DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of these characters, sorry for treading on any toes, I do it only for my sanity. The lyrics belong to the Indigo Girls.
DEDICATION: To my two :) Neither of you will read this, I guess... just know I still love...
NOTES: The drabble challenge on LJ for this week was AU's, I wrote 5… here I have grouped them together to make one exclusive Saturday night fic for you wonderful people :)
The drabbles:
1) Perfect Fate. 375 words
2) Echoes. 448 words.
3) Science is Fun. 413 words
4) Effleurage. 400 words
5) Sidle Into Bliss. 400 words.
The song: Watershed, sung by The Indigo Girls, words and music Emily Saliers
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Debbie

A friend of mine has this theory. She says that everybody has two soulmates in this world, one male, and one female. Some people are lucky enough to meet one, some people are just unlucky, and the odd few are goddamn lucky enough to meet both. Well, I'm not really sure about that, but I do believe in soulmates. Somewhere out there, there is a perfect partner waiting, and our life journey is taking us towards or away from that destiny depending on the roads we take. Of course, like all roads we travel, there are a multitude of bends and turns, and numerous forks in the road. The choices we make and the questions we ask ourselves send us on our way. I guess, I'm talking about fate and all that that entails, but basically I believe we make choices as we go.

Another theory that interests me greatly is this scientific conundrum of alternate universes or as some call them parallel universes. Some scientists now believe there may really be a parallel universe - in fact, there may be an infinite number of parallel universes, and we just happen to live in one of them. These other universes contain space, time and strange forms of exotic matter. Some of them may even contain you, in a slightly different form. Astonishingly, scientists believe that these parallel universes exist less than one millimeter away from us. In fact, our gravity is just a weak signal leaking out of another universe into ours. If you believe in the "big bang" theory this certainly has a degree of truth in it, but then I'm getting into the realm of fantasy now.

Me? I just think there is more to this world than any of us know about. Think about that feeling of déjà vu we all get at sometime or another. Medics believe any scene perceived by a normal person, is actually seen independently by each of the two eyes. If the signal path from each eye were of a slightly different length, then the brain would get the signals from the first eye, and promptly process them and record them into memory. A moment later, the signals would arrive from the other optic nerve. The brain would then receive this signal, and immediately note that it seems very familiar, being very similar (virtually identical) to an image already in memory. But it wouldn't be a memory from months or years earlier. It would have only been from a memory recorded a fraction of a second earlier!

Oh my, you've really got me talking now. What about the folks who feel that the memory comes from a past life, telepathy or even of an out-of-body experience? Fools paradise or the truth? You tell me.

Seeing as you've got me talking, I'll tell you what I think. Running along side our universe are a multitude of different universes. Every time we hit a fork in the road, a decision is made. I go one way, the me in another universe goes a different way. All the time these universes run parallel to each other, never touching, never communicating. Occasionally, something goes wrong and the universes touch each other for a moment in time, that is déjà vu. Going back to my original thoughts, you can argue that in each of these universes your soulmate is waiting, always there until the right questions are asked, the right choices made, the right path taken. Just waiting till the day the paths intersect, (universes touch), and déjà vu says, "I know you."

Thought I knew my mind
Like the back of my hand
The gold and the rainbow
But nothing panned out as I planned
And they say only milk and honey's
Gonna make your soul satisfied
Well I better learn how to swim
Cause the crossing is chilly and wide

SFPD student coroner, Sara Sidle, stared down at her first case of domestic abuse. His body now at peace, but what of his killer, what peace did she have? Forever to be tormented with the knowledge that she had killed her lover, the father of her unborn child.

His aspiration was to provide for his wife and child by moving to California and becoming rich and famous in the world of music. His destiny had been to be so high on drugs and alcohol that he had beaten his wife and then drawn a knife to her throat.

Sewing the man's abdominal cavity back together Sara pictured the moment the young wife must have reasserted control of her life. The detectives had reported that it had taken her remarkable strength to wrestle the man to the ground. Unfortunately, he'd fallen onto his knife, and bled out over his distraught wife.

Closing the door of his current resting place, she wrote his name, Eddie Willows, and heard footsteps. Nodding towards Detective Gil Grissom, she was surprised to see the normally unemotional policeman, tenderly cradling a blonde woman to his side.

The blonde positively identified her dead husband and then broke down into sobs before whispering to the older detective.

Wandering over he said, "Catherine wants to spend a few moments alone with her husband. Could you bring her to my office when she's finished here, please?"

