DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS.
CHALLENGE: Submitted as part of the Sara/Sofia 'Let's Get Sassy' ficathon.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Sara threw herself against her bed. It had been a long hard shift, not made easier by the fact that she had been the one to process the trace on Greg's clothing, to scrape his fingernails for trace elements. It had been Sara who had taken the samples, Sara who had insisted on looking after him. He was one of their own, her best friend, how could she not have wanted to look after him? She kept seeing him there, so small, so broken. She loved him with all of her heart. He had been there through everything for her. He was the only CSI that knew about Sofia, he had pushed Sara into finding out how Sofia had felt about her. Sara's brain was racing, her heart thumping. Who could do this to Greg? He was so pure, so sweet, so perfectly harmless. It was no good; she couldn't stay alone in her apartment. She grabbed the keys to her car and headed back out the front door.
Across town Sofia was still at the Police Department going through her notes, sorting out the paperwork. Greg Sanders was a good friend. Admittedly he occasionally annoyed the crap out of the blond detective, but he was a friend. And he was Sara's best friend, which only served to spur the detective on. Her new partner, a temporary replacement from her usual partner who was on paternity leave, was already getting on her nerves. Detective Johnson was six foot two, wide and irritating. He was brash, outspoken, obnoxious and an all round pain in the ass. He chewed with his mouth open, and not in the cute way Sara did when she was ravenous. This guy was pure animal and had about as much common sense as a doorpost. He eyed up every woman that walked past and muttered appraisingly. Sofia hated him.
Sara headed for the amusement park nearest to her home, searching for anything to take her mind off Greg. Grissom had brought her here once. He had taken her on the rollercoaster. She'd never do that again. By the time the ride had finished, the colour had drained from her cheeks and she had been extremely glad that she hadn't eaten in a while. She wasn't really sure what she expected to find at the park, all she knew was that she needed some form of diversion. As she looked around at the various rides and equipment her eyes came to rest on the trampolines. She hadn't been on a trampoline in years. Not since that one foster mother had thrown her a birthday party. The only one she'd ever had. She remembered it being fun and exhausting. Perfect.
"Nick what the hell do you mean the glass isn't shattered?" Sofia asked exasperated.
"Exactly what I said. It was yesterday and it isn't today." Came the reply from her equally confused colleague. Sofia hung up and looked at Johnson, who was now leering through the window at a handful of unsuspecting female officers.
"Johnson did you hear a word of that?" Sofia asked despairingly.
"I what?" Johnson asked putting his tongue back in his mouth.
"Never mind." Sofia stood and headed towards the door making it clear that Johnson was to follow her.
Sara didn't care if she looked like a fool bouncing up and down on the trampoline. She was bouncing away the cobwebs. Forcing her mind to focus on the movements of her body gave her a chance to temporarily forget Greg's anguished expression. The fact he hadn't been able to see her but had, as he had put it, known that "Sidle scent." They had been friends for far too long if he could tell her by scent alone. Sara bounced harder and higher, she needed to push Greg out of her mind. Needed to exhaust herself so that she would be able to sleep. She closed her eyes for a moment, just to enable her to focus on the bouncing, her breathing. In that moment an arm reached out, someone pulled Sara's leg and she hit the mats. Someone had stopped her mid air. Who she didn't know, all she knew for certain was that the pain was immense. She slipped into an unconscious state, the image of her best friend in front of her eyes.
Sofia's cell was vibrating in her pocket. Picking it up she checked the caller ID. Brass.
"Curtis." Sofia answered.
"Sofia, it's Jim. Listen you need to get over here right away. Sara's hurt." Jim's voice sounded anxious.
"Where are you?" Sofia's mind was racing. What had happened to her girlfriend? Why did Jim sound so shaken? Jim gave her directions to the hospital and told her he'd be waiting. She hung up and picked up her pace, running towards the car park. Johnson running behind her to keep up.
"Curtis, what's going on?" He panted.
