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.
WARNING: its going to get dark. Physical and sexual abuse issued are heavily discussed. Rating M for Mature, subject mater is very much on emotional up-setting level but it is nothing we haven't' seen on the show itself or LAO / SVU.
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 36

Lindy McFarlane had spent much of her time locked in her hotel room at the Rampart, her father's hotel and casino. Sam Braun of course had sent a few bodyguards to cover his daughter's protection despite her protests that she was fine and could take care of herself.

Braun might not be able to publicly acknowledge his daughter but he did love her, just as he loved another feisty blonde that in his heart might as well be his daughter. 'Mugs' had always had a very very special place in Braun's heart and there was a part of him that wondered if she was indeed his child. Catherine looked nothing like the man that had been Lilly's husband. The younger girl Nancy however did take after the man.

As for Lindy....she was her own spirit taking after only herself. Of course to Braun, Lindy was as much of a firecracker as Catherine, only a little more impetuous. Where Catherine was almost feline, Lindy was a semi-tamed fox, running on espresso fueled Energizer batteries.

It was this very nature that made Lindy more than fidgety while she sat in the interrogation room facing Sergeant O'Riley and Nick Stokes. Unlike the one used by Brass to hold Mark Sidle this one was not a gray slabbed remake of a padded cell. This particular chamber felt more like a vault in a mausoleum than a room to question suspects and witnesses. While the gray slabs of tiles in the former room were made to subdue the subject this room was made to intimidate. It was a psychological effect that worked so well, the suspect wasn't actually totally aware of it.

Lindy might prove to be the exception. She seemed more annoyed then intimidated by having to sit in the cemented chamber. She couldn't keep her eyes off the coroner' report. Dr. Robbins had documented that Alex's uterus was cleanly removed, with perverse precision. The killer had knowledge of anatomy and his tool was a scalpel.

Alex had been exsanguinated. Deep incised wound of the anterior and lateral neck, transecting both carotids and the anterior trachea. Definite lack of lividity which meant she must have bled out. The puncture marks in both arms indicated that an IV was inserted drawing the blood out. There was evidence of exsanguinating hemorrhage around her abdominal wall indicating she was cut before she was shot. The compressed lungs showed she was sat on as her killer was cutting her. She was Burked. What was worse was the fact Alex's uterus was removed when she was still alive. She couldn't scream out, but she felt everything he did to her. Lindy knew all of this before, but to see it again, why the PD were making her read it once more, she didn't know. Why they weren't out chasing after the killer, she couldn't guess, however if they didn't do anything soon, she would take her father up on his offer and take matters on a more personal level.

Looking at the photos of Alex's chest pre-autopsy Lindy could only stare at the gaping cavity of the post-mortem shots to the heart which had been grouped together with military precision. Lindy knew that a police officer, NRA member, military, well anyone else she could think of in law enforcement including CSIs that carried a gun, would be able to do something like that. Then of course there was the Mob though this wasn't their style. Her father's maybe, but Braun wasn't guilty of this particular death. The shooting has one purpose, it had been a message.

That was the part Nick and Warrick were still figuring out. They both hypothesized without telling Grissom that the killer wanted to destroy the heart and the womb of the woman who had turned down the advances of a lust driven male. Or it could be that he hated lesbians because they wouldn't turn their heads and admire his self-proclaimed Adonis physique.

O'Riley, taking over for Brass, had scoped out all the blood banks and there had been no sudden donations that came in unexpectedly. Everyone that donated had done so at drives at their place of employment or the universities. The stocky detective could still be amazed by the inhumanity brought to him. And this was one for the books.

"Look, I fully cooperated with you people. I know how hard Sara works so I'm going to guess you guys work just as hard. But dragging me in here to ask more questions isn't going to catch this frack-head who butchered my friend. Sara's friend." Lindy snapped sharply in such a tone that both men were reminded of Catherine.

Nick leaned forward in a more comforting manner, "Ma'am I know you're in pain, believe me I know Sara is too. But what you can give us, even what you might think as irrelevant can help us catch him."

