Title: Break Throughs
Author: KanDo
Feedback address: kandonething@hotmail.com
Date in Calendar: 16 December 2004
Fandom: CSI
Pairing: Catherine/Sara
Rating: NC17
Summary: A conference in snowy Chicago brings a few secrets to light.
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC04

Disclaimer: "CSI: Crime Scene Investigators," the characters, and situations depicted are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer Television, Alliance Atlantis, and CBS Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "CSI: Crime Scene Investigators," CBS, or any representatives of Jorja Fox or Marg Helgenberger. So there.

"I can't believe that we're stuck here. Do you know how hard it's going to be to find a flight home now?"

Catherine barely paused in her motions of making a cup of tea to respond. "Enough already. Don't you think I'd rather be home right now too?" She fixed Sara with a glare. "I'm going to be missing out on Thanksgiving with Lindsey, so I don't want to hear you complaining about anything, ok?"

The brunette reacted as if she'd been slapped. "Why is it that the boys get the conventions in warm regions and we get the cold ones?" Sara tried to change the subject again. She wasn't comfortable talking about past holidays and the traditions that each of them had with their families.

"It doesn't matter where or when they go to theirs. And I know it's because you'd be just as cranky if we were here in the middle of summer. The humidity's a bitch."

"But at least then, you don't have to worry about snow socking you in for days on end." Sara paced in front of the window again, watching the storm that was coating downtown Chicago with inch after inch of the heavy wet snow.

"Just be happy that we were able to keep our hotel room. This storm looks like it's going to be a doozy. They're predicting another six inches tonight alone. That doesn't even begin to compare to the main storm and what's headed our way." Willows smirked. "Think of it as a bonus paid vacation."

"If I wanted one, I would have requested it. I have too much work to do and it's just going to keep piling up because I'm not there."

"Such a pessimist. Think of the time you can use to get caught up on some recreational reading. Or just relaxing. You do know how to do that, don't you?" Catherine couldn't help but laugh at Sara as she paced the floor like a caged tiger. "For Heaven's sake—if you're that full of energy, go do something. Use the health club, take a walk, just go do something besides drive me nuts."

"Fine. Whatever." Sidle groused as she went to grab her coat. "I'll go for a walk, so you can read your trashy romance novel."

The brunette staked our of the hotel room, leaving silence in her wake.

"Have fun." Willows called out softly, shaking her head. She began to think about the last few days. The two of them had shared the room without any major issues, but it seemed that there was always a hint of tension between the two of them.

Catherine paused to take a sip of her tea and let her mind wander. At work, they had moments of tension, but that was always in regards to some aspect of a case. Most often, it was when Sara had been working too hard for too long on a case. Telling Sara to go home for a few hours was always answered with a shrug of the shoulder and a desire to continue with whatever she'd been working on.

So, the lack of work could have been a reason to see Sara cranky. But that wasn't the only thing. Perhaps it was the fact that the boys got to do all the case work for the pair of them.

"No… that's not it either." Speaking aloud while she was alone was a habit of hers, and no one had ever mentioned it before. "Nahh… that isn't what's bothering her."

With a sip of tea, an idea suddenly popped into her head. "It's the fact that Gil said we'd be sharing a room. The budget didn't allow for each of us to have our own. That's when this attitude started." She smiled. "I'm not that bad of a roomie."

Looking about her, she took in everything that was there. All the items were in their appropriate places. No clothes strewn about, the dishes from room service stacked nicely on the table, and their notes and binders from the convention sitting on the desk they shared.

The only thing that was "out of place" was her choice of reading material, and that her bed was a mess.

"That's got to be it. There's no reference manuals, no police scanners, nothing like she has at home to keep her mind occupied."

Catherine just shook her head and decided to get started on the book she'd bought in the hotel's gift shop. It wasn't often that she got to indulge in her favorite past time. Tea and a trashy novel.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sara's first steps out of the hotel were into big piles of slushy stuff. The sidewalks in front were constantly being shoveled by the door man and the results were that the new snow falling gathered on the salted pavement.

Sighing, she looked down at her shoes. Well, they weren't going to stay dry forever, she was just grumpy about it happening within seconds of exiting the building. Pulling her knit hat out of her pocket, she quickly put it on. Not knowing where exactly she wanted to go, she turned left and started walking.

There were few brave souls out on the street, laughing and playing in the winter weather. Couples were taking the time to window shop, appreciating the Christmas displays that all the stores had put up weeks ago. Children were bundled up, looking like miniature Michelen men, following the parents in awe and wonder of the lights decorating the trees all along the street.

