DISCLAIMER: Hmmm… Let's take a look, shall we? If you look around, it will take you all of two seconds to realize that I do not own CSI. I don't own the show, the characters, etc, and no copyright infringement is intended, etc, etc, etc. The Oceana Day Inn is just the name, and any similarities to any real place is strictly coincidental, etc, etc, etc. The lyrics are Coldplay's song Swallowed in the Sea, copyright infringement, and all that.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Swallowed in the Sea
By Crystal

"Sara, if you need to leave, just leave. Stop trying to soften the blow, just go," I say exasperatingly, finally at the end of my rope.

She stands there awkwardly fidgeting with that adorable 'I don't know what to do' look on her face. Any other time, I love that look. Sara is so cute when she's confused and indecisive, but right now I just want to smack it off her face.

"Sara, I don't know about you, but I really want to do other things besides standing in the hallway. Are you staying, or you out of here?"

I see undeniable hurt flash in her eyes before her confused look turns cold and stony.

I take a breath, and try to not give in. I know I hurt her, but I can't keep playing this game with her, either. Every time I try to tell her how amazing she is, or how special she is, or how beautiful she is, or even how much I love her, she shuts me down with a questioning, even suspicious, look in her eyes, and usually asks me if I really mean it. I have no problems with reassuring her every once in a while - who doesn't need to be reassured sometimes, especially with a past like hers? - but it's starting to border on paranoia. Her insecurities are stalling the progression of the wonderful relationship we've been building, and it hurts me that she can't just believe me and accept that I really do love her for her.

So, we fought, and I laid it out there. I put all me cards on the table, and her fight-or-flight reflex kicked in to its default setting of flight. She said she needed to leave, so I opened the front door, and told her to leave, if that's what she thought she needed to do.

Maybe, it wasn't the most inspired idea I had. I didn't expect her to leave, but she breezed right past me without a second glance and drove away.

It was minutes later that I finally realized what had happened: I pushed her too far that time. With a heavy sigh, I shut the door, and closed my eyes, willing myself not to cry.

You cut me down a tree
And brought it back to me
And that's what made me see
Where I was going wrong
You put me on a shelf
And kept me for yourself
I can only blame myself
You can only blame me

I went about my day and tried not to worry, resolving to take her back to my place after work - kicking and screaming if need be - and clean up the mess I made.

But when I got to work, she wasn't there. I found Gil, and he told me that she had left. In those exact words. "She left."

"What do you mean, left?" I ask, suddenly feeling a huge knot forming in my stomach, somehow already knowing the answer, but trying not to believe it.

Gil shrugs in that nonchalant Grissom way. "She came in this afternoon, handed a resignation to Ecklie and left."

I can feel a disgusted look form on my face, a mix of incredulity and despair. "And you just let her leave?!" I practically yell at him. Why the hell he would do that is beyond me. He - along with everyone else - knows about me and Sara, so why the hell would he let her resign?

"I didn't let her do anything, Catherine," he answers calmly, "I only found out when I got here. You didn't know about this?"

"Of course I didn't know about this, Gil. I never would have let her leave this morning if I thought that this is what she would…"

I sink down in the nearest chair and bury my face in my hands. When I told her to leave, I didn't think she'd go so far.

And I could write a song
A hundred miles long
Well, that's where I belong
And you belong with me
And I could write it down
Or spread it all around
Get lost and then get found
Or swallowed in the sea
You put me on a line
And hung me out to dry
Darling, that's when I
Decide to go to sea
You cut me down to size
And opened up my eyes
Made me realize
What I could not see

It's been two and a half weeks, and no one has heard from Sara. No letter, no phone call, no e-mail, not even a damn text message.

Everyone is starting to worry; even Lindsey has picked up on something. She wants to know why Sara hasn't been around, and even asked me if we had broken up. I told her the truth - I was sure that we hadn't, and Sara just needed some time to herself for a while. Lindsey didn't seem to buy it, but was smart enough to let it go. If only it were that easy for me.

I visit her apartment at least once a day. Everything is still there. Her books, her stereo, her music, even her guitar; the big comfortable couch where she lets me lay all over her when we watch something on TV, the comfy overstuffed chair that we cuddle in together because we can both fit easily, even that weird sculpture (supposedly of Aphrodite) that she doesn't mind me teasing her about. Her bed with the blue and gold sheets and comforter is still neatly made in a bedroom that is distinctly her and when I collapse onto it, I have to immediately get up because it still smells just like her. It's only after you examine her dresser and her closet that things are missing - a black gym bag, random clothes, and several pictures right out of the frame.

