DISCLAIMER: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and other related entities are owned, trademarked, and copyrighted by Anthony E. Zuiker, Jerry Bruckheimer Television, CBS Worldwide Inc., Alliance Atlantis Corporation, CSI Productions and CBS Productions. This is fanfiction and is written purely for the fun and enjoyment of the fans without profits being made what so ever.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This idea came after watching "You've Got Male" and the phone call Sara made asking the other person on the other end of the line if they wanted to do something. I came up with the someone. I also thought of the hell Catherine was going through in "Outside the Box" about what a lousy way it was to find out Sam Braun was her father.
SPOILERS: Season Two, most specifically "You've Got Male"
ARCHIVE: Only with the permission of the author.

6 Degrees
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter 10

Fear resonated in Catherine's chest. '......Cat, um a little help.....shit!.. Shit! Back away! Back away.......!' It was this fear that spirited both Willows and Olsen to the door the boy had indicated. And just as he'd said it would be the golf cart was indeed on the north side of the building. Catherine barely waited for the officer to jump into the cart before she hit the throttle. Even pushing the cart to its full twenty-two miles an hour seemed all too slow for the blonde.

Her mind had far too much time to generate a whole host of scenarios, each as dangerously likely as the next. All of them with Sara seriously hurt. For his part Olsen thought the cart was going to tip each time they hit a bump, took a corner or scaled a hillock. But he couldn't blame the CSI for her speed, her partner was in distress, he would be the same for Mirer, his own partner. It was a tight relationship that few of those outside law enforcement or the military could understand. You counted on your partner to cover your six, and you knew they would just as they knew you would be there for them. Olsen didn't know how close CSI's became but respected partnerships. Any officer of the law did. Forensics Investigators were not police, they had handgun training but they did not have the total training as a cop. Olsen knew Sidle could be in very serious danger.

The stink of burnt cloths and tobacco had cloistered the air in greedy tendrils. Sara felt before she saw the tingling sensation that something was off, that stillness of something bad was going to occur. And somehow, someway you simply know it. That split second when you realize you will hear the metal upon metal crunch of a car accident mere seconds before it happens.

That sensation consumed Sara now.

She looked up, past Dimitri's shoulder to see a massive black shape charging them. It took a whole second before she realize what that shape was. The phone rang. "Sidle! Cat, um a little help.....shit!.. Shit! Back away! Back away.......!

The beast was slathering, Sara could no longer maintain a conversation. She was yelling for Dimitri to get away, to back away quickly. The Rottweiler came from nowhere and had death on its mind and it would have it. The black thing growled low in its throat, Sara knowing just

what a police dog was capable of didn't second-guess this mad hound. She pulled out her service pistol aimed and fired. She missed.



The dog's mouth opened wide and lunged for Dimitri. Only then did Dimitri turn away from Sara shoving her hard against the thickets, his arms raised shielding himself in a pathetic gesture of resistance, but the Rottweiler snatched his arm in one swift bite.

Dimitri let out a pitiful cry, as the black beast shook his head the powerful jaws threatening to tear the limb from its owner.

Sara rolled, heedless of the thorns tearing into her flesh, raised her gun and fired twice.

The dog dropped its grip and fell; the second bullet knocked the thing to its side. It whimpered but the black beast would not be felled. It rose again high on adrenalin and blood.

"To the trees!" Dimitri ordered. Sara turned, the beast leapt again at her and the professor. Sara being the more lithe of the two sprinted ahead of the professor believing if she could get a vantage point she could regain control over the situation.

She reached the trees first, the doctor right on her heels. They scaled the pine boughs quickly, heedless of the sap, mindless of the scrapes gained during their quick ascent, careless of the precariousness of the limb groaning to hold their combined weight.

The Rottweiler was slathering a white-red drool of blood. Snarling viciously through its awful canines, it leaped over and over again wrapping itself into a vicious frenzy. His claws were scraping at the tree truck, shredding it. The dog was intent upon reclaiming the prey

that had escaped its jaws by millimeters. It did not care about the bullets in its body, its only concern was the prey that had fled. It whined, growled and snapped at the tree holding Sara and Dimitri. It's mind thick in the red haze of the hunt and pain. When the prey would not comply and go to it, the dog tried leaping, even climbing to get its prey.

"Oh this is impossible!" Dimitri complained.

Snap. A twig fell from above. A rustle of leaves.

"Shut up." Sara demanded trying to get a clear shot at the 'hell hound'

More noise: the creaking of a tree.

