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 47

There was no time like the time a person waits lingering between life and death. It hangs there edging on eternity and yet a true audit of time's passing would mark perhaps an hour or little more.

Lindy listened at the darkness. But there was nothing to be seen among the trees, only branches moving in the high desert wind and a moth pale as a ghost that fluttered in the acrobats' face.

Nothing. No coyote or mountain lion to come out of the wild to finish her off. It would be a blessing if they did; Lindy knew there had to be enough blood to call to them. It was calling to the insects, to the buzzards, to the ravens but not to those that could take her life quickly. Nothing in the night moved save for the wind: a wind that smelled of ghosts.

Turning her head took a Herculean effort hoping for a grim satisfaction that at least the monster was dead. Still he had the luxury of dying quickly while she lingered – if he had died. No such resolution. Life hadn't been fair to Lindy in her beginning years so why should Death in her last moments? Henry aka Hank Pettigrew was not to be seen of course that didn't mean he wasn't skulking around somewhere nearby.

The ambulance had overturned and was now lying on its side, how far from the road Lindy wasn't sure. She knew they had been on I-15 for a time and had passed Nellis Air Force Base. For all the dying woman could tell she was somewhere in the Muddy Mountain area.

Lindy remembered vaguely the moments leading up to her predicament now. 'Henry' had given her a sedative and what he said would be a mild pain killer before they got to the hospital. He said strapping her down was procedure and Lindy in the grip of the fast acting drugs wasn't in the mood to argue. She watched him take up the radio Lindy thought it had to be the drugs but to her the radio seemed to be off. But hell she was flying high on very powerful drugs at the moment so she didn't think much of it.

Of course panic set in when she heard the powerful jets roaring overhead and knew it was either the airport or Nellis they were near. And that wasn't anywhere near the hospital. By that time it was too late. The sedative had weakened her already damaged body and the painkillers were making her numb and listless. Then she knew it wasn't the mild mannered puppy-faced Henry it was Alex's killer, the one stalking Sara. The one her father was worried about.

"For fuck's sake how stupid." She remembered moaning in the drug stupor.

"Fucking is one of the few things we will do, Cancer." The words of Hank filled Lindy's mind. There was a lot of pain. Blood and things seen in only a Hammer film flashed before her eyes, swelled her mind and tore at her body.

Before Lindy woke again from the heavy sedatives floating in her system. She recalled a crash and the world spiraling. Hank was tossed from his position on top of her. Things falling from cabinets, metal crunching against metal and asphalt.

It was world exploding. Hell's mouth opened and sucked life into it. Something had hit them at high speed. That something had stopped Hank's tortuous attentions.

The world ended with a bang and a whimper.

'Well that was life…'

Lindy didn't open her eyes again.

Sara lay awake for what felt like hours. She was awake not because she was particularly troubled but because of the slight weight of her lover's head resting upon her shoulder. A smile fell broadly across her face at the memory of last night. She and Catherine had finally made love.

Sara enjoyed supping upon memory itself and allowed it to wash over her in great waves.

The young CSI smirked as she coiled her arms around the smaller woman and nipped the exposed throat near Catherine's pulse point.

"You have no idea how long I've wanted this," the blonde-redhead murmured. Being fondled by a very affectionate tall brunette was something she was completely enjoying.

"Umm…" was all the older woman was able to get out.

"Me too," Sara whispered huskily into the delicate ear as her long fingered hand slid down the woman's body to her inner thigh.

Somehow Sara knew all of Catherine's magic spots' as teeth raked against her throat and collarbone. The mouth moved to suckle her earlobe and despite all of her reserve, all of her control Catherine moaned and felt wetness start to pool between her legs. `Oh gods Sara!'

Sara grinned wickedly as she felt the pre-cum in the vision of her beloved her left hand cupped a full breast, enjoying the weight of it in her palm as she chafed a hardening nipple with the pad of her thumb. She continued to nibble the creamy skin loving the scent that was her Catherine.