"You said that before. Hell Sara said that when we talked."

"Miss McFarlane," Nick pressed using his most charming Southern accent and good'ol boy disarming voice, "other than yourself, was Alex seeing anyone? A man?"

Lindy laughed. "You're kidding me right? Just like me and Sara, Alex doesn't drive stick," she closed her eyes. "Didn't. Gods, I'll never get used to that. It's so unreal. She's gone and I keep using present tense with her." Lindy looked at her folded hands and said no more.

Nick and O'Riley looked at one another for a moment, keeping their thoughts of Lindy's slip of the tongue in revealing Sara's sexuality preference. "I don't know anyone....I told you before Lisa Tokada, a stripper from Paradise Garden is—was her on and off again girlfriend. Kinda like me. But for me and Alex it was when we got bored or ya know libidinous, we'd have a go. But she was into Lisa for a while, but that seemed to be the same thing a casual thing. There wasn't anyone really solid. Besides Lisa adored Alex and the other way around and they liked their setup. But there is someone who might know if Alex was seeing someone other than Lisa.. See, Alex doubled shifted; she worked as a swing shift Pirate Captain in our show but her other job... a little more adult tastes than the kiddies might like. Though she still plays—played pirate." Lindy's face became a little flushed when she saw the stymied looks on both men. "She was a dominatrix. Lady Heather was her mistress."

You could almost hear the sound of the other boot falling in the stillness of the room, dropped there by a vary large neon pink elephant.

Fiercely protective Sara Sidle knelt before her foster child… no, her soon to be daughter. She had taken Janet to work with her, in the air of getting it all over with. She wanted the fear eradicated that Mark Sidle would take the girl away from her. She would beg and plead what ever it took to keep Janet as her own. In her heart Sara had wanted nothing more than to hear that sweet little voice call her Mommy.

"Janet, sweetheart, I need to go see someone for a little while but I promise I'll be back."

"At home you said they might want to see me. Is it Miss Bellevue? You going to make her give me to you?" Janet asked with the earnestness that comes with children's honest hearts.

"It's not Miss Bellevue, it's someone I used to know when I was a little girl. You might meet them if I feel it's okay. But for now, you can stay here in Catherine's little office. I know normally you would stay with Nancy and Lindsey but tonight is a little different okay?"

"I don't mind." Janet shrugged slightly. "I'll stay out of the way. I'll be good"

Sara smirked proudly. "I know you will." Sara leaned close so her nose was touching Janet's "But you can keep an eye on Greg okay?"

Janet looked at the DND lab tech who was currently 'rocking' out to Skinny Puppy, with a mask cut into the face of a fagged monster and a latex glove blown up and placed on his head looking rather like a rooster's comb.

"He is so weird! Are you sure he's a grown up?"

Sara turned and looked at the young man she had always adored as a younger but annoying brother. "No. Actually I'm not so sure. But he is one of the good guys you can always trust."

"I like him," Janet admitted easily.

Sara pulled Janet into her arms, sitting the girl on a bended knee. "Me too. Only don't tell him, it will go to his head." She winked. "I'll tuck you into the sleeping bag we brought and you can snuggle up to Sara-tiger. Okay, now I'll be gone for a little while see the police station isn't in the same building as the labs. But you have your cell phone and I have mine you need me I'm right here."

"I'll be okay, Ma—Sara." Janet hoped her beloved heroic figure didn't catch the near slip that she had almost called her Mommy.

Sara heard it alright and her lips of their own accord pulled back into a full grin of joy. "You're my girl, Sweety. I love you. You remember that okay?"

"I love you too, Sara." Janet relaxed snuggling into the woman she loved with all her little heart. The woman's whose name, the secret name of Mom became the name of God on her heart and lips.

