Platypus 35: A Cross-Country Mistake

When Gil came into the lounge, Catherine was sleeping fitfully on a chair. He watched her for a minute, but when she started whimpering, he crossed the room and bent down in front of her. He briefly glanced at the clock and noticed that it was 3:37 am. He frowned; Catherine had been overstressed lately, but he hadn’t noticed how much of a toll it was taking on her.

Not that they had been spending much quality time together. Catherine had been pushing him to take time off, and with his caseload and worries about his developing hearing problems, he felt very stressed out.

He put his hand on her knee and squeezed gently. “Cath?” She twitched, but didn’t wake up, so he tried again. After kissing her hand, she started to move, breathing more deeply. “Cath, honey, are you—”

Her eyes popped open, the deep blue flashing into his own eyes. “Gil!”

Her urgent voice surprised him. She flung herself into his arms, holding on tightly. She was shaking. “Catherine?” She didn’t respond. “My dear, it was just a dream.”

“It was so awful,” she shuddered.

“Want to tell me about it?”

She shook her head. “No, not really. You’d probably think it was silly.”

He pulled back and kissed her forehead. She shivered, and sought his lips with hers, needing affectionate reassurance. When she stopped shaking, he pulled back. “No, I wouldn’t. I promise.”

She sighed and stood up, shaking herself out while pacing around the lounge. Gil stood up, too, and followed her. When she started to talk, she stopped moving. “I was... we were kidnapped by Milander. He said that Sara and I had to come up to the bathtub, and you were with him. Sara had her plant with her, because... well,” she sighed and ran a hand through her hair. “Who knows why. Milander made me get into the tub because I didn’t have my ring, because you don’t want me to wear it, and—”

Gil cut her off. “Just a dream. It was jut a dream.” He went to her, at her position against the counter. “Milander’s dead.”

She wrapped her arms around his waist. He kissed her neck, and hugged her closer. “Can I please wear the ring to work tomorrow?”

“Cath, your dream isn’t going to come true, you know.” she shuddered and lifted her head. He pressed his lips to hers, trying to loan her comfort. She leaned against the counter and pulled him close; when Gil moaned into her mouth, she squeezed her hands into him.

He hadn’t felt such need in her in a long while, so getting caught up in the moment wasn’t a huge surprise. Catherine jumped up on the counter and wrapped her legs around his waist; she broke the kiss to drop to his neck. He felt his desire running through his system; her desire fueled his, and he didn’t quite know how he would pull away.

“I love you,” he whispered.

She stopped kissing his neck and just continued hugging him. When he stroked her back, she broke down started crying. His heart broke. He wished that he could do more for her; he didn’t know what to do.

“Let’s take the night off.”

Catherine stopped crying, and looked up at him, completely shocked. “Really?”

He nodded. “The minute things quiet down. You and me, we’ll head out. Go back to my place, and hang out for a while.”

“You serious? You’d actually take time off and—”

“You’re upset,” he interrupted her. “I want to make you feel better.”

She smiled and he hugged her close. He felt as though he might have a chance to repair things between them. He kissed her temple, and then she started to cry again. He rubbed her body with his hands. “Shhhh,” he whispered.

The door swung open and he jumped away on instinct, out of his fear of getting caught. He heard Catherine laugh bitterly, and he saw her wipe at her tears. He turned, expecting the worst, and saw Warrick. He let out the breath he wasn’t aware of holding.


Gil backed up so he could guard Catherine. He felt her hair brush his shoulders and back. “Yes, Warrick?”

“A case came in.”

“What is it?”


He sighed. “Is there any way you can take it tonight?”

Warrick nodded. “No problem. What are you two up to?”

“Ah,” Gil replied. “I think we’re going to go home. It seems quiet enough. My paperwork can wait.” He heard Catherine gasp and hiccup, which made him smile. “We need to get away for a bit.”

“Looks like it,” Warrick commented.

Catherine hopped off the couple, and walked to the door. “I’m going to go wash up.”

“Meet me at the car,” Gil said softly.

When she was gone, the younger man looked at him, and raised an eyebrow. “Should I ask?”

Gil shook his head. “Bad dream. Do you understand women?” When he didn’t answer Gil, instead staring at him, he tried to get his attention. “War’?”

He smirked. “She got you back, Gris’.”


Warrick pointed at Gil’s neck. Gil clamped a hand over the mark on his neck, and groaned. “How bad is it?”

“Barely there,” he chuckled. “Go on, don’t keep her waiting.”


Catherine gasped when Gil’s mouth sucked at her shoulder. “Giiiiil,” she purred. “Can’t you stop teasing me?”

“Nope!” He grinned. “Besides, you marked me... so I see this as payback.”

“That hickey was payback for the one you gave me!”

He chuckled. “Well, then, I guess I’ll have to find other ways to tease you.”

She smiled, turning her head so she could kiss him soundly on the lips. They were in a weird place that was wreaking havoc on her nerves, but at that moment, she was contentedly in love. Gil’s hands reached up, sliding over her ribcage until they cupped her breasts; she moaned, and silently decided that they were up to passionately in love for the evening.

He rubbed against her, and she could feel his erection pressing against her bare skin. That pleased her, knowing she was still turning him on. “Better?”

“Tease,” she stuck her tongue out as he rolled her over.

