Title: Chapter 1: A Vision in Leather.
Author: KanDo
Feedback address: kandonething@hotmail.com
Date in Calendar: 28 June 2009
Fandom: CSI
Pairing: Catherine/Sara
Rating: NC17
Word Count: 25009
Summary: A 911 page from Grissom brings a motorcycle-riding, leather-wearing Sara into Catherine's field of vision.
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DD09

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 the actors.

Note / Beta: Many thanks to: AJ for both the invite for the Advent Calendar and the beta-ing; the muses for their return; and life's experiences which teach us invaluable lessons.

^ SARA ^

The flashing of police, fire, and ambulance lights has shattered the once peaceful night of the ravine where I've found myself. We're north of Vegas, and the entire CSI team has busied themselves by collecting evidence from what appears to be a double homicide. Scattered here and there are the people I work with who can help make or break a case.

I am busy working on a small section that has plenty of clues when I glance up to see Brass surveying the scene. He catches my eye and steps closer.

"Interesting outfit you have there, Sidle."

I grin up at him. "Why thank you, Brass."

"I didn't take you as someone who, well, worked in that kind of outfit."

"Nope, I've been here two years and wouldn't you know it, this is the first time that I've hit the bottom of the barrel as far as clothing is concerned." The trace of sarcasm usually present in my voice goes up a notch.

He quirks a brow at me and I answer his silent question.

"I was halfway out of town when I got the page that Grissom needed me."

"Where exactly were you headed dressed like that?"

I point a glove covered hand up to the top of the small ravine. "See that Harley up there?"

"Yeah. It's a nice bike. What about it?"

"That's mine and I was heading out of town for a couple of days."

"You're trying to tell me that you were going to ride around in the Nevada heat wearing black leather?"

"You know, I gave half a thought about getting the white leather outfit when it was on sale, but that just reeked too much of a bad porno flick."

Muttering something under his breath and shaking his head, Brass goes off in search of Grissom. I can't help but chuckle to myself and get back to collecting evidence.


‘If there are any deities listening up there to me right now, I'd appreciate a little assistance in not tripping over my tongue.' 

I plead to the universe as I walk closer to Sara and notice how well defined her behind is in the clinging leather pants she's decided to wear tonight. Then again, she was supposed to be off tonight. Where in the world was she headed when Gil paged her? And I don't think I'm the only one noticing that her ass needs to be stared at, half the people out here are staring at it as well.

I take a deep breath as I near her and begin to speak. "So, have you found anything interesting?"

"Yes, everyone's reaction to my outfit," she replies sardonically as she stands to stretch her back.

"You have to admit that it is an eye catcher."

Sara frowns at that. "Here though, I feel like it's more of a crotch catcher. I don't know how many cops have taken a look at me and then had to put their clipboards in front of them."

I take a moment to fill my eyes with the sight before me. Starting at her thick-soled boots, I work my way up the tight leather pants that hug the long limbs and define muscles I rarely see. I continue up even further and take in the skin tight black t-shirt that is showing off breasts that are riding high and firm. My breath catches and I have to order my body to chill out.

I glance down at the black leather jacket that is sitting near the evidence boxes and the complete image forms in my mind and has my temperature spiking. I cough to cover up my reaction.

"Well, I'd be lying if I said that the boys are the only ones affected, Sara."

Sidle's mouth hangs open in surprise for a moment as the comment I made sinks in. I am amused as she tries to be casual in her glance around the crime scene to see what the reaction to her outfit truly is. Sara catches the eye of a female police officer who grins at her before turning back to the task of watching the perimeter. There are others as well and there is a hint of a blush working its way to her features.

"Oh." The word is barely audible and she focuses again on the task before her. "Gotta get back to work," she stutters out.

"I'm going to go speak with Gil."

^ SARA ^

My hands are shaky as I gather up the plastic bags of evidence and seal them into a larger bag to initial that I have done the work. I didn't think anything of the way that I was dressed on my way to the scene because I didn't think that it would make much difference. I know it's not what I usually wear, but who knew that it would be such a big deal.

"How's it going, Sara?"

I look up as Gil enters my peripheral vision.

"Not bad."

"Did you get everything?" he asks as I pull out the form sheet to start the chain of custody for this case.

"Yes. Every little bit that I could find has been bagged and tagged." I quickly enter the information on the sheet and sign off on it. I hand the sheet to him and put on my jacket, zipping it up. "All I need to do is have you sign off on this form showing that I transferred it to you and I'm outta here."

"Actually, Sara?" He seems to hesitate.

"That doesn't sound too positive."

"I was wondering if you could stick around tonight. With Warrick calling out sick, I'm short a qualified set of hands."

I take a deep breath as this wasn't exactly in the plans that I had for the two days off that I am actually taking without complaint. I close my eyes and focus on not being upset. "If I stay, I get an extra day off." I cross my arms over my chest as I present him with that offer and realize that I am getting even more attention from around the scene now that I have my full ensemble on.

"Agreed. And Sara?"
"Yes?" I question hesitantly.

"I think that you should change next time you're coming to a scene if you're dressed like that."

"I can't say I'm sorry that I came dressed like this, but I was halfway out of town when you 911 paged me." I shrug a shoulder. "You can take it or leave it."

The curiosity that has been building in him peeks in his eyes. "Where were you headed anyway?"

"For two days off, and that's all I'll say about it." I motion to the paper in his hand. "You're going to need to sign on that so it can go in one of the rigs. I don't exactly have a secure way to transport it on my bike."

He nods his head in assent.

"I'll see you back at the lab," I toss over my shoulder and head towards the perimeter and my bike.

> GIL <

I take the evidence bag and boxes to the nearest Tahoe and after securing the items in the back, I look to where Sara had parked her ride. I can't say that I am surprised that she would have something like that to tool around town, but it presents a different side to her than the one I saw years ago.

Sometimes she is utterly clueless as to how her behavior affects those around her. In the lab, the pressure to keep up with her is what keeps the lower ranked CSI techs going to improve themselves. As much as she is aloof and so absorbed in her own thoughts, she is leading by example and I can't help but thank her for that.

Tonight however, as I watch a majority of the perimeter guards, both male and female, eye her as she pulls her hair into a low ponytail and re-secure it with the band that had held it up, I can't help but wonder where exactly she goes on those rare days off that she takes. Whether she wanted the attention or not, she certainly has it as she pulls her keys out of her pocket and put them in the ignition. I am glad to see her put the helmet on securely before she climbs on the bike and readies to start it.

And this machine of hers is one that requires kick starting before the engine starts up with a throaty roar and she's off to go back to the lab. Many pairs of eyes watched her body in its motions and they continue to follow her progress before the bend in the road takes her out of sight. Hopefully, I've made the impression on her to not wear that outfit to a scene again because I do not even want to contemplate what seeing it again would do to the Las Vegas Police Department.

^ SARA ^

"Hey! Greg!  Up here!" I say in sharp tones to bring his eyes shooting up to meet mine.

"Sara, yeah, sorry. Uhm, you were saying?"

"I need to run this for blood type, DNA, you know—the usual," I say of the blood that I had collected at the scene.

"Sure." He coughs. "No problem. I'll get right on it."

"Thanks." I sign the form and hand it to him and begin to walk out of the lab and as I near the door, I catch his stare in the pane of glass in the door. "Hey Sanders, the next time you speak to my anatomy instead of my face…"

"I'm a dead man. Got it."

"Good boy. Now go play with those expensive toys."

"Yes, Ma'am," I hear him say with a soft sigh as I pass through the doors.


The thumping of Sara's boots warns me that my solitude in the trace lab is about to come to an end. It figures that I finally get myself calmed down and she's going to come waltzing in through that door and send my libido spiking yet again.

Steady, Cath. Keep it steady.

If only thinking it would mean that I'd be successful at it. I can do this and not look like a total idiot. Right.

"So, how're you doing, Sara?" I croak out and suddenly feel like a teenage boy.

"What?" she replies absently as she comes back from her own little world as she enters the room.

"What's wrong? You seemed a little distracted when you were heading in here."

"Just thinking." She looks my way and shrugs a shoulder. "What happened out at the scene is just… Well…" She trails off as she heads towards the counter with the comparison microscope to set the bags of fibers she collected down next to it.

"Do you think it might have anything to do with that outfit you're wearing?" 

She merely shrugs her shoulders again and tries to focus on one of the many bags before her. 

I patiently wait for her to collect her thoughts enough to speak again, even as she stalks back and forth between storage cabinets, pulling out slides, fixing solution, and forceps.

Finally, a deep sigh escapes her. "I don't really know what all the fuss is about." 

She has her back to me and I can't see her expression, but I have a feeling that it is one of confusion, as much as she'd never admit to that particular human condition.


"Have you not even given it a thought? The reaction from all the cops out at the crime scene and what I said about it?"

A slow shake of her head is the only response I get and I'm glad that she has her back to me as I run a hand over my face in frustration. "Truth be told, the entirety of the LVPD officers on scene had to come over to see who the hot new chick at CSI was."

She finally turns to me and speaks directly to me. "Hope I surprised them with the fact that it was plain ol' Sidle."

"I think you surprised a few of them. And not to be politically incorrect, but you probably spiked a few libidos in to hyper drive." Including mine I say to myself before continuing. "I guess I should say that the ones that really made me notice were the ladies that couldn't help but drool over you and the look of the butch babe complete with motorcycle. Oh, and that many would love to be the femme to your butch. And I can't say that I blame them."

I drop that bomb in her lap and head toward the door.

"Catch you later, Sara."

^ SARA ^

I can't help but blink in shock and stare after her with the look of a deer caught in the head lights of an oncoming semi. 

Did she just say that… She couldn't possibly… She doesn't…

For some reason, my thoughts can't seem to connect in any coherent way for a few moments.

Shaking my head seems to gather the thoughts back in to place and I have an idea, but I don't know how well it would be received. Well, there's nothing to lose, and I won't know without trying.

* * * * *

When my stomach begins to grumble in protest of the lack of food, I finish off the slide that I'm working on and slip it back into the evidence folder with my notes. 

I leave the trace lab in search of Catherine and hope that my plan works out.


Sitting in my office, I find my mind wandering back to the crime scene and watching Sara as she gathered evidence as she displayed her leather clad ass to the entire force out there. I can't seem to focus any of my thoughts on what I need to be doing, and this is not a good thing.

I can't believe that I'm going this crazy over a co-worker and that it's a female one at that. Those somewhat crazy days in my youth are hardly more than a bad memory, but the more time I spend around Sara, the more I am thinking about what could happen.

Yeah, right. As if you would ever get the nerve to ask her out, even if it's just for a drink after work.

The sudden sound of boots heading in my direction pulls me from my reverie and the object of my obsessive thoughts is heading straight for my office. To what do I owe this pleasure? And why did my heart rate just spike again?

"Hey there." She leans against the door jamb and I take in the sight before me once again. Damn, she looks good and then I notice her helmet tucked under her arm.

"Hi. What's up?" 

"I was wondering if you would like to grab something to eat."

"I don't know. I'm not really…" My stomach rumbles loudly, overriding that what I was about to say. "Well, I guess I am hungry. But I hadn't thought of getting anything to eat, and the cafeteria's closed."

"What do you say to a little excursion to grab some food? We can take my ride."

Blinking in surprise, I can't formulate an answer to her request.

"Not chicken are you?"

"No, I—I'm not a chicken. I just…" My expansive vocabulary deserts me when confronted with the possibility of taking a ride on her bike and needing to hold on to her. It's a good thing that I'm sitting down because I'm not sure that my knees would have held me up.

"I have an extra helmet, we won't go too far, and I promise to be gentle on you for a first ride."

Damn. How did she know all my objections before I could even voice them? I give a nervous smile.

"Well, since you put it like that, I guess I don't have much room to argue with you." I take a deep breath. "Even though I would like to make it known that I would have objected, given the opportunity."

"Noted." Her smile flashes brightly at me. "Let's go."

> GIL <

I'm sitting at my desk as the pair of ladies under my command head towards the exit and I ponder what they are going off to at this time of night. The other curious thing is one has a jubilant expression on her face and the other has a look I've never seen her wear before.

Is that anticipation, nerves, or slight fear? It's hard to read Catherine's expression, but from her body language, I can hazard a guess that it's a healthy mix of all three. What exactly do you have planned for her, Sara?

I watch as they head to the elevator and note that Sara's holding her helmet. Could she be taking Catherine for a ride? Would Catherine actually volunteer to go for a ride on that beast I just found out that Sidle has? This bears investigating and I tail them to the parking lot.

The balmy night air stirs as they cross the parking lot to Sara's motorcycle. I can see Sidle's helmet tucked under her arm, and a smile on her face at the thought of taking Catherine for a ride.

"You're really serious about this, aren't you?" The petite woman asks nervously.

"No backing out now." Sidle laughs as she retrieves the spare helmet. Helping her coworker with the straps to ensure a proper fit, the brunette smiles. "Just climb on behind me and get ready." Easing her own helmet on and securing it before climbing on to the machine, Sidle steadies the bike for Catherine.

