Author: Fallon Ash
Title: Veni Vidi Vici
Rating: strong PG-13
Pairing: Calleigh Duquesne/Megan Donner
Disclaimer: The characters of CSI: Miami do not belong to me, but to CBS and the creators. I make no profit from this.
Archive: Must ask first.
Summary: You watch the new girl because you think she will never notice. Three POVs, three parts, three thousand words.
You watch the new girl because you think she will never notice. Her name is Calleigh Duquesne, and she’s perfect. She’s young and ambitious and sharp as a pin. Her hair is bleached almost white by the sun, not peroxide, her eyes are very green, and her smile is wide and toothy. She bats her eyes and calls Horatio ‘Handsome’, because that’s just the way she is, without noticing that his eyes follow her after she’s turned around. If it were any other man, you’d say that the looks he gives her are appraising, calculating, undressing, but this is Horatio, and that’s just the way he looks at people. The new girl can’t possibly know that, though, so that’s why you conclude that she doesn’t notice these things. You watch her because the back of your neck tingles when she tosses her hair over her shoulder, exposing the curved line of her neck perfectly, because you feel shivers along your spine when she laughs, and because her bright smile hits you right in the pit of your stomach. But you love Sean too much to ever do anything about it.
So the months pass, and she’s not the new girl anymore. She’s Calleigh from Louisiana who wanted to be a scientist but couldn’t resist the call of justice, who swoons like the proper southern belle she is but over guns and bullets and not over men, and who’s hair you’ve brushed and braided over and over one terrible night when the evidence was inconclusive and she couldn’t catch a multiple child molester who’d crossed the line to murder and she needed company and comfort but shrunk away from physical contact. You still watch her, though. You watch her through the day, and you think that maybe Horatio notices, but you still go home to Sean every night, and you think that she might be dating some gun store manager from down town. She never notices you.
And then suddenly more than a year has passed, and Sean is gone, dead, killed in the line of duty, never coming back again. Calleigh isn’t even a blip on your radar during this time, because all you can think of is Sean, whom you’re never going to see again.
When you finally return to work everything has changed. Horatio is doing your job. Everyone else is doing what you would be doing if you weren’t doing Horatio’s job. Which you’re not. You feel useless. You feel like doing Horatio’s job, and you really shouldn’t be. Horatio notices that you try, though, and keeps an eye on you at scenes, pity in his eyes. You hate it and flee back to your lab, welcoming Speed and his unassuming support. You overheard him once, defending you to that new boy, the handsome Cuban one, and you wasn’t sure if you wanted to laugh or cry, but you did neither, still don’t. You’ve already cried so much you feel it should be enough for a lifetime and laughter just isn’t a part of your vocabulary. Even though rationally you know you’re wrong, most of the time you still know that you’ll never laugh again.
You feel like a stranger in this place that was home for such a long time, like the odd one out among a group of peers. Alexx looks at you with sadness and puts her hand on your arm when she occasionally comes to look over your shoulder into your microscope. You welcome it; you just can’t help but resent it as well, knowing that she goes home to her husband and children every night. And that’s what destroys it.
The only one who doesn’t seem to have changed is Calleigh.
Blessed Calleigh with her sunny disposition draped over her no nonsense attitude. She murmurs some words of comfort to you on your second day back, just as she’s leaving, but other than that she’s all work. You welcome a break from the averted eyes, and the lowered voices, but that’s all. And besides; you’re not really paying attention anyway.
Day after day you drag yourself through the work day, night after night you drag yourself home to an empty bed, and each morning out of the bed after a restless night, until, one day, combing through low shrubs in a backyard, you find yourself watching the line of Calleigh’s neck again. It surprises you, but you don’t want to stop. She’s squatting down, peering at the soggy spots on the ground where a man was shot early this morning. The sun is beating down and she’s twisted her hair up and away and secured it with two chopsticks. Very unlike her, but your own hair is sticky and you can’t imagine what it must be like with hair like hers. You keep your head bent over your task but a part of your mind lingers, caresses the line of her neck, the slope of her chest, her lightly accentuated hips. Her lips are slightly parted, but as you study her face you notice that she has changed. The lines are more pronounced, the angles just a little sharper, hidden behind a thicker layer of make-up. Her hair is no longer white, but golden, unaccustomed to the sun.
She’s still beautiful, though, maybe more now than before, you think, and the thought surprises you, because you hadn’t thought you’d think like that again.
As if sensing your gaze she suddenly turns to look at you. She shoots you one of her brilliant smiles and you feel it in the pit of your stomach and smile back.
You practically feel the thud as the world snaps back on its axis.
You’re still going home to your lonely bed tonight. You might cry yourself to sleep, but you’re smiling now, which means you can smile again tomorrow, and the day after that, and maybe, finally one day your first thought in the morning may not be regret that he was taken and not you.
