Platypus Fifty-six: After the Case

Catherine glared at Howard Delhomme. "Julie Waters' cervical tissue was on your gun sight."

The suspect remained silent. It was an eerie silence and it crept under Catherine's skin and gave her the chills.

"What's the matter?" she asked, hoping for a response---something, anything to fill the void around her. "Couldn't swallow it when you saw her all over the TV?"

With a growl Catherine barely heard, Delhomme pushed at the table while lunging for her. Her heart leapt into her throat but she struggled to keep her expression cool; the guard was quick and he had his stronghold on Delhomme.

"God! You bitch! You... bitch!"

She stared at him. How was she supposed to respond to something like that?

His smirk took the wind out of her sails; she didn't get up until Delhomme was taken back to the holding cell. Then, she slowly stood up and made her way to the door.

Soon, he would be taken to jail, before his preliminary hearing and she would have to testify. Until then, she didn't want to see him again.

She paused outside of the interrogation room. She closed her eyes and tipped her head back against the wall, appreciating the support.


Without looking at Gil, she could tell from his voice that he was worried about something.

"I'm okay," she told him, without opening her eyes. "Just... a little winded."

"Did he touch you?" Gil demanded. "Did he hurt you or say something---"

Catherine brought her head back to its level position and she opened her eyes. "He tried to touch me, but the guard was there," she explained. "He just creeps me out so much. I needed a moment to gather myself up."

"Come on," Gil murmured, as he reached out and rubbed her arm. "Let's get you a drink."

She yielded to his gentle request; if she hadn't, she knew he would become difficult and more of a mother hen, so humouring him in the beginning worked out better for her.

They sat down for a while. Gil made sure she had something to eat and then they each had a drink and sat in front of a television.

After almost an hour, Catherine put her hand on Gil's arm. "Turn the news on, okay?"

"You sure?"

She nodded. "I want to see how they're covering the case."

Mostly, she just hoped to see Delhomme leaving the building. She knew the press were swarming all over that case; she knew seeing him being carted off to jail would bring her peace of mind.

As they watched, Gil said, "You did good, Cath."

"I had help," she told him. She knew it hadn't been all her. She hated to admit it, but Sara was a good CSI; oftentimes, she was an asset on one of Catherine's cases.

"How are things with you and Nick and Sara?"

"They're good. They're pros," Catherine lied.

In reality, she had no idea how things would be between them and her. A large part of her didn't care; she had seniority and she was a successful investigator and she didn't need them to maintain her image within the forensics world. But, there was a small part of her that considered them colleagues---well, she considered Sara a colleague and Nick a friend---and she didn't want to burn bridges with them.

"All he had to do was stay quiet..." Catherine mused, hoping to change the subject.

"Unlike Robyn Knight, Julie Waters became Las Vegas' post-mortem sweetheart," Gil pointed out. "The media as moral conscience."

"She couldn't get away from him and he couldn't get away from her."

Gil fell silent. Catherine watched the screen, unable to tear her eyes away from the image of the once-happy redhead. She remembered that expression on countless numbers of girls at the French Palace; and then, the expression on their faces when their dreams were shattered.

"Hey," Gil murmured.

She blinked and turned to look at him. "Mmm... hi," she murmured back.

"You ready to go home?"

"Yeah," she replied. "I should go get Lindsey... and... yeah."

"I'll cook if you pick Lindsey up," Gil bargained as they stood up and straightened themselves out.

Catherine smiled at him and nodded. "I know a good deal when I hear one."

He smiled back at her and then they walked out of the room. They were going to his office first, so Gil could get his keys.

Catherine's stomach tightened nervously as she saw Sara standing at Gil's door. Her hand was poised as if she was in the middle of knocking.

"I'll see you later, Gil," Catherine said quietly. Her fingers barely brushed his arm before she strutted past him and the brunette.


Gil knew Sara hadn't accepted his decision. He doubted she ever would. But, he did not know how to help her deal with that and move on; the thought of a rift forming in his team was causing Gil a bit of discomfort.

"Are you going to keep doing that?" she asked, her voice tight.

She had moved back to the door, preparing her exit.

Gil looked at the brunette. "What do you mean?" he asked, trying to keep the edge out of his voice.

"Pick her over us," Sara replied. "Over me."

"I trusted her instincts on this case," Gil said, not really answering her question. "I decided to support her this time. Sara, I'm the supervisor---you shouldn't really be questioning my decisions."

"Yes, but I am anyway," she said in an icy tone.

"So I see and hear," Gil replied. He checked the time and then asked, "Do you have anything else you'd like to discuss?"

"Grissom, how can you just---"

"It was my decision," Gil interrupted, trying to sound tough. "And you can't overrule me because you're unhappy with my decision. That's that." He sighed. "And now, I'm going home, because I'm exhausted."


Gil went to his house first. His encounter with Sara left him feeling a little unbalanced. He didn't like having a rift between any members of his team.

