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 39

Sara pulled the coverlet over her sleeping daughter. More now than ever, it felt like Janet was her child. Too exhausted, too overwhelmed by emotions and the events of the day, Sara knew without the child pleading she wanted to sleep in her mommy's bed. With Sara-tiger tucked neatly under her arm Janet was sleeping soundly, perhaps so for the first time in months.

"She's home, Sara." Catherine's voice echoed somewhere in Sara's conscience from earlier that evening. "You fought for her today and you won."

"I almost lost her." The brown eyes wouldn't lift from her vigil over the girl as if she looked away somehow the child would vanish. "I don't know what changed his mind, but I wasn't going to give her up."

"That's what it's like to be a mother, Sara." Catherine placed strength giving arms around the thin waist. "You find yourself willing to do things for your girl, you would never think of doing."

"Taking a life." Sara said her voice a little too flat, too defeated. "Once you said to protect Lindsey you would kill for her."

"And you said you could never take a life. At the time I derided you because you weren't a mother, and could never understand what that means. But knowing what happened in your past – I think I understand how reluctant you are to take a life. Your mother - what happened."

"I was ready to shoot him, Catherine. My hand was on my gun." Sara turned readying herself to find that condescending look she had so often seen in Catherine's blue eyes. It wasn't there this time.

"A mother who loves her child, will do what she needs to do to protect them. You did only what instinct, what the love of your daughter bid you to do."

"My mother endured brutality to protect me when I was four. If she hadn't done what she did that night, my father would have killed me, he drugged her and raped her with a handle fire poker because he couldn't keep his erection after he took her the first time. Then he beat her with it. After that night my mother was never the same. She made sure I remembered her pain that night every time she got drunk to make her own beatings from Matt go away.

"When I was six she turned her own full anger on us. The punishments became worse and worse each passing year. Her drinking turned her into something else. When I was thirteen the essence of what my mother was came back. She protected me once more, by killing him." Sara swallowed hard, her eyes turned back to Janet sleeping with the peace born of angelic song, "Tonight all I thought was what I need to protect my child, I didn't give birth to her, but she's mine. I was ready to shoot my brother for her, Catherine. And that terrified me. I'm my mother, after all."

Catherine's hands cradled Sara's face as she looked deep into the eloquent eyes of the younger woman. Sara couldn't turn, couldn't shy away. "The only part of you that is anything like Laura is the part that would do what you had to do to save your daughter. You're not a drunk, or a user and you're not abusive. That little girl has a chance now that she would never have had with the woman who gave birth to her, or even with her father. She can live free, happy, safe and loved. That's a great part of being not just a mother, but a mommy. Enjoy the Mommy-years, Sara. It's a great time." Catherine pressed her lips to Sara's own, softly taking them with a sweetness of her own love. "And celebrate your daughter's safety, Sara. You fought and protected her just like you're supposed to do."

As Sara responded with a sigh and a wan, rueful smile, she looked worn out, sad, like a child bravely fighting back tears... and Catherine wanted to sweep her up and cradle her against her heart.

Sara's trembling galvanized her lover into immediate action. Her arm still wrapped around the thin bruised waist, Catherine guided Sara to her black sofa. Sitting down, all the blonde-redhead had to do was to open arms. Sara fell into them, her tears now falling unashamed and free. It was love's touch that soothed the shattered woman.

"It's okay, just cry." There were walls in Sara. And locked places. And each time one was forced open Catherine felt that she had never known Sara at all. Oh she knew that everyone had walls, and locked places. All lovers, all parents, all children. Sometimes we are all strangers to one another. What matters is that the walls keep coming down, that we keep trying to reach out... Catherine offered her love, her strength an openness Sara had until recently never known. Not just with Catherine, but anyone she had ever been acquainted with, had a relationship with.

