DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Though I wouldn't mind.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Late season four onwards.

Winds of Change
By Wingsfan

Chapter 10

"Hey, how was your case?" Sara smiled as a way of greeting when the blonde CSI approached.

"Slam dunk case. Uniforms found the killer hiding in a bush near the house," Catherine relayed the whole scenario to her co-worker, her gaze moving over to Susan every so often. "I swear, criminals nowadays must either be real dumb thinking they can get away with everything or they just got lazy."

"I like the second option." Sara waited all night to talk to Catherine and now that she has the chance, she was a little nervous. "So uh, how are you feeling? Grissom told me that you weren't feeling well this afternoon."

Shaking her head no, Catherine smiled at the younger woman's concern. "Just a headache. Took care of it already. And thanks for the message."

"Just wanted to make sure you're ok," the brunette shrugged in reply. "Sue and I are heading out to grab a bite, want me to get you anything?"

"Nah you guys go ahead. Don't have the appetite to eat anything but thanks anyway," Catherine told the brunette before disappearing into the building.

Sara was a little confused at the blonde. They seemed to have gotten on fine but as soon as she mentioned Susan, Catherine's mood took a sudden change. Driving to a nearby 24-hour cafe, Sara tried to push thoughts of Catherine out of her mind but found that she couldn't.

By the time Catherine got back to her office, she had calmed down considerably. For some reason the sight of the younger blonde with Sara had stirred a long forgotten feeling in her, but once again she had chalked it up as her protective nature.

From what the brunette had told her, coupled with her own observations, Catherine didn't think it was a wise move on Sara's part to keep Susan around. Something didn't felt right about the blonde, and Catherine knew she should caution the brunette. Making a mental note to talk to Sara later when they are alone, Catherine went back to work, setting all thoughts of their conversation aside.

"So you gonna tell me what you're doing in Vegas?" Sara asked her friend when the waitress had taken their orders.

"What else," Susan chuckled. "A friend of mine is a producer at a local station here. Called me one day, offered me a job right away. The pay's good, and the hours are not as hectic so I told him ok."

"Just like that? What about your friends, your life?"

Susan kept quiet for a moment, as if choosing her next words carefully. "A few years ago I saw a report about a murder in Vegas. Family got murdered in cold blood, the only survivors were two sisters. And I saw you, carrying that little girl out of the house. That's when I know I wanted to come to Vegas."

The brunette was saved from replying as the waitress came back with their food. They ate their meal in silence, one simmering in anger while the other waited for the inevitable to happen. Fortunately for Susan, they never had the chance to continue that talk as Sara was called back to work.

Catherine was already waiting for her when Sara got back to the lab. The blonde sensed that something was wrong when she saw the two women exit the car and Sara had stormed off without a word to her blonde friend.

"I'll be right back," Catherine said to Sara as she hurried to catch Susan before the woman left. "Wait up."

"What can I do for you, Miss Willows?" Susan tried to smile, but the silent treatment she had been receiving from Sara had exhausted her.

"I'm only going to say this once, so listen carefully." Catherine kept her voice calm. She didn't want the other woman to know just how mad she was. "Stay away from Sara. If you so much as look at her the wrong way you're gonna find Vegas a hell to live in."

"Is that a threat?" Susan took a step closer to Catherine.

"Step back," the CSI warned.

"And what if I don't want to stay away from Sara? What are you going to do?" Susan challenged. "You know, you can drop the jealous girlfriend routine. Sara told me the truth."

"This is not a jealous girlfriend routine. This is a pissed off concerned friend routine," Catherine clenched and unclenched her fist, willing herself to relax.

"Funny, from the way you were acting, you had me fooled."

"Let me repeat myself: Stay away from her," Catherine stressed on each word clearly.

"Unless she tells me to go, I'm not going anywhere."

Catherine was fast losing control. She took a deep breath, calming her nerves before continuing. "Have it your way. Oh and that's not a threat, that's a promise."

Walking toward her Tahoe, she flashed the brunette a smile. Sara was curious as to what her co-worker had said to her friend but one look at Catherine and she decided otherwise. Unlocking the doors, Catherine had missed the small paper bag that was in Sara's hands.

"Hey, why don't you let me drive?" Sara offered.


"I know you don't have any appetite to eat but I remembered that you loved the chocolate eclairs from this cafe so I got one for you," the brunette held up the paper bag in her hand.

