DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of the characters, sorry for treading on any toes, I do it only for my sanity.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 1: This is another cheat on the holiday fic. I have wanted to write this story for a few months now; I just never had the time. So, after another glorious day at the coast, I picked up my pen and paper (!!) and jotted down the plan. The words have now been added.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 2: I wanted to write a Cath/Sara fic that had absolutely no Cath/Sara in it, you will see what I mean. This is the result… hope you like?
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Watching The Girls Go By
By Debbie

Warrick Brown

I often sit here and just watch her. Catherine Willows, my soulmate. Oh not in any romantic sense; we got past that albatross many years ago, there is no way Catherine and I could ever be anything other than friends.

The day I met her I knew we were alike. We have similar family backgrounds and have lived our lives in similar ways. I had my gambling, she had her drug dependence. Not that that is common knowledge but Cath once shared it with me when we were discussing the nature of her relationship with Eddie. It was her way of telling me how she'd turned her life about from one of addiction and despair, to one of cleanliness and hope. It was a lesson I took to heart and I'll always be indebted to Catherine for her unfailing love and support at that time.

Over the years Catherine has been my one true confidante, and I believe I have been hers too. Whenever either of us has a problem we go to the other immediately. Eddie dying was one of the times; she was heartbroken, mainly because of the hole it left in Lindsey's life, but also because no matter his bad points Catherine had loved him, would always love him as the father of her daughter. Catherine took it out on Sara and it became a problem for the team. I told Catherine and things settled down for a while.

Then, Catherine found out that Sam Braun was her father and that son-of-a-bitch gave her quite a large amount of money. Her dilemma was whether to accept or not, as always she discussed it with me. My truthful answer was that she had to do what was right for her and Lindsey; I think she cashed it in. All that stress seemed to change Catherine for the worse. She stopped coming to me quite so much and hooked up with some casino manager; Chris Bezich. He seemed ok but I could tell he wasn't the man for Catherine but for once in our relationship she didn't listen to me.

I used to watch her, outwardly she seemed happy, but behind her eyes was an underlying sadness; the normally full of life Catherine was dead. It hurt me to see that Catherine was losing her open, friendly ways, becoming withdrawn and an outsider. The team was slowly falling apart; Sara's problems with the whole Gil/Nick thing and then her drinking, Cath's boyfriend and withdrawal from the team.

But something has changed again. She's thrown off that deep look of sadness and her eyes are once again alive with joy and happiness. I know it's not that Chris anymore, she took me to one side about a month ago and told me that she'd ended that relationship because she had come to realize she had feelings for someone else. Looking at her now, radiant and downright sexy as hell I'd say that that "someone" shares her feelings. She's in love.

And if I'm not mistaken that's who she's on the cell to right now. Look how animated and alive she is, yes Catherine Willows is in love once again, and I for one am damn pleased about it. Wonder if she'll feel able to introduce him to me soon enough, I want to congratulate the guy that has brought my Catherine back into the world of the living.

Nick Stokes

I often sit here and just watch her. Sara Sidle, an enigma. I'm watching her now and she doesn't even recognize I'm here; she's focused on those fibers as if nothing else matters. Humming to herself as she works nothing will stop her finishing what she's doing until it's finished. I can count on the fingers of my hand the times she has left a job in the middle to do something else; work is her livelihood, her life.

She's been here 4 years now and I don't think any of us have really got to know her. I took to her right away. Yes, folks would argue that is because I like a pretty woman, and I do, but with Sara it wasn't that. If anything I saw a kindred spirit. A science nerd who wanted to please the boss. I admit that one of my sole purposes in life is to be respected by Gil Grissom; it's probably something to do with my past life experiences. Although always outwardly confident and assured, inside I am a nervous wreck half the time. Always seeking reassurance that the job I am doing and the life I am living is a good one.

At first I thought that was why Sara needed Gil's reassurance too. Later, it became obvious she had a "thing" for him. That became a bit of an albatross for me because I wanted her and she wanted Gil, and how could she want an old man when she could have a young man? I soon realized that my desire was not worth even having, there was no way Sara Sidle would be interested in me as a beau, so I nurtured her as a friend, and until the last few months, when Gil passed her over for promotion for me, I think we were. Those months were hard for all of us because Sara became moody and unapproachable; she also turned to the bottle, something we all only come to realize after her DUI mishap.

But something has changed again, she's thrown off that black mood and is steadily becoming happier and the Sara we once knew. I mean, look at her now; she's glowing. Always pretty, she now screams "drop-dead gorgeous", she has an inner beauty that's just radiating from her. Going back to my "jock" persona I think it's pretty obvious she's being laid and pretty regularly by the look of pure contentment in that smile, and that twinkle, well there's nothing more to say.

