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 22

It was too easy, Catherine silently told herself. She had yearned for it all her life and now that she has it, she wasn't sure of what to do next. Even without words, she could feel the love radiating from the other woman. Being held by Sara was fast becoming her new addiction and one that she did not want to get rid of.

She held on tighter, knowing that there might not be a chance for her to be held by the brunette again. Burying her head closer to Sara's neck, Catherine forced herself to memorize every little detail about the other woman. She fought off the temptation to kiss the spot above the brunette's collarbone, even though all she had to do was tilt her head up minutely. Willing her raging pulse to calm down, she tried to focus on her breathing but all she could do was think of Sara's hands caressing her back. The situation was spinning out of control and Catherine needed to pull away before she did something she would regret later.

"No," Sara's voice penetrated the pounding in her ears. Her defiant streak kicked in, and she struggled to get out of the all too comfortable embrace.

"I'm not letting go." This time, the words got through. Catherine pulled away slightly to look at Sara. Her eyes traveled all over, searching for a hint of doubt. When she could not find any, she nodded her head in a silent agreement, closing the little distance between them.

Hours but mere minutes later, Sara gave her one last squeeze before pulling away. Her smile was comforting and infectious, and Catherine could not help but smile despite what had transpired.

"We, uh, should probably go," Sara said sheepishly, her hands stilled on the blonde's back, holding her near.

"Ok." Catherine waited for the other woman to pull away, but when she realize the hands on her back weren't letting up soon, she silently rejoiced for being able to elicit such response from Sara. "Sara..."

"Huh?" Her confused look was answered by Catherine's glance at the pair of hands on her. "Oh yeah. Work. All right, let's go then."

Chuckling softly at the younger woman's groan when she pulled away her hands, Catherine realized that there was a wet patch on Sara's shirt. Sara immediately caught on when she noticed that the blonde was staring at a spot on her shoulder.

"It'll be dry by the time we get to work," she offered.

Visions of a wet and naked Sara plagued her mind, and all Catherine could do was nod at the other woman's comment. She was sure that her cheeks were burning a healthy pink by now, and a slow burn that had nothing to do with summer was igniting from the pits of her stomach.

Mouth dry and cheeks flushed, Catherine grabbed her belongings and headed out of the door. She was caught up in her little world, missing the smug grin that was plastered on Sara's face. Standing at the doorway, she did a quick look around to make sure things were in order. What she was not prepared for was her body being pushed against the door.

Before she could voice her confusion, a pair of lips descended on hers. The connection sent a bout of electricity through her body, leaving an imprint wherever the lips went. It was as though the soft lips engulfed her, and a tongue now was snaking its way in. A split second was all she was allowed before the tongue choreographed a familiar dance with her tongue.

Warm, wet and absolutely enticing, Catherine didn't bother to bite back her growl when she felt the other woman pull away. She blinked a few times, her mind trying to reel in the gamut of nerves running rampant in her. Finally when she had cleared the fog in her mind, Sara was there, flashing her a smug grin that she loved so much.

"That was nice."

"Nice?" Sara feigned hurt in her expression. "That's it? Nice? I can't be nice. I'm an overachiever. I need more than nice."

Catherine mentally went over her options. She tried coming up with a word fitting enough for what she felt, missing the glint of tease in Sara's eyes. Only when Sara placed her hand to cradle her face did she look at her.

"I was just joking, Cath. Come on, let's go or we'll be late."

She followed the brunette's lead, content to watch the sway of the hips as they walked to the car. Knowing her co-worker was right behind, Sara tried to hide her trembling hands by shoving them into her pockets. She didn't want the other woman to know just how nervous she was. Truth was, she had no idea why she felt the need to play savior to Catherine, only that it felt natural to do it.

Raging hormones aside, both women were able to keep their hands to themselves when they got to the lab. It was a silent agreement they both craved, sealed with an understanding look from Sara and a small nod from Catherine.

They slipped into the break room without drawing too much attention upon themselves, the two other CSIs were busy watching football on the tv. Sara poured two cups of coffee, adding just the right amount of sugar in it before handing the cup to Catherine. The blonde accepted the steaming cuppa happily, a grin slowly forming on her lips at her co-worker's thoughtfulness.

"All right guys, assignment's up," Grissom announced as he stepped into the break room with Greg in tow. "Catherine, suspicious cirs at Henderson with Warrick. Brass is waiting for you two there. Nick, take Greg. You've got a B & E."