Sidle walked along, ignoring the displays, not wanting to think of how commercialized the season had gotten. She could remember a time when Christmas wasn't celebrated until the week of the actual holiday. When the stores and cities didn't decorate until, what seemed now, the last minute. She'd relished those days of her youth.

She'd also relished the milder weather in California. This snow stuff was for the birds. The only time she wanted to see snow, was if she went to the mountains around Las Vegas on her own time. Visiting the snow was so much better than having to actually live in it.

Taking one step at a time, she was more focused on the ground in front of her and didn't see the plow that was about to cross her path.

"Hey!" A hand shot out to grab her arm. "You might wanna watch where you're going."

Sidle turned to see the man who'd stopped her from becoming one with the plow. "Thanks." She took in his European features and the accent.

"You're welcome." He smiled. "It's an interesting night for someone to be out walking and not paying attention to the world around her." He gave her a look. "Not from around here, are you?" The lighter weight jacket, hiking—not snow—boots, and no scarf, having tipped him off.

"No, not exactly. Thanks again." She started to turn from him, but thought to ask him a question. "Where would you tell someone not from around here to go to enjoy this wonderful weather?"

"Besides home?" He laughed. "There's Skate on State, with the rink and the vendors where you could get something warm to drink."

"That sounds nice. Which way do I go to get there?"

"Easiest way is to take a cab." He lifted a hand and hailed one of the few cabbies that were willing to brave the weather to take fares to their destinations. As the cab pulled up to them, he opened the door and watched her get in. "Have fun, and please, watch where you're going. I don't want to see you get hurt."

"Thanks again." She turned to the driver and told him her destination. As the cab pulled away, she turned to wave a friendly goodbye to the stranger who saved her from becoming plow fodder.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Catherine glanced up at the clock and realized that she'd spent almost two hours reading her book and she'd had no interruptions. Something that had never happened while she was at home. There was always something that kept distracting her from what she wanted to do. Lindsey and homework. Lindsey and her burgeoning rebellion. Work and people getting murdered. Work and research grants she helped Gil fill out. Work and this, family and that.

Maybe Sara wasn't the only one who needed this bonus vacation. Getting up, she stretched and gave half a thought to getting something to eat. First, though, she wondered where in the world her co-worker could be. Striding to the window, she looked out at an even heavier snow fall.

"She went out in this and probably got lost." Willows went to the desk and grabbed her cell phone, intending to call Sara and see if she was still alive. Unfortunately, she saw that Sara's phone was still on the desk, charging its battery.

"I don't believe it. She forgot her phone. Wonderful."

How in the world was she supposed to find her now? Go out there in that wonderful weather and try looking for her in a city of this size? No, there was a reason that she'd moved from Montana. It was weather like this that could trap you in your car if you took a wrong turn. Winter weather like this that chilled you to the bone. And ok, she admitted to herself, weather like this that she'd moved to Vegas to avoid. Sara wasn't the only one that didn't like to be here in the Midwest in the midst of winter.

Well, Catherine mused, she could at least get dressed in more appropriate clothing, instead of the ratty sweats she had on now, and go down to the lobby and lounge to see if Sara was brooding down there.

A few minutes later, with purse and jacket in hand, Willows left the room and headed downstairs. Stopping by the front desk to see if there were any messages took a few minutes of her time, but none had been left for her there. Glancing around, she didn't see the thin brunette among the guests relaxing or looking at the Christmas trees that decorated the place. Ducking into the lounge, she didn't see her there either.

"Where did she go, and why hasn't she come back yet?"

"Pardon?" The man walking past her, dressed in hotel uniform, asked.

"I was looking for my friend, and I haven't seen her around down here." Willows took notice that he'd just removed a jacket. "Perhaps you saw her? Tall, thin brunette, cranky attitude, said she was going for a walk a couple of hours ago."

The man thought for a second. "Was she wearing hiking boots and knit cap with a chip on her shoulder?"

"That would be her."

"She went that way, and she didn't look to happy about her boots getting wet within a few steps of the door."

"Thank you. Have you seen her come back this way?"

"I'm sorry, Miss. I haven't seen her since she went out. Perhaps she went to look at all the window front displays."

"It's probable." Well, crap. She could be anywhere by now, possibly lost in this city that could be friendly in the best of times, and quite nasty if you ran across the wrong people.

"I'll just take a quick walk down the street and see if I can find her somewhere. If you see her, can you tell her to call my cell?"

"I certainly can, Miss."

"Thanks again." Catherine slipped her jacket on and prepared herself to go outside and face the winter weather.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sara watched the few skaters out on the rink as she sipped from her cup of hot mulled wine. It was a guilty pleasure that she didn't partake of often, but it had scented the vendor's area and she couldn't pass it by.

