DISCLAIMER: Mine! Mine! They're all mine! Aaaaand then I woke up. CBS, Jerry Bruckheimer blah blah blah. You know the deal.
SPOILERS: It's set early on in season 5 I reckon, before the gang got separated, not that it matters all that much. I knicked a few lines from "Buffy", credit to Joss and all his people.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: To my C.S.I partner in crime Mike, and to Yolanda, what a holiday!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By Pure Intent
"Hang on, you want me to go where?"
"Catherine, this is a fantastic opportunity. I'm offering it to you on a platter and you're arguing the toss with me. Come on, this kind of thing will do wonders for your future career prospects!"
"Gil, aren't you forgetting something? On the one hand I've got my career prospects, but on the other there are my family priorities. I have an out of control teenager, a mortgage, housekeeping and serious chronic fatigue syndrome and you want me to fly 500 miles to listen to a bunch of guys atomically analyse plenty of things I can already do with my eyes shut for two weeks?!" Catherine took an exasperated breath.
"Hm well yes. I suppose I didn't consider all of your responsibilities. It didn't even occur to me that you wouldn't be interested."
"That's ok," replied Catherine rather curtly, "why break the habit off a lifetime?"
At Grissom's rather crestfallen look and the pale shade of scarlet settling around his cheeks, she softened. "Hey, I'm grateful that you gave me first refusal, I truly am. And about the stuff I could already do, I lied. I'm sure I would love to absorb the new theories and methods of another culture, but with my schedule, it just can't be done."
Raising one hand, Grissom said, "No, don't. Don't feel the need to explain. I completely understand. I should have been more sensitive to your needs."
Catherine smiled, placed her hand on his shoulder, gave it a slight squeeze then continued on her journey to the break room. Grissom watched her go for a second, and then followed her in. "But there is your sister there for Lindsey and this may be just what you need to secure the opening supervisor's position "
Exactly 4 weeks later Catherine was waiting by the check-in desk at Las Vegas International Airport, checking her watch every 5 seconds and getting more irate each time. They'd miss their check-in time if he didn't get his ass in gear.
She cast her mind back to the 3 days following that horrifying moment Grissom asked her to accompany him to a convention in the Caribbean. It wasn't that she wasn't going to enjoy herself learning new and improved ways of putting the scum of the streets behind bars. Her success at her job was something she enjoyed very much and if she could improve it, she gladly would. And hey! The Caribbean! It was just the upheaval. Sorting out Lindsey, the car, the house, her life (which guiltily she thought, she had laid all upon her sister. They had not been spending as much time together as they once had. Nancy came to her house and picked up Lindsey at about 7.30pm every night, then took her to school the next day. Catherine would then pick her up at 3.30pm when school let out. When she got back to Vegas she would make a point of spending more time with her sister and her daughter).
But for three days he whimpered, whinged, whined and begged. Eventually, the sound of his voice and footsteps following her made her left eye sporadically twitch; her neck would begin to spasm on one side. She looked like a failed lab experiment. Eventually, she conceded, rationalizing that once she was there she would probably have a good time, and even if she were abducted, tortured and murdered it would be more preferable to the way Grissom was making her life. And so 3 weeks and four days after she'd agreed to go, here she stood.
Waiting for Grissom.
"Damnit Gil. The artist-like quality of being single-mindedly spontaneous can be a enticing sometimes but you couldn't even be on time to your own funeral! And believe me that day is close at hand."
She whirled to face the voice addressing her.
"Well it's about time Gr Sara?"
"Hey," said Sara, backing up in a mock retreat of a prey form it's predator. "Grissom called me an hour ago and asked me to get here as soon as possible. I did my best."
Catherine's immediate response was concern. "Why? What's going on? What's the matter with Gil?"
"As far as I know nothing." Sara replied calmly. At Catherine's confused and increasingly impatient expression Sara decided it was in her best interests to elaborate. "Grissom called me, told me that he was meant to be flying out to a conference this afternoon. He said something had come up and it wasn't a convenient time for him to be gallivanting off. He then proceeded for 20 minutes convincing me that if I didn't take his place I would regret it for a very long time. Eventually I caved. He told me someone would meet me here, but not who. He hung up before he mentioned it. Guess he wanted to end the conversation before I had a chance to change my mind. To be honest, I expected Nick to be here."