When she rose, her eyes, puffy with shed tears, Sara looked around at the woman she loved, one of her shy, sideways looks. "It is all happen so quickly. The ghost of my father, Mark, Janet, his decision to be her uncle then her father then back again to being her uncle. It's hard to process it all, to find some place for it. I just want to scream, cry, laugh. God, I'm going insane."

"Sara, baby you can't have gone through what you had in the past month and not feel like you washed up on beach after a typhoon. You want a list? How about being treed by a dog on crack, a couple of broken ribs because some professor fell on you, attacked by a suspect, more broken ribs, being in a medically induced coma for a couple days, a new child in your life, trying to get her and you on track, a good friend murdered, a flash of your abusive bastard of a father haunting you, the exposure of your past to the team, reunited with a brother you thought was also dead, adoption, the threat of losing your new daughter and gaining her back again and of course Lindy acting as if she were King-Kong on cocaine trying to protect you from your brother. Yeah I'd say you're due for a breakdown." Catherine kissed Sara's lips once more with a tender softness. "I'd be worried if you didn't break a little."

"You make it sound like one of those movies on Lifetime or Oxygen." Ever the defensive use of humor to outmaneuver pain and emotional stress. Sara flashed her shy smile once more. "You forgot one thing." Her hand rubbed the tears from her cheeks . "You. Us… this."

"Good stress I hope." Catherine prompted. Visible relief washed over her face when Sara nodded her dark colored head.

"Very good." Sara answered. "The best." Soft satin lips tasted a soft silken mouth. She drew Catherine's lower lip into her own mouth suckling before her tongue teased between teeth to be allowed entrance into the heated cavern of her lover's mouth. Running her tongue along ivory teeth, Sara artfully curled the tip along Catherine's mouth causing her to moan.

Catherine was not one to pass up the opportunity to take the passion of her love and return it. Catherine was gentle as she pulled the lanky body to press against hers, her fingers slipping into the silken strands of dark hair. With Sara's tongue in her mouth she gladly suckled, becoming drunk upon the intoxicating essence of Sara's kisses. Fulfilling her own need to dominate, Catherine took over the kiss, nipping, suckling, pressing her lips into Sara until the younger woman whimpered, her lithe body giving up the strength and becoming gelatin.

Oxygen became an issue more than once, but pulling back to breath was not motive enough to stop the long fasting of passion. Want, need, desire fueled their touches until they might have passed out from the lack of air the kisses had taken from them.

"Cat–" Sara's breath was a gasp. "You have to stop… I won't let you go otherwise. Lindsey."

The blonde-redhead was going to protest, but the mother in her, stronger than even the caring lover took over. Lindsey. Her baby.

"I love you," Catherine declared, placing a last kiss on Sara's elegant nose.

Sara rewarded her with a gapped toothed smile that had always enchanted Catherine since the first time she has seen its brilliance, even if she had not been prepared to admit it at that time. She could now. And yet her voice refused to cooperate. Her hands had no such problem.

With the reverence an archeologist reserves for the finding of a lost priceless relic, Sara touched her lover's lips, the gentle sharpness of high cheek bones. The slightly be-freckled flesh was soft under her finger tips, so smooth and without blemish.

Catherine felt tears welling in the corner of her eyes. In seeing the reflection of herself in Sara's chocolate eyes. There was such wonder and such joy for Catherine it was overwhelming. No voice, no words could convey what Sara's eyes expressed. She had once told Warrick his eyes were his best feature, and they were. But Sara's eyes were beyond compare, for the love dwelling behind the clearness of so deep hue. Never had Catherine been so beheld. Oh yes, she had, had other lovers, far too numerous for the blonde-redhead's counting, But in Sara's eyes she found what all human's seek to find. Her destiny.

Catherine took her love's hand into her own and kissed each finger tip that had so recently caressed her skin. "I love you too," she softly spoke. "And you are just as beautiful. Sara you are beautiful."

Catherine could have bet real money in any of the Strip's casinos and won, wagering what Sara's reaction would be. Shock, awe, denial and shock once more.

