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 3

Slowly awareness came creeping to the surface and Calleigh felt as though there was a weight was placed on her chest. Flexing her right hand, the starchy feeling of the sheets momentarily confused her, and then everything came rushing back to her. She was blind. Her hands swiftly came up to her face and gingerly touched her eyes. Thick bandages were wrapped over them and around her head.

She must have made a noise because the sweetest voice in the world filled her ears and a gentle touch stroked her cheek.

"Hello my love. I'm right here."

Licking her lips, Calleigh croaked out. "Water."

A straw was quickly pressed against her lips and Calleigh drank greedily, draining the glass.

"Easy babe."

Calleigh attempted to clear her throat, but her voice was still raspy. "How did the surgery go? What's the prognosis?"

Natalia settled on the edge of the bed, leaning in close to Calleigh so that she wouldn't have to strain to hear. "Dr. Tatum said that everything went well. There was some debris near the optic nerve, but the odds looks good right now. It's just gonna be a couple of weeks before the bandages can come off and then we'll know."

"The odds look good? You know me; I love ballistics because it's an exact science. I don't do odds well."

Calleigh felt Natalia settle herself near her shoulder so she scooted closer so that she could be touch her.

"Babe, you've got to remember that you've been hurt. Your body needs time get over the surgery and repair itself. And I'd bet on you every time."

Pausing a few moments, Calleigh finally asked. "How bad to I look?"

Again leaning in close, Natalia simply stated. "Cal, I get upset when you get a paper cut, but you don't look that bad. You're still as beautiful as the day I met you and we're in this together. Now scoot over because I'm getting in there with you. I'm not leaving you alone and I'm certainly not going to spend any more time in that chair than I have to."

Moving back over to the far side, Calleigh left just enough room for her wife to snuggle up to her uninjured side. She sighed contently as Natalia gently wrapped an arm about her waist.

Gently Natalia reached up and placed a kiss on the corner of her mouth, sadly aware that Calleigh couldn't see her coming to turn her head for a real kiss. But as soon as Natalia's lips grazed against hers, Calleigh turned towards her and whispered. "Another please?"

Natalia laughed gently. "As many as you want, my love. All of them are yours anyway."

Calleigh was about respond when she felt soft lips meet hers and she returned the kiss without hesitation.

Finally pulling away, Natalia said. "Now you need to get some rest because I want to be able to take you home soon." Resting her head against Calleigh's shoulder, Natalia willed herself to breathe deeply and slowly, hoping that Calleigh would fall asleep. It worked so well that they both were soon gently snoring and didn't notice when Alexx opened the door and peered in. Quietly smiling, she backed out and went down to the nurse's station and made sure that they wouldn't be disturbed.

It was the insistent buzzing of Natalia's cell phone finally made its way to Natalia consciousness. Slowly she crept out of the bed, making sure that she didn't disturb Calleigh while noticing that they had slept through the night.

Whispering, "Hello"

"Ms. Boa Vista, this is Nurse Blanton at the floor desk. Alexx Woods asked us not to disturb you unless it was absolutely necessary. Just wanted you to know that Dr. Tatum will be in to see Ms. Duquesne in about a half hour. Also a Lieutenant Caine called and asked that you please give him a call whenever Ms. Duquesne is ready to see visitors."

"Thank you so much." Natalia whispered. "I know that taking messages is not in your job description, but it means a lot and we appreciate it."

Hanging up, Natalia walked back over to the bed and looked down at her wife. Her skin had a bit more color than last evening and that made Natalia feel better.

Leaning close to Calleigh's ear, Natalia softly whispered good morning while gently rubbing her right arm.

Groaning, Calleigh slowly moved her body as she ached in more places than she knew she had. Gingerly she brought her right hand up to her face, feeling the bandages. It wasn't uncomfortable, just felt like she was wearing a diving mask.

"How do you feel babe? Are you in any pain?"

With Natalia's help, Calleigh sat up and carefully draped her legs over the side of the bed.

Clearing her throat before she tried to speak, Calleigh hoarsely replied. "My leg is killing me, but I can control it until the doctor gives me something."

"The doctor is on her way and should be here soon and Horatio wants to know when you can have visitors."

"Go ahead and call Horatio and tell him to come on over. I need to talk to him as soon as possible."

Seeing Calleigh attempting to stand, Natalia was quickly by her side, bringing over a pair of crutches and helping her to the bathroom. After a few minutes, Natalia was helping Calleigh sit back down on the bed when Dr. Tatum walked in.