"Sara Sidle has been hurt. We're heading to the hospital." Sofia shouted, not wanting to look back.
"The brunette with the gap between her teeth?" Johnson asked as he slid into the passenger seat.
"Yes." Sofia answered hurriedly starting the engine.
"Not badly I hope. She's cute." Johnson had meant it half-jokingly, half-serious. Sara had something about her that intrigued him.
"She's also a damn good friend of mine." Sofia growled. She had had to put up with his sarcasm and chauvinistic attitude to women for long enough.
"Calm down my pretty girl." Johnson made to put his hand on Sofia's shoulder and regretted it instantly. She pulled over and looked at him.
"I am not your pretty girl! Do you get that?" There was a fire in her eyes that caused Johnson to back away.
"Got it." His voice was quiet.
"Good." Sofia started the engine again, intent on getting to her girlfriend's side.
Sara's eyes fluttered open to find Brass sitting at her bedside. Something was wrong with this picture.
"Jim " She croaked, her throat dry and sore.
"It's okay Sara. You're safe." He soothed, gently passing her a glass of water, which she sipped gratefully.
"What happened?" She asked, her throat now slightly more lubricated.
"As far as we can figure out you were on the trampolines and someone or something caught your leg. Bringing you smack down onto the mats. Doctors say you've got a mild fracture to the ankle and some bruising, could have been a lot worse, but you landed on your side, not your head." Jim's voice was soft, gentle. He'd always looked after her.
"Sofia ." Sara whispered.
"She's on her way. I rang her as soon as I found out. Promised I'd wait with you until she got here." Jim smiled. When Sofia had originally told Brass about their relationship Sara had gotten angry, sure that he'd tell Grissom or Catherine, but Sofia had promised her that he wouldn't. And she had been right.
Sara smiled as her beautiful girlfriend walked into the room, closely followed by Detective Johnson.
"Sar what happened?" There were tears in the corners of Sofia's eyes.
"I honestly couldn't tell you. I remember shutting my eyes to focus on my breathing and then coming round in here, Brass staring down at me." She winked playfully at Jim.
"But you're okay?" Sofia's voice was shaky.
"Of course she's okay. She's still got that beautiful smile." Johnson's voice came from near the door. Sofia shot him a contemptuous look and turned back to her girlfriend.
"What have the doctors said?" She asked, clearly ruffled by the sight of Sara in the hospital bed.
"I haven't spoken to the doc yet, but Jim says I've fractured my ankle, and got some bruising." Sara indicated her legs and ribs.
"Told you she'd be okay Sweet Cheeks." Johnson smiled. Sofia rounded on him.
"I am not your Sweet Cheeks. Sara is not a piece of meat you can letch over! Why don't you just go and get yourself a coffee and then head back to the PD?" Sofia's voice was low and angry.
"'Fia ." Sara placed her hand on Sofia's arm. She knew what could happen when Sofia lost her temper and doing it in front of this many witnesses might not be a good idea.
Sofia breathed deeply. Sara was right. If she lost her temper in this room she could also lose her job. "Jim ." She whispered.
"I've got it." He smiled and stood up. "I'll give you a ride back to the department Johnson." It wasn't an offer, it was an order.
"Right." Johnson looked cautiously towards the two women. "Get better soon, Miss Sidle." And with that Jim herded him into the corridor.
A few hours later and Sara had convinced the doctor to let her go back to Sofia's. She sat on the sofa, her broken ankle resting on a cushion. Sofia was running around fetching her drinks and snacks. Anything and everything the brunette wanted, Sofia fetched for her. It had been amusing for the first twenty minutes or so.
"'Fia give it a rest already!" Sara threw a cushion at her girlfriend.
"I want to make sure you're comfortable, Sar." She protested.
"I'm comfortable." Sara stuck her tongue out. "The only thing I need right now is a Sofia-shaped cushion to lean on."
"Okay." Sofia gave Sara a smile before sitting next to her girlfriend and wrapping her arms around her.
