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 19

For the second time that day, Sara's sleep was interrupted by an insistent knock on her door. She groaned loudly, forgetting that she had company with her. Only when she opened her eyes and saw the hand and the head on her breast did it register. The past few hour's event came back to her, jerking her awake in the process.

"Whoever it is, tell them to go away, honey," Catherine mumbled groggily.

Sara froze when she heard the endearment. She was glad the other woman was not awake to see the blush on her face at that moment. Content to lay there with Catherine in her arms a little while longer, she tried to ignore the knock on her door.

The knocking got louder this time, followed by the ringing of her phone. Shifting slowly to untangle herself from Catherine, she reached over to pick up the offending machine before it would wake the other woman up.

"Hello," Sara said into the phone, sitting down on the small space on the couch. The blonde instinctively rested her head on Sara's lap, her arms hugging a thigh.

"Sara, why aren't you answering your door?" It was Grissom.

"Oh shit, I forgot," Sara said, her fingers running through strawberry blonde hair absentmindedly. "Give me a couple of minutes, Gris."

"All right, I'll wait."

After hanging up the phone, Sara contemplated what to do. She didn't want to leave Catherine's embrace anytime soon but she knew she had no choice. Gently shaking the woman's shoulders, Sara leaned down closer to the blonde.

"Cath, wake up," she whispered into her ear.

"Mmm tickles," was all the reply Sara got.

Trying another method, the brunette kneeled down beside the couch and prayed that Catherine would not hate her for what she was about to do next. The fact that she was fulfilling one of her fantasies did not seem to bother her at all.

She placed a feather soft kiss on lips that she has been dreaming of since she came to Vegas. When Sara was ready to pull back, a slender hand rested on her neck, pulling her closer.

In her sleepy state Catherine felt pressure on her lips and instantly it registered in her mind. Never had she felt so alive just from a kiss before and her body responded immediately. She snaked a hand behind a slim neck, sitting up to enable her better access. A moan escaped, though she wasn't sure if it was hers or the other person's.

Sara's hands held onto the back of the couch, trapping the blonde in the process. Her whole body responded when her lips touched Catherine's. In the back of her mind she knew they should separate soon, that their supervisor was standing five feet away and all that was between them and the man was a door. Her hand cradled Catherine's face, pushing the other woman away.

"Cath." Sara was out of breath, her cheeks slightly flustered.

"Good morning, baby," the blonde smiled, her eyes still closed.

"Erm uh Cath, you need to get up, now," Sara whispered to the other woman, grinning when she saw the other woman open her eyes and her surroundings registered. She only hoped that the woman did not notice the blush on her cheeks.

"Sara?" A thousand thoughts flew through her mind, but Catherine could not forget how soft Sara's lips were or how much she wanted to taste them again.

"Good morning. Or afternoon," she smiled. "Listen, Grissom will be here any minute, why don't you go take a shower?"

"Why's he here?" Catherine, now fully awake, was curious to know.

"I uh wanted to talk to him," Sara shrugged. "My counselor suggested that I talk to my supervisor about my family so..."

"Ok," the blonde nodded, standing up and stretching her body at the same time.

"Here, let me show you where everything is."

Sara led Catherine to her bedroom and then to her bathroom. All that time Catherine could not help but take in the other woman's body. Sara was tall and her toned figure showed that she worked out regularly at the gym. Catherine's mind was doing its best to tempt her to reach out and touch the body that she had dreamed of.

The brunette was well aware of the woman following behind her. She tried to push away the memory of their shared kiss but found that she couldn't. Just thinking of the kiss tingled her senses, and Sara wondered if her co-worker could feel the heat pouring out of her at that moment.

"Damn," Sara's musing was cut off by a knock on the door. "Listen, the towels are in the cupboard next to the sink and I'm not sure if my clothes will fit you but you're more than welcome to look around."

Without waiting for Catherine to answer, Sara left the woman and closed the door hurriedly. She did a once over at her living room, hastily folding the throw and rearranged the cushions on the couch before going to answer the door. Taking a deep breath, she swung the door open, revealing a bored Grissom.

She ushered him in, motioning for him to take a seat at the couch. Disappearing into the kitchen, Sara appeared moments later with two steaming cups of coffee in hand.

"Did I come at a wrong time?" he asked.

"No, not at all," Sara lied. She had hoped that the blonde would not emerge from her shower anytime soon. "This won't be long."

