Gil watched Catherine from his position on the other side of the break room. He was still replaying their last conversation over in his head, unsure of what it meant, unable to figure her out.
He didn't understand why she would jump to those conclusions, why she would assume he was interested in pursuing something with Sara---or any other woman for that matter. He only ever felt comfortable with Catherine, and he felt more strongly about her than he'd ever felt about anyone else.
Yet, she was convinced he needed to sort his feelings out. Nothing he said convinced her otherwise.
She didn't look happy, he noted. She was frowning as her eyes scanned over photographs and evidence logs, and he could see shadows on her face that told him how tired she was.
How long had that been bothering her? he wondered silently.
"Cath, can we---" At the sound of his pager, he sighed and then cursed. "Damn it."
Catherine's eyes were on him. Her eyebrows had jumped up for a split second. "Better get that. Hot case," she said quietly.
She sighed and packed her things up. "I've got a meeting with the district attourney," she told him. "And you have a case."
"Can we talk?"
"I said everything I want to say," she replied.
She shook her head and pasted a brave smile on her face. "Call Brass, see what's up." She walked past him and then said, "Maybe I'll catch you later."
"Uh... okay," he managed to reply, unsure of that that meant.
Catherine looked up when Nick stepped into the layout room. "What's up?"
"Wanna come out in the field with me?" he asked. When Catherine blinked, he added, "You're not maxed out on overtime, are you?"
"Oh, no... not quite yet. You sure you don't want to run this one solo? I'm pretty lousy company today."
Nick flashed her his signature grin. "Exactly. You shouldn't be alone when you're down."
She smiled a little and packed up her papers. "Thanks... okay. I'll go with you." She held the file up. "I'll just go put this in Grissom's office."
He picked her coat up off of the extra chair and she grabbed her kit from the floor. "Let's mosey."
He grinned. "Yes. Grab your stuff and let's mosey. You can drive."
Catherine laughed, despite her foul mood. "You're too cute, Nicky."
He chuckled and shepherded her towards the door. He was quiet until they got into the SUV; then, he turned to face her. "What's up?"
"You're... I don't know. You don't look happy."
Catherine sighed and turned her key into the ignition. "It's just one of those bad days we all have, Nick," she explained. "Don't worry about it."
She nodded. "Yeah... I'll be fine once this passes."
He put a hand on her shoulder. "If you ever wanna talk, you know I'll listen, right?"
She cast him a tiny smile. "Thank you."
He smiled back at her before she returned her focus onto the road.
'How do you say good-bye to someone who hurt you so badly but gave you the best gift in the world?' Catherine silently asked herself as she looked down at Eddie's body in the quiet morgue.
Knowing Al Robbins was behind her kept her from breaking down or doing something she'd regret. Part of her wanted to scream at the body, at the man who hurt her so much, who hurt their daughter by dying---even though it wasn't all his fault. The other part of her wanted to break down into a puddle of tears. Having the man at her back, as annoyingly silent as he was, helped her stay as stoic as possible.
It was over. The custody fights, the secret bank loans, the schemes, the physical altercations... everything was over. He wouldn't bother her again.
She should have felt an overwhelming sense of relief. But, the grief for her daughter washed over her in strong waves. Her daughter lost her father. Nothing could make up for that.
And then, if she wanted to admit it, there was part of her who would miss the best parts of him. It hadn't been all bad; she had told him that once.
'How do you say good-bye?'
"Catherine," Doc Robbins' voice broke through the deafening silence. "You can't say good-bye in an autopsy room."
She stared down at Eddie's body, memorising the planes of his face, the shaggy hair, the chest she used to find comfort in, and the fists that used to scare and hurt her. She felt something bubbling up inside of her, threatening to burst out. Instead of reacting in front of her colleague, she turned and walked out of the room.
Lindsey was with her sister. After gathering her daughter out of the interview with Detective Vega and Sara, she made arrangements for Lindsey to stay with her aunt and cousin until the end of shift.
She didn't want to go home. She didn't feel ready to grieve.
So, she walked down the hall, towards the room where she knew everyone was working on their case.
When she saw Gil standing at the end of the corridor, she felt another swell of conflicting emotions. She wanted to hug, kiss, fuck, and hit him. He had been her rock for so long, but she pushed him away, and then he made the mistake of putting Sara on Eddie's case. She looked at him and swallowed, not trusting herself to speak first.
He looked more uncomfortable than she'd seen him in a long time. "Hi, uh..."