From the outside, Catherine watched a scene played out she had done over countless times (and still would never be enough) with her own little girl, a mother tucking her baby in for the night. tender little touches, smiles hugs and kisses to the brow, a soft hand running through the hair and even a kiss to a stuffed animal and all was right in the world. Well, as far as Janet Sullivan soon to be Janet Sidle was concerned it was.

Sara turned off the lights, leaving the dimmed desk lamp on as a nightlight before she closed the door to the office her eyes never leaving the form of her daughter, yes daughter as she departed.

"It never gets old," Catherine said as she laid a hand on her lover's shoulder.

Sara turned her head to Catherine's, a sheepish expression framing her face. "She's so perfect. So beautiful. I love her Cath. I want her."

"The paperwork is being processed, Sara. Have faith."

Sara wouldn't put to voice her greatest fear. The fear her brother would take one look at Janet and take her away from Sara. the young woman wanted to be the girl's mom, not her aunty. But she might have little choice. All she could to was try and convince Mark that Janet needed her, he was all but a stranger in her life, and Sara wasn't going to disrupt or ever bring harm to the child be it emotional, physical or environmental. Sara secretly vowed to Janet she would fight tooth and nail for her. That in the end of it all Sara would be Janet's Mommy.

So much had happened in a few short months, it was no wonder life felt as if it had spiraled out of control. Sara's post traumatic evaluation, as well as her Support Services psychiatric counseling had gone on as scheduled yesterday. In truth Sara was grateful to release some of the pressure she was under, and speak without repercussion. All members of the LVPD involved with post traumatic officer involved shootings went through counseling as part of standard operating procedure. In fact it was so with all police departments in the US, and so Sara hadn't begrudged the evaluation on that level. She did however loath to have to submit to it because Hodges squealed to Ecklie who in turn reported to Director Cavallo. It would have been easier to consent to the evaluation because of department procedure, and end it at that.

However compliance with the director had allowed Sara's return to her beloved labs. Until Janet came to her, Sara's entire world revolved around her work, her expertise as a proficient scientist, there was nothing else.

A tiny part of Sara scoffed. The old childhood rhyme about a tree leading to kissing was indeed true it had been due to a tree, a crazed dog, an even more eccentric professor that gave Sara her lover. It was because of her lover and her daughter that gave Sara the chance of having her own foster child...no her own daughter. Six degrees separated them and connected them.

It was only one degree that separated Sara from the man in the interrogation room. It was a degree that young Sara Sidle was determined to challenge. Now at LVPD headquarters both Sara and Catherine were found to be loitering in the halls.

"Sara you don't have to do this alone. In fact I wish that you wouldn't." Catherine implored, her hands resting on Sara' shoulders holding the younger woman in place where she stood before police station. One hand abandoned her hold on the shoulder and took her lover's hand into her own, the pad of her thumb running over the smooth soft skin on the back of Sara's hand.

"But, I do have to do this. And alone."

"I don't trust him," Catherine said as if her words were the finality on the decision.

"Catherine, you didn't trust me the first time you met me. In fact you lied to me. It took me several months to gain your trust and respect, it hasn't been until recently that I believed I had either one or the other never mind both."

Catherine for a brief moment looked away ashamed of her reaction to the only other female CSI on the graveyard shift In fact Sara had to work harder than any of the others to gain trust and respect from Catherine. But she was in fact the sort of woman who never looked back, and never held on to regrets. Until now. The words she slung unwarranted at Sara fell heavily into her lap, unintentionally placed there by the very woman who had captured her heart.

Sara cupped Catherine's face for a very brief moment before she pulled away. "He's my brother, Catherine. If you were told Nancy was killed when you were a kid and then you found out she wasn't as an adult what would you do? He's my family. The only true good part of my childhood. I have to believe in that. I have to believe he's still Markey...my big brother who sometimes could scare away the boogie-man. I can't believe he'd harm me." Sara said with such confidence in her voice that it actually swayed Catherine

"You might be alone in the room with him but Sara two officers will be outside the door and you can bet that myself, Grissom and Brass will be on the other side of that glass. What you've been through the last few days, hell the last few weeks has been more than anyone should be expected to face. We're all here for you, I'm here for you." Catherine uttered softly keeping her words whispered but holding iron strength for Sara to keep her balanced.

