Just Another Statistic
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters. Even Russell is based off of a real person although he is not a deranged rapist. He's just a jerk.
Chapter One, PartOne:An act of Desperation
Sara Sidle stared at the white curtains hanging around her bed as she tried to block out the pain that was threatening to overcome her. The nurse was being as gentle as possible, she knew, but it still hurt. Her legs were propped up on the stirrups and her hospital gown blocked her eyes from what was happening but she knew all too well. She was being tested for anything that would or could point to a suspect. She was being handled like a piece of evidence.
"There," the nurse's grim face appeared above Sara's knees and she smiled as comfortingly as she could. "That should be enough for now. I'm done here but there is someone who would like to ask you a few questions."
Sara nodded silently as she put her legs back down on the bed and kept staring at the curtain. When it rippled she didn't need to look up to feel the eyes boring into her. She knew what was to come and she wasn't ready. She didn't want to have to answer the routine questions, even if they were supposed to help her. It wouldn't help. She couldn't forget.
"Sara," a quiet voice spoke her name reverently but it made Sara flinch inwardly. It was him. "Sara. Sara, honey, I am going to need you to look at me."
Sara kept staring straight at the curtain willing this all to be some kind of nightmare; willing the pain to just be an illusion. She didn't want this to be happening. She didn't want to face him.
"Sara. Sara, look at me."
Sara refused as she kept her eyes averted from the man sitting in the chair next to the bed. Why did they call him? Why not somebody else?
Sara felt a gentle finger trail down her arm and she shuddered. When the finger reached her hand she felt him entwine his fingers with hers gently. Her mind stuttered to a stop. He had never touched her before. She had always done the touching.
"Sara," she heard his voice plead. "Please look at me. Talk to me. Show me you know I'm here."
Sara didn't want to look but she opened her mouth and began to speak in a hoarse whisper.
She had been drinking after work, her mind replaying the case over and over. She kept seeing that girl. She knew she shouldn't be driving but needed to get home. Somehow she had made her way past the junk yard and was thinking about the first time that girl was raped. Then it had happened.
Her car jerked suddenly and she squealed to a stop. Without really thinking she whipped out her phone and sent Grissom a quick text message:
'Come to the old field by the junkyard. I think someone's hurt. –Sidle'
Then she shut the phone and unbuckled her seat belt. Jumping out of the car, she looked around to see what she had hit. She saw him standing there with a grim smile on his face.
"Remember me?" he'd asked with a gravelly voice. Sara had tried to scream, tried to run, but she was too drunk to do much of anything. He had pinned her against her car and slapped her hard across the face. Before she could catch her breath he began to rain down on her with fists and elbows. Just when she thought she was going to pass out he hoisted her up and threw her down on the ground.
"I told you you'd be sorry," he growled as he landed on top of her. He bit her neck and she let out a scream of anger, pain, and fear. He ripped off her scarf and threw it aside as he began to get rid of the coat. All the while he was yelling at her, telling her that she should have listened, she should have known that he would come back for her. Once her coat was off he took a knife out of his pocket and held it to her throat.
"Take off your shirt, baby. Take it off nice and slow for me. I want to see you do it one last time."
Sara was shaking. Her fingers were hardly able to hold the buttons but he was patient. He just sat on her legs, moving at times to grind his erection against her further. Finally she had her shirt unbuttoned and he growled with satisfaction as he lowered his mouth to her exposed flesh. His knife moved swiftly from her throat to remove her bra, cutting just above her breast as he did so.
Then he was ripping off her pants along with her shoes. He snarled in pleasure as he saw her black underwear. Sara tried to scream again but her voice had left her and she was too weak with fear to move her arms, let alone fight. All she could do was close her eyes and imagine that she was someplace else. The first thing that came to mind was home but it was cold and dark there so she moved her mind to the next place. A theme park. She made her way through the crowd until she reached the roller coaster. She paid the ticket man and sat gingerly in the seat. There was someone next to her and she leaned her head against his shoulder and sighed in contentment. He laced his fingers through hers and kissed the top of her head. She was about to look up when a sudden pain ripped through her body.
Sara screamed with all her leftover strength but it caught in her throat as HE rammed into her. Tears flooded her eyes as she looked at the sky above. If only she could be on that roller coaster. If only. If only.
"Come on, baby," the man said gruffly as he rode her. "Be a bad girl. You know you're loving this. You can't tell me that your bug man does this for you. He can't make you fear like this. He can't make you feel like this."
Sara shook her head in agony as he ripped through her. Every stroke brought a fresh agony to her body. "No," she rasped as he bit her breasts with a growl in the back of his throat. This can't be happening. She wanted to say it, to believe it. She wanted this to end. She wanted his face to go away. He was leering down at her with his dark eyes. Sara forced herself to look at him one last time. She wanted to remember every detail. She wanted to be able to see him in her mind's eye so she could rip him apart piece by piece and make him suffer this much. As she looked into his eyes though, there was something different. His face was flashing. Red, blue, red, blue. Suddenly his face contorted in anger. He swore and tore out of her. Zipping his pants he glared at her and brought the knife to her throat once again.
