"Where are you?" Catherine jumped in, voice a little louder. "I thought I told you to wait for me. I just had to get my coat!"
Gil paced outside the suite. "Warrick was ready. I figured you'd bring Nick and Sara."
"Carpool. A familiar role," she grumbled.
"Grissom. I told you to wait for me."
He sighed. Things between them had been bad since he found out about her mistake, and they had been trying to work it out to salvage a working relationship; however, working on separate cases was getting exhausting for both of them, and they had thought about trying to work together. He had told Catherine that the next case that came in, they'd work together; but, when she went off to get her coat, he had a moment of panic and rushed off without her.
"You said you'd wait."
"I couldn't," he said softly. "I just couldn't."
"Grissom! You promised!"
"You promised, too," he muttered.
"Nothing," he sighed. "Look. Just get here as soon as you can, okay?"
"Fine," she yelled, before hanging up on him.
Gil sighed and rubbed a hand over his face. He hated fighting with Catherine, lately, because all they fought about was their problems and her infidelity. If they weren't fighting, they were making sharp comments in front of others, or they were just ignoring each other. It was hard on him, because he missed his friend... the one that would come over for a late breakfast, the one that would tell him to get a life in the most affectionate of tones, the one that would roll her eyes when he was studying his bugs for fun... and truth be told, he missed his lover, too.
But, he couldn't wrap his mind around the gully between them.
With another sigh, he stepped into the room, kit in hand, where Brass was waiting for him with a dead body.
Gil watched Catherine come in, flanked by Sara and Nick, her cellphone to her ear. She looked incredible. But, she always did, and he had seen her that shift already.
Her tight dark pants, and her jacket were nice, reminding him of her hips, but the red and cream tank top with its low neckline... he had to take a breath and remind himself that she wasn't his anymore, so he didn't have a right to study her appearance so closely.
Sara was talking about the actor's movies. His mind and eyes started wandering again, since he didn't have anything to contribute to the conversation with. He found the little sparkling star at Catherine's throat to focus on, dancing over one of his favorite places on her skin to kiss.
"DA just got the call," Catherine said, snapping him out of his thoughts. "Tom's manager just hired Marjorie Wescott to defend him."
Nick asked: "Soundbite Wescott?"
"Guilty rich client, high profile case..." she said, glancing from Warrick, to Nick and Sara, without spending much time focusing on Gil. "It's right up her alley. Publicity for her new cable show."
Gil spoke up, looking directly at Catherine. "Forget about who's involved. We do this like any other case."
"Well," Warrick said. "I'm gonna get this blood evidence to DNA. I'll catch up with you guys later."
Nick nodded. "Alright."
Catherine sighed. "So, we'll take the suite. It's the penthouse, right?"
"I... I'll take the..." Catherine trailed off as they walked down the hall, unable to put her thoughts together.
"Bathroom?" Sara supplied. Catherine sighed and nodded. Once they were in the suite, she headed off towards the room the brunette assigned her. "Catherine?"
She stopped and turned. "Yeah, Sara?"
"Are you... alright? I mean, you've been sort of off since we got called in."
Catherine waved her off with a simple hand movement. "I'm just tired. It's nothing."
She walked into the bathroom and closed the door behind her, needing the privacy as she studied her surroundings for evidence. She had to stop to lean against the wall, inhaling slowly to regroup and find her stability. She knew that working together was going to be difficult. But, she also knew that they had to get over this mountain if they were going to work together.
Gil had never explained what happened between him and Sara. She would never ask Sara about it, because she didn't want to draw attention to her hurt feelings and jealous antics. But, she was dying to know... did they kiss? did they do more than kiss? are they in love? were they in love the whole time he was supposed to be loving her?
She groaned and pressed the heels of her hands into her eyes, ignoring the pretty light patterns behind her eyes that appeared with the pressure she applied.
The last case she had worked was entertaining, but she had wanted the poker game when it came in. Gil, of course, said that her skills were better suited to another case, making her more angry. After an explosive fight that made Warrick hit the deck when he entered the office, Gil gave in and promised that the next case that came in, they'd work it together.
So, there she was, hiding in a bathroom.
Nick turned the television off. "Proceed, sir."
"Okay," Gil responded, ready to go over the case. "We've got at least one murder charge on Haviland. I imagine we'll add another one."
"Tanya," Catherine said softly.
After a look of recognition, Gil continued on. "So, let's run Kim Soo's murder. Haviland slashed her throat. Probably with a corkscrew."
Catherine continued after him. "Then, showing consciousness---" she glanced at Gil, making him wonder exactly what she was implying "---of guilt, he washed the blood off in this room which is right around the corner from his suite. We found the dilute blood in the sink, pipes, and footprint ridges there."
"Do we have the results on the blood from Haviland's hands?"
