DISCLAIMER: "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," the characters, and situations depicted are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer Television, Alliance Atlantis, and CBS Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Sarah for the beta work and inspiration.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Underneath it all
Catherine sighed. She had thought that after closing her case she could go home. Instead, her supervisor teamed her up with Sara Sidle on a double homicide. She glanced over at the younger CSI sitting in the passenger seat, wondering how it was possible she didn't show any signs of fatigue.
"How do you do it?" She asked, trying to start a conversation.
"Do what?" The brunette looked up, raising her eyebrow.
"Stay awake for so long without being tired," the blonde stated simply.
"I just do," came the simple answer.
Catherine concentrated on the road again. It was obvious Sara wasn't in the mood to talk. The brunette had been acting different lately, for months she had actually had a smile on her face. She couldn't remember the last time they fought, something that before happened regularly. Catherine had suspected that Sara was dating someone. But now her demeanor had changed again, Sara had been pulling more doubles, her smile had faded and she seemed to pay less attention to the way she dressed.
She glanced over again. Sara was staring out of the window. She looked like she was concentrating very hard on something.
"You know," Catherine paused before continuing, "You can always talk to me." She cringed at the sound of the words. She hadn't meant it to sound like that.
Sara's head shot up. "I'm fine." Her automatic defense had been up before she had even realized it herself.
"I'm just saying," Catherine replied. It hadn't been a very good idea to offer her support to Sara, but she wanted her co-worker to know she would always be there to talk.
Sara turned her attention back to the darkness outside. She was fuming but she didn't want her co-worker to notice. You can always talk to me, who did Catherine think she was? Oprah? Sara shrugged off the thought, right now she needed to concentrate on the case on hand.
The reflections of the red and blue lights put a faint smile to her face. They were at the scene. Finally.
Both women got out of the car and grabbed their kits. Sofia was already waiting for them at the yellow police tape. Catherine spotted Brass talking to some bystanders. They got Brass and Sofia, must be a big case.
"What have we got?" Catherine asked.
"Bob Hall and Daisy Jennings. Tied up and shot. They were having a picnic near the lake. Brass is talking to the people who found them," Sofia talked while guiding the two CSI's to the crime scene.
"Sara, you take the perimeter, I'll check the bodies," Catherine said while she was already walking towards the bodies.
"Okay," was the answer of the brunette, who had already gotten out her camera.
Sara smiled to herself. Sofia was a Detective now, but she still had a little bit of a CSI in her. The blonde had marked the tire tracks so no one would step on them. Sara took pictures and reached for her kit to get the plaster.
Catherine unconsciously shivered on seeing the scene. Neither of the two were a year over twenty-five. The chequered fleece plaid was covered in blood. The blood pools told Catherine both youngsters had bled to death. A reed picnic basket was standing next to the young man's body. It was filled with fruit, crackers and a bottle of wine.
She imagined they were out on a date. It was a little old fashioned but very romantic in her eyes. It was such a shame it had ended in this. It made her even more reluctant on letting Lindsey going out on dates. She was glad her daughter wasn't really interested in boys yet.
David arrived at the scene. The liver temperature of both bodies revealed that they had been dead for at least eight hours. They had been lying there for a while without being found. The assistant coroner had cleared the scene and it was now Catherine's turn to find evidence. Now the bodies had been moved, she had a clearer view of the blood pools. She snapped some pictures and started her search.
Both victims had been tied up and were shot executioner style. David had told her both were shot several times. There were no exit wounds. She had bagged the ropes that had been tied around their wrists, hoping the killer had left epithelials behind.
"Cath." The blonde CSI jumped up.
"Jesus, Sara, don't even scare me like that again," the brunette took a step back at Catherine's outburst.
"Sorry," she said, looking at her feet, "I just wanted to say that I found their car."
"It's okay," Catherine didn't mean to sound as harsh as she did. "Good work, I'm finishing up here, how are you doing on the perimeter?"
"I found this," Sara said with a big smile, holding a gun between her thumb and index finger, "I also found tire tracks from two cars, the killer probably got here by car. I checked every inch, but I didn't find anything else."
"I have the rope he tied them down with, but that's about it. I bagged the basket, but it looks untouched," Catherine sighed. She knew they wouldn't have much to go on.
"You ready to head back to the lab?"
Catherine got up from her crouching position. "Yeah, let's go."
They met again later in the break room. Sara had been searching in vain for a match on the tire tracks and Catherine was still waiting on the results on the rope from Wendy.
"So what have we got so far?" The blonde CSI said, taking a sip of her coffee.
"I haven't found a match yet on the tire tracks, but I'm still on it. Sofia called me, the family visits didn't give anything conclusive. She sent the personal belongings of both kids over to the lab for comparison."
"I'm waiting for Wendy's results. She found epithelials on both pieces of rope. I'm going to pay a visit to Doc while I wait for them, wanna join me?" Catherine said as she got up.
Sara just nodded, grabbed her cup and followed the blonde CSI.
When they entered the morgue, Doc Robbins was fishing a bullet out of the male victim's back.
"What have you got, Doc?" Catherine said as she walked towards the body.
"Four shots to the back and one to the back of the head. The last one hit the occipital lobe and killed him instantly. I've got all the bullets here," He said while handing Catherine the plastic bags with the bullets in them.
"What about the girl?" Sara asked.
"She was shot seven times, only in the back. COD is exsanguination. I've extracted the bullets," Doc Robbins said wile nodding his head towards the other bags with bullets.
