Fanfic: “Fumbling Toward Ecstasy”
Pairing: Sara Sidle/Sofia Curtis
Spoilers: slight mention of “No Humans Involved”
Archive: Realm of the Shadow, Passion and Perfection
Disclaimer: Sara Sidle and Sofia Curtis are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS and their parent company.
Author’s Note: this unbeta’d…so ya know, mistakes are bound to be made…
Author’s Note 2: this is a companion piece of sorts for “In the Dark,”…
It had been three weeks since their encounter in the interrogation room. Up until that point Detective Sofia Curtis had steered clear of a certain tall, brunette, and enigmatic Crime Scene Investigator. It was her intention to scrub the incident that had taken place several weeks ago, from her mind. Needless to say, it was a futile attempt on her part because it was all she could think about. If she had to be honest with herself she would admit that Sara Sidle was a frequent preoccupation of both her conscious and unconscious mind.
The woman haunted the detective in a way she could not explain. She had only just recently made amends with the knowledge that she was indeed attracted to Sara. It was a knowledge that made her uneasy given how closed off and emotionally unavailable the other woman was, not to mention the fact that they got on like oil and water. No, there was not anything for Sofia to feel easy about in this situation. And yet, she almost felt like she was getting somewhere with the brunette only to be cut down at the knees, and that was proof enough that any attempt to act on what she was feeling would be nothing more than a colossal mistake.
However, Sofia could not stop thinking about the prickly brunette. Sara Sidle wasn’t what some would call a conventional beauty, but she was beautiful. Her body was lean, lithe and sinewy. Strong. There were days when Sofia would find herself secretly wishing that it would be hot enough for the other woman to sport one of her trademark sleeveless tops. The ones that fitted just so they clung to her curves and exposed just enough milky flesh to cause her body temperature to rise a few degrees. She secretly delighted in watching the play of Sara’s muscles beneath her skin that tempted her own flesh in a most involuntary way.
There were many things about Sara Sidle that tempted Sofia Curtis. Just that slight arch in her eye brows when she got annoyed or impatient was enough to send Sofia over the edge with wantonness. She felt her mouth go dry and she wondered just when it was that she began to entertain carnal thoughts about the CSI. Surely there had to have been some kind of indication prior to now. She thought back to her first case with the graveyard shift and it all began to make sense. It started that moment. It all started when she walked into the lab and saw Sara surrounded by those social services files trying to find the identity of that little boy.
She was so determined, so passionate. And despite her ferocity, there was a vulnerability about her too. It was all of those things that made Sofia sit up and take notice of the woman who frequently sequestered herself in the crime lab for hours on end. She supposed it was inevitable that her idle curiosity would lead somewhere far more complicated than she had intended. Maybe it was the detective in her, or if she were being honest with herself, maybe it was something a bit more…licentious. Whatever the case may have been, she was immediately drawn to Sara Sidle.
She was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she didn’t notice the woman in question standing at the threshold of Captain Jim Brass' office door. When Sofia looked up, she was greeted with a curious look, something that was a cross between bemusement and trepidation. Despite herself, she could not resist the urge to smile as she gestured the other woman to enter. But it quickly disappeared as she remembered what happened at their last encounter.
“Hello Sara.” She hoped that her voice did not sound nearly as strangled out loud as it did to her own ears. "Hi. Um, the desk sergeant told me I could find you here."
"Yeah, I've been camping out in Jim's office while he's away at a conference."
"I heard...uh, is it okay if we talk?" There was a slight hesitation on Sofia's part, but she knew she couldn't avoid Sara any longer and the best thing for them to do was to finally address the elephant that was sitting in the room, so to speak.
"Sure." She sat on the edge of the desk as she watched the tall brunette close the door and sit down in the chair just to the right of her. Observing the woman sitting less than a foot away from her, she was realized how much she missed seeing her. She was reminded how much she missed hearing the sound of her voice and the scent that was unmistakably hers. It had most definitely been a very long three weeks.
"So, what's on your mind Sara?" She asked the question even though she was fairly certain she had an idea as to what it was that brought the investigator to police head quarters.
Sara broke out into a mirthless laughter that alarmed Sofia. "Now there's a loaded question." Sofia remained silent, not quite sure where Sara was headed. So she waited, patiently for her to continue. "But the only thing I wanted to talk about right now is the reason you've been avoiding me?"
"What is there to talk about?"
"I dunno. How about why?"
"You already know the answer to that Sara."
"Oh you most definitely do and you didn't come all the way down here to find out the answer to that. So why don't you tell me why you're really here."
Flustered, the older woman jumped out of her seat, "Because there's more to it than you're letting one and I want to know what it is!"
“Why did you leave?” She asked suddenly.
Sofia wished she could say that it caught her completely off guard but it didn't. But at the same time, it felt like some kind of test that she was sure to fail no matter what answer she gave. And she was tired of jumping through hoops in hopes of getting somewhere with Sara, only to land flat on her face.
“Well?” The brunette asked again. The sound of Sara’s voice cut through the fog that had suddenly surrounded her brain.
“I asked why you left that night,” she repeated.
Sofia sighed heavily, “I don’t think you're ready to hear the answer.” “I wouldn’t have asked if I weren't.” Sara shot back hotly.
This time it was the blond who let out a mirthless laugh that visibly startled the brunette. “Trust me Sara, you're not.” She made a move to leave, but the other woman caught her by the elbow before she could get very far. “Don‘t walk away from me Sofia. I asked you a question. Why did you leave?” This time her words came out more pointedly.
