DISCLAIMER: CSI is the property of CBS, Jerry Bruckheimer etc. I own no characters except Jude.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Catherine lunged forward, catching Sara as she tumbled to the floor in a faint. Pulling Sara away from the door, while kicking it behind her, she took a deep breath to steady her shaking body. She was at a loss for what to do, she was rarely around people who were passing out.
She gently placed the younger woman on the floor, stroking her hair gently, "Sara? Sara?"
Not getting a response, she darted into the kitchen, digging through drawers until she found her dishrags. She wet one in the sink, carrying it to the couch and placing it on the arm of Sara's well- worn couch. Going back to Sara, she grunted as she lifted the woman in her arms and rushed her to the couch, placing the rag on her forehead. This wasn't how she expected this meeting to go. She had anticipated many reactions from Sara, ranging from anger that she was prying to tears as she was cornered. This, however, was something Catherine hadn't even considered.
The phone began to ring, and Catherine hesitated as she contemplated picking up Sara's home line. She decided against it, however, as Sara's answering machine picked up. Catherine hadn't even been aware that Sara had a machine. That just went to show how close the two of them were.
'You've reached Sara Sidle. I am unable to come to the phone right now, but please leave your name and number and I will call you back.'
Catherine listened for the beep, then heard a familiar sounding voice come over the line. As she spoke, Catherine realized she sounded a lot like Sara. With wide eyes, she concluded that this must be Sara's mother speaking.
"Sara Joan Sidle, I know you are there, pick up the phone this instant! You can not avoid me forever, put down the bottle, stagger over to the phone, and give me the respect I deserve!"
There was a small pause before she continued, "You fucking bitch, making things so hard on me all of the time. I'm on my way over, you better have my stuff for me when I get there, or else."
Catherine turned her eyes away from the phone, her attention going back to her younger colleague. She was surprised to see Sara's eyes open, her hands trembling, her face pale with obvious fear. Drawing in a shaky breath, Sara struggled to sit, "I'm going to be sick."
Before the words registered in Catherine's brain, Sara had bolted into the bathroom, the sounds of her retching filling the apartment. With a heavy sigh, mixed with a feeling of dread, Catherine went to dig for a glass in the kitchen. She may not know what to do in this situation, the least she could offer the brunette was a cold glass of water.
Sara stumbled from the bathroom a few moments later, taking the glass of water with a small, unreadable smile, her features still mixing fear and sadness, along with apprehension as she finally seemed to realize Catherine was in her apartment.
"I'm sorry." Sara said with a blush, sinking onto the sofa and running her fingers through her hair, "It's just been one of those nights."
"I understand," Catherine replied, "I know you're going through a really difficult time..." She really hated to bombard Sara with questions right now, but the investigator in her was refusing to sit back and let any more time pass in this case. "But I really do need to ask you a few questions about your brother and your parents."
Sara nodded with a heavy sigh, "I was expecting it. What do you need to know?"
Catherine nervously tapped her foot on the ground, "I'm supposed to bring you down for questioning, but I think it would be okay to just stay here. I know it's hard to talk about--"
"Can we just do it and get it over with?" Sara interrupted, "I understand and really appreciate that you're trying to make things easier on me, but prolonging this is only going to make it worse."
Catherine nodded, pulling out her notepad and recorder, "Let's start with Jude. When was the last time you had contact with your brother?"
"Right around the time I moved to Las Vegas, so around 6 years ago. He, uh, needed to borrow some money, so he called me for a loan. I refused, and he never made contact again." Sara said quietly, "As adults we weren't very close."
"When was the last time you had contact with your mother, Laura?" Catherine asked, watching Sara's reaction slowly.
The younger woman's already pale face paled further, and Catherine was worried she was going to pass out again. After a few moments of silence, Sara softly responded, "L..last n..night."
"How would you describe your relationship with your mother?" It took all of the willpower Catherine possessed not to cringe when she asked, knowing that she was treading into dangerous water.
