DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I just ignored all the little GSR moments and concentrated on “Living Doll” with a little twist.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"Nothing, we found nothing." Nick said frustrated before he rubbed his bloodshot eyes. "Nothing that can help us to find Sara." In anger he threw the manila folder onto the table, its content scattering over the surface.
"Shit." Greg muttered when he saw the pictures of Natalie's apartment for the first time.
Sofia didn't need to look at the pictures; she would never forget what the apartment looked like. The dolls at the walls, the workplace in the center, a monster made of magnifying glasses and multiple instruments, as scary and deadly as scalpels and knives.
But what was the most terrifying, the thing that proofed beyond doubt how insane and obsessed Natalie Davis really was were the innumerable sketches Natalie had drawn of Sara. Portraits, parts of her face, scenes from the crime scene where she had seen Sara for the first time and sketches of their latest crime scene, the one they still had to find.
Sofia's gaze went to one of the pictures showing Sara's face. Natalie was an artist; she had captured Sara perfectly, her slightly furrowed eyebrows and her thin but delicate lips slightly pressed together. It perfectly imitated the expression Sara always showed when she was concentrating. A shudder went trough the blonde, the sketch was beautiful and repulsive at the same time.
"We can't find what's not there, Nick," Grissom explained, his voice calm and neutral. "Your findings are very important; you've been able to not only connect her to Sara's abduction, but to the miniature killings too. This will be crucial at court."
Hearing Sara's name and the other victims of Natalie in the same sentence slammed right into Sofia. It reminded her that till now none of Natalie's victims had survived. Even before when she had given them a chance to safe one life, they had failed, especially her. She hadn't been able to safe Officer Kamen, even though she had watched her, had been only a few rooms away.
They couldn't fail another one.
Nick nodded as he hurried to collect the pictures and place them back into the folder. "You're right and we'll find her. You found me and we will find her. It isn't her day." He repeated his mantra again. Maybe it was the only thing that kept him sane at the moment.
It didn't help Sofia's sanity.
As the blonde looked around she saw the same fear and desperation on the faces of the night shift, Greg was still staring at the place where the pictures had been laying and Catherine, unable to reign in her emotions any longer had covered her mouth with one hand, fighting against tears. Warrick who sat next to her had placed his hand on top of Catherine's other arm, his thumb rubbing over it for both their comfort.
The only one who didn't seem affected was Grissom. Ever since his earlier confession he had retreated to his old self, seemingly unable to experience emotions.
"Greg." Grissom addressed the young CSI.
"Yes?" Greg shook his head slightly, finally lifting his eyes up again to look at his boss. He and Sara shared a special bond, one that Sofia had ogled suspiciously at the beginning of their relationship. She had realized soon that she had no reason for jealously, Sara considered Greg a younger brother and a good friend. She had been his mentor, always looking out for him and Greg would do everything to pay back the trust she had in him. He was always eager to please her and the blonde realized he was as scared as her to fail Sara.
"Archie and I searched the surveillance cameras. They don't have cameras at the parking levels, but in the elevator and at the entrance and exit." Greg explained as he typed into his laptop; seconds later the grainy picture of an elevator emerged. "Natalie Davis stepped into the elevator on the first floor at 19:54. She left the elevator at the fourth floor at 19:56." Natalie Davis was a plain wallflower, unsuspicious and harmless at the first sight. She had even fooled the CSIs, working under their noses for more than a month.
Greg took a deep breath before he showed the next sequence, his voice slightly trembling as he continued. "Sara emerged 17 minutes later, at 20:13." The screen now showed the brunette, wearing her CSI-vest and carrying her kit. Sofia's heart beat faster at the sight of her lover. Still after all those months they've been together, even through a grainy black and white tape Sara had this effect on her, the way she carried herself, so strong and confident. It had taken Sofia a while to look behind this façade, to find out that there was so much more to Sara Sidle.
Suddenly Sara lifted her head, looking straight at her as if she knew she was watching her and Sofia wanted to stop her, cry out to her to not step out of the elevator. But there was nothing she could do expect for watching as Sara once again directed her gaze at the elevator door as it opened. She readjusted the grip in her kit and stepped out into the fourth floor and out of her sight.
