Disclaimer: I do not own the television show CSI or the characters and premises thereof. I make no financial gain from this writing adventure, so please don't sue. I'm a poor college student with a fish to feed and bills to pay!
Rated T for Teen
Author's Note: This is a response to a challenge...
Challenge: Sara Sidle and Lindsey Willows having a heart to heart in which the anguish of Lindsey is fully explored.
Lindsey trying to help Eddie, but being unable to.
Eddie promising that he will be fine.
A release of that residing anger.
Her fear that her mum hates her or at least blames her for Eddie's death and the corruption of their marriage.
Her finding comfort in Sara.
Submitted by: icklebitodd
Now, I've only dealt with Lindsey a few times before...so this is out of my usual comfort zone, if one can have a fanfic comfort zone... This isn't quite the first time someone's had Linds run to Sara for comfort...but I'm taking a crack at it, because I cannot, for the life of me, resist a challenge.
A CSI Story
Mother's Day was definitely one of Sara Sidle's least favorite days of the year. Every time it rolled around, she always felt this empty pang somewhere between her stomach and her heart. There had never been Hallmark cards or flowers at the Sidle house. Sara chuckled at herself, bitterly. Her mother-daughter relationship had been made up of screamed curses and merciless fists. No, she didn't have many happy holiday memories...which was probably why she didn't celebrate most of the marked calender holidays. She worked through Thanksgivings and Christmases without complaint. She didn't mind, really. It gave other people time with their families. People who needed it. People like Catherine Willows. Despite their own troubles, Sara could and often did admit that Catherine was a good mother. She was the kind of mother Sara had dreamed of having her entire life. She really cared about Lindsey. Hell, that little girl was Catherine's entire world. She knew the two Willows women were at odds at the moment, but as she stared up at her ceiling, she knew that today of all days, they would be getting along. They were truly mother and daughter, they loved each other.
"Lindsey, for once, just once could you just work with me!" Mother and daughter stared each other down, neither wanted to give in to the other. "You don't understand!" Catherine ran her hands through her blonde hair.
"What I understand, Lindsey, is that you just want want want. I haven't seen your grade card and I have to scream at you to do your chores and then you demand to go to some party. No. No, we are not going down this road, young lady!"
"You went to parties when you were my age!"
"That is not the point, Linds!"
"I am not a baby!"
"Well you're sure as hell not an adult!"
"I wish I was then I could do what I wanted!"
"Well you're not. So what you're going to do right now is change into respectable clothes and get out in to the car. I have to go to work for a few minutes, if you can behave that long maybe we'll talk about the party."
"Work! You're always at work!"
"Well money doesn't just appear. If you like your I-Pod, your eighty dollar jeans and the nice house you live in...I guess I'll have to keep my job."
"All you care about is your job!"
Catherine's forensics kit was sitting at the foot of the stairs. Lindsey didn't think about it, she just moved. Her foot connected with the case and it skidded across the floor and hit the wall. The latch broke and all the tools of CSI work flew everywhere. Finger print dust spilled, a plastic bottle of luminol cracked and began to leak and latex gloves and a pair of red tinted glasses scattered across the floor.
"I HATE YOU!"
Lindsey stomped back to her room. Hot tears built up in her eyes, but she furiously wiped them before they could fall out. She couldn't even talk to her mom any more. All she wanted to do was go to a party over the weekend and then it turned into a fight about her grades, about her attitude and everything. All her mom ever did anymore was yell at her. She barely ever saw her and when she did they fought. It wasn't fair. She slammed the door to her room hard enough to shake the walls a bit. Outside a picture of her and her mom fell off the wall and cracked on the floor.
Catherine stood, looking at the mess Lindsey had made of her usually ordered kit. She just didn't know what to do anymore.
Mother and daughter rode to the LVPD headquarters in silence. Lindsey stared out the window, focusing on the familiar landscape of desert and neon. The radio wasn't playing, they would have just fought over the music anyway. When they stopped and Catherine slammed the SUV into park, Lindsey looked around. They weren't at the Forensics lab, they were at the Police Station. That was fine with Lindsey. Last time she'd been at CSI headquarters, her mom had shown her a dead body. She still had nightmares about it. "Come on." Catherine walked down the halls, her heels clicked on the tile, Lindsey had to almost jog to keep up.
