DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of these characters or the messed up little world they play in. Just borrowing for some Halloween fun.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to carpesomediem for betaing this for me. I hope you enjoy this because it was a lot of fun to write. Also, if you can let me know what you think I'd really appreciate it, as I can never tell with these things what people liked and what they didn't.
SPOILERS: "Nesting Dolls" Season 5 Episode 13 and "Werewolves" Season 6 Episode 11.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Babes That Bump in the Night
The problem with Vegas is everyone has this picture in their head on what they think they are going to get when they arrive, what they are going to see and how they are going to be treated. Funny thing is, it's just like any other city. I'm not sure if it's the big lights flashing in their eyes or the excessive amounts of alcohol rushing through their veins, but when they first get here they are like kids in a candy store. Always looking for what is theirs. When the tourists sober up and finally take a look around, it's like someone stole their candy right out of their mildly sticky hands. People work just as hard here to make a living as anywhere else.
"Seriously? A traveling carnival coming to Vegas? Why the hell would they do that? I mean the whole city is kind of an attraction on its own."
Catherine chuckled darkly then said with a teasing tone, "What's wrong Sidle? Your parents didn't take you on the Ferris wheel as a kid so now you're bitter?"
Sara's eyes slid down into agitated slits as she responded, "My parents were hippies. Of course they took me to the fair grounds. It was much cheaper to score some weed from the carnies then it was to pay the inflated prices in town."
A smile crept up with a cocked eyebrow. "Think we can score some tonight?"
"Yeah right, Cat. I'm more likely to smoke pot these days then you are. And I have to tell you, the chance of that happening is slim to none."
They were far enough into their shift that the actual carnival had shut down for the night. Only a few overindulging patrons remained with some bemused and irritated carnies watching them stumble about. A small but oddly glamorous tent emerged on their right as they continued to walk to their crime scene that was on the other side of the fair ground. Dizzyingly gold stitching stretched out across the tent and proclaimed itself as Madame Gitanos House of Visions on sweeping burgundy velvet.
Sara muttered, "It's a tent."
Light puffs of smoke smelling strongly of tobacco were accompanied by a warning, "If you're not careful child a cat will bite that deceptive tongue of yours right out."
Catherine jumped a little while Sara squared her shoulders defensively; neither of them had seen the haggard elderly woman until after she had spoken. More smoke billowed their way from the woman's flaring nostrils after she took another drag from her hand rolled cigarette.
Catherine recovered first as she held out her hand to the woman, "I'm sorry. We're with the Las Vegas Crime Lab. I can assure you my colleague meant no offense. I'm Catherine Willows."
The woman's heavily wrinkled skin squished coldly in Catherine's hand, she shook it softly afraid that the misshapen bones would shatter in her grasp. Sara just continued to stare on with her professional face in place, but the blonde could feel her irritation simmering below the calm facade.
Yellow teeth made an appearance while darkly painted lips peeled back into something that must have once resembled a smile. "You'd be the dancer then. I knew a dancer would come here tonight. Are you here to perform? It has been such a long time since I've seen a woman truly dance with her skin rejoicing in the moonlight."
Sara stepped forward while her hand instinctively gripped onto Catherine's shoulder and said, "I think we should go, we have a crime scene to investigate." Slowly turning her mildly stunned superior around Sara drew Catherine away from the chortling gypsy.
Without a look back both women could hear Madame Gitarios croon after them, "Can't run from fate ladies, it has a twisted sense of humor about hunting you down."
A slight shiver ran up each of the investigators' spins as they unconsciously hastened their steps in unison crunching gravel under their heavy work boots.
As The Mysterious Mystical House of Mirages climbed its way into their vision they knew they were in the right place. Lights from patrol cars flashed wildly illuminating the illustrations of side show performers on the front of the makeshift building. The strong man lifting ten times his weight, the beautiful tattooed savage woman laying lewdly, the voodoo king with his toys of manipulation, and a disturbing portrayal of a werewolf howling in the darkness to a painted moon.