Megan is working late one evening, thinking she is the only one there, when Calleigh sticks her head into the lab. She wants someone else to look at the substance traces found on her bullet, someone with a little more experience in chemistry. At least, that’s what she says. So Megan follows her.
Megan doesn’t mean to stand so close to her she can feel her body heat when she leans forward to study the samples. Megan certainly doesn’t mean to stand rooted to the floor, pinned by Calleigh’s gaze when she turns around inside her personal space. And absolutely, under no circumstances does Megan mean to kiss her, but she does all of these things. Finally noticing that she indeed is, she scrambles backwards, fumbling for apologetic words, but Calleigh stops her with one hand to her wrist and the other to her cheek.
“Did you really think I never noticed?” she asks.
Megan is genuinely surprised, because she didn’t think Calleigh had noticed.
“I noticed you from the beginning,” Calleigh continues, “but you were so happy with Sean, and then…” shrugging awkwardly she looks away. “And then… It felt so wrong to do anything, and then it felt like any opportunity I might gave had, had passed…”
Megan’s heart breaks at the resigned sadness in her eyes, but she has no idea what to say, so she keeps quiet.
“Where we go from here is completely up to you.” Calleigh seems to be the only one capable of coherent speech. “We can take it slow, or not at all, or whatever you like. I’ll be here.” And then Calleigh has kissed her and left before Megan can tear her eyes away from the spot where she was just standing.
Megan remains frozen for a long time, remembering how Calleigh’s lips felt against her own, how Calleigh’s hips fit snugly against hers, how Calleigh’s mouth tasted of coffee and lipstick.
She is in her car and almost home before she remembers that Calleigh’s voice had broken when she said ‘or not at all’.
Calleigh avoids Megan for several days while Megan is too chicken to do anything about it, but of course Horatio notices. He corners Megan in her lab and informs her that Calleigh isn’t sleeping and that she needs to talk to her. How the fuck he knew; Megan has no idea. The bastard. She bristles at his intrusion, but in the end drags herself over to Calleigh’s lab.
Calleigh looks like she always does; all smiles and sunshine, until Megan comes close enough to realize that there are bags under her eyes. She’s covered them so well Megan wouldn’t have noticed if she hadn’t been looking for them, and suddenly she wonders again over Horatio’s interest in all this.
She's unsure of how to proceed, though, and stands there for a while. Calleigh’s watching her, eyes wide open, not judging, simply waiting. Megan realizes that Calleigh’s breathing shallowly, her pulse beating fast against the delicate skin of her neck.
“Would you like to have dinner with me?” she finally blurts out, wanting to end Calleigh’s distress.
Briefly, a flicker of hope appears in Calleigh’s eyes, but is shielded quickly. “What kind of dinner?” she asks, the edge in her voice a little sharper, her accent almost completely gone.
“The date kind of dinner,” Megan replies, and she knows she made the right choice when the tension around Calleigh’s mouth fades, and she smiles and gives Megan a chaste kiss.
They stumble into Megan’s apartment where they come to an abrupt halt. Megan runs her fingers through Calleigh’s hair, marvelling that she gets to touch, to feel, to be this close, and it’s not a dream. The blonde tresses slip through her fingers and Calleigh smiles at the look on her face.
“You sure this is ok?” Calleigh is doing a little marvelling herself. Megan Donner just brought her home, and the intent certainly isn’t co-workerly, or even platonically friendly. No, this is so much more.
She tilts her head to the side as Megan’s lips brush over her pulse point, and Megan’s lips are soft and wet, and she realizes she forgot to stand up when Megan’s arms suddenly slip around her waist, holding her to her.
“It’s very ok.” Megan’s voice is soft, almost a whisper.
Calleigh’s eyes are very big and very green when they meet Megan’s brown. Calleigh lifts her hands to cradle Megan’s face, and pulls Megan’s head down to kiss her. Together they make their way further into the apartment, Megan surreptitiously steering them towards the bedroom. But when they reach the bed Megan suddenly grows wary. Calleigh, Calleigh is sitting on the edge of her bed, Calleigh, perfect Calleigh, with her golden hair.
Calleigh has picked up on Megan’s apprehension, and reaches out to grab her hand, carefully guiding Megan to sit next to her. She twists around to face her, holding both hands in her own much smaller ones.
“Megan. Megan, we don’t have to do anything you don’t feel comfortable with tonight.” But oh, how she wants to. She wants to run her hands through Megan’s hair, she wants to kiss her until she bruises, kiss every square inch of her skin, find out if she’ll sigh or moan if she bites down on that vulnerable spot in the junction between belly and thigh, watch the expressions on her face when she brings her higher, if she’ll be silent of if she will hear her name on those lips when she comes. Calleigh shudders inside.