Everyone filed out of the break room soon after, missing the look the two women had exchanged. Sara got the feeling that Grissom had singled her out for a reason, and she waited for the man to come clean to her.

"Grissom?" Sara's curiosity got the better of her.

"Yes?" The man's usual blank expression did not deter her.

"Any case for me?"

"No." The answer was short, precise and confusing.

"Ok." She turned to walk away, but he called out for her.

"We...need to talk," he started.

"Well then it's a good thing I don't have any case to work on now," Sara said with just a tinge of sarcasm in her voice. "What are you waiting for then?"

"Perhaps it's better if we continue this conversation in my office." He didn't give her any choice as he walked off toward his office's direction.

When the two had settled down in Grissom's office, the man took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. He psyched himself up for the upcoming conversation, knowing that it was now or never.

"I need you to train Greg. Take him under you wing," he started with the easy topic.

"No problem. He's eager to learn, plus he's got potential," Sara replied. "But that's not the real reason why you had me in here."

"No." He was questioning whether he should bring it up, but he needed to know and he never liked beating around the bush. "You and Catherine..."

"I don't think it's any of your business what we do after we clock out," Sara said defensively.

"Not unless there's a conflict of interest," he answered quietly.

"You don't really think that, do you?" At his non-response, she continued. "We're both professionals, trained investigators. We will never do anything to jeopardize a case."

"I understand that but I just wanted to clear the air."

"No, I don't think you do," came the reply. "I appreciate your concern, Gil, but you don't have to worry about that."

He quirked his eyebrow, not asking the obvious question for he knew the brunette cherished her privacy. The silence stretched on, both not knowing how to continue the conversation. Only the shrill of Grissom's cell phone save the two friends from further uncomfortable situations.

Chapter 23

"Well I'll be damned if all my cases are like this," Catherine commented as Warrick closed the trunk door to his car.

"Don't jinx it, Cath," he teased.

"See you back at the lab." She didn't wait for his reply before climbing into the Tahoe. Her nerves were a little short that shift and it had nothing to do with the wet weather. When she allowed herself to think, Catherine was missing the brunette. It was a longing that she had not felt for a long time.

"Get a hold of yourself. She's not interested in you," the blonde muttered to herself. But the nagging little voice inside her head would have none of that. It fed her conscious with memories of their shared kiss, assaulting her senses with all that is Sara.

Two deep breaths and a speedy drive back to the lab later, Catherine felt confident enough to face the world again. Her cheeks still were flushed from just thinking of the kiss but her breathing was labored enough to not draw unnecessary attention to herself.

Gathering the evidence bags from the trunk, she spent the next few hours working on them undisturbed. The lab was uncharacteristically quiet and she couldn't help but feel something was amiss. It was as though the universe was holding its breath for what is to come.

At the very same moment, the blonde heard footsteps approaching the lab, its owner trudging along a weary path. Her heart started beating faster and she had to strain to focus on the work in front of her. The footsteps were of a familiar rhythm, its owner a constant fixture in the lab.

"Catherine ... Cath, you ok?" A frowning Sara was standing in front of her now, a file abandoned on the table.

Her nerves calmed at the sight of the brunette, yet their proximity waged a whole new war against her hormones. Pale blue eyes were drawn to a spot of olive skin above the collarbone, the conjured images snaking its way into Catherine's conscious mind.

Sara's frown deepened when the expected reply did not come. Mentally, she went over her options. Catherine didn't look sick to her, and the woman was fine when they got to the lab earlier.

"I'm fine," came the strangled reply, breaking Sara out of her own observations.

"You sure? You don't look fine to me."

"Look, I told you I'm fine so just drop it, ok?" Both winced at venom-laced reply but it was Sara who was the better of the two in hiding her reaction. "I'm sorry, I don't..."

"I have to go," Sara cut her off immediately, picking up the file on the table and headed toward the door.

"Sara, wait," Catherine called out to the brunette, darting toward the door but she was too late. Sara already vanished in one of the labs and she had to double back to the lab when she heard her beeper sound. "Shit."

Catherine's latest crime scene was interesting, and toward the end of the shift, a multitude of events had happened that made her head hurt from thinking. The near miss was a physical reaction, she told herself. She thought back on the conversation she had with Warrick as they were getting ready to leave the crime scene.

"Hey Cath," Warrick called out to the blonde.


"About earlier..." his voice trailed off. She nodded, the rest of the words were not needed. "Just wanted to make sure you're ok."

