DISCLAIMER:I don't own them, I never will. Proper rights go to Bruckheimer, CBS and every one.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

On the Surface
By Amy Jo

Part 4

Rayn must have been exhausted because she didn't wake up when the phone rang, or even when I threw the poor thing against the wall. My movements around my apartment are slow and quiet and she's still asleep when I leave. I left her a note and my spare keys to the apartment, telling her to meet me at work sometime in the morning and apologizing for leaving her there alone.

I have already determined that today is going to be quiet day at work for me. Not only does my head protest even the slightest noise, but I still am not ready to confront Warrick about what he saw this morning. I'm also not ready to talk with Grissom about why I am hungover. I know that when I see him, he's going to ask. I spend one last quiet moment in the locker room before I head off to find Grissom and get my assignments for the night.

Grissom is waiting patiently with Warrick and Nick in the break room. I am so not ready to deal with this. Warrick has a big shit-eating grin on his face. Nick looks shocked to see me. I can't tell if he's shocked that I'm here and not Catherine, or shocked at my ragged appearance. Grissom just watches all of us.

"Assignments?" I ask right away, hoping that things will get rolling and I won't have to talk with anyone. My voice is rough and scratchy and I am forced to clear my throat and repeat myself.

Grissom hands out the assignment slips and I hastily make my exit from the building. My first scene is small pawn shop a few blocks from the Strip. I find a few uniforms waiting for me and what seems to be the owner. Oh fun. He walks up to me and I am immediately surrounded with the smell of at least two day old body odor. As I repress the urge to vomit on his shoes he starts yelling at me. I'm not sure of exactly everything he said, but most of it was bitching about how long it took me to get here.

I shrug my shoulders and ask if he has a video setup to monitor the store. He nods and heads off towards the back room to get me the tapes. Thankful that he's gone I take a few deep breaths to clear my nose and lungs of his stench. I spend quite a few hours on the scene collecting evidence alternately happy that I am alone and pissed that I have to do all the collection by myself. Before leaving I find the owner again and collect the tapes from the cameras and his list of stolen items. He makes sure to remind me that it took me long enough before I get in the Tahoe and leave.

Still not wanting to be seen around the lab, I make a pit stop for my lunch and a fresh cup of extra strong espresso. Other than dealing with the obnoxious and smelly owner of a pawn shop, this shift hasn't been so bad. My phone hasn't rang and my pager hasn't beeped. Unfortunately for me, the silence doesn't last forever. The beeping of my pager makes head start to throb again. I check the number on the pager, and it's Greg.

I grab my cell and dial Greg's number. "This better be good, Greg. I haven't brought you any evidence so you can't possibly have anything to report to me."

"Grouchy much?" Greg sounds irritated, but I can also tell that he's smiling on the other end of the phone.

"Greg you better not have called to tell me what a shitty mood I'm in tonight. `Cause I've got to tell you, I already knew that. Now, unless you have something important to say I'm going to hang up now." I clean up the table I'm sitting at and head back to the counter to grab a refill on my espresso before I head back to the lab with the evidence from the pawn shop.

"Now now Sara. I actually happen to important news for you. At least, I think it's important." Greg sounds hesitant. He's smart enough to have figured out by now that I'm on the edge of being pissed at him and he's walking a fine line of having my anger thrown at him full force.

"If it's so damn important, than why haven't you said anything yet? Can it wait about twenty minutes until I'm at the lab?" I'm really trying not to yell at him. It hurts my head and it hurts his feelings. Then I'd be forced to do something nice to apologize for yelling at him when he didn't really do anything wrong, and I really don't feel like doing that.

"I thought you might want to know before you got here that someone's waiting for you." I can tell he's smiling real big because he's using that tone of voice that means `I've got a secret.' Once again all I can think is that I'm not in the mood for this.

"Greg? Do you know who it is?" I'm pretty sure it's Rayn, but I'm not exactly in the mood for any more surprises.

"Nope. But Warrick seems to know who she is. She was asking for you…" Oh shit.