"I was under the impression that you wanted to talk."

"I did." She nodded, mentally making up her mind. "I don't have a drinking problem."

"And the other day?" he didn't want to rush her, but she was never forthcoming with personal information and he wanted to know more.

"Was a mistake. You know me, Gris. I would never do anything that would put others in danger."

"And yourself?"

"I..." Sara knew she didn't have an answer to that. "I don't have a drinking problem. According to my counselor, I have a me problem."

He sat there and listened quietly to what she had said. A small frown on his face was the only indication of his puzzled reaction. Even with his less than perfect hearing, Grissom could clearly make out that someone was in the showers.

Something Sara said to him a few days ago caught his attention, and for a brief moment he wondered if he was indeed too late. He wanted very much to find out who the mysterious guest was, even though she did not offer such information.

The sound of running water stopped, and the two CSIs locked eyes. Sara knew Catherine would be walking out of her bedroom anytime soon and she definitely did not want Grissom to know the other woman was here. Grissom, on the other hand, felt his pulse racing when he heard movement in the bedroom. He was determined to find out who the mysterious guest was.

"You know what, Grissom? Let's do this some other time," Sara told him, hoping that he would pick up on the subtle hint and leave.

Before he could reply, something caught his attention and Sara followed his gaze. Standing in her hallway was a fresh out of the showers Catherine, wearing an old buttoned down shirt of Sara's.

Chapter 20

If Grissom was surprised at the blonde's presence there, he did not show. It didn't take a veteran investigator like him to figure out what was going on at that moment. Contrary to his mantra, this was the one time deductive reasoning superceded physical evidence.



Sara took that as her cue to speak up, and she decided on a neutral topic.

"Anyone want more coffee?" She had hoped that the other two CSIs would pick up on her subtle hint.

"Sure." It was Catherine. "I'll give you a hand."

Without a word, Sara got up from her seat and headed toward the kitchen. The blonde stood against the countertop, content to just watch her co-worker. She had to fight off the urge to hug the other woman and return the kiss as their previous night's actions came back to her.

A smile appeared as Catherine's fingers traced her lips, reminding her of what she was missing. She wanted to thank Sara for last night but she didn't know how. Taking a step closer to the brunette, she decided against it when she saw the tension in the other woman's shoulders returned.

Turning around to grab a mug from the cupboard next to the countertop, Sara answered Catherine's silent question with a weak smile of her own. She knew the other woman was watching her, she could feel the blonde's gaze burning into her skin as she poured the steaming liquid into the mug.

"Here you go," Sara handed the mug to her and walked out of the kitchen.

"Thanks," the blonde said to the retreating figure. Sighing, she took a sip of her coffee, unsure of whether she was welcomed in the living room. Sara turned to look at her, her gaze beckoning Catherine to follow and the older woman did not protest.

All three CSIs sat in silence, each regarding the other without drawing too much attention to themselves. Grissom sat at one end of the couch, sipping the cup of coffee in hand while Sara took up the other end of the couch, putting as much space between them as possible.

Catherine watched the two with fascination, wondering if her presence had somehow intensified the tension between the two old friends. She thought of something to say, anything to break the dead air hanging above all of them.

Sara, on the other hand, was beginning to fidget in her seat. Never had she felt so nervous before, and she was at a lost on what to do. The last time she was this nervous, she was met with Catherine's harsh words. She would never forget the first time they met, nor the words that the other woman had spoken to her.

"Perhaps I should go," the man finally spoke, breaking the two women's thoughts. He felt uneasy sitting with them, feeling as though he was intruding on something important. The look that he saw Sara gave the other woman told him more than he wanted to know.

Two words kept floating in his head from the moment he heard water running in the apartment: Too late. A part of him ached to finally have to accept that, but Grissom knew she was never his to begin with. And so with a barely audible sigh, he stood, and the other two CSIs stood up at the same time.

"We'll continue this some other time?" his calm voice belied the turmoil in him.

"I'll uh...yeah," Sara didn't know what to say, so she nodded instead.

"Catherine," he nodded, not giving in to the temptation of looking over to the brunette.

"Grissom," the teasing in her voice relaxed the atmosphere a little, but still she could feel Sara's gaze trained on her.

He hesitated in front of the apartment, trying to decide whether he wanted to turn back. He knew he would not be able to see anything, and with a heavy sigh, the man headed to his car and drove off.