"Sara, that's really nice of you," Catherine told the younger woman, not bothering to hide the surprise in her tone. "And yes, now that you've mentioned it, I am a little hungry."

"Here," Catherine threw the car keys to the brunette. "You're not gonna drive like Jeff Gordon, are you?

"Nope. Colin McRae," Sara deadpanned.

Catherine could only groan as Sara started the engine. "Just get us there and back in one piece."

"Yes Ma'am!" she mock saluted the older CSI.

The drive to the crime scene was relatively quiet as Sara concentrated on driving while Catherine ate the chocolate eclair that the brunette had bought for her. It had been a long time since someone was so thoughtful of her, and Catherine found that she liked this side of Sara a lot, but she would never admit to that.

While the drive to the scene was quiet, the drive back to the lab was anything but. Both women brainstormed a host of possibilities on what could have happened, exchanging and modifying each other's views. Processing and sorting the evidence took up the rest of the shift, and before long it was time for them to go home. When Sara entered the locker room, Catherine was already there.


"You going home?" the blonde asked Sara. She could sense the other woman was nervous, so she turned around to face her. "Sara?"

Just ask her, Sara mentally told herself. Taking a deep breath, Sara locked gaze with the other woman. "At the parking lot, before we left for the crime scene, what did you tell Susan? She seemed upset when she left."

Catherine could only blink in response. She knew she had to talk to Sara sooner or later, but she had hoped that it would be later. Letting go of the breath she didn't know she was holding, Catherine sat Sara down, preparing the both of them of what was to come.

Chapter 11

"First of all, I consider you as my friend," Catherine began. "And I will never do anything that will hurt you."

"Okay," Sara's tone told Catherine all she needed to know. She had to come clean.

"Truth is, I didn't like how Susan was treating you and I told her as much."

"You what?" The brunette shot up from her seat on the bench.

"I told her that she should stay away from you or else..."

"Or else what?" Sara pushed further.

"Or else she would find Vegas hell to live in," Catherine regurgitated her words verbatim.

"I don't believe this," Sara said, pacing back and forth. "Who gave you the right to tell her off like that?"

"I'm your friend! Does that not give me a right?" Catherine shot back.

"My friends don't go around telling people to stay away."

"Then they are not your true friends," the blonde stated simply. She knew the situation was getting out of control, judging by the sight of a seething CSI in front of her.

"I'm old enough to choose my friends, thank you very much," Sara told the other woman.

"Yes but once in awhile you need a fresh set of eyes too."

"Friends are not crime scenes, Catherine. I don't treat my friends like a crime scene or a piece of evidence," Sara spat out.

"Of course not. You treat them better than you treat your friends," Catherine replied angrily. "I was just trying to help, but looks like my help is not appreciated."

The blonde walked out of the locker room, leaving the younger woman behind. A part of her knew that she shouldn't have lashed out at Sara, but she couldn't help herself. Truth was, she didn't know why she felt the need to defend the younger woman, not when she knew Sara was more than capable of taking care of herself.

Letting out a sigh, Catherine climbed into her car and drove back home. She told herself that she would talk to Sara before the start of next shift and apologize. For now, a few hours with her daughter would have to do.

Just as Sara got out of her car, a lone figure started toward her. Groaning inwardly when she saw the figure approach, she had no way of avoiding the blonde.

"Sara, before you say anything, hear me out for a second," Susan pleaded to the brunette when she saw her walking away.

"No, I'm done talking to you."

"Please, just give me a chance to explain myself."

"And what? Let you hurt me again like you did so many years ago? I'm sick of your games, Sue," the CSI spat out angrily.

"Sara, Sara, wait," Susan called out to her friend. "Fine, run away. You're always good at that, weren't you?"

Stopped dead in her tracks, Sara turned to glare at the other woman. The anger and the pain in the brunette's eyes were more than enough make Susan back down from the argument that was slowly brewing, but she was never one to give up so easily.

"Just when things get tough you would just up and leave. That's how you live your life isn't it?"

"I'm not the one that was too scared to even come out to her own friends," Sara retorted.

Taking a deep breath to steady herself, Susan knew she shouldn't have lashed out at the brunette. She knew, from first hand experience, just how bad the other woman's temper can be.

"Fine, you wanna talk about the past? Let's talk about the past then," Susan replied angrily.