“Yep,” he said before descending to take her tongue into his mouth. She yielded to him, while inviting him even deeper. Her legs parted underneath him, and she rubbed against him. He pulled back, and asked with a raised eyebrow. “Again?”

She nodded. “Yes, please... I need you.”

“Third time in one night?”

She grinned. “You seem to be keeping up alright. Besides, it’s morning now, and Lindsey’ll be getting up, and she needs to get to school, and—”

Gil cut her off with a kiss. “No more logical thoughts.”

While she longed for a relationship that could be held in the home and in the public, she had also missed the passion. This glimpse at what they had had for so long, what had started to unravel recently, it made her stomach tighten and her pulse quicken.

“Now... please...”

When he slid into her warmth, groaning into her shoulder, Catherine wrapped her legs around him, and gripped her hands into his torso, muttering words of encouragement. He lifted his head to shower her face with kisses. She sighed, and watched him. He watched her in return.

They moved closer and closer to another orgasm. Catherine couldn’t believe how wound up she felt. As his hand slid between them, just to push her faster to the edge, she bit down on her lip.


His name came out in a sharp gasp, her nails dug into him; the harshness of her actions contrasting against the soft sunlight filtering into the room from between the curtains. As her muscles contracted around him, she felt tears welling up in her eyes. She yelped and rolled her head back.

The images, sounds, and sensations around him soon worked their magic on him, and he felt himself falling after her. As his orgasm crashed into him, he trembled.

Slowly, they recovered. Catherine pressed soft kisses along his shoulder and neck, working her way up along his jaw, to his lips. He adjusted them, cradling her in his arms. She put her hands on top of his. She had missed these moments, too.

“Let’s get out of here,” she suggested after a long moment of quiet.

“Out of bed, or out of here?”

“Let’s go grocery shopping after I pick Lindsey up and take her to school,” she expanded, secretly hoping that Gil would enjoy doing something that normal couple did.

He kissed the back of her neck. “Sure. We need showers though.”

“I’m going to go home,” she said. “Wait for Linds there. I’ll shower, take her to school, and then—”

“I’ll meet you at your place.”


Catherine smiled at Gil, returning with two boxes of her favourite cereal. He raised an eyebrow and pushed the cart along. “Did you get enough of your beloved Crispex?”

She nodded, coming in closer. He watched her hips move, and he swallowed. They had spent the night in bed, trying to get back some of the happiness that had been lost over the past few months. Watching her walk only pulled on new strings of desire within him.

“You made me hungry,” she said with a smile and a shrug.

He grinned. “Hungry for what?”

Catherine stood up on her toes and ruffled his hair. He could smell her, and it was wrapping around his brain, squeezing the logical thoughts out, leaving only ones of love and lust. “We’re coming up for air,” she told him. “Don’t tease me.”

He kissed her quickly, shocking himself with the public display. It just felt right, for some reason. “I’ll get to that later.”

She reached up again to mess his hair up for a second time. He grabbed her wrist and pulled her hand to his lips. She blushed and almost leaned up for another kiss, but someone caught his eye and he abruptly released her and stepped away.

He could see the hurt and shock on her face. “What happened?”

With a discrete hand movement, he motioned to a man browsing the other end of the long aisle. She rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. Gil looked back at the intruder, to confirm what he saw, and then he explained: “He’s a lab technician for Days.”


“So,” he replied. “I don’t want him going to work and spreading rumours about us.”

“They’re not rumours.”

He started pushing the cart along, and Catherine quickly walked the other way. He frowned, knowing that everything they had attempted to repair had been broken again.


Catherine stormed up the steps to her home and slammed the door shut. Gil, hot on her trail, opened the door and slammed it again.

“Get out!” She snapped angrily, slamming her keys down on the end table by the door..

He sighed and rubbed his face with one hand. “Catherine, I’m not leaving until we talk about this.” She laughed angrily and went to her bedroom, seeking the solace the room often loaned her. She started to undress, thinking that a hot shower and a nap would calm her down. Gil, as she expected, followed her. “Cath!”

She whirled around, clad only in her bra and underwear, and glared at him. “Funny that you want to talk!”


Hands up in the air, she cried out: “You never want to talk!”

Gil groaned. She took it as an admission of truth of some sort. “Catherine, please, just because I can’t—”

“Won’t, Gil, there’s a difference.”

He reached for her and held her close. She tried to struggle out of his grip, but he held her securely. “I’m a private person, Cath. You know this. Why can’t you let me adjust on my own time?”

“Sometimes I forget how much we’ve been through,” she spoke, not answering his question, but letting some of her feelings out. “It’s like we’re in a relationship doomed to remain in the early stages forever.”

“A holding pattern isn’t always a bad thing.”

She cried out: “It’s been practically two years!”

Catherine hated circling the same issues, and she hated pushing him. But, she often felt so alone in their relationship.

When Gil’s phone rang, they separated. She walked to her dresser and picked up her precious promise ring. Instead of slipping it onto her finger, she put it on her favorite necklace and put it on. She wanted to wear it, but she didn’t want to put it on her finger; that seemed like a symbol that conveyed a positive message, and she wasn’t feeling very positive at the moment.



He sighed. “We have a case.”