She sighed and chose to interrupt. If he said anything affectionate, she'd fall apart. "Croix Richards and Trey Buchman. Same profession, same employer, same cause of death."
"Yeah," Gil replied. "Insulin Poisoning."
As they started walking towards the room Nick and Warrick occupied, Catherine said, "Not your typical male M.O." She paused and then asked, more to make conversation than anything else because she didn't believe Heather was a bad person, "Lady Heather a suspect?"
"I can't rule anybody out," he replied. "Catherine... I'm sorry about Eddie and your daughter. If... if you'd like to take some time off or..."
She looked up, avoiding his eyes for self-preservation. "I'm okay," she lied. "Lindsey's..." she trailed off and shrugged a little. "We're okay."
Before he could say anything else, she walked away from him and towards the laboratory room to see Warrick and Nick. They approach her and offer her a greeting. Warrick's eyes met hers carefully, looking for signs of emotional distress.
"Hey," he said softly. "We heard about what happened. I'm so sorry."
Nick nodded. "Yeah, if you or Lindsey need anything at all..."
When he trailed off, she nodded and said, "Thanks, you guys."
"Yeah," Nick said quietly.
"Why don't you catch us up?" Catherine asked as she felt Gil approaching.
Warrick nodded, although his eyes sought hers again. She held the gaze for a long instant, and then they all stepped to the computer monitor to look at the evidence.
Catherine struggled to stay focused, contributing when she could; however, when she saw Sara walk by with Leah, she couldn't help but stare at the other woman. She could feel so many dark feelings inside of her, fighting to get out. It took all of her emotional strength to keep her composure.
She caught Gil staring at her. For once second, she felt the darkness recede; his calm, concerned gaze met her eyes and she could feel everything fade away. Her breath hitched in her chest, and then she broke the eye contact.
"Hey, baby," Catherine said into her cell phone as she got into Gil's SUV.
Lindsey sighed. "Mommy."
"How are you doing?" she asked, leaning back in her seat, watching the lights and sights of Vegas pass by the window. "Have you eaten anything?"
"I still feel sick," her daughter admitted.
"Yeah..." Catherine agreed. "Me, too, baby."
"Is Gil looking out for you?"
"Sort of," Catherine replied vaguely. "Don't worry about me, okay? I just need to know that you're gonna be alright."
"I miss him," she said in a small voice. "I miss Daddy."
Catherine closed her eyes and sighed. "I know. Me, too."
"Do you really, or are you just saying that?" Lindsey spat. Catherine's eyes popped open at the sudden hostility in Lindsey's voice. "Or are you glad he's dead?"
"Lindsey!" Catherine exclaimed. "I would never be gl-glad that---" she stopped short when she felt her voice waver. "Baby, no. I'm not just saying that."
Lindsey sighed. "Are you almost done?"
Catherine frowned. Gil was slowing the vehicle down, pulling into a driveway. "I'll call the second I'm finished," Catherine promised her daughter. "I'll pick you up, and we'll go home."
"Can we... can we go to Daddy's?" she asked quietly. "I... I want to be near his stuff."
Blinking hard to keep tears at bay, Catherine replied, "Sure. Maybe you want to take a sweater or something, that smells like him?"
"You'd let me?"
"Of course," Catherine murmured.
Catherine felt her head nodding even though her daughter couldn't see the gesture.
She sighed. "Sorry, baby, I was nodding."
"Well, I couldn't see."
Gil parked and got out, but not before he cast Catherine a serious look. She avoided his eyes and then followed him out of the vehicle and towards the large, elegant house.
"Ye-yeah, I know. I wasn't thinking," Catherine said into the phone. Gil rang the doorbell, and then Catherine said, "Hey, Lindsey, I'm about to go interview someone."
"Are you trying to find out who hurt Daddy?"
"Well, Sara's working on that."
Catherine flashed her badge to the man at the door, and then turned to the side to listen to her daughter as Gil and the man spoke.
"I don't want anybody but you working on---"
"It's a conflict, Linds. If I caught the guy, he could say I was setting him up. Sara's... well, Gil thinks Sara will do an okay job at it."
Lindsey sighed. "Yeah... I want the bad guy to go to jail forever."
"Me, too," Catherine assured her daughter.
Gil touched her elbow and motioned that they should go inside. The man had disappeared when they made it to the living room.
"Call when you're finished, okay?"
Catherine nodded and sat down in a chair. "I promise, Linds. The second I'm finished. And we'll go to your father's place."
