Fandom: CSI/Highlander (ish)
Pairing: Sara/Sam (OMC)
Word Count: 1,574
Notes: For the quotes challenge – I picked “"You stay alive! No matter how long it takes; no matter how far. I will find you,” said by Hawkeye, in “The Last of the Mohicans.”
There was something inherently creepy, Sam thought, about a church at night. Lit only by the light of votive candles, flickering off to the right-hand side, more small lights underneath the Stations of the Cross, and several more around the altar, there were too many shadows in which something could be lurking, waiting to jump out and catch a person unawares. That, coupled with the utter silence and stillness that pervaded such a place meant that he’d never felt comfortable there, no matter how safe he was. Sanctuary for him couldn’t be found in a church, could only be found in the open air, surrounded by trees and grass and blue skies, or, more recently, in a small San Francisco apartment with the woman he loved in his arms.
Which was the main reason why he was here at all, lurking in the shadows, and also the main reason why he was scowling.
Safe or not, he still tensed when the heavy wooden doors opened, the creaking of the hinges loud in the stillness, a long, mournful wail that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Or maybe that was because of the silhouette that entered, the long limbs, dark curly hair wilder than usual, as if she’d spent many hours running her fingers through it. He knew what it took to make her hair look like that, had been the cause of it too many times over the past couple of years, and his fingers itched at the memory. The thought that he wasn’t going to be able to do that for a long time, maybe never again, caused his throat to ache, and he stayed where he was, hidden, for a long moment as she stepped tentatively inside the church, looking around her. This, he knew, would be the last time in a long time that he would be able to look at her, and he wanted to etch every moment into his memory.
Then she said his name, her voice a pained whisper, echoing around the rafters of the church, and he couldn’t stay back any longer.
“I’m here, Sara,” he said, stepping from the shadows, and she wheeled around to face him, the light catching her face as she did so, painting her skin a pale golden colour, illuminating the wideness of her eyes, as well as the pain inside them. The knowledge that he was responsible for that pain hurt more than any death ever could, but then she was in his arms, holding him tightly, and he wasn’t thinking of anything else but her.
He had no idea how long it was before either of them were willing to let go, and even then, when she took half a step back so that she could look into his face, his arms stayed tight around her waist. That was when his lips descended on hers, bringing her into a fierce and passionate kiss that absolutely did not belong in this most holy of places, but the frame of mind he was in with the Almighty right then, he honestly didn’t give a damn.
When the need for oxygen became overpowering – because a dead man he might be, but he still had to breathe, and so did she – he pulled away from her reluctantly, but he didn’t let her go, and her hands moved from around his neck to the lapels of his long coat. Her knuckles were chalk white, as white as her face up close, telling him once more the pain this was causing her, how she really didn’t want to let him go.
“I’m sorry it took me so long to get here…” she whispered, her voice still ragged, even more so now. “It took forever to get them to leave…”
Shaking his head, he traced a finger along her temple to her chin, loving how she leaned into his touch. “It’s ok,” he said, pulling her into a hug, burying his face in her hair. “It’s ok… you’re here now.”
Even if here was the place they’d never wanted to be, in more ways than one. It was their last line of defence, their fall back position, the place where they’d always agreed they would meet if ever someone was chasing him, if ever it wasn’t safe for him to return to the apartment that they shared. They’d never had to come here, not until today, and there was a terrible irony in the fact that it was no Immortal that had driven them here, rather a very mortal mugger, a street kid, high as a kite, wielding a knife.
“You shouldn’t have done it, Sam.” The words were barely audible, and Sam pulled away, the better to see her face, look into her eyes. He frowned, because he couldn’t have heard her right, and she repeated herself. “You shouldn’t have done it…”
His frown deepened, because she sounded like she really believed it. “He would have killed you Sara,” he said, and he knew he was right, because the kid had been far beyond reason, beyond sanity as he’d thrust the knife at Sara, and Sam hadn’t hesitated putting himself between her and the blade. He’d known it was a mortal wound the second the blade had punctured his skin, and he’d collapsed in Sara’s arms as the world had faded to black around him. The last thing he remembered was her face, her eyes, and he’d reminded her of this place, hoping that she would understand.
He remembered nothing else until he woke up in the ME’s office, thankfully before the autopsy had taken place. Getting out of there undetected had taken considerable effort, and he’d come straight here, had waited for Sara, knowing that her statement would have to be taken, that well-meaning friends would no doubt stay at her side. He was actually surprised that she’d managed to come so soon.
“You don’t know that,” she protested, and he cupped her face in his hands, nodding soberly.
“Yes… I do.” A lone tear spilled down her cheek, and he wiped it away with the pad of his thumb. “It’s better this way, Sara…”
She shook her head, loosing more tears. “Not for me,” she whispered, her tone bereft. “What am I going to do without you?”
She sounded and looked so heartbroken that all he could think of to do was take her in his arms, and her hands made fists of his coat, as if she could hold on to him that way. “You’re going to be the best damn CSI in San Francisco,” he told her. “You’re going to live, and grow old and be happy… you’re going to be amazing Sara… I’ve always known that.”
She was shaking from head to foot, whether from shock or upset Sam didn’t know, and the little laugh that she let out at his words did nothing to reassure him. “But you won’t be there,” she said, sounding like nothing so much as a lost child, and he sighed into her hair.
“This isn’t going to be the last time we see one another,” he said, and she looked up sharply then, surprise written all over his face. It made him smile, albeit sadly, made him lean forward and brush a kiss across her forehead. “Just because I have to leave town… I’m not leaving you. I will always be in your life, Sara.”
Her palm came up then, covered his cheek. “Promise?” she asked, and he nodded, meaning every word, because she’d been through too much, lost too much, for him to take such a promise lightly.
“I promise,” he said. “No matter how long it takes; no matter how far. I will find you.”
She let out a soft sob then, her arms going around his neck, and when his arms went around her waist, he hugged her so hard that he literally lifted her off the ground. When he set her back down again, she kissed him, just as fiercely, just as desperately as she had when she’d first entered the church, and when she pulled away, her eyes were dry, burning with some emotion he couldn’t name.
“You stay alive, you hear me?” she ordered. “And you come back to me.”
He nodded. “Take care of yourself.”
There was a long moment where he looked into her eyes, then another long kiss to do them for who knew how long. Then she stepped back, put some distance between them, and when she gripped the hard wood of the pew behind her, her knuckles were chalk white. “Go,” was all she said, and he swallowed hard.
“Go,” she said again. “Or I might not let you.”
Nodding once, he walked backwards towards the side door, stopping only when he got to the far end of the pew, where he gripped it, knuckles white as hers, whiter maybe. “I love you,” he said before turning on his heel, heading for the side exit.
A sob was his only answer, and he didn’t look back; otherwise, he’d never leave.
It was only when he got to the door, his hand on the wrought iron handle, that the words reached him.
“I love you too.”
He faltered for only a second, then he stepped through the door, into the night, pausing only to let the dull thud of the closing door dissipate.
He didn’t look back.