He checked on his bugs and took a shower and then he did a bit of laundry. Catherine called to tell him that Lindsey was going to her grandmother's for the evening, and Catherine would be going for a run. Gil guessed they had a fight; he decided to give them a bit of space.

"Call me when you get back, okay?"

She sighed. "Yeah," she murmured. "Bye."

A little extra time would probably help him devise a solution to fix his team.


Catherine sighed and rolled onto her back. She turned her head and saw Gil sitting on the foot of her bed.

"Hey," she whispered. "How'd you sneak in here?"

"I can be stealthy when I want to be," he said, smiling at her as he reached out and squeezed her ankle from its position underneath the duvet. "Didn't want to wake you. Rough case, Lindsey..."

Catherine smiled a bit and then she pushed herself into a sitting position. "You're not ready for bed yet," she commented.

Gil smiled again. "Nah... I'm getting there, though. Go back to sleep, okay? I think I'm going to stay up and do a crossword puzzle."

"There are better things we can do to unwind," she purred.

The look on Gil's face told her everything she needed---and didn't necessarily want---to know. He rubbed her leg and sighed.

"I... I'm a little drained," he admitted.

"Lie down and tell me what happened," she murmured, softening when she heard the exhaustion and frustration in his voice.

Gil nodded and smiled a bit. "Gimme a second to wash up and undress."

A second turned into minutes, and then into over half an hour. Catherine had been ready to go out in search of him when he appeared in the door, wearing shorts and drying his hair off.

"You get lost?" Catherine teased quietly.

He smiled at her. "No," he replied. "I just thought I'd get a shower first."

After he dried off a bit more, he dropped the towel on the floor and walked over to the bed. Catherine smiled and tilted her head, sending her strawberry-blonde curls cascading over her shoulder and down her back, and then she pulled the duvet cover back for him.

He settled down in bed next to her and closed his eyes.

"What happened?"

Gil sighed. "Sara stopped me before leaving the lab," he admitted. "She's going to hold a grudge for a little while."

"Oh well," Catherine said on a sigh.

"You don't care?"

She shrugged. She did... but she was more concerned about how they would interact if they were on a case again, if Catherine pulled rank again. They were never best friends, and Catherine knew they would never be best friends.

Sara holding a grudge only seemed to be a huge problem for Gil---and Catherine hated herself for wondering why he found that problematic.


She reached out and touched him. In the dim light, she didn't see the flinch, but she felt it and made a mental note of it.

"I wish it hadn't happened," she told him, choosing her words as carefully as she could. "But, we were bound to clash eventually."

"Why would you say that?"

Catherine turned onto her side. "Are you for real?"

"Catherine, I don't understand---"

"We've talked about her interest in you before," Catherine interrupted. "You're aware of how she feels about you---she's told you all about her crush on you! And beyond that button-pusher, we approach situations differently."

"You and I approach situations differently," Gil pointed out.

She sighed. "We don't clash, though. At least, not as much." She paused and thought about the brunette for a moment. "She's an only child."

"What's wrong with that?" Gil asked, sounding frustrated. "You're an only child. I'm an only child."

"She always wants to be right," Catherine told him. "She doesn't like being wrong and she hates it when she is. She has little regard for others." She sighed. "She's smart and she does her job well, and I respect that. But, she doesn't always work well in a team."

Gil was silent for a while. Then, he said, "I never noticed any of those things."

"We're like a family, and I'm all for taking curtain calls when one of us scores high on a case, Gil," Catherine said quietly. "But, we're a team. And she's out looking for her next career move, looking out for her next stepping stone."

"You were in her shoes once," Gil pointed out. "Always looking out for the next high-roller, the next boyfriend, the next job, then the promotions---"

Catherine cut him off sharply. "What I did was surviving," she hissed. "It is completely different. And when I became a CSI, I played the game properly. I didn't go behind your back when you weren't being political, I didn't tread over anyone's work and make nice with the Sheriff or Ecklie. I don't freak out in front of everyone."

"No, but..."

She snorted. "What? You think I'm like her? I'm much more open-minded and considerate than she is."

"I just don't think that you are without fault," Gil said in a gentle voice. "I love you, Catherine, but nobody's perfect."

"I know that," she murmured. "I'm far from perfect. So are you. No one's perfect. But, she thinks being the teacher's pet is everything, and I have little patience for that attitude."

Gil spoke quietly and hesitantly. "So, what are you..."



Catherine pressed her lips together. She knew she had put herself in a sticky situation. She walked into it. She let her misgivings about her colleague shadow her love for Gil, and in doing so she probably allowed them to shadow his feelings for her.

"I'm saying... well, I wish it hadn't happened. But, it was inevitable."

She felt the same way about her conversation with Gil as she did about the dispute with Sara.

When she woke up the next morning, Gil had rolled onto his side. His back was facing her, and when she touched him, he made no moved to inch towards her in his sleep.

The End!
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