DISCLAIMER: CSI Miami and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By sinjenkai


Part 16

For the next hour, Natalia's wounds were cleaned, assessed and then her shoulder was popped back into place. After that was done, Horatio and Calleigh remained with Natalia for the prognosis. Luckily, she wasn't going to need surgery, and all of the wounds could be closed using surgical glue. The downside was however, she was going to be bedridden for at least a couple of weeks.

"How soon will I be able to get out of here?" Natalia asked the doctor.

"You could leave here in a couple of days, but I would like to keep you in longer for observation."

Turning to Horatio, Natalia asked.

"Would you please find out when and where the funeral for Kris Jackson will take place? I want to attend it."

The doctor shook his head.

"I advise against any walking as it will be very painful, and the wounds will need a chance to heal."

"This is something that I need to do. I'll put up with the pain until after the service and then take the medication."

Calleigh placed her hand on Natalia shoulder.

"I'll take care of the arrangements, don't worry."

Horatio interrupted.

"Calleigh, why don't you let me handle this? You stay here and I'll be back in a little bit."

The doctor then informed the two women that Natalia would have the sealing done using local anesthesia and that the pain should be at a minimum. Calleigh requested and received permission to stay in the room during the procedure.

The doctor left them alone for a few moments while he went to get ready.

Closing her eyes, Natalia tried to block out the discomfort that was beginning to creep back in, but wasn't having too much success. Then gentle fingers began massaging her temples, being careful of the gash. The mere touch soothed her nerves and distracted her from the pain.

Turning her head and opening her eyes, she looked into worried, pale green eyes.

Silently they looked at each other, until Calleigh leaned in and gave her wife a soft kiss.

"I love you Talia."

"I know. That one fact was the one thing that got me through. I just kept a vision of you in my mind and I handled everything."

There was a soft tap on the door and Horatio stuck his head in.

"May I come in?"

"Of course."

He came in and stood at the end of the bed.

"The funeral is the day after tomorrow and I've arranged for a plane to fly you to Orlando, then a car to pick you up at the airport and drive you to the grave site. Afterwards you can come back here or if I may, I have another suggestion - I have a cabin down in the Keys, and it is yours for as long as you need it."

Calleigh walked over and placed a hand on Horatio's arm.

"Thank you - that would be great."

There was a knock on the door and the doctor, along with a couple of nurses came in and started setting up for Natalia's procedure.

Calleigh went back to stand beside the bed near the head, placing a gentle hand on Natalia's shoulder and leaned in close to whisper.

"I want you to concentrate on me during this. Don't take your eyes off of me."

Smiling weakly, Natalia responded.

"That I can do for the rest of my life."

The procedure took almost two hours as some of the nail gouges were harder to close than others. By the time that it was finished, Natalia was emotionally exhausted and in pain. Calleigh finally convinced her to take some pain relievers and she was beginning to drift off to sleep.

Horatio had waited outside during the procedure and while it was progressing, watched as a young man walked up to Natalia's door, opened it and started to go inside before he stopped. He stood in the entrance for a few moments before turning around and walking to the opposite wall, looking pale.

"Son, are you all right?" Horatio inquired, walking over to the man

Taking a couple of deep breaths, the man turned to face him.

"Yes, thank you."

"Is there something that I can do for you? I'm Lieutenant Horatio Caine from the Miami Dade Police Department."

The young man shook the offered hand.

"I'm Paul Jackson - Kris Jackson was my sister, and I was here to pick up her body and heard that the woman who caused her death was here. I wanted to confront her, but… when I walked in, I saw her legs… I realized that she didn't cause anything. She was a victim too."

"Mr. Jackson, I'm sorry for your loss, but no, Ms. Boa Vista didn't cause anything. A man named Jethro Thomas did, but he won't be causing anyone else any pain anymore."

"Thank you. My family will be happy to hear that."

Taking a step closer to the young man, Horatio informed him that they would be coming to the funeral service.

