Title: It's Just Empathy
Summary: An interrogation takes a turn for the worst. But...these feelings are only empathy...right?
Spoilers for: Committed
A/N: This is another one-shot piece that I've had floating around in my mind for a while, but this piece isn't a humorous piece. I hope you guys enjoy it!
Kyle Lannings knew what position he was in the second Detectives Jim Brass and Sofia Curtis knocked on the door of his house. He knew that they were going to come in with a warrant for his arrest for the rape and murders of four women. He knew that he was going to be taken to the Las Vegas Police Department and be dressed in the standard orange jumpsuit as a forensic investigator took his clothes to be analyzed. He knew. And it was about time these people had figured out what he had done.
Now Kyle was sitting in an interrogation room- a tiny room with a large two-way window to his far right and a cold metal table with a set of chairs, so tiny it was almost suffocating. He sat with his hands cuffed in front of him, his feet also chained, now sitting underneath the table. He had a smug expression on his face, an eyebrow raised as he stared down at the metal table he was seated at, playing with his hands as the interrogation was getting ready to start.
He could tell that he was giving everyone behind the two-way window an uneasy feeling in their stomachs. He could feel it. And that was what he liked most about what he did- provoking fear and vulnerability in those that were around him. And those who would soon become one of his nameless victims.
Gil Grissom was standing behind the two-way mirror holding a file to his side. Fidgeting anxiously and a bit nervously, he looked over at the tall brunette standing next to him, who was staring straight at the suspect with a focused and intent look in her eyes. Truth be told, Gil Grissom was not too thrilled that Sara Sidle would be handling the interrogation. Yes, she was on the case, and yes, she was skilled in this line of work, but there was always still that feeling he got whenever one of his female employees had to interrogate someone like this.
He remembered all those years ago- right after the death of Holly Gribbs- the FBI had come in to handle the internal investigation of the Strip Strangler case, a case that still haunted his dreams to this day. He remembered that this case was especially hard on Sara, she had taken it absolutely terribly when she had come into work that day only to discover another 419 murder-rape victim with her name on it. And then she agreed to do something completely reckless- she was going to try and bait this guy herself. Grissom had objected to it, but finally had had no control over it and she was sent into that supermarket, not prepared for anything that could've happened to her if the FBI were not there watching her.
Grissom had been worried about Catherine, as well...but Catherine had so much more experience, and she was such a more careful person than Sara Sidle was. Sara had done so many things, so many things that he classified as stupid or reckless just to help get a suspect behind bars or gather evidence. She had almost gotten herself killed after the lab explosion, running into an uncleared apartment building with the suspect still present. She had almost gotten herself blown up with Warrick in a house filled with pipe bombs and liquid explosives trying to remove a door from the closet containing the explosives.
Coming back to reality, Grissom turned to see Jim Brass walk through the doors with a styrofoam cup filled with water. He took a swig of it and then crushed it in his hand, throwing it in the plastic trash bin near the door. Sighing, he clapped his hands together and asked, "So which one of you lucky guys is asking him the questions?"
Grissom hesitated, but he finally moved his eyes down to look at Sara. She turned to look over at Brass, her arms folded across her chest. "I am," she told him. "Is there an officer in there now?" she asked.
"Yeah," Brass said. "So...all the party's missing is you."
Sara just nodded slowly, holding her hand out to Grissom. His mind took a moment to register what she was telling him to do, and he finally remembered and handed her the file that had been in his hands. "Thanks.." Sara said quietly, heading into the room.
Immediately Kyle Lanning's gaze moved from his cuffed hands resting on the table to the door of the room being opened. In walked a rather tall woman with a slender, fit build. She had long legs and long silky brown hair. He watched her, a small smile creeking around the corners of his mouth as she took a seat down at the table across from him. This would make things more entertaining for him, he thought. Brunettes were his favorites.
"Kyle Lannings," Sara said quietly, sitting down across from him, setting the file on the table. Folding her hands over one another, she looked at him for a moment before speaking again. "You know why you're here, I'm assuming."
He smiled. "Of course I know why I'm here, I raped and killed four women," he said, strangely calm. "That you guys know of."