“But, Days—”

“Special request.” She sighed, and instead of reaching for pajamas in her bureau, she went to her closet to find a suit.

“I’m going to have to call Eddie and ask him to pick Linds up,” she said after they were on their way out of the house. “Can I—”

Gil cut her off by handing her his phone. She snatched it out of his hand. “You’re welcome...”

“Bite me,” she shot back. “We’re still fighting.”


After Brass told them about the Cadillac, Catherine got into Gil’s Tahoe to accompany him to the scene. After he got onto the road, he spoke to her: “Could you please take that off?”

“Am I pushing again?”

“Did you ever think maybe it was too much for me?”

“Look, I forgot that I put it on,” she lied. “I’m not taking it off, because I don’t want to lose it.”

Gil glanced over at her. “You forgot?”

“Yes. Now, take that right. It’s a short cut.”

She silently scolded herself for lying to him. He hadn’t gotten the message though, so she didn’t feel too badly.

They met Jim at the building’s entrance. As they walked, their hands brushed a few times; Catherine found the contact aggravating. The trunk was opened, they saw the body with the Chief’s hat. As they examined the body from a distance, Jim’s phone rang. When he returned to them with the news, Catherine could hardly believe it.

Neither could Gil, apparently. “In Florida?”

Brass responded. “Miami-Dade County. Chief was shot Friday night, it’s a two day drive if you don’t stop. It’s national news with national attention—I’m not surprised we’re getting call ins.”

Gil spoke next, Catherine content to sit back and listen. “If it’s our little girl, she’s got evidence on her from two Vegas homicides,” Catherine looked up at him, trying to determine the point to his comment. “One of us should be down there to process.” Realising his point quickly, she nodded and looked away because, in light of their recent arguments, he’d probably send her away to put some space between them. When she felt his eyes on her, though, she had to look up. Ignoring him would look strange in front of Brass, she knew. He spoke: “Take Warrick. I don’t think he’s ever been to Florida.”

Her mouth dropped open as he turned away to call Warrick to tell him to pack a suitcase. Still surprised, she glanced at Brass. He shrugged, before walking away to his car. She took a deep breath and walked after Gil, tapping him on the shoulder when his call was over.

“Yes, Cath?”

“With Warrick?”

He nodded. “You’d probably enjoy his company more at the moment.”

“But, maybe the trip would help...”

Gil reached for her hand. “Maybe the time apart would help, too.”


“If it doesn’t, we’ll work on it. I’ll work on it.”

She wanted to believe him. She really wanted to believe him.


“Good!” Horatio turned to look at the helicopter as it landed. He wondered who was coming from Las Vegas, and if they were any good at their job. He had heard of Dr. Gil Grissom, and his advances in the field of entomology, but he was very interested to see who he would be sending on his behalf.

As he watched the blonde step onto the ground and take her kit from the man accompanying her, he was blown away by her presence. She moved fluidly towards him with powerful strides. He fought to control his eyes, because they wanted to roam over her body and he needed to remain professional.

“Horatio Caine,” he introduced himself, offering a friendly hand.

She accepted it and replied: “Catherine Willows.”

He loved her blue eyes.



Horatio then told them: “Child Services has sent a doctor out.”

The spark he ignited almost made him smirk. “Alright, let’s get this clear,” Catherine shot back. “It’s a Las Vegas case, this is our victim, and we do the processing.”

“’kay,” Horatio tried to smooth things over, not wanting to get on her bad side so early in the game. “I didn’t say he processed her, I just said he was here.”

“I appreciate the respect.”

He saw a glimmer of something in her eyes, but couldn’t identify it. “You sure about that?”

Brown stepped in: “Does she know about her father?”

“Not yet,” he replied grimly.

“Well,” he responded. “I’d like to get started processing. Can you show me where you found her?”

“’kay,” he motioned with his hand. “I found her right in here, and,” he added so Catherine wouldn’t harp about being left out, “This is the young lady right over here.”

He decided that he would try to keep his distance from Catherine Willows. Not only did she need a little time to cool down so they could start again on the right foot, but she reminded him of his last lover, and those memories were painful enough when Calleigh wasn’t around.


“So,” Catherine glanced over at Horatio. “Any more bad habits I should know about?”

He smirked and pulled the Hummer over as they were returning to the scene after a quick coffee break. Besides his love of loud rock music, and a cigar during a bad case, there wasn’t much else she could tell from the interior of his vehicle.

“No,” he replied. “I don’t think so.”

“Well... what does your... wife... complain about?” He held up his left hand, and she saw that there wasn’t a ring on his finger. She blushed a little. “Girlfriend?”

Horatio shook his head. “Nope, not right now.”

“Not right now...” she mused. “Which means you had one recently.”

He gave in. “Recently. Not now, though.”

She found herself secretly please with that piece of information; when she discovered that pleasure, she mentally chastised herself.

“How about—”

She winced as her phone rang. “Hold that thought, okay?” He nodded. She picked the phone up and answered it without checking the caller ID. “Willows.”

“Hi, Cath.”

Her eyes popped open. “Gil, er, Grissom. Her. How’s Vegas?”

The sound of his voice made her pulse quicken and her stomach flop. “Lonely without you.”

“You miss me?” When he made a small noise of confirmation, she couldn’t help but feel worse. “You just wish I was there to handle Greg.”

