DISCLAIMER: Don't sue! I'm not the boss of the show. Jerry and the head honchos at CBS lay claim to that. I'll have all the players back before night time and will give them bus fare if they need it.
SPOILERS: Some spoilers for the show. I took Sara's DUI and made my own story around that. I even gave Sara her own office - of sorts anyway.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Pain to Kill
By Corbeau's Alcove



I woke after Catherine, amazed that I had been able to sleep through her showering and subsequent changing. Months ago I would have settled for a cat nap without the assistance of booze but it was a sad state of affairs when the only time I'd get some rest is after a blackout.

Which happened anywhere, often I didn't get the luxury of falling into my bed.

Is it true that someone's love, someone's belief in you can change everything you'd become before that? Is it that simple?

"Hey there sleepyhead," Catherine says bringing a cup of coffee in the room with her.

"Hey," I reply reaching out for her and the steaming cup.

"We'll have to discuss what to do about us living together."

She must see a look in my eyes that makes her change her sentence because she gets up off the bed and says, "I mean sometime soon. Not right now or anything."

"I'd move in right now but I do kind of need a change of clothes," I say hoping a joke will make her feel a little better.

Plus, it's the truth.

"Don't bother, they'd all fall on the carpet anyway," she growls.

"Is it going to be like this everytime we wake up?" I ask.

"You mean me being your slave?" Catherine jokes.

"There's that but I meant all of this. You and me in the same bed; Lindsay down the hall. You know.."

"...a family," she finishes, a wide smile adorning her face.

"Yeah," I say quietly.

"I already asked Linds, she is still jumping for joy over the news."

"You asked her first?"

"Yeah, thought it was important to get her opinion."

"I'd hate to be stepping on her toes," I say agreeing.

"But I want to let you know, I wanted this. Badly," she says coming over to sit next to me.

"It'll be interesting," I admit.

"Why is that?"

"I'm used to being alone. Used to doing everything the way I want. I may be difficult at times."

"I have a child Sara, I think I know about different moods." Catherine jokes.

"I'm just warning you. After a while I may not be as endearing as you think I am now."

"You wait until you see me after a few months. You'll see the harshness of light affecting my body. I'm not a spring chicken Sara. I'm not perfect. Sometimes I will look older, like in the morning before I put my make-up on." Catherine looks down, as if she admitted too much.

"Nobody is perfect Catherine and I think you are beautiful. No matter what age."

Catherine takes a sip from my coffee smiling.

"Good reply Sara," she teases. "I get really cranky, I can be a down right bitch." She stops grinning. "But you know that already."

"All I care about is experiencing life with you and Lindsay. The imperfections and all because that to me is life as it's supposed to be. I found a fantasy world in my drinking. I don't want to go back there. I was numb, I was broken. I think I'll have days where the past will sneak up on me but I think coming home to a family instead of a bottle will make me realise I have something worth protecting." I say kissing her gently.

"So, what now?" She asks.

"I shower and you make me breakfast woman," I say, beating my chest.

"I'll help you in the shower and then we grab some food on the way to work." She suggests, her hand sliding up my thigh.

"Teamwork, I love it," I say before I'm pulled up by my hand into the bathroom.



Water soaks our bodies yet I'm sure I was already wet when I felt Catherine's teeth latch onto my nipple. Hell, I was wet before that. I lean against the wall content to take the lazy role in this for a moment. I'm not sure I could get my hands to move from her hair anyway so why try it?

She's moaning as I massage her skull. God she sounds so great. Her skillful mouth moves from one breast to the other and then captures my open mouth in a very hard kiss. The moan that was being released is muffled as she sucks my tongue. In fact she's pulling so hard on my tongue I feel like she could very easily rip it out of my mouth.

My hands grab at her arse but the water makes it harder than I first thought. I try again, after all I am persistent and this time I manage to almost lift her off the tiled floor. She laughs as we fall back a little. No damage done.

"You are so beautiful," I tell her, running my hand down her face.

She smiles as I kiss her gently but soon her smile turns into a lust filled moan as I slide my knee in-between hers. She automatically begins to rock on my thigh and I repeat the movement on hers. My head smacks against the wall a few times but I don't care. All I care about is the release. For her and me.

We're becoming a little sloppy with our movements as we both near our climax. Catherine is first only because I find that hearing and seeing her is sexy in itself and I stop my actions content to play roughly with her breasts. She lets a long sigh escape her as she climaxes but I don't let her relax for too long. I let my hand replace my thigh and enter her with two fingers. She jumps slightly but I have a firm hold on her waist.

"Sara, stop," she whispers. I look at her, wondering if she means it. I still my hand yet don't retreat from her warmth. She rests her head on my shoulder, her hand grasping my wrist. She doesn't move my hand out so I decide to just remain where I am until she makes the next move.

