INTO THE SUN

Part 2

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An hour later, with breakfast eaten and Lindsay and Nancy on their way to school, Sara found herself alone in the kitchen after Catherine had begrudgingly agreed to retire to the bedroom for a nap. The older woman hadn’t really put up much of a fight, convincing Sara that her lover still felt the effects of her concussion and needed to take it easy the rest of the day.

With the last dish placed in the dishwasher, Sara decided to phone Grissom and give the guys an update on Catherine’s condition and ask for tonight off. She hated asking for more time off, but there was no way she would leave Catherine alone. She knew Nancy would stay with her if asked, but Sara needed to be near her right now. An overwhelming guilt dictated her thoughts, even though she knew it was absurd to think she could be with Catherine every second of every day.

Before Sara could ring Grissom, her cell phone chirped. “Sidle,” she answered out of habit.

“Sara, it’s Grissom. How is Catherine this morning?” He asked in a soft voice. He had waited all night to call them, not wanting to chance waking Catherine and incurring the brunette’s wrath for interrupting Catherine’s much needed rest.

“She was able to sleep some last night, but she still has a miserable headache.” Sara absently rubbed her temple with her free hand, weariness evident in her voice.

“That’s good.” He winced at his poor choice of words and his inability to connect with people on any level other than work and science. “Well, not the headache part, but that she could...”

“Grissom? You’re rambling.”

A long, silent pause hung thick between the two as Grissom attempted to organize his thoughts and change his angle of questioning. “You sound tired. How are you?” He hesitantly asked.

Sara was so closed and unapproachable at the best of times, he hoped she knew his concern was based on years of friendship and not just as her supervisor. It was generally acceptable to tease and joke around with the brunette, but her feelings were usually not open for discussion. He had hoped Catherine’s influence would have changed her, and to some extent it had, but she still was reticent to include anyone other than Catherine into her most private sanctuary.

Sara held her breath and contemplated her answer. Finally, after an awkward pause, she decided to truthfully answer his question. The distance between the wireless connection and Grissom’s inquisitiveness added a false sense of security and the knowledge that he couldn’t actually gauge a physical response to her reactions bolstered her nerve. She had learned very early in life, and at the heavy hands of her parents, that it was wrong to admit any type of weakness, but she was trying to overcome old habits, hard as they were to break.

“I...I was afraid, Grissom. She is...” Her voice faltered. “Catherine is everything to me and I don’t know how I would survive without her,” she whispered, the confession almost involuntarily uttered between dry lips.

Cursing his hearing loss, Grissom strained to hear the small voice on the other end of the phone. He was surprised at her confession, but proud of his young friend’s ability to admit her fears. “Don’t sell yourself short, Sara. You are stronger than you know.”

“I know that I would die without Catherine.” The brunette’s voice was thick with emotion, the only tell tale sign that she was close to breaking.

“Sara...”

“If this is supposed to make me feel better, you’re doing a lousy job.” The words were biting, but the inflection told another story. Sara needed to change the subject, her friend was getting way too close for her comfort. “You know me, Mister Sensitive.” Grissom laughed nervously, effectively changing the mood and the subject in one fell swoop. He really needed to invest in a ‘Communication for Dummies’ book in the near future.

“I thought that was my line?” She teased back, grateful for his thoughtfulness.

A companionable silence filled the air until Grissom cleared his throat. “Sara, I don’t want to see you anywhere near work tonight.” When she offered no resistence, he knew that he had made the right decision.

“Thanks, Gris. From both of us.”

“No thanks are necessary, just take care of Catherine. I’ll talk with you later.” He didn’t wait for her response and severed the connection before Sara had a chance to change her mind. She hadn’t asked about the suspect in Catherine’s assault and he wasn’t about to offer. He could only hope Warrick would solve the case before Sara returned to work.

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A slow, steady tickling teased her from a deep slumber as blonde hair fluttered with each breath. Catherine had turned in her sleep and was now draped across the brunette’s warm body with her face resting on Sara’s broad shoulder. Fine strands of blonde hair softly caressed the skin under Sara’s nose prompting the younger woman to run her fingers through her lover’s hair as she inhaled the unique smell of her bed partner.

Brown eyes slowly closed as she relished the experience of waking up next to the woman she loved more than life itself. How Grissom thought she could survive without Catherine was utterly lost on her. Simply put, Catherine and by extension Lindsay, were her life. Her reason for being. In less than three years her life had been turned upside down by the two blonde Willows women. She marveled at the ease of her transition from introverted workaholic who shied away from any form of human contact to an outgoing family oriented woman who couldn’t wait to leave work just to spend time with her girls.

“I can smell your brain working overtime, Sara Sidle.” Catherine mumbled into her soft chest and then turned expressive blue eyes towards her.

“Just thinking,” Sara wrapped both arms around the smaller woman.

“Uh huh,” the blonde chuckled. “That’s what I meant.” She lifted her head and planted a kiss on soft lips, noticing the crinkled forehead Sara usually reserved for work. “It’s too damn early for that look, baby.” She ran her fingertips over the ridge, smoothing the worry lines. “That’s better.” She leaned closer and kissed Sara on the forehead and then shifted her smaller body until she found a more comfortable position sprawled across the right side of Sara’s body.

Catherine was content to lay in their warm bed safely ensconced in her lover’s arms and wait out the inevitable conversation that silently screamed to be heard. Sara’s silence spoke more than a roomful of loquacious old women. Experience told the older woman that Sara would open up when she was ready, and not a second before, but she wasn’t beyond speeding up the process. Delicate fingertips traced random patterns on Sara’s flat abdomen, each minute flex and pressure change caused the muscles to react to her intimate touch. Patience had never been one of Catherine’s stronger virtues and cheating to get what she wanted even less so, and make no mistake, she wanted Sara.

