DISCLAIMER: Jerry Bruckheimer I am not. I'm playing in his sandbox without
cleaning out the cat piddle from the day before. If his lawyers are on
their way I ask they apply sunscreen and make sure that the sand doesn't go
places that sand simply shouldn't be resting.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By Corbeau's Alcove
Sara had showered and changed by the time Catherine started her shift. She smiled when she saw Catherine approach, realising she too had changed. Instead of the black pants and red top she had been wearing she had switched to a navy blue pair of pants with a white tank top covered by a thick white cotton shirt. She looked amazing Sara had to admit but then when didn't she?
Catherine winked at Sara as she sat down looking over to Grissom before Sara could return the gesture.
"So, we didn't solve the murder of Lauren Maines last night? Catherine, we had two suspects if this report is anything to go by, and a fair bit of DNA evidence connecting the woman Bobbie Messina. Issues?" Grissom asked.
Catherine sighed. She had wanted to show herself and Grissom she was capable of leading the team. Sure, it would take time to convict the correct person but this only gave Gil the satisfaction of knowing this was his show. Of course he'd never admit to such arrogance but she knew it was in him.
"I have to say Gil, I like Bobbie for it. Brass is bringing her back in and we'll try again. This Martin Mercer is violent and has been known to like a little bit of kinky sex but I just don't feel it was him," Catherine replied.
"We listen to the evidence Catherine," Grissom replied.
"Grissom, I agree with Catherine. Bobbie looks to be the one." Sara said smiling as Catherine silently thanked her.
"What did we get off the rope?" Grissom asked.
"Gris, I brushed off a bit of skin from on the ends where it looks to have been pulled to strangle Lauren. Greg has them and said that if Sara would go out on a date with him he'd do them first this morning," Nick said smiling at Sara.
"Tell Greg if he doesn't do then it's his job," Grissom replied. He tolerated Greg's comments because neither woman complained officially and though he wouldn't admit it to him, Greg was good at his job but he had the tendency to grate him the wrong way.
Catherine couldn't help but tease Sara knowing that it was now an okay thing to do.
"I don't know Gil, maybe if Sara promised to marry him we'd always get our cases solved in record time. He'd push everything else aside to help his beloved."
Nick and Warrick tried to contain their laughter behind their hands but were unsuccessful. Sara simply glared at them until they turned away. She knew that she'd have to get Catherine back for that one.
"Have we finished because we have some cases to solve. Warrick, I want you on a B&E. Nick can join you shortly after he finished typing up his report. Nick, try keeping the grammatical errors to a minimum." Grissom said as he handed Warrick the address.
"Sure thing Gris. Catch you later Nick," Warrick said as he rose from his chair and poured his coffee down the sink.
"Catherine, Brass told me about your incident in the interrogation room yesterday. Can you handle it today with Bobbie?" Grissom asked as he flicked though the detailed history. He had to be sure Catherine was going to be okay with that fact that this woman had essentially assaulted her.
Catherine made sure she looked over to Sara while replying, "I'll be fine Gil. She was trying to be the top rooster of the pen. I can take her."
Sara wanted to protest but knew that Catherine wouldn't approve of having her decision questioned in front of Grissom. Catherine was an independent woman but still relied on the opinion of her boss.
"Okay Catherine, but any trouble and you're out of there. Sara, go see if Greg has indeed decided to do our case first."
With that Grissom was gone leaving the two ladies alone.
"You don't want me to go in there," Catherine said.
"I trust you, I just don't trust her. I want you to be safe." Sara replied moving over to sit next to Catherine and placing a hand on her thigh.
"I promise it will be fine. I'll wear a muzzle to prevent her kissing me," Catherine said smiling.
"Be serious Cat," Sara pleaded.
"Serious? Okay. I couldn't imagine kissing anyone else. You are the one for me. If I never kiss anyone else ever again I'd be safe knowing that I had you kissing me, making love to me."
Sara squeezed Catherine's leg smiling.
"I want to kiss you right now," she admitted.
"I'll hold you to that after work," Catherine said placing her hand on Sara's under the table. "But now we have to work."
"Damn you for being responsible," Sara laughed.
"If I wasn't then Greg would be yelling mud wrestling through the window because I want to throw you on the table and ravish you." Catherine admitted, jumping slightly as Sara's hand came to rest on her crotch.
"Not mud, it gets in places that I'd much rather have my hands and my mouth," Sara whispered as she cupped her hand and smiled when Catherine pushed her chair in further.
"Sara we're at work. In plain view." Catherine warned.
"Okay. I'm off to see Greg." With that Sara rose from her seat but not before running her hand down Catherine's thigh and feeling the flesh under her quiver.
"Sara Sidle you are a tease," Catherine said to Sara's retreating figure.
Catherine took a few deep breaths before leaving the room. Truth be told, if she had tired to get up right after Sara's little performance she was sure she'd have fallen down. She needed to clear her lust filled mind and focus on the murder investigation. It had sounded so easy before the shift and then they had sex in the car. She found the time with Lindsay, while short, provided her with some clarity. However, as soon as she was alone with Sara she had forgotten that work now needed to come first. Of course, Sara was not innocent in this exercise.