Willows copies Sara's motions, her shorter legs making her a little less graceful than her tall counterpart. Easily finding the footrests, Catherine wonders where to put her hands.

"You can hang on to me once I get 'er started, I won't object." Sidle says with a laugh over her shoulder before flipping the visor down. "Hang on."

Readying the bike, Sara kicks it into life, showing off the movement of her ass up close and personal for Catherine. It's with a healthy laugh as the machine roared into life, that Sidle settles herself onto the seat of the bike. The moment she feels Catherine's hands on her waist, she hits the throttle and makes the throaty purr spike in intensity. 

She calmly takes off from the parking spot and I watch from the shadows as they head out of the lot. Life can be interesting and seeing the two of them like this has me curious, but I'm not sure what it means. 

And I find myself wondering yet again where exactly Sara was heading before I paged her.

^ SARA ^

There's something exhilarating in riding the motorcycle, and I'm glad I finally have a chance to take Cath out for a ride. I like the freedom that it offers me and I will admit that I like getting the looks from people as I'm riding. It's not like there aren't biker babes in the valley, but most of the ones that I've seen aren't tall, slim, and riding without a group of men around them. I think that's what gets them going. Am I going to complain? Not likely. 

Speeding it up a little bit, I feel her hands tighten on my waist and I smile behind my visor. This is definitely out of the realm of safe for her and I forget that I was supposed to have been off tonight; this more than makes up for it.

I choose a little diner off the strip that has quick service and great food. I know that we don't have that much time for dallying, but I'll take what I can get, in both food to eat and time spent with Catherine after the comment earlier.

Sliding the bike in to a parking spot, I kill the engine and steady the bike. Her hands have not left my waist and I realize she's clenched the material in her grip. Taking off my helmet, I turn enough to keep the bike steady but also to look at her.

"If you want to eat, I suggest that we move this little party of two indoors." Patting her hand seems to bring her back to the present and the fingers of one hand release their death grip on my pants. "That's it. One at a time, and then same with getting off."

The petite body slides gracefully off the bike and shaky hands reach up to undo the strap at her chin. 

"That was… wow… I've never done that before." A huge grin breaks across her face as she fluffs at her hair. "How come you never told me you had a bike before?"

"Never thought to mention it." I set the bike and dismount, sliding the key into my pocket. "It's not like this is something I want to show to the boys. It's my bike, and most times, I don't feel like sharing." I let out a little grin. "Or letting anyone else drive it."

She stands shyly before me, holding the helmet in front of her like a shield. "Thank you for sharing that with me."

I can almost detect a touch of a blush. That combined with what she was saying to me earlier is making me take another serious look at my co-worker and which side of the fence that she sits on.

"Let's go get some food." I give her a good long look up and down. "I find myself very hungry right now."

Silence is my answer as she turns to walk into the diner, but the coloring on her cheeks deepens another shade.

* * * * * * * * * *


It's finally the end of the shift and I can't wait to get out of here. I have been riding a surge of hormones all night and I don't know what exactly to make of it. It all started when she pulled up on that bike in that outfit and then the teasing in the lab, and the ride to and from lunch? Oh, God.

Sliding the folders in to their proper slots of complete, pending, and to do, I try to keep my thoughts away from how it felt to be behind Sara on that throbbing piece of machinery. My reaction to the rumbling of the engine between my thighs and being pressed against her leather clad body was intense and I need some time and space to clear my head. 

I wanted to do more than simply hold on to her waist by the end of the return ride, but had to remind myself that the one experience I had before wasn't all it was cracked up to be and well, my libido would just have to take a seat and chill. I hardly know Sara beyond what I see at work and even then, she's so guarded ninety-nine percent of the time. 

Besides, what if I'm wrong about her? She could just enjoy dressing the part, but not actually be butch to some pretty little femme. How many times was I sneered at for being a stripper, nee exotic dancer? Did it matter to them that it was a good way to make money to raise a baby and go to school? 

My actions are becoming a little frantic as the questions race around my brain and that is how Gil finds me when he knocks on the door.

"How's it going?" He asks with a glance around my office.

"Not too bad." I wave a hand at my sorted files, trying to focus on something that doesn't involve a brunette in tight fitting leather. "I just have to wait on tests. So, I figured I've been here long enough today and that my waiting around is not going to help get the results any faster. What are you up to?"

"Just checking up on things." He pauses for a moment. "How is your weekend shaping up?" 

"Not too busy." 

"All right then. Have a good night." He watches me for another moment or two before turning to leave.

"Is there something else?"

"No. Just thinking."

"You're sure?" He nods, but the look on his face lets me know that there is something else, but he seems to not want to discuss it right now. "I'll see you in a couple of days."

"Yes." He walks out of my office, heading down the hallway. "Well, that was strange." I mutter aloud as my cell phone chirps. "Willows." I answer. "Yes, good. And you?" I listen to the voice on the other end. "Sure. I don't work that night. Yes, I will, but it's been a while." I pause. "You're welcome."

I hang up the phone and take a deep breath. Between the ride with Sara and this phone call, life has suddenly gotten very interesting.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

^ SARA ^

I know Grissom thinks that I have no social life, that I’m always focused on the job and nothing else. So instead of telling him that he’s wrong, I agree with his thoughts of what I do with what little downtime that I have.

Yes, he’s right about the scanners—police and fire both—that I work the max on overtime each month. But that’s there for one purpose only. It's to make money for these nights that I do get to go out on the town.

Take tonight for example. This seedy little strip club is off-strip and not filled with the best of the best talent. Those dancers are for the expensive joints on the strip. This place is for the newbies—the fresh young ladies who want to get a start dancing, but don't know how to get noticed at those big clubs.

So as I sit here, nursing a beer, I wonder what he would say if he knew. Yeah, I flirt with him and he might be the reason I made the move to Vegas. Grissom is a genius on so many subjects, and I wanted to learn from the best. But he's not the type that gets my motor revving. No, that's what these ladies are for. And if I feel like it, I'll take one of them home. And that's why Grissom will never know.

As the lights go out, I know that the "star" performer for this evening is about to come on stage. I finger the fives and tens that I've set aside, knowing that if this dancer is good enough, she'll be justly rewarded.

The music that starts is something different. I sit up as I notice that it is nothing at all like the other dancers. It's almost exotic, the change in music from deep throbbing bass mixes to the totally acoustic blend.

The soft spot light slowly reveals the dancer's body. A veil covers her face; a string of sparkling crystals lies just below her eyes, bringing a hint of mystery to her.

The slim body is covered by a half halter-top covered in spangles that glitter with her subtle movements. Looking down further, I see that her waist is bare save the fake ruby she has secured in her navel.

The gauzy material of her pants barely clings to her hips, almost sliding off before her routine begins.

As the lights come up more, I suddenly recognize whom it is that stands before me.


I can't believe that I got roped into doing this. Me! At MY age. But this will keep Jenna from losing her job.

Looking at my reflection in the mirror almost makes me laugh. I'm certainly no spring chicken anymore. Life has shown that it can keep up with me and that I can keep up with it…. I just have a few battle scars. And the majority of them are the wrinkles that appear on my face when I smile or frown.

Taking a deep breath, I hear the stage manager call Jenna's name.

"This is it." I say to my reflection as I stand and check to make sure that everything's in place. From the jeweled veil to the pants that threaten to fall from my body before it's time for them to go.

Stepping onto the stage as the lights flash out from the dancer before me, I try to concentrate on the simple routine that Jenna told me went with the music.

Arabian Nights. At least it's something that I'm familiar with—not one of those new dance mixes that everyone else is doing.

A spotlight starts to brighten, revealing the audience before me. As I'd grown accustomed to when I was dancing ages ago, there was a majority of men and a few ladies as well. More than likely, the women were here to learn before they auditioned for a job.

There is an adage that things can be like they'd been before. The mind may have forgotten, but the body still remembers. Thank God for that, otherwise I'd be in serious trouble.

All through this dance, I keep thinking that it's just like riding a bike. Keep balanced, keep the momentum going and hopefully, things will work out and gravity won't pull you down.

The "fans" of this genre of performance are the ones who don't mind a bobble or two, which is more than obvious by the way that they're still tipping me.

Working my way down the stage, I come up to a table with a lone occupant whose face I can't see. The glare from the spot right behind them is trying to blind me. 

The body shifts slightly and it's—a woman. And one that looks to be here for the sheer pleasure of it, not working on what would make her a good dancer for her audition. She tucks a strand of stray hair behind her ear in a familiar gesture, but I brush it off. 

Moving closer to her, I wonder if she's ever had the "head liner" dance for her, right at her table.

^ SARA ^                                 

I realize as she moves towards me, who this woman is. There's no doubt about it now.

Catherine? Still dancing? She told me that she'd given it up since she graduated school and started working the job. There was no reason for her to dance again.

Is she here just for the fun of it? Has she missed this? The anonymous men looking at her body, wanting to touch it, wanting her to take all those clothes off so that they can drool over her naked flesh?

Will she recognize me in this dark club?

She's moving closer to me, and I realize that she's the one who was supposed to be the headliner. Perhaps I'll spurge and give her all that special money that's been burning a hole in my pocket.

Her body is still firm, her breasts still ride high and proud upon her chest. Her nipples have poked out from the teasing strokes she's given herself, enticing her audience to pay her to take more of that outfit off. I don't blame them, for Mother Nature's treated her well.

She's before me now, dancing in a small spangled bra and the pants, the halter-top having been dropped for the man before me. She swivels her hips seductively at me as she lets the gauzy material fall from her hips, revealing a tiny g-string that barely covers all of her mound. The way she moves her body has me entranced… I've never seen her move like this on the cases we've worked together, and I am glad to be a witness to it now.

My money goes to her with no regrets, the tens tucked into the elastic resting on her hip. I sit and realize that she doesn't know that it's me, and before I know it, she's gone… her routine completed and the lights extinguished once more.


Oh my God up in Heaven!!

My heart is racing and I can't catch my breath. I can't get to the dressing room quick enough, can't get out of her sight quick enough.

The one night I do a favor for Jenna—how could she have known that I'd be here? 

Throwing the money that I gathered tonight into Jenna's locker, I realize that she's given me plenty of tens.

Rushing to change out of my clothes, I feel my panic rising like a beast that's chasing me. I need to get out of here, and fast. Hopeful of being able to sneak out before she sees me leaving here. After what I said to her two days ago, I can't face her. I haven't had a moment's peace since then and tonight I am out there dancing and showing off my body once again.

It used to make me horny as hell in the past and now that I know that Sara saw me, I am about ready to climb the walls out of frustration. I climb into my car and hope to whatever deity is in charge of cars that it starts without issue. 

It obeys my command and I begin to high tail it out of the lot as my thoughts circle back once again to the brunette that I obviously don't know as well as I thought.

Sara? Of all the people it had to be, it had to be her? Is it my biggest fear? No, but it ranks right up there. It's not like I've kept it a secret that I was a dancer, but they all thought that I'd given it up and would never question me about it.

What am I going to say if she asks me about it?  I'll just hope that she doesn't ask. "Please…" I whisper aloud to the heavens as I head toward home, "If there's anyone listening up there, please don't let her ask…."

^ SARA ^

Well, today looks like it's going to be a banner day. We have three cases and Grissom's assigned Catherine and me to work a possible homicide together. Some clown got himself killed out in the Luxor parking lot. For Warrick and Nick, looks like they get a suspected drug overdose at the posh country club. Well, all I can say is that at least they'll be inside and out of the predicted heat today.

"Ready to roll?"

Catherine's question catches me off guard. "What?"

"You OK, Sara?"

"Yeah, sorry. I was just, uhm, thinking on something."

"Do you wanna drive?" She smiles at me, knowing that I prefer to be the one behind the wheel. How many times have I mentioned it to her when we've been on a break and I have a case with one of the boys?

"Sure. Thanks." I find myself smiling back at her before I head to grab the keys from the pegboard. 

As we head out to the parking lot, I notice the easy grace to her movements. How could I not have noticed before? I find myself wondering if she's ever played on my side of the fence sometime in her past.


So far, so good.  She hasn't said anything yet and I am beginning to wonder if she hadn't noticed that it was me.

I sigh, knowing that it's a needless point of stress in my day right now. The heat is going to wear on me as it is, and although it's not that unusual for this time of year in the desert… it certainly makes for an aromatic crime scene.

Pulling up to the yellow tape that surrounds an SUV and its immediate vicinity, Sara parks the car and takes a few moments to map out the terrain, before she kills the engine.

An interesting scene for sure on this one. There's a Blazer sitting across two spots, its occupant slumped over the wheel and onto the dash.

"Let's get to it." Sara announces as she pulls her shades off and slips a baseball cap over her hair to keep it out of her face. 

Brass is waiting for us, pacing impatiently as we step out into the Vegas heat.

"Good, you're here." He flips open a notebook and rattles off the pertinent information. "Car is registered to a Stephen Lanning of Ash Springs. We've tried to reach someone at the number listed on the DMV records, but no response. Security guard found him just about--" he glanced at his watch, "An hour ago."

