DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Kerri for the beta.

By Theia L.


"What is your problem," I said harshly to her back.

Even from this distance I could smell her unique scent. It was making me heady. The locker room was empty and I had the strawberry blonde cornered. I had enough of her barrage of "I could smite you right now" looks and snide remarks. It had intensified the last week.

"I wasn't aware I had a problem."

She never turned to acknowledge my presence. Her tone had that familiar tartness which led to the state we were in now.

"It appears like you have a problem with me. You've been acting like a dragon on a seek-and-destroy mission. I want to know why. We have to work together and this…this…"

I was frustrated with her refusal to turn around and me talking to her back. She continued to put things in her locker like I wasn't there. On impulse and sheer annoyance, I grabbed her elbow and spun her around to me. The look in her blue eyes went from shock to fury in a flash. My hand still held pressure at her elbow. I submerged the urge to push her against the locker and kiss those full lips and smooth her clenched jaw.

"You won't be doing anything if you don't take your hand off me," she demanded.

I released my hold but closed the distance between us. I could smell the sweetness of her breath. Butterflies were partying in my stomach. Her eyes grew larger and I watched them lower to my breasts before returning my gaze. Pure white heat flared from them torching me where I stood.

"Willows, I'm not intimidated by you," I smiled. I moved a little closer into her space, making my presence known. "You have all these people running around to your tune but it's not working with me."

I stood there a little longer staring her down. I had to admit I enjoyed the fact she held her own. It was one of the qualities I loved about her. She was a fighter who didn't run from confrontation but went toe to toe.

"Are you through," she growled.

"The thing you don't know about me, Willows," I stared deep into her icy blue eyes. "I'm the best dragon slayer in town."

Her lips parted to speak but I heard all I wanted and said plenty more. With satisfaction, I turned and walked out of the locker room.

I slumped against the locker after she left. That strut of hers did me in. I didn't know how much longer I could handle her close proximity without pulling her lips on mine. Damn you, Curtis. I expelled a breath I didn't realize I was holding. She called me a dragon. Humph. I knew this showdown was going to happen soon. If I knew anything about Sofia Curtis it was she didn't run from conflict.

Lately, my behavior towards her had become more impish since witnessing her share a kiss with a woman whom I assumed to be her girlfriend, in the parking lot one night. The woman was a beautiful shade of mocha with her hair framed her face in one of the popular natural styles. I watched as Sofia took a small duffle bag from the woman and dropping it to the ground before she cradled her face and gently kissed her lips. I noticed the woman's legs slightly buckled; giving me confirmation Sofia was a great kisser.

The kiss lasted for a tender moment before the woman got into her car and drove away. Sofia watched her drive out of sight before she snatched up the bag. I watched as she strapped the bag to her Harley, hopped on and drove away. Since then a little green-eyed monster had been controlling my attitude towards her. I was jealous of the tenderness she had given to someone other than me.

Greg busted into the locker room, pulling me out of my reverie.

"You alright, Catherine," he asked.

"Fine," I said. I locked my locker and left the room.

"That woman is incredible," I fumed.

I pulled into my garage and got out of the car. I don't know why I allowed Catherine to get to me. She was under my skin. I didn't know why I was getting the attitude from her but enough was enough.

The tension between us started the minute I came back from Boulder City. No the tension has always been there. It had just gotten worst. It was something about that woman that got my blood going. It was beyond her beauty. When she smiled, which was rare, the room spun. I was crazy about her and she was making me crazy.

"Avoidance," I said to myself as I flopped on the sofa. "I'll just stay away from her."

I knew already I was drowning. I was the moth and Catherine was the flame.

A week had passed since our blowup. I've managed to stay out of Catherine's line of fire. I had to admit I missed seeing her. I missed hearing her voice. I was still upset over her unexplained behavior but I welcomed the distance. I needed to get myself together.

I pulled behind the black and white and jumped out the car. It was a standard robbery with the owner shot. I walked over to the uniform to gather the information before entering the crime scene. I had to focus on my work and push Catherine into the recesses of my mind.

The Denali came to a stop when I saw her blonde hair sway as she moved into the store's entrance. This is perfect. She would be the lead. I put my shades on. I was about to get out the car and tell Nick I'll take the outside.

"Catherine, I'll take the perimeter," he said, leaping out the car and slamming the door.

"Just great," I sighed moving to the trunk to get my kit. I watched Nick get started as I trudged into the store.

There she was working the scene. Her hair was freely hanging, sweeping left and right as she moved. My eyes traveled the length of her body. She was wearing her standard uniform. Blue curve filling slacks and blue starched button down shirt complete with a silver belt, which I knew was completely an accessory. Two buttons opened on her shirt revealed a little piece of flesh I craved to kiss. Get it together, Catherine, I chided myself.

"What do you have?"

The voice was so familiar and so cool. My back was to her this time.

"Robbery. Owner shot. Standard," I said. I moved further into the store checking behind the counter for video tapes.

She said nothing so I didn't expect she would be close behind me as I bumped into her at the register. Instinctively I reached and grabbed her waist as she tumbled back.

"You really need to stop grabbing on me," she mumbled, regaining her footing.

"Sorry," I managed. She stepped aside for me to pass. In the tight space our legs brushed slightly sending sparks through my body.

We worked on opposite sides of the room for more than an hour before Nick came in.