Sara's heart hammered loudly in her chest all at once she felt fear, awe, shock, desire and she didn't know what to feel first. She didn't know she could feel them all at the same time and she didn't know how to make sense of it all. She was thrown into a deep fathomless pool of chaos and she didn't know how to swim.

To her utter astonishment Sara moaned in delight as she deepened the kiss. She didn't know where she was going but she was more than prepared to follow Catherine's lead. She mirrored every movement the smaller woman enacted. Her hands encircled the trim waist. The softness of Catherine's rose red lips filled Sara with inexhaustible thrill and joy.

Catherine felt her world spin. The tall brunette beauty was mimicking her every movement adapting to a new level of touch. Catherine knew she had the lead but Sara was quickly taking it back. She slipped her tongue into the depths of Sara's mouth gaining her yet another moan from the tall woman. Catherine tasted Sara's mouth, played with the brunette's tongue and slipped her tongue around the white teeth.

Sara's heart thundered her stomach fluttered as if it didn't know the meaning of gravity as she was flung heedlessly into space. Free floating she slipped her tongue between Catherine's mouth wanting to taste the smaller women, to know her fully. She felt Catherine's hands grip tighter along her back and neatly rake against the roughness of the denim of the jeans as she quickly started at the button fly. Sara moaned deep in her throat causing Catherine to nearly lose all strength in her knees. No other lover had ever had this effect upon her. She didn't know if it was because they had waited so long or that she was truly in love with Sara or some other unknown reason this woman had such a forceful, wondrous impression upon her.

Sara was more than attentive than other lovers in Catherine's past. She dedicated as much attention upon Catherine as she did over evidence. Meticulous and careful so much so the blonde was a little shocked to realize she had erogenous zones unexplored and previously unknown. And yet Sara had to apply such deep attention to the warm depths of the blondes' center as she had to inner thighs, hollow of knees, calves and the Achilles tendon. Kisses fell upon her pectorals, abdominal muscles, triceps, deltoids, biceps and down her spine. Tiny nips were given to each buttock, breast and to her throat making Catherine moan deeply.

Catherine felt small waves of lightning taking her into mini orgasms. And still Sara had yet to apply any attention to Catherine's labia, her clitoris untouched. Instead of growing frustrated by this lack of attentive touch, Catherine felt completely loved, desired but not lusted after. Sara was making love to her by loving her whole body.

Catherine tried to reply touch for touch but Sara had taken full control of their love making and the blonde struggled to keep up with her falling into the bliss of Sara's touch. Release came in an explosion once Sara had entered two fingers into Catherine's mound. It took so little to make Catherine climax, the slight pressure and gentle strength to her strokes.

The blonde felt all energy seep from the marrow of her bones making her limp and sleepy. But she would not succumb to Morpheus just yet not until Sara was given her own release. It wouldn't take long. The lanky woman had been on edge with her play at Catherine's body so much so the blonde had scarcely skirted her fingers along the nether lips of her mound when Sara was arcing her back into the delicate fingers. Her hips bucking her teeth biting against her lower lip Sara arched into her climax.

The only vocal sounds were the deep breaths, small moans and soft mewling. Mothers both knew they dare not cry out their ecstasy in fear of the girls slumbering away in Janet's bedroom. And so it was morning found the two women wrapped in each other's arms. One held rather like a teddy bear, the other enjoying the warmth of such a touch.

Sara pulled back from the memory of the night and smiled broadly she had her lover in her arms.

Catherine stirred, moaned not because of waking up but because she felt as she did a few years ago, back in her dancing days. Muscles that hadn't been used in a while hurt but it was such a sweet pain.

"Good morning Sunshine." Sara whispered huskily.

This time the moan from Catherine was out of a fluid rush of desire for it was that same low tone octave that Sara had used when uttering her name, her love last night.

"Do you think we can lounge a bit longer?" Catherine's finger trailed on the inside of Sara's left breast which provoked an immediate response of a hardened nipple.