I really, really, really want to put out an APB on her car, and file a missing persons report, but Jim says that it would be a waste of resources because she's not really missing, she just left. I yell at him that she didn't just leave, and he gives me a soft understanding look that makes me want to smack, but I settle for storming out of his office and accepting that we could get in a lot of trouble for it. I'm still tempted to bypass him, and do it myself, but even if they did find Sara, I'm certain it would just piss her off.

So, I bide my time sadly, hoping for her to at least call me.

The three week mark comes, and I get a quick impersonal message on my cell phone telling me where she is.

And I could write a book
The one they'll say that shook
The world and then it took
It took it back from me
And I could write it down
Or spread it all around
Get lost and then get found
And you'll come back to me
Not swallowed in the sea
And I could write a song
A hundred miles long
Well, that's where I belong
And you belong with me
The streets you're walking on
A thousand houses long
Well, that's where I belong
And you belong with me

I leave brief instructions with my sister, simply telling her that I need her to look after Lindsey because I have something I need to take care of, but I don't know how long I'll be.

When I crouch to her eye level to give her a hug and tell her I love her, Lindsey asks me if I'm going to bring Sara home. I take a deep breath and tell her the truth - I hope so. Out of the corner of my eye, I see my sister send me a disapproving look, but leave before she can get the opportunity to lecture me.

I take the first plane I can get to San Francisco and rent a car and buy a map to figure out how to get to Tomales Bay. It takes me alittle while, but I finally manage to make it to the Oceana Day Inn at about 10 PM.

My first thought looking at the huge blue Bed and Breakfast is wonderment at how something so terrible could happen at so peaceful-looking a place, but my second thought is that not everything is as it seems.

I grab my duffel bag and head inside after parking. I am met at the front desk by a middle-aged man who has to be Sara's brother David - he looks like a slightly masculine version of Sara and the resemblance is strong.

He asks me if I have a reservation, and I shake my head. "Do you know where I can find Sara?"

His eyes narrow. "Sara who?"

"Sidle," I answer strongly because he does not look pleased.

He settles back and crosses his arms across his chest, standing up to his full height and I wonder briefly if he was in the military. "You must be Catherine," he says, a statement more than a question.

I nod for lack of anything to say.

"She's not here right now," he says crossly.

I drop my bag. "Where is she?" I demand, my voice a mix of incredulity and demand.

"Out," is his hasty reply.

I flail my arms and tilt my head. "Well, when will she be back?" I demand.

"Look, you already hurt her once, you can't wait until morning to finish breaking her heart?" he demands of me, his voice full of anger.

His words deflate me and I soften immediately. "I'm not here to break her heart. I hurt her, but I'm here to fix it," I plead, "if you would just tell me where she is?"

That's when I notice that he is no longer looking at me, but rather behind me. "Catherine?" I hear behind me, and I spin around to meet the owner of that voice.

"Sara," is all I can say, and looking into her eyes and shocked face, everything else falls away.

She walks right up to me, and then reaches down to pick up my duffel bag, flinging it over her shoulder and pulling me by the wrist through several hallways, all the time avoiding eye contact and taking deep breaths.

She finally stops outside a room set slightly apart from the guest rooms. Opening the door, she explains that it's the family wing, and it's her old room.

Inside, she drops my bag on the floor and sits down on the bed heavily.

I stand awkwardly by the door. It seemed so much easier in my head, as these things usually do. You know, you imagine setting it all up romantically and explaining it perfectly and taking her in your arms and kissing her and making everything better. And then when the moment comes, it's awkward and clumsy and you can no longer find the perfect words and she won't let you in her arms and kiss you until you do. You stutter something out and cry and try to make her understand, and it's so much harder because it's a lot more important now than it was as a fantasy in your head.

Sara decides to take the initiative and starts things out light. "What are you doing here?"

"Isn't it obvious?" I half-joke, but she doesn't look amused. Okay, wrong moment. I clear my throat and try again. "I came here to fix it," I answer, sinking down in a chair across from the bed.

Sara crosses her legs. "Do you even know what you're trying to fix?"