Sara sighed, looking down at the file. "So you admit it."
"Yes," he told her. "It's not a secret, you guys have the big lab and all those shiny, fancy little toys, you already know I did it."
Sara just nodded slowly, looking back down at the folder. There was something she didn't like about this guy- other than the obvious fact that he was a murderer and a rapist- that was giving her an uneasy feeling. The look on his face, the smoothness to his voice, the grin that was creeping around the corners of his mouth, how his tongue seemed to spit the words out of his mouth like venom- it all amounted to one big wave of nausea in her stomach.
"...Ms. Sidle, was it?" Kyle suddenly asked.
Sara looked up from the file that she had opened just a bit to see what she was up against.
"Your first name is, Sara, I believe?" he asked.
Sara just slowly nodded. "Yes...but my name has nothing to do with this subject, Mr. Lannings."
"Please, call me Kyle," he said with a smile.
Grissom was still watching from behind the glass, shooting Brass a questioning look. "I don't like this, Jim, not one bit."
"Easy, Tiger," Brass said. "It's okay, there's an officer in there," he told him.
Kyle laughed from inside the interrogation room. "You know...I bet there are tons of guys out there that would kill for a woman like you," he told Sara.
"Why thank you," Sara said sarcastically. "But I really don't like accepting comments like those from rapists or murderers."
Kyle shrugged. "Maybe I'm just misunderstood," he told her. And then raising his cuffed hands up in front of him, he pointed his index finger at her. "And maybe you are too."
"Mr. Lannings, getting back to our findings.." Sara trailed off, trying to get back to what she was really supposed to be doing. She was supposed to be asking the questions, but right now it felt like he was doing all the questioning.
"Tell me..." Kyle said, putting a hand to his chin, looking over at her, deep in thought. "Were you always this way, Ms. Sidle?" he asked her. "Were you always...so emotionally unstable about...things that happened in your past, perhaps, that you had to bury yourself in work?" Sara just stared at him for a minute and he quickly clarified. "Just from watching you try and get back to the real subject at hand tells me that much," he shrugged.
"...This isn't about me, Mr. Lannings," Sara said. Shoot, she was letting him get to her. That was what he wanted, she knew. She knew that he was just trying to make her crack, and she didn't want to give him the satisfaction that he had that power over her at the moment.
"On the contrary," Kyle said. "This entire thing is about you," he told her. "I know myself- ever since the day I was born I knew who I was and who I was going to become. I knew when I used to hide out in my big brother's bedroom looking at his porno magazines. I knew when I used to play sports at school during PE that required some sort of physical interaction between boy and girl," he told her, making Sara cringe. "So...who are you, exactly, Ms. Sara Sidle?" he asked her.
Sara just stared at him for a minute. She knew what he was doing, he was playing with her head. She didn't like to be played, and she definetly wasn't going to let a rapist play her. "...So you admit to killing all four of these women?" Sara asked, pushing four photographs taken of the bodies from the crime-scenes.
Kyle looked down at the pictures, exhaling sharply as he took in their bruised and bloodied forms. He looked up at Sara, noticing the sickened expression on her face. "Yes," he told her. "Each and every one of them," he told her. "But...now that I've told you something, I want you to tell me something," he said. "I want you to tell me...why you went into this line of work, exactly?" he asked.
Sara just laughed. "Why I went into this line of work?" she repeated. He just nodded, staring straight at her. She shrugged, shaking her head a little. "I...just wanted to," she said.
"You wanted to give the victim's families closure, you wanted to...help those who couldn't speak for themselves," Kyle said. "You wanted to...catch those responsible for putting people in so much pain and misery, no?" he asked.
Sara smiled a little. "Something like that."
"So..." Kyle said, sighing, getting into a different position. "Tell me now what it was that happened that made you the way you are?" he asked. Sara froze for a minute, not sure what to say, and he quickly sensed this. "...I was right about one thing, that's for sure- you're emotionally unstable, that much I know now from just the expression on your face. The confusion in your eyes, the draining of color in your face," he explained. "How your jaw is slightly dropping, it's all there, my dear," he told her. "You think you can fool all of these people around you, but they're not stupid, sweetness. Their job is to be observant, you really don't think any of these people have thought something was wrong with you?" he asked.
