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 7

"I'd really like for us to start over again," Susan told the brunette. When she received no response from Sara, she continued. "I want us to get to know each other all over again. I want to know what makes you happy, what makes you sad, what makes you angry."

"Sure you want to open Pandora's Box?" Sara snorted.

"I'm not going anywhere."


"All I'm asking is a second chance, Sara. Let me do this right," Susan pleaded.

"I'm not sure if I'm worth the effort," the CSI said simply.

"Let me be the judge of that, ok?" Her hand moved up to gently caress Sara's cheek, reveling in the touch that she had missed.

Sara was at a loss for words.

"You decide how things go ok? We can go slow or go fast, it doesn't matter. It's up to you," the blonde kept her voice low, afraid that the moment would be over too soon.

"I don't know what to say," Sara finally said.

"Say yes, say you will consider it, say you'll give us another chance." Susan tried her best to keep the desperation out of her voice. She didn't want to scare the brunette away.

"Can you give me some time to think it over?"

"Of course, honey. I don't want us to start on a wrong foot," the blonde said softly.

The two women sat in silence for a long time, one nervously fiddling with the wineglass while the other stared in blank space.

"I think you should leave."

"I understand," Susan said quietly.

"It's late, and I'm sure you have some things to do tomorrow," Sara clarified.

"Can I..." Susan stammered. "Can I call you after I'm done?"

"Of course you can," the brunette was slightly shocked at her friend's question.

"I...I didn't want to assume," the blonde said.

"Come on, I'll walk you downstairs. Is your driver waiting for you around the corner?" Sara asked as she placed the two empty wineglasses in the kitchen sink.

"Yeah," Susan answered, blushing. When the two women had dated, Susan would always make sure her driver waited a block away from wherever they were at.

"Why don't you give him a call and ask him to wait out front. I don't want you roaming the streets alone at this hour."

As the three CSIs walked out of the building, they noticed a limo sat idling in the parking lot.

"Check that baby out," Warrick nudged Nick to get his attention.

"Baby it is," The Texan echoed the compliment.

"Down boys," Catherine teased. "And wipe that drool off your face. Looks like whoever's in it is coming out."

When she saw who the passenger of the limo was, Catherine immediately shot a glare at the woman. All her pent up anger toward Susan resurfaced again in that split second, and this time there was no Sara to play buffer. The young woman walked up to Catherine, barely acknowledging the other two CSIs. It took all of Catherine's willpower to not lash out at the blonde physically.

"Miss Willows, nice to see you again," Susan nodded politely.

"Too bad it doesn't go both ways," the older blonde spat out.

"Can we talk somewhere else?" Susan asked, eyeing Warrick and Nick suspiciously as they got the hint and left the two women.

"No, whatever that you want to say, say it here." Catherine's voice held such venom that for a brief moment Susan wondered if it was a good idea to talk to the older blonde so soon.

"Ok." Taking a deep breath, Susan began. "First of all, I'm sorry if my appearance has caused any distress. It was never my intention to hurt anyone."

"But it was ok to hurt Sara," Catherine said coldly.

"That's...between Sara and I." Seeing the other blonde was about to speak, Susan quickly changed the subject. "I'm sorry for intruding into your privacy. I didn't know why I did that but rest assured the negatives have been destroyed. No one besides the three of us and the private investigator knows about it."

"And that's suppose to make me feel better how?"

"I know I don't deserve your forgiveness, but I'm telling you the truth," Susan said dejectedly. She didn't think there was a person more stubborn than Sara, but she might have found one in the blonde CSI after all.

"I don't even know you, and I'm suppose to trust you?" Catherine scoffed at the woman standing in front of her.

"Please, just give me a chance," Susan said.

Something in the other woman's voice caught Catherine's attention. Taking a good look at Susan for the first time, a long forgotten emotion stirred inside her. It made her uneasy, something she had not experienced in a long time.

"Fine, but if I so much as see someone tailing me your door is the first the PD's knocking on," Catherine told the woman sternly.

"Thank you. I know it's only words, but thank you." Just as she was about to get into the car, Susan called out to Catherine. "Sara's real lucky, but I'm not giving up without a fight."

Dumbfounded, Catherine could only stare at the space the limo previously occupied.

