Author sez: I've decided to resurrect this fic from the netherworld. I'm doing a small recap right at the beginning for all your benefit since I'm sure most of you must have forgotten what this fic was about. Heck, I forgot what this fic was about. So, I hope those of you still sticking around to read will enjoy this.
1. Grissom tells Sara that he's taking a sabbatical.
2. Doc Robbins finds an unidentifiable, biological substance inside a corpse.
3. Doc Robbins tells Catherine that the substance is a manufactured entity by a pharmaceutical company – Gensyn -- as a vaccine for HIV. The corpse is of one of the doctors on the research team – Connor Greenberg.
4. Sara finds out that Catherine had spread the news about her and Grissom all over the lab.
5. Catherine and Sofia find a skeleton in Greenberg's quarters at GenSyn.
6. Sara's ID is found along with the skeleton.
7. Sara comes to know of the finding. She remembers back to when her mother's lawyer, Vanessa Munoz, talked to her.
8. Sara tells Nick that her brother was shot when she was young.
9. Catherine decides to strike up a truce with Sara.
10. Catherine finds out that the skeleton was of Lansing, a guy she used to date a long time ago.
11. Sara is almost attacked by a stranger.
12. A romantic connection is found between Connor and Dimitri Anton, son of the chairman of GenSyn. Ecklie decides to take Catherine off the case.
13. Sara decides to search for information on the case in Catherine's office, but is caught.
14. Sara tells Catherine that she needs to find answers in San Francisco. Catherine offers her support.
15. Dimitri asks to speak to Catherine in private, but is subjected to a violent assault. Sara looks at her brother's death certificate.
She watched the ceiling ripple delicately. A smoky blue warped and undulated until it blended into a lighter hue. A flourish of tiny waves grew gently and moved, as if attracted, towards the shadows where their fairy-like tentacles became absorbed by the darkness. The spot right above her was the most saturated. A halo-ish brightness pulsated with an unknown energy, unaffected by the gloominess of the night all around it, polite in its movements so as not to disturb the silence. She lay transfixed, yet not finding sleep anywhere close despite her exhaustion and the hypnotic image.
When she felt her phone vibrate, she was momentarily unable – or perhaps unwilling, she couldn't say – to mobilize her arms into picking it up. It was only when the familiar mechanical tune seeped into her consciousness was she able to contract her muscles. Even then, she felt like she was on automaton, not entirely aware of what she was doing.
"Sidle." The same reflexive part of her brain responded.
Catherine experienced a moment of hesitation. The cacophony of shouts and gurneys squeaking around her made it difficult as is to hear properly. In addition, the voice at the other end was hoarse, like it was being pushed through a clog of tears.
"Sara? Are you there? This is Catherine."
Sara blinked. She opened her mouth to speak; only she wasn't sure what to say. Just then, she heard shouts and what sounded like an intercom voice buzzing at the other end. "Catherine, where are you?"
"At the hospital."
Hospital? Sara went bolt upright. "What? Are you alright?"
"Yes, I'm fine. I'm here for Dimitri Anton. He was attacked."
As the name of Dimitri Anton became recognizable, Sara brought herself to sit straight, to the case of Connor Greenberg, to the reality of her being in San Francisco. "Attacked, by whom? What happened?"
Catherine stepped away from the lounge, and walked towards a deserted corridor with slanted glass walls that gave her a view of the speeding traffic on N Tenaya Way. She began with the phone call from Dimitri.
Sara listened as she turned on her bedside lamp. A sheet of paper fell from her body onto the bed. She didn't need to see it again to know what it was. Every line, every print, and every curve of a signature was embellished on her mind. The black on yellowed paper had reeled her back into memories and a self-tormenting trip of could-haves and might-haves. What Catherine was telling her weaved itself into the story of her past, not in any coherent form yet, but they revealed themselves like jigsaw pieces of the same puzzle. The only thing left was to put them together.
She sandwiched her phone between her ear and arm, while slipping into a robe borrowed from Vanessa. The red digitals on her bedside clock read 1:22 – her body clock read 'I'm alert and ready to solve cases'.
"So, is he going to be alright?" She asked once Catherine was finished.
