AUTHOR: Amanda Hawthorn
TITLE: Tears Of The Butterfly
CATEGORY: angst/eventual romance
ARCHIVE: Grissomandsara.com and my site
FEEDBACK: Love it, but no flames please I'm fragile!!
SPOILERS: season 4
SUMMARY: Alternative season 4 finale. When Sara is snatched from them, the night shift begins a frantic search for her.
DISCLAIMER: CSI belongs to CBS and Alliance-Atlantis Productions. No infringement intended.
AUTHORS' NOTES: This is an alternative ending to the season finale spoilers. The first quarter of the first chapter is based on spoilers and the rest is imagination.
Thanks as always to Marlou for her beta services and for everyone who reviewed my previous stories.
Copyright Amanda Hawthorn May 2004
Kiss of the Butterfly
Sara brought her Denali to a stop beside Nick's and waved at him through the side window. Despite the disappointments of the last few hours, Nick was still her friend and in some ways she was glad that he got the promotion that they had both applied for.
Taking a deep breath she turned off the engine and sat back in her seat for a few minutes to regain some kind of control over her roaring heartbeat. Nick deserved her to at least be happy for him, even if inside everything hurt. Her composure once more returned, she opened the door and climbed out to find both Warrick and Nick waiting for her.
"You okay girl?" Warrick asked in concern when she blinked at the early morning sun rising over the Vegas horizon.
"Would you quit asking me that," she smiled, stepping closer to link her arm through first Warrick's and then Nick's. "I'm fine about everything." Sara caught sight of Nick's mouth opening, ready to speak but she silenced him quickly. "Nick if you apologize to me once more for getting the promotion I am so gonna strangle you!"
"Okay, okay," he grinned, his Texan drawl seeping through his words.
"I'm having one beer with you guys and then I am heading home."
"Sure, of course, one beer," Nick nodded with a smile.
"Yeah one," Sara told him defiantly before pulling her arm from his to swat him with her hand. His smile was infectious and despite everything, she found herself smiling along with him and returned her arm into the crook of his.
"Well, what say we have a real celebration before shift tomorrow?" Warrick asked with a grin as he moved away from Nick and Sara to push open the bar door. "Us three, Greg, Gris and Cat?"
Sara stiffened with the mention of Grissom's name and tried to hide the movements by sliding her arm from Nick's. "I…I'll be busy."
"Come on Sar," Nicked whined as they walked inside the dimly lit bar. "I wanna celebrate with my best friends."
"And a party isn't a party without you girl," Warrick grinned.
"Okay, we'll see," she sighed, "but no promises."
"Good enough for me," Nick grinned, his head nodding towards Warrick. "What do you think bro?"
"Yeah, I take that as a definite yes!"
"A maybe," Sara insisted quickly.
"Yeah we heard ya," Nick ushered her towards a chair and sat down beside her. "Beer 'right?"
"Yeah, thanks." She watched her two best friends make their way over towards the bar and knew there was no way she was going to get out of this one. She plastered the fake smile to her lips the second they returned and took the beer gratefully from Nick's hand.
"So, what you got planned for today?" he asked her.
Sara lowered the rim of the bottle from her mouth and swallowed the bitter liquid down before she looked towards her friend. Asking for her daily events was something that she was unaccustomed to, so she looked him straight in the eyes and smiled. "I'm gonna sleep."
"Sleep? You?" Warrick grinned. "Since when do you sleep?"
"I sleep!" Sara protested, the smile fading from her face as she looked down wistfully into her beer bottle. How many times lately had she sought comfort in the bottom of a bottle only to have her momentary numbness dissipate as soon as she awoke again?
"Sara, what's going on with you girl? Why are you so down on yourself lately?" Shifting forward in his seat, Warrick leaned across the table to touch her arm.
For a few moments Sara could feel the tell tale sign of burning emotion rising up inside her throat; it'd been a long time since someone had actually cared enough to ask her how she was feeling. Forcing the pain down she swallowed heavily and looked up to meet Warrick's eyes. "I'm fine, just been a little run down lately, that's all."
"Sara, you've been looking like you lost your best friend for the last few months," Nick commented worriedly, "so don't say it's nothing."