"You have to go." Sara managed to croak out.

Thinking it must have been too embarrassing for Sara to hear a heart-felt complement that she was shooing Catherine away, the red-headed-blonde was ready to do damage control, but the darkness in Sara's eyes conveyed another story.

"Or you won't be leaving." Delicate lips pulled back from Sara's mouth revealing the cute gapped tooth grin. "We have our daughters to think of."

Catherine's face lit up. She wasn't being pushed away, yes a deep residual crimson remained upon Sara's oval face but there was not shame in the expression. Sara wanted her! Wanted her!! Right then and there the older woman could have broke out in a dance of joy. Or hell using Sara as 'the pole' another sort of dance altogether. Soon she promised herself, it was the same promise Catherine saw reflected back at her in her lover's expressive eyes.

"Sara." Catherine's words took a more serious tone. "You or Janet need anything, call. It doesn't matter how silly you might think it, how late or early the call or how very serious your call. Or if you just need me. I have a little more experience being a single mom. I know this. Hon, you jumped into a new life, a new family with both feet and eyes wide open with a pre-teen, I was able to start with Lindsey from day one, so don't think you can't do this, you can. It's not a weakness to ask for help."

Catherine knew just how fiercely independent Sara was. But her lover had a voracious appetite for knowledge as well, with that in mind, Willows expected to be grilled for all her practical knowledge on the topic of child care. In the coming weeks Sara would not disappoint her.


Detective James Brass a round-town figure with the face of a hound dog and sharp eyes was no one's fool. He grew to care and love Sara as he did his own daughter. Coincidently enough he had no genetic link to either one, and yet he was indeed Ellie's father even if the rebellious girl never wanted to admit it. Sara his other 'daughter' was anything but a conformist, but she excepted the paternal love Jim had offered, as a starving child would glutton herself on a slice of bread.

Over the past month he had seen her torn apart physically, mentally and emotionally, and there was not much he - as her assumed father - could do to help her, other than be there when she needed him. He had to smile at how instantly protective everyone on Graveyard shift was of her. Sara had fought hard against the stigma of her coming on the team. Holly Gibbs died and Sara was there to investigate Warrick. It had set everyone save Grissom on her.

Now Catherine, Nick and even Warrick surrounded Sara with a cloak of protection against one who had brought her pain. And of course there was that little spit-fire girl that was likely to slice Mark Sidle in half if she had a sword in her hand.

Sitting outside the Department, Jim watched as Catherine and Sara still holding her very insecure little girl piled into the SUV and headed home. A few moments latter, Mark Sidle departed through the twin glass doors making his way to a red BMW.

Jim moved from his Police issued Taurus and made a b-line for the elder Sidle sibling. "So when are you heading back out to your base?"

"Not very subtle are you?" Mark said his voice creeping in the edge of defensiveness.

"I don't think we need to play games here, Mr. Sidle. Do you? I mean we're just talking here, but you're not planning on playing games with your sister are you? You wouldn't say lead her on into thinking she has a daughter now, only to whisk her away?" Jim offered his most disarming smile. "I'm a father, I know what it's like to look in your daughter's eyes and want so much for her. Sometimes what you want, isn't what is the best, sometimes it is."

"You're referring to me and the fact I was going to take Janet."

Again the disarming smile. Jim shoved his hands into the pockets of his trousers,

Mark turned now fully facing the aged detective his arms folded defiantly across his chest. "I was. Not now. Why are you making me explain this? I have nothing to be guilty of."

"I didn't say you were guilty of anything, remember we're only talking." Jim said evenly.

Mark fixed him with a cold stare of contempt, "I don't like the inference."

Jim merely shrugged. "Did I? Didn't mean to."

Mark didn't believe him. "Why are you trying to ride my ass? I'm going to sign the papers over to Sara, hell that punk-dyke friend of Sara's tried to tear my throat out for the same reason. I'm not the bad guy here. Sara will have Janet, end of story."