She turned her attention back to the rink and thought about renting some skates. She hadn't tried skating since she was in grade school, but what the heck, why not try it again. There wasn't much else to do and she wasn't interested in looking at anymore of the booths set up around the square.

Gathering her courage, she went to the trailer and paid for the opportunity to humiliate herself in front of complete strangers. Slipping her feet in and lacing up the boots, she stood and teetered before catching her balance. Slowly walking towards the entrance, she kept a death grip on the railing surrounding the ice.

"Here goes." She muttered aloud and stepped onto the ice. It took a few minutes of slipping and sliding as she grabbed the walls until she got a little bit of a rhythm going to skate away shakily from the railing.

A smile crossed her features as she slowly circled the ice and tried to stay out of the way of those who knew what they were doing. Maybe Cath was right. Maybe she did need to take a little time to unwind and relax. Not that she couldn't do that back home in Vegas, but there was always something to do, some thing that she had to get to the lab and wait for results of the tests. There were databases to build, scan and correct, reference manuals that she had to edit, and case files to study for court so that she could be certain that the perp would have the book thrown at him.

So into her own thoughts, that she hadn't paid attention to the world outside of her brain and was on the way to a nasty collision with someone who also wasn't watching where they were going. Sara tried to stop, but a toe pick caught and all hope was lost as she went crashing down hard on the ice, breaking her fall with her hands.

The person that the brunette had been trying to avoid tripped over her and landed hard on her outstretched right arm. There was an unpleasant cracking sound and pain began to sear through her, starting at her wrist and working its way up.

"Dude, I'm so sorry. Are you ok?"

Sidle looked up to see the other person sitting on the ice, shaking his head to clear it.

"I don't know." Slowly beginning to sit up, Sara cradled her arm close to her chest. "I think I might have sprained my wrist."

Her collision partner got his feet under himself and helped her up. To her dubious expression, he stated, "The least I can do is help you to the tables over there." He pointed to where she'd been sitting earlier. "And we can take a look at that hand."

Biting her lip from the pain, Sara only nodded her agreement and let him help her to where she'd stashed her shoes.

"That looks like it might be more than a sprain." Gently taking her hand in his as she sat down, he pulled back the sleeve and saw that the arm was swelling. "You should probably get that checked out in an ER. I think it just might be broken."

"I know. Was hoping that wasn't the case, but oh well, kind of how my day's been going."

"Do you need a ride or something?"

"No, I'll be ok." Sara was only taking the stranger's kindness so far. Trusting too much could get someone in a strange city in heaps of trouble. "I'll just take these back and be on my way." Sara lifted a foot to indicate her skates. "Thanks."

"'K. Don't put off seeing someone about that arm." He said with a wave, hopped over the railing and went right back to the ice.

A grimace passed off as a smile and she bent to take off the skates and struggle back into her boots. After returning the skates, she went to find a cab to take her to the hospital. While waiting for one to miraculously appear, she reached for her phone.

Patting down her coat and pockets, the brunette came to the conclusion that she'd forgotten her phone on the desk when she'd walked off in a huff.

I'll just call her from the hospital, she thought as she finally caught sight of a cab. Don't want to worry Catherine too much.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

After freezing her ass off for forty minutes, searching up and down the streets around the hotel, Catherine called it quits. There wasn't a chance of her finding Sara out here like this and started to head back to the hotel to grab a cup of hot chocolate, or maybe some coffee with a kick of Bailey's. She'd just have to sit and wait for her to return.

"Damnit, Sidle. Don't you ever think sometimes?" The angry words were out of her mouth before she realized it and instantly regretted the outburst. "It's my fault that she went out in this. I'll give her another half hour before I begin calling around to all the local hospitals and police stations."

No sooner had she spoken the words, did she feel her phone vibrate against her hip as it's ringing was muted by the layers of clothes that she had on. Quickly pulling the device from its holster, Catherine saw that it was a Chicago number calling.

"This is Willows." She answered with her customary terse tones.

"Is this Catherine Willows?"

"Yes, it is."

"Hi, this is Nurse Taggert from County ER, and there's a patient here that has asked us to give you a call."

"Oh, god. Sara. What's happened? Is she conscious? How badly is she injured? Can I speak to her?"

"Calm down. She's not seriously injured, but she is in X-ray right now so I can't let you talk to her."

"I'm on my way." Hanging up the phone, Catherine searched for the first of the few cabs she'd seen making their way slowly through the city.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sitting on a gurney, resting her arm on a pillow, Sidle was far from happy. She had never liked emergency rooms and this one looked like it was full of newbie med students who hadn't a clue what they were doing.

