Catherine snapped at Greg and then marched towards the locker room. She hadn't meant to be mean to the younger man, but he asked about what she'd be doing since Gil threw her off the case (in shyer language than that), and she had had enough of feeling like she had disappointed her team and her best friend by finding out that she was the daughter of someone they didn't approve of.
She sat down on the bench in front of her locker and glared at her private space in the very public office. She thought about reaching out and grabbing her things before storming out of the lab building. When she reached for the lock, it slipped through her fingers; in a fit of frustration, she cried out and kicked her foot into the door of her locker.
"You need help with that?"
She turned her head and saw Warrick standing in the doorway. Her shoulders slumped and she sagged forward, resting her elbows on her knees and her head on her hands.
"Hey..." he said quietly, approaching her. "You okay?"
"Hardly," she mumbled.
He sat down next to her and put his hand on her back. "Talk to me," he insisted in that same quiet and tender voice.
She shook her head and refused to look at him. Warrick didn't leave her alone, though; he sat next to her and waited. After a few minutes, she did turn her head, looking at him through her hair. He smiled a little and brushed her hair off of her face.
"How long am I going to be punished for being Sam's daughter?" she whispered.
"That's not what's bugging you," he whispered back, "or, not all of what's bugging you."
Catherine blushed. "How are you so perceptive?" she asked.
"I just am," he said with a casual shrug.
She smiled sadly. "It's... oh, we shouldn't be talking about this," she whispered.
"Don't look at me like that," she mumbled, before covering her face with her hands.
"What's going on?" he asked. "Did he say or do something?"
He glared at her. "Catherine..."
She sighed. "We've been... well... considering... maybe... reconciliation," she admitted, her cheeks flushing again. "But... our issues are far from over, and---"
"Hold on," Warrick interrupted. "I thought you were seeing some other guy."
"Chris?" Catherine said. "Yeah. I am. And he's probably seeing Sara. God... we're such a mess." She sighed. "We'll always love each other, though... and it's so hard to fight it when it hits, you know? But, it's not enough. It's just not enough."
Warrick rubbed her back, offering her some sort of comfort. "You two will figure it out," he assured her, "and if you're meant to be together, you're meant to be together. You know?"
"What if... what if we're not?"
He shrugged. "You two'll work it out. You've been friends since way before I stepped onto the team."
"He hates that I'm Sam Braun's daughter," she said quietly.
"Yeah," Warrick agreed, "but he knows there's too much on the line. He could lose you---and that's not worth it. You know?"
She sighed and shrugged. "I guess so... I don't... I just don't know what's going to happen next. And if we do... you know... Ecklie's been trying to catch us and it's all so... so complicated---"
"Shhh," Warrick interrupted as he hugged her. "Don't think about the other stuff." He paused and added, "You know how we all feel about Ecklie, right?"
She chuckled, sniffling a little into his shoulder. "Yeah," she murmured.
"C'mon," he insisted. "Let's go get a cup of coffee. I have a few minutes before I have to go back to work."
"You sure?" she asked.
He nodded. "Yeah. Very sure."
Catherine let Warrick put his arm around her shoulders and guide her into a standing position. Then, they walked together, out of the locker room, towards the break room where the coffee machine was usually always on.
Neither of them saw Grissom watching from one of the many glass-walled rooms of the building; neither of them saw his perplexed expression or the brunette watching him from across the layout table when she was supposed to be verifying some test results.
Once Warrick and Catherine had their coffee, had taken seats at the large table, she smiled at him. He was always such a comfort to her; she didn't know what she'd do without him in her life. He smiled back and she found herself wondering if he knew how important he was to her.
"Hi guys," Sara said as she bounded into the break room, getting herself a cup of coffee. "Warrick, Grissom told me to tell you that when you're finished you'll need to start processing the..."
Catherine tuned Sara out and focused on her warm beverage, nestled between her hands in a mug Lindsey had painted for her when she was in elementary school.
"Yeah," Warrick agreed. He reached over and squeezed Catherine's arm. "You okay?"
She nodded. "Yeah," she said with a strained smile. Warrick saw through that and lifted his eyebrows. She chuckled softly and put one of her hands on top of his. "I will be. Thank you," she murmured.
"You need anything, find me," he insisted quietly, before pushing himself up and leaving the room.
