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 23

'I wish I was like you, Grissom. I wish I didn't feel anything.'

The words Sara had spoke that first year she was with his CSI division still haunted him. '..didn't feel anything.' The aging man took a hold of the young woman's hand and brought it to his lips kissing it. "I do feel, Sara, I do." he looked down at the sleeping form of the youngest member of his CSI team. "I care about you, a lot more than I am supposed to." He moved to tuck a stray hair from her face, behind her ear. "And you're more like me than we both care to admit, my little rabbit chaser.

"Catherine tells me, I am not good with people. I am not. Of course they're not your strong suit either. We're best at looking in the microscopes, science, books. I think we look at people...victims too closely...under the microscope and we sometimes forget what we're looking at until we pull away. We look too close and we make them special and then they all become special and we burn out. Only this time the victim is you, and you are special."

Catherine had been far more than correct when she said he wasn't a people person, seeing Sara laying so pale in the bed sleeping under heavy sedation was almost more than the graying haired man could tolerate. "Lying here I guess you can reflect on the relative nature of time." The man shrugged in his boyish way, his face smiled slightly. "And I have something for you. I took the liberty and got these for you." Grissom turned for the wheeled bed tray, nearly knocking over the get well card set up on it as he reached for a set of books.

He picked it up and because it was in plain sight he didn't think of it as a matter of privacy as he read the card's front. It had a white and black stripped tiger cub that was completely soaked and looked deceptively grumpy. Inside it read: 'Its been a crummy few days without you padding around, get your tail out of the bed, get better and join the rest of the club'.

In purple crayon a child's scrawl was scribbled: 'Get better Sara, Love Lindsey'

In a more eloquent hand: 'Sara know you're loved and we miss you out here in the real world. Listen to the Napoleonic-powermonger and get better babe, love you, Catherine.'

What he had read in the card would have come as a great surprise to Grissom, had he not known or suspected about the relationship change in Willows and Sidle. Catherine had said the affair would not interfere with their work. Reading the card only reinforced the truth of the fraternization between ladies. They were together.

Grissom set the card down along side the set of books, two on forensics - a textbook on the most advanced techniques another on its history – and the third on entomology. Unable to take the sight of the pallor in Sara's otherwise beautiful face, the CSI supervisor rose from the chair and as a ghost vacated the room as silently as he had entered.

Grissom wouldn't be Sara's only visitor for the day. Warrick, Nick and Greg wouldn't be held back anymore for their concern for their beloved colleague. Three heads poked over the threshold of the door making the trio of guys look like some ettin of ancient myth.

Sara smirked closed mouth which turned into a full blown gapped tooth smile when she saw all three men try to get into the room first. Being thinner and more wiry Greg slipped through with a smile of pure triumph, he cocked his head over his shoulder as if to say 'HA! I got in first. So there!'

The antics of the guys of CSI caused Sara to chuckle, her sternum and ribs however made sure they let Sara know they weren't so appreciative of the joke. Sucking back a gasp of pain, Sara greeted the trio.

"He-ey guys."

Though he was the first one in, Greg wasn't the first speaker that would have been Warrick. "There's our favorite brown-eyed girl." The tall African-American pushed past the lovable young lab-rat to come to Sara's bedside kissing her on the forehead, almost exactly the same spot Grissom had.

"My turn." the ever cheerful stalk Texan moved right up to Warrick, his kiss of course was on Sara's cheek. Greg fumed that he was last, but he too kissed Sara though on the other cheek.

He cherished the fact that he was Sara's close friend. One she trusted, one she went to breakfast with regularly with, one she had silent talks with. The type to just sit together saying nothing, drawing strength from a heart you know won't hurt you. Those 'talks' had not been as frequent of late, and Greg missed them. The young man was nearly jealous of Catherine, of whom he knew so many of those silent talks had been about, others of course had been about a hard case. On the other hand Sanders was grateful to Catherine, for not being so cruel to his Sara, the woman he loved deeply.

"Hey we came packing." Greg said.

"Excuse me?" Sara's eyebrows shot up.