"Give me a second," she says smiling as I tighten my grip around her waist.

"I'll give you whatever you want," I tell her with complete sincerity.

She pulls at my wrist and I leave her warmth but before I can complain she cups my sex and I gasp as she enters me with one finger.

"I've got everything I want. I've got you baby," she says before thrusting in hard with two fingers. She keeps thrusting but slows down when I start chanting her name softly. With a few quick flicks on my clit I climax, my body falling against her.

"Work baby," I say as she starts to lick at the water falling off my breasts.

"I'm here with you about to make you dizzy with pleasure and all you can think about is work?" She jokes as she turns the taps off.

I snake my arm around her waist and attack her neck with small kisses.

"I'm already dizzy baby. Just with you loving me." I say.

God, I'm so corny.

"Prepare to be dizzy 24/7 then Sara," she says tilting her head so she can rest on my shoulder.

"I can do that," I say smiling.

"Okay lets get out of here and get to work." Catherine says in her 'mother' voice.

I'm so glad that she understands my dedication to work and that she too is the same. I can recall a few times Hank would want us to be a little late for work or insist we have an extended lunch break. I would always say no and, in fact, I hardly ever took a lunch break for him anyway. I have been accused of not having a life and ordered to get one, only to be the first one paged on their day off. I have also been accused of taking cases too personally, of not allowing myself to enjoy my time off.

I'm not perfect, I'm not someone you should role model. I am simply a human being trying to figure out how to cope with the drama of life. Now it looks as though I have a family who can help me, not a bottle of bourbon. It feels pretty good to have that.

"What's wrong baby?" Catherine asks me as I dress.

"Just thinking about where my life was and where it is now."


I smile that wide grin I know she loves.

"And I'm glad you are part of the now."

She nods and smiles widely. She doesn't say anything, there's no need to.



"Catherine, you have a case," Grissom says as she walks in with me. I see the wide smile and know what she feels like. Of course she isn't obsessed to the extreme like I've often been teased with, with regards to being stuck in the lab but I know she loves her work and loves to get out there and solve a case.

"Finally," she says smiling.

"What you got?" I ask as we walk to her office.

"DB residential house." She says grinning.

"Wanna swap?" I joke.

"Wanna give me a kiss?" She says softly.

I respond by closing her office door and kissing her gently. We break apart before it becomes too heated.

"So, can we swap cases now?" I joke. "It's only fair."

"Sorry, mine. Love you," she says on her way out.

I love how that makes me feel, her simple declaration that flows from her mouth like it was meant to be there and said to me. I can't really explain what I feel but it really is like all my insides melt and I can't seem to stop smiling. I feel a little taller too. It's all very weird but it's a feeling I never want to get used too. It's a feeling I want to keep until my very last breath.

"Hey there, we got one of those men Pertan was talking about. Brass is bringing him in." Nick says as I walk past him in the locker room.

"That's good," I say.

"If we can match him to that hair sample we could be in for a closed case by the end of shift," Nick says grinning.

"Got another bet running with Warrick?" I joke.

"It's the only thing he seems to bet on these days. Guess it's good he knows his limits." Nick says.

"Yeah, we all push them but it's admirable he's faced his addiction and managed to get out stronger," I say not missing the irony of his addiction to my own.

"True," Nick says looking at me like I'm a prophet or something.

"We see it all the time," I say by way of explanation.

"It took Holly to die, I know that cuts at him everyday," Nick says seriously.

Touchy subject. I was, after all called in to dig into Warrick. Let's not even start to talk about the way Catherine and I started off.

"Our lessons come in different shapes and sizes." I say, full well knowing it isn't easy.

"Yeah, well anyway War' would hate it if I stood around here talking about him. I'll page you when Brass has the bloke," Nick says grinning on his way out.

I stay in the locker room for a while longer, thinking about Holly and addiction. Also about Catherine. I would have never thought that when I came to Vegas I would find her and find a way to come clean about my attack and my drinking. She helped me, she cared for me and in turn I fell so deeply in love with her and Lindsay.

Yet, and I hated to admit it, there was that dark cloud constantly looming just outside it all. I can still taste the liquor at times and while it repulses me to no end I wonder if something down the track will make me want to seek out the drink.

I wanted to pretend it wasn't swirling around in my head but I didn't want to lie to myself now I was happy.

The question still remains, do I tell Catherine?

"Mister Scott, we understand you were interested in the unit being letted out," Brass says as I enter the room. Nick is already in there.

"Yeah, I was but now the break-in's have happened I'm re-evaluating it," he says smiling.