"I know you're in my corner, I appreciate it." Sara kissed Catherine tenderly and swiftly on the lips. "I love you for it, for your protection. I do, Baby. I might not be used to it, but I'm thankful for it. Yet I still feel this is something I have to do alone."

"Do what?" the voice came from over Catherine's shoulder. Both women turned to see Lindy walking towards them escorted by O'Riley and Nick.

Both men moved past the small woman and each took their turn welcoming Sara, Nick of course took the young woman into a massive embrace. His hold so tight it squeezed the breath out of her lungs and placed pressure on her still tender ribs.


"Hey, Sidle. It's good to have you back." O'Riley was a little more reserved, but no less happy to see the girl back in the labs.

"Guys ease up, I need some air," Sara wiggled her way out of the arms of the overly protective men.

"Are you okay?"

"You're going to be okay?"

"How are you?"

"Sidle, we won't let him hurt you, or near you."

"Sara, honey anything you need you just let me know."

One voice after the other, it became a match at Wimbledon. Sara wasn't even sure who was saying what, but the emotions, those she understood. The one who didn't though, was Lindy.

"What's going on?" the smaller blonde asked of Catherine, not waiting for an answer, Lindy pushed past the older woman to her lifelong friend. "Sara?" she managed to arrest the brunette's attention for the moment. "Sara what's wrong? What's going on? Why are they all acting like this?" Lindy pinned both men with her ice blue eyes.

"He's back." Sara said as she folded Lindy into her own arms.

"He? He who? Sara?" Lindy didn't even try to keep the worried curiosity from her voice. "Who? It can't be good if you have these guys and your girl acting all Secret Service-y."

Catherine bit down on the sudden rush of jealousy that ripped through her veins at Sara's possessive hold on the young actress. Though she knew Sara loved her, Catherine for a moment felt as if she were a stranger, a useless and unwanted cog in the clockworks.

Lindy's blue eyes managed to look beyond Sara's shoulder into the glass window that separated the interrogation room from the hallway and spotted a solemn figure in the shadows. Squinting her eyes, the tiny woman made out the details of figure.

"Oh crap!" Lindy yelped. "Shit, oh shit!"

"No," Sara shook her head almost telepathically understanding her long time friend's reaction.

"Lieutenant O'Riley, that man in there is a beast. You have to slam the fucker in cuffs!"

"No! No." Sara shook her head, gaining the astonished disbelief from Lindy. "It isn't Matt. It's Mark."

Lindy spun Sara around in a circle so fast, the taller woman's head spun from the head-rush. Lindy was searching the other's eyes, as if to try and read her mind to see if Sara had gone mad. "Mark?" This didn't make sense to her at all. "But Mark died."

"Yeah, and so did Matt. Only I know Matt is dead, I had his blood on me. I was in the bedroom when Laura..." Sara shuddered, she couldn't repress the flinch that overcame her soul as she relived the moment of her father's murder at the hands of her mother. "Look, Laura only 'said' Mark was dead. He's not. That's him, that man in there is Marky."

Lindy uttered softly. "Damn Sar, That's big."

"Yeah, you're telling me," Sara nodded. "There's more," she leaned in, now her amazement was masked by concern and worry. "He's Janet's biological father."

"Well that explains a lot. No wonder that little tyke looks just like you." Lindy uttered.

"Yeah," the tone was deflated. She knew the whole reason why Mark had sought her out was because he had learned someone from the LVPD department had taken Janet as a fosterling. Her mind had worked out scenarios where Mark decided that he couldn't risk the life of his child with the daughter of Laura Sidle; that Sara might become the woman he had run away from. He would simply take Janet, and put her with someone else that would hurt her. And a tiny part of her even dared to hope he would leave without seeing Janet. He would go away back to the shadows. There was a part of Sara which still could not fully take in the fact her big brother was very much alive.

