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 45

After a long night processing a scene filled with the stink of fetid fish guts, blood and viscous slime added to the slight phantom pain in her ribs it was nice to wake to the slight sounds of a child trying hard to be quiet whilst preparing what could only be described as a desperate attempt to make a surprise breakfast. It was the smell of burnt toast that had given the child away.

Stretching Sara forced herself from her nest in her bed with a jaw cracking yawn. Plodding with steps that might have tripped over a shadow on the floorboards Sara moved into the bathroom, took care of privy needs then had a quick five minute shower and brushed her teeth and hair before moving into the kitchen. There Janet was making coffee, toast and instant oatmeal (since she was allowed to use the microwave but not the stove.) and cutting up a peach to eat along with the hot cereal.

The world had gone soft.

Sara padded softly into her small kitchen with a broad smile. "Morning, Sunshine."

"Morning, Mommy." Janet beamed with a prideful grin that she could finally use the title freely. When she had at first started making breakfast for her mom and burnt the toast she feared the reaction she might receive. Her former mother… would have shouted at her and spouted the most foul oaths and then the hitting would start because one, she had dared enter the kitchen without permission and two, had used the food again without permission and three because she had wasted said food by burning it.

Sara didn't do any of that. She grinned and took the burnt toast from the plate napkin Janet had intended to try and hide in the garbage but hadn't managed to do so before her mother's swift hand snatched it and dunked into her coffee. Janet stared at her in complete astonishment.

Sara smirked. "What?"

"You dunked burnt toast in coffee!"


"Isn't that kinda gross?"


Janet made a face. "I made better toast Mommy you don't have to eat that….."

"I'll eat the good toast with the oatmeal, but I kinda like burnt toast with coffee. I got used to it. I always burn my toast." She gave a small shrug. "If you manage to make toast that isn't burnt Kiddo, I'll give you a gold star."

Janet beamed. Then she produced the plate of buttery toast that had been perfectly golden-brown. "How about two stars considering you always burn yours?"

Sara let out a massive plaster shattering laugh before gathering her new daughter into her arms and nuzzling the soft baby-shampoo smell of her hair. "Okay two." She answered. "We'll put them on your calendar for chores well done."

Janet was positively glowing in the praise. She knew what it meant to have a gold star on the calendar. If she collected ten in a week, she got extra money in her allowance, which was seven dollars a week, and would raise a dollar each year in accordance with her age. And she was graded on her work. If she did an okay job she received a red star, if she did a very satisfactory job she got a silver star, and if she did a great job she got a gold star and ten gold stars were worth five dollars as each star was worth fifty cents. There were five minor chores a day Janet had to do, maintain her room, feed the cat, clean its litter box, rinse her dishes and put them in the dishwasher, and then a household job like help dust or help vacuum, sweep the floor, empty the dishwasher or some other small task like straighten the living room or bathroom (which meant something as simple as sweeping its floor, wiping things down with a cleaning rag and emptying the garbage. Sara would later go through it with Pinesol), or some other such tasks to help maintain the apartment. Sometimes Janet earned as much as two gold stars if her task was extremely well done. And the child always seemed to challenge herself to earn two gold stars per task.

Sara had said that as soon as Janet had saved enough money she could go and spend it on whatever she wanted or she could put it all in her bank account, it was up to Janet how she wanted spend it. So far Janet had saved fifty dollars and she was trying to figure out what she wanted to splurge on. After all to a child of young years, fifty dollars was a great deal of money.

"Janet, how do you feel about you and me and…" For a moment Sara paused considering how she might present the next part of her proposal and simply decided to get on with it. "And your Uncle Mark go out for dinner tonight? We can go out to Applebee's."

The child nodded eagerly "Sounds good." Children have an innate sense of what is wrong and Janet had sensed something was a bit off when her mom had mentioned her uncle. Because Sara had given so much to her to her, first and foremost a safe home, a mother, Janet wanted – needed - to give some sort of return for all the joy. "Don't you want to have dinner with Uncle Mark? We could just go ourselves Mom if you want."