I close my phone, effectively hanging up on Greg. I toss my money across the counter, grab my coffee and speed back to the lab. If Warrick knows who it was, then it was definitely Rayn. I cant' decide if I'm happy that's it her and not some other ex showing up unannounced, or nervous that she's know talking with Warrick. Damn it.

I manage to make it back to the lab in just under fifteen minutes. I drove a little faster than I was supposed to. By the time I get all the evidence logged and in labs they need to be in for analysis, I realize that it's been a little more than an hour since Greg called. Shit. That's way too long for Rayn to be talking to Warrick. For once, I'm actually glad that the labs have glass walls, as it makes the search much easier. Not that it really would have mattered, they are still in the break room.

I walk into the break room just in time to hear Warrick say, "She didn't! Sara? Really?"

Shit. That can't be good. Warrick looks up at me and smiles, trying his best to contain laughter. He fails, and laughs long and hard at my expense. I'm so glad that my life is amusing to everyone but me. Oh what the hell, I'll play along. It's definitely going to be easier on my headache than yelling.

"Warrick don't believe a thing she says. She's full of shit." I cross the room and sit next to Warrick, hoping that Rayn catches the look of death I'm shooting her way. Apparently she does, but doesn't care.

"I swear, it's the truth." She looks at me defiantly as she says this. Crap. I can tell when she's lying, and whatever she told Warrick was apparently the truth. Damn.

"Oh really? So what's so funny Warrick?" I sip at my coffee and prepare for the worst.

Warrick grins widely and starts relating the story. "Rayn here was just telling me about the first time you kissed her." Oh no. "She says you pushed up against the wall after some kind of high school party and kissed her senseless." Warrick starts laughing again.

"Well that's basically it. Did she say anything else about it?" Warrick is till chuckling at what he sees to be my out-of-character behavior. After a second he shakes his head no in response to my question. "Ah, so she left out all the good details. We were freshman and Tommie Benson was having a small party at his house while his parents were out of town for the weekend. His older brother opened the liquor cabinet and we all started drinking. Not much, but enough. Someone thought it would be a good idea to play spin the bottle."

"Spin the bottle? I didn't think kids really did that." Warrick interrupts, but he's clearly interested in finding out the rest of the story. I watch with amusement as Rayn begins to blush.

"Yeah, well we got bored I guess. There were only like six or seven of us. Anyway, we were just kids and the bottle went round and round with each turn and this kisses were just chaste little pecks. But that's beside the point. Rayn gives the bottle a spin and what do you know, she gets to kiss me. She turned so red I think a tomato would have been pale in comparison.

"So she leans over the bottle and gives me this little soft kiss. But she slips her tongue out and takes a little taste of my lips. I knew then I wanted more. I wanted to really kiss her. And now, of course, I knew she'd let me if I tried. Technically that was our first kiss."

Warrick looks a little stunned, but like any member of the male species, he is intrigued and wants to know more. "So when do we get to the part where you push against the wall? I seriously can't believe you would ever do that."

"Ah. That comes a little later that same night. After a while, all the kids either ending up returning home or crashing on Tommie's floor. My parents had some strict rules, and I had to get back home. Rayn left with me, supposedly so neither of us would have to walk back home alone. She lived a house just down the road from me. I was determined to try to kiss her, and in a gentlemanly manner, I walked her to her door. And it wasn't a wall I pushed her into, not at first. At first, it was the door. But then she opened the door behind her, so I moved her against the wall in foyer. And the rest, as they say is history." I barely suppress a smug grin at the look on Warrick's face and the blush on Rayn's.

"No shit? Oh man. I don't believe it, I don't believe it." Warrick is shaking his head in disbelief and looking at me as if I've just suddenly sprouted a second head. Now I'm the one who can't stop laughing. Man the look on Warrick's face is hilarious. I feel ten times better already.

"Yeah well. Believe it not, that's what happened. If Rayn wasn't shocked into silence right now, I'm sure she'd tell you. Rayn?"