"Cath, Grissom needs me at another scene. It's a multiple. The perimeter is done and secured."

I watched her wordlessly toss Nick the keys.

"Alright, I'm just about finish here and have a uniform take me back to the lab." She said while snapping more pictures.

"I'll take you back," I offered but Nick was already gone. We were in the store alone. The two uniforms were outside securing the scene.

"The uniform can…"

"Take the olive branch, Willows," I demanded.

I moved closer to where she was standing. She was a beautiful woman. She watched my approach. Her hair was in light curls flowing over her bared shoulders. That's when I noticed she was wearing one of my favorite outfits. White tank pulled snug into black tight-as-hell jeans. I couldn't help but let my eyes roam over her body in approval.

"Like what you see, Slayer?" she grunted. She wasn't going to make it easy.

"Always," I whispered, answering her question. I heard a small gasp from her lips.

I continued walking towards her. I never concerned myself with boundaries so I smiled when her hand stopped me short of two feet from her.

"That's far enough, Curtis," she stammered.

I noticed the catch in her breath and her eyes went warm. It was then I knew I had the mighty Catherine on the ropes. I was sure we were alone as I ventured further walking into her hand. Her eyes darkened as her hand came in contact with my right breast. The touch burned both of us causing her to drop her hand and I stopped walking.

"I'm tired of this little tango going on here. If I need to make the first move, then I will."

I leaned in and kissed her lips. They trembled beneath mine before leaning completely into them. My tongue gently touched her lips, requesting entrance. Slowly, she opened to me. It was a delight I've never felt before. Her mouth was sweet and cool. I couldn't resist pulling her into my arms and feeling her body solid against mine. As our kiss deepened, my arms tighten around her relishing in the feel of her against me. My head was spinning and I could've stood there all day kissing her. She broke away first but I was still holding her.

"Stop," she breathed.

My hands dropped to my sides. Had I been wrong? Was she not interested? Her body and responses told me no. I looked at her. Her body was now rigid and her eyes didn't meet my gaze. I didn't know what else I could do to get this woman to accept what was in front of her. I stepped back giving her space.

"I'll be in the car," I said licking my lips. I tasted her sweetness as I pulled on my shades and headed to the door.

I was sitting on the sofa with a beer when I heard the doorbell. I glanced at the clock. It was midnight and I wasn't expecting any company. I pulled myself from the sofa and headed to the door.

"Who is it," I called.


I stopped dead in my tracks. I touched my fingers to my lips reminiscing about the kissed we shared four days ago. I definitely had the plague as Catherine totally avoided me after our kiss. We had driven back to the lab in silence. Before I could say anything she was out of the car and headed towards the building. Now she was at my door. I reach for the knob and turned.

"Hi." I couldn't help but smile. I think it ticked her off more as she pushed passed me, entering the foyer. "Please come in," I mumbled.

"I think it's in bad taste to kiss someone when you are in a relationship," she attacked.

"Okay, skip the pleasantries. What are you talking about?"

"Do you make it a habit to kiss other women while you're in a relationship?"

"I have no idea what you are talking about but no. I'm a one woman type of girl."

"You're anything but a girl, Slayer," she scoffed.

She rolled eyes. I was beginning to really enjoy it when she called me Slayer. There was a challenge in her voice when she said it. I was up for the challenge. I shook my head and walked back to the living room. I heard her footsteps follow me. I took a swig from my beer.

"What do you want, Willows?"

"I want an answer. You kissed me but you're clearly in a relationship."

"I'm not in a relationship. I thought that's what I just said."

"I saw you," she started. She dropped her head and backed away little; looking confused.

"You saw me what?"

She said nothing. I noticed her cheeks become flush and she didn't meet my gaze.

"You saw me what?" I moved closer.

"In the parking lot. The leggy Gabrielle Union look-alike. The kiss." Her voice was barely a whisper.

"Oh…oh, Tess. You saw me and Tess?" Realization struck me like a Mack truck. It all made sense now. I watched as she nodded, looking everywhere but at me. She shoved her hands in her already tight jeans.

"Tessa," I began. "She was saying goodbye to me. She ended it and was bringing the rest of my things. I'm not in a relationship."

"She didn't look like she was saying goodbye," she looked at me with those eyes.

"She said there wasn't enough room for her," I said as I moved towards Catherine. "And another woman I was pining over."

"Pining over?" her eyes met mine and she unknowingly stepped closer to me.

"Mmm-mhmm," I smiled. "So this is what the whole attitude was about? It was wasted energy, Catherine. Let me be clear so you don't have to wonder. You are the woman I've been pining over since I first laid eyes on you."

Her shoulders drooped in defeat. Why was she making it so hard? I reached out and pulled her to my body.

"Come on, you know I slay you," I laughed.

Her eyes brightened as my lips descended on hers. I felt her arms snake around my back and pull me further into the embrace. It took little coaxing for her to open to me as I devoured her mouth in a gentle but demanding kiss. I felt her legs buckle slightly. My hands cupped her jean clad bottom, squeezing and lifting her up. There was a little squeal of surprise from her lips. Her legs wrapped around my waist as I headed toward the stairs. Her kiss was more than I imagined. It was blowing my mind as she pulled away.

"How many dragons have you slain?" she teased looking down at me.

"Only the one that held my true princess captive," I smiled. I giggled as she began sucking and nibbling my neck. I climbed the steps with my princess in my arms.

The End

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