"Ms. Boa Vista won't be in any condition to travel, will she?"

"I have learned that when Natalia makes up her mind, she can do almost anything, and this is very important to her."

Shaking his head, Paul gave a rueful smile.

"My sister was like that. You would tell her that she couldn't do something and she'd do it just to prove you wrong. Then I will save some seats for you. Thank you for your time, Lt. Caine. We'll see you then."

As he was walking off, Calleigh came out of the room and walked over to her boss.

"They've just finished, and I told Natalia that I was coming out here to give you an update so I can't stay long. The doctor said that it went well, and I finally got Natalia to take some pain medication, so hopefully she will be asleep soon."

Calleigh looked so relieved, but so very tired that Horatio couldn't help, but envelope her in a hug. Momentarily startled, Calleigh then leaned into it and sighed.

"I don't know how I…no, we, would have made it through this without you and Alexx. Once again, we owe you so much."

Taking a step back, she looked up at her boss.

"I'm afraid to ask this next question, but what did you find at Jethro's house and at the warehouse?"

Taking a deep breath, Horatio looked down at the ground for a moment before he could look back at his friend, trying to decide what to tell her.

"From what we discovered at his home, Jethro was a sadist serial killer. He had close to a hundred video and audio discs of women that he tortured and then killed. As far as we can tell, most of the women were prostitutes or runaways so they either weren't reported missing or people didn't care. The warehouse was just the latest place that he used. I don't think that we will ever find the bodies, so there are families out there that will never have closure. I don't have any idea how he passed the psychological tests to get on the force, but there is going to be a complete investigation and heads are going to roll."

Calleigh closed her eyes and leaned against the nearby wall, imaging what might have happened if Horatio hadn't gotten to Natalia when he did.

And as if he could read her mind, Horatio softly stated.

"He wouldn't have lasted a couple of hours more. Natalia had gotten away when we blacked out the area and stabbed him with his own knife, nicking the anterior artery. Alexx said that would have killed him if we hadn't shot him first."

Holding a hand over her mouth, Calleigh shook her head before saying.

"Even with everything that he did to her, I don't know if she could handle knowing she could have killed him."

Pushing away from the wall, she placed a hand on Horatio's arm.

"Thank you again for everything. I'd better get back in there, I don't want her to be alone anymore than she has to."

"Not to worry. I'll have Alexx come by tomorrow and spell you for a bit so that you can go home and pack. Ryan has Mallory at his place so you don't have to worry about her. You just take care of yourself and Natalia. I'll see you later."

And with a gentle smile, Horatio left and Calleigh walked back into Natalia's room. The nurses were just about to leave., but before they did, one walked over to Calleigh as she stood by Natalia's bed.

"She was asking for you. Said that she didn't want to sleep until she saw you again."

Looking down at her wife, Calleigh gently brushed back caramel colored hair away from the now closed wound.

"Talia, I'm right here babe."

Slowly, sleepy eyes opened and focused on her face.

"Ok, just wanted to make sure that you were safe. You can still see me?"

"Yes, my love. I can see you with my heart, and with my eyes. Now go to sleep and I promise to be here when you wake."

Smiling softly, Natalia closed her eyes once again and was instantly asleep.

Leaning down, Calleigh placed a gentle kiss on Natalia's lips, then turning around she was startled to see a nurse still in the room.

"It's good to see that your sight is returning."

Calleigh looked confused for a moment and then it hit her; she knew that voice.

"Nurse Blanton, it's nice to see you finally."

"Ms. Duquesne, it's nice to be seen. Now can I get you something to eat? I know for a fact that you haven't eaten today."

"A sandwich and some orange juice would be great and if possible, could I have some extra juice because Natalia will probably want some when she wakes up. Could I also ask if you would let Dr. Tatum know that I'm here and if she has a free moment, I need to get some more eye drops."

Nodding her head, Nurse Blanton started to walk out, but before she got to the door, she turned back.

"I'll have housekeeping bring up a recliner for you. If I remember correctly, neither one of you likes to leave the other alone."