"Jim..." Grissom said in a warning tone, looking over at the shorter man standing next to him behind the two-way mirror.
"She's okay, Gil," Brass said as soon as he saw Sara look over at the two-way mirror and mouth 'I'm okay' over to them.
Grissom just sighed, watching as the interrogation continued, though he felt that this really was not like any interrogation he had sat in on before. This was no longer the interrogation of Kyle Lanning, it had turned into the interrogation of Sara Sidle.
Sara's smile had quickly disappeared, and she sighed, rubbing the back of her neck with her left hand. This motion did not go unnoticed by Kyle.
"Tense?" Kyle asked. "I'm sure you are. You know, I would be, too. I think I've got you figured out, Sara," he told her, using her first name. "And I don't think you like that someone has finally figured you out, for you don't even know yourself." Looking at her for a minute, he slowly got to his feet.
"Sit back down," the officer in the room warned.
Kyle did not obey, and instead turned and looked over at the officer. In a few swift motions he had hit the officer over the head and he fell to the floor motionless. Kyle quickly ran to the door when he saw Sara make a move for it, and turned the lock. "Funny, how there's a lock on in the inside," Kyle said, taking a step toward Sara. "It's almost as if...someone wants something like this to happen, y'know?" he asked her.
Sara slowly got to her feet, forgetting about the file on the table, backing up towards the wall near the motionless officer.
"Jim, open the door!" Grissom yelled. This wasn't happening...it couldn't be happening, this was just like at the state mental instituition with Adam Trent. God only knows what would have happened if he hadn't gotten there in time, and this time, he hadn't even left her alone- there was an officer in the room, but what good was he now?
"Dammit, it's locked from the inside!" Brass yelled, trying to turn the knob to open the door.
"Shoot the lock!" Grissom yelled. He was almost hysterical, he didn't like where this was going at all.
Brass reached for his gun in its holster on his hip, fumbling with it as he tried to get it out. Getting impatient, Grissom ran up to the two-way mirror, slamming his fists and palms against the glass.
Sara could see the glass of the mirror moving, but she couldn't hear what whoever or whatever making the glass move was saying or doing. Bringing her gaze back to Kyle who was standing in the room, she watched as he bent down near the unconscious officer and got the keys to the handcuffs off of him, freeing his arms and legs. Taking a deep breath, he smiled as he rubbed his wrists where the handcuffs used to be, before looking up at Sara. "So...honey, I don't know what it was that happened to you to make you this way," he told her, taking another step toward her, making her again back up toward the wall. "But I do know one thing," he said.
Sara quickly looked around for something she could use as a weapon- something from off the cop, maybe. His gun! She had to get the gun! It was her only hope. Making a move for the gun, she didn't see him come at her until it was too late. He had slammed her against the wall, his hands immediately grabbing onto her wrists and slamming them against the wall near her head. Looking at her with a smile, he said, "The one thing I do know," he told her. "Is that after today, you're going to be mine," he said, his lips immediately crashing down on hers.
"Damn it, Jim!" Grissom yelled. "Shoot the lock!"
Brass had gotten his gun and cocked it, holding it near the door. Walking over to the door, he backed up a bit before he aimed at the lock and was about to pull the trigger, when he heard Kyle's voice from inside, aimed at them this time.
"You open this door and I'll kill her!" he yelled, quickly reaching down and finding the gun from the unconscious officer's holster on his hip. Cocking it, he grabbed Sara by her arm, pulling her against him and shoving the metal barrel of the gun against her head.
"Shit," Brass muttered, slowly lowering his gun.
"We have to do something!" Grissom yelled.
"We can't right now, Gil!" Brass yelled.
Grissom growled in anger and frustration, as well as panic as he turned back to the two-way mirror. He watched as Kyle made sure they weren't going to open the door and then pushed Sara away from him, striking her across the face with the butt of the gun. "Don't you dare hurt her!" Grissom yelled, again pounding on the glass as hard as he could.
