Title: Authority Figures
Archiving: This will be at www.realmoftheshadow.com/harper.htm with the rest of my stuff. If the lists auto-archive, then they are welcome to it. Anyone else, please ask.
Disclaimer: I don’t own them. I don't pretend to own them. I'm simply playing around with them.
A/N: I think these two would make a great pair. This is short, and doesn't do the pairing justice. I haven't posted anything in a long time, so be kind. It's unbeta'd. If you'd like to send feedback, I'd love to hear from you. I used to try and respond to each feedback individually, but I don't have the resources to do that at this point in my life. If you do send feedback, know that I greatly appreciate it… no matter what the flavor. Thanks. --Harper
"Do you like girls, Sara?"
The words are sharp and unexpected, and they pull Sara Sidle firmly back into the present. From where, she's not sure, because she couldn't exactly say what world she'd been drifting in for the last few moments. Now she's inhabiting this world again, but she's distinctly certain that she doesn't really want to… at least, not at this very moment.
"I'm sorry?" she blurts in reply, voice hoarse with surprise and an almost desperate panic.
"Do you like girls?"
There the words are again, and they seem loud enough to tear straight through her eardrums. She looks around, guilt written plainly across her face even though they're alone in the lab. There's no one around to hear, no gasps of shock or surprise echoing around the room. Nothing, just the background hum of machinery at work and the too fast rasp of her breath.
She stalls for time, face red. Sweat begins to form at her temples, and her thighs tense as if in preparation for a quick sprint out of her suddenly unbearable surroundings.
"Why do you ask?" Again her voice is strangled, strained with the stress of having to find words to stall for time so that her currently non-functioning and very scrambled mind can think of some reasonable answer. Something that won't sound too defensive, something that would be a slick enough lie. She doesn't want to lie badly. That's almost worse than admitting to the truth.
"I see the way you watch me," the words are said contemplatively, with a detached and impersonal precision. Fitting, given the speaker. "I've seen that look before."
"Sofia, I…" she pauses, knowing that she doesn't have the end of that sentence formulated quite yet and not wanting to mire herself in a verbal mess of quicksand.
The blond tilts her head to the side, long hair spilling over her shoulder in a nice contrast with the blinding white of her labcoat. "Of course, I've seen you look at Grissom the same way," Sofia continues, the words hitting Sara like a tangible blow, each adding a bit more slump to her spine. "Maybe you like both boys and girls."
Some part of her snaps, and Sara says dully, "I form unhealthy attractions to authority figures."
Sofia almost laughs, wondering if the other woman is parroting the clinical explanation some therapist fed her during a counseling session. She wonders why she is tormenting Sara, why she enjoys the dull sheen of desperation and panic clearly visible in dark brown eyes as much as she quite clearly does.
"I'm not your supervisor," Sofia points out bluntly, flicking her hair back over her shoulder, unconscious yet no less calculated seduction rife in the move.
Sara blushes deeply, aware of her tacit admission of attraction. She bites her bottom lip nervously, stomach clenched tightly in anticipation. Something about the situation brings about an almost nauseating sense of hope.
She takes in a deep breath, says slowly, "You were the day shift supervisor."
She doesn't need to add that Sofia isn't the day shift supervisor any longer. Ecklie saw to that when she didn't fall in line behind his plan to move Grissom one step closer to his ousting. She wonders if Sofia regrets that now, if her principles are as valuable to her as a lab flunky as they were as a supervisor.
"You're attracted to power," Sofia murmurs contemplatively, lips pursed and brows drawn as if in thought.
Sara hedges, not quite sure of the true answer to that not quite question. "Drawn to it, maybe," she finally says, the words ringing in her ears. The whole scene is surreal, and she wonders if maybe she's dreaming. She thinks it can't really be happening, that she can't be having this conversation with Sofia at 3 a.m. in a deserted room at the lab, the computer running a print through AFIS even as they speak. It seems blatantly impossible, not to mention ill-advised.