"I don't want to talk about the past. Our past is exactly what it is, the past," the CSI emphasized on the last part.


"Look, you obviously came here for a reason and I'm guessing I am part of it." Sara was pacing back and forth at this point, trying her best to not punch anything within her grasp. "Would you have moved to Vegas if you hadn't seen me on the news?"

They both knew the answer to that question, but Susan knew the other woman wanted to hear it out loud anyway. They were too career minded to let relationships get in the way.

"No," Susan said quietly. "Can you give me another chance?"

"I gave you a chance, but you blew it when you hired someone to follow my co-worker," the brunette continued. "What were you thinking? You're lucky Catherine didn't press any charges."

"I'm sure she was dying to. That way she can eliminate the competition," Susan mumbled under her breath, but Sara had caught it.

"Catherine is nothing but a co-worker and to a certain extent, a friend," Sara stated simply.

"Yeah, keep telling yourselves that," the blonde shook her head in disbelief. How can the two not see the attraction that was so obvious between them was beyond her understanding.

Sara was too shocked to reply. She didn't think anyone had noticed her blatant ogling at the older CSI, for she hid her feelings well. Too angry and confused at the same time, she was tired of fighting.

"Susan, it's obvious we both can't let go of the past, so I guess it's best if we just forget we ever met here and go our separate ways," Sara said dejectedly.

The blonde knew the hurt was irreparable, for the other woman had stopped fighting. It was a sure sign that Sara had given up to even try to make amends.

"Fine, run back to your Catherine. Run back to your fantasy world. She doesn't know you love her, does she?" Susan spat out.

"What do you mean love her? Leave Catherine out of this. You know, this is typical of you. Blame it on others when things go south."

"Deny all you want, but you know I'm right," the blonde threw over her shoulder as she walked away.

Before Sara could reply, Susan was already getting into her car. Angry and frustrated, the brunette went back to her apartment. Sliding down against the door once she had closed it, she could feel tears streaming down her cheeks.

With her face buried in her hands, Sara let the tears flow freely. She had tried so hard to bottle them up for the past four years but the reappearance of the blonde had unleashed them. Hours and minutes later only did she drag her tired body to the bed, falling in a mass of weary limbs.

Somewhere across town, a mother and her daughter was just getting out of the car. The young Willows ran toward her aunt, oblivious to her mother's urgings to slow down.

"Lindsey, how many times have I told you to be careful?" Catherine asked her daughter when she approached her sister's house. "Hey sis."

"Sorry Mom," the young girl answered.

"Come on, let's get you inside. I'm sure your cousin's dying to play with you," the CSI told her daughter.

As soon as the girl was out of earshot, Catherine turned to her sister. "Thanks for doing this, sis. I owe you, again."

Shaking her head no, the other Willows woman smiled instead. "Don't worry about it. Grissom seems to be working you real hard these days."

"Yeah," Catherine lied. She was not ready to tell her sister about the nightclub manager, and she had to come up with a cover story whenever she would go out with him. But that was not the reason she had cut short her Lindsey time.

Chapter 12

"I gotta go, sis, or else I'm gonna be late," Catherine said when she saw the time.

"All right. Call me if you need anything."

Throwing a wave goodbye over her shoulder to her sister and a kiss to her little girl, the blonde CSI hurried to the Tahoe and sped toward Sara's apartment. She knew the other woman would go to work early, and she didn't want to have the conversation at the lab with everyone within earshot.

As she neared the brunette's apartment, Catherine grew more nervous. Before she left her house she had rehearsed what she wanted to say to the other woman and she was trying her best to remember every word. Parking her car across the street, she walked purposefully into the building, stopping only when she was standing in front of Sara's apartment door.

Knuckles met wood, but it would be long moments before there would be any movement from within the apartment. A grumpy and sleepy looking Sara opened the door, and Catherine wondered if it was such a good idea after all to talk to the woman so soon.

"Can I come in?" the blonde asked Sara.

Sara moved aside to let her co-worker in, mindful of their proximity as Catherine's hand accidentally brushed against hers. She knew that the blonde would no doubt be taking in her surroundings, noticing the pictures of her life in San Francisco and Tamales Bay hanging on the wall.

"Want something to drink?"

Catherine shook her head no, so Sara directed her to the living room instead. The brunette padded to the kitchen silently, preparing a fresh pot of coffee that she knew would come in handy later. Sitting down on the armchair next to the couch, she took in the other woman's appearance.

