DISCLAIMER: They're not mine, but they came to me and demanded to write this short story.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Sequel to Interested? and Meet the Geeks.
FANDOMS/PAIRING: CSI/Cold Case   Sara / Lilly
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Waiting For You
By mirage


After what felt like an eternity for Lilly, the door opened slightly.

In case the brunette was surprised to see the detective, her face didn't betray her. But maybe she was just too tired to feel anything at all. Her face was pale, the dark shadows under her eyes contrasting her irises even more and adding to her brooding expression.

Her shirt and pants looked wrinkled like she hadn't changed in a few days and had slept in them. Probably both were true.

To Lilly, Sara looked beautiful.

Sara's left arm rested against the doorframe, supporting her weight as well as successfully blocking the entrance. "Whatcha want?" She asked, her voice hoarse with sleep.

Lilly had asked herself the same question over and over again since she had fled Las Vegas and Sara. She still wasn't too sure about the answer. "Can I come in?" Her eyes surveyed the empty floor afraid of unwanted listeners.

Sara's hand left the doorframe to brush through her already tousled hair, prolonging her answer. "No." she finally shook her head. "I can't do this. Not now."

"Please, it's important."

Sara snorted, her eyes suddenly very alive, alive with anger. "So important that you waited three months?" She spat out.

"This isn't easy for me." Lilly started to explain, but Sara interrupted her.

"You think it was easy for me? I...." The brunette stopped and rubbed her temples. "I can't do this now," she repeated her earlier words. "I just pulled a triple. All I want is to sleep. It has to wait. You waited that long, another day won't hurt you."

Her emphasis on the last word didn't go unnoticed by Lilly. "I stay as long as you need." She searched for Sara's eyes, but the brunette avoided her.

A slight shake of her head and Sara's eyes finally rested on her. "Don't promise what you can't keep." She shot back, her voice void of any emotion.

"Please, just give me the chance to explain. After that I'm gone if it's that what you want."

"Now it's about what I want?" Sara asked sarcastically. "I tell you what I want. Right now, I want nothing but sleep." She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, before she exhaled slowly. The door already half closed she stopped, maybe it was the look of desperation on Lilly's face, maybe her longing for an explanation even after so long. "I call you when I'm ready." Were her last words before she closed the door.

Lilly leaned against the headboard of her bed, staring at the clock on her nightstand.

Two hours.

Only two hours had passed since she had talked to Sara and the waiting was already turning her into a nervous wreck. She had had time enough to go through every possible scenario of their next meeting, every new one worse than the last one. She was glad that her last meal had only consisted of a glass of tea and some crackers. Her stomach was in no condition to handle anything heavier as even the light content was burning acidly inside of her.

She embraced herself, pressing her arms tightly against her stomach. Two more hour at least before she could even hope that Sara would call, but it could be even five or seven, maybe even longer if Sara decided that she wasn't ready to talk to her. What if she decided to let her feel what she went through for three months?

She wouldn't last that long. Three months were too long for her when already two hours felt like a small eternity.

A very painful eternity.

Lilly wondered if Sara had felt the same when she had waited for her phone call, for an explanation. How long had she stared at her phone, wondering when she would call?

Had the fear grown with every passing minute, hour and day that she wouldn't call at all?

That she had ruined the friendship, the relationship she cared most for?

There was a sudden bitter taste in her mouth and as much as Lilly swallowed, she couldn't get rid of it. Even the glass of water she retrieved from the bathroom didn't help much, making her consider to try something stronger. A walk down to the hotel bar and a calming drink sounded good in her ears, especially as it would give her a reason to leave her room other than just walking aimlessly through Las Vegas.

What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas.

Not for her. Otherwise she would have been able to go on with her life and forget about the city and Sara. Three months she had been able to pretend that exactly that had happened. That she could go on with her life, her friendship with the brunette nothing more than a pleasant memory of her past. It had worked almost perfectly, burring herself in work, ignoring Sara's calls and pretending that everything was alright.

