DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Though I wouldn't mind.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I tried. The muse was fairly cooperative, hence this. Enjoy!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Tears That Never Came
By Wingsfan


Chapter 1

It started with a beer, continued with a dance and ended with breakfast. They both knew it was over the moment it began but neither cared. For once, they threw all rules and rational thoughts out of the window as clothing were hastily abandoned on the floor.

"I hope this won't interfere with our work," Sara said as she got dressed after their soiree between the sheets.

They're the best of teams; the best Las Vegas CSI has to offer. Most detectives breathed a little easier knowing they were working on their case.

But the façade only held up for so long. The lies and the plastic smile, it only worked for a definite amount of time before the novelty ran out. With the two headstrong CSIs, the novelty dried up the moment Sara walked into the CSI building and asked for Catherine Willows.

"We need to talk," the blonde whispered to Sara as they walked into the building. "After shift."

Without giving her a chance to reply, Catherine ducked into Jacqui's lab. As Sara entered the locker room, she checked to see if anyone else was in there. Satisfied that she has the room to herself, her balled-up fist landed a series of loud punches on her locker, the echoes bouncing around the room in a Grand Canyon effect.

She didn't know what brought that on, only that she needed to punch something real bad. The aching limb now resting on her lap, Sara vaguely noticed the throbbing pain. It was something that she knew all too well. After moments of mindless staring at her bruised knuckles, she slowly got to her feet and walked away.

As she continued her journey to the break room in need of an ice pack and a strong cup of coffee, dark emotions slowly crept back into her conscious mind. The bubble of abyss erased reality, engulfing her in a world of her own.

Pushing the thoughts away, the brunette stepped into the break room and headed straight for the coffee machine. Her body ached to feel the slow burn as a shot of scotch makes its way down her throat but the responsible side of her knew she would have to wait.

Before she had a chance to settle down her nerves, Grissom walked in and peppered her with questions on her current case. The man was so absorbed in his thoughts that he had failed to notice the redden knuckles or the ice pack on them.

"Grissom? Did you hear what I just said?" She was annoyed that he seemed to be staring at her lips instead of looking at her.

"Yeah. Catherine's working with Jacqui on the prints. Keep me updated," he told her as they both left the break room and went their separate ways.

"Two more hours," she silently told herself when she was within the confines of her lab.

Slowly working her way through the pile of paperwork in front of her, Sara did not realize that shift had ended. Nor did she remember that she was supposed to meet Catherine.

The table vibrated, drawing an irritated Sara's attention away from the report that she was working on. Her cell phone danced on the table, and she groaned when she saw the number.


"Miss Sidle, there's a man waiting for you here at the lobby," the receptionist informed her.

"Did he give you a name?" Sara asked.

"He didn't. Said that you'll recognize him when you see him."

"Fine, I'll be there in five minutes." She ended the call without giving the nameless receptionist a chance to finish the conversation.

An uneasy feeling settled over her, though she wasn't quite sure why. Clipping her cell phone on her belt, Sara realized that she was still carrying her sidearm.

"Definitely need that drink," she mumbled to herself as she approached the empty lobby.

"Miss Sidle?" a voice behind the counter called out to her.


"The man went to his car to get a surprise for you," the receptionist offered.

"Oh ok," Sara's offhand reply belied her irritated nerves.

"There he is."

Sara turned toward the door and saw a man holding a bouquet of flowers walking in. The glint of sunlight from the open doors reflected something on the man but it didn't register until it was too late. Their eyes met for a brief moment, and then he threw the decoy one side, aiming the weapon at her.

"Put down the weapon now," Sara ordered the suspect as she aimed her gun at him.

The man let out a hearty laugh then. "And I'm guessing you're gonna make me, bitch?"

"Don't do anything you'll regret later," she calmly told the man.

"Too late for that," he spat out.

Sara realized that the more she could get him to talk, the higher the chance that help would soon arrive. Jogging her memory from a seminar she attended on hostage situations, she hoped that she remembered well. Eyeing the receptionist to make sure she was ok, Sara took a deep breath to control her breathing.

"Oh yeah? Why's that?"

"You know very well why, Miss 'I Fight for Justice At All Cost.'" He switched hands on the gun, and that little detail did not escape Sara.

