Catherine had been pleased that Gil had offered to drive alongside of her for her leg of the race. Every runner on that stretch of the road had to have someone accompanying him or her---because it was so late, because there were little to no spectators---and David had been supposed to drive with her. But, at the last minute, Gil stepped up and gave David the drive with Sara the next night. When he greeted her at the starting point in his SUV, she beamed at him and went as far as to tell him she was glad to be running with him.
They didn't get to talk much, but she felt better with him at her side. It felt right to have him there. They had been dancing around each other and their love for each other ever since Gil said he needed some time apart from her; he might be confused, but he kept demonstrating that he wanted to be near her. Catherine was confused, too, but she kept telling herself that his actions were signals towards positive development in their relationship.
When Gil switched CD's, she heard a slow, classical piece of music. She glared as best as she could at him.
"What the hell kind of music is that?"
"Inspiration," he replied.
"Sedative!" she countered.
He sighed. "Okay..." he reached over to the radio console and switched stations. A country song started to filter through the speakers of his vehicle. "How's this?"
"How about something that doesn't twang?"
Gil changed the station again; a rock song played. Catherine smiled and nodded as she jogged. "Better."
Catherine continued to run on the side of the road. Gil, however, did not continue to drive alongside of her. He turned the car and started to drive up the bank. When she saw him leave, she stopped and panted for breath.
"Hey, Grissom!" she hollered.
He continued to drive.
A cloud of dust was her only response, as Gil drove up the bank and away from the road. She growled loudly, kicked at a rock on the ground, and then took off after him. She silently vowed to beat him into a bloody pulp if he didn't have a good reason for driving away like he did.
He was standing outside his vehicle when she reached him, shining his flashlight down on the ground in front of his feet.
"Gris-s-som!" she shouted, panting hard from the run up the hill. She fell against the parked car, slumping slightly. "God! What?! Are you taking a leak?" She continued to scold him, while limping towards him. "The follow car is supposed to stay with the runner! We've been training for months, man! Twenty CSI's! A hundred twenty miles!"
He was quiet and calm when he responded. He gestured to a dead body in front of him. "Don't blame me," he said, "blame him."
Catherine looked down.
"I saw his flasher from the road," Gil explained.
"Good call," she agreed.
"Fresh cut on his forehead," he pointed out, "but the corneas usually take days to gloss over."
Catherine inhaled slowly. "Weird," she commented. "The race just started."
They both kneeled down next to the body. She reached out and read the badge patch on the dead runner's tracksuit jacket; upon seeing the badge, she pressed her lips together. "L.A. County PD. Special Enforcement Squad... badass. Hardcore badass," she said quietly. She looked over the body. "Give me some more light here," she demanded.
Gil shone his flashlight towards Catherine, highlighting the dead runner's hand. Catherine saw his knuckles immediately. "That looks like a recent injury. There's no scab." She glanced at him. "Fight?"
"Maybe," he conceded.
"Would you give me your phone?" Catherine asked, knowing that someone had to call the body in.
He passed it over without a word. She dialed dispatch off of Gil's speed dial settings and waited for someone to pick up.
"Uh... this is CSI Willows," she said, "I'm at Highway one-sixty, halfway through leg sixteen of the Desert Relay. We've got a four-nineteen, officer down. Notify Captain Brass."
She closed the phone and watched as Gil caught a fibre that was hanging off of the runner's suit. He held it up and examined it with his flashlight.
"Barehanded, huh?" she commented.
"Well," he said in reply, "collect it or lose it. Ten years ago nobody would've known the difference."
"Ten years ago we wouldn't have been able to get DNA off of that fibre," she added in agreement.
He nodded. "I'll find something in the car to bindle it," he told her.
"Time of discovery," she added, "four thirty-two. I'll put it in the report." She exhaled loudly. "So much for the race," she commented, letting her disappointment show through.
"Well, at least we didn't come in last," he pointed out.
Catherine gave him a small smile. "True," she admitted. She sighed and pushed herself up, straightening her body and legs. A second after she had risen to her full height, she yelped and almost fell over. "Damn it," she hissed, bending over and rubbing her right thigh.
Gil was at her side after he put the thread in a spare bindle. He put his hands on her shoulders and guided her over to his vehicle. He lowered the tailgate and helped her sit up on it.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
She shook her head and sucked in a sharp breath. "Muscle cramp," she croaked.