"I'm going to take these," Sara said while looking at Catherine, "Bobby is gonna love me."
"I'll finish up here," Catherine said.
Bobby looked at Sara, who was bending over the microscope.
"They are .40 Smith and Wesson bullets. The killer used a Smith and Wesson 4006 model, which is a standard issue for most law enforcement agencies."
Sara looked up at the tech, "The killer is a cop?"
"Not necessarily, a lot of guns get 'lost' or sold, you don't even wanna know," He shook his head to emphasize what he said.
"I'll test fire the gun and check the database for a match."
Sara smiled. "Thanks, if you find anything else, let me know?"
Catherine was sipping on her third coffee. She had laid out all the pictures of the crime scene and she was looking for something, anything. When she saw Sara walking by, she waved at the brunette, hoping she had something solid.
"Got something?" She asked hopefully.
Just as Sara was about to answer when her pager went off, with a smile she looked at it.
"Maybe I do," she said before walking off.
Catherine smiled and once again focused on the photos in front of her. Sara was like a pit bull, she would bite herself into a case and she wouldn't stop until she had something. Even though they fought a lot, Catherine knew that she and Sara were an unbeatable team.
"What have you got?" Sara said while entering the ballistics lab. She could feel her heart thumping in her chest. It was from the excitement of finding a new lead.
"Your gun has been used in a similar case in Miami," Bobby said, showing Sara the screen. "Two months ago it was used to murder two teenagers that were out on a date and last month again, two young people in a car."
"Thanks Bobby," Sara was already on her way to see Catherine.
This case had just gotten bigger. It had a connection to Miami. But it wasn't the only thing that had a connection there.
Grissom told them to go home and get some rest. He said he would call the Miami crime lab and tell them about their case.
The going home part had been the easiest.
Sara was now lying on the couch with a beer in her hand. She was watching a documentary on Discovery Channel which she had already seen a few times. Her mind wasn't with the TV anyway.
Secretly she hoped they would call her in. There was no sleeping anyway with a case like this. Especially now she knew it was probably a serial killer. She wondered who the Miami crime lab would send to Vegas.
She slowly got up and decided that she should get some sleep. After all, sleeping did make time go faster.
A smile appeared on Catherine Willows' face as her pager went up. She had hopes that Wendy Simms would be able to find epithelials on the ropes. A DNA profile of the killer would sure help them along.
She quickly walked over to the DNA lab where the brunette from San Francisco was still working. It was hard to believe the lab techs actually went home at some point, because they were always around when you needed them.
"Hey Wendy," she smiled at the sight of the tech, "What have you got for me?"
At first, Wendy smiled back, but that smile quickly faded when Catherine asked for the results.
"I found epithelials on the rope that was tied around the male victim's wrist," she saw Catherine's face light up and hated it that she had to let the beautiful woman down, "but the DNA belongs to the female victim. Sofia personally delivered the personal belongings of both victims and I got a match for the woman. I'm sorry," she knew how badly the blonde CSI wanted a lead on this case.
"God, did the killer make the girl tie down her boyfriend?"
"That's what it looks like,"
Wendy's heart sank when Catherine just left, without saying a word.
Calleigh Duquesne was processing a scene together with her co-worker Eric Delko. It had been a gang-related shoot out, something that was happening a lot lately. She found it nice to work with Eric. He was a reliable co-worker and had become a good friend of hers over the years. No matter what, he was always there for her.
He had been through a lot lately and she wished she could reach out to him, but she knew better than to invade his personal space. They didn't have that kind of friendship, even though she knew that he did worry about her and vice versa.
"Cal!" Eric called her.
She looked up at the Cuban and smiled as he was waving a gun in the air. They were always stupid enough to leave the gun behind.
Suddenly, her phone started vibrating on her hip. She had turned the sound off because she found ringing tones to be incredibly annoying. The called ID told her it was her boss calling.
"Duquesne," she answered her phone, wondering why Horatio would call her.
"Calleigh, could you come back to the lab ASAP. We've got a lead on one of your old cases," it was simple and straight to the point, typical for her boss.
"Sure. I'll be right there," she said, snapping her phone closed.
After notifying her co-worker that she would be leaving, she took the evidence they had already gathered and drove off.
Shortly after, she walked into Horatio in the hallway. Her red headed boss was hardly ever to be found in his office.
"It looks like you are going to Las Vegas," he said with a smile.
If only he knew. Then he wouldn't be smiling.
Horatio updated her on the case and had the receptionist arrange a flight. All she had to do was go home and get ready.
It sounded very easy, but in reality, it wasn't.
She had calculated that it would take her thirty minutes to get from the airport, to the hotel and then to the crime lab. But she hadn't taken into account that Las Vegas probably had the worst traffic of the whole US.
It had taken her two hours instead of thirty minutes, but she had finally made it to the lab. Her heart was thumping in her chest and she felt her palms were sweaty. She wasn't nervous at all about the case, or what evidence she would find in there. It was who she would find in there that made her feel this jittery.
She reported herself at the reception desk. The blonde woman behind the desk smiled at her and called Catherine Willows. Calleigh sighed. Fortunately the meeting with a certain brunette was put off for a little bit. And it was even better that she had already worked with Catherine before, even though it was a long time ago.
Catherine met her in the reception area within five minutes. Calleigh studied her and smiled, she was just like she remembered. Only she seemed to have gotten prettier over the years.