Both men leveled their gaze at the other, a visual game of chicken. Mark a man with an abused past and a Marine, Jim a man with heavy family-emotional baggage and a homicide detective, made for equal opposition.

Mark relented.

"You want to know why detective?"

"I'm dying to know."

"Because of the reflection. It wasn't Sara holding Janet, it was my mother holding Sara. Alsmost fucking age too. It was before our mother snapped and went over the edge, when she cared enough to offer her self up to our father. I saw it all, heard it all. I had no idea how much of a monster my father could be until that night. Our mother took the rape that was meant for my sister and all I did was hide under a blanket and watch as he did things to her with that fucking fire-poker's handle. God he threatened to heat up the end of it and rape her with it. After the beating was over, our mother was never the same.

"See, the thing is I was too much of a frigging coward. A back hand was enough to shut me up. I hid under that fucking blanket wishing Sara would just shut up. " His voice took on a slight narrative sound to it.

"Don't make a sound, Sara. You know he hates it when you cry. Oh please shut up! Shut up! He's going to hit you, just shut up and become small." He stepped closer to Jim, his arms still folded over his chest. "All I did was hide and listen as Sara's terrified whimpers set dear-old-dad over the edge, that crying grated on him. She wasn't even that loud, but it was enough for him to blow it."

Jim understood now what this man before him was admitting to and yet not saying it. He had wanted to strike Janet and perhaps even Sara for the tears.

"Yeah, you got it." Mark answered the unvoiced assumption. "I thought she shouldn't be crying, I could give her something to cry about. Why the fuck was she crying when I'm doing the right thing and being the father I should have been. And God-damn if I looked in that dark glass and saw my dad. I saw Laura and Sara on the other side of it. I was making them cry, I was making my daughter fear me just as Sara was terrified of Matt. Me, the good guy was the villain. That's not who I want to be, who I am. I'm supposed to be the loving father. Maybe like you. I can't be that man if I have my daughter. I won't be my father. "

The fear Mark would take Janet away from Sara now vanished from Jim's heart. "You can still be in her life." The detective unknowingly quoted Mark's earlier statement to his sister. "Beloved uncle, sounds like a great role to play to me."

Mark only nodded. "Better beloved uncle than hated father."

"For the record, giving Janet to Sara is doing the right thing." Jim's voice took a very warm tone of approval, warm enough to cause the other man to smile.

Sara woke with a slight weight upon her chest, wondering for a moment what had fallen on her, but small kitten snores told her the weight belonged to her little girl. After the scare of last night's emotional encounter with the possibility of being taken away, Janet seemed to velcro herself to her mother's side.

The shock had slipped Janet back in her emotional healing. At least she hadn't started the bed wetting as badly as she had before. The 'Goodnights' were working perfectly, even if there was an accident, the bed, sheets and Sara hadn't been adversely effected by it, and even Janet was protected by the training underwear for bed-wetters.

Sara would have to work doubly hard to bring Janet back to the cheerful girl she was becoming. Sara did not begrudge her daughter this melancholy. It was expected, Janet was so frail, emotionally, and the woman was gratified that her little girl could draw comfort from her. Janet stirred in her sleep but did not wake as she snuggled closer to the woman who was now her mother.

It was a mother's tender kiss that found the child's brow. A mother's tender embrace that pulled the smaller body to her, in ever protective arms.

'I have a daughter' The wonder filled Sara until her soul overflowed with it. She wept, not for sorrow but with such gladness Sara thought never to be hers even now that she had Catherine as her beloved, this joy was beyond measure.

'If Laura had ever felt this joy, if Cheryl had how.—how could they turn on one they gave birth to?" Sara placed another warming kiss on her daughter's brow. ' I love you Janet." Things are going to be better, I promise it."

With Janet off to school and seen there safely by her mother rather than the bus, Sara knew she had to face not only Child Social Serves but her brother as well. The adoption had to be finalized for there to be any respite for any of them.