Sara looked around the crime scene, brows furrowed beneath the bill of her cap. "It took them how long to find him?"

"A few hours. Apparently the guard fell asleep on shift. He's over there."

"That's nice. So much for those high-priced rent-a-cops." I comment dryly. "Just makes me feel so much safer knowing that they're around."

"Yeah." Brass agrees with me and then shuts his notebook. "I have to get over to the country club. Another wonderful day for me."

As he walks away, Sara turns to me.

"I'll go grab our gear."

Walking over to the security guard, I ponder the timing of his falling asleep and when our vic met his untimely end.

"Hey there." I call out to Officer Denrick, one of the few men on the force that makes my skin crawl. "So, what have we here?"

"This is Nathan Speers, night shift guard. Do you wanna tell Investigator Willows what you told me?"

The man looks up at me from his seat, eyes shadowed with pain and shame. "I messed up."

I merely open my notebook to write down whatever details he has to tell me.

"I've never done this before. You gotta believe me." The man put his face into his hands, hiding himself from my gaze.

"Sir, if you could get to the point." Denrick speaks sharply to my witness.

"The last patrol I made was at four a.m. I didn't see anything wrong."

"And when did you do your next patrol?"

"At seven a.m., before shift change. And that's when I found him. I knocked on the window with my flashlight. I tried to wake him--but he's--he's dead." 

The guard falls silent and I can only shake my head in disgust.

^ SARA ^

Digging through the back of the cargo area, I look for the final kit box.

Ahh… there it is.

"Memo to me: Talk to those boys about putting things back in their proper places," I mutter to myself in a half whisper. 

Striding over to the Blazer, I set the boxes down and survey the scene. The SUV looks to be a relatively new model, with no apparent signs of a break-in. Circling it, I see that all the windows are indeed intact and the plates are still on it. Vehicular theft wasn't a motive high on the list of possibilities.

I take out the camera to get pictures of the car and vic in situ, allowing my brain to begin the process of putting the pieces of the puzzle together. I can see nothing through the lens that catches my eye, nothing that shouts at me to take a closer look. After the photos are taken, I set the camera on top of a box and dig out some supplies. A magna brush and powder come first as I want to see if there are any prints that may be ruined from contact to the door handles.

Slipping a pair of gloves on, I test the passenger door. There are no prints popping up as I dust both the handle and the area around it. I continue to work my way around the car and at each door, I find an unsettling lack of prints. The driver's side should at least have the vic's prints on them. Finishing back where I started, I put away the powder and brush back in their case and try the passenger's door.

Locked. Hmm… even more of a puzzle. Looking in, I see that the man's face is turned towards me, the lifeless eyes staring back at me. The spark of life has gone and left a dull hazy change in its place.

A trickle of blood has leaked from his mouth, and from this angle, it is the only sign of trauma that I can detect.

'What happened to you, buddy?' I ask in thought.

"Charming." Catherine's voice startles me out of my contemplation.

"How about it?" I point towards the handle. "This side's still locked. Let's go see if we can get in the other side, or if we'll need Officer Friendly's help."

"Don't like him much do you?" she asks of me as she slips on her gloves and move to the driver's door.

I don't hide the contempt in my voice as I begin to speak. "No. We've had a run in or two and I can't stand him. Look at him--does he need to keep aggravating that poor man? It's bad enough that he'll lose his job over this, but does he need to be treated that way?"

Catherine glances over at Denrick, whose body language shows that he was domineering over the guard. "I see what you mean. And I agree he can be an insensitive ass." After trying the driver's door, her sharp voice calls out. "Denrick! You're needed over here."

I raise my brows at her sudden outburst.

"What? I can be snippy if I want." She laughs, and her eyes sparkle over the rims on the dark lenses of her shades.

I smile and try not to react too much to her, as Denrick comes over to unlock the door for us.


Two hours later, my body is aching and we are finally finished. I can't wait to sit down and rest. Dancing last night was like riding a bike again-- You don't feel the pain until the next day.

I pause for a moment to stretch my back and catch Sara's lingering gaze.

"You OK?" she asks as she turns back to packing the last of the evidence bags into the transport cases.

"Yeah, just a little tired from combing the vic and his car for trace. Working in a Blazer in the heat isn't what I pictured myself doing today." Brushing the hair off my face I contemplate where I put a hair band since the one I had broke.

"I've never heard you complain before. Rough night last night?"

I turn to her, but see that she's got her back to me. Which, in all reality, is for the best since she can't see the color draining from my face.

"Uh--n-no. I had a, uhm, a quiet night."

^ SARA ^

The ride back to the office has been filled with silence between the two of us; the quiet hum of the air conditioning is the only noticeable sound.

"Let's grab a drink. My treat," I announce as I pull into a McDonald's parking lot, searching out the drive through lane.

"That's ok, really." She tries to smile, but I can tell her thoughts are truly a million miles from here.

"It's a hot day out, and I know that we'll be inside working, but the vending machine is out of your favorite."

"All right then, if you insist."

A smile. "Yup." I order our drinks and wait in the line for the window.

"So, what do you think of the different types of music?" I break the silence with my question and try to get her to start talking.

Catherine's brow furrows, seems I caught her off guard. "Uhm, I really don't have a single favorite. I guess that pretty much anything goes, with the exception of rap. Never saw the point in that one."

"Totally agree with you there. What about the dance mixes that some clubs play?"

"No--I guess that those aren't really a favorite either. I know they have their place, but I don't care for them."

I nod, watching traffic as I try to leave the parking lot. "How about acoustic stuff? Where it's all these cool instruments and no words at all? There's this one I really like and can listen to over and over-- Arabian Nights."

"Arabian Nights? It's OK. Don't mind it too much."

"I was thinking that it always sounds so exotic. And every time I hear it, I picture a group of Bedouin Dancers, in those neat little outfits." I trail off into silence as I notice how she's staring at me.

After a tensely quiet minute, she speaks. "Why do you ask?"

Four words that have had a hard time escaping her.

"Just something I heard last night, and I wondered what you thought of it."

I drop the bomb in her lap and wonder what her reaction will be.


She knows. What do I say? I can't deny that I was there last night. I mean, I could try, but where would the logic be in that?

Staring out the window, I deliberately keep my eyes from hers. "Yeah, I heard it last night too. And it's not a bad piece."

Courage Catherine. That's what you need right now… Courage, and to breathe, can't forget that.

"Listen, about last nigh.." I start slowly, shifting to look her in the eyes.


"It was just a favor for a friend." The words fight to tumble out of my mouth. "I don't really do that any more. It was a way to pay for school and it made me a lot of money in my prime and--"

"Catherine," she starts and grabs my attention. "It's alright. You're an adult and can do whatever you want."

"I-- well-- I just didn't want you to think that-- that I was still doing it. Can you imagine what a lawyer would say if he found out?"

"Everyone's entitled to do whatever they want."

"Yes, but if I was ever called to the stand and questioned about it, a jury might not think that I'm reliable enough. It might get some criminal off the hook because of what I did outside of work."

"It's possible, but I know Grissom would back you up."

I nod, agreeing with her. But a question is burning in my mind. "So, can I ask you something?"

"Sure." Her brown eyes catch mine for a moment before turning back to the road.

"What were you doing there last night?"

"Having a good time."

"I didn't know you, uhm, enjoyed that kind of thing."

A laugh escapes her. "Never pegged me for a connoisseur of the ladies?"

I feel a blush creeping over my face. "Not exactly."

"Why? It's not like you've ever heard me talking about a boyfriend before."

"Just because you have never said anything--"

"You weren't going to assume." A genuine smile lights up her face. "Very scientific of you, Grissom would be proud."

"I like to think so, since he got me into the fold here."

"If I were to confirm that I was a lesbian, what would you think?"

"It would certainly answer my question as to why you were there last night."

"That was a misdirecting answer."

"True." I sit and go quiet as we move slowly through the traffic back to the lab.

There's an uncomfortable silence as we creep down the highway and I'm not sure of what to say to her. It's not like I'm offended by her choice, far from it. My one experience with another woman wasn't the best, but I wouldn't be able to hold it against Sara. She's a completely different person from the one night stand I experienced.

"Nothing more and nothing less. In fact, I'd have to say that I'm intrigued by it."

^ SARA ^

Intrigued? She's intrigued? That's not quite the answer I was expecting. Hmm… wonder if she'd like to explore with me?

"Really?" I smile at her. "Now you've got me curious."

"I do?"

"Yes. I was thinking if your curiosity had to do with what it's like to make love to another woman, or just how I live my life?"

"In all honesty? A bit of both." She runs a hand through her hair as she responds and sends a few curls askew.

Funny, I've never noticed how sexy she looks with her hair all a mess. But then again, I've never really seen her let it fly away like this.

"My life's just like anyone else's. I eat, I sleep, I work and I relax now and again."

"Just your average Jane in other words?"

"Exactly. And if I don't prefer men in my bed? Well, it's my right to choose how I live and whom I love. If my hippie parents taught me one thing-- that was it. What do you think?"


She's slow to answer, almost as if she were carefully choosing each and every syllable that is about to be spoken. 

"I think that it would be something that I would…"

There's a spark in her eye that I've seen before, one that means she's made a breakthrough on a case. 

"Like to try again."

"Again?" Surprise is clearly written across my face and I know it, can feel it. "Really?"

She only nods in response as I pull into the parking space for our Tahoe and kill the engine.

"I think I'd be up to that challenge," I say with a look of sincerity that has Catherine blushing.


I can't believe that I am actually doing this. My nervous hands run through my hair as I take a quick shower here at the lab. The building's air conditioning was blinking off and on all throughout the day, making one department colder than the autopsy room and another, like the oven that is Vegas in the middle of July.

The work we did as Sara and I further processed the car in the evidence bay was hot and sweaty thanks to the mechanical malfunction. But that was only part of it.

There were times when she would lean over to collect something and that lean and muscular frame of hers would be highlighted just right. I had noticed on a few other occasions what an interesting body she had, and the anticipation of that body being pressed to mine had my temperature skyrocketing.

She seemed to know that I was paying closer attention today and would purposely position herself in ways that would make me want to drool, melt, or jump her right there in the lab-- or any combination of the three.

How in the world are we going to keep this quiet here at the office if things work out between us? Hell, how are we going to keep things on an even keel if things don't work out? 

I pause in the shower, staring as the soap bubbles circle the drain. Am I sure that I want to do this? That she's what I want? I haven't been this terrified since the first time that I got up on that stage and auditioned for a job stripping. I sigh, at least then I had the advantage of being young and reckless on my side.

Now? I have a daughter that needs at least one stable parent and Eddy's never been that for her. He's trying to make up for it, but he's got a long road ahead of him. And me? I don't know if making that kind of leap into the unknown is safe for her or me. 

Shaking my head in an attempt to clear it, I start to rush through the rest of my shower. Whether I go through with this or not, Sara deserves to have me show up at her door, or a phone call explaining why.

^ SARA ^

I know that today wasn't a usual day for the two of us. Catherine seemed a little jumpy today. Not that I can exactly blame her, what with all the teasing that I was doing. I know I should've behaved a little better, but knowing that she was serious in her wanting to explore another side of herself and that I was the one she was asking, I just couldn't help myself.

And now, as I pace back and forth across the somewhat close quarters of my studio apartment, I wonder if I was too hard on her. Will she still show up? I hope so.

Looking around my place as I stride back and forth, I notice just how spartan my space really is. A small kitchen that I rarely make use of, the full size bed that dominates the corner that's been designated the bedroom. In the other corner, I have my office set up. There is a used desk covered in electronics-- from the computer and fax machine to the scanners and CBs. There are loads of reference books that I try to read in my downtime and one that I have been asked to help edit. 

All these things show that I have a great interest in my chosen profession, but it would definitely look like I don't have a life to the casual observer. Tonight, there are few changes to the plainness of the apartment: a fresh bouquet of flowers, a setting for two on the breakfast bar, and incense. It's the last item that makes me laugh.

The scented smoke is the only real holdover from my childhood with my hippie parents. Aroma therapy is what they call it now, and this blend's suppose to be one that calms.

Funny-- it's not helping me to be calm right now. I can't believe that it's been a couple of years since I've had anyone in my bed and the first one here is someone that doesn't have much experience. Hotel rooms are so much easier.

But I want to make this first time a special experience, and one that goes well. Aside from the fact that we're co-workers, we're two of the most highly ranked women in our field and I would hate to have one night's activities spoil the working relationship that we've built together.                 

A soft knock at the door lets me know that someone's here. Reaching the door, I peer out and see that it's her. She's softly lit by the dim bulb that I've been meaning to replace above my door. She has a nervous look on her face and I know that mine must look like a mirror image of hers.

"Hi." I voice as I open the door. "Come on in."

I allow her to pass by me and I catch the faintest hint of perfume. It's an exotic blend and one that I wouldn't have thought she'd like. But then again, there's a lot to her that I am just beginning to learn. 

"Interesting decor." She smiles as she takes in the apartment that I've called home for two years.