"Miss Duquesne," Catherine said, extending her hand.
"Please, call me Calleigh," her southern accent sounded so much different than Catherine's accent.
"Catherine," the other woman said with a smile.
Together they walked towards the lay-out room where Catherine had prepared their meeting. But not without passing by the break room for a much needed coffee.
"I'm the lead on this case and Sara Sidle is working with me. You don't know Sidle, do you? She is one of the best CSI's we have around here, but don't tell her I said that," Catherine said with a wink.
"Actually, I do know Sara," Calleigh smiled, hoping she hadn't given away too much.
"Even better. Let's get started," Catherine noticed the other blonde's slight nervousness but didn't read into it. They all had to focus on the case at hand.
They had been comparing their case files and evidence for two hours now. It all lead to one conclusion, they had very little on the killer. Six bodies, twelve clean pieces of rope, one gun and no motive.
"I wonder why the killer left the gun behind on the last scene. Does it mean he is done?"
"Let's hope so," Calleigh replied, "where did you find the gun?"
"I think you're going to have to wait for Sara to get back. She found it and she will be able to tell you more about it," Catherine smiled at the other blonde's eagerness. Between the three of them, they should be able to solve the case.
She did notice the worried look on Calleigh's face.
"Don't worry. Sara knows her guns. She spends way more time in the ballistics lab than she should. And I've heard the rumor she goes to the shooting range once a week," Catherine tried to reassure the blonde.
Calleigh was tempted to reply with 'Of course she does, I taught her almost everything she knows' but wisely, she kept silent. Sara's knowledge of guns was absolutely not what she worried about.
Sara had been waiting for results all shift so far, something that made her cranky. It wasn't Jacqui's fault the gun was clean, but Sara still felt like taking it all out on the lab tech. She stormed into the break room for a coffee, where her co-workers were knowingly avoiding her. Apart from Greg, who seemed to ignore the proverbial thundercloud above Sara's head.
"Sara! Just the girl I wanted to see," he said, handing her his special coffee.
"Thanks," Sara said while taking the cup from him.
Even though the guy could be very annoying, Sara could never be mad at him. He was always there for her, he worried about her and she could fully trust him. Not that she didn't trust the others. It was just easier to go to Greg. He had that little brother quality Warrick and Nick didn't have. Plus, Greg always knew how to cheer her up.
"Have you seen the new meat?" He said, while he followed her out of the break room.
"I'm a vegetarian, Greg," Sara said, knowing he didn't mean that kind of meat.
"Oh, you'll love this meat!" He said, his eyes twinkling, "Blonde, southern, tanned and hauled in straight from Miami."
Sara's head shot up.
"Calleigh is here?" Sara almost whispered, not wanting anyone else to hear her.
Greg nodded with a big smile still plastered on his face.
"Fuck," Sara cursed before walking away.
Greg wiggled his eyebrows at first but then realized that Sara was upset about something. He ran after his friend.
"What's wrong?" He asked, stopping Sara by putting his hand on her shoulder.
"Don't touch me, Greg," The brunette turned around to face him.
"I thought you two I mean " He saw Sara's face change, "Well, you two are "
He stopped his sentence when he saw Sara shake her head.
"Nothing," Sara brushed past Greg.
The blonde CSI watched his friend pace away, this time not following her, he got the message. He wondered what had happened between the two of them, Sara had seemed so happy when she told him about her.
Sara was storming through the hallway. Calleigh was in Vegas. In the lab. And she didn't know! She didn't know how to feel, infuriated, nervous, scared or happy. After their last fallout it would only have seemed logical for Calleigh to not call her to say she was coming to Vegas. But then again, she could have notified her.
She was not prepared to see Calleigh again. She accidentally walked passed the lay out room where she had agreed to meet Catherine. Sara walked back and pretended everything was fine.
"Hey, glad you could join us," Catherine said.
The eldest CSI wondered what was going on, did the tension in the room just rise to a boiling point or was it just her?
"Hey," Sara greeted Calleigh as casual as possible, failing miserably.
"Hey yourself," Calleigh seemed to have mastered the poker face and didn't show any emotions.
Sara's heart told her to run, but she was transfixed. She could do this. They had to focus on the case.
"Ok. So now we're all together we can assess what we have and what we need to do," Catherine started.
The three women were going over all the information they had when Sofia Curtis entered the room. All three pairs of eyes shifted their attention to the blonde Detective, wondering what caused her to come over personally.
"This was send to PD. It's a letter from the killer," Sofia said, placing a letter in a plastic evidence bag on the table.
Catherine took the letter from the table and looked at it. "It's in code," she said, before passing the letter on to Sara.
Calleigh moved closer to the brunette to get a better view of the letter. Something which, in retrospect, wasn't such a good idea. She could feel the heat radiating from Sara's body, causing lots of good memories to come up. She closed her eyes for a second and took a deep breath to focus on work.
"I haven't seen anything like this before," she said.
Sara was having trouble concentrating on the letter with Calleigh standing so close to her. The close proximity caused her heart rate to rise considerably and she felt warm. She hoped no one would notice the slight blush that was creeping up her neck and cheeks. Her body was still reacting to Calleigh and she hated it.
"I'll process the letter and take it to Rambar. Maybe he can do something with it," Sara was already on her way out.
Sofia snorted. "You have given her too much coffee," she joked. She extended her hand to Calleigh, "I'm Detective Curtis."
