Disclaimer: CSI and Ben & Jerry's don't belong to me, but I'm grateful to their creators for coming up with the idea in the first place. I'm only borrowing the items to explore a fictional idea and make no profit from this, but I do enjoy the reviews, input and concrit I get from the readers.
"Shouldn't you be sleeping?" Sara asked as the front door swung open.
"Couldn't and knew you wouldn't be so I thought we could talk. Can I come in?" Catherine smiled as she lifted the plastic grocery bag. "I brought ice cream."
Pulling out a pint she waggled it enticingly. "Its Ben and Jerry's; I got Neapolitan Dynamite for you and Phish Food for me."
It was hard not to smile at her co-worker's antics; stepping back Sara allowed the door to open wider. "Have a seat. I'll grab some spoons."
Sitting down on the couch Catherine looked at the photographs covering the coffee table. The first one that caught her eye was a black and white image of a familiar looking platinum blonde; she looked like a cross between the actress Marlene Dietrich and the showgirl Lois O'Neill. Picking it up for a closer look she noticed the woman had Sara's smile and bone structure. Setting the picture back down she spotted the woman in another picture this time with her arms around a tall young man and a teenaged girl who looked like Sara. Flipping the photo over to read the caption, "Laura, Sara and Dillon. Point Reyes, 1988."
Sara was back before her guest had put the photo down. "Mom died a couple weeks after that was taken."
Catherine nodded as she absorbed the information. "You look like her." A small smile was Sara's only reply. "What about the rest of your family? Shouldn't they be here?"
Releasing a quiet sigh Sara picked up an older photograph. It was from a happier time; Sara stared at the image of a happy family for a minute before answering. "They're all gone."
Catherine watched Sara's face, she was speaking with the same detached quality other people used when talking about the weather.
"I'm sorry." The words were soft and Catherine didn't think they were nearly enough, but Sara shrugged as she began gathering the pictures up and dropping them into the box. Catherine found pieces falling into place; the real reason Sara worked every holiday and didn't talk about her family was because she no longer had one.
"How'd you know this was my favorite flavor?" Sara asked trying to change the subject.
"I remember you telling Greg." She admitted handing over the container that was equal parts Cherry Garcia and Chocolate Fudge Brownie.
"But that was months ago." She was stunned that Catherine had actually remembered. It was the other woman's turn to shrug the comment off.
"That's a nice photo, of you and Gil." Catherine pointed at the box and the photo on top.
"His mom took that when we visited."
"How'd that go?"
Sara smiled. "She's great."
"You both look really happy." Looking at the photo that had captured a couple very much in love, Catherine wondered what had happened to them since then.
"I thought we were." She pulled out the photo, tracing her fingers over it. It was a candid shot, they were in a comfortable embrace, he stood behind palms resting over Sara's abdomen while her hands lay on his forearms. "I'm scared Cath, if I was wrong about that..." Her voice trailed off into silence as a tear ran down her cheek.
"He wouldn't have left if he'd known. I just don't understand why didn't you tell him?" Catherine asked as she grabbed a nearby kleenex box.
"It's silly." Sara admitted dabbing her eyes with the tissue. "But after years of wanting we were finally together and I could see our future you know; a house with a couple of kids. After that first doctor's visit I couldn't see the future anymore and was afraid I'd lose him too."
"I don't think that's silly." Eating a spoonful of ice cream gave Catherine time to think and decide how best to proceed. She'd watched these two hurt each other for years as they danced around each other, but knew from her experiences with Eddie that they had a very real chance at happiness. "It was stupid; you never even gave him a chance. Since you've been here has he ever failed to support any of us? Do you really think he would have done any less for you?"
Sara shrugged her shoulders as the tears pooled in her eyes again. "I don't know."
"I know he would. He told Ecklie he wouldn't fire you because he needs you."
She remembered how he'd supported the team through all sorts of trials. He'd given Warrick another chance, mentored Greg after he failed his proficiency, and his refusal to give up on Nick when he'd been kidnapped. A tear escaped, followed by a hiccupped sob. "I should have trusted him, Cath and now it's too late."
The ice cream was forgotten as Sara tried to wipe away the tears, but they just fell faster and faster. Catherine wrapped her arms around the younger woman, surprised when Sara relaxed and allowed herself to be comforted.
It wasn't until Sara stopped crying and pulled away that Catherine spoke again. "I've seen how Gil looks at you; he'll forgive the woman he loves."
"What should I do?"
Catherine smoothed a stray strand behind Sara's ear, her maternal instinct in high gear. "Right now its time to focus on you. "