"I do," Catherine replied. She heard footsteps coming down the stairs. "Okay, baby. I've gotta go. I'll talk to you later."
"Love you, Mommy."
"I love you, too."
She heard Lindsey hang up the phone and then she pulled it away from her ear. Lindsey's photo was still on the display screen of her cell phone; she looked down at the image until the footsteps were too close to ignore. She pocketed the phone and mentally prepared herself to work.
They hadn't gone into one of the scene rooms. Instead, Heather chose a room with a luxurious bed and pillows, with silk sashes hanging from the bedposts.
Gil was a little surprised by Heather's choice of rooms. He was also surprised that she didn't ask about Catherine. He knew, from Catherine, that Lady Heather deduced they were a couple. But, Heather didn't mention anything about the other woman.
He was relieved. He didn't want to explain, he didn't want to feel like the bad guy. He just wanted to feel something other than the complete uselessness he was feeling in reaction to the past couple of days.
Being with Heather was so easy. He had assumed that she would want to be the dominant, but she let him take over, make the decisions, seek to serve her in the ways he couldn't serve anyone else.
When it was over, then, she took charge. She held him close, skin on skin on a little bit of leather, and brushed her hands through his hair and over his back.
When Gil woke up, he came to two conclusions: opera hadn't helped, and sex hadn't helped. He was still at a loss for words, for action.
Heather woke up shortly after he came to those realisations. She kissed his lips once, briefly, and then smiled at him, before wordlessly getting up and getting dressed.
"Tea?" she asked, as he rolled over and started looking for his clothing.
Gil smiled awkwardly and nodded. "Sure."
TITLE: Platypus, part forty-six: Opening Pandora's Box, part two
WEBSITE: http://38gnihsurc.livejournal.com, and http://www.crimsonchampagne.com
WARNINGS: Vague description of Lady Heather/Gil, drugs, and Warrick POV.
DISTRIBUTION: Graveshift Archive, crimsonchampagne... Others, ask.
DISCLAIMER: I own no one... *sigh*
FEEDBACK: Yes, please!
SPOILERS: For this chapter: Lady Heather's Box (3x15)
SUMMARY/NOTES: Longer episodes seem to always result in more fragmented chapters. Sorry about this! And also sorry about the lack of spellcheck in the previous part...
Previously: "Tea?" she asked, as he rolled over and started looking for his clothing. // Gil smiled awkwardly and nodded. "Sure."
"Catherine," Warrick said softly. He reached out and touched her shoulder. She flinched. He sighed. "What were you thinking?"
She shrugged. She didn't know what she had been thinking. She had gone to the lab to see if Gil was there. After seeing Eddie's apartment, after seeing her daughter break down, she knew she wasn't able to face any of it alone. She wanted to see Gil.
But he hadn't been there. She overheard someone tell a uniform officer that Vega had gone with Sara to interview a pink-haired singer. Without another thought, she went to the station, to oversee the interrogation.
After getting kicked out, Warrick had tracked her down. He told her Sara had called him.
He took her into a room at the lab, set her down with some tea, and just waited for her to say something.
She couldn't say anything. She didn't have the words.
"Hey, you know, I'm in your corner, right?"
Catherine nodded. Warrick put an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. She tucked her face into his neck and chest and breathed deeply. He rubbed her back.
"Sara feels bad that she's not getting it done," he told her quietly. "She wants to get them for this, for you."
Catherine laughed bitterly, the sound scratching her throat.
"Nah, seriously. You and Gris are like... you're like the parents of this operation. She might not like that you're closer to him than she is, but she does look up to you." He paused and then added: "In her own way."
"Y-yeah," Catherine whispered.
"She speaks," Warrick teased.
Catherine wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly. "I don't know what I should be feeling," she admitted.
"It's been a rough couple of days," he agreed. "Have you seen Lindsey yet?"
She nodded. "We went to Eddie's... she wanted some of his things."
"How was that?"
"Hard," she admitted, without giving too much away.
Warrick nodded and kissed the top of her head. "Call me, any time, any place, if you need someone to talk to," he whispered. "You got that?"
"Yeah," she whispered back. Her phone rang. She sighed and extricated herself from Warrick's warm embrace. "Willows," she said when the phone was against her ear. "What?"
Catherine and Gil walked up to Rebecca McCormick's lifeless body, sprawled upon the stairs, looking for evidence.
"Stranglings are intimate," she said. "Crime of passion."