A sound distracted both of them, and Sara lunged at the man when she saw him lower his gun. She had no reason to do that, since she caught a glimpse of Brass ready to bust through the doors and take the suspect down.

Just then, an unexpected sound rang through, and everyone held their breath. The captain radioed in, keeping his voice calm.

"We got single gunshot fired, both suspect and hostage are down at the moment," he spoke rapidly into the radio. "Get me a bus ASAP. We're going in."


Chapter 2

"Sara? Can you hear me?" The urgent tone seemed to have drawn the woman out of the haze that clouded her.


"Don't move, Sara. Help is on the way," the captain told Sara.

"I'm fine, Brass," she challenged even though it was clear she had a problem getting up.

"Damnit, Sara, I said don't move. The medics are on their way!" he huffed out his reply. "Stay still, please."

"And I'm telling you I'm fine, Brass," Sara replied heatedly.

"Oh yeah? Having a little trouble getting up, Sara?"

The brunette grunted her reply, content to just sit down for a while until her head stopped spinning. She sat and watched while the police officers cuffed the deranged man and led him to a squad car.

Something caught the detective's eye, and Sara followed his gaze to see what held his attention. Inwardly she cringed when she looked over her shoulders. Grissom.

"What's happening now? I thought you said there was a hostage situation." The CSI supervisor said in his worried tone.

Before Brass could reply, he was politely asked to step aside to let the paramedics check on Sara. He took a few steps away from the crowd, not needing to turn back to know that Grissom was following behind him.

"We were ready to go in when the shot rang out. Next thing we know, both Sara and the suspect was on the floor," Brass said out loud, trying to make sense of the situation.

As Grissom was about to comment, his attention was shifted to the paramedics and his protégé. She had refused help from the two medics as she got up, only to lose her balance in the process. A paramedic helped her up then, guiding her toward the ambulance.

"We're headed for Desert Palms," the other paramedic told Brass.

"We'll meet you there," the detective answered.

"I'll go with you," a third voice turned both of the men around in a state of surprise.

"You, want to go to the hospital with Brass, Catherine? For Sara," Grissom's forehead wrinkled in confusion.

"She's my co-worker too, Gil," Catherine said defensively.


"Shall we?" Catherine threw the question over her shoulder, not waiting for Brass to catch up.

"I told you guys already, I'm fine," Sara tried her best to calm herself down.

She didn't like all the attention that was directed at her. From the moment Brass arrived at the crime scene to the doctor standing in front of her right then, everyone fussed over her and she was not used to it.

"Miss Sidle, we're going to schedule a MRI for you but it's safe to say you have a mild concussion," the doctor started. "We'll be admitting you for a 24-hour observation."

"What? I told you I'm fine, why do you still want me here?"

"We just want to make sure you're ok before we let you go home," the man told her.

You just want to cover your ass, Sara thought to herself.

"Fine, whatever," the brunette huffed out a reply.

As the doctor continued scribbling notes and giving instructions to the nurse, Sara caught a glimpse of blonde headed her way. All 5 foot 6 of fury and concern was stomping her mark toward Sara. The confusion worried Sara, making her wonder if the concussion was worst than she thought.

"Excuse me, Miss, you can't come in here," the doctor spotted Catherine first, physically blocking the woman from Sara.

"I'm with the crime lab and that," Catherine pointed at Sara. "Is my partner."

The nurse helped Sara to the wheelchair, wheeling the woman out of the ER. Sara tried to smile but frowned instead when she saw Catherine and Brass.

"Sara?" The voice faltered a little.

"I'm fine."

"I can see that," Catherine commented dryly.

"They're just keeping me for observation," Sara challenged.

The next hour went by in a blur for the brunette. In between settling down in her hospital room and Brass taking her statement, Sara was tired. She sneaked glances at her co-worker every so often, holding their gaze just a moment too long.

"That should do it," Brass said as he flipped his notepad closed. "Think of this as 24 hours of relaxation on the government, Ok?"

Sara snorted. "Sure, I'll relax. Because you know, that's what I do all the time."

"Ignore her, Jim. I'll stick around to experience her charming personality," Catherine offered.

"You are?" Sara did not even try to hide her surprise.

"Yes I am. You got a problem with that?" A ghost of smirk appeared on Catherine's face, taking the sting out of the comment.