The blonde shook Sofia's hand and smiled, "Calleigh Duquesne." The Detective raised her eyebrow, "Don't ask," Calleigh laughed, "It's southern."
Sofia smiled, "Nice to meet you, Duquesne."
"Likewise. Please call me Calleigh."
"Okay. Sofia, did you have any info on the letter itself?" Catherine asked.
"Nothing specific. It came in by mail. It was posted here in Vegas. I checked but I didn't find any prints on the envelope. I hope you guys get lucky with the letter."
"You can stop working as a CSI, but you will always be a CSI," Catherine joked.
Sofia shot her a death glare.
"Thanks for bringing this in," Catherine smiled.
"Does anyone want coffee? I'm just going into the break room for a snack and some more coffee," Calleigh interrupted the exchange between the two blondes.
"No, thanks. I better get going," Sofia nodded in Calleigh's direction and left the room.
"Maybe we should go for coffee instead. We deserve a break," Catherine said.
Calleigh smiled. It was the best idea she heard so far this night. Adjusting to this night shift schedule wasn't easy.
The grey haired man was hunched over the table, staring intently at the piece of paper in front of him. Even though he was well into his sixties, he still enjoyed working at the lab. He had been working night shifts for so long he didn't even know how to stay awake during the day. He couldn't even remember the last time he actually slept during the night, like most people.
Sara Sidle, a young CSI who seemed to have the need to prove herself every shift, was now pacing around in his lab. It was very distracting.
"Miss Sidle, I know you want results but if you want me to work faster, you're really going to have to leave," Professor Rambar was getting tired of the brunette's pacing around.
"Oh," Sara hadn't even realized she was pacing around like a mad woman. Her thoughts had once again moved from the case to a certain blonde.
"I'll page you when I have the results," The professor said before turning back to his work.
The code was truly mysterious. He hadn't seen something like it in years. It resembled the codes used in WWII and Vietnam. But there wasn't enough resemblance to be able to use the information he had about those codes.
He sighed. It was going to take a long time to decipher this code.
"So, where do you know Sara from?" Catherine had been wondering about it all night and decided to just ask.
"We met at a conference years ago. We kind of stayed in touch," Calleigh smiled. She wasn't lying about this, but still it didn't feel right. She had picked up on the older CSI's looks throughout the evening. Catherine probably knew what was going on. But she was not going to out Sara to her co-workers.
Catherine had the idea that there was more, but she wisely kept her mouth shut. She didn't want to pry.
"How do you like Vegas?"
"It's erm, well, flashy," Calleigh replied. She hadn't expected the blonde to change subjects so easily.
Catherine laughed. "Flashy?"
"Yes. If the street lights ever stop working, no one has to worry." Calleigh laughed along. She knew her reaction was lame. She just hadn't had time to think about it.
Catherine's phone rang and she quickly picked up while Calleigh took a sip of her coffee.
"Willows," her curt greeting made Calleigh's eyebrows rise.
"Yes, we stepped out for a short break. We're at the diner around the corner," Catherine said before hanging up.
Calleigh tilted her head and wrapped her hands around the cup in front of her.
"It was Sara. She thought we had left to check on a lead. Didn't know she would get her panties in a twist over us leaving the lab," Catherine was trying to get Calleigh to react. She wanted to know just how well Sara and Calleigh knew each other.
"You know Sara," Calleigh smiled. She hoped Catherine hadn't noticed her reaction, oh who was she kidding, of course Catherine had noticed.
Catherine just gave Calleigh an all knowing look and got up. "Let's go and see what she's got."
When Catherine and Calleigh entered the lay-out room, Sara wasn't there yet.
"If you don't mind, I'm going to grab myself a candy bar, do you want anything?" Catherine asked the blonde.
"No, I'm fine, thanks," Calleigh declined politely. She was worried she had just outted Sara to her co-worker, she found she wasn't hungry at all.
"Okay. I'll be right back," Catherine said before leaving Calleigh to her thoughts.
Sara came into the room and started searching through the pictures. The brunette totally ignored Calleigh, who wondered what was going on with her.
"I'm in the room, you know," Calleigh said, her annoyance evident in her voice.
Yes, they weren't together anymore. But that didn't mean they couldn't be civil to each other. She couldn't deny that she was still in love with Sara and that the feeling probably wouldn't go away anytime soon. She had hoped that next to solving the case, she could grab the chance to talk to Sara.
"I'm sorry," Sara said. "What do you want? A hug? A kiss? A fucking round of applause?"
Calleigh crossed her arms in front of her chest and took a step towards Sara. "What I want? I want to solve this case, working together with you and Catherine. I want to be able to be civil with you and most importantly I want to talk to you after shift."
Sara stared blankly at her ex-lover. "What is there to say?"
"Come on, Sara! This relationship reeks of unsolved issues. I still don't know exactly why you broke up with me," Calleigh felt tears welling up. Their relationship wasn't the only thing with issues. She sighed deeply, "I just want you in my life, Sara."
Sara stood nailed to the ground and stared at Calleigh. The blonde must have been really desperate. She knew Calleigh never talked about personal things at work. She hardly ever talked about personal things, period. For Calleigh to come to her here was extremely strange.
Before Sara could really say something, Catherine returned to the room with a chocolate bar in her hand.
"Hey, Sara. Nice of you to join us, what did you find?"
