Title: 2am

Pairing: Calleigh/Natalia CSI Maimi

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: I own nothing, some guy named Jerry owns them all, and he's a prude.

Summary/AN: Calleigh goes home and confronts some old memories. NOTE: Calleigh's backstory here is a combination of the original CBS characterization of Calleigh, and made up. It is not Canon.

Calleigh Duquesne shivered. Despite the southern latitude, it was deep winter, and there was a ghost of frost teasing the air and sharpening the breeze in Darnell, Louisiana.

Unwilling to move, the petite blonde wrapped her arms tighter around herself, her shoulders and back going tight from the strain of not shivering. Somehow, she felt as if she gave in to that simple, physical impulse, she would be unable to stop until she shattered apart.

In nothing but an old white tank top and worn silk robe, she stood on the porch of her childhood home and looked out at the overgrown yard; intimately familiar to her - and yet on this night - somehow as wild and alien as any dreamscape. The moon painted everything before her in cold, ghostly light and created shadows beneath the skeletal trees and wild bushes; shadows that seemed to dance as the breeze toyed with bare branches and long grasses. Overhead, the winter sky was a perfect blanket of deepest blue velvet – only the glowing orb of the moon and the tiny, diamond twinkles of the stars breaking its fathomless expanse.

Calleigh took a breath, feeling the cold air being drawn into her body, adding to the chill in her heart.

She had buried her mother today.

It had been years since Calleigh said goodbye and left home for good, but the memories of this place and the people in it were still vivid and bright in her mind's eye. This was where she was raised, where she grew up and where she took the first steps toward becoming the woman she was today. It was also where the burden of taking care of her drunken parents and raising her two brothers finally became too much on the night of her senior prom.

The icy fingers of the wind wound themselves through her gold hair – pale and silvered in the moonlight – and Calleigh felt a shiver slip passed her control. This time, it wasn't from the night, but from the memories: memories of telling her parents who her prom date was; memories of her father's anger and her mothers distant disapproval from the bottom of a bottle; memories of her daddy's belt and the fire it carved on her back as it fell; memories of the way the humidity and warmth of the air that spring night seemed to blanket her comfortingly as she fled the house that she could no longer call home.

Yet despite all that, she had loved her parents – she just hadn't been able to save them.

Her mother was now, hopefully, at peace, and her father? Her father hadn't made it to the funeral and she could only wonder if he was keeping his latest promise to sober up. She no longer dared to hope.

Tears pricked the blonde's eyes. Her body and soul were growing numb from the chill, but her heart refused her any refuge from the pain, and with every beat grief and guilt tore at her. Without her control a soft, plaintive whisper slipped into the still night.

"I'm so sorry mama. I should have been here, I'm sorry."

Her body finally betrayed her and she began to tremble. The small woman dug her fingers into her arms; desperate to stop the involuntary muscle spasms but unable to do so. Her jaw clamped so tight it ached and her breath was becoming short. She was so cold she couldn't seem to remember what it felt like to be warm again and here, in the hush of a winter night, with only the sound of the wind in the grass, she felt the loneliness pushing in on her.

Suddenly there was a soft sound behind her and then Calleigh was surrounded by heat and softness.

Slender arms wrapped around her and pulled her against a warm, yielding body, tucking her close and shielding her from the cruel, searching hands of the breeze.

"It's not your fault Calleigh. You have nothing to be sorry for. They were supposed to be the grownups. It's a miracle you survived at all. That you took care of them and your brothers for as long as you did, and the life you've led since then just proves how amazing you are. I know you don't believe that right now, so I'm just going to keep repeating it until you do."

Tightening her hold on her lover and laying her cheek against the blonde head, Natalia Boa Vista closed her eyes, savoring as she always did the feeling of Calleigh in her arms. She ached for the smaller woman, but also knew that time and love would help to heal the wounds in her lover's soul.

And time and love I have plenty of.

Calleigh's body slowly responded to the heat of Natalia pressed against her back, gradually loosening taught muscles and cramped hands.

Turning in Natalia's embrace, Calleigh looked up into her eyes - normally the warmest, richest of chocolates – in the ghostly light they were as infinite and dark as the heavens above. Reaching to wrap her arms around Natalia's slender frame, Calleigh could only marvel at the depth of love and caring she saw so clearly reflected in that dark gaze, and slowly, her soul began to warm as well.

Leaning into the taller woman, Calleigh pressed her face into the silken skin of her chest left exposed by the thick terry cloth robe. Breathing deep, she drew Natalia's warmth into her own lungs and felt something further ease within her.

Natalia was right; she didn't believe it now, but the grieving woman also knew with absolute certainty that she would someday.

Letting go of Calleigh briefly, the brunette opened her robe and pulled the smaller woman against her, wrapping the thick fabric around the smaller woman and holding her tightly again.

"It will get better Cal, I promise."

Looking up again, Calleigh smiled wearily and whispered, "I know." And with that, reached up and pressed her lips to Natalia's.

The taller woman brought one hand up and cradled Calleigh's cheek, stroking the moon touched skin there and giving herself over to the kiss completely. She kept it gentle, but poured all her love, all her compassion and her need for this woman into that press of lips. Calleigh opened to her and Natalia let her tongue slide into Calleigh's mouth, caressing, exploring and stroking as the hunger of the kiss built slowly.

Under her hand, she felt Calleigh's cheek heat and felt the racing beat of the blonde's heart beneath her own breast. Gently, slowly, Natalia lightened the kiss until the two pulled back, breathing deeply.

For Calleigh, the night air she drew into her lungs had suddenly lost its chill.

"Come inside love, its time to warm up."

The words were said gently, with only a tiny hint of teasing, but the blonde's smile was gently suggestive nonetheless as she nodded.

She would grieve more in the morning, but as the two women turned and walked back into the quiet house hand in hand, Calleigh knew she would not grieve alone.