The blonde looked at her arm as the grip upon it grew in strength. Her arm seemed to burn in the very spot where the brunette’s fingers clasped her flesh. Without conscious thought, Sofia placed her free hand upon the hand that immobilized her only seconds before. The fingers were strong and sure, yet, at the same time, they were delicate too. She had meant to ease them from her person but found herself caressing them with a reverence she seldom showed anything.
“You have no idea do you?” The question was rhetorical, but she could tell by the quizzical look on Sara’s face that she was really clueless about what had been transpiring between them for over a year. “You have no idea how hard it is for me to be around you, do you? I mean, I can’t even think straight when I’m around you. It‘s as if you have some kind of hold on me and I don‘t feel like myself when you‘re near.”
“You see Sara, the question isn’t why I left, the question is, why was I there? You should ask yourself why would I be waiting for you. And I would think it pretty damn obvious as to why. Even you aren‘t that bloody oblivious ?”
“I…I didn‘t…” her voice trailed off , and her face took on a strange look. Her brow furrowed, a cross between recognition and confusion.
The other woman waited for her to say something, anything, desperately hoping that some part of her admission had penetrated the wall that existed between them. But it became abundantly clear that whatever the brunette was going to say had died down before it reached her lips, which only added to the blonde’s frustration.
“Just what I thought. I mean heaven forbid you open up yourself to the idea of …” Sofia stopped short of completing her sentence. Her voice was soft and the enclosed space they occupied grew quiet as the two women just stood there staring at each other. One woman too stubborn to admit how she felt. The other one too stubborn to acknowledge she felt anything at all.
Sofia let out a long and exhausted sigh and extricated herself from Sara’s grasp. “And to be honest I just can't go on waiting for you."
She ignored the other woman. She had once again compromised herself and the results were the same as the first time she let her guard down in the presence of the other woman. She promised herself that very moment, that was the last time she would ever let Sara Sidle get under her skin again.
“I can’t keep doing this with you Sara. It’s just too much.” she shouted. She could feel all the anger and frustration she had been feeling for the past few weeks build to its breaking point. She wanted to break through the wall of uncertainty and restraint that had been surrounding her for the better part of a year. She knew she had to obliterate it, otherwise she would end up spending an eternity banging her head against it.
Sofia turned so that she came face to face with Sara, “You push everyone away Sara. You live in that lab as if it were some kind of fortress. You eat, breathe, and sleep this job just so you won’t have to deal with what goes on in the outside world.”
“You think you know me,” her voice was harsh . “You think you have me all figured out don’t you detective? Well here’s a news flash for you, you don’t! So stop pretending that you do.”
Sara turned to walk away, but this time it was Sofia who caught her by the arm and yanked her in an about-face. “If I don’t know you it’s because you're making it almost fucking impossible to do so!”
She stepped back, releasing the lanky woman in the process. The blonde took a breath to somewhat calm herself down, then after a beat or two she began to speak again, “I get it. It’s safe there. You can control what happens there, not like in the outside world where everything is just fucking chaos. I mean we see the worst of what people are capable of doing to each other Sara, day in and day out we see the damage it causes. And no one and I mean no one, should ever have to witness the things that we see on this job. Ever. But because we do, it’s a huge, bloody burden for us to carry. And that’s exactly why we need to hold on to the things that make us human.”
“That’s all the reason more why we need to believe in things like compassion and love because otherwise we might as well be dead ourselves.” She looked at Sara imploringly, hoping some of the things she said would get through to her. She took a step forward, invading her personal space, “I want to know you, Sara. I want to know everything there is to know about you. But I can’t keep up this dance between us anymore. I just simply can’t pretend that I don’t have feelings for you, when I do, any more than I can pretend that I don’t see how you watch me when you think I’m not looking.”
She heard the quick intake of breath and knew she hit the right nerve. It gave her the fortitude to continue. “That night, I was hoping that finally we could dispense with all of the bullshit and…connect. I had this crazy idea that maybe…” Her voice once again trailed off as she gazed deeply into earthy eyes. Her mouth had suddenly become very dry and her mind swam with a headiness that made it near impossible to concentrate. “You have no idea just how beautiful you are, do you?” She asked absently in a breathy tone. It had yet to register to the blonde that she had brought her hand up to cup the other woman’s cheek, or that the woman in question had in turn shuddered under her caress. It caused Sofia to shiver as well. Sara leaned into her palm and Sofia took that as permission to proceed and pressed her lips onto those of Sara's. The kiss was tentative and unsure at first but became more intense as each woman relaxed.
“We can’t…” came the weak utterance as the blonde pulled the brunette in closer, hands roaming, desperate to create more contact. “Not here…”
Reluctantly, Sofia pulled back, but only just enough to look Sara in the eyes. And for the first time she finally saw a glimmer of what she was so desperately hoping to find beneath all of the darkness that lay within.
“It’s hard for me, you know, letting people in. Trusting them. I question everything especially other people’s motives.” She took a pause before she continued, “How do I know you won’t hurt me?” And there it was. And it made her fall a little bit more in love with the other woman. “You don’t, anymore than I know that you won’t hurt me. That’s why it’s a risk Sara.”
They stood in tension filled silence as minute after minute passed. Each contemplating what had occurred up until that point. “Sofia?” "Yes Sara?"
"I...I think you can stop waiting."