Disclaimer: The characters of CSI are not mine. The other characters that you don't recognize from canon, they are mine.
Author's Notes: Have been trying to pen a somewhat longer saga surrounding the Cath/Sara thing for a while and finally completed something that I'm 99.9 percent happy with. So, here I go.
I kinda always had this idea about using Native American legend/folklore in a story and going crazy with it. Just couldn't figure out how until now. That being said, I used a lot of creative license here on a few things. The origins of Paiute tradition are definitely not mine and I don't claim them as my own beliefs. Paiute just happened to be a tribe that exists in the Nevada region and chances are, I got some stuff wrong. Long story short, I made up a lot of stuff to coincide with the stuff that is true, so please don't take it all as the truth and please don't take offense. I just wanted to write this story.
Lots of creative license on bugs as well. So any entomology people out there, please refrain from correcting me on any bug info in this story. We can't all be Grissom. So, I'm shutting up now. (Finally!) Read and tell me what you think.
Category: Angst/Drama/Supernatural/bits of Humor
Summary: Catherine and Sara are called in to investigate a B&E and find more than they bargained for. Post Grave Danger; C/S
Sara Sidle made certain the address that she had scrawled on the crinkled post-it note was correct. It would be the worst start to this wretched morning if she was driving around in the wrong neighborhood. The traffic had just been horrendous considering she had pulled out into the early goings of rush hour chaos.
After circling the neighborhood several times and getting lost for a few moments, she determined it was way too early to investigate yet another petty, senseless crime. To be frank, she was exhausted. Having just pulled another 19 hour shift, getting the call to duty from a certain cherry-blond CSI at six o'clock in the morning wasn't pleasant or welcome. Sara was about to pass out when the shrill ring of her phone yanked her from the depths of slumber. Another night with no sleep. She prayed this case would be quick and easy.
Sara pulled her car up behind Catherine Willows's SUV and cut the engine. She rummaged around for some mints or gum and was discouraged to find she had none. She almost always had a stash for situations like this, in the event that she literally had to roll out of bed, walk out the door and just drive. There was no time to brush hair, change clothes or even swish some mouth wash. She rolled her eyes, checked her breath and concluded the stale scent wouldn't knock her co-worker over.
She peeked over her sunglasses to look out her window and spied Catherine talking to a police officer. He was tall and blond, someone Sara had never seen before. He must've been the local officer reporting in, possibly a rookie judging by how young he looked. He was the only cop car on the scene.
She also noticed the stance of both parties. Catherine was relaxed, giving the young man a very luminous smile. Typical flirt behavior. The tall, blond officer was eating it all up too, arms crossed and his smile just as cocky. Sara laughed to herself, feeling sorry for him. He probably thought he was gonna get lucky tonight or something.
Eventually, Catherine spotted her and waved insistently for her to get a move on. Sara sighed. Another day, another anserine crime.
Kit in hand, she exited her vehicle and made her way up to Catherine and the tall, blond officer. He also seemed to be giving her an appreciative stare as she walked up. She nearly rolled her eyes. This guy was a wolf.
She heard Catherine on the tail end of giving instructions and dismissing Officer Greenwald (thank goodness) to complete whatever that task was. Once he had walked away, Sara yawned and gave a half-hearted, "Morning."
"Sorry, but Grissom pushed this off on me, right when I was walking out the door to go home, mind you. Not to mention, Nick is still on medical leave and Warrick is working his own case. You're all I've got," Catherine greeted her, her words coming out in rush. Then Catherine paused, pushing her sunglasses up so that they rested on top of her head. She gave Sara a once over and asked curiously, "Are those the clothes I saw you in yesterday?"
Sara inadvertently glanced down at her attire. Before she could answer, she could see the wry grin forming on Catherine's face. Sara groaned inwardly. Yes, these were the same clothes she had on yesterday, but she wasn't about to admit that to Miss "I-Look-Perfect-All-The-Time". Sara just forced a smile and asked, "So, what do we know so far?"