"Right," she whispered.
He stood in front of her and put his hand on her leg. Slowly, he massaged the muscle with his fingers. When he added his other hand, Catherine hissed and flinched; he ignored her reaction, though, and continued to massage her leg.
A few minutes later, Catherine caught herself moaning softly.
"Better?" he asked with an amused expression on his face.
"Oh, shuddup," she muttered, leaning back and supporting herself on her hands. "You knew this would feel so good."
"Want me to stop?"
"Don't... please," she whispered.
Gil smiled. "Alright, my dear," he said quietly as he continued taking care of her leg.
She purred loudly when he moved onto her other leg. "God... Gil..." she whispered. "Thank you..."
Headlights and sirens caught her attention; they caught Gil's attention as well. She cursed softly and Gil's fingers slid away from her legs. She looked at him and hoped the disappointment didn't show too much on her face.
"Here comes the calvary," Gil said quietly. He patted her knee. "If your legs are still sore later... I'll help with... that."
Catherine looked away from the lights and towards him. "Really?"
He nodded. "Sure. We'll have screwdrivers and take out... and I'll take care of your legs."
She wondered if he could see her blushing; she smiled at him and tilted her head to one side as she reached up and adjusted her hat. "Well... uh... okay," she agreed, her voice a little deeper than usual. "If you're sure."
Gil only had enough time to smile at her before Jim Brass joined them.
After finishing with Mendez, after his union representative arrived, Catherine and Gil walked out of the interview room and headed down the hall.
"How're you holding up?" he asked.
Catherine shrugged. "Fine," she said. Gil looked at her; he knew she was lying so he stared at her until she folded. She smiled a bit as her cheeks turned pink. Then, after a quiet chuckle, she said, "Okay, I'm exhausted and sore. But, I just have to take Lindsey to a sleep over and then I can go to bed."
Gil worried his lower lip with his teeth for a moment, while they walked out of the police department. Then, he glanced at her. "If you still want company..." he said, trailing off when his nerves took over. "I mean, if you don't that's---"
"You're bringing the vodka," she stipulated.
"O-oh. Okay," he said, sounding surprised by her confident response.
She smiled and squeezed his arm. "I'm still expecting that massage you promised."
Gil wiggled his fingers in front of him as they walked towards the parking lot. "I will warm my magic hands up before I show up." He turned and looked at her as she laughed; the moonlight cast a heavenly glow on her face and hair. He smiled as he watched her. "See you in... two hours?"
She nodded. "Sounds good. I'll order something in before you show up."
He nodded, too, and they parted ways to walk to their vehicles which were a few cars apart. Catherine waved at him before she drove away; he returned the gesture and then turned the key in the ignition. As the car came to life, a thought about the case crossed his mind. Something bothered him. He turned the car off and left the vehicle to return to the police department.
His conversation with Mendez was still ringing in his ears an hour later, when he was at his townhouse. He wanted to go home and shower and change before seeing Catherine again, so he made sure he had plenty of time to stop at a store, buy her favourite vodka, and then drive to the residential area in which she lived.
(Sooner or later, everybody gets replaced.)
Mendez hadn't said it; he had. Still, he couldn't have been more haunted by the words if a ghost had spoken them.
Had he been replaced in Catherine's heart? In Catherine's bed?
He didn't want to be replaced. He wanted to be with her---but she was right, something was keeping them apart. He had to sort out his thoughts and he had to give her some space. He was so afraid that she would find someone better to warm her bed and heart while he was figuring out his thoughts and feelings; but, he also knew it wasn't fair to her to string her along, to keep her hoping that they would pick up where they left off.
Yet, he was going to her house. He was determined to spend some time with her, to leave his mark somehow---whether it be in her house or on her skin. Biology and instinct often trumped logic; he knew that from experience.
When he arrived at her house, she was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. She looked refreshed and relaxed. She smiled and kissed his cheek as she welcomed him into her home.
"You want chinese?" she asked. "It just got here a few minutes ago."
He smiled at Catherine. "Got any movies?" he asked.
She beamed at him. "I picked one up... just in case."
"Let's bring everything into the living room," Gil suggested. "Relax and watch a movie before I fix your legs," he added with what he hoped was a charming and playful smirk.
