DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: A very special thanks to the lovely mrswoman for the quick beta and wonderful suggestions. Oh, and for the title, too. :)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The car was silent, save for the occasional sounds of soft bristles brushing against the elevator wall, followed shortly thereafter by the tearing sound of plastic pulling apart as the newly exposed fingerprint was placed into evidence.
"This is worse than fingerprinting a hotel room. I don't think we're going to have enough powder for the number of prints in this elevator." Catherine stood and stretched her back, an hour of being hunched over while fingerprinting the elevator's railing was taking its toll on her already sore muscles.
Sara peered over her shoulder and chuckled. "What's wrong, Cat? Your venture into wall-climbing getting to you?"
"Shut up, Sara. I certainly haven't ..." her words were cut off as the elevator was suddenly plunged into darkness. "What the hell?"
The emergency lights immediately began to flicker, casting a dim orange glow inside the car. Sara glanced towards the doors to find them closed tightly.
"When did the doors close?"
"They're closed?" Catherine's zoomed in on the doors in question.
Sara sighed and reached for the lid to the fingerprint powder. She certainly couldn't continue in the poor lighting, plus she didn't want to take a chance of spilling the powder on the elevator's floor. Grissom would undoubtedly make her clean the entire surface.
Catherine's focus hadn't changed. "They can't be closed."
"Well, they are. I guess we were so rapt up in processing the scene, neither of us noticed." Sara's shrug went unnoticed by Catherine who was far too busy trying to remain calm.
"We've got to get out of here." So much for calmness.
"I'm sure someone's already aware of the problem. We just need to be patient. Sometimes these things can take hours."
"Hours? As in 60 minute intervals? Oh, no; no, no, no. I can't stay in here for 60 seconds, much less 60 minutes." Catherine started to tremble.
Sara took a seat on the floor and leaned against the wall she'd already processed. "It's just a good thing neither of us is claustrophobic. I don't know who'd have it worse, the one who's claustrophobic or the one who's not."
Catherine remained silent.
Totally unaware of Catherine's discomfort, Sara chuckled aloud. "Can you imagine one of us freaking out? The other one would sure have her hands full, that's for sure."
Still more silence. This time, Sara noticed the non-responsive Catherine.
"Hey, are you going to talk to me or am I going to have to carry on a one-sided conversation?"
Catherine began to hyperventilate. Walking to the doors, she pounded against them. "Get me out of here!"
Sara flew to her feet. "Whoa, whoa! Settle down, Cath. It's okay."
Wheeling around to face her colleague, Catherine was quickly becoming unglued. "Settle down? You settle down! I just want the hell out of here!"
Sara stepped closer to Catherine, reaching out to offer comfort, but Catherine rebuffed the offer, slapping away the extended hand. "Don't touch me!" Catherine's breathing was out of control as she began to pace around the small enclosure.
"Out, I've got to get out. I can't stay here." Catherine repeated her mantra over and over again.
On the fourth pass around the elevator, Sara grabbed hold and pulled Catherine into her arms, feeling the staccato-like beat of Catherine's heart against her own. Holding on tightly, Sara tried to soothe the other woman as Catherine fought her tooth and nail.
"Sh, it's okay, Catherine. I've got you. I've got you." Sara began a mantra of her own, repeating her promises and hoping she'd get through to Catherine.
The words eventually filtered into Catherine's psyche, and she slumped into Sara's arms. Sara held onto Catherine as she slid down the wall to a sitting position. Catherine wordlessly followed Sara to the floor, nuzzling Sara's neck as she closed her eyes.
"I can't do this, Sara."
"Yes, you can, Cath. You're doing just fine. Now, try to relax your breathing, take slow, steady breaths." Sara moved her hand lower, rubbing soothing circles on Catherine's back.
Catherine squeezed her eyes closed tightly and held onto her lifeline as she concentrated on her breathing in, out, in, out, in, out while Sara continued to offer support.
"Good, Cath. That's it. You're doing just fine."