Lindy looked to the room, ignoring the staring faces around them. "You're not going in there alone, SOS. I know better than anyone save yourself what you—what they did to you and what Marky meant—means to you. I'm going in and no amount of bullying will stop me. I'm older than you, remember?"

"Only by three days," Sara pointed out, but she had no power in her words.

"Not alone, no way, no how," Lindy took the stance of Peter Pan as if to dare the taller woman to defy her. "Not gonna happen, SOS. I'm covering your six."

"Alright," Sara consented, letting out a weight-of-the-world sigh. There was a begrudging part of her soul the rejoiced in the revelation she didn't have to face her past alone, that she had someone who had lived it with her to stay at her side.

As much as she had grown to love and by extension trust Catherine, she could never fully understand the terror Sara had lived. Lindy did. She had lived it with Sara, had nurtured and nursed Sara back to health after the beatings as much as a young child could. Lindy had even snuck food to Sara whenever she was thrown in the cell by her father or drunken mother. Of all people, other than her big brother, Sara knew she could without the need of walls (that a part of her still guarded from Catherine) she could lean on Lindy. Fiercely independent Sara Sidle had allowed someone in. Someone who wasn't her lover.

"Neither one of you are going in there until we have some uniforms outside the door and Brass in the observation room." Catherine interjected. Lindy might have trumped her with being allowed in the room with Sara, but the older woman wasn't about to allow the conference to progress without appropriate cover.

"Catherine's right, Sara," Nick said, feeling the need to back up his counterpart. "With emotions running high there is no telling what could happen." The confession he had heard burned still in his ears, bringing forth a din of bitterness of his own memory of being violated. He had suffered a single night of violation Sara had experienced years of molestation and beatings.

"I know," Sara agreed slowly. "I keep thinking this something made up, a drama on TV and by the next commercial break things are resolved and there's going to be a happy ending or at least a neat and tidy resolution. But real life is messy, sloppy and hardly ever brought to an even closure."

"You came back and didn't tell me? I'm hurt." Jim Brass spoke as he approached the increasing gathering of people outside the interrogation rooms.

"Hey Jim," Sara greeted him, her eyes bright and glistening. "I basically just got here myself."

The Jersey detective took Sara by the arm, pulling her over to him, his voice became a subtle whisper so she alone would hear his words. "I'm worried about you Kiddo." He managed one of his rumpled smiles. "Going in there, you sure you want to do that?"

"He's a part of my past, Brass. For the first time since I can remember I don't want to go to work tomorrow. I don't want to face all those eyes staring at me, whispers behind my back or when the other CSI's, the techs even the uniforms don't think I can hear them. And all of them will be talking about one thing, what happened to me in the hall. Why I took off running like some terrified witness or lunatic. But I don't have a choice. And I don't have a choice now. Not if I want to reclaim myself."

"Mark is the unfinished business of all that happened in your past." Brass concluded. "Yeah, I get that. Maybe more than you want us too."

Sara's dark eyes flashed with confusion for a moment, then comprehension struck her. "You know everything? Did Mark tell you?"

Brass didn't say a word.

"You heard what I said when I was here with Catherine." Sara made the leap of logical conclusions. She was after all a trained investigator, and it wasn't that much of a leap.

Brass shifted his stance, there was only a microscopic nod to his head. "What happened in this hall stays in this hall."

It was all that needed to be said.

"Sara," Nick gained the brunette's attention, "I'm staying if you need me."

"No, Nicky. I've got Catherine and Lindy and Brass. Just catch Alex's killer for me. Please. You're on the case, that gives me more ease of mind than you playing watch dog."

"You got it" Risking her personal space, Nick leaned forward and kissed Sara's forehead. He knew she might baulk from the action, but he needed perhaps for himself to give Sara a bit of brotherly strength. His suddenly facing Lady Heather once more was put into perspective considering Sara was about to challenge her past.

Part 37

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