DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Case of the Chicken Pox
By Ann


Part 1

"Are you sure? . . . Yes, I guess you would be . . . I don't know . . . I'll have to ask her . . . How long will you be out? . . . Okay, I'll check back with you later."

Gil Grissom hangs up the phone with a sigh. He is dreading the confrontation he is about to have with Sara Sidle. Nothing is ever easy with Sara and this is really going to piss her off.

Grissom strides into the break room to find Nick, Warrick, Greg, and Sara sitting around the table waiting for their assignments. "Nick, Greg, DB at the Sands. Warrick, suspicious circs at the Silverton Hotel Casino. Sara, I'd like to talk to you in my office."

The three men look over at Sara and can almost see smoke coming from her nostrils and steam from her ears. They each wish Grissom good luck and quickly flee the room. Grissom motions toward the door and waits for Sara to get up. Murmuring under her breath, she rises and follows Grissom to his office.

Sara walks in and plops down in the chair waiting for Grissom to get on with it so she can get to whatever scene she is assigned. She knows she hasn't done anything inappropriate in quite some time, so she's not worried about a reprimand.

Grissom walks around the desk and sits on its edge. He looks over at Sara who is staring right back at him. "Er . . . um . . . Sara, have you ever had the chicken pox?"

Sara, not expecting a question of this nature, appropriately responds "What?"

Grissom takes his glasses off and begins to clean them, a tell-tale sign of nervousness. "Well, Catherine called earlier and it seems young Lindsey has contracted a case of the chicken pox. Catherine has requested time off this week to care for her. She also wanted to let you know since you spent time with Lindsey and her cousin Jeremy a couple of Saturday's ago that you too may have been exposed. It seems Jeremy is the culprit."

Sara intelligently answers "Oh." After a couple of minutes, she adds "I'm not sure Grissom. It's not like I had the type of parents who would keep track of such a thing. I don't remember having any kind of measles or chicken pox."

Grissom nods and says "Let's be on the safe side. Why don't you take the next couple of days off? Go see a doctor tomorrow to determine if you are displaying any of the symptoms. Find out the incubation period and come back when you are sure you are in the clear."

Sara defiantly responds "You've got to be kidding me. I feel perfectly fine. There is nothing that is interfering with me doing me job."

Grissom walks around and leans on the desk. "Sara, I can not let you go out into the public and possibly expose someone to this disease. You have to go home. Don't argue with me. Just go home."

Sara bolts from the chair and leaves the building. Getting into her truck, she drives directly home. First thing in the morning, she is making a doctor's appointment to get this nonsense over with.

Grissom picks up the phone and dials a familiar number. "Hi, Catherine. How is Lindsey feeling?.....Yes, I talked to her and she is not happy…..She doesn't know if she's ever had them…..She's going to the doctor tomorrow.…No, I wouldn't call her tonight. It will only make things worse….I'll talk to you tomorrow."

Hanging up, Grissom picks up the extra assignment slip and heads out the door to meet Brass at his crime scene. His thoughts immediately turn to Sara. 'Heaven help us if she has contracted this illness.'

Sara awakens the next morning bathed in sweat. 'What the hell? My throat is so sore and my back is killing me.' She gets up and staggers into the bathroom. Wetting a washcloth, she wipes her face and neck.

Sara looks into the mirror to see a few small red splotches on her face. 'Oh, shit.' The phone rings pulling her from her thoughts. "Hello….Hey, Catherine….Yeah, Grissom told me…. I think may have them….Fever, aches, sore throat, splotches….Well, thank you so much, Doctor Willows….what?....No, Catherine….I can't live over there….No, there's no one….Okay….Okay……Okay!....I'll be ready."

Sara hangs up the phone and begins to pack a bag. She calls and leaves a message for Grissom letting him know she'll be staying with Catherine. Shaking her head, she can't believe she agreed to this.

A knock sounds at the door and Sara opens it to find Catherine. "Catherine, I thought you were sending a cab. What are you doing here? Where's Lindsey?"

Catherine walks in and replies "Calm down, Sara. My mom is staying with her until we get back. Since we've both had the chicken pox and been exposed to Jeremy, I think we're in the clear. Now, is this all you need?"

Sara nods and Catherine takes her bag as she leads the way to the car. Sara buckles in and lays her head back on the seat. She falls asleep as soon as the car turns the first corner.

Catherine pulls up in her driveway and reaches over to wake Sara. "Hey, Sara. We're here. C'mon, wake up. I have a nice bed waiting for you inside."

Sara mumbles "Will you sleep with me?" Catherine laughs and replies "No, but you will be sleeping with a Willows."

Catherine gets out and moves to the passenger side. Opening the door, she helps Sara out. Together, the two walk toward the front door.

They are greeted at the entrance by Catherine's mother. Introductions are made and Catherine leads Sara down the hall to the master bedroom where there is already a small lump in the bed.

Helping Sara off with her jeans, Catherine tucks her in the bed with Lindsey. Sara, temporarily coherent, asks "Wait. This is your bed. I can sleep on the floor."

Catherine answers "Nonsense. It will be easier to take care of you and Lindsey if you're in the same room. Now, shut up and go to sleep."

