"Hey," Catherine said as she approached the crime scene in the parking structure. Gil looked up and gave her a small smile; she blushed and looked away. She took her flashlight in hand and before turning it on, she motioned it towards the body on the floor. "What've we got?"
Jim Brass filled her in, more than Gil did, and then they settled down and went to work. She snapped a few photographs and made some notes. As she tucked her notepad away, Gil approached and put his hand on her arm.
"I'm going to go back with the body," he told her quietly, "unless you'd rather..."
She smiled and shook her head, motioning towards the wall where the blood spatter had caught her attention. "I'm going to stay here," she told him.
He smiled back at her. "I figured," he admitted quietly.
"So why did you ask?" she inquired.
Gil shrugged. "Just wanted to check," he said in a soft voice.
"Thanks," she murmured, slipping her hand over his for a brief moment. She pulled her hand away when she saw Warrick approaching. "But, I'm okay here," she added.
"Okay," he said, "I'll finish up what I'm doing and follow the body back."
Catherine smiled and nodded. "Okay," she said, nodding her head.
Gil walked away, giving her another smile. Warrick stepped up to her and gave her a discrete nudge. "What's going on?" he asked, his voice very quiet.
As her cheeks flushed, Catherine shook her head and looked away from her friend. "Nothing," she murmured.
"Oh, c'mon... don't play that game with me," Warrick pushed, "because I saw the way you two were looking at each other."
Catherine nudged him. "Stop," she scolded.
Warrick eyed her. "Seriously, Cath... what's going on?"
"We're... I don't know," she admitted.
"Bring me up to speed," he suggested. "What've you got so far?"
Catherine laughed softly. "I don't think this is the time for that," she said as she turned her flashlight on. "Let's get to work, okay?"
He nodded. "A'right. Let's work."
Ever since her brief conversation with Warrick, she had been thinking about his question---'what've you got so far?'---and had been unable to come up with an answer that she could share with him. She took her samples back to the lab, dropped them off at the appropriate stations, and then she paced through the building as she thought about her odd friendship with Gil.
She ended up by his office. When she saw it in front of her, she almost laughed.
"He's out," Sara said, coming up from behind Catherine.
Catherine turned and looked at the brunette. "Hmm?"
"The suspect's being brought into PD," she said, supplying Catherine with more information, "so Grissom left."
The strawberry blonde nodded. "Oh.... good. Good. Hopefully this case'll be pretty open and shut."
"Got big plans tomorrow?" Sara asked, appearing to be very interested all of a sudden. When Catherine laughed, out of nervousness rather than amusement, Sara's eyes sparkled. "Big date?"
"I'm seeing someone," Catherine supplied, knowing she was caught. "And it's new... and it's hard to keep a relationship together when I'm staying at crime scenes for days at a time."
Sara shrugged and nodded. "That's true."
Since she had the other woman alone, and she seemed to be in a chatty mood, Catherine decided to do a little investigating of her own. "Are you seeing anyone these days?" she inquired, hoping that she sounded casual.
The brunette's cheeks turned a pale shade of pink. "N-no... not really," she said, stammering slightly. "I've been trying to get something... started, but... it's not working out too well."
"Have you tried asking him out?"
"Once. A while ago," Sara admitted.
"Didn't go so well?"
Sara shook her head. "Not so much... but things changed... I don't know," she said before sighing and laughing. She shook her head. "Nevermind."
"Alright," Catherine said quietly. "Let me know if anything happens at PD, okay?"
The younger woman nodded and then walked away. Catherine sighed and resigned herself to walking around the building again.
She hadn't been walking around for more than a half hour, when her cellular phone rang at her hip. She hoped it would be a call for some of her results; however, she was surprised when she saw Brass' number flash across the small display screen.
"Willows," she said into the phone, once it was at her ear.
"Hi, Catherine," Jim replied. "You might want to get down here. Our suspect died."
"Died?" Catherine echoed.
"You heard me," he said. "Grissom tried to do some of that CSI stuff, and he freaked out. Officers tried to subdue him, but he died. Coroner's already on his way."
Catherine felt a lump forming in her throat. She wanted to ask about Gil, but she didn't want to seem too curious or too worried. "I'm on my way, too," she promised, before snapping her phone shut and heading towards the building's exit.
It didn't take her too long to arrive at the police department, and when she stepped into the building, an officer stepped up and told her where she would be going. When she arrived at the interview room, she saw David Phillips preparing to examine the body; she watched as he took the suspect's liver temperature and could not believe what it said.
"You might want to check that," she said quietly.
"I did," David assured her.