Sara fell to the floor with a groan, already feeling the bruise that was forming around her jaw. Kyle quickly jumped down on the floor next to her, crawling on top of her until he was straddling her waist. His legs crushing her sides, he slammed her wrists above her head, grabbing the handcuffs from before and cuffing them into place, her now connected to one of the legs of the table. The gun still near his hand, Kyle started ripping at Sara's clothing, one hand tearing off a large piece of her shirt and throwing it to the side, another working on unfastening her jeans.
"DAMMIT!" Grissom yelled, veins becoming visible on his forehead. "Get the door open!" He knew that was he was asking was a bit impossible at the moment, since Kyle also had a deadly weapon inside, but he really, really couldn't just stand there and watch as the woman he cared most about was being sexually assaulted right in front of his eyes. When Brass didn't make a move, Grissom snatched the gun out of his hands, not thinking as he fired a bullet into the lock of the door. The lock fell to the floor with a loud 'clank' and Grissom immediately kicked the door open, running inside the room.
Kyle was still otherwise engaged, his mind in a seemingly different place all together as he continued his assault. Before he could get any further Grissom had knocked him off of Sara, watching as he fell to the floor. Brass quickly ran inside, running in front of Grissom to restrain him (Grissom really looked as if he was going to kill this man at the moment) and subdued Kyle, grabbing another pair of handcuffs and slamming his arms behind his back, cuffing them into place.
Grissom kneeled down beside Sara, taking in her full form. She looked a bit disoriented at the moment. A nice angry red bruise was forming around her jaw and blood was pouring from her nose. Her wrists were cuffed high above her head, taking his gaze down to the rest of her body. Looking down at her stomach, he noted a large scratch made by fingernails, obviously. Her shirt had been ripped at the collar, exposing part of her bra, and her pants had been unfastened and pulled off of her waist a bit.
Grissom was petrified by the sight that he saw in front of him as he took the handcuff keys Brass had handed him and unlocked Sara's arms. Sara, too weak to move her arms, or any part of her body, for that matter, just looked up at Grissom with wide eyes. Grissom took her hands in his, setting them down on the floor as gently as he could as Brass dialed 9-1-1 for an ambulance.
"It's okay..." Grissom said quietly, brushing a strand of hair away from her face. He looked at his hand in horror as he brought it up to his sight and saw his bloodied fingertips. This was blood. Sara's blood. Looking down, he saw an angry-looking gash on the right side of her head and cringed.
"Grissom," Sara whispered.
Grissom blinked, looking down at Sara. "It's okay, honey. Don't talk right now, we're going to get you to a hospital, okay?"
"No..." Sara said quietly. "Grissom...I have to tell you something..."
"Shh...Honey, it's okay, we can talk later, right now--"
"I love you, Grissom."
Grissom just froze. Looking down at her as the paramedics rushed in and shoved him out of the way, he was still completely dumb-founded at her last statement. What...what did he say? How...how was he supposed to react to that?
Watching as the paramedics lifted her up onto a stretcher and covered her in a blanket, Grissom ran over to them. "I'm going with her," he told them, running outside with them as the stretcher was being loaded into the ambulance. He quickly jumped inside and closed the doors as they started off, holding tightly onto Sara's hand as they made their way to the hospital.
At the hospital, Grissom was dismayed to find that he had to go sit in the waiting room, though part of him was expecting to have to anyways. Sighing, he took a seat in the waiting room where he was surrounded by various other people coming into the hospital for injuries or illnesses- one little boy kept coughing, and a little girl was sitting holding a badly bruised arm gingerly in her lap.
Grissom looked down at the floor, looking at the blood from before that was starting to become flakey. He balled his hand into a tight fist, lowering his head. If only he had been in there with her...the maybe this wouldn't have happened. Yes, he stopped Kyle before he was actually able to rape her, but...he had still gotten as far as he had, and...Grissom blamed himself entirely for what had happened.
After a few hours of sitting restlessly and flipping through the same magazine for almost a thousand times, a doctor walked through the doors of the emergency room with his arms folded behind his back. "Dr. Grissom?" he asked.