As Catherine leaves the room she hears "I've been kidnapped by the spawn of Florence Nightingale and Nurse Ratchet."

Catherine answers "I don't think that's scientifically possible even with medical assistance" as she closes the door to the room.


Part 2

Sara is awakened by Catherine's voice. Thinking she's dreaming, she pulls the covers around her more tightly and ignores the voice. She sits straight up in bed when the covers are jerked off her. She looks to the side to see Lindsey still peacefully sleeping under her own blanket.

"Sara Sidle, don't you even think of ignoring me. Now, move over here and take this pill." Sara slides toward the edge of the bed and looks down at the pill in Catherine's hand. Curiously she asks "What is it?"

Catherine places the pill in Sara's hand. "It's Zovirax. I have a good friend who is a doctor. He said adult cases of chicken pox are more severe. He suggested you take a round of Zovirax immediately to help with the pain and future itching. He gave me enough samples for a week. I hope you like milk because you can't take this on an empty stomach."

Sara turns the pill over and over in her hand. "Wait a minute. I've seen ads for this stuff. It's for herpes! I'm not taking this." She tries to shove the pill back in Catherine's hand.

Catherine grabs Sara's hand and says "You are taking this. Yes, one of its uses is for genital herpes, but chicken pox is a form of herpes. Now, open your mouth and take this pill!"

Lindsey rolls over and looks at the two bickering adults. "Mommy, what's wrong? Why is Sara in my bed and why are you two fighting?"

Catherine glares at Sara before moving around to Lindsey's side of the bed. "Hey, sweetie. I'm sorry we woke you. Sara has the chicken pox too, so she's going to stay here with you and keep you company."

Lindsey closes her eyes and turns back over saying "Okay, just don't talk so loud."

Catherine makes her way back to Sara and whispers "Sara, please take this medicine. John said you could really have a hard time with this. I promise it will help. Please."

Sara looks back and forth from Catherine to the pill. Finally, she places it in her mouth and reaches for the glass of milk on the nightstand. After downing the liquid, she turns to Catherine and says "Happy? If I get sores you know where after this, I am going to infect you as well."

Catherine throws her head back and laughs. "I'd like to see you try, Sidle. You do know we'd have to have sexual intercourse for me to contract your imaginary genital herpes."

Speechless, Sara turns red and pulls the covers over her head as Catherine leaves the room once again.

Catherine makes her way into the kitchen and places the glass in the dishwasher. Lily comes in and asks "How are the patients?"

Catherine turns and answers "Sara is going to be a royal pain in the ass. Lindsey is the perfect patient. She's acting more like an adult than Sara."

Lily sits at the table and watches Catherine closely. "You know, Catherine. It sure was nice of you to offer to take care of Sara. You are going to have your hands full with Lindsey as it is."

Catherine fidgets with the dishtowel before responding. "Well, I do feel somewhat guilty about Sara contracting the virus. If she hadn't taken Lindsey and Jeremy to the planetarium and the zoo a couple of weeks ago, then she would be okay today."

Lily begins to take mental notes. "Why exactly did Sara offer to take the kids? She's done that several times, hasn't she?" Catherine nods as she moves to sit at the table with her mother.

Catherine shakes her head and says "Sara has been very good to Lindsey since Eddie's death. She goes out of her way to take her on outings. Lindsey loves her time with Sara. And of course, she asks Jeremy to accompany them on some of the outings. He thinks Sara hung the moon."

Lily decides it's time for 'the' question. "And how do you feel about Sara, Catherine? Do you think she's hung the moon as well?"

Catherine's head snaps up as she answers "What are you implying, mother? Sara is a colleague and a friend, nothing more."

Lily reaches over and squeezes Catherine's hand. "Catherine, methinks you doth protest too much." Catherine pulls her hand from her mother's grasp and moves to the kitchen window.

Lily gets up and walks toward Catherine. "Catherine, I'm sorry I've upset you. But you clearly have more than friendly feelings for Sara. The way you smile when you talk about your cases at work. The gleam in your eye when you tell me about the outings she takes Lindsey on. The way you got so upset when you realized Sara may have contracted the illness as well."

Catherine turns around with tears in her eyes and looks down at her mother. "Oh, mom. I am attracted to her. She is so smart and kind and beautiful and she always gives me a run for my money. I really like her, but there is no way anything can come of this."

Lily smiles and asks "Why not, Catherine? Is it because you're two women? That hasn't stopped you before." Catherine is clearly shocked as she looks at her mother. "Oh come now, Catherine. I know about the few girls you've dated. It doesn't bother me. I just want you to be happy. Now, tell me why Sara can't make you happy?"

Catherine falls into her mother's arms as she cries "Because she's straight, mom, because she's straight." Lily hugs Catherine and rubs her back as she allows her to cry.

After a few minutes, Lily pulls back and wipes the tears from Catherine's face. "Catherine, what makes you think Sara is straight?"

Catherine moves to the desk in the corner of the kitchen and retrieves a few tissues. After wiping her face, she replies "Sara has a thing for Gil. Granted he doesn't give her the time of day, but it's obvious she would love to have a relationship with him. And then she recently dated Hank, one of the paramedics. Sara was broken hearted when she found out he was using her."

