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Summary: Post-ep for LHB. I know, I'm about a year late with this one but hey, I just saw it yesterday. Am I the only person in the world who distinctly heard Catherine say 'Sara' right at the end when she was crying? Perhaps - but I'll labour under my illusions.
When I'm upset I like to drive out into the desert and watch the stars. In the city the glare from the casinos and the streetlights blocks out most starlight so you have to go quite far out of the city to get a decent view of anything. I've been driving for about half an hour when I decide to stop. It's really cold when I step out of the car and I wrap my arms around my torso. The air is bitter against my damp cheeks.
Oh yeah, didn't I mention that? I haven't just been driving, I've been driving and crying. But I don't want to get into that.
I can see Orion's Belt. That's the one constellation I can reliably identify. When I was a kid back in San Francisco my next door neighbour, old Mr. Jericho, used to try to teach me the names of all the stars. He was a hardcore amateur astronomer and used to let me look through his telescopes. I wasn't interested in the names of the stars, I just wanted to look at them.
You see, when you look at stars you're not looking at the present. All those little points of light are really hundreds of light years away. So their light takes hundreds of years to reach us. Looking at the sky is like looking back in time.
Too bad actually going back isn't so easy.
Oh there I go again, crying like a little baby. I suppose I haven't got this out of my system yet. The amount I've cried tonight, I'm starting to think I never will.
Catherine. It always seems to come down to her in the end. The last time I saw her I was trying to explain why I had to close Eddie's case. I really didn't have a choice and I was satisfied that I'd explored every possible angle of investigation. There just wasn't enough goddamn evidence, and no amount of wishing was going to make a murder weapon or an eyewitness magically appear. Catherine didn't see it that way. She wanted someone to pay for what had happened to Eddie and Lyndsey and, in the absence of a suspect, that someone was me.
I did my best. That's what I told her. She didn't even look at me for a moment but when she did her eyes were just so full of...I don't even know. Disgust? Contempt? Whatever it was, it hurt. But not as much as it hurt when she started laying into me. Apparently I am heartless. Well, a heartless bitch actually. I'm also stupid and incompetent and probably the worst CSI she's ever had the misfortune to work with. Oh, and she hates me. Yeah. That was her parting shot.
"Bitch," I say experimentally, but it's half hearted. I don't hate her. If I hated her I wouldn't feel this bad right now.
My cellphone starts to ring and I groan. It's work. I just know it. Well, who else would it be?
"Sidle," I say, trying not to sound like I've been crying. There is silence for a moment or two, then I hear a small voice.
I lean forward a little, frowning. "Lyndsey?"
She's quiet again. "Lyndsey? Are you there sweetheart?" I can just hear her breathing. "Lyndsey?"
"Can you come over?" she says abruptly.
"Huh? What?" Eloquence isn't my strong suit, as you can probably tell.
"Please." She sounds like her mother when she says that and I can't refuse.
"All right," I say softly. "I'll be there as quick as I can."
I click the phone off and get back in my car, wondering what this is all about. Is something wrong with Catherine? Why would Lyndsey be calling me all by herself?
I'm worried now and my foot presses down harder than it should on the accelerator. Thankfully I don't run into any cops on my way to Catherine's. I arrive in record time and discover that Lyndsey has left the front door slightly ajar.
"Lyndsey?" I call. She comes running down the hallway wearing pink pyjamas and wraps herself round my middle. My hand goes automatically to her blonde head. "Hey. What's the matter sweetie? Is it your mom?"
I feel her nod and I squat down so we're eye to eye. "Where is she?" I ask gently.
"In her room," says Lyndsey. "She was calling for you."
I frown. "Calling for me?"
Lyndsey nods. "I heard her say your name while she was crying."
Is my heart breaking or am I just imagining it? I stand up and take Lyndsey's hand and she leads me to Catherine's bedroom. She's lying on her side facing away from the door and I can see her shoulders shaking. Lyndsey lets go of my hand and pushes me gently towards the bed.
Catherine doesn't know I'm here yet. I walk towards her with baby steps. When I reach the edge of the bed I look back at Lyndsey who points at her mom then hugs herself. I frown, pointing at Catherine questioningly and Lyndsey nods.
I don't know what I'm doing but somehow Lyndsey's encouragement has given me a little courage. I sit on the edge of the bed and reach out a trembling hand to touch Catherine's shoulder.
She feels really warm against my cool skin. She shivers slightly but she doesn't acknowledge me in any other way. I look back to the door but Lyndsey has gone. Looks like I'm on my own.
Gently I move my hand down her arm in a slow stroking motion. I hear her breath hitch slightly but she doesn't say anything and doesn't move. As quietly as possible I kick my shoes off and move closer to Catherine. My arm slips around her middle as my body moulds itself against her back.
"Sara?" Her voice sounds really small and I can tell she's been crying for a long time. I tighten my hold on her marginally.
She doesn't say anything else but her hand moves over mine where it rests on her stomach and she twines our fingers together.
Have I mentioned yet that I'm in love with Catherine? That's probably a pretty important piece of information at this point since it explains why I'm having trouble breathing and my heart is running a marathon. It also explains why I'm leaning forward to press my lips against her bare shoulder.
Her skin is warm and smooth, just like I've always imagined. My mind goes foggy. I'm intoxicated my the warmth and texture and taste of her. A low sound escapes her throat and I can't tell if it's warning or encouragement. But I'm too far gone to stop now.
My lips trail over her shoulder in an erratic path, desperately seeking any piece of bare skin within reach. If I lean over her slightly I can reach her neck and that's just what I do. Her pulse feels like a jackhammer under my lips. She lets out another sound and this time it's definitely a moan of pleasure.
She moves in my arms, rolling over onto her back. Her eyes are rimmed with red but, God help me, I still think she's the most beautiful sight I've ever seen. She takes my face in her hands and pulls me closer so that our lips are nearly touching. "Are you going to torture me all night?" she whispers. I shake my head minutely and she smiles. "Then kiss me," she says.
I capture her lips between my own and I'm seeing stars. Everything about her is soft and warm. I feel like I'm sinking into her. She makes a small noise in the back of her throat as she wraps her arms round my shoulders and pulls my body into hers.
"How did you know I needed you?" she gasps between kisses.
"Lyndsey," I mutter. "She said you'd been calling for me."
She laughs into our kiss. "I don't remember," she says, running her hands through my hair. I pull back fractionally.
"Are you okay?" I say gently.
"I am now that you're here," she answers seriously, staring into my eyes. "Sara, I-"
"It's okay," I interrupt.
"No, it's not," she says. "I need to tell you how sorry I am."
"I forgive you." I smile gently and kiss her.
"I don't hate you," she says when we part.
"I don't hate you either," I reply.
She closes her eyes and pulls me close to her. My head settles onto her shoulder and she kisses my forehead. "Stay with me," she says. Like I want to be anywhere else. Like I could make myself move out of arms.
"Yes," I say with a smile. She reaches over and flicks off the lamp, leaving us lying together in the warm darkness.
I think I have to buy that kid a present.