Sara caught the roaming fingers in a strong grip. “That’s so not fair, Cat,” she pouted.

“What isn’t?” The blonde innocently asked even as her other hand crept under Sara’s shirt.

“You’re distracting me,” Sara complained and then moaned as a hand reached her bare breast and began to knead the soft flesh.

“Is that a problem?” Catherine teased, the heavy weight of her breast molded perfectly to her touch and filled her hand.

“Problem?” Sara was quickly losing the ability of thought as her brain functions moved south for a momentary stop on her breasts as Catherine expertly massaged her nipples into rock hard peaks and then continued down to settle between her legs.

“My method of distraction.” She answered and slipped her hand out of Sara’s grasp and moved so she was laying on top of her. “This has to go,” Catherine said as she eased the shirt over Sara’s head and latched onto her right breast and sucked the stiff nipple into her mouth while she continued to fondle her other breast.

“Fuck, Catherine!" The warmth and moisture of her lover’s mouth and tongue on her sensitive nipple pleasantly surprised her.

The blonde moaned into her soft flesh as she tongued the tip of first one nipple and then the other, trailing wet kisses back and forth between the two stiff peaks. With her hands now free to roam, she wasted no time by dragging her fingernails down Sara’s torso to her waist taking special care to hit every sensitive spot on the way.

Sara grabbed her hand, stilling the fingers sliding under her panties. “Catherine, we can’t,” she panted.

“No...I can’t,” she corrected her lover. “You, on the other hand, have no such restriction.” Not waiting for a reply, the blonde once again fondled her breasts and painted wet kisses all over her abdomen. Hooded blue eyes looked up at the brunette, seeking permission.

Sara lifted her hips and deftly removed her soaked panties. She never could resist that sultry, sexy look.

Catherine smiled at her eager cooperation and shifted to kneel between her lover’s parted legs. She ran her fingers through the slick heat and brought them to her mouth where she eagerly sucked the moisture, all the while keeping her now darkened blue eyes trained on Sara. Going down on her would cause too much pressure and increase the steady throbbing in her head, but she wasn’t going to be denied a taste of her delicious lover.

“Oh, god!" The moan rumbled low in Sara’s throat. She loved to watch Catherine make love to her. She hadn’t been so turned on in awhile. Perhaps it was the thought of doing something forbidden, not that anyone would catch them, or maybe the fact that Catherine was so willing to take her without reciprocation. No, not the first time for that either. She closed her eyes, forehead furrowed. She couldn’t quite put...

“Sara!" Catherine growled. “Look at me.”

Brown eyes flew open at Catherine’s command.

“Stop thinking and just feel,” she said in a softer tone.

Sara gave her a contrite look before smirking and thrusting her hips towards the blonde. “I’m not feeling anything yet,” the brunette teased.

“Really?” The older woman flicked a pink tongue over her index finger and then it disappeared into her mouth as she sucked it clean. When she finished, she pulled her finger out with an exaggerated flourish. “Did ya feel that, honey?”

The brunette groaned. “Oh, hell yeah.” She reached for Catherine who playfully arched away from her. “Please, baby. I want you,” she begged. Even as she voiced her need, she knew she shouldn’t. Catherine was supposed to take it easy and not exert herself, but all rational thought flew out the window when Catherine touched her.

Giving a predatory smile, slender fingers slid between muscular thighs as Catherine worked one finger into her lover. Slowly, she pulled out and immediately pushed the wet digit back in, harder and deeper each time.

Sara moaned in her pleasure, savoring the feeling of Catherine inside of her. “Oh, Cat...you feel so good.”

Once Catherine was positive she had Sara’s total attention, she removed her finger and began a back and forth motion starting from her opening and then ending at the hard bundle of nerves. She coated her fingers and palm and then painted her wife’s nipples with the sticky juice, pleased that Sara had relaxed and accepted the pleasure she offered.

Sara’s moans grew louder and more frequent, her dark gaze never wavering as she watched Catherine make love to her. Watched as she greedily lapped at the moisture clinging to erect nipples. Watched as the blonde beauty straddled her hips. Watched as she plunged three fingers inside of her and began to rock in a rhythm as old as time, but in a way known only to them. Finally, unable to keep her eyes open any longer, she shuddered and exploded onto Catherine’s hand as she came with her lover’s name on her lips.

“C-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E!!" Both hands were buried in blonde hair, holding her lover to her chest. She reached the peak of her orgasm thrusting hard into Catherine’s hand and driving hips, riding the waves of pleasure as she crashed back to herself.

Inordinately pleased with herself, the blonde slid off of Sara’s body slick with sweat and come. She placed a kiss on her lover’s smiling lips. “You okay, baby?”

She nodded in assent, sure that her voice was lost somewhere between her toes and throat. With eyes still closed and a satisfied grin plastered to her face, she groaned her approval.

Laughing, Catherine pressed her body tightly to her side. “That good, huh?”

One eye popped open. “You are amazing. Thank you, honey.” As soon as Catherine was cleared by the doctor, Sara would properly thank her. Many times, in many positions. She grinned at the lascivious thoughts.

A soft slap on the arm brought the brunette back to the here and now. “What was that for?” Sara grumbled, rubbing the sting from her skin.

“For all the naughty thoughts running through that big brain of yours,” Catherine laughed at her indignant facial expression. “And I can’t wait to experience every single one of them,” the blonde added with a sexy laugh.

A brilliant smile graced the brunette’s face. “Gives you something to look forward to.” She said as she suggestively raised her eyebrows several times.