The brunette lowered herself to kiss the side of Catherine's neck when a bang and the distinct sound of plastic hitting wood came from the outer rooms.

Both mothers paused before bolting straight up out of bed readying to snatch robes and dash out of the bedroom to see to the matter of the curious noises but they gave a pause as they heard no scream but the giggles of children knowing they believed themselves clever and yet their plans faltered.

'Uh-ho." That was Janet

"I think we better get it all cleaned up before they come out, we'll be in trouble."

"Will they be mad?"

"Say that a cat did it, they won't ground a cat."

A very long pause.

"They investigate crimes Linds, they will know that isn't true."


"Yeah, so we better get it cleaned up."

"Get the paper towels. I'll get the sponges and soap."

"If we do a good job they might not know."

"My mom will. She's been a mom longer than Sara. Sara's still new at it and you can still pull the cute card. Just wait a year when my mom teaches Sara all those stupid mom tricks like how to have eyes in the back of the head."

"She doesn't really!" Janet's voice sounded aghast if not just a bit fearful.

"No," the words suggested an eye-roll. "I think it's a little like Harry Potter, mothers kinda know things. Anyway if we can't blame the cat then make your eyes big and give a little pout. You know, look adorable and Sara will fold easy."

Catherine looked to Sara seriousness molding behind their eyes before both cracked up laughing so loudly they had to cover their mouths with the coverlet lest the children hear them.

"I think they tried to get their own breakfast by way of counter climbing," Catherine reasoned. "What do you reckon, Fruiti Pebbles, milk and Tupperware on the floor?"

"If I know Janet there will be banana pieces cut by a butter knife in the mix," Sara huffed. "Welcome to motherhood!" She snorted. 'Pull the cute card indeed. I'm not that easy a mark."

Catherine paused a little before speaking but nodded patting Sara's chest. "Yeah Sar, you are."

Sara snorted indignantly, "We'll see about that."

Catherine chuckled, "Your house, you sort it out."

"What are you doing?" Sara asked incredulously.

"Me?" Catherine smirked, "I'm taking a shower."


Catherine only winked, gave an exaggerated wiggle to her bum as she disappeared to the ensuite bathroom leaving Sara to sort out the misguided attempt at acquiring breakfast and the conspiring little girls trying to pull the cute card.

Sara quietly walked out of the bedroom, padded into the living room and so stealthily appeared in the kitchen it was as if she had simply appeared by one of Siegfried and Roy's magic tricks. The kitchen itself was a milk and cereal disaster area.

"Hurricanes Janet and Lindsey have hit the Sidle home I see," she tried hard to have a stern face but the corners of her mouth mutinously curled upward into a smirk.

The girls gave a satisfactory yelp of surprise at the appearance of an authoritative figure each stammered to explain. Lindsey muttered something about the kitten and Janet elbowed her in the ribs.

Sara wondered if the little blonde would conspire to blame Janet next or fess up she was partly to blame for the accident.

"Janet crawled up on to the counter to get a box of cereal," Lindsey didn't disappoint Sara. Or rather she did but not copping to it was half her fault.

"I see," Sara folded her arms looking her lover's daughter in the eyes. "Are you sure that is what you want to tell me?"

Lindsey shuffled.

Janet was as many abused children ready to take the blame to herself, allowing her best friend to be free of guilt.

"Because by looking at the 'evidence' I can tell you what I know." Sara again allowed for the slightly older girl to admit her hand in the doings.

Lindsey looked abashed and then defensive. "Well she 'did' crawl up there."

Janet muttered softly her teeth locked together, her head bowed and tears threatening at the corners of the eyes.

"She has never crawled up there before today. So I think someone suggested getting the cereal boxes on top of the fridge rather than eating what is in the already open box. That particular box is within hands reach of a child on the lower shelf. Janet knows she can get at it.

"I also think that someone might have preferred the sugar cereal versus the Raisin-bran because I don't see the Raisin-bran open. I know Janet loves that particular brand of cereal with cut up bananas add to it. So do I process the scene or do I start hearing truth?" Sara turned this time to her own daughter.

