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 the final part of the 'Three Little Words' series, following All I Need, You're Mine Tonight and I'm So Sorry.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Don't You Dare
By Debbie

Captain Jim Brass stood looking down the roadway, grim faced and for the normally jovial looking police officer, ashen in color. One of his dearest colleagues, a lady he liked to call a friend was deep in trouble. While clearing a simple crime scene, which kind of proved Grissom's theory that no scene was ever simple, she had trodden on some kind of explosive device. From what he had gleaned from her colleagues, pressure was the detonation device, and if that pressure was released the bomb would blow. To make matters worse, she was enclosed in a small hole under a concrete floor, too small for either of her male colleagues. Hence the reason Jim Brass was pacing the roadside.

Suddenly, he saw an approaching Tahoe traveling at enough speed to throw rubber up as it screeched to a halt. Despite the levity of the situation he managed a little chuckle as Sara Sidle jumped out of the driver's side and slammed the door shut in anger. Jim addressed his young colleague quickly, "Hey Sara, thanks for coming, I think Catherine needs you."

"What's going on, Jim. Why me? You know Cath rarely asks for me, why the urgency? Sophia just said that Cath was in trouble and that she'd asked for me. Why?"

Another gentle smile crossed Jim's features, "Well actually, Cath didn't ask for you, she's kinda not been saying much at all. The guys asked for you, thought you might talk some sense into her."

"Me talk sense into Catherine. What the hell is wrong? Jim, just tell me," yelled a steadily exasperated Sara.

They stopped walking and Jim pointed down a small incline where Sara could see Warrick and Nick leaning over a small hole obviously talking earnestly to someone in the hole. Jim quickly filled Sara in on the situation so far and without further encouragement she clambered down to her friends.

Warrick addressed her first. "Hey Sara. Thanks for coming over. Cath didn't want us to call you, said there was no point putting anybody else in danger, but… um… we," he indicated between himself and Nick, "thought that you'd want to be here… you know?"

Sara grimaced at his words, knowing that he was saying something in his words that, at this point in time, she didn't quite understand. She put it to one side to be given consideration at a less pressing time. She shrugged and murmured, "Well, I'm here now. What can I do?"

Nick answered, "We thought you might be small enough to drop down there and give her a little bit of visual support, you know moral support until the bomb squad get here." Then, surprisingly, he chuckled, "I guess you're the only one that'd be able to withstand her temper when you turn up down there. She was quite adamant that we didn't call anyone, and you know Catherine when someone undermines her orders."

Sara grinned, "Yeah… well… I'm used to her anger so let's get this on, huh?"

Before she could climb to her feet they all heard Catherine's voice from below. "Warrick? Nick? What's happening? We've got another problem down here. It seems that flash storm of a few minutes ago has caused a flood somewhere." Her voice dropped and to her close friends gave a hint of worry as she continued, "The waters rising around my feet. It's coming in pretty steadily. Where the fuck is that bomb squad?"

Her use of such a coarse word told the three watching CSI's that Catherine was more worried than she was letting on. Before either Nick or Warrick could react Sara was dangling her feet over the edge of the hole. She smiled at their shocked faces and shrugged, "Hey! She needs me. Get that bomb crew here pronto." And with that she was gone.

Even though she was nervous as hell, the brunette knew enough that any vibration might cause a reaction in the explosive device, and so she dropped down as carefully as she could. Despite her care, her entrance was announced by the splash as she dropped into about six inches of water. She immediately switched her flash-light on to find blue eyes staring at her with a look of disbelief. Sara smiled.

"What the hell are you doing here, Sidle? I said no-one else… I said… shit, Sara… what are you doing here?" Catherine's voice trailed off and Sara only just heard her final whispered, "Thank you."

Surprised at Catherine's last words, Sara did the only thing she could think of at that moment, she reached out and hugged Catherine's head to her shoulder and whispered that everything was going to be alright. Catherine accepted the comfort for a minute before rearing up and shouting, "I said no-one else, now get back up that hole and make yourself useful up top."