'Ok, who did I piss off this time?' Sara thought to herself as she rolled her eyes at the ineptitude of the man looking at the copy of her X-ray.

"It's not unusual to get a Colles fracture from falling the way I did, so what's with the confused look on your face?"

"I'm not confused."

"You sure as hell look like you are." Sara raised her voice a little as the red haired man turned to look at her.

"And let me guess, you're some kind of doctor to know what the hell this is?"

"Level three CSI, BS in physics from Harvard, attended graduate classes in theoretical physics." She raised a brow at him. "And you?"

"Doesn't matter, Miss?"


"Well, Miss Sidle, I don't know about you, but I'm the one with MD after my name, not you. I'll let you know what I find out in a few minutes."

"For fuck's sake, it's not that difficult to see that it's broken, that I'm in pain and in need of getting the damned thing set and casted. Even I know that."

It was at that precise moment that a short redhead with a cane came walking past.

"Morris! What the hell is going on here?" She waited for him to explain why he was arguing with his patient.

"Nothing, Dr. Weaver. I was just reviewing the films here and about to explain what was wrong. I don't know why she's yelling at me."

Kerry looked at the patient on the gurney then back to Morris. "Go wait for me at the desk. I'll finish up from here."


"Morris don't piss me off today, I don't need it." She waited until he slunk away before she turned to the patient and grabbed the chart from the end of the bed. "Sorry about that,” she paused to look up the name. "Sara. Morris isn't the best that this hospital has to offer, but unfortunately, I don't have anyone to replace him at this late stage of the year. Let's see…” Weaver quickly read through the chart and stepped over to the light box. "You fell and then had someone land on your arm? I'm impressed that it's only a hairline fracture. Not quite a full Colles."

"From this angle it looked like it was a full on break, and let me tell you, the pain I'm feeling doesn't back up the hairline theory."

Kerry smiled. "I like your attitude, especially towards that nitwit Morris. How do you know about fractures and things? Most people that walk through here couldn't care less… all they want are the drugs they try to weasel out of us."

"Don't know if you heard it or not, but I'm CSI." At the newcomer's questioning look, Sara continued, "I work in the Las Vegas crime lab. Sara Sidle, level three crime scene investigator. I'd offer to shake your hand, but that would not be the best thing to do at the moment."

"That's fine. So, you're used to being on the other side of the ER, spending your time talking to patients instead of being one."

"Yeah." She smiled. "And quite honestly, I much prefer it."

"On a holiday, an ER is the last place that anyone wants to be. Let alone one that's in a city which isn't home."

"Preaching to the choir there, Doc. So, when can I hope to get out of here?"

"Let me call ortho and see when they can come to get you."

“Thanks, I appreciate it.” Sara grimaced as she shifted her hand on the pillow.

Weaver looked down at the chart and noticed that Sara had not received any since she came in. “I'll send in a nurse with some more pain meds for you.”

Sidle nodded and watched as Weaver left the curtained area and tried to block out the noise from the department.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

'You know, if this day gets any worse, I'm going to scream.' Nurse Taggert sat thinking to herself as she took vitals on yet another wounded soul that had found its way to her desk on a snowy night when no one should have been out. 'How did I draw the short straw today? I did my time up here twice already this week.' Sighing heavily, she waved to the next person who was bleeding and cranky in her triage area.

She didn't notice the slim red head that had walked in under her own power and didn't appear to be hurt in any manner, but the people gathered in the waiting room noticed her.

Catherine made it to the ER after a frustrating cab ride with a driver who could barely speak some semblance of English. She'd made her way into the room that seemed to be holding most of the city's population. Looking around, she saw that there were kids screaming, parents looking exhausted and worn. Then, there was the walking wounded—all gathered in a tiny airless room that had seen better days. Well, everything but the triage desk and the security door next to it.

Like an arrow on its way to a target, Willows went straight for the desk where a blonde was working. She seemed to be speaking a hodgepodge of English and Spanish to find out what had happened to the man sitting in a chair, hunched in pain.

Catherine waited impatiently for the nurse to finish questioning the man, pacing back and forth like a caged tiger. When the man finally stood to take a seat, she pounced on the nurse.

“Hi, can you tell me where Sara Sidle is?”

Sam looked up from her file, “And you are?”

“Catherine Willows. I received a call that she was here.”

“If you can take a seat, I'll send someone to check on where she's at.”

“You don't know where she's located?” Catherine gave her a quirked brow.