Grissom knew there was no one in the world that could replace the space the brunette had left in his heart, but still he tried. Minutes later, he stood in front of the rollercoaster ride, nodding toward the attendant. It was a poor substitute, a refuge for him whenever things were not going well, especially when it comes to Sara. He allowed science to numb his heart, for it was the only thing he was afforded with.

Sara felt a surge of relief after she had closed the door. As much as she wanted to have that conversation with Grissom, she could not bring herself to talk about her past, not when Catherine was there. She didn't want the other woman to know about her childhood.

"That was... weird," Catherine's voice drifted to Sara's ears, and she turned around to look at the woman.

"Tell me about it," she mumbled.

Catherine could sense the younger CSI's discomfort, and so before Sara could say anything else, she took action instead.

"As much as I would like to stay and chat, we have to be back at the lab in..." she took a look at the clock. "Three hours and I need a change of clothes so I think I should go."

"Ok," Sara tried her best to hide the disappointment in her voice. Taking a deep breath, she willed her nerves to calm down, anything to stop the trembling of her hands.

Without a word more, Catherine got up and went back to the bedroom to change. She had noticed the younger woman's discomfort from the moment she stepped into the living room earlier but she didn't know what to do. For the first time in her life, the blonde was unsure of how to act around Sara. The woman had taken her in when she needed her the most, no questions asked.

Slim fingers rested on swollen lips as Catherine remembered what it was like to kiss Sara. A smile played on her face and it would not go away even when Catherine had finished dressing. She was about to call out to Sara when she noticed what the other woman was doing.

The brunette stood in front of the stereo with her eyes closed, immersing herself in the music that was playing. It sounded very much like the kind of music Grissom always listened to.

"Classical? I had you pegged as a hard rock kinda girl," Catherine said as way of announcing her presence.

"Catherine!" Sara jumped when she heard Catherine's voice, almost knocking down the CD tower next to the stereo. "Jesus, you don't make a sound when you're walking."

"Well that's 'cause you're too into the music," the blonde teased. "So, what were you listening to that had you dancing around?"

"Dancing? I wasn't dancing," Sara denied immediately, even though she wasn't sure if she had indeed danced around in the living room. Her body tensed, taking a defensive stance, as if readying for a fight.

"I was joking, Sara, calm down," Catherine walked slowly toward the other woman, not wanting to agitate her more. A part of her was delighted that she had managed to learn more about Sara but another part of her silently chastised herself for making the brunette uncomfortable.

"I... I know that."

Hearing the slight defensive tone in Sara's voice, Catherine took that as her cue to leave. "Sorry to run, but I really need to go home and change. See you at work?"

"Sure," Sara answered as she walked her co-worker to the door.

They both stood in front of the door, willing the other to make a move. Finally Catherine gave in, pulling the taller woman into a hug, tightening her arms around Sara's waist when she felt Sara's body stiffen. Standing on her tiptoes, Catherine placed a chaste kiss on the brunette's cheek, forcing her mind to record every little detail about the other woman.

"Bye." With that, Catherine was gone.

Chapter 21

Still reeling from the embrace, Sara's conscious mind registered an insistent knocking on her door.

"Not you again, Grissom," she mumbled to herself. Swinging the door open quickly, she was surprised to see her blonde co-worker standing in front of her. "Catherine?"

"Yeah," the woman said sheepishly. "My car is not starting and the cab company said it'll be at least 20 minutes..."

"I'll drive you home, just give me a minute to change," Sara cut her off abruptly. "Here, come in and wait."

Before Catherine could offer her thanks, Sara was already in her bedroom putting on her clothes. Exhaling a relieved sigh, the blonde once again found herself taking in her surroundings.

It was obvious to her that the brunette was devoted to her work, judging by the piles of forensic journals and books that littered the living room. But what had caught her attention was the two CD towers standing on both sides of the stereo.

Slowly surveying the place, Catherine did not hear the footsteps coming from behind her. Feeling a little bold, Sara closed the distance between her and the blonde.

"See something you like?" Sara whispered in the other woman's ear.

"Jesus!" Catherine turned around so fast she almost knocked the brunette off. "Sara, it's not good to scare people like that."

"I'm not the one that's snooping around," she teased lightly.