“Hey, now...”

She chuckled. “It’s OK. Got anything for me?”

“Bullets look like nines,” he replied. “What are you wearing?”


He chuckled. “Not alone?”

“No,” she answered, glancing at Horatio, who was trying not to laugh by playing with the radio. “Not quite.”

“Still wearing the ring?”

“No, I’m not,” she snapped. “I left it at home. Didn’t think you’d want me to tip off Miami.” She looked out and saw Warrick watching her. She offered him a wave and a tight smile, and then she returned to her conversation, her voice softer, out of guilt. “I didn’t want to lose it.”



“Yeah,” he replied. “Oh.”

“Oh,” Catherine responded. She heard noise in the background. “Who’s there with you?”

He answered quickly. “Brass.”

“Oh, okay. How’s my baby girl?”

Gil was smiling; she could feel it in his voice. “She’s fine. Eddie said he can keep her for a few more days, and she’s asked me if you’re going to bring her back a surprise.”

Catherine laughed. “That’s my Lindsey. I’m sure I’ll find something for her... there’s gotta be a toy store somewhere here.”

Horatio touched her arm; she gasped softly at the contact and the heat that hit her. “There’s a great place downtown. Kids love it. I can take you there after the case.”

She turned and smiled at him. “Great. Thanks.”

“Who’s that?”

She winced at Gil’s tone. “It’s Horatio Caine. Supervisor here.”

“Oh. Are you two playing nice?”

She looked over at Horatio and grinned. “We’re playing nice, right?”

Horatio smirked. “So far, so good.”

Gil snorted, hearing the other man’s reply. “Well, as long as you two don’t play too nicely.”


“Cath—” he stopped talking. Catherine heard another voice in the room. Female. Distinctively Sara. She frowned, realising how insecure they both were. “Yes, Sara, that sounds fine. Go ahead.” He cleared his throat, and returned to the phone. “Sorry about that.”

“Fine,” she responded, struggling to stay casual. “What’s Sara doing?”

“She wanted to make lunch reservations us.”

Catherine’s eyes widened and she jumped forward in the chair. “What?”

He wasn’t smiling anymore, she sensed; his voice wasn’t as warm as it had been. “For the group. Geez.”

“Well, you make sure Nicky’s a good chaperone,” she said. “I’ve got to get going.”

“Catherine... can I call later?”

“As long as I’m talking to you and not some green eyed monster.”

“I’ll lock my monster up if you lock yours up,” he said softly.

“Sounds fair.”

He was smiling again. She liked his voice much better when he was. “Tell Warrick I say hello.”

“I will,” she said with a nod. “Don’t work too hard.”

He chuckled. “Take care.”

“You, too.” She hung up the phone. They hadn’t swapped words of affection, and that bothered her. Why couldn’t he say ‘I love you?’ She had a sinking feeling that Sara was still in the room, and that was why... but she wasn’t sure.

She took a deep breath. “Sorry about that.”

Horatio smiled. “No problem.” When her phone rang again, he laughed. “That Dr. Grissom likes to keep you under his thumb, doesn’t he?”

Catherine laughed as he got out of the vehicle. “Willows.”

“Hey.” It was Jim. “Now that the clash of the Titans has passed, I thought I’d survey the damage over there, too.”

“I’m fine. Are you still in there with him?”

“I didn’t stick around. Sara asked me to go check something out.” Catherine growled. Jim continued talking. “Why is it that you two understand each other so well, but fight really well, too?”

She shrugged. “No idea.”

Horatio tapped on the window, and opened the door. “Excuse me, but when you’re done, would you mind pulling my car into the shoulder?”

She smiled and wiggled her brows. “Finally going to let me drive your baby?”

“I think you’re ready,” he smirked, before shutting the door and walking back to the scene.

Brass asked as Catherine slid into the driver’s seat. “That the new boss?”

“Yep. You know,” she marveled as she geared the Hummer up. “We should really replace the Tahoes.”

“With what?”

“Hummers,” she replied glibly. “These are amazing vehicles.”

Brass chuckled. “Well, you write the report and hand it off to the boss. Just tell me when you plan to do this so I can avoid the lab.”

“Yeah, yeah,” she said as she parked the car again. She noticed Warrick examining the ground in front of her. She stepped out, eager to see what he uncovered.

“So, where’s the kid? With you?”

“Ah,” she replied. “No, the Chief’s little girl is with Child Services. We’re still at the drop off place.”

“Okay. Sounds good. No more fighting with the boss. Stay out of trouble.”

“Yeah, right. Will do, Brass.”

When she hung up her phone, Warrick announced his findings, she tucked her phone away and readied herself to work.


“So, how did lunch go?”

Nick replied to Catherine’s question, as she changed the subject from case material. “Nuked burrito. How do you think?”

“I thought Sara made reservations?”

He asked: “What are you talking about?”

She frowned. “Nothing. Nevermind. Tell Grissom to call when he has something for me, ‘kay?”

“Will do, Boss,” he replied with a chuckle. “Take care, alright?”

“Will do, Nicky.”

She looked around frowning. Horatio touched her arm. “Everything alright?”

“Ah, yeah,” she forced a smile on her face, not wanting to involve anyone in her problems. When he raised an eyebrow, she pushed: “What? I’m fine.”