In and out of the brier the Rottweiler sought out its prey with remarkable cunning in its eyes. Yelping, still slathering, blood on its mind. Sara took careful aim, she was loath to kill, but the dog would not yield its hunt. Back and forth it darted, until it saw the jacket laying upon the ground, the sent of burnt tobacco and Dimitri still lingering. The Rottweiler seized upon it. Its teeth gnashing, claws catching as it tore it apart, until only bits of cloth remained. Now, as the beast was distracted, the CSI leveled the site on the barrel of the 9 mm. aimed and fired.

The world fell away in a slow-motion of events: a smack of metal impacting flesh, a single cry of anguished pain, the beast tumbled and would not rise again.

"Oh Bother!" Dimitri's voice was hollow, his left arm mauled from the dog bite, was losing its strength, the blood seeping upon the bough and his hand made it hard to maintain his hold. Shifting to gain a better hold, Dimitri felt something snap under him.

And the limb broke.

Sara felt something slam into her with magnificent force. Bitter and sharp was the pain that lanced through her shoulder sending her body into spasm. Her hands tried in vain to snag a hold of something, anything, to prevent her fall, but Dimitri's body plummeted upon her, making her hold impossible.

The golf cart hit a small bump in the earth that launched the vehicle into the air as if it was a dune-buggy. It landed hard on its tires rocking back and forth threatening to topple over. But they arrived in time to see both Sara and Dimitri tumble out of the tree like so many toys tossed in a closet.

"Oh God, Sara!"

The crack of tree limbs snapping as bodies broke through them, the dead thump of earth as those same bodies landed.

Sara fell into blackness all around her, like a vast open pit of blackness. She was falling into blackness.


Air! Impossible. A hallucination. A dying brain giving her one last, sweet illusion.

No, it was real.


Suck it in, breath. Her lungs were full. She fell. Light, very dim almost nothing just a suggestion of light, but it was enough. She tried to gain her feet but toppled forward in a semiconscious heap.

Sara looked a mess. She had five shallow puncture wounds across her sandpapered back, her wrist was sprained and swelling and her arms were riddled with lacerations and were quickly developing bruises. Pain etched itself on Sara's face, as she once again tried to regain her feet. She slumped to the earth clutching her ribs.

"Sara, Honey, don't. Don't move." Catherine said softly. "You might have broken your ribs, moving more could seriously harm you. You don't want to puncture a lung. And… I am pretty sure you dislocated your shoulder."

"Breathing is kinda hard." Sara mouthed more than spoke aloud. "Dizzy."

"You had wind knocked out of you, Sara. I think you might have a slight concussion, try to relax." Catherine went to stoke the younger woman's back, but Sara flinched at the contact for the unintentional pain lancing through her body.

"Sorry." Catherine said immediately. "The paramedics are on their way, for now take it easy."

Sara nodded. Her dark eyes took in the new details around her. The dog was dead, Dimitri Stirling, and two college kids, one of them with green spiky hair, were being watched closely by Mirer, Olsen and the campus police. The radio chatter blended in with the static in her head making her nauseous, but the very idea of vomiting made Sara's side ache.

"Sara, no don't close your eyes," came Catherine's stern but gentle voice.

"Just for a minute?" Sara pleaded, her body leaning forward, resting upon the strength the blonde gave her.

Catherine felt Sara nestle into her embrace her head pillowing against her left shoulder. Most of the younger woman's upper body was being supported by Catherine. She didn't mind at all. "I'm sorry, Honey but you have to stay alert. You have a concussion," the blonde gingerly stroked the scratched and dirty face, as she would have Lindsey or her own sister.

Catherine was ready to snatch the police radio and demand to know where the ambulance was. In truth only two and a half minutes passed from when the call was made until now. But being on the receiving end of a few blows to the head herself by her ex-husband she knew time warped, running gruelingly slow when your head was pounding in unending pain. Trying to sooth Sara and keep her alert was all that kept the blonde rooted where she was. Sara needed her.

Before too long the siren blare of the paramedics ripped into the foggy banks of Sara's perception. She opened her eyes to see Catherine demanding Sara be seen first. She was the officer down thus she was primary. The suspect could wait, and according to Catherine if he had hurt Sara he could wait indefinitely.

A young blonde male approached carrying a red and white kit, his latex covered hands holding a penlight. "Sara Sidle right? Hey remember me? Hank Peddigrew." He flashed his ever-present charming smile. "I came to see you a while ago..."

"You ran away because of Liquid Man." Sara muttered.

"Er...you were working...I didn't want to interrupt." Hank said.

"Look stop flirting with her and do you job Peddigrew!" Catherine snarled.

Sara smiled and leaned heavier on her knight in leather and denim.