"Good evening ladies. I'm not really sure how you're going to handle this one. No one is talking and that place is like a maze," the young officer said while holding up the crime scene tape for them and nodding towards the dilapidated building. "Oh and the coroner has already been here so feel free to touch, he had another case and said he'd be back within the hour to pick up the body." With a smile from Catherine and a curt nod from Sara, he turned his back and began to interview what they assumed was the strong man.
As they entered through the entryway Sara felt along the wall till she found a light switch. While futilely flicking it back and forth she said, "Guess the lights don't work."
Guiding her flashlight Catherine squinted as the light reflected back at her from what looked like hundreds of mirrors. "Well, this is going to be a pain in the ass."
With a chuckle and a smirk, Sara took a bold step into the darkness. She swiveled slightly to address the shorter woman, "Where's your sense of adventure Cat? It could be fun!"
Catherine was amused by the younger woman's enthusiasm, which had become rarer these days as the tension between Sara and Grissom had grown. Oddly enough it hadn't been sexual tension as many of the lab rats had expected, instead it was more of Sara trying to assert herself under her mentor's constant guidance. Catherine considered the woman in the mirrors reflected light and decided that she was always more relaxed without Gil around, even if they both loved him dearly his presence had started to suffocate the team.
With a slight bump of the hip into her counterpart Catherine laughed lightly, "Lead on Nancy Drew."
Winding themselves round distorting images of themselves mixed with the blackness of the room they slowly made their way through the maze. Every now and then Sara would stop, pointing to a mirror and forcing Catherine to stand in front of it. The best had been the one that had made the shorter woman even shorter, squashing her form and stretching it horizontally until she looked like a chubby dwarf. Sara's body had fallen into Catherine's from laughing so hard at the image giving Catherine the first real feeling of warmth since they had entered the building. It was unusually cold and the lack of light made it all the more obvious as goose bumps rose along her exposed forearms.
Their light mood ended abruptly as Sara almost stepped on the body. As the light from their flashlights swept along blood tarnished glass mirrors, Catherine felt the coolness in the air sink deeper into her bones. They were there for a reason and by the looks of the bloods splatter that surrounded them, it was a very serious one.
"Catherine look." Sara interrupted Catherine's thoughts as she pointed her ray of light at the body. "Look familiar?"
Crouching down careful not to let her knees touch the ground the blonde recognized the fur like hair covering their dead body, "Hypertricosis."
Tilting her head Sara asked, "Isn't this medical condition supposed to be rare? I mean we just had a DB with this a year ago."
Peering in the darkness Catherine could just make out purse in her friend's lips and knowing what that meant she offered an explanation, "Well that's true, but think of where we are. I bet this operation travels all over the U.S. and when they saw this kid I'm sure they jumped at the chance to add him to the show."
The flash of Sara taking a photo of the body echoed off the walls around them as leaned in closer to inspect his face. "Does his nose look more pronounced to you?"
Shining her flashlight over to the area in question she guessed, "Probably got plastic surgery for the gig."
Sara swallowed down the bile threatening to force its way up her throat as she noticed the engraved ivory knife sticking out of the man's sternum. They couldn't remove that without David present so she decided to fixate on the gaping hole where the boy's heart used to be.
Sara felt her feet get warm as a smoke filtered into the room, afraid that there was a fire she grabbed Catherine's arm and pulled her up.
"Jesus Sara! What the hell?"
"Do you see that?"
Finally noticing the smoke as it crawled towards them and the body Catherine took a step back only to notice that the smoke was coming from every direction leaking out of the cracks between the mirrors. Rising higher and higher till it obscured their view of the body completely the smoke began to settle.
Clearing her throat the blonde took a step forward and tried to swat away the smoke only to have it glide in between her fingers unaffected. "I don't think it's dangerous. It reminds me of the smoke machines they sometimes used when we danced. I'm sure it's either part of the show or someone is messing with us."
