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 3

It had taken a few hours at the crime scene to isolate the trail of blood, the dogs and collecting evidence. Time had passed quickly making Sara believe she had only just signed on shift when in fact she had given fourteen hours to the case at hand. Early for her since most of the time it was sixteen hours she gave to the county.

Exhausted was a state of being Sara, knew she could when needed put out of her mind. There were times when she stayed up three days straight working on a case. Donna Marks's ghost still visited like the fragments of a dream on the edges of her mind. It was that ghost that had Sara going home as early was she had. There were jokes she knew that were said at her expense. 'Grissom-in-the-making,' obsessed with work because she was tactless with people. Sidle tried not to let it bother her. And sometimes she succeeded in fooling herself that it didn't.

Dropping her jacket and carry-all on the bar she meandered over to the blonde wooden desk she was shocked to see she had three messages on her machine. Curious she hit the play button, wandered to the sofa and sank down in the faux leather cushions. Her body stretched out her arm flung over her eyes.

*You have three messages.* The metallic female voice said.

There was a beeping sound that Lindy's voice came over the speakers. "Hey SOS, glad we were able to do lunch, if you're not all wrapped up in work this weekend give a call I have a bundle of season tickets for the show if your interested. Shame to have them waste away unused, girl. Yours if ya want 'em. Anywho give me a buzz."

Sara chuckled Lindy was even bouncy on the phone. The next voice startled the young CSI enough to have her sit up on the cushions and stare at the machine.

'Um...Um...Sara this is Lindsey. I was kinda wondering if if if...um...you can have diner with us sometime. It was really nice at the restaurant. My aunty lets me call friends sometimes and I called you and my other friend Janet. Mommy said she can come over sometime to have a sleep-over, but Mommy said grown-ups don't have sleep-overs but they have diner so...it would be nice if you came over too okay? How about my birthday? Mommy said I can invite a few of my friends. I want you to come. Kay? Bye-bye Sara, hope you catch bad guys with my Mommy."

Sara vaulted over the back of the couch and hit the replay button on the machineto make sure she heard what she had just heard. Sure enough Lindsey Willows had invited her to their house for dinner. "Great...Catherine is going to have a whole litter of kittens when she hears about this. Sorry Kido but 'Mommy' isn't exactly Sara-friendly." Running a hand through her dark locks.

The third message was from Catherine herself. "Hey, Sidle its Catherine. Sorry to call you at home but we were ships passing in the night. Desk said you checked out early for you. I'd like you to meet me the 'Cop-shop Diner' across from the lab in the afternoon for lunch from there we'll pay a visit to the good professor. Oh...Lindsey says to say hi, and to have good dreams. Seem's you've made an impression on Linds..." there was a jovial tone to the voice that relaxed Sara a bit in its hearing. "Okay see you latter."

'Okay so maybe she wont have a whole litter of kittens....' Sara smiled to herself. Sara sank back into the sofa and closed her eyes intent on simply resting for a moment.

Pouty lips curled into a smile as she approached her tall brunette from behind, a thought locked into her mind. The strawberry-blonde paused as she ran her soft, gentle hands up Sara's arms and across her chest. The young CSI could feel the blonde studying every muscle with her hands. The blonde turned around and gave the taller woman a huge encompassing body hug. Sara heard a slight gasping sigh escape as she spoke. "You feel incredible, I can't keep her hands off of you," Catherine breathed into the brunette haired woman's ear, her voice like crushed velvet. She felt Sara trembling in her arms.

"What..what are you doing here?"

"We're playing pool..." Catherine moved to the younger woman with grace of a jungle cat.


"Sexy when you're confused." Catherine trailed her fingers along Sara's angler jaw.

"Not confused...misplaced. It doesn't....didn't happen like this." brown eyes widened as if she were indeed a doe coughed in the headlights of an oncoming semi.

"You wanted it to." Catherine purred. "You know you thought of me on the purple velvet..."

"Yes...." Sara swallowed hard. Her heart thudding in her chest as she felt the velvet heard in the voice merge into a satin soft kiss. So supple. So gentle. Tender and yielding. In that single kiss Sara felt as if she had lost all since of self, all boundaries, all since of time. Her spirit drifted up and out of herbody, into the heavens.

Sara bolted up out of sleep, her entire being sent into a state of rushed vertigo. Rising to quickly that vertigo became all to real and sent her careening to the floor in un-ceremonial heap.