After a few minutes, Sara turned questioning eyes to her wife. “Are you feeling okay? I mean, I didn’t hurt you, did I?”

Blonde eyebrows and forehead furrowed in confusion. “Sara?”

“You know,” she mumbled, pointing to her bruised left eyebrow. “How’s your headache?”

“It’s still there, if that’s what you mean.” Catherine hated admitting her weakness, but promised herself she would not lie to Sara.

“I knew it,” she castigated herself. “I never should have...”

Catherine placed two fingers over her lips and shushed her. “I love watching you give yourself to me. That makes me feel so alive.” Catherine admitted. “You make me feel better. This,” she lightly touched her colorful bruise, “will heal and we will go on with our lives.” She grabbed Sara’s hand and hung on like it was her last life line. “Together, my love. Always.”

Sara raised their joined hands and kissed Catherine’s smooth skin. “I love you, Catherine.”

Blue eyes twinkled and smiled. “I love you, too.”

After several minutes, Catherine untangled her legs from longer ones and sat up in bed. A quick glance at the bedside clock revealed the lateness of the morning. She had been asleep for several hours. Her headache was getting better, but the persistent throb at her left temple grated on her nerves.

Sara grabbed her around the waist. “Where do you think you’re going?” And pulled her back down on top of her.

“I’ll make us something to eat.” Now that her stomach had settled, she realized how hungry she was. She hadn’t eaten much breakfast earlier with Lindsay and Nancy. Perhaps her blood sugar was low and she hoped that feeding her headache would lessen the pain.

“I don’t think so.” Sara reversed their positions until she had the blonde flat on her back while she straddled her thighs. “You wait here. I’ll make something.”

The brunette picked up Catherine’s robe and wrapped it around her slender body after momentarily inhaling her lover’s scent. If she couldn’t have her in bed, she wanted to be surrounded by her intoxicating smell.

Catherine laughed to herself watching the younger woman put on her robe. She had bought a beautiful white robe for Sara, but she had always insisted on wearing her’s instead.

When Sara was about to leave the room, Catherine addressed her wife. “Sara? When we’re finished, you are going to tell me what had you so preoccupied earlier before I jumped you.”

Big brown eyes shifted to inspect the floor at her bare feet. “Okay,” she agreed in a defeated voice.

She did want to talk, but giving voice to her feelings was something she still found difficult to do. She trusted Catherine implicitly, she knew she wouldn’t hurt her. She didn’t know why she was still hesitant to share parts of herself, she always felt better after talking with Catherine. Her wife had a way about her, not just with the weird mother mojo she had going with Lindsay, but she always knew how to make Sara feel loved.

Deep in thought, Sara moved about the kitchen washing and cutting up strawberries and pineapple. She reached for the coffee in the refrigerator and put it back on the shelf when she remembered the doctor’s caffeine restriction and grabbed the bottle of orange juice instead. She leaned against the kitchen counter with her arms folded across her chest as she waited for the muffins to toast.

She suspected that Catherine thought she was still upset over the attack. Slowly, that fear was diminishing, but it did make her very aware of what she had with Catherine and Lindsay. They made a wonderful family together, something she never would have imagined could happen to her and something she didn’t want to lose.

In a few days, they would celebrate their second wedding anniversary. Last year Catherine had expressed her desire to have a baby with her. Sara was not totally against the idea, but at the time she wasn’t ready for such a big step in their relatively new relationship and Catherine was content to give her the space she needed. Now, though, she began to rethink her decision. Perhaps it was time to broach the subject with Catherine.

The timer on the toaster rang causing the distracted brunette to jump and silently curse her jittery nerves. As Sara stretched her tall frame searching the upper cabinet for two plates, small hands gently caressed her slim hips and then encircled her waist. The brunette leaned back into the strong embrace, basking in the warmth and softness of her lover.

“You shouldn’t be out of bed,” Sara admonished, turning her head slightly and directed a stern look over her broad shoulder.

“Yeah, well I needed a change of venue. As much as I enjoyed,” she snaked her tongue out and licked her lips, “our time together, I can’t spend another second secluded in our room,” she pouted.

Sara groaned and turned in her arms, placing a kiss next to the dressing covering Catherine’s sutures. As much as she wanted to carry her into their bedroom and pick up where they had left off, Sara understood her wife’s restlessness. Neither woman did convalescence well.

“I’ll make a deal with you.” Sara pressed her body closer and whispered into her ear. “You get a reprieve from the bedroom if you promise to eat some breakfast and then lounge on the sofa with me.”

A blonde eyebrow disappeared, intrigue written all over her face. “I think I can manage that, Doctor Sidle.”

Sara smiled. “And if you’re a good girl, we may splurge and watch a movie,” she teased.

Stretching to her full height and then on her tiptoes, Catherine whispered in her ear, “I can be a very good girl.”

The soft, wispy breath played havoc with Sara’s libido and sent shivers down the brunette’s spine. “You are going to kill me, Cat.” She should have known better than to trade sexual innuendo with her sultry lover.

Laughter rumbled between the women. Catherine finally withdrew from their embrace and sashayed to the kitchen table, adding an exaggerated wiggle to her curvaceous hips. She chuckled when another groan reached her ears, her wife was so damned easy.

Once the breakfast was consumed the two women stretched out and cuddled together on the big sofa with Catherine’s back comfortably snuggled into Sara’s chest and wrapped in her strong arms. The position put enough distance between them to bolster the smaller woman’s nerve enough to ask the question most evident on her mind this morning. She had been afraid as to how Sara would react, but she really needed to know. And then there was the matter of what was bothering her silent lover earlier this morning. Catherine suspected that the two probably were connected in some fashion.