"Us. Me?" I answer honestly.


I nod. "I'm the one that pushed your buttons," I say, and continue, feeling that now is the time to be completely honest, "I knew what it would do to you to hear me tell you to leave."

She nods this time, breaking eye contact briefly before looking back at me, smiling wryly. "And you still did it anyway."

This time I break eye contact out of guilt.

She rises and walks over to the open window, her back facing me. "I thought those days were behind us, you know? I mean, we - I thought we were past hurting each other, Cath…" her voice is strong with hurt and betrayal. "We always had this thing where we hurt each other, until we got together, but sometimes, we still…" she trailed off and I hear her sigh.

I can't resist my urge to get up and I move to stand behind her, placing a hand on her back in comfort. "I know, baby. It's just, it's like I'm trying to be there for you and reassure that I'm not going anywhere, but you won't let me in completely… It just, it feels like you don't trust me," I say.

She wheels around quickly. "I do!" she answers quickly, and then her voice is much softer when she continues, "I do trust you, Catherine, I just… I mean, well…" she trails off, lowering her gaze to the floor.

I'm not sure whether she can't find the words or she can't say them, so I take her hand, and raise me hand to her chin and lift it up so she's looking me in the eyes. "I can't help you if you won't let me, Sara. Tell me what the problem is and let me be the one to fix it."

Her face contorts as she tries to hold back tears. "It scares me, Cath. Okay? It scares me that you are so far in me and in my heart that even the little things you do against me hurt deeper than I thought they ever could. It's scary that I've trusted you so much and you have so much power over me and I don't even think you realize that."

She's still managing to keep a reign over her tears, but I can't. I had an idea of what was going on, but I never thought it went so deep.

She closes her eyes and keeps going. "I trust you, and that's never something I thought I could do with anyone. I - growing up here, I always thought that people weren't to be trusted - if you let someone in, it gives them the power to hurt you. And it was true!" Her voice continues to get louder as she opens her eyes, and lets the tears flow freely while she continues to talk, "God, Cath! Just by telling me to leave because you had other things you wanted to do, you hurt me! And it wasn't even just that time! It's been all the times I get insecure - and I don't mean to get that way, but I can't always help it, because - damn it! I just can't understand why someone like you would want someone like me!" she cries out, collapsing into tears.

And there it is - the basic root of all her anguish. I wrap my arms around her as she continues to cry, her tears mingling with my own. I stroke her hair and rub her back while she cries, holding me strongly. I curse all the people who've ever been in her life for making her so self-doubting - her parents, mostly, for not loving her, and all her other past lovers who never treated her the way she really deserved, and I firmly vow to change all of that.

Finally, when she's alittle bit calmer, I pull back, but keep my arms wrapped around her. "Sara," my voice shakes slightly, "Sara, I want you because… because you're incredibly beautiful, and you're remarkably brilliant, and you're funny, and you're so incredibly sweet and sexy, and caring, and you understand me like no one else and… because sometimes love doesn't need a reason, baby. Sometimes it just needs… us. I want to be with you forever and even alittle bit longer."

Sara places a gentle kiss on my neck. "I love you, okay? I really and truly do, and forever sounds like a good plan," she says, still crying softly as she pulls back to look me in the face.

Oh, how good is it to live
With nothing left to give…
Oh, the streets you're walking on
A thousand houses long
Well, that's where I belong
And you belong with me
Not swallowed in the sea

It takes us no time at all to undress and climb into bed, arms wrapped around each other and legs tangled up to the point that I don't know where she stops and I start, but I wouldn't change a thing.

Just as I'm drifting off, I hear Sara's voice. "Cath?"

"Mm hmm?"

"You're beautiful too, and you're smart, and you're funny, and sweet, and caring, and understanding," she says.

I can't but chuckle. "You forgot one."

"And what would that be?" she asks, the amusement shining in her voice.

I kiss her nose. "I'm also incredibly sexy," I purr.

She shrugs. "I always thought that went without saying," she jokes. She sobers slightly to add: "Seriously, Cath, you know I'm yours forever, right?"

I shrug this time. "I always thought that went without saying," and I snuggle in closer and close my eyes. "Mine," I add as an after thought.

Sara's laughter is the last thing I hear before I feel her lips on mine. "Yours," she takes my hand, "and mine."

The End

Return to C.S.I. Fiction

Return to Main Page