Disclaimer: See chapter 1.
Author's Note: Thanks to those who reviewed!
This is my very first try out of my safe harbor of CSI fanfiction. Feedback is very much appreciated and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to: Erica, my beta, for improving my writing. And Uriel for her Canada/Air Force knowledge.
Alex was seated outside in the grass next to the military hospital’s entrance, staring but not really paying attention to those passing by. Though she felt like crying, not a single tear left her eyes.
Toby was gone.
The injuries he had suffered that afternoon had been too severe and despite the medical staff’s effort he had bled to death.
One of Toby’s barrack-buddies had told Alex what had happened; the plane Toby had been in was on its way to the runway when all of a sudden flames had come out of the engine, resulting in an explosion. Toby had been pulled out of the wreck before the flames captured him, but shards of metal flying about had caused the cadet’s lethal wounds.
The dark-haired woman was shaken out of her thoughts when the blonde nurse walked out of the building and headed over to where Alex was seated. Diana silently sat down next to her and started to pull at some weeds of grass. One look at the younger woman told her all she needed to know.
“I lost my best friend just days before I got on that bus,” Diana started, breaking the silence that had permeated the air between them. “She was more than just a friend. I…I cared for her. With my entire heart.”
Alex reached over and placed her hand on the older woman’s shoulder, hoping to convey some comfort and support.
“That’s why I…” Diana started. “On the bus I…”
“It’s alright,” Alex interrupted. “I think I understand.”
The pain she felt for losing a friend made Alex realize how hurt the blonde must have felt when she lost her bosom friend. “You must have loved her very much.”
Diana feverishly started to wipe at the tears trickling from her eyes. “Yes.”
Suddenly a shadow fell upon them and as both of the women looked up they noticed a green jumpsuit-clad man.
“Miss Savage?” the man asked.
“Yes,” the dark-haired woman said as she focused on the man who she then recognized to be Sergeant Greenaway.
“A word with you, please,” the man ordered before taking a few steps back.
Alex gave Diana an apologetic look and stood up, following the sergeant. She noticed the stern expression on the short man’s face and took a stance, stretching to full height, ready to face whatever was coming.
“Cadet LaFleche spoke with me this morning. He told me you were ready to make your first flight,” the man started, staring straight into the woman’s dark eyes.
A dark eyebrow rose as the sergeant’s words settled in. Why did Toby tell him that? “Yes,” she started carefully.
“You know all pre-flight checks?”
The young woman nodded.
“Good,” Greenaway started. “Meet me at hangar 2 at oh five hundred hours,” he said, not elaborating any further as he handed her a new dark green jumpsuit and military boots.
“Yes sir,” Alex answered, still a little incredulously.
As the dark-haired woman watched the bullnecked man walk off, Diana approached her. “What was that all about?” the blonde asked.
“I have to be at the training hangar tomorrow,” Alex stated calmly, a little smirk forming on her lips.
“To fly?” Diana asked.
“To fly,” Alex repeated confirmingly as she traced the RCAF logo on the jumpsuit.
It was midnight and Alex was still wide awake. From where she lay on her bed, she was watching her new jumpsuit which was carefully laid out on a chair in the corner of the room as someone knocked on the door.
Never had anyone visited her small room she’d been appointed to when she got her administrative function at the base. Who could it be at this hour?
She quickly got up and pulled on her jumpsuit, then walked over to the door, opening it to see a weary looking blonde nurse standing right in front of her.
“Diana? What are you doing here...” the tall woman asked as she stepped aside to let the older woman in.
“I came to say goodbye,” the nurse stated calmly.
“Goodbye? Why?” Alex queried as she closed the door and guided the woman over to her bed where they both sat down. “Where are you going?”
“I’ll be sent to Belgium tomorrow…Well, actually today,” she said as she noticed the time on the clock. “At seven.”
Alex felt that the older woman’s mind was troubled, but didn’t really understand why.
“Troops are working their way through occupied areas,” Diana stated simply. “And though they’re doing okay, more nurses are needed. So, ten of use are being sent out,” the nurse finished, her voice wavering and her eyes trained on her fidgeting hands.
Alex reached out for the blonde’s hands and covered them with her own. She felt there was a lot more about Diana than she knew, and so she decided to try and find out more. “Being here is not your own choice, is it?”
Diana nodded, a single tear slipping across her cheek. “They say it was an accident, but I know it wasn’t.”
This statement puzzled the dark-haired woman. What was the nurse talking about? Did it have to do with Toby?
Diana, who was now sobbing softly, finally looked up and noticed the questioning look in the dark eyes that were staring back at her, and quickly continued to explain.
“My friend’s death, Kate’s death. I witnessed it…saw it all. How they beat her and kicked her and…and...” The sobbing turned into crying and all words ceased to be spoken.