Catherine wondered what was going on. Sara was standing stock still and Calleigh looked like a deer caught in the headlights. There was definitely something going on between the two of them.
"Professor Rambar cracked the code. It was similar to a code used in WWII," Sara started.
Calleigh looked up, this was good news.
"What does it say?" She asked, moving closer to Sara to get a better look at the code.
"If this was actually sent by the killer, we might know when he will kill his next victims," Sara started, "It contains information about all the victims. There are sixteen so far."
Catherine looked up, "What?"
"He kills couples, one every month," Sara stated simply.
"How does he pick them?" Calleigh asked. She noticed from Sara's posture that the brunette knew more.
"He selects them from the female's zodiac sign."
"Now that narrows the search. The next victims will be a Virgo and her boyfriend?" Catherine's sarcasm was present in her voice.
"We also know when it will happen," this caught the attention of both blondes, "on the 16th. He is taunting us, reminding us how many people he killed."
After discovering the magnitude of the case, Catherine had decided to call in the FBI. Grissom told them to go home while waiting for the federal agents to arrive.
Catherine had left right away, taking the opportunity to spend some extra time with her daughter. She had promised to come back in an hour earlier the next shift, so they could talk things through about how to deal with the FBI.
Sara and Calleigh had stayed in the lay-out room to process all the information. Both of them using work as an excuse to go home.
"Sara, go home," Grissom said while walking into the lay-out room. "And Miss Duquesne, I admire your effort but there is nothing you can do here right now. Go catch some sleep so you can have a fresh start tomorrow."
Calleigh sighed and started filing the evidence. The man was right and she was actually ashamed of still being here. She wanted to be around Sara, even though that meant working overtime. Lame, stupid and not her thing, but she couldn't help it.
As she was about to leave the room to let Sara put away the box with evidence, the brunette stopped her. "Cal," she said.
Calleigh immediately turned around and looked at Sara expectantly.
"I think I'm ready to talk."
A big smile appeared on the blonde's face. This could be a step in the right direction. A baby step, but a step nonetheless.
An hour later, both women were sitting on the couch in Sara's living room, nursing a cup of coffee. Not so long ago Calleigh thought they had taken a step, now she realized that saying she was ready to talk wasn't as hard for Sara as actually talking. They had been sitting in silence for a while now and it was killing her.
"I miss you," Calleigh said, hoping this would trigger conversation.
Sara's head shot up. It was all she wanted Calleigh to say, but it was also all she did not want to hear. She stared at her ex-lover for what felt like an eternity. She didn't know what to do. They had both established that it wasn't going to work between them. Not because of their characters, but because of the distance between them. And the fact neither of them was prepared to move, no matter how much they said they loved each other.
"I miss you too," Sara raised her eyebrow at her own words, did she really say that?
Calleigh stared at Sara, not knowing what to say next. She had spend days thinking of things to say to the brunette. There were still so much issues unaddressed that she didn't know where to start. Ever since Sara broke up with her, she had had a thousand and one questions. The brunette never really explained to her why she had ended their relationship.
"I..," they both started talking at the same time. Followed by a, "you go first."
Sara looked at Calleigh, "I..I don't think I can do this yet."
Calleigh nodded, she understood. It didn't mean she didn't feel disappointed, but she knew better than to corner Sara Sidle.
The next day, they all got called in early to meet with the FBI agent. Calleigh had taken a cab to the lab and was now sitting in the break room, waiting for the others to arrive. Nursing a cup of coffee, she wondered how this thing with Sara was going to evolve. She had really hoped they could at least talk things out. All her hopes on getting back with the brunette had already died down last night.
A young woman in a business suit entered the room. It was more than obvious that this was the FBI agent, for some reason they all dressed the same. This one was very young though, probably a rookie.
"Special Agent Deluca," she said while firmly gripping Calleigh's hand.
"Calleigh Duquesne," she answered with a smile, showing the woman she was not intimidated by her demeanor.
"You don't sound like a native."
"I'm actually from Miami. I'm helping the CSI's here on the case. It used to be my case." Calleigh hoped Catherine and Sara would be here soon. She already disliked the woman.
"Well, you must be the FBI Agent," Catherine came walking into the break room.
Calleigh smiled, this was going to be fun. Two dominant women, both marking their territory, she wondered who was going to win.
"Catherine Willows," the blond CSI said, shaking the Agent's hand firmly.
Calleigh was suddenly a spectator in a match of 'eye me down'. This was going to be a long day.
"Why don't we get started, I'd like to see what you have found so far," Agent Deluca said while sitting down at the table.
"We are still waiting for Sara Sidle," Catherine said. There was no way she was starting without her partner.
Sara woke up, wondering where the hell she was. Her body felt sore, as if a truck ran over her. She opened her eyes but couldn't see anything, the room she was in, was pitch dark. She tried to remember how she got here, but without any luck. She remembered having a drink with Calleigh, followed by an uneasy conversation. The blonde had left and she walked her to her cab. She didn't remember anything else, not even going back up to her apartment. Did she even go back up?
Her head was pounding, she closed her eyes in the hope it would go away, but to no avail. She rested her head back on the floor and tried to sleep some more, maybe she would remember then. Suddenly her head shot up, where the hell was she? She never slept on the floor. If she had gone with Calleigh, they probably had shared the bed. This was wrong!
Calleigh was tapping her feet impatiently, the phone was ringing, but no one answered. She got redirected to voicemail for the third time. And for the third time, she left a message.