Grissom immediately got up from his chair. "Yes?"
"You're here for Ms. Sidle, I presume."
"Yes..." Grissom said.
"Okay..." he sighed. "Come with me."
Grissom just nodded and followed the doctor through the doors into the emergency room. "How is she?" he asked, almost afraid to find out.
"All-in-all, she is in very good shape," the doctor told him. "It could've been a lot worse. From what I understand you were able to intervene right in the middle of a sexual assault?"
Grissom flinched when he said the words. "Yes..."
"Well.." the doctor sighed again. "Physically, she'll heal with plenty of rest. Emotionally...mentally...another story," he said.
"So..." Grissom swallowed hard. "What...injuries did she sustain?"
"She had a rather nasty gash on the right side of her head," the doctor explained. "It needed four stitches. And then there was a countless number of bruises of course, on various parts of her body," he told him. "Those will heal with time, of course. Her jaw was badly bruised, though luckily it is not broken. She also has a minor concussion, so when you talk to her she might be just a tad bit disoriented or drowsy."
"I can talk to her?" Grissom asked.
"Yes, but only for a few minutes," the doctor explained. "She needs rest, as I'm sure you know." The doctor led Grissom to her room and slowly cracked the door open. "I'll give you two a few minutes alone."
Grissom just nodded and waited for the doctor to leave. When he was alone, he cautiously stepped through the door of Sara's room, not looking up quite yet. When he finally looked up his breath got caught in his throat. She looked so frail, as if the slightest touch would make her break. Her eyes were opened in only little slits, and the black stitches on the gash on her forehead were visible through the white bandages wrapped around the wound.
Grissom sighed, before speaking. "...Hey...how are you feeling?" He watched as Sara didn't answer him, and only stared at him. "I'm sorry..." Grissom sighed again. "That's a stupid question...I'm sure you're in pain..." he told her. "...I'm really sorry that this happened, I...I never expected something like this to happen, and then it did, and..."
"Grissom," Sara whispered. "It's okay. No one knew it was going to happen...it's fine."
"But...you see, it's not, Sara," Grissom told her. "Because I just stood there. All I did was bark orders at Brass as he was in there...attacking you," he said, looking down at the white linoleum floor. His hand was balling into a tight fist and his knuckles were turning white. He was angry with himself, he had been so stupid!
"..Grissom..." Sara said again. "You did something. And what you did was all that you really could do...what anyone could do..."
Grissom just nodded a little before laughing. "This is...stupid, I should be the one comforting you, not the other way around."
Sara smiled. "Everyone needs some reassurance sometimes.."
Grissom just nodded, before changing the subject. "...About..what you said...in the interrogation room..as the paramedics were arriving?"
Sara just nodded slowly.
"...What...what did you--"
"I meant it," Sara told him. "I meant it, Grissom."
Grissom just blinked. "But...but I don't...understand..."
"What's there to not understand?" Sara asked.
"I...just don't understand...why..." Grissom said.
Sara smiled. "I don't really know why either," Sara told him. "But...Grissom," she said, turning her head a little more to look at him. "I..need to know..." she said. "How...you feel..."
Grissom looked up, staring into her brown eyes. He couldn't lie to her and tell her he didn't know. The truth of the matter was, he did know how he felt, it was just so confusing...so confusing to try and figure out. "...I love you, too..." he said quietly.
"But...Grissom," Sara said. "I...need to know something else, too..."
"What is it, honey?"
"Are...are the feelings...you're having for me right now...strictly empathetic?"
Grissom looked at her for a minute. She was challenging him with her eyes, even in this state she had the energy to push him for the truth. Grissom slowly shook his head. "No, honey. They're not. I promise you that."
Sara smiled a little, moving closer to him and clinging onto his arm. Resting her head against his arm, she closed her eyes. "Will you stay with me?" she asked.
Grissom looked over at the doorway of the room and saw the doctor slowly nod. "Yes...I will, honey. I promise," he told her, planting a tender kiss on the top of her head as she fell asleep.