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Fic: Ridge Detail

Title: Ridge Detail
Series: Sleeps With Butterflies
Author: vegawriters
Rating: PG-15
Pairing: Grissom/Sara; Mandy/Sara
Timeframe: Season 13, around Sheltered
A/N: Thanks to kitty for the beta!
Disclaimer: Mandy, Sara, Grissom, et al belong to CBS and co. I make no money from this and I’m cool with that.

Summary: She knew better than most how lingering caresses could leave ridge detail within deep tissue bruises and how the roughest of grips could leave behind nothing but a smear of oil on reddened skin.

Mandy Webster had never claimed to be in love with Sara Sidle. She didn’t moon after the leggy brunette like Greg, never pined like Grissom. She didn’t share the same sibling camaraderie of Nick’s, or even the girlish companionship that Sara seemed to have developed with Finn. No, Mandy watched history work its way through time one touch at a time in the corridors beyond her workstation. She knew better than most how lingering caresses could leave ridge detail within deep tissue bruises and how the roughest of grips could leave behind nothing but a smear of oil on reddened skin.

For Sara, she watched the gloves on her hands get heavier and heavier, leaving secrets trapped in folds of leather where once, the latex had revealed hints of the story. She knew that if Sara wore her heavier gloves, she would not see the finger devoid of a ring so many thought it impossible to claim. Sara volunteered for field work, keeping her hands covered, and through that, her heart protected. No one could see through the print powder that her hands had left on her heart.

A ring was a smattering of smudges, detail was impossible to discern and even partial prints were a long shot. A ridge or swirl would sometimes stand against the cling of superglue – always a thumb – but it was a point that would come back to millions of other ring bearers. Never had she found a useable match and DNA never stuck to the inside of the metal, despite the sweat and skin collected as the wearer twisted and turned the object of memory around the finger; marriage as orbit. The wearer showed their feelings to the world: I love. Words too few dared to say. Even the most guarded showed their heart simply by sliding a ring onto their finger with a golden promise of never ending commitment. Diamonds and emeralds and silver came and went, but it was the band, the gold wedding band, that revealed all. The heart could not hide behind the glitter of jewels, and gold revealed all imperfections.

Once, Mandy had made a joke, to Archie, about diamonds and an open marriage. She did not advertise her sexuality, and did not care if people noticed that she glanced up when Sofia, Finn, and Judy walked by. Yet, it was Sara her eyes lingered on, on a finger that was now so often gloved, on a hand that so many now whispered about. She did not know what was worse – whispers of sexuality or whispers of divorce. Neither was anyone’s business, yet the ring showed all, a timeline of heartbreak that allowed people to gossip without ever having to reach out.

It was bad enough to swim in heartbreak and to go out of the way to keep private life from interfering with work. And then there was the marriage to the patriarch of the lab. Mandy wouldn’t be Sara for anything. Even now, she knew, people stopped the CSI in the hallways and asked after her now estranged husband. She wasn’t sure when the last time was anyone had asked after Sara.

Once, years and years ago, she had stepped foot into a bar off the strip. Through the crowd of cops and CSIs, she’d seen Sara hunched at the bar, glasses lined up before her. Hers was not the slumped shoulder of a broken heart but the jagged edge of danger, of memories that lingered too close for comfort, always dredged up from the shadows of the red and blue lights, made real in the flash of a camera. Mandy knew she could not do field work. She was not Greg, with his never ending curiosity or Hodges with his impossible one-ups-manship, nor even Wendy with her need to control every aspect of the game. No, she belonged at her computer, learning life stories through whorls and loops. She’d re-printed Sara when she came back to the lab. She’d known before anyone, save Ecklie, that their old friend was returning. She’d seen the smile and the laugh and how her shoulders were no longer jagged edges and she’d seen how Sara’s eyes lingered on the gold band that rested easily on her finger, as if it had always been there. Did its ghost still linger?

Mandy had pushed her way through the crowd and stood behind Sara and had known the other woman was not safe to drive. And when she’d woken up alone and Sara had at least made coffee before slipping out the door, she’d never said a word about how bittersweet drunken kisses could be. To this day they had never spoken of that night, not even to each other (though Mandy was sure that Sara’s husband now knew), but Mandy had a feeling that she had saved Sara that night from whatever demons still chased her.

And standing at the door to a home she’d never visited, holding ice cream and an old Indiana Jones favorite, staring at the brass door latch and the print smudges that revealed themselves in the early morning fog, she wondered what fingerprints she’d find in this home. When was the last time Gil Grissom had left behind his imprint? Would they be long dusty or would Sara have cleaned, top to bottom, removing any last trace of the man who had dared to call her wife, who had slipped a golden ring onto her finger, and then ripped it free, leaving Sara alone in a cyclone of print dust and trace evidence? Leaving bruises that no human eye could see, but that left precise ridge details on the human heart.

Continued in Cracks in Blackout Curtains


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 21st, 2013 07:16 pm (UTC)
Great writing! Hope the stories continue??
Jun. 21st, 2013 07:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you! The stories will continue. I've been focusing on some original work over the summer, but I hope to have a couple of new stories up soon.

Thanks for reading. :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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