Rayn looks at me and furrows her brow in question. This is great. Both Warrick and Rayn looked shocked at what I've said. Okay, so if I were feeling one bit of my normal self, I might be shocked too. I mean, I don't think I've ever offered up this much personal information at all to my coworkers. I begin to wonder if maybe Rayn didn't plan this to begin with.

"So Rayn, to what do I owe the pleasure of your appearance today?"

"Hmm? Oh, umm, just wanted to return your keys. Thanks for letting me crash." Rayn is suddenly all quiet, barely talking above a whisper. She slides the keys across the table to me and I pocket them as I get up from my chair.

"Anytime Rayn, anytime. Warrick, think you can entertain Rayn here for a little while? I really need to get to that second scene. If that's okay with Rayn anyway?" I would like to keep the two of them as far apart as possible, but they seem to have really hit it off as friends. I'll just have to hope that they don't talk too much about while I'm gone. And if they do, ill just stop by the liquor store on my way home and pick up some more rum.

I don't even wait for a response before leaving the break room and heading out of the building.

Part 5

I hope that I've sufficiently embarrassed Rayn enough that she will stop talking about me with Warrick. Not that I'm sure what else they have in common to talk about, but the prospect of revealing more of my past to anyone at work is almost as nauseating as the hangover I've got.

I pop a couple of aspirin as I pull up to the second breaking and entering scene. Oh fun. Jewelry store. That means lots of glass, most likely no prints and a seriously pissed off owner who is now out God knows how many thousands. There is a uniform standing guard and a suspiciously calm looking owner. My gut instinctively tells me that he is involved.

There is no forced entry on either the front or the rear doors. The security system on the doors flashes its green light at me, telling me that the system is operational but not armed. This is looking more and more like an inside job. I print both entrances and the security pad and move inside to take pictures of the scene. The inside is an extraordinary mess. Definitely not a professional job.

"Mr…Uh, what's your name again?" I know the owner told me his name when I first got here, but now I can't seem to remember.

"Segobiano. Nikolas Segobiano."

"Right. Sorry about that. Seems it's been a long day. Mr. Segobiano have you got any kind of video surveillance in this place?" I gave the ceiling and corners of the room a quick look and I didn't see any cameras.

"Yeah, actually. I know what you're thinking," he tells me as I take another look around the room. "It doesn't look like it, I know. Just about three weeks ago I had a company come in and install a completely digital system. The cameras themselves are no bigger than ink pens and all the data, including sound, is recorded onto the hard drive of my computer system. At the end of every day, I transfer the data to your basic cd-rom and put the discs in the safe. Kind of high-
tech, but it's really cool."

I can tell from the way he's talking about the system that he thinks it's the best system out there and probably cost a fortune. "So where are the cameras?"

"There are eight total. One is set up above the front entrance and can see everything in the room." He points to a small hole about three inches above the door. I swing my flashlight in the area he's pointing to and barely even notice as the light is reflected back at me for just a brief millisecond. "There's one in the four corners of this room, one above the rear entrance, one watching the safe, and one that looks down on the register area. I knew you would want the discs, and I'm making copies right now. I'll give you the originals as soon as they are finished."

Well, at least he knows what he's doing. I'm still worried about this being an inside job, but I certainly don't mind his being cooperative and friendly. "How expensive is the system?"

"Oh, it cost a small fortune, but I'm certain it was worth it. I actually took out a loan to finance the system, and of course the new computer that I needed to handle the data. I used the store and some of the assets as collateral." Bingo. Motive.

"Mr. Segobiano why wasn't the security system armed?" I try not to give too much away, but with no alarm, no forced entry, and the amateur job done smashing the jewel cases, I can't help but think he has something to do with this. He gave me the motive and I'd be willing to bet next month's salary that his insurance will more than cover the cost of the missing jewelry and the new high tech system.

"I set the alarm when I left the store tonight at 7:00 p.m. Actually, I guess that was yesterday," he corrected himself as he checked his watch. It is now just past 3:00 a.m. "I just assumed when I got here that the security company had reset it. The thing screeches like a cat in heat. It's an awful sound."