They spent the next few minutes talking about the surgery and what they would expect over the next few weeks. The doctor told both Calleigh and Natalia that the surgery went very well. That she had found no damage to the optical nerve, just a lot of debris. There were lacerations on the eyelids, but those would heal without complications. Dr. Tatum explained that a lot of the bleeding was from the force of the blast, calling it a concussive injury. She also stated that she expected that Calleigh would regain her sight, but of course they had to wait, as she couldn't give them a time other than at least a couple of weeks needed for the swelling to go down. After prescribing and administering a painkiller and telling Calleigh that she could go home the next day, Dr. Tatum left.

Calleigh was quiet after the doctor left and Natalia gave her that time to get her thoughts in order. She knew that her wife was very analytical and was weighing everything that she had just been told. However, after about fifteen minutes, Natalia began to worry that Calleigh was going to try to distance herself from her.

Kneeling in front of her love, Natalia place her hands on Calleigh's thighs. "Talk to me baby. What are you thinking?"

Calleigh shook and then lowered her head. Opening her mouth a couple of times before she finally whispered. "I don't want you here. I want you to leave and not come back. Just leave. I don't want you to say one word, just get out."

Natalia stayed as she was for a few minutes, staring up at her wife in disbelief. She knew what Calleigh was doing and that she didn't mean it, but that thought didn't make it hurt any less. She knew Calleigh believed that she was going to lose her sight and that Natalia would feel tied down. Calleigh thought she was saving Natalia from a worthless marriage, and was doing the right thing by pushing Natalia away.

So Natalia did the one thing that literally tore her heart apart. She stood up and walked out of the room, but stopping right outside the door as tears began to pour down her face. Hanging her head, Natalia took a deep breath, shook herself and stood up straight. Pulling out her phone, she called Horatio and told him that Calleigh could have visitors and that she would meet him outside of her room.

Horatio's low voice came over the phone. "She asked you to leave didn't she?"

"You've known her longer, Horatio. Why does she do something like this?"

"Natalia, you know that Calleigh is a proud person who doesn't like to show weakness of any kind. She has higher standards for herself than she has for others. Calleigh believes that she is saving you from being saddled with a blind person. She just doesn't fully understand that you two complete each other and that you're stronger together than you are apart."

"I just want to shake some sense into her, but I know that I just need to give her time. So when you get here, I'll meet you at the nurse's station near her room."

Horatio agreed and Natalia closed her phone, and walked towards the nurse's station.

"Just get out."

The silence that followed Calleigh's little speech was deafening. Already her other senses were working overtime to compensate for her lack of sight. Natalia's own unique perfume floated on the air while her breathing became shallow. Suddenly the sound of Natalia standing and walking out the door filled the room and Calleigh's heart screamed.

Sitting perfectly still Calleigh hoped that maybe that she could control the emotions that were barreling through her. That she could compartmentalize each one away. But her heart, her soul wasn't going to let her. She had fallen in love and now she had to deal with what happened when she pushed that love away.

Fisting her hands, Calleigh sat up straighter and took a deep breath. 'It's for the best. Natalia needs to be with a complete person, not someone who can't enjoy life to the fullest with her.' Scooting back on the bed, Calleigh leaned back with the intention on going over what had happened the day before, but instead visions of Natalia filled her mind. The harder she tried to think of something else, anything else, the more Natalia crept in. Natalia wearing the white silk robe when Calleigh first came to her house after being shot. The look of utter love that Natalia had given her when Calleigh arrived on the rooftop to rescue her from Jake. The moment that Natalia had said her commitment vows.

Angrily Calleigh swore underneath her breath. 'You did the right thing, now live with it.' Taking another deep breath, she tried to sleep.

Sitting across from the nurses' station, Natalia listened as one of the nurses answered a phone.

"Fourth floor, may I help you.... No sir...  She is not allowed visitors at this time... No sir like we've told you before, we don't have a time frame of when she will... Sir, it wouldn't matter if you were the Chief of Police, you still wouldn't get in.... Yes, Offi... I mean Detective Stetler, I'll be here if you want to come up and see..... You're welcome."

Hanging up the phone and muttering under her breath. "What an ass. How many times does he have to be told the same thing before it sinks in?"

Walking over to desk, Natalia leaned forward to get the attention of the nurse. "Excuse me, but was that Detective Rick Stetler that just called?"

"Yeah, he's been calling almost every hour for the past 5 hours. Says that he needs to interview Ms. Duquesne."

Natalia was about to say something when she saw Horatio striding down the hall towards her and quickly moved to meet him.

"Horatio, Stetler's been calling in trying to interview Calleigh. I don't want him anywhere near her."