"Crap," came a muttered complaint. "Perfect. The most intense kiss I ever had and it's a frigging dream with the forever unattainable Catherine Willows." Sara shook her head. "Thanks a lot Lindy."

A quick shower, change of clothes and Sara was ready to greet yet another day. Meeting Catherine in the diner wasn't something that the young CSI was looking forward to. A part of her had to be truthful, yes she was looking forward to meeting Catherine.

"Beautiful, intelligent and forever unattainable Catherine Willows...Lindy, you runt why in the hell did you have to push me? She's perfect, sexy, gorgeous so sure of herself. Magnificent, commanding....knows exactly what she wants...not afraid of herself. Perfect."

Catherine looked up from the menu the waitress had handed to her before leaving to retrieve a coffer of coffee, to see Sara walk into the diner. The tall young woman was a sight to behold. Of course it would be under gunpoint Catherine would admit to any just how beautiful she found her younger counterpart.

Long legs, a slender athletic build, rich chocolate eyes that you wanted to melt in, dark silky hair, and a forever cute gaped toothed smile. Not to mention a soft smokey voice, that was a whisper across velvet. 'Enigmatic, unattainable....sexy as hell...beautiful and a woman with a brain. Perfect. And dangerous..and so not mine.' Catherine forced a smile to her face trying to hide the desire under her eyes. ' So not a good idea to think of her as CSI's answer to Angelina Jollie....'

"That's a strange expression," came Sara's greeting.

"Sorry....er.... mind wondering." Catherine flashed a half smirk. "Coffee?"

"Please! Nectar of the gods."Sara smiled taking her seat across from the blonde.

The waitress would come over and take their orders. Sara having waffles and Catherine eggs sunny-side up, toast and hashbrowns and told the waitress to hold the bacon. "Why'd you do that?" Sara asked pouring her seconded cup of coffee.

"You're a vegetarian."

"But you're not." Sara was stymied never when she went out with the gang which was an extreme rarity had any of them not ordered meat. Or for that matter any one else she chose to share a meal with.

"Didn't think it polite to nosh on meat when you have a hard time stomaching it." Catherine said with a genuine smile.

Sara found herself to her befuddlement blushing, lowering her head she revealed a shy smile. "Thanks."

"No problem. So um.. Brass called, he ran the plates you collected. They belong to a Miss Elise Blackwell. Here's the interesting part, she's being mentored by our professor."

"Mentored? Let me guess a she's a C student and wants to raise her grades?" Sara huffed. "Where do these proffs get off selling grades for sex?"

Their meals would come and a polite thank you to the waitress sent her on her way to wait upon other patrons.

"Apparently its legit. Brass's people found out Professor Stirling leaves his office open for anyone needing extra assistance, advice or directions to a peer tutor. You know when I was taking night classes there was a saying about a certain professor, he was 'the poor man's answer to Stirling.' until now I really didn't get it. I knew of a Stirling teaching but I never had him." Catherine said. "By what I saw last night, I think Miss Blackwell would be a little too much for the professor."

"Why?" Sara said around a bit of waffle.

"Her address," Catherine was now smiling. "Is none other than Lady Heather's."

"No way!" Sara gawked, "So....let me get this straight, the gangly professor is tutoring a dominatrix?"

Catherine chuckled. "Not any different than a stripper becoming a criminalist."

Sara opened her mouth, her eyes widened a little, "Cath, I didn't mean to infer." Catherine reached across the table and patted Sara on the arm nearly causing the younger woman to leap out of her skin. "Would you relax? I was joking." Catherine pulled her hand, "You're jumpy today. I'd lay off the coffee." The smile gracing the eloquent blonde took any sting out of the comment.

They had finished their meal quickly so that they could head off to interview the strange Professor Dimitri Stirling.

Catherine knocked on the frosted pane glass of Stirling's office door on the fourth floor of the liberal arts building. Both she and Sara was slightly surprised to find it answered by a fifty-year old woman. Her graying hair was tied up tightly in a bun atop of her head, her eyes fixed cooly upon the two CSIs seemly to say, 'you're not students what do you want?'

Catherine opted to pull rank least the woman decide they couldn't see the good processor.

"My name is Catherine Willows, this is Sara Sidle of the Los Vega Crime Lab, we need to see Professor Stirling. Is he in?"