He eyed her. “I’m a CSI, too, you know.”

Her phone rang again. “Excuse me,” she said with a smile. “Willows.”

“Hi. It’s me.”

“Hi, me, how was your group lunch with Sara and Nicky?”

Gil replied with a lie. Horatio started walking away. “It was fine.”



“Nothing,” she said, silently reminding herself calm.

“I have something for you, for the case,” he told her. “Do you want it, or would you rather yell at me?”

“I’m not going to yell at you.”

He responded. “Sure, sounds like it.”

She rubbed her forehead, willing the tension to slip away, even though it wasn’t going to any time soon. The noise behind her wasn’t helping her headache any. She brought a hand up and tried to plug her other ear so she could hear him better. “Look, now is not the time for personal stuff.”

“Cath, you’re upset, what hap—”

“Grissom, we’re not getting into this now.”

“What did I do? You’re calling me Grissom.”

“Gil...” she clenched her teeth together. “Just tell me what you have—or was that a lie, too?”

He ignored her bait. She was kind of glad, because she didn’t want to have a fight with him through the phone. “He smells, okay? Bye—”

“Wait,” she tried to stop him. “So you’re saying the guy has B.O.?”

He replied. “B.O., bad breath, I dunno, there’s something about Adam van der Velte that makes him smell.”

“All this because some showgirl said he smelled sweet?”

“Smells can be like fingerprints, my dear.” After a pause, he asked: “What’s going on there? I thought you were meeting the feds.”

She considered telling him she gave up on the case to have a wild weekend romp with a sexy exhibitionist, but she knew it wouldn’t do any good. Horatio was nearby, and his presence was making her nervous. She didn’t like that. “Ah, yeah, we are. They picked the place.” Horatio was still in the distance. She swallowed, and before Gil could ask anymore questions, she ended the call, walking towards him. “Later.”

She looked at Horatio. “What’s taking so long?”

“That’s a good question.”


On the way to the victim’s car, Horatio looked at Catherine as they drove. “So, you and Grissom get along well.”

She shrugged. “We’re not on the best of terms right now.”

“Want to talk about it?”

“What I want is to strangle a brunette at home,” Catherine muttered. “Or Gil, whichever comes first.” Horatio started to laugh, which pissed Catherine off. “What’s so funny?”

Horatio followed the road and parked at their destination. “Nothing. I apologize for him on behalf of our gender.”

She smiled, genuinely touched by his gesture. “Thank you, but it’s not going to save him.”

“Now, I have to ask.”

She sighed. “Dinner with a coworker. Against policy.”

“But, he’s sleeping with another coworker,” Horatio argued.

Catherine smirked. “Against my policy, and not anymore.”

“Did you two break up?”

“No,” she shook her head. “Not yet.”

“Well, it’ll work out.”

She sighed again, and looked out the window. “If it’s meant to be...” She trailed off. “So, you and Calleigh were a thing?” He looked over at her, surprised. She smirked. “I’m a CSI, too, you know.”

“Ahh,” he smiled. “Not just another pretty face.”

“Not quite,” she grinned back at him. “So, what happened?”

He shrugged. “It got hard. I’m sure you know what I mean.”

She nodded. “Yes, all too well. But, you two still work together well.”

“Yeah,” he said with a shrug. “It’s hard, though.”


He looked at the dead woman, the water pouring out of the car. “Is that her?”

Catherine, still bent down, nodded. “Yeah,” she straightened up. “That’s Mina Riddle.”

He walked past them and took his glasses off while Calleigh started snapping pictures. Frustration was hitting him hard. That poor girl lost both of her parents, and he didn’t feel any closer to getting the person that was guilty.

“Our guy’s still in the wind, folks,” he said to no one in particular. “Still in the wind.”

When she was finished taking pictures, Calleigh approached him, a hand on his back. “Horatio?”

He turned. She gave him a small smile. “We’re going to get him, you know that.”

“She lost both of her parents,” he muttered, feeling helpless.

“But, we’re going to get him,” she tried to assure him.

“Are we?”

She nodded. “We are. You are. Soon.”

He cursed and kicked a small rock into the water. She put a hand on his arm, trying to soothe him, but he knew it wasn’t going to help. “You should get back to processing.”

“I wanted to check on you,” she said, her accent a little thicker than usual. “I care.”

“Yeah,” he nodded stiffly. “Go back to work.”

She frowned, squeezing with her hand before slipping away. He frowned and put his glasses back on, wanting some privacy.

When he felt her hand on his shoulder, he whirled around while muttering: “Calleigh, I told you—”

“Whoa, it’s just me,” Catherine said. He sighed and turned back around, not wanting her to see him so frustrated and upset. “You okay?”

He nodded, bowing his head in defeat. “Fine.”

“Yeah, right,” she said with a soft snort. She rubbed her hand over his shoulders. He sighed at the contact, surprised that she felt so comfortable around him. He knew she was a mother, and assumed that’s where her nurturing attitude was coming from, but he couldn’t deny the spark he felt.

She reached up and took his glasses off. His blue eyes met hers. She was so beautiful, he thought silently, unable to think anything else for a moment. “Take a deep breath, Caine,” she suggested with a smile. He decided to obey. Afterwards, her smile grew, dazzling him. “Better?”