"Sar, please pick up. We are worried, I am worried. Where are you?"
With a sigh she closed her phone and put it back in her pocket. She looked at Catherine and Agent Deluca through the glass, they were discussing something. Probably what to do now Sara wasn't showing up. She could see on Catherine's face that she was worried though. Everyone who knew Sara would worry. She never missed a day of work. For her not to show up without notifying anyone was extremely out of character.
She poked her head into the break room, interrupting whatever the two women were talking about, "I'm going to check Sara's apartment."
Light. She needed to find light. A light switch. A lighter. A flashlight. Anything to light up the room she was in. She hated not being able to see. Suddenly, it seemed her wish was granted. The door to the room opened and a small beam of light weakly lit up the room. She took the chance to check out where she was. But to no avail, she didn't know this room, she had never been there before in her life.
She started to panic, her unknown whereabouts and the pain was leading her mind to a simple, but frightening conclusion. She had been taken. As soon as she thought of that, memories started coming back to her. It felt as if she was watching her life from a distance, as if it was a movie.
The door opened further and a tall masked man was revealed to her. Her suspicions were confirmed. He was laughing as she winced, trying to get used to the light that was still blinding her eyes.
"I've been having a hard time finding your boyfriend," he said, his voice was distorted, "but now I've realized you don't have a boyfriend," even though his voice sounded very odd, she could still hear the amusement in it, "you have a girlfriend. That makes you an even more interesting target."
Her mind took a while to process what her captor was saying, but when the words sunk in she gasped, "Cal," she whispered.
"Oh, is that her name? She's been calling you non-stop for the past hour. She seems worried," he was holding up her phone. It was on speaker. She had six new messages.
"Sara, please pick up. We are worried, I am worried. Where are you?"
"Sara, where are you? Please, pick up, or call me when you can?"
"Sara, I'm worried about you. Are you ignoring me because of last night?"
Calleigh's voice sounded more desperate every message.
"Sar, I'm sorry. I don't know whatever I did wrong, but I'm sorry, ok? I thought we could get back together, or at least talk. I shouldn't have pushed it so far, I'm sorry."
"Sar, if you hear this, please call me back. We're about to file an APB on you."
"Sara, I'm at your apartment. I don't know why I'm doing this, but if you hear this, don't worry, I will find you. I will get you out of there."
She had been crying Sara could hear it in her voice. She felt her own tears sting in her eyes. Looking up at her captor, she spoke calmly, not giving him the satisfaction of hearing how desperate she felt, "what do you want?"
Calleigh arrived at Sara's apartment within record time. When she got up to Sara's small but cosy third floor apartment, her heart was thumping in her chest. She felt bad for using her copy of the key, but this was an emergency. As she was about to stick the key into the lock, she noticed that the door was already open, forced open.
Drawing her gun, she slowly opened the door and entered the apartment. She knew the lay-out by heart so she had cleared the property within no time. There was no one there. The TV was still on though. It looked like whoever took Sara had surprised her while she was watching TV. She felt a wave of panic washing over her, but tried to keep it from taking over. A million and one questions popped up in her mind. Who did this? Why Sara? How long had she been gone?
She knew better than to process this scene herself, although she was very close to doing it anyway. Flipping her phone over, she dialled Catherine's number. She closed her eyes to compose herself. She didn't want the other CSI to know she was panicking.
"Catherine, it's Calleigh. Something is wrong, Sara isn't here and the door was forced open," she was amazed her voice sounded as steady as it did. She was feeling far from steady.
"I'm coming right away, don't touch anything," it was a CSI's habit to say that, even though it sounded crazy when one CSI said that to another.
She didn't even feel her tears until one of them rolled down over her cheek. Quickly making her way into the kitchen, she looked for a tissue. She had to get cleaned up before Catherine arrived, no one could know it was affecting her more than normal.
Catherine knew Brass cared about Sara. But by the speed he was driving at, it became very obvious. She could hardly keep up and after a few turns she even lost trying. When she arrived at Sara's apartment, Brass and Sofia were already inside. Calleigh was standing there like a lost puppy. Catherine knew there was more going on between her and Sara than they were letting on, and it only got confirmed by the defeat on Calleigh's face.
"You're going to have to wait outside," she said to the blonde southerner in a sad tone of voice. She knew how painful it was to be send away from a crime scene by one of your co-workers.
Calleigh just nodded at her and stepped outside, leaning in the doorway she still overlooked the room. Catherine smiled at her. She would have done the same. She saw Sofia keeping a close eye on the blonde, so she didn't need to worry about that. With a deep sigh, she started processing the crime scene.
He was leading her into the woods, the barrel of his gun held against her back firmly. She knew what he was going to do. She had seen the crime scene. This time he was deviating from his MO, normally he would look for couples who were out there. Now he was leading her into the woods. The same place where they had found the last two bodies.
She had plenty of time to figure out what he was going to do. And the second she whispered out Calleigh's name and he showed interest, she knew she hadn't only endangered herself, but also her ex-lover. He thought they were together. Yes, there was still a lot of unresolved tension between them. Yes, she still loved Calleigh. And yes, she wanted to give their relationship another try. But officially they weren't a couple.
When he had the chance, he would kill her. That much was clear to her. And he seemed to have every intention of fulfilling his destiny, as he called it. She just wondered how he was going to get Calleigh here.
"Are you ready to die, birthday girl?"