Gil turned. "Or not."
She followed his gaze and saw her husband, Steven McCormick, pouring himself a cup of milk.
"Mr. McCormick?" Catherine called out, stepping away from Gil.
"Yes?" he replied as calmly as he looked, turning from the counter to face her. "What can I do for you?"
"Would you come speak with me in the living room?" she asked. "I have a few questions."
She followed him into the living room, sitting in a chair that faced the one he chose to sit upon.
"Mr. McCormick," she asked. "Were you the one who found your wife?"
"On the stairs?"
He replied, "Yes."
"May I see your hands, please?"
He obliged her calmly, cooly, and held his hands out for her, palms facing up. She rose enough to examine them, before saying: "Other side."
Without blinking, he flipped them over. She studied them, saw no blood, and then sat back down.
"They look clean."
"Mmm," Steven replied. "Shouldn't they be?"
"I don't know," Catherine answered honestly. Without thinking, she said, "If it were my spouse, I would've touched the body."
"Mmm, I didn't."
Catherine realised she hadn't touched Eddie. She watched the man and wondered if she was like him, cut from the same cool, uncaring cloth.
She held the tiny vial in the palm of her shaking hand and stared at its contents. Taking it between her thumb and index finger, she tilted it upside-down and watched the white powder fall to the cap.
When she had seen the wooden box on Eddie's tallboy dresser, she knew what was inside of it before opening it. He had that box when they first met, when they were both in the middle of their rock 'n' roll phases; when they were together, that box---the solid mahogany chest with the picture of a naked woman on the top---was where they kept their drugs.
Eddie called it Pandora's Box. When Catherine saw it that evening, she didn't know what to call it; but, she knew it could be her savior for the evening.
In the safety of her room, she sat on the edge of the bed and stared at the vial. She kept thinking about all the times she and Eddie shared that white powder, all the times that powder kept her on her feet when she didn't think she'd survive another night.
She knew how easy it would be to catch some of the power on the fingernail of her pinkie finger, to bring it to her nose, and to snort it into her body.
She knew how good it would feel. She knew it would loan her some sense of euphoria, and calm her down. She knew it would help her come to peace with everything that had happened.
"Hey, Lindsey," Warrick said into the phone. "How are you holding up?"
"I... I'm okay," she replied softly. "I think."
"Yeah," Warrick agreed. "Hey, is your mom still up? I'm just calling to check up on you two."
"She's been pretty quiet... her light's still on, though," Lindsey told him. "Want me to go get her?"
Warrick paused and thought about it. "Nah... y'know what? Tomorrow, just tell her I called. And if either of you need anything, you call me. Write my number down, so you've got it."
"No problem, Linds."
He hung up the phone, and sighed. He rubbed his eyes and leaned back in his chair. He wondered if he should call Grissom, but then decided against it. He didn't want to add to Catherine's problems; she would decide when it was time to let Grissom back in.
Warrick hadn't expected to get a phone call from a panicked Lindsey twenty minutes later.
"Hey, kiddo," Warrick said when Lindsey opened the door. "What's up?"
"She won't stop crying," Lindsey explained. "She just won't stop. I've tried. I've really, really tried. But... but she keeps crying and I don't---"
"Hey, hey," Warrick cut her off gently, before picking her up and hugging her close. "How about I tuck you into bed, and then I'll check up on your mom?" He saw her brows furrow and her mouth open. Quickly, he added: "If I need help, I'll come get you. And when she's okay, I'll bring you up to speed."
Lindsey closed her mouth and nodded, before wrapping her arms around his neck.
After tucking Lindsey into her bed, Warrick crept down the hall, listening to the sounds of Catherine's sobs as a navigation tool. He winced and opened the bedroom door.
She hiccuped. "War-warrick?"
"Lindsey called me," he said, as he toed out of his shoes and shrugged out of his jacket. "Proper thing, too." He sighed. "Look at you, Cath..."
He snorted. "Hardly."
Warrick eased himself down upon the bed and then pulled her close. She buried her face into his chest and continued to cry. "Let it all out," he murmured, rubbing her back. "All of it."
She nodded and shuddered, before bursting into a fresh batch of tears. Warrick closed his eyes and leaned against the pillows and headboard, sighing as she sobbed.
Her sobs quieted to sniffles, and then she fell asleep. Her body relaxed, so he extricated himself from her arms and walked down the hall to Lindsey's room. The girl was sitting up in bed, wide eyed, when he knocked on the open door.
