Title: From a Distance

Pairing: Calleigh/Natalia CSI: Miami

Rating: G for Angst!

Disclaimer: Not mine

Spoilers: Deep Freeze.

A/N, Summary: Calleigh's POV. Always watching, but never close.

I watch her through the glass. I can't help it. My eye is drawn to her with a pull almost gravitational in nature. She's trying. She's trying so hard it makes me ache sometimes, but I don't dare reach out to her. Not yet. She's closed herself off from everyone, desperate to prove herself. There is a part of me that wants to go to her, tell her she's not alone and ease some of her pain. But then I look at the determination carved on her features and I can't help the swell of pride that overtakes me. That same pride holds me back and keeps me at a distance.

And so I continue to watch.

I see her cradling her arm. Eric told me what happened and I know she hasn't seen Alexx yet because I asked. It was risky. Alexx is eerily perceptive: sometimes I think she knows things about us we don't completely understand ourselves. I know the look she gives me at my question well. It's the look that says "I wish you would hurry up and just tell me." I want to, but I can't. Not yet. There's always one more reason, one more excuse.

So I stand back and watch.

She's in the lab again; arm braced against her side, but still working. I see her grimace when she jostles it and my own heart is pained in sympathy. For one moment I hesitate, at war with myself. The urge to go to her is nearly overwhelming. In the instant of my hesitation, she looks up and sees me. Our eyes meet and for one, breathless instant, I think I see my longing reflected in her dark gaze. My whole body tenses, poised to take that first, fateful step.

And then just like that it's gone. Her eyes go shuttered and she straightens, jaw clenching against the pain and focus returning to the results in front of her, and suddenly I am free to move. Free but adrift. There is an emptiness that overtakes me as I turn to walk away. No, not yet. I curse my weakness and hesitation but my feet continue their journey, taking me with them nonetheless.

And as the distance grows, I once more resign myself to watching from a distance.