Mark had wanted one last night with his daughter before he left, and Sara was filled with both apprehension and gratitude to the man. She couldn't begrudge him this night. "No sweetie, it's okay. Besides you should get to know your Uncle. When we were little he was a pretty good brother and sometimes he made me feel safe because he…" again a pause for thought, "got rid of my own bad night terrors, the bad things." A smile however small and tight found itself carved onto the oval face. I was just remembering things how they used to be when we were kids. I haven't seen Mark in a very long long time. A lot has happened since then."

Janet knew some of Sara's background. The woman had told her that she was hurt much as Janet had been and had lived in foster care for a time and understood what sort of night terrors Janet had. It made them bond and relate in a way no other person who hadn't been abused could even fathom. Oh they tried to understand but it was an empty platitude in the end.

While eating her apple and cinnamon flavored oatmeal, Janet paused studying her new mother. A thought occurred to her that if everyone assumed Sara was her natural mom because they looked so much a like then when she grew up Janet would be as pretty as she was. Janet feared she would look more like Cheryl but hopeful that wouldn't be the case. Then another thought entered the girl's mind. It had been something troubling her for a while.

"Mommy, I don't think Lindsey likes me much havin' Sara-Tiger. She sometimes gives me nasty looks when she thinks I'm not looking and looks at the tiger. She pulled it away last night and said it was yours. I tried telln' her that you let me watch Sara-Tiger and she said 'Fine but she aint yours, she's Sara's.' Maybe I should leave her here tonight?"

Sara frowned but not for the immediate reason one might think. It was simply she was unaccustomed to being an intermediary between two warring children. To the CSI's mind she didn't have the skill-set to negotiate something like this well. So she decided to approach the subject as if Janet was already grown.

"The choice is yours. Either way Babe, you tell Lindsey that Sara-Tiger is yes mine and that I didn't re-gift her but I need to know you're looked after by something you know is safe and gives you comfort. Besides it's a shame if the tiger just sits on the bed…" a line from a long time beloved story popped into the brunette's mind. "Toys are meant to be loved not carefully kept. If I put Sara-Tiger on a shelf or on the bed just for pretty, there is no chance in hell she'd have to become alive. But if you love her and stroke her fur even if it falls off or seams pop and we have to sew them back in, then she becomes alive. It's very painful process for a toy to go through but they don't mind."

Janet paused and took it all in, and she recognized the familiar tones of what her mother was telling her. She too had read the 'Velveteen Rabbit' and knew her mother was telling her the truth. Besides 'Toy Story' was one of her favorite movies and she sometimes peeked into her room just in case her toys became animated. They never did, they always seemed to the six year-old's mind to know when she was there and lay still.

"If Lindsey gives you more guff simply tell her, our family shares and I'm sharing 'you' with Sara-Tiger." Sara paused to smile at her girl's reaction to the almost backwards way of explaining the sharing bit. "Now let me look over your homework and your agenda so I can sign it before we go to school."

The girl trotted off to her bedroom before she was halfway down the small hallway she turned and looked at her mother who must have had the same thought enter her mind---' I have a family! I know what that is supposed to be now.' Both smiled at the other before returning to their tasks at hand.

Lindy Macfarlane was spiraling to the earth at a speed more than she was happy with. Scenery whooshed by her in a sickening blur. Her heart plunged backwards into her throat and for a heart-stop moment her brain screamed she was dead.

Then the world had gone soft.

As soft as it could in a safety-net.

No hard landing.

No slap of meat or splash of blood. Yet Lindy became conscious of something tacky and warm against her flesh. What was hot and wet upon the face revealed itself to be a mix of spittle and blood from a bloodied nose.

Momentarily stunned it took Lindy several heartbeats to realize she wasn't dead. Even still the world became a hue of such red that all the battlefields of every war had not spilled enough blood to match the shade. "What the fuck?" Lindy roared as she disentangled herself from the safety netting and plopped to the wooden decks of the stage with less grace than three year old on ice skates. "JOSE!" She bellowed. "What the hell?" her jaw gritted together so tightly she wondered if she would have a cracked molar. The fall and the thud on the stage after her tumble from the net had jarred parts of her body that had Lindy agonizing. Something was defiantly wrong with her wrist. Not to mention the wind had been knocked from her lungs with a sharp harshness.