"Breaking and entering," Catherine began, taking the hint. Sara was in no mood for teasing. They both walked inside as Catherine poured out the details, "A neighbor called it in. The owner's name is Paul Martinez. Sometime around 4 this morning, a man in a ski-mask accessed the house from the back. Mr. Martinez was in his bedroom, the tv watching him. He was asleep. Completely unaware."
"The neighbor was up at 4 in the morning?" Sara asked inquisitively as she stepped over glass shards on the kitchen floor.
"He works nights. Had just arrived home about 20 minutes prior to the breaking in and spotted the intruder out his kitchen window," Catherine elaborated, then stopped at the patio door. She paused in the narration while they both took a long, hard look at the origin of the crime scene.
It was your standard door with a glass window and gold door handles. The lower left corner of the window was broken explaining the shards on the floor. Sara could already envision the intruder busting open the window, reaching his grubby hands in and unlocking the door from the inside. While she had been picturing this, Catherine finished up by saying, "Mr. Martinez woke up at the sound of glass being broken. He raced down the stairs with a tennis racket and spooked our perp. By the time authorities got here, the perp was gone. Martinez said there was no struggle. He assumed it was some punk kid looking to make a quick buck."
"Sounds very neat and tidy," Sara commented, suppressing another yawn with her hand. She didn't really understand why they were here. Nothing was stolen. No one was hurt. The police seemed to have done their job and Mr. Martinez didn't seem to be complaining. Could she go home now?
"It's not as neat and tidy as you may think," Catherine said in a dismaying tone. She directed Sara's attention to the kitchen table.
Sara kneeled down to get a closer look and stated the obvious, "Blood. Looks fresh."
"I haven't swabbed it yet."
"I'll get it."
Sara could hear Catherine walking away as she combed through her kit for the appropriate collection tool. She yawned again, took the sample, then stood up to look around. Mr. Martinez claimed there was no struggle, but the blood was fresh and there was enough of it to assume it was more than a paper cut. There was also a small chunk of the table chipped off indicating something or someone hit the edge solidly. It was possible the two men got into a scuffle.
Judging by the fact that the blood only resided on the corner of the table and nowhere else, Sara concluded that maybe it was used as a weapon. Mr. Martinez tackled his intruder and slammed said intruder's head into the table to subdue him, leaving the blood behind. Question was, did the intruder walk out under his own power or did Mr. Martinez help him? Either way, Martinez was lying. They would surely have to talk to him again.
Sara aimed her flashlight along the floor, searching for anymore signs of conflict. No blood splatter. No drag marks in the carpet. She kneeled down looking for fibers, hair, anything. There was nothing. These observations were beginning to effectively rule out that Mr. Martinez did anything criminal. He was just trying to protect his home. Catherine walked back in, camera in hand and watched Sara inspect the floor.
"No sign of struggle down here," Sara confirmed with a slightly deflated look. She wasn't ready to give up yet as she added, "We'll know more about the blood once we find out who it belongs to."
"Yeah," Catherine agreed. She scanned the room one last time before suggesting, "I don't think we'll learn much else in here. Wanna check the garage?"
"Uh, sure, but what's the point? The perp was only in here," Sara shrugged as she followed the other woman.
"I found black shoe prints in the backyard on the patio, just outside the door. Motor oil," Catherine explained. "It wouldn't hurt to get a sample from the garage to have for comparison."
"If they match, it would prove whoever was in the garage also broke into the house," Sara smiled slightly, catching on to Catherine's way of thinking. Once in the garage, Catherine instantly found the only bottle of motor oil in plain sight. There were also more footprints. She snapped photos of those. She then retrieved an empty container from her kit to pour some of the motor oil into.
Sara took it upon herself to search for anything else that may seem out of place, but she immediately found that would be impossible. The garage was an orderly and uncluttered space with very little room for tools let alone a car. With an oil stain in the center of the floor, however, it was plain to see that Mr. Martinez fit his car in here somehow. Sara sighed and asked, "Any idea what the motive could be for robbing this guy? He doesn't exactly live the high life."
"Who knows. At this point, I could care less why people do stupid things," Catherine sighed as well, finished with collecting the sample of motor oil. Sara continued to examine the various tools hanging on the wall when she heard Catherine mumble, "Now that's interesting."