Warrick looked at Gil. "I got held up behind a traffic accident. I put it in with Greg... I'm not sure if he's done with it yet."
Greg came into the evidence room. "I've got it right here. The forensic sample matches the reference. The blood on Tom's hands was definitely the victim's. Triple-checked the data."
"We've got our guy then," Warrick said, sounding optimistic.
"Oh, here she is," Nick announced, turning the television on.
Minutes later, after hearing what the lawyer had to say, the investigators stared at each other with their jaws on the ground.
Gil, following behind Catherine and the assistant DA, was flanked by Warrick. They walked down the hall, discussing the case around him. He was struggling to keep up, but between Catherine's clearly pointed comment, the three earrings in each of her earlobes, and his hearing problems, he should have known he wouldn't get much from the conversation.
He wondered if he would always be this distracted.
Eventually, he started focusing on her lips. The words started making more sense. He was piecing together their conversation, and then, after reading the papers handed to him, it started making more sense. This case was going to be difficult.
After the lawyer told them---or more accurately, Catherine---what was different, Catherine put a hand on his arm. "Gil?"
She raised an eyebrow, but continued on. "We need to tell the team." Gil felt his stomach rumble. She laughed softly, and for a second, he felt like nothing had changed between them. "How about over lunch?"
"Sounds good. Can you explain this---"
"I've got to go round the troops up," she interrupted. Gil was focused on her lips most of the time---not to torture himself, but to keep himself informed. "Why don't you just read those papers. It should make sense."
Gil nodded. "Sure. I'll catch up with you guys later."
"Are you ordering---"
"I'll get something for you, too," he said with a little smile, before heading into his office.
For one moment, Gil felt his heart soften. He closed the door to his office and slumped down in his chair. He closed his eyes and let the silence envelope him. Catherine had been his friend in that simple exchange. He saw glimpses of the woman she used to be for him.
That scared him. He prided himself on his honesty at one stage in his life. He thought he had always been honest, but he knew lately he hadn't been. Not with himself, not with Catherine, not with the rest of his staff. And, after that, he realised that when Catherine was around, it was easier to absorb what was going on around him.
But, he didn't know if he was ready to make that change. Was she trying to tell him she was ready to make the necessary changes?
Avoiding her, avoiding their problems... it had been so easy.
Since that night at the bar, he worked to compartmentalise his life into two sections: Catherine, and everything else. It hadn't worked that night, and it hadn't worked since.
He chuckled sadly and rubbed his face. He should have known. Alcohol, heartache, and another woman seldom mix well. He heard the tap on the door, and groaned. "Yeah?" He called out.
Sara, as if reading his mind and deciding to make him more uncomfortable, poked her head in the door she opened. "We're getting ready to order lunch. Nick and Warrick are fighting over menus."
"Well, see if you can't break them up before I can get down there?" He asked with a tight smile.
She smiled back and came into the office. "Are you alright?"
"Headache," he replied casually.
"I could get you something---"
"No, I'll be alright. Give me a few minutes, okay?"
She nodded and smiled, brown hair bouncing around her shoulders. "Sure thing, Grissom. See you in a bit."
Gil groaned again when the door was closed. After this case was over, he wanted to curl up and sleep for a week with his phone off the hook.
Catherine saw Warrick come in with the food, and her eyes lit up. Her stomach was threatening to rumble, the last sign that her body was wearing out and needing rest and nutrition. "You are my hero," she teased, batting her eyelashes playfully.
He laughed and handed her one of the bags. "I think this is yours and Grissom's. Where's everyone else?"
"Nick chased Greg out of here, threatening something," Catherine laughed. "Sara and Grissom haven't come back since... since lunch orders," she said, quieting down.
Warrick sighed and shifted his weight. "That doesn't mean anything."
"Why? Do you know all about their drunken night together?" Catherine grumbled, crossing her arms as she got up and started pacing around the small room. "Did you ask her?"
"No, I didn't," he said firmly. "It's not right."
"Yeah, well, he knew damn well what he was---"
His calm, level voice soothed her and brought her back down from the anger level she was about to reach. She stopped and closed her eyes. "Sorry, War. I knew what I was doing, too. This is just... harder than I thought it would be."
"You two were friends for a long time," he said, sitting down across from her. "I can see him being angry. But, I can see him remembering why you two were friends in the first place. Anything else is extra."
She sighed. "Yeah. You're right."
"And, if I knew what had happened... I don't know if I would tell you," he added.
He shrugged. "It's not my place. I don't like all that he said, she said crap. If Grissom wants you to know, he'll tell you."
"Tell Catherine what?"
Catherine jumped. "What you ordered for lunch," she covered. "Warrick won't tell me."
