DISCLAIMER: "CSI: Crime Scene Investigators," the characters, and situations depicted are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer Television, Alliance Atlantis, and CBS Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "CSI: Crime Scene Investigators," CBS, or any representatives of Jorja Fox or Marg Helgenberger.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This started out as a challenge of sorts from Ralst for the 5th anniversary of Passion & Perfection. She'd given me the prompt of "the anniversary of Sara's father's death." I'd thought about it for a while, then this idea just came to me. It was intended to be a one-shot. Yeah, my Sofia muse didn't go for that, so it became a trilogy. Go figure…
I kept saying that I wanted smut for Sara and Sofia, but that I didn't want it too soon in this particular story's relationship arc. Yeah, my Sara muse heard the words sex and Sofia, and that was all she wrote, folks... *veg*
While surfing the 'net for sterling roses Sara would give Sofia, I found these sterling silver roses from Love is a Rose. They just seemed perfect…
BETA: Many thanks to shatterpath, ctorres, celievamp, mrswoman, and ralst for beta-type commentary. It was muchly appreciated…
WEBSITE: ShatterStorm Productions – Frisked & Conquered.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
DEDICATION: My muses, for obvious reasons…


Thorns And All ::
Kindling the Present

By A. Magiluna Stormwriter


I was instantly awake. In that split second between deep sleep and full wakefulness that writers wax poetic about, I froze with the realization that I wasn't in my own bed. Where the hell was I? And in the next instant, memories flooded back of holding Sara while she slept, chasing away her demons and nightmares as much as I could, protecting her from her grief. And then I wondered why I was alone in Sara's bed. I stretched out an arm to where she'd last been and felt the sheets were cold. Okay, panic definitely began to set in. Where could she have gone?

Sitting up quickly, I caught the telltale scent of a recently run hot shower. Just then, the bathroom door opened and the object of my concern stepped into the bedroom. Wrapped in a white robe, she stopped in the doorway and bent over to start briskly rubbing at her hair with a towel. She looked so peaceful, so relaxed. Certainly not the upset woman I'd come to see the night before. I rested my chin in my hand, elbow braced on my knee, and happily watched her.

"You're up," she said, startled as she met my gaze when she stood upright again.

I could see the faint hints of red rimming her eyes and smiled warmly. "Just woke up a bit ago. Got a little worried when I couldn't find you."

"Sorry," she replied sheepishly, and I delighted in the faint flush tingeing her skin. "My bladder woke me up, and then I felt all disgusting after all that crying last night. I wanted to wash some of it away." She gestured vaguely toward the shower. "If you want a shower, there's still a lot of hot water left. I hope I didn't drool all over you, but…"

"Is that what this is?" I asked, lightly poking at the damp spot above my heart. "I was worried I'd sprung a leak or something." Her blush intensified and I grinned broadly. Getting out of bed, I walked to her side, completely ignoring the fact that I was only in my tight t-shirt and panties. I barely remembered stripping down last night. Standing there, I ran my fingers through her hair, cupped her cheek. "How are you feeling?"

"Better than I expected to," she admitted honestly. "Thank you, Sofia."

"Anytime, honey," I murmured, leaning forward to press a kiss to her forehead. "Remember, all you have to do is ask."

She nodded, blinking furiously. "Um, go ahead and grab a shower. There's towels in there. I'll find you a shirt to wear and get yours washed for you." Stepping past me, she dug into her closet.

I watched her for a moment before slipping into the bathroom. Quickly stripping off what little clothes I wore, I stepped under the hot spray with a sigh. I couldn't help but memorize each bottle and container in Sara's shower, categorizing the smells against my memories of her. I zipped through my shower and toweled off before stepping into the empty bedroom. On the bed were my jeans, my bra, and a t-shirt I recognized as one she'd worn often. I balled up my underwear and t-shirt, intending to take them home later to wash, and quickly slipped into my clothes. As I stepped out into the living room and headed for the kitchen to get some coffee, I deftly pulled my hair back into a braid.

"Morning," I murmured, unconsciously moving to wrap my arms around Sara's waist from behind. Resting my chin on her shoulder, I watched her flip over the omelet before sliding it onto a plate. It wasn't until I'd moved to the table to actually start eating that I realized Sara hadn't said anything in return, nor had she joined me at the table. Curious, I glanced over to see her standing at the stove, fingers in a white-knuckled grip on the countertop. In a heartbeat, I was at her side, carefully prying her fingers from the counter. "Sara? Honey, what's wrong?"

