DISCLAIMER: Some other lucky beggar owns the characters. Sorry for treading on any toes.
NOTES: This is my very first posting to the Cath/Sara fandom so constructive feedback is more than welcome.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Valentine Card
By Debbie

It was February 14th, 2004, Valentine's Day. Sara Sidle strolled into her office deep in thought. She realized that maybe she wasn't the number one girl in this place, but she had expected at least one Valentine card. Had she really been that successful at deterring Greg? Smiling to herself at her stupid melancholy she looked over towards her desk, not really expecting to see anything. Why would she? It wasn't as if she had plucked up enough courage to send anything to the object of her own affections.

To Sara's amused surprise, there was, however, a slim peach colored envelope propped up against her desk light. Glancing around and seeing she was alone, she examined the envelope. The envelope was written in non-descript full-bodied style made with firm pen strokes, similar to the Lucinda handwriting style found in computer documents. Laughing to herself at her automatic investigative style she realized the writing was unrecognizable to her. The card wasn't obviously from her known acquaintances, yet how had it arrived on her desk with no postage mark, unless hand delivered? Still alone she opened the envelope carefully, pulling out a plain card decorated with two hearts and nothing more. She opened the card and seeing no signature settled back to read.

To Sara

Be My Valentine.

Can you even imagine how much you mean to me? Probably not, seeing as you don't know who I am. If you did, you still wouldn't know just how much. In the past I have been more than indifferent to you, sometimes being downright rude and evasive. I have come to love you while refusing to even interact and share basic friendship with you.

After every shift I find I want to take you home with me. Just to talk, you understand. I want to explain why I have been awkward with you. That I have been scared of letting my guard down lest you get under my skin and then leave for pastures new. It hasn't worked. Sara, you are deep under my skin already. I really do think I am in love with you already and want to be able to finally tell you so.

To show you how I feel, I chose these lyrics from the wonderfully appropriate Indigo Girls. The song is Ghost, but you aren't a ghost, thank God. You are a wonderful specimen of a woman. You fill my every waking moment with desire; in fact, you fill my every moment. And yet, I can't touch you, I can't even spend time with you because of my past misdemeanors. Whenever you have reached out to me, I have turned you away, sometimes with venom. Read these words and see how I feel...

Dark and dangerous like a secret
that gets whispered in a hush
When I wake the things I dreamt about you
last night make me blush
And you kiss me like a lover
then you sting me like a viper
I go follow to the river
play your memory like a piper

And I feel it like a sickness
how this love is killing me
I'd walk into the fingers
of your fire willingly
And dance the edge of sanity
I've never been this close
I'm in love with your ghost

How can we work through this together? I'm not sure I know. Not sure you even share any of my feelings. But, if you can work out my not too subtle clues and you want to give this a try with me, then please, my dear Sara, meet me at 10.00am for a walk in the park and some breakfast to follow.

I guess the only thing left to say is, 'who am I?'

Sara looked up from her Valentine card to see if anyone was observing her: She was thankful there was no one in sight. She thought long and hard about the beautiful words in front of her. Somebody had it good for her, but who, and was it who she wanted it to be? She considered the options. The logistics of the card's delivery allowed only for a member of her close team, but whom?

Until recently, Sara would have been hoping this message was from Gil Grissom. Now, she knew it wasn't what she wanted. Just lately she had become enamored with another, somebody so unapproachable she had not really dared to think about it. Sara knew in her own heart that this other was the only one who commanded this degree of feeling in herself, but this card couldn't be from her, could it? She was pretty sure the answer was staring her in the face; the card mentioned reading the clues contained within, so it was just a matter of elimination. Hopefully, she could then let the sender down gently, while she dredged up the courage to confess her adoration of a certain female CSI. She began to consider the possibilities.

Greg? She really didn't feel peach envelopes and pretty song words were his forte. This was definitely too subtle and romantic for him. She crossed him off her mental list, with Nick being eliminated for the same reasons. Jeez, Nick wasn't known for his overly romantic gestures, sometimes she wondered if any of the men in her life knew just what romance was.

Warrick? Thinking about her introduction to this CSI team and the way she had had to investigate Warrick's performance twice, she realized some of the words could describe him, but again, the romantic nature of the card put her off that avenue.