Lily mentally keeps score before asking "How long has Sara been working at the lab?"

Catherine responds "Just over three years. What does that have to do with anything?"

Lily smiles and points out the obvious. "Catherine, in three years time, Sara has only dated one man. Gil doesn't count since she never actually dated him. What has she been doing with her free time?"

Catherine frowns before replying. "I don't know. She doesn't confide in me. We've only recently become civil to each other and that's because of Lindsey. I still don't see what you're getting at."

Lily walks over to Catherine and takes hold of both of her hands. "Catherine, look how many men you've dated in the past three years and yet you still date women on occasion. You are assuming Sara is straight because of a couple of dates with a two timing loser and a possible attraction to an obvious unattainable Gil. I believe you may be mistaken about Sara. All I ask is for you to think about it."

Lily releases Catherine's hands and walks from the room leaving Catherine alone to contemplate her words.


Part 3

Sara awakens to soft voices in the room. Slightly disoriented, it takes a few minutes for her to remember where she is. She turns over to see Catherine handing Lindsey some pills and a glass of water. In an excited voice, Sara asks "Catherine, you aren't giving Lindsey the same medicine you're giving me are you?"

Catherine takes a deep breath before replying "No, Sara. I'm giving Lindsey baby Tylenol for her low grade fever. It looks like she's going to have a mild case. You on the other hand have more spots on your face. Let me see your chest and arms."

Sara's eyes get large and she folds her arms over her chest as Catherine nears. "You can look at my arms, but you're not looking at my chest." Catherine rolls her eyes as she takes a hold of Sara's arms to check for spots.

Catherine finishes her inspection saying "Not too bad for now. You just have a few spots on each arm. Now, will you at least let me see your stomach?" Sara thinks for a minute before carefully lifting her shirt, stopping before revealing her breasts.

Catherine sighs and leans forward to look for possible rashes or spots. "Okay, you can put your shirt down. You have a few spots, but nothing major. We'll know by tomorrow how bad your case will be. In the meantime, I brought you some Tylenol to keep your fever from spiking."

Sara dutifully takes the glass of water and downs the pills. Catherine informs her she will bring in something light to eat in a couple of hours. As she is walking toward the door, Sara calls out "Catherine, um, thanks for offering to take care of me. As you can see, I'm not a very good patient, but I promise to work harder at it. I am just not used to having anyone care for me."

Catherine, clear touched, answers "You're welcome, Sara." Before closing the door, Catherine adds "I'm going to hold you to that promise."

Catherine walks into the master bedroom later to find both Lindsey and Sara scratching their arms and necks. "Hey, you two, stop that. You are going to make the blisters worse. I'll be right back. Don't you dare scratch while I'm gone."

As Catherine leaves the room, Lindsey and Sara look at each other. In silent agreement, the two discretely scratch a spot here and there. Both sets of hands immediately move to the covers as Catherine reappears with a bottle of Calydryl and some cotton balls.

Moving first to Lindsey, Catherine begins to apply a thin layer over the visible spots. "This will not get rid of the spots, but it should help with the itching. I'll make you two an oatmeal bath later."

Sara and Lindsey both cringe at the thought. Sara adds "I hope you don't serve us the leftovers for breakfast." Lindsey immediately begins to giggle though Catherine does not seem amused.

After slathering Lindsey, Catherine moves to Sara. Sara puts out her arms and Catherine covers her spots. Next, she gently applies some to Sara's face and neck. She hands Sara the bottle and a new cotton ball. "Here. You put on the rest and I'll go get the soup."

Sara begins her stomach and chest application as Catherine leaves the room. She almost drops the bottle when Lindsey asks "Hey, Sara. How come mom didn't finish putting the stuff on you like she did with me?"

Sara quickly answers "She probably had the soup on the stove and was afraid it was going to boil over. Besides, she put most of the stuff on me. Hey, this stuff kind of works. I'm not feeling as itchy; how about you?"

Lindsey pauses as if in deep thought. "You're right, Sara. I don't itch as much. Do you think we're cured?" Sara smiles and answers "No, Linds, but I wish we were."

Catherine reappears carrying a tray with Lily behind toting one as well. Catherine moves to Lindsey's side of the bed. "Okay, sweetie, sit up against the headboard so I can put this down in your lap. You're going to have to be very careful not to spill. I put your soup in a mug so you can drink it instead of using a spoon. I made sure that it's not too hot. I've got some juice in this glass."

Lindsey looks up with at her mom clearly unhappy. "You put my juice in a sippy cup? Mom, I'm ten. I don't want to use this." Catherine smiles and replies "Linds, I just changed these sheets. I would like to go a few days before changing them again. Please, will you just go along with this for me? Look Sara's not complaining about her sippy cup."

Sara, who had been thoroughly enjoying the exchange between mother and daughter, immediately shifts her attention to the tray being handed to her by Lily. Sure enough, a mug of soup and a sippy cup are located dead center on the tray.

Sara turns toward Catherine to express her displeasure, but decides to keep her mouth shut when she notices Lindsey's eyes on her. Remembering her earlier promise, she plays along. "Great idea, Catherine, this should keep spillage to a minimum."