"You really don't like your new partner, do you?" Sara asked softly once she was sure Sofia was comfortable.
"No." Sofia knew the conversation would get back to Johnson eventually.
"Why?" It was a fairly obvious question.
"Because he thinks he's God's gift. And he seems to have decided that he's God's gift to you." Sofia said sulkily.
"Baby, you know I don't want him." Sara soothed softly.
"I know. But it doesn't mean that he doesn't want you." Sofia said with a hint of possessiveness.
"He's not here, Babe." Sara reminded her. "He has no idea where you live or that I'm in your apartment."
"I'm gonna find out who did this to you." Sofia said softly, relaxing a little.
"I know you are." Sara's voice was sleepy.
"And I'm going to make sure they pay for hurting my beautiful girl." Sofia gently stroked Sara's hair.
"Mmm-hmmm." Sara murmured.
"Just as soon as you've rested a while." Sofia stroked Sara's hair and watched contentedly as the brunette fell asleep in her arms.
Sofia had gone back to work a few hours after bringing Sara home. She was sat at work, trying to concentrate on the case but having difficulties in focusing. Her mind kept straying to her injured girlfriend and the person who had hurt her. Who would want to do that to such a wonderful person? She angrily threw her pen onto the desk, and watched as it rolled across the wood and hit the floor. She couldn't sit here like this and do nothing, not when the person who had attacked her girlfriend was still at large.
Sara was bored brainless at home, she hated being confined indoors, it made her feel like a caged animal. Grissom and the doctor at the hospital had told her in no uncertain terms that she wasn't allowed into work, and Sofia hadn't seemed very happy about her going out alone whilst her attacker was still at large. Sara felt like she was being kept under lock and key. Picking up her cell phone she decided to ring Sofia and see if she minded her going to the store on the corner. She'd go crazy if she couldn't at least do that.
Sofia was mid argument with Brass when her cell rang. She'd been trying to persuade him that she should be on Sara's case, and was doing a spectacular job of failing. He reminded her several times that she was too close to Sara, who in this instance he referred to as "the victim", only making Sofia angrier still.
"Curtis." She answered, her voice more aggressive than she meant it to be.
"Hey, 'Fia." Sara's voice was soft and a little whiny. The tone she used when she wanted to get round her girlfriend.
"Oh hey Sar." Sofia glared at Jim and stalked out of his office. "What's up, Baby?"
"Look I'm going crazy in here. I'm thinking of taking a hobble to the store on the corner to grab something for when you come home."
"Sara I don't think it's such a good idea." Sofia knew that Sara hated being stuck in, but she was scared that whoever it was might be following her.
"I'll call you when I get there, and when I get home." Sara offered. She really hated feeling like she was being treated like a child.
"You really that bored?" Sofia asked, softening a little.
"You've no idea." Sara admitted.
"Can you hold on, say half an hour? I'll send someone over to go with you." It would put her mind at rest.
Sara sighed painfully at the other end. She knew Sofia was worried, but she wasn't five years old. A trip to the store shouldn't need an armed escort.
"Baby, I know it's not ideal, but please for me?" Sofia pleaded.
"Okay. I guess." Sara resigned herself to the fact that she wasn't going to win this one. At least she'd have someone to carry the shopping for her, carrying bags and using crutches might prove to be difficult.
"I'd come myself, but Jim's got me chained to the office." Sofia threw her boss a contemptuous look through the windows of his office.
"Okay, Baby." Sara said softly.
"Someone will be over in about 30 minutes. And Sar?"
"Yes?" Sara asked.
"If you don't recognise them, I didn't send them." Sofia added. She knew that Sara recognised most of the PD by sight at least.
"Got it. No opening the door to strangers." There was a hint of sarcasm in Sara's voice.
"I love you." Sofia said as if trying to explain herself.
"Love you too." Sara hung up the phone.
Sofia walked back into Jim's office.
"Can we spare someone to keep an eye on her at least?"