“All I know is that she asked me to give you a call. I've been here in this nice little box for my entire shift and I have no idea who was put where.”

“Nice system you have here.”

“Welcome to Chicago's over worked, under staffed, under budgeted, and under appreciated medical battle zone.”

Blinking in response, Willows couldn't believe her ears.

“Sorry, but I've found that honesty sometimes gets you further than bullshitting.”

“Only in my line of work. So you're telling me that you have no way to find out where she's at, so that I can go see her?”

“That's exactly what I'm telling you.”

“How about what happened? How serious is it?”

“Patient confidentiality stops me from really telling you too much.”

“Listen, Nurse Taggert, I'm not family—not by a long shot—but, I am her co-worker and I'd really appreciate any information you can give me. We're from out of town and her only family is in California. So, couldn't you once make an exception?”

“No. Now, if you could take a seat, I'll call to see where she's at.”

“That doesn't do me any good. I'm not a stranger to ER's and I won't get in the way.”


“Are you normally this snarky, or is it only me that gets this special treatment?”

“Snarky?” Sam laughed. “Honey, you don't know what snarky sounds like.”

As Catherine was about to reply, a Hispanic nurse came up to the desk. “Hey, Weaver wants to know what's going on.”

“Nothing, just trying to convince this nice lady to take a seat until I can find out where a patient happens to be.”

“I've been on the floor all shift, so I might be able to help. Who're you looking for?”

“Sara Sidle.” Willows answered before Sam could get a word in edgewise.

“Sidle.” She thought for a moment. “Broken arm, curtain three.”

“Thank you.” The red head shot a look at Taggert. “Was that so difficult?” Turning to the nurse, “Can I see her?”

“I'll check for you.”

“Thank you.” Willows backed away from the desk and resumed her pacing activities.

The Hispanic nurse headed back to the admitting desk to look at the board to see for sure that Sidle was in curtains. Heading back that way, she ran in to Weaver.

“Did you find out what was going on out there?”

“Besides the room full of warm bodies needing our special assistance? It was the friend of Sidle, here to see her.”

“Thanks, Chuney. Was she wanting to come and see her friend?”

“That seems to be what she was hinting at, and not so subtly either.”

“I'll go ask her if she wants visitors.” Weaver dropped the chart she was holding on the admitting desk and headed back to curtains.

Sara smiled as she saw the small doctor make her way back across the hectic ward. “Hey, I was wondering if my co-worker had gotten here yet. It doesn't seem like it should take her this long to get here.”

“Funny you should mention that. She's here, and it looks like she's going to hurt my triage nurse if she has to stay out there any longer.”

Sidle smirked. “She has that way about her. Can be abrasive to those without thick skin. Although, I think she'd say that comment is more about me than anything else.”

Kerry turned to look at the woman as she paced back and forth, “Do you want to let her in here?”

“That's fine.” Sara looked up at the ceiling and blew out a deep breath. “She's my coworker and occasional pain in the ass.”

“Really? From the way she was acting, I thought she was something more.” Weaver watched Sidle's face to see if she could read more there than what her words were saying.

“Nope, have no idea what you're talking about.” Sara tried to deny the doctor's words. That she knew it was part of the problem with this trip. She'd been living in the same room with Catherine and wondering if there could be more between them, yet too scared to do anything about it.

“Sure.” Kerry took her at her word, and didn't press the situation. She knew what it was like to be unsure of how things between two human beings could be and just how stubborn said humans were. “I'll have a nurse bring her back here now while we wait to hear from ortho.”


Kerry nodded and went back to the admitting desk to grab a nurse; unfortunately they were all with other patients. “Fine, I'll do it myself.” She muttered aloud.

Stalking over to the waiting room, Kerry thumped the door with an impatient hand. After she walked through, she turned to the woman that she was pacing back towards her. “You need to learn a little patience.”

“And what's it to you?” Willows snapped at the newcomer in a lab coat.

“I happen to be your friend's doctor, and I can take you to see her now.”

“Well, then… Thank you.”

“How is she? I haven't been able to get any information from anyone here.”

“She's in some pain and we're waiting for a consult for her arm.”

“How long will that take?”

“On a good day? Two hours.”

“And on a bad one?”

“Good luck.” She smiled and waved towards the ER proper. “Shall we?”

Catherine nodded and followed the shorter woman back towards where Sara was sitting in a bed, arm propped on a pillow and a nurse finally bringing some medicine to her.

“Well, took you long enough to get here.” The brunette snapped at her.

“You try finding a cabbie in this weather that speaks English, let alone knows how to drive.”