Though not likely to happen, I suppose that the security company could have reset it; most don't until they get a call from the owner or a police officer. I'll have to get the numbers and check. I thanked Mr. Segobiano and asked him for all the information I would need about the security company, his employees, the video surveillance and everything else I could think of. He went off in search of everything and I set about collecting evidence.

When I was finished, I found Mr. Segobiano in his office, apparently finishing up with the cd's that I would need. "Thank you for your time this morning Mr. Segobiano. I'll be sure to keep in touch with you and let you know what's happening."

By the time I get back to the lab it's already 5:30. That means there's only an hour and a half left to my shift. I feel much better than I did when I came in. The headache I had is nearly gone and the only remaining nauseousness isn't from being hungover, it's from realizing that I've told a potentially embarrassing story to Warrick and then left him alone with the only person who knows other embarrassing stories about me. What the hell have I done?

Before I can find Rayn, I need to get the evidence taken care of. One trip around the building and I have the evidence in the appropriate labs. I didn't put a rush on anything but I did get an excited squeal out of Archie when I explained the video discs to him. Apparently the system that Mr. Segobiano invested in is quite pricey and very new to the market. Archie was like a kid in a candy store when I left him to do his thing.

Last on my list of work for this shift was the ever-fun paperwork. By the time I finished up, it was 8:00 a.m. damn. Shift was over an hour ago. I haven't seen or heard from Warrick or Rayn and can't decide if that's a good thing or not. I decide to make a quick stop in the break room to steal a cup of the fresh coffee I know the dayshift just made and then I'm going to go home and sleep off the remainder of my hangover.

Determined to ruin my plans for the day, I run into Ecklie of all people in the break room. I try not to talk to him, hoping that he's so engrossed in the crossword puzzle that he's doing that he doesn't notice me. No luck there.

"Heard you got stuck with the two B&E's." Ecklie says to me.

Deciding that I'm not in the mood to stick around, or play nice with this pompous ass, I simply tell him, "Yeah. Had to come in on my day off to pick up the slack from dayshift. I'm not surprised you guys don't get anything done, I mean your shift started an hour ago and all you're doing is reading the paper. Don't you have some work to do?"

Before waiting for a response, I simply walk out of the room leaving him by himself. I hardly ever come in contact with Ecklie, but that man just gets on my nerves. A quick stop at the locker room to grab my things and I'm home free for the day. Until I get outside.

There, leaning against my car are both Rayn and Warrick. Damn. I had kind of hoped that Rayn had gone off to whatever hotel she was staying at and that Warrick had just gone home or something.

"You two still here? Shift was over an hour ago Warrick. You're usually the first out the door." Casual and nonchalant, that's me. I'm not nervous at all. Nope.

"I had a better offer." Warrick smiles at me as he says this. I know that Rayn has done something that I'm not going to like, because she refuses to even look at me. One quick glance when she heard my voice and then she suddenly found her boots to be really interesting. And don't think I didn't notice that blush. She's in so much trouble.

"And what would that be?" I nearly stop breathing wondering just what the hell is going on.

"Dinner. Or breakfast if you want. But my new friend here tells me that there's all kinds of things we can talk about over a meal."

Pissed at Rayn beyond belief, I don't answer for a long time for fear that I'll end up screaming at the top of my lungs. "She does, does she? Well I don't possibly know what she's talking about it."

"Yeah I know. That's why we're going to get some food and talk about it." I don't know what happened to Warrick, but he can't seem to stop smiling at me lately. Honestly, it's kind of creepy.

"What if I don't want to?" Feeling a little like my old self, I'm determined to be as stubborn about this as possible.

"Rayn and I decided that you don't have a choice. She knows where you live, which I would like to point out that I don't, and she has threatened to camp out on your doorstep until you let us in. So it would be much easier if we just did this now." I have no doubt that Warrick is exactly right.