"What the hell is that suppose to mean?"

Those words would continue to linger in Catherine's mind throughout the day, and after spending a restless slumber, she decided to start her day earlier. At quarter to one, Catherine decided it was a good time to call Sara and finalize their plans for the afternoon.


"It's me, Catherine."

"Oh hey, I was just wondering when you'll call," Sara lied.

After she had woken up from her sleep, all she could think about was Susan's offer. A part of her was repulsed by the offer, but a small part of her was tempted. She yearned to have a warm body next to her again, and she knew it would be all too easy to invite the blonde back into her bed.

"So I was thinking maybe we can have lunch at a place nearby to Lindsey's school. Just in case if we run late, at least we'll be close," Catherine said, effectively breaking Sara out of her thoughts. "Two sound good to you?"

"Yeah, but you'll have to give me directions. I'm not too familiar with that area."

Five minutes and a Post-it note of directions later, Sara ended the call. Two women stood in front of their closets, contemplating what to wear to a simple lunch date with a co-worker. Both were nervous about seeing the other, for it was the second time they had met outside of work.

Giving their outfit another once over, both women made their way to their cars. As one sped toward their destination, another took a leisure drive. She knew the other woman would be early, and she did not like being late herself.

Chapter 8

"So what do you think of the food here?" Catherine asked the brunette sitting across from her as she sipped on her coffee.

"Pretty good," Sara said absentmindedly and her co-worker immediately caught on.


"Yes Catherine?"

"Did you talk to Susan after you dropped me off last night?" Catherine was curious to know.

"Erm yeah, had no choice," Sara was nervous in her reply. "She was waiting for me when I got home."

Before Catherine could continue, Sara's phone rang.


"Hey," Sara's voice immediately softened when she heard the voice on the other end of the line. "Did you get your stuff done?"

Something about the way Sara had lowered her voice perked Catherine's curiosity. The only time she remembered the brunette talking like that on the phone was when Hank called her. Again that long forgotten feeling flared up inside her, but Catherine put it down as nerves. Grabbing the cup of coffee in front of her, Catherine tried her best not to listen in.

"Sorry about that," Sara told Catherine as she ended the call moments later.

"That's ok. Nice to see you have life outside work." As soon as the words left her mouth, Catherine cursed at herself for picking a sore spot.

"I do have a life outside work. I just don't like to share it with everyone," the brunette said quietly.


"No, Catherine. I know I said that I want us to at least try to be friends, but there are things that I'm not ready to deal with yet," Sara told the blonde.

Reaching across the table to pat the other woman on her arm, Catherine winced inwardly when she felt Sara recoil a little.

"You know, I don't bite," Catherine smiled to take the sting away.

"I'm sorry, it's just me and physical contact..."

"I know. You should have seen Nick's face the other day when I hugged you. I swear I've never seen his jaw drop to the floor so fast," Catherine joked lightly to ease the situation.

"Well then you should have been in the break room with us when Greg told him the lillies were for me," Sara countered, laughing as she remembered the scenario.

"I guess it's a good thing he didn't see you in that outfit of yours from last night. That would just give him a coronary."

Blushing at the blonde's statement, Sara chose to keep quiet and took a sip of her coffee. Catherine, sensing that she had hit another wall, sighed a little too loudly and the brunette looked at her with a raised eyebrow.

"I didn't know I was such bad company," Sara smiled weakly at the woman.

Denial was hot on her lips, but Catherine was sick of playing games. "It's just that I thought we made progress then all of a sudden I say something and I hit a wall."

"I just...I'm not too good at talking about myself," the brunette began. "It'll take me a little time to get used to it but I do want to try."

"I'm not going anywhere," Catherine stated simply.

The words triggered her mind, sending it into overdrive. Last night's conversation with Susan kept replaying in her ears, and Sara was having a hard time concentrating. It was Susan's voice she heard but it was Catherine she kept seeing in her dreams.

"Sara?" When the brunette did not answer her, Catherine got worried. "Sara? You ok?"

"Yeah, went off for a while back there. Sorry, where were we?"

"Want to tell me about it?" Catherine pushed further.

Shaking her head no, Sara took a sip of her coffee to calm her nerves. "Thanks for asking though."