"Thanks. I think." I am hesitant in my answer, not knowing if she's just playing with me or truly serious.

"Oh, nothing bad, just reminds me of a friend that I had in college. She was so focused on her studies and getting good grades, that interior design wasn't one of her passions." 

"Make me feel sheepish now... I've done the same thing since I was in college."

"Oh, there's nothing wrong with it. Please don't think that," she says hastily, putting a comforting hand on my arm. "I like it. It speaks so well of you."

"Then I'll take it as a compliment."

She took a moment to sniff the air. "Mmmm... what's that scent?"

"It's just some incense."

"I like it, just didn't peg you for someone who would use it."

"Well, just because I rebelled against my parents on most things, doesn't mean that I can't enjoy some of the same things."

She smiles and then takes another look around. "So, I see that you've got dinner ready."

"As ready as picking up the phone could do." I wave a hand at the breakfast bar.  "It's just the plates right now. The food should be here in a few minutes. Hope that it's ok that I ordered Chinese."

She merely nods her head.

"Oh!" I blurt out suddenly. "Where the heck are my manners? Why don't you set your stuff down there on the table in the hall?"

She laughs outright this time. "Relax, Sara. You're going to spontaneously combust if you don't settle down." 


I can see the realization race across her face. This is something that I don't think she does all that often, inviting a woman she's interested in to her home. No, Sara strikes me as the type to always meet them at some out of the way hotel off the strip, where renting the room for a few hours is nothing unusual.

"So, what kind of food did you order?"

"I ordered egg rolls, cashew chicken and beef and broccoli." 

I watched as she wrung her hands nervously. 

"I wasn't sure what you would like, so I stuck to some pretty basic stuff. And there's an order of fried rice and one of lo mien noodles." 

"Seems like you've covered all the bases." I reply as I set my purse down and walk towards the kitchen. "What do you have to drink? After the start we had on the case today, I could use something nice."

"I have all the typical drinks. Water, soda, beer, and a bottle of wine."

"Just one?" Good thing to know... at least she's not planning to get me really drunk.

"I usually don't drink too much, but I figured that this is, or should be, a special occasion."

"I always thought that it was highly overrated myself."

A smile lights up her face. "What? A special occasion or drinking?"

"The drinking. Had too much when I was younger and anything more than two glasses has me hung-over for a couple of days." Might as well try to temper the truth of why I really don't drink too much any more.

"There were a few times in college that I found myself staring at the porcelain goddess. Don't know if I'd ever want to do that again."

"Yeah, college memories aren't all fun and games."

It is that point that there is a knock upon the door. 

"Mmm... Food."

Sara practically leaps for the chance to do something other than sit nervously at the breakfast bar with me.

A few moments later, I hear her calling out thanks to the delivery person and the subtle crinkling of the paper bags containing our food.

^ SARA ^

She's talking about so much of her private life, stuff that I've never heard before. Get a little alcohol in her and she starts blabbing away.

"There was this one time that I thought I was a goner for sure."

"Really? What happened?"

"Ever play chicken?"

"Yes." I watch her closely, wondering what story would come out next.

"With a raging bull?"

"No, I don't think that I've ever tried that one."

"You should, it's great exercise."

"Did you have nothing better to do?"


"So, is life on a ranch that boring?"

"That was in the summer, and there's pretty much nothing to do in the winter. Why do you think I was so eager to leave?"

I nod in agreement. "I was the same way with wanting to get out of home myself. There was never enough of a challenge for me there." I narrowed my gaze, trying to figure out more of this woman I was attracted to. "Do you have any siblings?"

"Yes. A brother and a sister."
"Really? I never knew that."

"Not much to tell there. They loved to work the ranch, I didn't."

I watch as she takes a long sip of her wine.

"Not to mention that they disowned me when they found out what I was doing for a living here in Vegas when I first arrived. It was fine when I was a waitress, slowly starving to death because the pay was so bad. But when I got a job where I had to take my clothes off? Well, they said it was a sin and it didn't matter that I was using the money to improve myself by attending college."

"That's kinda harsh."

"Welcome to my family."

"Do you talk to them now?"

"Nope. Every letter I send comes back unopened."

I hear her sigh.

"You'd think they'd be happy to know that I help put criminals behind bars. That I made something out of myself." A shrug of her shoulders completes her sentence as she falls silent.

"Don't take it too hard. Obviously they think a person can't turn their life around and make something good out of it."

"True enough."

A grin suddenly appears on her face.

"So, enough about me, which I can tell you, is a rare event. What about you? What was your life like?"


Ah ha! I've caught her off guard. Looks like she doesn't talk about herself all that often either. Good to know that I'm not the only one to keep things close to the vest.

"Well, I grew up in California--Tamales Bay to be exact, and my parents were hippies."

"How did you manage to have such a 'normal' name?"

"You've never heard my middle name, have you?"

"I merely arch a brow at her, curiosity clearly written on my face.

"Starwalker," she replies with a grimace. 

"What's wrong with that? It could have been your first name."

"Yeah, but when you had to do those 'All about me' things in grade school, well, it wasn't easy to ignore the laughs from the other kids."

"None of them had funny names?"

"Amazingly enough, not a one had a strange name, or strange people staying in their homes on the weekends."

At my confused look, she continues.

"My parents ran a B&B. Every weekend, we'd have three rooms available. Of course now it's a trendy thing to do, but it was just starting out when I was a kid."

"Still, it seems like you took things in stride."

"I managed is more like it."

"So, I know you said you were a science geek in school, but didn't you do anything else?"

"Not really… At least, not until college."

"What happened then?"

"I was what others commonly called a party hardy girl."

"You? It seems so–I don't know–"

"Not me?"

I grin. "Yes."

"I had full scholarships and kept a high GPA. Even with all the parties I went to. I think I made some people upset by that." She takes a sip of her wine. "I went through three room mates my freshman year."

"You did?"

"I went through my first year with little sleep. It wasn't unusual to find me up for forty eight hours at a stretch."

"You must've driven them batty."

"That was only part of it. I was a neat freak too. I think once housing realized it, they never put me with anyone else the next two years."

"Just two?"

"By my senior year, I had an apartment off campus."

"With no room mate, right?"

"I was very protective of my space. Never really had anyone over."

"What about..." I pause, trying to think of the right word to use. "Relationships?"

"Had a few." She shrugs as if it was not that big of a deal. "Not too many of them proved to be long term though."


"The ones that I had with guys never satisfied me and all the girls were too nervous about their families finding out that it never lasted more than a month."

"So, can I ask you something? Since we're talking about relationships and our pasts?"


"When did you know that you liked women?"

"The second semester of my freshman year. There was this party that I was at and got into a threesome with my boyfriend and his best friend's girl." She lets a small chuckle escape. "She was the first person that I met that could be described as a true nympho. She'd worn out her boyfriend and stumbled in on us at that frat house where the party was happening. I was servicing my boyfriend orally when she just strolled right on into the room and couldn't resist what I was waving in the air."

I notice a fond look pass across her features and I just can't help myself.

"So, she just came right in and started on you?"


"And you weren't mad or anything?"

"No. Not once I realized that I liked what she was doing and she gave me one helluva orgasm."

"What did your boyfriend think?"

"Let's see, he was drunk, there were two women in his bed and they were interested in screwing around in front of him. How do you think he took it?"

"Like he had won the lottery, in all probability."

"That was precisely how he took it. And he got the three of us together whenever he could."

"And her boyfriend?"

A blush starts to appear on her face, but she remains silent.


"It was school and we played safe and well, one thing led to another that semester."

I watch her squirm, trying to avoid having to admit her past actions.

"And you found yourself swinging both ways."

"Yes," comes out in a strangled squeak as she covers her face.

"When did you realize that you preferred women over men?"

"When I got home after that first year." She begins to speak soft and slow. "There'd been a woman that frequented the B&B all through my high school years. I always helped my parents with running it, but it never dawned on me that I was an important reason for this particular woman to keep returning. She was there the weekend that I came home for the summer, and she singled me out that night."

I watch as an almost wistful look comes over her features, something that I have never seen before.

"I had wandered out to the garden to do some reading and she followed me out there. Since I knew her, we sat and started talking for a while. She was the one who brought up what I'd been doing romantically. Said that she could see a difference in me."

"She was that forward with you?"

"Yes. She was in her early thirties then and she always had her work with her. She's kinda the reason that I went heavy into science."

I sit silently as she runs a hand over her hair, subconsciously tucking a lock of it behind her ear. For a few moments I let her be, to gather her thoughts. 

"So what happened next?"

"She sat down next to me and we just started talking. She wanted to know how my first year at a school on the opposite side of the country was and if I'd had any serious relationships."

"And did it bother you that she was asking all those questions?"

"Not really. I had a vague idea of what she was interested in."

"And that was?"


"Oh," was all my brain can muster at the moment.

"She told me that ever since she met me that she came to our place the most because she was interested in seeing me grow and couldn't wait until I was old enough."

"Old enough?"

"I met her just before I turned sixteen."

I don't know how to respond to that.

"She was my first true lesbian relationship. We saw each other as often as we could that summer. She taught me a lot of things about life and love during the time that we were together."

"What happened?" I can tell that there is something that she's holding back.

"She was murdered just before I returned to school and her killer was never caught."

A light turns on in my head. No wonder she's like a dog with a bone on so many of her cases. She's trying to make up for what she couldn't do when she was younger. To somehow make up for her not being able to help solve her lover's murder.

"Sara. I'm sorry."

"It's ok. Every time that I catch a perp now, it gets easier. Still annoys me when we don't get ‘em. It makes me feel eighteen all over again with no way of righting a wrong."

"I think you do a great job, and I'm glad that you've found yourself a way to work through things."

"Someone I know would just say that I'm misplacing my feelings about it and not dealing with how I feel."

"But Gil would never phrase it that way."

"No, he wouldn't." A wry grin tilts the corner of her mouth upwards. "But I don't think we came here to talk about him."

"True." I shift in my seat and grimace as my muscles protest the movement.

"That didn't look good. Kinda sore from last night, huh?"

"Just a little."

"I could help you with that, if you'd like."

"You could, eh?"

"One of the things that Becca taught me is how to give a relaxing massage."

"That sounds wonderful. My shoulders are killing me."

"When I give a massage, I do the entire body."

"Oh?" I'm nervous at the thought, but it does sounds very nice. And it would be a safe way to start things. "You do?"

"Yes. I have a robe in the bathroom that you can change in to if you'd be more comfortable that way."

I don't know how she could have guessed that, but I am feeling a bit self-conscious. "Thanks. I appreciate it."

She points me in the direction of the bathroom and stands from her chair. "I'll just take care of these and wait for you out here."

I nod and head to the small room as she puts the dishes in the sink.

Standing in the spotless room, I take a few minutes to gather my courage. Going out there in a robe and panties isn't any different than stripping was last night, but this is just a bit more intimate. She'll be touching me for real and not just stuffing money in my outfit for a dance well done. She's going to learn the shape of my body and where I like to be touched. This isn't a bad thing, but I wish I could convince the butterflies in my stomach to settle down.

With one last look at my reflection in the mirror and a deep breath, I open the door to head out. The first thing I notice is that the lights are off and a few candles are lit around the bed. From a hidden stereo, I begin to hear the soft sounds of a waterfall. She's making this a relaxing experience for sure.

I watch her eyes staring eagerly at me, the look is almost one of hunger and I suddenly feel as if I am the prey that this predator has been waiting for. I slow my steps and wait for her to say something.

"You look wonderful by candle light."

"Th–Thank you," stammers out of my mouth, for it wasn't what I was expecting to hear. I stand still as she moves a few steps closer, coming to a halt right before me.

Reaching out a hand to brush the hair from my face, she gently cups her hand on my cheek. Her thumb begins to trace over my bottom lip in a sensuous path. I find myself leaning into her like a moth to the flame, wanting more.

"Not yet." She whispers softly as her hands make their way to the loosely tied belt about my waist.

My heart begins to pound as her clever fingers untie it and let the ends drop to the sides. Gently she reaches in to open it; smooth fingertips graze my skin and send shivers through me.

I watch, mesmerized, as she traces the edges of the material upwards, over my breasts to gather the silky material at my shoulders. With almost practiced ease, she pushes the material from my body to pool at my feet. 

A lingering glance, starting at my feet and working her way up, drinking in the details of my bared flesh precedes her standing, taking my hands, and leading me to the bed.

"Lay down and I'll start on your back."

I eagerly comply with her request and stretch out on the soft down comforter and await her touch. The bed shifts slightly as she moves to straddle my hips, and I notice that we're skin to skin where her thighs touch my hips. Turning to look over my shoulder, I see that she has quickly stripped down to her lacy bra and panties.

"I never thought of you as one for wearing lace."

"There's still a lot you can learn about me," she replied with a mysterious grin. "Like what I'm going to do for you."

"Oh," slips from my lips as she reaches for a small bottle and pours some of its contents onto her palms. The scent reaches me as she puts her hands on my shoulders. "Mmm... Lavender and..." I draw a blank at the second scent.