The mirrors around them shook slightly as if struggling to move then they calmed and the image of young girl danced on stage. Her golden hair gleamed in the red tinted stage lights as her body moved fluidly along with the music. The bass from the club in the mirrors vibrated under the investigators' feet as they watched the girl gyrate to the beat and glide along a gleaming silver pole. Her features became clear as the faux smoke from the bottom of the stage dissipated and striking blue eyes called out from the mirror.
Sara felt her pulse quicken and her body begin to perspire as she watched the erotic dance. Her breathing became labored as her eyes were transfixed to the younger version of her colleague. Not caring how she was seeing this or even wondering how it was possible she just stared mutely as the lithe body swung methodically round the pole. Hands roamed in self-exploration as customers pushed bills into her skimpy outfit. Jealousy rose within Sara and she looked away, only then realizing Catherine was looking at her and not the mirrors.
Irritated by Sara's silence Catherine quietly roared at her counterpart, "So what, you've got nothing to say?"
As the words left her mouth the smoke swirled around them and then as if almost far off in the distance but eerily clear to their ears they heard the mirrors ring out with Catherine's past words.
You know every time we get a case with just a hint of domestic violence or abuse. You go off the deep end. What is your problem?
Both women watched themselves in the mirror stuck emotionally between bitterness and regret. Sara trying to ease the tension but having a hard time controlling her anger turned away from the mirror and said, "I got suspended for that one. I don't see why you want to talk so much it obviously just gets us into trouble."
The mirrors bent like cool air meeting the heat of scorching pavement until it twisted its image into Sara's apartment with Grissom standing over a sitting Sara. The tension of the scene being played out ebbed through the mirrors till it filled the room, leaving the women to uncomfortably take the scene in silently.
I'm not rationalizing anything. I crossed the line with Catherine and was insubordinate to Ecklie.
Leave it alone.
What do you want from me?
I want to know why you're so angry.
The mirrors went back to normal letting Sara release the breath she had been holding.
Catherine's next words cut through the silence making Sara jump slightly from the unrestrained anger in the blonde's voice, "This is bullshit! Even in here you won't let me see what's wrong. Why won't you let me help you?"
Sara stared at Catherine eyes wide with surprise then she clamped them shut as the emotions over took her. Too many things were swirling in her mind as tears threatened to spill. She wondered how awful it could possibly be to let Catherine in. The mirrors changed again before she could make a final decision.
It's funny the things that you remember and the things that you don't, you know? There was the smell of iron in the air. Cast off on the bedroom wall. There was this young cop puking his guts. I don't remember the woman who took me to foster care. I can't remember her name. Which is strange, you know 'cause I couldn't let go of her hand.
Well the mind has its filters.
I do remember the looks. I became the girl whose father was stabbed to death. Do you think there is a murder gene?
I don't believe genes are a predictor of violent behavior.
You wouldn't know that in my house. The fights, the yelling, the trips to the hospital, I thought it was the way that everybody lived. When my mother killed my father I found out that it wasn't.
Remembering the pain of that moment, Sara's tears did spill over as she tried to hold back a sob. Warm fingertips threaded their way into her clenched fist and squeezed gently. Sara's breathing became ragged as she felt the difference between Catherine's cradling of her hand and the memory of the tight emotionally distant squeeze she received from Grissom. Making no move to release the brunette's hand Catherine pulled the crumbling woman to her, slowly wrapping her arms around the overly skinny body, and letting Sara rest her head on her shoulder.
Trying not to sound happy about finally being let into Sara's mind Catherine promised, "It'll be okay Sara. I'll make sure of it."
So enthralled in the hug the investigators didn't notice the smoke moving once again or the waving of the images in the mirrors till they heard a low moan.
I'm going to give you the best ride of your life Sidle.
Sara burrowed herself deeper into Catherine's shoulder to hide from memory being played out before her. Catherine on the other hand stared fascinated as Sofia Curtis pushed an obviously drunk Sara back onto a bed.
You won't even remember who Catherine Willows is in the morning, promise you that.
