DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I just ignored all the little GSR moments and concentrated on “Living Doll” with a little twist.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Rain Check
By mirage


The girl holds me responsible for the death of Ernie Dell. I took away the only person she ever loved so she's going to do the same thing to me.

Part 1

"I've got a pain in my sawdust /
That's what's the matter with me /
Something is wrong with my little inside/
I'm just as sick as can be /
Don't let me faint, someone get me a fan /
Someone run for the medicine man /
Ev'ryone hurry as fast as you can /
I've got a pain in my sawdust."

Over and over again Natalie Davis repeated the song, never stopping, never changing her intonation. It was like listening to a broken record and still it was all Sofia Curtis could do. She watched the young woman through the one-way mirror as she sat on the cold metal chair, rocking herself forth and back, lost in her own world.

She observed every move the woman made, noticing the slightest differences and waited for a change, a crack in this wall of madness that allowed her to break through, to get the woman to confess and tell her where Sara Sidle was.

"She's like that since Grissom talked to her." Brass said and Sofia wasn't able to tell if he was mad at Grissom or himself for allowing the other man to talk to her. "The psychiatrist doesn't know when she will snap out of it, might stay like that forever."

"I should have followed my original plan," the older man finally muttered. "Screw the psychological approach."

"We're supposed to have breakfast together." Breakfast and dinner. She was supposed to fall asleep next to Sara and wake up in her arms. Tomorrow was their first night off together in a long time.

They had plans for the day.

"Don't worry, we'll have her back by then." Brass said grimly and turned off the speakers, the room suddenly eerily quiet. "We won't lose another one."

Sofia tore her gaze from the insane woman. "Why, Brass? Why Sara? I don't understand it. She doesn't use bleach. She didn't do anything to earn this."

For the first time Brass avoided her gaze. "Ask Grissom," the older man told her.


Heaviness was surrounding her. Her eyelids too heavy to lift Sara tried to stretch, but she was unable to. She took a deep breath, the pain of doing so causing her to open her eyes for the first short time. Except for darkness her still unfocusing eyes couldn't see anything. She tried to stretch again, realizing that all she could do was outstretch her right arm. Her fingers curled, touching the wet slimy ground. The substance glided through her fingers. Unable to grasp anything solid, not with her fingers or her mind she slipped back into unconsciousness.


"Why her?" Sofia positioned herself into the doorframe to Grissom's office. Even from the distance she could see what Grissom was working on. She couldn't bear to look at it, afraid the next time she would see Sara would be an exact replica. It mocked her, reminding her that she once before had failed and a woman was dead because of that.

She couldn't lose Sara.

Grissom looked up from the miniature crime scene, his eyes hidden behind magnifying glasses. He looked like one of his beloved bugs, mimicking even their impassive gaze. "Now is not the time…"

"No, I need to know why, I need to understand why her and not you." The blonde stepped up to his desk, a determination in her voice she didn't feel. "Tell me, why Sara is out there in the desert buried under a crashed mustang from a crime scene she worked weeks ago." Against her will, her eyes wandered to the small doll, resembling Sara and the scalpel next to it.

Her eyes widened when she realized what Grissom was about to do.

He couldn't. Sara wasn't dead.

Her breathing became erratic, the closeness of the room suffocating her. Never before had she realized all the death Grissom surrounded himself with. All the body parts swimming in formaldehyde filled jars, the mounted butterflies and spiders. Sara didn't belong here and for a moment the irrational thought of saving the doll from her destiny crossed her mind.

Her hand brushed her hair out of her face and she used the time to collect herself. "Tell me why, so I know how to help." She needed to understand why Sara was a victim and why suddenly everyone in the lab thought the brunette was with Grissom. She had heard the whispering, the rumor that the two of them were a couple and that Sara was out there because of him. Maybe if they hadn't kept their relationship a secret Sara would now be with her and there wouldn't be a brunette doll on Grissom's table waiting for her dissection.

"I allowed myself a moment of weakness," Grissom removed his glasses and looked at the doll on his desk with a tenderness that made Sofia want to punch the other man.

"I touched her arm at that crime scene." Grissom continued, his gaze still on the small doll. His hand reached out to touch it, but he stopped himself. "I thought no one would notice. I don't think Sara did, but she did. Natalie did." He looked up again, his eyes carrying the same hurt she felt.

They both were close to losing the woman they loved.

"She looked so happy and beautiful."

Sara had been happy.

They both had been.


Breathing was difficult, her chest restricted. Nonetheless she tried to inhale deeply. She ignored the tears that shot to her eyes, waiting for the pain to subside enough for her to think clear.

Her free hand searched the area around her. She didn't feel much, her fingers numb and unprotected by the cold rain. There was nothing but mud under her and metal around her.