"Final call for check-in for flight 315 to Punta Cana."
Catherine just stared at Sara for a few seconds, aghast, then raised her chin and said, "Sorry to disappoint you." She grabbed her bags and marched to the desk muttering something about, " not convenient, asshole ".
Sara watched her go. "Fuck yeah Grissom. I'll go to the Dominican Republic, for some sun, sand, sea and a regular dose of bitchy menopausal Catherine. 2 minutes and she's pissed. That must be a personal best Sidle." These 2 weeks were going to be hell.
The 5 and a half hour flight felt like an age. Sara's long legs, not being the most appropriately designed for regular class, had been forced into a most unnatural angle when she had sat down and had stayed that way until they touched down at their destination. At that point she also had a desperate need to use the facilities. Sara, having the window seat due to Catherine's slight phobia of flying and heights, didn't want to take the chance of asking her colleague if she would awfully mind getting up so she could retreat to the water closet. No. She would suffer in silence.
Sara had actually asked an hour and a half into the flight when they hit turbulence, when Catherine's hands had grabbed the support rests so hard she was convinced that bone had broke the skin, why in the hell Catherine had agreed to this?
Catherine replied through gritted teeth. "It's a great opportunity and what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
By the time they reached Punta Cana airport, Sara could wait no longer. She burst past Catherine mumbling, "I'll be back in a minute to help with the bags." After relieving the constant ache in her bladder, Sara found Catherine waiting amongst a crowd of people making like it was the WWF rather than grabbing their bags from a conveyer belt. She remained untouched however. It was as if there was a force field around her presence. Sara swore she could almost see Catherine's confidence take on a form of it's own, surrounding her body daring anyone to fuck with her. Nobody did. She was the epitome of the calm in the storm.
"Yeah, well forget you Cath. Just because your confident does not mean you shouldn't be challenged." Sara fought her way towards Catherine and the bags.
The rickety coach ride to the hotel took about 45 minutes. The two women chatted briefly about work but mostly sat beside each other in uncomfortable silence. About 25 long minutes into the journey however Catherine drifted off to sleep with her head resting lightly on Sara's shoulder. She didn't quite know what to do. She decided on not moving Catherine in case she woke her up and the partite continued, and for some unfathomable reason Sara was more comfortable than she had been for the entire journey.
Sara woke to a deathly cold. She could hardly feel her extremities, and those that she could feel she wished she couldn't. Normally she would have woken up and lay in bed for half an hour, snuggling under the covers, but this morning she was convinced that if she didn't start moving soon then she would have to have several limbs removed. How in the hell does it get so cold in here at night? It is the Caribbean for God's sake. This is three consecutive mornings I've succeeded in my imitation of a Popsicle. She opened the French windows in her room, her retinas immediately assaulted by the intense light of the morning. She actually had to turn her head away while she opened the doors to let the warmth in.
"Alright, I'm up." Sara sighed. She knew she couldn't really complain. This place was beautiful. Las Vegas was harsh, and abrasive, forcing its glitz and glamour upon you. Here, it was different. Everything was so laid back; you were left to your own devices and had a chance too fully appreciate your surroundings. She grabbed a few items then moved to the bathroom.
~Yesterday, she had gone for a stroll down the beach with a beer and admired the transition of late afternoon into early evening. White to orange, blue to red. The change was so majestic and subtle, she didn't even realise she had been sat there for 2 hours. It was on her way back she'd spotted her. Well, in truth she'd spotted the hat. Man, look at the size of that thing. Does she honestly think she looks good in that? Sheesh, fashion, I'll never understand it. Sara could normally get away with some dark pants and an equally dark top. She liked the comforting way she blended in with most things. She didn't get noticed all that often. Which was the way she liked it.
But this woman, well, you couldn't help but notice her. It was the hat that grabbed your attention but that golden skin, splashed with a red sheen of the setting sun, the slender calves and thighs leading up to an ass like she'd never seen before wrapped in a pale blue sarong. A slim waist and ample breasts. These where the things that fascinated a person. Why Sara couldn't pull her eyes away. She'd realised her jaw had hit the floor about 20 seconds ago, but there wasn't a damn thing she could do about it.