She saw the younger man smirk. Gil shrugged. "Well, you're---"
"Food's here?" Greg exclaimed, coming into the room. "Finally! I worked up the biggest appetite EVER!"
Nick, close on his heels, called out: "Greg, I'm going to--- oh, hi, Grissom."
Gil smiled. "Hi, Nicky. Were you two playing nicely?"
"Sure," Sara replied for her friend. "If you think chasing Greg down and trying to pummel him is playing nicely."
Soon, they were settled in the chairs. Greg and Nick were separated by Warrick and Sara, which left Catherine and Gil to sit together. After she sampled some of her pasta salad, she peeked up at him and said: "Thanks. It's really good."
"I tried it last week," he replied quietly. "I thought you'd like it."
"I do," she managed a smile, feeling unsure of herself.
"What's the deal with the new motions?" Nick spoke up, getting their attention.
Gil replied: "Tom's attorneys are not waiving time."
Nick blinked. "Are you serious?"
Gil and Catherine worked together, answering their questions, since they had both seen these types of motions. Catherine had to admit to herself that Gil was acting less cool towards her; she was starting to feel like maybe he was going to start letting her in again.
And, then, Sara asked her question.
"So, who's their guy?"
"Dr. Phillip Girard."
The name wouldn't have meant anything to Catherine, until Sara offered more proof that she knew more about Gil's past than Catherine did. "Phillip Girard. Your mentor is their forensic scientist."
Catherine blinked. Suddenly she wondered if they had even been good friends. How could Sara know something like that? How could Catherine not know something like that?
Gil nodded. "Yeah, Marjorie Wescott is a smart lawyer."
They continued talking until their lunch break was over, and then they went to work. Gil waited until only Catherine remained, and then he said: "Are you okay?"
"Yes, of course, why wouldn't I be?"
"You got quiet. That's all," he commented.
"I'm allowed to be quiet, Grissom. It doesn't mean anything," she muttered. "I've got to get back to work. Doesn't Sara have a bed for you?"
"Yeah, she said she was getting the sheets ready," Gil replied, nodding, and not acting like he understood the meaning in her words. "Hey, Cath?"
"When you looked at me, when you said consciousness of guilt... were you implying something?"
She rolled her eyes. "We're both guilty here, Grissom. I'm not taking all of the blame. I'll take a lot of it. But, I'm not taking all of it."
"Did you mean something?"
"You're unbalanced," she grumbled as she moved away from him. "I'm going back to work. I'll see you later."
"Nicky?" She replied, coming out of the hallway, into the room. "Wow. You look good. If only the judge was a nice single girl. We'd be all set," she teased.
He chuckled. After checking his tie in the mirror, he said: "No, seriously, I have something to tell you."
Catherine glanced at the clock on the wall. "We've gotta get Warrick and head out, so you better talk quickly on the way---"
"This isn't an in the hall kind of conversation, Cath."
"Well, it'll have to wait, then," she said with a little smile to hide her curiosity. "C'mon. Let's go see if Warrick has found the shirt. Are you all set for court?"
As they walked, he nodded. "Yeah, I think so."
"Just remember," she advised. "If you get stuck, just maintain the same posture. Because if any adjustments are seen as squirming, it's going to make you look shifty."
He smiled. "Thanks, Cath. You know I've done this before."
"Well," she said simply. "I've done it longer." They paused when she saw Warrick. "Hey, any luck?"
He shook his hand out. "I've been through every dumpster on the premises."
She frowned. "Better keep looking."
He groaned softly. "Can't. I've gotta go soon."
"Well, I'm driving, so you have time," she said with a little grin. "Sara's coming, too. Is there anywhere you haven't checked?"
He sighed. "I've even checked Grissom's office."
"Wow. Thorough much," Greg said as he walked into the locker room.
"And his," Warrick added, pointing at the younger guy as he took his gloves off.
"Poor War," Catherine murmured as he came up to her, as they walked down the hall together. She put an arm around his waist as they walked. "Just keep your head in the game, okay?"
"Where it's been all along," he replied. "How are you doing?"
"Just fine," she lied.
"Hey, Greg?" Warrick said, into his cellphone as they walked out of the courthouse. "Wanna have a party?"
Catherine laughed and nudged her friend.
"It's time for a celebration, Greggo," Nick called out from Warrick's other side.
"Just no alcohol," Gil spoke up.
Sara laughed. "We know, we know."
"There's always a good sugar high and some dancing though," Catherine added, grinning at Sara.
The brunette grinned back. "You feeling better?"
"Yeah," Catherine said, without missing a beat. She wasn't about to let Gil know what was getting at her. "Let's party."
"Make sure Brass knows about everything," Gil added.
"Yeah, yeah," Warrick replied. "Sanders? Wanna page Brass and let him know what's going on for us? He might be able to join us."