Greg stopped the tape.
"She left the elevator at the same floor as Natalie at 20:14. She wasn't on any surveillance tapes later."
This couldn't be the last time she saw her alive.
A grainy black and white picture from 20:14 wasn't enough.
"We don't know what happened next at Sara's car." Grissom continued, "We found her kit and her cell phone in the open trunk of her car. There were no signs of struggle or blood. Natalie probably drugged her or used a taser."
Sara probably never saw her coming. She was trained in self-defense; Sofia herself had made sure that she stayed in form, showing her the best techniques and coaching her. If she had had a chance, Sara would have defended herself, but she hadn't been prepared for the attack of a psychopath.
"She left the parking block at 20:32 in an old white Toyota." Greg froze the next picture and zoomed in till the driver became visible, Natalie Davis. "There was no one with her. No sign of Sara; she was probably in the trunk."
"She logged in at the lab at 22:48." Nick added. "That gives her 2.16hours." Her lover had been in the hands of this psychopath for more than two hours, two hours to do whatever she wanted to do with Sara.
"How do we know she's still alive?" There, she asked the question everyone was thinking, but was afraid to ask. In all these romantic films that Sara loved to watch, but would never admit to, they always knew by heart if their lover was still alive or not. Sofia had listened to her heart closely, but it was just as scared and insecure as the rest of her.
"Natalie told me." Grissom answered as if it was that simple.
"And you believe this psychopath?"
"Yes." He didn't hesitate as he gave his answer, looking straight at her and holding her gaze. He wasn't good at reading people in his private life, but she trusted him professionally and that was what she had to tell herself, that this was a case. Sara didn't need the scared girlfriend, she needed the edgy, rational detective.
She needed her at her best.
When they had found her, she could be the girlfriend, but before that she had to stay professional, for Sara's benefit. "What about the miniature?"
Grissom took his glasses off and placed them in from of him on the table. "Nothing, the sand could be from everywhere. She didn't leave any clues behind."
Brass chose this moment to enter the room, stopping when all eyes turned to him. "I spoke with the Sheriff. We get every expendable police unit for the search and three helicopters will assist us as soon as the rain stops and we have enough daylight." He was outworn, his voice still carrying a hint of irritation from his earlier conversation, indicating that the negotiation with the Sheriff hadn't been as easy as he wanted them to believe.
Sofia knew that expendable was a very expansible concept especially in a city like Las Vegas, but she also knew that the department took care for their people no matter what the Sheriff said.
"The cavalry is ready, but I need you guys to tell me where we should search." He said as he poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down on the empty chair next to Sofia.
Grissom once again put his glasses on. "She had two hours and 16minutes to get Sara from the parking block into the desert, put her under the Mustang and get to the lab."
Warrick took the laptop Greg had used earlier and started to feed it with their information. A map showing Las Vegas and the surrounding desert showed up on the big screen at the wall, the details too small to identify anything except for the interstates and freeways. A red point showed up on the place on the map where the parking block was located and another one where the lab was.
"Natalie needed at least 15 minutes to place Sara under the wreckage." Catherine knew from experience, she had reenacted every possible scenario. It had been a job, no one in the room was envious of and Sofia was thankful that Brass and her had been out then, visiting Jonesy.
The minute it took the program to estimate a first search radius stretched into eternity as the whole night shift and the two detectives stared at the screen. Finally the result was there, the radius clasping a big area. It would take too long to search it, even if they had all police units of the Las Vegas police department.
They were missing something, something crucial.
She had to focus.
"Freeway 160. The salvage yard is at freeway 160. Trevor Dell drove from there into the desert, that means Natalie would have taken that route too." Sofia leaned forward in her chair nervously as Warrick tipped in the new information.
A much smaller search radius emerged.
Hopefully Sofia looked at Brass. She relaxed a little bit, when he nodded. "It's still a big area we have to cover, but it's doable," he said. "We'll find her."
For the first time real hope filled the room.
They would find Sara.
Sofia and Brass sat in the first police car that left the HQ. When they drove out of the city, leaving the artificial lights behind, Sofia once again looked up into the sky.
The rain had stopped and dawn would be coming soon.
There was nothing.
