It was a brilliant, warm day, star flames blazing in the sky over the Nevada desert. The road stretched on, the heat wavering across it as a blanket. An unwavering line of black tarmac reached for the hazed horizon glimmering distantly, never approaching, never retreating. Brown faded to blue and blue to a white around the sun that burned to look at.
The car's shadow slipped across the landscape almost silently, the sun chasing it unrelentingly. It had been a long chase now; Warrick had lost track of how long they had been driving. It did not matter. It wasn't where they were going, but where they were leaving.
The air was warm, breathing heat at him as they sped along. They had not spoken since setting off, and he idly wondered why she had brought him, why she had brought anyone at all. He wondered if she even knew herself.
The sun glinted off the car and at him, and he watched the light through his dark glasses, sometimes even risking a brief glance at her. Her hair fell around her like a golden crown and he imagined her hair would be warm to touch, soft to run his fingers through. She was keeping her eyes on the horizon, driving ever on from her own shadows.
"I sometimes don't like what I have to become," she had told him yesterday, a beer clutched in hand and voice raspy. He knew she'd been having another stand-off with Grissom and merely nodded. But the look she had given him had been hotter than the sun and it still burned him.
He closed his eyes for a while, feeling the hairs of his arms move ever so slightly in the artifical wind. It was peaceful and summer and he had time to wait.
The air hummed on, mixing with the engine sounds, whispers of life around him.
"You hungry?" she suddenly asked.
"I brought food."
He opened his eyes to look at her, seeing how the sunlight became her face. She looked at peace out here, no blood or dead to cling to her skin. No office politics, no Ecklie, no raised arguments. Just the sun, the shadows and the road. And them, dancing this slow dance, circling ever closer to something he dared not name. Name brought expectations with it and he did not wish to kill it before it had even started.
She pulled over to a sideroad, leaving the tarmac behind, dust now swirling up to cling to what it could before coming to rest after they'd passed. Almost as if they'd never been there, expect for the telltale evidence of tire tracks. There was always some evidence, he reflected, and watched redbrown dust brush into her hair. She shook her head, but if to shake the dust or something else off, he did not know.
The car came to an abrupt halt and she turned sharply to look at him. The shades shielded her bright eyes, but he could feel her gaze on him, burrowing into his skin.
"Why are you here, Warrick?" she asked, leaning slightly against the steering wheel.
"You asked me to come."
"Why are you here?" he countered.
"Maybe to see if you'd follow," she said and slipped out of the car, leaving him for a moment to feel the words echo in his blood. A moment later, he followed her, the ground uneven under his feet. Distant sounds from the main road could be heard, but they felt muted in the heat. As if it was only them and the blazing sun. And in the distance, Las Vegas rested against the horizon, shimmering and wavering.
Catherine had taken out some wrapped sandwitches and had found herself a spot by the shade of the car where she folded out a blanket. The t-shirt clung to her as she sat down; white cotton that prespirered with her skin to keep her cooler.
He slipped down next to her, taking the offered wrapping and a cool bottle without a word. She was so close he could hear her breath, slightly uneven as she ate. Occasionally, she would lick a crumb from her lips and he would forget what he was eating.
"I'm a bad mother," she said suddenly, not even looking at him. "Lindsey is slipping from me."
"She's just growing up."
"I don't want her to grow up. I want her to be my child forever." She stared at the distant horizon absetmindedly, clutching her bottle. "She makes me angry. Grissom makes me angry. Sara makes me angry. Ecklie makes me angry, but I cannot blow up at him. I'm tired of being angry, Warrick, but it's all I can seem to feel of late."
"You're being human," he replied calmly. She slipped her shades off and looked at him, eyes bright, dark circles underneath. "You never do anything half. Anger or sympathy, love or hate."
"I've done one thing half," she said, lifting a hand to his cheek. He tilted his head slightly, kissing her palm. She did not flinch away, merely continued to look at him, serious and teasing at once. "We've had years of foreplay."
"I'm here now," he said slowly. A wind rose and fell with their breaths and a car honked in the distance, merrily chasing the tarmac to the horizon.
He wasn't quite sure just when she had edged closer, but suddenly she had straddled him and almost crushed her mouth to his. He was caught by surprise and did not respond at first, and she tugged at his bottom lip with all the impatience he had come to know lived in her. Her breats pressed against his chest and she slipped his shades off defly, leaving the sun to blaze against his eyelids.
She was warm in his arms, almost merging with the heat of the day to flames licking his skin, flames raging through his veins. He let his hands roam her body, slipping under her top to naked skin. His fingertips traced the underline of one breast, feeling the softness of the skin. She made a sound at the back of her throat, but did not break the kiss.
As she continued to push against him, he found himself toppling backwards, several hard objects greeting his back. He winced and she laughed into the kiss, following him down, hands wrapped around his neck. Flipping her over, he pinned her hands above her head with one hand and pressed kisses along her neck. She arched against him impatiently, breath uneven and ragged as he slipped a palm across skin and fabric alike.
The sun made her skin golden and he touched it as he would something precious and delicate, caressing it reverently. She was rougher with him, biting into his shoulder and scraping her fingernails across his back as his touches wandered lower.
"Warrick!" she gasped on an exhale, eyes closed and lips parted. He did not think he had ever seen her more beautiful, hair unkempt and dusty, clothes wrinkled. And somewhere in his mind he felt a tinge of pride, knowing it was him giving her this as she bucked against his touch.
Somewhere along the way, she got back in control again, guiding him as he watched face and sank into her. She welcomed him with a sound that wasn't quite human, but still her. He soon lost himself in her sounds, the feel of her, dancing the oldest dance of all until he seemed to burn with a heat so great it was almost painful and all became white light and he was the sun, sailing across the sky, sailing, sailing, sailing...
The day moved on, burning time as it went. Visps of cloud appeared, streaming lazily across the sky, watching the world beneath them. Condensed water unwilling to fall on this warm day, as if they knew they would burn on the way down. No rain for the desert today.
"That one looks like a spider."
"No!" Catherine protested. "Grissom would mark down your observation skills. That is clealy a dismantled hand."
They had perched themselves up on the hood of the car and she was resting against his shoulder, watching the clouds watch them. Time seemed slow, as if suffering from the heat also and not having the strength to gallop on. He wondered if they could stay forever here, alive and skin to skin under the Nevada Sun.
But of course Catherine had Lindsey and they both had work that would call. Perhaps it was more a quest than a job. Solving murders, creating illusions of justice, giving the dead a voice. And sometimes, it was too much and you drove away, if only for a little while.
"Why are you here?" he asked, remembering she had never really answered. Pushing a lock of hair behind her ear, he saw her face soften.
"I'm here to forget what I am and remember who I am," she whispered, then looked at him. "Don't tell anyone."
"So where do we go from here?"
"Fowards," she said quietly. "I don't look back."
"Where are we going next? Back to Las Vegas?"
"No." She shook her head empathically. "Not today. Today we are going to drive and talk and in the evening, we'll find a little hotel and you will ravish me somewhere I won't have pointed rocks burrow into my back. Tomorrow we'll drive home."
"And then?" he asked.
"Then we live," she said and smiled at him, shining like a sun. His sun, his own Nevada sun.
And he lowered his head to rest on her stomach and be warm, letting the day pass on around them and the lazy clouds drift against the illusion of horizon. The illusion of tomorrow. Forever, there was only today and the tarmac road waiting under the blazing Nevada sun.