Hank mumbled an apology and flashed the light in Sara' eyes. He frowned "You have concussion."

"I know Catherine said so." Sara grumbled. Didn't he know her skull was pounding? And besides Catherine said it was so, therefore it was a safe bet it was true. The blonde might be antagonistic and belligerent but she was truthful. They might not get along that well, but Sara knew she could count on Catherine in a moment like this if only because they were CSI's.

"Well I am the EMT, Sara, she's the CSI. I need to assess your wounds."

"Look I am a little dizzy and my ribs hurt but I am fine. You got any Tylenol? I've got one hell of a headache"

Hank asked if she could stand. Sara only nodded as Catherine helped her up. With both Hank and Catherine guiding her, they set the wounded woman down on a gurney.

"Okay I need you to lay down so I can assess your ribs, will you let me do that?"

"I am fine, just give me some Tylenol. I have to finish this case...."

"Sara," Catherine whispered, touching the younger woman's arm, "It can wait right now, lie down."

Sara complied.

Hank flashed the blonde a look of gratitude. In his job he was accustomed to stubborn patients who want anything else than to be handled by an EMT much less a ride in the ambulance. Cops, firemen and now apparently CSI were the worst. They always had to be the hero.

As soon as Hank touched her ribs, Sara hissed in pain. The withering look from Catherine almost made the man flinch. "I am sorry but I need to do a tactile examination to see if your rips are broken." He went about to touch her again, with more care this time, but he still managed to make Sara flinch. "Nothing detectable, a hairline maybe but I believe you've only bruised them. Which is good news."

He placed the earpieces of the stethoscope into his ears so he might listen to Sara's breathing to ascertain if she had any fluid in the lungs; that might indicate a very serious situation. Fortunately her lungs were clear and not labored. Her blood pressure was 180 over 120, and her pulse erratic. Given the concussion and the damage her body took during the fall it wasn't surprising.

Catherine looked at Sara's torso and noticed that already the slender body was developing deep purple and black bruises and angry red welts. They were nearly identical to the welts, and bruising the little girl had. Indeed it looked more and more like Janey Doe took a tumble out of

the tree just as Sara and Dimitri had. But unlike them she didn't have the superior adult strength, were Sara and the professor had bruised ribs the girl had suffered broken ribs. A severe concussion had also proved fatal for the child. How long had she been lying in the grassy knoll before she was discovered? She closed her eyes because she had felt tired, and never opened them again.

"Sara, I needed to secure your shoulder: it's dislocated. It's going to hurt but we need to get it done was quickly as possible." Hank said trying to get the woman to focus on him.

"Catherine?" Sara looked to the older woman, her eyes begging an unasked question.

"I'll be right here, hold my hand," both Catherine's hands covered Sara's "You squeeze when it hurts." The blonde knew of course that once in the ER they would set it properly which would hurt all the more. But right here, right now Catherine could give a small token of familiar strength and assurance.

Hank had retrieved a sling as the women were talking so that he could secure the damaged limb against Sara's body. She flinched only when he tightened the straps around her neck. "Miss," this he addressed to Catherine, "you're going to have to let go."

The blonde watched as Peddigrew loaded Sara into the back of the ambulance with the aid of another EMT. Within moments the car sped away its lights flashing, followed by the second ambulance loaded with Professor Stirling.

Olsen had already called animal control to take care of the dog, its corpse would be tested for rabies and distemper. Catherine's frustration over Sara turned to the students, still detained by Olsen and Mirer. One she recognized as Tony Bishop, but she didn't recognize the other. It wasn't Kingsley however.

"You want to tell me why your cujo went after someone from the police department? Do you have any idea the serious trouble you are in?" Her eyes became the color of the rain clouds that had stayed for weeks and would return the next day.

"Please.." The unknown boy's face flushed "It isn't my dog. Um..."

"He belongs to Maxiepad." Tony offered. "The dog is as nuts as he is."

"Wait..this is Max Kingsley's dog?" Catherine's eyes never left the new student. "Where's Kingsley?" The voce was tempered steel.


"Kevin, come on dude, if you know better tell her." Tony persuaded his teammate.

"I don't know where he is! Honest! Coach asked me to walk Tank. Take 'mfor a shit you know? He got away from me. Frigging thing nearly ripped my arm off pullin' on its leash like it did. Stupid mutt's probably going through the DTs."

Catherine frowned, "Excuse me?"

"Probably shouldn't have said that," the boy named Kevin flinched.

"Yeah well you did, so spill it." Catherine demanded.

"Er...ah hell Kingsley kinda ...well he snorted lines, gave some to his mutt. He thought it was funny, he even got him drunk."

