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 17

Sara's dark eyes stayed upon the slumbering child wrapped tightly around a borrowed teddy-bear. The tiny body looked more frail now in her sleep than she did when she was awake. It was a stark contrast to Lindsey's healthy rosy cheeked form.

"She shouldn't have to grow up like that." Sara spoke without realizing that it had been aloud. "Always flinching, worrying you're going to make them angry enough to hit.... say those things. Someone should be there to protect her. Watch over her. Lindsey is so protected, so safe, loved. A kid needs to know she's loved. Wanted."

Catherine had a sinking feeling Sara wasn't just talking about little Janet. The blonde placed her hand upon the lanky woman before her. 'You're wanted Sara. You're loved. I'll protect you, watch over you.'

"Sara, from what we seen and heard we have to call child services." Despite they had investigated Catherine on false pretenses because of Eddie, the blonde respected them because they did protect children.

"I know. Hopefully they will find a foster home that will treat her well and care. She's in a delicate position right now."

Catherine turned looking once more at the slumbering girl with straight dark brown hair and large brown expressive eyes and an adorably cute gapped tooth smile. At the pirate show several people had assumed that little Janet was indeed Sara's child and if one didn't know better it was an easy thing to do. Even Catherine would have been convinced they were mother and daughter.

"Sara, you know she became a bit attached to you" the blonde held her hand up stalling any protest that might have issued forth from Sara. "Why not petition to be her guardian for a time. I know my Nanny wouldn't mind an extra kid to watch over and I can talk to Nancy to see if she's willing to take Janet when she does Linds...."

Sara watched the child and couldn't help but think of the advertisement on TV 'You don't have to be a Hero to be a Hero when you adopt a child from foster care....'

"Catherine I don't know......"

"Don't go telling me you're not qualified. You are I've seen you with Lindsey, with Janet and what you did for that little Collins girl."

"Funny when I said I had left Brenda in the car with cracked windows you and Grissom were so quick to think I would do something like that. You didn't even think I was joking."

"Sara....." Catherine started, "Its just.....well you don't joke about things like that. You're always so very serious. And you had such a straight face."

"Vegas." Sara commented dryly. "You learn to have a poker face." This time however the lips curled into a slight smile. Of course tiny little Brenda Collins rested upon the brunette's mind quite often. The girl was still adjusting to what had happened to her family and to her molestation but she was in therapy and responding a little more each passing month to outside stimuli. She smiled always when Sara visited her and hung onto her hand during the visits. No one at CSI HQ even knew their colleague even visited the tiny blonde haired angel girl. The large doe blue eyes reminded Sara much of Janet's own doe eyes. Eyes so lost and vacant of the mirth a child should own.

"Sara?" Catherine touched the younger woman's arm. "Earth to Sara."

"Sorry....."she shook her head. "Yeah maybe.... What's with the world where we can't protect the little ones? Brenda, Janet.... Lyeanna Rush.....so many others...." the young woman stepped forward and knelt before the bed, her hand gingerly stroking the hair back from the little brow. Despite herself Sara couldn't help but place a soft kiss upon the child's brow. "I'll do what I can to protect you." she softly promised the girl.

Catherine smiled, her assessment was right the child and Sara just went together, no one would ever doubt Janet was not Sara's little girl unless she said otherwise. Taking the hunch Sara wanted a private moment Catherine left the bedroom and headed back down stairs for the kitchen to brew a pot of coffee. Being on the night shift neither she nor Sara would be able to sleep for a few hours. She also had a feeling Sara didn't want to leave just yet and if she was truthful Catherine didn't want her to.

"Hum.. . is that coffee?"

"Toffee Coffee." Catherine poured her lover a mug of coffee adding a bit of sugar and cream knowing how Sara liked it from the year and half on the job. She handed it to Sara but not before sneaking a kiss.

Sara couldn't help herself her hand slipped behind Catherine's head holding the blonde in place hungrily tasting the blonde's lips. All the pent up passion escaped as Sara's kisses became more demanding, her tongue slipped out running along Catherine's lower lip, seeking entrance into her mouth. Nipping, biting, suckling lips against lips, tongue along tongue.

