Pairing: Calleigh Duquesne/Catherine Willows (mention of Catherine/Lady Heather) Rating: NC-17
Warning: This fic deals with dominance and submission, though its not terribly explicit but you have been warned.
Disclaimer: All characters of CSI belong to Jerry Bruckheimer, CBS and Atlantis Alliance pictures. No infringement intended, no profit made.
Summary: Calleigh is bereft and alone, Catherine wants to help. Sometimes the most unexpected things can make you feel safe
Intellectually, rationally, Detective Calleigh Duquesne knew she was safe. Nothing in this room could hurt her unless she allowed it, unless she gave it permission.
Giving permission, surrendering. I don't know if I can do this.
Logically she knew there was nothing to fear.
That didn't stop her from being absolutely terrified.
Despite the Detective's powerful efforts at control, her heart beat against her ribs like a wild animal in a cage and her breathing came in ragged gasps. She deliberately tried to slow it, taking a deep breath and holding it. The action however, merely served to bring to her the faint scents of roses, cinnamon, and well cared-for leather – the scent of the woman now standing behind her – and that didn't do a damn thing to calm Calleigh down.
Never before in her life had Calleigh considered the possibility that she might come to a moment like this; might put herself willingly in this position, and it was the very logical, brutally honest investigator within that wondered what she was truly afraid of: this place and her companion…or her own desires?
No, despite her attempts at cold rationality, Detective Calleigh Duquesne did not feel safe.
I haven't felt safe since… she couldn't finish the thought.
Not since her life was turned upside down and she was torn away from her home in Miami and the family she had made there.
"Administrative re-organization." Which was a fancy way of saying 'Fired'. Just the briefest of memories before the CSI's mind shied away from the connection, but it brought with it a tide of anger, followed quickly by loss and despair.
In some ways, Calleigh knew she was lucky. Here in Vegas she had at least known Catherine and Warrick and they had been incredibly supportive. Just how supportive though, hadn't been revealed until last week.
The southerner had kept herself functioning only by burying herself in case work. In the weeks since her arrival in Vegas, Calleigh had completely overhauled the ballistics lab, re-organizing, re-filing and finishing every last backlogged case. It wasn't that the Vegas ballistics people weren't competent, simply understaffed. Calleigh was the nation's foremost expert – and a woman with a terrible, burning need to keep busy.
The diminutive Detective spent every last ounce of energy and concentration on her analysis, speaking only when necessary and not making any effort to interact with those around her. Where once people had found any excuse to be in her presence, now they began avoiding her almost unconsciously, as if they could sense of the aura of pain and darkness surrounding her. Catherine and Warrick had been there at first of course, but at the time Calleigh was sill in shock. By the time the numbness began to wear off and the bleeding in her heart slowly worsened, they were too busy with their own cases to truly notice.
It was only by chance that Catherine overheard the remark that made her stop and think about Calleigh for the first time in weeks.
"Hey, did you get the report from ballistics?"
"Not yet, I'm waiting till Duquesne is off duty."
"What are you talking about, there's nothing wrong with her?"
"Are you kidding? That chick gives me the creeps. Sidle on her worst day is more fun than her, its like being around a corpse."
That got Willow's attention; and pissed her off. The knot of worry created by the words however, had lodged itself firmly in the blonde's mind and wouldn't let go until she saw for herself. So even though her shift was over, the CSI made her way to the Ballistics lab to visit Vegas' newest addition.
What she saw through the glass nearly made her cry.
The first time Catherine Willows had met Calleigh Duquesne, she'd been taken by her. The woman was TNT wrapped in a fantasy body with a sultry southern accent and a brutally sharp intellect. Even at night, after a twenty four hour day, at the end of a hellish case she had radiated energy and confidence and Catherine had always been sorry she'd never gotten to know the Miami CSI better. When she'd first come to Vegas, despite the obvious pain she'd been in, there had been a poise and a power to the smaller woman that Catherine found highly appealing.
The being standing in front of Willows was nothing but a shell of that woman, and when the Vegas CSI saw Calleigh's eyes – once the color of the Gulf on a perfect afternoon – now gone grey and dull, it tore something in the older woman.
Calleigh was bleeding to death.
Anger and fear swept Catherine. This wasn't right, the small Detective was dying and no one was doing anything!
The only problem was…I have no idea what the hell to do about it. I can't talk to Grissom, he'd be useless, and while Sofia might understand, she's on leave. I don't think she knows Brass, and I'd shoot myself before siccing the department shrink on her. What she needs is a psychologist, except not. Damn.