Capitan Brass looked up. "Catherine, I hated calling you in...Oh hey there Lindsey." Catherine ran a hand through her hair again. "Is there somewhere she can go, Jim?" He smiled, "Sure thing, we have a lounge with a TV and everything."
Sara stood there, talking to Detective Vega. about the case. It was a rough one. Las Vegas was in the middle of a rough crime week. The early May heat wave was behind it, but that didn't make their work any different. She passed through the halls, her kit in hand. She winced when she saw Catherine coming her way with Brass. She stopped, "Catherine, Jim." Brass smiled at her. She only got an icy glare from Catherine. Sara sighed and scrubbed her hand across her face. Detective Vega just gave her a smile, "Go grab some coffee, Sidle, you look like crap." She grinned, she did look like crap. That's why she liked working with Vega, there was no dancing around with him. He said what he meant. "Thanks. Then I'll run this stuff and you can throw this case to the DA's office." He nodded and she set off towards the lounge where there would be hot, strong coffee.
Lindsey was slouched on the old couch in the lounge. The room smelled like stale smoke and bad coffee and the couch was lumpy. She crossed her arms over her chest. She hated that her mom was a CSI. She couldn't have a normal job. Katie's mother sold real-estate, Amelia's mom worked in a bank. Her mom had been a stripper and now she played around with dead bodies all the time. She loved her creepy job more then she loved her own daughter. Another wave of tears welled up behind her eyes and she fought them back. When the door opened she swiped at them with her sleeve.
Lindsey was relieved to see that it wasn't her mom. It was Sara. She'd only met Sara a handful of times...she wasn't like the rest of the CSIs. Nick and Warrick and Mr. Grissom were over all the time. Even Greg came by once and a while. Sara never did. It was too bad, too because Sara was the coolest of them. She was nice. "Hey." Apparently the brunette hadn't noticed her. She jumped and splashed the coffee she'd been pouring on her hand. "DAMNIT!" She whirled around. "Lindsey! I didn't know you were here." Lindsey shrugged, "Mom got an important call, so she killed our plans and I had to come here to wait for her to get finished." Sara nodded and sat down on one of the chairs. "That sucks." Lindsey shrugged again, "I'll live." Sara nodded. They sat in silence for a minute, then Sara spoke again. "Do you want a drink?" Lindsey wrinkled her nose. "I don't drink coffee."
Sara smiled, she had a gap between her teeth. Apparently her parents hadn't been like her mom. Her mom was forcing her into braces. She didn't understand why. Sara had obviously gotten along fine without a mouth full of metal. "I think there's some soda in the fridge. It's Sofia's stash...don't tell her I nabbed one for you." Since Lindsey didn't have the faintest idea who Sofia was, outside of her mother's occasional rant about her, it wasn't going to be a problem and she soon found herself nursing a can of Diet Coke.
There was another bout of uncomfortable silence. Sara looked nervous, like she was actually scared of her. Which was weird, since Sara was a CSI, she saw lots of bad stuff. She tried though, Lindsey had to give her that. "So...how's school?" Lindsey rolled her eyes, it was a typical adult tactic. "Sucks. How's work?"
Sara blinked, she hadn't expected that. "Um...it's all right." The case she was working flashed in her minds eye, followed by Nick's casually harsh remarks, Grissom's hands-off approach to her and Catherine's disdain. "No, you know what, I'm with you, it sucks." Lindsey snickered, "Don't let Mom hear you say that, she hates that word." Sara shrugged, "I don't talk to your mother a lot." Lindsey sighed and flopped back against the couch. "Neither do I. We should start a club." Sara put her coffee cup down, "Are you two fighting again?" Lindsey took a drink of the cold cola, "We stopped?" Sara winced, "Well, I guess that's a yes."
Lindsey realized two things very quickly. One, Sara would probably listen to her...without running to her mother and yakking everything back. Two, she really wanted to talk. So she did. Before she even realized what she was doing, she began talking.
