DISCLAIMER: CSI and all characters are the property of CBS and Bruckheimer. No infringement intended.
CHALLENGE: Written for Passion & Perfection's Big 5000.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Running up that Hill
By sleepy_jaffa


And if I only could
Make a deal with God
And get him to swap our places

Be running up that road
Be running up that hill.

As the helicopter rose up, Sofia couldn't get her eyes off of the contraption. It was deafening, imposing, but she could not look away. Not knowing that she was in there. Safe now.

To stop herself from jumping in there with her had taken all of her self restraint, but she was thankful she wasn't alone. The only person who knew of their relationship was Grissom. The only one who knew how badly she wanted to be by her lovers' side was Grissom. The only one who knew she'd be sobbing tears of relief over this was Grissom.

She had to keep control though, keep her calm. After all, the only one who knew her and Sara had put aside their bickering, for something much, much better was in that helicopter with her, taking Sofia's place. Sofia liked to think that it was because deep down, he knew what he'd missed out on. Deep down, he knew how badly both women needed him right now. Deep down, that he wanted to protect them both.

If Sofia had hopped into that helicopter, it would have taken all her strength to not cry out her tears as she quite bluntly outed them both. No, Grissom going with her was for the best. Sara didn't need Sofia to lose her control right now. She would be going through enough, without having to cope with the aftermath of their outing. That was something Sofia simply could not do, to the love of her life.

The last few hours had been nothing short of the single most painful few of her lifetime. Wondering if Sara was alive. Was she hurting? Was she frightened? Did she think Sofia would find her? And then trying to work out the aftermath. How would this change Sara, if she came out alive? What if she died? Too many thoughts; too many painful thoughts.

Sofia would have given anything, absolutely anything to know Sara was safe and alive. She'd have, in a second, taken her place. To hell with her own life. Without Sara, it would be nothing short of empty. And, to love someone, you'd do anything to keep them safe. Sofia had never quite understood that, until Sara had come along. And now, she truly would have switched places with her lover if it were at all possible.

Sofia especially hated thinking about Sara dying out there, alone in the desert. But she just couldn't shake it from her mind. She'd snuck a look at the miniature. She knew she shouldn't, knew Grissom was trying to keep her from it. But she couldn't help her curiosity, her morbid fascination.

That could be where my Sara dies.

And if Sara died, Sofia died right there with her.

She wasn't a religious person; far from it. And neither was Sara. The few discussions they'd had, they'd been surprised at how their views matched. Both felt God was created by people needing someone to blame for their own mistakes. That 'God' was manipulated so people could do their evil, and claim it to be something they were meant to do. But right now, despite the evil surrounding Sara's disappearance, she couldn't help it as she closed her eyes for a brief moment, and rattled off a silent prayer. She'd lost count of how many she'd done in the last hour alone. The promises she'd made, the 'deals she'd brokered' in the vain hope it'd help bring Sara home to her. She'd have to live the life of a Saint if any of this worked.

They'd also said once, that they felt God had been created to give people something to cling to in their darkest hours. Without even realising it, Sofia had lived up to that belief in the last few hours.

Dealing with Natalie had been one of the hardest moments of her life. She knew she had to keep professional, stay calm. Flipping out and doing exactly what she really wanted – to throw Natalie against the wall and scream at her till her throat went coarse – would only prolong Sara's suffering. And Sofia would, and could, never do that to her lover. So she'd stayed calm, cool as she could, as she eyed up the smaller woman, as Hodges collected evidence from her. She looked so childlike, so innocent even. And yet, the horror she was capable of was enough to rival even the worse of cases Sofia had ever worked on. It wasn't that she chose the most graphic of deaths for her victims. No. It was the miniatures that made her so horrific, so evil. Everything was pre-planned, to the smallest of details. Months of work went into taking away a single life. And that frightened Sofia. That someone so unassuming could posses such evil.

What bothered her more, was thinking she'd spent months planning Sara's death. Planning to kill her lover. Had she been following Sara? The portraits in her 'home' seemed to give that away. Sara, her sweet Sara, had been followed, drawn, chosen to die. It sent a shudder through her to think of it.

She didn't even know how she managed to climb back into her truck, never mind begin the drive back into Vegas. To Desert Palms, to Sara. But she somehow did. She somehow sat, with an equally stunned and silent Nick in her passenger seat, driving the seemingly long drive to the hospital. She could understand, too, why Nick was as stunned as she. She didn't doubt that Nick had strong feelings for Sara. That everyone on the night shift did. Sara rarely spoke of emotional things, but what Sofia had come to understand was that Sara looked on Nick and Greg especially as the brothers she wished she'd had. The protective big brother in Nick, who Sofia knew had fought tirelessly to bring home his friend, and the goofy little brother in Greg, that cared for her and protected her in his own little way.

And as she sat by Sara's bedside, clutching at her hand for dear life, she finally let herself sob. She was safe. Alive. And Sofia was alive too.

The End

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