Catherine took a deep breath and forged ahead. “Have you spoken with Gil since we came home from the hospital?” She planned on asking simple questions, taking care to make it sound like more of a conversation than an interrogation.

“Yeah,” she absently replied, taking a deep breath, inhaling the lemon scent of Catherine’s shampoo. Sara pulled her lover closer, enjoying their intimate position. Slender fingers worked up and down her lover’s silky skin, making the fine hair on her arm stand on end and leaving goose bumps in their wake.

A soft nudge in the ribs broke Sara’s distraction. “Huh?” Her senses were on overload and she found it very difficult to concentrate with Catherine so soft and responsive under her fingertips.

“What did Gil have to say?” She prompted.

“Oh. He wanted to know how you were feeling.” The delicate stroking fingers never wavered, but her voice gained clarity as Sara tried to focus on the question. “And he gave me tonight off.”

“Remind me to call later and thank him.” Sara’s mesmerizing touch was going to put her to sleep. Catherine shifted slightly and placed her hand over the larger one tracing a path up her arm. She clasped their hands and kissed the palm of Sara’s hand.

The niggling fear of being alone tonight disipated with the knowledge of having her wife at her side for another night. She would have to invite Grissom over for dinner and a movie, although the thought of watching ‘A Bug’s Life’ with him again was a bit disconcerting. He knew the movie inside and out and he and Lindsay certainly had enjoyed taking turns reciting the dialogue by verbatim. They were more entertaining than the movie.

It still amazed her that Gil could be in a room full of people, but related to her seven year old daughter better than friends and colleagues.

Now for a tougher question. “What did he say about the investigation?” Catherine hesitantly asked.

“I forgot to ask.” Sara answered sheepishly.

Well now, not the answer Catherine had expected. Apparently her wife had more pressing matters on her mind, which was a very frightening thought. What had Sara so discombobulated if not the assault? Only one way to find out. “Baby? You gonna tell me what’s been bothering you?”

Sara sighed heavily, blowing warm air across the older woman’s neck and sent blonde hair fluttering against her skin. “It’s nothing bad. Really. It’s not that you were hurt per se, but the fact that I could have lost what I have with you and Lindsay.” She mentally kicked herself. As usual, she was totally inept at articulating her feelings.

“I’ve been so afraid of fucking up.” Sara swallowed and fought hard against the tears that threatened to fall.

Catherine turned over and faced her wife. She hadn’t seen Sara so vulnerable in long time, excluding yesterday’s stressful events.

“Fucking up and ruining what we have together...” She tried to continue, but Catherine interrupted her.

“Shh.” Catherine placed two fingers on Sara’s trembling lips. “I don’t ever want to hear you say that again. You are our life, Sara.” Unshed tears highlighted blue eyes. “Mine and Lindsay’s.”

“I’ve been afraid to admit that I’m a part of a family, a real family. One that doesn’t scream and hurt each other.”

“Sara...”

The brunette mimicked Catherine’s earlier action and quieted her wife with fingers pressed to her lips. “I suck at this.” A nervous laugh caught in her throat. “I was so intent on not becoming my parents that I couldn’t see that I had already gone way beyond them. I am already part of a loving family, and I almost lost it before I saw the truth.”

Sara groaned at the confused look on Catherine’s face, she was clearly not following her disjointed train of thought. “What I’m trying to say is.” She cupped the blonde’s cheek, caressing the soft skin with her thumb. “I know it’s been awhile since we’ve talked about it, but do you still want a baby?” Sara held her breath, waiting for Catherine’s reaction.

To say that the blonde was stunned by the question was an understatement. Catherine swallowed hard and blinked back several tears. “Are you asking what I think you’re asking?”

Sara nodded her head. “Do you want to make a baby with me?”

“Oh my god! You’re serious?” Catherine shouted exuberantly.

Another head nod, this time punctuated with a wide gap-toothed smile.

“Yes Yes, I want so much to have a baby with you.” She closed the small gap between them and took possession of her lover’s mouth. Incredibly soft lips melted together as Catherine worked her arms around broad shoulders and pulled the brunette closer until it was difficult to tell where one body began and the other ended.

Once the fiery kiss ended Catherine snuggled deeper into her wife’s chest. “I love you.” The words muffled against the warmth of her lover’s chest. A comfortable silence surrounded the two women, each lost in their own thoughts.

Catherine wondered why Sara had such a change in heart. She knew the real reason behind the younger woman’s reticence to have children, even if Sara never fully explained her thoughts on the subject. Sure, Sara had admitted she was afraid of becoming a statistic, the abused turning into the abuser. Catherine had tried to dispel her fears, but deep down she knew Sara mostly feared her genes would only propagate the abusive tendencies of the Sidle DNA.

Not one to back down or mince words, Catherine forged ahead. Tipping her head back, she reached up and brushed an errant strand of brown hair behind Sara’s ear. “What changed your mind? I don’t want you to make this decision if it’s because of what happened to me.” She hoped Sara hadn’t made a rash decision because she was attacked and easily could have been killed.

“No, Catherine. Nothing changed my mind. I didn’t think I was capable of taking care of a family, let alone a newborn.” Partly the truth, she hoped it would be enough to appease her inquisitive lover.

“Sara,” the blonde said in a very stern voice, one that let her wife know she was not pleased with the way she put herself down. “You are great with Lindsay. I thought you were comfortable here with us.”

Busted.

The brunette furrowed her brow. “I am.” She groaned her frustration. “It’s just...I...I keep waiting for something to trigger my parent’s deviant behavior in me. I’ve been so happy with you and Lindsay and it scares me to think that this monster may come out of hiding some day and destroy our happy family.”

