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"
THANKS: many, many thanks to Lewis for being my beta.
ARCHIVE: Only with the permission of the author.

6 Degrees
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter 13

Sara felt her body float into a space of disbelief and wonder. She didn't want to leave. Her arms were still around the Catherine's elegant body, her forehead pressed once more against the blonde's. The kiss had placed her far beyond the reaches of the stars. Her heart still hammered hard against her breastbone, her lungs drawing in deeply air so rapidly she threatened to hyperventilate.

"Me too." Catherine uttered admitting to her own stunned mind over the last few moments. The kiss was like nothing she had experienced before. Oh yes she had had kisses that had thrilled her, excited her and even awoken the lust within, but none had taken her so deeply as this softness she had tasted upon Sara's lips. Perhaps because it was more than the answer to her libidinous body, it was an answer to her soul's want. It was like coming home.

Sara didn't want to let go, and she smiled feeling Catherine reciprocate the euphoria she was feeling; the wonder and rightness of it all. Even as the taller woman tried to pull away, Catherine would have none of it and pulled Sara back into her arms where she belonged. For a moment they shared a breath, both unable to move. There was no awkwardness, no sudden regret, no retreating into the uncertainty.

"I never did get you that soda." Catherine muttered. "Who needs a cola?" The blonde smirked, not that interesting anymore?"

"I have something better." Sara moved in closer to the woman she was holding and lowered her lips down upon the satin softness of Catherine's mouth. "But... we are going to have to go back to work."

"We 'are' at work..." the older woman reminded the brunette.

She was rewarded with one of Sara's wide toothy grins. One that revealed the gap in her teeth. "I know reality is on the other side of that door, but a girl can fantasize right?"

"I don't want the fantasy Cath, I like touching the real" Sara didn't know if she had overstepped her bounds, if she was hinting at something more that perhaps Catherine wasn't ready for or wasn't looking for. Until a few moments ago Sara wasn't even sure she wasn't fantasizing. The ache in her ribs confirmed she wasn't daydreaming or slumbering her bed having a pseudo erotic dream.

"I do too." Catherine murmured. The blonde an observant CSI had almost immediately taken note of the slight grimace of pain in younger woman's face, and knew she was suffering. It was so very much like Sara to defy the fact she had any pain what so ever so that she might finish whatever it was that needed her attention.

Catherine knew how futile it would be for her to try and persuade the younger woman in leaving the lab to go home. Sara's dedication sometimes out ruled her common sense. Any other person would have gone home after being released from the hospital and sink into a painkiller induced slumber on the sofa as the television droned on. Sara wasn't your typical person. Sara smiled, her breath signing in the sort of sound one makes when incredibly happy but in disbelief of that happiness. "Work..." Sara muttered clearly not wanting to leave the fold of the embrace.

"The lab..."

"Yeah...I know." Catherine let go and took a step back. She knew if she didn't move towards the door they might not move at all. And of course there was Lindsey to consider. It would not do at all for the girl to see her mother making out in the office. "Janey needs us to find where she belongs and to nail Kingsley." That seemed to snap the brunette back to 'real' world. "You brought back a lot of goodies..."

"Sara you know I can't let you go near sensitive evidence..." Catherine's voice was hardly more than a whisper; she was clearly uncomfortable with having to pull rank at the moment. "Because of the painkillers..."Sara finished.

"Yeah... what if its just eyes no hands?" Catherine relented knowing that Sara was anxious to end this case for Janey as she was. And she knew that if she forbade Sara from the layout room, the young CSI would be pacing back and forth making everyone nuts and doing her body little good.

"Alright, eyes no hands." Catherine agreed. Sara was ginning ear to ear in a Cheshire smile, her arms went around the blonde in a tight hug that nearly stole Sara's breath for the pain but the younger woman didn't seem to mind. The kiss that followed was just as exuberant.