Lilly was good at pretending, but this time it didn't work well enough. Whenever she had allowed her mind to rest images of a certain brunette surfaced, of dark brown eyes, a cute smile, a soft hand against her cheek, tender lips and her fragrance.

She lay down onto the bed and curled up, her eyes directed at her cell phone next to her. Three months she had been in charge of the situation, but now it was all up to Sara. She had to decide how to go on.

What if Sara wasn't interested any more? What if she was too late?

She didn't know what scared her more, the thought that Sara had been waiting for three months and hated her for that or that she had woken up some day and had realized that it wasn't important for her, if Lilly ever called and had gone on with her life.

Lilly couldn't tell if minutes or hours had passed before the small device rang. She didn't need her display to know that it was Sara, but still she couldn't bring herself to answer. Her fingers hovered over the button, suddenly fearing that Sara might tell her to fly back and never call her again.

"Hi Sara." She answered finally, her voice quivering slightly.

There was silence and Lilly feared she had answered her phone too late, but then Sara's voice reached her ear. It was a short call, nothing more than the place and time to meet.

In a rush, afraid she might be too late, even though she knew she was at least ten minutes early, Lilly flung open the door to the small diner. In Philadelphia her odd behavior would have ensured her the collective attention, but here in Las Vegas where employees were used to Elvis and Aliens frequenting their establishments, her entrance only caused a bored gaze from the waitress before she continued her work.

Lilly remembered the diner. Sara had taken her here after she had picked her up from the airport. It was one of those typical diners, clean, but not fancy, the menu filled with carbohydrates, grease and sugar, everything a hard working person needed. Diners like these were the same everywhere, no matter if you were in Philadelphia or Las Vegas.

Lilly's eyes scanned the room. Despite her situation she couldn't suppress the small smile as her eyes fell on Sara, sitting in a corner booth a little distant to the other customers.

She was early too.

At least a few things hadn't changed.

Sara hadn't noticed her, her gaze directed through the window and out on the street, her fingers tracing absentmindedly the rim of her coffee mug. The brunette looked the same as earlier. The only difference was that Sara had obviously showered and put on some fresh clothes, all black and dark colors, Sara's favorite choice concerning clothes.

Sara only looked up when Lilly stood in front of her. Her dark eyes were hidden behind heavy lids, indicating that she hadn't found any sleep at all after Lilly had left. When Sara realized that the person in front of her was Lilly her expression changed. Her eyes slightly narrowed and her posture straightened, leaving only behind the professional CSI.

Lilly was nervous as she sat down under Sara's scrutinizing gaze, unable to shake off the feeling of sitting at the wrong side of an interrogation table. "Hi Sara," she started tentatively, trying to ease the tension filled situation with an insecure smile.

Sara's eyebrows went up slightly, but the brunette decided to stay silent instead of offering a greeting herself. She was all business, sending clearly the message that she wasn't here for small-talk.

Lilly took a deep breath and folded her hands in front of her to keep them from fiddling nervously around. "I know, I should have called," she started, but didn't come any further as Sara interrupted her.

"Yeah," the brunette spat out, "you should have, but it's too late for that now, isn't it?" A bitter sound, like a contorted laugh, escaped her throat.

Lilly opened her mouth to answer, but was once again interrupted, this time by the waitress asking for her order. She let Sara decide how extended their lunch would be and waited for her order. She couldn't ignore her disappointment when Sara just ordered a refill.

Nonetheless she followed her example, ordering only a coffee herself. If she was honest, even if Sara had demanded a full meal, she wouldn't have been able to eat a single bite. Actually even coffee wasn't a good idea, considering her already fluttering stomach. "I was confused and scared." She continued when they were once again alone.