Catherine stood there, lost in thought while Calleigh finished up the last of her paperwork and left the lab. Coming back to herself, the older woman moved to follow the ballistics expert but as was wont to happen with the Vegas CSI, the answer to her dilemma chose that moment simply to present itself to her conscious.
Lady Heather. Despite its tenuous and rather rocky start, the Vegas blonde's relationship with the dominatrix had grown stronger than she ever thought possible. The dark woman had come to occupy and represent the one stable, safe place in Willow's heart, to the point where the CSI could no longer imagine her life without Heather. Far more than just the physical aspects of their relationship, Catherine valued Heather's wisdom and infinite - though well hidden - compassion.
Right now, I need advice. And that was the first step on the path that led her here, to this moment and this room, with the former Miami detective standing trembling before her and the midnight voice of her lover whispering encouragement in her mind.
Catherine shifted a little, reveling in the way the leather gripped her skin, molding to her until it became merely an extension of her own body. She took a breath, her chest straining slightly against the bone stays of the corset and trying to keep her mind off how good that felt. This wasn't about her, this was for Calleigh.
Presented with a problem and the means to a possible solution, Catherine didn't wait. She walked out of the lab to her Denali and grabbed her cell. Once in the privacy of her car, she rang Heather, impatience clawing at her and making her edgy. She nearly swore when she was politely told that The Lady was with a client and not to be disturbed.
The blonde left her name and a message and was about to hang up when the woman stopped her.
"Ms. Willows, forgive me. The Lady has left a standing order that if you should need her you are welcome anytime. I will relay the message as soon as I am able, would you like to have her call you, or will you come to the Dominion?"
Catherine debated. She wanted, needed to do something, and suddenly, the restlessness in her body bled to need. Not for sex, but for comfort and connection. She hadn't seen Heather all day, and had missed her last night as well. Suddenly, the simple desire to be in her lover's presence became overwhelming.
"I'll be there soon."
It was with a sense of almost palpable relief that her knuckles rapped on the aged oak door and she was ushered into the Dominion by a quiet sub.
"Catherine, this is unexpected, but most welcome. Is everything alright?"
The blonde smiled at the velvet voice coming from her left. Turning, she took in the lethal, living shadow that was Lady Heather. Dressed in black leather pants, stilettos and one of her usual corsets, the Lady was darkness and desire made flesh – only the incandescent light of her artic eyes seemed somehow connected to this reality and the fire in them warmed Catherine even from across the room.
Those eyes took the CSI in with one sweeping glance and the heat immediately faded to concern as the dominatrix walked closer, laying a hand on Catherine's arm.
"Catherine, what is it?"
The warm touch, even through layers of cloth, grounded her, and Catherine took a steadying breath.
"I need some advice, and possibly, some help."
Heather simply nodded and reaching up, cupped Catherine's cheek gently. "Of course, you know you have only to ask. Come, I have a pot of tea on."
Once ensconced in the cozy kitchen with a steaming cup of herbal tea in front of her and Heather's undivided attention, the blonde laid out the problem.
"I don't know why she had to leave Miami; we were only told it was an administrative decision. Ecklie was salivating over having the foremost ballistics expert in the country to ourselves," Catherine spoke, rolling her eyes at the memory of Ecklie's attitude. Jackass.
"I just…Heather you have to understand how amazing she was…is. But now? Now it's like watching someone with a wasting disease. She's in so much pain you can feel it when you're near her. I can't believe I missed it, that I didn't see it," the CSI growled, angry at herself. She'd had too many lessons in how easily friends could be lost lately, and despite their brief acquaintance, she considered the southern woman a friend. Hell, Cath, you care for her, admit it. She's beautiful and talented and has…had, a way about her that you envy.
The Lady reached out and softly touched Catherine's hand, interrupting her mental self-punishment.
"Catherine, this is, in no way your fault. From what you've told me, Detective Duquesne was very close to her colleagues in Miami. Just as you would be in pain if your "family" at the lab was taken away from you, so she must be grieving deeply. And if what you say about Ecklie is true, then she has been allowed no time to deal with that grief."
Catherine nodded and rubbed the bridge of her nose. "Sometimes I think the only reason she's hanging on is because of duty."
The blonde looked up to find an unusually soft look on the Dominatrix' face. Heather reached out and stroked one finger across Catherine's cheek, making the CSI sigh and her skin heat where the dark woman's touch trailed, her body – as always – responding to the Lady in a way far beyond her control.
"You protect it well Catherine, but you have a beautiful heart. Bring her home. I can't promise that I will be able to help her - her relationship is with you - but I will do my best.