"You're welcome." Catherine chuckled hugging Sara back, although of course she was a bit more mindful of her partner's injures. "Come on before we wake up Linds." Sara looked to the slumbering girl and noticed that the cherub face had a small satisfactory grin as if the wee child was dreaming of something rather pleasant. As the two exited Catherine's office, Nick and Warrick rounded the corner of the glass warren labs both brimming with smiles of their own. "Hey Sara, we hear you're playing Tarzan and Jane and wrestling Pitbulls." Nick's southern drawl was filled with the warmth only a brother would have.

Sara smirked, "Well if I was I was playing Tarzan, and it was a Rottweiler, not a Pitbull."

"Seriously are you okay? Shouldn't you be in the hospital?" Warrick asked his enigmatic aqua eyes showing his own concern. Sara touched him on the arm, her smile growing wider.

"I'll be alright, it's just a few cracked ribs, scrapes, bruises and minor concussion. I'll get over it." She shrugged off the list of injuries as if she was checking off items on a grocery list.

"You need anything, let us know. I know you have a shit load of stairs to climb that will be hell on your ribs. You need a place to crash, my place only has one step." Nick offered. He, like Warrick hated to see those he cared about come to harm.

He always felt he needed to stick up for Sara. She hadn't exactly been given a warm welcome by either Catherine or Warrick when she first arrived. But given the circumstances he and Sara could understand why. Warrick was always in Catherine's corner, not that the ladies needed corners but Nick wanted to give the lanky Californian some of her own silent support. He wanted to look out for her because he thought someone had to, even if Sara protested. She wasn't weak by any standards, but carried some vulnerability under all that strength.

She was like a blossom still growing even after a hurricane demolished everything around it: frail looking, delicate but remarkably formidable. "If she needs to stay any place I think its better she stay with me." Catherine voiced in a tone that defied the others to challenge her. None did.

"Guys," Sara was truly touched by her teammates. "I'll be fine, and they got the service elevator working again in my building, I'll be alright," she insisted. "Really" she added when she saw their disbelieving eyes, "I'll be fine."

"Sara what are you doing here?" the voice belong to Gill Grissom.

"Last time I checked, I worked here." Sara smartly answered. "According to the files your doctor faxed over she recommended twenty four hours down time and then light duty for two weeks. I want you to clock out Sara."

"Oh come on! All am doing is looking at names on a monitor how different is that than watching a movie on my tv at home? Its nothing strenuous." The girl pouted. Grissom knew first hand how stubborn his protégée could become, and how insistent. "I'll take tomorrow off." Sara bargained. "Gris..." "You have broken..."

"Sprained ribs, one cracked nothing's broken" Sara insisted. "And a concussion."

"A minor concussion." Sara corrected.

"Light duty right, I'll just sit and overlook the Missing Person's database." Grissom pursued his boyish lips and thought, "Fine, but if I know, if I catch you doing anything more, and you'll take those two weeks light duty on mandatory sick-leave, got me?"

"Yes sir." Sara nodded.

"Thanks Grissom." The night-shift supervisor hurumphed as he looked to Catherine as if it was her fault Sara was so insistent.

"She does no lab-work and she's off the field. If you need extra help out there take Warrick, he can double up." The tall man blinked defiantly not wanting to come between Sara and her champion cause in finding out who was responsible for the death of the little girl. Sara was positively glowering, she was not about to be replaced on her case when she and Catherine were so close in closing the case. They had Kingsley good for crack, for animal cruelty and child endangerment that led to manslaughter and possible conspiracy for aggregated assault using a dangerous animal.

"I am not going to be taken off this case, Grissom." Sara affirmed her dedication.

"Then don't give me a reason to pull you." Gil commented.

"She'll take it easy," Catherine stepped in soothing tension between both the woman who had stolen her heart and the man they all respected. "I'll even make sure she takes it easy after shift."

This seemed to ease things between all of them, enough for both Grissom and Sara to back down. "Sara, go to the data base, I'll brief Grissom on what we have so far."