“A little,” he admitted. “Thank you.”

“No problem,” she said, pulling away. “Come join us when you’re ready.”


Catherine smiled when she saw Horatio approach her in the hallway. “Hey, partner,” she said with a chuckle.

He blushed a little. “I just wanted to, ah, thank you for earlier.”

She nodded. “You’re welcome. Any word on the sticky substance?”

He shook his head. “Not yet.”

“Oh,” she said, avoiding his eyes. She hadn’t realised how blue they were until that evening, outside the car investigation. They were mesmerizing. “Well, then...”

Her heart had been pounding since the end of the autopsy, when they crashed into each other as they exited, trying to fit through the door at the same time. Catherine had been rushing out, because if she spent any more time in the room, she didn’t know what she’d do; Horatio’s reason for the rush was probably evidence-related, she reasoned.

“Well, then,” he said softly.

“I... I’m going to go see how the interview is going,” she said, not moving.

He smiled. “Right now?”

“When my feet start working,” she said, feeling her cheeks heat up.

He chuckled. The way he was looking at her was making her stomach tighten. She knew she had to get out of there, but she couldn’t make her legs listen to her. When he stopped, they continued to stare at each other.

She swallowed deeply, and let it out in a heavy sigh. He smiled, and leaned in a little, bringing a hand up, giving in to temptation.

At first, she brought the hand up to stop his from getting to her face. There was something about this man that got to her. Her hand didn’t push his away, instead it held on as it caressed her cheek.

“We shouldn’t...” she sighed as he leaned in. She could smell him. He smelled good. “We shouldn’t,” she repeated, trying to convince herself.

In the distance, she heard laughing and talking on top of feet moving towards them. She pulled back quickly, heart racing. Horatio turned around. Calleigh and Warrick were walking together, towards them. Catherine blushed when she met Warrick’s eyes, from her position behind Horatio.

She leaned up and whispered. “I’m going to go see the girl.”

He nodded. “I’ll catch up with you later.”

“Sounds good.”

Calleigh had seen their exchange, their slip-up, and she stormed past them. Catherine heard Warrick ask Horatio: “What’s going on?”

She didn’t stick around to hear his answer. She knew what her friend would say, what he could tell Gil...

“Gil,” she whispered as she pushed her way through the doors at the end of the hall, shaking her head and trying not to cry. “Damnit.”


Upon hearing Warrick’s voice, she sped up a bit, not wanting to talk to him. She didn’t know what to tell him.

However, he caught up to her. Grabbing her arm, he stopped her. “Cath, hang on.”

“Look, Warrick, I don’t know what happened in there.”

“It’s okay,” he said, taking a step closer. “Are you alright?”

She shrugged and bit her lip. “I don’t know,” she tossed her hands up into the air. “I don’t know!”

“Deep breath,” he said, wrapping her into a hug. “Deep breath.” She obeyed, inhaling deeply as she buried her face into his chest. “So, Horatio Caine, huh?”


“I’m just trying to talk to you about it.”

She looked up. “Are you going to tell Gil?”

“As far as I saw, nothing happened... yet. But, you’re going to tell him that there are some, ah, issues to work out between you.” When she didn’t respond, he pushed. “Right, Cath?”

“Ah, yeah,” she said, shoulders stiffening. “I will. We both know there are problems... we just can’t seem to work past them.”

He nodded, adjusting his position so he could hold her closer and more securely. “You’ll get there.”

She sighed. “I hope so.”


When Warrick saw Horatio next, the older man stopped. “Warrick, I—”

“Don’t hurt her,” he said plainly.

He bowed his head. “I don’t want to.”

He smiled. “Good.”

“I do respect her,” Horatio continued. “And, I know that she and Grissom are together, but—”

“Lust at first sight doesn’t give you a reason to take advantage of Cath,” Warrick interrupted.

Horatio put his hands up. “Slow down. I wouldn’t have taken advantage.” He sighed. “It’s not the right time or place.”

Warrick nodded. “Cool. I’m sorry, it’s just—”

It was Horatio’s turn to interrupt. “I understand. I would do the same thing if I was in your position.”

Warrick smiled and nodded, before walking away.


After he bumped into Warrick again, this time on better terms, he stopped Catherine in the hallway. She looked calmer, put together, and still so beautiful. “So, how’s your friend Grissom doing on the aroma angle?”

“I’m sure he’s making progress, but,” she spoke as her eyes dropped once. “Grissom rarely says anything until he’s good and ready.”

Her roving eyes made his heart pound. “Smart man.” He quickly dropped his eyes to what he was holding onto and changed the subject: “I just wanted to show you something. The sticky substance we got off the wife is, in fact, honey.”

“You say that like it means something.”

He explained. “Well, honey on its own is just honey, but when you add plastic wrap, it’s... a different situation.”

She raised an eyebrow. “What are you talking about?”

“Don’t like surprises?” He asked with a smile.

She shook her head. “Not so much, no.”

He turned and motioned for her to follow him. “C’mon, let’s get going then.”

Catherine smiled. “Alright then. Can I drive?”

Laughing, Horatio gave in. “Sure. Let’s go.”


After they showed the bouncer their badges and identification cards, they slipped inside. Catherine was aware of the men staring at her, and she smiled, enjoying the attention.

