Spoilers from CSI Episode #10.16 "The Panty Sniffer". Got the ideas after watching the episode.
A bit fluffy in the end, so if you don't like that, don't read it :)
Thanks to Nadia for being my Beta, you're the best! *hugs*
Written for everyone at All About Marg :)
Disclaimer - I own nothing... Enjoy!
Everything happened in slow motion. She tried to disarm him but failed, tried to save Tony's life but failed. Oh God, Vartann! He was dead, all because she couldn't stop the attacker, he was much more stronger than her and even with the element of surprise on her side he still managed to block her attack and push her to the ground, the gun sliding on the floor, a couple of meters from where she was so that it was impossible to reach it.
She was trying to forget Tony's sharp cry of pain the moment he was shot but she knew that the memory of the sound would be haunting her for the rest of her life. That's if she managed to get out of this alive.
At the moment, she was lying on the ground, on her back, trying to push the blond man off of her and save herself. She had to do it for Lindsey, she couldn't leave her baby girl alone, she had already lost her father, she couldn't loose her mother as well. With that thought in mind, Catherine pushed with all her might against her attacker but when she almost managed to overpower him, he drew the gun at her face. Struggling, she tried to kick her legs free but he was leaning all his weight on her small body. Although Catherine tried not to loose hope, she was slowly realizing that she couldn't stand a chance against him and that's when she heard it… the sharp, yet so familiar sound of a bullet being triggered. She closed her eyes, bracing herself for impact.
Memories flashed before her eyes, memories of Lindsey and her sweet face, of Sam and the moment he died in her arms, of Eddy in the morgue, of Lilly, of Gil, of everyone who meant something for her. It was as if in a matter of milliseconds she envisioned the people she cared about and tried to somehow say goodbye. Last but not least was the face of Vartann. Catherine felt regret and anger, regret for not saying the right things when she could have and anger because she now realized that it was fear that made her hide all the feelings she had towards this kind man. But now it was too late, it was too late for Tony and now it would be too late for her as well.
So when the sound of the gun subsided and the pain still didn't appear, she slowly opened her eyes. The first thing she realized was that her face was covered in blood. So if there was blood, why didn't she feel any pain? What happened?
Catherine's senses were returning to her and that's when she felt the heavy weight on top of her body. She pushed him off of her and looked around to find out what had happened. It was clear that she was safe now, the man was dead, the blood on her face was his blood.
"Cath", she immediately turned towards the sound, in time to see the body hitting the floor, crying out in pain.
"Tony!" She got to her feet and ran towards him, kneeling by his side. Catherine cupped his face, making him look at her. What she saw there scared her, there was pain, anguish and something else she couldn't quite decipher but seemed oddly familiar.
"Tony, stay with me, please." She said in between sobs while applying pressure with a hand on the wound on his back.
"I had to save you… I had to come see that you were ok, I just couldn't leave without knowing that you were safe." With every breath he took, it was harder and harder to speak, she leaned in closer to hear everything he had to say and the last words she understood were sorry and love. When he closed his eyes her eyes glistened with tears. She frantically checked for his pulse and when she found it, weak but stable, she let out a sigh of relief. Catherine then reached for her phone and dialed Brass.
"Jim, it's Cath. You need to call 911 ASAP, Vartann's been shot." She heard him give orders to the people around him and continued speaking when there was silence on the other end "His pulse is weak but stable. I don't know if the bullet reached any major organs but he's loosing a lot of blood."
"Stay put, the ambulance will be there any minute now".
Catherine closed her phone and crawled next to Vartann once again, cradling his head in her lap and waiting for the paramedics to arrive, hoping they won't be too late to save his life.
At the hospital, Catherine was pacing the floors of the waiting room, while Jim was in a chair nearby watching over her. Nick and Greg made their way through the doors right at that moment and Nick was the first to ask "Do you know anything? How is he?", pulling on her arm gently so that she would stop and look at them.
"No, he is still in the OR and the nurses won't tell us anything". She took a sit, cradling her head in her arms and closing her eyes.
She looked so tired, Nick noticed "Cath, you want me to bring you anything? Coffee or something to eat?"
"Coffee would be good, thank you. I couldn't eat anything right now."
Greg took a step forward and caught her eyes "Did they examine you?"
"I'm fine, Greg."
"You were assaulted, you cannot possibly say that you are fine."
"They checked me over on our way to the hospital. Apart from some bruises there is nothing wrong with me. Vartann is the one in worse shape. And where are those damn nurses, why isn't anyone telling us something?" She went from feeling anger to feeling frustration knowing that there was nothing she could do for him, he saved her life and here she was, pacing the halls of a hospital, doing her best not to crumble. She couldn't do it, not now and especially not in front of everyone, she had to stay strong for Tony. There was time for her later.
A nurse came asking for Tony Vartann's relatives. Catherine jumped on her feet and was by the nurse's side in a second "We are his relatives. How is he? Is he alive?"
Seeing her desperation, the nurse decided to alleviate her pain "He's stable at the moment, though he will have to remain in the ICU for a couple more days so that we can keep a closer eye on him. He lost a lot of blood and while the bullet didn't manage to perforate any major organs, hitting the area between the liver and the kidney, it still did some damage to the interior. He was lucky it was his right side, otherwise it would have punched his left kidney."
