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 49

It could have been a contest of wills over the burial of Lindy McBride. But Sam Braun recognized the need of her friends to give her the wake befitting a Pirate Queen. He however took the responsibility and planning of the funeral itself. He had for his first born son Tony almost six months ago. To lose another so soon… it was beyond pain. Braun wasn't the sort of man to ask the Heaven's what had he done to deserve this that three of his children were taken from him. Two in the ground one in prison… and then there was Mugs who was beyond his reach. He wasn't even sure she was his… but still… she was beyond his reach. Braun knew what sort of man he was. He was ironically a modern day pirate. Oh not the cuddly swashbuckler Johnny Depp played or those mimicked by Lindy and her troupe of players. No he was Mob. He was a kingpin and had a lot of dried blood under his fingernails and more than a dozen skeletons in the closet. But it was his children that were paying for the sins of the father and that struck Braun as outrageously unfair of the cosmos. He'd be damned if he would pay the All Mighty any respect during his daughter's funeral.

Before the wake he had asked the Sidle woman what sort of funeral would be most appropriate for his little girl. He was expecting 'Pirate' themed.

"Lindy had a bit of Zen philosophy most of the time. I think something along those lines would be best."

"Lindy wasn't a Buddhist." He said flatly. "I thought she was a bit like her brothers a Humanist. "

Sara shook her head no. "No, she wasn't. She wasn't Christian either, but she held onto there was something out there she just hadn't figured out what. She went to the Buddhist

Temple a few times and found Peace. I think adapting some of those traditions would honor her memory." Sara's face slid into a small expression of amusement. "As would something piratically themed; steal a bit of ceremony there, a bit here and that would be Lindy. Have the mortician dress her in her pirate costume or leathers - she'll haunt you if you put her in a frock."

"I assume you can gather the appropriate garments." Braun's voice was on the snarky side.

"I'll take care of it," Sara answered her voice now becoming as chilled as the man in front of her. "I can handle all the details in fact."

"And the cost, will you take care of that too?"

"Her troupe and I can pool together to give Lindy the send off she'd want," Sara sadly laughed. "The only thing she'd want more would be to attend her own funeral rather like Tom Sawyer."

Braun's thin lips finally curled into something resembling a smile or perhaps the memory of what a smile might have looked like. "That would be Lindy," He sighed. "Do what ever she would have liked and the cost of it will be mine. I'll have my accountant ready to receive all the details of expense."

Sara nodded for she felt saying anything was moot at this point. What was there to say? Sara knew exactly what sort of wake and funeral Lindy would want. Hell the woman had even told her what sort of funeral she wanted one time over way too many rum and cokes.

'Here's the thing: if you're going to live your life in a safe, boring way due to fear and worry and what not…then the last thing you should be doing after you die is having a safe, boring funeral. No one can hurt you now. No one can laugh at you. Well, I guess the people at the funeral could laugh at you, and if you believe in the whole Catholic style of Heaven thing, then you could probably be looking down on everyone laughing at you and then if you believe in spirits being in Heaven and they're all standing around you watching people on Earth laughing at you… Well, if you think that much into it, maybe that "safe route" is the way to go.'

'Since when have you played is safe in anything save for sex?' Sara asked.

Lindy smirked, 'My point exactly there SOS. I don't care if people on Earth are laughing at me and people in Heaven are laughing at me because people on Earth are laughing at me because my funeral was too risqué. I'm going to take chances that I never took while on Earth just because I'm dead. "Being dead" equals "being ridiculous" without consequences.' She quaffed the mostly rum and coke before speaking once more. When Lindy was in babble mode there was no stopping her until she ran out of gas as it were. 'Except spirits in Heaven ostracizing you and not letting you join the Arch Angel Softball League, but really — who gives a flying F about playing softball in Heaven? Unless you can hit a ball so far that you have to retrieve it on Earth, but as far as what I've heard that's not possible so….' She shrugged.

'At other dead people's funerals, people will be so bored that they WILL be talking about television and what's going on in the news because there's nothing else to talk about. At my funeral people will eat slices of pizza and be drinking rum and there might even be karaoke. Hell they will wonder how my voice is coming out of the sound system. They will also wonder how I can sound so much like a chick Billy Joel AND Third Eye Blind all at the same time. Some people might even say to friends, "I didn't know she was that great a singer… dude. She's awesome!"