Anger flashed behind a sea of blue. “Don’t.” The incensed blonde pushed against Sara’s chest trying to extricate herself from the taller woman.

Before she could roll off of the sofa, Sara grabbed her smaller wrists and halted the backward momentum, effectively placing a wall of hands between the women. Resigned to the fact that she was no match in strength to her lover, blue eyes closed as she silently counted to ten. She took a deep breath and slowly exhaled through her nose, willing her temper to abate.

Sara recognized her error too late, but since she was unable to turn back time and correct her poor choice of words, she quietly waited for the blonde to reign in her temper and reprimand her once again for putting herself down. Low self esteem had rarely raised its ugly head anymore since Sara had found strength and fortitude within her being, bolstered by the unconditional love of her very attentive and supportive wife, but when it did, Sara could count on the fiery blonde to set her straight.

When Catherine finally opened her eyes, she was met by the sight of an extremely repentant Sara.

Big brown eyes cast to the side, averting her gaze to anywhere but the blonde, the muscles in her thighs twitched with an overwhelming desire to flee, counterbalanced by a need to stay and convey her remorse at disappointing Catherine.

Sara held her breath and waited for the inevitable fallout.

“Sara? Please look at me,” Catherine pleaded.

Unable to deny her wife, brown eyes turned and held the azure gaze which brimmed with an amalgam of anger, hurt, and, most of all, love.

“You know I hate when you talk about yourself that way. You are not your parents. Not now, not tomorrow, and not a hundred years from now.” She gazed deeper into the dark abyss, the window to Sara’s soul. “Never, you will never be them.”

“How can you say that?” The brunette asked in a whisper.

“If I thought for one minute, one second, that you were capable of inflicting that kind of pain, I would have never let you near my daughter.”

She was stunned speechless. She had been unconditionally accepted into Catherine’s life and totally trusted with Lindsay. That should have indicated to Sara exactly how much blind faith Catherine had entrusted to her. If Catherine was content, then why not Sara herself?

Sara mentally slapped her forehead and groaned deep in her throat. She had been a complete idiot. “You’re right, Catherine. Forgive me?” Sara hated when her insecurities flared, and was grateful that she had Catherine to kick her in the ass when she needed it.

“Baby, I know where this fear is coming from. If it’s going to bother you too much, I’d rather we didn’t go through with having a baby.” Catherine tried to keep the disappointment out of her voice.

Brown eyes widened in shock. “No, that’s not what I want.” Suddenly, she wondered if Catherine had changed her mind entirely. “Do you?”

“I want what will make us both happy.”

“I do want this. Please tell me I haven’t ruined everything.”

A blonde eyebrow raised in disapproval. “You haven’t ruined anything, Sara.” She punctuated the sentiment with a kiss. “Now if we can move beyond the self-flagellation, I would like to cuddle with my wife.”

They could talk about the details later. Right now, Catherine wanted to fall asleep in her lover’s arms. The throbbing in her temple was back with a vengeance, but she was too comfortable to move and take more Tylenol to ease the constant headache. Since sleep had worked in the past, she slowly gave in to her body’s need to heal. Right before she slipped into slumber, she heard Sara’s muffled voice.

“Does this mean Grissom’s coming over for dinner?”

A head nod confirmed her fear.

“Promise me you’ll tell him not to quote Princess Atta. I can’t take that again, no matter how much Lindsay laughs at his impersonation.” The tall brunette groaned at the thought.

“He’s not that bad,” Catherine countered. Maybe if she could convinced her lover, she would believe it herself.

“Yeah, I’ll remind you you said that after we’ve watched that damn bug movie again for the umpteenth time.”

A huge, jaw cracking yawn swallowed Catherine’s retort, her heavy eyelids drooped and she snuggled deeper into Sara’s warm body.

“Go to sleep, baby. I’ll be here when you wake up.” Sara absently played with the fine hair at the nape of her wife’s neck, while a slow, steady breathing pattern indicated that the blonde had finally fallen asleep. She knew she had upset Catherine and by her pasty complexion, could tell that the petite blonde’s headache was back. Sara regretted being the cause of her wife’s pain and vowed to make it up to her.

The tall brunette leaned into the soft body and tenderly placed a kiss on the top of her head. She had a family, a real family, and nothing would ever come between them. “I don’t deserve you, baby, but I’m never letting you go. You have me forever,” she promised as she sunk deeper into the sofa cushion and soon followed her wife into a restful sleep.

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The front door slammed and a small blonde whirlwind blew through the Willows-Sidle household leaving a trail of shoes, sweater, and backpack in her wake. “MOM? SARA?” She screamed at the top of her voice.

“Lindsay! Not so loud. Your mom and Sara are probably sleeping,” Nancy admonished her exuberant niece, dodging the discarded flying objects in her path.

The series of noises jerked Sara awake, the low groan into her chest signaled that her wife had also joined the living. “Hurricane Lindsay is home.” Sara’s eyes sparkled with laughter. “You ready for the munchkin, or do I need to run interference for awhile?”

Catherine’s headache had receded for the time being and she missed her little girl. “I’ll be fine, honey. Just need to wake up.” She raised her arms above her head and stretched her slender frame.

Her bed partner, not one to miss a free ogling, watched as Catherine’s top rode high above her stomach and stopped just below the curve of her beautiful breasts. One final stretch and the material slid higher exposing the smooth skin of her left breast, the nipple instantly standing at attention due to the temperature change.

Dark eyes eagerly watched the migration of her wife’s top and silently pleaded for more tender flesh to be revealed. Another yell from down the hall, but much closer than the first, reached the drooling brunette.

She reached for Catherine’s chest and sighed. “Better put those away, baby. Lindsay will be here any second now.”