She physically shoved Sara off, her eyes flashing with anger, "Go Sidle. Now! I don't want you here. Go!"

Sara smiled; at least things were back to normal. As was usual in her relationship with Catherine Willows she shouted back, "I'm not going anywhere without you Catherine, so you can stop your moaning, I'm here until the bomb squad get us out and if that means we have to scream and shout at each other, I'm game. Bring it on or shut up and listen."

For once Catherine didn't shout back, instead she spoke in a gentle controlled tone, "What the hell, Sara. I need you to get back up there. I need you to go and see Lindsey, tell her I'm ok, tell her I'll be home as soon as I can. Please Sara, she cares about you and I trust you to take care of her until I'm back. Hell, Sara, I trust you to take care of her if…" her voice stuttered, "… God forbid… anything goes wrong down here. Please Sara."

"Cath? I'm not going anywhere at the minute. Lindsey'll be fine with Nancy. Just tell me what you're standing on. Let me use my science to think. I promise, if I need to, I'll go to Lindsey. I care about her too. Don't worry."

Sara's confident promise calmed Catherine and the two women spent a few minutes discussing the case at hand as if it was an everyday occurrence. Oblivious to the world around them, they teased and tweaked details from each other in a way only those two ever could. Suddenly Catherine gasped, "Sara, the waters rising quicker, I think. Where's that bomb squad?"

Sara called up top to find the squad was about fifteen minutes away. She looked at Catherine, thought about Lindsey and made a decision. She looked up into clear blue eyes that were staring into her own and whispered, "Please forgive me, Cat, please."

Reading her younger colleagues mind instantly, Catherine cried out, "Don't you dare, Sara, don't…"

Sara stepped forward and put her foot by the side of Catherine's, taking the pressure she bodily pushed the smaller woman away from her, and calmly took control of the explosive device beneath her foot. Once she had got her breath back she gazed into the angry eyes of Catherine, then pleaded with her colleague, "Please forgive me, Cat. You have a daughter who loves you, I have nothing. Go to her, I'll see you both later, I promise."

Catherine's breath caught in her throat as she continued to gaze into the brunette's eyes. "You goof, Sara Sidle, of course you have somebody. I'm not going anywhere until I have my daughter's friend safe. She cares for you, Sara. I care for you." The last four words were spoken so quietly they were hardly recognizable.

The quiet admission from Catherine was not, however, missed by Sara as she acknowledged the words with an imperceptible nod of her head. She refused to address the words with the situation as it was, that could wait until they were both safe. The intense moment between the two women was interrupted by a shout from above, the bomb squad had arrived.

Sara whispered earnestly, "Go Catharine, the squad'll need all the room they can get. Go call Lindsey, I'll be up top soon enough, then you can bite my head off and we can get back to normal. Go."

Catherine chuckled. "You win, Sidle. I'm going. Don't you dare do anything stupid, I've more to say on this matter, you know?"

Sara smiled. "Of that I have no doubt, now go."

Before leaving Catherine leaned over and planted a soft kiss on Sara's cheek, whispering in her ear, "I mean it Sara, don't you dare do anything stupid. Lindsey needs you. I need you."

With those gentle words ringing in her ears Sara watched as Catherine clambered out of the hole. Alone, she stared around the dimly lit hole. Through the rising water at her feet, she could finally see the device she was controlling with pressure from her foot and to the side a large flat stone. She could just make out three wires protruding from a box with what appeared to be some sort of hammer mechanism, similar to the working of an old fob watch, somewhat like the one her grandfather had carried.

As she pondered the explosive device a head appeared through the hole. It was one of the bomb disposal team. He calmly explained that his team were all too big to clamber through the opening but that he might be able to talk her through the disarming of the bomb.

As he related his words to the frightened CSI she heard a commotion in the background. Chuckling to herself she could make out a few more coarse words being thrown around from her colleagues up top. It was obvious that Catherine Willows had something to say to the bomb squad crew. Sara made a mental note to thank her colleague for fighting her corner once all this was over.

