Disclaimers: I don't own these character, I think we are all aware of who does.

AN: I do not hate Sara, exactly, she grates on my nerves, but I don't hate her. However, I have been waiting since the second ep of season 1 for Cath to smack her, so I wrote my own fic. Please r/r and let me know if I should continue or just trash it. Rated PG-13 for language. And a HUGE thank-you to my partner in crime, Angie. She helped me a lot and encouraged me to continue despite my nerves. And to #1, you're help was invaluable as well as your encouragement. Thank you!!!

AN 2: Yes, I know I posted this before, but I updated some things. Hopefully made it better. Happy reading. Please review. I live on them.

Catherine came into work that night with a spring in her step. Her life had been going smoothly lately. Eddie had been civil to her; his support checks were on time. Her relationship with Gil was stronger than ever, thanks to some well-deserved time together, just the two of them. Even work had been going well, as much as her line of work could have. All their cases had been solved and she thought tonight was going to be uneventful; she was wrong. It was as if the planets had aligned themselves, spelling impending doom and what Catherine didn't know was that halfway through her shift all hell was going to break loose.

She was sitting at the break room table; eating a leftover turkey club, hold the bacon, thank you, when Sara walked in.

"Hey, Sara," Catherine mumbled around a mouth full of food. She watched Sara walk over to the coffee pot, completely ignoring Cath sitting there. 'Boy is she in a mood,' Catherine thought, keeping her face neutral. Sara got under her skin like no one ever had before.

"How is your night going?" She was trying to be civil, but with Sara, it was sometimes impossible. She watched as Sara sat across the table from her.

"As if you don't know," Sara snapped, setting her coffee mug down with a thump, it's contents sloshing over the rim.

Catherine set her sandwich back in its container and wiped her hands with a napkin, her movements precise, careful. Sighing, she leaned back in her chair, her body language loose and open, but her eyes narrowed, alert and watchful. She knew this moment was bound to come sooner or later. She'd known it since Sara walked through the Las Vegas Criminalistics Bureau doors. She had pushed her way into their close-knit group, swaggering, a chip on her shoulder bigger than the Hope diamond. She was intent on nailing Warrick's ass to the wall over gambling; admittedly a difficult job. But her attitude was.well it was arrogant and rude, to put it simply. They had immediately reacted to it. In an effort to protect themselves and Warrick, they had circled the wagons and it had taken time for Sara to break through their defenses. She never really had with Catherine. She had been specifically requested by Gil Grissom himself; a fact that she made no attempt to hide, but rather flaunted it, as if it proved her superiority as a CSI. Catherine knew right away that Sara's feelings for Gil were definitely not those of a colleague or friend.

She looked at Sara for a moment. "I'm sure I don't." Her voice was cool, tempered steel. "Why don't you clue me in?"

"You, you're the problem," Sara hissed.

"Excuse me? Just what have I done this time, Sara? How have I upset your fragile sensibilities?" Catherine shot back. Catherine felt her good mood evaporating like the mist at dawn; she was not going to put up with Sara's insecurities.

"I'm tired of this shit! I'm tired of the entire world revolving around you. You and your precious child. The single-parent card obviously works well for you, you use it often enough. Don't you think anyone else might have a life?" Sara yelled, standing up suddenly, her chair skidding across the floor.

"You have a problem with me, Sara, fine. Don't you dare bring my daughter into this." Catherine stood, walking around the table. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Warrick, Nick and Greg milling around the door.

"Greg, go get Gris quick," Nick whispered to Greg. Greg took off.

"Why not? You do! I was called in on my night off, because you couldn't leave your beloved child. Tell me, Catherine, you seem to have Gil's ear, did you have his child too? Is that what you told him?" She paused a moment then continued in a saccharine-sweet voice. "Or is she someone else's entirely? I've heard all about the sex lives of strippers." Sara was furious now, her eyes focused on Catherine's and she didn't notice Nick and Warrick standing in the doorway.

Catherine stood there in shock, unable to believe what Sara had just said. Deciding it wasn't worth it, she turned to leave, but Sara's voice stopped her cold.