'And really, isn't that what a funeral is all about? When you leave my funeral you're going to be talking like you just left the best concert on the face of the Earth. You're going to be so impressed with me EVEN MORE SO now that I'm dead. You may even say, "You know how James Dean got so much more famous after he died? How he became a legend? An icon? That is SO going to happen for Lindy McBride: Pirate Queen." She stood posed in Peter Pan stance with a massive toothy grin.

'And yet, that would just be the beginning. Every person to show up at my funeral will walk away with gift bags, filled with everything from free coupons for the local Subway to CDs and DVDs and games for Playstation-Two and X-box from my collection, to pirate costumes and sci-fi and renaissance and sword magazines and what not. There would be skin creams and soaps from Lush and trial memberships to the local 24 Hour Fitness health clubs. There would be candy and cookies and a free coupon for a box of Godiva Chocolates which I would have directed in my living will to be distributed to all who attended my funeral. You would feel like you had just experienced Christmas even though you had just come from an open-casket funeral.

'You'd be like, "That rawwwked!"

'And what about your wake?'

'PARTY!' Lindy shouted. 'Pirate Party, all the way girl. Rum…much rum!'

Both laughed at the idea. Before Lindy sobered a little her voice a little more hushed. 'Seriously that's what I want.'

"You know what?' Sara said, 'me too.'

Sara pulled herself from the memory of so many years ago. If that was the sort of funeral Lindy wanted that was the sort of funeral she would have. Dominos Pizza didn't do catering but hell they delivered. Pizza and rum it would be.

Her wake was a party as well and of course by Lindy's will everyone who attended (save for Sam Braun and the Buddhist monk) had turned up in Pirate costume.

There were other concerns that had to be observed during the wake.

As for the Zen part of the ceremony. Lindy's lips were moistened with water, in a ceremony called Matsugo-no-mizu ("Water of the last moment"). A small table had been decorated with flowers, incense, and a candle placed next to her casket. A knife was placed on her chest to drive away evil spirits.

Her body had been put on dry ice in a casket dressed in her full Pirate Queen costume from the set. Six coins for the crossing of the River of three hells, and burnable items the deceased was fond of such as her stash of Godiva Chocolates were placed in the casket. The casket itself had been placed on the deck of the ship for the wake. The body placed with the head towards the north.

The Buddhist priest had read a sutra. While Lindy was being prepared for the funeral fire, the monks continued to chant in order to help the 'pirate queen's' good energies to be released from her fading personality.

Sara, Sam and Jose each in turn offered incense three times to the incense urn in front of the deceased. The wake ended once the priest completed the sutra.

The funeral itself was going to be held not in a stained glass sanctuary or even funeral parlour but on the stage of Pirates of the Caribbean. The President of Operations at Treasure Island and the owner had agreed to shut the show down for the day out of respect. It didn't hurt that the deceased was the daughter of Sam Braun either who said he'd pay a day's revenue if the funeral could be held there.

Billy Joel's "You May Be Right", Third Eye Blind's "How's It Gonna Be?" and Phantom Planet's "California" (which we will not mention is from a television show called The O.C.) and assorted Pirate ditties were piped through the sound system. Many of them were recordings of Lindy's former karaoke performances. Everything down to the last detail of Lindy's once 'fantasized' funeral had come to pass. And indeed everyone was talking about the funeral about Lindy ignoring what the news had to say or which ball team was going all the way. Lindy's joke on death was not to be sad but to go in style with a 'raspberry' to any sombre emotion. She had indeed rawwwked.

After the funeral the coffin was placed on a tray in the crematorium. Sara, Catherine along with Sam and Jose had the only ones to witness the sliding of the body into the cremation chamber. Two hours later they would return when the cremation has been completed. The part of the Zen funeral ended there. But Sara had instructed the mortician that there must be a specific order in which the remains were placed in the urn. The bones of the feet were picked up first, and the bones of the head last. This is to ensure that the deceased was not upside down in the urn. The hyoid bone was the most significant bone to be put in the urn.

The remains themselves were taken by Sam to be placed in the Braun Family crypt. It was something Sara wouldn't contest. She had had her friend in life; let her father have her in death.

The week had been insufferable. Still he was alive, practically due to Elaine's decisive thinking to get them to Boulder City. The hospital here was nothing like Desert Palms but it was good enough to bring him back from the brink of death.