"Guys, I'm okay." Placing the beer bottle on the table she sat back and pulled her arm from Warrick's grasp and stood up quickly. "Thanks for worrying about me but I'm fine. Really"
"Wait, you're leaving already?" Nick whined miserably and pulled her back down into her seat. "You at least have to finish your beer, those are the rules."
"Rules?" she asked incredulously, his warmth sending a wave of adoration to her heart.
"Yep, unspoken rules that no one is allowed to leave until they have finished their beer." His wide grin caught her eyes and he reached for her bottle and snatched it away before she could claim it. "No gulping, rules are rules!"
"No gulping," she repeated with a smile as she snagged her beer back.
Raising his beer, Warrick clanged his bottle against both Sara's and Nick's. "To friends."
"To friends," they repeated in unison.
Sara smiled to herself when she sat back into her seat to watch her two friends. Their light banter and warm affection towards her told her all that she needed to know. Even if she could never have the love of the man she wanted, then the love of her friends would sustain her, for now. Sighing heavily, she allowed herself to drift into the conversation and for the first time in a very long while, she felt like she belonged.
Outside, in the parking lot he waited for a glimpse of her. He knew the second he had seen her at the hospital that his lost angel walked again in another form. His brunette beauty had returned to him, her lithe figure and her smile calling to him from afar.
He could recall the exact moment when he had caught sight of her at Dessert Palm. She was walking along the corridor, her arms folded across her chest looking unbelievably sad. He'd followed her down the corridor and hidden behind a drinks machine when she turned the corner to meet one of her work colleagues.
He could remember with perfect clarity the warm smile that she granted the dark haired man and her whispered name on his lips. For a moment he'd found himself transported back to the day he had taken the ultimate revenge out on Debbie and her lover. The rage had flowed through him once again as he witnessed the warmth that flowed between Sara and her colleague. Her beauty imprinted itself in his mind that day, her face haunting his dreams and he knew then that he would never be able to let her go.
Debbie had always loved him, he knew that, she'd just had a moment of weakness and only thought that her new lover was right for her. How could she have possibly known that the person who had always loved her the most would be the one to take her last breath away?
But this woman wasn't Debbie; she was a carbon copy replacement for the woman he'd murdered, a second chance to clear his conscience, but soon the image of Debbie, the woman he had adored, slowly started to be replaced with images of Sara and he found himself thinking of her all the time.
He had followed Sara and her colleague out of the hospital and waited. When they walked over to a LVPD issued Denali, he was only mildly shocked to discover that the new woman he desired was in law enforcement.
Without thinking, he'd raced towards them and called out Debbie's name, knowing that he could easily use the excuse to touch her as merely a mistaken identity. She'd turned and smiled warily, and at that moment he knew he had to have her.
His hands grasped her arm and she'd instinctively pulled away from his touch. He recovered quickly and spoke Debbie's name again, but this time it was the younger man who answered and pulled his hand away from her arm.
"She's not interested pal, so back off."
"I'm sorry," he'd lied. "I thought you were Debbie. My mistake." Backing away, he saw the concern in the other man's eyes as he squeezed her shoulder, only to shoot a warning glare in his direction. That was when he'd first decided to make Sara his own.
Taking another gasp of air, Vincent Lurie watched her walk into the bar with two younger men, one he recognized from an earlier encounter, and instantly his jealousy piqued into roaring fire. Why did she continue to torment him this way? She mocked him by flaunting herself with other men. She could be cruel just like Debbie, he'd always known that, but she would learn that by loving him she had so much to gain.
Driving his dark blue BMW to park two spaces away from her Denali, he waited, his anger burning in his veins. Visions of her arm in arm with two men sent his pulse rate into overdrive, but the anger was soon diminished when just under half an hour later his patience was rewarded as she came out of the bar alone. His breathing increased with the sight of her and he knew he had to have her, now.
Sara had no idea that a menacing force had been worshiping her every move for the last two months. Her mind swam with questions as she reached her Denali. She'd tried to swallow the aching betrayal that coursed through her veins, but so far she wasn't coping so well.