Brass was the first to speak "Can we see him?"
"Not yet, I'm sorry. In 24 hours if he is still stable you will be allowed one at the time. M'am, I presume you are his wife? You can enter first."
"No, I'm…" Catherine was speechless. She seemed to think for a while and then turned a wary eye to the others, while directing her response to the nurse "Ok, thank you."
The nurse left them and while Cath was trying to process everything that had happened she heard Nick clear his throat and saw Greg raise an eyebrow. Brass tried to hide a smirk but failed miserably.
She chose not say anything, instead gave them a look as if to dare them to do or say something out of line.
"You're not a cheap date"
"I always thought that I was better alone... but I miss having someone to come home to."
"I didn't mean to put you on the spot... just wanted you to know."
"So, what's going on with you and Vartann?"
It has been a couple of days since Tony was brought to the hospital with a bullet wound and Catherine never left his side. She was granted visitation after the first 24 hours had passed but he still hadn't woken up. The rest of the team took shifts in staying with her, they've been nothing but supportive and she couldn't have been more grateful.
She was sitting by his bedside thinking about the last few days and their relationship. While he knew almost everything about her, she realized she knew next to nothing about him. She never knew he had a son. He seemed worried about what she'd think of this and the moment he confessed about being alone she saw herself in his eyes. Catherine realized in that moment that there were more things they had in common than what she had thought. She felt the urge to grab him and kiss him but it was not the place nor the time.
They have been flirting for months, going back and forth, having lunches together or meeting up for breakfast but never did talk about their feelings. What did she feel about him? She thought she lost him and instead he came back and saved her life. She was alive thanks to him, she owed him her life and with that thought came the realization that he meant much more to her than a simple coworker. He just had to wake up so that she could tell him, she wouldn't waste anymore chances, life was too short and after so many years of suffering and broken relationships she deserved to be happy. Tony was a good man, the best man she could've encountered and he seemed to want exactly what she did: love, affection, companionship.
Catherine was so absorbed in her thoughts that she failed to see Tony's hand moving and his eyes blinking open. He tried to adjust to the light and then sought her face. He somehow knew she'd be there, he wanted her to be there and he had hoped that if he would open his eyes her beautiful blue eyes would be the first thing he'd see. And he was right. He had the chance to observe her for a while, she didn't seem to notice him. She looked tired, like she hadn't had a proper sleep in days but she was still beautiful. She looked worried and it broke his heart to realize that maybe he was the reason she was that way. He decided that he wanted those eyes directed at him, so he cleared his throat.
Catherine was surprised but the smile that broke on her face was enough to melt him. "Well, look who's back among us, sleeping beauty." Catherine teased.
"Ouch! After everything I've been through, don't I at least deserve to be Prince Charming?", a smirk was starting to form at the corner of his lips.
"We'll see about that, first the doctor needs to see you. I'm going to be right back. Then we can talk about fairytales, you might get to be the frog if you don't behave."
"The frog got his kiss from the princess, does that mean that I'm going to get one too?"
Catherine laughed and the smile reached her eyes this time. She shook her head and went in search of the doctor.
"It seems that everything is fine, the wound is clean and your blood pressure is normal." The doctor said after he examined Tony. "I might even let you go home in a couple of days if there is someone who can take care of you for the next two weeks."
Tony started to protest, saying that he didn't need a babysitter when Catherine decided to step in "Don't worry doctor, he will be staying with me, I am going to make sure that everything you prescribe him is followed."
"But…" the doctor interrupted him at that moment "That is perfect, I will see that his papers are ready for you to sign." With that he left the couple alone.
"Cath, you don't have to do that, I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself."
"You heard the doctor's orders, would you rather spend two more weeks at the hospital than at home?" He sulked at that but decided to stay quiet, after all, when Catherine wanted something, she always got it. Instead, he decided to have some fun since he was stuck here with her anyway: "So, do you remember what we were talking about when the doctor interrupted us so rudely?"
"Hmm, I think you'd have to refresh my memory" she teased.
"Oh, that I do… I see. How about a demonstration then?" he took her arm and pulled her closer, so that she had to sit on the edge of the bed to prevent from falling on top of him.
"I like that idea, what do you have in mind?" she smiled while leaning even closer to him.
He touched her cheek and drew her even closer. Their breaths were intertwining and their lips almost touching. He then whispered against her lips "Cath, there's something I need to tell you...". She put one hand against his chest and the other around his neck. "I've been thinking, mainly about us. I don't want this anymore"
Shocked and disappointed she tried to drew away but he sneaked his other arm around her waste and hold her close "No, wait. I can't do this fling thing anymore. I want to be with you, I want to come home to you and be able to tell you that I love you every single day for the rest of my life."
She gasped "Tony…". He stopped her then by pressing a tender kiss against her lips. She deepened it and their tongues started a gentle battle against each other. When the need for air came, she pulled away. "I love you too, I always did!". He then drew her in another kiss.
Thanks for reading