The older woman's expression changed from ardent, to concern. "I'll announce you, Miss Willows, Miss Sidle, if you would be good enough to wait here." The woman said, her voice and demeanor calm. Apparently she seemed to recover quickly from lasts nights events. She disappeared through a secondary door much smaller than the one of which the CSIs had entered.

A mere thirty seconds latter the secretary returned. "He'll see you now," she said slowly. The secretary awaited for the younger women to pass before she herself returned to her own desk. Sara proceeded as Catherine politely nodded her head coldly thanking the elder woman.

When the CSIs entered the next room they was assaulted by the smell of old books and a wave of vertigo. The 'office' was nothing in the like. It looked more like a museum storage room than an office. Fourteen-foot shelves scraped the ceiling. Books, relics, antiques, rarity items scattered the shelves filling them.

"Gris would have a book-gazium in here" Sara mocked causing her slightly oldercounter part to giggle.

Ancient wooden cases, replica gargoyles, bamboo scroll cases, sculls, knives, thousands of books alined shelves in a maze. Dimitri has a passion for the past. A type of reverence she had only encountered with Gil Grissom. Yep Gil would be in heaven.

The constricting space left over from the overfilling shelves left Catherine feeling like Theseus.

"All we needed was a ball of string," she whispered to Sara.


"Theseus and the Minotaur."

Sara softly chuckled. "I thought Gris was the walking encyclopedia."

"It rubs off." Catherine shrugged, wining one of Sara's impish grins. "Doctor Dimitri Stirling?" The blonde called out almost fearing she wouldn't hear an answer.

Cautiously both women turned the corner but she found herself confronted by another shelf. "Doctor?" this time the question came from Sara.

"Yes?" A soft English male voice muffled threw the archives.

"Catherine Willows and Sara Sidle: with the Los Vegas Crime Lab." They turned yet another corner. Another shelf. "We met last night but you were unable to speak."

"Yes." Was that a question or a statement of acknowledgement?

Another corner, another shelf. No not a shelf. A desk. At last they women had found the center of the labyrinth. Above the desk light tried desperately to shine through a window, but it was covered by yet another shelf. "Sir?" Catherine uttered giving a hesitant look to her partner who shrugged helplessly.

"I am still here Miss Willows, Miss Sidle." The voice came from underneath the desk.

Catherine furrowed her brow puzzled matching Sara' own. She bent down dropping her carry-all, then pointed to Sara to the half body of a man seemingly hidingunder his desk.

"Bother!" He swore. "Ladies, what do either of you know about confounded machines?"

"Excuse me?" Now Sara was truly perplexed.

"These. . . these things. The bloody administration is insistent I install this contraption." For the first time Catherine looked around the mountain of books complying the surface of the desk. She found empty black and white boxes and formed styrofoam.

"Gateway? Your putting together a computer." She said the backside of a man. His forepart was under the desk.

"Attempting. I haven't yet put anything together." Dimitri said. He pulled out but not far enough as he began to stand he promptly hit his head. Hard. "Ooohpf!" His hands instinctively went to nurse the top of his crown. He winced already feeling the goose-egg beginning to form.

"You, okay?" Catherine sympathized. Sara winced knowing just how that sort of bump smarted.

Dimitri looked up ready to dismiss the comforting. Their eyes meet. Deep crystal blue to fathomless mahogany brown. And his breath caught in his throat. Meekly he nodded. "Hum. Just a bump." He whispered. "I abhor computers." He admitted suddenly in a boyish manner.

His statement put Catherine so off she found herself to her horror giggling. "I, am sorry."

"Quiet alright. Quite alright. What can I do for you, lovely ladies of the crime lab?"

"Professor we need to ask you some questions regarding the child you found last night." Catherine's voice was controlled and perfectly calculated. This case had taken her particularly hard. All cases involving children did. CSI was the voice of the victim. And victimized children need a strong voice to speak for them. None could be stronger than Catherine Willows.

"Curious. Why is it that the death of a youth is any more devastating than that of an adult? Death not from natural causes is a travesty."

His comment caught both Sara and Catherine so off guard that both found that their voice had become lodged in their throats. He was right. Why was the death of a child any more devastating than that of an adult?

"Your right," Sara picked the conversation, "we had not meant to imply anything else."

"No sorrow need be misplaced for sympathizing with the demise of the young. You should not. Yes it is more devastating when innocents is preyed upon. It is I, that should issue an apology. Your hearts are in the right place. You must be mothers of a youngsters. It simply angers me to see pointless death imposed on the undeserving."

"Actually I am not a mother." Sara said.

