DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Debbie for the beta, but more importantly, for her friendship.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Truth and Lies
Two years earlier
The blonde leaned down to kiss her sated lover, always amazed at how responsive the normally stoic brunette was to her touch. She never wanted to lose this closeness they shared, but it was time she informed Sara of her plans.
Rolling off her lover, she reached over to move a stray hair from the brunette's forehead, and whispered, "Sara, I have something I need to talk to you about."
"Can't it wait until I've had my turn?" Sara replied, smiling as she turned towards the blonde.
This close to her lover, Sofia could see the trust Sara had in her. It'd taken months to get the brunette to lower her defenses, but the blonde had finally done it, and now she wondered if the investigator would ever trust her again.
"Sara, as much as I'd love for you to ravish me, we really need to talk. This is very important," Sofia explained, pulling the sheet up to cover their naked bodies.
"What? Did Ecklie do something?" Sara asked, certain that the bald asshole was responsible for her lover's obvious turmoil.
Taking the brunette's hand in hers, Sofia focused on their entwined fingers and replied, "No. This has nothing to do with Ecklie, and everything to do with me." Pausing briefly, she looked her lover in the eye and continued, "I can't do this job anymore. I need something more; I need to do something I love."
Frowning, Sara questioned, "Is it the field work you don't like? I'm sure you could work in the lab full time."
"No. I don't want to have anything to do with crime scene investigating any longer. I think it's time I went for my shield," Sofia replied softly, watching her lover's reaction closely.
"Detective? You want to go back into law enforcement?" Sara asked as she furrowed her brow in confusion. "Wouldn't you still be investigating crimes?"
"Yes, but I would be investigating motive instead of evidence. I really want to do this, Sara."
The mood was definitely broken as Sara reached for her shirt lying at the foot of the bed. The brunette quickly pulled it over her head and said, "It's going to take you years to work your way up."
Hesitating, Sofia explained, "Not if I'm already a detective when I join the LVPD."
Sara's head immediately swiveled towards her lover as she quickly realized the blonde's meaning. "You're leaving, aren't you?"
One year later
Walking down the corridor, Sara spied Sofia through the glass. She was in the DNA lab and smiling at Wendy in much the same way she used to smile at Sara. She pushed the immediate feelings of jealousy aside, knowing she was no longer entitled to such a reaction. No, she'd pretty much ruined any chances of rekindling her relationship with the beautiful detective when she'd shunned every attempt the blonde had made to win her back upon her return to Vegas.
Sara slowed as she moved past the lab with her head down, pretending to read the printout Hodges had given her of the trace element found at her latest crime scene. She never saw the final analysis as her peripheral vision desperately tried to pick up any movement of Sofia's head in her direction, but her clandestine observation only served to further add to her disappointment. Sofia was listening intently to something the cute, young brunette was saying.
Wendy's excited words filtered into the hallway. "San Francisco? For the whole weekend? Oh, Sofia, I can't wait."
Not wanting to eavesdrop any further, Sara increased her stride, especially as the technician's response had hit a little too close to home as memories of Sofia's plea made months ago kept resounding in her head.
The blonde had been so excited when she'd suggested, "C'mon, Sara. It'll be fun. We can spend the entire weekend in San Francisco. We can even get separate rooms if you want, but we need to get away from here to where things aren't so raw. We just need to relax and talk. I want us to start over, Sara."
That was her chance; Sofia had finally said the words. All she had to do was accept, and they could have begun their journey back to each other, but the brunette's stubborn pride had kept her from the one person she'd been wishing for her entire life, the one person who accepted her for who she was and not someone the detective hoped to change.
Yes, the defining moment had been laid at Sara's feet, waiting for her to snatch it up and move forward with Sofia, but she'd rejected the chance, and now How she wished she could turn back time and accept the olive branch the blonde had offered, but not even H. G. Wells could help her now.
No, she'd set her current course, and she was just going to have to live with it. Grissom was a poor substitute for her true desire, but at least he was a warm body when she needed one to ward off the chill she'd felt of late.
Unbeknownst to the CSI, Sofia had been watching Sara's progress past the DNA lab, had seen and felt every glance the brunette had made, and had wondered just what it all meant. She may have been making a go of things with Wendy, but she still pondered the enigma that was her relationship with Sara Sidle.