They were driving down the old road slowly in walking speed, the road sloppy and softened through the rain.
They both remained silent, highly concentrating on the road before them and the desert to their sides. Every now and then they would stop when something caught their eyes like a bright reflection in the early morning sun.
It was always a hoax.
This play of hope and disappointment was wearing her out. Their speed was too slow for her liking and they were too few police units cover such a wide area. It would take hours to search the whole area, time Sara might not have. But going faster meant that they might not spot her, passing her without noticing.
That was her biggest fear.
She forced herself to slow down even more, searching the horizon carefully.
They reached the end of the road, an old wooden shed its final destination and Sofia stopped the car, her eyes directed at the still endless desert in front of her.
Endless desert their cars weren't equipped to search, the ground still wet from the earlier rain.
After a while Brass spoke up, "We'll find her."
Sofia nodded automatically; it was the same phrase that was on repeat in her mind, ever since she found out that Sara was missing.
"She's a fighter." Another one of those clichés, everyone ever missing and in deadly danger was a fighter.
Then why did so many die?
But for Sara it was true. She didn't know all the gore details of Sara's childhood, but even the few glimpses the brunette had felt safe enough to share with her, had made her realize that Sara had had to fight through all her life. It made her tough enough to survive this.
If anyone could then it would be Sara.
It had to be her.
"We should head back, take the next road," she answered and pulled her sun glasses from their rest at the opening of her shirt to shield her eyes from the early morning sun.
They drove back at the same speed like they wanted to validate that the other hadn't missed anything. They trusted each other, being caught in gunfire did this to you, but they didn't want to risk anything.
They repeated the procedure with the next road.
It was a dead end too.
Sofia's eyes went forth and back between the digital watch and the road ahead. With every elapsing minute their chance of finding Sara alive reduced. Sofia swallowed, her throat dry and hurting, like someone tried to strangle her.
"Do you believe in god?" She asked Brass.
Brass turned to face her, slightly surprised by her question. He recovered quickly, his gaze turning back to the desert. "I don't go to church," he started, "but in times like this......." he trailed off, leaving his thought unfinished.
Sofia nodded to herself. "When I finally became a detective my mother gave me a St. Michael medal, it's been handed down in her family for three generations."
"Do you have it with you?"
Again Sofia nodded. She had always kept it in the back of her locker, never thinking of it, but tonight before she had left the department with Brass she had pulled it from its hiding place, slipping it into her pocket. Sara would raise a delicate eyebrow at her, telling her that religion was nothing but mythology and fairy tales. That people made up god to have someone to blame for their mistakes.
Sofia didn't blame him for her mistakes and failures.
Through the fabric of her pants she searched for the medal, brushing over it a few times to ascertain herself that it was still there.
"Three-David-34 we found the car." The radio suddenly rattled, followed by the position of the scene.
Sofia's world stopped.
Seconds elapsed painfully slow before the voice of the officer was heard again. "She's alive, but unconscious. Her pulse is weak."
"The rescue team is on its way." The operator answered. "What are her injuries?"
"We can't tell, only her right arm and her face are reachable, the rest is covered by the car."
"Don't try to move her, just make sure that her airway is free and she can breathe."
Sofia listened wordlessly to the conversation, her fingers having a deathlike grip around the steering wheel. She ignored the look Brass gave her when she made a risky U-turn and accelerated.
They made it in record time.
There was nothing.
"Sara?" Sofia didn't care about the other people around her. She didn't hear Brass who called after her or see the two officers who stepped aside form the red Mustang as she ran up to them to fall to her knees next to Sara's pale arm. "Sara?" she repeated, hoping that her voice was enough to wake the brunette up, to bring her back to her.
She grasped the stiff cold hand, squeezing it with all the strength she had, getting nothing back in return.
"Sara." Sofia lay down to get closer to her lover.
Sara's head was bedded on a folded blanket and slightly turned back, her neck stretched to help her breathe. Her face had been wiped free from the mud, paying extra attention to her mouth and nose. Sofia reached out with her free hand, touching Sara's cheek. "Please wake up," the detective pleaded.