"And that will be my cue to leave. Take good care of her, Catherine. She's precious cargo," Brass said jokingly as he left the room.

The blonde chuckled, earning her a glare from Sara. The two women started a war of wills, staring each other down until the other gave in. Unconsciously, Catherine's hand moved to rest on top of the other woman's hand. Lean, shaky fingers held the smaller hand in place, the thumb softly caressing smooth skin.

Neither noticed what their hands were doing, nor did they realize that they were sitting very close to each other. When Sara tried to pull her hand away, however, Catherine tightened her hold.

"Don't, please."

Sara didn't reply, nodding her head instead. They continued to sit like that until Sara fell asleep. Catherine watched the slow rise and fall of Sara's chest, relaxing when she was certain the woman was fine.


Chapter 3

As she shifted her focus to the callous hand in hers, Catherine frowned at the redden knuckles.

"Sara, what have you done to yourself now," the blonde whispered to the sleeping form.

Before Catherine could continue her inner musings, a nurse walked in. Discreetly she removed her hand from Sara's, stepping aside to allow the nurse to wake the woman up. She tried not to chuckle at the sight in front of her. Regardless of how tough Sara made herself out to be, the brunette had an air of innocence around her.

"Time for your wake-up call, Miss Sidle," the nurse gently shook Sara's shoulders.

Brown eyes blinked slowly into focus, and both women breathed a little easier. The nurse busied herself over Sara, going through the motions before promising that she would be back in four hours.

Throughout the whole time, Catherine thought Sara did not seem to notice her standing nearby. The blonde found it a little odd, but enjoyed the little quiet time to gather her thoughts. Whatever talk she had planned will have to wait.

After she watched the nurse leave, Sara contemplated whether to acknowledge Catherine. She chanced a look at her then. The dim lighting in the room hid Catherine's face but Sara could see enough. The concern in bright blue eyes was all Sara needed to make a decision.

"I don't bite, you know," Sara said softly.

Recovering in time to catch the brunette's remark, Catherine smiled and walked toward the bed. "What if I want you to?"

Stammering, the only sound that came out of Sara was nonsensical mutters. Deciding that she would not tease the other woman further, Catherine stood next to the bed and reached out for her co-worker's hand. She felt Sara flinch from the touch but she chose not to mention it.

"I was just kidding, Sara," Catherine smiled to take away the sting of the situation.


The two women stayed like that until Sara fell asleep. When the nurse came in four hours later and told Catherine that visiting hours were over, she carefully slipped her hand out of Sara's grip. On a whim, she leaned over to plant a gentle kiss on Sara's forehead.

"If all goes well, she should be able to leave the hospital tomorrow," the no-name nurse told Catherine as they left the room. "You can come back and take her home then."

The CSI nodded, her mind not fully registering the implications behind the nurse's words. As she made her way back home, she allowed herself a moment of inspection.

"Stop it, Catherine Willows. You can't and won't do that to her. Not right now," she chastised herself out loud.

When she arrived home and checked her voice messages, there were a few concerned messages from the CSIs asking for an update on Sara's condition. Deciding that she wanted to get the grime of the day off first, she picked up the phone and dialed Grissom's number after she got out of the showers.


"Hey, it's me," Catherine started as she sat down on the sofa.

"How's Sara?" His concern-filled voice was a stark contrast to his usual professional tone.

"The nurse shooed me out before I had a chance to talk to the doctor but according to her, Sara should be able to go home tomorrow."

"Did the nurse say when she can get back to work?"

"Gil Grissom, I know you didn't just ask that. The woman was injured on the job!" Catherine tore one at her friend. "You think you can be a little more distant than that?"

If Grissom had noticed her changed behavior, he did not say anything about it. "I was merely worried she would refuse to stay at home and instead work herself into oblivion at the lab again."

"Sure, Gil," Catherine's tone told him she didn't buy the lame excuse. "Don't worry, I'll make sure she gets home tomorrow."

"You are?" Surprised, the man took off his glasses and wiped them. Another puzzle for him to figure out, he told himself.

"Yes, Grissom. Someone has to take care of her, might as well be me," she said.

"Are you sure? The two of you barely tolerate each other," he pointed out the obvious to her.

