A/N: Again, I apologize immensely for the lack of updates but anyone who is human knows (I'm pretty sure you guys are human… I sure hope so, because I don't know how to speak alien) real life can really get in the way. Thank you all for reading and reviewing and I hope you guys enjoy this last installment of this story :)
The first thing I did was kiss her. The warm glow has returned to her face and her lips no longer feel like ice, the way they did at the crime-scene. Actually she feels quite warm. The only thing that brought me back out of my reverie was her concerned voice filling my ears.
"Cath, what's wrong?" Sara asks. "You look like you've just seen a—""Don't," I interrupt her, letting out a shaky laugh. "Like I've just seen a ghost? Yeah, right, well that's because I think I kind of did."
She looks at me like I'm crazy and I can tell her level of concern is just rising ever steeper. "What?" she manages to ask."Nevermind," I sigh, shaking my head. Putting a hand on her shoulder, I gently but forcefully push her back to her hospital bed. She needs to rest, and she doesn't need to be worried with the details of my stupid dream. I'm a grown woman-- I don't think I'm supposed to have nightmares anymore. "Don't worry about it," I smile at her. "Go ahead and get some more rest, okay?" As much as I want to burst into tears and hug her and never let go, I'm going to restrain myself for the time being. She doesn't need that right now, for god's sake she just got shot.
"You were having a dream," Sara informs me. God she's stubborn. I guess that's a good thing. "More like a nightmare, actually…"
"Sara," I try to roll my eyes. "I do not have nightmares."
"Yeah, that's what I tell everyone too," she retorts. I can't help but smirk a little at that determined look in her eyes. "What was it about? You were saying my name…"
I sigh and close my eyes to think. Honestly, the dream didn't really make sense. It was like one of those scenes in those cheesy romantic tragedies where the person falls into some low-budget dream sequence only to see their life crumble before their eyes. "How am I supposed to explain this and make sense?" I ask her.
She shrugs. "I'm not sure," she says. "But I'm always here to listen."
"Okay," I sigh, leaning forward to rest my folded arms on the side of her hospital bed. "Where to start… ah yes, well, it was dark," I start. "Very dark… and… I couldn't see anything, but I kept hearing voices." Now that I think about it those voices sounded a lot like Sara's and that gang kid's from the crime-scene. "And then… I heard a gunshot," I continue. "And it scared me half to death. It was like I was reliving that moment at the house all over again…"
"That must've been scary," Sara supplies, reaching forward for one of my hands. I let her grab it and she squeezes it gently with her bandaged one.
"Yeah," I nod, letting out another shaky sigh. I thought the dream was stupid, but now that I'm talking about it and seeing the images again as vividly in my mind as I did when I was having it, I realize how truly horrifying it really was. But then again, that's my defense mechanism for dealing with things that scare me. I just say they were stupid, that I was over-reacting and then brush it aside. Then, maybe, if Lindsey is asleep or at a friend's house, I'll have a good cry about it later. "And I kept looking around for a shooter, but I didn't see one. I could even smell the gun smoke. It was just… it was so real," I whisper.
"Those dreams are the worst," Sara frowns, glancing at me with a look of understanding. She must have experience with those kind of dreams, given her past. I feel bad for her. "Then what happened?" she asks. I really hoped she wouldn't. But I knew she would.
"I heard your voice," I inform her. It had been so ghostly and surreal in the dream. "And you told me to follow your voice… and I followed it to this garden. It was beautiful… the birds were chirping, there were all these flowers…" I blink back the tears forming in my eyes as I glance at her face. "I think… I think it was Heaven."
Sara's silent for a few moments before she lets out a small sigh. "I had a dream like that too, actually. But mine wasn't scary… mine was like a fantasy. What did the garden look like?" she asks.
"There were roses next to a large water fountain…" I try to remember the garden as best I can with the help of my investigator memory. "And—"
"What color roses?" she interrupts.
"White," I tell her. She nods. "And there was ivy surrounding the fountain, and there was a small birdbath next to a pond filled with water lilies…"
She grins. "It sounds like we had the exact same dream, Cath."
"That's not possible," I raise an eyebrow.
"Anything's possible in a dream," Sara replies. Her comment jerks me back into my dream.
"You said that in the dream," I softly tell her. "Right before you…" I can't bring myself to finish the sentence because at the moment I can't even breathe. All I can remember now is the sight of those crimson drops falling into the grass from the gaping wound in her chest.
"Right before I what, Cath?" Sara asks. I can hear her but my mind is not replying. I feel like a robot. I'm just not complying. "Cath?" When she gives my shoulder a small shake that brings me back to reality.
"I saw you die again, Sara," I finally whisper to her. "You were dying right in front of me, and I couldn't do anything about it. Everything had been so perfect, and then you started bleeding…" I finally give in and choke on my tears. "There was so much blood!"