Sofia takes this in as if Sara has revealed the answer to a great mystery. She licks her bottom lip, the move one of which she is unaware though Sara is caught by it, eyes following the trail of the wet, pink tip as it moves across a surprisingly lush bottom lip.
"Do you want to sleep with me?"
Sara had thought she couldn't have been more surprised than she was when the conversation began, but she now realizes she was wrong. This is completely unexpected. Again, she finds herself at a loss for words.
"You don't have to answer that now," Sofia says smoothly, sliding off of her chair as the computer begins to beep insistently behind her. The green glow of the screen highlights her face in the darkness, giving her an almost eerie glow that Sara feels matches the conversation with uncanny precision. "We've got a match."
The words are said matter-of-factly, as if the entire conversation preceding them had never taken place. Sara shakes her head slightly, trying to reconcile the utterly disparate parts of her mind. The one part, the rational and scientific part, tells her that she needs to go over there, to see what the computer has found. She needs to bring her focus back to the job at hand, to catching the son of a bitch who murdered his cocktail waitress girlfriend because he couldn't stand the thought of her talking to other men. The other part, the messy and human part, holds her still as it tries to find some way to fit the last five minutes into some kind of pattern that takes the mess and makes it orderly. She needs order more than anything. She craves it, actually. She thrives on order. It's one of the many reasons why she's so good at her job.
"Duncan Clark," Sofia reads off, tone self-satisfied. He is their main suspect, and she feels validated by the science that confirms her logic-driven suspicion. Validation is joined by the soul-freeing yet bittersweet comfort of knowing that she's won. Her science has once again beaten human darkness and messy fallacy. Sometimes she wishes the game would end, that there would be no more games. But, she knows that will never happen. So long as there are people, there will be people killing and causing pain to other people.
"I'll call Brass," Sara rasps, mind still swimming with confusion. Sofia nods, blue eyes slitted with self-satisfaction as she looks at Sara, the other woman's voice bringing her squarely back to the moment.
She saunters over, a slight smirk on her face. Sara doesn't know if she is the driving force behind that smirk, or if it is the result of the culmination of their hard work on this case.
Pausing when she reaches Sara, Sofia leans down, lips dangerously close to the other woman's ear. Her hair falls across Sara's shoulder, light gold locks mingling with chocolate brown, and Sara focuses on the combination as if transfixed. "I'll wait for you in the parking lot after our shift. I can follow you to your house," Sofia murmurs calmly, voice silky smooth in her confidence.
For a moment, Sara forgets to breathe. Part of her realizes that she is agreeing, that her head is nodding up and down dumbly, and she wants to speak, to say that this isn't right. She doesn't, though. Some part of her craves this, more than order and more than reason. She isn't about to stop it.
Sara swivels in her chair as Sofia leaves the lab, watching her cocky stride until the other woman's back is no longer visible. She realizes she's breathing so hard that she's almost panting, that her heart is racing as if she just sprinted up the stairs. A short, almost disgusted laugh ghosts past her lips. It's already wrong before it even begins, the inevitable affair she's about to have. She's already at the disadvantage, and part of her knows how it will eventually play out.
Flicking open her cell phone with careless grace, she acknowledges that she doesn't really care. She wants it, wants to lose herself in someone else. Sofia saw it, obviously, and for that Sara is almost grateful. The other woman excites her, with her arrogance and intelligence and sense of smug entitlement. It's an aphrodisiac cocktail for Sara, and she'll gladly indulge in the self-destructive pleasure of taking full advantage of what the other woman is offering her.
The sun is glaringly bright when she steps out of the lab and into the parking lot hours later. Sofia is waiting for her as promised, lanky body leaning lazily against the side of a dark blue Tahoe. The other woman has on dark glasses, and Sara wishes for a moment that she could see her eyes, see the other woman's thoughts.
"It's a short drive," Sara says, voice a low rasp of anticipation and desire.
Sofia smirks again, and Sara feels her heart begin to beat faster.
She tries very hard not to think about what her responsiveness means. For someone long used to staunch self-denial, it really isn't that difficult.