Alex reached over and took the blonde’s heavily shaking form into her arms. “Shh, it’s okay, you don’t have to exp-“
“No. I have to,” Diana interrupted. “Please, I know you’ll listen and….understand,” the blonde said as she backed away from Alex’ embrace. The dark-haired woman nodded, taking the blonde’s hands again, giving a little squeeze –urging the nurse to continue.
“We…we were lovers,” she threw out, waiting for Alex’ reaction.
The dark-haired woman merely raised an eyebrow, still holding a tight grip on the blonde’s hands.
Lovers, reverberated through the younger woman’s mind.
Love had always been one of the things that had puzzled Alex. Though she knew Andrew had given her his brotherly love, she never experienced the true feeling of loving someone with her entire being. Though, for Alex, love was not connected with gender. She knew she loved Toby, but never had any physical attraction to her childhood friend –not then, not now.
The idea of a woman loving another woman was new to her, but it didn’t fray her. Could it be possible that I- But before she could finish her thoughts were interrupted by Diana.
“Nobody knew. They all thought we were good friends, close because we grew up together being neighbors. But five years ago things changed; we both realized we loved each other, more than just friends. We spent almost every day together, and still no one was on to us,” Diana said.
“Which was good,” she quickly added. “Because if her parents would find out…All hell would break loose. Three years ago I decided to move to a small town just out of Winnipeg, just so that no one would get suspicious. And for those three years it worked –until last month.”
The blonde took a deep breath before continuing. “Kate was over at my place. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining brightly in a sheer blue sky. We had spent the entire morning at the small lake just behind my back garden and then went back inside, hoping to find some coolness. Just as we had settled ourselves on the couch there came a knock at the door and before I even answered her brother stormed in and saw us lying on the couch, Kate lying in my arms with only a thin sheet covering us both.
Her brother went berserk. He roughly pulled her away, trashing the entire room in the process. He took her to their parents, told them what he had seen and they prohibited her to ever see me again.”
Alex listened to Diana’s words, the nurse’s past unraveling in front of them. “Did they…” Alex started, as she looked down at their hands.
Diana nodded. “Yes. Three nights after her brother had taken her along, I went over to their house, making sure no one except Kate was at home. I asked her to pack her stuff and come along with me. We would find a new place to live, somewhere far from her meddling family. I was so happy when she told me she’d go with me. We agreed we would meet an hour later at the bus stop. I left, giving her time to pack her suitcase.”
Just as Alex thought all tears had dried another flow of salt pearls streaked across the blonde’s cheeks.
“I…I was at the bus stop,” Diana whispered, her voice starting to croak. “I waited for her, but she didn’t come, so after an hour and a half I went back to her house. I carefully glanced through the window and noticed her father standing in the living room. Her brother was just busy emptying her suitcase, flinging everything on the floor. Suddenly I saw Kate, lying on the floor, blood coming from her nose.
As she tried to scramble up her father struck her hard in her stomach, causing her to crumble back onto the ground. I tried to yell, to scream, but no sound would come out of my throat.”
Alex let go of Diana’s hands and pulled her back into her arms, the blonde’s shaking body once again held tightly in her embrace. “She…she saw me standing at the window. Her eyes…so full of pain. They still haunt me. Her brother walked over to where she had collapsed onto the floor. He…he started…to…to kick her,” the nurse muttered into Alex’ neck. “She’s dead. Kate’s dead and it’s all my fault. If I hadn’t made her leave this wouldn’t have happened. I killed her.”
Alex pulled back a bit, trying to look into the blonde’s blood-shot eyes. “That is not true and you know that. I can only imagine how hurt you must feel, but this is not your fault.”
“But I made her-“
“No,” the dark-haired woman replied sternly. “Did your hands hurt her?” Diana shook her head.
“Did you mean for her to be hurt by anyone?”
“No,” the blonde whispered. “I love her, still do. But it doesn’t-”
“Make it less painful, I know,” Alex interrupted. As she noticed the exhaustion written on the blonde’s red, puffy face she shifted a little.
“Come on, let’s get try to rest some,” she said as she placed herself against the headboard, shifting so that Diana could lie next to her. The nurse did as she was told, her body still shaking uncontrollably from the sobbing.
The dark-haired woman flicked the light off and lay down, one hand resting behind her head, the other resting on her stomach. She closed her eyes as her mind was working overtime on processing all that Diana had just told her.
After a few minutes of silence Diana spoke up. “Alex?”
“Yeah?” the younger woman replied as she opened her eyes again, seeing just the silhouette of Diana.
“Will you hold me?”
Alex didn’t say a word and merely held out her arm. She pulled the blonde into an embrace, closing her eyes again as they were both comfortably settled.
“Thank you,” Diana said softly as she rested her head on Alex’ shoulder.
“It’s okay,” the younger woman answered as her hand started to make soothing motions across the nurse’s back. “Now, try to catch some sleep.”