"Officer Olsen, escort 'Kevin' downtown, for questioning."

"Right." Olsen nodded, complying with the blonde CSI.

"Oh wait!" Kevin paled his face held the expression of alarm as he saw the officer coming for him. "I didn't do anything wrong! Its not my dog!"

"A CSI and a civilian were seriously hurt by an animal in your possession that makes you liable. Tell us where we can find Kingsley and things might go easier on you."

"Lady, I am telling you I don't know where he is! Go ask the fucking coach. I all did was to take that fucking mutt for a shit!" Kevin wailed.

"Mirer, we need the Coach questioned as well," Catherine commented. She knew she didn't have any true pull with the uniforms but they knew she was right. With Sidle currently neutralized and the coach a possible flight risk the police needed to move quickly.

"I already called Captain Brass, he's coming in. I'll contain the coach if you need to go to the hospital." Mirer answered.

Catherine nodded. She wanted to get to the hospital to ensure Sara's safety but she had a duty first. Taking her camera she took pictures of the dead canine as well was the accident scene. She started with wide shots and slowly moved in closer and closer to the furry corpse, the same went for the tree Sara and Dimitri sought safety as well as the landing zone. It was here in the thorns that Catherine discovered Sara's cell phone and ID. Snapping a photo of both, she secured them on her own person. Sara would need the ID and the cell.

She would take gloves from her jacket pocket and retrieve the bullet casings that had been expended from Sara's gun. Using Sara's kit Catherine took several swabs of the blood spatter near the park bench and the tree limbs and thorn-bushes. She's also placed the discarded pipe that had been in the pocket and tattered suit coat into evidence bindles. It had taken Catherine an hour to take the photos and gather the new evidence.

Once she had completed her task she set about to return to the Tahoe when Tony Bishop stepped up to her. She had already returned the keys to the golf cart to him and so she couldn't think of the reason the quarterback would need to talk to her. Unless of course he had left something out and now wanted to confess.


"Kevin...He's a suck up and terrified of Maxiepad, but he isn't a bad guy. I don't think he wanted anything bad to happen the other cop." He meant Sara of course.

"Tony my job is to find the evidence and put the puzzle together, not to prosecute." Catherine wanted to clarify. Often witnesses or family mistook CSI as enforcement of the law or the DA. And so they attempted to plead ones case to them. CSI was forensics pure though not so simple.

The quarterback, hung his head, "Maxiepad just fucks everyone one over."

"Tony, do you know where we can find him? I know you said you don't 'hang' but he was a 'teammate' surely you have ideas."

"When he wasn't doing the cheerleaders and staying with them he'd crash at a few places mostly the other Wolves, even if he had his own apartment. He was tight with the coach. His old man is a trucker but they're not exactly close since he got kicked out." The boy gulped in a bit of air. "I hope your partner is okay and all. Um… Do you think they will let me see Doc Dim?"

"Probably not until tomorrow Tony." Catherine fished her wallet out and handed the green haired boy her card. "I want you to call my office should you think of anything, that could help us with the case. It might help exonerate the professor." Catherine threw in the last bit knowing how loyal the boy seemed to the absent-minded professor.

Back in the Tahoe, Catherine made sure the evidence was locked up before she headed out for Desert Sands Hospital were Sara had been taken.

"Miss Sidle, Your body needs to recuperate." A small auburn haired doctor scolded the young CSI as she stood arms crossed in front of her chest. "I am keeping you here under a twenty-four observation even if I have to secure you to that bed."

Sara couldn't help but wonder if all small statured women were tenaciously willful. The physician couldn't have been taller than five foot two, her dark brown eyes held both deep compassion and an indomitable spirit. Her tiny body seemed to belie the power she held. Sara momentarily thought of Lindy and came to the conclusion very petite women were filled with 'spit and vinegar.'

"Other than one killer headache, I am okay." Sara grumbled.

"No you're not. You have three sprained ribs, not to mention the dislocated shoulder and concussion and you pulled a tendon in your left wrist. And though minor the lacerations and abrasions your body took during the fall will add to your recuperation time. But what has me

concerned is that your blood work shows you are suffering from minor anemia. In other words you are a workaholic that neglects her body. The anemia will hamper the concussion."

"I eat." Sara defined.

"Not enough, Sara Sidle. More than once a day, understand? I going to order a high glucose and potassium drip. And I am not going to release you for another twenty-for hours."

'Napoleonic power-monger' thought a defeated Sara as she lay back in her bed. She looked over to the curtain separating her bed from the vacant one in her room to see Catherine walk in. 'Great another one. Now they will gang-up and tag-team me...'