"Would you mind if we took a DNA sample to eliminate you as a suspect?" Nick asks. I think he assumes that there is no way to easy it into the conversation however, I see Scott get a little angry at this and I wonder if perhaps Nick could have waited with that question or perhaps worded it differently.

"We need to eliminate you, we had many different fingerprints. It's standard procedure," Nick adds.

Ah, good.

"Don't you need a warrant or something?" He asks coolly.

"We would appreciate your co-operation, it would help us in our case," Nick says.

"I don't get paid for it so I think maybe you should work for it," Scott says.

He starts scratching at his arm while Brass looks to Nick to see if he has anything else to add.

"We'll need the name of the gentleman who came with you," Brass says pushing a small pad across the table.

Scott smiles.

"I was on my own."

"The real estate agent seems to think you came with someone. Are you saying they were mistaken?" Brass asks, his posture changing slightly to a more agitated pose.

"It was a very busy day."

"Mr. Scott, what happened to your arm?" I ask. I'd been keeping an eye on him and he seemed to scratch a lot on his left arm. I couldn't see what was under the shirt but I did get a glimpse of a red scratch just near his wrist.

"Cat scratched me," he says smiling at me.

"Roll up your sleeve please Mr. Scott," Brass orders.

He does as Brass asks and Nick takes a look at the arm. There are a few scratches up the arm, a few look quite deep.

"A cat did you say?" Nick says grinning at me. "Must have been more like a tiger with those big marks."

I think Nick may be right, we may just close this case before the shifts ends.



We took Scott's DNA after he refused a lawyer. Why do people think they will outwit science? Makes no sense to me. I'm glad though, most of our cases are solved thanks to the arrogance or stupidity of those who commit them. That's not to say we don't have to work for it because trust me we do. Sometimes we can get lucky. Sometimes we have unsolved cases that eat away at us.

I can attest to that as can everyone here. Of course, we never voice them because we're not supposed to be attached to the victims. I remember telling Grissom I envied him, his ability to not feel anything. It was harsh, I know he's a very internal man when it comes to emotions. Sometimes he'll surprise you by letting it out but I would wager Catherine sees more of that than the rest of us.

I did get a hobby Gris, I got the drink. Now I've got Catherine and Lindsay. A hobby? No, it's more than that. It's a life. It's my life.

"We can keep him here right?" Nick asks Brass as I sit and daydream.

"He just asked for his lawyer, he'll stay in lock up," Brass says frowning at me.

"Greg is pushing a few things aside to do our test," Nick says grinning. I know he loves it when he is closing in on a victory.

"Think he'll give up his partner?" I ask.

"If we match the DNA I think he'll drop him right away." Nick says excited. He looks at the red scratches on his arm grinning. "Never thought I'd be happy to have my flesh ripped open."

"So all your whining about the pain was worth it?" Brass teases.

Nick looks at me surprised and I just hold up my hands smiling.

"I didn't tell him," I promise.

"It stung okay?" Nick says. I know he's not to upset even if he's trying to look like we've offended him.

Greg tells me it'll be at least four hours before he can tell us his findings so I take the time to get something to eat. I've found ever since I stopped drinking that I have a pretty big appetite. I packed a salad at Catherine's, sorry I guess I should now say our house ... where was I? I kind of lost my train of thought after thinking about our place.

I'm smiling like a fool, I can feel it.

My cell phone is laying on Catherine's desk so I pop in there to get it. I see she's left a few messages for me so I sit at her desk to read them.

'Just got asked out by a police officer, told him I was taken by a sexy brown haired lady. Love you, C.'

A little jealously rose up after I read that. I'm still consumed with self doubt and total shock that Catherine is really with me. I know she makes heads turn. I know she'll be hit on. I just hope I can always keep her happy so she won't have to find someone else.

It wasn't until I read the message a second time that I realised Catherine came out to that policeman. I loved her confidence. I was afraid to say anything even to my friends.

'I know you're feeling a little jealous but you never have to worry, I'm yours until the end of time.'

I'm too predictable obviously.

'Hey babe, hope your case is going well. Be back in about an hour.'

That's about ten minutes from now. My heart is beating so fast in anticipation of seeing her. Dear God, I'm a teenager.

I love it.

Come on. Come on. Come on. Time is ticking away so slowly. My phone starts ringing and I flip it open anxiously.

"Where are you?" Catherine purrs over the line.

"Your office."

"Meet me at the garage?"

I frown but find I'm unable to deny her.


I'm about to run to the garage but laugh at my impatience. I think taking a brisk stroll would be less conspicuous.

"Sara, can I see you for a minute?" Brass asks.

"Ah I'm kinda off to somewhere," I tell him.