Lindsey felt sick, Janet was going to tattletale. "Well…um…I did get up there because I'm smaller Lindsey said so. But I still couldn't reach the box because I'm shorter than Lindsey. So I used a wooden spoon to knock it over and Lindsey was supposed to catch it. She didn't and when I crawled back down I sorta tripped on the carton of milk on the counter. Lindsey put it there when I was getting the spoon from the holder."

"Well you two will just have to clean it up and Lindsey since you're 'bigger' I think you should show Janet how it is done." Dark brown eyes pierced into Lindsey's argumentative blues.

"I think that is a good idea," Catherine's voice drifted from somewhere over the taller woman's shoulder.

Sara turned to see Catherine wearing a pair of her sweat pants and tee shirt, her hair wrapped up in a towel like a turban. "It was your idea Linds for Little-bit to go on the counter when perfectly good cereal was in reach. So I think you being older take the responsibility for that 'command' decision, and show her the ropes of how to clean up a mess. When Sara thinks it's a good enough job, you and I will have a little chat about manipulation and bullying." Catherine didn't add she felt like she was the kettle calling the pot black but she didn't want her little girl to pick up her bad habits of manipulating people to get what she wanted. Catherine was good at owning up to her mistakes even grudgingly, she did take responsibility for it. She wanted to install that particular trait in her child if only to save her from tribulations down the road.

"Ah man," Lindsey moaned and huffed. "Fine," She rolled her eyes and let out an exaggerated sigh common to all seven year olds the world over.

Janet was just ecstatic not to have been hit for the error. She was more than happy to get off so easy as to just have to clean up the spilled milk, squashed banana bits and soggy cereal.

It was a far later hour of the day that found Catherine and Sara back at CSI headquarters. The girls had been taken to school and then with Janet's overnight bag taken over to Catherine's for the nanny to care for said their goodnight's to their mothers happy to have the day in their mothers company.

Catherine thought of the new development between them sharing the expense of a nanny when neither Nancy nor Lilly could tend to the children's welfare. Lindsey was happy she could so easily have 'sleepovers' on school days as could Janet. The children were bonding closer even as their mothers had done, though of course on different terms.

The red-headed blonde placed a soft hand on the taller woman's long back sending her affection for her lover in that touch. She pulled a curious face when Sara came to a very abrupt halt at the auto-bay. Catherine looked over Sara's shoulder to see what took her lover's attention so.

There nestled in the bay in the garage was a severely damaged ambulance. The back was so extensively dented it was if semi had rammed into it. Even from this distance Catherine and Sara could see black paint transfers that belonged not to the ambulance but to whatever vehicle had struck the van. The driver's side front wheel was flat and the rim bent and crumpled.

"By the look of it, I'd say something got in the driver's way on the road. The van screeches and swerves as the driver oversteers causing it to merge into a four-way where comes to a stop just before a semi smacks into its rear." Sara assessed not without some accuracy. Catherine scrutinized her colleague's assessment and came to an agreement. The massive damage to the van hinted that it hadn't been moving at the time of impact.

Sara further pointed out the significant damage to the ambulance's roof and further deep scratches on the paint. "See the way the roof is dented and crushed? I'd say it overturned after the truck hit it."

Sara stared at the vehicle so intently Catherine became a little startled at the ferocity of the intensity. Her face paled so quickly the older woman feared she might faint. Indeed she teetered a little before regaining her balance. Saying nothing Sara pulled herself from Catherine's hands, dashed along the corridors weaving in and out of investigators and lab-techs down the labyrinth of labs at reckless speed.

Catherine trailed after the Sara pleading with the other to tell her what was going on, what was wrong, why this wild run through the labs. Her answer came all too soon when her devoted dogging of Sara's heels came to an abrupt halt. Sara still had not accommodated her lover's breathless questions.