She made her way to the interrogation room determined to stay away from Sara unless there were other people around. She could get through the shift, she knew she could.
"Hey, Catherine," Brass said as he saw Catherine turning the corner.
Catherine smiled as she walked over.
"Jim, is she here?"
"Yep, and she's very eager to see her 'spitfire' as she's affectionately calling you." Brass smiled. He knew better than to rib Catherine about the previous encounter with Bobbie. It had been fun at the time and a little hot but Catherine was his colleague and he respected her. He'd hate to ruin it with crude lesbian jokes. That, he thought, could be left for Greg.
Catherine rolled her eyes and smiled.
"Great, why can't I get an admirer who isn't looking at a murder charge?"
Brass laughed with her, "nature of the job I suppose?"
"Yeah. Okay, let's go in." Catherine opened the door and entered.
"Spitfire, how goes things?" Bobbie drawled as she watched Catherine sit at the table as she had done previously.
"Miss Messina. We have a few things to clear up from our last talk," Catherine said not making eye contact with Bobbie.
"Would you like to kiss me again?" Bobbie joked.
Catherine tried to ignore the baiting and continued, "You said you had sex with Miss Maines. You have no alibi for the evening. Can you tell us why, when we found Lauren, she had her undergarments on?"
"I don't know, she was getting dressed maybe?"
"Did you stay around after your sexual encounters?" Jim asked.
"Look buddy, we weren't close. We didn't even like each other but we loved the sex. It was always great. I had sex with her that night okay? I opened the window for a smoke and then left. End of story."
Catherine was about to respond when she heard a slight tapping at the door. She turned to see Sara waving a manila folder.
"If you'll excuse me," Catherine said. She left the room and pulled Sara out of Bobbie's eye line. "Have you got good news Sara?" Catherine asked hopeful.
"Greg said he came in early to do the tests so I promised him a drink after work. Here are the results," Sara said grinning.
Catherine looked through Greg's findings. It looked like they had caught their killer.
"Excellent work Sara, thank Greg for me too." Catherine touched Sara's upper arm feeling the need to connect with her in anyway possible.
"I'll be watching in the observation room," Sara said. She wanted to support Catherine but knew she wouldn't want her in the interrogation room with her. The closest she could get was peering at her through the two-way mirror.
"Okay, just don't come storming in if she comes near me. I want to play on her advances." Catherine said, worried that Sara wouldn't take the admission well.
"Just be careful," was all Sara said.
Catherine nodded and went back into the room to face Bobbie.
"Miss Messina, you said you were not partied to any kinky sexual games is that correct?" Catherine asked. Brass looked at her and Catherine handed over Greg's findings to him.
"Ah, I get it, you leave the room after being summoned by that sexy co-worker of yours, come in here with a file and expect me to admit something?" Bobbie laughed, placing her feet on the table.
"Get them off the table," Brass warned.
"Leave it copper, I've seen better butch done by my patrons," Bobbie grinned but did as she was ordered.
"We just got DNA back from the rope. Appears you haven't been telling us the truth Miss Messina," Catherine said, getting up and sitting on the table closer to Bobbie.
From behind the window Sara fumed. Catherine was getting too close to this woman for her liking.
"The truth? Like you would have told the truth about your reactions to my kiss yesterday? I felt you want to respond, the need inside you. Let's play a little game of truth and dare and then we'll see what the truth is my little spitfire," Bobbie said, moving her chair closer to Catherine's legs.
"Miss Messina, if you don't move away from me I'll ask Detective Brass to place you in restraints." Catherine warned.
Bobbie held her hands up, "Woah spitfire, you are one feisty little bitch aren't you?"
Sara balled her fists at her side. She was glad she wasn't wearing her gun. A possible murderer hitting on your soul mate was justifiable homicide right?
"Miss Messina, we have the fiber from your overalls collected from the window sill. Ash on the rocks below indicating a smoker had been in Lauren's room. The matchbook had a stick torn from it which, under tests, has proven to be from your book. Now we find that your DNA is present on the rope used to strangle Lauren. I'd say that last piece of evidence seals the case. The others could have possible been explained thanks to your admission that you carried on a sexual relationship with the victim. Now that we have this proof that you touched the rope and it's common knowledge of your acrimonious working relationship, well I think I've just found our killer," Brass said, throwing the file on the table in front of Bobbie.
"Well it wasn't me so you go with that and we'll see how far it goes. It's probably been planted anyway," Bobbie said shrugging at Brass' statement.
"Why would we feel the need to plant evidence Miss Messina?" Catherine asked.
"Oh, I don't know, maybe that other sexy lady didn't want me pissing on her territory if you know what I mean. She knew she couldn't compete with me so she had to get me out of the way." Bobbie said smiling.