Stagehands, stunt coordinators the fight chorographer and fellow actors rushed to the fallen actress in a mad rush to give aid, see what all the commotion was and to make sure that she was still alive. The latter of course unnecessary considering Lindy's loud profane proclamation.

The stage director turned as with the half the stage hands an accusing eye to the man declared as to whose fault it was Lindy had been sent hurtling to the earth.

Jose Manntoski was a man whose belly looked more like a beer keg than a gut. He also had the unfortunate assets of the arms of a gorilla and thick tree truck legs one might have thought him the perfect anchor for aerial stunt-work. And he was. He wasn't as dull-witted as his physique made him out to be, in fact he was one of the more reliable and sensible men in the field of stunt work. He had an education in literature at Berkley. The thing was when you looked like a dull-witted troll-bodied line-backer for the Forty-niner's no one took you seriously as a scholar. So he became a stuntman and anchor for aerial work.

"Gods Lindy," his voice was thick as his body which pushed through the crowd like a shark through water. "I'm sorry. I don't know what happened." His expression carried both the concern of someone upset a friend was hurt and the knowledge that it was somehow his fault. But he couldn't as of yet explain the how. "Buddha on a church, girl I gave the gear a thorough check before you put the harness up. There was tension on the line; the pulleys were five by five. I swear I thought you were fine. Crap girl, I'm sorry."

Lindy was still pissed, more so because of her aching shoulder, back and tailbone than the actual fall. She was used to 'falling', it was a part of the stunt. But she was supposed to land on the deck - not go splat. Her shoulder was obviously dislocated, and her wrist given its limp state was probably broken. "Never mind." Came a growl of pain and frustration and anger too soon deflated.

A part of Lindy wanted to tear into Joe for the fall, a part of her wanted her mom, and a part of her wanted to be out cold. "Fuck." She settled as an outburst.

Ronnie her sparring partner who played Guybrush Threepwood 'Mighty Pirate' on set had dashed off to find the on-set EMT's and was now rushing back half dragging half pushing with the puppy-eyed Henry. The paramedic was one of the medics that were on set from time to time, though mostly during the dayshift

Henry aka Dr. Puppy-eyes was one of the moonlighters of the Vegas EMT squads. He was a familiar face in the backstage crowd so that no one unless they needed his services paid him any heed. He had the expression of a cocker spaniel or possibly a beagle hence his nickname.

"You're going to have to go in, Miss Lindy," Henry announced. "You have a fractured wrist and the shoulder needs to be seen to be put back into place. I can do it, but I recommend you go in to a hospital, if anything the wrist needs to be set." Henry said softy and disarmingly as possible. I can radio ahead and drive you there in the rig, no problem."

Pain lanced through Lindy's spine slugging her brain with a figurative sledgehammer, she only nodded her concurrence.

"Get her in your rig don't let her bully you into not taking her to the ER." Stage Manager Vanessa Kinddner commanded her eyes filled with compassion and a maternal expression that she would not budge. "Lindy," what could one say to another after a near three story plummet to the earth? "You're lucky your wrist and shoulder are all there is to your injuries. I'll swing by later and we'll fill out the accident report and yes before you ask I'll have an inquest on just what the problem was with the fly-rig." A smile of encouragement, "Take good care of her, Henry."

A smile meant to comfort found the blonde paramedic's face as he reassured the troop of actors and acrobats "That won't be a problem."

"Since when don't you eat meat?" Mark Sidle asked of his sister as he watched her dig into her risotto.

"Since I sat up one night watching a pig decompose."

Mark's eyes widened in speculation, "Why would anyone do that?"

"Because a pig is the closest thing to human bodies both in skin, consistency of muscle and tissue mass. It's perfect for simulations where we have to discover the effects weapon impacts or say electricity on the body or how it decomposes under certain conditions."

Mark gave a look to his pork-chop and pushed the dish away from him, his face a slight shade of green that matched the salad on Janet's plate. "That is disgusting."

"Exactly the reason I turned to vegetarianism." Sara said happily now spearing her stuffed poblano chili with a fork.