"Yeah, he'll make it. He's not going to look pretty, though, and I most likely have a conversation with Ecklie coming up that I'm not looking forward to. But not much I can do about tonight. Are you calling from San Francisco?"
Sara dragged her feet across the tiled floor. "Just on the other side, in Oakland. I'm staying with... friends."
Catherine opened her mouth to speak before she clamped it shut at the sight that greeted her. "Shit."
"Anton Sr. and Dr. Chaudhary are coming this way. I completely forgot about this conversation. Someone kill me."
Sara smiled. "Well, pretend you're on a very important call, that you absolutely cannot spare time to talk to them."
"I'm already annoying and intrusive in their books. They might as well add rude in there too."
"Exactly, and –" She stopped herself in time.
"And not like it's not true." Catherine finished for her.
"Your words, not mine." The smirk was unmistakeable.
She played with a stray blonde curl and debated the sanity of avoiding confrontation with GenSyn by indulging her co-worker's wry humor. It took her less than two seconds to decide that, while it may not be sane, it was certainly pleasant.
"So, you called earlier?"
Sara peeked out from the window, unconsciously playing with the curtain string. "Yeah, I did."
"And... what was it about?"
In a reversal of situation, she now saw her own figure reflected onto the surface of the pool. The harsh yellowness of the lamp behind her subjugated the moonlit blue of the water. "Daniel, my brother."
Catherine glanced only briefly at the approaching people. Reetha Chaudhary was fuming and pointing obvious glares at her. Anton was more composed, but the hardened lines on his puffy face were unmistakeable. She thinned her lips and blocked them away from her mind. "I'm listening."
"I was there. That day he was shot, when he was shot, I was there. I saw him." A sound appeared to crumble within her. "Catherine, I saw him die."
"Ms. Willows?" She only vaguely heard them, just barely registered their anger. Her mind, her thoughts, was on Sara.
"What happened then, Sara?"
"That's the thing, Catherine. I don't remember. I can't remember. I know there was this guy and I know I should recognize him. I know it. Yet I can't. I couldn't help the police then. They showed me so many mug shots and they all looked alike."
Sara tried to put a reign, but a tornado of mental images pounded in her head. It needed an outlet.
"Then I would have these dreams where I see Daniel, and then the guy who shot him. But every time, it's a different face, a different mug shot. Sometimes I even see my..." No, not everything. Not yet. "People I know reflected on the face."
"Sara, listen to me." Catherine forced her voice to be firm. "You were just a child. You were scared, you were shocked, your confusion is normal. You can't blame yourself for that."
"But I couldn't help him, Catherine! I couldn't help him get justice and they blamed me!"
A fist pounded into the wall. "My parents."
Sara's parents. "They were probably too distraught, Sara. They needed someone to blame. You've seen grieving families; you know they become incapable of rational thought."
"You don't understand."
She sensed a change in the voice, a gradual freezing she had unfortunately become used to in Sara. She couldn't allow the blockage, not when the woman was finally opening up to her. "You are right, I don't. So help me understand, Sara. Talk to me."
"I... not tonight. Can't tonight."
"Okay, alright." Without thought, Catherine found her mind and tongue adopting a soothing pitch. "You should get some sleep."
"Yeah, perhaps." Sara took a deep breath. "And what about you? Is the Medicine Moghul still there?"
"Yeah. If stares could shoot, I'd have been filled with holes by now. I think I should get into my The Catherine pose."
"What the hell is that?"
"The kind I use whenever Lindsay's being teenager-ish. And sometimes when a perp has smug as one of their admirable qualities."
"You mean the one you use when we're fighting?"
A tongue played with the cheek. "Yeah, that one."
Despite herself, Sara chuckled. "It's that bad, huh?"
"Oh, you have no idea."
"I'm already sorry for them."
"You're supposed to be on my side."
"I am. I am."
Catherine slipped her phone into her bag and ran a hand under her hair to shape them up. She stood, smoothing her slacks, and turned to face towards the lounge. Armed with a wide smile and what, she knew, was a clear and piercing look she walked with deliberate strides.
Sara held onto her phone for a while. Its small size fit neatly inside her hand and the battery offering her some warmth. The bay breeze was forming small waves in the water; everything bobbed and curved in bizarre proportions. Her own lanky form now slithered like a snake.