"Doctor, I'm Catherine Willows. I am with Sara Sidle, how is she doing?"

The small doctor looked to the tall blonde and back to the now very grumpy Sara, "Doctor Rothery." The woman introduced herself. "You're her partner." It wasn't exactly a question. The physician was sympathetic to those in law enforcement and knew a partner was as close as a family member, maybe at times more so.

"Other than being sullen, she will recover. I am a bit concerned because of the concussion and signs of anemia. But the other wounds are superficial I wouldn't worry about them. However I recommend limited use of her left arm for a few days because of the dislocation of her shoulder. We were able to readjust it but she won't have full mobility for a day. Her ribs sustained minor strain and they must be kept bound or they might be further aggravated. I going to recommend to your superior she has down time..."

"No way... I am not going on medical leave." Sara piped up. "I...I... we have a case to finish."

Catherine looked at the now bandaged Sara and sucked in a gasp in seeing how truly pale her counterpart was. Sara's left arm was in a sling and her wrist was in a velcro wrap, because of the pulled tendon. And even under the hospital gown Catherine could see the tight wraps going about the slender waist.

"And we will, but you won't go in the field Sara. We both know Grissom won't let you."

"Oh come on," Sara pouted. "You're not going to tell him to yank me off? You won't do that!"

"Most of what we have to do now is lab work anyway, Sar. We let Brass do the shoe-leather." The blonde tried to defuse any unwarranted stress.

This seemed to settle the brunette a little, to where she lay back in the bed, her body's tension waning.

"And besides, you have to be well enough to go to Lindsey's party. It was your idea, your gift and she is looking so forward to seeing you this weekend." Absently Catherine took up Sara good hand and squeezed it gently.

"Oh that's low, Cath. And damned unfair using that little cutie against me."

"Did it work?" Blue eyes sparkled as they met deep mahogany brown

"Yeah it worked."

'So partner in more than one definition.' Doctor Rothery mused. 'They make a nice looking couple. And the blonde looks strong enough to put up with the bravado of her little Miss Hero. I don't know what's worse cops, or firemen...' "Sara," Rothery said gaining the attention of the

young CSI. "I'm going to prescribe you Tylenol and Codeine for the pain, your partner can have the prescription filled here on site. And she can stay for a little while longer, but I need you to rest. I want to keep an eye on the concussion."

The tiny physician touched Catherine gingerly on the arm. "I want you to keep an eye on her once she is released. Any signs of dizziness or fatigue and you will need to bring her in. No over exertion, no long hours, no lifting more than ten pounds and keep an eye on the stress levels. No physical exertion of any kind..." Rothery almost seemed to hint at something but left it unsaid. "I also want her on a high protein diet for the next couple of days. I know she is a vegetarian but there are ways to consume protein other than eating meat. Her anemia has me very concerned."

"Alright Doctor," Catherine acquiesced, "I'll monitor it."

Rothery nodded and turned to Sara, "Get better, and you need anything, the nurse's call button is on the side. I am on shift throughout the night, I'll be available." The voice was now filled with tender care. A voice filled with such compassion, Sara felt as if her body was healing rapidly just so it wouldn't disappoint the physician.

In Sara's experience Rothery might be one of the most strong-willed doctors she had ever crossed paths with but she was also the most compassionate. Rothery was the sort of doctor that was fast becoming extinct. The sort that didn't care about what type of HMO you had, only that she could make you better. Rothery, Sara felt lived by the Hippocratic oath, and took it very seriously. She had to admit if she was stuck in the hospital it was better under the Napoleonic power-monger than anyone else. Of course if she was stuck in bed out of the hospital it was a blonde she would submit to, if only to be shown the care and tenderness Catherine was affording her now.

They watched as the small doctor made her way across the hall to Dimitri Stirling's room, apparently Sara wasn't going to be the only one to be gently scolded.

"You had me worried." Catherine suddenly said.

"You and me both. Didn't intend to be doggie-chow." Sara tried to smile.

"When the phone disconnected I thought the worst," Catherine whispered. She must have realized she was holding Sara's hand rather firmly and moved to take it away but the brunette would not have it.

Sara's hand tightened around Catherine's and squeezed it. "Thanks for being there." Sara said. "I think I had a panic attack when I couldn't breathe. It's an experience I don't recommend." She tried levity to cover the shyness both ladies were suddenly finding was closing in on them. "And thanks for keeping the blonde-shark at a distance. I think he smiles too much."

Catherine wanted to question Sara on what she meant by that last statement but the younger woman's eyes closed coming at long last to sleep.

Chapter 11

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