I feel her wrap her right arm around my shoulders—the only one she can reach me with right now—and prod me closer. Without hesitation or protest I gratefully move into her arms and when I'm close enough she's engulfed me with both. Resting my head on her shoulder, I take a deep breath and let it out shakily, but this time, a considerate amount calmer. I know one thing for sure—despite everything she's been through so far, she still smells like heaven.
"Your shampoo smells good," I whisper to her.
She just laughs and hearing her laughter when I thought for a minute that I would never be able to hear it again brings a real smile to my face. "It's your shampoo, actually…"
"Oh, right," I nod, letting out a sigh and simply leaning against her. "Well regardless, it smells good."
After a few minutes, I hear her clear her throat and I look up at her with a raised eyebrow. "Cath, as much as I enjoy letting you smell me, I think you were lying on the oxygen tube," she motions to the clip in her nostrils. Just as I'm about to start bombarding her with apologies I notice that she's moving over in her bed to make space, but it appears to be quite the task for her in her current state.
"Sara, what are you doing?" I sharply ask, taking on the tone I use with Lindsey when she refuses to clean her room. My comment obviously has not fazed Sara, who is moving all the tubes and wires around the bed and scooting toward the edge. "Sara, stop, you're going to hurt yourself!"
After some more useless pleading, she finally lays back down on her bed on the other side, looking up at me with a smile. She pats the spot next to her. "Care to join me?" she asks. Okay, I'm starting to forgive her now. "There's room for two, I do believe."
I laugh as I carefully maneuver my way around the machines and sidle into the bed next to her. I make sure to try and stay off to the edge as much as possible so she has the most room. This doesn't stop her from rolling over into the middle to curl up against me.
"This is quite cozy, Miss Sidle," I grin.
She giggles. "I do agree. I have my moments, you know." After a few minutes of just laying there together, she sighs. "So what did the doctor say, exactly?"
"Well…" I purse my lips. "He said he was able to remove the bullet from your chest without any complications, but you had lost a lot of blood, Sara. He said you needed a transfusion."
She looks up at me, clearly shocked. "It wasn't that bad! Did you tell him that?"
"Sara," I firmly tell her. "You almost died. You passed out before you could really see how much blood you were losing…" But I saw all of it, because I was covered in it. The memory of Sara's blood dripping from the stretcher the EMTs were wheeling into the ER threatens to make my stomach jerk again.
She's silent for a minute and seems to finally agree with me.
"They had trouble trying to find a donor for you," I tell her. "You have a B- blood type, and they said it's extremely rare."
"I always thought it was pretty common, I guess," Sara trails off. "Almost my entire family was B-. I got it from my dad." Looking up at me, she asks, "So where did they find a donor?"
"Well," I start to rub her back absent-mindedly with my free hand. "Lindsey and I are both universal donors. That's one thing Sam gave me that he couldn't take away when he left my family. The nurse said they couldn't find any compatible donors for you, so I volunteered for the transfusion."
She looks at me with wide eyes in disbelief. "Really?" she whispers.
"Of course," I smile at her. "I love you, didn't you know?" I try to tease her. But she's not smiling or laughing back. She looks like she's about to cry. She starts grabbing my arms and rolling up my sleeves to look for the mark from the needle.
"Here," I tell her, holding out my right arm. She rolls up my sleeve and stares at the bandage for about a good five minutes. "Did you not think I would give you my blood, Sara?" I softly ask her. "I would give you anything… you need to know that. I gave you my blood because I love you and I can't bear the thought of living without you. I'd do it again, too."
She quickly wipes at her eyes like there's a chance I hadn't noticed she was crying already. "I'm sorry," she whispers, looking up at me with a small smile. "I'm being ridiculous… it's just… no one's ever done that sort of thing for me before."
I nod my understanding. Sara's never experienced anything like this before. Her parents— of whom I would come down upon with great vengeance and furious anger—never showed her any compassion like that. They didn't care about her, and that was the sort of mentality she grew up around. They didn't even tell the doctors at the ER the truth when they brought her in every week with a new fracture. "Sara," I tell her. "Look at me."
She looks at me with misty eyes and I reach over and wipe her tears away with my fingertips. "Honey you have to understand that I love you. And you better get used to it, because when we get out of here and I take you home you're not going to be getting up out of bed anytime soon."
She laughs and finally shoots me a smile. "I love you too, Cath," she tells me. I smile back at her, "More than anything. Thank you… you saved my life."
"I was just returning the favor, Sara," I smile at her, placing my hand around the bandaged area on her chest from the bullet wound. "Now get some sleep, because you're going to have a long day tomorrow of sleeping ahead of you when I get you out of here. I don't want you to be tired."
She giggles and playfully swats at me with her hand, and in seconds she's sound asleep again.
Was it too late to find love, you ask? No, it wasn't, because she's sleeping right next to me right now and I'm never letting her go.