Sara could only nod as she looked over to the woman. She'd heard that women exuded beauty when pregnant, this woman was perfection personified. Blonde hair tumbling over thin shoulders, resting lightly on perfectly formed breasts. A thin waist flowing down towards trim hips and on into endless legs. So graceful that she had to be a dancer. Sara Sidle was entranced as never before.

The brunette felt drawn to this woman by some indefinable force. Not known for having people skills, she surprised herself with her words and her care. Touching the older woman's elbow, she whispered gently, "Catherine, this isn't the place to say goodbyes. Come on, let me take you out of here."

The woman turned, stared into ebony eyes and smiled; a smile so bright it stunned Sara to her core. Carefully, she led her out.

Twisted guardrails on the highway
Broken glass on the cement
A ghost of someone's tragedy
How recklessly my time has been spent
They say that it's never too late
But you don't, you don't get any younger
Well I better learn how to starve the emptiness
And feed the hunger

Sara Sidle walked slowly down the corridor. Could things get any worse she wondered. This last year had just been one long nightmare that just kept getting darker and darker.

First she had lost her long-time lover in a car crash. Burnt beyond recognition and attended by her CSI lover without warning. Drink had deadened the horrific vision of Jannie that stayed with her. After telling the guys about Jannie, they had been wonderful. Caught DUI, Grissom had taken her to one side and softly directed her to AA.

She had beaten the drink only to succumb to the lure of Poker and after that, to escape from the bitter realities of her job, to the inane pleasure of one-arm-bandits. Lonely Sara Sidle needed addiction like a friend

It was this addiction that had fuelled her most recent descent into blackness. While she was feeding the machines on the strip, her rookie partner, Hollie Gribbs, had been shot dead. Outsider, Warrick Brown, called in by his mentor, Grissom, to investigate and keep things in-house had looked at her with such disgust she had given into Grissom's demands. To remain in post she had to attend a Psych evaluation and counseling sessions.

This time she was intent on repaying his inexplicable faith. Once she had survived this psychologists program she was determined to find a friend, preferably a beautiful blue-eyed blonde friend, but at least someone to come home to each night to talk about her hopes and her fears, someone to love. Jannie would understand the time was right.

Knocking on the Psychologist's office door, she heard a warm voice call, "Please come in, have a seat, the Professor will be with you soon."

Sara looked around the room pleasantly surprised at the décor. Surely Grissom's 'friend from way back', Professor Willows, wasn't responsible for the pastel colors and modern art. Smiling she glanced through the open door and saw a thin woman with long flowing blonde locks perched on the desk talking into the phone and heard a lovely warm voice saying, "Hey Linds honey. Mommy'll be a little late tonight. You go to bed and I'll come see you when I get in." The woman's gentle laughter echoed around the room and Sara made a mental note to linger in the office after her appointment. Maybe the Professor's secretary would like to go for a coffee before going home.

Hearing another voice say, "Professor Willows will see you now," Sara looked up into a small elderly lady's smiling eyes, holding the door open for her.

Entering the room, she was mesmerized by the beautiful blonde greeting her with an out-stretched hand, "Sara Sidle? Catherine Willows. Welcome."

Up on the watershed
Standing at the fork in the road
You can stand there and agonize
Till your agony's your heaviest load
You'll never fly as the crow flies
Get used to a country mile
When you're learning to face
The path at your pace
Every choice is worth your while

CSI Catherine Willows hurried through the school doors. As usual she was late.

Recent promotion to graveyard shift supervisor meant more work and more politics. She now realized why Gil Grissom had taken the lateral shift into research and development, and yet, the extra money was very welcome.

The death of her husband – albeit the money pinching asshole of an ex, Eddie – had hit her hard, both emotionally and financially, although their daughter compensated greatly for his faults.

Time with the girl was short, but every second shared was quality time. She refused to feel guilty about working hard when deep down she knew Linds was a *good* girl. And yet, Lindsey had fallen into a couple of scrapes recently, with kids who gave her a hard time about her unconventional family situation.

Now this summons, from Lindsay's new science teacher rather than from her principal, just what escapade had Lindsey got into now?

Flustered and out of breath the CSI took a few seconds to glance through the classroom window. A gorgeous brunette with the darkest eyes Cath had ever seen was sitting staring into space, her face alive with a radiant health, and a beautiful mouth that curved slowly into a glorious smile. Catherine's heart skipped a beat.

