DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
To their left, an endless stretch of white sand. To their right, more of the same.
Sara sat on the trunk of Sofia's car, chin on her fist, watching the ribbon of road stretching back towards Vegas. She'd already taken off her heavy vest, but her blouse was fully buttoned and sweat was beginning to form under her arms. Sofia sat in the driver's seat, turned to one side with her arms on her knees and her head bowed. She was fiddling with her cell phone, still trying to get a signal. The radio was busted and the patrol car escorting them to the scene had disappeared without any idea they were missing.
"How long are we supposed to wait?" Sara asked.
"When the uniform gets to the scene, he'll see we're not behind them. Probably notice before then. He'll turn around, head back, we'll be rescued."
"Taking his own sweet time about it," Sara muttered.
Sofia stood and stretched, tossed her useless cell phone onto the car seat and said, "You know what, screw it."
Sara turned and saw Sofia beginning to unbutton her blouse. "Uh... what're you doing?"
"I'm hot," Sofia said. She shrugged out of the blouse and tossed it back into the car. She tugged at the scooped neck of her white tank top and fanned herself with it. "It's nothing you've never seen before." She clasped her hands behind her neck and stretched, pacing towards the front of the car.
"You know, I wasn't even supposed to be on duty today," she said when Sara remained silent. "Damn McGurdy and his wife."
"What about them?" Sara asked.
"Having a baby," Sofia said.
Sara smiled. "I'm sure they feel bad about the imposition it's caused you."
Sofia chuckled and shrugged. She leaned against the car and looked up at the sun. "You know, it's gotta be a hundred and ten out here. If you wanted to take off your shirt..."
"Better people than you have tried and failed with that line."
"Come on, Sara. I just don't want to see you suffering for my benefit. Like I said, it's nothing I haven't seen before."
Sara sighed. "I only have a bra on underneath this. Little more revealing than your tank."
"Ah," Sofia said. "Still... nothing I haven't seen before."
"You are trying to get me naked," Sara said.
"Maybe. Maybe just trying to get you to loosen up a little." She crossed her arms over her chest and looked out at the desert. "I mean, we're stranded here. At least for a little while. I'd like to try and act like friends."
"Friends who strip down together?"
"You've never been naked with a friend?" Sofia asked.
Sara twisted her lips into a rueful smile and unbuttoned her blouse. She folded it a few times and slipped it under herself. The wind cooled her shoulders and chest and the shirt gave her a little bit of padding against the hot car trunk. Sofia looked over her shoulder at the slope of Sara's back and smiled to herself. "See? Isn't that better?"
"If you say so," Sara said. "But tell me if you see the patrol car coming back. You, I don't mind, but I don't want Officer Williams to see me like this."
"You got my word," Sofia assured her. She looked down the road in search of the tell-tale plume of dust from an approaching vehicle. Still, she found herself drawn back to Sara's body. She told herself it was a lack of anything else in the landscape to fixate on. But there was something intriguing about the slope of her shoulders, the rounded curve of her spine, the way her dark hair rested against her neck.
Sara looked over her shoulder and caught Sofia turning away. She could see the straps of Sofia's bra next to the straps of her tank top. The thin white material was nearly transparent with sweat and she could see the simple design tracing around the cups. She glanced at Sofia, saw she hadn't been caught staring, and turned her gaze back to the road.
"Hey, hey," she said. She slid off the trunk and pointed. "Is that..."
"It's a car," Sofia said. She was already reaching back into the car for her shirt. She and Sara faced each other as they dressed, both of them feeling a little remorse at being covered up again but neither of them willing to show it to the other. Sara finished buttoning first, smoothed a hand down her chest to make sure it wasn't done crooked, and looked at Sofia. "Thanks," she finally said. "I was a lot more comfortable than I might have been."
The black Tahoe pulled up a few minutes later. The window rolled down and Warrick leaned across the passenger seat. "Officer Williams called and said you guys had gotten lost."
"Battery died," Sofia said. "Wanna give us a lift to the scene?"
"Hop on in," he said.
Sofia took the front seat while Sara climbed into the back.
"Didn't get too hot out here, did it?"
"Nah," Sofia said. She looked over her shoulder and smirked at Sara. "We stayed cool."
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