Catherine could relate to him. His compassion, his heart touched her. He was so much like Grisom. They had the same passion. She found herself trusting him as she would her boss. Not good when she was trying to be objective. The problem was he had a very natural if not clumsy charm about him. As a potential suspect that could be very dangerous.

"Professor its very important you cooperate with us if we are going to get to the bottom of how this child died." Catherine took control of the conversation before the professors charm be-spelled both of them.

"I am regrettable for any inconvenience, Miss Willows, Miss Sidle. But the child's death took me by surprise." Dimitri look to the floor he quite stance spoke volumes. Catherine was suddenly reminded of Grisom. The man before her and the one she admired shared so many of the same mannerisms and infliction of words.

"Professor, I need you tell me what happened, last night. Anything you recall even if you think it irrelevant." Catherine pushed.

The professor offered her a seat on one of the guest chairs. "It is as I said to Captain Brass last night. I was escorting Miss Greeson to her auto in the car park. There have been some disturbance around campus that are unsavory. Ladies it would not do for either of you to wander at night. The beautiful ones are always targets."

Sara frowned and did Catherine. "About last night, Professor," this came from Sara.

"Yes, yes. As I was saying the child was laying face down in the mire when we chanced upon the little poppet. I would turn her to her back to assess the damage, offer assistance. I know safety protocols of giving youngsters CPR. But it was of no avail, the small poppet was too gravely harmed to be saved. Even the paramedics could not bring her back from the brink of death. They theorized a rib punctured a lung."

"Do any of your students have children?" Catherine asked.

"I can not tell you."

"Its not privileged information," Sara said.

"Oh, and I had assumed private life was just that private. Still I can not tell you what I do not know. Students come into my lecture hall, into my office, into my research areas I teach, mentor and assist those questing for knowledge. But a life outside academic walls I can not tell you. Miss Greeson seems to know a great deal about such things. If it is important she reminds me."

"Do you smoke professor?" Catherine asked.

"Yes. Pipes. What a curios question." The man's dark eyes reflected his stymied mind.

"There was a particular tobacco residue on the girls mouth and nose." Catherine explained.

"I had attempted to giver her CPR, it failed. I would think then that there are epithels upon her body at the back of her neck and face that will have my DNA."

Sara narrowed her eyes taking in the fact a man so seemingly absent indeed would be so alert to trace evidence. Not many people outside criminology knew that a person leaves epithel-evidence behind them. But he had eluded to the fact he was once a doctor. The testament of his niece could be a nice tragic bedtime story to try and slant a female mind to be more sympathetic to him and disregard him as a suspect. Clever indeed if this was what he attempting.

"Professor, do you mind submitting yourself to a DNA test and finger printing for elimination purposes only?" Sara said with a determined voice.

"I will submit," the man nodded. "I will request that Miss Greeson also submit."

"Thank you." Sidle nodded with cool diplomacy. She would take out a swap and ordered the professor to open his mouth she could swipe the inside of his cheek.While she was doing that Catherine started to set up the finger printing kit.

The two CSIs would tag-team the witnesses. On a few occasions Catherine had to remind the doctor and Emily Greeson both to relax their hands so she could get an accurate print. Most people stiffen up while printing which was only natural unless you were very accustomed to the proceeder.

"Can't you just take our prints from the Administration?" Greeson asked looking at the smudges of ink on her left hand with disdain. "Its required for all University personal to be fingerprinted upon employment, as well as a full background check."

"That might take some time, Miss Greeson. This way we can eliminate you and your employer with greater efficiency." Catherine explained.

"Professor, did the girl say anything to you last night? Who she might be....a cry for help?"

"Girl?" Dimitri frowned. "Did she?" he turned to Emily.

The elderly lady shook her head. "No. Nothing. She was unconscious. Doctor Stirling tried to revive her but her little body was just too broken. Please...please find out who did this. She was just a baby. How can anyone do that to a little girl?" Emily was so near sobbing that Dimitri wrapped his arms around the portly frame and attempted to give his assistant some measure of consoling.

"We of course will do what we can to help."

"Actually you can, tell us about your relationship with a Elise Blackwell." Sara demanded.

Dimitri looked confused for a moment. "Oh yes. Harvard."

"Harvard?" Sara narrowed her dark eyes studying the professor.

"Yes, she is a student at Harvard." Stirling answered as if it explained everything.

"You seeing her on a romantic level?" Catherine pushed.