As if sensing Catherine's presence the teacher looked up, locking eyes with her visitor. Catherine smiled in acknowledgment and was rewarded with a wide grin of welcome. Entering slowly, the older woman was entranced by the sweet gap-toothed smile of the younger teacher, holding out her hand in greeting.

Grasping the hand, Catherine heard a warm Californian burr, "Ms Willows? I'm Sara Sidle, your daughter's new science teacher. Please, have a seat."

Reluctant to release the warm hand, Catherine sat as the teacher continued, "Lindsey tells me you're a CSI. I wondered could you talk to my class about your role. I want the kids to see science as something useful, something fun. And I guess, *my* science is your work. Maybe, you…" Realizing she was rambling, the brunette blushed.

Finally letting go of Catherine's hand she murmured, "What d'ya think?"

Laughing out loud, Catherine whispered, "Linds is not in any trouble?"

"Oh no, Ms Willows! I just wanted to meet you."

"Please, it's Catherine and you're right, science is fun. My work is all about using science to solve puzzles, I love it."

Bewitched by the woman in front of her Catherine took a chance, "Join me for dinner and we can..."

And there's always retrospect
(when you're looking back)
To light a clearer path
Every five years or so I look back on my life
And I have a good laugh
You start at the top
Go full circle round
Catch a breeze
Take a spill
But ending up where I started again
Makes me wanna stand still

Long sleek fingers rubbed gently over the angry, red scar tissue. Hearing no gasp of pain the owner of the hands continued slowly kneading the tissue, rolling it deeply over the underlying muscle bulk, hoping that deep friction would mold the raised scar back to a level playing field. Underneath gentle but sure fingers Quadriceps, so horribly damaged by a gunshot wound only three weeks previously, began to relax.

Catherine Willows relaxed into the massage; the rhythm of upward pressure followed by a downward sweep, interspersed with gentle squeezing and vigorous but soothing chopping became hypnotic. Her mind began to wander back to her days as an exotic dancer. There she had fallen in love with one of her colleagues, Stephanie. Stephanie's murder had knocked the young woman off her idealistic young perch, sending her tumbling into a drug-fuelled black hole.

Raped at twenty while high on coke and vodka, she'd lost her baby after 6 months; enough time to have felt and loved the child within her. After recovering from her miscarriage she made the decision to cold turkey off the drugs and booze. Rehab clinics were only for those with money. Practically destitute she'd made her own rules.

Cashing in on her ability to mesmerize an audience as she hugged a pole, she made enough money to pay her way through college. Eventually meeting a clean young man, who promised her eternal love, he gave her the precious gift of a daughter, then dumped her for an older rich woman. Catherine settled easily into motherhood, continuing her studies while working all hours in a local mini-mart to give her child all she never had.

Lindsay was now 7 and her mom an ever-graceful 40 year-old, recently taken on by the LVPD as a masseuse/fitness instructor for injured cops.

Woken from her musings by a gasp of pain, Catherine looked up into the smiling face of CSI Sara Sidle.

Giving a small shrug of apology, she whispered, "Sorry."

"You were away somewhere then, Cat. What's up?"

Something stirred within Catherine at the nickname, 'Cat'. The last person to call her Cat had been Stephanie; the woman she still thought of as her one true love. Thinking of what might have been and mesmerized by the ebony eyes boring into her soul, she stuttered, "I'll tell you over dinner tonight, ma'am," feeling her heart soar at the whispered riposte, "Ok"

Up on the watershed
Standing at the fork in the road
You can stand there and agonize
Till your agony's your heaviest load
You'll never fly as the crow flies
Get used to a country mile
When you're learning to face
The path at your pace
Every choice is worth your while

Finally finding the courage to start her own business, "Sidle into Bliss", Sara Sidle glanced around her salon, clean and sweet rather than garish and glitzy like many of the others she had worked.

40 years old, 3 marriages (2 men, 1 woman) and two children down the road, it was a big step, but one that she needed to make. Her last spouse long gone. Her children flown the nest. It was time. The past 20 years had been hard, yet Sara had been determined that her boys would have everything she never had, a good home, a loving mom, and a future to believe in. Now it was her turn.

Lindsey and Josh had both inherited their mother's intelligence and her love of puzzles and science, now studying to be a doctor and a CSI respectively. Sara was proud of her boys for using the intelligence they were born with, something she regretted never having the chance to do.