Grinning at the man staring at her she shrugged her shoulders and asked him what she could do. After taking quite intense details of the position of all the wires and bomb components he disappeared back up top, to be replaced by the grave face of Catherine once more.

The two women chatted about everyday things and Sara was grateful for the distraction. It surprised both the women how easy the conversation was flowing, although making conscious steps to make a friendship via Lindsey they had never actually spent any quality time together.

After a while the bomb expert returned and Catherine retired to allow him access. He told Sara which of the wires was the detonator and which was the neutral wire but admitted that the third wire was confusing them and asked if she could see where it was coming from and going to. Further notes were exchanged, not least the fact that the water had risen another six inches or so to just below Sara's knees. She emphasized the fact that she was having problems actually seeing the device and that they really ought to get their act together and quickly.

Catherine's gentle features appeared once more with the teasing words, "You don't half get yourself in some situations, Sara Sidle."

Needing the banter to relax her steadily fraying nerves Sara rejoined, "I seem to think it was you that got me in this trouble, Ms Willows."

Catherine grimaced, feeling guilty as it was. "Yeah, I know. I'm sorry, Sara, I really am."

"Hey! I know that. You didn't want me here in the first place. So we can blame Nick and Warrick, huh?" joked Sara. Then, without really thinking, she added, "I tell you what, when this is all over, you can take me out for a meal to really say you're sorry." The reserved CSI blushed as she realized just what she'd said but looking up she saw only the grinning face of Catherine.

The blonde murmured, "That's a date Sara Sidle; just make sure you're in one piece to collect."

As if the sky above had heard Catherine's worried tone and decided to pour scorn on her words the heavens above opened with another flash storm, the sudden downpour drowned out their words and drove Catherine back from the edge of the hole. After a few minutes of solid rain Catherine heard Sara scream her name. Oblivious to the water she threw herself on the ground once more and looked towards the brunette. The water had risen alarmingly and now sloshed around Sara's waist.

Reacting immediately Catherine shouted for the bomb disposal crewman, he came running and pushed Catherine out of the way. Shouting into the hole he told Sara to hold on a few more minutes, they were nearly there with a computer simulation. Then he rushed back to his crew once again, leaving Sara and Catherine alone.

Sara stared into the stricken eyes of Catherine as they both noticed that the water was still rising. Sara locked eyes with Catherine and stated calmly, "I can't wait, Catherine, get back to safety now. I'll be fine, I have a date to collect on, don't worry."

Catherine blanched as she realized Sara was going to take things into her own hands and screamed into the hole, "Don't you dare, Sara."

Sara smiled and replied, "I dare. Now go, and know, I care about you too."

A resigned Catherine turned and walked away.

Sara waited a few moments to allow Catherine to retreat to safety, whispering a few words to a God she didn't really believe in, she crossed her fingers and dived down. With her groping hands she found the large rock she had spotted earlier, she found the strength from somewhere to lift it against the pressure from the water, and placed it on the detonator device. Gritting her teeth she stepped off the device and prayed.

On top, Catherine watched the hole carefully. Something had happened in that hole and she was determined to follow it through if the powers that be brought Sara out safely. She had recognized a feeling in her heart, long buried and hidden; a feeling that Sara held the key to both her and her daughter's future. All that was needed was the time to grow together as a family and more than anything, Catherine now saw, for her and Sara to grow together as a couple.

Suddenly, the blonde's heart skipped a beat as a soaked Sara immerged from the hole. Oblivious to the watching Nick, Warrick, Brass and the bomb disposal crew, Catherine Willows ran to and enveloped Sara in a bone-crushing hug. Murmuring, "Don't you ever do that again young lady," she rested her forehead against the brunette's and slowly allowed their lips to meet in a chaste kiss full of so much promise that Sara blushed to her roots.

Catherine smiled and whispered in her ear, "Come on, let's leave this lot to finish off. Let's go home"

A grinning trio of male colleagues watched as Catherine turned to wave a goodbye before taking Sara's hand to gently pull her away from the scene towards something more important.

The End

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