"It'll only take a minute," he promises.


"I just wanted to see how you are," he whispers.

"Feeling great," I say smiling.

"Your skin looks better, your posture has certainly improved."

Oh I get it.

"I'm not drinking Jim," I tell him.

He looks at me looking probably for any signs that I'm lying. I don't blame him.

"In AA?" He asks.


I hope I'm not about to get a lecture.

"Do you still get cravings?"

"Look I really appreciate this but I do have to go," I tell him.

"Sara, does Catherine know you still have them?"

Oh, that got me to stop. Damn his detective skills.

"Catherine?" I ask trying to sound like I don't have a clue as to what he's referring too.

"Come on, I'm an old man I've seen it all."

I stand there knowing I can't really lie to him but I'm also not comfortable giving him the truth.



"I don't want to know about your personal life Sara," Brass tells me in what has to be a contradiction to his current line of questioning.

He must see the look on my face because he smiles ruefully.

"I'm kinda in a catch-22 I guess," he says grinning.

"I know you mean well," I start to say.

"But I should mind my own business? I hear ya. Just play it sensibly." He says with a warning tone to his voice.

I just nod. I don't want to say what I'm thinking which is pretty rude and along the lines of 'stick it' so I say nothing.

"I just want to say; you and Catherine? I'm so happy."

I smile at this, I have to because I agree. I'm a big sap.

"What took you so long?" Catherine asks me as I see her leaning against the work bench.

"I was held up," I say in a half truth. Or half lie. I'd rather think positively.

"You are so godamn sexy," she whispers as I stand near her.

It makes my pulse race when she speaks like that. I never knew it could affect me like this, never thought I'd ever be privileged enough to feel it.

"Stop it," I say almost giggling as she runs her hand up my arm.

"Stop what? This?" She says as her hand comes to rest on my belt buckle.

"Please," I beg without any real conviction.

"I just wanted to be alone with you for a minute," she says taking her hand away and smiling as I move closer.

"So, this officer, was he handsome?" I ask her.

"Babe, I compare everyone to you so he never stood a chance."

"Do you still, you know, find men attractive?"

She touches my face gently.

"Honestly? If I didn't have you I'd still be trying to search for something that would be opposite to you so I could justify an intense beginning and a bad break-up. I never wanted to be with someone for a long time because I always hoped I could find a way to be with you."

"Wow," I whisper.

"I've embarrassed you," she says.

"No, I was just thinking that I love you." I say grabbing her up into a hug. Who cares if anyone sees us? I want people to know about us.

"Sara," Catherine whispers into the collar of my shirt as we hear someone approaching.

"I don't care," I say pulling her back in. I'll finish this hug when I'm ready.

Catherine manages to push away from me before the footfalls become louder. I frown at this, she's so open with her caresses I'm not sure why she needed to break away from the hug.

Until I turn to see the person come closer. It's Grissom.



Great, this could go on for a while, I can tell he's trying to figure out why I'm here and not working my own cases.

"I mentioned the issue with Sara, she was curious," Catherine says quickly.

Please don't ask me my opinion on whatever it is Grissom.

"Do you have it?" Grissom asks Catherine.

"It's in the tailpipe. Found it in the victim's garage. He was shot only a few metres from the door leading to the kitchen."

Okay so now I am curious.

"I'll take the ones you have now," Grissom says.

Catherine flips open her case and produces a few yellow insects.

"Interesting," Grissom says walking off. "I'll have results for you soon."

"What was all that?" I ask puzzled.

"I didn't think you were ready to explain why you were hugging me," Catherine says shrugging.

I laugh and Catherine looks up a little hurt.

"No not that babe, what was with the insects?"

"Who knows?" Catherine says smiling. "I told Gil and he said he wanted to be notified as soon as I got back."

"I would come out to him you know," I say with a truth I'm surprised came from me.

"I would never make you babe," Catherine says softly.

"I have to tell him I'm changing my address, he's going to know it's yours."

"Shit. I didn't think about that."

"I don't care if anyone knows," I say with complete sincerity.

"Let's talk about this later okay?"

I nod and try to move closer to her but she turns her back to me to close her case. I run my hand down her back and smile as she arches into me.

"I love you, I don't care what anyone has to say," I whisper as I wrap my arms around her waist, my chin resting on her shoulder.

"Love you too babe."

The conversation with Brass is all but forgotten.



I couldn't find the right way to enter Grissom's office. Do I do it casually? Or do I mention this groundbreaking news as we talk about a case? Do I tell him I'm moving into Catherine's or just give him my new address and let him connect the dots.

My head hurts.

Catherine said she'd come with me but this was really something I needed to do on my own. After all, Grissom was someone I had a crush on and to gang up on him wouldn't be fair. I considered him a friend and I wanted to keep him as one.