Janet herself enjoyed deep fired chillies as did Mark and so they had shared the appetizer amongst the three of them. The usual process was to burn the chilies and sweat them to remove the skin. Slit them open, remove veins and seeds carefully, and stuff them with cheese and in this case cheese and nuts. They were then rolled in flour, dipped in a light egg batter and fried in oil quickly until crispy. Chilies as Sara pointed out to Janet have one of the highest concentrations of vitamins among all fruits so Janet could eat as many as she wanted. It surprised Janet only that chilies were a fruit because they weren't sweet at all.

As for her main course Sara had chosen the leek and taleggio risotto while her brother had ordered pork chops roasted garlic potatoes and tabbouleh. Janet was enjoying her potato, cabbage and onion patty-cake. It made her feel grown-up to have something that didn't come in a plastic basket with fries or chips.

The child had been listening to the adults snickered at her uncle's discomfort. Her mom knew all sorts of cool gross things. In the culture of elementary school having such knowledge was a sort of base street-cred. Janet like Lindsey had gone up in the eyes of her peers simply because their mothers worked in the field of strange sciences. And they got to work with dead people. Now her mother was working on the case on the news with the man attacked by sharks, the children at school thought Janet had become the coolest kid at least for the week the reporters were following on the case. They had all wanted to know if her mom was going to find evidence the shark committed murder and if so, was she going to arrest a shark and put it in jail?

Sara stared at her daughter then towards her brother and with a deep sigh wiped her mouth with the cloth napkin and set it by her plate. "Janet, I want you to listen very carefully to what I have to say."

She had the girl's undivided attention as well as that of the man sitting at her side. "You don't remember your father do you?"

The question had been asked once and Janet had said no, Cheryl had said he left because of her. He didn't want a daughter. "No." Her voice became meek.

"Don't worry Sweetie; I just need you to know something. I could wait until you're older but I think you should know now because well I want you to know you and I share blood, DNA. Remember what I told you about that?"

"Yeah you said it makes people who they are, and you can tell who is related to who and you can find information about people with it to like if they did something bad or if they are lost or something."

"Exactly." Sara said.

"Sara what are you doing?" Mark asked but Sara chose to ignore him.

"Let me show you something." The young woman set about to place the salt and pepper shakers, the small bottles of Tabasco, and vinaigrette dressing and the dish of butter, a fork and a spoon into a circle completed with the sugar bowl. "Okay pretend each of these things are people. Between anyone person there are six degrees of separation. You can link almost everyone like this; well it's the theory anyway. Pretend the tobacco sauce is me, and you are the sugar."

"They are close together." Janet said.

"Yes but we didn't start out that way. I know Mr. Grissom, she pointed to the pepper. "Who, asked me to meet Catherine." Sara pointed to the salt. "Who is mommy to Lindsey." She pointed to the dressing. "Who knows Ms Fox" the spoon was touched. "Ms. Fox made sure you were friends."

"That's only four people between us" Janet said.

Sara winked "Wait for the analyses you don't have all the facts and you need evidence to form a conclusion."

Janet nodded.

Sara pointed to the butter dish to indicate the spoon's connection to the next person "Ms. Fox knew Cheryl because she signed the papers that allowed you to be in her third grade class and of course Cheryl gave birth to you." This time she did point to the sugar despite it was on the opposite side of the fork. "She loved a man once and well…" she pointed to the pepper, "that man happens to be my brother."

Janet sat for a moment an expression of blankness on her face as she tried to absorb all the facts and just what her adopted mother was trying to tell her. Sara had away of making Janet come up with her own conclusions and theories. Then the vanilla expression turned to Mark and it was astonishment, fear and wonder marring her young face. "I… you're supposed to be my dad?"

Mark carried the same expression as the child he had helped create.

"So…" Janet turned her dark eyes back to Sara, "Because he is my dad, and he is your brother we really are related?"

Sara nodded once more. "Mark and I look a lot alike even you said he looked 'like a boy me.' And I think that is why Cheryl reacted so violently towards me, I reminded her of Mark. And Sweetie this is why we look quite a bit alike and people think we really are birth mommy and daughter. And frankly I don't care if they do; I like it if they do. I hope you do."