"Certainly not! She's a child, a scant few years younger than you Miss Sidle." His voice taking on an edge that it had not had before.

"So why is a student from Harvard asking you for assistants?" Sara wouldn't letgo.

"I can explain." Emily stepped in. "She's here apparently visiting her family, and wanted to get a headstart on her final theses paper for her Anthropology course. Why is that of any relevance."

"We found evidence of the victim on her vehicle." Catherine said, "We're going to have to talk to her just to rule her out."

He looked like he was going to say more but Emily had pushed herself away from him and looked at the watch on her wrist. Her sullen eyes grew larger. "Doctor, it is time." her voice was hoarse from her earlier weeping. Apparently she wasn't so easily recovered as she wanted to be perceived.

"Time?" Instinctively Dimitri pulled out his gold pocket watch. The tune Banish Misfortune, piped lightly. "Time for what, Emily?"

Catherine now held a bemused expression. Absent minded professor. Sara held no expression but remained coldly neutral studying him. Something of the man set alarm bells off.

"Time for class." Emily was now the consummate professional

"You are in a class?" Dimitri was astonished.

Emily huffed an exasperating sigh. "No, Professor, your class. Five minutes ago actually."

"Bother!" He cursed. He darted past Catherine and Sara, the latter was standing passage way between the collogued artier of the walkway and the bookshelves, brushing up against her as he did. His face blazed red.

"OH! I.....I....I am terribly, sorry!" He clamored clumsily. Sara smiled scooting the opposite direction. If she was upset at the miss-contact it didn't show.

"Not a problem."

Dimitri flew to his desk, grappled a stack of papers and dashed to the door.

"Processor!" Emily yelped.

"Emily, I am late for class, can it wait?"


He looked like a child told he had to wait to open up a favored Christmas package.

"You have the wrong papers for the wrong class." The older woman went to is desk moved the stack of books and took the papers underneath. "The slides are all ready in the classroom ready for you. But you best hurry or you'll not have a classics course to teach today."

Dimitri swopped the stack of disheveled essays for Emily's. He dashed out of his office without saying a word to either Sara or Catherine. The latter gave an uncertain glance to the older woman then at the door as Dimitri abruptly reappeared. "Oh, um.....ah..thank you for coming, ladies." A smile. "If you need further aid, I can be found here."He was gone again.

Catherine, couldn't suppress the small laugh that popped out of her mouth.

Sara turned, "Is he for real? Gris have a brother, a long lost twin we don't know about?"

"Like Gris you don't just meet the man you experience him."

Emily, with practiced routine replaced the stack of essays she was shoved, back onto the professor's desk. "Ten doctorates and he is the most senseless man I have ever met," Emily muttered more to her self than the young CSIs who was still standing office. It was clear she was embarrassed over her earlier display of emotions.

Had they heard the old woman correctly? Ten doctorates? PD's research into the man only said he had five! It suddenly occurred to the two ladies that there was a lot about Dimitri Stirling, they could find out contained in the elder lady now busing herself with the task of straightening a haplessly cluttered desk. It was the first time that Greeson's eyes actually met Catherine's or Sara's. The eyes were old, weary, wet held a wealth of wisdom and hidden knowledge.

"What...what fields does the professor hold doctors in?" Sara asked now very intrigued. Emily looked to the ceiling as if the answer was somehow posted up there. "Lets see... he had five documented: anthropology, archaeology, architecture, art history, literature. The other five are in biology, chemistry, mythology, linguistics, medicine. He was a child protege, he went to Oxford University at age six. His genius is one of the reasons he is so absent minded. Albert Einstein had the same problem. He himself held five doctorates. And like professor Einstein, Dimitri requires aid twenty-four hours a day lest he even forgets to eat."

"And you are his primary caretaker." Catherine said, noting that there might be something more between the two. There was extreme devotion in Emily Greeson, and Sterling was a charming man. Catharine could see why and how someone would fall for the professor.

"He would be lost without me," Greeson said with a measure of pride. "I'll show you both out. If you want to wait for him it will be three hours."

Both was tempted to stay, but they had to get back to the lab. "No thanks. We'll call him later if we need anything." On an impulse, Catherine reached for her wallet and took out her wallet. She handed Miss Greeson a card. "My number is on there. If Professor Stirling or yourself, recalls anything more either of you can reach either Sara or myself here."

"If he can remember how to use the phone," Emily said under her breath.

Chapter 4

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