Listening to the detective's laugher caused the blonde to possessively cling to the shaking body in her embrace. Catherine watched as Sofia dipped between gorgeously bare thighs and hum with delight as she tasted Sara. Feeling tears of rage and jealousy start to sting her dry eyes; Catherine pushed the still shaking woman back so that her body covered up the mirror. Even though the rest of the mirrors around them showed the same thing, Sofia relishing in the flavor of Sara.
Need overpowered reason as the emotionally distraught blonde slammed her lips violently into those of the emotionally wrecked coworker. She needed to make sure Sara never forgot who she was. Hunger drove them as the kiss was deepened and their hands dug into each other's bodies. The sting of Sara's nails digging into her sides focused the smaller woman enough to lighten the kiss letting it evolve into something more sweet.
Through the release of having shown Sara what she was feeling Catherine slowly pulled back but only to move down her neck placing small kisses on her way. Having found a spot that made the lanky brunette moan heavily, Catherine sunk her teeth in just enough to mark it before lavishing the bruised area with a lazy suction. Sufficiently pleased the blonde pulled back and looked into dilated chocolate eyes.
"Why on earth would you want to forget me Sidle?"
Panting Sara replied in a hoarse voice, "Because it hurts to want you so much and never be able to touch you."
"I never said you couldn't touch Sara. You just never tried. Could have given me a hint you know?" Catherine leaned back in and placed a lingering kiss on the still panting woman's mouth. "We could have been kissing like that for seven fucking years." Working her way down Sara's body she reached under the younger woman's shirt letting her fingers graze against warm skin.
Banging her head back against the mirror Sara ground out, "Catherine stop! Dead body. Crime scene. Destroying evidence. Fucking creepy mirrors."
Blinking Catherine took in the scene as the smoke drained away back into the mirrors. Deciding that the sooner they finished collecting evidence the faster they would be able to continue exploring this new facet of their relationship she said, "You're right let's finish up and get the hell out of here."
Suddenly light filled the room blinding the two women momentarily. Hearing footsteps from behind they turned to see Brass come up behind them.
With a perplexed expression he asked, "Why are you guys in the dark? And why are you over here? The OD is in the next room and David is already back waiting to take the body." He pointed to the path to their right.
Looking down they noticed the dead body is part of the decorations as well as the fake blood on the mirrors. Feelings unnerved by this change in events, the women silently followed Brass as he led them out of the maze.
Loading up the small amount of evidence for the simple overdose case of a chronic heroine user into the back of the Tahoe the two investigators felt the subtle edge of insecurity cut into their movements. Neither had spoken of what had happened in The Mysterious Mystical House of Mirages afraid that that is all it had really been, a mirage.
Once safely in the car and on the road Catherine ventured out into the unknown and asked, "That really happened, didn't it? You do have feelings for me?"
Relaxing into the passenger seat Sara felt relief flood her body, "I don't know what happened but I do know that I've had feelings for you since the first day you were a bitch to me."
Pretending to be affronted Catherine huffed, "Good because it'll make me bringing you back to my place and putting Sofia's Sapphic love skills to shame a little less awkward." With a wicked smile and a heated glance she added. "Better cancel all your plans for tomorrow Sidle, I own that sweet little ass of yours now."
Smirking at the blonde's obvious jealously and the promise of something more Sara felt a small twinge of pain in her mouth.
"Ow! Cat I think you bit my tongue!"
I watched them drive off into the night knowing how they'd be spending the rest of it. The image of their bodies writhing together made me chuckle. I do love my job even if it makes me come off a little creepy to people. Walking past my tent and into the back lot where another black Tahoe was parked, I made my way to my client. He rolled down his window and handed me a thick roll of bills.
The lights from the carnival reflected off his glasses as he said, "Thank you for your services Madame Gitanos. Hopefully this will stop them from tearing apart my lab. They can be so pigheaded sometimes I wonder how they can be such great scientists."
I answered with a broken smile, "It truly was my pleasure Mr. Grissom."
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