Sara turned to look at Catherine the instant they were alone. "What's going on?"
Catherine looked up at her. "Nothing much."
"Everything okay with your boyfriend?"
"Yeah," Catherine replied with a smile, for Sara's benefit more than her own. She hated fishing expeditions and she sensed that was exactly what Sara was attempting to instigate. "I just... don't like being pushed off of a case."
"Well, it's a conflict," Sara said with a casual shrug. "We'll get the job done."
"I hope so," Catherine said quietly.
"Grissom and I are working on a few leads," Sara added. "But, he wanted me to check on you and make sure you're okay."
"Good," Catherine said in a mild tone, ignoring the second statement the brunette had made. She doubted Gil had said anything of the sort to Sara; however, she did not mention her doubt to the other woman. She smiled and opened her mouth to say something, but her cellular phone rang. "Hold that thought," she said quietly before answering the call.
"Hey, beautiful," Chris said in her ear.
Catherine shifted in her seat and smiled. "Hi, Chris," she said in reply.
"Are you going to be working late tonight?"
"Actually," Catherine replied, shooting a look at Sara, who had turned her back in appearance of giving Catherine some privacy, "I have the night off. What are you up to?"
"You give me a couple of hours and I can have the night off, too," he told her. "How does dinner and dancing sound?"
"Really fun," she murmured. "I'll go home and change into that little dress you like."
He chuckled. "Wear whatever you want, Catherine," he said, "I won't complain."
She grinned despite her foul mood. "Oh, yeah?"
"You know I like what's underneath much, much more," he said in a low voice that made her shiver.
"I do know... exactly what you like so much," she told him, still grinning.
"Pick you up in a couple of hours, then? At your place?"
"Sounds great," she agreed before ending the call. When she set her phone down, Sara had turned around again. Catherine looked up at her. "Well, I have plans now. Guess I better head out." She pushed herself up and walked over to the sink where she cleaned her mug. She gave Sara a smile and then strode out of the office.
As they sprayed the seats of Sam Braun's limousine, Gil silently prayed that Sara would find something interesting---some sort of evidence to condemn Catherine's father---so she would stop talking about the promotion.
However, that prayer seemed to be in vain.
"You said you didn't have a problem with me," she said in a glum tone of voice.
"I don't," he said as they continued to process the interior of the vehicle, "I thought Nick was the best candidate for the position."
"Because he didn't care whether he got the job or not," Gil said after a moment of thought.
She stopped sprayed the seats. "That's a stupid reason."
Gil ignored her comment. He did not want to discuss his reasons for giving the promotion to Nick, even if there wasn't any room in the budget for the pay raise; he wanted to process the scene, find some evidence Braun could not refute, and somehow convince Catherine that he would be the man in her life from that point on.
"We've got blood," Gil commented, upon seeing the reaction to the chemicals he sprayed onto the back seats.
"You don't have anything else to say to me, do you?" Sara asked.
"Not unless it pertains to this case, no," he replied.
"Is this because of what's happening between us?" Sara asked. "Because you don't punish Catherine and Warrick---"
"Catherine and Warrick are professionals," Gil interrupted. "And no, it is not because of what---" he stopped short and shook his head as he continued to process the seat of the car. "Besides," he added, "she's seeing someone who doesn't work in the lab."
"Yeah, but she's pretty cozy with---"
"Sara, I do not appreciate water cooler gossip," Gil told her.
Sara sighed. "Fine, but you should have seen her... after Warrick left her, she went straight to that other guy. Aren't you ever worried she'll compromise the lab? Her father---"
"Sara, enough," Gil stopped her, his tone a little rougher than he had expected it to be.
"Fine," she muttered, before returning to work.
"Are you here to lecture me?" Catherine asked when she opened the door and saw Gil standing on her front step.
He shook his head. "No... I just... I know Lindsey's at school so---"
She stepped back when he stopped talking, welcoming him into her home without saying a word. Once the door was closed and they were sitting on the sofa, she zipped her hooded sweatshirt's zipper and slipped her hands into her pockets, while rubbing the toes of one foot against the carpet of her living room.
"What's up?" she asked quietly.
Gil swallowed hard and looked at her. "I want to apologise for the way... for the way I spoke to you," he said in a similarly quiet voice. "And... I missed you. Missed working with you."