The brunette felt cold to the touch, her lips slightly blue, Sofia too much of the bodies in the morgue. She touched Sara's throat, searching for a pulse, but couldn't find one, her fingers already shaking from the short time she spent on the ground.
She stretched and closed her hand and shook her fingers, even breathed hot air onto them to warm them up while praying that it was just the numbness of her fingers and nothing else that didn't let her find a pulse. Again she put her fingers onto the pulse point, this time feeling the faint drum under her finger tips. "Good girl," she whispered. "I knew you won't give up."
Her thumb stroke over Sara's cheek as if the motion could provide her lover with the much needed heat. But instead of providing her with warmth, the coldness slowly seeped into Sofia.
"We have to get her out." She yelled back to the others, her attention still directed at Sara.
"We have to wait." Brass crouched down next to her, the only thing she saw of him was his knee. "Rescue told us not to try anything. We just might hurt her more."
Sofia knew he was right, but with seeing Sara buried under tons of metal that was slowly pushing down on her, she wasn't able to think clearly. Her only thought was to get Sara out of here and into safety. "We're going to get you out of here; you just have to hold on a little bit longer. Can you do that for me?" She waited, despite knowing that Sara wouldn't answer. "I'll get you out of here, I promise."
She brushed over Sara's knuckles. "You promised me breakfast, remember? And right now I could really use a good breakfast and cup of coffee. Nick brewed the last one and you know how his coffee tastes. We could go to the small Diner you like so much, the one with the vegetarian menu. She tried to keep a light tone, but it was turning more and more difficult with every word. "You stood me up the last time so better pack your credit card, it's your turn."
"Open your eyes." Sofia's voice broke. "I need you."
It wasn't Sara who answered, but Brass again. "Sofia? They're here."
One last time she turned to Sara. "Do you hear that? We're going to get you out." She didn't want to let go of her, afraid that if she lost contact, she would lose Sara. "I won't let you go." She promised, her thumb brushing one last time over Sara's knuckles; then she crawled back.
Sofia stood up and for the first time looked around. She blinked astonished to find the place crowded with police cars and officers. Even the rescue team had arrived, already unloading their equipment. Deafening noise filled the air, drowning everything. Sofia looked up to find a helicopter flying over the scene and land in a safe distance.
Medivac had arrived.
They swarmed around her, nothing but a blur to Sofia, her whole attention directed at Sara's hand, the only part that was visible from her position. Her own heart was drumming loud in her ears, only scraps of their conversation filtering through. She heard words like "hypothermia", "instable", "possible spinal cord injury", every single one slamming into her with physical force. Her visual contact broke when one of the EMTs crouched down, blocking her view. She tried to get closer, the need to at least hold some kind of contact to her lover overwhelming, but Brass hand on her shoulder held her back. "Let them do their work," he told her. Never before he had used that tone on her, but she recognized it immediately. He used it when talking to panicking family members.
She tried to glare angrily at him, but couldn't.
He was right.
The rescue operation was only proceeding slowly. They had to stabilize the wreckage first, preventing it to move and crush Sara in the process of rescue. An EMT stayed the whole time with Sara, controlling her vitals.
With every slight move of the wreckage Sofia held her breath, watching the face of the EMT closely for any sign of alert, only exhaling when he showed the same stoic expression he was wearing since he had arrived. It should have been her, holding Sara's hand and ensuring that she stayed with them.
Her attention shifted away from Sara when the chief of rescue approached them. "Brass, I need two of your men."
"What's up, Harrison?" Brass asked, already waving two officers over.
"The EMTs don't want to wait any longer and we can't work the heavy machinery on this ground. Still too wet. We'll use manpower to lift the car."
"Isn't this dangerous?" Sofia's gaze went to the white arm pocking out from under the wreckage.
The chief of rescue didn't answer immediately, but chose his words carefully before he continued. "She's hypothermic and as long as she's in her current position the EMTs can't do much for her. They need to examine her first."
"I want to help," Sofia demanded.
"Then stay here; for this I need two strong men." Harrison cut her off and motioned the two selected officers to follow him.
