DISCLAIMER: Jerry Bruckheimer, CBS and various others own CSI, not me. I just played in their sandpit for a while.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Too Old for Barbie, Too Young for Boys
By Celievamp


Sofia wasn't sure if it was appropriate or not. Whether Catherine Willows was concerned she was no longer at all clear on the right thing to do. Last year Lindsey's birthday had been lost somewhere in Ecklie's departmental shake-up. Catherine had distanced herself from pretty much everyone. And Sofia had been left in no doubt just how up she was on Catherine Willow's personal shit-list. But the others had made the effort anyway, Catherine's guys had bought Lindsey something, and Grissom had no doubt contributed having known Lindsey since she was a toddler. Greg was all too aware that the teen sported a bit of a crush for him and Sara liked the girl as well, whatever her relationship currently was with Catherine. Only Sofia had held back. Actually, she couldn't remember ever being asked if she wanted to contribute. She was the new girl back then, the interloper. It was all her fault. She was Yoko Ono and it was the break up of the band all over again. As a result she had no right to play the family card. Precious little experience of it either. Sofia had been an only child, a cop's kid. It was all a bit of a mystery to her, this family stuff. What the hell was she supposed to buy the girl anyway – thirteen was too old for Barbie too young for boys. Personal experience gave her nothing to go on. By thirteen she had known pretty much conclusively that neither Barbie dolls nor boys would ever figure high in her interests.

That was still true. And it was still causing problems. Sophia had known for a couple of months that she was attracted to Catherine Willows. Her daughter's birthday seemed in one way the perfect opportunity to do something to bring them closer. But in another way it offended her sensibilities, using the kid's birthday as an opportunity to hit on the mom. Not her style. But she needed to do something.

Just what did you buy a thirteen year old whose mother you were trying to impress?

She tried to ask Grissom's help on what Lindsey might like but he always bought her books or other science stuff such as an ant farm, her own microscope and one year a small telescope. Very worthy, but not exactly the impression she was trying to create. Nick, Warrick and Greg got her fun stuff, a skateboard, a new bike helmet, rollerblades. Sara bought her cute stuffies. Safe, certainly, memorable – not so much. An afternoon spent scouring the mall and some time on Ebay left her with a headache and not a lot else. Sofia's self-esteem had rarely been lower. Here she was; a CSI and a detective and she couldn't work out what to get a thirteen year old girl for her birthday.

Why the hell was she worried about it anyway? Maybe she should just get Lindsey a box of candy and have done with it. The girl barely knew she existed anyway. As for her own needs - why couldn't she just go up to Catherine and kiss her… or at the very least invite her out on a date. What was the worst that could happen?

Catherine could say no. The thought of those cool green/blue eyes, of receiving that look of freezing disdain more than once in a lifetime was enough to quail her permanently.

"Sofia Curtis, you are chicken," she said softly to herself.

"A much rarer bird than that, I would have said," Catherine's voice drifted over from the other side of the lockers.

"What?" Sofia glanced around wildly, meeting Catherine's amused gaze as she peeked around the locker bay.

"Didn't mean to startle you," Catherine said. "You were lost in your own world when I came in. Anyway, I'm glad I caught you. There's a party at my house at the weekend, my kid turns thirteen – you probably know that already. She's having friends over and I wouldn't mind a couple of adults in attendance to help keep the peace. So… if you're not doing anything Saturday night… around eight."

"Nothing planned…" Sofia said hurriedly. "Yeah… erm… yeah, that sounds great." She was floundering, she knew. By the widening smile on her face, so did Catherine.

"Then it's a date," Catherine said lightly. "See you around, Sofia."

"See you," Sofia sat on the bench, her feelings poised somewhere between the sensation that all her christmasses had come at once and the world was about to end.

The End

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