“Is that all there was to deal with? You, Miss from Montana, complaining about winter weather? You should be used to it and all. Not like I have a lot of love for the stuff.”

“Well, I was going to ask how you were feeling, but I think it's pretty obvious. When do you get to have your medication?” Catherine smiled and was happy to see that Sara was in one piece and only seemed to be suffering from the broken arm.

“You're in luck, I just had it. Give me about ten minutes to be nice and dopey before you start yelling at me. OK?”

“No worries. I'll just keep you company here as you tell me the story of what happened and why you were gone for so long.”

“I'll just leave you two alone then. As soon as I know anything, I'll be back.” She turned to walk away and muttered, “stubborn. Both of you.”

“Thank you, Dr. Weaver.” Sara raised her good arm in a little wave, and turned to look at her friend and glad that she hadn't heard the redhead's parting shot.

Catherine waited for the pair of them to be alone before she spoke again. “Would you care to tell me what exactly happened?”

“After we had our little conversation, I went out to take a walk—which I might add was your idea. After nearly getting run down by a plow, I took a cab over to something called Skate on State. It was nice, got some really nice mulled wine from a little vendor there and decided to try skating again.” She frowned, “and that's where it gets ugly.”

“Let me guess, you tripped over your own feet and fell?”

“No, a big behemoth of a hockey wannabe wasn't watching where he was going and we crashed. The end result? Hairline fractures of the ulna and radius on the wrist end. I'll probably be in a cast for six weeks. Wonderful. Well, at least Grissom'll be happy, something to make me slow down at last.”

“Oh, I don't think that'll be the case. I know you, Sidle. You like to keep going at full speed ahead. Frantic is a song I know and by the gods, does it describe you to a 'T'.”

“Hardy har har. You're so damned funny.”

“I try.” Catherine stuck her tongue out and raspberried the brunette. “You know, I didn't mean for anything to happen to you when I suggested you go out for a walk.”

Sara watched her expression go from silly to serious, and knew she had to tell Catherine that it had nothing to do with her. “I'm the one who decided to go ice skating. I could have chosen to not do it. It's not like I have a hell of a lot of experience with it anyways. I was more of the nose in the book kind of kid. PE was an experience in torture for me during school.”

“Wasn't it for everyone who wasn't athletically inclined?” The red head put her hand on Sara's good arm. “Promise me that you won't try skating again for a long time.”

“Not while I have a cast on and there's hockey wannabes on the ice. It's his fault, really. He's the one that fell on top of it and did the damage.”

“What are you doing here?” A deep male voice broke into their conversation, as he stopped in his tracks.

“You? What are you doing here?” Sara responded.

“I think I asked you first.” The man had moved closer to stand at the foot of her bed.

Noticing his lab coat, Sara groaned. “You're a doctor here? Do you always suggest Skate on State to people so that you can keep your job?”

“That wasn't my intent.” His dark eyes crinkled in laughter. “Most people I send over there are quite content to spend their time shopping and just watching the skaters.”

“Well, I always was an over achiever.”

“Hey, Luka, I need a hand with a dislocated shoulder over here.” A voice called from across the room.

“I have to go, but it's good to see that you're at least in one piece. Nothing like what would have happened if you and that plow crossed paths.” Luka gave a wave and headed over to help Abby out with her patient.

Catherine stared after him for a moment before turning to speak to Sara. “He's the one that suggested the folly of your activities, eh?”

“Cath, I really don't feel like hashing it out over and over again. Yes, I followed the advice of a stranger and got myself hurt, but I do have free will and it was MY choice to go skating. Can you just knock it off for a bit? The whole mothering thing's getting to me tonight.”

Willows looked as if she'd been slapped and she sat down without saying another word.

They silently began the wait for the doctor from orthopedics to make his or her appearance.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Several hours later, the pair had made their way back to the hotel, enduring a long silence filled ride where the cabbie had tried to talk for the first few minutes and given up. Sara's arm was nicely encased in a cast of black, to match her mood, and in a sling. Catherine was holding the paperwork they'd received from the nurse with instructions on care.

As they entered the hotel, Catherine spoke first. “The lounge's still open if you want to grab something to eat.” She glanced at her watch. “I doubt room service is still open.”

“Not really hungry. I just want to go to back to our room and get changed out of these clothes.” Sara responded quietly and headed towards the elevator.

“Sure.” Catherine started to follow, until Sidle turned to look at her.

“I'd like some time to be alone, if you don't mind.”

“If you're sure?” Willows watched as Sara nodded. “I'll just be in the lounge then. Call me if you need anything.”

Each went their separate ways and as Catherine took a seat at the bar, she wondered how she could get past the sulk that Sara seemed to have found herself.