Sofia could do nothing else but stay where she was and watch others as they rescued her lover. They lifted the car only a few inches, just high enough for two paramedics to grab Sara's vest and pull her out. As soon as the brunette was free she was surrounded by paramedics. Brass hand on her shoulder increased its pressure and Sofia had to fight against her instincts to rush over to the brunette, but stay apart and watch as they strapped her down onto a back board and placed a brace around her neck to immobilize her as much as possible before the lifted her up onto the stretcher. They hooked her up on an IV and gave her oxygen to help her breathing. It was the first time she had a full view of her lover's body. Sofia searched for blood and any visible injuries, slightly relieved when she didn't find any. She didn't allow herself to think about possible injuries that were invisible and internal, grasping on the little hope she had.
They've come so far, they would manage the rest.
Sofia shrugged Brass hand off when the ETMs started to move to the helicopter and rushed over. "Sara?" She tried to grab her hand, but was pushed out of the way by one of the paramedics.
"We have to move." He yelled over the noise of the helicopter.
"How is she?" Sofia grabbed his arm, holding him in place.
He shook his head. "I can't tell as long as she's hypothermic."
"But she'll make it."
He turned to look at his colleagues who lifted Sara into the waiting helicopter and freed his arm from her grasp. "I have to go."
He hadn't answered her, went through Sofia's mind and she nearly missed as he jogged over to the helicopter and jumped in. Not a second later the helicopter was in the air.
Sofia watched as the helicopter got smaller, carrying Sara away from her. She still could feel her stiff, cold hand in hers.
She only realized she was trembling when a jacket was placed around her shoulders. "Let's drive to the hospital, kiddo," Brass said. "I'm sure she wants to see you when she wakes up."
She was floating.
Once again they weren't the first to arrive. The night shift had reached the hospital before them, already crowding the waiting area. They had stayed back at the lab. While the police had been out searching for Sara they had worked frantically to narrow down the search radius further.
"Oh my god, Sofia," Catherine whispered when she saw her appearance, but the blonde didn't care. She didn't care, that she was covered in mud, her clothes still wet and clinging to her body. She didn't care that she still felt cold and was trembling, not when Sara was somewhere behind these walls, fighting for her life.
"How is she? Did you see her? Is she okay?" Her questions bombarded them, searching their faces for answers. When everyone else avoided her gaze she finally settled on Warrick, the calmest one.
"We don't know; we only saw her when they brought her in," he answered her. "They won't give us any information."
Sofia shook her head, this answer wasn't acceptable. She looked over at Grissom who had stayed in the background. He avoided her gaze.
"We have to wait for the doctor." Catherine answered instead and reached out for her, but Sofia took a step back, unable to bear human contact at the moment.
"No." she stammered. "I need to speak to someone." She looked around, searching for anyone who might have answers to her questions.
The nurse station might be the place.
"I'm here for Sara Sidle." Sofia positioned herself in front of the desk, one hand on her hip the other placed onto the desk.
Her fingers drummed onto the surface, but the head nurse didn't look up, finishing her writings first. When she looked up her gaze went up and down Sofia, scrutinizing her. Her brows furrowed when she saw the dirt from Sofia's fingers on her desk. "I already told your colleagues, I don't care if you're police officers or not, you have to wait for the doctor."
Sofia rubbed her forehead; feeling a headache approach and used the time to control her emotions. "You don't understand, I'm.... I'm her emergency contact and I have power of attorney."
Their eyes met. First the nurse's eyes narrowed, but then widened and her features softened. "Honey, I still can't tell you more; you have to wait for Doctor Morris. I can't call him out now, but as soon as they finish he will talk to you, okay?"
"But if.." Sofia couldn't continue.
"If we need you, I'll know where to find you." The nurse reassured her, patting her hand. "In the meantime you should take a shower and change."
"She's right, Sofia." The blonde turned to the speaker, finding Brass next to her. "They won't let you see her like this. And you have to get out of the wet clothes. You won't be any help to Sara if you catch a cold."
"I can't leave."
"You don't have to. You can use the locker room and I can organize some scrubs to wear for you." Nurse Jennings offered.
"But.." Sofia didn't come further as the nurse interrupted her.
"Honey, I can't allow you to walk around here in these clothes. You have to choose. Either you shower and change here or you have to go home."
Neither option was acceptable and Sofia looked at Brass for support, but he shook his head. "Sorry kiddo, but I'm on her side."