"What's the matter, Catherine? Can't handle the truth?"

Catherine turned on her heel and strode over to Sara, her body shaking with anger. "What the hell did you say?"

"Ladies," Warrick began, walking into the room. This needed to stop, before it went any further, but he personally thought Sara needed to get her ass kicked for her comments.

"Did I stutter? Should I say it slower and maybe use smaller words?"

"You self-righteous bitch! You have no idea what you're talking about," Catherine shouted. Her palms itched to slap Sara, but she held on to her self-control by a thread. She shook off Warrick's restraining hand and said quietly. "It's alright War, I can handle her."

"Sara, shut the hell up," Warrick said, turning to her. "You're out of line."

Somewhere in Sara's mind, she realized she was overstepping the boundaries, but she was too incensed to give a damn. "Exactly how did you go from a glorified whore to a CSI? Did you fuck him to get this job? Is that how you got it? You seem to get what you want by fucking him now."

Gil and Greg stepped into the room in time to hear Sara's last comments. The room was silent for a few seconds, everyone motionless in shock. Then Catherine spoke, her voice icy calm.

"You know, Sara, I always knew you wanted Gil for yourself. Is that what rankles you? That's it's my bed he's in and my name he calls out?" Catherine smirked at her.

Without warning, Sara's palm shot out and connected with the older woman's cheek, the sound ringing through the lounge. Catherine's head snapped to the side, her cheek stinging from the slap.

At the same time, the four men in the room sprang into action, but were unable to stop Catherine from pulling back her arm and swinging forward with her shoulder, maximizing impact, as her fist connected solidly with Sara's left eye. Catherine watched in satisfaction as Sara stumbled backwards, tripping over the chair she had been sitting in minutes before and landing with a thud on her ass.

"You bitch!" Sara screamed, scrambling to her feet and lunging for Catherine.

Nick grabbed her arm, pinning it behind her back, effectively stopping her. Meanwhile Warrick wrapped one long arm around Catherine's waist, pulling her back to him.

"Cath, let it go," he whispered in her ear.

Gil stepped in between them, looking at Sara. "Sara, you have 30 seconds to get your ass in my office or you're fired!" His voice was calm, but everyone could hear the fury in it. He turned to Catherine. "Go outside and cool off, I'll see to you after I'm finished with Sara." Sara and Catherine just stood there, breathing hard and straining against the arms that held them apart. "Now!" he thundered.

Sara shook off Nick and stalked toward the door. Catherine's voice stopped her just before she left.

"You know, Sara, he never saw you. Never. You were his student, nothing more. Give your head a shake, Sidle."

Gil whirled to Catherine. "Catherine! That is enough!" They glared at each other for a moment, Catherine raising one eyebrow in defiance.

"Come on, Cath," Warrick said, releasing her.

Catherine nodded, straightened her jacket with a jerk and walked out before him, shaking her right fist. She'd hit Sara hard and her fist was aching. The heels of her black boots clicked angrily on the tile floor as she strode to the glass doors, throwing them open and walking outside. Warrick directed her to the bay at the back of the parking lot.

"You okay," he asked her. He was surprised Catherine held out as long as she did. He hadn't heard the entire argument, but he had heard enough to know that Sara had deserved what she'd gotten. He smiled wryly at her. "I see you remembered what I told you about the follow-through."

Catherine paced back and forth, her heels clicking on the pavement and her hair swinging around her shoulders. She stopped suddenly in front of Warrick. She allowed herself a quick smile. "Yeah, but you never said it would hurt so much." She took a deep breath and asked, "Is that what everyone thinks? That Gil's and my.relationship.that he's giving me preferential treatment?" She muttered her thanks to Nick when he walked up to her, holding out a bag of ice. She winced she applied the cold bag to her sensitive knuckles.

"I don't think anyone thinks that, Cath," Nick assured her. "You are a smart woman, you didn't get that from sleeping your way to the top. Sara gets emotional. Talks before she thinks."