"Oh hey Catherine."
Nothing. Huh. That's strange. Did Catherine just greet her then bugger off? Wouldn't surprise me. Sara was just about to check if this was the case when she realised. O-oh. Her eyes travel up from the perfectly sculptured rear, to the ocean blue eyes staring back at her, slightly bemused. Shit.
"Catherine!" Sara managed to squeak out. The swig of BUD she'd just taken to cool her down had come back to bite her in the ass causing her current coughing fit.
Catherine moved to Sara's back patting her between her shoulder blades. When Sara had finally composed herself, Catherine moved to face her, put her hand on one cheek to establish eye contact and said, "There's my girl. You scared me for a minute there. You okay?"
Huh, what? Yeah. Wait. My girl. Who do you think you are to refer to me as a girl? Your girl none the less. Unless you meant na come on Sara. Must be the lack of oxygen. Errr, I haven't actually said anything yet.
"M..yeah. Sure. Wrong tube."
Oh god, did she see me looking? Sara could feel her breathing speeding up again. If I'd known it was Catherine I wouldn't have
"So, you surprised to see me or something?"
"Uh yeah actually. I saw you talking to that C.S.I. 3 guy from Seattle, earlier, overheard him ask you to go to dinner or something to talk about P.C.R or in that area anyway. Figured you'd be with him." Nice save.
"Oh, Jed. Yeah, we where meant to chat but I cancelled."
"Nothings wrong I hope," Sara replied. Hmmm, so this is what concern for the older woman felt like.
"Nope, nothing at all. How could there be with this beauty all around me?" said Catherine a bit too brightly. "Come on, you headed back to the hotel?"
"Yeah," said Sara. She fell into step with Catherine as they sauntered up the beach.~
Sara blinked, suddenly realising that all she had done for the past 5 minutes was stare at her reflection in the mirror.
Sara moved to the door, opened it cautiously, not knowing what to expect. This was the first time someone had come knocking at her door since she'd arrived. As soon as she was able, Catherine walked past Sara into her room.
"Morning Sara. God it's wicked cold in here. Errr do you have one of those portable irons? My suit for the presentation today got crushed in my case."
"Yeah I do," said Sara, shaking her head slightly. The whirlwind that was Catherine Willows first thing in the morning. "Somewhere. Hang on, I'll find it."
Catherine waited patiently, fingering the books Sara had left on the coffee table. 2 issues of "Scientific America", a copy of "Mortician's Desk Reference" and, hang on a minute, what's this? "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos bleeds? Immortal? The gatekeeper trilogy?" I'd never have guessed. Buffy?
"Here you go," Sara said as she approached Catherine with the compact, portable iron she'd retrieved from her suitcase.
"A little light reading for the trip?" questioned Catherine, raising one eyebrow and taking the iron.
"Yeah. Just in case." Sara smiled slightly, embarrassed.
"Hmm. Well thanks," said Catherine, making for the door. Just before she left, she turned back and said, "And damn girl, turn off the air conditioning will you! The control is behind the T.V." With that, she was gone.
That's okay. Suddenly I'm not so cold anymore. Damn. Stop that. A shower. Yes. That's what is called for here.
Sara stilled suddenly. Catherine, knowing that Sara had been trying to rationalise why her room had been getting freezing cold every day since they got here, when there was no evidence of a cooling system, had waited for this long to divulge this crucial piece of information.
"Oh, she is so dead," Sara said to herself. Then as she was climbing into the shower, "And you call yourself a crime scene investigator Sidle?"
After freshening up, Sara grabbed some breakfast at "The Buffet Lounge". It was a general self-service type restaurant, the largest the complex had to offer, but with the majority of the structures of the hotel being open areas with thatched roofs, one had to get to the food before the native, and unusually fat birds.