Warrick held up a brown paper sack. "Tuna fish on rye, a giant pickle, sour-cream and onion potato chips and even the fries are still hot 'cus, I thought to put them in of those bitching hot/cold bags. Oh yeah and plenty of salt. All from that deli you love so much." Warrick boasted. "My idea," he rocked on the heels and balls of his feet feeling rather smug."Ain't nothing like cold soggy fries."

"Oh gimme gimme gimme!" Sara yelped. Her arms outstretched, her hands opening and closing grasping for the proffered lunch as if she were but a young school girl. The guys laughed as Sara opened the bag and inhaled scent of the sandwich. "Perfect."

"Well, we didn't come empty handed." Nick said. "I know it was eggsalad sandwiches you liked best not tuna fish" He held up his own soft sided lunch pail complete with an ice-pack to keep the sandwich chilled.

Sara opened the bag with fries and started munching on them, as she moved for the eggsalad.

Nick turned to his taller buddy with even more smugness splashed on his face. "See eggsalad."

"BUT I have the winning hand." Greg held up a thermos. "Coffee! Highlander Grogg; ground fresh from Scottish beans. And in the smaller thermos I have Bavarian Chocolate. Both with just enough amount of sweetener, just the way you like it."

The grin on Sara' face light the room. "I could really really kiss you, right now." Sara beamed.

Greg felt bold having trumped his fellow guys from the laps, with the specialty coffee. The young man leaned forward wanting his reward, and he wasn't waiting in vain. Sara placed a very chaste kiss on his cheek as if she were kissing her brother. Not exactly what Sanders was hoping for but he was the only one to gain a second kiss from the lovely brunette. So it was all good.

"So how are they treating you in here?" Nick asked gently wanting to avoid Sanders smugness.

"Not bad, actually. Doc Rothery my physician is the bomb. The woman…. she's the best doctor I've ever had. Stern but so deeply compassionate, she makes you feel less a patient and more like a person. The woman makes feel at easy answering all the questions talking with you rather than at you."

"A Miss Patch Adams ehe?" Sanders joked gaining a shrug from Sara.

"I know I would be out of my mind stir-crazy long before now if I was under anyone else's care, as it is I am just starting to climb the walls wanting out."

The men would smile at the admission. Warrick's warm aquatic eyes rested on the prone colleague. "So when will they let you escape?"

"I guess. I have a couple more days to heal before they will release me. Rothery was concerned over the punctured and collapsed lung, and inflammation around my ribs. She wants me to be able to move without wanting to pass out." Despite the fact Sara attempted to smile the men paled wishing for the young woman not to be so afflicted, each suffering their own form of sympathy pains. She tried to smile reassuringly, feeling as she had as a child covering for Laura, always pretending she wasn't suffering, when in truth she was biting back her distress.

"Hey really Sara, we're sorry this happened to you. You need anything day night whenever give you know you can give us a call." Nick volunteered the others, and they didn't protest the call. In fact the other two nodded vigorously.

"Thanks guys." Sara smiled once more. If more was going to be said it was stopped by a light knock at the door. "Yeah" Sara said as loud as she could manage without straining her diaphragm. Three male heads turned blocking the view causing Sara to need to lean on one elbow on the side so she could see who it was at her door.

"Oh...um...hey guys," the voice belonged to none other than Jim Brass. His hang dog jowls seemed to sag a bit more under his grief, his eyes dark and remorseful. He carried the guilt of the world on his shoulders it seemed. In his hands he carried a brightly blue foiled wrapped gift about the size of a shoebox.

The guilt in his eyes increased as they fell upon Sara, the IV and monitors about her bed. Though the collapsed lung had been dealt with Rothery insisted that the cardio and respiration monitors remain. At night Sara was required to use the oxygen to alleviate the work effort and pressure on her lungs. There were times during the day, Sidle had felt the need to use the added support.

"I...ah...just came by to see how you are." Brass mumbled.

Sara smiled at the awkward offering of concern. She figured the aging detective felt incredibly guilty for what had happened to her in the interrogation room. Kingsley was dangerous and should have been in lock down at the table. Brass thought the cuffs would have been enough to keep the perp submissive. Generally it was.