Of course, when Sofia had first returned to Vegas, she'd made every effort to talk to her former girlfriend, and whenever the two were in the same vicinity, there wasn't a single moment when the detective hadn't been aware of the brunette's presence. Now, it might seem as if the blonde only had eyes for the young DNA specialist, having finally given up on the stubborn Sara, but nothing could have been further from the truth.
It was more the fact that Sara seemed to have moved on that had caused Sofia to finally give up on the dream that they'd ever reconcile. Yet, to this day, the blonde was never sure if she'd stopped her efforts to pursue the brunette because Sara was so cold to her, or because Sara had committed the ultimate betrayal, dating Gil Grissom.
Catherine, or Wendy, or even Mandy, would've been understandable, but Grissom? Grissom was someone the detective could neither understand nor tolerate. Sara turning to him was like a slap in the face, or worse, a punch in the stomach. It was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, and from then on, Sofia just gave up, but still feeling some loyalty to Sara, the blonde never let on to anyone that she knew of the secret relationship between her former boss and her former lover.
Even now, when asking her current girlfriend for a weekend getaway, Sofia had to concentrate hard to rid herself of her painful memories; however, Wendy's bubbly reaction managed to push them to the background and instead elicited a smile from the blonde.
"San Francisco? For the whole weekend? Oh, Sofia, I can't wait."
Sara exited the doors of the lab, deep in thought. Grissom had just left for a four week sabbatical, leaving the brunette behind to ponder their so-called relationship. The goodbyes had been awkward and uncomfortable, nothing like one would expect from a couple who'd been having an affair for almost a year, and Sara wondered if the time apart would give her the courage to finally break things off with her older lover. She truly needed to put an end to the lie she was living.
Hearing a noise, she turned her attention to the parking lot where Wendy was making out with a taller, blonde woman, and Sara immediately started to turn away, not wanting to witness the kiss between the couple. Knowing Sofia was intimate with Wendy was one thing, but watching it play out in front of her eyes was an entirely different matter.
Something about the blonde's stance had the brunette glancing once more at the pair, and Sara immediately noted the woman wasn't Sofia. She'd memorized every detail of the detective's body, and this woman was definitely not Sofia Curtis. As the two women began to break apart, Sara quickly turned and headed in the opposite direction. Wendy's indiscretion was not her concern.
The next evening, Catherine was forced to send everyone out solo as it seemed the full moon had brought out a little bit of the weird even for Vegas. The fact that Grissom's replacement hadn't arrived posed yet another problem for the temporary supervisor, and she asked each team member to try to be as efficient as possible so that more cases could be covered.
When Sara opened her mouth to protest, Catherine held up her hand and said, "I know what you're thinking, Sara, but I'm not asking you to do a half-assed job; I'm just asking you not to dally at your scene."
Nodding in understanding, the brunette walked from the room and headed for the Denali, muttering, "I have a feeling tonight is going to be a long night."
Glancing at the address, Sara groaned aloud as she climbed into the truck. She quickly backed out of the space and headed for the north end of Las Vegas Boulevard. For once, the dark headed investigator planned to follow Catherine's instructions to the letter.
Pulling next to an unmarked Crown Victoria, Sara stepped from the Denali and looked around for the investigating officer. She'd expected to see at least one black and white unit at the scene but decided that perhaps this was just a wild goose chase after all; however, a voice from her left had her almost jumping out of her boots.
"Hey, Sara. How'd you manage to get this one? Catherine pissed at you or something?" Sofia asked with a slight chuckle.
"Damn it, Sofia. You know I hate for anyone to sneak up on me, especially in a fucking graveyard," Sara replied, holding her hand over her rapidly beating heart.
Shrugging, the detective answered, "Well, you did keep me waiting . . . again. I thought I'd look around a bit instead of sitting in my car."
"Hey, my tardiness wasn't my fault this time. I left as soon as I got the assignment," Sara protested, placing her hands on her hips as if preparing for a fight.
"This time, huh? So you do admit to making me wait for you at that phone booth," Sofia deduced, although she'd known all along the brunette had purposefully left her to wait out in the middle of nowhere for hours which was exactly why she'd begun to process the scene. She knew it would piss Sara off, and, after all, one good turn always deserved another. Besides, it was the first real emotion she'd been able to elicit from the brunette since she'd returned to Vegas.
Refusing to incriminate herself, Sara attempted to change the subject at hand, asking, "What've you found?"