"Thank you. That would be great."

Calleigh was finally left alone with her sleeping wife. Leaning down close to Natalia's face, Calleigh drank in the sight, realizing how close they close came to losing it all again. They had spent way too much time in this hospital over the past two months and Calleigh for one - couldn't wait to never see it again.

It was much later in the afternoon, after Calleigh had eaten, housekeeping had delivered a semi comfortable recliner and Dr. Tatum had come by to check her eyes, saying that they were progressing nicely, that Calleigh was sitting in the recliner, half way between napping and wakefulness when she heard Natalia moan softly.

Instantly she was on her feet and beside the bed, peering down to watch as velvety chocolate eyes blinked open and focused on her face.

"Hello, my love. Are you thirsty? Would you like some juice?"


Holding the cup and the straw so that Natalia could drink, Calleigh was glad to see that the haunted look in her wife's eyes was almost gone.

"How are you feeling? Are you in any pain?"

Finishing the juice, Natalia shook her head.

"Not really, it's more like a dull ache right now. I just wish that we could just go home though, I want to be in our bed."

Reaching over to gently caress Natalia's face, Calleigh whispered.

"Soon darlin', I can't wait to hold you. I need to feel you next to me."

Slowly Natalia brought up her hands and slowly flexed them, wincing as the skin was already tightening up.

"How long did the doctor say that it would take for everything to heal?"

Taking one hand within her grasp, Calleigh placed soft kisses on Natalia's fingers.

"At least a couple of weeks before everything closes fully and the glue falls off. By then you shouldn't be in any pain and we can just concentrate on both of us getting back to normal."

Reaching up with the hand that Calleigh had just kissed, Natalia caressed Calleigh's face.

"Have you talked with Dr. Tatum yet? What did she say?"

"Yeah, she said to continue to using the drops, wear dark glasses for another couple of weeks and that I should regain full sight in more or less the same time frame. I'm just happy to see your beautiful face."

Natalia sobered up instantly and her eyes got teary.

"I was so scared that I would never see you again or that he would leave me there and come after you. When he started to go into detail on what he was going to you, I knew then I had to find some way to stop him. That if I didn't, he would find some way to get to you and there was no way that I was going to let that happens."

Leaning down, Calleigh gave her a soft kiss: one that promised that everything was going to be all right. Slowly she brought up her hands to frame Natalia's face and pulled back a bit so that she could look her eyes.

She tried to say something, but words failed her. Her own eyes watered up and she swallowed the lump that was stuck in her throat.

"I can't put into words right now what I felt when I heard you on the phone. My world went dark is the closest thing that I can think of. You are my shining light, darlin', and I can't imagine my life without you."

Rising up to press her lips against Calleigh's, Natalia reached around to pull her into bed to lie with her.

"No, no. It will hurt you too much." Calleigh protested.

"Yes, it will hurt, but it's a good one; a healing hurt. I want to hold you. I need to feel you. I need to feel us. Just for a little bit, I promise."

Smiling, Calleigh carefully lay down next to Natalia, placing her head over her heart and an arm gingerly about Natalia's waist.

Sighing, Natalia kissed the top of Calleigh's head, closed her eyes and drifted back to sleep, while Calleigh lay there and listened to the steady beat of her wife's heart. She soon joined Natalia in slumber.

An hour or so later, the door to Natalia's room slowly opened and Eric stopped in the doorway, looking at the two women as they slept. For a moment, he didn't move, and then Alexx came up behind him, placing a hand on his back and peered around through the opening. Looking up at him, she reached around and closed the door.

"They really love each other, don't they?" Eric stated softly.

"Yes, what they have is something rare and special. They love completely and without boundaries. I'm just glad that I get to share it with them."

Nodding his head as they walked away, Eric replied.

"Me too."