Sara pulled away but didn't let go. "I can get used to this." she whispered sneaking another kiss.

"You're not the only one." Catherine answered. With the tip of her tongue she licked the soft sweetness of Sara's bottom lip, loving the satin softness. "I don't want the evening to end." her voice had become husky, thick with her passion. "Stay here tonight."

Sara moaned into the kiss, she felt as if Catherine had taken the very breath from her. With her forehead pressed against Catherine's the brunette shook her head. "I can't... as much as I want to. I can't. I would end up wanting more than my ribs will allow me, as it is I need a cold shower."

Catherine chuckled and pulled a discreet distance from her lover. "Sorry, I didn't mean to push, but if it makes you feel better you're not the only one needing a cold shower."

Sara picked up her mug of now tepid coffee and took a swig as a way to distract herself, she didn't need the added fantasy of a naked Catherine with a lathered slick body. Catherine seeing the near shyness creep up in the young woman that had found away into her heart took pity on her. She knew Sara's ribs had taken a blow this afternoon no matter how innocent the embrace of the child had been it still hurt like hell. A devilish smile graced the blonde's face, she came around the counter and knelt. Her lips kissed either side of Sara's bruised and tortured ribcage, she looked up and saw a most glorious brilliant smile upon her lovers delicate face.

"You silly." Sara accused the smile still there. "But that was incredibly romantic."

Catherine found her feet and gingerly placed her arms around the woman she was oh so quickly falling in love with. "Lindsey prescribed this method of treatment. I had to try, make you feel better?" Blue eyes met brown each spiraling into the other. Twin smiles spread quickly.

"You have no idea." Sara rested her cheek upon Catherine's head. "What you did for me last night was incredible....I don't think I will ever forget that."

"Sar, I'll do what ever I can to take away your pain." the blonde placed a hand upon the younger woman's cheek "and if that means carrying you down a flight of stairs or watching over you while you sleep and making sure you take your meds, or being silly and kissing the 'owie' I will."

Sara's dark eyes closed, her heart thudding hard against her chest, her mind wrapping around the prospect of such love and such fortune in so little time. How could she be worthy of such gifts? Almost afraid it wasn't real Sara swallowed hard her eyes searching for any possible deception and clue this was but a figment of her active and yet scientific imagination. She found none. And Sidle had to be honest with herself it was a bit frightening.

Catherine must have picked up on the uncertainty in the younger woman's eyes and instead of become defensive and questioning, Catherine cupped Sara's cheek, running her thumb along her lips. "Its okay. This is real Sara, believe me. Its okay," she reassured again. "We take things slowly." Slow wasn't Willows typical way of going into a relationship. She saw what she wanted, took what she wanted and loved what she wanted how she wanted and when. This time what she wanted to love and how would take time and Catherine wasn't about to lose it because she was libidinous. Even if Sara's ribs weren't damaged the younger woman's heart had been and it would take time to reassure her that she was worth loving. Catherine had a feeling it would be well worth it.

"Here." Catherine smiled slipping from Sara's arms, "let me fix the coffee." the blonde went to the fridge and withdrew a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream. "I figured we could use a little relaxation."

Sara meekly nodded.

Together they sat on the sofa with Sara at one end and Catherine at the other, not because a fear of overwhelming libidinous desire but because the blonde had Sara's bare feet propped up upon her lap and started to massage them. With the pads of her thumb she pushed into the ball of Sara's foot with enough pressure as not to tickle the younger woman.

The moan that had issued forth from the brunette was not doing Catherine any favors. She was already wanting to ravish the dark haired beauty. 'Okay....think of something else....' as Catherine thought of the anatomy of the foot concentrating on the small bones, tendons and muscles and joint she would rub, kneed and massage.

Sara had sucked down her lukewarm coffee with a heady mix of the liquor, that and the magic Catherine was working on her feet Sara felt herself sink into blissful slumber. Granted the large sofa was comfy to sleep on as Catherine could attest having fallen asleep there on numerous occasions when she was simply too beat to trudge up the stairs after a grueling shift, it was no place for a woman with injuries.