Sofia showered in record time.
It was in the locker room, when she dried her hair with the towel, rubbing it forcefully against her hair that the memory of the flirty banter she and Sara had shared in the locker room in the early beginning of their relationship overwhelmed her.
She wanted that back, she wanted the carefree Sara back, the Sidle-smile the laughing and the flirty teasing. She wanted the hours stayed in bed or together on the couch back, the feeling that Sara was with her.
Sofia wiped away the stray tears that had escaped against her will and promised Sara and herself that she would do everything to get her back.
She wouldn't allow Natalie Davis to destroy what they had built.
When she returned to the waiting area and sat down next to Nick there was already a cup of coffee waiting for her. She took a zip and raised an eyebrow at the additional flavor of alcohol.
"It helps you to relax." Nick whispered into her ear. Sofia didn't like the implication of this statement, wondering how often since his own abduction he had chosen this way of relaxing. Without taking another zip she placed the paper cup onto the small table. If this was his way she would make sure that he never offered Sara this option.
There was a lot of motion around her, but Sara didn't care.
Sofia tried not to listen to the conversation of the night shift. Greg, Nick and Warrick were telling stories of Sara, sharing a laugh or two. It felt wrong to tell these stories, the act remembering her too much of a wake.
They didn't need a wake.
She remembered lying next to Sara with her arms around the curled up brunette as she had told her about the trips she and her father had made, visiting the battle fields of North Carolina. When she had asked Sara about her childhood, she had tensed up like always, but had promised her to tell her another time. That time had never been till now.
Sara had promised her a lot of stories and Sofia intended to collect.
"Why didn't you tell us about you and Sara?" Sofia spun around at this question, startled that Catherine had figured it out. She was about to answer, when she realized that the CSI hadn't addressed her, but Grissom.
He seemed as surprised as her, obviously uncomfortable about the sudden attention he was getting from his colleagues. As always it took him the time to rearrange his glasses to regain his calm before he answered. "Because there isn't anything to tell," he stated, unwilling to reveal more than he already had.
"But you said..."
"I only said that I love her, not that she loves me back. She's with someone else." Sofia looked at Grissom, surprised to find his eyes on her. Maybe his team didn't know, but Grissom had finally figured out who had made Sara happy lately. She held his gaze and it was finally him who turned away.
"Then shouldn't we call her boyfriend, her family?" Catherine just couldn't let go.
"No need to. We're all here." Sofia answered more sharply than intended, her eyes never leaving the door to the Trauma unit.
It stopped Catherine immediately and in addition any other noises in the waiting area. Sofia was aware of the sets of surprised eyes that were directed at her as they realized the meaning of her words.
They had talked about telling the team and Brass, but had always found enough reasons to shy away from the revelation.
The brunette would strangle her for her slip and she would give everything to feel her fingers on her body again.
She turned to face them, challenging them with her gaze. Grissom seemed indifferent and Brass just smirked as he continued to drink his coffee, ignoring the angry gaze Catherine gave him when she realized that he had known before her. Nick even managed to blush, while Greg just grinned like a hormone raged teenager. Warrick just nodded in acceptance.
Her eyes went back to the Trauma unit, the consequences of her outing unimportant. They would deal with it later, till then she would count on the night shift and their discretion.
Once again the door to Trauma opened, a doctor stepping out. He went right to the nurse station to talk to the nurse and turned around when the nurse pointed in her direction. Her breathing quickened and she felt dizzy. She tried to read his face as he approached her, figuring out if he had bad or good news.
"Sofia Curtis, you are Miss Sidle's emergency contact?" The doctor asked and she nodded. They had filled out the forms only two months ago. It had been a form of commitment they both hadn't felt ready to make ever before in their life.
But she had never pictured herself in this situation, maybe Sara, but not her.
This wasn't fair.
This wasn't how it was supposed to be.
"I'm Doctor Morris, I treated Miss Sidle," he introduced himself.
"How is she?"
"She's stable right now," There were sounds of relief around her at the doctor's words, but Sofia herself couldn't relax, not until she knew everything. "She showed signs of hypothermia when she arrived and had aspirated water and mud. Our biggest concern right now is the possibility of pneumonia. She already has a fever we are monitoring. We're also monitoring her heartbeat."