God I was getting panicky. A swift shot of bourbon would calm my nerves.

What? No, I did not just say that.


Brass, its all his fault. Talking about booze, making me get a taste for it.

"Hey girl, where you been?" Warrick asks Catherine as she walks into the break room. I smile as she glares at him playfully.

"Working. I've been away and this place has fallen down!"

"Not true, we've just been taking it slow because you haven't been here to boss us about," he counters grinning. He sees me smiling and winks.

"You'll be in for it Brown when I ask Gil to assign you to every burglary for the next month," Catherine says coming to sit next to me. She takes my coffee from my hand and drinks the rest of it.

I try to look affronted but she just smiles at me and I find I've suddenly forgotten how to talk.

"You seen Gil?" Catherine asks me in what I understand to be in reference to our news.

"No, I got caught up," I say. "I'll see him now."

I get up pretty fast and I know Catherine would be frowning if I was brave enough to turn around to look at her.

But I'm not.

I hear Warrick joke about me being shot from a cannon and I cringe when I hear the hurt in Catherine's voice. I'll have to think of something pretty damn convincing to conceal the truth from her.

"Sara?" Grissom's voice filters from somewhere in the back of his office. I try peering past the countless shelves but just decide on waiting for him to immerge.

"Gil, I need to talk to you," I say using his first name in what has to be the second or third time I've ever done it in the entire time I've known him.

He senses that it's pretty important not only from my use of his first name but from the nervous stance.

"Is everything okay?" He asks sitting on the edge of the desk.

"I need to say this without interruptions," I say biting my lip.

"Are you in trouble?" He asks concerned.

"No. I need to let you know I'm moving."

"Work with the FBI?" He asks. I shake my head so he asks another question. "Back to San Francisco?"

"No." I say shaking my head.

"Is there something wrong here?"

"No, I'm moving in with Catherine." I say so fast it really just sounds like one long word.

"Catherine? Willows?" He asks puzzled.


"To help her recovery?"

Dear God, why did my boss have to be Grissom? I don't really want to spit it out no matter what I said to Catherine earlier.

"No, I'm living with her and Lindsay because she asked me."

"You like your space," he says taking his glasses off.

"I've changed a little Gris, I can't really explain it."

Well no, I can explain it but I really don't want to.

"Catherine said nothing to me about this," he says mostly to himself.

"I asked her not to."

"Okay, well I'll update the file then." He says moving back to his chair.

"Thank you."

I leave his office feeling pretty down. I didn't tell him the whole truth in there and while I was glad I didn't have to explain it I really feel like he deserves to know. I need Catherine, I need her opinion.



"Hey, what's with the long face?" Catherine asks me as I let myself into her office without knocking. It looks as though the hurt I saw in her not too long ago has gone.

"I told him." I say coming to stand near her.

"About us?" She asks, her hand running along the bottom of my shirt.

"Not exactly," I say cringing when she looks up sharply.

"What do you mean, not exactly?" She says removing her hand from my top.

"I told him my change of address and he knew it was yours."

"And?" She asks anxiously.

"I said you asked me to move in and he seemed a little upset that you didn't say anything to him."

"So he doesn't know about us?" Catherine asks. I can't tell if she's happy about that or not.

"I think he knows there is something up but no, he didn't ask me if we were romantically involved."

"Did you want him too?" She asks softly.

I look away from her, uncertain as to my answer. I said I didn't care but now I'm wondering if that was false bravado in the presence of this woman who inspires me to be more than who I already am.

"Honestly, I don't know." I say finally.

"So before, you were lying to me, telling me what you thought I wanted to hear?" Catherine asks, moving away from me.

Oh no, I think we're about to fight. I can tell it in her posture.

"No. I honestly thought I was ready. I did baby. But when I was in there, on my own I faltered. He was looking at me so lost I found that I wanted to spare his feelings."

"You still have feelings for him?"

"Not in that way. I told you about that Catherine. I just didn't want to rub it in his face that I was with you."

"So if I went in there now and told him, you wouldn't have a problem with that?" She challenges me.

"I'd rather you didn't out our relationship just so you could prove a point," I say firmly.

"I would never do that to Gil, he's dear to me Sara." She says, her voice heavy with anger.

"So what is the point of this conversation then?" I asked annoyed.

"I guess there is no point Sara. To a lot of this."

"Woah, what's that supposed to mean Catherine?" I say sharply.

"If you don't feel like you can move in with me and be completely honest then we should just take a step back. I would rather you let me know now than later when Lindsay has gotten used to you being with us."

Okay, I need to salvage this conversation before it gets out of hand.