Janet said nothing she was still milling over the information she had been given. Her eyes starred at the odd circle of objects on the table representing people and the six degrees that separated them. "You were trying to steal me." Janet accused Mark acid ice in her brown eyes. "Mommy was nervous about tonight, is this why? You really are stealing me?"

"No!" Mark said so loudly he gained the attention of several other patrons for a few heartbeats before deciding their own meals were better suited for their concentration. "I just think your mommy wanted to know you two are blood related… you share… er… DNA."

Janet wouldn't believe the man but Sara, she would always trust Sara.

"I think you needed to know the truth Little Bit. I'm happy you and I share blood." Sara touched the girl's apple cheek. "And I don't think secrets like this are good to keep, years from now they could hurt us. There should always be truth between us, Janet, so I wanted to tell you and that is why we get to have the adoption so quickly because Mark signed over custody to me, I am your legal guardian and I am your Mommy. Mark isn't going to be Daddy; he is playing the part of uncle. It's a little too confusing otherwise."

Janet moved from her chair to crawl onto her mother's lap and leaned her head against the woman's bosom. "So long as he isn't going to steal me I'm glad we share DNA too."

She wasn't finished speaking, she asked perhaps the hardest question of the night to the man who was her father-cum-uncle. "Why did you leave me?"

"I…."Mark stopped to take a swig of his beer and tried to start again but stopped, thought for a moment longer and finally found a voice. "I didn't leave for the reasons your… for the reasons Cheryl might have given you, Janet. I left because I didn't think I would make a good father, and well I was right but I make a good uncle though. And now you have Sara for your Mommy and that is better."

Janet was inclined to agree, her life was better with Sara as her mommy. And now it was even better because they shared DNA, they were blood-kin, from that night Janet had decided she shared more DNA with Sara than she had with Cheryl. Why else would everyone say she looked just like her Mommy? No one said that when she was with Cheryl, they always said she must be daddy's little girl. Looking again at the circle of things on the table, it occurred to her that it was six degrees of separation that had once parted child from true mother.

"Actually there is only one degree between us Mommy, and that's Uncle Mark."

Sara chuckled, "True, but we would never have known each other if it weren't for the others that linked us in the first place."

"Then it should be me to Uncle Mark to Cheryl to Ms Fox to Lindsey to Miss Catherine then to Mr. Grissom and then to you Mommy and back to me again." Janet rearranged all the indicators to designate her links in the chain. This time the sugar and the tobacco were as close as possible without the small red bottle inside the bowl.

Sara grinned widely at the cognitive reasoning and the interpretation her child had surmised. Granted it was her linkage back to front but it worked out well. "That is a better analysis Babe, and for that I think a gold star is in order."

"Whoohooo" Janet punched the sky in a gesture of winning.

"Gold stars mean a bonus in her weekly paycheck." Sara explained to her brother.

"Mommy, that's three now, you're going to go broke."

"Nah," Sara winked, "But if it goes up to ten stars in a week then we're in trouble," her tone light and teasing. "I have to go to work soon, Baby how about a bit of dessert before we head out? You belong to the 'Clean your plate Club,' I think that deserves ice cream with extra sprinkles and a cherry on top." Sara proclaimed her arms possessively tight around her child.

Having let the secret out of the girl's origins a weight had lifted from the young woman's shoulders that she had dreaded carrying for eighteen years to an age when Janet might have been old enough to understand the complexities. Now that it was all out in the open Janet seemed to be coping with the news more so because the child felt more closely tied to Sara than before. It appeared that family life for once might be Hallmark worthy, normal and mundane and above all happy.

"Locard said that two objects can not come into contact without some sort of exchange." Sara was channeling a very Grissom moment, which was surreal in of itself considering the man himself was standing next to her looking through the scope she had just vacated. "Even if Dimitri didn't kill him directly he did have a fight with Karkaroff in that backroom, his prints and DNA place him there."

"And his lawyers can argue that because they had been friends the doctors were known to share company in the back tank area, it isn't enough for murder charge."

"No, but it is for a search warrant Gris. Look, I processed the scene and the fish stink lingered on my clothes until I washed them with lemon juice the same must be true of whatever Stirling was wearing. Blood, human or fish-chum stains fabric so even if he took his clothes to the dry-cleaners the stains gained from the fight will still be there."