Who'd have thought Sara Sidle, severely lacking in relationship skills as her exes never ceased to tell her, would spend her days gaining so much enjoyment from just chatting with her clients. Hearing about Mary's daughter's wedding, and Josie's granddaughter's first tooth filled her with a pleasure she never dreamt possible. Lending a sympathetic ear to all her clients was fast becoming Sara's salvation too.

A few months into her business venture she was more than lonely and dreams of finding her soulmate had returned. For 30 odd years she had truly believed, that somewhere there was a blonde blue-eyed lover just waiting for her. The beautiful blonde, whose smiling, yet featureless, face haunted her every dream. She couldn't say how she knew but she did, this was *the* one.

Deciding she had time to fill her conditioner bottles before her new client, Catherine Willows, arrived she was shocked when the lid of one flew off as she pulled it down from the shelf. Covered in green conditioner she heard the salon door open. Blushing profusely at her predicament she spun around to be greeted by *that* 'smile and blue eyes', eyes that immediately locked with her own.

Stunned, Sara could only watch as the blonde woman, with a look of recognition crossing her beautiful features, sidled gracefully towards her. The woman reached out to gently wipe a smudge of conditioner from Sara's cheek whispering, "We meet at last."

Up on the watershed
Standing at the fork in the road
You can stand there and agonize
Till your agony's your heaviest load
You'll never fly as the crow flies
Get used to a country mile
When you're learning to face
The path at your pace
Every choice is worth your while

Catherine Willows was sitting in the evidence room working on a laptop computer. Deep in thought she was fiddling with a pager found to one side of Hollie Gribbs' bloodied body. Catherine had a hunch that the pager belonged to their suspect. If she could only get this nest to work she might get a clue as to the shooter.

Her heart was breaking at the thought of Hollie being alone and helpless as this man had threatened and shot her in cold blood. The young woman was in surgery now, near to death she had been informed, hanging on through sheer bloodymindedness. Catherine was angry, with Warrick Brown for leaving her alone, but more than that with herself for even putting Warrick in the situation where he had had to make a decision. She loved Warrick dearly but knew he had a problem, so why the hell had she allowed him to be in charge of a rookie like Hollie. And then Grissom announcing that he had called in a friend, a CSI from outside, to investigate Warrick had really fuelled her ire. She was so angry it was taking all her strength to concentrate on the task at hand.

Suddenly, the hairs on the back of her neck stood proud, she had an immense feeling of déjà vu. Jerking upright she saw a young brunette poke her head around the door. Seeing Catherine, she came in the room. The woman was gorgeous, with ebony eyes to die for, eyes that you could drown in thought Catherine. For some reason she knew this woman was Sara Sidle and that she had met her somewhere before. The eyes that looked into hers were as familiar as her own when she looked into a mirror. She stared back at her laptop reluctant to be drawn in further.

The woman asked, "Do you know where I can find Catherine Willows?"

Refusing to meet the eyes of the brunette, Catherine's anger boiled over into her denial, "She's out in the field."

Sara looked confused, glancing at the paper in her hand she started to leave, but something stopped her, glancing backwards she saw that Catherine was now glaring at her with hostility.

"Let me guess ... Sara Sidle?"

Angry at the attitude shown her, Sara snapped back, "I know who I am. I think you're a little confused."

"If you think you're taking my case ... forget it." Catherine Willows couldn't believe she was being such a bitch, but the feelings racing through her body were scaring her in their intensity. Her only defence was hostility.

The brunette shrugged imperceptibly and seemed to come to some sort of a decision, she closed the door behind her and approached Catherine, "Look, we can stand here and argue ... or ... we can get out there and find out who did this to Holly Gribbs. Two sharp women are better than one."

Catherine looked into the dark eyes and somehow knew that this was one of those forks in the road where her decision would come to mean something important. She turned and grabbed the evidence bag next to her, holding it up for Sara to see, "Pager. Found at the crime scene."

The younger woman walked behind Catherine to look over her shoulder at what the older CSI was working on. Feeling Sara's warm breath on her neck, Catherine shivered and knew she had made the right decision...

Stepping on a crack
Breaking up and looking back
Till every tree limb overhead just seems to sit and wait
Till every step you take becomes a twist of fate

So, tell me, which universe is true? What path do the ladies mean to take? How many universes are there? How many Catherine Willows and Sara Sidles are there? As you can see, so many questions and so many answers. I guess the only thing we can ever be sure of, is that we hold our own destiny in our hands. The path we take is ours.

The End

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