Disclaimer: I don't own CSI.

AN: Another weird mood struck. Relatively cheerful mood, I suppose.


I bite my tongue the second Sara and I enter the apartment. The body's covered in cocaine.

It's amazing how much I can despise what was once my salvation. Just looking at the stuff brings back all sorts of memories. Most of which involve me stripping. I know that around the lab, most people say that I was a dancer. Right. I don't like to gloss over the truth. I was a stripper with a drug addiction.

"I'll take this room, Cat."

I look over at Sara to see her smiling sadly at me. She knows. I know she knows. It isn't that hard to figure out, really. The guys probably know, too. But she's the only one who helps me avoid scenes like the one in front of us.

If anyone else did that for me, I'd probably at least glare at the assumption that I couldn't handle myself. With her… I make a lot of exceptions where Sara's involved. Most noticeable being that I don't mind when she calls me Cat.

Another reminder of my stripping years, and yet when she says it, all I can concentrate on is her voice.

No wonder I hated her at the start. Obviously, that's no longer the case. Now I'm hopelessly in love with her. Hating her was so much simpler.

I grip my kit tightly and move on into the hallway. Today is a bad day. I remember how easy everything was when I was high. My life might have taken several huge steps up since then, but it's still stressful. I'm the single mother of a teenage daughter, for crying out loud!

My eyes wander over to Sara, but I quickly tear them away before an extremely dangerous thought completes itself.

I work through the scene on autopilot, not realizing that we're done until I feel Sara's hand on my shoulder.

"Rough day?"

I smile at her thoughtfulness. God, I love her. "Yeah, you could say that."

She nods in understanding before jerking her head at the door. "We should be heading back to the lab."

"I'll meet you at the car." She raises an eyebrow, but sighs and exits the apartment. I look back inside and sigh at the memory of the cocaine-covered body. Some nights… some nights I didn't just take enough of the damn drug to numb myself onstage. I took a lot more.

I hate looking back on that. Back then, I wasn't stripping so that I could move on to a better career. I was stripping because I knew I was beautiful, and knew I could make easy cash using my body. I feel disgusted with myself.

"Cat?" I turn around to see that Sara's back. She's looking me in a way that suggests she's been there for a while. She lifts up a hand and rubs my cheek, watching her hand's movements for a moment before speaking quietly. "You are so amazing, you know that? To go through all of that crap and still end up being the most beautiful woman I know- inside and out. You work so hard and take such good care of Lindsey… God, Catherine. How can you even begin to think that… that those drugs are still part of who you are?"

Her words bring tears to my eyes, which I desperately try to blink away without being obvious. I can't believe… I am so in love with this woman. The tears flow down my cheeks. She smiles and leans forward to kiss my forehead, cupping my face in her hands and wiping the tears away. "Okay now?"

I close my eyes in pleasure at the warmth of her lips against my skin. They flutter open again to find her staring warmly at me. For a moment the love I see there staggers me, but then I clear my throat and smile.

"Breakfast after shift? My place?"

I think I've found my new drug of choice.