“So you have admirers everywhere,” Horatio teased, as they moved towards the main room.

She grinned over her shoulder at him, and walked faster, grabbing his hand so he could keep up and not get lost in the sea of people moving around them.

When she felt a hand on her hip, slipping lower, she thought it was Horatio at first. She was about to turn and give him a lecture about their improper behavior, jumping the gun, and something about how it would never happen again. However, when she turned, she saw that it wasn’t him, and some young man—someone about half her age, or younger, she wasn’t sure. Flattered, but troubled by it, she removed his hand.

“Hey,” he smiled at her. Horatio coughed, but said nothing. “Wanna go dance?”

She shook her head, holding up her hand with Horatio’s inside it. “I’m with him.” They moved past, Horatio laughing. She looked up at him. “Don’t get any ideas.”

“I’m not.”

“So, where’s this idea of yours?”

They stepped through the crowd and Catherine smiled, fascinated with the scene in front of her. Had it not been related to the case, she would’ve found it incredibly erotic. If she admitted it, part of her still did, but her sensible side was keeping the desire suppressed out of propriety.

“Yum,” she exclaimed. “This is where he got the idea.”



They had been walking, eating ice cream together. Catherine wondered if it was a date of sorts, but he impressed upon her the idea that it was a much-needed break.

“So,” she said, glancing over at him through her sunglasses as the wind ruffled her hair. “What else should I know about you, partner?”

He chuckled. “I don’t know. Might be safer if you ask.”

She laughed. “Well, I can’t think up any questions, so you should just tell me.”

They stopped and started laughing. She turned and looked at him as she stopped. “Okay... a question...” she started thinking, trying to find something she wanted to know. “Tell me if I’m off base, but, what really went wrong with you and Miss Southern?”

He nodded. “Sensed that coming.”

“You don’t have to answer.”

“You’re hoping it will help you with your friend,” he responded. He took a deep breath, and leaned against the building. “Our work was getting in the way. That’s really all that happened.”

She sighed. “Yeah... tell me about it.”

“You want to work it out, though?”

Catherine shrugged. “I used to know I did.”

“And now?”

“It’s getting hard,” she said with another shrug.

She looked over at him. “I’m sorry... I didn’t mean to put you in the middle of my mess.”

“I don’t mind being there,” he replied with a smile. She found herself smiling back. When the wind blew her hair into her face, he reached up and tucked it behind her ear. His fingers brushed her neck, and she shivered involuntarily. “Sorry,” he murmured, pulling his hand away.

Catherine smiled. “It’s okay.”

When her phone rang, she chuckled, knowing exactly who it would be. She checked the caller ID, and shook her head. Horatio shook his head, too. “Willows.”

“Hi, Cath.”



She sighed, and stepped away from the building, heading towards the end of the dock. “Gil. I want to app—”

“Let’s wait until you’re home,” he interrupted her.

She nodded, looking out into the harbour. “Okay.”

“How are you?”

“I’m hanging in there,” she replied honestly. “You?”

“I miss you,” he replied softly.


He chuckled and then spoke: “Sorry. I am actually calling with a purpose.”

“You have something for the case?”

“I do,” he replied happily. “I found a medical condition that our suspect might have.”

“You found a medical condition.”

Gil replied: “Diabetic ketoacidosis, it's an insulin deficiency. His body's been expelling excess glucose. Makes him smell fruity.”

Horatio walked up to her, putting his foot up on the ledge of the dock. She felt her stomach flop, and struggled to keep the reaction undetectable from both of them. “Which I guess could easily be mistaken for whiskey breath. Hey, can you test for diabetic ketoacidosis off urine?”

“Well, blood's the best but if you had a urine sample, maybe,” he answered her question.

“Ask him what medication you would take for that,” Horatio asked from his position behind her.

“What would a doctor prescribe?”

Gil answered quickly, impressing her: “Novalin insulin.”

She smiled. “Thanks, Gil. I’ll, uh, call later.”

“Hey,” he said, before saying good-bye. “How about I meet you at the airport when you come home?”

“No,” she declined his offer. “It’s okay.”

“You sure?”

She nodded. “Yeah. Besides, we don’t know how close we are to catching him.” He sighed. “You okay?”

“I really miss you.”

Catherine frowned. “Me, too. I’ll be home soon, though.”

“We’ll figure this out.”

“Yeah,” she said on a sigh. “We will.”


“Sounds good,” he stopped and turned to her. “Sounds good.” He dropped his eyes briefly. “Uh, thank you for your help on this.”

She smiled up at him. “Thanks for yours, actually.”

He smiled back, unable to resist. “Right.” As her smile stretched, his pulse quickened. She was even more dazzling, the weight of the case had been lifted, freeing her from worry and concentration. “You take care of yourself.”

With a nod, she said: “I always do.”

He didn’t doubt her words for one minute. She offered her hand to him for shaking, and he quickly accepted. He took a moment to notice their body language, both of them open to each other.

She sighed. “I should...”

“Yeah,” he nodded. “I know. I have to...”

She nodded. “Yeah.”

Finally, they parted, their hands separating. He smiled sadly, not ready to say good-bye to this amazing woman. “Have a good flight home. Say good-bye to Warrick for me, too.”