The room was in shadows when Natalia woke up again. Her body ached and she was in some pain, but it wasn't enough to warrant any drugs, not yet anyway. Turning her head, she looked down at Calleigh, who was sleeping soundly against her. She slowly brought her hand up, flexing it a bit before trailing her fingers through golden hair. So soft, and not just the hair. This woman who had taken over her heart was the softest creature Natalia had ever met, but then in an instant she could be hardnosed and cold.

As Calleigh stirred, Natalia ran a finger down the side of her face in a caress.

Slowly green eyes opened, blinked a few times as they focused in on the face above.

"Hello love, did you sleep well?"

Gingerly Calleigh got out of bed and stretched.

"Yes I did. Are you hungry darlin'? I can go see if we can get you something to eat."

"Yeah, I can definitely eat something." With a wicked grin.

Giving a Natalia a quick kiss, Calleigh went in search of food. She went down to the nurse's station and asked about getting some food. While she was standing there, Horatio walked up and touched her back lightly, catching her attention.

"Hello, how is Natalia feeling?"

Smiling up at him, Calleigh looked rested.

"She's doing better. She slept all afternoon and now she's hungry so that's a good sign."

"Yes, it is."

After getting the nurse's assurance the cafeteria would send up some food for Natalia, they turned back towards the room.

They were almost to the door when Horatio looked down the hall and came to a complete stop.

Calleigh stopped and asked what was wrong.


"What! Where?"

Squinting at the figure that was walking towards them, Calleigh gasped as his features came into focus.

Horatio stepped slightly in front of Calleigh.

"Can I help you?"

"Yes sir. I'm looking for Natalia Boa Vista's room please."

Slowly Horatio slid his hand towards his pocket.

"You don't have to worry about me Lieutenant Caine. I know who you are and I'm just here to apologize to Ms. Boa Vista for what my brother did. And I can tell by your face that you didn't realize that he had a twin brother."

"No, I'm sorry. I didn't"

Holding out his hand, the young man introduced himself.

"I'm Jacob Thomas, and I just wanted to offer my apologizes for all the pain that my brother caused. I knew my brother had some issues, but I never realized that they ran to this extent."

Calleigh from behind Horatio and started to say something, but Horatio stopped her.

"Would you mind if I asked for some sort of identification, please?"

Slowly reaching for his wallet, Jacob took out his driver's license and handed it to Horatio.

Horatio looked at it, handed it back and then asked him to continue.

Jacob cleared his throat. "For the past few years, Jethro has been moody, easily upset and thought that people were plotting against him, or leading him on all the time. Ever since the accident, he'd was different."

"What kind of accident?"

"About five years ago, Jethro was in a car accident with his wife and six month old son. They didn't make it and he later told me that they were arguing about how he thought that she was cheating and that their son wasn't his. He had always been a suspicious man and I think that since the issue was never resolved that it manifest itself in a different way."

Calleigh interrupted."How did you find out about what he had done to Natalia?"

"I'm the next of kin contact, so they told me who the last victim's name and where she was, I came here."

Swallowing hard, Calleigh cleared her throat before she could continue.

"I realize that your intentions are good, but I don't think that she could take seeing Jethro's face, your face right now. I'm asking you, no, I'm begging you, not to go in and see her."

"And what is Ms. Boa Vista to you?"

Without hesitation, Calleigh answered.

"My life."

Jacob stared at her for a few moments before nodding his head slightly and holding his hand out to Horatio and then Calleigh.

"If you would please tell her how sorry I am, I would be grateful. It was a pleasure to meet you Lieutenant Caine. And ma'am, I didn't catch your name?"

"Calleigh Duquesne. Thank you for your understanding. I will tell her that you stopped by, I promise."

He gave a slight smile, turned and started to walk away. He stopped before he had gone more than a couple of feet, turned back and said.

"I hope that she realizes how lucky she is to have someone like you watching out for her."

"She does. We both do."

Nodding his head, Jacob bid his farewell and left.

Putting her hands to her face and then raking them through her hair, Calleigh turned to Horatio.

"I couldn't let him in to see her, I just couldn't. It would have been too much, too soon for her."