"Okay, okay. But I want you to know that I'm only agreeing to this so that I don't have to have the two of you living in the hallway outside my apartment. And I'm tired and want to go home. So let's try to make this quick. Lead the way." I hope Warrick catches the tone in my voice that indicates just how much I don't want to do this. But he just smiles and heads off to his car.

Rayn is still leaning against the side of my car, making no effort to move. She finally looks up at me and says, "Don't be too mad at me okay? Just listen to what he has to say and call me later."

"Wait a minute. You're not going? What the hell…" Okay now I'm getting seriously pissed.

"Listen, you two have a lot to talk about. I don't think you really want me there. Just go and call me later. I left my number next to your phone at home." I think Rayn senses my anger, because she bolts to a cab that has pulled up in front of the building. God, I'm going to kill her.

Warrick leads me to a small bar called Patricks. I can't believe I'm doing this. There are reasons I don't really hang out with the guys after work. Most of them being that I don't like to talk about myself and I get the distinct feeling that this is why we're here. Warrick nods to the bartender and leads me to a booth.

"Don't be too pissed at her okay? She's actually just looking out for you." Warrick looks at me reassuringly hoping to calm me down.

A waitress magically appears at our table with menus and water and she just as quickly disappears. Unfortunately there's not much on the menu that isn't a hamburger. For the sake of the other patrons, I hope the burgers here are good.

"Warrick, can we just get this over with? I'm not good at this." I do my best not to sound to irritated at the fact that Rayn just set me up. And not in a fun way either.

"This? What's this?" God help me he looks like he cares. I can't take to many more of these heart-to-heart talks. It took a whole bottle of rum to talk to Rayn. At least I'm in a bar. I'm silent for along time and the waitress eventually comes back. Warrick gets a burger and a coke, I order a salad and a glass of Jack on ice. No pain no gain, they say.

"This. Me here, with you, talking. About me."

"Is it just me?" Warrick almost looks hurt.

"No. You, Nick, Grissom, Greg, Catherine, hell anyone. I just don't like to talk about me." Understatement of the year. Yeah! Here comes my drink.

"Why not?"

Big drink. "Can I just say that I don't do this and leave it at that?"

"I guess we can for now. Listen, I don't want you getting totally smashed before we get to the good stuff, so why don't we start with the easy stuff. Tell me about Rayn, college, anything."

I don't usually open up to people. It's way too easy to get hurt that way. But Warrick looks like he really cares and Rayn trusted him. Okay, so I don't' really trust Rayn anymore, but what the hell. It's been a weird couple of days and I might as well roll with.

I start talking about high school and Rayn and how great everything was then. The waitress comes with our food and I order another drink. There's not much too personal that I tell, but he seems interested anyway. It's kind of nice to have someone just listen to me like this. Usually the only person I talk to like this is my therapist, and I pay her to listen.

The food is long gone and so is my second drink. I've moved on to just plain coke, in an attempt to stay sober and not go to work tonight with a hangover again. Plus, I need to be sober to drive home. Warrick learns about how Rayn left and some things about college. I leave out the parts that are personal. He notices but is polite enough not to say anything. I turn silent.

"Have you learned enough about me yet?" I know that there has to be some other reason for me to be here, but I'm tired and still a little hungry. That salad was really small.

"Yeah. For now." He smiles gently at me and reaches out to hold my hand. I get the feeling I'm about to learn something incredibly bad. "She likes you, you know?"

"Rayn. Yeah I know."

"No. Not Rayn. But she does too. I meant Catherine."

Part 6

Holy shit. I can't breathe. Holy shit. Wait, I already said that. One step at a time. Breathe. Breathe. Okay.

"What in the hell are you talking about?" There's no way he just said what I think he said. What I wanted him to say. It's just not possible. His grip on my hand tightens almost to the point of breaking. Somehow he knows that I'm about to bolt out of this booth and out of the bar.

"Warrick?" You'd think I'd be the speechless one. But nope, I'm the only one doing the talking. Warrick just sits there holding tightly onto my hand and looking right into my eyes. I freak out a little more when I realize that he's not lying. The only thing I see in his eyes is honesty and concern.