Of course, the Calleigh Megan sees displays none of this. She’s compassionate and understanding, brushing her fingers over Megan’s knuckles.
“Maybe I… could I just hold you tonight.”
Calleigh wants to object; she doesn’t think she’ll last through the night. But one more look in Megan’s eyes, and she knows that any way she can be close to this woman will be enough.
“Of course,” she whispers, and kisses her, gently.
From Day One I always noticed her, could sense her eyes on me from across crowded rooms and crime scenes crawling with people. Briefly, it unnerved me, but she was so subtle, so unobtrusive, that it soon became a comfort to know that she was there, that she was watching. She was married, of course, so it was safer to pretend I didn’t notice. I didn’t even watch her in return, because she was Megan Donner. Megan Donner, the cool voice of logic and reason that kept the Miami-Dade crime-lab running smoothly and efficiently. For a newbie like myself at the time, she was untouchable in every single way. But I fell hard.
And of course, just as I was starting to feel like I knew what I was doing here, then there was the death of Horatio’s brother that kicked me right back to being the new outsider again. So I just did my job and stayed out of the personal stuff. But through the whole mess, Megan still found time for me. And for Tim. And for anyone who needed it. Horatio was shaken, badly, and brooding, and somehow Alexx and Megan worked as a unified front to keep the atmosphere endurable and get people to get the job done.
It passed, of course, and I eventually did become one of them. Megan and I grew a little closer, and I trusted her a little more. Of course, just when I was starting to feel secure here, everything fell apart again when Sean was killed.
Horatio took over her job, hired Eric. Things worked out. I missed Megan. But six months later when she returned she was more untouchable than ever; I couldn’t possibly break cover. Besides, I don’t think she noticed me, or anyone, really, around her. So I stayed back, helped her when I could, watched and waited, and suddenly revelled in feeling her eyes on me again one day. I remember it so distinctly, one of those clear hot days, with temperatures in the 90s before we’d even gotten to our scene. Hispanic male, shot in the chest with three .38s. The dirt was hard packed and dry except for where his blood had been absorbed by it for two hours before someone called it in. Two of the bullets had gone straight through and were embedded in the ground; we had yet to find the first one that must have been fired while he was still standing. And as I was digging the bullets out of the ground, cursing my long hair laying heavy on my head, I could suddenly sense her eyes on me. I watched her out of the corner of my eye for minutes, before I finally turned to her. For a moment I was stunned by the expression on her face; sadness and wonder mixed together, leaving her breathlessly beautiful, but I managed to smile at her, and she smiled back, and something that had been wrong with the world was suddenly blessedly right again.
Of course, it took time after this. Megan was still so fragile; I had to be subtle, and cautious, because I’d die if I hurt her in any way. Finally it just became too much, and she was so distant I couldn’t stand it any longer. I just wanted to talk to her, be close to her, so I asked her to come down to my lab one night, after I’d discovered I wasn’t alone working late that night. I hadn’t planned what happened, had barely dared hope, but I stood close to her, watched her, and then suddenly she was kissing me. It was all I could do to remain composed, but I couldn’t push her. Instead I just told her that it was all up to her, before I got the hell out of there, collapsing in my car, shuddering from the very memory.
I had to stay away, lest I break down and do something that might hurt her, or both of us, for the next few days. I was expecting her sooner or later, but she appeared in my lab after only three days. Of course, she confessed later that that was all Horatio’s fault. I’ll never understand that man. But she did ask me out to dinner, and suddenly, I was hoping. Hoping, wanting, needing, and so badly it hurt.
But it was worth it. It was all worth it. To have her laying beside me now.
After that first dinner; when she took me to a tiny little seafood place down south, and we cautiously, warily, thread our way across that last two years, what we had thought, and done, and wanted, there has of course been rough moments. We are so different. We almost made love after that first dinner, but she stopped it, and while at the time it was almost more than I could handle, it slowed the process down. We got to know each other, she showed me pictures of her and Sean, and as I was embracing the woman he’d left behind, I also cried with her over him. Even as it had given me her.
I watch her now. It’s the middle of the night, and she’s asleep. The moon falling in through the window barely outlines her form beneath the sheet where it has pooled around her waist. Her face is nestled against my neck, and an arm is thrown across my chest, holding me to her. Even in sleep, she’s still afraid of loss. Her dark mass of hair is tangled with mine, the curls capturing the lighter strands easily, much as she has captured me. My heart aches, I love her so much, am afraid she’ll one day leave me. But at this moment she’s mine, and mine alone, and I don’t dare ask for more. I press a kiss to her forehead, and she holds on tighter. I sink deeper into her, and try to let sleep join us.