He nodded his agreement and they walked into Natalia's room to find her trying to get out of bed.

"Talia! What are you doing?"

Looking over to Calleigh, Natalia's voice shook with fear, anger and something else; determination.

"I heard him talking to you. He's going to try to hurt you and I can't let him do that. I can't let you go through that. I have to stop him."

Rushing over to her wife, Calleigh tried to calm her fears and get her back into bed, but Natalia kept pushing her hands out of the way.

"It was his voice Calleigh. I won't ever forget that voice. I'm not going to let him hurt either one of us ever again."

"Talia, it wasn't him. It was his brother. He found out that you were here and wanted to apologize to you. It wasn't him, I promise."

Looking over to Horatio, Calleigh's eyes pleaded for help as he walked over and gently placed his hand on Natalia's shoulder.

"Natalia… Natalia, listen to me. It wasn't Jethro, you know that. Remember what happened in the warehouse, he's dead. I shot him and he's not coming back. He can't hurt you or Calleigh."

Turning her head, Natalia looked at the man whose voice was beginning to get through the curtain of fear and then she looked back to Calleigh. Slowly she lowered her arms and her head as her body began to shake as she started to cry.

Wrapping her arms around the crying woman, Calleigh kissed the top of her head and whispered.

"Everything is going to be all right. He can't hurt us anymore. We're safe."

Horatio quietly stepped out of the room, leaving them alone.

They stayed the way that they were for a long time until Natalia had calmed down and leaned back so that she could look Calleigh in the eyes.

She started to say that she was sorry, but Calleigh stopped her with a kiss. A kiss started out soft and gentle, but Natalia turned it into hard and needy, pulling Calleigh to stand between her legs and sliding her hands underneath Calleigh's shirt to touch her skin. Moaning, Natalia tried to pull Calleigh closer, mindless of the pain that it was causing her legs.

"Darlin'... Talia, wait. Stop baby, I don't want to hurt you."

Pulling back a bit, Natalia took a deep breath and growled in frustration.

"Damn it Calleigh, I need to feel you. I can't explain it; I don't care about the pain. I need you."

Lowering her forehead to Natalia's, Calleigh sighed.

"I know what you mean. You feel like your nerves are on speed and everything is wired. I want you too, but that door over there doesn't have a lock, and I don't want to have someone walk in and destroying the mood. And with our luck it would be Eric or Ryan and then we would never hear the end of it."

As if on cue, the door opened and Ryan walked in with a paper bag from a local sub shop.

"Good grief guys, get a room."

Calleigh looked at Natalia and both started laughing.

Shaking his head, he placed the food on the serving table and started laying things out.

"I figured that you would get out of here faster with something other than hospital food so I brought a variety. You have subs, salads and soups, so there's gotta be something here that you can eat. I have a hot date so I'm out of here. Later guys."

And with that, he walked out, leaving the women looking at each other.

"Do you think that he was embarrassed or what?"

Pulling the table over so that it would be easier for Natalia to eat.

"Darlin', I don't care right now. He brought food and I'm ready to eat anything."

Natalia raised an eyebrow and smirked as Calleigh hung her head and chuckled.

"Boy, I left that one wide open. Thank you for not going through."

"I'm saving it for dessert."

"Oooo, nice one."

They ate everything that Ryan brought and when they were finished, they could barely move. Calleigh helped Natalia into the bathroom and then back to bed. Because Natalia was beginning to hurt, Calleigh called the nurse and she was given a shot for the pain. Almost immediately, the drug kicked in and she was drifting off to sleep even as she was trying to talk Calleigh into joining her in bed.

Gazing down at the slumbering woman, Calleigh realized that not only was the physical healing going to take a while, but the emotional and psychological healing was going to take just as long or maybe even longer. Leaning down, she placed a gentle kiss on Natalia's forehead and whispered.

"Sleep sweet, my love."

Pushing the recliner next to the bed, Calleigh got comfortable and was soon softly snoring.

Part 17

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