Horatio said nothing, instead gently led Natalia back to the nurse's station, and asked for the head nurse. A dark haired woman came out to meet them and introduced herself as Nurse Blanton.

"Yes ma'am. I'm Lieutenant Horatio Caine and I would like ask you and the hospital security not to let Detective Rick Stetler anywhere near Ms. Duquesne. In fact, other than myself, Ms. Boa Vista and Dr. Alexx Woods, I respectfully request that she be allowed no other visitors unless it is cleared by Ms Boa Vista. Would that be possible?"

Nurse Blanton smiled while reaching for the phone. "It is not only possible, but it will be a fact. We on the fourth floor remember Ms. Duquesne and Ms. Boa Vista well and will do anything that we can to make this stay pleasant. Det. Stetler said in his last call that he was on his way over so I'll have security nearby if needed."

Inclining his head in thanks, Horatio turned and headed towards Calleigh's room. Stopping a short distance away, he turned to Natalia and gazed at her for a moment.

"How are you holding up? Is there anything that you need?"

Shaking her head, Natalia replied. "No, I'm ok Horatio. And I know why she did what she did and that she didn't really mean it, but it still hurts. I'm not going anywhere. She 's not getting rid of me that easily."

"I thought nothing else. Now, I need to go in there and debrief her on what happened. If by any chance Stetler comes, please let security handle him. I would also prefer that you not let him know that I'm here. Also, Alexx drove Calleigh's car to your house and your car is downstairs in lot B, slot 26." He handed the keys to both cars.

With a very determined look in her eyes, Natalia assured him. "Thanks, and don't worry. That man won't get anywhere near Calleigh."

He smiled as he turned, pushed open the door to Calleigh's room and went inside while Natalia made herself comfortable outside.

At the sound of the door, Calleigh raised her head off the pillow.

"Who's here?"

Walking over to the bed to stand near Calleigh's head, Horatio answered. "It's Horatio, Calleigh. How are you feeling? Are you in any pain?"

Shaking her head slightly, Calleigh replied. "Not really, no. Dr. Tatum just gave me some meds so I'm feelin' no pain right now. Um… did Natalia call you?"

"Yes, she said that you were ready to have visitors, so here I am. I need to get your report about yesterday and Lt. Hale from I.A. would like to be able to listen in on the phone. Is that alright with you?"

"Oh yeah, that fine with me. She's gonna love what I have to say."

So Horatio opened his phone and dialed Lt. Hale's number. Soon Calleigh was giving her report while both Horatio and Lt. Hale listened on. After she finished, Horatio and Lt. Hale asked her a few questions and Calleigh clarified a few details.

Horatio had been in Calleigh's room for about a half hour when Natalia looked up to see Rick Stetler advancing towards her. Quickly she got up and positioned herself in front of Calleigh's door.

"Get out of my way Boa Vista. This is official Police business and you don't want to mess with me today."

"Well, that's just too bad Stetler because I'm not going to let you anywhere near Calleigh right now. She's been through enough and shouldn't have to deal with you. And besides, it's against policy for you to be near her before she gives her report."

Stetler stood almost in Natalia's personal space with his hands on his hips. "You mean to tell me that no one from Internal Affairs has been here to talk with her yet? I find that hard to believe so why don't you just let me in to do my job." He sneered.

Natalia took the final step forward to place herself in Stetler's personal space while growling out. "She's resting right now and which part don't you get Rick? That Calleigh can't have visitors, that you're not allowed to debrief her or that I not letting you get near her? Which one? Are you really that dense?"

Stetler grabbed Natalia's wrist and tried to jerk her aside in a quick move, but faster than he could complete the motion, two security guards were at either side of him, pulling him away from her.

"If you ever touch me again Stetler, you'll be sorry. Stay away from me and stay away from Calleigh. If you get anywhere near her, I swear by everything that is holy, that you'll regret it for the rest of your days."

Stetler tried to wrench away from the guards. "Are you threatening me now, Boa Vista? Because now I have a witnesses. What would Calleigh say to that?"

Before Natalia could answer, Nurse Blanton walked up and stood beside Natalia. "I didn't see anything like that. But I did see you assault a visitor in my hospital and will be filing a report with your commanding officer as soon as I can."

Natalia narrowed her eyes with her hands balled into fists at her sides as she growled out. "Keep doing what you're doing Stetler. You're just digging your own grave and Calleigh, the rest of the team and I will be happy to throw the dirt right on top of you. So listen one last time - Stay… Away… From… Calleigh."