Just when and how Sidle got to the Child Social Services she didn't know. Her mind was too preoccupied by what had transpired last night. Mark's wanting to take Janet.

"I need to be her Daddy, now. I think it's time she knows she's loved."

"I can do that, she is loved."

"But I'm her blood, her Daddy."

"I have her blood too. And only recently have you come into her life and that by an accident if you hadn't seen that news cast you would have never known and you would have still thought Janet "safe" with Cheryl. She is safe, Mark, she's with me. She has a new start—."

"Sara, I'm her father and I want to be a part of her life, the part that makes me her daddy. I think its what's best for her. You are still very much a part of it, you still will be. But as her aunty. I have three months before I have to ship out again, she can even stay with you, I'll know she's safe. But when I come home, I want to hear her call me daddy not Uncle Mark, and I can't be Daddy if you're Mommy. I have the right to custody, and I'm taking this second chance with her."

Sara felt as if the world had been ripped from under her feet and she was left to drift in a heartless black void. She had been prepared to tell Janet the truth that Mark was her father and she that she had to go with him, that she couldn't be the girl's mother, even despite that both of them had their hearts set upon it. Then, suddenly, the world was back, fresh and new. Janet was hers… Janet got to stay and call her mommy. They could make a life together.

The final thing was to make it legal and therefore binding. Once the papers were signed Mark couldn't change his mind again. A dread thought wormed it's way into Sara's mind. But what if he already had? What if he decided he was going to give 'daddy' a shot? What if Lindy's pitbull actions had turned him against the idea of Sara taking full and legal custody of Janet?

A weight of the world sigh left Sara's lungs as she opened the doors to Child Social Services and finally Connie Bellevue's office.

Catherine came into the lab carrying a very flat box wrapped in bright metallic blue wrapping paper topped off with a silver ribbon. She negotiated the glass warren-like halls until she reached the break room already filled with Warrick, Nick, Greg and Jim. Each of the men had a very smug look on their faces. Greg was beaming so brilliantly he could have served as the beacon from a lighthouse.

"Greg-o want to try and douse that?" Catherine couldn't keep the cheer from her voice if she tried. "Sara will know something is up immediately."

"She already does." It was Sara's voice from behind them all that spoke, Grissom right on her heels displaying a sheepish look and an apologetic shrug of the shoulders

"I didn't say a word."

"It was the lack of the denial Gris that told me something was going on." Sara smiled.

Catherine stepped forward. She so wanted to greet her lover with a kiss, instead she opted for a warm embrace. "Well in that case Happy Adoption Day." She leaned close. "Baby." she added in a whisper.

Yeah, Happy Adoption Day!" the men chorused and suddenly all of them had surrounded Sara giving her a hug and kiss on the cheek.

"I'm very happy for you, Sara." Grissom gave her an embrace that was less than a lover, but more than a father figure or mentor. "I know you'll make a great mother, you already proved that. Janet is very fortunate to have you." He, unlike the other would not give a kiss on the cheek, instead he squeezed both of her hands gently in his own.

"Thanks." Sara tilted her head ever so slightly indicating her shyness. "I want to give her a chance. Let her know the world isn't that bad."

"Well if you're her mom, Janet's gotta know its a good place." Greg pipped up. "We all get to be uncles right? Just like we are for Lindsey?" There was pleading note to the young tech's voice.

"I'd like nothing better." came Sara's answer.

Nick slapped Warrick in the gut with a playful back hand. "See I told you we get to be uncles. Of course I'm going to be the favorite uncle. "

"You're going to take the backseat to me, just like with Lindsey." Warrick wasn't about to be undermined by his best friend.

"You're both way off. I'm the best of the best when it comes to being uncle." Greg boasted.

"You all can be uncles," Jim stepped in. "As for me, I'd love to be Papa Jim."