Sara was ready to storm into the interrogation room but she knew it would mean more to Catherine if she stayed where she was.
Catherine smiled and leant across the table.
"Honey, she satisfies me with a simple look and I'd find it hard to be satisfied by you or anyone else even if you were to bed me for an entire month," she hissed. Brass strained to hear the conversation and knew from Bobbie's demeanor that Catherine had ruffled her feathers.
Catherine sat back down, glancing up at the mirror hoping Sara wasn't angry. She knew that if Sara was behind there she was itching to confront Bobbie.
"Brass, take her to central booking," Catherine said smiling as Bobbie was handcuffed.
"Spitfire, we will meet once more I promise you and you'll see how a real woman makes you feel," Bobbie said over her shoulder.
"That'll be hard from prison," Brass responded pushing her out and away from the interrogation room.
Catherine sat down at the table collecting her thoughts. She was a little disappointed that Bobbie hadn't confessed. It wasn't needed of course but it would have made her feel better for Lauren. It was always drummed into her that she shouldn't take the cases personally but it was hard to be detached when you had to delve into a persons life. At least the DNA evidence was present. She made a mental note to thank Greg, she would have hated spending the day waiting for that vital piece of data.
Catherine was so lost in thought that she hadn't heard Sara come up behind her.
"What did you say to her?" Sara asked.
"When?" Catherine replied.
"You leant across the table and said something. What was it?"
Catherine ran her hand through her hair, smiling when Sara brushed a stray strand behind her ear.
"I just told her you were the only one who could satisfy me."
Sara smiled when she noticed Catherine blushed at that statement. She felt good to know that she wasn't the only one who could get flustered.
"No wonder she looked pissed off," Sara smiled.
"It's the truth," Catherine simply replied.
"Come with me," Sara ordered.
"Sara, we have to work." Catherine protested. She noticed as she was saying it her body seemed to ignore her voice as it was obediently following Sara to her office.
Once they both got inside, Sara pulled all the blinds and pushed Catherine up against the wall. Catherine grabbed Sara's face with both hands and kissed her passionately. Sara wrapped one arm around Catherine's head and the other cupped her breast.
Catherine moaned and allowed Sara to squeeze her left breast. She tried her best to keep the noise at a minimum. Sara let the hand that was previously in Catherine's hair drop to Catherine's right breast. Both hands massaged simultaneously and Catherine moaned once more into Sara's mouth.
Sara had to break away from the kiss to catch her breath. Catherine was plundering her mouth with such intensity. She looked down to her hands playing with Catherine's breasts and smiled. Catherine dropped her head to rest on Sara's shoulder, her breathing just as erratic.
"Honey, we have to stop." Catherine said, stilling Sara's hands.
"No," Sara replied biting Catherine's earlobe.
"Oh my God. Sara, Sara. We have to stop."
"I need you Cat. I need you." Sara said. She looked into Catherine's eyes and undid her white shirt. She slipped her hands under the tank top and pinched Catherine's nipples. She was surprised when Catherine reversed their positions.
"Sara, we can't," Catherine said pulling Sara's hands out and doing up her top. She wasn't sure if she should applaud her sensibility or kick herself for denying what she knew she wanted.
Sara sighed. She knew Catherine was right but hated it.
"I need to touch you all the time Cath, how can we focus on work?"
Catherine smiled, kissing Sara chastely on the lips.
"Think about Gil busting us," she replied smiling.
"My hormones tell me it's worth it," Sara admitted.
"Oh baby, I'm desperate for you too but we made a deal." Catherine said.
"You would think after all the shifts where I've fantasized about this kind of clandestine encounter I could control myself but I'm connected to you. I feel incomplete if I can't see you or be with you."
Catherine kissed Sara gently hoping it would convey the emotion she felt when Sara opened herself up like that.
"I can't believe this has only been happening for one day. I'm feeling more for you than I did for my husband during most of our married life. As the days go by I fear you'll swallow my heart up completely." Catherine admitted.
"Cath, you need to leave before I show you just how much I loved hearing you say that," Sara said, opening the door to her office.
Catherine smiled, "I'll remind you when your shift finishes."
Sara shivered at the timbre of Catherine's voice. She was about to close the door when she heard Catherine whisper, "you still owe me that first date."
Sara spent another ten minutes in her office trying to remember how to breath. She had lived a lifetime of emotions in a little under twenty-four hours and she wasn't sure if this sensation was good for her health.
She wished she had stopped Catherine in the car before work. If they had parted with a simple 'goodbye' she could have walked around the place without any problem. 'You're kidding yourself Sara. Since you first kissed her your body has been on fire.'
It wasn't just a sexual connection, she knew she had told herself that before but she needed to remind herself because at the moment her body was so in tune with the environment she felt like she was living in Melrose Place. The need to touch Catherine was speeding up her heart rate and she wasn't even in the room.
'I also love to watch her working. Love to hear her voice.' Sara wondered if she should call Catherine just to hear the voice she was captivated with. 'No, that's borderline stalking.'