"Do you think I'm a heartless bitch? We might not see eye to eye on a lot of things at work but that doesn't mean I hate her," Catherine told him.

"That wasn't what I meant, Catherine."

"No, but you implied it." Taking a deep breath, she tried to steer the conversation back to neutral ground. "Sorry, Gil, guess I'm tired."

"I'll talk to you at work, then. Tell Sara we all said hi," the man told her before he ended the call.

After putting the phone down, Catherine sat back and rested her head on the back of the sofa. Even though she had hardly done anything strenuous at work that shift, she was tired beyond means. She headed toward her bed and drifted to sleep quickly, only to be yanked out of her slumber by the alarm clock on her nightstand.

"Shit," Catherine cursed at herself when she realized the time. "No time to eat."

She hurried out of the door, driving as legally fast as she could to the hospital. Her mind didn't register her quickened pulse or her sweaty palms. All Catherine knew was that she needed to see Sara again.

"Excuse me, I'd like to speak to the doctor in charge of Sara Sidle," Catherine asked the only nurse around the nurse's station.

"Are you family?" the sandy-haired nurse asked.

"Ah, not really. I'm her partner, Catherine Willows," Catherine answered without thinking.

"Oh," was all the nurse said as she took in Catherine's words. "Well it says here that Miss Sidle was discharged two hours ago."

"She was?"

"According to our records, doctor released her when he did his rounds earlier," the nurse smiled a little as she relayed information to the blonde.

"Do you know if she left with someone?"

"I'm sorry, shift just started for me. Would you like me to find out?" The nurse wasn't bothered by Catherine's line of questioning and tried to be helpful.

"That won't be necessary. Thanks, anyway," Catherine smiled her goodbye and headed for her car. When she finally got to her car, the blonde let loose her worry. "Damn it, Sara, why do you have to be so stubborn?"


Chapter 4

"I'll be fine, thanks," Sara told the cab driver as she got out of the car.

The polite driver, much to Sara's chagrin, waited until she got into the building before driving off. That was refreshing, she thought to herself. Just as soon as she reached for her keys, the shrill of her cell phone distracted her musings.


"Where the hell are you?"

Sara winced when she heard the voice on the other line. Cradling the phone between her ear and shoulder, she went into the apartment and sat down on her couch.

"I'm fine, Catherine," Sara let out a sigh as she answered her co-worker.

"I didn't ask if you were fine. I asked where you are now," Catherine huffed out.


Sara's one-worded answer seemed to have appeased the blonde a little. "I'll be there in 10 and don't you dare go anywhere this time."

Before the young CSI could answer, the line already was cut off. She was too comfortable on the couch to question how Catherine was going to get to her place when she didn't know where her apartment was.

"Sara, open up!" The brunette jumped when she heard an insistent knock on her door.

Knowing full well the rage on the other side of the wall, Sara hesitated before opening the door. Once she did, all 5 foot 6 of fury charged toward her and into the apartment.

After she had closed the door, she turned around in time to see Catherine pacing in her living room. Not knowing what to do or say, Sara chose to watch her co-worker instead.

"You always think of yourself and not others. I mean, what the hell were you thinking leaving the hospital alone? You have a concussion, for goodness sake!" Catherine almost spat out her words.

"I…" Sara began but she was cut off.

"Don't you dare say you're fine. Knowing you, you probably talked the doctor out of keeping you there, didn't you?" Catherine stopped her pacing, taking deliberate steps toward Sara now. "Did you ever stop and think what will happen if something did go wrong? Did you ever consider that there are people out there worried about you?"

"Catherine," Sara called out the blonde's name as calmly as she could to get her attention. "I think you should leave. Right now."

"After the little stunt you pulled? Not a chance in hell," Catherine defiantly told her as she stood in front of Sara.

"Catherine, I think it's for the best."

Standing inches away from Sara, Catherine tiptoed to challenge the other woman. "Make me."

It would have been so easy to push the other woman away but Sara was too busy staring at Catherine's lips. Her body moved on its own accord, leaning forward to capture luscious lips. They stayed in that position for a long time, ignoring the need for air.

"I'm not leaving," Catherine whispered as she pulled away. Satisfied that her lungs had enough air for the time being, Catherine closed in on the lips that had fueled her fantasies for the past year.