Catherine’s smaller hands came to rest on Sara’s and then together they pulled the soft material over her exposed skin. Out of sight, out of mind. Theoretically easier said than done.

Lindsay ran through the hallway and into the livingroom intending to reach her parent’s bedroom at breakneck speed. The little girl slid to a stop when she noticed both women lounging on the sofa. In three quick strides, the youngest Willows launched herself onto the overstuffed sofa, making sure to land on top of the brunette instead of her injured mom.

“Hey, munchkin. How was school?” Sara asked as she quickly tried to sit up and take all of Lindsay’s weight and flailing extremities.

“Okay, I guess.” A thoughtful look replaced her normal, carefree countenance. “We learned to multiple by five today. Do you know what five times four is?” Before the math genius could offer an answer, Lindsay blurted it out for her. “It’s twenty. Math is fun!" The youngest Willows declared, sporting a proud grin.

“You’re right, math is fun,” Sara agreed looking smugly at Catherine, both of their grins matching Lindsay’s. Once she had extracted her taller frame away from the older Willows, she planted her barefeet on the carpet and pulled Lindsay onto her lap and wrapped her into a huge bearhug, kissing the little blonde on her cheek. “How’d you get so smart?”

Lindsay squirmed in the embrace, embarrassed at her other mother’s show of affection. She thought she was too old for all that mushy stuff, but allowed the kisses and hugs anyway. It would only get worse once her mother joined in the action.

True to form, two more arms appeared out of nowhere as Catherine snaked around both her girls and enveloped them in a bone-crushing embrace, lips nondiscriminatory as she kissed her daughter and lover on their rosy cheeks with equal fervor.

“MOM!" Lindsay squealed, struggling to free herself from the tangle of limbs. Any other objections were obscured in fits of laughter as her mother tickled her ribs.

“Linds!” Catherine mocked her little girl as she continued to wiggle in the adult’s grasp.

With one last kiss, Catherine withdrew her hold and leaned against the back of the sofa, intent on watching her little girl in the arms of her lover. She still marveled at and thanked her good fortune, she never thought she would find love and happiness after such a disastrous start earlier in her life. Eddie was never home and certainly had never taken the time to play around with Lindsay, he was always too caught up in his own shenanigans.

Giggling invaded Catherine’s daydreaming. Lindsay had wiggled and squirmed until she was flat on her back with Sara unmercifully tickling her everywhere.

Nancy leaned against the doorframe with her arms crossed over her chest, sporting a huge grin. She wished she had been as fortunate as her sister, but didn’t begrudge her. Catherine deserved to be happy and Sara had certainly made her happy.

Sara glanced over her shoulder without relinquishing control over the little one and addressed her wife. “You think she’s had enough?”

Before Catherine could verbalize an answer, Lindsay screamed. “YES! Yes, she’s had enough!” She giggled in between tickles, gasping for breath and twisting her smaller body away from teasing fingers.

With one last wiggle of her fingers, the tall brunette leaned back and watched the blonde ball of energy leap off of the sofa like she had been shot out of a canon and make a clean escape, laughing all the way as she ran out of the room.

Once Lindsay had vacated the spot, Catherine leaned into Sara, resting her head on the brunette’s shoulder with a contented sigh.

Sara wrapped her arm around the blonde and kissed her forehead. “You okay?”

“Mmmm.” She placed her left arm around Sara’s middle and hugged her tight. “I’m more than okay.”

Nancy cleared her throat. “Well, I hate to break up this Kodak moment, but I’ve got to go.”

“Oh, do you have to?” Sara whined.

Nancy laughed, “You sound just like Lindsay, and yes, I do.”

Blue eyes peeked from around blonde bangs. “You have a date.” Catherine grinned at her sister, flashing pearly white teeth.

Nancy rolled her eyes. “Yes.”

Must they go through the twenty question routine every time?

“That’s it, yes? Who is he? What does he do for a living? When do we meet him?” Catherine began the well practiced interrogation.

Apparently so.

“Slow down, Cath. It’s just our first date, not like I’m going to marry him.” Nancy crossed the living room and sat on the coffee table directly in front of her older sister. “Do me a favor?” She pleaded.

Vibrant blue eyes narrowed as Catherine studied the woman sitting across from her. When Nancy remained silent, the blonde hesitantly nodded her head in assent.

“Don’t have him checked out,” she stated with a hint of warning in her voice.

Catherine rolled her eyes towards the ceiling.

“Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about. You’ve done it in the past.”

Sara wisely held her tongue, no way in hell was she getting between them.

“I mean it, Catherine.” She pointed her finger at the indignant blonde. “No criminal database...” Nancy struggled with her words, “fingerprint... thingamajig.”

Sara couldn’t help herself and turned into Catherine, whispering in her ear. “Thingamajig?” A not so subtle nudge in the ribs was her only answer.

Acquiescing, Catherine raised fine-boned hands in a show of faith. “Alright, Nanc,” she reluctantly agreed. In a softer tone she added, “I only did that one time. You’re never going to let me live that down, are you?”

In a perfect Mr. Spock imitation, Nancy’s left eyebrow hiked high on her forehead, face devoid of all other emotion.

“Didn’t think so,” Catherine mumbled to no one in particular.

Nancy leaned over and kissed Catherine on the cheek. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning at the usual time.”

When they were alone again, Sara couldn’t contain a huge gapped-tooth smile. “You ran Nancy’s boyfriend through the criminal database...thingamajig?” She teased her wife. “You sneaky devil, you.”

“I have my moments,” the blonde playfully replied.

“Without a doubt,” Sara chuckled, agreeing wholeheartedly with her wife.