Seeing Catherine with Lindsay and the love that showed up without hesitation or fear of rejection was amazing to Sara. When she had been growing up she hadn't doubted the actions of her parents. They provided for her but it seemed more like a job to them. She didn't often see her father's face light up when she had figured out another scientific fact or won the class award for the best science project. Her mother had told her it was a great achievement and then it wasn't spoken of again. Witnessing Catherine and Lindsay, Sara knew she had missed out on the tenderness of unconditional love.
Making love to Catherine was amazing. Their bodies responded to each other and Sara had never felt so sated after a sexual encounter like she did when she was with Catherine. Sara smiled when she realised this room was where it all started just one little shift ago. The kiss was amazing and unexpected. Not unwelcome of course.
She wondered, had Catherine been with other women before? They had talked briefly but Sara had never asked her. She felt like she should know everything about Catherine but realised she didn't know much at all. Perhaps on their date they could talk about their interests and so forth.
Sara smiled when she realised she actually wanted to talk about herself to another person. A first for everything. Making love in the car was certainly a first. Hopefully not the last time though.
"Work Sara, work," she repeated like a mantra until she felt she had everything under control. She put her hand on the door handle ready to face the busy hallway when she felt the door thud into her.
"Shit," she cursed as the wood connected with her shoulder.
"Oh Sara, I'm sorry. Did I hurt you?" Nick placed a hand on Sara's shoulder rubbing it slightly.
"It's okay Nick, no damage done. It was more shock than anything."
"I came to let you know Gris wants us on that B&E with Warrick. Cath said she could spare you."
Sara wondered if Catherine had sent her on the case because she thought it was easier to be away from each other. She smiled at Nick who was putting his well worn cap on.
"Less paperwork for me Nick so I'm not going to complain."
Nick smiled and nodded, "Yeah I know what you mean. Grissom made me type my report out four times."
Sara laughed as she imagined Nick looking like a forlorn student while his teacher circled his mistakes with red pen. At times Nick tried too hard to impress Grissom Sara thought. It was nice to be complimented on a good job but there had to be a line drawn somewhere.
"Alright Nick, I'll meet you in the car park. I just need to thank Catherine for rescuing me from the report."
"I'm driving Sara," Nick said jogging to the doors before Sara could refuse.
Sara found Catherine talking to Greg in his lab. He was smiling so she assumed Catherine was thanking him for the quick work done on the DNA test. She stood leaning against the corner of the wall closest to the lab; observing their interaction.
Greg was rubbing the side of his hair, a trait he often displayed when he was embarrassed by the adulation he often thrived on hearing. His eyes were averted from Catherine's and he looked almost sheepish as Catherine placed a hand on his shoulder, giving it a friendly squeeze.
Sara marveled at the way Catherine made everyone feel at ease. Okay so it hadn't always like that between the two of them but Sara saw it in the others. She was the undisputed glue who kept them all together. Grissom was too isolated to be the real team builder. He had a wonderful mind and grasp of evidence but Catherine added the personal touch. Sara would have gone as far as saying she was the mother hen but the feelings she had for Catherine were anything other than motherly.
As Sara went off on the tangent Greg noticed her standing leant up against the window across from the lab. He waved at her and smiled when Sara smiled back at his gesture. Maybe he had made progress with her this morning.
"Hey Catherine, do you think Sara's attractive?" Greg asked.
Catherine almost blurted out 'hell yeah' but realised that would blow their secret so she simply asked Greg why he was asking.
"I think Sara's so incredible but she doesn't like me enough I don't think. She has it for an older sophisticated type. Grissom." Greg said.
He was too pre-occupied in his thoughts he didn't see Catherine wince when he told her his opinion on Sara's love life.
"Grissom? No Greg, they are just colleagues." Catherine said wanting to stop this conversation.
"Sure thing Catherine," Greg said winking at her.
Catherine wasn't sure how to respond without seeming too angry. She turned to leave and saw Sara standing at the same spot that Greg had seen her. She wondered how long she had been there and whether or not she was pissed at her for sending her on the B&E case.
"Greg, I've got to see Sara about the case. Thanks again for the quick work this morning," and with that Catherine was gone.
Greg watched Catherine and Sara interact with each other and wondered when the two of them had become so close. They seemed to be engaging in a friendly conversation, a change from the polite exchanges he'd often seen them in. He smiled, thinking wicked thoughts about the two of them together. "Mmm, never going to happen but a boy can dream," Greg said to himself aloud as he spun his chair around to look at the microscope.
Catherine led Sara to the coffee room telling her about Greg's theory. Sara hated the rumour and knew she had never done anything to discourage such talk. She had to admit she did find Grissom an interesting person and that was what had attracted her to some of her previous partners. She knew she had a definite hero worship thing going on before she came to work in Las Vegas but the time went on and she worked out that she was looking in Grissom what she had missed in her father. A shrinks bread and butter theory but it was the truth. Considering she had always wanted Catherine from the moment she had seen, her she knew it was her that she longed to be with.