Relived, Catherine smiles as Sara lifts the sippy cup to her lips and takes a drink. Lindsey deciding that it must be okay if Sara doesn't complain picks up her own cup. The two alternate between the soup and juice.

Catherine hands Sara another Zovirax and informs her that the doctor has prescribed one tablet to be taken four times a day. Sara looks at Lindsey and once again keeps her response to herself.

Before leaving the room, Catherine notices Sara rubbing her back against the headboard. She walks back toward Sara and asks to see her back. Sara hesitates and then leans forward after handing Catherine her tray. Catherine places the tray on the nightstand and carefully lifts Sara's shirt to find numerous bumps. She puts Sara's shirt down and retrieves the Calydryl.

Catherine returns to the kitchen with the empty trays, mugs, and cups. Lily helps her rinse the dishes and put up the trays. "Catherine, I need to run some errands and go home for a little while. Will you be okay here without me?"

Catherine sighs before replying "Yes. The two have gone back to sleep, so I'm going to lie down and take a nap while things are relatively calm. I have a short grocery list on the fridge if you wouldn't mind picking up a few things. I'll call you if I need you. Thanks for everything, mom."

Lily retrieves the list and picks up her purse. "Make sure you rest, Catherine. Don't let yourself get run down. I'll pick up these things and be back this evening. Don't hesitate to call. I'll have my cell on." Kissing Catherine's cheek, she leaves.

Catherine makes sure the door is open to the master bedroom before climbing into Lindsey's bed. The earlier conversation with her mother plays over and over again in her head. Is it possible? Could Sara be gay?


Part 4

A couple of hours later, Catherine awakens from an erotic dream involving Sara and an oatmeal bath. Sitting up, she realizes Lindsey is calling. Catherine jumps out of bed and runs to the master bedroom where she finds Lindsey sitting against the headboard looking down at Sara.

Catherine quickly makes her way to Lindsey. "What's the matter, sweetie? Are you feeling ill?" Lindsey turns to Catherine and responds "No, mom. But Sara is really hot. Her shirt is really wet." Catherine immediately turns her attention to Sara.

Sara is shivering and her shirt is indeed sopping wet. Catherine moves to feel her forehead. "Shit." Lindsey opens her mouth to reprimand her mother, but Catherine appeases her by adding "Sorry, Linds. I'll add a dollar to the swear jar later. I'm just really worried about Sara."

Picking up the phone, Catherine calls John. "Yes, this is Catherine Willows calling for Dr. John Martin . . . Yes, I'll hold . . . John, it's Catherine. My friend Sara is running a pretty high temp . . . Yes, I gave her some Tylenol earlier, but it's probably time for more . . . What? . . . I'll give it a try . . . Thanks, John . . . Bye."

Catherine turns to Lindsey and says "Hey Linds, watch Sara for me while I go run a cool bath." Lindsey agrees as Catherine moves to the bathroom.

Returning, Catherine pulls Sara to the edge of the bed. "Sara, I need for you to get up and come with me to the bathroom." Sara groggily replies "Cath? Why do I need to go to the bathroom? I don't need to pee. Leave me alone." Lindsey giggles as she watches the two.

Catherine swings Sara's legs around and lifts her by the arms until she is sitting on the edge of the bed. Sara opens her eyes and looks directly at Catherine. "Cath? What are you doing? I don't want to get up."

Catherine continues pulling a dead weight Sara forward. "Sara, you are burning up. John said you needed to take a cool bath. It will make you feel better. Now, c'mon and help me here."

Sara deliriously answers "Okay, but only for you Cath. Cause you're my Cath. No one else's, just mine." Catherine almost drops Sara to the floor but manages to get her upright with some clumsy help from Sara.

The two finally make it to the master bath. Catherine puts down the toilet seat and helps Sara sit. She turns off the bath water and begins to undress Sara. Sara pulls her shirt down every time Catherine lifts it up. Becoming exasperated, Catherine says, "Damn it, Sara. You've got to take off your shirt and underwear before you get into the tub."

Sara shakes her head back and forth as she replies "Uh uh. I'm not getting naked in front of you. You're beautiful and I don't want you to see my ugly body." Catherine kneels before Sara and places her hands on Sara's fevered face. "Sara, you are not ugly. You are so beautiful. You know I would never ask this of you if I weren't trying to help you get better."

Sara stares at Catherine for several minutes before saying "I'm scared. I don't want to be naked by myself. Will you get naked with me, Catherine?" Catherine stops herself from telling Sara how much she would love to be naked with her, but instead replies "Sara, it will be alright. I'm going to help you get better. You just have to trust me. Do you trust me, Sara?"

Sara shakes her head yes and moves her hands to her shirt hem. With Catherine's help, the two manage to remove Sara's shirt revealing a very tone body and firm breasts. Catherine keeps her focus on Sara's face and smiles reassuringly while concentrating on maintaining control of her salivary glands.

Catherine helps Sara to her feet and together they remove her underwear before walking toward the tub. Sara leans on Catherine as she steps into the tub and carefully sits in the cool water. Chill bumps immediately appear on her skin. Catherine takes the washcloth and begins to wash Sara's back and neck as Sara finally begins to relax.