As her breathing slowly returned to normal, Catherine discovered her senses had become hyperaware. The smell of Sara's neck was intoxicating, and the touch on her back was shooting tingles up and down her spine. Catherine licked her dry lips and froze as her tongue came in contact with Sara's skin, the taste slightly salty with a mixture of perfume and an exotic flavor that was purely Sara. At the touch of a tongue to her neck, Sara inhaled sharply, and Catherine shivered at the sound, knowing she was the cause. All that was left was her sense of sight, but Catherine refused to open her eyes, afraid to see the look of disgust on Sara's face.
Sara blew out a shaky breath. "Cath?"
Embarrassed, Catherine burrowed deeper into Sara's neck, the move only serving to push her libido up another notch as her nostrils became filled with Sara's scent. Catherine was certain the amount of pheromones the younger woman was producing was off the chart.
"Cath?" Sara's voice was a shaky as her breath.
Catherine's lips attached firmly to skin, the tight seal providing enough suction to vacuum the fingerprint dust from the floor. Sara moaned aloud and slid her hand down to Catherine's hip. Never relinquishing the sweet skin, Catherine adjusted her body so that she was straddling Sara's thighs, her knees on either side of Sara's. A second hand gripped Catherine's hip, and Sara maneuvered the other woman against her tightly.
"God, Cath." Sara continued to voice her approval as she moved her hands down to grasp two firm globes. Squeezing tightly, she pleaded, "Catherine, will you just kiss me already?"
A loud pop signaled two things: one, it would take weeks for the bruising on Sara's neck to fade, and two, it seemed Catherine was in favor of Sara's idea as mere nanoseconds passed before she claimed the other woman's mouth. Hands and tongues eagerly explored new territory, and had the scene been filmed from above, the viewer would've been plastered to the screen, desperately trying to see the poorly lit action which accompanied the erotic moans and groans.
An hour later, both women had redressed, and Catherine was curled up in Sara's lap sound asleep. Sara stared up at the ceiling and froze, suddenly remembering that most elevators were equipped with video. There, in the far upper left corner, sat a video camera; its lens looking right at her. She looked down at a relaxed Catherine just as the lights whirred to life, their brightness almost blinding after spending so much time in the dimly lit car. A beat later, the elevator doors began to open, revealing a hotel maintenance man. He smiled at Sara.
"Sorry, it took so long."
Sara poked Catherine in the side, and she slowly came awake. Smiling sexily at Sara and then noting the man standing at their right, she jumped to her feet.
"Well, it's about damned time!"
"Sorry, miss, but there was a problem with the electricity in the entire building."
Sara glanced up at the camera, and the man smiled. "Well, I better go make sure there aren't any other problems." Turning to leave, he winked discretely towards Sara as he added, "Oh, by the way, the video equipment was down, too."
Sara breathed a sigh of relief as she watched the employee walk away.
"Who gives a damn about the video equipment?" Catherine grabbed her kit and propped it against the elevator door. There was no way the doors were closing on her again.
Catherine looked back over her shoulder. "Huh?"
Tilting her head, Sara pointed towards the ceiling, and Catherine slowly followed Sara's finger, stopping at the camera mounted in the corner. Her eyes widened. "Oh!"
"Yeah, oh!" Sara ran her hand through her hair. "Listen, Cat, about all this "
Catherine stepped directly into Sara's space. "No, don't say this was a mistake because we both know it's been coming for awhile." Catherine chuckled. "Really coming for awhile."
"Cath . . ." Sara's reply was halted by Catherine's fingers against her lips.
"No, this wasn't a mistake. I know I freaked out and everything, but I was totally aware of what I was doing, and more importantly, who I was doing."
Sara smiled. "Oh, I know. You and I aren't the problem here. Well, not exactly..."
"What's wrong then?"
"We contaminated the crime scene. How are we going to explain what we did to Grissom?"
"Crap. I hadn't thought of that." Catherine looked around the elevator and smiled when she spied the container of fingerprint powder. "I've got an idea."
Sara followed her lover's line of sight. "We can't."
Catherine grabbed the container and loosened the lid. "I've just survived the worst and best hour of my life. Yes, we can."
Sara stole a quick kiss and then reached for the other container.
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