DISCLAIMER: The characters along with all rights, fame and fortune belong to Bruckheimer and CBS. I don't own them and gain nothing except the pleasure of their company in my imagination.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Measure of Worth

I hate being late.

"Catherine, you missed assignment. Hot date?" Nick waggles his eyebrows suggestively.

The only thing worse than being late is to be caught and teased by one of the guys.

"Don't you have work to do?" I snap back with my grumpiest voice.

"Not really. Just have to finish up my paperwork and I can look forward to some good ol' R&R tomorrow. " He couldn't keep the smirk out of his voice.

He just had to rub it in. And there's still Grissom to face after this. Might as well get it over with.

"Seen Grissom around?"

"He left a while ago with Warrick – 419 in Summerlin."

"Great… what am I supposed to do then?" I complain aloud.

"This might help…" Nick waves a folded piece of paper in front of me. "… Gris left this for you before he left."

I grab the slip out of his hand, shooting him another glare. Boys… I glance at the details – great, just what I need-suspicious circs at the Bellagio. Processing hotel rooms is the least favourite part of my job. The number of fingerprints and stains left behind make finding evidence a nightmare at best. The last time I had to work a motel room on a rape case, Sara and I found over 500 prints. Fortunately, the suspect had been stupid enough to leave the used condom behind. Small mercies.

Sara. The reason I am late tonight. Life in the Sidle-Willows household has been unpleasant, to say the least, for the past three days. Thank god Lindsey is away at camp. Three days of tension building, tempers heating cumulated in a yelling contest after shift this morning. The result was me sleeping on the couch. It was either that or me breaking down our bedroom door and fight some more. Cooling off seemed to make more sense. One thing that I have learnt over the past year is that we argue and fight as passionately as we make love. When I woke up this evening, Sara had already left. She must still be mad at me if she left without waking me up.

Suddenly, all I want to do is to find her and apologize. It doesn't matter who was right or wrong anymore. Her usual hideouts yield no results. She must be out on a case. I sigh inwardly, not enjoying the knot in my stomach. An apology will have to wait till later. Focus, Catherine… you have work to do.

The elevator dings as it slows to a halt on the 30th floor. Penthouse Suite. I lift my kit off the carpet and head down the corridor. I am mentally going over the case details. 45 year old white male found unconscious and in the raw on the hotel bed by housekeeping. The hotel manager said he checked in with a young woman this morning. Probably a case of someone getting over-exerted at the wrong time.

I do not have to check the room number – there's the ubiquitous crime scene tape across the doorway. I lift the tape and duck into the room. It's dimly lit and empty. The officers are probably off getting coffee. I make a mental note to bring up "why leaving a crime scene unsupervised is not the best idea" with Brass later.

My eyes take in the opulence of the suite. There's an overstuffed sofa set in front of the ceiling-to-floor glass panels which gives a wonderful view of the Strip. A bottle of Dom Perignon leans in a bucket of ice on the dining table. The carpet leading to the bedroom is strewn with red rose petals. Soft Latin guitars fill the air through unseen speakers.

This must have been some girl

I enter the bedroom and set my kit down. The huge four poster bed is arranged with throw pillows and the satin sheets are also covered with the same flower petals. The woman in me thinks it's romantic but the investigator in me tells me to get to work. I am about to snap on my gloves when I think I hear a sound. I pause a moment but there's nothing but the music. Shaking my head I continue with my task. There's that sound again. Definitely not my imagination and it seems to be coming from the bathroom.

I remove my gun from its holster and pad quietly towards the door which is ajar. I contemplate calling Brass but what if it's nothing? I push the door open wider. There are another two doors, to my right and left.

How big is this place anyway?

The door to my left yields nothing. It is dark and the shower stall is empty. I try the door on the right. There's that splashing sound again. I prepare to release the safety catch from my gun, just in case. My heart is going a mile a minute. The light is off but there is a faint glow from the tub. I almost drop my gun at the sight that greets me. Scented candles. A gorgeous goddess with a seductive smile. Slender neck. Plump breasts. Toned torso disappearing below the water line.

"What kept you?"

It's amazing how so little said can arouse me so much. Words fail and I don't even bother with logic. I set my gun down on the dresser and start stepping out of my clothes. Our eyes hold each another for the minute it takes me to strip down to skin. I am unabashedly proud when her eyes rake up and down my bare form and she unconsciously licks her lips in desire.

Just then, a melodic beep sounds from the discarded pile of clothing. I curse inwardly and am tempted to ignore it but I am still on the clock. Her grin grows wider as I fumble impatiently to locate the offending device. Text message. From Grissom. I am going to kill him.


I am starting to forgive him. From the look on Sara's face, I can tell that she's part of the plan. I place the phone next to my gun and walk seductively towards her.

The water is hot. Hell, maybe it's icy cold and I am burning up from lust. Either way I am overheating. I slip between her legs and she wraps her long limbs around me. I can feel her centre pressing into the small of my back and the sensation sends shivers down my spine. Her fingers are tracing random patterns all over my wet body, finally centring on the point I want them to. We dance our familiar waltz of desire and love, the water surrounding both our cores heightening the pleasure as we dangle over the edge. One last thrust, one final taste and we fall into each other.

I have my head tucked in the crook of her neck, as we curl up on the bed. No words are necessary. All wrongs are already forgotten and forgiven. We have our own language of unspoken apologies. Our touches now speak of love, tenderness and reassurance. Being with each another may mean getting bitched at, yelling and fighting when our wills collide but if it also means we have moments like these, it's all worthwhile. Being with her is worth this and much, much more.

"Happy Anniversary, baby…love you." Sara's voice is sleepy and contented.

Yes, definitely worth a million times more.

"I love you too hon… happy anniversary"

The End

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