Nurse Blanton told the two guards to escort Stetler off of the property and to make sure that he wasn't allowed back in. Turning back to Natalia, she laid a gentle hand on her shoulder when she noticed that Natalia rubbing her wrist.

"Are you ok? Do you need me to take a look at that?"

Shaking her head, Natalia watched as Stetler disappeared down the hall, protesting the entire way. Turning back to the nurse, she smiled. "No, I'm ok. But thank you for what you did. We really appreciate it."

"Well, I meant what I said. I'm going to call and report what happened. The hospital can't allow for our visitors to be manhandled by anyone, no matter who they are."

The nurse walked away as Natalia gazed at Calleigh's closed door, wondering how much they had overheard inside. Sighing she turned and sat back down in her chair near the door.

Back in Calleigh's room, Horatio was helping Calleigh back into her bed because as soon as they heard Stetler's voice, she hobbled out of the bed and made her way over to the door with every intention of confronting him. She didn't want him near Natalia, and it was only Horatio holding her back while softly telling her that Natalia had it all under control that kept her from swinging the door open. So both Horatio and Calleigh listened along with Lt. Hale over the speaker phone to the encounter that was happening right on the other side of the door. After they listened to Stetler being led away and Natalia wasn't harmed, Horatio quickly asked Lt. Hale to hang on while he got Calleigh situated. Once he was sure, she was comfortable; he got back on the phone and had a discussion with Stetler's commanding officer.

Calleigh didn't pay any attention to what he was saying; instead, she was replaying everything that she had overheard. Sighing deeply, Calleigh pounded a fist on to the bed as she heard Horatio tell Lt. Hale that they would continue to watch Stetler for a few more days to see what he would do next.

Closing his phone, Horatio walked over to the bed. Calleigh could feel him staring. After a few moments, he finally said. "Feelin' pretty foolish now, aren't you? She didn't tell me by the way. I've known you a very long time and I knew that you would think that she'd be better off without you than for her to think that you are weak. But she doesn't see you that way Calleigh. All Natalia sees is the woman that she loves and is married to. She knows that love makes people stronger, not weaker and she understands that you are scared. She's scared too, but she knows that you can get through anything together. You've already proven that. It's ironic that if the situation were reversed that you would each do the exact same thing. So admit you were wrong, apologize, tell her that you love her and yes, you can tell her about the raid. There should be no secrets in a marriage."

Tilting in her head in an imitation of the man talking to her Calleigh smiled as she replied. "I do believe, Horatio, that this was the longest speech that I have ever heard you give."

Laughing quietly, Horatio ducked his head. "I save it all up for the important moments. Do you want me to ask her to come in?"


Quickly leaning over, Horatio gave Calleigh a chaste kiss on the cheek, then walked over to the door and opened it. Motioning for Natalia to come inside, he gave her a similar kiss on the cheek as he left, closing the door.

Silence built up in the room as Natalia remained quiet and still, so after a few moments, Calleigh finally whispered. "Talia, are you here?"


Swing her legs off the bed; Calleigh grabbed the crutches at the side of her bed and stood up, listening intently. She thought that she heard a noise so she turned in that direction.

"I realize that I was wrong. I thought I sent you away because you shouldn't be with me this way. But I sent you away because I didn't want to be weak, didn't want to be any less of the woman you married."

Natalia's smooth voice caressed her ears. "What makes you think that you are less the woman that I married? Did your feelings for me change?"


"Then why Calleigh? Why did you really send me away?"

Hanging her head, Calleigh balled up her fists and took a deep breath. Bringing her head up so that she was facing where she thought Natalia was standing. "Because I thought that you would end up hating me if I was blind, and I couldn't handle that. But if I sent you away, you would hate me for a different reason and my twisted mind could handle that."

This time Natalia's sweet voice was right beside her right ear. "Well then, I guess that it's a good thing that I am in love with your twisted mind then, isn't it?"

Slowly Calleigh brought up her right hand until she felt Natalia's arm, then she followed it up past her shoulder until she felt the tears on Natalia's face.

"I love you so much Talia, I just don't want to be less than I can be."

Putting her hands on either side of Calleigh's face, Natalia gently brushed her lips against Calleigh's.

"Babe, if you lose your sight, we'll deal with it together. But you need to understand that I love you for your heart that beats in time with mine and for your soul that calls to mine to join it in the stars. I love that you are so passionate, so giving and that you want to be the best that you can be. You are the best. We are the best, but we need to promise each other to quit pushing each other way with what we think the other one needs. We from now on are going to talk about everything and hide nothing from each other. Deal?"

