Platypus Fifty-seven: Metamorphosing

Catherine felt Gil's body up against hers. Even in the heated panic, she savoured the way his close proximity made her feel. She barely registered the cold exterior of the vehicle in front of her and the exploding ammunition all around them.

"You're okay," he whispered. "I've got you."

She knew she was fine, but she still appreciated his words.

Before she could open her mouth and thank him for shielding her, she wasn't underneath him anymore.

Suddenly she was in the observation room that connected to one of the conversation rooms at the police department. She was cold; it was a dimly lit room and the air conditioning was set to a very low temperature.

As she crossed her arms, she turned her head and saw Gil and Sara. They were in the conversation room, but they were also in that parking lot with the exploding ammunition shooting off all around them.

Sara turned in Gil's embrace as the pandemonium was going on around them. Gil's hand slid from the vehicle, to her shoulder, to her neck, and then to her cheek.

Catherine turned away.

Lady Heather was standing next to her. She crossed her arms.

"Did you really think a safety word was all you needed?" the brunette asked.

"I... I didn't... we don't use it anymore," Catherine said quietly as she looked back at Gil and Sara, who were hugging each other close.

"You gave away your power," Lady Heather told her. "You opened Pandora's Box and then gave away your power."


The strawberry blonde woke up with a start and a splash, gasping for breath as her heartrate returned to normal.

Her hands clamored for the rim of the tub, something solid to hang onto as she tried to wake up and calm down. Once she realised where she was---in the bathroom at Gil's, and not at the police department---she felt her system level off.

"Oh..." she breathed, bringing one hand up to her forehead as she processed the dream.

She shuddered as she revisited the image of Gil and Sara hugging, and then she found that she couldn't shake the chill that the picture brought down upon her.

"Catherine?" Gil asked quietly, before knocking on the door. "Are you alright?"

She groaned and sat up in the tub. "Gil?"

He opened the door a bit and poked his head in. "Hey, I heard you splashing around... everything okay?"

She smiled a little and nodded. "I fell asleep," she admitted, not bothering to cover herself up.

"I didn't draw you a bath so you'd fall asleep and drown," Gil said in a wry tone of voice.

"Then, I should probably get out," Catherine murmured. "Hand me a towel?"

Gil stepped inside and passed a large, fluffy towel over. Catherine smiled in thanks and slowly stood up while wrapping the material around her body.

"Everything okay?" she asked once the tub was draining, and she was busy twisting her hair up into a knot on the back of her head.

He nodded. "Of course," he murmured.

"Have you slept yet?"

Gil's cheeks turned pink, as did the tips of his ears.

"Gil... you haven't slept yet?"

He sighed. "I tried... but I couldn't---"

"C'mon," Catherine murmured. "Let's go to bed."


(Sad, isn't it, doc?)

Gil sighed and rolled onto his back in the dark bedroom. Catherine's deep breathing usually lulled him to sleep, but not this night. Too many thoughts were brewing in his head, and he didn't know how to sort them out.

(The only time we touch other people is when we're wearing our latex gloves.)

Their relationship wasn't on the rocks, but it had become more platonic than it had been in a long time. Neither of them felt 'in the mood' when they had a free moment; but they still sought each other out for comfort and conversation.

Catherine's words about Sara had affected him. They hadn't angered or surprised him, but they made him think. Had he been oblivious to how Sara bothered Catherine? Was there some sort of territorial war going on between the two women?

Catherine admitting that she had feelings for him was one of the best things that ever happened to him. The sky was brighter, the sun was warmer, everything seemed better when Catherine admitted she loved him.

(But then, all of a sudden, we get a second chance. Somebody young and beautiful shows up, somebody we could care about. She offers us a new life with her.)

He loved Catherine. He didn't always understand her, and he didn't always agree wit her; but, he knew that he loved her.

He didn't understand why he was suddenly confused by Sara's presence in his life. Was it because of the murdered nurse? That victim resembled Sara... and it did surprise him, but did it make him reconsider his feelings for his colleague? Or did it just make him realise how vulnerable everyone is?

Gil's rational side told him that he was feeling shaken up because the victim looked like Sara, because it made him realise that on any given day, any victim could be one of his friends or colleagues. But, there was a part of him that couldn't put words to what he was feeling.

And it was the division between those parts of his mind that were keeping him from sleep, from letting Catherine get as close as she deserved to get.

(But we have a big decision to make, right?)

He didn't understand why he'd even consider another woman with Catherine in his bed. She encouraged him to explore his sexual curiosities, she even explored her own---anything that felt good to them seemed natural. Catherine rarely got weirded out by his experiments; in fact, she usually enjoyed them.

And they had so many years of friendship together, first, before romance developed between them.

(And she showed you a wonderful life, didn't she?)

Catherine showed him it wasn't a bad thing, to show people who he was, to allow people to get to know him. She showed him how having a strong support system was better than being alone all the time.

Sara might have shown him that things could be beautiful, but Catherine had shown him so much more than beauty.

(I couldn't do it.)

He knew he was being irrational. There were a lot of responsibilities bearing down on him when he was with Catherine. He was a father-figure for Lindsey, and he had to figure out a way to break up the roles of friend and lover from the role of supervisor.

Maybe he was just feeling pressure from those roles, he reasoned silently, as he rolled back onto his side. Maybe he saw that Sara was an easy mark. She'd give him pleasure, without too many strings attached.

He sighed. She was an easy mark, he reasoned, turning his head into his pillow. He didn't love her. He just knew that she would be there for him if he ever gave her the slightest reason to believe in a spark between them. His body wanted to take advantage of that. His mind knew better.

Catherine rolled over in her sleep and draped an arm over his torso. Gil smiled a bit and put his hand over hers, snuggling into his lover's embrace.

(I'm still here.)

(Are you?)

The End!
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