Hank Pettigrew lay in the IC ward under the alias of Henry Alcott. Alcott… Taking a woman's name as his own seemed ludicrous to Hank but better a slight on his masculinity than to rot in a prison infirmary. A bumbling golden retriever type personality wouldn't go well with the inmates even if they knew he had perpetrated the deaths of two 'dykes' because he had wanted to cure a woman he had come to desire of the cancer of lesbianism. Hank was so sure that if he had removed the lesbian-cancer of the dykes with aggressive treatment he was saving Sara Sidle's life if not her soul. Now that Sara had a daughter the treatment had to succeed so the life of her child was not blighted.

The light in his room had been kept a muted level because of his photosensitivity. Still he was aware of movement in his room when the nurses and doctors came and went checking on his condition, IVs and catheter or to help feed him. This time however be it instinct or sixth sense Hank knew it was not medical personnel entering his room. He vaguely made out the shape of a graying man in his mid to late fifties. For some reason the image of Sonny Corleone entered into his mind from the recesses of his imagination. Why in the hell he thought of 'the Godfather' right now was beyond him.

This wasn't a Mario Puzo novel or the Francis Ford Coppola movie all the same Hank felt as it had suddenly crossed the wrong people and was in very real danger. "You have a debt to pay." The man who looked like an old Sonny Corleone said softly into Hank's ear.

Hank's blue eyes widened as he saw the man reach for the IV line that controlled the morphine drip with a latex gloved hand. He couldn't see what he was doing but somehow the safety controls had been bypassed. "Sad to say your going will be a hell of a lot kinder than the one you gave those women. But I prefer efficacy to melodrama.'

It would be noted in the corner's report Henry Alcott alias Hank Pettigrew died of massive overdose of morphine. It was perhaps an anticlimactic way for a serial killer and rapist to die but no less of a sentence if he had been sitting in a cell on the Green Mile in a Vegas prison for the needle. Save it happened a great deal faster.

Lindy's plan of robbing Death of a somber funeral had worked for the most part. Only when the attendees went home did they truly mourn the loss of their friend. Sara lay curled upon the bed with half her body supported by Catherine as the older woman held her lover

"Cry. Just Cry. It's okay baby no one is here to see or hear you. Only me and I say it's okay. You can mourn her. You can cry." Catherine soothed. Her hand stroked small spirals upon the long back. She didn't mind that her shirt was damp with tears or that her waist felt compressed by the sheer strength of Sara's need to be held and to hold.

It had been a long trying week, arranging the wake, the funeral and dealing with Sam Braun as well as the Clark County red tape that went along with a victim of a serial rape/murder case. But Sara had performed marvelously well as she always did under pressure. Only in the secrecy of her own home had Sara allowed herself to truly break down and fall apart. Only because she knew she was safe. That Catherine was there to help her pick up the pieces and glue herself back together. And of course there was Janet.

Dear sweet child, her daughter. Janet had become something Sara never thought she would ever have. Janet was the heart of the future for the young CSI. Janet was hope, hope that someday it would be alright once more, that there was brightness after the grim darkness of death. Not just with Lindy but with the work of a CSI itself. Was it any wonder that Catherine held Lindsey in such awe? Not just because the older woman loved her daughter dearly and would fight anyone and anything for her. But that Lindsey represented a bright hopeful future. A light in the gray of death that faced the CSI's each time they reported to work. Now Janet represented the same for Sara.

And in a way so did the Willows ladies. Catherine and Lindsey had become Sara's family. Right now she lay in the arms of her lover allowing herself the luxury of falling apart because she knew it was so safe to do so. Here she wasn't vulnerable she was just weeping for Lindy.

Catherine had never thought she'd be the one to break through all the walls of this intense woman now asleep on her lap. Or rather Sara's head was pillowed on Catherine's lap. Sara wasn't emotionally stunted as Grissom. Sara had passion, conviction and an intensity that had been honed over the years and by the fires of her tragic youth. No Sara was far from an emotionless automaton. But she was closed off to the point of being an isolationist when it came to her self. As a very private individual it had been a long road to get to know the true Sara Sidle.

No, Catherine chastised herself as her hands stroked the long dark locks. Everything Sara was, was in her work. Devotion to her case, dedication to detail, thirst for knowledge and an indomitable spirit that made her chase rabbits when all else seemed hopeless Sara's tenacity would not allow her to give up. Defiance as well not for the rules but those who might oppose her as Catherine had when Sara first came to Vegas to investigate Warrick's involvement with Holly Gribbs death.

