DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of these characters. Sorry for treading on any toes I do it only for my sanity.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I have a very small story arc in my head relating in some way to the episode arc C-C-Changes through Nesting Dolls and beyond.
SERIES: This is part two of the 'Three Little Words' series, following All I Need.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

You're Mine Tonight
By Debbie

Sara Sidle was sitting in her lounge, physically and mentally drained after one of those days she wanted to forget, and yet, it had started so well. Arriving at work, she'd been chatting with Greg, when Catherine Willows had suddenly accosted her. Throwing her head around the locker-room door she'd called out, "Sara, you're mine tonight."

With those four words still sitting in the back of her mind Sara was conflicted. Since the break-up of graveyard shift, Sara had had virtually no contact with the older CSI, and, though she was loathe to admit it, she missed the woman. Stubborn, forthright woman though Catherine was, Sara had to admit, if only to herself, that she and Catherine were one of the best CSI teams working together. When they allowed themselves to interact together, to spark off each other they usually got the case solved. So, when Catherine had uttered her words, on the one hand Sara had been pleased - at last she was to work a case with Catherine; On the other hand, she was aggrieved; the lingering memories so deeply buried reminded her that no-one but no-one owned Sara Sidle. There was no chance in hell that Sara was Catherine's tonight or any other night.

Maybe, just maybe it was that underlying current of discontent that had made Sara react towards Catherine as she had done later in the day because the blonde was ultimately the sort of woman that got Sara's back up. As she's said to Grissom, she had a problem with authority and sometimes Catherine Willows liked to overstep the mark. Shrugging, she realized that tonight she too had stepped over the mark. Where had she dredged up that comment about Catherine's sexuality?

Sara had great respect for strong women; women who got on with their lives when others might have broken. Catherine Willows was certainly a strong woman. Sara had heard rumors of a previous coke habit, had heard and seen that Eddie was abusive, and knew without a doubt that Catherine was trying her utmost to bring Lindsey up right. She also knew that Cath was having her own problems at the moment; Lindsey was being a typical girl nearing her teens, Chris Bezich had dumped the blonde for a younger women, and her father was being a pain in the ass. Yet, Sara had forgotten all that respect and shoved Catherine's overt sexuality down her throat. For what, a cheap jibe, an attempted distraction from the flashbacks of her own, awful past'?

Flitting from one scene to another Sara's mind went back a step to the moment Catherine had, for once in their 5 year working relationship, given her much appreciated praise. She could still see the look of admiration, and something else, that she didn't dare to give a name to, that had swept across Catherine's gorgeous porcelain features as she entered the lab to see the face that Sara had painstakingly recreated from the skull that Grissom had shattered. Sitting down to the side of Sara, the senior CSI had reached over and squeezed Sara's knee, as she whispered a heartfelt, "Thank you, Sara."

The glow Sara had received from that one comment had lasted her until the moment she had entered the interview room. With her mind full of the photographic images of the dead woman sitting side by side with the photographic memories of her own childhood, the young CSI had been unable to stop herself reacting in, what she now admitted to herself, was an inappropriate manner.

Looking back over her words and her actions, Sara shrugged. Today, maybe Catherine had been the one that had started off in the right. The younger CSI had taken over the interview session with that awful man who was obviously buying in wives that he could abuse and then get rid off as he pleased. She had basically ruined any chance they had had of talking to the man by her attitude. She had, however, had her reasons. And those reasons had culminated in that corridor scene with Catherine, and in her out-of-character breakdown with Grissom.

At last she had admitted to her demons, and yes maybe Grissom wasn't the obvious choice as an emotional crutch, but he always had her back and was always there for her in his own sweet way. She'd long ago realized that her relationship with Grissom would always lack the emotional support that a romantic relationship was based on, but that they would always have a strong friendship, founded on the respect and understanding that they had for each other on an intellectual and professional basis. Tonight that had borne itself out with his reaction to her confession.

Now, hours later, her head was clearing and she could see her tantrum and her confession for what they were; a clearing of the waters for a better future. Maybe, just maybe, she could finally move forward with her life and with relationships. As a girl she'd wished more than anything to have an older woman who understood and now, after meeting Cath's daughter Lindsey at the lab a few months earlier, she'd realized that she could play that role for Lindsey Willows.

She'd been surprised to walk into the locker-room to find a younger version of Catherine sobbing, and doubly surprised when Lindsey had spilled her heart out to her mom's neutral CSI colleague. It seemed Lindsey was missing her father and didn't feel able to discuss her loss with her mom. Sara had immediately seen the similarities in her life and Lindsey's, not least that both of their fathers had been abusive to their mothers, and that both of their fathers had then been murdered. Of course the resulting circumstances were different but Sara instantly thought the similarities meant that she could help the girl to cope. Waving goodbye to a happier Lindsey she had made a vow to herself to initiate contact with the girl. Wanting to approach Catherine to see whether she might attempt to take the girl under her wing, the time had, so far, never seemed right. Now was apparently the time.

Suddenly, she remembered her angry words to Ecklie when he'd insinuated she ought to apologize to Catherine. "I'm not." For once in her life Sara was going to eat her words. To make friends with Lindsey she needed to apologize to Catherine and to apologize to Catherine she needed to repair all the damage of today's words. Sara groaned inwardly, the only way she could think of to do that was to be as truthful with Catherine as she had been with Grissom, and that was going to be hard.

What the hell? To help Linds through her teenage angst was more important than her pride. More than that, being truthful to herself after the rigors of her day, she wanted, indeed needed, Catherine as a friend.

She would never be Catherine's for the night but, if Catherine would have her, she might cope with being Catherine's friend for the night.

The End

Sequel I'm So Sorry

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