"Cat, does it worry you that everyone thinks I'm lusting after the boss?"
"Yes a little. I want people to know you have no interest in anyone but me."
Sara smiled, "I could send out a memo."
"Nah, tell Greg, it'll be faster."
Both women laughed and reached for their pagers simultaneously.
"It's mine Cat, Nick's in the car waiting for me. He was more patient than I thought he would be though. I just came to say you don't have to separate us, I can keep my hormones under check."
"Come, I'll walk you to the car park and we can talk about this."
Sara smiled and for a moment made a move to hold Catherine's hand. It had seemed like the natural thing to do. She was glad she stopped herself because Grissom and Brass were heading their way.
"Ladies. Sara, aren't you supposed to be out with Nick and Warrick?" Grissom asked.
Sara knew the talk with Catherine would have to wait.
"Yeah Grissom, I'm on my way now. I just had to clear something up with Catherine. I'll see you later."
Sara brushed her hand against Catherine's as she walked past. She willed herself to keep walking away and not look back.
Catherine shivered at the gentle touch and watched Sara take long elegant strides to the car park. She smiled slightly when she saw Sara look back at her.
"Catherine, you cold?" Brass asked, "I hope you're not still sick."
"Sick?" Grissom asked.
Catherine sighed. She didn't want Grissom making an issue over the supposed illness.
"I'm okay Jim. Thanks." She saw Grissom stick his neck out slightly, a sign he was trying to study the situation. "Honest Gil, I'm okay."
"Okay but if you start feeling ill you go home. We can't afford to have the team infected."
"Thanks for your concern Gil," Catherine said sarcastically.
Grissom nodded and spoke, "so report, how's it coming? Brass tells me you've found DNA evidence on the rope matching Bobbie Messina. Good work."
"It was Greg who put a rush on the results, you should thank him. I know he'd love to hear it from you." Catherine suggested.
"Catherine, I'm not about praising individuals. Greg is a member of the team."
Catherine sighed and put up her hand, "okay Gil. Anyway if you'll both excuse me I'm going to get the report done."
Jim watched as Catherine walked away and Grissom turned to him, "too bad we didn't get a confession. How was she in the room?"
"Hey Grissom, she was great. What's with the question?"
"This case is pretty high profile, the powers that be want to quash any hate crime talk."
Jim frowned, "hate crime? Because Lauren was a lesbian? She was killed by another lesbian."
"No confession makes the DA's office edgy. What with Catherine blowing up the lab, well she's being watched."
Jim shook his head in disbelief, "I was in the room with her, and she was great. Even when Bobbie baited her she was professional. She's one damn fine CSI Gil, I've worked with her in that capacity."
"I know she's good but we need to make sure this case gets a conviction." Grissom said.
"I thought every case deserved a conviction," Brass said as he walked off.
Catherine loved the silence. She didn't get it often. Of course there was noise around her but she found the buzz of activity soothing. It was better than having Nick and Greg argue over music or Warrick asking her about Lindsay. That kind of activity sometimes got too much, all in the same room buzzing about like little bees.
Catherine realised in her account of a typical day she had neglected to mention Sara's movements. She always saw Sara sitting at the table, reading a magazine of some sort of shifting through a file. She would interact at times but more often than not she was a silent participant.
As Catherine was relishing the serenity of the coffee room her phone beeped at her. She wasn't used to getting a text message on her cell phone. She certainly wasn't like the young adults she saw texting away. It was a recent phenomenon she surmised because she hadn't noticed it much until Lindsay had asked if she could text her friend Annabelle because her Daddy bought her a phone.
She opened the received message and smiled when she read it. 'Wish you were here with me, Nick and Warrick are driving me crazy, S.'
Catherine wondered what she should write in reply. She didn't want to distract Sara from her job but she had started it. She wrote a message and deleted it several times before settling for, 'I'm not going to wear underwear under my dress tonight.' She knew it was mean but wanted to tease her. She hadn't had this much fun with a partner for a long time. When she was young and sex meant nothing but getting some and moving on she had enjoyed foreplay and sexual innuendo. She grew out of that when she danced and Eddie's idea of foreplay was to tell her to put Lindsay to bed early because he wanted sex. Subtle and terribly romantic.
But with Sara, Catherine wanted to have fun. She wanted to make Sara so sexually frustrated that she'd take her on the floor or wherever they happened to be standing at the time. She wanted to please Sara in bed, make sure all her needs were catered for. She wanted to be sappy and talk for hours about nothing; about everything. It always made her sick to hear about people so in love. Catherine realised she could give her heart to Sara in an instant. That scared her.
She was shaken out of her pondering when her phone beeped once more. She laughed aloud when she read Sara's reply, 'Bitch.'
Grissom had entered the room and sat down at the table, facing her. He cleared his throat and waited until Catherine put her phone away.
"Catherine, about the Lauren Maines case."
"Yeah, we got the killer Gil. God bless technology."