"Thanks, Warrick," she tried flashing him a smile, albeit a weak one. "Always good for the ego."

Chuckling at his friend's remark, he waved her goodbye and climbed into his car before driving off. That was two hours ago, and the man was out in the field with Sara serving a warrant on a house near their crime scene. Grissom finally had decided to put the whole graveyard shift on the case.

As she made her way back from the morgue, Catherine decided that she would have a talk with the brunette and apologize for the rollercoaster ride that she has brought on. As she walked past Grissom's office, she vaguely heard the man's phone conversation.

"Bomb squad requested at the Durbin residence... two CSIs..."

Catherine froze when she heard the last part. With the speed of a sprinter, she dashed into Grissom's office, her pale blue eyes drawing fire from within. The man held up his hand, effectively holding off her line of questions until he had all the information he needed.

"They're safe. Don't worry. Sara's coming back with evidence but Warrick's staying at the scene." His calm voice sounded detached even to his ears.

She didn't know what to say at that moment, so she nodded instead. Thinking that was his cue to speak, he updated her on the progress so far. Catherine realize she must've zoned out, because suddenly Greg popped into the office, telling them Sara had arrived back at the lab and needed help with getting the evidence in.

When the two senior CSIs got to the parking lot, Nick and Greg already were carrying the door from Durbin's hallway closet into the lab. The latest addition to the CSI team tilted his head toward the brunette shuffling at the back of her car who was oblivious to the four pairs of eyes on her.

"I'll go help her," Cath offered and walked off before Grissom could say otherwise. Not wanting to scare the other woman, she approached the truck slowly, clearing her throat audibly louder to announce her arrival. "Need help?"

Turning around so fast, Sara hadn't expected to see the blonde. Truth be told, she didn't want to see anyone at all. Throughout the drive back to the lab, her body broke in a cold sweat, the tremble in her hands just barely noticeable.

"Um, sure," she said shakily.

"Sara?" Catherine saw the trembling hands and wondered if her co-worker had sustained an injury they didn't know about.

"Let's go," she said hastily, shoving a few evidence bags into the blonde's arms before locking the car.

Frustrated at the brunette's retreat, Catherine could only follow the other woman in silence. She had sensed that something was amiss and Sara's behavior had solidified her suspicions. Perhaps she's still mad at me for earlier, Catherine thought to herself.

The blonde tried to start a conversation as they made their way to the evidence room but Sara's one-worded answers were fast getting on her nerves. She didn't like being out of the loop and was a hair's breath away from grabbing Sara by the shoulders and shake the answers out of her.

Sara on the other hand was trying to fight of the periodic tremors coursing through her body ever since she left the scene. Aware that her co-worker probably was trying to figure out what was wrong, she risked a glance toward the said woman.

The assuring smile that greeted her normally would produce a healthy blush on her cheeks but today wasn't such a day. Instead, Sara stood up abruptly, the smile vanishing with the sudden movement.

"I'm uh going to go work on that door and see if I can lift some prints." Sara darted out of the room, leaving a confused Catherine behind.

Chapter 24

When Sara had gotten to the lab where Nick and Greg had left the door, she scrunched her face in disgust when she saw the tub on the table.

"Grissom..." she gritted her teeth.

Not quite recovered from the first pig experiment, Sara wasn't too fond that she had to share a lab with a pig in sewer water. Grabbing the cotton swabs and the luminol from the nearby table, she got to work. The cold sweat has gone, but her hands still trembled minutely.

Just as she started to swab the door, Grissom walked in, drawing her attention away from the evidence.

"So what were you trying to prove with this door?" He stood in front of her, putting just the right amount of distance between them.

"I'm just collecting evidence," she answered without looking up.

"Well Greg can pull any DNA from the bones so there's nothing on this door that connects the victim to this anyway," he tried to reason with her.

"Not yet."

Of course she had thought of the evidence above everything else, including her own safety. He was convinced that she would have flung her body over the door to protect it if the situation warranted such measure. Grissom knew he should do something, anything to pull his protégé away from the path of destruction. He hated to see such a beautiful mind go to waste.

"I don't have a death wish and I'm not a drunk, in case you were worried." Her voice came out soft, almost afraid and Grissom frowned at the response.

"I'm not worried. I'm concerned," he shrugged.

Talking was never his strong suit and he knew it was the same for Sara. Despite that, he knew there were words that needed to be spoken but he could never find the strength to say it.

"Isn't that kind of the same thing?" Sara smiled a little.