Catherine instructs Sara to lie back in the water. Sara complies and leans back against the tub closing her eyes as she lays her head on the rim. Catherine wets the cloth and squeezes the water over Sara's torso which leads to the awakening of Sara's nipples. Catherine swallows and concentrates on keeping the process clinical.

As she submerges the cloth for another pass, she can't help admiring Sara's other attributes. A washboard stomach, slim hips, well-toned thigh muscles and calves, and slender feet. As she once again squeezes the water over Sara, her eyes focus on the one area she had previously avoided, a dark haired triangle leading to points unseen.

Catherine forces herself to move her attention back to Sara's face. Even with her flushed cheeks, Sara is truly a vision of beauty. Catherine moves the rag to gently wipe Sara's forehead and cheeks. Sara opens her eyes and smiles at Catherine. Returning the smile, Catherine continues the bathing process.

Tucking Sara back into bed after helping her put on dry clothes, Catherine turns her attention to a sleeping Lindsey. Feeling her forehead, Catherine is relieved to find it cool. She instructs Sara to stay awake for a few more minutes while she retrieves the Tylenol.

After dispensing the medication, Catherine returns to the den and plops down on the couch. Lying down, she reviews her latest care giving venture. Rubbing her face, she tries to remove the images of a naked Sara Sidle from her brain. Giving up, Catherine lets the visuals loose. 'What a perfect body. It would feel so good to be wrapped up in those arms, better yet, wrapped up in those legs.' Frustrated, Catherine gets up and moves into the kitchen.


Part 5

Catherine sits at the table with a cup of coffee. Her mind wanders back to Sara and the bathing incident; however, this time she concentrates on the things Sara said. 'What did she mean by my Catherine? She must have been delirious, but was there some underlying truth in anything she said? And the bit about being naked together, what was that all about?'

Catherine is once more pulled from her thoughts by Lindsey's voice. She quickly gets up and heads to the bedroom. "Hey baby, what's the matter? Can't sleep?" Lindsey looks up at her mother and says "I'm starting to itch again, mommy. I can't sleep when I'm itching."

Catherine applies more lotion which seems to provide relief for Lindsey. She feels her forehead before walking around to check on Sara. Sara has kicked off her covers and is on her stomach with her arms under the pillow. Catherine reaches down and checks for fever. Relieved by the difference in temperature from earlier, she pulls the sheet up to cover Sara's legs. Lindsey informs her mother that she can sleep some more, so Catherine once again leaves her two patients. On the way out, she realizes this is going to be one of the longest weeks of her life.

The sound of the doorbell echoes through the house. Catherine moves to the door to find Greg standing there with his hands in his pockets. "Hey, Catherine, um, I um, was wondering if you needed any help with your patients?"

Catherine opens the door and invites Greg in muttering "more like patience." Greg oblivious to Catherine's mumblings adds "I know how bored Sara can get and I would imagine Lindsey is going to be the same way. Do you have a TV in your room?" Puzzled, Catherine answers "No, why?"

Greg responds "Well, the lab got some new Dell XPS M170 notebook computers. They have all the bells and whistles plus a 17 inch display. Archie was told to have everything installed and ready to go in two weeks. He told me he only needed a day to install all the software, but Ecklie doesn't know that. So the two of us thought we could take one and load all kinds of cool games so Sara and Lindsey could play. They could also watch movies and stuff like that."

Catherine thinks for a minute before replying "I don't think it would be a good idea to use the lab's equipment without permission, but I appreciate the thought."

Greg grins saying "Well, it was worth a shot. I didn't think you would go for it. I really do feel sorry for you when the two of them start to feel better but will still have to be isolated. I guess I better go. Call if you need anything."

As Catherine walks Greg to the door, she begins to imagine how difficult it will be to keep Sara and Lindsey occupied when they start to feel better. When Greg steps outside, he is stopped by Catherine's voice. "Wait a minute, Greg. I may have been too hasty in my decision. Tell me again about this plan you and Archie have come up with." Greg smiles as he walks back into the house.

Catherine tiptoes into the master bedroom. Both patients appear to be resting comfortably. She moves over to Sara's side to find her awake. Reaching to feel her forehead, Catherine says "Good afternoon, Sara. How are you doing?"

Sara grunts back "How do you think I'm feeling? I feel like crap." A small voice from behind pipes up "Mom, Sara cursed. She owes the swear jar a dollar." Catherine laughs as she replies "Yes, she does honey. I'll be sure to keep a tally sheet. I have a feeling Sara is going to owe the jar quite a bit of money before she leaves."

Sara opens her mouth to put in her two cents, but quickly closes it before it turns into a dollar. Without thinking, Catherine leans down to press her lips to Sara's forehead. Sara moves away and says "Hey. What are you doing?" Before Catherine can respond, Lindsey calmly replies "She's checking your temperature, Sara. Everyone knows that's how mom's check for fever."

Sara mumbles out "My mother never did." She then clears her throat and sarcastically adds "Ever heard of a thermometer. I have been told they work very well." Catherine caught off guard by the caustic remark, turns and leaves the room.

