Disclaimer: CSI characters are not mine, never will be…tear.
Pairing: Sara/ Catherine
Rating: PG/ PG-13
Summary: Sara and Cath are trapped and the stress creates certain revelations.
Other/ Spoilers: Briefly refers to Burden of Proof, I think. P.S. I do realize the unlikelihood of the situation, but what are you going to do?
Catherine pushed her sunglasses up on her head as she jumped out of the SUV and turned her back on the setting sun. She had been working since one o'clock last night and was looking forward to a break after she and Sara wrapped this scene. Walking around to the lift gate, she saw that Sara was already there, holding her kit out to her.
Unlike Catherine, Sara did not have to be here right now. She had come in to work four hours early. On her night off. 'Couldn't sleep' had been her explanation. Catherine rolled her eyes. What she wouldn't give for Sara Sidle's apparent free time. Catherine took her kit from the brunette without a word and marched up to the officer on scene.
She didn't know him, and that didn't surprise her. They were way out in the middle of nowhere, nearly two hours from Vegas. She had driven there, and she was hoping that Sara would drive back so she could get some shuteye.
"Evening. I'm Catherine Willows, and this is Sara Sidle. We're with the Las Vegas Crime Lab. Somebody called out about a 419?"
The officer tipped his hat at the two women, "That'd be me, ma'am. Trent Findlay. The guy's is dead is Bill Cassidy."
Catherine tried not to roll her eyes; she hated being 'ma'am'ed, "Can you tell me what you know about what happened here, Officer Findlay?"
Sara hung back, observing the rickety old shack behind the man. She didn't say a word- she hadn't said a word since they'd got in the car in Vegas. But it wasn't unusual for her and Catherine to work a scene in silence, so the redhead let it go.
"Yes, ma'am. I was up here on my usual rounds and I saw buzzards circlin' the property. Now, usually that means a dead mountain lion or a coyote. Maybe somebody's dog or something. I just check up on it, fire a few warning shots to keep the bigger animals away, and then I call animal control. But this time, the buzzards were right up next to the house. So I come in for a closer look and I find Bill sittin' there like that. Dead as a doornail in his rocking chair."
"Did you touch the body?" Sara finally spoke, stepping closer to the porch where the dead man was seated.
Catherine was beginning to smell him now. In this kind of heat, he might have only been dead a day, but she wasn't surprised that the scavengers were already aware of his body.
"No, miss, I didn't. I called out to him a few times, but I could smell him and it looked like he soiled himself."
"We're going to need your shoe prints." Catherine said briskly. She was slightly peeved that the officer felt Sara deserved a 'Miss' when she had received a 'Ma'am.'
"Anything you like, ma'am."
The muscles in Catherine's neck flexed as she ground her teeth in an attempt to stay calm, "Sara? Why don't you print the good officer here? Then take the perimeter. Meet me on the porch when you're through."
The taller woman's brown eyes narrowed and Catherine suspected she was not happy with the rookie assignment. Tough. Catherine thought. If I have to be older, then I might as well pull seniority.
The two women went about their work, but neither found anything probative until they reached the body. The sun had dipped below the horizon by then and the women observed the body with their small flashlights.
"This guy is covered in dirt and dust."
"Yeah, but check it out. That's not a normal color for dirt- he's all sparkly, and I've got some reddish purple rock fragments." Catherine pulled out a tape lift.
Sara examined the deep laceration on the back of the man's bald head, "I've similar fragments in this wound tract. Possible transfer? I guess we can rule out natural causes. Damn it. It's going to take ages for David to get out here."
"And we can't collect the stuff in the wound for comparison until Mr. Cassidy here is on the ME's table. Shit." Catherine groaned, "I really wanted to get home in time to tuck Lindsey in."
"Sorry, Cath." And Sara did sound apologetic, "If you want, you can take the evidence we've got back to the lab and I can catch a ride with David."
"Really?" Catherine asked, surprised. She didn't really think Sara would do something like that, "You don't mind?"
Sara smiled slightly, "I wouldn't have offered if I did."
Catherine smiled in return, "Yeah, that's true enough." She looked at her watch and then out at the night sky where stars were just starting to shine and the moon was just beginning to peak over the distant hills beyond which lay the city of Las Vegas, "Eh." She waved a hand, "I'm sure Linds is fine without me- she'd probably complain about having to kiss me goodnight if I was there, anway. Besides, how often in our line of work do we get to just sit somewhere and look at the stars?"
Sara looked up at the emerging pinpoints of light, "True. Why don't I take this stuff back to the Tahoe while you call David?"
"Hey, why do I have to be the one to tell the assistant coroner he's taking a road trip tonight? He's going to be seriously pissed."
Sara turned back to smile at her as she stepped off the porch, "Because I had to do all of the boring stuff just so you could feel better about Officer What's his face calling you old."
"He did not call me old!" Catherine retorted defensively, but she had the good graces to blush at being caught.
"Whatever." Sara grinned.
Catherine flipped up her phone, grumbling something about rookie officers. Before she could dial, however, Sara was back and standing right in her personal space.
"What?" The redhead asked testily.
"You're not, you know." Sara said, her eyes wide.
"Old. Not at all. Far from it. You're still young and fit and gorgeous." Sara smiled awkwardly.
Catherine's eyes narrowed, "Uh. Huh. Okay, what do you want? Are you vying for me to put in a good word for you with Gil for that promotion?"
Sara bristled, "No. Jesus. It was a compliment, Catherine. And I don't need anyone putting in a good word for me with Grissom."
"Of course you don't." Catherine rolled her eyes.
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Sara challenged.
Catherine sighed audibly, "Nothing. You know what? I think I will take the Tahoe and head back early. I can get a jump start processing and maybe still see my daughter before she falls asleep."
"Fine." Sara forced the evidence bag into Catherine's hands and crossed her arms over her chest, "Go."
"I will!" And with that, the smaller woman stalked down the driveway.
Sara sat defiantly on the front step and pouted crossly. She wondered why Catherine's first reaction to everything she did was always defense.