"She hates me, you know. When she's home she's always yelling at me. Laying down the rules. Of course, she isn't home that much, well aside from sleeping...so I mean it's not that bad." She looked at Sara, almost challenging her to say something. Her Aunt Nancy always lectured her on respecting her elders and blah blah blah. She didn't understand. Sara didn't lecture, though. "What do you two fight about?" Lindsey threw up her hands, "Everything! My clothes, my grades, my friends, my attitude. She won't listen to me. Oh no. She thinks I always lie to her. She doesn't understand." She balled her fists up and put her chin on them.
Sara blinked. She'd known that Catherine had been having trouble with Lindsey. Not that the older woman had told her, she'd heard it from Greg who'd overheard Warrick talking about it. They were having serious issues. Sara struggled for a minute. She was the last person who should be handing out advice about parents and kids and stuff. Her childhood hadn't been that great and she was definitely not mother material...if this had been a case, she'd have gotten Catherine to handle it...That wasn't an option though, and she really wanted to help Lindsey. She just wasn't sure how. She was a CSI, she examined evidence and got to the bottom of things, uncovered the truth. It was what she was good at...the truth. 'Might as well try it, Sidle. What else have you got to lose?'
"She doesn't hate you, Lindsey." The blonde teenager shot up from the couch, "Oh not you too! Your mother just wants the best for you. She's providing for you...blah blah blah. No one knows how she really is to me!" Sara nodded, "So tell me. Why does she hate you?" Lindsey sat back down. "Cause it's all my fault." Sara looked at her, dark brown eyes meeting innocent blue, "What's your fault?" Lindsey sighed, "Everything. The divorce, Daddy's murder...all of her boyfriends breaking up with her...it's all my fault. It would be better if I hadn't been born...her life would be perfect."
Sara felt the words hit her like a verbal torpedo, hard and right between the eyes. She understood this, oh she did and so very well. How many times a day had Laura screamed at her that her life would have been perfect if Sara hadn't come along and messed everything up? Sara knew, though, with every fiber of her being that Catherine Willows would never say or think that about Lindsey. She pushed her hands through her hair. "Lindsey...I'm not good at this kind of touchy...feely stuff. Frankly, your mom is the go-to girl with feelings...but let me tell you something...Do you know how many CSIs, techs and police officers know who you are?"
Lindsey blinked, okay Sara was right, maybe she wasn't the best person to talk to about this, because she wasn't making any sense. "Huh." Sara gave her a small smile, "Your mom has your picture on her desk, in her locker, in her briefcase, in her kit, in her car, on her key chain... I mean there are more pictures of you floating around CSI headquarters then of most criminals." Lindsey rolled her eyes, "So?" Sara continued, trying to feel her way around, it was like the severely visually impaired leading the blind. "You are your mom's entire universe...I mean she loves you soo much it's just..." Sara frowned, "I know she's busy...but she really does love you."
"That doesn't mean she doesn't blame me." Sara jumped up from her chair, abandoning her coffee. She sat down by the teen and grabbed her hands. "You listen to me, Lindsey. What happened was not your fault."
All Sara had to do was close her eyes and she could see it like yesterday. Lindsey, young and in shock, talking to her. She could hear Catherine's scathing words at her, the threats she'd slung at Candeece the wanna be singer.
Lindsey didn't have to shut her eyes. The scenes of that horrendous night played in her mind like a screen saver that wouldn't go away.
Her dad holding his stomach. "I'm fine, it's only a stomach ache..." Then she was trapped in the car, the water started coming in and her dad held a hand out to her. She reached for him, but the cold water came over her. He was whisked away from her. "DADDY!"
Lindsey's big blue eyes, identical to her mother's, filled with tears. "It's my fault...I couldn't save him. He held out his hand but I couldn't reach him." Suddenly she was surrounded by Sara's arms in a hug. She felt her chin jerked up.
"Hey. Lindsey, look at me." Obviously, Lindsey hadn't pulled through as well as she'd let everyone think. Sara knew allot about guilt and carrying it with you. She didn't want Linds to turn out like...well she didn't want her to turn out like she had. "Did you take a gun and shoot your father?" "No..." "Did you drive the car into the river?" "No...but... I should have been able to help him. "You were a little girl, Lindsey." "You don't understand." Sara shook her head, "You know I worked your Dad's case. Do you blame me because I couldn't get the guy that killed him?" Lindsey blinked. "What?" "I couldn't solve the case, do you hate me for it?" "No...I mean...that's retarded." Sara released her from the impromptu hug. "So why would your mother blame you for it?" "I..." "If you want to blame someone, Lindsey, blame the man who shot your father, blame me for not catching him, but don't blame yourself."