"Calleigh, do you have a minute?"
The Vegas CSI watched as the smaller woman turned toward her, saw the tiny spark flare in the depths of aquamarine eyes, and then witnessed as - as if the memories were written in ink for the world to see - Calleigh's mind connected Catherine to that first case they had worked together, so long ago in Miami.
The spark didn't so much die as vanish as if it had never been, leaving behind a mask: a perfect, professional, empty mask.
"Catherine, of course."
Catherine hadn't been sure how on earth she was going to actually invite Calleigh to the Lady's, but she knew now she didn't have a choice.
"Speak from the heart," had been the Lady's advice. In the end, it was all she could do. Catherine gave enough away to hopefully get through to the Detective, but was vague enough not to drive the southerner off. Time would see if the smaller woman was willing to accept the offer.
"Calleigh, do you have a minute?"
The whisky voice penetrated the gray fog surrounding the former Miami Detective, shocking her from a comparison of rifling striations. Almost involuntarily she turned to see Catherine standing in the doorway. Despite the perpetual numbness, there was something about the expression on Catherine's face that pricked at something deep inside Calleigh – something she thought had died somewhere between the thick heat of Miami and the bone dry harshness of the Vegas desert.
"Catherine, of course,"
Such simple words, they held no portent of the strange meeting and the even stranger journey that their utterance into the quiet air of the lab began.
Whatever Calleigh had expected, it hadn't been a quiet afternoon tea with Catherine and a woman that if the southerner had to describe with one word, it would be 'predator'. Her eyes were like electric flame and where her gaze touched Calleigh's skin, the blonde imagined she could feel it like a heated kiss.
The ballistics expert didn't know what surprised her more – that she felt anything at all, or that she felt it from this woman. And then she'd looked across the table at Catherine and seen a flash of similar hunger in the older woman's eyes – a deep, raw desire that though quickly extinguished, sent a current sizzling low in Calleigh's body.
To feel sensation after so much pain and numbness was like a glimpse of the sun through storm clouds and for once, Calleigh Duquesne didn't question or analyze or rationalize, she embraced.
Which is how she found herself here, Catherine's hand fisted tightly in her hair as the older woman's tongue took possession of her mouth.
It was so hard not to struggle, to overcome the natural inclination of her body to match force with force and Catherine must have sensed it, because she pulled back, a gentle look in her cerulean eyes.
Catherine could feel the resistance in the smaller woman, like strung steel beneath satin skin. She nearly vibrated with tension and the Vegas CSI knew she had to change tactics. Calleigh was still fighting herself too much, and forcing her surrender would destroy the fragile balance they had created and shatter Calleigh's already brittle sense of self.
Easing the strength of her hold in the thick fall Calleigh's hair, Catherine let her body language gentle, pulling the southerner close even as she looked over the smaller woman's shoulder and beckoned Heather with her eyes.
Like a shadow given form, the dominatrix detached herself from where she'd been leaning against the wall, a smile on her face that was at once feral and fond.
Still focused on Catherine, Calleigh wasn't aware of Heather's approach until with a gentle touch Catherine could only too easily imagine, the dominatrix slid her hands along the smaller woman's sides and over her body.
Calleigh gasped as The Lady pressed her leather clad body against her back. The Detective's instincts screamed at her to fight and run, but the protest died on her lips, swallowed by Catherine's now gentle kiss.
"Ssshhh" came a midnight whisper in her ear that was accompanied by the sure, knowing sweep of hands over her body. "You're safe." Despite a voice that promised pain and pleasure in equal mix, a part of the Miami detective believed the dark woman, and slowly, so slowly, Calleigh's resistance began to weaken.
Gradually the sensations of warm leather against her naked skin, of gentle hands teasing her curves, of the satin heat of Catherine's mouth on hers and the liquid fire of Heather's tongue tracing patterns along her shoulders worked to loosen the hold her mind had over her body. Each caress, each kiss, each tiny nip of her flesh was a gentle assault that sent sparks of electricity and pleasure leaping through her blood, almost against her will, eroding what was left of it.
Like iron in a forge her body began to heat and soften, muscles going loose and a deep, wonderful ache began to build low in her belly.
Heather's fingernails scraped along the underside of her breasts, just hard enough to barely mar the flushed peach of her skin and Calleigh gasped, her head rolling back against the dark woman's shoulder as she took the first, tiny step toward submission.
Catherine's eyes sparkled as she hummed her approval. With firm hands on the southerner's hips the Vegas CSI drew their bodies hard together and rolled her pelvis. The action drew a soft moan from Calleigh and Catherine smiled, reading the approval in Heather's gaze as the darker woman nibbled down the southerner's neck and teased her full breasts.