Sara watched as Detective Johnson pulled up outside. She couldn't believe her eyes, Sofia had sent the cop who had driven her so mad just hours earlier. Was she trying to get rid of him? Or was he the only one Jim had been willing to spare? Either way, Sara wasn't going to let it stop her from going to the store. She could handle him and his lecherous ways. She hobbled to the door, ready to buzz him in. It took him a few minutes. Probably trying to find his way to the right door.
"Hello?" Sara thought she should act like she hadn't been eagerly watching from the window.
"Miss Sidle, it's Detective Johnson. Detective Curtis sent me." His voice sounded slimy, even over the intercom.
"I'll buzz you in."
"Actually, Miss Sidle, could you come down here? It's just that Detective Curtis told me she'd shoot me if I entered her apartment " He sounded slightly nervous at the prospect. Sara stifled a laugh. Given Sofia's current mood, she didn't doubt that her girlfriend meant it.
"Okay. I won't be long."
If Sofia had been in a bad mood with Jim before, it was nothing in comparison to the mood she was in with him now. He had told her that the only cop he could spare was her partner. Shortly after Johnson had left, Sofia had given Jim a mouthful and then locked herself away in the locker room.
"She's my fucking girlfriend!" Sofia slammed her fists against the lockers. It was better to take her frustration out on them than Brass. Which was why he wanted her off the case, why he had her chained to her desk for the entire shift. Maybe she could sneak out and see Greg, see how he was. She was beginning to understand Sara's need for freedom.
Sara opened the communal doorway and was met by the sight of Johnson trying to avoid looking at her directly. Sofia must have really put the fear of God up him, or at least the fear of her temper.
"Hey." She said gently, not wanting to make him jump out of his skin.
"Miss Sidle." Some of his usual leering self had disappeared.
"So, you're my escort to the grocery store?" Sara tried to make a joke of things.
"That's right. Detective Curtis has told me not to let you out of my sight." A small grin formed on his face.
"Right, well, I suppose we'd better get going." Sara was going to have words with Sofia later.
"Shall I drive us there?" Johnson asked, looking at her crutches.
"Um ." She'd really wanted to attempt the distance on her crutches when she had been upstairs, but now she was outside it seemed a lot further than at first. "Sure."
Sofia watched carefully as Jim turned his back to the windows of his office. She ran past and headed for the main entrance to the PD. She knew what she was doing was reckless, going against direct orders was not exactly going to do her any favours, but Jim would get over it, he'd have to.
As Sofia reached her car, she turned on her police radio. That way if Jim were looking for her she'd know in an instant. Jumping inside she turned the car over and sped out of the parking lot towards the hospital.
Detective Johnson's car pulled into a space outside the store. Sara was wishing that they'd walked. His driving bordered on dangerous. As she grappled with her seatbelt, he jumped out the driver's door and rushed round to open the passenger door for her. Sara smiled at him, grateful for the assist.
In his eagerness to help the beautiful CSI from the car, he forgot to check they weren't being watched.
Sofia was just pulling into the hospital parking lot when her radio went off. Jim's voice coming over the frequency in panicked tones.
"All available units make your way to Carter's grocery store. Shooting reported."
Sofia froze. Carter's was the store down the road from her apartment. The store Johnson was taking Sara to. She quickly turned the car and headed for home. 'Please, don't let her be dead. She's got to be alright.'
As Johnson had helped Sara out of the car, a red Ford had come screeching down the street. It stopped by the driver's side of the vehicle and someone shot up through the sunroof, a loaded shotgun in his hand. Sara recognised him as the gang leader from Greg's attack. Without thinking she whacked Johnson on the back of the legs with one of her crutches, making him fall and stumble. She lowered herself to the floor just before the first shot was fired.
"What the hell?" Johnson looked at Sara confused.
"Shut up." Sara whispered. She nodded in the direction of the other vehicle.
"Where the hell did they come from?" He was obviously shaken.
"It doesn't matter where they came from. There's a street full of people out there." She was starting to see why Sofia found him so annoying.