"Chamomile," she fills in for me, as she begins to work on my knotted muscles. She doesn't speak again, preferring to let the soft sounds from the CD fill the room. No words are necessary as she reads the lines of tension in my body. It appears that mine isn't the first one she's given and I want to thank Becca for teaching Sara this. No one's touched me like this before.

I drift in a relaxed state, lost in time, and before I know it, she's reached my hips. Her fingers are gently running under the edges of the satiny material covering the last little bit of my body from her gaze and touch.

"Let me take these from you, please."

In response, I gently lift my hips. She takes the invitation and slips her fingers into the waist and slowly pulls them down and off. I realize as a cool breeze touches my curls, that I am turned on and ever so much more than I thought her touch could do.

Starting at my feet, she works her way back up my legs and the tension is just draining from my body. I'm feeling drowsy and before I know it, I'm drifting off to sleep.

^ SARA ^

She looks like an angel, so at ease in my bed. I know that she's tired and I have no problems with letting her sleep. She was at the club late and then we were called in on our day off to cover the homicide this morning.

I watch as she sleeps, her relaxed state is from my doing, but I know that she was also excited by my touch. Her wet panties are evidence of that. I'm amazed at how easy it was to talk with her over dinner. It's not often that I talk about my past with anyone, and not with such ease. There's something about her that makes me trust her so much. And that's something only one other has done for me.

My mind flashes back to the time I spent with Becca. It's true that I miss her, but I am so thankful for all that she taught me about life and myself, and I'll be forever grateful of her place in my life. As I move to pull a light blanket over the two of us, Catherine snuggles into my body and rests her head upon my breast. 

I smile fondly and let myself fall asleep, curled around the woman who is becoming more than just a coworker to me.

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


Consciousness slowly returns to me as I begin a lazy stretch. It slowly dawns on me that I'm not in my own bed and from the soft form wrapped around me, that I didn't end up at Eddie's. When I open my eyes and look at the room around me, I realize that I'm still at Sara's and it's her form that's snuggled so intimately around mine.

"Hey." She speaks in a drowsy voice when she realizes that I'm awake. "Sleep well?" A sleepy smile appears on her face.

"Yes, I did." I shift a little so that I can see her fully, yet stay in the embrace of her arms. "Sorry that I passed out on you."

"Don't worry about it. It was nice to watch you sleep. You look like an angel."

That brings a soft chuckle from me. "Many a person has called me a little imp, devil even, but I don't think that I've ever been called an angel."

"Then they didn't know what they had in their hands, or what they were missing."


"I don't think this is what you had in mind when you invited me over for dinner."

"Mmm..." is her only reply.

"I have to say..." I paused, summing up the words to go on. "That I was, uhm, very excited about and from your touch."

"I had noticed that."

"You did?" I watch as she nods and a smile crosses her lips. "I'm surprised that you didn't take it any further."

"I wanted to make sure that this is what you wanted." 

Her response stops my thoughts in their tracks. I can almost hear the cranial gears screech in protest from the mental clutch missing. From what she'd said before, she was more than eager to get into my pants. But it's good to know that she respects me. "I wouldn't still be here if I wasn't sure." I manage to get this out right before I capture her lips in a quick kiss.

"You sure know how to give a girl the right answer," she says softly as she runs a hand over my breast. 

The sensitive skin tingles under her touch as she explores my body. Her hands are incredible, even more so than when they were on my back.

Rolling me over onto my back, Sara perched herself over me, that look of a hungry predator filling her eyes once more.

"You are so desirable, that I don't know where to start."

And then, before I can offer up any suggestions, her mouth is brushing over my exposed flesh. Her lips begin to brush little kisses everywhere they touch. Her tongue begins to trace crazy loops here and there, followed by the cool rush of a whispered breath.

My body feels like it is on fire, every part of me is aching for her touch. I never knew that another woman's touch could have me aching for more, so much more.

"Sara, please... I need more," I whisper against her ear as she nuzzles my neck.

^ SARA ^

Her whispered plea sends shivers through me. The way her body has responded to just my lightest touches has me excited. The pleasure that's written clearly on her features drives me on. For I can't wait to see her in the throes of the orgasm I want to give her.

My hands have stopped at her breasts, gently cupping the firm flesh and brushing my thumbs over the erect nipples. Pinching them playfully, I smile when I hear her pleading whimpers. Leaning down, I flick my tongue over one stiff peak before I wrap my lips around it and suck it into the warmth of my mouth. My tongue swirls in tight circles and I feel her body shudder in delight and I take that as my cue to continue on.

As I move to the other breast, I let my hand drift slowly to the curls covering her intimate area. My fingers play along her soft nether lips, becoming slick with the plentiful evidence of her desire. Slipping a teasing finger in to the velvet warmth, I circle the little nubbin of nerves and am rewarded with a deep, throaty moan.


I pull back, unsure of what she wants, letting her direct this first time together.

"Don't stop... please don't stop."

That is what I wanted, needed, to hear from her. I begin to kiss my way down her body, slowly heading to the sweet juncture of her legs. I ease her legs apart with my gentle strokes, allowing me to kneel between those creamy white thighs that are still in shape even after so many years of not dancing.

I smile at her between kisses as I go higher and higher towards her heated center. I see the anticipation glittering in her eyes and hope that I can make her call out in pleasure.

My tongue flicks out to take my first sip of her nectar and to see just how sensitive my little redhead really is. Her body shivers as I gently trace a swirling pattern up and down. My fingers begin to explore her depths, slipping into her like a hand into a well fit glove. 

As I begin to stroke her gently, I take her clit into my mouth and dance my tongue over it in crazy patterns, feeling her excitement building. I sense that this first time, she won't last long, but I'm all too happy to send her off into outer space. Slipping another digit into her heated core, I feel one of her hands come to rest on my head, keeping me in place as her body begins to shake beneath me. 

I step up my pace, wanting to drive her to release and please her. The pleas of her need fill my ears as I strive to bring that moment of release upon her. With one last nibble of her clit, I feel her body tense as the first waves of an explosive orgasm begins to rattle her body. Her back arches up, pressing her dripping slit even closer to me and my probing tongue and fingers.

After a few minutes, the shivers begin to subside and I feel her returning to earth. I gently pull myself away from her sensitive bits and stretch out beside her.


The sensations still running through my body are incredible. She knew just how to touch me and where, to send me to the stars. She stretches out beside me, her lanky body pressing against mine, the lace of her lingerie tickling my hypersensitive flesh. The look in her eyes is one of desire and all out lust that draws me closer to kiss her gently.

I probe gently with my tongue, and I taste myself upon her lips. Within moments, our tongues begin a passionate tango, teasing, thrusting and parrying. My hands run through her longer locks and I pull her to me, wanting to feel her weight pressing into my body, to make sure that she's really here. That I didn't just dream this up, that I am really here with her.

"Wow. I never... never before..."

"Shh..." The soft whisper from her lips brushes across my mine as she kisses me into silence. "You don't need to say anything." 

"But I do. Thank you."
"You're welcome."

"This was so much more than I had hoped would happen. More than I thought I could allow myself to experience."

She shifts slightly so that we can lie side by side and talk. The curiosity on her face has me wanting to explain what I meant. "I wasn't even sure that I would show up here tonight, Sara."

> GIL <

This first meeting should have started already, but I'm missing two of my team. Sara and Catherine are both late and not answering their pagers, something that's never happened before. My mind begins to run through various scenarios of what could have happened to them, from the mundane caught in traffic or a flat tire, to someone who just got out of prison hunting them down for revenge.

The pad of paper in front of me becomes filled with nervous scribble. I decide to give them another five minutes to call or show before I have Brass send squads around to their homes.

"Hey. What's up with the two of them?" Warrick's words finally break the silence of the conference room.

"No kidding. Where is that workaholic?" Nick's laugh fills the room. "I've never seen Sara late to work. Heck, I rarely even see her leave work."

"Well, she has to... I don't think her locker holds that many outfits."

I let the two of them banter back and forth to hide my worry. I don't have children, but this crew is the closest thing to a family that I have and I don't want anything to happen to them. 

Glancing up at the clock, I realize that they're now twenty minutes late. In my best "everything's under control" mode, I go to the phone on the counter and take a deep breath. This isn't a call that I want to make, but with no response by now to my pages, I have to assume the worst.

"Well, well, well, look at what the cat dragged in." Nick's teasing tone makes me turn quickly towards the door.

"If you prefer to live and stay in one piece, I would suggest that you don't make any feline jokes." Catherine's tone was sarcastic and it had me wondering what had her riled up tonight.

"Good of you both to join us." I quirk a brow at them, "Care to explain why you're late and why I didn't get a response when I paged you?" I don't know which face has the more surprised look–Sara's or Catherine's.

"You paged?" Queried Sara, as both of them reached for their pagers. The perfect synchronization of their movements might have amused me if the situation was different.

Puzzled expression passed over their faces as the looked at their respective electronic devices then to the other's face.

"I didn't get one. Did you?"

I watched as Catherine looked up at Sara.

"Nope. And I just put new batteries in mine." She turned to look at me. "Are you sure that you dialed the right numbers?"

"I'm going deaf, Catherine, not senile." I wince as I realize that I've spilled information that they hadn't been made aware of yet. Their stunned faces stare back at me, and I realize that I will have some questions to answer now, but those can wait. 

"Yes. I paged you, but let's get the night started. I want to see both of you in my office once the briefing's done." I watch as they nod in unison and take their seats. "Nick, Warrick, how's your case going?"

"Preliminary reports are leading us to believe that there was a drug overdose. We should have the tox screen back sometime tonight and then we can know for sure."

Nick had given me the report without looking me in the face. This is going to be a tough situation to deal with until I can answer all their questions on my hearing loss. But, pushing that aside for now, I continue on. "Good, keep me updated. Now, Sara? Catherine?"

"It looks like our vic ran into a .45 caliber slug. It went straight through the neck and he died from exsanguination, if someone had come across him in time, he might have had a chance. As for other evidence? We're waiting on trace to ID some of the fibers we found," Sara replies, looking me in the eyes but trying to hide her guilt over being late. "We should have some more concrete information today."

"Good." I pause to look down at the cards on top of my pile of paperwork that I need to slog through. I make the decision to give the ladies the easier case and send the boys out to Red Rock Canyon. "Here are tonight's assignments. Let's get started."

I stand and watch as the boys frown at having to go out to the desolate area surrounding the main canyon. "Ladies?" I ask and wave a hand at the door. "Shall we?" Both nod and head out the door before me.

As we enter my office, I can tell the two of them seem uncomfortable. I get the feeling that they think it's just like getting called into the principal's office in school. "So ladies, would you care to explain why you were late."

"There's not a really good excuse for it."

I merely tilt my head and give Sara a look.

"I could say that I overslept, that I had car trouble, or any other one I could think of, but it wouldn't make up for the fact that I was late."

I remain silent as she starts to squirm in her seat. It's so rare that I catch her like this, that I'm overly curious now. "So what's the real reason?"

I watch her stammer and glance quickly over at Catherine before staring at a spot over my left shoulder. It looks like I'm not going to get an answer out of her now, but I have a feeling that it has to do with Catherine and when she's ready, we can talk about it.

Turning to look at her partner in crime this time, I see that she's looking just as guilty. "And you, Catherine?"

"I had to stop at home before I came in. Lindsay forgot her teddy bear and I had to take it over to the sitter's." 

I know that it's a valid enough of a reason, but I don't think that it's quite the truth. However, I need them to get started tonight, so I decide to push for more information with her later in the shift. "Just call me next time, ok? I was concerned about you." I address this to them both and I am rewarded with a look of genuine surprise from Sara. Something tells me that she's not used to having a boss that cares about her welfare, especially in a city like Vegas.

I wait for them to nod their acquiescence before speaking one last time. "See you around the lab then." I dismiss them and turn to my paperwork, giving them the opportunity to leave without further cause for embarrassment.

^ SARA ^

"I can't believe that he let us go so easily."

"Tell me about it."

"We need to be a little more careful of the time."

"And when we turn our pagers off."

I nod in agreement. "Nice save with the teddy bear."

"It's happened before, but I've always called him in the past to let him know."

"What do you think he was thinking when we walked in together?"

"Hopefully that we'd met up in the hall, and nothing more than that."

I follow her to her office.

"Here's the report we were waiting on." 

I watch as her delicate hands pick up the report from the fiber analysis. Taking a quick glance through the report, she passes it over to me.

After a few seconds, I find out why she's silent. There were no fibers that were out of the ordinary, meaning that all the evidence we had spent the time to gather were not foreign to the car or the victim. "Well, if this doesn't–"

"Bite the big one?"

"You could phrase it that way." There's silence for a moment before an unexpected laugh erupts from me. "So, do you think Nick is thinking that something got into you today?"

She blinks innocently at me. "Why, whatever do you mean?"

I'm almost stunned by her reaction until I see her lose the battle with her giggles.

"You have to admit that pause and the deer in the headlights look was priceless."

"You know, I should spank you for that."

"Never know, I might like it."

"And I just might like to administer it to you."