"Honestly Catherine, honestly I don't think I'm ready to be out just yet. I know that disappoints you. I want to live with you and Linds, I want it so much I'm already planning where to put my stuff. You can't rush me baby. I need to do this at my own pace, just like a few other things we've done together." I say softly.

"I don't want to force you. I don't. I want you to feel comfortable. I don't want to push you into ..." she stops, looking away ashamed.

"Into drinking again?" I ask.

"Yes." She says, her eyes boring a hole into the table.

"If I drink again Catherine it wouldn't be because of you. It would be my own fault. I know I have to take responsibility for that part of my life. You showed me that baby."

"I'm just so happy with you Sara, I wanted others to see that."

I wrap my arms around her, sighing into her hair. I think we just averted something that was looming to be a big problem.

"I see it in your eyes whenever you look at me. That's all I need." I whisper.

"Okay baby," she says kissing my collarbone.

"There will come a time though that I will want to show you off to everyone here. Are you sure you can take my possessive streak?" I tease. "Think you can cope with me being openly affectionate towards you?" I ask as I run my hands up and down her spine.

She nods and takes a deep breath as I take her shirt into my hands, my hands touching her sides.

"Sara?" She looks up, desire in her eyes.

I smile and kiss her gently. She moans as I pull away.

"Not here, I want to make you scream." I whisper into her ear. I feel her body shake against me. God I love that.

"I'm sorry," she says kissing my hand.

"No, it's okay." I say understanding.

"Love you," she says moving away from me before we can't stop.

"Love you." I say grinning as she looks at my hands.



"Just the woman I wanted to see," Greg says spinning around on his chair with a big grin plastered across his face.

"Yeah, yeah," I say.

"No, really. Just you being here brightens my day. I can do the same for you," he says winking at me.

"DNA?" I ask hopeful.

"Tested against that sample."

Boy he likes to stretch his results out.

"Came back negative."

"And this is good news?" I ask taking the sheet from him.

"Yes because I found out something interesting," Greg says smiling.

"What would that be?" I ask frustrated.

"CODIS had a hit on Scott's DNA. Guess what for?"

I smile a little now, enjoying Greg's game now that things look promising.

"Please tell me it's for B&E."

Greg motions for a hi-five which I decline so he simply answers, "yes."

"Great Greg. Thanks."

"There's more." He says like he's waiting for a drum roll. "He had a partner. Dominic Perchase. Brass has the info."

"Greg, you're a life saver." I say giving him a big smile.

"I showed the mug shot of Perchase to Pertan, he says it looks like him only now his hair is longer." Nick says as I answer the call from him. "Brass said he'd send a patrol car over to his work and pick him up."

"Okay Nick, thanks." I say hanging up feeling satisfied.

I have time to take a quick shower. I feel like I need to keep myself busy so I don't think about things.

Things. Seems kind of softening the impact of the incredible urge I feel to drink.

No. I shouldn't think of that. Why am I so weak? I have everything now and what, I want to ruin it on something that will only satisfy me for an hour or so? Surely Catherine's love is enough for me. Enough to make me think that there is a life out there for me that doesn't involve wondering if I'll get to the toilet in time.

I'm angry with myself that I am even comparing the joy of loving Catherine and Lindsay to the bottle. Come on Sidle, snap out of it.

"Nick? I'll be out for about thirty minutes. Call me when you get back." I say leaving a message on Nick's cell phone. Grabbing my keys I head for the car.



I knew where I was driving too and even though I hated myself for it there seemed no way out. Self control isn't as easy as those two words together suggest.

I had forgotten about the foul stench that assaults you as you enter a pub. Of course I was never really worried about how I smelt; evidence in how putrid my place once was. I always thirsted after that first drink and the second and the tenth. If I could count to twenty then I knew I needed something stronger.

"What can I get you?" The woman behind the bar asks me as I stand near the corner stool.

"Double Jack," I say sliding my money across the wooden paneling.

Time. It's pretty hard to say just how much of it I spent just staring at my glass. Still not lifted to my lips it sat there occasionally wobbling as I spun the glass around.

I could feel the smoke burning its way into my clothing, into my pores and I knew I would have to shower before I went back to work.

My phone brings me out of my daze.

"Hey Sara, we've had a little trouble finding Perchase. Brass said we may not get him this shift. Seems he gave his notice at work yesterday."

"Thanks Nick. I've got a few things to do, talk later okay?" I say trying to muffle the rowdy voices nearby.

"Sure thing Sara."

It was annoying that things just didn't happen when I wanted them. I hoped that Perchase would be taken in and we could interview him tonight. At least we were getting somewhere, I shouldn't be too picky.