"Come on out. I want to finish what I started." That voice was aimed at Sara, and she knew it.
"Don't move." Johnson said firmly.
"Not exactly an option." She looked at her leg.
Sofia, blinded by pure panic drove onto her street. There was Johnson's car. And there was another car parked directly by it. A man standing with his torso out of the sunroof, a gun pointed towards the direction Johnson and Sara were presumably in. She slowed her car to a stop and reached for her gun and radio. Another shot fired towards the grocery store. Sofia's heart leapt into her mouth.
"Johnson. It's Curtis. Are you both alright?" Her voice sounded a lot calmer than she felt as she whispered over the radio.
"We're fine. I think." His voice was shaky.
Seconds later the road was closed off at both ends by several squad cars. Brass's car pulling up directly behind Sofia's. She knew she was in for it once they'd resolved the situation, but right now she couldn't care. Her girlfriend was down the other end of the street, being fired at by some lunatic. Johnson was going to pay for this. God help her that she didn't kill him first.
"Curtis, get down." Brass's voice came from behind her shoulder. "Move over here and step away from the scene."
"Jim, it's Sara!" She called back.
"Which is precisely why you're going to do exactly as I'm telling you." There was an air of authority in his voice, which told her he wasn't going to listen to her protests. She crouched down and headed back towards him whilst he covered her.
"She shouldn't be here." Sara whispered to Johnson. "She's going to lose her job over this ."
"Curtis loves you." He said shakily. "If you were my girl and she was the one here with you, I'd be out there trying to save you."
Sara looked at him stunned. For a man who had made no secret of the fact he found both her and her girlfriend attractive, he was being extremely sensitive right now.
"Give me your radio." Sara needed to get Sofia away from there and fast.
Detective Johnson passed her the radio, a look of confusion on his face. How the hell was giving her the radio going to get them out of this mess?
"Sofia, Sofia, can you hear me?" Sara whispered into the radio.
"Sara Sara is that you? Are you hurt? Are you okay?"
"Sofia, I want you to do exactly as Jim says. Do you understand me? I'm not having you get shot because you want to save me." Sara was taking control.
"No buts. I'm gonna need you okay when this is over. I still need someone to look after me whilst my ankle heals."
"I " Sofia was crumbling. "Okay." She replied.
Brass had overheard the entire conversation, as had every officer at the scene.
"Sofia. Do as she says. We'll get her out of there." He looked at her with a fatherly expression.
"Jim if I lose her." Tears were forming in her eyes.
"You're not going to lose her. Get back behind the cars and wait. Once we've diffused the situation I'll let you back through." He tried not to show her just how worried he was.
The next twenty minutes seemed like a lifetime for Sofia, Sara and Johnson. The sounds of gunfire and Brass's voice and the shouting of the gunman mixed into an unfamiliar crescendo. None of them could distinguish one from the other. Suddenly Sofia felt Jim's hand on her shoulder.
"She's ? Jim did you get him?" Sofia wanted to make certain.
"The gunman and the driver."
"Can I see her?"
"I'm right here, Baby." Sofia opened her eyes to see Sara standing behind Brass, supported by her crutches, Johnson behind her looking petrified.
"Sara!" Sofia practically screamed with relief.
"I'm okay." She smiled and hobbled forward. "Johnson on the other hand could probably do with a long holiday."
"Curtis . I'm so sorry. If I hadn't ." He dissolved into tears.
"If you hadn't have been here, Sara probably wouldn't be either." Sofia said softly. Sure he was a complete and utter pain in the backside, but if Sara had been on her own things may have been a lot worse.
"So, yeah I'd say you got off pretty lightly." Sara smiled at Greg.
"Yeah, I just ended up beaten to a pulp." Greg tried not to laugh.
"He thought I'd be able to ID him. Didn't want to risk getting caught." Sara fluffed Greg's pillows.
"Could have been worse." He said quietly. "Sofia could have killed Johnson."
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