Sara looked up in shock, she had totally forgotten! It was September 16th today, the day he was going to kill another couple. A Virgo and her boyfriend, or in this case, a Virgo and her girlfriend. How could she have forgotten her own birthday? She had been so focused on finding out who could be next, she had been trying to find a link, staring herself blind on dates and star signs, that she had totally forgotten that she was a Virgo herself.
So him taking her wasn't a random act of violence. It wasn't because she was one of the CSIs on the case. It was all part of his greater plan. She was just another woman that fitted his profile. Why didn't she think of this before?
If only there was a way she could warn Calleigh. The blond shouldn't do what she mostly likely was already doing. She didn't want her to come save her or whatever other plan the southern beauty had on her mind. It would only get her in danger.
Suddenly, he took her phone out of his pocket. "So, Sara," he stressed her name, pronouncing it in a taunting way, it was obvious he was enjoying this immensely, "this is how it will go down. You are going to call your sweetheart and you are going to tell her where you are and that you need her help."
He handed her the phone in a rough manner. "If I hear you giving her a hint or any kind of sign, I will kill you," he paused, "and then I will hunt her down and kill her too, very slowly."
Her phone was vibrating on her hip. She checked her phone and when she saw the caller ID, she made her way out of the hallway, towards the elevator. She didn't want anyone to hear her.
"Hey," her voice sounded shaky and soft, like it had been when Sara was telling her about her childhood.
"Are you ok, honey? Is he gone? Where are you?"
"I'm at the original crime scene, please help me."
Calleigh raised her eyebrow. Did Sara just ask that? That couldn't be right. Sara Sidle never asked anyone for help. When the line suddenly went dead, she knew what was going on.
She walked back to Sara's apartment, walking in to tell Catherine she would be going back to the lab. She left the apartment, but not without sneakily grabbing Sara's car keys. This ranked way up there with incredibly stupid things to do and she knew it. But right now, she was Sara's only hope. And she was determined get Sara out of this mess.
Her gun was in its place, making her feel a lot safer. She managed to slip away unnoticed. Quickly she got into Sara's car and sped off, not seeing that another car was following her. She made sure she didn't break any of the speed limits, although it was hard not to. But being stopped by the cops was the last thing she wanted to happen now.
The last time she was driving in this direction, it was a lot more pleasant. She could remember very well that one night Sara took her to Lake Mead to watch stars. It was the night they first kissed. She had never even thought there was a possibility that the timid brunette would return her feelings, but it happened. A smile spread on her face at the thought of the time they spend together. She had to get Sara back.
"Tell me about your girlfriend, Sara," he was tying her down by her wrists and ankles, just like his previous victims. "You see, I'm saving her the job of tying you up. Do you think she will cry for you? Will she confess her undying love for you? That's what my other victims did, you know," he let out a throaty laugh before continuing, "It was touching really."
She couldn't help but shudder. This man was insane.
"Tell me about her," he said, jerking on the rope on her wrists.
She wanted to scream out in pain as she felt the rope cut into her wrists. She wanted to shout at him, to tell him to leave Calleigh the fuck alone. But she didn't, she wasn't giving him this pleasure. Instead, she kept quiet.
He grabbed a handful of her hair and roughly pulled her head back, "I asked you something," sounding angry now. He was losing his patience with her.
"She's from Miami," God, why was she doing this?
"From Miami, so what is she doing here? Did she move here for you?" She could hear the smile in his voice, too bad she was going to have to disappoint him.
"She came here because she was on your case in Miami. We broke up. She hasn't been my girlfriend in two months."
She expected him to be mad at her; yell at her, maybe even hit her. But she didn't expect him to laugh, like he was doing now.
"This is rich. Even I can see you two love each other. And I hate love."
Well, that could be a reason why he was killing couples.
Suddenly the metal of her phone was pressed to her ear, repeating Calleigh's voicemail messages for the umpteenth time.
"Now tell me, birthday girl, does that sound like just a co-worker? Or just a friend?"
Even though she thought he was a sick motherfucker, there was some truth in what he was saying. Calleigh sounded more than just a little worried. She tried to imagine what kind of messages Catherine would leave. Did Calleigh still love her? Despite all the fucking up she had done?
It had been hard to work with Calleigh. She caught herself staring at the blonde more than once. She found herself wanting to touch her, kiss her and take her into her arms. She knew she fucked up that night Calleigh came over. As she remembered Calleigh's face from that night, she realized that she had been stupid. Sara had thought Calleigh wanted her to explain why she had broken up with her. But now she realized that she wanted Sara to rethink her decision.
She closed her eyes, trying to stop a tear from escaping from her eyes. She couldn't show him.
He had been quiet, just standing there and looking at Sara while she was doing some soul searching. This was going to be the crowning glory of his work. He was going to reunite these two and kill them while they were at it. It was exciting him to know that he was given this honour.
She had memorized every single detail from the case. And after reading the report Catherine and Sara made of their crime scene, she knew to find it, even in the dark. She parked the car, looking around. There was nothing to see. She drew her gun and followed the path towards the crime scene, hoping Sara was ok.
Her heart was thumping in her chest. She knew she was doing something incredibly stupid and it could cost her her job, or worse, her life. But she was determined. She was getting Sara back, out of the hands of that bastard.
She could hear voices. She tried to make out if it was Sara's but she had no such luck. Slowly she was getting closer, adrenaline pumping through her veins. Happy with the steadiness of her hands, she pointed the gun in the direction of the noises.
