it boil, trying to remember where Catherine keeps the mugs. For the life of me I can't remember where they are, thankfully the mugs we used last night are still on the draining board. Snatching one up i set about preparing my mug. Once I've done that I wander into the living room wondering if Catherine would mind if I use her couch throw to sit out in the garden. Finally the kettle clicks to signal the water is ready for my coffee, making a quick decision I take the throw back to the kitchen and pour the water into my mug. Giving it a quick stir I let it sit while I wrapped the throw around my shoulders. It would offer me more protection than my arms. Taking my coffee outside I settle on one of the deck chairs, desperately wishing I had a cigarette about now. I know I've given up but sometimes I still get the clawing cravings.
Taking a deep drink out of my mug I relax back into the chair and pull the throw tighter around me. I wonder what Catherine will make of my assault on her, because if I'm being honest, that's what it was. Assault. She has every right to throw me out and make a report against me. That's if she remembers. I might be lucky; she might think it was all part of a dream. Selfishly I hope she does. I haven't felt this peaceful in a long time and it's down to her. I know I had a nightmare last night but once she agreed to stay with me through the night I felt better. I knew nothing would harm me while she was around. Who would have thought that I would feel safe with a 5'6" slight frame protecting my own 5'9" one? I laugh out loud as the thought crossed my mind. Just as quickly as it appears it's replaced by another thought. I really should be the one protecting her. Protecting her from me.
I drain my now cold coffee and walk back into the kitchen. I quickly rinse out the mug and put back on the draining board. When I pass through the living roof I drape the through over the back of the sofa, like I found it. I slowly, quietly make my way back upstairs to the spare bedroom. I'm thankful to see Cath still asleep. In the time I was downstairs she's moved to the centre of the bed and had stretched out in her stomach. Standing in the doorway, I'm stopped in my tracks by her beauty. Lying with her head facing the door, her hair is fanned out behind her and the morning sun softly shining down on her, she looks like an angel. I can't stop the smile gracing my face as I think of her as my angel. She protected me from my nightmares.
Snapping out of my thoughts I quietly move about the room collecting my things. Once I had packed everything up I went into the en suite bathroom to grab a quick shower and change. Thankful the shower is quiet I step in under the spray and enjoy the warmth the water offers me. I have a moment of panic when I realise that I haven't brought any shampoo or soap with me. As I move to step back out I see on the shelf that was behind me a varied collection of soaps and shampoos. I shake my head at the thoroughness of Cath's hospitality. It's just like her to make sure everything is perfect for her guests. I feel a pang of guilt at leaving but I reason it's for the best. The best for her, and in the long run, the best for Lindsay. I would only hurt her if I stay any longer and I can't let that happen. Finishing my shower in record time I get out, dry off and put on clean clothes.
Tip toeing out of the bathroom I make my way to my bag and put in my bed clothes. I can wash them when I get back to my flat. My flat. This is the first time I've thought about it. Something was mentioned about flooding. I rack my brains to try to retrieve the memory. Unfortunately I can't get a good grasp on it. It's floating just outside my reach. Deciding that I'm going to take a chance that it's liveable I pick up my belongings I make to head out the door. With one last glance at Catherine, still lying on the bed, I'm stop in my tracks.
"Are you planning on leaving, Sara?"
Damn, the shower must have been noisier than I thought. Catherine's now lying on her back, looking at me with saddened eyes. Unable to keep her gaze, I lower my own eyes to the floor.
"I have to Catherine. I need to leave." I tell her, my voice barely above a whisper. I hear her moving but I don't dare lift my eyes from the spot on the floor.
"Why, Sara? Why do you need to leave? What's more important than your health?" She asks almost as quietly as I had spoken.
"You are." I answer. Slowly lifting my eyes from the floor to see her kneeling at the foot of the bed, as close to me as she could be without leaving the bed. "I need to leave because of you. I need to keep you safe." I tell her, my voice getting stronger. I put my bag back down on the floor next to the door and take a step forward. "You are far more important than my health. Keeping you safe is more important than my health." I can see confusion bleed through her eyes. I don't know how to make it any clearer to her without giving too much of myself away.
"What do you mean, 'me'? What's going to happen to me that you need to leave to keep me safe?" She asks standing and moving slowly towards me. Stopping right in front of me she continues. "What's going to hurt me Sara? Is it you?"
Unable to answer her I nod my head.
"Sara, sweetheart, I know that you would never hurt me deliberately. I know that I'm safe with you."
"But, what about the nightmares? I've lashed out when I've been in a nightmare. I've seriously hurt people in the past. I can't help it."
"Exactly, Sara you can't help it. Look can we sit on the bed? I'm feeling a bit cold; I'd like to get back under the covers."
"Oh, yeah, of course." Mentally kicking myself at my stupidity.
Moving over to the bed, Catherine immediately gets under the covers as I sit tentatively on the edge. I refuse to look at her. I can't meet her eyes but I feel her gaze burning into me as though I've gone outside without any sun screen.
