Disclaimer: 'CSI' and its characters are the property of CBS and Alliance/Atlantis Networks, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. I'm writing this story for entertainment purpose only. No copyright infringement is intended.

Author's note: I wrote this story after watching the episode 'Overload'. Although Sara is my favorite, I do like Catherine's character. She's a strong, worldly woman and that's why I wrote this story about her. I hope you'll like it. Enjoy!

English is not my native language. If you find an annoying writing error in this story, please email me (instead of mentioning it in a review) and I will correct it immediately. Thank you!

Shattered Trust

By Karin

"There are some people you are supposed to be able to trust, you know?"

Trust. It's so easy to trust people, and it's so easy for them to betray that trust.

"I was nine, and she was the last-minute babysitter."

I was shocked when I heard Nick's confession. I knew he was having problems with the case, but I had no idea that it was that serious. I blame myself for not seeing it sooner. Every sign pointed in that direction. Nick's assumptions, his heated accusations towards the psychiatrist, his eagerness to find someone responsible… Still, I didn't see it coming.

And when he told me about the babysitter and what she did to him, my mouth became dry and a sickening feeling took over me. My fists clenched as a reaction and shivers ran down my spine.

"All I can remember doing afterwards is sitting in my room in the dark, staring at the door, waiting for my... mom to get home."

I feel so sorry for him. I know that my sympathy is probably the last thing he needs, but I care about him. He's special to me. Here at CSI we're like family. Grissom is our papa bear. He watches his offspring, guides them and teaches them the value of life. He makes sure that we don't go astray. Grissom is my dearest friend. We have worked together for so long now and we've been through a lot together. He was there for me when I found out that Eddie cheated on me. With his support I found the strength to deal with it. We have a special bond, and I love him.

Warrick and Nick are like the brothers I never had. Warrick is compassionate and will stick his hand into the fire to protect us. Sometimes I feel like I have to curb his enthusiasm, but he has his heart in the right place and that's all that matters.

Nick is one of the most caring persons I've met in my life. I know I can always depend on him. He will always be there for me if I have a hard time or if I run into some kind of trouble. He would listen - just like I did - and try to come up with a solution. That's him.

I don't know where Sara fits in. I can't say that she's my sister. She only recently joined our team. Now she's more like a niece that has returned from boarding school to be with her family. We have to get to know her better.

We are a family. However, I do think that two certain people in our team would rather be more than just 'family'. There is something between them, something in their interaction. I can also see it in the way they look at each other. Well, the way she looks at him. At first there was only admiration in her eyes. I thought that she was only looking up to him, but soon, after a few weeks I witnessed a change in her. The admiration made place for something more intense. Maybe I'm only imagining it, but my intuition is telling me that she loves him.

"Grissom, can you come tape me up?"

"I love my work."

I'm not so certain about him though. But then again, when have I ever been certain about his feelings? He's always so secretive. It drives me crazy. Sometimes I just want to yell at him. I want to grab his shoulders and give him a good shaking, trying to shake some emotion into him and get through to him. He has feelings, I'm pretty sure of that; he is just too damn stubborn to show them. And I'm afraid that eventually he will hurt her with his act of indifference and insensitivity.

I don't want to see anyone get hurt. But that's exactly what happened to Nick. Someone betrayed his trust, and he had nowhere to run to, no one to turn to. There was no one to help him go through the pain that he must have felt. My heart wrenches when I think of him sitting huddled in his room, feeling dirty and embarrassed because of her groping hands on his innocent body. He was just a child. A nine-year-old boy. What kind of a sick woman could do such a thing? I wish I could track that bitch down and squeeze the last breath out of her body, to make her pay for what she did to our Nicky.

His story frightened me. Immediately my thoughts went out to Lindsey. My daughter, my little girl. I often sneak out at night to go home. Or in the morning, I stand in the doorway and just look at my daughter. I don't make a sound. I hardly breathe, afraid of waking her up. She looks so peaceful when she sleeps. As if she doesn't have a care in the world, as if the bad outside world is just some fairytale to frighten children.

"I'm sorry for your loss."

I know better than that. I see the terror every day. I see how quickly a life can be taken, how easy it is to hurt people. That's why I have to go and look at her. To reassure myself that she's still with me, that she's still alive. I need that. I need to see her breathe, I need to hear the cute sounds she makes in her sleep. Lindsey is the most precious part of my life. I would kill and give my life for her. It's hard to believe that I've created something that right and pure. Of course I couldn't do it by myself. I had some help from Eddie, but that part I'd rather forget. I mean…just because Lindsey loves her father, doesn't mean that I have to. Right?

The thought that something like that, something like Nick has experienced, could happen to my little girl is unbearable. In my line of work I can't deal with the horrors I see at great length. Otherwise they would only gnaw at me, and I would burn out eventually. But sometimes you get this case that's extra difficult. For Nick it was this case, for Sara the battered woman case - I have this anxious foreboding about what has happened to her in the past - and for me the case of the dead girl at the carnival. When I saw her lifeless body on the ground, I felt like I was losing control. I knew I got too personally involved with the case, but I couldn't help it. Images of Lindsey being that girl flashed before my eyes. I saw her face all blue, the colourless lips and her broken arm. And I saw the lifeless eyes, staring past me.

"Hey! We aren't going to lunch, are we?"

Sara saw how much the case affected me. I know she did. She tried to slow me down, but the only thing I had in mind was finding the one responsible for the child's suffering. I needed to see someone convicted, to help me close that chapter. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the mother was the murderer. Of all people… And maybe that's my weakness. Grissom would certainly think so. I didn't consider the woman as a suspect. I assumed that a mother couldn't kill her own child. I'm a mother, and I could never hurt my little girl intentionally. A mother should always take care of her child, and a child should always be able to trust her parents without any doubt.

At least that's the intention, but I've learned that intention and reality are often poles apart. It scares me to know that the danger is everywhere. Like with a babysitter. Or a teacher, the football coach, the school bus driver… Lindsey comes into contact with so many people, and they all have the opportunity to do her harm. I can't be there twenty-four hours a day to watch her. I don't see everything. That's impossible. I have my work, I need to provide for her. It's as simple as that.

"She is going to ask where you are."

"She always does."

But often I can't help but feel guilty. I feel guilty for not being there for her like other mothers do. I know that it hurts her sometimes. When I see her disappointed face, it breaks my heart. She doesn't complain much though, because she knows that I love her. I try my best to get that across to her. She's my everything, and I don't think I could live without her. But that's probably what every mother of the children I see lying in the morgue, once said. So many little victims, so many sad relatives.

It's something I will never get used to. Their small faces, the hollow eyes and their tiny bodies. They lie so still. You expect them to jump up and ask you if the game is over. If they can play another game. But they won't. They just lie there. They're dead. Their life has been taken too soon.

Those children haunt me in my sleep. I see their faces, hear their voices pleading me to help them. They're the reason why I keep on going. They're my motivation. Just the thought that I can put away the bastards responsible for the hurt of those children is rewarding enough. I feel like I'm contributing something, that I'm doing my piece to make the world a safer place. Or well…make Las Vegas a safer place. A safer place for children. A safer place for victims like Nick. A safer place for Lindsey. That's all I want.

I hope you liked my story. Let me know what you think of it, but please be kind. I can take criticism, as long as it's serious and well founded. Thank you!

- Karin-