She shook her head sharply and turned to wrap herself around my body. Automatically, my arms were around her, stroking, soothing, comforting. "Don't let go," she whispered.

"Not a chance, honey," I murmured.

This particular bout only lasted a moment or two before she was pulling back to offer me a watery smile. "Sorry, it just hit me kinda hard again."

"Completely acceptable."

She nodded and curled against me for another moment or so. I reveled in the unique scent of Sara, soap, and shampoo until she moved again. Picking up her plate, she headed toward the table, tugging me along behind her with a hand. Sitting down, she quickly dug into her food, and I wondered when she'd last eaten. And then my own stomach reminded me it had been far too long since my last meal. We ate in companionable silence, our gazes occasionally meeting. It felt…right to be here with her like this. There were so many things I wanted to share with Sara, but I knew better than to push her into anything.

As she stood and grabbed for our plates, I let my eyes follow her, imagining what might be under that robe. I couldn't help the stupid grin on my face, or the blush darkening my cheeks when she turned and caught my gaze. She grinned broadly and moved closer, reaching for my hand. She deftly intertwined our fingers, smile growing slightly broader when I brushed my lips across the backs of her knuckles.

"I should probably get dressed," she finally murmured and reluctantly let go of my hand. "I'll need to hit the store today, since I just cleaned out my fridge to make you that breakfast."

I chuckled and stood up. "I can go with you, if you'd like. Pick up a few things so I can make you one of my favorite meals for lunch?"

"I'd like that," she replied shyly and leaned up to press a kiss to my cheek. "Be right back."

I didn't get the chance to go see Sara for nearly two weeks after that. Our shifts and cases ended up in complete opposition, and all I could do was call her when I got the chance. Our conversations spanned a number of topics, each of us learning quite a bit about the other. And yet any time the conversation turned toward anything even slightly relationship-related, Sara would turn shy and monosyllabic. I learned quickly enough that it wasn't something I could broach overtly with her. I didn't want to lose the fragile, burgeoning relationship we were forging.

"Hey, Curtis!" O'Riley called out my name as I walked into the squad room. "What kinda pansy-ass guy you dating that's gonna send you flowers?"

I quirked a brow at him and rolled my eyes. "Definitely more man than you are, O'Riley," I tossed back, curious as to what the hell he was talking about. "And if I'm getting flowers, I'd think it's more a question of what I did to deserve them, don't you think?"

"Yeah, whatever, Curtis," he retorted, chuckling.

I shook my head and focused on the long white box sitting on my desk. I did my best to mask my curiosity and began to undo the silver ribbon from around the box. Pulling up the lid, I set it aside to peel back the pristine tissue paper…and gasped at what lay nestled within. A trio of perfectly wrought silver roses. Lifting one out, I was surprised it wasn't as heavy as I'd expected, and studied it intently. It was flawlessly produced. I'd have sworn it was a real rose. I pulled out the other two, attempting to get at the card lying beneath them. The faintest hint of roses wafted into the air around me. I didn't recognize the company, but found its description of the roses interesting.

Three freshly cut roses have been preserved perfectly in sterling silver, retaining their beauty long past the lifespan of the cut flowers.

And I instantly recognized the handwriting on the card. I'd deciphered it how many times over the past couple of years?

These roses represent the past, the present, and the future.
I've shared my past and present with you.
I'd really like to share my future with you, if you're willing.


Staring at the card, I felt that stupid grin spread across my face. I lifted the roses to my face to smell them before I remembered they were coated in silver. Carefully placing them back in the box with the card, I picked the whole thing up and headed out the door. Only to be stopped when I was nearly gone.

"Hey, Sofie!" I cringed inwardly at the nickname Jim had picked up so long ago. "Where ya going?" I could tell by his tone that he knew what was going on. I could just tell.

"Off to say thank you for a gift," I replied, pointedly not meeting his eyes. I so didn't want to face that knowing smirk of his. "If that's all right with you?"

"Somebody sent you flowers, hunh?" he asked, tugging at the box. "Can I see?" I sighed dramatically, secretly thrilled to be showing off the roses, and opened the box. I'd forgotten about the card sitting right on top and blushed when he murmured the words written there. He met my gaze then, a knowing, approving smile on his face. "I certainly hope you're willing," he replied, leaning close so only I heard, then walked away.