"Yeah, okay." Sara said. She grabbed Catherine's hand and shifted so that none could see, what was happening gently gave it a squeeze before she headed off to the labs. The younger men couldn't believe how easily Catherine got Sara to comply without so much as a fuss or a pout about the threat of being yanked off the case. Catherine didn't even have to use the "mother" voice; Sara simply relented.

Obviously impressed with Catherine's control over the younger CSI, Gil knew that he could drop the issue over Sara overworking herself, for the blonde would not allow it. It simply wasn't her ten years that gave Catherine the position as his second in command, but her evident leadership qualities that he and the others trusted. Sara would be fine, Gil no longer had to worry over the young protégée.

True to her word, although listlessly, Sara sat in front of the monitor reading through the names of missing children fitting Little Janey's profile. She had fallen in to routine the hours marked by the wax covered paper cups near her desk and the mountain of sugar packets and stir straws. Catherine had her own attention drawn by the evidence she had gathered she had hoped to use Sara's hands in all of it, but the promise to Gil and even Sara's own promise to Catherine had prevented her from assisting.

The water and food from the dog's dish were in trace, the teddy bear's fur had been grided out and diligently scraped for epitheals, the tops of the Q-tips had been snipped off and given to Greg to compare to the DNA samples Catherine had recovered from Kingsley's hairbrush and of course Janey's that had been take from the tiny corpse in the morgue.

Dropping off the contents she had already with Greg, Catherine would start the whole process of griding the blankets and sheets for semen and vaginal deposits. She prayed any XX contributions she discovered would belong to the over 18 crowd. Or the list of charges would go up to child molestation and possible rape, despite the fact Dr. Robinson had not found evidence the child had been sexually assaulted.

Harm to a child sent Catherine completely around the bend. It wasn't simply due to the fact she had a little girl of her own, it was the very idea that malice would come to an innocent. And because she was a mother, the CSI could not fathom the notion of hurting a little one even if they do things that irritate, disappoint or even anger was no justification for abuse. Processing evidence was as much as a waiting game as it was an exact science. And while she waited for DNA to process the epitheals collected from the toy and blankets, Catherine had gone back to trace.

Hodges, a man of whom none of the CSI's could tolerate for any length of time, had been given samples of water and food for a Tox-Screen. Going to the baldly condescending man was not something high on things Catherine wanted to do. "Hodges," she called out in her best command voice, "do you have my Tox-report yet?"

The beady-eyed scrawling male looked up his thin lips peeled back into a slim expression of superiority. "I gave it to Dr. Grissom. I couldn't find you, I assumed you are on another coffee break."

"Wait you gave it to Grissom! This is my and Sara's case! Grissom isn't even on it."

"I 'said' I couldn't find you."

"Did you try?" Catherine growled, she was inches away from striking the man. A brief moment flashed of course he could have had the Tox-report at the ready when Catherine had pulled Sara into her office and kissed her. But it didn't last for hours, Hodges could have tried to look for either Sara or Catherine, instead he had gone over Catherine's head to Grissom in yet another ill-advised attempt to suck up to the boss.

"Chain of evidence mean anything to you Hodges? No wonder you were transferred from your first lab. They get sick of you trying to brown-nose to the supervisors? Shit like that Hodges can have repercussions on a case when it goes to court. I am Lead CSI you will give ME or SARA evidence on OUR cases!" Catherine was now leaning close to the rodent-like man.

"And if you had looked you would have found me in the Layout room or with Greg or in the Data room with Sara. And by the way Hodges, this last stunt is going up on report for violation of chain of custody. You want to fuck around with evidence you can go play lab-rat in somewhere else that doesn't depend upon sensitive material."

The blonde stormed out of the lab leaving Hodges behind her looking very much like a fish out of water. Grissom nearly collided with Catherine as she briskly rounded the corner; he held his hand up to forestall any argumentative words that would surely be coming out of her mouth concerning a certain lab tech. "I already told Hodges he should report to either you or Sara concerning your case."