A timid knock and cough from the doorway makes us jump in surprise. 

"Hey, I was just heading out when these came back for you."

A flush creeps over Catherine's fair features as she realizes what Nick had overheard before we were interrupted. 

"Thanks." I beam my best grin at him and take the report.

"Sure, no problem."

For a moment, I watch him stand there with a look on his face as if he's going to ask a question. As if he made a silent argument with himself, he shakes his head. "See you later," is all he says as he makes a hasty retreat.

"Please tell me he's gone," squeaks out of Catherine.

"Yes. Though I will have to say that two priceless expressions out of him in an hour is pretty damned good."

"Yep." She agrees and then takes a look at the card Gil had given us. "Shall we?"

* NICK *

"I'm telling you the truth. They were talking about spanking."

"Get outta here. You're trying to tell me that Catherine and Sara were talking about spanking? And it wasn't in reference to discipline?"

"That's what I'm telling you. It was strange how they were acting today. Coming in late, talking about spanking, and just the "attitude" from Cath the second she walked through the conference room door."

"For all you know, they met up out in the hall after running late to start the shift."

"Are you defending them? As in, you know something that I don't?"

"Nope, not saying that." Warrick looks like he's about to say something.

"What then?"

"Maybe they just met for breakfast and were running late."

"What about both of their pagers supposedly not working?"

"Don't know what to tell you there. Who knows, the system could have had a glitch." He gives a shrug of his shoulders. "What makes you think that there's more to it?"

"I'm not sure that there is more to it, but I got the impression that there might have been."

"They're the only high ranked women CSI's in the city, if not the state. Maybe it's natural for them to talk outside of work."

"That could be it. But still, I think there's something else."

"No. The only thing ‘there' should be that nicely cordoned off area right over there."

I followed where his finger is pointed and see the sheriff's waiting for us out in the heat of the desert. "Nothing like getting to work out in the heat. Let's hope this one's not as aromatic as that last one."

"I hear you."

Stopping the Tahoe, I put aside my running thoughts on what's going on in the private lives of the ladies on my shift.

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

> GIL <

Watching the two of them together in my office makes me wonder about things. Catherine has always kept in touch if she's running late. I know that things like a forgotten toy happen, but the way she told me leads me to believe that she was hiding something.

And as for Sara? Never known her to be later–ever. That was one of the comments I got from everyone I spoke to in San Francisco. Sara was as reliable as the sun rise. I'm beginning to suspect that these two were out together and that's why they were late. But just what was it they were doing? I have no idea. I don't want to intrude on their personal lives, but I also have to keep a watchful eye on them.

I sigh and run a hand over my face. This is just one of the dilemmas that I face tonight. I let the cat out of the bag on my hearing loss, something that I wasn't going to do for a while, or at least, until I got all the details from my doctor. I want to let them know that I'll still be here, that I'll still be running things. Puzzles are what make up the bulk of our jobs, and I'm not through with the search to put all the pieces in to place.


Looks like Gil has done us a favor with this case he's given us. A woman on the outskirts of town was digging in her yard to plant more cacti when she hit a collection of bones. Why she was digging three feet down is beyond me, but she wigged out on her husband who insisted on calling the cops. Standing here at the edge of the hole, I can't say that I blame her. "There's got to be four or five separate bodies down there."

Sara's observation point is from right at the pit we've made to expose the bodies. "Five, but they're all missing the skulls." A frown appears on her face. "Someone didn't want these poor little guys."


"These are all feline corpses."

"How could you tell?"

She turns the dusting brush around and points with its tip end. "These bones here and here are from a paw. We'll need to excavate them and let the animal protection unit know that we've got a case for them."

"Griss did give us an easy case. I wonder how the boys are faring out in the canyon."

"Not sure, but I can guarantee that they're the ones with an aromatic case today."

She snorts in response. "Good to see that we're not the only ones to deal with that this week."

"How about it? I hope I don't get another decomp for a good long while."

I watch as she crinkles her nose up in disgust remembering the case from a year ago.

"But at least you had some cool highlights in your hair there for a while." The sun she'd gotten afterwards had added streaks to her hair and I smile fondly in remembrance of her telling me about that particular shower.

"Blonde's just not me though." She grins up at me. "But for some it's a really nice look."

I can feel the blood rushing to my face. How could she have known that I'd gone blonde once and found that it was a good look that brought me a lot of money? It's time like these that makes me think she can read me like a book.

"No worries, Catherine." Sara stands for a moment to stretch her back. "Even strawberry blondes have a lot of fun," she whispers in my ear before returning to the task before her.

"I'm just gonna go and make that call now." Beating a hasty retreat to the Tahoe, I hear her laughter following me.

^ SARA ^

Driving back to the lab, I take the opportunity to talk without others listening to me. "So, what are you doing over the weekend?"

"Spending time with Lindsay. She's wanted to go on a picnic so I thought we'd head out to Lake Mead."

"Sounds cool."

"Yeah, she likes it out there. We try to go once a month."

"It's good that you try to spend so much time with her."

"I try. It's not always easy to do with our schedules."

"I know." I stop at a light and glance over at her. "I have to ask something."

"Ok." She's looking at me with curiosity.

"How do you feel about what happened?"

"Between us?"

I nod and wait nervously for her answer. A few minutes pass as she thinks through her response. I can see the wheels turning in her head as she contemplates things.

"I don't know how I'll explain to Lindsay why you'll be spending more time with her and me, but I definitely want to see how things grow between us."

"You do?" I try to hide my elation at her answer and the rational part of my brain insists on speaking up, and forces me to make certain that this is good for her. "You're sure?"

"Sara," putting a hand on my knee, "I mean it. This is a side of me that I've wanted to explore, but never found the right person to do that with. Someone I trust enough to be with." She pauses for a second. "I also have to think of Lindsay, and what type of person I'd allow her to be around. There are reasons to why I've never really dated since I divorced her father. I screwed my life up before I had her and I don't want to go down that same road again with her in my life."

The truth and feelings in her words hit a place deep in my heart. To know that she trusts me so much that her daughter will know me as more than just a friend at work. 

"I feel honored."

"You should." She moves her hand from my knee and wraps it gently around my own. "I've given it a lot of thought since you asked me over for dinner. Especially during that half hour that I sat in front of your apartment and tried to make sure that I wanted you, and all that you had to offer me."

Her admissions make me speechless and I wonder how it was that I missed reading these things before now. Gathering up the courage, I speak. "If I had considered asking you before running into you at the club, would your answer have been the same?" I hate to torture myself with this, but I need to know, have to find out.

"I don't know. There were so many times that I'd caught you as you were flirting that I could never tell if you were interested in boys or girls."

"In order to remain left alone in most places, I've flirted with men, but it'd never gone any further than that."

"Can I ask why?"

"Because a college professor of mine was drummed out of school because she was gay." I shake my head at the memory. "She'd been accused of offering sexual favors to her male students, and the only way she could prove otherwise, was to reveal that she couldn't do it. She'd been partnered with a wonderful woman the last ten years."

"But they got rid of her anyways."


"I can see why you hide it then."

"Yes, although here, it's a different story. If someone were to ask, I'm pretty sure that I would tell them the truth. But, if it ever came down to it, I would let you decide how, or even if, you would let others know."

"Thank you."

"No problem, as much as I hope to become an important part of your life, I know that there are things that I can't do for you and decisions to be made that will be yours alone." I need to get this out right away, to let her know that I care about her and respect her.


"I do appreciate that."

I only nod in response as we head into the parking lot of the lab.


So as I come back in from the case, I catch Cath and Sara in the trace lab. Both are poised over microscopes, gazes intent on evidence but minds multitasking.

"So where on Lake Mead do you go?"

"Well, Lindsay prefers this little park on the north side, but it's a bit of a drive. I was thinking that we could just go to the main part this time."

"Sounds like fun, but she won't be upset if we don't go to the usual spot?"

"I don't think she'd mind."

"If you're sure that it wouldn't be a problem, I'd love to join you."

"Be glad to have you."

"Hey ladies." I step into the conversation and watch them jump a foot off their chairs.

"Warrick, jesus!"

I laugh as Sara grabs her chest and shoots me a dirty look.

"Did someone have too much coffee today?"

"Watch it, Junior, you may not make it out of here alive." Cath's teasing tone lets me know that everything's ok.

"Hey now, at least I didn't try tappin' on your shoulders. I think ya'll would've taken my hands off."

"See why sneaking up on people isn't a nice thing to do?"

Sara's smile is good to see too bad it's sometimes such a rare sight.

"What brings you over to trace? Old or new?" the brunette asks as she wrinkles her nose.

"New. And yes– it was aromatic." I sigh, noticing again that the partially decomposed body had left a scent clinging to my body. "I was just dropping some evidence off on my way to change. So, making plans to take the rug rat to the lake?"

"Yeah. We're making it a girl's only weekend," Cath replies with a smile.

"Sounds like fun. Hope the weather doesn't get too hot for you."

"Same here, but it'll make a swim sound really good."

"Well, I gotta get going. See you two around."

I watch as they nod and turn back to their tasks. Dropping off my report into the evidence cage, I take my leave and start to ponder on the conversation I walked in on. Maybe Nick's right, maybe there is something more. Might have to keep an eye on things.

"‘Bout ready to go?"

"Almost." The brunette glances up at me from her desk, as she works on some forms, eyes lighting up at my appearance. "I'm just finishing up the paperwork for the animal control people."

"Sometimes it mystifies me how someone could do that to helpless animals."

"Yeah, some start off small with pets, and then move up from there to the cases we have to deal with."

"Makes me think of the kind of world that my daughter's growing up in, and how I'll manage to keep her safe in it."

"Teach her how to protect herself, to make the right decisions, and hope that she does ok."

"That's all I can do." I take a seat in the chair situated in front of her desk and let out a deep sigh. "You know, I thought this day would never end."

"Or that I would actually leave on time. Won't Grissom wonder about that?"

"He might." I take the opportunity to ask her about something else that's been niggling at the back of my mind. "What do you think of Gil's little announcement?"

"I don't think he meant to let the cat out of the bag in quite that manner."

"I don't think so either."

"I do think that now that it's been mentioned, he'll have to come to us sooner rather than later."

"This is going to be so difficult for him." I remembered the look on his face when he had blurted it out.

"He was probably going to let us know, just not in the way he did."

I only nod.

"Well, just let me drop this in the fax machine and we can get out of here."

"Need to pick up Lindsay and take her to school. Would you mind?"

"Not at all."

"Then we can do whatever." I give her a look as she locks up her desk.


"Yes, I think we can have a little fun before hitting the hay."

"I always thought that just hitting the hay was a bit boring."

"Yeah, if all you do is sleep." An impish grin appears on my face.

"Well, then. Let's hit the road."
* NICK *

So I know they say that curiosity killed the cat, but when I saw the two of them leaving together, I just had to wait and see if they went to two separate cars. Hmmm... Interesting. They're not going to different cars. It seems that Sara's driving and Cath's going with her. The little coupe seems to fit Sara's personality; a Saturn Vue, practical but one that has some power under the hood. Nothing at all like the Harley she had a few nights ago. 

I have to wonder about the two totally different aspects of her that I've seen this week. It never even occurred to me to think that Sidle would have a wild side, being as she's always been so serious. And as for that outfit she was wearing? It really makes a man wonder about more than a few things, like who she would date for instance. And now that I've seen her come in at the same time as Catherine and the fact that they're now leaving together in Sara's car; I'm pondering the possibilities.

It seems that something could be going on with them, but I'll keep an eye on things before I say anything else. But just from their interactions today, I'm guessing that I might be right that there's something more to this story.

> GIL <

On my way back from the rounds I make each night before I leave, I decide to take a stop by Sara's office. Hoping to get the chance to talk to her alone, I am totally surprised when I find her lights are off and her usual sign's hanging on the door.

I stand before it, puzzling on the fact that it's the beginning of the month and Sara's already left.

"Hey, Gris, you ok?"

I faintly hear Warrick before I catch him out of the corner of my eye. "Hello, Warrick. Yeah, I'm fine, just a little surprised that she's gone home already."

"Tell me about it. I was as surprised as you are when I saw them walking out together a few minutes ago."

"Them?" I ask, my brows furrowing in puzzlement.
"Yeah. Cath and Sara. They left together."

"I'll say, and they're planning a girl's only trip with Lindsay."

"Picnic at Lake Mead."

"About time Sara got out and had a little fun."

"My thoughts exactly." Warrick's face breaks into a smile. "Though between you and me, I just can't picture Sara having fun."

I smile at him. "She just might surprise you, and the rest of us, yet."

"That she may, boss, that she may." His deep tones flow out in an easy laugh. "I'll see you around."

I wave him on and head back to my office. I'm almost there when an abstract thought runs through my head. Could it be that Cath and Sara were together last night? And could what they told me be a hastily made up excuse? Sara did seem reluctant to talk to me this morning. Shaking my head as if to clear it, I set down the files I'd wanted to share with Sara and get ready to go home.

Tomorrow is another day and with a touch of the doorjamb, I leave my troubles here.