Before Calleigh could answer however, Natalia was kissing her tenderly and Calleigh moaned as she nibbled against Natalia's bottom lip.

Natalia whispered against Calleigh's lips. "And since we are going to tell each other everything, I need to tell you something."

Giving Calleigh another quick kiss. "Baby, you need a bath because you really stink."

The abrupt change of subject caught Calleigh off guard so much that she pulled back a bit, snorted then started laughing.

Natalia watched her wife with amusement and adoration. "Babe, I'm not kidding. You really smell. I'm gonna go talk with Nurse Blanton and get whatever we need to give you and bath and wash your hair."

Leading Calleigh back to the bed, Natalia caressed her face. "I'll be right back."

And true to her word, in about ten minutes Natalia was back with supplies, a change of clothes and Nurse Blanton in tow. For the next few minutes, Nurse Blanton was in charge and the first thing that she did was to instruct Natalia to dim the lights until they were barely on and to close the shades. Swiftly she unwound the bandages from Calleigh's head until she reached the individual patches cover her eyes. Explaining to both Calleigh and Natalia that she couldn't remove the patches at that time, Nurse Blanton made sure that they were well sealed and then proceeded to instruct Natalia on how to wash Calleigh's hair. Then she slid a plastic bag over the cast on Calleigh's leg and left.

After helping Calleigh disrobe, Natalia led her into the bathroom where she sat her down on the bench in the shower area. Natalia quickly took off her own clothes and turned on the water, finding a pleasant temperature before turning back to Calleigh.

"Go ahead and place the towel against your face babe, so I don't get the patches wet."

Calleigh did as she was asked while Natalia quickly wet her hair and began washing. As she washed, Natalia noticed that Calleigh had quite a few bruises all over her body, especially on her back. While working through Calleigh's hair, Natalia pulled out twigs and pieces of leaves that were entangled in the golden strands. Rinsing out the soap, Natalia then worked in some conditioner and told Calleigh that she was going to leave that in while she washed Calleigh's body.

"This soap isn't nearly as nice as the soap at home, but it will get all of the grime off of you and I know that you'll feel better afterwards."

As Natalia started washing Calleigh's back, being very careful of the bruising, Calleigh cleared her throat and whispered.

"We arrived at the location and stopped about a half a mile away. I was assigned to cover the back with Stetler tagging along. It was really hard to get through the brush, as it was very dense. Stetler started going down an easier path and I tried to tell him that he needed to stop as he could've be seen from the building, but he ignored me. Now that I've had time to think about it, it was obvious why they had set the trap there. Anyone else would've gone for the easier path, as Stetler did and when I saw the trip wire, I tried to warn him, but it was already too late as he had just pulled it. He dove behind a tree, but I had nowhere to go. The last thing that I saw was a ball of fire and pieces of the building coming at me."

Calleigh turned and reached out until she found Natalia's face.

"I don't want that to be the last thing that I'll ever see. I want it to be you; I just want to see your face just one more time."

Natalia was so glad that they were standing in the shower and Calleigh couldn't tell that tears were pouring down her face. It still took her a few seconds to get her voice not to shake.

"Baby, I want that too. But if it doesn't come to be, it's alright as long as we are together."

Natalia placed her hands gently on either side of Calleigh's face and leaned in to softly place a kiss on each of the eye patches. Then she placed one hand over Calleigh's heart.

"As long as you see me here Cal, you can see me, because the love that I have for you fills my heart and I see you all around me."

Calleigh smiled her infamous Duquesne smile. "Then I can see you clearly darlin'. God, I love you. I was so stupid in trying to send you away."

"Baby, stop it. You're not stupid; you were just scared, as anyone else would be. But we're past that and it's behind us. Now let's finish up so we can get you something to eat and I'll tell you what I'd like to do to Rick Stetler."

Reaching out, Calleigh found Natalia's arm, grabbing it. "No! Promise me that you will stay away from him. Horatio and I.A. are working on something and I don't want you anywhere near him. Please promise me that you won't do anything. Please."

"I promise baby. Calm down, I promise. I just want him to pay for this."

"He will darlin'. I don't know how, but he will."

After finally washing off all the soap and conditioner out of Calleigh's hair, Natalia dried Calleigh off and got her into some clean clothes. When Calleigh was resting comfortably in the bed, Natalia went back into the bath, washed herself, changed into another set of clean clothes, and went out in search for some food.

After eating some very bland hospital food, they both took a long nap, waking only long enough to have dinner before going back to sleep. When Calleigh questioned how much they were sleeping, Natalia stated that it was because they were emotionally worn out and that was the way that their bodies were recharging.

Part 4

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