Sticks and Stones

(I'm officially out of titles now in case anyone is wondering. I had to steal this one off the board game extension pack.)

Summary: Catherine volunteers to take in a little girl from a murder case & soon finds herself growing attached to the child. Cath/Sara

Disclaimer: CSI is property of CBS.

Rating: T, just to be safe and because it's femslash. And if the idea of two women being in a relationship bothers you, grow up, it's the 21st century.

Catherine Willows walked through the front door of the small suburban house and climbed the stairs until she found her co-workers, Nick Stokes and Gil Grissom already processing the scene in the master bedroom.

"Whatda we got?" She asked and stood next to the bed where Nick was snapping photos.

"Two bodies, male and female, early thirties. They've been identified as Claire and Matt Sheridan." Grissom replied without missing a beat.

"T.O.D?"

"David estimates 5 to 6 hours tops."

"…Bruising around the wife's neck." Catherine noted. "Suggests that the C.O.D might have been strangulation? What about the husband?"

Nick gestured to the bloody spots on the dead man's shirt.

"Stabbing. Makes sense. A man would be harder to strangle than a woman. Anyone else is the house?"

"Yea, police found the daughter hiding in her bedroom closet." Nick started. "Haven't been able to get her to talk but neighbor's say her name is Lindsey. Just turned 7 yesterday."

"Poor kid." Catherine shook her head in sadness. Nick nodded.

Grissom took off his latex gloves and adjusted his glasses. "It's a good thing you got here when you did Cath. Sara needs my help with a possible suicide on the strip."

"Sara?" Catherine perked up at the mention of her girlfriend.

"Yes,"

Sara and Catherine had been dating almost 5 years. The couple had decided to tell their friends at the lab about them a year and a half into the relationship. Everyone had been so supportive, especially Gil.

"Why didn't you send me to help? You know I'd…" She stopped when she noticed the knowing look on the older CSI's face. "She told you about our fight, didn't she?"

Grissom nodded. "She needed to get some things off her chest. I know it's none of my business but I was a little confused. You want kids but she doesn't?"

Catherine shook her head.

"No, we both want kids. We just can't decide on adoption or artificial insemination."

Nick decided to comment. "Ya know Cath, if you two need a donor I'd be more than happy to volunteer a couple of my soldiers." He winked playfully though he fully meant it.

"Nick, have you been hanging around with Greg again?" Catherine chuckled.

"No more than usual. Why?"

The blonde just shook her head and walked past him.

"What!"

…--…--…

About an hour later Catherine and Nick walked outside, newly collected evidence in hand, only to find half the neighborhood crammed onto the sidewalk in their pajamas.

Over the years Catherine had learned to ignore them. Because after all, it was only human nature to be curious about these things. But unless they could help with the case they really didn't matter. And as long as they kept behind the yellow tape they were no concern of hers.

After loading her things back into her Tahoe she spotted a little blonde girl sitting in the front seat of a patrol car with a blanket wrapped around her, staring off into space. Catherine walked up to Brass, who was standing guard of the car.

"That the daughter?" She motioned over his shoulder.

"Yea, can't get her to say a word though. She's gonna have to see a therapist to check for shock."

"Does she have any other family? Grandparents? Older siblings?"

Jim shook his head. "Nope, only child just like both of her parents. No known grandparents. So social services is gonna be here soon to take her."

Catherine frowned. She hated seeing kids being taken away in situations like this, especially ones so young. Just then she got an idea. She knew Sara would probably kill her later but she didn't care at this point.

"I could take her."

"What?" He demanded in disbelief.

"C'mon Brass. She's been through enough for one day. We both know the last thing this poor girl needs are police officers in her face all night…Uh, no offense."

"None taken…" Jim huffed before rubbing his head. "Alright, you can take her. But you gotta sign a consent form saying that you are legally responsible for her until we can locate family or set up foster care, got it?"

"Yea,"

Brass nodded. "Ok, I'll be right back. I gotta make a call." That said he walked off.

Catherine knelt down next to the little girl who only glanced at her for a second before spacing out again.

"Hi there, my name's Catherine. What's yours?"

Nothing.

"I heard your name's Lindsey. That sure is a pretty name."

This time Lindsey looked directly into Catherine's blue eyes.

"You look like my mommy." She said in a tiny voice before pretending to be interested with the stuffed bear grasped tightly in her hands.

Catherine felt her heart break for the little girl. She didn't deserve this. No child did.

"Is that a good thing?"

Lindsey nodded.

Catherine smiled. "Good, so, um, you're going to be staying with me tonight. Is that ok?"

She nodded again.

"Cool, ok let's go." She offered her hand for the little girl to take but instead she threw herself into Catherine's arms.

"Please don't let whoever hurt my mommy and daddy hurt me too." She whispered into Catherine's neck.

Catherine picked up the little girl and nodded. "I won't sweetie, I promise. You're safe now."

TBC?

You tell me. Next chapter Sara meets Lindsey. How does she react?

(Sorry I don't have more for you but I'm kinda tired now. Plus species 2 is comin on. You ever seen Marg in that thing? Holy hell.)

Nicole