"I have to let you know something. There are eyes on your performance. Very critical eyes. You may be called in to explain why you didn't get a confession and why you let Bobbie Messina go the night before."
"First thing, this isn't some perfect world where the killer comes in and confesses. Second, I'm not the cop, I didn't let her go. Brass did and that was his prerogative. We had evidence yes but not on the things that mattered the most. Greg was very busy."
Grissom took his glasses off and began to clean them effusively.
"Catherine I'm just telling you what I was told today. I've been told to partner you up on all cases. No solo's."
Catherine was fuming. She had always been a good CSI. She'd made mistakes but they all had. Warrick was a gambler yet he was allowed to walk into a casino and work on a case. She hated the idea she needed a babysitter.
"Gil, I'm not having someone hold my hand or peer over my shoulder. I don't want to walk into a crime scene and wonder if I should do this or should do that. That's going to play an adverse role in my work, I'll look as inept as they think I am."
"Catherine this isn't a negotiation. You've already taken a suspension with the lab incident ..."
Catherine cut Grissom off, "Am I ever going to live that lab accident down? Has everyone forgotten that Warrick was standing next to me the entire time? He could have spoken up, noticed the area. I got the blame."
"Catherine, it's not about placing blame."
"Gil, I'm not placing blame. I'm mad. I resent this order."
"I know Catherine but we don't have to discuss it outside this conversation. I'll just pair you up at all times. I hand out the assignments so no one can question it."
Catherine was touched by Grissom's offer. She knew he wasn't happy with the order either but politics often ruled over the job. Funding was important and the Day Shift got a lot of it and gloated at every chance.
"Fine, Gil. I still get to be primary though right?"
"Yes but you have to report all findings to me."
Catherine got out of her chair and ran her hand through her hair. She was getting angry and it wouldn't help the situation. Grissom was always so calm and rationale, it would be like talking to a brick wall.
"I'm going for a walk."
Grissom watched Catherine tear out of the room. He hated it when he had to play the big boss, he hoped Catherine knew this order wasn't an indication of how he felt. He wished he was better at conveying his emotions to his team.
Catherine kicked the locker, making a slight dent and scuffing her boot.
"Shit!" She exclaimed as she realised the damage. She wanted to scream, cry and punch something. Her work was being discussed in secret. She was being judged by people who weren't working horrendous hours, who didn't have to see the faces of the victim and the family.
Catherine's phone beeped and she ignored it. She wanted to tell Sara, to make her come back from the scene and hug her. Her phone beeped again and still she ignored it. When the phone started to ring and she saw the number belonged to Sara she relented and answered it.
"Cat? I sent you two messages. Everything okay? I was sure the second one would make you say something." Sara said laughing.
"I was in a meeting," Catherine lied.
"Well lucky you didn't read them then," Sara said still laughing.
"Listen Sara, can I talk to you later? I've got a few things to get done."
Sara paused before replying, "Is everything okay?"
Catherine felt tears rolling down her face. She tried to keep her voice from wavering.
"Yep, just busy. I'll chat later. Bye."
Sara moved the phone from her ear, puzzled at the way Catherine ended the call. She wanted to call her back but thought that if Catherine was so busy she'd only think it was a distraction. She wrote another message instead saying, 'I hope all is okay. I'm missing you like crazy and can't wait to be near you, S xox.'
Catherine tried to resist the temptation to read the now three messages. However, she found that just having that contact with Sara would calm her down. The first two were highly sexual, the first reminding Catherine of the incident in the car and the second Sara told her she would make Catherine scream her name in complete ecstasy before they even made it on their date.
It was the third message that made Catherine cry once more. That Sara had been astute enough to know she was not acting like usual and to then write the second part that was devoid of sexual teasing, just a simple statement of need made Catherine weep. She read it once more and slumped to the ground hugging her phone and crying.
"Hey Sara, you working or would you prefer to stand near the car and practice your valet moves?" Nick said as he exited the three bedroom home.
"Nick, you think you and Warrick could take this from here and I could go back to the office, take these evidence bags to Greg?"
Nick frowned. Sara was a workaholic, that was no secret, but she usually enjoyed canvassing a scene and certainly didn't ask to see Greg before time.
"Sure thing Sara, just go tell Warrick."
Sara found Warrick kneeling in the yard with the casting kit by his side. He was laying the metal frame over a shoe print when he looked up to see Sara.
"Hey. Finished up with the shots of the doorframe and lock?" Warrick asked, resuming his task.
"Yeah, got some prints but we'll have to see if any are useful."
Warrick nodded in agreement, "One of the most frequently used spots, the lock. We could get lucky."
"You'd probably have more luck with that shoe print. Looks pretty fresh." Sara said.
"I agree. This looks like the quietest place to exit the scene, running down this yard and jumping over the fence."
"Listen Warrick, do you think I could leave you here with Nick and head back to the barn? I'd really like to get a jump on those prints."