The two women lapsed into a stretch of comfortable silence as they were content to just be in each other's company. Catherine was enjoying herself immensely, she had learned so much about the brunette, she naturally wanted to know more. Sara, on the other hand, felt a little exposed.

"Catherine, can I ask you something?"

"Sure, go ahead."

Nodding her head as if having made a mental decision, Sara spoke up. "What are we doing here?"

"Well I'd say lunch but I'm guessing that's not the answer you were looking for."

"Ah no," Sara smiled.

"You know, I was never good at meaning of life stuff," Catherine joked. She knew exactly what Sara was asking.

"We'll save that for later. But you still haven't answer my question and you know what I'm talking about," Sara challenged.

"We are here because I'm sick of fighting with you everyday at work. You have to admit, we work very well together, but our tempers always get in the way." Catherine never once broke eye contact with Sara, and the intense gaze was more than she could handle. There was something in the brunette's eyes that she had seen in many before. It was the look of desire.

Unbeknownst to Catherine, Sara also spotted something in the baby blue eyes staring at her. Standing abruptly, her action had caught Catherine off guard, causing the blonde to accidentally knock her cup of coffee on the table.

"Oh shit, let me help," Sara said as she handed Catherine a few napkins, dropping a few on the table to soak up the spilled coffee as well.

"No harm done," the blonde reassured her. Seeing that the brunette was still standing, Catherine stood up as well. "Sara?"

"I um I'm gonna go. It's almost time for you to go pick Lindsey up anyway," Sara said hastily.

Taking a look at her watch, Catherine had not realized that they had spent almost two hours in each other's company.

"Yeah, I better go. Linds usually likes me to wait for her out front, and if I'm late there's usually not a spot," Catherine practically beamed at the mention of her daughter.

"Why is that? The out front bit, I mean," Sara was curious to know.

"She says that way she can show me off to her friends at school," Catherine shrugged.

"Well can't blame her for showing off. I'd do too if I had you," Sara said earnestly.

"See, if that had come from others I probably wouldn't have believed them but coming from you, I believe it wholeheartedly."

"I meant every word I said, Catherine," Sara told her co-worker.

"Thank you, that meant a lot to me," the blonde smiled at her.

"Better hurry along, can't let Lindsey lose a chance to brag about you, can't we?" Sara joked lightly. "Don't worry about the tab, I'll get it."

When Catherine opened her mouth to speak, Sara beat her to it.

"You'll get it the next time, ok?"

"There's going to be a next time?" Catherine was a little shock, though she was more happy than anything else.

"Yes there is going to be a next time."

"All right, I really need to go," Catherine said apologetically.

"Give a kiss to Lindsey for me!" Sara said to the blonde's retreating back.

Catherine froze when she heard Sara's last remark. The younger woman had only met Lindsey once, yet she was thoughtful enough to factor in Lindsey whenever the blonde was involved.

Chapter 9

Shift had just started ten minutes ago, but the CSIs were already scattered throughout the streets of Las Vegas as a new wave of crime had surfaced that night. When Sara had gotten back from her first crime scene, Grissom was already sending her out to another scene to work on.

Shift had already ended an hour ago by the time Sara got back to the lab from her second crime scene. Knowing that there was no end in sight, Sara stopped by the break room to fill up on coffee before starting to work on the evidence she had brought back.

"Overtime again?" A voice distracted Sara's concentration, and she looked up to see who it was.

"I just got back from my second scene," Sara told Warrick.

"Damn, Grissom working you real hard these days," he said simply.

"Not so different from the past," she added. "My second scene was an open and close B&E. Uniforms caught the suspect two blocks away from the scene but I still need to process the stuff I had collected."

An insistent ring from Warrick's cell phone effectively ended the conversation. As the man was walking out of the break room, he turned around to Sara.

"Hey if you need help, give me a call, ok?"

"Thanks Warrick, but I think I can manage," the brunette said.

After logging all the evidence in and storing them away, Sara went back to the locker room to collect her belongings. It was a long and tiring shift, and all she could think of was to go home and lay down for a few hours before coming back to the lab to process the evidence.