Ordering a drink, she thought back to the reason she'd been so worried about where Sara was before the hospital called. Sure, it was because they were friends and coworkers, but the fact that she'd been pondering more and more about breaking the ice with the brunette in regards to going out on a date.

'Oh, who am I kidding? She probably doesn't want or need anyone in her life like that.' Savoring her rum and coke, Catherine's mind spun through all the ways that she could break the ice on that topic when she went back to their room, because she was determined to see if that's why Sara had been so cranky lately.

Sara entered their room and slowly slipped out of her coat as easily as she could without having to move her arm too much. It was a slow process that had her frustrated by the time she was done. Not used to being handicapped in any way, the brunette's anger level slowly crept up to full blown proportions because of her inability to do anything with any sort of ease.

“Lousy piece of crap.” She muttered as she tried to undo the buttons on her jeans to change into her sleepwear. “Easy button fly my ass!” And these weren't the pair of jeans that she could have just pulled down without undoing the fly. No, she had chosen to wear the pair that was a bit newer and actually fit properly.

“Fine. I'll start with the top. That should be easy enough.”

And, for the most part, it was until it came time to try to slip the sleeve over her cast to complete taking it off. “For fuck's sake. Why me?”

Hating that she felt so helpless and needy, she growled in frustration and just lay down on the bed, propping her arm on a pile of pillows. She was stuck until Catherine came back to the room, but she was damned certain that she wasn't going to call for help. She could wait.

Stubborn. Dr. Weaver's words came back into her head as she lay there, staring at the ceiling. Yeah, the two of them were stubborn as hell, but in most situations, it helped them with their jobs and catching the criminals they sought every day.

This on the other hand, was just plain idiotic. 'I'll just talk to her when she comes back to the room.' Sara thought and decided that it would be the easiest thing for them both.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Catherine finished her one drink and not wanting to leave Sara alone too long decided to head back to the room and speak to her about what was going on between them or the lack thereof.

After cursing the elevator for being so slow, Willows let herself into the room, trying to be as quiet as she could. The scene, which greeted her, caused her to raise an eyebrow. Sidle was half dressed and lying on the bed.

“Well, about time that you got here. I'm having a bit of difficulty in changing my clothes.”

“I can see.” Taking in the brunette as she lay there, lacy bra showing and a couple of buttons undone on her jeans, Catherine felt her pulse pick up a few beats per minute. “Why didn't you give me a call?”

“You know how stubborn I can be, Catherine. Besides, I think I know why we've been so tense the last few days. And it has nothing to do with being here in the cold assed Midwest during a snow storm.”

“Oh? And what would your theory be on that?” Willows asked as she moved closer to the bed.

“That we've been too hard headed to see that there's been some sexual tension between us and we've done nothing to assuage those feelings.” Sara sat up and invited Catherine to sit with her. Sidle didn't care now that she was half dressed, and that Catherine's eyes lingered on the bare skin of her tummy.

Quickly realizing that she was staring at the temptation offered up so blatantly, Willows met Sara's gaze and started to stammer. “I… well, I didn't know… Couldn't even guess that… Well…”

Sidle laughed. “Are you always this well spoken with potential lovers, or is it just me?”

“This is the first time that I've been offered something so interesting by someone who should be in a lot of pain.” Taking a deep breath as she stared at the ceiling, Willows tried to gather her thoughts. “I guess what I'm trying to say is… if you're sure about this? I don't want to take advantage of you in any way.” She then looked down at her hands in her lap.

Sara reached out to tip Catherine's face to her. “Oh, I'm sure. It's just that you're not going to get the full experience of what I can do. Being shorthanded like this.” She raised the arm in question. “And I am not ambidextrous in any way, shape or form.”

“You could just let me take care of you.” A devilish grin appeared on the red head's face. “It's the least I could do since, you know, it's my fault that you ended up this way.”

“Oh, really? You take care of me? Hmmm… I might actually like that and get used to it…” Sara's face mirrored the dangerous gleam and she pulled Catherine to her, locking their lips together in a heated kiss. “What do you say, Tiger?”

“I say you just offered up a challenge to the right person.” The red head gently pushed her new lover back on the bed, taking care to not jar the broken limb.

Running her hands over the bare skin available to her, Catherine felt the shivers her touch were causing. She lingered over the lace-covered mounds; surprised that Sara would go for something so girly. She had imagined that Sara was more the sport bra type; nothing too flattering for her. Willows was glad for that, since it would make removing it all that much easier.