Lindsey curled her arms around her knees. "But she always yells at me..." Sara smiled, "Well, she is your mother. It's a mom thing. She sets boundaries, you test them, she finds out and you get grounded." "It's stupid." "It's life." "I bet your mom never treated you like that." The wince that went across Sara's face told Lindsey that she'd picked the wrong thing to bring up. She watched the adult woman in front of her. Sara's dark eyes swirled with feeling and for a moment she didn't speak. "Linds...I would give everything if my mom could have been half the mom yours is." Lindsey reached out and gave Sara a hug and though she was stiff at first, the woman relaxed into it after a minute. Sara broke it apart and gave her a smile.
So they sat there and Lindsey told Sara about the afternoon's latest blow out. She'd been tempted to leave out the part where she'd kicked her mom's work stuff, but she didn't. Sara didn't yell at her for it. She only raised her brows. "Was anything broken?" She shrugged, "Some powder spilled, a spray bottle of stuff cracked, glasses...stuff." Sara nodded and stood up and walked to the counter where her own kit sat. She unlatched it and turned it so Lindsey could see. "What all was it?" Lindsey pointed out what she'd damaged. Then she was shocked. Sara handed each item to her. "Find something to wrap it up in. Give it to her when you apologize. It'll mean a lot to her." Lindsey nodded, "But now you don't have..." Sara grinned, "I have spares." "Oookay." "Trust me on this. She loves you to death but her jobs important too...if you give this to her it'll go along way to fixing some of these...issues."
They sat there on the couch, enjoying each other's company. Sara broke the silence again. "So what are you going to do about your mom?" Lindsey shrugged, "Well it's her day...I don't know...maybe I can...I don't know." Sara nodded,
"Well, maybe you should sit down and talk to her, like you did with me."
"She would never listen."
"She can't interrupt you via email."
"But wait until tomorrow...you know I bet your mom would really like a hug today. Maybe a nice dinner with you."
"I think I can do that and that stuff you gave me too..."
Sara looked down at her watch, "Your mom should be back in a few minutes." She stood up and headed towards the door. "You're heading to work?" Sara looked at her... "Lindsey...look, your mom doesn't like me much...frankly she doesn't want me around you...at all...maybe you should keep this chat between just us." Lindsey nodded and watched Sara walk to one of the lounges door. "Sara?" The lanky brunette turned, Lindsey smiled at her, "Thanks...hey what about you?" Sara blinked, "What about me?" "Maybe you should try to talk to mom too." Sara let out a bitter sounding laugh, "I don't think so, Linds." "But I'm trying, you should too, I mean you're her friend and everything, right..." "Lindsey, you're her daughter, I'm no one." Something flashed through Sara's dark eyes, pain so evident and deeply seated that even Lindsey, a teenager could see it. "Sara?" Sara turned again, her body half out of the room, "Hmm?" "I don't blame you...for not catching the bad guy." That earned her a big grin, one that almost chased the sadness from the woman's eyes. "Thanks, Linds."
Sara disappeared through the door, leaving Lindsey there. Despite walking through the halls, Lindsey could hear the mumbled, "If I could only talk to Cath that way..." Lindsey sat there, curled up on the uncomfortable couch and she thought about her life, her mother, and about Sara and what she had said.
Catherine stood at the window looking into the lounge through the blinds of the hallway window. Two tears streaked down her cheeks. Of all the people in the world, she'd alienated the two girls she'd never wanted to hurt. It was funny, after all the crap she'd thrown Sara's way, after all the remarks and fights...Sara had still given her the best Mother's Day gift Catherine had ever received. Sara had given Catherine her daughter back...and what had she done to deserve it? Nothing. Her daughter thought that she hated her...and Sara...Sara... Catherine stood there, her fist to her mouth, trying to control silent sobs. How had she let everything get this bad...and how could she even begin to fix it?
Author's Note: Well, it might not have been exactly what the challenge called for...I think my angst button might be broken... Comments, please...I really really really would like to get feedback on this one. Thanks!