She smiled. “Yeah.” He was turned away to walk to his car, when she called out. “Horatio?”

“Yes, Catherine?”

“Want to stop at the hotel for drinks after you book him?”

He paused and tried to think logically. It didn’t work. “Sure. I’ll call you when I’m done.”


Warrick looked at Catherine and said: “You’re done drinking, right?”

She shrugged and licked her lips. “What? You don’t like me when I’m drunk?”

He set her drink next to him. “I do. I’m just thinking that you won’t be too much fun on the plane tomorrow.”

Catherine laughed. “Awww, Warrick. I’ll be fine.”

“Oh, yeah,” he snorted. “Right. C’mon, let’s go upstairs.”

“Don’t wanna,” she frowned. “I wanna—”

“Drown in your sorrows?” He finished her sentence with a question. She pouted. “Cath, it’s going to work out. Grissom misses you, you miss him, you’re going to come home, and do things that I don’t want to think about.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Like fight? Cuz we do have to do that.”


She shrugged. After some careful prodding, she admitted: “Sara took him to lunch. And he *lied.* He *lied.*”

“Did you ask him about it?”

She shook her head. “He lied about it, Warrick. He told me he and Sara and Nicky went. When I asked Nicky, he said he had microwave food.”

“Ask him about it,” he advised. “When you’re sober.”

“A lot of good that’ll do.” She stood up after a sigh. “Let’s go upstairs.”

“Sick of talking?”

She smiled. “Exactly.”

On their way across the lobby, her cell phone rang. “I’ll catch up with you, okay?” He nodded, and headed to the elevators, muttering something about wake up calls. “Hello?” She spoke into the phone.

“We’re finished.”

Her smile grew. “And I’m drunk. Still coming over?”

“Sure. I’ll be there soon.”


Horatio managed to convince Catherine into the elevator, and into her room. Rather impressively, if he had to admit it. She was leaning against him and even though she was drunk, she was very aware of him.

At her room, she fumbled with the key card. He smiled as her frustration grew, and managed to get the card out of her hand. “Let me.”

The door opened. She smiled. “Thank you.” She stepped inside and turned to look at him, frozen in the doorway. “You staying out there all night.”

“It’s late,” he reasoned with her. “And, you’re drunk, and---”

“We’re just going to talk,” she assured him, flashing him her sexiest smile. Talking was the last thing he wanted to do.

“Okay,” he said with a nod, as he stepped into the room. The door shut behind him. She made her way to the bed, and patted a spot next to her.

He sat down. She rested her head on his shoulder. “Better?”

“A little.” He turned and looked at her. He knew he should walk away, but he couldn’t. He just couldn’t. He brought a hand up and caressed her cheek. “This is a bit better.”

She sighed and leaned into his hand. “Mmhmm.”

Slowly, he leaned closer to her mouth. “This is even better.”

When he kissed her he tasted strawberries and oranges.


Catherine stepped out of the room at the same time as Warrick. He frowned. “Your boy toy gone?”


“I’m not stupid,” he responded. She bowed her head, and rubbed her eyes. “Catherine, what happened?”

She sighed and shrugged. “I don’t know...” He put his bag on his shoulder and neared her, wrapping an arm around her. She shuddered and cried softly. “I messed up,” she whispered.

“You’ll fix it though.”


After a pep talk from Warrick, Catherine knocked on Gil’s door. As she walked in, he turned around, wearing a great suit. He looked so uncomfortable.


“Hey,” he replied. “Nice tan.”

He sat down. Keeping her charade up, she responded: “Nice suit.”

She walked up to his desk, afraid to get too close, for fear he’d be able to sense exactly what happened while she was away. He smiled at her. “Yeah, well, I knew you were coming back today, so I dressed up.”

Catherine couldn’t help herself; it sounded funny, so she snorted. “Yeah, right.”

“Really.” For a minute, she struggled with believing him, and that made her feel worse. He looked at her and asked: “What?”

“Nothing, it’s just...” she paused before explaining. “Unusual to see you dressed like that.”

“I had to go to the Chief’s funeral.”

She almost laughed. “Missed me that much, huh?”

She turned around. Staying with him was too hard. She needed to get out of there before she told him everything at work. Home, she had decided, would be the better place. She looked over her shoulder and managed a smile, before heading down the hall and to her car.


Gil woke up and reached out. Catherine wasn't next to him. In fact, she wasn't in bed at all. He listened, wondering if she was just in the bathroom, but when he heard nothing, he decided to get up and see what was going on.

He reached for his underwear and t-shirt that had been carelessly discarded a few hours ago. Once dressed, he ventured out into the main living area of her home.

Catherine was sitting on the sofa, curled up in blanket, knees drawn up to her chin. Tears were streaming down her face and she was nibbling on her lip. He frowned.


She moved quickly, head turning to look up at him. "Did I wake you?"

"I missed you," he said softly. "The bed was getting cold."

She choked on a sob. "I'm so sorry..." She bent her head, forehead pressing into her knees. His stomach was unsettled, and he didn't know what to say or do. She eventually looked up at him, and said: "We need to talk, Gil."


She bit her lip, and looked away. Her eyes focused on the window. "I made a mistake."

No words had ever sounded so awful to him.

The End!

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