The only man she considered capable of being this wordy and sappy was Gil Grissom himself. It had taken Sara nearly four years to approach Gil with the offer of a date, and look where it had gotten her - still lonely and still pining for the unattainable. The only good thing about his rejection, she now realized, was the fact he had never been what she really wanted. Her attraction to him had been a big smokescreen for the desires that had been building slowly within her. Reading between the lines, this letter felt like Gil, yet, at the same time, it didn't feel like Gil. There was just something not quite right about it all.

But who else could it be from? It couldn't be Brass, could it? Logically she knew that answer was no, this just wasn't his style.

Which left only one person in the team to be accounted for, Catherine, the object of Sara's own affections. It really couldn't be her, thought Sara, or could it? Indifferent, rude, evasive, awkward; all those words could describe her interaction with Catherine. Since coming to Las Vegas, Sara had attempted to start a friendship with Catherine on numerous occasions, only to be pushed away to arms length. It had always seemed as though Catherine only wanted a professional relationship. The older woman had certainly never shown any inclination towards feeling any sort of 'like' for Sara, never mind 'love'. In fact, she had never shown any inclination towards attraction for the same sex. Yet, that was what this card confessed to.

Sara was getting frustrated at her inability to decide who was her admirer. As a CSI she really ought to be able to decipher the clues. She read the card again.

What about the 'wonderfully appropriate Indigo Girls lyrics'? There had to be a clue there. Dredging something from the recesses of her mind about their lifestyles, she pulled up the Indigo Girls' website. Things were beginning to fall into place.

Sara began to worry that she was fitting the clues to the answer she wanted; she really didn't want to frighten Catherine with any declarations of her own attraction if she was completely off-base. Then she spotted it. The first word in each paragraph was written in a slightly bolder style, spelling CATH. The sender of this beautiful and intriguing Valentine was indeed Catherine Willows.

Sara blushed and felt the heat run through her body. Catherine wanted her: her hope had come true. Now, all she had to do was follow the invitation through, but something as carefully planned as this deserved something more than just turning up for a walk of all things. She immediately got up and slipped out of the building. She had something to buy.

Meanwhile, Catherine Willows was also sitting at her desk deep in thought. Her mind was awhirl with what she had done. How could she have been so stupid as to send a semi anonymous Valentine to Sara Sidle. What would she do if Sara worked out the sender? At least now her feelings would be out in the open and maybe she could try and become friends with the brunette she had come to adore. She wondered what might transpire in the next few hours. Would she get a visit from Sara? Would she and the brunette share a walk? Would they attempt any kind of relationship? Would Sara have nothing more to do with her? Would Sara even realize it was Cath that had sent the card? As she pondered these innumerable questions she heard a gentle knock on the door. It was Greg. Popping his head around the door he handed Cath an envelope. With a knowing smile he turned on his heel and left. Catherine opened the envelope slowly. Inside was a slim card with sturdy handwriting on it, Sara's. It said,


I want to try. Meet me by the Tahoe in 10 minutes.


Glancing at her watch, Catherine smiled. It was just like Sara to try and wrest the initiative, changing the time of their meeting to her own choice. Catherine was not going to argue. She cleared her desk and made her way out into the bright daylight.

Standing by the Tahoe was a grinning Sara Sidle. She looked up and down the gorgeous redhead as she walked gracefully towards her. As they met by the car Sara took a hold of Catherine's hands and squeezed them tight, whispering, "Thank you."

Catherine squeezed back and let her hands ride up Sara's forearms. She whispered back, "No, thank you." Pushing Sara towards the car she said in a husky voice, "Shall we?"

The two women climbed into the car. They shared a look. As Sara turned the engine to leave, she felt a hand rest lightly on her denim-clad thigh, drawing Sara's gaze back to Catherine's face. The redhead shyly glanced around then leant over towards Sara murmuring a gentle, "May I?" Her lips were inches from Sara's, near enough that Sara could feel the warmth of her breath. She shivered but offered no resistance to what she knew was coming next. Sara held her breath in the anticipation of finally feeling those wonderful lips on her own. The older woman leant in to share a sweet, gentle, unassuming, first kiss. It was everything a first kiss should be; warm, welcoming, loving, a promise of more to come. Catherine pulled back gently and squeezed the thigh she was still holding. She was amazed that this gorgeous woman was willing to forget her indiscretions and see where things went. Clasping Catherine's hand tightly, Sara pulled out into the traffic. Sharing another smile the two ladies drove off to their Valentine promise.

The End

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