I stood there for a moment, stunned by his words. Had I just gotten parental approval from one of Sara's "uncles" then? I wondered what Grissom and Catherine would say. Curiosity led me out the door and down toward the labs. I absently waved to anyone who greeted me on my way, but I was intent on finding my quarry as soon as I possibly could. I found her in her lab, as usual, bent over a microscope. Setting the box down near the door, I moved as quietly as possible to stand behind her. With only the slightest sound to warn her, I wrapped my arms around her waist and rested my chin on her shoulder. "I'm more than willing," was all I murmured in her ear.

She stiffened initially, but immediately relaxed when she recognized my voice. "Did you like them?"

"They're beautiful, Sara," I replied, pulling back to smile at her. "Where did you find them? They must have been expensive as hell!"

She shrugged nonchalantly, but I could see the pride in her eyes. "What else do I have to spend my money on?" I couldn't fault that logic. "I found them online. I wanted something special, something that wouldn't die. The roses seemed perfect. And the website even said that they represented past, present, and future. And that got me thinking…and then I knew I had to buy them for you." She stopped suddenly, realizing she was rambling a bit. I felt my heart melt a little more at her train of thought. Oh yes, I wanted this to work out more strongly than anything in my life.

"Listen, I'm actually almost off shift, and I have the next two days off. And unless you've changed your schedule, you've got the next couple days off, too. Can I take you to breakfast after your shift in the morning? Then just do, I don't know, something together? Get to know each other a little better?" I grinned and felt the hint of a blush along my cheeks as she smirked, catching me rambling as well. Good, I'd rather we were both nervous and willing to try.

"It all sounds good," she replied, tucking some hair behind her ear.

"Great," I replied and reached for her hand to brush my lips across her knuckles. "I'll be back to get you at the end of your shift." And then I turned to grab the roses and head back toward my desk, and my job.

"Sofia, wait." Her voice stopped me in my tracks and I turned to see her coming closer. She leaned in to press the most fleeting of chaste kisses against my lips, barely a brush of skin against skin. "Stay safe, okay?"

Breakfast was lovely, and I'd wanted to do so many things with Sara, but she was exhausted, so we headed back to her apartment for some shut-eye. As I lay there, holding her close, I realized just how long it had been since I'd felt this comfortable with another person. Since I’d been comfortable enough to strip down and share a bed with them. And then I smiled, as I realized the normally reticent Sara Sidle must have been feeling just as comfortable. She'd fallen asleep almost the instant her head found purchase on my chest. I didn't mind in the slightest when she began drooling again. At some point, I'd fallen asleep as well, blissfully wrapped around Sara. My dreams were filled with much the same thing.

Waking up, I found myself alone in Sara's bed again. "This is turning into a scary habit," I muttered, hands colliding with cold, empty sheets. And once again, she came shuffling out of the bathroom, this time still in her tank top and panties. I couldn't help ogling her as she came back toward the bed and slipped under the covers. "I missed you," I murmured, pulling her close again.

"Sorry," she replied.

"Nothing to apologize for," I replied, then remembered the events of the evening before. "Actually, there is one thing you need to apologize for." At first, she looked startled, then puzzled as she tried to figure it out, then fearful when she couldn't. "You should apologize for that little kiss in the lab. You had me distracted all damned night, honey."

Her fear melted into a shyly devious grin. "I barely touched you," she replied, in amused indignation. "I hardly see how that could be so distracting."

I felt my eyebrows rise toward my hairline. "Oh really?" I asked her, shifting to lean up on one elbow. "Let me show you what it was like. See how distracting it can be, hmm?" Without letting her respond, I leaned in to brush her lips ever so faintly with mine. It was as close to the kiss that she gave me as I could get. And then I pulled back and flashed her a bright smile. "I'm gonna go make coffee now."

I started to get out of the bed, smirking devilishly as she just lay there. An arm around my waist pulled me back against her. "You're not going anywhere," she growled.

I chuckled and swiveled around to glance at her. I was mesmerized by the intensity of her gaze. "Not so fun when you're on the receiving end of that, is it, honey?" I murmured, licking at my lips.

That was the last thing I uttered as she pulled me closer and branded me with a kiss…that defied description. I groaned into the kiss, squirming around until I faced her completely, wrapped my arms tightly around her body, molding her to me. The hint of peppermint on her breath reminded me of the sweetness of candy canes. I couldn't help myself, fingers moving up under the hem of her tank top to stroke across the smooth skin of her back.