The strawberry blonde grinned and nodded before disappearing into the kitchen. Gil followed her.
Gil knocked on the partially closed door. "All set?"
Catherine laughed. "Gil... you've seen me undress before," she pointed out. "I didn't mind you coming in while I got ready."
She turned her head and looked at him as he came inside and closed the door behind him. His cheeks were flushed. "Well... I didn't want to overstep," he said as he approached the bed.
"I'm wearing underwear," she said as she saw the awkward look in his eyes. "Don't worry so much. You promised me a massage, remember?"
He swallowed hard and nodded. "I remember," he said quietly, before going to her bedside table and opening the top drawer. He took a bottle of massage oil out of the drawer.
She watched as he swallowed again and then let his eyes travel over her body. She smiled. He smiled back at her and then moved around to the foot of the bed. She held her breath as he crawled onto the bed, at her feet, and opened the top of the bottle of oil; her breaths were quick and anticipatory as he put some of the liquid on his hands and rubbed them together.
When he touched her left foot, rubbing the muscles of her arch, her breath came out in a loud moan. She tucked her face into her pillow and struggled to downplay her reactions to his magic hands.
After he had finished with her left leg and moved onto her right leg, Catherine was pretty sure that Gil knew how turned on she was. She knew her skin was rosier all over---even though he couldn't see her face. She knew her moans were turning into purrs and whimpers---distinguishable despite the pillow nearly smothering her. She also knew that if he couldn't smell her arousal building between her legs, he would in a few minutes.
He travelled over the curve of her thigh, over her ass, then to her lower back. He kneaded her weary back muscles with the same meticulous patience he had bestowed upon her legs; by the time he reached her shoulders she felt as though her body had somehow liquified.
"Turn over," he insisted quietly.
"Don't think I can," she mumbled into her pillow.
"What was that?" he asked, in an amused tone that suggested to Catherine that he had heard her perfectly.
She reached back and swatted at him. He chuckled and then helped her turn over.
Gil turned his back on her as he made his way back down to her feet. Catherine used that moment to glance down her body. Upon lifting her head a bit and looking down, she saw her body's reaction to Gil's hands---small damp mark on her panties, making the light fabric even more translucent, and hardened nipples, with a flush that covered most of her chest and stomach. She blushed and immediately sat up, panicking and trying to cover her arousal with her body positioning.
"Cath?" Gil asked, turning around.
She felt her face burn up as it turned crimson. "I... I feel much better," she said, sounding a little unsettled. "I think... I think I'm going to get dressed."
"The muscle cramps were in the front of your thigh," he pointed out.
"I only massaged the backs of your legs," he replied.
She shrugged and smiled. "I'm sure they'll survive---"
"Lie back and let me take care of your legs," he insisted.
He raised his eyebrows.
Catherine sighed. "Um... okay... but..." she sighed again. "Okay."
Gil smiled and waited for her to stretch out. Catherine grunted and covered her face with her arms as he picked up one of her feet and started the massage process all over again.
When he reached her hips, he stopped. Catherine breathed a sigh of relief, but she didn't remove her arms from her face until he rubbed her stomach and called out quietly for her attention. When she looked down at him, she saw that his facial expression mirrored her own feelings. He looked excited and afraid; she was relieved to see similar emotions in his eyes.
"Stop or go?" he asked shyly.
"C'm'ere," she whispered, reaching for him with one hand after shifting her weight. He leaned up enough for her to grab onto his shirt. She tugged and he followed, straddling her body with his as he crawled towards her. She glanced down at his lips and looked at him; he nodded and she grinned briefly before kissing him.
He opened up to her, yielding to her lips when she silently asked for a deeper kiss; she sighed happily and threaded the fingers of her free hand through his hair, gently scratching his scalp. When he groaned, she smiled against his lips and scratched down to his neck.
"Pushing my buttons," he mumbled into her mouth.
"I know," she breathed, wrapping her legs around his waist. She was pleased to find that he was as aroused as she was. He pressed his hips down into hers when she pressed hers upwards. She whimpered and deepened the kiss again after nipping at his lower lip.
"Cath...erine," he breathed.
"Too much?" she asked.
"A little," he admitted, dropping his forehead to hers.
She nodded and smoothed her hand over the back of his neck while lightly kissing over his beard and jaw; Gil shuddered and rocked against her.