^ SARA ^

"That went better than I expected," I reply to Catherine's question as I pull into my parking spot at my apartment complex.

"She didn't seem too upset at having a tag-a-long." Her face shows the obvious relief she now feels.

"So what time are we going then?"

"Early. It tends to be packed in the afternoons."

We start the walk up to my door. "Sounds good. I'll have to make sure to bring sun block. I tan well enough, but I like to keep from burning."

As we enter, I make sure to lock the door behind us. Our respective "purses" land on the small table in the short hallway coming into the main room.

"So, got any food in the cupboards?" she teases me as we walk into the kitchen.

"I have some. It's mostly soups and other easy to make stuff," I sheepishly admit. "There are frozen meals too. I know how to cook basic things; I just find it easier to nuke something."


"I know. But most of the times when I get home, I'm so tired that spending a lot of time making something to eat doesn't appeal to me."

"There are times that I feel that way too."

As I move around my space, I straighten the books here, pick up some notes there, and for some reason, I can't settle down.

"Sara?" Catherine's teasing tone reaches me.

"Yeah?" I stop for a moment as she draws my attention to her.

"Would you kindly sit down and relax." Her ‘mother's voice' is quite different from her ‘I have more seniority than you and you will do as I say' tone; but not by much.

"Yes, Ma'am!" I reply with a little salute.
"I try?"

"A lot of things, I know." Standing next to the breakfast bar, she leans a hip against it. "Wanna try something for me?"

"Sure." My answer is simple, but my mind starts running away with crazy ideas.

"Take off those clothes and let me look at you."

That wasn't what I expected but if it's what she wants, why not? I slowly start taking my clothes off. Shirt first followed by my jeans. I may not be as graceful as Cath is, but I seem to be keeping her attention well enough. I watch as her eyes hungrily devour my exposed flesh and I suddenly feel shy before her in just my bra and panties.

"Don't stop there. I want to see all of you."

Slowly, I take off my bra and drop it to the floor beside me. The cool air makes my nipples stand out, and I move to take off my panties. Catherine moves like a hunting cougar, silently approaching her prey–me. Circling around me, I try to keep my eyes on her, but she stops behind me. Before I can turn to face her, she puts her hand on my hips, stopping the movement before I can even start.

"Let me do this. Please."

Her whispered request makes me shiver. I feel her hands beginning to gently explore my back. The soft fingertips float up and down my spine, dropping lower to explore my ass. She begins to reach further forwards, her nails gently tickling my sides... The palms of her hands rubbing across my abdomen, pulling me into her.

She's nuzzling against my neck now, her soft breaths racing over my skin. Her hands have gently reached higher, cupping my breasts. Her thumbs are starting to trace lazy circles, now flitting over my nipples, making them ache.

"Catherine..." The word slips out on a low breathy moan and I feel her hands still upon my flesh.

"Yes, Sara?"
"Don't stop." 

"Not for a good long while." The whispered words tickle my ear and my body shudders.

After flicking my nipple, her right hand snakes down my belly to run lightly over my soft curls, as her left begins to playfully pinch and squeeze the aching flesh of my nipple. Closing my eyes, I lean back into her solid frame and ease my legs apart; inviting her to continue further with her extremely personal search of my heated body.

Her inquisitive hand slides into the space and a slim digit traces the sensitive lips and makes my body quake.

"What is this? Have I made someone all excited?"

I can barely nod as her finger slips into my moist center, grazing my clit, evoking a startled gasp out of me. Shifting herself makes me open my eyes. Catherine moves slowly to my front, looking up into my lust glazed eyes. 

"Mmmm...." is all that she says as she nips at the hollow of my throat, slowly working her way down to enclose a nipple in the hot caress of her lips, eager tongue flicking the sensitive peak. Trailing a path of kisses on her way to my other breast, her hand cups my sex and one finger slips in to explore my slick heat. Slowly swirling and stroking, plunging in to my heated core.

Dropping to her knees in from of me, Catherine starts to kiss the mound before her. My system's beginning to over heat from her lengthy exploration of my body. All my senses are on overload. There's not a nerve ending that isn't on fire, and she's barely even begun.

Gently she forces my legs to spread, opening them so that she can gain complete access with her probing tongue.  Spreading my nether lips, she trails her hot touch from back to front; tickling my clit and making me shiver.

I watch her as she gazes up at me with hunger flashing in her eyes. She seems to have read my thoughts.

"Soon, baby, soon...."

Diving back in, my little redhead starts to tease, torment, and drive me ever closer to the edge as she explores my sex with both mouth and hands. She has me whimpering and at her command. As her slim digits slip into me, Catherine attacks my clit. Racing her tongue in crazy patterns around it while her hand starts to pump faster. 

The tension in my body has built to a shattering point. My eyes scrunch closed, my back arches and as she finally pushes me over that wonderful precipice, a cry of ecstatic release fills the air.                


I watch as the storm passes through her, the results of what I've done for her. I'm amazed at her expressions. I did that for her. Wow...

As she slowly stops her shivering, I stand to wrap my arms around her. Sara clings to me, holding on as her mind and body come back down to Earth.

"Thank you–That was amazing." Her breathless reply has me smiling.

"You're welcome." I kiss her gently and reach up to brush the bangs from her forehead. "Bet you would never guess that you were my first, huh?"

"Your first?" She leans back to look me in the eyes.

"Well, first sober and willing on my part."

"Then I feel very honored."

The moment of peace is interrupted by a grumbling from our stomachs, causing us to laugh.

"That kinda answers my question of what to do next I suppose."

"You mean, like making something to eat?" Her brown eyes dance with laughter. It's not a sight I get to see very often.

"Why don't you relax while I make us something to eat?"

Her brows furrow. "Are you sure you want to?"

"It's not a problem. Besides, we'll need to keep our energy up; especially if we're going to keep this up."


She really looks cute when she's a little off her game, and I'm glad to know that I've gotten her to this state.

"Yes. This," I reply, trailing a hand over her ass and kissing her firmly on the mouth.

"Oh, right."

If I hadn't just confirmed that she was a brunette, I would have thought she was a blonde in disguise. A chuckle escapes me. "Go take a load off sexy." I send her over to the couch with a smack to her bum.

"He-ey!" She squeaks out as she rubs the cheek I hit. "Do you wanna watch anything?"

"Whatever grabs your fancy, aside from me. I'm not too big on the morning news shows or old TV reruns."

"I usually watch whatever I taped the night before. Well, whatever the TiVO decided to record, I should say."

I stop my perusal of her nude body in between glances of her almost equally bare cupboards. "You've got one of those?"

"Yeah, it's a lot easier programming this once to record stuff instead of every day like the VCR. It's really good to have when it behaves."

"And when it doesn't?"

"Well, let's just say that I have been known to come up with a few colorful phrases to throw at it."

I watch as she points the remote at the TV set and starts making "blip" and "bong" sounds.

"Is there anything you'd like me to make?"

She smiles my way. "Uhm... Surprise me?"

"Ok, I will." And I turn back to my search for easily made items to prepare for dinner. I can definitely tell that the strongest talent that Sara has in the kitchen is the ability to know a multitude of restaurant phone numbers without having to look them up.

I take a look in the fridge and see that there are at least a few eggs, some veggies, and cheese. Well, egg scramble with veggies topped with cheese it is. Not exactly gourmet, but you work with what you have.

Quickly working to whip up the meal, I vaguely pay attention to what is on the TV. It sounds like some show from the Learning Channel having to do with something scientific, but I'm not really in to it all that much. I look over to the couch and see her curled up sideways, paying more attention to me than the show on television. How is that I totally missed the fact that she's been paying close attention to me the entire time I've been making something to eat?

"Penny for your thoughts." I smile her way, as I deal with plating up the meal and putting on the finishing touches.

"I'm not sure I can verbalize things right now," she replies softly, eyeing me as I make my way over to her and hand her a plate. She shifts her position enough to allow me to sit opposite her, facing each other and noticing the differences between us.

Her tall, slender form, every inch exposed for my perusal; the fairness of her complexion, the soulful brown eyes that have only just begun to be open to my gaze, the way her mouth quirks in humor or sarcasm. The vulnerability I can just see peeking out from behind the tough as nails exterior. I have a feeling that not many have seen this side of my lover.

My lover.

Two words that I had no clue would be in my vocabulary a week ago, but now they enter my thoughts so easily and feel so right that I wonder what took us so long to get to this point. 

In her eyes, I see myself reflected. I am still dressed, my petite form covered by the outfit I kept in my car for changing in to should I trash my outfit at work, my hair now pulled up into a ponytail to keep the flyways under control, and the relaxed state of my body.

I smile at her as she pauses to take a bite of food.

"This is good." She smiles at me. "So much better than the frozen meal I normally would have gone for."

"Thank you," I reply and dig in as well.

There seems to be no shyness in her as we share a meal with her nude as the day she appeared on this planet. Self consciousness seems to not be too big of an issue with her when it's just the two of us. I smile at the fact that she is that relaxed around me.

The television drones on softly in the background and I realize that a comfortable silence has fallen between us. It is refreshing to know that we can just sit here and enjoy the other's company without having to force conversation.

^ SARA ^

It's been a week since I showed up at the scene dressed in the outfit that caused a lot of attention from the officers at LVPD and my motorcycle seems to have brought out the wild side of me in the most curious of ways. There were the officers in the field that couldn't help but stare at me in the tight fitting outfit, and it brought me the attention of a co-worker who had never mentioned that she was curious about being with another woman.

I took her for a ride that night and started the teasing of her then. What else would you call the showing off my ass when I was starting my bike? The insistence that she hang on to me very tightly and doing things that ensured that she did. Why else did I take a couple of those turns a little quicker than I normally would? I wanted to feel her hands on my waist, even if the reason was to keep from falling off the bike. 

Sitting here with her now, comfortable and relaxed, as we share a meal she prepared for us seems so natural. It's not often that I am willing to share my space with anyone, but I find myself making quite the exception in Cath's case. This fiery little redhead has gotten me worked up and life can certainly take some strange twists and turns, but I'm enjoying the ride that I find myself on.

I've finished my food and I can't help but wonder what else she has running around in her mind. Her pensive eyes are a dusky shade of gray right now and full of mystery. I haven't seen this particular shade in her eyes before, nor the softness of the expression with which she's gazing at me. It's interesting that she's feeling as relaxed as she is, considering how much of a shift this relationship is from her norm.

I pause to think about how this came to be; how the road I was on lead to this moment. If it weren't for the damn pager going off that night, I would never have known that she had envisioned anything more than a friendship between us. I would never have thought to tease her the way I did on my bike. Hell, the crime lab and PD crews would never have known that I owned that wonderful piece of machinery or the outfit which garnered so much attention.

I can smile at the thought of that now. I now know the power of that particular outfit on just about everyone that sees it. 

"Ok… what are you smiling about?"

"I was just thinking about how life can change due to one little action."


"Yes. A lot of what I've been pondering is how we got here." I take the now empty plate from her hands and set it down, along with mine. I shift closer to her so that I can take her hand in mine. For a moment I concentrate on feeling how soft her skin is and how delicate it appears in comparison to my own. "If Warrick hadn't called out sick that night, I would have been off on my usual adventure of not really being satisfied by the woman I might have brought back to some anonymous hotel room." I stare down at our joined hands. "One who would have reminded me of you, but could never be you." I admit aloud to her as well as myself with the dawning realization that that was exactly what I did every time I went in to those seedy little strip clubs.

I feel her fingertips brush gently down my cheek to my chin and she's gently tilting my head up in order to look me in the eye.

There is a well of such sweet compassion gazing back at me that I can't speak, I can only feel. And what I feel is so intense that I am shaken to my core. This is a feeling I never thought I'd get to experience again in my lifetime.

I try to speak, but only manage to stutter. "Cath… I… I—"

She places a finger to my lips and simply smiles at me. "When the time is right, those words that are escaping you right now will flow feely and eloquently. Let's just enjoy each other in this moment, right here, right now."

I nod in response and pull her into my arms to feel her heart beating in time with my own and know that I have been given an incredible gift.

* * * * * * * * * * *

The sun is a scorching disc in the sky and I'm glad that I'm currently sitting with my feet in the water to cool off, my skin has been liberally slathered with sun screen, and my daughter is having a good time engaging a water gun fight with Sara. The pair is making quite a ruckus and it pleases me that Lindsay is getting along so well with Sara. Their brightly colored life jackets are soaking wet from having been hit with the blasts of the super soakers as well the dramatic "Oh she got me!" moments that have prompted them to fall backwards with a splash.  

It's amazing to see this side of my lover. She's carefree, laughing, and totally enjoying every moment of this day. Her smiles have been so much more than they usually are at work. Yes, I've seen her smile before, but those were for the hunches that had come through correctly. These smiles I'm seeing now are lighting up her entire being. I'm enjoying the show and her interaction with Lindsay. And it's the light in her eyes when she turns to me that blinds me to her real intent. In an instant, I am hit with two streams of water and as I'm sputtering out my surprise there are peals of laughter, young and old, filling the air.