Sara closed her eyes, taking a deep breath, "Erm, non-existent? She calls for money and stuff, but I never give it to her. I, uh, don't want to participate in anything she has to offer."
"Has she mentioned your brother any of the times you've talked to her?"
Sara shook her head, wiping a few tears that had made their way to the surface. "She hated Jude, she felt like he was a traitor because he didn't take her side during the murder trial. I had no idea they were even talking, she always swore that...that..."
Sara brought a shaking hand to her face, trying to stop the tears from flowing in front of her colleague, "She swore that she would kill him the moment she got her hands on him. She...she hated him. She hated him almost as much as she hated our father. Th...they looked alike back then, nearly identical now."
"Has Laura threatened you in any way?"
"Recently?" Sara asked with a dry laugh, "Threats are her way of communicating. On average, only one out of every thirty or so are worth worrying over. She's very, uh, high strung? She reacts on her emotions, not on reality, so you just have to take everything she says with a grain of salt. I mean, she threatened to kill my father more times than I can remember, but she only did it once."
"Once is all it takes." Catherine replied softly, "Do you believe it is possible that your mother manipulated your brother and the circumstances surrounding his death to hide her involvement?"
Sara shuddered, making eye contact with Catherine for the first time since Catherine started questioning her, "As a CSI? I would have to see the evidence. As her daughter? Absolutely."
Both women jumped when they heard a knock on the front door. Sara's eyes widened and she grabbed Catherine's hand, whispering urgently, "You've got to hide, she'll go ballistic if she knows someone is here."
"Just don't answer the door." Catherine hissed back, seeing terror in the brunette's eyes for the first time since they had met. She could feel Sara's body shaking against her own, and she had to resist the urge to hold and soothe the younger woman. "It's going to be okay, Sara, I've got your back."
Sara shook her head, whispering softly, "You don't know her like I do. She's going to know I'm here. Get down on the floor and sit against the counter. She won't be able to see us through the window if we're there."
"Sara! Open up this instant! I know you're there, your car is parked outside. Stop being such a brat and open the fucking door this instant!"
Sara began to violently shake beside Catherine, and Catherine was tempted to pull out her gun and meet Laura at the door. The pounding on the door turned into kicking, and moments later the sound of the lock cracking open caused Sara to whimper in dread as Catherine put her hand on her weapon.
Taking a deep breath, Sara motioned for Catherine to remain as she stood and made her way to the door, try to appear strong. "That was uncalled for. I should have you arrested for breaking and entering."
"I told you I was on my way over." Laura stated, ignoring Sara's previous statement, "Why the hell didn't you answer the phone? Too drunk to find it?"
"I am not a drunk." Sara replied evenly, her voice sounding a lot more confident than she felt, "I have not been drinking... Jude is dead."
"I already knew that."
"How?" Sara asked, grabbing Laura by the arm, "What did you do?"
Laura jerked away from Sara, "Don't you dare touch me, you little heathen! I know everything, Sara. The sooner you realize that, the better off you will be."
"I'm not scared of you." Sara replied, her eyes narrowing suspiciously. "Tell me how you know."
Laura brought her hand to Sara's cheek, brushing it and causing Sara to shudder, "Oh, my darling Sara, of course you're scared. If you weren't scared, you would have called the police by now to have me evicted. You're so scared you don't know what to do. You're so scared you don't know whether to cry, scream, or throw up. I terrify you...that's good. That's the way it should be. You still remember, after all of these years, how to play the game. You were always the good child. That's why you're still here and Jude's not."
"Are you saying that you were responsible for Jude's death?" Sara questioned, her eyes narrow with anger, "What did you do?"
The sound of Laura's hand connecting with Sara's cheek filled the apartment, and Laura hissed, "Don't you dare question me. I'm going to be the one asking the questions. Do you have no respect for your mother?"