Between their leather clad bodies, Calleigh was now limp. Her hands clung weakly to Catherine's arms, but her eyes were closed and her full lips parted and there was no resistance in her.
Looking at her lover, Catherine read the unspoken signal, 'Now' Heather's eyes said clearly.
Calleigh was floating. The only that held her up was the press of Heather and Catherine's bodies. The pressure in her belly had become an ache that pulsed between her thighs with each thick beat of her heart. Her blood, her skin, the very air she drew into her lungs felt superheated; charged with an energy she couldn't seem to get enough of but tried anyway.
Calleigh's chest felt tight and she couldn't seem to get enough oxygen, but the blonde didn't care anymore. On her skin, hands burned patterns and tongues traced designs of molten heat and as a mouth closed over the pebbled tip of one breast, she gave herself over to the fire raging inside her.
Slowly, so as not to upset the sensual balance they had created or startle the woman in her arms, Catherine began to taste Calleigh.
Moving back toward the bed, she let her tongue wander at will along the jut of a collarbone and the sweeping curve of a breast, and then followed it with her teeth.
Tiny nips at first, barely worth the name, until as she and Heather lay Calleigh back on the bed, Catherine crawled over the southerner and let her teeth close over a taught nipple.
The older woman couldn't help but smile as Calleigh arched in response, her breath hissing through her teeth.
Looking at Heather, Catherine let confirmation fill her eyes. Now.
It took Calleigh a moment to register the sensation of being held and by the time she understood the feeling, the wide leather cuffs were already on her hands, binding her arms above her head. Before she could do more than start however, Catherine was kissing her again and the older woman's lips were like a drug, settling through Calleigh's system and fanning the flames of desire again until she relaxed into the restraint, letting the awareness of her captivity cradle her.
What followed next was the sweetest, most excruciating torture of Calleigh Duquesne's life.
It wasn't just Catherine's hands on her body; scraping her skin, caressing her breasts or raking her nails up her thighs, and it wasn't just her mouth, kissing away the sting of the scratches, painting the curves and hollows of her body with dewy heat or teasing with whispered breath just beyond reach of Calleigh's need. It was Heather as well, for the dominatrix wasn't content to be a mere bystander.
And when one or the other felt the need to punish the southerner, they made her watch as they undressed each other with agonizing slowness. They were a striking pair, light and dark, brassy blonde against mahogany hair and their pale skin against the black silk of Heather's sheets. The sight would have been breathtaking …if the captive woman had had any breath left to take.
Held willing prisoner to their touch, Calleigh lost herself. Nothing existed beyond the next kiss, the next caress, the next breathless plea, until she felt some last, fragile barrier shatter and with Catherine's hand moving deep within her and Heather's mouth on hers, Calleigh came. Her release was like a tidal wave, crashing through her. It swept away the crumbled remnants of pain, uncertainty and regret and left her washed clean and floating on the rush of pleasure and endorphins. She existed there for some time, only distantly aware of Heather and Catherine next to her, their bodies entangled as they completed their own journeys.
Eventually the cuffs were removed and her wrists, which were just now beginning to ache pleasantly, were kissed sweetly.
Opening her eyes, Calleigh found Catherine looking at her, concern making her eyes rich and full. The southerner had no energy or ability to speak the words of thanks, so she simply let her gratitude rise to the surface of her heart, knowing on some level that the older woman could read it in her face. Somewhere in the act of surrendering herself to these women, Calleigh had found an unexpected peace. It might not be permanent, but it was enough for now, and she held to the gift tightly.
Catherine seemed to understand however, because the older woman's smile was soft as she leaned down and kissed Calleigh tenderly before settling her body next to the smaller woman's and opening her arms. The Miami detective felt exhaustion beckoning to her and as she moved into Catherine's embrace, she surrendered for a second time that night – this time to the healing oblivion of sleep – safe and whole at last.
Watching as Calleigh's breath grew slow and even, Catherine felt the bed hind her dip. The Vegas CSI sighed with bliss as the Lady Heather slid in behind her. Cradled by silk sheets and bathed by low candlelight, she held Calleigh's sleeping form in her arms as Heather pressed the length of her body against her back. Nestled between the woman she had just dominated, and the only woman – the only person – she had ever let dominate her, the Vegas CSI felt something small but significant ease within her. Surrounded by two lovers, in a moment of perfect balance and safety, Catherine Willows let go of consciousness and drifted into darkness' welcoming embrace.