The drink still remained as full as it was when it was poured. Dialing a number I hoped would help I sat and waited for them to arrive.

"Sara," Brass says as he sits next to me.

"Jim." I say nodding. If he's seeing me like this it's only fair I call him by his given name.

"I have to say I was a little surprised to get your call."

I think he means that I called him instead of Catherine.

"I haven't had any," I say as he looks at my glass.

"You could taste it, that's why you came here." He says more as a statement than a question.

"Yes but now I can't seem to lift it to my mouth." I admit.

"I hate to sound like a person from AA but that's a good step," he say smiling as I roll my eyes.

"Yeah a great step," I say sarcastically but good tempered.

"Listen, you could have come here, ordered up a storm and not cared about it," he says placing his hand on my forearm for a second or so.

"Catherine's going to be so mad, so disappointed," I say. God I'm pathetic.

"Maybe so but it's an addiction Sara. Yes it was your choice to pick up that first drink but then it just got the better of you. I don't care what people say, it's a disease. She can't be mad that you're not perfect."

"It's not that. She won't trust me, everytime I come home later than I said or something, she'll second guess me."

"Give her more credit than that. She's a smart lady," he smiles saying, "she'd hire an investigator."

I smile weakly.

"Seriously Sara, she's been there for you for such a long time, this little incident shouldn't make her give up on you."

I say nothing.

"I saw there was something there long before it happened. She would always keep her eye out for you but it was masked in indifference. It would amaze me at the lengths she'd go to conceal it from you. When her guard was down I saw it, I saw the devotion to you. Sara, I know about the battle inside that comes with the drinking. I know that you start small, having a few to get buzzed and then doing it so often you can't really say when you started buying more and more. I know how you ache for it, you can literally taste it."

"She said she cared for me," I say quietly.

"Look, maybe you should talk to her."

I know I should. I'm just not sure if I can. I don't want to see that disappointed look in her eyes.

"I know of a few small police support groups. Very confidential. Would you like me to give you numbers for them?"

"I don't want to talk about this with strangers who I may see during work hours as well. I don't feel comfortable with that." I admit.

"Even if they all feel that same emotion?"


"Okay, well I have them in case you change your mind."

"Thank you for coming," I say finally.

"Anytime okay?" He says smiling.

We sit in a comfortable silence for a while longer until he's called back into work.

As he's leaving I dial Catherine's number. It takes her awhile to answer the phone.

"Hey sexy," she purrs over the line.

"Catherine, I uh," damn, this is hard.

"Sara? What's wrong?" Her tone changes from a flirting tone to a stone cold serious one as soon as I open my mouth.

"Please, don't be angry," I say but once again falter.

"Which bar?" She asks. God, is she telepathic?

I manage to give her the address and I hear her starting her car as I'm doing it.

"I'll be there in fifteen minutes. Stay put okay baby. Try not to have anything to drink." She says.

I hang up as I feel the tears fall. I'm not sure what I expected that conversation to be like but this particular scenario never even entered into the equation. I look down to make sure I haven't been drinking, surely only me in a drunken state could have just gone through that.



If I keep looking up with every creaky noise the door makes I'm going to get whiplash. It's funny, I feel so nervous yet I'm also still so very pleased I have Catherine. Her response to me has still shaken me, I have to wonder if I dreamt it.

Finally I see her come in. Her eyes squint, no doubt she's being attacked by the thick billowing smoke that floats around the entire small pub. She scans the booths to her left and I wonder if I should stand and wave her over. What is the correct protocol for this situation?

Her eyes dart towards me and I feel my heart rate rise. My hands are sweaty and my knees start shaking of their own volition.

"Sara," she says sitting on the stool next to me.

"Hi," I say softly. I follow her eyes to the glass in front of me.

"What is that?" She asks.

"A double," I say ashamed.

"You've not had any?" She asks in a tone I think sounds a little skeptical.

"I promise you, I've had none."


"I can't seem to lift it to my mouth," I say almost shrugging my shoulders.

"No, I mean why are you here?"

I look away from her intense stare, afraid. I'm scared because I'm not sure I really have an answer for her.

"I've been thinking about it," I say still not daring to look up at her.

"About drinking?"

"Yep," I say nodding.

"How long?" She asks, her voice croaking slightly. She tries to cover it up with a small cough but I've been studying her intently since she walked in, I notice it.

"I can't be sure." I answer. Is that the truth though?

"Have you, have you had anything to drink since the last time?"

I smile a little at her question. It seems kind of obvious that the time before I may have picked up the bottle would be just that; the last time. I'm glad she's looking away from me for a moment, I don't think she would have appreciated the smile.

"Not a drop since I told you. I swear."


"You're not mad?" I ask concerned.