Nick elbowed Warrick in the ribs and gestured with his head the look in Brass' eyes.

"Right." the lean man said. "Hey Sara, we gotta go get some shut eye before work. Stokes and I are working this Suspicious Circ's case at Treasure Island we pulled last night. Not pretty."

Sara nodded her understanding. "Get some rest boys."

"Get better Sidle, the labs aren't the same without you." Nick said. "Besides Greg and David have no one to fawn over."

Sara chuckled, Greg turned beet-red and elbowed Nick in the gut.

"Come on you two before they kick us out for disorderly conduct." Warrick said scolding his colleagues as if they were misbehaving school boys.

"Believe me, Rothery will do it, to." Sara smirked thinking of her dear friend the over protective Lindy and her ......girlfriend.....the overprotective Catherine. Both blondes had fire in their souls and it drove them to the irrational at times. Of course you never questioned where you stood with either of them, they were blunt to the point be being rude. "Thanks for stopping by guys."

"What? Wait you don't have to leave on my account." Brass always sure of himself, stammered.

"We're not." Warrick tried to reassure the older male. "Like I said we gotta close the peepers so we're on our top game tonight and put this case to bed." As he passed Warrick clapped the detective on the back. Nick just flashed his half smirk and Greg shrugged as they vacated the room, leaving Sara alone with Brass.

"You're looking better from what I heard." He said as he approached the young woman. As always he was wearing a sport coat this one a sharp brown number what with his gold patterned tie reflected an improved fashion sense that admittedly taken him years past his divorce to cultivate. The compact man with short brown hair and the forever melancholy mien that belied his inner alertness, Brass fought hard against cynicism, and mostly won. Except when young CSI's ended up dead or hurt. Holly Gribbs would always haunt him. Now another fresh face lying a hospital bed because of what had happened would linger with him ever more.

Brass took a long look at Sara, noted the dark hair was getting wispy in front as if wishing to abandon ship. She looked better than he had expected, there was even color in her cheeks. He supposed he had expected her complexion to look like soggy wet newspaper from Catherine's first description of the debilitated Sara.

"I..ah...I just came to see how you're holding up."

"You said that already." Sidle teased lightly.

"Right. Well and sorry."

"Brass?" Now Sara was thoroughly confused.

"For you being in here. I should have known that crack-head was going to jump. It's my fault you're in here."

"Oh come on Jim you really don't believe that?" Sara frowned. "Kingsley is to blame. He could have easily jumped you or Catherine. He did me because I killed his dog."

Jim washed a dry hand over his frowning sorrowed face, sighed with a deep heavy breath. The fault even if the kid in the bed didn't admit it, was his and his alone. He had twenty-five years on the force and he knew....KNEW that you bind drug-heads down just in case they do what Max Kingsley had done. He would not make that mistake again. Hell, IA was looking into the case as it was. As was Sheriff Brian Mobley and Gill Grissom. A CSI going down on watch was never ever a good thing. Internal Affairs was making sure their scape goat felt the guilt.

What was worse was Sara's absolution.

Jim set the box down on the tray that had accumulated the mylar lunch boxes, thermoses and text-books and one very very special card. "I got something for you. Vega and some of the other boys chipped in down at the PD. "We're really sorry this happened." Brass repeated for a third time.

Sara took a deep breath. "Jim, it's okay, okay? I'll be out soon and I have no doubt I'll have couple of people volunteering me to stay with them or they with me to make sure I'm fine. Bones heal, Jim. It's a-okay." Sara knew she had to redirect the old detective's thoughts. "So what's in the box?"

The question seemed to lighten Brass's mood, he smiled genuinely this time. "Well I know how antsy I'd be in your place. I also happen to know your fondness for gadgets. This is the newest on the line." He bounced on the balls of his feet and heels as Greg had done earlier.

Sara found the box had a lid which had been wrapped separately so all she had to do was to lift the cover off. With in was a sleek black Sony police scanner. About the size of a Playstation 2, the boys had back at the lab when things got very slow. A topshelf model.