Leaning forward, the red head gently traced the edge of the cups with her tongue, touching the skin that was growing more heated with each touch. Undoing the front clasp with a flick of her hand, she was soon tracing circles around the stiff nipples causing Sara to arch her back, urging her lover to take the aching peaks into her mouth and suckle them.

As Catherine kept her mouth busy, her hands slid down to the button fly of the jeans, easily undoing them all and slipping the material gently down the hips that were starting to squirm. Kissing her way down, the red head yanked the jeans off completely. Staring at the offering before her, Catherine gave a thought of thanks to whatever deity had decided to grace her this way.

The dark patch of curls beckoned and as her hand cupped the mound, Catherine noted how wet she had already made her lover. “Mmm… Someone's a little eager.” Slipping a finger in, she teased the little nubbin that was demanding attention.

Sara gasped, as the talented fingers she'd watched and wanted on her body so many times in the past were finally where she wanted them to be. Sliding over her sensitive nether lips, teasing her gently, before sliding in to explore the heated center of her being.

“Cath… please…” the words slipped from her lips as Willows backed away from her, leaving her aching for more of her touch.

“Don't worry.” She replied, the gleam in her eyes as mischievous as ever, as she savored the flavor of her lover as she licked her fingers. “I just want to get a little more comfortable.” Quickly, she undressed, baring all for Sara's heated gaze.

Somehow, stripping like this was more erotic than the dancing she'd done in her past, and Willows couldn't help but think it was because of the woman watching her so intently. Her lover's gaze was so focused on her in a way that none of her clients in the days of the strip club had.

Crawling back on the bed, Catherine straddled Sara's body, pressing herself gently to the younger woman's body and capturing her lips in a kiss. “Are you ready?” She whispered.

Sara could only nod in response, the ability to speak somehow wiped from her mind by what was happening. Giving herself up to the sensations, Sidle closed her eyes and simply allowed herself to feel.

Catherine kissed her way down the slim body offered to her, teasing the nipples that poked at her, demanding attention. As she played with the stiff peaks with her tongue, a hand snaked its way down to play in the nest of dark curls. Soon, she had the brunette writhing under her ministrations. Slipping lower, Catherine nudged her lover's legs open and kissed everywhere before she slid a probing tongue into the wetness she had caused.

Parting the curls, she took a moment to savor the sight before her. The hard little nubbin aching for a caress was too much to bear and she flicked her tongue over the sensitive organ and elicited a gasp of pleasure from her lover. Starting slowly, Catherine began to taste and tease every bit offered to her so willingly. As her tongue played everywhere, she slipped a finger into the heated core once again and began to stroke gently, gradually adding another digit and picking up the pace.

Sara's whimpers became more frequent as she continued to feel the wondrous ministrations from the red head nestled between her thighs. It didn't take too long before she began to feel the tightness gathering low in her belly, and her moans took on a desperate edge. It had been such a long time since she'd been with anyone that had this much talent with just her tongue and Sara began to shake as her orgasm built, then exploded without warning.

Catherine rode out the orgasm, flicking her tongue over the nubbin as Sara bucked her hips, until the storm quieted and she pulled away from her lover's center. Gazing up, she looked into the sated eyes and smile that greeted her.

Crawling up, the red head looked into Sara's eyes just before she kissed her gently.

“Wow.” Was all that Sidle was capable of muttering as Catherine slid to her side and propped her head on her arm.

Looking down at her, Catherine noticed the dilated pupils, the flush that enhanced Sara's features and thought that this wouldn't be the first time that she put that look on her face.

“You're welcome.” Willows grinned at her. “How 'bout a nice bubble bath?”

“What about this hideous thing?” She responded, pointing to her cast.

“It's going to be the only thing on you that I don't get all wet and slick.”

“Is that a threat or a promise of more?”

“Oh, definitely a promise of more.” Willows laughed devilishly. “I plan to keep you nice and naked, and wet, for the rest of the time we're here. And I'm not just talking about bubble baths either…”

“And later? When we go home?”

“You think this is just what happens in Chicago, stays in Chicago?”


“Oh, no. We've made some break throughs here, and I intend to keep exploring when we get home… Especially in six weeks time.”

“What happens then?” Sara asked naively.

“That cast comes off and I can have even more fun with you.”

“I'll be looking forward to it.” She paused to look Catherine in the eyes. “And, ya know, having to stay here a few extra days doesn't sound too bad at all now. In fact, I think I'll enjoy the time I have off, if you get my meaning.”

“Oh, I do. I do. And I'll have fun getting you off all I can…”

The pair nuzzled into each other and let their thoughts run away with them as the snow continued to fall down around the city and plotted to keep them there for several more days…..