Catherine blinked and rose to her full height. That seemed... incredible. She sighed and looked around the room, seeing Gil standing off to one side. He was rubbing the back of his neck; she wanted to walk over to him, but when he looked at her, she picked up on a feeling that he did not want her going over to him. She pressed her lips together and restrained herself---until he left the interview room.
She followed him out into the hallway, determined to find out if Gil was okay or not. She saw the Sheriff talking with Jim, they saw her, and then she made her way over to Gil.
"You okay?" she asked quietly.
He stopped rubbing his neck. "I'm fine," he told her, brushing off her concern.
She reached out and examined the bruise on his neck. "Nasty," she commented, "that kind of looks like a hickey." He flinched and she sighed. "You want to tell me what got this party started?"
"I scraped his nails."
"That's it?" Catherine asked, unable to keep the disbelief out of her voice.
"What was his liver temp?" Gil asked.
"One-oh-one point five."
He looked at her. "He's been dead an hour," he said. "That means his body temperature was one-oh-three. I touched his skin, Catherine. He felt like he was on fire."
She put her hand on his arm and relaxed when he didn't flinch away from her touch. "I'm glad you're okay," she whispered.
Gil put his hand over hers. "Thanks," he whispered back.
He was getting himself into trouble. He knew he was tumbling into a dangerous situation, so he did everything he could to prevent something worse from happening.
Catherine was an attractive person and he liked to watch her. However, he was watching her entirely too much lately. He even caught himself going out of his way in the lab, so he would be able to watch her---talking to Greg, working in ballistics, changing at the end of her shift in the locker room.
So, when he had the option to go to the motel and work more, he jumped at the chance and took Warrick with him. Warrick tried to ask him about the changes in his friendship with Catherine, but Gil brushed those questions off and focused on the tasks set out in front of them.
When he returned from the motel in the evening, he watched Catherine talk with Judy at the reception area for a moment, but then he realised what he was doing. He caught himself early, he silently reasoned, and he could correct his behavior. So, he retreated to his office and settled down to read a book for a few minutes to relax.
Catherine, though, found him. She walked into his office and he felt his shoulders tense.
"How'd you know there was another body at that motel?" she asked, without preamble.
"I didn't," he told her, before picking up a series of test results. He decided to talk about the case so he didn't get himself into trouble. "Tox and histology results came back on Walter Darian. Negative across the board. No drugs, no diseases... I don't get it," he admitted, "the guy was thirty-eight years old, and this was his first arrest."
"And you're wondering what he'd been doing all his life," she said, needlessly since he knew she could always read him so well.
He frowned a bit when Catherine answered her phone. Her laugh made his heart ache; he remembered when he used to make her laugh like that.
"Why don't you hold that thought until later?" she suggested, into the phone, in a soft voice.
She closed her phone and then turned to look at him. After she cleared her throat, she blushed and said, "Sorry. A new friend."
"Congratulations," Gil said, hoping he didn't sound too strained.
After they talked with Beth Darian, Catherine went to the locker room to change and Gil forced himself to go to his office. She told him that before she went home, she, Greg, and Warrick were going for a run---to train for the relay race; she invited him to drive along, but he declined.
He heard laughter in the hallway, though, so he did poke his head out of his office to watch Catherine carrying on with Warrick and Greg.
Gil smiled. His heart tightened as he watched Catherine throw her head back and laugh. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, the wavy tendrils bouncing behind her head and brushing over the back of her neck. She stumbled while she laughed and Warrick reached out and caught her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders; she leaned in towards him, resting her head on his chest as they shared a laugh. Greg was laughing, too, although the joke seemed to be about him.
He watched them---Greg walking on Catherine's left side while Warrick stayed at her right side, his arm still around her---until they left his line of vision. Then, he prepared to turn and walk away, but someone came by with a file for him to review and sign.
After taking the file, which was about Walter Darian's belongings, he opened it and read it while he walked towards the room that contained many of the suspect-turned-deceased's possessions.
He put the file folder down on the table. Then, he picked up a pair of latex gloves and put them on. He saw a package that caught his attention and picked it up; he opened it and removed a white bloody shirt. Minutes later, he was lost in forensic examination.
He didn't know how much time had passed when Warrick knocked on the door---but he guessed over an hour.
"Yo, Gris," he said quietly. "You still working?"
Gil gave him a small smile. "Can't put this case to bed until this evidence is catalogued and processed," he said, "you know that."
"You're just hoping for another case," he accused.
That statement made Gil smile again. Warrick was more perceptive than Gil usually gave him credit for being.
"How did Greg fare out on your run?" he asked.