Grissom nodded his assessment. "I'll call Jim."

"Make sure it's for Stirling's labs, home and offices," Sara added, "He was wearing a lab coat during his fight, who knows where he dropped it." She didn't add that if they were lucky the good ol' absented minded man would have forgotten to get it cleaned after the encounter in the feeding room. Grissom didn't believe in hunches, luck and sure bets even if he did live in Vegas.

"Sara, I don't have to remind you that we only collect and interpret the evidence we don't make it fit a theory."

"Then why did you?" the brunette steeled herself from reproaching her boss further. "If you're worried I hold a grudge over Stirling for falling on me because of our tumble from the tree, don't. He didn't create that tree and wasn't responsible for the stability or strength of the branches we were standing on and he wasn't directly responsible for a crack addicted hell-hound wanting to eat him for lunch." In an after thought she flashed a disarming gapped-tooth grin. "I'm not getting ahead of the case Gris, I'm following the evidence. Somehow Karkaroff ended up with blunt force trauma to his head from the pipes, skidded on chum and was dead before Jaws ate him for the midnight buffet. I'm eager to find out the 'how' in all of this. And how the fibers got caught in his fingers,"

"Easy answer, he snagged them on his own lab coat."

"I thought of that too." Sara said. "So what of the other techs and caretakers anything on them?"

"I'm following that lead and another that popped up. Dr. Vickie Patterson's prints came up positive in comparison when Jackie ran it against those you recovered from the pipes. Could be work related which is why I'm going to have Homicide bring her in."

"The three dozen or so lab coats confiscated from the naturalists, techs and vets from the Mandalay Bay, only two of them turned positive for recent human blood transfer. They belonged to Karkaroff and to Doc Patterson.

It had been the lanky young CSI's long and tedious task to search for blood residue on over three dozen lab coats and overalls. So far none of them showed the medium velocity splatter that would have come from the spill of chum there was however low velocity 'splash' pattering one of the lab coats which was indicative of filling the five gallon buckets with fish guts. It was the same with the three blue overalls taken from the crime scene. The overalls however belonged to techs who actually worked with the fishmongers and well the blood residue was indicative of someone who cut up live fish everyday. But all leads had to be checked out thusly the names of the crew had been passed over along with Sara's discoveries.

Grissom looked once at the report and back to his protégé, there were times when Sara took hold of an idea and would not let go as in the search to find a name of a rape victim, the burial of a skinned ape, the true time of death of a battered wife or human combustion. What Grissom didn't know if this was one of those times Sidle went on one of her private crusades only to end up chasing rabbits.

Catherine Willows had Detective Cyrus Lockwood accompany her to the Montecito Hotel and casino where Cowboys Fanboy's ID popped up on their registry. Lockwood had of course done the beating of shoe-leather to get the lead of the man's twenty as well as his name - one Billy Rainey. The dopey male had been fairly easy to locate in the slot machine pits given he was still wearing the ball-cap and sports jacket of 'his' team with the same reverence a pilgrim held for a patron saint. Wouldn't the Dallas Cowboys be proud to find one of their worshipers to be a red-necked murderer.

Ed Deline President of Operations at the Montecito had his security team aid in the search and located their quarry and held him under surveillance in the same slots for the past two hours. Deline had met Catherine at registration as soon as his Hostess Sam had paged him.

The graying man's face held a tight polite smile as he greeted the blonde-redhead. "CSI-3 Willows welcome, I wish I could say it's a pleasure to see you."

"You too Mr. Deline."

Because of Sam Braun connection the two had known each other and not to mention a few cases had brought CSI into the casino a few times though not as many times as Catherine had suspected was needed. She knew Deline was ex-CIS and he tended to like to solve his own crimes in his own way. The criminalist had to chuckle privately at the idea of the arrangement of the letters C, S and I would mean two vastly different things. It was one of the reasons many of the CSIs in the East coast had changed to CSU as not to be mistaken for the federal spies.

"Your guy hasn't moved for the past seven hours, we've checked the backlog of surveillance video and had him under manual surveillance as well for the past two." With a tilt of his head Ed pointed to a gangly young man with clear brown eyes and a boyish charm look to him. He reminded Catherine a little of Greg, undoubtedly they had the same sense of humor and hopeful the same dedication to work. If the kid did then it made Catherine's job all that much easier "Danny McCoy my chief of Security." Ed introduced the younger male.