Sara closes her eyes while saying "Shit." Of course, Lindsey immediately responds with "That's another dollar." The two lie in silence until Lindsay finally says "You hurt mom's feelings. I'm mad at you, Sara." Sara answers "I'm mad at me too, Linds."

Catherine sits on the couch with her head in her hands. 'How could I have been so stupid? I didn't even realize what I was doing. I was on automatic having always checked Lindsey's fever in that manner. Boy, Sara really let me have it. I guess I know for sure what she thinks of me now. I just didn't think it would hurt so much.'

Sara, deciding she needs to apologize for her behavior, gets out of bed to go find Catherine. She is almost to the door before the dizziness causes her to stop and sit on the floor. She puts her head down between her knees to keep from passing out. Lindsey, who has been silently watching Sara's progress, says "You aren't supposed to get out of bed. See what happens when you don't listen to mom. You better get back over here before she comes back."

Sara would like nothing more than to return to the bed, but is currently unable to comply with Lindsey's demand. In fact, she decides lying down on the floor is the best course of action at the moment which draws more chastisement from Lindsey. "Sara, you are going to make mom really mad if you keep lying on the floor. You're sick and need to be in bed."

Sara silently mutters "No shit." She glances at the bed to see if Lindsey overheard her. Satisfied that she is still only down $2, Sara turns on her side and closes her eyes hoping she will be able to return to the bed after resting for a few minutes.

Catherine returns to the room after thirty minutes with juice and crackers. As she steps across the threshold, she puts the tray on the floor and rushes to Sara. "Sara, what are you doing out of bed?" Lindsey pipes up "I told her to get back in the bed, mom. She wouldn't listen to me."

Catherine tries to get Sara into a sitting position. Sara, content with her current situation, curls into a ball on the floor. "Sara Sidle, quit fighting me and let me help you back into the bed." Sara stubbornly stays in a tight ball. Catherine looks to Lindsey for information. "Linds, why did Sara get out of the bed?" Lindsey answers "I think she was looking for you, but I'm not sure."

Catherine pinches the sides of her nose to try to stop the beginning of a major headache. "Lindsey, how long has she been on the floor?" Lindsey shrugs her shoulders and says "For a little while." Catherine once again works with Sara to try to coax her into sitting up. "Lindsey, did she fall? And why didn't you call me to come help her?"

Lindsey thinks for a minute before replying "She didn't fall. She just sat down on the floor, then she bent over, then she just laid there. I didn't call you because I'm mad at her." Catherine closes her eyes and lets out a huge sigh. "Okay Sara, you are getting off this floor and I mean now."

Sara sensing the tone of Catherine's voice immediately tries to sit up and is assisted by Catherine. Together they manage to get Sara standing and she leans heavily against Catherine as they move to the bed. Sara manages to flop onto the bed as Catherine pulls the covers around her.

"Lindsey, I don't know what you are mad about, but don't you ever let Sara suffer like this again." Lindsey looks to her mom with tears in her eyes. "But mom …" is all she gets out as Catherine continues "Don't mom me. I mean it Linds. This is serious." Lindsey nods her head as tears make their way down her cheeks.

Sara finds the strength to pull Lindsey into a hug before responding. "Don't blame Lindsey, Catherine. It was my fault. I'm the one who got out of bed and she has every reason to be mad at me. I acted like an ass and I am so sorry for my behavior earlier. I deserve to sleep on the floor permanently. You have so graciously offered to take care of me and I turn around and hurt you. I truly am sorry for my words." After a few moments, she asks "Um, by the way, ass isn't a swear word is it?" Lindsey, now smiling, nods her head in the affirmative.


Part 6

Day two finds both patients in a permanent itch mode. Catherine comes in and trims both of their fingernails and threatens to put socks on their hands. Sara has broken out with quite a few spots on her back and torso, but no more on her face, neck, or arms. Lindsey has pretty much stayed the same except for a few more spots on her arms and legs. Both are running a low grade fever and are in a perpetual grumpy mood.

Catherine begins to prepare an oatmeal bath for the pair, but they both balk at the idea. Lily comes in to mediate between the threesome and suggests a lukewarm bath with neem leaves to help with the itching. Sara has no idea what neem leaves are, but decides they sound infinitely better than oatmeal. Lily offers to make the trip to the health food store to find the leaves while Catherine takes the oatmeal back to the kitchen.

Lindsey and Sara have formed a very strong bond in their two days of captivity. They slather each other with Calydryl and play lookout for Catherine when the need to scratch takes over. Lindsey has even talked to Sara about Eddie. She admits her dad let her down on numerous occasions and that he would sometimes be more interested in his girlfriends than her, but she still loves him and misses him.

Later in the morning, Greg drops off the computer along with a power cord. Sara and Lindsey are able to play a few games, but sleep seems to be the highest priority for the two. Catherine makes the most of the time her patients are sleeping by doing chores and resting herself.

After serving lunch, Catherine starts on the dishes when she is interrupted by the doorbell. Wiping her hands on a cloth, she opens the door and comes face to face with Grissom. "Gil, what are you doing here?" Grissom holds up a few magazines and says "I thought Sara might like to read a few of the latest forensic magazines. May I see her?"