"She likes you." Three simple words said calmly as he looks right into my eyes. Three simple words that throw everything in my world off kilter.

The hand that Warrick is not holding onto quickly shoots up to flag the waitress. Warrick and I are quiet until she returns with two drinks. Both for me. Hangover be damned.

"She barely talks to me."

"But she talks to me everyday." Warrick's voice is so calm I am almost scared of it. It's the voice we use when we're the one's that deliver the bad news to family members. It's not the tone of voice anyone ever wants to hear. Especially not from someone they know.

"So why doesn't she talk to me?" My voice is cracking and it takes every ounce of control I have to talk loud enough for Warrick to even be able to hear me.

"Are you sure you don't want to ask Catherine that? This really might be something you should be talking to her about."

"But she's not here, you are. And besides, like I said, she's not talking to me. But you are, and you're the one that brought it up in the first place." Boy I hope that made sense. I take big drinks from the glass in front of me until it's empty. I know that it's not good to drink like this, especially two days in a row. If my world would just stay in one place instead of turning upside down everyday I might consider stopping. I hail the waitress and order another drink. I give her an extra five bucks to bring me a pack of cigarettes.

"There's a few things you should know about Catherine first. Lindsey is her world. She cares more about that little girl than anything else. The past few years have been hell on her. Every stupid stunt that Eddie pulled. Then when he died, she really lost it. Not for herself, but for Lindsey. That Lindsey lost her father."

"Warrick, I hate to break it to you, but I already know all this. You have no idea how pissed she was at me when I closed that case. I know what it meant to her. Do you know what it meant to me?" Despite all the alcohol, I think I'm on the verge of tears. No one knows just how much I wanted to put that guy away for murder. Probation violation what a joke, that guy killed Eddie. I just couldn't prove it.

"I think I do. But that's a talk for another time. And probably another talk you should have with Catherine. You want to know why she won't talk to you? She's scared to. She doesn't know how to apologize for the way she treated you. She's worried that no matter what she says to you, you won't forgive her."

"She thinks I won't forgive her? I can't believe she really thinks I'm that much of a bitch. Jesus." I punctuate my statement with a healthy swig of Jack and follow that up with the first of what I'm sure is going to be many cigarettes. I'll be lucky if my voice still works by tonight's shift.

Smoking is a bad habit that I once quit, then started again, then quit again. Now it's something that I do only when I'm drinking. I think it has more to do with the fact that I only drink when I'm stressed than anything else. I'm not sure how, but just the action of smoking clams my nerves; makes me a little less nervous, a little less fidgety. And if I don't do something now, I think I'm likely to have a seizure or something.

"So let's get back to the part where you tell me that Catherine likes me. As I'm sure you know by now, no thanks to my pal Rayn, that that particular statement could mean a few different things. We'll take baby steps with this so as to not cause me too much shock. Catherine likes me. So she wants to be my friend?"

This is all so juvenile. Like back in high school when boys were afraid to ask girls out, so they always had a friend do it for them. Here I am sitting with Warrick, a man I'm reasonably certain doesn't even like me, discussing the possibility of starting something with Catherine. At this point I don't even know what kind of something. The alcohol isn't necessarily making this easier to understand, but it certainly makes me feel better.

"Um. No. Yes. I…" Warrick looks stumped. I mean the question really wasn't that difficult and if he talks to Catherine the way it would seem he does than this should be the easiest question of all. "Yes."

"Okay. That's good. We kind of had this friendship thing going before, but then with Eddie's case and all…" I'm not certain how to explain what happened after Eddie's case. I thought I had it figured out; I failed, Catherine hated me, and so I avoided her. But now that doesn't seem to be the case. Hmm. I'll have to remember to think about that later. For now I'll just drink some more and watch Warrick as he struggles to explain himself.

"Sara, that's not all she wants." This is kind of fun. He looks kind of embarrassed but he kind of has this hopeful look in his eyes.