A car.

She was under a car.

Sara didn't remember a car accident. The last she remembered was approaching her car. Someone was calling her name. She turned to the source to find a familiar looking woman staring at her.

Then there was excruciating pain.

A thought hit her with panicking clarity.

She'd been kidnapped.

Pictures of a buried Nick invaded her mind.

This couldn't be.

Walter Gordon was dead, she herself had collected the remains of his body after the explosion had torn him into thousands of small pieces.

Sara tried to move, to get free, but cried out in pain when she moved her left leg. She didn't care for the dizziness or the nausea as she tried again.

And again.

She only stopped when the pain was too much to bear and she had to lower her head down onto the wet ground, her lungs unable to provide her with the oxygen she needed.

Please, please find me.

Sara prayed for the first time in years.


Go detect.

Sofia could hear Sara's voice saying.

"I want to honey, there's nothing I want more than to detect you." The blonde whispered into the emptiness of the restroom. She was slowly falling apart. After the Bell shooting and the death of Kamen it had been Sara who had held her together and gave her the support to carry on, but without her she wouldn't be able to survive this.

Her hands were shaking as she turned the cold water on to hold her hands under the water jet, focusing on the slowly emerging pain.

She had wondered how Natalie Davis had been able to overcome Sara and drag her through the desert and under a car.

She didn't wonder any more.

Not after they had needed three officers to hold Natalie down until the sedative finally worked. Now the girl was at the medical ward unreachable for her or anyone else.

Sofia turned the water off and flexed her fingers. They were still trembling.

The blonde tried to imagine the cold her lover had to feel, the terror of being trapped under a car, unable to move. Her hands grabbed the sink for support as dizziness hit her and she had to swallow repeatedly to fight the bile down her throat. She couldn't be weak now; Sara needed her strong and at her best. She could fall apart later when Sara was safe. She smashed her fist down onto the sink and welcomed the sensation that overwrote the paralyzing fear of losing Sara.

The door opened and Catherine stepped into the restroom; she stopped when she saw Sofia. "You okay?" she asked concerned.

A humorless laugh was Sofia's answer. "I should ask you that."

The shock from Catherine's earlier encounter with Natalie was still visible on her face, her lip split and swollen. "I've had worse." The CSI shrugged, acting unimpressed.

Guilt washed over Sofia as she watched the other woman walk over to the washbasin next to her. It had been her job to protect the CSI, one failure more in a long list. Their eyes met in the mirror and Catherine tried to smile, but instead flinched and touched her lip. "I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault, we knew the risks," Catherine retorted. The psychiatrist had warned them that Natalie was in an unpredictable state, but they both had dismissed his advice, the possibility to find anything that would lead them to Sara, way more important to them. "I would do it again, if necessary," the older woman said determined and flipped her hair back.

Sofia could do without a repeat. She had watched Natalie closely for any sign of a change, and even in retrospective she couldn't find a warning. She had still sung her song, passively enduring as Catherine scraped under her fingernails for evidence. Then the CSI had started to take her fingerprints and suddenly hell went loose.

With an animalistic scream the girl had lunged herself at Catherine, throwing them both to the ground. Sofia had been able to get the insane woman off the redhead, but not before she had landed a punch.

"Damn." Catherine's curse brought her back to the restroom as the redhead wiped off her smeared mascara. Their eyes met again and Sofia realized that the ever tough Catherine Willows had been crying. "Don't tell anyone. I have a reputation to lose," the other woman said, her attempt of joking failing for both of them. The fake smile faded and Catherine's shoulders sagged down. Suddenly the other woman looked years older, her real age showing for the first time. "Sometimes I think that the night shift is cursed," she sighed. "Someone out there tries to take us down, one by one. First Nick and Brass, then Greg and now Sara." One last time she wiped at her face, only satisfied when her make-up once again looked perfect. "but we always pulled through and this time won't be any different."

She turned to face Sofia, new determination in her eyes. "And now we're going to find Sara."


Sara screamed.

She shouted for help till her voice was gone and the burning sensation in her lungs forced her to stop. The weight of the car felt heavier with every passing second, making it even more difficult to breath.

Her hand frantically reached out for something to hold on to, to pull herself out from under the car, but there was nothing, only wet mud.

Nothing to hold onto.

There was nothing she could do to get free.

Her own loud heartbeat mingled with the still falling rain drops and Sara screamed again.


Brass looked down at the man, who sat slumped down in his armchair. "Stop playing games." He placed his foot onto the chair's arm, lowering over Bill Jonesy. "I won't ask twice." Their suspect hadn't been very cooperative until now and Brass was losing his patience fast.

Jonesy tried to stand up, but the detective put his foot onto his chest and pushed him back, the armchair almost toppling over form the force.