"I wasn't snooping around," Catherine denied quickly. She knew how much Sara cherish her privacy. "I was just...admiring. Yeah, admiring your CD collection."

"No you weren't, but we'll talk about that later." At Catherine's confused look, Sara explained. "You wanted to go home, remember?"

"Of course I remember. Come on, let's go then." The blonde walked purposefully toward the door, then stopped halfway. "You're ready, right?"

"Yes I am. Let's go."

The drive to Catherine's house was filled with awkward silence, yet both women was content to spend what little time they have together outside of work. The only words spoken were directions to Catherine's house and the occasional nod from Sara. When the Tahoe pulled up in the blonde's driveway, both women were ready with questions for the other.



Chuckling, Catherine waved her hand to let Sara speak first. "Go ahead."

"Do you want me to swing by later? To pick you up for work. If you want to, that is," Sara added the last part hastily.

Smiling at the other woman's offer, Catherine placed a hand on Sara's arm to get her full attention. "Sure."

Expelling a breath she didn't know she was holding, Sara drove away when she had made sure the other woman went into her house. The next few hours flew by quickly, and once again Sara found herself pulling into the blonde's driveway.

Pressing the door bell once, she could hear faint voices coming from within the house. It reminded her of her heated conversations with her parents. Instantly she wondered if she should come back later but it was too late. She could hear footsteps approaching the door and she had just enough time to pretend she didnt hear the arguments before the door swung open.

"Sara," A tired looking Catherine greeted her. "Come on in, I'm running a little late."

Before the brunette could answer, a car horn sounded behind her and she turned around to look. A car sat idling in front of the house, the driver an older version of Catherine.

"Lindsey, your aunt is here!"

"You don't have to yell, ok? I heard the horn," came the sarcastic reply. The young girl stomped her feet down the stairs, adamant on annoying her mother.

"Watch your tone, young lady," Catherine warned her daughter.

"Whatever," the younger Willows rolled her eyes and left the house without so much as a goodbye to either woman.

After making sure her daughter had gotten into the car safely and her sister had waved her goodbye, Catherine turned her attention back to the brunette next to her. She only could offer a weak smile in response to Sara's non-question. Sara, on the other hand, felt her heart pull at the sight of the woman. She returned the smile with one of her own, hoping that it could ease some tension off Catherine's squared shoulders.

"Make yourself at home, I'll be right back." With that, Catherine made a bee line for her bedroom. The look that she saw in the other woman's eyes was too much for her to take.

Sitting on her bed, Catherine tried to wipe away the tears that were falling silently down her cheeks. With one last sob, she padded to the bathroom and washed off any traces of her weakness and reapplied her makeup. If she had stayed in her room any longer, it no doubt would bring unwanted attention and the last thing she wanted was Sara seeing her in this state.

When her mind wrapped around the last thought, the blonde could not help but let out a dry chuckle. She was worried about letting Sara see her cry yet she was comfortable enough to let her guard down at Sara's place last night.

Unsure of what to do, Sara had no choice but to wait for the other woman in the living room. Catherine's hasty exit told the investigator in her that something was wrong but it was the little voice inside her head that had prompted her to go check on the blonde. She was sure that she heard sobs in the bedroom but still Sara was hesitant to intrude. Once again the little voice inside her head won, and Sara carefully tread back to the living room.

"Sorry about that." Catherine's voice broke Sara out of her thoughts, and the brunette smiled and waved off the apology.

"Don't worry about it."

"We've got some time. Want some coffee?" The blonde offered, guiding her co-worker toward the kitchen.

"Sure, I can always use a cup of coffee."

"Sara, to you coffee is a food group. I've never known you to turn down coffee," Catherine teased her lightly.

"Hey, I'll have you know that I don't just survive on coffee alone. If you must know, doughnuts and salads are part of the food group too," Sara replied quickly.

Two identical smiles broke out at the reply, each matching the other with a calming effect of their own. Catherine was the one who recovered first, leaning on the counter top and let out a sigh. Sara got up from her seat and drew the other woman in for a hug. She didn't know why but she felt that it was the right thing to do and apparently Catherine thought as much.

Arms encircled slim waist and hands soothed tensed shoulders. The position was fast becoming Catherine's favorite and she didn't even notice the tears that had fallen once more. Sara held on tighter, providing as much comfort as the other woman needed. She held on for both of them, making a silent promise to drive away all of Catherine's tears.

Part 22

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