"I'm not sure," she answers.

Not the answer I hoped for but I need her honesty now more than ever.

"So, what do we do now?" I ask, folding my hands so she doesn't she that they're shaking.

"We get you out of here, away from temptation," she says picking up her keys.

"Okay," I say following her closely.



Catherine starts to drive us home in utter silence. I can't think of a single thing to say that is good enough and I think to talk about something trivia like the weather would not be a wise idea. So instead I follow her lead.

"Come on!" She yells unnecessarily at the driver in front of us. Okay so she said she's not angry but I can see she is. She's obviously trying to reign it in but for whose benefit?

"Cath," I start to warn her about driving so fast but what can I say? I sure as hell can't lecture her. At least she slows down but still she refuses to look at me.

The next ten minutes feels like it's dragging in slow motion. The tress, houses and cars are but a blur, the sounds of everyday life merging into one long hiss. I had thought about this time, the time we'd drive back to work to our home. This scenario was never there.

Is this house still my home I wonder.

"Coffee?" Catherine asks as she throws her keys down.

"Yes please," I reply, glad that she's talking to me.

"Sit, I'll make it," she says effectively shooing me away from her. I don't want to leave the comfort of her simply being near me. I long to feel her arms wrap around me.

I hate that I'm regretting calling her. I don't want to feel like that.

"Here," she says handing me my favourite mug. It's got Catherine and Lindsay on it, both laughing at something. Catherine's hair is blonde and curly, her eyes shining so bright. I often just stare into the mug and it feels as though she's looking right at me.

I turn the picture away from me. I can't bare to see that happy face right now.

"I love you," she says so softly it's almost a whisper into her mug.

Wow. I was not expecting that to be the first thing she would say to me. When I don't respond she looks up and I see a few tears running down her face.

"I'm so sorry," I say ashamed.

"I know you are," she says nodding.

"There's this thing inside me that I thought I had beat. It won't go away," I say sadly. I've let her down.

"It will never go away Sara. It will always be within you."

"Is your addiction always with you?" I ask.

She takes another drink from her mug and looks up at me.

"It's there, buried deep."

"I've fucked us up."


She finally comes over to me but still doesn't touch me.

"No you haven't. I told you I wanted to help. We just need to take things slowly."

I frown and she continues, "maybe you moving in was too fast. It set things off again."

I take a chance and grasp at her hand.

"No, it's not that Catherine. Trust me."

She touches my cheek with her free hand.

"I do trust you Sara. I do. I'm just worried."

"About what?"

"I don't want to find one day that it's all become too much and you want to drink your life away. I don't want anything I say or do to put that pressure on you."

"I can't say what this drinking does to me. I only know I thought I had it beat and it's still here," I say pointing to my head.

"I won't let you promise you won't drink. I can't let you."

We're both crying now but I take comfort in the fact that she's not moved away from me. I need that physical connection to steady me.

"One day at a time huh?" She says to me as I cry even more.

Finally she pulls me into her arms, rocking me to and fro. I wrap my arms around her and sink into it.

"Brass was right, you're remarkable." I say into her neck.


I pull away slightly, wiping my eyes as I do so.

"Yeah, I talked to him before you came."

As soon as I said that I knew I'd done something wrong. I felt Catherine's body tense and she put a little distance between us.

"You called Jim first?" She asks.

Oh shit.

"Yeah I did," I say wincing as I see the flicker of hurt in her eyes.

"Okay," she says slowly.

"Is that bad?" I ask like a little school girl wondering if she's going to get into trouble for something.

"I didn't think you were close to him."

"I'm not really, we've just had a few chats." I tell her.

"Why didn't you call me first?" She asks trying not to sound upset.

I look into my mug and back up to her wondering what the hell I'm going to say only to be interrupted by her cell phone.

"Willows?" She answers, getting up off the couch to talk to the unknown caller.

When she returns she's got her jacket on.

"Where are you going?" I ask.

"Out. To work." She says. "Do you need to go back into work?"

I'm about to say no when I think about how lonely I'd be without Catherine right now so I take her up on her offer to drive me.

"I'll drive you back to the pub and you can get your car." She says as I down the last bit of my drink.

Great, she doesn't want to be alone with me.

"Thanks," I say, hoping she won't see how disappointed I am by that suggestion.

"Okay, let's go then," she says ushering me out the door.

I climb into the car flicking the radio on. If we're not talking at least the music will help fill in those quiet moments.

We pull out of the driveway and I dare a look out of the corner of my eye to see Catherine's mood. She catches me, returning the look. As I turn away I feel my hand being moved from my lap. Looking down I see Catherine has clasped her hand in mine and is squeezing tight.

Part 91

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