DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Not wasting any time waiting for an elevator, I rush up the stairs to the third floor, my heart in my throat as Brass' words echo in my head. 'Shots fired! Officer down, officer down. Suspect is on the run. I repeat. Suspect is on the run.' It never once occurred to me that the armed suspect could be anywhere in the building perhaps even in the stairwell. My only thought was to find Sofia and make sure she was unharmed.
Thankfully, I reach my intended floor without encountering anyone. I forcefully push through the third floor door and immediately raise my hands when two officers turn toward me with their weapons raised. Shit, I guess I didn't think this through too clearly. I won't be any help to Sofia if I get myself shot. The three of us continue to stare at each other in silence as neither officer lowers his weapon.
The intense standoff is ended by the sound of Brass' booming voice. "Sara, you aren't supposed to be up here. All CSI personnel are to wait in the lobby until the all clear has been given. What the hell do you think you're doing?"
The officers turn their weapons away as I cautiously walk toward Brass. With tears in my eyes, I say "Please, Jim. Don't make me wait any longer. I have to know if Sofia is okay." He extends his hand to me without saying a word. I reach out a shaking hand, and Brass takes hold pulling me into an embrace. Oh God, please don't let her be dead.
He leads me around the corner to room 315 and motions for the stationed officer to step aside as he ushers me into the room. It takes countless seconds for me to register what I am seeing. Another officer is leaning over a figure applying pressure to the upper right shoulder area. I focus in on his hands to see blood pooling around his fingers. Following my line of sight, I realize I can't see the victim's face because the officer's body is in the way.
I visibly shudder when I recognize the clothes the victim has on. Black pants, black boots, black belt, and black shirt. I force myself to look closely at the belt area where the light from the lamp casts an eerie glow on the gold detective badge. My mind keeps insisting as long as I don't see her face, it's not her. It's just someone who wears the same clothes with the same body type. The badge is insignificant as there are other female detectives. No, it's not her, it can't be her.
A low moan from the victim fills the silence in the room. The timbre is the same as my lover, but this moan is one of pain not of pleasure. I gasp aloud as yet another sound similar to a whimper is heard. My feet move forward, each one of its own accord as the injured party whispers my name "Sara."
Without thought, I kneel down next to Sofia and gently move the hair from her face. She looks up at me with soulful blue eyes and smiles through her pain. I take her left hand in mine and attempt to return her smile as tears slowly trickle down my face.
Pandemonium erupts in the hallway as shouts are heard followed by the onslaught of gunfire. The officer and I stare at each other before silently agreeing to stand our ground. A deathly silence ensues as the two of us continue our silent vigil at Sofia's side, neither relinquishing our hold.
After what seems like an eternity, two EMTs quickly make their way into the room. Both move to Sofia's right side where one of them takes over the compression of the wound. The second one checks her vitals before turning his attention to me. He glances at my vest and says "Ms. Sidle, I need to start an IV. Do you think you could move back a little and give me some room?" No, I'm not leaving her, and I'm certainly not letting go of her hand. I need to be in contact with her. I need her to know I'm here.
Seemingly understanding my dilemma, the EMT softly says "Why don't you support her head? You can use your lap as a pillow." Sofia squeezes my hand, and I reluctantly relinquish my position to the EMT. Sliding forward, I gently lift my lover's head and place it in my lap.
Two more EMTs enter the room with a gurney, and the four of them carefully ease Sofia onto it. She doesn't make a sound, but the tears in her eyes are enough to let me know how much pain she is in. I take my place at her side and hold her hand all the way down to the ambulance.
I step back when we get to the ambulance to allow them to place Sofia inside. The driver motions for Brass to get inside as the gurney is lifted into the back of the ambulance, but Brass motions for me to take his place. Without hesitation, I hoist myself up, and the doors slam shut behind me. I sit down beside my lover and once again hold her hand. Leaning down, I gently kiss her lips and tell her how much I love her.
When we arrive at the hospital, we are met by a team of doctors and nurses. Sofia is immediately wheeled into a side room, and the doors swing closed leaving me on the outside, frustrated and alone. I place my hand on the exterior of the door to try to maintain some form of contact with the love of my life.
****** One week later ******
Sofia is being released from the hospital today. The bullet went straight through but managed to nick an artery along the way. A centimeter or two to the left could have been fatal depending on how quickly she arrived at the hospital. Judging by the time it actually took from the initial gunshot to the ER, I am certain she would not have survived. Neither would I.
Life and death situations force individuals to rethink their choices. Both Sofia and I have been putting off moving in together for at least a month. Not because we don't want to, but simply because we thought we had plenty of time. Tomorrow, Warrick, Nick, and Greg are coming over to help me move my things into Sofia's condo, but today, I get to take my girl home.
Opening the door, I assist Sofia to her sofa. Instructing her to stay put, I go to the kitchen to prepare some refreshments. I lean into the refrigerator to retrieve a coke and immediately halt all movement. Reaching into my pocket, I pull out the ring and admire the diamonds and sapphires. I close the refrigerator door and quickly return to Sofia's side.
Determined, I kneel on one knee in front of my lover. I am not going to waste another second; no more putting things off. Today we will celebrate life and each other.
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