They shook hands as Catherine gave her best disarming smile knowing from previous interactions with casino security personnel that they got extremely territorial and thus uncooperative when it came to Clark County's finest. And add to the fact the Montecito was notorious for the in-house settling of crimes rather than calling in the cops it was going to be an up-hill pissing contest in the arena of who had the authority.

"Catherine Willows CSI, this is Detective Lockwood. Mr. McCoy we will need all surveillance concerning the perp and a copy of his registration with the time and date. Thank you for your cooperation." She added the last bit allowing both the Montecito men to know they had no other recourse but to comply.

"Danny, see to it that Mike downloads the surveillance Ms. Willows needs." Deline ordered as he scraped the corner of his lip with his thumbnail.

"Not a problem Ed." Danny answered taking out his cell phone presumably to obey his boss's orders, "What do you want the suspect for?"

"The murder and possible rape of an employee of Cesar's Place," Catherine answered but in such a tone that stated she would give no more than that.

Danny's smiling face fell a bit as he swallowed bile that sprang up from the back of his throat. "Damn." He looked greener, "He was flirting with a few of our change-girls… when you people called in I had our male porters switch territories with the girls just to be on the safe side."

Catherine nodded her approval of the kid's action, "Good thinking."

Cyrus had been watching to see that his back-up officers Olsen and Mirer arrived, before he moved into arrest the lumpy Cowboys fan. The two uniforms flanked the machine allowing Lockwood to take up the rear. Catherine had her hand on the butt of her own service pistol having unclasped the peace-clasp on the holster. If Rainey wanted to make a run for it he would have a hell of a time running from three cops and the five armed security guards from the Montecito as well as the kid and an armed CSI.

"Mr. Billy James Rainey?"

"Yeah what's it to you bub?" Rainey didn't look up from his mechanical movements of putting his dollar tokens into the slot machine.

"Sir, rise from the stool put your hands behind your back."

"What the fuc…" Rainey looked up this time and his muddy green eyes widened as he realized just who or rather what had addressed him. "Cops?"

"We generally show up when we find a murder and rapist. On that note you have the right to remain silent…."

"Now wait a minute." Rainey barked. "I ain't raped no body."

Lockwood shock his head, "Shut up stupid, didn't you hear 'right to remain silent'? And don't interrupt me; this will go a lot faster. You have a right to an attorney." The detective went on a while, finally saying, "Do you understand the rights I just explained."

Rainey nodded numbly.

"This is the part you talk 'bub', so out loud if you please. Do you understand?"

"Yeah I get it,"

Lockwood was seething.

"I understand. Is that alright you pansy assed nig…"

"Murder is never alright Mr. Rainey." Lockwood cut the man's tirade off before he could finish the insult. "Neither is rape."

"I done told ya, 'Boy' I raped no one. Go back to the cotton fields a'fore you embarrass yourself."

Catherine moved in for the kill, "But I don't hear you denying the murder charge."

Rainey blanched. The uniformed offices had to frog march their captive as all the strength had left his legs leaving them jellied masses of doey stumps.

Lockwood slapped the photos taken of Pauline Platte taken of her while she was on the slab in the morgue, on the table the cuffed Rainey had been placed before. "Miss Platte. Stand up record not so much as a traffic ticket to her name. Bit on left field with a radical 'god'-fearing closet card carrying Klan member like yourself. What - her multiple piercings get to you? Maybe the dyed hair. No? I know it was the elaborate tattoos she sported. Or was it her predilections for being a lesbian that shattered that fragile ego of yours that racked you? Her existence inhibit the sanctity of marriage? Ironic coming from a man with a record of adultery isn't it? But you're the type of man that it's okay for the man to cheat on his spouse so long as she did it first? Your wife's adulterous bitch so you go out and take the first young thing to cross your path?"

"It wasn't anything like that." Rainey snapped.

"What was it like then?"

Rainey remained silent.

"We have the evidence Mr. Rainey," Catherine announced from her spot next to Lockwood, "and it's talking to us."

