Summary: CSI/X-Men(Movieverse). In a battle for her sanity, she fears she may be losing.
Spoilers: X-Men 2, CSI some allusions to season 4.
Disclaimer: Not mine. X-Men belong to Marvel. CSI belongs to Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS.
She wonders now how Greg knew. Knew that she was suddenly not in the world, but trapped in her own head, becoming lost in a maelstrom of images and cries. She is grateful that he knew, and became her anchor to the world outside her own head. But she wonders.
It started years ago - in her teens. Dreams. Nightmares. Images accompanied by a backbeat; audio filled with pain and terror. They hadn't been frequent and she had learned to suppress the uneasiness that filled her for days, to banish the memories of bodies and lives broken, bleeding and utterly destroyed.
They'd become more frequent once she had begun studying to be a C.S.I, and by the time she had actually begun working, she could guarantee a nightmare a week. Often connected to a case - but not always.
When she had told Grissom - during the Kaye Shelton case - that she could hear Kaye's screams, she had been telling the truth. Even during the day the nightmare had echoed, reverberating through her mind. That had been one of the worst of the nightmares in her experience.
Until a few months ago.
Sprawled out on her kitchen floor, clutching her head in agony. She had been so certain that her head would explode. But it hadn't. News reports and Presidential addresses gave no explanation, but ever since... Her world had shifted.
Every time she closed her eyes, the nightmares claimed her before sleep did. Voices crying out in pain, in terror and in frustration. Images of bodies mutilated, bleeding and broken. Behind the images a beat that seemed to chant 'Help, Help, Help'. Me, us, her, him - that constantly shifted, but the effect was always the same; she would bolt upright, breathing heavily, her heart pounding, sweat slicking her body, making her feel clammy, causing the sheets to cling uncomfortably.
She was fighting a battle within herself, and terrified that she was losing. No matter how much her body demanded she sleep, she fought it, no longer wanting to close her eyes. Not at home and not at work. She had learned that location was no refuge, having fallen asleep on the couch in the common room last week; she had awoken not ten minutes later choking on screams.
She knew for a fact that Catherine had noted the dark circles under her eyes. Had been waiting for the questions, waiting for the order to take some time off - get some sleep. But it hadn't come. There was an added distance between them now. So unless her work was affected, Catherine and Grissom both would hold their peace and swallow their concerns.
And then she had no choice.
The nightmares had never come while she was conscious - during the last few months that fact was the only thing that had kept her sane. As long as she was awake the nightmares would not find her.
She had been placing a piece of evidence under the fume hood in trace when things suddenly started to go black. It had only taken a few moments for the images to begin. This time was different. Stronger. More overwhelming. She could feel herself shaking, vaguely heard something glass shatter. Muffled voices. All background to the screaming in her head. She may have been screaming herself - she didn't know.
How long it continued, she didn't know. Only knew that it seemed an eternity, and would continue for an eternity, and she was lost and suddenly there was Greg.
"Sara? Sara, I need you to concentrate on my voice, ok? Sara?" A soothing tone saying that it was all right, and that she was safe - a lie she knew - but she grabbed on to his meaningless words and soothing tone until the screaming stopped and the images faded. Slowly the darkness receded and she became conscious to the world once more, only to find herself shaking violently, tears pouring down her face, and Greg holding her hands and looking at her, concerned.
A short time later she found herself on a plane; destination New York.
An old - mutant - friend had suggested a school that may be able to help her control the nightmares. Greg had agreed, even offered to keep her company on the trip.
She had the vague feeling that Greg had appointed himself her younger brother, but couldn't bring herself to feel anything other than comforted. Not after he had been so kind, shielded her from the curious gaze of her co-workers who had witnessed her little meltdown.
After - it hadn't been difficult to take some leave, lord knew she had enough of it accrued - she felt uncomfortable at the idea of not working. Even more so at the reality of it.
She was surprised to see a young woman holding a sign with her name on it as she enters La Guardia.
"Sara?" The other woman has blue hair and she found herself wondering if it's her natural colour. "Sara Sidle?" Was it the dark circles under her eyes and the haunted look she was certain was on her face that gave her away? Was there something about her that shouted 'mutant'? She nodded and the young woman smiled. "I'm Melissa. Greg called to tell me you were on your way." She found herself frowning, "You know Greg?"
"Big brother." Melissa shrugged and reached for a bag. Well that explained how Greg knew.
"So..." She wasn't sure what she was going to say. Not even sure what she wanted to say.
"C'mon. Logan's waiting in the car."
She's still not quite sure what to make of the gruff man they found leaning against the SUV, a cigar clenched between his teeth. Instinct told her that while he may be dangerous - he's no danger to her.
"Hank told us that you weren't too happy with taking time off work. What is it that you do?" There's something that tells her that he's not used to making small talk, and it increased her feeling of discomfort. "I'm a CSI in Vegas."
"Science nerd?" He obviously knows enough about her field to know that much - or maybe he guessed from her association with Hank McCoy - either way the knot in her stomach eased slightly, as she confirmed his assessment. "Science nerd."
She sleeps now. Not for long, and not yet through the night, but she sleeps. Her respect for Greg has increased; he's her contact to her own world. Obvious too how much he loves his sister - never mind that Melissa can see the future, is better at predicting the weather than the weather bureau. Melissa is his sister, and that is all that matters. She is cognizant at how fortunate she is, that she can call him friend. The horror stories of some of the children have of familial rejection have driven that home to her.
So now she tries to follow his example. Tries to be a friend, let down her guard a little.
She tutors a little, passing on some of what Grissom has taught her, and of what she has learned personally. That you can't twist the science, the hard facts, to fit a theory. That persistence, intuition and empathy do have their place within science.
But mostly she learns. About herself; how to control her gift. About friends; and the family that has nothing to do with blood.
And when the dreams come she is aware of her limits and also aware of what she can do to help those she sees, hears.
It's time to go home.