Warrick laughed, "Sara, ever the busy worker. Sure Sara, but if I have to hear Nick tell his story about the leggy blonde he picked up I won't be held accountable for my actions."
"Thanks Warrick. Just thought I'd ask considering you're the boss here today although I did feel like I was asking permission from the teacher to get a hall pass."
Warrick smiled, "I appreciate it Sara. So I'll see you back at the office."
With that Warrick resumed filling the frame with plaster. Sara was thankful they didn't continue with small talk. They were co-workers sure, but friends? The jury was still out on that one.
Sara jumped in the car and plugged her phone in so she could talk on speaker phone. She dialed the number she hoped to soon memorize, Catherine's mobile. The dial tone continued for what seemed an hour. Sara held on the line until hearing the engaged tone. She pressed redial and tried again.
Sara was surprised to hear Catherine's voice so low and almost weary. She wondered if it was the connection or something more.
"Hey babe. I'm coming back early, you free for a rendezvous in the locker room?" Sara joked.
"Coming back?" Catherine asked.
"Yeah Cath, from the scene." Sara frowned at the phone. Catherine seemed very distant.
"Cath, you okay?" Sara asked. She was considering speeding back to the office because she found it hard to figure out Catherine's tone without seeing her body language.
Catherine paused before answering.
"Fine Sara. I'll see you when you get back okay?" With that she hung up.
Sara hoped Catherine hadn't hung up on for the second time in that shift. There was something wrong, and Sara was concerned. She put her foot on the accelerator in a mad dash to work.
Catherine hung up the phone and looked around. She realised with some surprise, that she was still sitting on the floor in the locker room. How long had she been there? She stood up and covered her face with her hands in an attempt to calm herself. She pulled them away and took a deep breath. If Sara was on her way back she had to fix herself up. That meant looking anything like she did now.
"Toilets Catherine," she said aloud.
She found that once she got in there she was afraid to look in the mirror. Once she summoned the courage she wasn't too shocked to see she looked disastrous. Her mascara had run, leaving her with delightful panda eyes and her eyes were so red she looked like she had cut hundreds of onions. She took a piece of toilet paper and wiped the mascara away. Her eyes still bore the signs of torrential crying. Sara would know something was wrong.
Catherine knew Sara wasn't known for her Driving Miss Daisy speeds so she'd make it back to the office at a breakneck speed. The only way to disguise her red eyes would be to meet her in the car park. That way she could put her sunglasses on. Wearing them inside the office would look too Hollywood superstar.
Catherine blew her nose and tried to straighten up her shirt. She splashed water on her face and closed her eyes for a second to calm herself down. She wasn't ready to face anyone, especially Sara but it had to be done. Catherine went to her locker and took out her sunglasses. She hooked them into her tank top and made her way out of the locker room.
"Hey Cath!" Greg yelled.
Catherine wanted to scream. She hadn't factored into her walk the distractions of the office. She knew she couldn't ignore Greg, he was relentless when he had something to say. She put her glasses on and speed up her pace.
Catherine turned to face him.
"Yes Greg? I'm just on my way out can this wait?"
"I just wanted to say that uh, well I just wanted to say it sucks, you know." Greg shuffled his feet obviously embarrassed.
"No Greg, I don't know. Spill."
"I heard about the problems you're having with the main dudes upstairs," Greg said, sticking his hands in his lab coat.
Catherine considered quitting right then. If Greg knew - and how the hell did that happen - then it would be all over the halls in a matter of minutes.
Greg obviously sensed Catherine's discomfort and spoke, "It's okay Catherine, I won't tell a soul. I swear to you it stays with me."
"Greg, I'm not even going to ask how you knew and other than eavesdropping Lord knows how you did find out. This is my business and mine alone. If you tell anyone I will ..."
"Say no more Catherine. I told you I won't breathe a word of it and I don't go back on my word. I just wanted to offer support."
Catherine was inclined to believe Greg. He was known about the place as the gossip King and sometimes the things he found to share were incredibly private. She knew he had spoken to some of his DNA buddies about the incident with Bobbie Messina but this seemed different.
"Okay Greg, I'm taking you at your word. Don't make me regret it because I assure you it will end up being you who regrets it in the long run."
Greg shook his head in understanding.
"I promise you Catherine. My lips are sealed."
"Good, let's not speak of it again. I appreciate your offer of help and support but I don't need it. This will blow over."
"Just wanted you to know I knew," Greg said.
"Thanks. Anyway, I've got to go." With that Catherine turned before she started to cry again. She wasn't sure what was worse, the fact that the only other person outside of Grissom who knew was Greg or the fact that she was about to lie to Sara.
Sara had entered from the car park to see Greg and Catherine talking in the hall ahead of her. She observed the scene and found it to be an entirely different interaction to the one she'd seen previously. Greg looked like a co-conspirator then shifted to nervousness while Catherine was rigid and on edge. She hoped Greg wasn't stirring up trouble about Bobbie Messina. When she saw Catherine turn her way she was puzzled. Why did Catherine have sunglasses on?