There's something else that's changed, she no longer works all the hours that God sends. These days she's out of here as soon as possible and doesn't come in until start time. Another indication that she now has a "someone" in her life. I wonder if we'll ever find out who has stolen "my" Sara's heart.

Look, that's her cell ringing and from the look in her eyes it's that someone. Oh wow! She's in love, I can see it now, her whole body is suddenly alive. What did she say? Cover for me Nick I've got to pop out. Sara Sidle leaving the building during shift? Now that's love.

Jim Brass

Jeez, I love my job. How many men heading towards the close of their career get to spend their working days with people they love? I know I have my disagreements with the CSI's but who is it who stands shoulder to shoulder with me through every difficult, draining case? Without this lot I'd have given in to the demon drink years ago.

Gil? Everyone thinks he has no feelings whatsoever but I guess I know different. The number of evenings he has been sitting beside me, just talking and letting me know the support is there, too numerous to count.

And then there is Catherine. Look at her, deep in concentration working on some piece of the puzzle. I remember her telling me once that that was why she loved her job, being able to piece together the puzzle to find an answer, some closure, for the folks that remain behind once a crime is committed. She appreciates the work I do to help her solve that puzzle and there is nothing I wouldn't do to help.

How can a man like me keep a friend like Catherine? When Gil introduced me to this gorgeous CSI all those years ago I knew she couldn't do the job, but I was so wrong and Cath never ceases to remind me how wrong I was. She gives off that illusion of being soft, gentle, an easy touch, but underneath she is tough, competent and one of the best CSI's in the land. And she is always, always there for me, no matter what. That time Ellie was in trouble, it was Catherine that called me to offer her unstinting support.

I am so pleased that she appears to have given that sleazy bar manager the big E, I couldn't say anything to her because outwardly she appeared content, but deep down I knew he wasn't right for her. No, I think my friend is meant to be with someone else when she finally gets her head right and realizes it for herself, and maybe she has. I mean, look at her now, smiling at Brown as if right here right now was just perfect. She doesn't look like a woman that is working hard with no play, she looks like a woman that has found *it*, whatever it is. Catherine Willows looks happy and if my eyes don't deceive me, she is in love and I think I know whom with.

Who'd have thought grumpy, hard-as-nails Captain Brass would be able to see the love that those two have been fighting all along. I think that's why I could see that Sara had been drinking to excess. I know she didn't appreciate me trying to talk about it with her. But where Catherine is my friend, I see Sara as my surrogate daughter. Oh, I know she doesn't see that but I don't care. If it takes all my strength, I refuse to let her fall into the depths I once did. I've lost Ellie to some dark forces; I sure as hell ain't losing Sara too.

Just now though, I think my strength might be surplus to requirements, I think she has found that inner strength from someone else, and I am more than happy. Look at her now, running out of the door, without a care in the world. Eyes bright, smile wide, skin glowing, she's definitely not drinking now, and I'm sure I know why. She's in love with my friend.

Greg Sanders

Oh my what a day this one's been. Catherine and Warrick gave me blood and semen to read, Nick and Sara gave me pea-nut butter (don't ask) and semen to read, and Gil, let's just say Gil gave me some bugs to read and leave it at that. Then Brass, when has he ever addressed me before? Brass complimented me on a good job well done on the Parker case. I guess I really am becoming a part of the graveyard shift. I'm truly in heaven.

Well, nearly in heaven. Spending more time with Sara would be true heaven, but I know that will never be. She's not interested in me, never has been. Oh, we're friends, and that is good. It's me that Sara occasionally confides in. Like the time she had been caught DUI and Grissom had given one of his brotherly lectures; she admitted she'd wanted something more than a brotherly lecture for so many years that when he did that at her lowest nadir, she'd suddenly realized it was all a smokescreen. A screen she had erected to stop her having to think about courting the one that really mattered. For one insane moment I'd thought this was her way of telling me I was the one.

Didn't last long that moment, when she slipped in her conversation and threw out the word "her" without thinking. I didn't pick her up and she didn't slip again but I'm pretty sure Sara has her sights set on someone of the gentler sex. Listen at me, gentler sex? I might be a genius scientist, and a well cool guy, but deep down I feel all these stupid masculine stereotypes. Not that I get to voice them too often, working with two unbelievingly strong personalities like Catherine and Sara.

I'll never forget that look as Catherine tore me off a strip for calling her Cat. Ah well, it worked, from that moment on my relationship with Catherine grew. I know I can play the jackass with her, as long as I knew when to stop. Over the years I've got that down to a "T" and it was Cath that finally got me working on cases as a trainee CSI. I'll never forget the support she gave and the encouragement. When Grissom finally acknowledged my desire to work in the field as well as in the confines of my lab I knew I'd finally become something.