Sara turned around, shining her flashlight over to where Catherine was standing. In the back right corner of the garage were several stacked boxes. She made her way over and asked, "What's interesting?"
"Hmm?" Catherine murmured, inspecting the labels on the boxes.
"You said 'that's interesting'," Sara clarified. "What?"
"Oh, sorry," Catherine shook her head. It was obvious the long hours were getting to her as well. She pointed at the labels, "Addresses to all parts of the country from a P.O. Box located right here in Vegas." She paused taking one more second to read, then added, "From some company called 'The Next Big Idea'."
"How original," Sara remarked sarcastically.
Catherine half smiled, before eyeing the boxes inquisitively, "I wonder what's inside."
Sara smirked, completely aware that Catherine only wondered aloud to peek her curiosity. How could she say no to snooping through other people's things? Especially if it could explain the motive to kill another human being? "Let's open one of them."
Catherine eagerly grabbed a random box, but noticed it wasn't taped shut yet. She smiled, "Looks like we don't have to. . .this one is already open." She unfolded the flaps, her expression deflating some. "It looks like. . .a bunch of syringes." She rummaged through the packing peanuts some more, then shook her head in bewilderment, "That's all. Just syringes."
Sara frowned, "Weird."
"Yeah, tell me about it." The two women pondered their discovery for a moment. There were obvious signs of forced entry allowing for the possibility of a robbery but the only thing of possible value in the entire house was a box of syringes?
Sara and Catherine turned around startled, only to find a skinny man in a t-shirt and shorts standing in the garage doorway. Sara had her hand on her gun, but paused when she saw Catherine visibly relax. It was apparent she knew this man. With an exasperated sigh, Catherine said, "Mr. Martinez. We asked you kindly to stay out of the house until we were finished."
He was silent for a moment. He looked disturbed. His tousled hair, disheveled clothing and wire thin glasses made him appear unkempt and very naive. It was hard to believe this man had chased anyone out of his home with a tennis racket or managed to appear threatening at all.
"I know, but I think I found something. Out back," Martinez insisted in a shaky voice. He rubbed the back of his neck nervously, keeping his gaze fixed on the floor.
"What did you find?" Sara asked, not ready to budge. Too many times in the past had victims tried to run the cases themselves, only to lead CSI on a wild goose chase. She wasn't in the mood for those kind of head games today.
"A body," he gulped, then started to walk away promptly. His movements jerky and spastic. The two women exchanged intrigued glances before immediately following him. He was in the backyard, standing next to an old Volkswagen. The trunk had been popped and he was staring inside with wide eyes. He removed his glasses and wiped sweat from his brow. He mumbled, "I've never seen a dead body before."
"Would you mind stepping back, Mr. Martinez?" Sara asked as politely as possible. The poor guy was really shaken now. Just hours ago, he had chased a burglar out of his home. Now he's come across this? She shined her flashlight inside to look closer and was surprised by what she saw. It was a young man, maybe in his early twenties. Dark clothes and a wound on his forehead. He looked so fresh. Couldn't have been dead for more than a few hours.
"Mr. Martinez, is this your car?" Catherine asked, trying to help calm him.
"Yes, it is my car," Martinez nodded quickly. The hitch in his voice was gone.
"Is this the man who broke into your house?" Sara asked, turning around and holding up a ski mask. Both woman could see the guilt flash across his face. Sara feeling more bold then usual asked, "Did you kill him?"
Martinez didn't answer, as he returned his gaze to the ground. Catherine informed him disappointedly, "You do realize we have to take you in for questioning now. You lied about a struggle and you lied about the body."
"No. I'm not a killer," Martinez said, giving them both a watery smile. Sara could feel a chill run down her spine. Something didn't feel right. Martinez rubbed his hands together and mumbled, "I'm a good guy, Ms. Willows."
"Even good guys can go to jail," Sara stated, ready to call for that tall, blond officer. She was hoping beyond hope that Brass was on his way too. This Martinez guy was starting to scare her.