"Telling him isn't enough Gris, He needs to retribution or he is going to continue to upstage us and give you the reports. That seriously compromises not only the chain of evidence but protocol. Gil this isn't the first time that prick has done this and if you don't step in it won't be the last." Catherine growled.

Grissom nodded, "that's why he's switched to days for several months." Grissom said.

"That's it?" Catherine crossed her arms, her blue eyes starring intently at the boyish faced man in front of her. If she had her way Hodges would be out the door.

"And his breaking of protocol will be on his record. I also reminded him that unless it pertains to my case I won't see the documents before any of my CSIs do. As for his reference to you and Sara on yet another coffee break I know better, and I told him fabrication and distortion of verbal accounts will also be placed on his record."

"He gets slapped on the hand? If it was Greg you'd have him on a three day suspension." "Which would work for Greg, Hodges is on a different level, the stain on his record is more of a punishment than being suspended."

"Yes and with Greg suspension would also show on his record, not good enough Grissom."

"You forget I sent him to days, something I'd never to do Greg. He doesn't deserve Ecklie."

"Yeah well you never know Hodges is a mini Ecklie he might like it and hell Ecklie thrives on his brown noses to kiss his ass." Catherine was calming down thinking that at the very least they didn't have to put up with Hodges for several months.

"By the way where is my report?" Catherine's sudden change of subject nearly startled the graying man. "On your desk, and Sara has a copy as well. I did look at it however and the theory you two came up with, with the dog being drugged, the evidence supports it. The dog was definitely on cocaine a reason why it reacted the way it had with Professor Stirling's coat."

"And the girl," Catherine read the report; the child's garments had indeed had the Dunbar tobacco scent all over it. Tank, the dog doped up on coke, had been trained with the cattle prod to viciously attack anything with the scent of Dunbar tobacco; it was no wonder the mutt charged the child with a vengeance.

They had the proof; the only thing now was to capture Kingsley, and find out who the girl truly was. Catherine wanted to deliver the news to Sara herself, knowing her partner had paid the price of Kingsley's mistreatment of Tank with her body. Passing Grissom, the blonde entered the Data room nestled in the warren like complex to find Sara gingerly lifting herself up by the chairs arms in a futile attempt to find a comfortable position.

"Hey, you okay?" Catherine was at Sara's side almost instantly. She placed her hand upon Sara's back mindful of the scrapes and bruises that covered her back like lattice-work.

"Guess, I am feeling it." Sara commented.

"You mean the painkillers wore off." Sara nodded sheepishly. Catherine unexpectedly leaned in and kissed Sara near the nape of her neck, and pulled back to see a most brilliant smile upon the younger woman's face. "Oh look, it feels better already."

"Smart-ass." Catherine accused her own smirk on her face.

"I have something else that might brighten your day." With her hand still resting upon Sara's neck the blonde handed her the report from trace.

It took a few moments for Sara to assimilate everything that was printed, but once she had the doe brown eyes sparked brightly. "We got'em Cath we got'em!" Whether or not Janey was in the custody of Kingsley or not, the fact he had drugged and trained his dog to target a certain scent; a scent the child was wearing had resulted in her death thus he was guilty of manslaughter, it would be the same as hitting the child with a car. Now they had something to pin on Kingsley, Janey would get her retribution.

"Yeah we do," Catherine was grinning, she was almost loath to ask her counterpart about what she had discovered in the Missing Persons' database. For once since the case began Sara had felt elated. "Any... any answers in the database?" Sara shook her head, "No. But I started searching the Child Protection Database."

"Lindsey's a part of that. They offer it through the schools. Security photos, fingerprints and profiles are recorded on the kids, should they go missing or God-forbid something more worse."