Catherine saw Sara and stopped dead in her tracks. Sara looked like she did when she was trying to process a scene. Catherine knew this conversation wasn't going to be easy.
"Hey Cath, was Greg hassling you?" Sara said walking towards Catherine.
Catherine smiled weakly, "no, he and I were just talking."
Catherine smiled once more and shrugged, "nothing important. I'm going outside for a bit, want to come?"
"Spending some time alone with you? You actually expect me to answer that question?" Sara joked. She became concerned when Catherine didn't reply. "Catherine, what the hell is going on?"
Catherine wondered why she just hadn't gone home. She could have feigned illness, kept Sara away for a day and come to the next shift having cried herself out. A new day would have seen her somewhat rejuvenated. Instead she had sought Sara out.
"I just read the newspaper, saw all the bad news. Guess it got to me today," Catherine replied. She knew that excuse was pretty weak, she just hoped Sara would let it go.
"Cath, there's always bad news. Look at our job." Sara said walking over to Catherine who had found a spot to sit down.
Catherine stiffened when Sara sat and put her arm around her shoulder. Sara noticed and pulled away.
"Okay, have I done something?" Sara asked.
Catherine didn't answer. She was afraid if she spoke it would come out in sobs and she didn't want to think about how fucked up life was for her. Just as she found someone who she could easily start to build a future with somebody decided she couldn't be one hundred percent happy with her life.
When Catherine didn't reply Sara moved away.
"I take that as a yes. Okay Catherine, well if you actually want to speak to me then I'll stay here with you until you're ready. If you simply want to bottle it up as you have accused me of doing then I'll go back inside and do some work."
Catherine knew she should speak but when she finally opened her mouth she found she was saying something completely opposite to what she was thinking.
"Go inside, get your precious work down."
Sara's head was spinning. Three days ago she was simply lusting after Catherine. They had gained back some of that rapport they were slowly building since Hank and lost after Eddie. Then they had embarked on the weirdest two days in relationship history. Now Catherine was shutting down. Sara couldn't handle this latest development.
"Cath, please don't do this."
Catherine was crying. She didn't care anymore. She noticed Sara was crying also and wanted to hug her but she was ashamed. Ashamed of how pathetic she was. Sara was a wonderful CSI and she loved her job. She did it with pride. Catherine was too volatile for Sara. If she stayed with her Sara's performance would lag. If she stayed Sara would see her for the ineffectual worker that she had been branded as.
"I don't want you here Sara." Catherine said unconvincingly.
Sara looked down to where Catherine was sitting.
"Sara, please just go. For your benefit."
Sara was puzzled at the phrasing of that sentence. In past relationships Sara knew that she would take this out and run. She wasn't good at commitment. Being with Catherine was different. She wanted it; no needed it, to be different.
"Catherine Willows, you will tell me what is wrong or I will tell Grissom that you are unfit for work."
Catherine flinched at Sara's threat. She pulled her glasses off and wiped her eyes. She blinked to rid her eyes of those new tears threatening to fall and saw that Sara had knelt down in front of her.
"Cat, please let me help you." Sara took Catherine's hands in her own relieved there was no resistance.
Catherine knew her defenses were no match for the worry and support she saw in Sara's eyes.
"Grissom doesn't think I can do the job Sara."
Sara winced when she realised how her threat may have sounded and was amazed that Catherine had decided to confide in her. She wiped the tears dropping from Catherine's water filled eyes and waited for Catherine to say more.
"The politicians in our circle are pissed we didn't get a confession from Bobbie and are blaming me. Considering my track record I'm an easy target. Now I have to have a babysitter on cases. No singles, I always have to pair up."
Sara was fuming. How dare they blame Catherine for something that was out of her realm as an investigator. She had the DNA evidence but Brass was the cop. The shit should fall on him, not Catherine.
"And Grissom agreed?" Sara asked.
"Even when I'm primary I have to run everything by him first."
"Oh baby, come here," Sara held her arms out hopeful that Catherine would respond.
Catherine threw her body into the comfort of Sara's arms, almost knocking the two of them over. She buried her head into Sara's neck and took reassurance in Sara's encompassing embrace and soothing words.
When Catherine pulled away she sighed when Sara kissed her gently on the mouth. Catherine smiled thanks at the gesture.
"Why didn't you tell me when I called?" Sara asked.
"I didn't want you to know." Catherine replied honestly.
Sara wanted to yell at her, to tell her that she was there for support. However, she saw how fragile Catherine was and decided that conversation could wait. She stood up and extended her hand to Catherine and smiled when Catherine allowed her to pull her up.
"I'm sorry Sara."
Sara kissed Catherine on the forehead.
"Don't worry, you've told me now and I'm going to support you all the way. You've got me so don't be afraid to lean on me."
Catherine was overrun with the warmth and love Sara displayed in her actions. She didn't know how she thought keeping this from Sara would make her feel better, for when she walked towards the office with this woman holding her hand she knew she'd get through this latest hitch in the road.
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