No, not her heart, not the heart she had listened to so often. "What's wrong with her heart?" Sofia slightly panicked.
"Nothing, it's just a precaution." The doctor tried to calm her, but was failing miserably. "She was tasered and was hypothermic, both can lead to arrhythmia. We're just cautious."
Sofia nodded, still not convinced. "What else?" she coughed, her throat suddenly dry and swollen. He looked concerned, but she waved him of, accepting the cup of water that Catherine offered her.
"Her left leg is broken multiple times and she pulled a tendon; it will need surgery and physiotherapy. She also has a few bruised ribs, but there are no internal injuries." No internal injuries, finally good news.
"There will be no permanent damage, right?" Without full movement of her leg, Sara wouldn't be able to work in the field.
He shook his head. "It's too soon to tell, but if there aren't anymore complications she should make a full recovery. With her leg, we have to wait for the surgery."
It wasn't what Sofia wanted to hear, but they would deal with that later. "Can I see her?"
"You can see her, but I can't allow you in her room. Not for the next 24 hours. Her immune system is very low right now and we don't want to risk an infection."
As she left she heard Catherine's accusing voice obviously directed at Brass. "You knew?"
"I told you I know something much juicier than Grissom and Lady Heather." The detective answered casually and despite everything that had happened Sofia found herself smiling.
She felt at peace.
Sofia didn't look up when she sensed a second person next to her. She already knew that it was Grissom who had joined her in front of the observation window to watch the woman they both loved.
"They won't let me to her." Sofia finally said after they had stayed next to each other for a while.
"They're just careful. She's in good hands."
Sofia sighed, allowing for the first time since Sara's abduction to show how exhausted she really was. "I know, but I should be with her. I don't want her to wake up alone." Her hand reached out to the cold glass in front of her, the need to touch Sara nearly unbearable. "She shouldn't be alone." She whispered.
"How long have you been here?"
Sofia shrugged, she had lost track of time.
"You stayed here the whole time," Grissom stated and Sofia saw no reason to deny it.
"Brass convinced them that Sara needs police protection." She smirked grimly and patted her badge that was secured at her hip. "They let me stay."
Once again her gaze went to Sara. "She's getting better. The fever is finally decreasing." Her hand brushed over her hair. "That's progress." She looked at the clock on the wall, 14 hours more and the 24 hours would be over.
She watched Sara's chest rise and lower softly, attuning her own breathing to that of her lover.
In and out.
In and out.
The constant rhythm helped to calm her down, it told her that Sara was alive.
Alive and back with her.
The only thing that was separating them was this stupid glass.
"I'm sorry." Grissom's words caused her to break the synchronicity and to look at him again confused; she had already forgotten he was with her. "If I hadn't approached her at the crime scene."
Sofia stopped him before he could continue. "Not now Grissom. I can't deal with your guilt right now. I need to be there for her. She's the only one who matters."
He nodded, suddenly looking like a little lost boy. In any other situation she would have felt sorry for him. The moment faded and once again Gil Grissom was standing in front of her, older again but still lost.
She couldn't do anything to change that, he couldn't have Sara.
Sara was hers.
Grissom seemed to realize the same thing. "I talked to her doctor. We need to secure the evidence and with the progress she's showing he thinks that with the appropriate precautions we can go in and collect. Catherine is getting ready to process her, I'm sure she needs help. I'll inform the doctor."
Sofia only nodded. She couldn't thank him, he was the reason they were here.
She was moving again, but not on her own will. She felt hands on her body, turning and probing her. First it didn't bother her much, nothing important enough right now, no real thought to grasp.
Flashes danced before her eyes.
The hands didn't stop and she wanted to protest, to swat the irritating hands away, but the effort was too much.
They turned her again, this time to the other side and pain tore through her, blinding her with light.
This time she protested.
A faint guttural sound was heard in the otherwise silent room when Sofia turned Sara onto her right side, careful of her bruised ribs and her broken leg. The blonde stopped the movement immediately, listening carefully afraid her mind was playing tricks on her, mocking her with the one thing she desired most.