Sofia simply stared at the brunette, deciding whether or not to allow her former lover off the hook, but when Sara started to squirm under her close scrutiny, she smirked and replied, "Dead body over by the mausoleum."
Sara immediately turned pale at the news; dead bodies buried under the earth were one thing, but dead bodies placed on shelves with a mere stone separating them from their small resting place and the living was something entirely different. She couldn't understand why anyone would want to be entombed in such a way.
Aware of the brunette's discomfort, Sofia softened her tone and added, "I think it's a simple case of grave robbery. One of the stones on the bottom tier has been prized open, and the coffin has been pulled out. I just can't figure why someone would remove the body and place it outside the building. Why not just take the valuables and leave?"
The eeriness of the situation suddenly being turned into a bit of a puzzle or mystery became the focal point for the investigator, and her previous discomfort was shoved into the background. Sofia smiled at her ability to know just how to help Sara through an uneasy situation. She'd missed this facet of their relationship almost as much as she missed the closeness they'd once shared.
The pair walked across the silent graveyard towards the mausoleum, and Sofia took advantage of their rare time together for some small talk.
"So, Grissom's gone for four weeks?"
"Yeah," Sara replied, not offering anything further.
Taking a few more steps, the detective asked, "Are you sure he plans to return?"
Stopping dead in her tracks, Sara watched Sofia walk ahead until the blonde realized the investigator was no longer at her side, and she waited until Sofia turned back around to face her before replying to her question.
"Yes, I'm sure. Unlike some people, Grissom doesn't tell lies."
Tilting her head, Sofia responded, "Neither did I, Sara. I always planned to return to Vegas. I never lied to you."
"No, you just didn't tell me the whole truth. Hell, I didn't find out that you were leaving until two days before you had to go," Sara countered, deciding it was finally time to have the conversation she'd been putting off since the detective's return.
"That's because I knew how you'd react, and I was right. You thought I was abandoning you, but that was never the case. I had to leave so that I could come back to you, complete. With you and a job I loved, I would've had everything," Sofia offered, her voice faltering at the end.
Looking the detective directly in the eye, Sara asked softly, "Why didn't you say these things before you left?"
A single tear slid down Sofia's smooth cheek, and she whispered her reply, "I did. You just didn't want to listen."
The two women stood silently in the middle of the graveyard, staring sadly into each other's eyes. Sara wondering why she'd chosen to twist Sofia's truths into lies when the detective had left Vegas, and Sofia contemplating whether Sara's actions of the past two years had all been a lie designed to hide the investigator's true feelings.
The names were spoken simultaneously, and the blonde smiled at the brunette, pleased that the usual venom wasn't present when Sara spoke her name.
"Sara? Do you think we could get some breakfast after shift?" Sofia dared to ask, hoping that the truce would extend into the morning hours.
"What about Wendy? I don't want to do anything that might jeopardize your relationship," Sara replied as images of Wendy in another blonde's arms filled her thoughts, and she found herself clamping down on her jaw to keep from blurting out the news to the detective.
Looking off in the distance, Sofia seemed to notice for the first time that the two of them were carrying on the conversation she'd been hoping to have with her former lover for months now in the center of a graveyard, and, even though it may be fitting at the moment since their relationship was currently dead in the water, she had hopes that this conversation could be pursued somewhere more amenable.
If at all possible, she intended trying to win back the brunette's heart while Grissom was out of the picture; however, there were better places she could think of to achieve that goal.
"There is no Wendy, Sara. We broke up months ago, but I really don't want to talk about it at the moment. In fact, as much as I'm enjoying the fact that we're finally speaking to each other calmly and rationally, I really would like to continue this over breakfast. Somehow, I don't think the graveyard is the best place to discuss things."
Now it was Sara's turn to realize where she was standing, and she shivered briefly before glancing towards the mausoleum. The sooner she was able to confirm the body was indeed taken from the casket, she could return to the lab. Getting out of the graveyard was sounding better and better so she quickly accepted Sofia's invitation, relinquishing her desire to make Sofia squirm as she waited for an answer.
After fingerprinting the coffin, the door, and the area surrounding the space where the coffin once was, Sara headed back to the lab, and Sofia agreed to stay with the body until someone from the mortuary came to secure it. Both women remained baffled as to why someone would remove the body from the building, especially as it was soon discovered that robbery was not the motive. The corpse was still wearing the rings and earrings she was buried in.