"I'm sorry," Catherine spoke up when she couldn't take the silence anymore. "I shouldn't have done that, despite what my gut instinct told me."

"No, don't apologize, Cath. You were just being a friend, and instead of listening, I lashed out at you. I hope you will forgive me," Sara said.

"Don't forget, I lashed out at you too. If I weren't so determined on making you see things my way we wouldn't be here right now," Catherine confessed.

"I'm sorry too for being stubborn," the brunette said softly. "And you were right, by the way. But that's a moot point now."

Hearing the other woman's tone of defeat, Catherine felt a pull at her heart. It must have been painful for Sara to admit that she was weak to her, and the blonde wanted very much to take the pain away.

"We seem to hit the wall every time we get closer, don't you think?" Sara continued.

Not knowing how to answer the question, Catherine could only shrug in reply. She moved a little closer to the young CSI, sitting at the edge of the couch.

"I think you're worth it," the blonde mumbled.

"Let's just forget the past few days and start over, shall we?"

"I don't want to forget about the past few days," Catherine said quietly. At Sara's quetioning look, she smiled. "I have learned so much about you, I don't ever want to forget about them. In fact, I want to know more."

"Why are you doing this, Cath?" Sara asked.

"Because I never gave you a chance. From the moment I knew you were coming, I never gave you a chance. All I knew was that I would do anything to make you uncomfortable so that you would leave," the blonde answered. "Will you forgive me?"

"You know the saying, 'it takes two to tango'? You're not entirely to blame here," Sara smiled to take away the sting. "I was stubborn and young and adamant to prove that I was the best."

"So we aren't exactly two peas of a pod, but we're close," Catherine deadpanned.

Trying her best to stifle her laughter, Sara burst out instead, nearly spilling coffee on herself. Recovering from her fits of laughter, Sara turned to look at the other woman again.

"No hard feelings," she finally said.

"No hard feelings," the blonde nodded.

"You better go, I'm sure Lindsey is missing her mother like crazy," Sara said when the other woman made no indication to continue with the conversation.

"Normally she would be, but I have a feeling at this moment she's more interested in Tommy than me." Sara's confused expression prompted Catherine to explain. "Rugrats. Her cousin and her are having a Rugrats marathon tonight, or so I was told."

"Oh ok," the brunette said offhandedly.

"But I should leave. I'm guessing you probably have something to do." Catherine got up from her seat, but Sara caught her arm in time to stop her from moving.

"You don't have to go if you don't want to."

It was all the reason she needed to stay, so Catherine sat back down, smiling at the other woman. Sara returned the smile, and it was the first time in the past few days that she generally felt good. The smile was all the indication that Catherine was looking for, and for the next few hours, they talked.

The two women decided to grab dinner before going to work, opting for a cafe nearby to Sara's apartment.

"You know, I'm glad you dragged me out of the apartment," Sara said as she sipped on her coffee.

"I'm glad you decided to come along. It's nice to talk to someone whose vocabulary is not limited to 'cool' and 'cute'."

Laughing softly, Sara looked up in time to catch her co-

worker watching her with a warm smile on her face.

"Do I have a smudge on my face or something?" the brunette asked, her fingers brushing against soft cheeks.

"You should laugh more often. You're gorgeous when you laugh like that," Catherine's words were barely a whisper, but Sara heard every word of it. Without thinking, Catherine stilled the other woman's hand with hers, holding it tight in her palm.

Time stood still for a moment as both women indulge in the pleasant tingles brought on by the simple touch. As if remembering where they were, Sara jerked away awkwardly, puzzling the blonde.


"We, uh, should go. Shift will be starting soon," Sara stammered slightly, taking a step away from the table.

"Sara, wait!" Catherine called out to the younger woman as she hastily dropped a few bills on the table. Pushing aside all distracting thoughts, Catherine concentrated on the tall figure in front of her. "Sara, what's wrong?"

"Huh, nothing's wrong. Let's just go," Sara said quickly. "I'll see you back at the lab."

Having no choice but to follow the other woman, Catherine could only sigh in defeat. Just when she felt that they had made a connection, Sara would retreat into her safe cocoon. Perhaps the years of pent up animosity is not as easily forgotten as she thought it would be.

Part 13

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