The two friends exchanged no words after, Grissom was too engrossed in his pig experiment to notice the look of discomfort on Sara's face. As soon as the man left the room, her hands started to tremble again. She stopped what she was doing, taking deep breaths to calm herself down.

"Sara, Gil wants us to go..." Catherine's voice trailed off when she saw the woman in question. The closed eyes and the expression on Sara's face sounded a warning bell in her head but Catherine could not figure out what was bothering her. "Sara."

"Yeah?" The brunette slowly opened her eyes, and her usual unreadable expression appeared.

"Gil wants us to go back to the scene. The house has been cleared, and he wants us to work the house," Catherine said to her co-worker.


When the two CSIs arrived at the scene with their supervisor, the bomb squad still was detonating the last of the pipe bombs. They stood behind the bomb squad leader, waiting for his all-clear before venturing into the house.

She took an involuntary step back when the bombs went off. Her conscious mind was assaulted with memories of a long forgotten incident at the lab. It happened a year and a half ago but she remembered it as though it had happened yesterday The sound made her nerves twitch and her heart beat overtime. She broke out in a cold sweat for the second time that day, and the trembles came back in full force.

"Sara?" When Catherine received the go-ahead signal from the bomb squad leader, she was mildly irritated to find her co-worker not at her side. The other woman looked pale to her, and she couldn't help but wonder if something was wrong.

"Let's go," Sara said with a shaky breath.

The two women worked the scene in silence, exchanging words only when necessary. It drove the blonde insane, not being able to get through to the other woman. She thought that they had made progress but she feared her latest outburst had set them back again.

When Catherine saw that the other woman had wandered into one of the rooms, she let out a heavy sigh. She desperately wanted to fix the animosity between her and Sara but words seem to come out of her mouth before it had processed in her head. Hurried footsteps broke her chain of thought, drawing her attention back to the present.

"The garage is packed with liquid explosives and they're gonna detonate it in place so grab what's important and get out now. That means you too, Sara. Right now."

Grissom's voice was heard loud and clear and Catherine packed up as quickly as possible without destroying any evidence. She debated whether to wait for her co-worker but said woman appeared in front of her at that instant.

"Come on, let's blow this joint," Sara tried to joke.

Sara's voice was too detached, and Catherine's mind screamed that she had heard that tone of voice before. Deciding that she wanted to be alive to think the subject over, Catherine followed the brunette, taking the lead when Sara nudged her forward.

She thought it was odd, her co-worker's action, but she didn't spend too much time trying to figure it out. They all headed back to the lab, as per Grissom's orders. Just as Catherine was locking up her car, she saw her co-worker trying to balance a box and her kit with one hand.

"Here, let me help," Catherine told Sara when she finally caught up with her.

"I'm good," Sara replied quickly, wanting to put as much distance between the two of them. "Thanks though."

"OK," Catherine said to a retreating back.

In her mind she knew that her relationship with Sara had reverted back to square one. She was feeling a whole set of emotions that she had never experienced before and it scared her. Nobody had said no to her before and so when Sara did, she felt... excited. Determined to make a better effort, Catherine stood at the doorway to the video lab and observed her co-worker.

There was something intoxicating about Sara's focus, Catherine decided. It drew her nearer to the other woman, her fixed gaze on the screen not deterring Catherine from her mission.

"Hey," the blonde said softly.

"You need anything?" Sara asked without turning to face the woman.

"What are you watching?" Catherine chose a neutral topic.

"Tapes from the Durbin kid's room." Sara's straightforward answer would have chased others away but Catherine would have none of that.


"Again I ask, you need anything?"

"I was er...wondering if you'd like to go for breakfast after shift? With me," Catherine added the last part quickly.

Sara chose that moment to look at her co-worker, quirking an eyebrow in question. The smile that met her almost was enough to stop the tremors or the flighty nerves running through her body.

"I won't take no for an answer."

"Fine, just let me put this away and then we can go," Sara said to her. When she realized Catherine still was in the room, she asked, "What?"

"Earlier at the scene, why did you have me walk out first?"

"Oh. It was nothing," was the automatic reply.

"Surely it was something. What, you think I'm too old and short to keep up with you?" Catherine asked sarcastically.

"Because you have people depending on you and family to think about. I don't have anyone depending on me or waiting for me to feed them," came the elevated reply. "Sorry, I don't think I can make it for breakfast. I still have things to do."

"Sara, wait," Catherine called out to the brunette but she was too late.

Part 25

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