The rest of the night flew by for the brunette investigator as she was immediately assigned another case when she'd returned to the lab. Catherine wasn't kidding when she'd said she needed everyone's help to get through the night's caseload. She'd even called in a couple of the day shift to help out. Finally, about an hour before shift's end, all the cases had been processed; however, it would more than likely take the lab days to catch up with all the tests and procedures that needed to be performed.
Thirty minutes before shift change, a blonde and a brunette stood outside of the DNA lab in quiet conversation.
"What about tomorrow morning?" Wendy asked sweetly, stepping closer to the detective.
Shrugging, Sofia replied, "I don't know. It'll depend on my case load next shift."
"Oh, c'mon, say yes. We could get a quick bite and go back to my place. It'll be just like old times," the young lab technician teased as she reached for the detective's hand.
Sofia allowed Wendy to take her hand, and she watched intently as their fingers slowly linked together. She immediately frowned at the sight, knowing the fit wasn't right. The fingers weren't long and tapered and didn't quite give her the feeling that she'd come home. No, she'd only ever experienced that feeling with one person.
Quickly reviewing the technician's last words, the detective suddenly came to yet another realization. She'd never invited Wendy to her apartment. The two had always gone back to the brunette's place, and the blonde had seldom stayed the night, always citing one excuse or another for having to go into work. Even the weekend in San Francisco hadn't felt right.
Extracting her hand from the younger woman's, Sofia smiled sadly and finally replied, "I don't think that's a good idea, Wendy. I'm not interested in getting back together."
Instead of being hurt or mad, Wendy offered softly, "Sofia, Sara's never going to take you back. If she wasn't interested when you first returned, she's never going to be interested."
"You're probably right, but I'm not giving up on her just yet. I should've tried harder when I got back; I should've pushed her into a conversation," the detective countered, adding, "I still love her, Wendy."
Nodding, the technician replied, "I understand, but I'm here if you need anything; even if you just need someone to talk to."
"Thanks, Wendy. I'll keep that in mind. Now, let me let you get back to work," the detective said, smiling and turning to leave. She needed to find Sara before she'd left for the day.
The younger brunette watched the blonde walk away and sighed as she turned and headed back into her lab. When the corridor was empty, another brunette stepped from her hiding place deep in thought.
Logging in the last piece of evidence, Sara stretched her aching back and looked up at the clock; only two hours of overtime, a record for the brunette. Exhausted, the investigator made her way to the exit, hoping to get out of the building before Catherine could catch her and ask for another favor.
Sara stepped through the doors and headed directly towards her car. She'd been disappointed that Sofia hadn't come around to find her after shift, but she guessed that the detective had been called back to the precinct. The brunette knew that the blonde wasn't giving her the brush off, her eavesdropping had proved that Sofia was still interested in her, so she'd just have to bide her time and wait until Sofia approached her again.
Walking down the sidewalk deep in thought, the investigator kept her eyes on the pavement as images from the past two years filtered through her head like a slideshow. The glorious night of lovemaking before Sofia dropped her bombshell, the ensuing argument before her lover left Vegas, the nights of waiting for the phone to ring, the nights of letting the phone go to voicemail as she sat and listened to Sofia's voice pleading with her to pick up the receiver, the shock of arriving at a crime scene to find Sofia as the lead detective, the attempts the blonde made to try to rekindle the relationship, the day she'd realized Sofia had given up on her, the day she'd first seen Sofia with Wendy, hearing firsthand that the two were going to San Francisco for the weekend, and finally, feeling so desperate that she reached out to Grissom. So lost in her memories, the brunette never saw the detective sitting on the hood of her car, waiting for her arrival.
"I was just getting ready to go inside and drag you out of that lab you're so fond of," Sofia teased gently, watching the investigator start at her words.
"Shit! What's with you today? Are you trying to scare me to death?" Sara asked, secretly pleased that Sofia had indeed sought her out.
Chuckling, Sofia replied, "I'm sorry. I know how you get when you're in the 'thinking' mode. I should've been more careful."
"That's okay. I should've seen you."
A silence ensued as each woman seemed unsure what to say next, each afraid that she'd say something that would offend the other. Finally, Sofia sighed and slid off the hood of the car.
Stepping closer to her former lover, she offered, "Why don't we go back to my place instead of the diner?" Smiling, she added, "You could whip up a couple of your famous omelets."