Catherine immediately responds "I don't think that is a good idea, Gil. The doctor said Lindsey and Sara need to stay in isolation and have contact with as few people as possible. I can give them to her for you." Grissom counters with "I would really like to see Sara. I've already had the chicken pox."

Catherine hesitates for a few moments before replying "Gil, why are you really here? Now is not the time to play with Sara's emotions. She is really sick and she needs all her energy channeled toward getting better. She does not need you to come in here and confuse her. I'll give her the magazines and tell her you stopped by."

Grissom hands over the magazines and replies "Thank you, Catherine." He turns and walks away.

Catherine watches as Grissom gets into his car and drives off. She can't believe his audacity. 'Classic Grissom, he didn't even ask how Lindsey and Sara were doing. I can't believe him. What gall! He just thought he was going to come over here and mess with Sara's head. Well, not on my watch.'

As she shuts the door, Catherine reviews her actions and realizes the true reason she kept Grissom from Sara. She drops head her in shame. 'Jealous much, Catherine?' Turning, she sees her mother watching her from the kitchen. Lily smiles and asks "Where did Mr. Grissom get off to? I thought he was here to see Sara?"

Catherine closes her eyes and rubs her forehead. "Every now and then he shows an interest in Sara and gets her hopes up only to be dashed when he turns cold and distant. He has such power over her and I don't want her to be hurt."

Lily moves to the couch and sits down. "Catherine, come over here and sit with me for a few minutes." Catherine walks to the couch and takes a seat. Lily pats her lap and Catherine sighs before laying her head in her mother's lap. She closes her eyes as Lily strokes her hair.

Lily begins the conversation. "When you were a little girl, you would always lay your head in my lap like this and tell me all your problems. Together we would come up with a solution for each and every one. Do you remember that?"

Catherine smiles and says "Yes, I do. But those days are over mom. My problems are much more complicated than they used to be. Unfortunately, this particular problem doesn't have a solution. Or at least one I can be happy with."

Lily continues stroking Catherine's hair before replying "You need to talk to Sara." Catherine begins to sit up, but Lily motions her back down. "Just listen to me for a minute. You don't have to come right out and tell her how you feel. Talk to her about things other than your job or your co-workers or the chicken pox. Find out what she thinks about love and relationships and family. You can find out all sorts of things about a person from these topics."

Catherine closes her eyes and considers her mother's advice. "Mom, how am I going to talk to Sara about anything with Lindsey in the room? She certainly doesn't need to hear her mom make a fool out of herself, and I don't think Sara will open up to anything in front of Lindsey."

Lily calmly replies "Catherine, Lindsey is going to get over the chicken pox days before Sara. The effects always linger longer with adults. She is going to be weak as a kitten."

Catherine takes a few minutes to think through the possible scenarios. "Great. How am I going to get her to stay here after Lindsey's well? In her mind, I think she rationalizes that she's helping Lindsey so that she doesn't feel dependent on me. The minute Lindsey leaves the room; she's going to want to go home."

Lily laughs and says "Sara can want all kind of things, but there is no way she will be able to leave this house without some sort of assistance. I don't think she will be able to make it to this couch without help. Trust me; you'll have a couple of days of a captive Sara to carry on all sorts of conversations. Now, you lie here and rest and I'll go check on our patients."

Catherine stares up at the ceiling in deep thought. 'I wish I could just come out and tell Sara how I feel, but she probably would crawl all the way home to get away from me. How in the world can I broach the subject of love and relationships with her? She is such a closed book. She's never even talks about her family. I wonder if I should start with discussing her childhood. Yeah, that should be a safe subject.'


Part 7

Lily returns to the den to update Catherine. Both Sara and Lindsey are running a much higher temperature so Lily suggests the use of cool baths since it worked for Sara before. She volunteers to handle Lindsey in the hall bath tub while Catherine once again deals with Sara.

Catherine lifts Lindsey from the bed and carries her to the bathroom while Lily follows closely behind. After getting Lindsey settled into the water, Catherine returns to talk Sara into her second bath of the day. As expected Sara once again digs her heels in. "Catherine, I bathed with those damn leaves this morning. Why do I have to take another bath?"

Catherine holding onto the few threads of patience she still has, says "Sara, your temperature is going up. I think we should try the cool bath to stop your fever from getting any higher. Last time, you were delirious with fever and very difficult to deal with, even more so than now. You were talking out of your head."

Sara immediately gives Catherine her full attention. "What do you mean by talking out of my head? What did I say?" Catherine trying to smooth things over replies "Nothing major, no blackmail material at all. You just didn't want to get out of bed." Sara takes on a skeptical look. "Catherine, you would not have described me as delirious if I didn't say something inappropriate or out of character."

Catherine steers the conversation back to the current bath. "Sara, we will have plenty of time later to discuss this matter. Right now, we need to get you into a cool bath to control your fever. Please don't argue about this with me now." Sara acquiesces to Catherine's request only because of her fear of becoming delirious again.