"You think I wasn't when you didn't call after two weeks? I was worried something might have happened to you. I was even stupid enough to call in a favor just to know that you are alright." Sara shook her head, angry about her own stupidity. "Sometimes I'm really dense. It took me a month to admit to myself that you just didn't want to talk to me."

Lilly broke the contact and looked down at her hands. In the three months that had passed she couldn't forget Sara, but she never thought about her, what her silence treatment might mean for her. Egoistically she only had thought about herself and never the hurt she caused in her friend. "I didn't know." She confessed.

"Of course you didn't," Sara commented icily. "You know what hurt most? Not that you don't reciprocate my feelings. I can deal with that, but that our friendship wasn't worth a simple phone call."

"But it is," the blonde finally interfered frustrated. "I really cherish our friendship and I never meant to hurt you, but I didn't know what to do. I still don't know."

"Then why are you here? What do you want from me?" Sara yelled. She blushed angrily and lowered her head when she realized that her little outburst earned her the full attention of everyone in the diner.

"I want you." Lilly almost whispered. It was the only thing she was sure of.

"Don't do this to me." Sara still refused to look up, but her voice had changed, sounding sad and scared. "You can't just come back to play with me." Her eyes were brimming with tears she didn't allow to fall. She averted her gaze, looking once again through the window. When she turned back there was a new confidence in her voice, her eyes filled with new determination. "I can't be your flavor of the month, Lilly."

"I'm not here because I'm in search of a thrill." Lilly answered slowly. "If I wanted that, we both would have ended up in my hotel room. Having sex with you isn't what scared me. What scared me was that I wanted more. I want more than just a night with you. I want everything."

"For three months you didn't even want to talk to me and now that? What if you change your mind again in three months?"

"I won't."

Sara shook her head. "That's not enough." She couldn't forget the last promise Lilly had broken, the one she had written down on the small note she left behind when she had fled Las Vegas.

"Then tell me what is."

A few moments passed till Sara finally answered. "Honestly, I don't know." She seemed as crushed as Lilly felt. After these words there seemed nothing else to say, but both women were reluctant to leave, prolonging the moment by looking at their coffee mugs and taking only slowly sips from the now lukewarm liquid.

Lilly didn't want to end their friendship like that. She hadn't flown across the country, from Pennsylvania to Nevada, just for a sad goodbye. If nothing else she wanted Sara to understand why she had acted like she did. "I want that." The blonde looked over to the other corner, Sara's gaze following hers. A young couple was seated there, seeking as much privacy as them. She leaned with her back against his chest, his arm around her shoulder and her hand playing with his fingers, while he drank his coffee. "But we will never have this. Not in Philadelphia and not in Las Vegas. We both work this job too long to not know this. The risks for an openly gay couple are too high." She tore her gaze from the couple, returning it at Sara. "That's what I told myself over and over again. I found hundreds of reasons why a relationship would never work, not over the long distance and with our working hours. But I couldn't forget you, not when even stupid latex gloves remind me of you, of your fingers against my cheek, of the kiss." She stopped waiting for a response from Sara, but the brunette stayed mute. At least she was still here and listening. It was enough for Lilly to continue, "I miss you, our conversations. I miss the feeling that you're close to me, even if we are thousands of miles apart. I want the knowledge that there's someone who loves me. I want you."

The brunette didn't answer right away, but studied Lilly closely. The detective resisted her first impulse to lower her head, but forced herself to hold Sara's gaze. She wanted Sara to understand that she was sincere.

"I can't give you what you want. Not now. Right now, trying to rebuild our friendship is all I can offer you." It was not what Lilly had hoped for, but it was a start.

"That's okay." Lilly smiled and without thinking grabbed Sara's hand. For a moment Sara allowed the contact before she pulled her hand back. Lilly blushed, embarrassed about her overreaction. Even with Sara's offer she realized it would be a long way before the brunette trusted her enough to be comfortable around her again, but she wouldn't give up. She would wait and rebuild that trust.

The End

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