"Drop the gun," she shouted, in her head she added 'motherfucker'.
She saw Sara sitting on her knees on a blanket, just like the ones they had found at earlier scenes. A man was standing next to her, holding a gun against the brunette's temple, was he smiling at her?
"Hi Cal," he drew out her name tauntingly, "how nice of you to join us."
How did he know her name?
"Sara told me all about you," he didn't flinch, he didn't show any sign of anxiety because of the gun she was pointing at him.
She couldn't see Sara's face, he was blocking it from her and Sara was sitting with her back towards her.
"Sar, are you ok?" She needed to know if Sara was ok, she could see her bloody wrists.
"Of course she is ok, you are here with her now," he laughed and therefore didn't notice that Sara nodded her head.
Suddenly Calleigh felt a lot more secure now she knew Sara was ok. "Drop the gun, it's over," she repeated.
"Oh, no, you've got it all wrong. We are just getting started," he shoved the gun to Sara's temple, hard, "why don't you put your gun down and join your girlfriend? Come on! You've seen the crime scene photos, you know the drill."
Calleigh wasn't planning on obeying him. She was still the one with the gun. "There are two ways this can go down," she paused to regain her composure, "and either way, you are dropping the gun."
He laughed out loud, "Cal, let's be honest here, before you even pull that trigger I will have at least one bullet penetrating your girlfriend's brain."
"She's not ," Sara didn't get the chance to finish her sentence he hit her with the back of his gun.
"Shut up," he spat at her.
Calleigh could almost feel Sara's pain. It was amazing she didn't fall over. She wanted to run towards her and hold her. And kiss the pain better. She shook her head and focused on the situation.
"I'll make it very simple for you, Cal," he smiled at her, but his voice was filled with venom, "you drop the gun now or I'll shoot birthday girl here in the stomach." He laughed, "oh and then I'll shoot you in the leg so you can watch her bleed to death. Then you two have plenty of time to discuss your relationship status."
She was dealing with this the wrong way, she knew it. She had to think quickly now and make a decision. She decided on doing what he said and slowly lowered her gun to the ground. That guy seemed crazy and very likely to do as he said and shoot Sara. Holding both her hands up after putting her gun down on the ground, she stood back up.
Sara heard Calleigh talk to the man, saying she'd lower her gun. Great, now they were both going to get killed. She had hoped Calleigh would just shoot the bastard, but she understood. She wouldn't be able to shoot either if the roles were reversed.
"Now come over here and kneel next to her."
Calleigh slowly walked towards him, trying to work out her plan when suddenly there was a shot. She looked around and saw the man fall down on the ground. She quickly turned around and reached for her gun, pointing it in the direction the shot came from.
"Who's there?" She said while she was backing up towards Sara.
"It's just me, don't worry," Sofia Curtis came out from behind a tree.
"Look, you might have that cute southerner thing going for you, but I can smell stupid actions from miles away. So I followed you." Sofia said with a smile, "and it looks like I was just in time."
Calleigh looked down, suddenly embarrassed that she had messed up. She could have gotten them both killed. Now the coast was clear, she holstered her gun and turned to Sara. Kneeling next to her she quickly undid the rope around her wrists.
"Are you ok?"
Sara looked at her while she gently rubbed her sore wrists, "I'm fine. Thank you."
"You should be thanking Sofia. I'm sorry I messed up, I just couldn't..," a tear was rolling down her cheek and Sara put a finger on her lips.
"Shh, it's ok."
"Well, it looks like we're never going to know why he did it," Catherine sighed after collecting the killer's gun.
"I'm just glad we got him," Sofia said.
"We're going to need your gun as well, Detective," a young redhead told her, Sofia raised her eyebrow at her.
"Says who?" She knew the kid was FBI, but she couldn't help but tease her a little.
"Special Agent DeLuca, FBI," her voice sounded harsh, showing Sofia it was better not to mess with her.
Sofia held up her hands and handed DeLuca her gun, "He was pointing his gun at a CSI, refusing to put it down."
"I'm sure," Deluca replied while taking the gun and putting it in a plastic bag, "the spare magazine too, please," she said while holding out her hand.
Sighing Sofia complied to the request, even though she hated the feds with passion.
Calleigh had taken Sara to the car and she was now helping her get in. "Come on, let's get you home."
She got in herself and drove off, not noticing Sara was glancing at her, "Calleigh Duquesne, did you steal my car keys?" She said with a smirk.
"Honey, that was the least of my worries," she turned towards Sara, "I thought I was going to lose you."
Sara put her hand on Calleigh's thigh, which made the blonde look at her in surprise. "We need to talk," she said with a smile.
"So, talk," Calleigh suddenly felt nervous.
"I've had some time to think," she chuckled, "this is probably the worst time to say this, but I love you."
Calleigh almost lost control over the steering wheel. She looked over at Sara, "really?" Oh God, she sounded incredibly stupid.
"Yes. If you still want to, I'd like to try again."
Calleigh didn't answer that with words. Instead she flashed Sara a bright smile while she cupped her face.
"We could to go the shooting range," Calleigh said while pushed a stray hair behind Sara's ear.
Sara chuckled, "is that your idea of a romantic date?"
Calleigh looked mock offended, "it worked the last time I wanted to seduce you," she said, holding her hands up.
Sara moved forward, her lips almost touching Calleigh's, "you don't have to seduce me. I'm already yours."
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