"Sara!" Catherine gulped when she saw what it was that inspired Sara's mad dash.

There upon the autopsy table was Lindy McBride mighty Pirate Queen. Her tiny body mangled, bloody, so obviously tortured. She had been brutally mutilated before the accident that had freed her from the hands that had taken her hostage.

"Oh Sara…." Catherine's hands reached to touch the other woman's arm.

Sara stood in the coroner's chambers much as she had stood in the room where the corpse of her father lay dead by her mother's hand. Her face unreadable, her dark eyes glistening in tears begging to fall. She wouldn't let go of Catherine's hand.

Dark eyes grew both cold and longed to weep for the death of her beloved Lindy who was more like her sister than a friend. Catherine's presence steadied Sara as she moved towards the table, towards the body.

The face once elfin in angles and prettiness still carried the marring purple-blackness of deep bruises. The patterning of the bruises marked that of a man's fist, of Hank Pettigrew's fist. Sara was sure of it. The tiny body once so agile and swift was a mangled bit of marbled flesh. Little hands calloused from years of rope work and swordplay were dark purple-blue of broken fingers, deeply lacerated.

Sara instinctively reached for the little hand but paused just before she touched the corpse. The body had yet to be processed, any contact would comprise any findings and any hope of a conviction of that bastard Pettigrew.

"Sara you shouldn't be in here yet," Catherine whispered kindly. "You have to let Doc, do what he needs to do. We're going to go talk to Grissom."

It was terrifying how easy it was to maneuver the taller woman from the autopsy room, down the labyrinthine corridors towards their supervisor's office. Never once had Sara let go of the hand holding hers. Catherine wondered if Sara was even aware of the stares of the lab techs guardedly watching the two, the looks of sympathy on their faces. The fixed eyes of Warrick and Nick who came forward but with a shake of the red-blonde head they held back, straining against their natures not to give comfort.

Sara gave no hint she was even aware of their presences so it came to quite a shock to her when they spoke. Nick the softer-hearted of the two, his own watery eyes filled with such remorse for his failure to find Pettigrew. "Sara, if there is anything you need, anything at all just name it."

"What I want you can't give me," Sara said without a touch of emotion in her voice. "You can't resurrect the dead."

Nick winced and looked down at tiles under his Doc Martins, "No. I can't."

Sara didn't respond. Her hand never leaving Catherine's hold. This all seemed strangely familiar. Blood still stinging her nostrils, deep cuts on a body haunting the backs of her eyelids so when she closed her eyes she saw Lindy's broken body laying there. The warm hand holding her own, the looks the sounds of a police hive all of it familiar. The last time she had been in this position she was thirteen years old. Now thirty-three she was here again, wondering if Death was simply dead set against her in finding a true happiness.

Was there a Cosmic-Scales that balanced her life - if she was to have happiness so much that it filled her heart until she thought it would burst that an equal grief must be given? Find a daughter, find a lover and a possible family but lose a life long 'sister' and be haunted by the dark past in payment for the former. It was her karma, she could not have great happiness without a greater grief.

"We'll nail this guy," Warrick vowed.

Sara gave no reaction to the promise. Warrick would have preferred a direct challenge to his abilities than the hollow look in the dark eyes that looked not past him but through him. The jolt of her soul-stealing stare so unnerved the man he longed to simply seep away into the cracks of grout in the tiles of the corridor floor.

In the past year there had been no love lost between them what with Sidle's initial reasons for coming to Las Vegas. Not once but twice she had been asked to investigate Warrick's actions. Sara once found him unprofessional and she still found him tyrannical when he had taken over the lab for a week. He had used his power as an excuse to tell Sara to go home for the night if she didn't like his way of running the shift. They had clashed heads on several occasions during that week and once more she had been infuriated when she was an equal rank but dismissed because of one of Grissom's lame excuses that she didn't need the experience of being a supervisor. Sidle had found the idea of Grissom's actions absurd as she had found Warrick's annoyance with her when she had been investigating the confederate money laundering ring, discovered by the way of Ellie Brass's movements as a drug mule.