"And completely out of line," Warrick added. He'd always had a connection to Catherine, probably because they were both former addicts. Regardless, he was tempted to hit Sara himself, only holding back because of his grandmother's stern words that a 'real man never hits a woman.'

Catherine smiled her thanks at them, wincing as the action caused pain to radiate over her face where Sara had slapped her. She stood with Nick and Warrick, waiting for Gil to finish with Sara so he could talk to her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gil was furious, pacing his office while Sara sat stonily in a chair across from his desk. Right now, he'd give anything not to be a supervisor. Suspending people was never easy, especially when it was over something like this. He stopped pacing, took a deep breath and looked at Sara.

"Mind telling me what happened in there?"

Sara sat there, silent. In all honesty, she didn't know what to say to the man now standing in front of her. So she decided that silence was the best option. Not too mention that her left eye throbbed where Cath had hit her. Sara had to admit that Catherine packed a mean right hook.

"You realize that I'm going to have to suspend you. The employee handbook is very clear on that point. Both you and Catherine will be on a mandatory 3-day suspension. With official letters of reprimands in your employee files." He looked at her sternly. "Do you have anything to say? Any reason I shouldn't fire you here and now?"

"I don't have anything to say," Sara finally spoke, her voice biting.

"Yes, you do, or I wouldn't have asked," Gil retorted.

"I told her what I thought." Sara shrugged her shoulders.

Gil was at the end of his patience. "I heard what you said, Sara. Enough of it anyway. Regardless of my.personal relationship with Catherine, your comments were." he trailed off. "Vulgar and completely undeserved. But I didn't hear the entire conversation. Maybe I'm wrong. You tell me."

"She deserved it."

Gil leaned until his face was inches from hers. "For your sake I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that," he hissed. "No one deserves what you said." He leaned back, took a deep breath and continued. "You're suspended as of right now. Give me your badge and gun."

Sara stood and tossed her badge at him, and then set her gun on his desk with a loud thunk. She turned to leave, but Gil's voice stopped her.

"You're a good CSI, Sara. I'd hate to lose you over this. You need to think about whether you want to continue to work here. I won't have my team falling apart due to personal feelings getting in the way."

"I just want to know one thing Grissom." At his raised eyebrow, she continued, "Are you going to tell her the same thing? Or was that speech just for me?"

"Get out Sara. I don't want to see you around here for the next 3 days." He watched as she slammed out his door and sighed, his shoulders sagging. He hated the thought of losing Sara, she was a good CSI and he was not looking forward to facing Catherine.

He found her outside with both Warrick and Nick, no longer pacing but still visibly upset. She spotted him and met him halfway.

"Well?" she asked without preamble.

"You want to go back to my office? Or do you want me to tell you here." He was upset for her, and at her, and had a hard time meeting her eyes. He really wanted to know what the hell had happened in that lounge before he came in.

"Let me guess, I get a 3-day unpaid vacation and a letter of reprimand." She shrugged her shoulders and removed her gun from its holster at her waist, handing it to him butt first. She followed with her badge. She lifted his chin with one finger, forcing him to look at her. "I'm sorry I put you in this situation, Gil, I really am. But I'm not sorry for hitting her. I'll never be sorry for that." She walked past him and into the building.

Gil stood there and watched her walk away. He'd never hated being a supervisor more than he did at this moment. He turned to his remaining CSI's. "Anyone want to tell me what the hell happened in there?"

Nick and Warrick looked at each other for a moment, neither one of them wanting to say anything.

"What did Sara tell you?" Nick finally spoke.

"Nothing. Except that Catherine deserved it." Gil spat the words out.

This pushed Warrick over the limit. "That's bullshit! Sara was out of control!"

Gil turned to Warrick, pinning him with a stare. "What did she say?"

Warrick shook his head. "I won't even repeat it. Look, talk to Cath, Gris. But I'm not saying anything. I've got work to do." He left him standing there with Nick.

Nick turned to Gil. "I'm with Warrick on this Grissom. Talk to Cath." He too walked into the building, leaving Gil alone, his head tilted to the sky, wondering if the gods were conspiring against him or that the planets had aligned, making his night one from hell.



Tbc.