Brass could tell Sara loved it by the wide eyed _expression she was sporting. She was completely thrilled with her new 'toy'. "This is ...WOW...this is great!" She flashed Jim one of her very rare full gapped toothed smiles that endeared her to any that was privileged enough to see it. "Thank you, Jim." she turned to see the man grinning. "Tell Vega and the others thank you so much." She would turn back to her toy, take it out of the box and started to play with the knobs, switched and buttons.

"We put new batteries in it, and there are six more in case you need them." Jim announced. "Glad you like it Sidle."

"Its perfect." Sara had yet to lift her head again, far too intrigued by the scanner.

Brass found himself chuckling and for a small micro-second he gave a thought to his estranged daughter Ellie. She had that _expression a few times when Brass was in his more sober moments back in New Jersey when he had a family. A few times he had done the right thing and bought the perfect gift for his little girl, who was not so little any more. The teenager was still living with her mother, but Brass sent cards every holiday and birthday as well as money. He had been a lousy husband and father, but he never stopped loving his little girl. Seeing Sara glow as she was now, brought a bit of light into the otherwise cynical man.

"Well I'll let you two get acquainted." He put a hand on Sara's toes as he had with Ellie and wiggled the foot. He almost half expected to hear an exasperated 'Daaaaaaaaaaaaddddddyyyyyy!' But of course he didn't. What he got was just as good. Another cute little smile.

"Thanks Jim. And thanks for pulling that guy off me, you're always there for us. Thanks." By us of course Sara meant the nightshift CSI team.

How odd Jim mused he was always there for his CSIs when he had never been there for his family. Perhaps subconsciously he felt he was making it up be being there for his new family. He, Vega, Santos and a few other officers he trusted to look after his team. At one time they were his team, a year ago he was supervisor and more of an ass then he had been in New Jersey, so much so his team nearly hated him. Now that he was back in Homicide he was endeared to the motley crew.

"I'll pass it along." He said meaning thank you. "Get better Sidle we need you out there." Brass echoed Nick Stokes parting words, since everything else seemed awkward and trite.

"I'll try." Sara said lifting her dark brown eyes now thinking it rude to send Brass off with out a proper eye contact for his farewell. "Though my Doc, is insisting three weeks down time and that BEFORE I go back to work in the lab for light duty only for another couple of weeks." Sara couldn't disguise her disgust for all the lying about she was in for.

Jim snickered at that. "You're a tough kid, you'll make it through." She shrugged. "And just think you have a new scanner to keep your attention."

She flashed a smile.

'That's not all. I have a new girlfriend.....and a couple of little hurricanes to dote on.' She spared a thought for little Janet..... so lost and terrified. In so much need of love, friendship and compassion 'I'm not going to let you stay there babe, and I wont let you get lost in 'the System.' I promise Little One I'm going to get you out of there. A lot sooner than I was. You won't hurt anymore. I promise.'

"Jim..."Sara halted the man's exit. "I Need you to ...send someone from the Special Crimes Unit to a certain address. A case of child abuse. Catherine and I already reported it to Child Services… But I...." She stopped. "Look I know how these things can go. I would just feel better knowing..."

"I'll look into it for you Sara. Just give me the name."

Sara started jotting down notes for Cheryl Bauer's address. "Janet is the little girl, she's in Lindsey's class, though a bit young for third grade. I'm concerned for her. Once she's away and in safe custody let me know will you?"

"Absolutely." He smiled. "Playing on a hunch here the place was buzzing that you got tickets for Catherine and her little one to go to some place special is this how you knew about this.." he looked at the paper, "Janet?"

"Yeah, The mother is something else, smacked the girl in the head a few times right there, before Catherine and I could stop her. Hard and for no reason. Called her terrible names, no kid should suffer let alone hear. I am really worried, I just got this feeling."

"Maternal instinct?" Brass was fishing.

"Subtle but no. ... though I'd like ....... look never mind just send someone from SCU over will you?" Sara became passionately insistent. "That little girl is in danger."

Part 24

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