Sara looked once more to Warrick, this time her eyes dark and almost resentful. 'He might not respect me or the lab but he does respect himself. Everyone will think he had deliberately botched this case with Pettigrew if he doesn't give his best because it involves me. He's still raw I ran with my case and didn't scrape to him like Nick.' The notion seemed so ludicrous to Sara, she snorted in defiance that her mind had taken such a turn when her dear friend lay dead on the slab in Doc Robbin's lab.

Warrick's mind too snapped back months ago when he had control over nightshift. The snort of disbelief coming from Sara and her mistrust registered in the man was willful disbelief he would do anything for her. "Sara…" he tried again, he wanted her to trust him, trust he would do the right thing despite their very rough beginnings. "When we know anything we'll let you know," he finished lamely. "Sara…"

Sara wanted to tell him that he had her trust, that she knew he would do everything he could to bring Lindy's killer to justice but she didn't have the words or the internal resources. So she dismissed him with a long suffering saddened sigh that said she wanted the day to be over. She still had not let go of Catherine's hand.

The linked hands were the first thing Grissom noticed. Detail work was something the nightshift supervisor was very good at. Personal interaction was something he was miserable at yet he was of a mind not to mention the deathgrip hold Sara had on Catherine's now near bloodless hand.

"Honey I am so sorry," he said heedless of the reproving look reflected back at him in blue eyes. "Have a seat."

"No," Sara answered swiftly. "I don't want a seat. I want in."

The gray head shook, "You're too close. You know I can't let that happen. Nick and Warrick are on it," he saw the look of hope drain from her oval face. "And so am I," he added not to placate Sara's crestfallen expression but to assure her that all that could be done was being done.

CSIs were accustomed to seeing people on the worst days of their lives; it never occurred to them that one of those people would be one of their own. At least not twice within such a short span of time.

"Sara, why don't you take some time, the paperwork on your case can wait a few…"

"Time!" Sara scoffed. Only now did she let her hold on Catherine's hand go, only to clench her hands into fists, her arms stiff at her sides. "I don't need time! I need to find Lindy's butcher. Pettigrew did this…"

"Don't lose your objectivity."

Catherine hissed at Grissom's choice of words.

"Don't lose my objectivity? Grissom, for god's sake my best friend is on a fucking slab because this lab didn't have 'the solve' in time. The LVPD couldn't find Pettigrew in time so save Lindy and you are spouting about objectivity?"

"This is why I can't allow you near the case. Lindy was someone special to you. You want a conviction to do that you need to step back, let me do my job. Take some time to grieve Sara."

Sara opened her mouth perhaps to spout more objections neither Grissom nor Catherine would know for abruptly she left the office without saying a word.

Later, Sara couldn't say how she had got through rest of that day without going mad. All she remembered was wandering for what felt like hours through the strip as if she might find Lindy somewhere among the casinos where she liked to wander playing impulsive stunts in the name of publicity for her show. All the while Sara wondered why her heart didn't stop beating because it ached so. Finding the will, the energy to go back into work was something Sara didn't think about. Her mind shifted gears to an automatic pilot, directing her actions, her footsteps. When at long last she came back into Headquarters she bypassed the labs for the back layout room furthest from the hub of activity bursting from the other labs. Here she dove into finalizing the reports on Dr. Karkaroff's death, Dr Vickie Patterson, the shark, Mr. Schaeffer and the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

When her report reflected on the evidence that had pointed towards Dr. Dimitri Stirling Sara paused. That man… that man was ever a thorn in Sara's side. His benign outward shell, his stuttering purring voice, his very countenance was spur enough for Sidle to wish the man out of existence. In her grief stricken mind she saw Stirling as the center of the malady that so recently befallen her.