To this Sara flashed such a brilliant smile that it quite overshadowed Greg's early glee. "Papa? You want to play grandpa?" Sara moved past the others, it was true she had taken Jim's affection for her as that of a father. Both left it unsaid. It was unlikely that Jim would ever get to play grandfather to any of Ellie's children - if she ever had any. His daughter kept him at the end of a ten-foot pole and then some. He had a new chance with Sara and she with him. She had a father figure she never knew existed.

"Janet needs a papa, and I'd love for you to fulfill that role - Dad."

Jim would have enveloped the young CSI in a bearhug but he remembered the month-old broken ribs were still tender; still his embrace was hardier than the others had been. As for Jim's reaction he turned to the others knowing he had trumped them all including Grissom who remained dumb struck - he had no clue that Jim and Sara were so close. Though his expression remained gracious and congratulatory, within he was anything but. Jealousy seethed within. Jim had a closeness to the beautiful young woman he would never have, Catherine too claimed the heart he had wished for his own. And would have if not given their positions as supervisor and subordinate.

Sara was lost to him.


It was then as Sara moved from her lover's grip and her newly adopted "dad" that she saw a small but sinfully delicious cake on the table top alongside an assorted row of wrapped boxes.

"What's all this?"

"And she's a CSI level three," joked Nick. "Come on girl you figure it out. It's an early mother's day. Well rather adoption day. What the hell - it's to celebrate you and Janet."

Sara flashed the man a gapped tooth grin that could make anyone go weak at the knees.

"Oh wow." It was all she managed to say, but her eyes, those ever expressive eyes told everything - her delight, her awe, her love and appreciation and wonder. She knew then as she would know for everyday from this day to the next she belonged. It was a rare and gifted feeling – to belong.

"We really didn't get to have the welcome back cake so this is a retake." Greg said. "We should hurry up and eat it before something else interrupts us."

Sara chuckled, "I agree. Besides chocolate is the food of the gods."

"That's ambrosia." Grissom interjected.

"Only because the Greeks didn't know about chocolate." Catherine countered. " If Aphrodite knew about chocolate hands down it would be the declared food of the gods, well at least the goddesses. And since we're the goddesses of graveyard, Sara you and I get first bites."

"I'm all for that," The younger woman was quick to agree.

A clearly possessive arm went around Sara's slender waist as Catherine guided her to the table, then sat next to her making sure both Greg and Grissom knew Sara's heart was taken, and by whom.

"I get the cake guys, but what's with the boxes?" Sara asked.

"A little something to mark the occasion." Nick said. "So open them already!"

Sara chuckled at her co-worker's exuberance. Of course this meant she had to open his gift first which incidentally was identical to the chemistry set Grissom had already proffered. Sara smiled fondly.

"Well see you can do mother daughter experiments with one and she can do her own with the other." Grissom said then smiled "Of course I nearly blew the roof off my house when I was a kid. My mother grounded me for a year."

"Sound like your boasting Gris." Warrick said as he handed his own gift to Sara. It was very heavy causing Sara to frown slightly, heavy usually meant expensive. Seeing the concerned look in the dark brown eyes, Warrick quickly waylaid any forthcoming protest that he might have spent too much. "I gave the same gift to Catherine and Lindsey for Lind's birthday."

Sara knew then exactly what lay within, two pairs of roller-blades, so they might go to the park and skate along the bike and skate trails. Greg moved from his chair to the corner of the break room and returned with what looked suspiciously like a cat-carrier.

"Greg? What did you do?"

"Ah… I went to the Humane Society. And rescued this little guy. He's had all his shots and even been neutered." Greg opened the door and pulled out a sleepy white-blond kitten more blonde than white furred. His eyes blinked open revealing a mesmerizing blue. "And he's already litter-box trained. Perfect for an apartment."

"Greg you sound like a used car's salesman." Jim chided the younger man. "I don't think you have to sell it that hard."

The detective was correct.

Sara's heart melted, as did Catherine's both took the kitten in hand and started cooing over him, stroking the soft sleek blonde fur.