Sara nodded, "She's the one that gave me the idea. I figured if she was a part of it, Janey might, the dental records came up inconclusive. I don't want to play the waiting game, Catherine, Janey deserves better. Someone out there loves her, they need closure too." Catherine leaned in and pressed her lips to Sara's temple heedless of the liberal display of affection. At that moment her heart swelled in pride for the woman who was slowly stealing her heart. No it wasn't theft. Catherine was willing and wanting to give her heart to Sara Sidle. 'Lady Heather's spirit strikes again.' Catherine mused.

Catherine watched as Sara fed the new database the information concerning Janey, her prints and a picture taken from the morgue as well as a physical description. The search went on a nationwide database so if Janey was filed under the child protection program she should soon turn up.

Sara and Catherine watched as hundreds of little girl's faces scrolled by at a rapid pace. It took the computer nearly an hour to finish its search parameters before it got a hit. "Lyeanna Rush." Sara whispered. "So there you are."

"She was only eight years old." Catherine took a note of the birth date.

"Catherine..." Sara drew out the other woman's name.

"Her mother's name, take a look at it."

"Joy Kingsley" Two sets of eyes one dark brown, the other ice blue met. "That can't be." Sara mouthed. "Sister, maybe?" Catherine offered.

"Lyeanna's father's name is listed as Charles Rush - deceased."

They scrolled down the file to list known relatives Maxwell Kingsley was amongst them as her uncle. Her parents were also listed but they lived in New Hampshire. Joy's address was local. "So how the hell does all of this fit in?" Sara demanded to know. "Max Kingsley has a sister and she leaves her daughter with her brother?"

"The only evidence I found Lyeanna was even in that apparent was the teddy-bear." Catherine stated, "But that doesn't mean he didn't try to get rid of any of the girl's belongings. And it explains how she got the scent of Dunbar tobacco on her. Trusting Nancy as I do, to help me with Lindsey, it wouldn't occur to me to not trust my sister with my little girl. Maybe this Joy is the same. She trusts her brother to help her out, and something goes wrong."

"Catherine you don't go a day without talking to Lindsey and you always try to be there to send her off to school and pick her up. I can't believe this woman wouldn't talk to her little girl." Sara argued.

"She might be out of town, trusting her big brother to help her out with the baby sitting. He agrees Lyeanna comes in contact with the Dunbar tobacco. Max could have been out walking Tank; Lyeanna gets scared alone in the apartment she goes looking for her Uncle Max. She's out there on Campus becomes disorientated. Max doesn't know she's out, the wind changes and tank gets a whiff of the Dunbar."

Sara took over the conversation: "A Rottweiler is a powerful dog, he could have gotten loose from Max, I've seen that dog in action, if it was hyped up on crack he would never have been able been able to control him. Tank hunts down the scent that in his drug hazed mind had been responsible for giving him pain. He seeks out Lyeanna, she hides in the ticket and tries to climb the tree. It breaks and her body is so severely injured, she's too helpless to do much more than crawl away."

"Max could have seen his niece and gone for help but he's on coke and so is the dog, he's scared he'll go to prison, he doesn't want to get into trouble. He might have seen Dimitri Stirling coming out of the Liberal Arts building, his thirst for vengeance overwhelmed for concern for his niece. He struggles to get Tank under control that's why there was a struggle near the thickets.

Now the man who ruined his career is the only one who might be able to save his niece. He flees the scene trusting Stirling and Greeson to do what he is too scared to do." Catherine finished. "Coach... fits in by hiding Kingsley and getting rid of the evidence of Lyeanna ever being in the apartment, save for a teddy bear."

"Let's see if Coach cracks under this theory and gives 'Maxiepad' up." Sara said venomously. "Brass should know about Lyeanna and see if he can find Joy." Catherine nodded, her blue eyes fastened upon the digital photo of a once healthy and smiling Lyeanna Rush.

At the time the only thing scary to the child in that photo was a Friday afternoon spelling test. The brunette looked up to the blonde took her hand into her own; she would place a kiss upon the back. "I'll call Brass, why don't you go be with Lindsey." Sara ginned, "She might need to hear from her mommy."

Part 14

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