They had spent the rare week off with Lindsey, taking her shopping and to the zoo and cooking dinner as a family. Catherine had been amazed by the easy interaction between Sara and her daughter, and Sara was relieved that Lindsey was accepting her so easily.

After collecting Lindsey's school clothes and backpack and dropping her off at her aunt's for the night, the two women headed back to Catherine's. After grabbing two glasses and a bottle of wine from the kitchen, the two found themselves on the couch, enjoying the comfortable silence between them.

It was Sara that broke the silence.

"Catherine, thank you for this week. It was so strange and nice and… to be part of the family. Lindsey is so much like her mother… wow it's incredible. She's so sharp, Cat. You're an amazing mother."

Catherine could feel her eyes fill with tears at the praise. "Sara, you are part of this family. Lindsey loves you because you treat her like an adult, and you don't talk down to her. Even before we… this… (she blushed) I was thrilled to have you as a role model for her. Seeing you with my daughter made me feel…"

Sara leaned in and kissed her girlfriend, grateful for the words and overcome with love. The warmth of Catherine's touch made her shudder and she gently pulled Catherine with her back onto the couch. Catherine swung a leg over her so she was straddling her lap. She laced their fingers together and brought their hands in between them. She broke the kiss and the two women sat, their foreheads touching, silent.

This time, Catherine spoke.

"I love you."

Sara smiled.

"I love you too Catherine, with all that I am."

Catherine smiled and placed another light kiss on Sara's lips. Catherine let her lips wander to Sara's cheek and then down her jawline, allowing herself to taste the translucent skin. Sara's breath caught and Catherine smiled against her neck.

"Baby, come to bed," Catherine whispered.

Immediately, Catherine could feel Sara tense beneath her. The older woman pulled back to look her girlfriend in the eye. Sara quickly looked away.

"What's wrong? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to rush you. We won't do anything that you don't want…"

"Catherine stop it. I do want you… I just…" Sara blushed and trailed off.

Catherine stroked Sara's hair.

"Let's talk," she said soothingly.

Sara still didn't look up.

"Baby," Catherine said more firmly, "There's nothing you can't tell me. There's nothing I haven't told you. This is how we got this far; your past, my past, we've been broken in front of each other before. I need to know… you're freaking me out. Please. I love you, and that's it."

Sara smiled sadly.

"I know," she mumbled, "and it's because of that I'm… nervous… I dunno."

Catherine squeezed her hand comfortingly.

Sara continued, "I love you too, and Catherine… you're so captivating… the way your hips sway… your curves… my god… the smile… the eyes."

Catherine couldn't help smile at her girlfriend's inability to finish a thought. She was enjoying Sara's eyes on her, drinking her in.

Sara shook herself out of her trance and took Catherine's face between her hands.

"Catherine, you are so beautifully intense, at your most dishevelled you are breathtaking. I want nothing more than to make you happy… but I…"

Catherine exhaled the breath she didn't realize she was holding as Sara trailed off again. Suddenly, it dawned on her.

"Sara, are you self-conscious about your body?"

Sara nodded.

Catherine was incredulous.

"I know I'm pretty, and… well, I'm not… just… scars," Sara trailed off again.

Catherine climbed off of Sara's lap and knelt in front of her.

"Sara, listen to me. You are the biggest fucking distraction I've ever had to deal with at work." Sara's head snapped up. "Those slender fingers, the legs that go on for days, and god help me when you smile… oh god. Sara, you're beautiful."

"But Catherine! I don't have any of your grace. I'm scared and my scars…"

"… just prove how strong you are. Remind me that you're a survivor and that I'm damn lucky to have you in mine and my daughter's life," Catherine interrupted earnestly.

Sara felt a tear run down her cheek.

"Now if you'll let me," Catherine continued, "I want to make you feel beautiful."

The two women looked each other in the eye. Catherine saw the fear in Sara's and Sara saw Catherine's passion. Catherine saw Sara weakening as she pledged to make her feel what she had wanted to for so long.

"You'll learn," Catherine whispered, "we'll learn each other. Just like we figured out how to deal with everything else. Now, will you let me give myself to you?"

Sara could only nod. Catherine rose and offered her hand. Sara allowed herself to be pulled off of the couch and led to Catherine's bedroom. Illuminated by the soft glow from a lamp, the room was neat with a large double bed. The soft scent of Catherine surrounded Sara as she took a deep breath to steady herself.

Catherine turned to face her and smiled. "This is getting a bit intense, huh?" She grinned.

Sara giggled.

"I love you Sara Sidle."

"I love you Catherine Willows."

Catherine smiled and started to move about the room, adjusting various things and giving Sara time to take in her surroundings. The familiar sight of Catherine's clothes in the slightly open closet and the pictures of Lindsay had a calming effect on Sara. The room was Catherine; suited to her low-maintenance needs but undeniably appealing. Although, Sara mused, the room's appeal was obviously owed largely to the enticing occupant.

Sara snapped back to reality as Catherine closed the closet door and leaned against it, facing Sara.

"I know it's silly, but I got so used to doing it for Lindsay. Monster patrol."

Sara lifted an eyebrow, "Monsters?"

Catherine smiled, "In the closet. Linds went through a monster phase. She was just starting to figure out what I do… who we deal with… that her father was murdered…" Catherine's face became serious and Sara felt a stab of concern.

"No more monsters, Sara," she said seriously, "not in here."

Sara met her eyes. "Okay," she whispered.