Setting the long colt legs of Sara down, the blonde shifted taking the now empty mug from Sara's limp hand she set it upon the coffee table behind her. Feathering the dark locks aside, she kissed the brow and smiled. Much like Janet slumbering in Lindsey's bed, Sara looked utterly at peace and secure. Something Catherine wondered if Sara was familiar with.

Catherine couldn't stop but wonder about the youth her love had hinted at. She knew a little only that Sara was a California girl the only daughter and youngest child of hippie parents who owned a bed and breakfast. With her passions for vengeance during rape cases Catherine's CSI investigator instincts kicked in and without a doubt Catharine knew Sara had suffered the trauma, indignity and pain of rape but not when or how or who.

Just as Sara had done with little Janet, Catherine leaned down and kissed the soft brow of the woman so stoic and so secretly passionate that had crept into her heart. Catherine's long fingers scribed a soft line along Sara's sculpted angular face enjoying the sheer softness of the young flesh. Catherine had always played both sides, but she tended to enjoy the company of women more. Sara had captivated her from the first but with the stress and guilt of losing Holly, Catherine could not face yet another fresh young face and see them killed. If she was abrasive enough Willows made herself believe Sidle would return back to California and be safe.

Fortunately Sara was made out of sterner stuff.

Brown eyes flickered open resting upon the angelic face of Catherine. "He-ey." Sara muttered sleepily. "I suppose I should get going."

"Yeah upstairs in my bed." Catherine commanded.

"Cath....." Sara shook her head.

"To S.L.E.E.P nothing else. I have a pair of sweats and a tee shirt you can use. You might be taller than I am but we're about the same build. Come on."

Sara looked as if she were going to protest but after a moment she paused and nodded. "Thanks." Using Catherine as a crutch, Sara pulled herself up on unsteady feet. She winced at the slight pain in her ribs but made no other sign she was in distress. "Your 'scrip is in the kitchen I'll get it for you if you think you can make it up stairs by yourself or you need help?"

"I can handle it." Sara smiled and took it slow. This time she didn't push herself but took each step slowly by the time Catherine had returned to her side she was already on the on the top most step though panting hard.

Catherine sprinted the last few steps taking her place at Sara's side so that the taller woman could lean on her and borrow her strength.

"Sorry your girlfriend is being such a pansy." Sara mumbled

"Hey you're not a pansy, Sar." Catherine corrected, guiding her love into the bedroom.

It hadn't dawned on either of them they had admitted to using a term of connection. Girlfriend. It had fit so perfectly into their lexicon that they both simply accepted it, as if it had always been thus. Sara would offer no protest as Catherine helped her out of her button down shirt and into a buttoned jammy top and into boxers.

"Under the blankets," Catherine ordered and pulled back the coverlet to allow Sara to snuggle deeply into the comfortable depths of the king size bed. Once she was settled the brunette only had to wait a moment longer before she had her medicine in her hand and a glass of water handed to her. "I know you say you drink milk with your meds but water will have to do."

"It's okay I have a full stomach." a sheepish grin. "I ate so much I think I sent myself into a food-coma."

Catherine chuckled as she leaned forward and kissed the bridge of Sara's nose. "God I think I love you."

Sara smirked. "Yeah I could love you too." then she yawned so wide her eyes watered. "Sorry… so romantic." her eyes were dropping.

Catherine's smile remained. "I beg to differ there Sar' in fact it was pretty cute."

"Yeah...cute...." Despite her best efforts to remain awake there was no way Sara could keep her eyes open. She thought perhaps if she just closed her eyes she could just listen to this gorgeous woman who had captured her heart.

Catherine laughed at the completely sacked out young woman. Sara didn't sleep often but when she did she crashed hard. The prescription, liquor and simple exhaustion had taken its toll and Sara was out for the count. Making sure she was comfortable Catherine crawled into bed behind Sara shaking her head. "The first time I get you into my bed and you fall asleep on me." Another soft kiss and Catherine herself closed her eyes. "Of course I am not going to let you live that down my girl." was the last thing she whispered before sleep took the blonde CSI.