Catherine assists Sara into the bathroom and helps her sit on the edge of the tub. Sara holds on with both hands to keep from falling. While Catherine draws her bath, Sara's mind goes into overdrive. 'What could I have said? I sure hope I didn't transport back in time and talk about my childhood. Catherine would have sent me packing if that was the case. No, that couldn't be it. What else? Oh, shit. Please don't let me have come on to her.'

Sara is brought out of her musing by Catherine turning off the water and moving back to her side. Catherine looks down at Sara hoping for cooperation and not a repeat performance of Sara's obstinance. "Okay, Sara. Let's get you out of these clothes and into the water." Sara remembering Lily's help from this morning asks "Where's Lily? Can't she help me? You should be with Lindsey."

Catherine counts to ten before replying. "Mother is with Lindsey. She can handle her, but she is not strong enough to keep you from falling. You were not as weak this morning. Right now, you can barely hold onto the tub. Now, you are going to have to get over this problem of me seeing you naked. I've already seen you once, so this should be no big deal."

As Catherine moves to lift Sara's shirt, Sara reaches up to stop her and loses her balance. She begins to fall backward and Catherine immediately grabs her and pulls her close. Sara weakly wraps her arms around Catherine and closes her eyes as she listens to the rapid beating of Catherine's heart. The two relish the embrace without the other's knowledge of the enjoyment.

After a few minutes, Catherine breaks her hold and steadies Sara on the bath tub edge. "Okay. I think that's enough excitement for today. What do you say we try this again?" Sara, not able to respond with her emotions running so close to the surface, nods and begins to remove her shirt. The rest of the bathing process runs smoothly except for Catherine's occasional roving eye.

Sara is helped back into the bed and Catherine leaves to assist Lily with Lindsey allowing Sara to be alone with her thoughts. 'It felt so good to be in Catherine's embrace. It was so warm and safe. I could have stayed in her arms forever. In fact, I wish I could stay here with her and Lindsey always, but I will just have to enjoy the short time I have with them even if I'm not in the best of health."

Catherine returns and places Lindsey into bed with Sara. Lindsey rolls over and says "I feel much better. I don't feel as hot as before; how about you Sara?" Sara smiles and responds "The bath really helped. Good thing we've got your mom and grandmother to look out for us, huh?" Lindsey whole heartedly agrees.

Lindsey talks Sara into watching "Finding Nemo" with her and the two settle back against the headboard. The minute Nemo gets lost in the ocean, Lindsey puts her head in Sara's lap. Half way into the movie, Lindsey falls asleep. Sara begins to tire, but stays in her uncomfortable position so as not to wake Lindsey.

Catherine comes in as the movie nears its conclusion. Noticing Sara's predicament, Catherine lifts Lindsey off of Sara and back onto her pillow. Sara immediately goes through a stretching routine to work out the kinks. Catherine sits on the edge of the bed and addresses Sara. "Hey, Grissom came by earlier and dropped off these magazines. He thought you might be bored and want something to read."

Sara warily asks "Did he say anything else?" Catherine deciding to come clean answers "He wanted to see you, but I wouldn't let him in. I told him you and Lindsey needed to stay isolated from outsiders until you got over the initial phase of the illness."

Sara remains quiet for several minutes making Catherine nervous about her reaction to the news. Instead, Sara smiles and says "Thanks, Catherine. I really didn't want to see him. I told him awhile back that if he ever came to his senses about me it would be too late. Well, it's been too late for quite some time. I don't know what in the hell I was thinking wanting to get involved with him." Pausing, she looks down at a sleeping Lindsey and adds "Please don't tell Lindsey I said the 'h' word."

Catherine smiles and responds "I won't tell her. You only have to pay up if she hears you cursing; otherwise, I would have enough to pay for her entire college education." The two sit in comfortable silence before Catherine adds "I'm glad you're over Grissom, Sara. He is not good enough for you. You deserve someone who will love and cherish you."

Sara laughingly asks "Have anyone in mind?" Catherine mentally screams 'me', but she says aloud "You'll find someone someday. You just have to be patient. In the meantime, you can read your magazines."

Sara replies "I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I'd rather watch this movie again than read anything having to do with work." Catherine laughs and says "I can't believe you said that. You live for your work." Sara answers in a serious tone "It's my life. I don't have any kind of social life, so I bury myself in my work. It's the only thing I get satisfaction out of except for the times I take Lindsey on our outings."

Catherine can't believe her luck. Sara is actually talking about her life outside of work. Not wanting to pass up a chance to find out more, Catherine says "C'mon, Sara. Surely, you and your friends go out and have a good time on occasion." Sara pauses before responding "No, I don't go out at all. I don't have any friends here in Vegas. I have a few friends in San Francisco, but I hardly ever get to talk to them anymore. I miss having someone to hang with."

Continuing, Sara adds "Greg comes by sometimes and bugs the hell, oops, I mean heck out of me. I usually end up kicking him out of the apartment after 30 minutes. Occasionally he'll talk me into going to get something to eat. It's just not the same as being with my girlfriends. I miss having another female to bond with."

Catherine is just able to keep from replying 'I'd love to bond with you.' Not wanting this opportunity to slip away, Catherine instead answers "Maybe when you're feeling better, we can go out sometime."

Part 8

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