"Easy, Cath," he mumbled.
"I'm just kissing your neck," she whispered.
"This is... this... your bed... and... softer than... than the last time," he admitted.
"Oh," she whispered, tilting her head back to look at him. "Sorry."
He shook his head and pressed his lips into her hairline. "Don't be sorry," he whispered into her hair. "Just be slower."
Catherine nodded and brushed her fingers of both hands through his hair, gently massaging his scalp. "Slower it is," she whispered, smiling at him. "Tell me if you need to stop, okay?"
"Y-yeah," he mumbled, nodding.
She waited for him to initiate the next kiss. When he did, she waited for him again; this time, she waited for him to initiate deepening the kiss. She told herself, silently, to let herself enjoy the journey because it was rare when they spent so much time on such simple pleasures like kissing. It was even rarer since Gil stepped away from her emotionally.
After a few minutes, Gil pushed for more and Catherine gave it to him without dispute. She rocked against him, feeling her body temperature increase along with her heart rate. He groaned when she rubbed his back through his shirt; she smiled and swallowed the sound.
Gil's kisses took his mouth away from hers. He kissed along her jaw and down her neck. He nibbled on her sensitive spots and seemed to enjoy making her whimper and moan for more. When he flexed down with his hips, she cried out; her body tightened and she heard herself begging him for more. His mouth travelled back to hers for another kiss, but he stopped before their lips touched.
Catherine was confused for the first few seconds. His mouth hovered over his and hot breath puffed down onto her face; she opened her eyes and saw that his were scrunched shut. When she heard him groan and felt him slump against her body, she understood.
"Sorry," he rasped into her neck.
She smiled and rubbed his back. "It's okay," she whispered. "You should have told me..."
"Felt so good," he admitted, sounding a little glum.
"I think that's a compliment," she said teasingly.
He chuckled and rolled off of her. Catherine smiled at Gil and then placed her hand on her stomach. As she stared into his eyes, she slid her hand downwards, underneath the waistband of her underwear, past the curls of hair hidden by the swatch of fabric, and against the slippery folds of skin between her legs. She moaned and fluttered her eyes shut, but she reopened them so she could watch Gil watching her.
She slipped two fingers inside of her and pumped them slowly. Her legs parted more and she rocked her hips. When she pressed her thumb down onto her swollen bundle of nerves, she exhaled shakily. After a few circles of her thumb against the slick skin, she moaned and arched her back. Her breasts pressed into the curves of the cups of her bra, the fabric teased her nipples.
It wasn't until Gil smirked, though, that she crashed into a climax. She had been teetering on the edge, but when he looked at her, tilted his head, and smirked, she felt something inside of her break. Her nerves gave out and she cried sharply.
Gil leaned forward and kissed her forehead. Then, he took her hand out of her underwear and kissed its palm, before carefully cleaning her fingers and thumb.
Catherine tried to speak but her voice cracked. She smiled, cleared her throat, and tried again. "Want to get a shower?" she asked.
"Do you have some of my pajamas here?" he asked.
"Maybe some jogging pants," she admitted, "and a t-shirt or two." She leaned towards him and kissed his chin. "Why don't I make some tea while you clean up?" she asked. "We can hang out in the living room for a while."
He smiled. "I'd like that," he told her.
She kissed his lips quickly, chastely, and then she rolled away from him to get out of bed. She went to her dresser and found clothes for both of them; after she dressed, she waved to Gil and left the bedroom.
After fifteen minutes, Gil was standing barefoot in her kitchen, watching her put together a late night snack. He carried the plate of food out while she carried the tea, and then they settled down on the sofa and started to talk. They didn't talk about their relationship or what was developing between them at that point; instead, they talked about Lindsey, Catherine's mother, Gil's bugs and other creatures, and some of the latest happenings at the lab.
Catherine hadn't been aware of dozing off, of curling up in his arms, but when she woke up a few hours later, his arms were around her and he was sleeping as well. She smiled up at him and kissed the bridge of his nose when she moved out of his arms. She eased Gil down into a reclining position once she was off of the sofa and she put a nearby blanket over him.
He sighed in his sleep and snuggled up to the blanket, tucking his face into the throw pillow Catherine had put underneath his head. She leaned down and kissed his forehead before straightening and padding softly to her bedroom.