The blonde driver had once again followed the 'dyke family' home. Seeing the tired tots meandering in after the adults made for a wholesome sight even to his jaded mind. They were a family.... His rage had not diminished but it could be shifted. Sidle and Willows could pay in another way far far more painful than out right strike against them. "Heads I win. Tails you lose," he said to the darkness as he turned his black car again from the street heading back to the Strip.

Captain Jim Brass threw the door open–boof!----a bust of energy exploded from the room. Heat. Noise. Light. And a heavy cocktail of smells, both fragrant and foul. Brass reeled backwards from the blast. No matter how many times he visited the more seedy bars of the Strip the shock of the first moment always tagged him it was something he'd never get over.

The bar was like a miniature version of Vegas itself, reflecting the incredible diversity of the place.

There were the regulars, stressed out yuppies, bar hoppers, underagers trying to score, grifters and down on their luck gamblers, rumpots and a handful of college kids sucking down cheep beer by the pitcher.

Glancing over the crowd Jim spotted a huddled group of jocks by their letterman jackets they were from UNLV. One amongst them was out of place, older than the young men gathered by thirty years of not more.

Jim knew all the exits were being watched including the windows of the bathrooms, no one allowed to leave or enter the bar since the stocky detective had entered the establishment. The LVPD homicide detective was following a lead given to him by Tony Bishop and Kevin Riddle that both Kingsley and Coach Roger Shannahan would be at the Wriggle's sports bar and grill.

Brass recognized both the boy Bishop and Riddle. The beady eyed detective watched as a thickly muscled blonde haired kid came from the bathroom and reclaimed what had to have been his seat. Brass knew it to be Kingsley from the yearbook and the photos taken from the security camera of the tobacco store. They had him! They had him!

Brass stayed near the door withdrawing his radio. "All units fall in we have the perp, lets go people!" Flanking Brass were officers Ron Mire and Jarred Olsen both of them withdrawing their firearms, their fingers flagging the trigger, the muzzles pointed down. The detective flashed his badge his hand on the butt of his sidearm. "Maxwell Kingsley, you're under arrest for the death of Lyeanna Rush. Roger Shannahan you're under arrest for aiding and abetting in the death of Lyeanna Rush. Hands in the air stand up nice and slow."

Olsen and Mire moved forward holding cuffs, the players rose as if to defend their coach and Kingsley but at the sight of nine more officers storming the bar they sat back down not daring to face down what was now a dozen guns. Which in fact were all pointed at the table. It seemed the bar was holding its collective breath waiting to see if the cops would gun down the UNLV football players.

"Coach we'll call your lawyer, don't worry this fag won't hold you for long," one of no neck jocks belted out over the officers giving Kingsley and Shannahan their Rights.

"Yeah you do that." Brass shot back

Kingsley remained mute, his whole body was listless, a spirit filled with guilt and no life. Olsen guided the jock out leaving a fuming Coach Shannahan behind. Fortunately the older man was smart enough to realize if he resisted he made his case worse. Mire and Brass took hold of him fearing that once free of the bar Shannahan might become violent.

"Look it wasn't me! That little prick ....he lost the girl and I just let him stay in the office, fucking crack head he and his fucking mutt. I had nothing to do with that little bitch getting tore up. Shit Dumb-ass Stirling saw the girl and probably forgot about her. He's as liable! I am not guilty damn it all I did was let the kid sleep in the office."

"You're real convincing there Coach." Brass commented shoving the man into the back of the black and white. "Sounds like an eleventh hour confessional to me. Book this guy Mire."

Olson climbed into the front set of his own patrol car heading down to the precinct with his own prisoner. Kingsley was still catatonic focusing only on the lights of the Strip stream past him. "I didn't mean for her to get hurt." he said to no one in particular. "She just.....Tank ....she wasn't supposed to be the one....."

Part 18

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