A/N: I just wanted to write this for fun, it's a small Catherine/Sara friendship piece :) Hope you guys enjoy it! Feedback is greatly appreciated.
She had found her in the police department's weaponless training room looking about ready to kill someone. She didn't think she had ever heard her swear so much in all the seven years of working together.
Catherine had gone looking for her shortly after they had closed their most recent case. It had hit them all especially hard, but most definitely struck some sort of cord with Sara—most cases seemed to… especially the cases involving children. This case had uncovered a corrupt foster home, and what had been most disturbing about it was that if they hadn't been investigating the death of one of the children it probably would've slid right under their radar.
The victim had been a little girl about six-years-old; her parents had put her into the system shortly after filing for bankruptcy in hopes that someone else who didn't have to worry about financial issues could provide a better home for their baby. The home she was put into turned out to be an absolute nightmare. When Catherine and Sara had arrived at the house they both knew that if the little girl's foster parents hadn't killed her, the house would've by the looks of it.
There was mold everywhere, on the counters, under the sink, in the air-conditioning units. There were locks on the cabinets and the refrigerator, the only key in the father's possession. When they had brought the parents in for interrogation Catherine could've sworn Sara was going to kill the father right then and there.
It wasn't a mystery. All of their foster children were girls. Young girls who hadn't hit puberty yet. The mother was oblivious. The father was a pig.
After they had closed the case Catherine noticed Sara left in a hurry and her motherly instincts kicked in. She went to follow her but discovered her car was still in the parking lot of the lab. She went from the A/V lab to Ballistics, to the garage to DNA looking for her only to discover no Sara. Just for the heck of it she headed over to the police station to see if Brass had seen her.
That was when she found her. She had her hair tucked behind her head in a ponytail and her back was caked in sweat, soaking through the material of her navy blue tank top. She was wearing an old ratty pair of sweatpants and her hands were covered in what appeared to be boxing tape and hand-wraps. That was when she saw the punching bag she was knocking the crap out of.
For a minute she just watched her, sweating, grunting, cursing and hitting. She had to be exhausted but she just didn't stop. It broke Catherine's heart to see her like this.
Sara pelted the bag with fists mercilessly, one after the other, over and over again. All she could think about was that damned father and what he did to those girls. No one knew the real nightmare that was foster care—no one except her, of course. Most kids that had survived the system were too scared to say anything about was it was like.
What it was really like.
"No good dirty sleazy bastard!"
Catherine's eyes widened as she heard Sara ground out the phrase as she flipped around and delivered a kick to the bag that made Catherine hurt just watching it.
She watched as Sara fixed her position, firmly planting her feet back on the mat as she held her fists up in true boxing fashion. She wasn't done yet? Catherine enjoyed a good work out from time to time but she was sure that even she would be about ready to pass out now.
"Lecherous dirty old son of a—shit!"
Catherine winced as she heard a cracking noise. Sara grabbed her right hand and cradled it against her chest as the punching bag swayed in front of her, almost mocking her.
She wasn't sure if she should go and check on her or simply leave her alone. She was concerned but the look on Sara's face and the tone of her voice was not very inviting.
Instead of stopping, Sara fixed her position and started at the punching bag again with her other hand and more feet, leaving footprints on the bag as she continued to work out her rage.
Damn it Sara, why do you have to be so stubborn? Catherine thought, finally jogging over to her and putting a hand over the bag, stopping it from swaying. "I think you've shown it whose boss, Sara."
Sara looked over at her, her expression hard to read. Catherine made eye-contact with the younger woman and still couldn't exactly tell what was going through her mind. "Did you hurt your hand?" Catherine asked her.
Sara wiped the sweat from her upper lip with her arm, turning around and walking toward one of the benches where she had her sports bag sitting. "It's fine."
"It didn't sound okay to me," Catherine replied, trailing behind her. She watched as Sara reached inside the bag and grabbed a half-empty water bottle, taking a long sip of before she set it back down. "I heard a crack."
"Must've been your imagination," Sara protested.
"And I heard you swear like a sailor, now was that my imagination too or are you going to tell me what's going on?" Catherine coolly asked, leaning against the wall next to Sara, her arms folded across her chest. Luckily Catherine was just as stubborn as Sara was.
Sara looked at her for a minute before sitting down on the bench and looking down at the floor. "Nothing's going on. I'm just letting off some steam."
"We both know that's crap," Catherine told her, raising an eyebrow as she watched her. Sara made eye-contact and shot her signature 'don't go there' look her way. Catherine wasn't fazed. "So how about you tell me the truth?"
"It was just that case is all," Sara said, looking back down at the floor as she played with a loose end on her hand-wrappings. "Those sort of things just…"
"Piss you off," Catherine finished, moving Sara's bag aside and sitting down next to her. Sara just nodded. "Well I'm pissed off about it too Sara, but we got the guy," she explained. "That's all we could do. I'm a mother, I'll fight to the death for Lindsey and you don't see me in here trying to kill a punching bag."
Sara shot her another look and before she knew it she was laughing. Catherine smiled just a little as she reached inside the bag Sara had brought with her and pulled out a small pair of scissors. "Let me see your hand," she told her.
To her surprise, Sara complied and held her right hand out to her. Catherine turned it over and carefully cut away the tape from around her wrist before she noticed the blood covering the wrappings. "Jesus, Sara," she whispered, pulling it off and turning her hand over to see her bloodied knuckles.
Sara wasn't looking at her, perhaps out of shame or perhaps out of embarrassment, Catherine wasn't sure. She grabbed her other hand and quickly snipped the tape off only to let out a small sigh of relief. Her knuckles looked red and swollen beyond recognition but there was no blood.
Sara braced herself for Catherine's lecture, but to her surprise it never came. Instead she felt a gentle friendly hand on her shoulder and turned to look over at the older woman who met her gaze with tenderness, understanding and concern. "You were really hitting that thing, weren't you?"
Sara looked at her for a few moments before blinking rapidly and turning away, pulling her hands back into her lap. She had broken down in front of Grissom before, she had broken down in front of her bedroom mirror but she had never and was not about to break down in front of Catherine Willows.
Without saying a word Catherine searched through the contents of Sara's bag and found a small first-aid kit which she grabbed and opened, taking out a small bottle of rubbing alcohol, some cotton balls and some large gauze. Reaching across Sara she grabbed her injured hand and pulled it into her lap, pouring the rubbing alcohol onto one of the cotton balls and lightly dabbing it against the giant cut on her middle knuckle.
Sara let out a hiss of pain as she turned and looked over at Catherine was still concentrated on her task, firmly holding her hand in place. "A warning would be nice, you know," Sara told her. But Catherine didn't say anything back as she continued to wipe the blood away from the top of her hand.
Sara was a little irritated at Catherine's babying but at the same time grateful and fascinated at her assertiveness.
In a matter of minutes Sara's hand was now wrapped with white gauze and Catherine grabbed a small roll of tape, ripping off a small piece with her teeth and setting it in place. When Sara tried to pull her hand back Catherine put her own on top of it, stilling her from movement as she looked into the other woman's brown eyes. "Is there something you want to talk about?" she gently asked her.
To both their surprise Sara slowly nodded, never breaking eye-contact.
Catherine finally let go of her hand and got to her feet, setting Sara's water bottle and the first-aid kit back inside of her bag. Zipping it up and holding it out to her, she shot her a small smile. "Let's go get a beer."