The two women found themselves on the couch minutes later, both barely registering they had moved. Lips locked tight, idle hands found familiar path underneath pieces of clothing.


Sara wasn't sure if she heard right but she chose to ignore it anyway. She tried to pull the other woman closer but Catherine would have none of that. Confused, she waited patiently for an explanation.

"You're injured," Catherine said softly as she ran her fingers through dark tresses.

"Just a mild concussion," Sara whispered without realizing it, trying to guide the hands in her hair to where she wanted them to be.

"No, Sara," the blonde pulled her hands back to rest on Sara's shoulders. "When you get better."

"I'm…" Sara's reply, bursting to roll off her tongue, was cut off by a finger on her lips, silencing her.

"Ack, I will have none of that 'I'm fine' crap. Please, humor me, ok?"

Sara had no choice, no excuse, and no answer to that. Instead, she nodded, shifting so the both of them would be a little bit more comfortable on her couch. A slight snore moments later alerted her that Catherine had fallen asleep on her. Tilting her head to get a better view of the slumbering beauty on her, Sara pushed all thoughts of self-doubt away when she heard Catherine's cell phone ring.

"Catherine?" Sara gently shook the blonde's shoulders to wake her up. "Wake up, your phone's ringing."

"Don't want to," came the sleepy mumble as slim arms tightened around Sara.

After a few more tries, the young CSI gave up. Instead of trying to wake Catherine up, she shifted so that the woman now was lying down on the couch. Sprinting toward the phone, she hoped that it wasn't anything important.

"Hello," unsure of what to say, she chose the universal greeting.

"Who are you and where's Catherine?" A female voice demanded.

"Sara Sidle, I work with her at the lab. I'm afraid Catherine is busy at the moment. Can I take a message?"

"Sure, if you could tell her to return her sister's call, that'd be great."

The line went dead before Sara could say anything else. Slightly baffled, she left the cell phone on the coffee table and went back to the couch. She sat down then, jumping slightly when a pair of hands pulled her to lie down.

"I missed you," Catherine told her as Sara rested her head against hers. "Where were you?"

"Answering your phone."

"Anything important?"

"Your sister wants you to return her call," Sara said, her voice muffled by the blonde's shoulder.

"You answered a call from my sister?" A wide-awake Catherine bolted upright, causing the other woman to fall off the couch. "Shit, I'm sorry, Sara."

With the couch as leverage, Sara braced her other hand on the coffee table to stand up. Wanting to put as much space between her and Catherine as possible, she sat down on the armchair instead. She had a bad feeling about Catherine's reaction but she tried to swallow the fear.

Both women sat in silence for a long time after that, neither sure of how to start a conversation without starting World War III. Sara, on her part, was trying to fight off the bout of nausea from her little fall earlier. Catherine, however, was too caught up on the fact that Sara had spoken to her sister. Maybe she thinks I'm still at work, the older CSI told herself.


Chapter 5

"Catherine?" Sara's voice finally broke the silence. "Go home."

Confused, Catherine could only blink and stare at the brunette. "What if I don't want to?"

"Really? From the way you reacted earlier, I thought you were ready to bolt out of the door."

"Are we doing this?" Catherine's back was ramrod straight as she turned to regard Sara.

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"This," Catherine gestured between the two of them. "This yo-yo thing we have going on. Talking and cuddling one second then hostile and snappy another."

"I didn't ask for you to come here," Sara said matter-of-factly.

"You didn't ask to get a concussion as well but it happened," the older CSI calmly told her co-worker. "What's wrong with having me take care of you? What are you so afraid of?"

For long moments, Sara contemplated her choice. On one hand, she could lie, they would fight some more and Catherine would leave angry and bitter. On the other hand, she could tell the woman what's been bothering her

As though a light bulb had gone off in her head, Sara made up her mind. "I don't like to feel weak. I don't want people to think that I'm not capable."

"What about me?" Catherine moved to the end of the couch, wanting to be as close to Sara as possible. "Why are you pushing me away?"

"I…" Sara's voice trailed off. Immediately Catherine got off the couch and knelt in front of the brunette. The gentle hand on her knee prompted her to continue. "You know what? It's stupid. Forget about it."

"No, Sara. It's bothering you and I want to know why," the blonde prodded gently.