Because of him a little girl had been torn to pieces, because of him she had been treed by a coke-addicted crazed Rottweiler. Because of him she had been sent from her high hide with such force her ribs broke upon impact on the boughs of her tree, the dog went for her, forcing her to kill it. It was the fault of this man's clumsy maneuvering on that same tree that caused an ambulance to come for her and Hank Pettigrew to enter her life. Hank so wanted Sara that he started to hunt down the women closest to her as if they were some cancer to be cut out. If Stirling had just given Emily Greeson a little tumble she wouldn't have resorted to the lengths she did to gain her obsession. But no Stirling had his head so far in his past life with Lady Heather he forgot where he was.

Sara mind rambled now allowing her inner turmoil to take over logical thought. To an outward eye they saw only intensity of a scientist pouring over reports never the struggling tormented woman. Was Stirling the center of all pain or was it Lady Heather? She had so bewitched Stirling he could think of no other and cast away any form of affection given to him assigning those women to a maternal role. Never the lover.

Lady Heather had in her power Hank Pettigrew. Pettigrew who was a switch had Alex as his teeter-totter switch. She was his dominatrix when he needed to be commanded and his submissive when he needed the power. When he was the dominant, Lady Heather had always looked on until she felt he had graduated and no longer needed her guidance. She wouldn't yield to his pleas she continue her vigil. Impotent without the Mistress he took his need out into the streets, sending Alex into purgatory and now Lindy.

Dimitri Stirling

Lady Heather

Sara Sidle.

They all had their hands dirty as far was Sara was concerned in shaping the events that came to pass. Stirling made Pettigrew aware of Sara's life. Lady Heather had turned Pettigrew into a monster who tracked Sara through her connection with Alex and from Alex to Lindy. Six degrees of separation divided slayer from prey. And Sara… Sara was the reason why Hank had killed the others. He killed so he could have her. Evil finds never so much a victory as when good blames itself for evil's actions, and willingly takes on the burden of fault for failing to prevent those actions

Sara's mind took another sharp turn in her inner thoughts. Catherine - she was another degree that separated Hank from his final catch. Catherine would be next. Hank wouldn't rest until he had cut all the lesbian influences out her life. Of this Sara was positive.

Dark eyes closed drawing on the face, the true face of whose fault this crime lay. Sara had blamed everyone but Hank Pettigrew. He knew the difference between right and wrong. He chose to defile and harm another he chose his path, no one chose it for him.

Sara found was a bit more than shocked when she realized that she was now standing in front of the coroners' autopsy theater without remembering how she got there in the first place - or for that matter when she had left the computer lab where she had been finalizing her reports on the Karkaroff/shark case.

But here she was in Doc Robbin's domain. Her dark eyes cut to the exam table but Lindy wasn't on it. She turned to the drawers but knew she dare not open one of them in her hunt for her departed beloved friend.

"Sara?" The grizzled face of Al Robbins peered around the corner obviously coming out of his own office at the sound of his lab being intruded upon. His crutch making a clicking sounds almost absurdly loud against the tiles of the floor.

"I want to see her," Sara said.

Al nodded slowly. In his line of work he had seen countless family members come in and ID a vic. He had given countless condolences over the loss of someone's loved one. In his years of service a few times it had been a loved one of someone he knew. Someone he had worked with.

He could say he as sorry for his loss as he had done with those countless faces of the past. But he knew Sara wouldn't hear it. He knew this woman. He knew she would think first of facts. Then of the greater loss of life from one she loved dearly. Then she would break down and cry.

"How?" Sara's voice croaked. Her eyes never wavering from the draws she knew the corpses were stored in.

Doc grimaced. How much should he tell her? She wasn't going to be on the case, he knew that. But she deserved to know. "She bled out," he said finally.

"Like Alex?"

Al shook his head. "Not quite. Her attacker didn't have a chance to finish before the impact of the other vehicle into the ambulance. But she sustained many of the same injuries. The SART kit was done but there wasn't any sign of trauma or penile penetration. There was semen on her leg however."