"Yeah. Spell it out for me Warrick because I'm having a hard time understanding what you're saying." Oh yeah, this is fun. I know exactly what he's saying. But my mean streak kicks in and I can't help take this opportunity to watch him struggle. It's just too entertaining. But I might be drunk, who knows.

"She um…Well she…She has more than friendly feelings for you?" Warrick says it like it's a question that I know the answer to. But I don't. I thought she hated me. Hell she barely even says hello to me. And I think she might have talked with Grissom and fixed it so that we don't work cases together anymore. But that's speculation.

"Warrick what are you asking me for? You're the man with the answers, not me. You're saying that if I were to, I don't know, ask her to do something with me, outside of work, she might agree?" Please say yes, please say yes, please say yes.

Warrick's beautiful eyes light up and a grin creeps across his face before he says, "Yes."

Hallelujah and hot damn! I am silent for a long time as I sit and contemplate all the different ways that one word has made my day. Hell, made my week, my year. My silence stretches and Warrick becomes worried again. I've really got to figure out why he's telling me and why he seems to care.

"Warrick?" At some point during our conversation he had released my hand. Now I reach out to him and grab his. If my mother were here, she would say that we were having a `moment.' "Why are you telling me this?"

It's a question born out of my desire to understand what is happening in my life. It seems to me that since yesterday the only thing I've been in control of has been crime scenes. Anything outside of work hasn't been under my control. It's been so far beyond my control that I'm not sure if it's going to come back.

Warrick and I have never really been that close. Not that I've been close with anyone at work, but our relationship has always seemed strained. Even when we put it past us to work together, it was always there. I don't blame him in the least. I'm not sure I'd be too happy about having someone investigate me not just once, but twice. He's actually reaching out to me today and I can't help but wonder why.

"Mostly I'm doing it for Catherine." Over the years I've learned a few things about Warrick. He's an outstanding CSI, dedicated to doing his job right and showing the rest of us, though mostly Grissom, that he's capable and can be counted on. He's also a horrible liar. But right now, he's not lying.

"Why?" My curious brain has more questions for him, but there's always been something between Catherine and Warrick; now might be my only chance to figure out what it is.

"Because I think you might be able to make her really happy. She sees something in you that the rest of us don't. She's tried to explain it before, but until today I never understood." His words are heartfelt and surprisingly emotional for Warrick.

"What makes today different than yesterday? Or the day before?" The way I see things if we do all the serious talking now, we can get back to the way things were a lot sooner. Though I'm pretty sure that things will never be the same with Warrick and me.

"Well, today is different from yesterday, because now I know a lot more about you. For instance, I know that when you were just a freshman, you had the stones to go after what you wanted despite what anyone else thought. That's a young age to make a decision like that. And, according to Rayn, you were together for the next four years. So you're not afraid of commitment either." Warrick notices that I'm about to say something and he holds his hand up briefly to wave off any response I might have made.

"Not to worry, your secret is safe with me. I won't tell anyone." The relief has to be visible on my face, because he gives my hand a reassuring squeeze before letting it go. "Yesterday was different from the day before because that was the day that I learned you'd be open to the idea of dating Catherine. Okay, so she was a little pissed when she saw you making out with Rayn right there in the hallway, but I bet by the time you see her tonight she'll be past that. Though you might want to find the time to explain things to her. I just want her to be happy. Not the kind of happy she is as we see her, but the kind of happy she wants to be."

There seems to be something painful about the way he says this to me, and I can't help but feel an overwhelming sadness for him. I don't know a lot about his relationship with Catherine, and right now I understand that he's not ready to talk about this. But today has changed my view of Warrick, and I'm beginning to think that there will be time to talk about this later.

Having had enough of emotional talks to last a lifetime, I try to think of a way to lighten the conversation. By now I've had enough alcohol that the thinking process is considerably slowed and it takes me a minute. "Hey. You know how you said earlier that you don't know where I live? Want to find out?"

Warrick looks at me all confused. "C'mon Warrick, I'm too drunk to drive home and all this talking has worn me out."

Warrick simply nods his head. We settle the tab and head out of the bar.

Part 7

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