Warrick snorted. "He pulled through." He patted his hand against the door's frame and then curled his hand into a fist and tapped that against the door. "See you later, Gris. I'm heading out."
"Have a good night, Warrick," Gil called out, before the younger man left the doorway.
After a few minutes, Gil sealed the evidence he had been processing and he left the room. He went down the hall and headed into the locker room. Catherine's locker was still unlocked; he listened and heard water running in one of the showers, in the other room.
He knew he should have left, but he couldn't stop himself from walking into the shower room. He peeked inside, and found only one shower in use; Greg was nowhere to be seen, so Gil assumed that he had gone home, as well. But, Catherine was in the shower; he could see her figure's shadow through the thin shower curtain.
Gil leaned against the wall and watched her. Her arms were above her head, her hands were buried in her hair; he guessed she was washing her hair. He could smell the scent of her shampoo after a few minutes as the air thickened with warm steam.
Catherine sighed loudly as she rinsed the suds from her hair; Gil found himself imagining the sight of the soapy water running down her body. He almost groaned. Instead, he settled for shifting his weight and then adjusting his pants.
He watched her wash her body, though the curtain, and he had to adjust his pants again because they were feeling entirely too tight. Another few minutes and he realised he was in trouble; he pushed himself off of the wall and quickly exited the room before he was caught.
Catherine turned around and pulled the curtain back by a few inches. Peering into the small shower room, she saw that the room was empty.
She frowned. She could have sworn someone else was in the room. She had felt the slight draft, as if the door had been opened or closed; she had felt someone's eyes on her, through the curtain.
Or, she thought she felt someone's eyes on her.
After toweling off, she got dressed and quickly pulled her hair back into a messy bun. She gathered her possessions and left the room.
It was a habit of hers, to stop by Gil's office before she left the lab. She liked having a last conversation of the day with him. It was like he had told her; she felt better by talking with him, just like he did.
When she stopped at the door of his office, she expected to see him working late. She was disappointed to see the office empty; she frowned and walked away. Instead of looking for him, she turned on her heel and headed towards the exit to the parking lot.
She drove home, changed for bed, checked on Lindsey, and then went into her bedroom. Since she had been exercising regularly, sleep washed over her fairly quickly; she enjoyed a dreamless sleep and woke up hours later feeling refreshed and ready to go back to work.
After spending time with Lindsey and her mother, Catherine changed for work and drove to the lab.
Her first stop, after the locker room, was to Gil's office.
When she saw him at his desk, head down on his folded arms, sound asleep, she smiled and stepped inside. She closed the door behind her and then walked over to the chair in front of his desk. She sat down and crossed her legs, settling down to watch him.
The lines of stress on his face were gone; he looked sad, but peaceful. Catherine reached out and gently brushed her fingers through his hair. She sighed; she missed touching him tenderly, having access to him whenever she desired it.
Time passed. She wanted to let him sleep as long as she could. When her phone vibrated, she checked it and found that there was a message from Warrick, asking where she and Gil were because the shift was about to start. She sighed and closed her phone before leaning forward and putting her arm on Gil's shoulder.
She shook him gently.
"Gil," she murmured, "wake up."
"Cath... go back to sleep," he mumbled groggily. "No work today. Sleep in."
Catherine smiled. "Gil, you're sleeping in your office," she pointed out, "our shift's about to start."
"Thanks," she said gently, chuckling a little, "but it's time to get up now."
He groaned and rubbed his face against his hand and then slowly woke up. He lifted his head and blinked blearily. "Cath?"
"Were you here the whole time?" she asked, arching an eyebrow.
He blushed and then buried his face in his hands. "Processing Darian's stuff," he explained, mumbling sleepily, "and I couldn't stop."
"You need a shower and something to eat," she pointed out gently. "I'll cover for you if you want to go and clean up."
Gil looked at her, lowering his hands before he yawned. "Kay," he whispered. "Thanks."
Catherine stood up and on impulse, she walked over to him. She leaned down and kissed the top of his head; Gil, sleepy and warm, was something she always found difficult to resist. His body generated warmth and it was when he was at his softest, personality-wise. Gil must have still been a little out of it, she realised, because he reached up and pulled her down to his level for an awkward embrace.
"Thanks for waking me," he whispered into her shoulder.
She kissed his cheek. "Couldn't let Greg find you like this," she murmured teasingly, "because he'd take a picture and post it in the break room."
He chuckled quietly and kissed her cheek, too, before releasing her. As she stepped away, he said, "I'll be ready to go in twenty minutes."
Catherine nodded and tapped her wristwatch twice before smiling and walking to the door of his office.