Pulling back from the kiss with an audible pop to suck in a lungful of oxygen, I licked my lips and stared at Sara through half-closed eyelids. She looked beautiful: eyes dilated with desire; lips bruised with the intensity of our kiss; face flushed; nipples tight, hard points under her tank top. I was quite sure I looked much the same to her. I'd never wanted someone as much as I wanted Sara in that moment.

She didn't wait long before she pulled me close again, lips seeking out mine momentarily before she began to nibble a trail from my earlobe down along the side of my neck. I arched my head back, moaning when her hands pushed my shirt up enough to cup my breasts. I squirmed under her, hands moving restlessly under her shirt, stroking her back. The sensation of her lips wrapping around one of my nipples nearly sent me over the edge.

"Oh, god, Sara!" I cried, pressing her head closer to my chest. She hummed something in response, the sensation arrowing straight from my nipple to my clit. Nibbling her way across my chest to my other nipple, Sara shifted slightly to straddle my left thigh. I groaned at the feel of her damp panties against my skin and let my hands glide down her back to grip her ass wantonly.

She tried to kiss her way back up to my lips, pulled up short by the cotton bunched around my chest. With a low growl, she tugged the material over my head and tossed it behind her without care, lips once again seeking out mine. She sucked on my lower lip, fingers teasing my nipples. I pushed her up to remove the offending tank top that kept her skin from pressing tightly against mine. As she sat up, grinding gently against my thigh, I cupped her breasts, thumbs teasing her nipples mercilessly. She moaned and arched into my touch, humping against my thigh even more.

"That's it, honey," I murmured huskily, scraping a thumbnail across her nipple, and smiled at her gasp of pleasure. "Just like that."

She whimpered and leaned down to kiss me again, hungry and feral, one hand tormenting my nipple as I'd done to her. The other hand slid down to stroke lightly across hip and thigh, always skirting the one place I wanted her to touch me. As her lips returned to my chest, she finally slipped her fingers into the waistband of my panties. Her fingers moved slowly, almost tentatively for a bit, stroking and exploring before two fingers sank into my pussy. Her thumb unerringly found my clit and she scraped her thumbnail ever so lightly across it, retaliation for my treatment of her nipples. I nearly arched up off the bed at that sensation, body already trembling with my need to come.

"Sofia," she rasped. "Look at me." I forced my eyes open, a low keening escaping my throat as she stroked and teased me closer and closer to my release. It took a moment to focus on her face; even longer to realize her hips were moving against my thigh in time with my own hips' desperate thrusting.

Suddenly, I wanted nothing more than to share this orgasm with her. My hand slid down to cup her breasts, lightly squeezing her nipple. I felt the shudder run through her body at that sensation, grinning triumphantly. Shifting ever so slightly to lift my left leg a bit, I timed my hips' movements to counter hers, lifting up as she slid down my thigh, maximizing our contact. And I never once lost eye contact with her.

In that split second as my orgasm hit, I saw the very naked, unfettered emotions in her eyes again, and fell headlong with a keening wail of her name.

When I was able to distinguish reality from the ecstasy of orgasm, I heard myself repeatedly babbling my love for Sara, accompanied by her soft sobbing against my chest. Forcing my muscles to obey, I stroked her hair and tipped her chin up to study her face. "Sara? Honey, what's wrong?" She shook her head, eyes still tightly shut for a moment. A vise-like grip settled around my heart and I wondered if we'd gone too far, too fast. Had I completely fucked up this budding relationship?

"No one's ever made me feel like that," she finally murmured raggedly, blinking away the tears. When she met my gaze, I saw those barriers still laid to waste. I stroked her cheek gently and smiled. "Thank you, Sofia."

"And here I thought I'd pushed too much," I replied, that restricted feeling lessening a bit.

She shook her head. "Just a little overwhelmed, that's all."

I nodded and pulled her up for a gentle kiss. "I certainly didn't intend this for getting to know each other better," I replied, chuckling softly. "I'm not usually the kind of girl who fucks around on the first date, not with someone I want to spend the rest of my life with."

Her eyes grew round at my words, and I flushed hotly. Damned if my mouth and brain didn't reconnect yet after that mind-blowing orgasm. "Really?" she asked tentatively. "Do you mean it?"

"With everything I am."

Continuation: Committing to the Future

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