"Yeah? Must be lying ta ya missy, 'cus I didn't rape her, she was all over some other dyke. I watched them get off. That girl wasn't right in the head, 'cus her cunt-buddie was all shoving her up against the walls of their room, I could see it from my window in the hotel. All screaming and shit. Tying each other up and using a plastic cock. Tell me if dyke fuck plastic cocks why not the real Jones? Sick-pussies."

"That pisses you off?" Lockwood questioned rhetorically. "Is that why you broke in, smashed her head and then threw her through the glass-table?"

Billy gritted his teeth against one another. "She was a jinx. That's worse then being a carpet-eater or a Boy pretending to be a cop."

Lockwood ignored the comment as best as he could, Catherine however hit the top of the table with the flat of her hand.

"You just added assault of an officer to your plate of charges."

"Look cunt-bitch I don't have to answer to no pussy who wants to play with the men and don't know her place."

"Detective Lockwood, sir." The voice belonged to the large bodied Mirer. The young cop that had worked with Catherine during the Stirling case. His paw landed hard on the shoulder of the suspect with such force there was bound to be bruising. Olsen flanked the other side of Rainey "Perhaps Officer Olsen and I should explain a few things about politeness…"

Rainey paused - both men looked like they could easily bench-press a Hummer. "Be ma pleasure ma'am." Olsen said looking at the fuming Catherine. "Show him what a true Southern Boy is like."

"Won't be necessary." Lockwood waved them off, "I'm sure that Mr. Rainey will be more congenial, however bring him back to cell-four once where done here. As I think Cell-five is now occupied by female convicts."

Cell-four both uniforms knew had been filled almost to the brink with very rough, very malevolent gang-bangers of African-American decent. Perhaps the youth hostility could be put to good use.

Rainey looked from the hulking officers both white men and both paying tribute to the black man. Rainey knew he was outnumbered in his ideals of white supremacy and sometimes it wasn't a battle worth having if your opponents could mop the floor with you.

"Truth time Mr. Rainey." Lockwood demanded.

Rainey banged his head on the table with a loud thud before Catherine interjected "This is how the evidence tells us what went down", her accounts began, painting the tale:

Pauline Platt was laying in her underwear after mind-blowing sex with her girlfriend. Tonight it was a rough game but Pauline liked it that way sometimes, more sex and less making love. Tonight had been about the high. Her girl had scored some Ecstasy. They only ever did it together and when they both wanted the sex to be hard and fast.

It was a rough night some prick had made passes at her pinching her ass like so many of the arseholes did, but he was exceedingly rude and condescending. After he had lost his large would be jack-pot potbelly pig Mr. Dallas Cowboys fan gets in her face calling her a fucking jinx and says he'll show her just what happens to cunts who are jinxes. Next moment he's out on his ear by security telling him he either calms down or he's blackballed. Mr. Genius Fan Boy leaves in a huff, slurring derogatory remarks to those in his path.

Pauline needed to vent, she needed a fast hard way to get out her frustrations. Fortunately her girlfriend was compliant. It had left Pauline exhausted, and the combination of drink and 'X' had made her careless. Girlfriend left the room and Pauline didn't rise to lock the door. And when the door opened up again Pauline was too out of it to question who was there until it was too late.

Rainey moved in. He grabbed Pauline by the hair yanking her off the bed, his fist impacted hard in cervical area of her spine repeatedly. He threw her into the glass surfaced coffee table headfirst. It shattered upon impact; glass bored into her face as if the claws of a grizzly bear rent her flesh from bone.

Unable to fight back because of drink, drugs and pain and the dizziness from the head injury, Pauline could do little when Rainey took a plastic bag and covered her head with it so tightly that she couldn't claw it off, then things went black, cold silent.

"That bitch lost me five grand! I was on a winning streak then she goes and gives me jinxed coins!" Rainey bellowed. "She put the jinx on 'em, she wanted me to lose."

The only people more superstitious than sailors and ball-players are gamblers.

"Five 'G's aren't the only thing you lost." Lockwood grunted, "In Nevada murder is the death penalty. Who's the 'boy' now bitch?"

Rainey said nothing as the uniforms carted him away.

Part 46

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