"Sara, look at me, please?" I lift my eyes to finally meet her eyes. She reaches over to take my hand. "Sara, you can't help what you do when you're asleep. No one can. I would never hold anything you do in your sleep against you."
Looking into her eyes I know that she's being sincere, still something stops me from fully believing her. One day I'm going to have a really bad nightmare and not stop myself from hurting her. I've done it in the past, I've lashed out at those that I've cared about. I wouldn't say love, because I don't think I really knew what being love was like till I met Catherine. I would hate myself if I ever hurt her.
"I've got an idea." She says suddenly. "You have to listen before saying anything; do you think you could do that?" Slowly I nod my head, anything to keep from talking. "Ok, you stay here until the doctors say that you can be on your own again. I know you want to leave but hear me out, you stay here and we get you a lock for the door. One that you control but I have a key. That way if you have a nightmare, you can't get out and I can't get in right away. I'll bang on the door till it all goes quiet; it should be safe to come in then, shouldn't it?" She pauses and waits for my response. She lets out a frustrated sigh and I drop my eyes to our joined hands.
"Look, Sara, I have another reason for wanting to keep you here. A completely selfish one." She takes a deep breath and continues. "When you're ready I want to talk to you. We really need to talk about everything that's happened the past couple of days. What made you want to try and kill yourself. Why you called me, everything."
Fear snaps my head up. She wants to talk. I guess I should have known that it would come to this. She's gonna say that she made a mistake, that she can't be with someone as fucked up as me. She has Lindsay to think about after all. Knowing I won't be able to fight the inevitable. Unable to look her in the eye, I nod my head and answer in a whispered voice, "ok, we'll talk today, but do you mind if we have some breakfast first? I'm feeling kind of hungry."
"God, yeah, I'm famished myself. I don't think I've eaten since my break on the day that I got your call."
Immediately my head snaps up and guilt floods me. Seeing the look in my eyes, Catherine crawls over to me and wraps her arms around my neck and pulls me into a cuddle. Automatically my arms move around her waist pulling her close. Unable to stop myself I bury my nose in her hair and deeply inhale. I figure I might not be able to do this again so I'm going to make the most of it. I feel Catherine pull back slightly so I move to let go of her. She doesn't release me completely; she keeps one hand on my shoulder and places the other on my cheek. I try to stop myself from leaning further into her hand. She lightly strokes my cheek with her thumb then slides her hand slightly down my face. She runs her thumb across my lips and I find myself kissing her thumb. Suddenly she replaces her thumb with her lips and places a gentle kiss on my lips. Momentarily stunned I don't move, when she pulls back I crash our lips together again.
I push her gently back onto the bed and settle myself above her. Her tongue swipes my lower lip, asking for access to my mouth. Access that I couldn't deny her, even if I wanted too. As our tongues meet and begin a slow wrestle for dominance a moan escapes into the room, I'm not sure which one of us it came from. I feel her hands caress my back, gently massaging the knotted muscles, as her tongue massages mine. Each time she presses down harder on a knotted muscle I grind my hips into hers. I slip one of my legs in between her and press it tightly against her centre. At the contact, she breaks our kiss and groans loudly into the room. Kissing my way down her throat I feel her hands on my shoulders, lightly pushing me back.
"Sara." She gasps as I lightly nip her pulse point then swipe the nip with my tongue to ease the sting. "Sara, we have to stop. Baby, please."
"No, I don't want to." I mumble into her neck.
Pushing harder on my shoulders making me look at her she says, "Sweetheart, we've got to stop before we go too far. I want you better before we make this decision. Before we decide if this is what you really want."
The arousal induced haze lifts from me slightly as I gaze down at her. "You're beautiful." I tell her. She is, with her hair fanned out about her, lust in her eyes and her lips swollen from out kissing. "You really are, truly beautiful. No matter what happens, I want you to know that I meant it. Every word I said in that message, I meant it. I'm in love with you Catherine and there's nothing I can do to stop it." I get off her and move to the bathroom before she sees the tears I have been fighting back fall.
Concentrating too much on splashing water onto my face to hide my tears I don't hear Catherine come into the bathroom. It's only when I reach for the towel that I realise that she's in here with me. Jumping slightly as she places a towel in my hands I turn to face her. All the colour drains from my face when I see that she's crying. As I move to draw her into a cuddle, she holds her hand up to stop me.
"You cannot say something like that, then just walk away and not give me a chance to reply." She says through her own tears. "I feel the same, Sara. You have no idea how much you've come to mean to me. I'm in love with you too, Sara. I know you don't believe me but I am and I'm going to prove that to you. Starting today." She tells me, moving closer to me. Wrapping her arms around my neck, for the second time this morning, she places a gentle kiss on my lips. "Starting with breakfast. When you've unpacked your bag, and got cleaned up, come downstairs. I'm going to get breakfast started."
After Catherine leaves the bathroom, I turn to look at myself in the mirror. I can't believe that she loves me. I'm almost too scared to believe it. But I do. Deep down I really do. Shocked into action by my revelation I quickly move to the bedroom and dump all my clothes back into the drawers and make my way downstairs to the kitchen. To Catherine.
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