"He matches Sara-Tiger." Sara said using her fingers to scratch behind the kitten's left ear causing its head to lean into her touch.

Greg nodded, "That was the idea." He showed a massive smile, "So what do you say, Mom can Janet have him, come on a cat isn't as much work as a dog."

Sara fell for the shining blue eyes of the kitten she held, nuzzling him to her nose instantly loving the purring sounds he made.

"Thanks Greg, he's gorgeous. And Janet is going to love him," Sara looked up, showing him a smile she only had shown Catherine. The older woman might have been jealous if not for the sheer confidence she had in her relationship with her love. Of course she might have some competition in the young woman's heart now for this other male in her life. But she was willing to share the affection with a azure eyed, blonde furred kitten.

"Do I get a kiss?"

Sara rolled her eyes. Her hand squeezed her girlfriend's thigh before she moved around the table and planted a kiss on the bridge of Greg's nose, but he moved just quick enough to have it land on his lips. The touch of his lips shocked Sara enough for her to pull back, a mocking scowl on her face

Greg had a Cheshire cat grin, that threatened to split his head in half it was so wide. Around the table there were cheers, save from Catherine, she was laughing too hard at her lover's shock she had actually planted a kiss on the favored lab-tech's lips rather than his nose. She had enjoyed this freedom of trusting Sara. In fact she loved it, treasured it. It was something she never truly had with any other lover and it was in a word liberating.

"Very slick, Greg but enjoy it because it's the only lip on lip kiss you'll get from me." Sara said then playfully slugged the young man in the arm.

"Aw but what a kiss." Greg was still flashing a very toothy grin, feeling very pleased with himself.

Sara nuzzled the kitten who decided it was better to sleep given the time of day, it was hard work being adorable. "I'd give the same sort of kiss to this furry guy." and to prove her point, Sara kissed the top of the kitten's forehead before tucking him into the carrier.

It would be difficult to compete with chemistry sets, roller blades and a kitten. Catherine had the luxury of knowing what each of the gifts were going to be and so she got something a little more personal.

When Sara unwrapped her gift there was a delicate silver frame embossed with equally delicate butterflies, in the frame would be the first of many to come photos of Sara and Janet together, there was a smaller folding frame to holding other such pictures.

The large one Sara recognized was a blown up version of the group photo taken at Pirates of the Caribbean. This however had Sara and Janet together.

"I know I wasn't sitting with her for the photo, well not with her in my lap, how did you do this?"

"Archie helped me manipulate the photo using Photoshop, but the others are real." Catherine explained. "It's seamless and he's a master of manipulated photos. He does several for his Star trek fan-sites."

All of them were candid shots, one with Janet and Sara and Lindsey in the large bed very much resembling the white kitten's litter mates. Another of Sara holding Janet closely it was Sara recalled just after she told the girl she was going to stay with her. A picture of them eating pizza and another where both had their noses together, each with a very playful grin on their faces. Another revealed Janet twirling around with Sara-Tiger, the background was unmistakably Catherine's living room and the last was a very angelic picture of Janet sitting with the exact same gapped tooth smile Sara had.

Sara turned and her arms wrapped around her girlfriend and despite the slight lingering ache in her ribs enfolded Catherine into a bear hug. "Thank you, Baby." she whispered clearly for Catherine's ears alone. "These are wonderful!"

Grissom was loath to break up the feast but there was work to be done. "Assignments in." He said breaking the joviality of the room. "Sara you're still confined to the lab for the remainder of the week. Sorry." He turned to others, "Nick, Warrick, I still need you to work the Alexandria Montague case, but we're a little short handed so Warrick, I need you to double up. This should be easy a B and E in Henderson. Once you have a solid lead you can still help in the Montague case. Nick, you're solo for now. Catherine, body in a dumpster behind Caesar's Palace. I've got a floater at Lake Mead. Okay roll out."

Part 40

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