Four hours of restless sleep was not the kind of rest Sara had in mind, but she would take some rest over no rest at all. She was woken up by the shrill of her home phone and she groaned when the sound registered. Only one person would call her at home and at that moment, she had no desire to talk to him.

"I'm not coming in early, Grissom."

"How did you know it was me?" Grissom knew he shouldn't be surprised, but he was.

"You're the only one that calls this number," Sara said pointedly.

"Day's stuck with a triple homicide and you're my last hope."

"What happened to the others? Surely Nick or Warrick's available."

"Nick's talking to a suspect in his case at the moment, Warrick's in court and Catherine's not feeling too well," Grissom said calmly.

As soon as she heard Grissom mention the blonde's name, Sara's attention perked.

"Fine, I'll do it. Did Catherine mention what sickness she has?" she asked worriedly.

"She assured me it wasn't contagious so you don't need to worry about catching whatever she has."

Not believing her ears, Sara fought with her self-control to stay calm. "I'm just worried about a co-worker. And I resent the implication that I care more about myself than others."

"I'm sorry for assuming."

"Yeah well I'm sorry you assumed, Grissom."

After taking down the address to the crime scene, Sara showered and got dressed in record time. Throughout the drive she wondered whether she should call Catherine and find out how the blonde was, but she didn't want to intrude. Arriving at her destination, she made up her mind and chose instead to text message the blonde.

'Hope you feel better. See you at work tonight.'

Somewhere across town, Catherine was enjoying an afternoon of relaxation. She was lounging by the pool at the nightclub manager Chris' house and she was not ready to cut the day short. Catherine wasn't lying when she said she was not feeling well. She could feel a massive headache coming on, a result of spending the afternoon under the sun for too long.

Not too long after the call, her cell phone beeped, signaling that she had a text message. Expecting it to be from her boss, she was about to delete it when she saw the sender of that message. She smiled a little at the brunette's gesture, reminding herself to thank Sara later when she saw her at work that night.

"Damn girl, did you get any sleep at all?" Warrick asked as he spotted the brunette at the couch.

"Some," Sara replied offhandedly.

Before Warrick could ask more, Grissom came in. "What's the progress on the missing person case?"

"And a good evening to you, Grissom. I've had dinner, thanks for asking. And yes I had a good night's sleep too," she said sarcastically.

"I know you've been pulling double shifts the past week," he sounded sorry, but Sara knew he was just doing his job.

"So far nothing yet. No signs of forced entry and all her belongings are intact," she was on autopilot. "Vega's still trying to contact the boyfriend."

Nodding as he listened to her give an update on the case, Grissom took a moment to process the information. "Keep me updated. Warrick, Catherine and Nick are already waiting for you at a crime scene."

"And me?" Sara asked. She silently hoped that he wouldn't throw another case to her, but she knew he would have no choice.

"You're dangerously close to maxing out your hours again so I suggest you catch up on your paperwork and whatever open cases you have," Grissom told her before walking out of the break room.

Grateful for the breather, Sara grabbed a cup of coffee and headed back to the lab. Laying the evidence out from the B&E case, she carefully processed them and by the middle of the shift she was able to sign off on the case.

With the file in hand, Sara walked to Grissom's office, glad that she had managed to solve yet another case. Provided the suspect was caught while she was going through the crime scene, it still felt good to her.

"Gris, paperwork on last night's B&E." She was so engrossed in the file in her hands that she did not notice the other person in the room. "Oh sorry, didn't know you had company."

The blonde sitting across from Grissom stood up and faced Sara, flashing a smile at her. Ever the gentleman, Grissom stood when the blonde did, and it earned him a smile in return.

"It was nice talking to you, Mr. Grissom," Susan extended her hand to Grissom, and he promptly returned the handshake.

"Likewise, Miss Carlton." He then turned to the brunette, who was standing at the doorway watching the interaction. "Go grab something eat. I'll call if a case comes in."

"Thanks Grissom," Sara said before ushering her friend out of her boss's office.

The two women were walking out of the CSI building when Catherine pulled up in the parking lot. Sara, seeing her co-worker, waited for her to get out of the car, much to the amusement of Susan. She took a step closer to the brunette, and instantly she could feel Catherine's glare burning her skin. This should be interesting, she thought to herself.

Part 10

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