"I was going to leave you alive so you could live this night over and over again in your dreams but plans change, baby. Don't worry though. The last person who will be touching you is that bug man of yours. He'll run his latex-gloved hands over your body and wish that he were me. He'll wish that he could have been the one to be inside of you." Then he lifted the knife above his head and brought it down into her chest.
"I can't remember the rest," Sara whispered as she continued to stare at the cloth. "When I woke up I had needles sticking out of me and a nurse clucking her tongue and saying that I should still be asleep." She shook her head. "I can give you a name. It's Russell Dirango. He lives just a few miles from the strip and drives a blue Saturn."
No response came and Sara realized that he had taken his hand back. She looked confusedly in the direction of the chair wondering why he had left but she suddenly wished she hadn't.
Grissom was sitting there looking at her with anguish in his eyes. His hands were clamped together in his lap and she saw that the stuff that he would usually have in his hands was on the floor in a messy pile. She tried to tear her eyes away from the stormy blue ones that were staring at her with such intensity that it made her stomach squirm. He was so handsome. He looked so sad.
"Why are you staring at me, Gil?" Sara asked as she tried feebly to look away. "You're making me—" she was cut off when Grissom did the last thing that she ever would have expected. He had his arms around her and was pulling her close to him as he knelt by the bed. She felt dampness on her shoulder and nearly cried out in shock before realizing what was happening. The heart monitor went haywire as she pressed her face into his shoulder and let it all out. She knew that what had happened could never be erased but at least she was here: safe in the arms of the man that she loved.
Chapter One, Part Two: Memory Lane is a Hell of a Drag
Sara clutched her arms to her chest as she stood before the one-way mirror. She kept telling herself that the men behind the glass couldn't see her. She kept reminding herself that she was safe in the police office with Grissom and Nick standing on either side of her and Warrick, Greg and Catherine waiting outside.
"Now," Brass put a hand on Sara's shoulder. "I am going to call out their number and when you see the right one just write it on the piece of paper you got earlier." When Sara nodded he gave the men their directions. He called the first number and Sara clenched her fists. That wasn't him. The second one was called up and, although Sara thought he looked familiar, she shook her head. Three, four, and five were all strangers but when six was called…
Sara stared stonily at the man looking at the glass in front of him. It wasn't him. He wasn't there in the line-up. Sara shook her head and looked harder. That had to be him. Yes, she thought as she strained her eyes. That was him. Same hair. Same height. Same eyes and mouth. She slowly picked up the pencil.
Sara, Warrick, Nick, Catherine, and even Grissom made their way through the amusement park all chattering animatedly. It was the second summer of Sara's stay in Las Vegas and Nick and Warrick had practically dragged her and Grissom out of their homes and to a movie. They had both been silent and sulky through the duration of the movie—neither quite enjoyed a story about a guy wanting to be God—but once they had gotten out of the theater their moods began to lighten a little. By they time they were at the theme park every one was having fun.
After being in the park for about an hour Sara noticed Grissom eyeing the new roller coaster. She pointed it out to the others but they were all too interested in a guy shoving something down his throat to pay attention. Sara decided to be reckless. She grabbed Grissom's wrist and dragged him over to the long line, ignoring his protests the whole way. She dragged Grissom to the front of the line and smiled as charmingly as she could at the operator.
"Hi," she nearly purred. She tried not to notice that Grissom was gaping at her as she leaned on the counter. "My name's Sara and this is my friend Gil Grissom. We really have to be leaving soon so we wanted to ask if we could PLEASE get a ride on the next go-around?" she smiled charmingly up at the man. She had no idea how effective she was until the man just smiled, looked down her shirt, and nodded.
"Sure, baby. Whatever you want."
Sara giggled. "Thanks."
"My name's Russell, by the way."
Sara smiled again. "Nice to meet you Russell."
"Do you want to go out sometime?"
Sara scrunched her eyebrows together. She shot a glance at a gaping Grissom and then looked back at Russell with a smile back on her face. "I'll think about it, Russell."
The man just smiled as he pushed a button on the console and the coaster screeched to a halt behind Sara. Avoiding Grissom's eyes, Sara pulled him after her onto one of the seats. When they were under-way, however, she turned to meet his glower.
"What the heck were you doing back there, Sara?" Grissom asked sharply.
Sara shrugged. "Getting us a quick ride or two."
Grissom pursed his lips together tightly. "And why did you do that, exactly?"
Sara shot him an evil look. "Because you wanted to ride this thing. If I hadn't come you would be in line all day and then you would never have wanted to go home 'cause you'd have to wait in line AGAIN. I just got us an easy pass to about three rides on this hunk of metal."