A few hours ago she had learned that Nick had been recommended for the Lead CSI position, effectively taking the new promotion from her sights. That in itself wasn't what was causing her so much turmoil, but the fact that it was Gil Grissom who had been the one to deny her something that could have helped to numb the ache inside her was.
Sniffing back the emotion that had found its way into her eyes, she lifted a hand to swipe angrily across her face. Since when had Grissom shown her anything but displeasure over the last year or so? She knew she shouldn't feel so discouraged, after all she hadn't expected anything more than she had already received from him, but still, it hurt.
With a heavy sigh she fished her car keys out of her pocket only to drop them onto the floor with a loud clatter. This just wasn't her day. Everything that could possibly have gone wrong had gone wrong, and now both Nick and Warrick were convinced she was harbouring some bitter resentment because she wanted to avoid their little party. Groaning miserably, she stooped down to retrieve her keys unaware of the presence behind her.
Without warning, something struck her from behind causing her to stumble. Before she could react, she felt a cold hand grab hold of her arm, her exposed skin instantly bruising at the force. She tried to turn around to fight back against her attacker and she almost succeeded in causing some damage herself, until the chloroform cloth was rammed against her mouth.
Lurie held her tightly against his body until she had stopped fighting. Her arms flailed defiantly, fighting against the grip that held her, but she couldn't battle against the anaesthetic drug invading her senses. When her arms fell limply to her sides and she collapsed into his embrace, he knew she had truly returned to him. Gazing down at her adoringly, he couldn't believe that he had almost forgotten how beautiful she was. Allowing himself a brief moment, he inhaled the scent of her hair and closed his eyes to remember this moment.
The bar door clattered open to bring him to his senses. Opening his eyes, he scooped her limp body into his arms and carried her quickly over towards his waiting car. Propping her body up between the trunk and his shoulder, he managed to pull open the back door to manoeuvre her unconscious form inside.
"I have so much to show you sweetheart," he whispered softly as he ran a hand over her body before backing up so that he stood outside. Closing the back door, he pulled open his own and climbed inside only to look behind him to the sleeping beauty lying along the entire seat. "You sleep now."
Starting the engine he allowed himself to believe for the first time since he had seen her, that she was his for eternity, and that she loved him. Pulling out of the car lot he drove her away from this place, intending to show her how sorry he was for hurting her.
Twenty minutes later, Nick and Warrick emerged from the bar immersed in conversation. Warrick was the first to notice Sara's Denali still parked in the parking lot and stopped speaking mid-sentence.
"Nick, Sara's SUV."
Nick followed his eyes to see Sara's stationary Denali parked exactly where she had left it when they had first arrived here some fifty minutes ago. Wordlessly, they walked over towards the SUV, their silence marred by the thudding of their hearts.
"Sara?" Nick called urgently as he walked around the bonnet.
Warrick walked around the back to come around to the driver's side and stopped dead when his eyes focussed on something on the ground. Swallowing hard, he motioned to his friend. "Nick."
Nick looked up at him and walked quickly around to join him only to gasp when he spotted Sara's keys on the floor. "Oh God."
"I'll call Brass," Warrick breathed as he fished his cell phone out of his pocket.
Nick's eyes stared at the silver keys on the ground and felt his heart thudding inside his chest. Where was she?
"Brass," Warrick spoke shakily into the phone. "I'm with Nick at the cops bar, you've gotta get down here, it's Sara."
Satisfied with the reply he'd received he nodded silently and closed off the phone to rejoin Nick who was looking around the parking lot with worried eyes.
"She'll be okay Nick, Sara's tough."
"Then where is she?" Nick muttered hoarsely. "If someone has her, if someone…"
"Don't," Warrick snapped, shaking his head violently to shake off any thoughts that could visualize things that she could be going through right now. "Maybe she took a walk."
"And left her keys behind?" Nick asked incredulously, "No man, not Sara."
"Look, we can't just stand here." Warrick sighed, his own fear drowning out his heartbeat. "I'll take the perimeter."
"I'll take the SUV," Nick nodded; glad to be doing something other than waiting for Brass to arrive. Making his way back over to his Denali that was parked alongside Sara's he pulled out his kit and began to process the scene.