"Never lay a hand on me again." Sara said icily, pushing her mother against the wall, a hand on her weapon, "I'm not a child anymore, you can not push me around."
Laura laughed, obviously unafraid of Sara's veiled threat, "Do you have what I asked for?"
"I already told you it would be impossible to get that for you in such a short amount of time." Sara replied evenly, motioning for the door, "You've wasted a trip down here."
Laura's eyes narrowed, her temper flaring, "I thought I told you that you were to have that money for me, no excuses. Nothing is impossible, you little bitch, you just have to want it badly enough. Do you know what happens to people who refuse to help me? What happened to that little girl who used to stand behind me, no matter what?"
"She grew up." Sara replied, her voice shaking with a mixture of fear and anger, "I'm not going to play games with you. You need to leave."
Laura let her hand brush against Sara's cheek, causing the younger woman to wince, "Sara, darling, don't forget what happened to your dear brother when he dared to go against my plans. I would hate for you to be involved in an unfortunate accident."
With that said, Laura strolled for the door, slamming it behind her as Sara backed up against the wall, shaking uncontrollably. Catherine appeared from the kitchen, a frown on her face, "I'm going to need to bring your mother in for questioning. We need to document this threat with some uniforms. Could you make a statement about the conversation you just had with your mother? Do you think she had something to do with Jude's death, or is she just using that to try to get her way?"
Sara remained silent, trying to keep her breathing steady as the last few minutes flashed through her mind repeatedly. Her chest began to tighten and she could feel her breathing shallow, leaving her dizzy and disoriented. Pressing her hands against her face, she began to sob, forgetting the other woman's presence, despite her rapid line of questions.
Catherine knelt beside Sara, one hand on the younger woman's shoulder, "Are you okay?" After a few seconds, it became obvious Sara wasn't going to answer her, and her rapidly paling complexion indicated that she was not okay, much as Catherine had assumed. "Breathe, Sara, breathe. Shh, it's okay, she's gone now. Try to calm down, okay? You're going to pass out if you don't start breathing, and I am really uncomfortable with that."
That last part seemed to help a bit, because Sara gasped for breath a few times, only to start painfully sobbing moments later.
Brushing Sara's hair back from her face, Catherine said gently, "Okay, here's what we're going to do...you can take a few minutes to compose yourself while I call Greg and have him work on getting your Mom in for questioning. I'll get Brass over here to take a statement from you about your Mom and Jude, as well as threats made against you by her. I'll see if Greg had enough evidence to link your Mom enough to hold her, at least overnight, and after all of that, we can start from the beginning and decide what we're going to do about this."
Sara's sobs lessened a bit as she nodded, whispering, "We?"
"Look, we may not be best friends, but I'm not going to sit back and let you go through this alone. If you want to get Nicky or Greg, hell, even Grissom, in here, that's fine, but you need someone. You can't do everything alone, Sara, you aren't superwoman."
Sara wiped her eyes, looking up at Catherine through tear-filled eyes, surprised to see compassion and understanding in them, "Uh, I don't want Nick, Greg, or Grissom. They...they wouldn't understand. Thank you."
"No problem," Catherine replied, patting Sara's shoulder gently, "Go splash some water on your face while I make a few phone calls."
Sara slowly rose to her feet, sniffling and fighting tears as she made her way to the bathroom, confused as to why Catherine was suddenly being so nice to her.
In the living room, Catherine watched as Sara disappeared, resisting the urge to hold her until all of the pain disappeared. She hated to see anyone hurting, but for some reason it was bothering her more than she would have anticipated to watch Sara suffer. With a heavy sigh, she dialed Greg's cell phone number, trying to figure out a way to let Greg know what was going on to where he wouldn't want to run to Sara's rescue. Even though she offered to get one of the guys to come over, she was relieved Sara had declined her offer. The air was changing between the two of them, and the change was definitely noticeable.
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