"All we need to do is ask a few questions. For all we know, it was self-defense. If you cooperate, it will bode highly for you in the end," Catherine advised. She then froze, not understanding her apprehension. Mr. Martinez was beginning to look. . .aggressive. His eyes darkened ever so slightly. . .
Martinez suddenly smacked Catherine across the face sending her to the ground. The force in which he did so was incredible! Her body went limp instantly. Sara blinked in surprise at what just happened, completely stunned by his actions. Was this the same spastic man that just claimed he had never seen a dead body before?
Her rational mind finally kicked into gear as she went to pull her gun. Martinez was too poised and quick as he knocked the weapon from her hands. He forcefully pushed her into the car with amazing strength. Sara's back slammed up against the hot metal and she seethed at the pain running up her spine. After regaining some of her senses, she yelled as loudly as possible, "I need help! We have a hostile suspect!"
"No one can hear you," he said dryly, staring down at her with diffident eyes.
"Officer!" Sara screamed again. Damn it, what was his name? "Officer!"
"The reporting officer is enjoying a sedative induced nap," Martinez told Sara sweetly. His demeanor frighteningly calm. "I'm sure his friends won't be here for a few more minutes, which is why it's time to take a ride."
Sara's eyes widened at that comment and she scrambled to get away. Martinez grabbed her by the shoulders then threw her to the ground next to an unconscious Catherine. She grunted from the fall. The palms of her hands taking the brunt of her tumble, her efforts to sustain less injury hampered when the jagged rock surface below the grass assaulted her skin. When she looked up again, Martinez had her weapon drawn on her. He smiled widely, "You should never judge a book by it's cover, Miss. . .I'm sorry. What was your name?"
Sara didn't answer, but she watched his beady eyes stare at her chest to read her tag. He made eye contact with her again and finished, "Ms. Sidle. You thought I was some loser, didn't you? Impossible for a man of my size to hold his own?"
Sara continued to remain quiet. What could she say? She had been fooled. He finally ordered sedately, "Hurry up. I want you to remove your ever so special crime scene investigator vests, then load her into the back seat. You sit in the front."
"No," Sara tried to say confidently, even though her own gun was staring her in the face.
"Please. Ms. Willows is a wonderful woman. Her blood will be on your hands if you don't comply," Martinez insisted ever so gently. His composure sickened Sara, but it was becoming clear she had no choice.
If she acquiesced to his demands, they would both have a chance to survive. Maybe if she stalled, more help would arrive and end this nightmare before it got any worse.
She removed the vests slowly, not wanting any jerky movements to set off that gun. Sara found it easy enough to lift the smaller frame of Catherine off the grass, hooking her arms under the older woman's. Purposely dragging Catherine's feet in the dirt, she wanted to leave some kind of mark behind for Grissom to see. After a quick glance over her shoulder at Martinez, Sara focused on the limp form she was dragging. Poor Catherine was still knocked out cold, a contusion beginning to form on her cheek from where she had been hit.
Now all Sara could feel was extreme anger with herself. If she had just held on to her gun, she could've subdued Martinez. This wouldn't be happening.
He had opened the back door already and impatiently demanded, "Faster. I don't have all day."
Sara griped, but did as she was told. No sense in pissing off a crazy man with her gun. She managed to get Catherine in, making sure she was as comfortable as one could be lying in the backseat of a car. Sara lingered as her eyes took in the hobbled form that was Catherine, feeling more guilt with each passing second. If only she had been faster than him. Smarter than him.
When Sara backed away, Martinez's arm immediately wrapped around her neck and held her close to him. He smelled of peppermint and the strength of his grip made escape unlikely. He whispered sincerely, "I'm really a good guy. I swear I am."
Before she could respond, a sharp pinch was felt in her arm. A needle injecting some sort of sedative, she supposed. She struggled to free herself from this seemingly harmless man, but it was no use. He had removed the needle from her arm. The world was slowly fading away. She no longer wondered how frightened Nick must have been when he was abducted. To have no control. To fear for ones life and wonder what the next few hours would bring. She didn't have to.
She was experiencing it.
To be continued. . .