"Sofia, could you lift her gown?" Catherine asked in her hand the camera, ready to take pictures of the injuries at Sara's back, but Sofia ignored her and laid Sara carefully back down.
"Sara?" She asked softly as she rearranged her oxygen tube and placed it back behind the brunette's ear. Painfully slow seconds ticked by without any response or movement from the brunette.
"Sofia?" The blonde looked up at Catherine, realizing that the CSI hadn't heard anything.
The detective shook her head. "It's nothing, I just thought......" she trailed off and closed her eyes, fighting against the tears. She had promised her to stay strong, to be there for her, but she didn't know how long she could go on without any reaction from her lover.
Her hand reached out to rest on Sara's forehead, the mud still visible at her hairline. Even through the latex gloves she wore she could feel the heat that emanated from there. "She's so hot." The remaining fever was a reminder that she still could lose Sara.
There was a bowl filled with water on her nightstand and Sofia took the washcloth next to it, dipping it into the water and wringing it out before she place it onto Sara's forehead. Her hand stayed there in need to have a physical contact with Sara. She needed to touch her, reassuring herself that she was really here and not still under a wreckage in the desert.
When she brushed over Sara's hairline there was another sound, a moan this time and it was the most beautiful sound Sofia had heard in a long time. She looked up at Catherine and found the reassurance she needed in her eyes. This time Catherine had heard it too.
"I'm going to get the nurse." The older woman said smiling, already packing her kit and stowing the camera away. "Tell her, we love her."
Sofia nodded her attention already back on the brunette as she sat down next to her. "Sara, can you hear me?" She took her hand, careful not to touch the IV. "Sara, wake up, honey."
Sara's head turned slightly to her voice, her eyes moving under the closed lids.
Suddenly Sofia felt nervous and she tightened her on Sara's hand, her own hand trembling. The brunette's brows furrowed slightly and her lips opened with a soft sigh.
Sofia knew these movements, she had watched them often enough when her lover tried to wake up, the webs of deep sleep and dreams still too powerful. "There's coffee waiting." She whispered into the brunette's ear and smiled when Sara's eyes began to flutter. Her girlfriend would do everything for a good cup of coffee. Even waking up from a drug and fever induced sleep.
A few moments later that felt like a small eternity and Sara opened her eyes for the first time.
"Hi." Sara slurred out when she recognized her lover, a delirious smile grazing her lips.
Sofia smiled back, even though Sara couldn't see it as most of her face was covered by a mask. "Hi, there." Her latex covered fingers reached out to brush a matted strand of hair from the sweaty forehead. "How do you feel?"
"Sleepy." Sara blinked, her glassy eyes still unable to focus. She closed them. When Sofia feared she might have fallen asleep, she opened them up again. "I'm late for breakfast."
A noise escaped Sofia's throat, somewhere between a sob and a laugh. "Don't worry, we'll go out another time." It was then that Sofia realized that she believed herself for the first time. There would be other times, and others and others.
Sara was back with her.
Sofia looked away when her tears started to fall and she had to swallow a few times to get rid of the lump in her throat.
When she turned back to Sara again, the brunette watched her, an unreadable expression on her face. "Are you alright? Do you need something?"
Sara's hand reached out to grab Sofia's mask, but the blonde stopped her, enlacing their fingers and bringing their entwined hands down onto the bed. "You look funny." The brunette grinned.
"I know, but it's necessary." Her normally alert girlfriend didn't ask for further explanations. The fever in combination with the medication, a mixture of painkillers and antibiotics had really knocked her off.
Maybe it was for the better.
The pain and hurt would come soon enough.
A yawn escaped Sara's lips and she closed her eyes. "Just a coffee and I'm ready to go."
"You should rest." Sofia said, even though she wanted Sara to stay awake and talk to her, giving her the reassurance that they would be fine again. She once again placed the washcloth on the brunette's forehead, her features relaxing under her touch. "I'll stay with you."
The brunette nodded, her eyes still closed. "Rain check?"
"Sara?" The brunette opened her eyes again, the effort not being lost by Sofia. She knew her lover needed the rest, but she had to tell her. "I love you."
Sara smiled, her eyes already closed again. "You too," she mumbled before falling asleep again.
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