Sara shifted slightly in her seat. Suits always made her uncomfortable, and with the extreme heat she almost felt she was boiling in her own skin. She was here to meet Catherine and go over their presentation one last time. Sara hadn't had that much involvement with it actually. Catherine and Grissom had pretty much wrapped it all up before she'd been involved. She was still filled with a kind of childish anxiety. It was like the feelings she used to get before a school play or a high profile court case. She was good at her job, and not to be egotistical, she was very intelligent. Yet still, she hated this, presentations, conferences, public speaking of any kind. That wasn't what she signed up for when she had become a C.S.I, but unfortunately, sometimes, it just came with territory. And so she had planned to go through the motions just as she had done in school. Stay calm, remember your lines, speak clearly and concisely, maintain eye contact with the audience and rely on the more charismatic participants (Catherine in this case) to be the driving force. Sara fidgeted again and took a gulp of coffee.
"Ugh. How can you drink that in this heat?" announcing her arrival, Catherine took the seat opposite Sara and placed her tray containing juice and a few pieces of fruit in front of her.
Sara just shrugged, and gestured towards Catherine with her cup, "You look good, nice suit."
"Thanks," replied Catherine, removing her creamy, off-white jacket to reveal a thin beige silk shirt with white pinstripes. She ran her hands down the length of her skirt "You should have seen it before though. I've seen smoother crushed velvet. This is the result of a tedious 45 minute struggle with your iron, which by the way, remind me to give it back to you later."
Sara smiled, "Okay, I will. And I can tell you it was worth it. You really do look great."
Catherine stared at Sara slightly confused by her behaviour and said slowly, cautiously, "Compliments always greatly appreciated." What's she after?
Sara reddened a tad, then stared down into the black abyss of her coffee. "So, you got the notes?" queried Sara, attempting to change the topic and focus Catherine's attention on something other than her. Evidently she succeeded as Catherine produced her laptop from the case by her feet.
"Er yeah. So I thought if we change the introduction slightly "
Applause filled the room as Catherine inclined her head and smiled at the audience. Sara closed the "power point" programme and disconnected the laptop. Chairs scraped carpet as people shuffled out of the room. Sara was just zipping up Catherine's laptop case when she noticed a figure approaching the stage. Seeing whom it was she attempted to appear busy rearranging the contents of the case compartments, already knowing if she secured things anymore they may consider giving her a job at Fort Knox.
"Hello Catherine. Glad I caught you. I was just wondering, seeing as our date last night was cancelled maybe we could get together tonight. You know, dinner, a night cap maybe. What do you say?"
"Oh, Jed, hi," replied Catherine, startled. "Yeah, I'm sorry about last night, I just wasn't feeling so hot."
"Cath, I gotta tell you, I couldn't imagine that being a problem for you."
Oh please, what a scumbag. Rolling her eyes Sara was still busying herself. His greased back hair, constantly hooded, seedy eyes and sleazy smile fitted Jed Carson's personality perfectly.
"Well what about tonight then? You can make it up to me somehow," persisted Jed, raising one eyebrow.
Careful mate, hold your face that way for too long and it'll stick. And looking at you that wouldn't be a good thing.
"Ah, I don't think that would be a good idea "
Jed didn't give Catherine an opportunity to come up with an excuse, "Oh come on, you'll have fun. I'll make sure of that. I mean, it's not like you've got anything planned that could be more enjoyable than letting me wine and dine you."
God, I think I just vomited in my mouth. Uhg. And she could have something more preferable planned. I mean I would rather cut out my still-beating heart with a spoon, or bite off each and every one of my digits, or take a dump.
"Actually, I do have to " Catherine started but never finished.
" agree that your absolutely right Jed and it would be my pleasure to accompany you tonight." Jed's smile grew even wider.
Okay, this is getting dangerous. Noticing the square set of Catherine's shoulders matching that of her jaw, Sara stood. Though she'd like to see her colleague give this guy what for, she knew it wouldn't be worth it. She walked up to Catherine, put her hand on the small of her back and lead her slightly to the side but said loud enough for present company to hear, "I take it we're still on for tonight, I've been looking forward to it all day," Sara asked, her voice laced with shy flirtation, her hand remained on Catherine's back.
Catherine stared at Sara as if she had grown another head, but said nothing. "Excellent," Sara responded, "I'll come to your room at 7." Sara smiled, moved her hand resting it lightly on Catherine forearm. She turned to look at Jed with a smug, satisfied smile, only to grace him with a simple, "Bye". She then slid her fingers down to Catherine's, lingering there for second before turning and leaving.
Catherine didn't even acknowledge Jed after that. She grabbed her case and followed Sara out.
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