Catherine nodded. "I missed working with you, too," she admitted, "but I know you were right. I don't think of him like my father, so I can't always see that line. But, you're right... he is my father. And I shouldn't have been working on that case."
He sighed. "I'm sorry," he whispered, reaching up to tuck her hair behind her ear.
She turned and looked at him. "I know," she whispered back.
He smiled a little. "What are you doing today?" he asked.
She shrugged. "Housework, probably," she replied as he guided her into his lap. She smiled more and straddled his lap before wrapping her arms around his neck. "Why? You have a better idea?"
"I... didn't get that far in my planning," he conceded, his cheeks flushing a bit. "I only wanted to see you."
"Well, you see me now," she whispered, before kissing his lips gently.
"I know," he breathed before seeking another kiss.
Catherine smiled against his mouth and rubbed her hips against his as the kiss intensified. Gil groaned and reached up to thread his fingers through her hair; they tangled for a moment in the coppery tresses before sliding down her back.
She pulled back enough to nip at the corner of his mouth. "Yeah?" she breathed.
"I didn't come here for this," he whispered.
"Yeah, but you're here now," she pointed out, "so you might as well stay."
Gil cupped her face in his hands and looked at her, preventing her from kissing her again. "Catherine," he murmured.
She smiled. "Yeah?" she asked before turning her head a bit and capturing his thumb in her mouth.
"Quit that," he scolded playfully.
"Make me," she shot back.
Gil smiled up at her. She stared down into his eyes and wished that all of their time together could be that simple---based on pleasure and being happy together, nothing more or less.
"I want us to be back together," he said quietly, "officially."
She knew her eyes had widened. She guessed her face had paled, too, judging by the way Gil's hopeful expression faded away.
"You... you like that new guy more?" he asked.
She swallowed hard and shook her head. "N-no," she whispered, as she closed her eyes and bowed her head forward. "How... how do you know we'll work out this time?" she asked.
"I don't," he murmured, "but I love you. I hate not holding you... and I want to work out our problems."
Catherine lifted her head and put her hands on his shoulders. "I want to work out our problems, too," she agreed. She leaned down and kissed him once before saying, "Maybe... maybe we should just try something more casual."
"What? Something like what we have now?" he asked. "Where neither of us talk about what's happening between us and we just keep tumbling together?"
She shrugged. "I don't know... maybe. Maybe if we talk about it, it won't feel so weird." She slid her hands down to his chest. "I love you, Gil, and that probably will never change. But... we have so many roadblocks. We can't get married because of work, because neither of us want to change sections in the lab or move to another department. We can't even date publicly because it could get out and ruin our reputations. Sam's always going to be my father and I can't change that," she explained quietly, listing off everything she had been thinking of since she left Gil in the lab, "and Sara is always going to be important to you, and you can't change that."
"This isn't about Sam or Sara," Gil pointed out. "This is about us---"
"But our lives are more than just you and me," she interrupted gently.
"So... what?" he asked. "You want to be together when it's convenient?"
She shook her head. "No, I want us to be here for each other when we need support or celebration. In good times and in bad. When you need help, you can turn to me, and vice versa."
He sighed. "This sounds..." he trailed off and closed his eyes, resting his forehead against hers. "I love you, Catherine. I want to be with you."
"Sometimes love isn't enough, Gil," Catherine whispered before kissing the bridge of his nose, below his glasses' nosepiece. "And right now, we don't have enough of the other stuff. But we have love... and I don't want to lose that... I don't want to lose you."
"I don't want to lose you, either," he admitted.
She smiled and kissed his lips before looking down at him. "I want you to be sure you're happy with me, Gil," she murmured, "and I want to be sure that we're together for the right reasons, you know?"
"Yeah," he said quietly.
"And a friendship like ours should not just be cast aside," she added.
"I'd be lost without you," he whispered.
"And me, you," she breathed.
"So... is this friends with benefits or something?" he asked.
Catherine smiled. She almost laughed, but she curbed the impulse. She looked at him and shrugged. "I don't think so," she replied. "I think it's just going to be 'us.' You know?"
He smiled a little bit. "I guess... that kind of makes sense."
She wasn't entirely sure if it made complete sense to her, either, but it was the best she could do. She wasn't ready to lose Gil completely but she wasn't ready to go back to the type of relationship they had before.