Title: Take Your Breath Away

Author: Eveh/JustAnotherPseudonym

Disclaimer: Okay so I don't own CSI the Las Vegas version. I don't even really want to own it, but that won't stop me from writing about the characters in a non-profit just for fun type of way.

Pairing: Catherine/Sara Kind of


Now that she looked back on what had happened to her in the last twelve hours of her life, Catherine Willows realized she had absolutely no idea who she was or what it was she wanted from her life. It was amazing to her now, that she had come into work as one person but would most certainly leave as another. Strong-willed, unwilling to yield to a challenge, that's who she was and she still knew that. What caused her to question everything, was one woman who challenged her so much, so deeply, she wasn't sure she wanted to meet it.

It had started at the beginning of her shift; a woman was waiting for her in her office. She was tall, dark skin, high cheek bones, mysterious brown eyes, professional appearance, beautiful. She had introduced herself as Erika Walsh and was in need of the CSI's expertise on a case she had been working for the last three years. Apparently, Catherine was being given a chance to work with the FBI and no one was supposed to know about it.

"Why choose me?" She had asked. "What makes me special?"

"You have a past," the woman had answered. "You have experiences that make you very qualified."

Erika had given her a chance to refuse. She had told her that the project would be dangerous and the experience scarring. Erika hadn't made any false promises of a higher reward or personal satisfaction. The only thing Erika had promised was a long night that would make her have a little less hope for humanity as a whole when it was over.

But Catherine didn't hear the warning she had been given. She couldn't hear it past the excitement of the challenge and the adventure into the unknown. Besides, she had seen a few things in her time and there wasn't much out there that could surprise her, right?

Wrong. She was so very wrong.

Hour 1: Small bar outside of Las Vegas Strip.

"So why are we here?" Catherine asked as she unsnapped her seatbelt.

Erika turned off the car engine and leaned back in her seat. "This is a place very similar," she said softly. "Almost exactly like the place she took her first victim."

"She?"

"So far we know that she's been responsible for ten deaths all across the western United States. She picks them up at bars, quite similar to this one, then fucks them and kills them." Erika's voice was calm, clinical, cold. She talked like all people who have dealt with death too often talked. She talked with a soul that was just a little less innocent than was probably healthy.

"What do you need me for?" The FBI had more resources than the Las Vegas crime labs; Catherine knew that. They could have any specialist they wanted. Erika could have anyone.

"Do you remember a woman named Marisa Clays?"

It was hard for Catherine to forget a woman she had gotten high with so long ago, no matter how much she wanted to. "What does she have to do with anything?"

"She gets a real kick out of killing all of her former lovers. It has something to do with her wanting to purify the world of those who have tainted it."

Catherine turned her eyes away from Erika's beautiful face. "I still don't know how I'm involved." She had never been Marisa's lover. She had hardly even liked the woman. There was something about her that seemed just a little off.

"I caught her once," Erika admitted softly. "I saw her in a bar and just got this feeling that she was the woman I was after. I could feel it. I knew it was her, but I had to let her go because we didn't have the evidence. I bought her a drink and we had a really interesting conversation. She said her name was Catherine Willows." The agent reached out and laid her hand softly on Catherine's forcing Catherine to look at her. "Do you know why she would do that?"

Catherine shook her head. "Not really. No."

"After that night, after I had talked to her, another body was found along with a strand of your hair."

"Why didn't I know about this before?" Catherine tried to make her voice sound indignant, angry but only managed to sound lost, confused.

"I never understood it," Erika removed her hand from Catherine's and placed it on the steering wheel. "Why would she tell me your name and plant evidence against you? Why were you so damn important to her?"

Catherine knew this question was being asked of her, but she didn't have an answer. She didn't know Marisa that well. Any memories she had been able to hold onto were distorted because of the drugs and dulled because of the passage of time. "I don't know," she answered. "I don't remember her well enough to remember anything about her."

"Neither do I," Erika replied her voice just above a whisper. "But after figuring out everything about you and following her around for the last three years, I have an idea." Erika shifted in her seat so that she was facing the CSI who sat next to her. "We originally thought that she was killing all her former lovers, but then we realized she was killing yours. We can even implicate her, to a certain extent, in your ex-husband's death."

That's when the anger Catherine had been searching for all night finally made it to the surface. "Why am I just now finding this out?"

Erika ignored the outburst. "She wants to cleanse the world for you Ms. Willows, she wants to take away your past. And there's some part of her that hates you for making her do what she's doing. That's why she implicates you for her murders, but at the same time wishes for your recognition."

There were a hundred things that Catherine wanted to know and a hundred more she didn't. "So why did you bring me here?" She settled for just knowing that.

"Inside this establishment is a woman who is on Marisa's list, I suggest you go get her and bring her out here. She just happens to be our most qualified bait."

Catherine looked around her just now noticing the familiar SUVs that were in the parking lot. "I don't want to involve anyone else in this," she said her face turned toward the window.

"Either you go and involve her or I will," Erika's voice had dropped. "We both know that she will be more than willing to help."

The CSI crossed her arms in front of her, trying to be as defiant as possible in this closed space. "I won't do it."

Erika sighed. "Fine." Within moments she was out of the car and headed towards the entrance of the bar. Catherine sat and watched her for a brief moment then quickly jumped out of the car herself and ran after her.

"Agent Walsh," she called out. "Wait! Don't!" But her cries were too late. Erika had already found who she was looking for and they were both headed away from the crime scene. Catherine followed them to a dark corner in the small bar and was met with the burning gazes of two sets of brown eyes.

"Is she after Catherine?" Sara asked Erika but kept her gaze fixed on the blond in front of her.

"Well when she's done killing everyone and confronts Catherine and realizes that Catherine isn't thankful for what she's done, yeah she probably will kill her," Erika answered her voice monotone. "It will be a passion killing, very bloody, very messy, a lot of evidence left behind. The evidence won't matter though, because then she'll probably kill herself and it will all be over anyway." Erika looked at Catherine then Sara. Neither of them seemed to be appreciative of her complete honesty, but she didn't care. She cared about getting them both back in her car so that they could set up a trap for a woman she had been following around the country for the last three years of her life. "So you have five minutes, then I'll meet you both in the car." She walked away and didn't bother looking back at either of them. She was sure they would eventually follow.

"I don't want you to do this," was the first thing Catherine had said as soon as Erika was out of earshot.

"Catherine," the name didn't sound pleasant coming from Sara anymore, it sounded hard. "I can make my own choices."

"Not about this you can't," Catherine's voice was harsh, angry.

Sara shifted her stance obviously uncomfortable in her former lover's presence. "I may not like you, but I don't want you dead." Her head dropped, her eyes turned to the floor. "I don't want Lindsey to lose another parent."

It was just like Sara to aim directly for her weakest spots. She did know all of them. "I don't want you to do this," Catherine said again, but this time her voice was weak and her anger covered up with just a hint of actual concern.

"I'm going to do it." Sara spoke as if her words settled everything.

At this bar, at this time, Catherine knew that this wasn't an argument she was going to be able to win. With a slight nod of her head she turned around and walked out of the bar knowing that Sara would follow her.

They both met up with Erika moments later who did nothing but grin knowingly at them both. Once inside the car, Erika started up the engine and took them away from the bar. They didn't know where they were going, but did know what was about to happen wasn't going to be one that could be hung on a wall of good times.