"It's just… I don't want to get used to having you around then lose you again," Sara began. "I made a mistake once and…"

Catherine made a move to speak but Sara beat her to it. "I never… I've always been self-sufficient. Never needed someone else but somehow, things changed and it scared me."

"Sara, I will never hurt you."

"I… I know. But it's just…old habits die hard."

It was then that Catherine chose to move closer to the other woman. Slowly, she straddled Sara's lap and drew her in for a hug. Resting her head on strong shoulders, Catherine didn't know what else to do to comfort Sara.

"Sorry," Sara mumbled.

"What for?"

"For being an ass."

"You're in good company," Catherine smiled at her.

"Please, Catherine. You weren't the one who has been lying to herself all her life or screwing up everyone else's," Sara laughed bitterly.

"I married my mistake."

Chuckling softly, Sara looped her arms around Catherine's waist. It was highly inappropriate yet much needed at the same time.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have laughed," she told the woman in her arms.

"It's gorgeous," Catherine told her. "You should laugh more often."

"I…I don't have much to laugh about," Sara said simply.

"You have now."

"I'd hold that thought if I were you." At Catherine's confused look, Sara continued. "Why did it bother you so much I answered a call from your sister?"

Slowly Catherine peeled away from their embrace and sat back on the couch. The choice presented itself to her, and all she needed to do was reach out and grab it.

"Nothing, just was surprised, that's all," the words sounded hollow even to her ears.

"Ok, well I'm sure you have things to do so I'll let you get going," Sara got up and held the door open, her eyes avoiding the other woman.

Recognizing a dismissal when she saw one, Catherine gathered her things and left dejectedly. She fought the tears that were threatening to spill over, blinking away as best she could.

As soon as Sara closed the door, she slid down the frame and rested her head on her knees. The moment she heard Catherine's answer, she knew something had snapped. A bubble of anger and self-doubt appeared out of nowhere and it clouded her judgment. Instead of waiting for the impending fall, she decided to strike first. A knock on the door startled Sara, and she had to scramble to her feet.


The blonde pushed her way into the apartment, closing the door with her left foot as she pulled Sara in for a kiss. Lacing her fingers in silky dark hair, Catherine let her tongue roam in Sara's mouth, demanding as much attention as she wanted.

When the need for air became too dire, they ended the kiss with a slightly audible pop. "I'm sorry."

"Tell me?" Sara asked, her body using the kitchen top as anchor while she held Catherine in her arms.

"My sister doesn't know that I play for both teams, so to speak," Catherine said in a hushed tone.

"And you were worried she got the wrong idea. Or in this case, the right idea," Sara stated.


"When she called, you were technically still on the clock so there really isn't any reason to think otherwise," the brunette reasoned.

"I know," Catherine sighed. "I know that, but still there's the little voice that says yes."

Snaking her arms around the older CSI's shoulders, Sara held on for the both of them. "Not exactly a perfect world that we live in, when we even doubt our own family."

"When you walked out that day, I had half the mind to pull you back and never let you go," Catherine spoke as though she hadn't heard Sara's last comment. "I was torn beyond my wits because I wanted you to stay but I knew my sister was coming home with Lindsey soon."

"Catherine, it's ok. It's in the past now," Sara whispered into her ear.

"No it's not ok," she pulled away slightly to regard the younger woman in front of her. "I… I don't want you to think that it was a one-time thing. Every time I try to talk to you, words just…"

"Die off the tip of your tongue?" Sara finished the sentence for her. "Look, we don't have to do this now if you don't want to. I'm in need of a bed and some sleep. Seen any teddy bear about yay high, blonde with blue eyes lying around?"

"Why, I thought you'd never ask. Come on, I'm tucking you into bed." Catherine smirked as she leaned close to whisper into Sara's ear, "And if you're a good girl, you might find your teddy bear in her birthday suit next to you."

Sara only could swallow the lump in her throat and follow the other woman's lead. She watched as Catherine undressed her, shrugging the hospital-smelling clothes off her tired body. The weight of the past 48 hours finally set in, and she had missed seeing Catherine undress as she plopped down on the bed.

"Sweet dreams," she vaguely heard Catherine's whispered words before she felt a pair of lips on the back of her neck and a hand resting on her stomach.

Part 6

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