"That's police brutality. I want a lawyer," The other man cried out and rubbed his chest. "You can't come into my house at 2 a.m. and threaten me." His eyes went to Sofia, hoping for support from the blonde female detective, but she couldn't care less. Right now Brass was more level-headed than her, knowing exactly how far he could go. If she had questioned him, Bill Jonesy would have had for sure a reason to file a complaint because of police brutality.

With disgust she looked at the man, who only wore a t-shirt and boxer shorts and reeked of alcohol. "We can do a lot more," she threatened, stepping next to her colleague. "Right now we could arrest you because of your involvement in the abduction and attempted murder of a police officer."

Bill Jonesy's eyes went wide as he finally realized the situation he was in. "You can't do that, I didn't do anything." He stammered. Once again he tried to get up and away from the detectives, but once again Brass pushed him back down.

"Your salvage yard is the last official whereabouts of this red mustang." Brass threw a picture of the wreckage at Jonesy's chest. "You bought it after the police gave it free."

The scrap dealer looked at the picture, recognizing the car. "It was only here for a day then I resold it. I didn't do anything illegal." Sweat was glistering on his forehead. His hand reached out to wipe off the fluid and to brush through his spare hair.

"Has this woman bought the car?" Sofia showed him a picture of Natalie Davis, but Jonesy shook his head.

"No, it was a guy."

"What is his name?" The blonde asked, a new urgency in her tone. If Natalie Davis had an accomplice he knew where Sara was.

"He didn't give me any. He paid cash." Jonesy explained and Sofia stepped back, feeling like someone had punched her; the constant up and down of hope and crushed failure taking its toll on her.

"Where did you deliver the car?" Brass filled in for her, leaning down till his face was only mere inches away from the other man's one. Where Sofia's energy was draining his anger seemed to fuel him.

The man on the armchair leaned back trying to put as much distance as possible between him and the angry detective. "I didn't deliver it, he came with his own truck."

"Do you remember the license plate?"

When Jonesy shook his head once again Brass grabbed the startled man by his shirt pulling him up. "This isn't enough," he said.

"Wait!" the scrap dealer called out panicked and held his hands in front of his face to protect himself from the punch he was fearing. "He wore a silver bracelet with a name on it."

"What did it say?" Sofia asked him, already dreading the answer. There had been a man in Natalie's closer milieu wearing a silver bracelet and he couldn't help them anymore.

"Trevor." The two detectives looked at each other, both having the same thought. Trevor Dell, Natalie Davis' dead foster brother. They had reached a dead end once again.

Fighting for control Sofia looked through the window out into the darkness. The yard was faintly illuminated, behind it the interstate leading into the desert. A sudden thought crossed her mind, her last hope. "Which direction did he take? City or desert?"

This time Bill Jonesy didn't hesitate to answer. "The desert."

It wasn't much, only a rough direction, but enough for Sofia to hold onto.

When they walked back to their car, taking Bill Jonesy with them for further interrogation, Sofia stopped midway. She didn't care for the rain that drummed down on her as she looked out into the dark cold desert. Every fiber in her body screamed at her to follow the freeway into the desert and search for her lover, she could be close, maybe just behind the next hill. They were losing precious time and with every passing minute their chance of finding Sara alive decreased.

"Sofia!" Brass called out to her, already in the dry safety of the police car. "We have to go."

"Hang in there," The blonde whispered into the night air. "I need you." She felt like abandoning Sara as she followed Brass to the car to drive back to the headquarter.


Sara had lost the feeling in her right arm some time ago and as long as she didn't try to move it, it didn't hurt like the rest of her body did. Somehow she had succeeded to rest her head on her arm, protecting it from the mud and water that had started to pool under her.

She was shivering, her teeth chattering. She had never felt this cold in her life before.

She wanted to go home, cuddle in bed with Sofia.

She didn't want to die.


Sofia watched the night shift gather around the table. They were her last hope to find Sara and as much as she wanted to trust them, to confide in their ability to solve crimes, she was scared.

It didn't help either that Nick repeated over and over again that they had found him and that they would find Sara now. First it had been comforting, but with every repeat it lost substance, leaving behind a stale taste in her mouth. She tried to swallow it with one of too many coffees, but it only churned her stomach.

Her eyes once again traveled to the clock on the wall, following the second hand.

Was it going fast or slow? She couldn't tell.

Sofia only knew that too much time had past since Sara's abduction.

She once had been an optimistic person. It was one of the things Sara loved her for.


There was no voice telling her to fight and stay awake and she was thankful for that little benefit. She didn't think of the consequences of surrender and closing her eyes. All her mind was filled with was the wish that the pain would end. Closing her eyes seemed to do the trick.

Part 2

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