Greg's CD collection provided an interesting backdrop for their celebration. Food was ordered and put out on the tables, and Catherine and Warrick went out to get enough soda and candy for everyone in the lab, it seemed. Gil smiled from his position against the counter, watching everyone enjoying themselves, and while he was happy for them, he felt a small pang of jealousy.
He used to be as happy as they were.
"Grissom! C'mon!" Sara called out as the song changed to another happy melody. "Dance with us!"
There were more than just his team in there at this point; a lot of technicians, some of the clerical staff... everyone seemed to be having an incredible time.
"Nah, I'm okay here," he said sheepishly.
Catherine walked over, hands reaching for him. "C'mon. Seriously."
"I'm dragging you out onto the dance floor. Think of it as a peace offering," she said, looking uneasy.
"We don't have to," he whispered. "If this is too weird, or if you're upset, or---"
"We would have done this if we were friends," she reminded him. "We need to get back to that."
He nodded, feeling an odd mixture of things. Relieved because she wanted to be friends, but saddened because of that, too. "Okay."
She smiled stiffly and dragged him to their colleagues. They all cheered. Catherine laughed, for their sakes, and turned to face Gil. "You remember how to do this?"
"Leather pants," he said softly. "I was wearing leather pants one time we did this."
She blinked. Her eyes started to water, and then her hands started to shake. He didn't know what he did wrong; the memory had come so naturally to him. As he sifted through the images, he smiled sadly and squeezed her hand. She shook her head. "I... it's too much," she whispered, before leaving. "I'm sorry."
He stayed for a minute, letting Greg enjoy the rare occasion during which his boss would relax and and enjoy the moment like a 'real' person. But, then, he went out of the break room to find Catherine.
In the locker room, she was washing her face. "Sorry about that, Grissom."
"I'm not trying to get you back, to make you forget and come back, or---"
"---anything, but we can't do this. I hurt you, and you hurt me, and if we try again, how do we know that we won't annihilate each other?"
He shrugged. "We have to trust each other again."
"How come you never told me about Phillip Girard?"
"It was never important."
She frowned, and then dried her face off. "I thought I knew you."
"I thought I knew you, too."
"This is supposed to be a good day, Gil... I'm just going to go home early and see my girl, okay?"
Gil moved a little so he was almost blocking her path. "Sure. Tell Lindsey I say hi, please?"
"Yeah. I will," she nodded, eyes downcast. "Thanks for letting me work the case."
"I needed you there," he replied softly, taking a soft step towards her. It felt easy to admit that when they were alone and emotionally exposed. She nodded, still not looking at him, as she grabbed her coat and purse and tried to walk out of the room. When she hit Gil's body, she gasped and looked up. He smiled a little and held onto her. "We're going to get through this."
"And end up as what?" She whispered shakily.
"Something new," he said firmly.
Before she could respond, she felt him kiss her forehead. She cried. Gil's eyes watered as he kissed her; it was the most intimate contact they had had in a long time. Against her skin, he whispered: "The accused is entitled to a fair trial and a fair sentence."
"So, you're not going to burn me at the stake."
She giggled and hiccuped around a couple soft sobs. "Thanks." When they looked into each other's eyes, Gil felt a familiar pull. Catherine leaned up onto her toes and kissed his cheek. "Thanks a lot," she whispered. "I'm going to go now."
She moved away from him and made it to the door. "Cath?"
"Gil?" She said his name softly as she turned to look at him.
Wordlessly, he closed the gap between them and kissed her soundly on the mouth. "There," he whispered when the chaste kiss was over. "I just had to... uh..."
Catherine launched back at him, kissing him passionately. They nibbled and sucked and licked, in the ways they used to to show love and affection and hungry need. He sighed into her, and wrapped his arms around her, loving how she wriggled in his arms.
When she was backed up against the wall, she used her hips and created a bit of friction. He groaned and pushed back into her.
"Gil..." she moaned.
He continued to kiss her. As she kissed him back, he started to see images behind his eyes. Catherine in a hotel. Catherine in bed. Catherine with another man.
"Platypus." He begged, pulling away.
"Yeah," she nodded, eyes avoiding his. "Sorry, I---"
"I wanted to kiss you," he admitted. "But, I can't... jump into it immediately."
"Well, yeah, that makes sense."
"We can go slowly, though," he suggested shyly. "Very very slowly. If that's what you want."
For the first time in a very long time, she smiled at him. At him. No walls built up, hiding things from him. No halfhearted expression. He was looking at a genuine smile from Catherine. "Yeah," she nodded. "I do want that. Take all the time you need, Gil... just... yeah. I do."
"Go home," he said, with a smile of his own. "See your daughter. I'll call you when we get an assignment."
"Okay," she nodded. "Thanks. Go have another dance," she teased, before slipping out and leaving him in the locker room alone.