"She's asleep," he told the girl. "I'm gonna stick around and watch her for a little bit, alright?"
Lindsey nodded. "Thanks."
"If you need anything, I'll be with your mom," he told her. "Why don't you lie back and try to get some sleep while I'm here?"
She nodded again. "'Kay," she said sleepily.
"That's a girl," he murmured as she snuggled back under the blankets. He smiled at her and then returned to Catherine's bedroom.
He had never been in her bedroom before; he couldn't deny that he was curious. He was an investigator, he had known Catherine for years, and yet, he never had her completely figured out. Everyone kept something back from work---the entire team did.
She was sleeping fitfully, twitching and moaning from time to time, but she was sleeping, so he walked around the perimetre of her room. He looked at the photos in the frames on her desk, the paintings on her walls, and at the trinkets on her dresser, trying to put a better picture together of his friend and coworker. Nothing he saw surprised him.
When he returned to the bed, his toe connected with something small---something small that rolled. He sighed and bent down to pick it up.
The tiny glass vial looked even smaller when he placed it in the palm of his hand---but that didn't detract from the impact of his finding.
He didn't have to unscrew it to know what was inside of it, but he did, nevertheless. He frowned and looked at Catherine as he closed it.
And then he took his cell phone off of his belt.
Gil had been in his car, staring at Lady Heather's Dominion, when his cell phone rang. He looked at the display and groaned.
When he answered the call, he didn't just give a simple greeting. Instead, he said: "Warrick, look, can this wait? I'm kind of in the middle of---"
"No. This can't wait. Get to Catherine's. Now."
Gil's body tightened as he geared the car up and pulled away from the dominion. "What happened? Is she okay?"
"She passed out after crying for a few hours," he said quietly. "Lindsey asked me to come here and look out for them," he explained. "I've been here for a while... they're both sleeping."
"So, why are you calling me?"
"I... I don't know much about Catherine's private life, apart from her relationship with Eddie, but..." Warrick trailed off and sighed. "Is there any reason she'd have drugs here?"
Gil's eyes nearly popped out of his skull. "DRUGS?!"
"Whoa, Gris. Yeah. Drugs. I mean, I know Eddie was into 'em, but was she ever..."
Gil sighed when Warrick trailed off. "Can you tell if she had any?" he asked, instead of answering Warrick's question.
"Nah, she wasn't in the mood for talking. Or much of anything. I couldn't tell."
"Okay... look, I'll be there in ten, fifteen minutes."
"Yeah, alright, Gris. See you in a bit."
Without thinking, Gil turned his emergency lights on and sped towards Catherine's home. As he turned onto her street, he thought enough to turn the lights off, but he maintained his speed.
He used his key to open the front door. After taking his coat and shoes off, he walked to Lindsey's room. She was sleeping relatively peacefully, so he closed her door halfway, and continued to Catherine's bedroom.
Warrick was on the bed, next to Catherine in what Gil considered his side of the mattress. Gil frowned jealously, but took a minute to silently admit that it was a beautiful sight. He wasn't a fool; they were both incredibly beautiful people.
The younger man held the vial up for Gil's eyes. Gil sighed and walked closer to inspect it.
"What's she into?" Warrick asked softly.
Gil sighed. "Warrick..."
"How long has this been going on?"
"I don't know."
"Has she ever---"
"It's not my place to say," Gil interrupted gently, as his mind traveled back to the days before Lindsey, before she became a CSI, before she went to night school. He looked her over; he couldn't see any evidence of drug use. "You can go home, Warrick---"
"I told Lindsey I'd stay and look out for Cath."
"I can take over from here," Gil said in a low, serious voice.
Warrick sighed. "Look, Gris, Cath told me about the... well, I know it's not my place to say anything, but I know you two aren't on the best of terms---"
"She's my partner," Gil said quietly. "Whatever problems we're having... I need to be here now."
The darker man smiled a little and nodded. "Alright. I'll check on Linds and see myself out."
"Thanks, Warrick," Gil told him. "For calling me and for looking after my girls."
Warrick nodded. "Of course. Cath's one of my best friends." He stood up and walked to the bedroom door. "See you later, Gris."
The younger man left the couple alone. Gil sighed and set the vial down on the bedside table, before getting down onto the bed. He rubbed his hand over Catherine's back and sighed again when she rolled towards him.
He tightened his hold on her when she wrapped her arms around him. After placing a kiss to the top of Catherine's head, he turned the light off, and closed his eyes.