Lindsay walked into the room carrying a stack of books. “Sara, can you help me with my science homework?”

“Sure thing, sweetie. Why don’t you meet me in the kitchen where we’ll have more room to spread out on the table.”

“Okay,” Lindsay agreed and immediately made for the other room.

Warm hands roamed under the brunette’s shirt, mapping the soft terrain by memory. “Have I told you lately how much I love you?”

Sara laughed and kissed her nose. “Yep, all the time.” She shifted her hips so she was facing her wife. “And for the record, I love you, too. Very much.”

Catherine closed the small gap between them and cupping Sara’s face brushed her lips against her lover’s.

“Think that will last us until tomorrow?” Catherine’s follow up doctor appointment was early in the morning, and she hoped to get cleared for work, among other extracurricular activities.

“Need one more.” Sara opened her mouth and slid her tongue over Catherine’s lips inviting her to deepen the kiss.

Immediately complying, Catherine thrust her tongue into her lover’s mouth and just as she had mapped the contours of Sara’s body by memory, she methodically stroked and sucked the warmth and wetness the brunette offered.

Lindsay stood in the doorway, hand on hip, mimicking an eerily perfect imitation of her mother. “Are you two done yet?” She huffed. “Starving kid here in need of food and help with my homework.” She rolled her baby blues for added measure.

Luckily, the women were turned away from Lindsay and Sara’s back shielded the youngster from getting an eye full. She didn’t need to see her mother’s tongue buried deep down Sara’s throat.

Catherine laughed at her daughter, her impertinence forgiven for the time being. She had, after all, almost caught her mothers playing tonsil hockey. She made a mental note to be more careful around the girl or perhaps sew bells on her shoes.

Sara was the first to move and holding out her hand, pulled Catherine to her feet. The blonde closed her eyes at the sudden movement and fought off a wave of nausea as her mouth watered. Once blue eyes opened, she was meet with a very concerned dark gaze.

“Catherine?”

“Moved too fast.” The dizziness and nausea quickly subsided. “I’m okay now,” she smiled reassuringly.

Sara squeezed her hand and pulled her closer so that the blonde was directly facing the inquisitive eyes of her concerned wife. So far Catherine had admitted when she had felt bad. As Sara studied the vibrant blue she saw nothing but clarity, unlike yesterday when she looked dazed and out of sorts. Be that as it may, she had every intention of keeping a very close eye on her wife.

Quirking an eyebrow, the smaller woman asked, “Do I pass inspection?” She could understand Sara’s reaction, but that didn’t mean she liked being treated like an invalid. She hated feeling weak and out of control.

Conceding the point, Sara nodded. Admittedly, she could see a difference in her pallor. Pink rosy cheeks replaced sickly pasty white, and although the bruising was a deeper shade of purple, it hadn’t spread far beyond the small circumference surrounding the laceration and sutures.

“What’s for dinner? I’m starved,” Lindsay asked, oblivious to the silent perusal between the two older women.

“You can have an apple while Sara helps with your homework.” Came the expected reply from her mother as Catherine grabbed Sara around the waist and turned her towards the kitchen, a small push in the middle of her back propelled the brunette forward, effectively ending further comments on her health.

_____________________________________________________________


Warrick rubbed the sandpaper out of his tired eyes. He had refused to go home and had almost pulled a double in an effort to solve the case before either Sara or Catherine returned to work. His inspiration was two fold, he wanted to catch the bastard that had hurt his good friend, but he was also driven to end the investigation before either woman showed up and claimed the case as their own. He knew Grissom would ban them from the investigation and the backlash would not be pretty.

Gil Grissom walked by the trace lab and was surprised to see the tall black man hunched over the layout table. Warrick’s shift had ended hours ago and he should be home. With his interest piqued, the supervisor decided to get an update on Catherine’s case and then send the dedicated investigator home for some much needed rest.

Standing perpendicular to the door and totally engrossed in his work, Warrick didn’t notice the figure looming in the doorway until a shadow passed over his work space. He glanced up and winced at the unhappy expression on the older man’s face.

“Hey, Gris.” He sheepishly acknowledged the other man looking at him over his glasses.

“What have you found?” Grissom asked as he peered over the slumped shoulder of the taller man and spied a pair of brown pants, a white blouse, and blue jacket carefully laid out on the table. “These Catherine’s?”

“Yeah,” the younger man sighed. “I’ve just started to go over her clothes. She said the guy full-bodied her and I hope to get some transfer off of the material.” He gestured toward the microscope on the adjacent table. “Take a look at the denim fiber Catherine pulled from the cabinet her attacker hid in.”

Grissom perched his glasses on top of his head and leaned down to peer into the microscope, adjusting the focus to accommodate his aging vision.

“I found traces of partially hydrogenated soybean oil, beef fat, sugar, and potato starch.”

With a tilt of his head, Grissom cast a sideways glance to the other man. “Cooking grease.”

A head nod confirmed his deduction. “And Doc Robbins found pocked marks on the skin of the victim, especially on his hands and arms, coated in the same substance. So there’s a good chance the victim worked in a fast food joint.”

“And the grease was transferred to the perp’s clothing during the attack.”

“My thoughts exactly. If I can find the same substance on Catherine’s clothing, I can link the two attacks to the same perpetrator.”

“Good work, Warrick, but right now you need to go home.”

“You’re still here.” His answer came out a bit more forceful than he had intended and Warrick dipped his head and apologized. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to snap at you.”

A smirk formed on the older man’s face. “I’ve been home and back again.” Grissom retrieved his glasses and gave the lens a thorough polishing with the tail of his shirt.