"Oh, really? You ask me to breakfast and then you expect me to go to the store to buy the stuff I'll need to cook for you?" Sara replied in a teasing tone.
"Um, actually, all you have to do is the cooking. I've already gone to the store and picked up everything you'll need. I knew you'd be working overtime long enough for me to run my errand," Sofia explained, grinning widely at the expression on the brunette's face.
"So, you planned to what? Kidnap me and make me your cook?"
"Hmm, that does sound nice; however, I planned to ask you if you'd mind if we didn't go to a crowded diner, and then ask if you'd mind cooking our breakfast," the detective responded, adding emphasis where need be.
Enjoying the playful banter, Sara blurted without thinking, "I've really missed you, Sofia."
It was clear Sara had had no intention of revealing that little tidbit of information and Sofia hesitated before responding. Treading lightly, she replied, "I've missed you, too. Now, how about that breakfast?"
Shaking her head, the brunette remarked, "You'd say anything to get me to cook for you."
At the blonde's shrug, Sara continued, "Oh, alright. Go get your car, and I'll follow you."
When the detective placed her hands in her pocket and shrugged once again, Sara asked, "What?"
Grinning sheepishly, Sofia replied, "I, um, kind of got Wendy to come by and pick me up. She dropped me off at your car."
At the sound of the other woman's name, a rush of intense jealousy filled the investigator, but somehow, a response made it through the green fog.
"What if I'd had to stay longer working in the lab?"
"I guess I would've waited or gotten someone to drive me home if need be," Sofia answered matter-of-factly.
Looking into the clear blue eyes, Sara could see only truth, and pleased, she said, "Okay, climb in. Let's go make some omelets."
Soon, the two women were standing side by side in Sofia's kitchen, chopping onions and grating cheese. It was as if they'd never been apart as each moved around the other, never touching, both constantly aware of the other's presence. Of course, as Sara removed the second omelet from the pan, Sofia couldn't resist bumping hips with her former lover when she took her plate from the counter. Smiling, she walked to the kitchen table and took a seat.
Sara joined the blonde and had barely taken a bite when Sofia asked softly, "So, this thing with Grissom. Do you love him?"
Placing her fork down on the edge of her plate, Sara looked across the table at the only person she'd ever loved and replied, "No. I think respect would be a better word to describe my feelings towards him."
"I see," the blonde answered, suddenly not feeling very hungry as she formed her next question. "Are you going to stay with him?"
"Should I?" Sara replied, needing to know what the detective was fishing for.
Shaking her head, Sofia offered, "No. No one should ever settle. Relationships are too difficult as it is; without the feelings and emotions, it's just not worth it."
"So, Wendy?" Sara asked, leaving the detective to fill in the blanks.
"I liked Wendy, you know. She's a great person. She's sweet, funny, cute . . . hell, she's everything anyone could ever want," Sofia replied as she began to slide her food around the plate.
"But?" The investigator persisted, noting the blonde's nervous behavior.
Several minutes of silence ensued, and Sara began to wonder if Sofia was ignoring her or just choosing not to answer. She'd just decided to let the detective off the hook when a reply was finally whispered from the other side of the table.
"She's not what I want," Sofia replied, looking up at her former lover and adding, "She's not you."
"What are you really saying, Sofia?" Sara asked softly as the moment she'd been hoping for had finally arrived.
"I want us to try again, Sara. We can go as slow as you want, but please, can't we try?"
"On one condition," Sara replied, and Sofia almost sobbed aloud, willing to promise anything as long as she could finally bring her world back into focus again.
"Anything," the detective choked, failing to hold back the tears that had been threatening to fall.
"No more lies or holding back information; only honesty and truth from here on out," Sara outlined firmly as she forced herself not to walk over to comfort the upset blonde.
Sofia could only smile and nod her head, agreeing to the conditions, and Sara finally stood and walked around the table. Wiping the tears from the detective's face, she leaned down and gently kissed the blonde.
Reluctantly pulling away from the lips she'd dreamt about, Sara reached for Sofia's hand, the omelets forgotten, and said, "C'mon. We both need to get some sleep. We can talk more when we've had some rest."
Hand in hand, they walked into the bedroom and removed their shoes before crawling into bed, fully clothed. It didn't take long for the physically and mentally exhausted women to fall into a peaceful sleep.
For the first time in two years, neither woman dreamed; there was simply no need any longer.
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