Catherine closed the gap between herself and Sara and once again pressed their lips together. She felt Sara respond immediately. Sara ran her tongue along Catherine's bottom lip, causing Catherine to groan and deepen the kiss while slowing unbuttoning Sara's shirt. Sara gasped and jerked back, causing their heads to bump together.

The two women giggled. "The awkwardness of a first time, eh?" Catherine smirked. Sara nodded, "It's sweet, I like it. I feel like a teenager; when it's exciting and new. But comfortable, and right."

Catherine gently pushed Sara back onto the bed, standing before her to remove her clothing. Sara watched openmouthed as Catherine slowly removed her own shirt, revealing her perfect breasts cupped by a lacy red bra. Catherine smiled as Sara gaped. Catherine slowly gyrated her hips as she slid out of her pants. Catherine guessed, rightly, that Sara would be more comfortable (or at least distracted) if she were the first to reveal herself.

Smiling, Catherine walked over to her frozen girlfriend and slid the shirt off her shoulders. Sara stood up, suddenly sombre, and looked Catherine sadly in the eye. She brought Catherine's hand to her stomach to trace a thin, white line that marred her lower abdomen.

"Sweetie, that's not so bad," Catherine whispered.

Wordlessly, Sara turned around to reveal her back. A dark, jagged line ran over her left shoulder blade, and a small, roughly healed puncture wound was on her right rib cage. The sight of the painful markings on her love's back caused Catherine's heart to twist. Sara turned back to Catherine, her face betraying her nervousness.

Catherine stared into Sara's eyes as she dropped to her knees. She pulled the brunette flush against her and pressed her face into her stomach. She gently kissed along the eight-inch scar. Sara gently placed her hand on Catherine's shoulders, and Catherine once again lifted her eyes to Sara's. She stood and turned Sara around, repeating the process with the woman's back, gently tracing the scars with her fingers and then kissing the offending marks.

Sara inhaled sharply and arched her back, offering herself up to Catherine's ministrations. Catherine's mouth gradually applied more pressure, and she gently raked her nails down Sara's spine from her next to the small of her back. Sara shivered, revelling in the attention being paid to her. It was unlike anything she had ever experienced.

When Catherine released her, she turned and cupped Catherine's face.

"I trust you," she said as she guided Catherine to the bed.

"You're over dressed," replied Catherine. Sara obligingly removed her jeans so both women were in their underwear.

Sara, sitting burning from the sensation of Catherine's lips on her body, reached out to trace her fingertips over Catherine's flat stomach. Catherine grinned as Sara backed her slowly toward the bed, laying her down. Copying Catherine's movements, the brunette began to trail kisses down Catherine's body. The blonde's legs opened obligingly, as Sara's mouth reached her panties. Sara sucked on Catherine's mound gently through the fabric causing the blonde to moan and arch into her mouth. Catherine shuddered again as she felt kisses up and down the inside of her thighs. Sara smiled into her flesh.

"I finally got you."

Catherine's head snapped up to see a smug looking Sara between her legs.

"What?"

"The great Catherine Willows, writhing because of my touch. I feel like a superhero."

Catherine grinned at her girlfriend's newfound confidence. She was thrilled that Sara was overcoming her shyness, but she wasn't about to completely give her the upper hand.

"You are pretty incredible darling," Catherine replied, smiling.

Sara's smirk slowly faded into shock as Catherine propped herself up on her elbows, shaking out her blonde tresses and biting her lip. Eyes bright, Catherine reached behind her to unfasten her bra, allowing it to fall away.

"See anything you like?"

Sara gasped and stared at the expanse of porcelain skin in front of her.

"You are so sexy," was all that she could muster.

As Sara moved up her body, Catherine reversed their positions so Sara was beneath her. Sara had never been a fan of this part of sex, but she felt secure pinned between Catherine and the mattress. She raised her head to gently suck on Catherine's breasts one at a time, revelling in the soft flesh in her mouth. As Catherine moaned, Sara bit down gently before resting her head between Catherine's breasts.

Catherine bent down to capture Sara's lips in a sensual kiss. Sara's hands came to life and slid Catherine's panties down. Her leg instinctively came up between Catherine's until her thigh was rubbing against the blonde's center. Trailing kisses down Sara's cheek, Catherine moaned into her ear as the friction increased. Catherine's moan earned a gasp from Sara. The blonde's fingers found their way inside Sara's underwear, tracing through her curls, teasing. The exploration continued as the two tumbled over the edge together.

An hour later, the two women lay in bed, arms and legs tangled. As breathing and pulse rates slowly returned to normal, Sara unwound herself from Catherine so she could snuggle more comfortably, head rested on Catherine's chest and tightly tucked into her side. They lay there in silence until Sara's voice came out of the dark.

"Tell me what you're thinking."

Catherine was surprised that the brunette had spoken first. She smiled slightly.

"Hmmm, well let's see. I'm feeling satisfied… and exhausted, and of course in love with you. But those are feelings and you asked for thoughts, right?"

Sara smiled and Catherine felt triumphant.

"First I thought how sad it was that I went so long without being touched like that by another person. Then I realized that I've never been touched like that before. I've had lust, and I've had something like love, but I've never had lust, love and trust that deep. That was special. I loved it. I love you. Then I was thinking how hard it must have been for you. Thank you."

Sara smiled at the ceiling. "You made it easy."

Catherine rolled over and playfully ran her tongue in between Sara's breasts.

"Did you call me easy?"