Warrick jerked his arm up and groaned at his watch. Where had all the time gone? He knew he was into some serious overtime, but didn’t realize it was an hour before the start of his next scheduled shift.

“You’re not doing Catherine any good if you miss something because you’re too tired to concentrate,” Grissom admonished. “Don’t come back until tomorrow night.” The older man inspected his glasses and satisfied with the cleaning, slid them up the bridge of his nose.

“But Gris...”

“No. Everything will still be here.”

“But we’re already short staffed with Catherine and Sara out.” He tried to plead to Grissom’s sense of duty.

“There are only two unsolved cases at the moment. Sara’s on call if we get busy tonight.” Not that he would call her, but Warrick didn’t need to know that. Without waiting for a response, Grissom left the tired man to secure the evidence.

________________________________________________________________


With Lindsay finally tucked in and fast asleep, Sara turned her attention to the other blonde in her life. As difficult as it had been to get Lindsay off to bed, she knew Catherine would be considerably more challenging. The brunette refused to allow her previous lapse in judgement to cloud her resolve to abstain from Catherine’s intoxicatingly desirable siren song.

Sara had to admit that the movie and cuddling on the sofa earlier in the evening was most enjoyable and Catherine had tried her damnedest to cajole and tease her wife, but she definitely needed to put a halt on any future amorous intentions, which of course, was easier said than done. Well, at least until Catherine was cleared by the doctor tomorrow, then all bets were off.

The tall brunette quietly roamed the house turning off lights, locking the doors, and arming the security system. All too soon she reached the bedroom and if her earlier thoughts hadn’t been enough, the slender hand reaching for the Tylenol bottle on the bedside stand was more effective than a cold shower in the middle of a frigid snow storm. Sara sighed, conveying what exactly, relief or disappointment? With her resolve permanently steeled, Sara entered the bedroom.

“Hey, baby. Ready for bed?”

Startled by the husky voice, Catherine dropped a pill on the floor beside the big bed. “Jesus, Sara! You scared the shit out of me.” The blonde glared at the younger woman as she leaned over the mattress groping the carpet for the elusive pill.

“Let me get that for you.” Sara quickly reached her side and bent over to retrieve the white pill. She didn’t want Catherine to hurt herself, especially since she knew that her headache was back.

“Now I know where Lindsay gets her skulking ability.”

“I was not skulking,” the brunette sounded mildly irritated.

A blonde eyebrow disappeared in Catherine’s hair.

“It’s called stealth, and added to my charismatic charm, totally irresistible.” The smirking brunette wiggled her eyebrows suggestively and climbed into bed next to the blonde and pulled the comforter over both of them. “Well, it got me in your bed.”

“Is that so?” Catherine casually asked, downing the two white Tylenol pills with a sip of water.

“Yeah, I just walked across the room and voila,” she emphasized the word. “I’m in bed with you.” She smirked, very proud of herself.

“Smartass,” Catherine swatted her arm and the brunette fell on her side, laughing.

Brown eyes peeked from behind her tousled hair. “It’s my Je-ne-sais-quoi ” Still laughing, the brunette righted herself and leaned against the headboard.

“Your je-ne-sais...what?” Catherine teased back. She loved when the light-hearted side of her serious wife came out to play, wishing it did so more often.

“Oh, be quiet and get over here.” Sara pulled the smaller woman over until she was resting on her side with her head comfortably ensconced between the brunette’s chin and shoulder.

They shared the solitude together, quietly soaking in the love and strength each woman offered the other. They fit together like two peas in a pod, two lost souls who somehow found their way to each other. They were strong together, almost invincible, but when the pod was cracked or broken, each sought the other out to fill the void and feel whole once again.

Sara absently ran her fingers through soft blonde hair, twirling wisps of hair around her finger that refused to curl no matter how determined the action.

Contentment seeped into Catherine’s pores as she enjoyed the gentle scalp massage. She settled into the warmth the soft body offered, entwining their legs together and wrapped a possessive arm around a slender waist pulling the younger woman as close as possible without sharing the same skin. The brunette kissed the top of her lover’s head. “Think you can go to sleep now?”

Shaking her head no, Catherine placed a soft kiss just below the younger woman’s collar bone and then looked up into concerned brown eyes. “I just want to stay like this forever.” She sighed and laid her head on Sara’s shoulder.

Sara closed her eyes and tipped her head against the headboard of their big bed, one hand still buried in blonde hair, the other rhythmically soothing the soft skin of Catherine’s arm draped across her middle. She too wished they could stay like that forever, with the dark ugliness of the world shut out, only allowing the brightness of the good to shine through.

Being a realist teetering on the edge of negativism, Sara knew that the quiet moments she shared with her lover would have to suffice since the real world would come crashing in of its own volition. Shaking the bad thoughts from her mind, Sara concentrated on the slow, steady breathing pattern of her bedmate. Thinking that Catherine had finally succumbed and fallen into a deep sleep despite her earlier statement, Sara carefully maneuvered them away from the headboard until they were both resting on the soft mattress.

Just before Sara let sleep take her, she heard Catherine mumbling. When she didn’t respond, a blonde head surfaced. Bleary blue eyes searched her lover’s darker orbs.

Palming her soft cheek in reassurance, the younger woman whispered, “What is it, Catherine?”

“I was dreaming about having a baby,” she responded with a smile and resumed her previous position at Sara’s side.

“I’m sure you looked beautiful,” her lover responded with a radiant smile of her own.

“Mmmm...” Catherine’s voice was barely audible as she fell back asleep.

Chuckling to herself, Sara doubted her wife would remember their pillow talk. The brunette relaxed and held her wife close, hoping she, too, would dream of a certain blonde beauty and their future together.


_____________________________________________________________

TBC


Part 1

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