Grissom only huffed and muttered something under his breath. They had reached the top of the hill by then and all other conversation was cut off as the roller coaster descended, leaving the two to try to ignore what was yet another argument. Once the ride was over Sara stood and made her way toward Russell and smiled one more time. This guy was not that bad looking. In fact, she thought as she reached the booth where he sat, he was what her friend would call a nice chunk of meat—Sara nearly laughed at repeating her friend's words in her mind and had then had to force down a wave of anger when she remembered that her friend had described Grissom with those very words a week ago.
"Russell," Sara said once the next ride had set off. "I would LOVE to go out with you." She ignored Grissom's choking behind her as the man smiled broadly and scribbled his name and number on a piece of paper.
He had really changed since then. He was no longer awkward and was even better looking. He and Sara had gone out for nearly two years and she had even brought him to some of the CSI get-togethers. He hadn't liked Grissom and had become more and more protective over the months. He asked her where she was and called her at all hours of the day. He complained constantly about her work hours. He took a job as a truck driver during that time and for a while Sara thought that his detachment was a sign that she should try to end things. Unfortunately, when she told him, he hadn't thought so. He threw things around and yelled at her but she had stuck with her decision.
At the end of nearly an hour of ranting, Russell had asked her the question that she could tell was always at the back of his mind. "Are you still stuck on that Bug man?" He spat as he glared in her eyes. "Are you still dreaming about him after a bad case? Are you still saying his name in your sleep?"
Sara hadn't answered, only stared at him in shock. He turned away from her in disgust and started to leave her apartment but as his hand was on the doorknob, he turned to her with an angry glare in his eye. "I'm not going to forget this, baby. You're going to regret this. I swear." And then he had turned and left her life.
Sara's fingers trembled as the threat ran through her mind making it nearly impossible to read the six. When the number was complete she handed it to Brass and turned quickly from the window and concentrated on breathing. She refused to cry. She hadn't cried since leaving the hospital and she refused to do it in front of Nick and Grissom. Her stomach screamed in protest as she began breathing heavily. It wasn't a bad wound but it was deep and it hurt. She'd been told that she would have a scar for the rest of her life.
"Sara," Brass looked at Sara with pity and she wanted to hit him for it. She hated that look. "Sara I am so sorry."
Sara only nodded as she concentrated on taking even breaths. Nick was looking at her with the same look in his eyes: Pity and a hint of caution. They were looking at her like any other victim. She wanted to heave right there but she bit her tongue and gripped the back of the chair tightly.
"Do you want to go home," Grissom asked softly from behind her. When Sara nodded weakly he put a hand on the small of her back and steered her out of the door.
Catherine was waiting on the other side. She held Sara's coat, earning her a weak smile of gratitude. She didn't hear what Catherine was saying about how Greg and Warrick had been called in and neither could take a day off so they had had to leave. Sara was only aware that she needed to get home. She needed to go home and feed her plants. She needed to go home and bury herself deep under the covers. She needed to go home and cry.
Grissom continued to lead Sara out of the building, all the while putting her coat on her gently. He was as silent as she was but when they reached his car he gave her shoulder a squeeze and opened the door for her. The drive to her house was silent and Grissom avoided looking at Sara. He hadn't been able to look into her eyes since he had let go of her in the hospital room. It had been Nick who told her what day it was and how many days she had been asleep—three long days. It had been Nick who cried openly when he first came into the room to see her sitting up and it had been Nick who fended off a desperate Greg. The only thing that Grissom did was stare into space while gently touching her hand or arm. Oddly enough it was Grissom that had been the most comforting. Sara didn't like being treated with caution and never had. She didn't like being treated like evidence.
Grissom pulled the car to a stop in front of Sara's apartment and looked at her face from the corner of his eye. "Are you going to be okay? Do you want to stay with the woman in the next apartment?"
Sara shook her head slowly as she reached for the door handle. "I'll be fine. She's in the Bahamas now."
"You sure you don't want to me to stay with you?"
"No. I'm fine."
Grissom nodded. Sara knew that he understood her reasons for not wanting to stay in the hospital but she could also see a hint of concern. She was about to open the door when Grissom spoke up.
"Sara," he whispered so softly that she could barely hear him. "Can I please stay with you? Can I sleep on your couch? Please?"
Sara looked at Grissom with weary eyes. "I told you I'm fine."
"But I'm not," he snapped. Sara looked at his tense face and then slowly nodded. "Fine."
Grissom's face softened as he pulled the keys out of the ignition. "Thank you."
Sara only nodded as she opened her car door and made her way to the door of her apartment. She pulled the spare key out from under the mattress? and unlocked the door. She stepped into the dark apartment and left the door ajar for Grissom. Then she all but ran for the bathroom.
Okay. That is the end of Chapter one of this segment. I have the rest completed - it's just going through the grueling process of editing. But I want to thank sassysarasidle for her comments on this piece. Thanks a whole bunch, girl!
Love you all! And please review!
"Please leave a contribution to the little box" - Labyrinth