That first month Sara became apart of the team Catherine had shown nothing but contempt for the younger CSI. The cruel things that came out of her mouth hadn't let up until their second year as colleagues. Until they had dealt with the road rage man killing Megan Treadwell at a railroad crossing. They were stretched thin what with Grissom being called away to deal with a case involving ancient books and savant named Aaron Pratt.

'You can have Sara.'

'All I need.'

"All I need." Catherine whispered as she caressed the smooth line of Sara's cheek.

Sara moved slightly under the butterfly touch upon her skin. In her sleep filled fog she registered Catherine muttering something about all she needed. Somehow the brunette knew what her lover was talking about and tightened her hold on the long legs that made her pillow.

"Come on Sweetie. Let's go to bed." Catherine roused her beloved to a state of semi-consciousness, enough to maneuver Sara to a standing position. With determination the blonde directed the dazed woman to the bedroom were Sara promptly slumped on the bed drifting back into sleep.

Catherine started to remove the boots, socks and jeans, panties working up to Sara's blouse and bra. "Come on babe get under the covers."

"Cold." Sara complained in a child-like voice.

"It won't be as soon as you get under the covers."

"I need my Cat."

Catherine grinned at the thought of Sara-Tiger in Janet's bedroom. But she knew Sara hadn't meant the stuffed animal. Sara and only Sara ever got away with calling her Cat. Even when they were slightly antagonistic for some reason Catherine allowed the younger woman to get away with it when no one ever had. The smoky voice sounded so sensual when the syllable was uttered that Catherine had no desire to make Sara stop. Right now it was almost a cruel tease of the blonde's libido especially seeing Sara's very naked athletic body lying on the bed.

"Under the blankets you and then you can have your Cat."

Whatever it was Sara muttered became unintelligible as she moved to obey. Catherine took a shot in the dark and responded. "I love you too." She stripped quickly, got under the covers of the bed and snuggled against the long back of her lover to spoon her.

"I promise you, one day the pain will go away. Until then I will always be here for you and I will always be there for you in the future."

Catherine closed her eyes and fell asleep against the love of her life.




Catherine stood before the Braun family crypt, a small flask of Captain Morgan rum in one hand and two goblets in the other. She cracked open the bottle, poured the liquor into the silver vessels and set one near Lindy McBride's' urn.

"Six degrees of separation parted me from my own little sister…who knew? I guess our father did. Yeah about that. I found out Sam Braun is my father." Catherine wiped away a tear. "It sucked the way I found out. I used the DNA lab to compare my blood to blood evidence on a scarf belonging to one of his dancers. He did to her what he tried to do to your mother before she ran off to California.

"Nancy isn't his though, she belongs to the man my mother was married to. I am sorry I never got to know you better little sister. I wanted to thank you for all you did for Sara when you were children, teens and kids at college. You stuck by her when the world turned its back on the woman I love. You were then when she needed you the most." Catherine chuckled. "You even trained her for the 'Braun woman' streak of temperament. We get that from our father. Sara was well prepared for me when she came to Vegas. No wonder she never backed down, never shied, never gave up and stared me down. You made her immune to our venom.

"Sara is a wonderful woman. And thank you for loving her as you did, Linds. Thank you for showing her the world isn't cold and heartless. You gave her the desire to live life. You sure did live it. Hell you lived your funeral. That was one hell of a bash. I just wanted you to know I would have been… I am proud to claim you as my sister. I wished Lindsey would have known you as her auntie. I know Sara wanted you to be so for Janet.

"Janet is now my god-daughter, sorry but Sara had to rename her god-mother because well… you're sailing the pirate waters of heaven. I'll try to show Janet the exuberance for life you had little sister. You will never be forgotten."

Catherine downed her goblet of rum in one go, coughing lightly as the burring liquid hit her throat. She never liked rum straight up but she knew Lindy had a fondness for rum. 'Rum much rum.'

"I'm going little sister. And you should know Sara and I set a date… I wish to hell you could be there. The way you set up a funeral I have no doubt a wedding would be out of this world if you planned it…" Catherine laughed again. "That would have been something." Her fingers reached out and touched the polished side of the urn. "I won't let her down little sister. I can't promise not to hurt her. With my mouth and temper it's inevitable but I won't seek to cause her deliberate harm. I will look out for her to; you have my word, Lindy. And you can ask Nancy, I never break my word to my sisters."

The End

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