"At least that is something," Sara said to herself. 'Either he shot is wad too soon or he jerked off on her leg. At least she wasn't fully raped.' She opened the door to see the trace of 'Y' incision scar on a pale chest modestly covered up by a white sheet.

How wrong this all was. Lindy shouldn't be laying there in a morgue corpse drawer. She should be flying through the air on rigs, leaping from yardarms and jibing her opponents as she battled them with a sharp tongue and dull sword.

When the door of the coroners examination rooms opened, Sara expected Catherine, or Grissom, perhaps one of the guys. What she didn't expect was casino tycoon Sam Braun. Sara knew who this man was and who he was not in Lindy's life. How she viewed him. No how she had viewed him. Sam was a tolerated presence in Lindy's life. Lindy wouldn't deny she cared for her father but they were never close. And now they never would be.

Sara didn't step back from her place at Lindy's body forcing Braun to take the other side with his back to the double swing doors. One side wasn't any better than the other but the message was clear, Sara wouldn't yield to Braun any more than Lindy ever had.

"How long did she suffer before she was recovered?" Braun said. No it was a demand. One he had expected to be answered.

Sara debated how she should answer the question. Braun however condescending and demanding was her friend's father. He deserved to know the answer to the questions that Sara herself had asked only moments ago. "You should ask Dr. Robbins," Sara said but then relayed all that she knew about the injuries Lindy Macfarlane suffered.

Braun looked from the body now entering rigor mortis to Sara. "You're that Sidle woman, my daughter was friends with," it sounded like an accusation.

Sara knew this casino-baron blamed her for the death of his child. And so well he might. If not for Sara, Lindy might have been alive.

"Yes," Sara said hardly more than a whisper.

"Lindy told me she didn't trust your brother. He do this?"

Sara at one time might have said it was possible. Now she didn't know. Her silence seemed to confirm Braun's already suspicious mind to the affirmative.

"My daughter told me you can't go against your nature even if you think you can. She said it was in your brother's nature to turn on those he claims to love."

Sara didn't baulk, didn't deny but she didn't agree either to this accusation. "No doubt you sent your people to look into my background."

"I did. I found it incredulous you were from the same family Lindy's mother fled to. I know about your parents."

Sara's gave him a wan nod, her dark eyes scanning him waiting for the assumption that because she had been touched by evil that she had in turn become evil.

"Crimes of the parents are those of the children?" Sara asked almost a Grissom tone. "If that is so then Lindy is one of the most criminal mobsters I know… knew. There is no such thing as a murder gene."

Sam smirked. At least the woman didn't cower or shriek over the accusation.

"So you don't think your brother is the one that tapped your friend and my little girl?" He had once asked this question of Lindy. His daughter had said the man was capable of such a thing because of his marksmanship. But the sheer brutality and butchery made the tiny acrobat hesitate to condemn the Sidle man.

"I know he used to have a temper. But there is no motive for this or for the other deaths for him to have committed them. It's extrapolation to assume just because he is capable of something that he is guilty of it," Sara said evenly.

"You know who did this."

She took a deep breath and told this powerful man what he wanted to hear, the name of the man she knew to be guilty of this. "Hank Pettigrew," She left the room leaving Sam Braun alone with the corpse of a woman they both cared for.

Sara had deliberately dropped the name of the perp. She wanted vengeance for this. Lindy and Alex had both died in a most callous vicious way. Pettigrew deserved the same. Sam Braun had resources and connections bereft of morality that gave him avenues that authorities could not and would not take. Even if Warrick, Nick and O'Riley had the solve, it was Sam Braun who would deliver justice.

At least that was what Sara kept telling herself.

She wanted retribution. Not since she was a child had Sara felt such willful need for vengeful reckoning. After the beatings Sara wished that she would be taken away, that the monster who claimed the name of her father and later of her mother would face their comeuppance. Now years later, Sara felt that same want. She wanted Hank Pettigrew to pay. She wanted the hand of justice and vengeance would make him pay for the pain. She used Sam Braun to fulfill that desire, that base want for vindication.

Part 48

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