"You were right! She totally didn't see that coming!" My enthusiastic child squeals in delight as she looks at her partner in super soaker crime.

I can only manage the open mouth gaping that is mimicking a fish out of water as the pair trots off to join a trio of children, two boys and a girl, who have wandered over to us, drawn no doubt by the extra pair of soakers that have been my pair's backup pieces. I watch the group as Sara assists in rules of engagement for the next water battle, pairing them into teams of one boy and girl each. The group fills the reservoirs of the toys and then with their giggles of anticipation filling the air, Sara lifts a hand.

"When I count to three, the game is on. First team to be out of ammo will admit defeat." She smiles at the quartet. "One…. Two…." A big grin spreads across her features. "Three!" She calls out and the battle begins.

The children are enthusiastic in their play and before too long, Lindsay and her partner have lost the battle. More giggles fill the air as they talk among themselves and share the joy of an afternoon at the lake.

Sara wonders back to join me and sits her soaked self down beside me. "That was fun!" 

"It certainly looked like it." I grin back at her, "even if there was a casualty prior to that battle." I lean over and bump her shoulder with mine. "Looks like you and Lindsay are having a good time."

"We are. And thank you again for inviting me along for the fun." She replies as she looks at me with a grin on her face.

"You're welcome." I want so badly to kiss her right now, but have to restrain myself in front of my daughter. I have yet to discuss things with Lindsay and I don't think she's quite ready to hear about my relationship with Sara.

"You know, it's ok that she doesn't know just yet." The words are softly spoken as she runs a hand over my shoulder.

I lean in to the touch for a moment, thankful that she is so understanding of the situation. Our relationship is still so new to me that I have barely had a chance to analyze everything that has happened so far. But I know that I want to continue with things at whatever pace they happen to go. 

"Hey, when's the last time you had a layer of sunscreen applied?" I think of her skin that is as pale as my own. "I'm good at playing nurse to a sunburned partner, but if it's all the same to you, I think I would rather skip that portion of tonight's possible entertainment."

"It might do some good to slather on another coat." She stands and waves at Lindsay to come back to us. 

The trio has had a mom come over to reclaim them with shouts of thank you to us as they head back towards their picnic table. Lindsay is towing all the weaponry behind her as she splashes through the water.

"Mom! That was so much fun! But I'm kinda hungry now. Can we eat yet?"

I smile at her. "Actually, sweetie, I was just going to suggest that we do just that along with another round of sun block for us all."

"All right." She looks up at Sara. "Can you give me a hand, please?" 

"Certainly," she says with a smile and retrieves the super soakers as we head toward our table and the refreshments that await us there.

^ SARA ^

The car is quiet as we begin our trek home since Lindsay passed out before we even hit the exit of the park. She played hard today with the trio of kids who joined us for the water battle before lunch, and then afterwards, playing Frisbee, tag, and just running around like crazy.

Glancing over at Cath, I notice that I'm not the only one sporting a slightly reddened nose and shoulders despite the multitude of times that we applied sun screen. "It looks like you may get to play nurse after all."

She smiles sweetly at me, "True, we do have a bit of a burn. However, if we weren't so mindful of reapplication, it might be a totally different story." She turns to me and runs a hand down my arm. "I am amazed at how well today went."

"Same here. Lindsay is able to make friends so quickly and she had such a fun time today." I glance at the rear view mirror to see her sleeping form curled up in the seat. "I hope we get the chance to do something like this again."

"We do try to go out and explore different areas, although she does like the Mirage for all the animals, especially the dolphins." Her hand slips into mine and it's good to have that connection with her. "I have to say, I don't think I've ever seen you this relaxed. And there's this crazy little thing that I kept seeing today and I wasn't totally sure what it was."

I turn to look at her, "Oh, and what might that be?"

"It was an expression that I don't think I've seen much in the past, but especially not with the light that so filled your eyes."

My response is to smile.

"See? There it is again!" Her fingers tighten slightly. "I had a feeling that there was a smile that would reach your eyes one day. But I didn't think it would be because you were out with me and my daughter, in the scorching heat of the sun, shooting super soakers, and finally giving me a good dunking in the lake."

"Well, the dunking in the lake had to happen." I laugh and lean closer to her to whisper, "How else was I going to be able to cool both of us down, and not just from the heat of the day?" I keep an eye on her response as well as the road stretching out before us.

My little redhead begins to blush, making her face glow a deeper shade of red than her slight sunburn. "That's not… I mean…" She stammers as she tries to find a response.

"I know." I lift our joined hands and place a kiss on hers. "Just enjoy every moment that we have; even if we have to behave in front of others."

"Especially at work right now," is her quiet response.

"I don't know if we have to worry about it, but I understand that we need to keep a lid on things for a bit while we're around the boys." 

"Can I ask you something?"


"When you were in San Francisco, did you… Well, were you with anyone there?"

"I was for a little bit, but she wasn't someone I worked with and it really didn't work out with us because I'd get called to scenes in the middle of the night. I would get too focused on the job and she couldn't take the fact that I dealt with dead bodies all the time." I shrug. "Some people can handle what we do, and others? They would much rather not have to think about the cruel side of humanity that we stare at every day." I pause to take a breath. "That's why I'm not surprised that we don't have an outside relationship with someone who isn't part of the public safety departments. Have you ever noticed how many couples that we know of are people involved in the saving of humanity? Cops dating EMTs, firefighters dating ER docs, people get together with others that understand the depths of their professions more than the average person."

She's just watching me as I philosophize about the connections we make as humans and how those of us involved in "dangerous" professions hook up with others in the same types of fields. "Sorry, it's just something that I've noticed and have been thinking a lot on the last few weeks."

"It's ok. It makes a lot of sense and I guess I've never looked at it from that angle before." She stares out her window for a few moments as she processes the information. "I can definitely say that when I'm called in on a night off, that you're going to be right there with me and I won't have to explain why the extravagant dinner that was planned will have to be cancelled."

"As if my collection of frozen dinners is ever extravagant," I laugh. "And if we have to take a rain check on a date, there won't be any jealousy because the job called either one of us away."

"How right you are." Cath smiles in agreement and we then fall in to silence as we just enjoy the scenery on the drive back to the city we call home.

* * *  * * * * * 
> GIL <

My team is assembled once again in front of me for a catch-up meeting to see where we stand on evidence from our cases over the last two weeks. We've caught a break and not had too many new cases added to our current workload. However, it feels like the calm before a storm and I want to get the niggling little details of old cases out of the way before something new rears its head and sends us into overdrive again.

I glance around at my team and notice how everyone is seated. Nick and Warrick are bored and doodling on their note pads; Catherine is sitting back as if she doesn't have a care in the world, and Sara? Well, I think this is the first time that I have not seen her sitting like a wild bird wanting to break out of the cage and DO something. This is a side to her that I've not had the pleasure of seeing much at all; either here or in San Fran.

Both of the ladies on my watch are sporting light sunburns on their noses, smiles on their faces, and I glance curiously at them. Ever since that night at the ravine, there's been a change in both of them. The biggest change however, comes in the form of Sara's behavior. She actually didn't come in for overtime this week and took her days off without complaining that there were things that needed to be done and taken care of. I've actually seen her smiling when I've caught her alone, and I have to wonder who or what is new in her life to make her calm down a notch. Although I have a feeling that the woman seated next to her has something to do with it. That night she took Catherine for a ride on the Harley seems to have been the catalyst for this change in behavior.

It bears further investigation, but that will have to wait until later. Perhaps I can catch her later and have a conversation with her. But for now, it's time to get this meeting started.

^ SARA ^

A knock at my office door draws my attention away from           the computer screen where comparisons of the trace fibers I've been working on are displayed. Gil is in my doorway with an inquisitive look on his face.

"How's it going, Sara?"

"Not bad." I wave him in and point to the lone chair in the room that doesn't have books stacked on it at the moment. I have a feeling that this isn't going to be a meeting to deal with work topics when he shuts the door behind him. "What's up?"

He takes his time moving to the chair before taking a seat and folding his hands together in his lap. He's deep in thought and I know that look on his face means he's going to be delving in to an area that he's not comfortable asking about but needs to do so anyway. "I was just curious to know how things are going for you."

"Other than the fact that I'm frustrated because we haven't gotten anywhere yet with the Luxor vic or the case of the kittens, not too bad." I shift in my chair as his gaze doesn't shift and the information that he wants has nothing to do with my case load. I begin to fiddle with a pen and can't still my nervous energy.

"It can be frustrating when the evidence doesn't seem to add up or lead to new clues." He glances at his hands before looking back at me. "But I know where you're at with the cases. What I don't know is how you're doing in your personal life." He raises a hand to prevent me from making a comment. "I know, your personal life is your own, but I've noticed a change in you lately and I just want to check in with what's going on."

It's my turn to stare at my hands as the pen falls from my fingers and my heart rate speeds up a notch. I have never been able to hide things from him very well and I know he only asks because he is aware of my sometimes obsessive compulsive habits.

"Sara." He speaks softly as he leans closer to my desk. "Is there something I need to know about?"

My gaze flickers around to look at anything besides his face, before returning to my hands before me. "I'm not sure I know what you're asking about."

"Sara, please. I know that there's something going on. When you didn't stay for overtime, when you didn't actually complain about taking your regularly scheduled days off this week, and when you sat in staff and didn't have the normal ‘let's get this over with so I can get back to work' vibe going on." He pauses to take a breath and then continues in a softer tone, "I just want to know if there's something personal going on and that it isn't affecting you adversely."

I blow out a breath and run a hand through my hair before tucking a strand behind my ear. "If I'm going to answer what, I need to know that what I say in this office stays in this office."

He takes a moment to ponder that before nodding his agreement.

"Yes, there's been a change to my personal situation. No, I don't foresee it affecting my job performance. However, the fact that you're bringing it up means that you think it will." I lift my eyes to meet his directly. "I can assure you that my job performance will not change."

"I'm sure that you will continue to do your job in the manner that I've come to expect from you." He leans back in his chair. "However, if anything should happen between you and Catherine and there is a falling out, I am not sure the department could handle the loss of either of you."

I am too stunned to say anything in response, and the silence is damning.

"Sara, who you date and what gender they are is not an issue for me. The only thing that I'm concerned about is making sure that things don't get out of hand here at work and that you two are not treated in a negative way by any person that works in this building. I respect both of you. I consider myself lucky that I have both of you on my team and that you're able to work together so well. Where one of you has a weakness the other is there to help out." He pauses and makes sure to catch my eye before he continues. "I know it isn't easy to find someone to share downtime with. And that those of us in this particular field will either be alone for the majority of the time we work it, or find someone who can share the understanding of what the job does to us."

I am amazed that his thoughts are following the same path that Cath's and mine did on the way home from the lake. But there is something else that is niggling at my brain. "How did you know?" I blurt out before censoring the thought.

"It started the night you arrived at the scene dressed to kick ass and take names." 

"That's not my ass-kicking-taking-names get up and certainly not why I wear that outfit." I stammer out before I can make my mouth realize that some thoughts should stay in my head.

"It's your going out on the hunt for what might entertain you for a night outfit." 

I feel my face heating up and turning an incredible shade of red as he continues on and I have to look away from his earnest expression.

"It may have come as a surprise to me at first, but after seeing the interaction between you and Catherine when you headed out to lunch and how you both were the morning you two were late, it helped to put a few things in to perspective." 

"Like what?" I manage to squeak out.

"I would never want to assume about your personal life, but you have to admit that we've never heard you talk about a male companion, seen you go out with anyone that you wanted to acknowledge should you run into one of us while you're out for an evening, and I've seen you brush off the advances from many a male who thinks you're attractive. Catherine is a little more subtle and has a daughter to think of and will not bring just anyone in to their lives without thought for the consequences."

There are times when Gil's amazing analytical abilities and attention to detail serve us well, but good grief, to have that focused on me and my personal life? Can I just sink in to the floor and disappear now? 

"I'm not trying to embarrass you or make you think that you're in trouble, Sara. I had an inkling that something was up and wanted to speak with you. You two do make a good pair, both as colleagues, and I am going to hazard a guess that you're learning that you make a good pair personally."

This is far from the reaction I would have expected from Grissom and as his words sink in to my brain, I realize that he's saying he's ok with Cath and me exploring a relationship. "So, as long as it doesn't affect our performance here at work, you're not upset at confirming what you've suspected?" I take a breath and hold it, awaiting his response.

"Exactly," he responds and I let my breath out. "I'll keep it to myself; it's up to you two if you want to share it with the others." He stands from his chair and heads to the door. "Make it worth it, Sara. And by the way, it's good to see you smiling and taking time to enjoy yourself." He says with a smile as he exits my office.

I can only sit and stare at the doorway after he exits and replay the conversation in my head. He knows and isn't telling us to stop, that it wouldn't be a good idea for us to pursue a relationship, or that he has an issue with employees of his being involved in a lesbian relationship. I knew he was open-minded about things, but I am still stunned by his approval of the relationship. Just when you think you've got things figured out in life, the universe sends you a curveball to keep you on your toes.