Going back to the love-of-my-life, there's just something about her that caught my eye early on. She has that sweet innocent look with that strong, deep, unknown person underneath. I've watched her from both near and far and know her pretty well these days. The last 4 years have been a roller coaster for her. Arriving here she was happy, like I am now, finally feeling she was doing the job that was her heaven. It's been heartbreaking to watch her descend into her own personal hell, but now, it's as if the shackles have finally been lost. When she looks at evidence the joy is back in her eyes. Yet, she no longer puts the hours in, always out of here as soon as possible. In fact some days, like earlier, she's out of here before time's up, now that's a sign that she's found that "someone" and I know it's a woman. Just wonder if she'll have the nerve to introduce her to me, I sure as hell wouldn't.

Wait, that's Sara coming back into the building, and who's that with her, Lindsey Willows? Wonder how long Sara's been on Catherine's babysitting list, I thought they hated each other. But hey, those two look like they are long lost friends, I've only ever seen *that* Lindsey smile offered to Catherine, her mother. It sure looks like Lindsey and Sara are pretty close. Jeez, wouldn't that make this place even more attractive if Cath and my Sara, two hot babes if I say so myself, were as close as the colleague and the daughter appear to be. Be still my beating heart, wishful thinking gets you nowhere.

Gil Grissom

My head's throbbing. I hate being the boss, paperwork drives me insane, give me bugs and science any day. What is it Catherine always says? You're not a people person Gil. She's right of course and yet I think I've kept this graveyard team together pretty well, surprised myself there too.

There's Jim, I know he doesn't always call himself a part of Graveyard, but he is to me. I might not say it often enough but without his police skills we CSI's couldn't be as good as we are, the best CSI team in the land. And without his friendship I couldn't be the man that I am.

Some of that man I am is down to my other true friend. All those years ago when an ex-stripper asked me to trust her to be a CSI I was unsure. I knew nothing of her life, I was just some science nerd that loved bugs and work, but something in her eyes told me to go with the flow for once in my life. I've never regretted that decision through all of our spats and there have been a few. Catherine Willows complements me like no other woman has ever done. Oh, there's no desire there, don't think there has ever been, but I do love her and I've never been able to say that about another woman, so that says something. I know when Catherine is in trouble and she knows when I am, and we are there.

I am so pleased that she is no longer with Chris. He was a nice man and I liked him the few times we met, but he wasn't the one I wanted for my friend and in my round-a-bout way I did tell her. She appears to have found someone else pretty quickly because I know her well enough to know that she's in another relationship, and it's a relationship that appears to be going to last. I haven't seen Catherine this settled since Lindsey arrived; she's content. She hasn't said anything yet, but I'm not worried, she will when she's ready.

Warrick and Nick, my two junior CSIs that I have seen up the ladder. Both of them are more than ready to step off that ladder and be the CSIs they are meant to be. Warrick needed support; Nick needed a father figure and constant encouragement. I know my way is not exactly what they both needed but it has worked. They have reached the top.

And now I must lead Greg up that ladder too. The boy I've never had, the genius of my standing that wants something more from life than science. I'll do it my way, with help from my other colleagues but we'll get him up that ladder too.

Then there's Sara, my Sara. Well she's not really my Sara, but since the day I met that young girl at some Forensics conference she's been my girl and I knew I wanted her on my team. When I did bring Sara into the team the others all resented her but she won them over with her skills, even Warrick, the guy that I had her investigate as her first case. Yep, her skills as a CSI won them all over.

And Sara, she wanted me. She told me often enough, used her woman skills to tell me that I was desired, that I was needed, but I just couldn't do it. Oh I knew she was good, knew she was everything I had wanted, but I couldn't give her what she wanted and now it's too late. She always said it would be, by the time I got my act together, it'd be too late.

I know the moment it happened, when I held her hand after that DUI incident, took her home, and then left her there all alone. I left her to suffer alone and it was too late. Days later Cath came to see me and told me if I didn't do something right then and there my time was up. For some reason, Catherine and Sara had never been bosom buddies, but for some reason, Sara had called Catherine after my desertion and got the comfort she needed from her. I did nothing.

Now, I know it's too late. Sara's become more distant, and no longer seeks me out for any friendship. I know her well enough to know she's found "someone". Someone that has put the sparkle back into her life and is obviously giving her the love and whatever else she needs at this time in her life. And when she finally feels able to introduce this "someone" into the team's social circle, I shall be happy for her because, even though I no longer have the right to think it, I love her.

There she is now, glowing and happy. She never looked like that when I was the object of her affections, but wait, that's Lindsey shouting her. Oh my, Lindsey looks happy too, that's good she obviously likes Cath's new man, she never looked like that when Chris was on the scene. Hmmm, Sara looks good as a mom. What? Where did that thought come from, Sara as a mom, to Lindsey? Where is Catherine anyway? Ah there she is. Look at that radiant smile, yes, my friend is in love again. Oh, she's slipping her hand into Sara's and... oh my... they're a family.

The End

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