DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Lab Rats
Sweet as Candy
Wendy printed out the DNA results on Nick's latest case. She scanned them quickly as she walked down the hallway. She had intended to search him out, but he saved her the trouble when he ran into her in the hallway. After he had thanked her he walked in the other direction, face studying the paper in front of him as he went. Wendy mentally crossed that off her list of things to do, suddenly realizing that was her last task since there was currently no more evidence for her to run.
Taking advantage of the break she headed into the staff room for some much needed caffeine. She found Catherine inside, glaring at the slow drip of coffee into the pot. The older woman barely glanced up when Wendy walked in the room, but quickly looked up a second time when she realized who had just come into her space. She gave a sliver of a smile before resuming her cross stare at the inanimate object. "Too slow," she muttered.
Wendy smiled, noting the tired face of the CSI. "Tough case," she surmised.
Catherine sighed before turning away from the offending machine and nodding. "Yeah, it was supposed to be a simple B&E, but it's turning out to be a little more complicated than that." Wendy nodded, wanting to ask more but she kept quiet instead. Catherine started putting her creamer into her coffee mug so she could be ready to drink the second the pot was done filling.
"You know, I heard about the murder mystery game you guys played with Hodges."
Wendy blushed a little and looked away, "Yeah well, you know. Slow day." She looked back questioningly, "How'd you find out about it?"
"Grissom told me," the other woman replied. She noted the slightly embarrassed look the dark haired woman sported and continued. "It sounded like fun. I heard you did well actually."
"Did Grissom tell you that too?" Wendy asked confused.
It was Catherine's turn to become a little flustered, but she didn't show it. "No, I um I asked around. Just to see how everyone did," she justified.
"Oh," Wendy said, thrilled that the experienced CSI had heard good things about her. She really did plan on taking the field test and hoped to work with someone as skilled as Catherine. Not to mention since day one she had sought the woman's approval; making sure she was on top of her game when the woman was around, running her evidence first when possible and trying to be available whenever she needed a sounding board for a case.
The two women fell silent and the gurgling of the coffee machine broke the slight tension. Catherine eagerly went for it, but filled Wendy's cup up first before her own. The brunette smiled and desperately racked her brain for a reason not to leave. Twiddling her thumbs in the lab didn't sound appealing. Neither did having Hodges hovering around her like he was doing more frequently. Catherine solved the dilemma for her.
"Hey, are you busy now?" she asked. When the other woman rapidly shook her head she smiled. "Wanna help me figure this out?" she questioned and nodded her head towards her office where she was working.
Wendy tried to not look like an eager puppy when she agreed, but wasn't sure she had succeeded. She was eager to work on a case with Catherine and admitted to herself that even if she had had a mountain of evidence to run, she probably would have given Catherine the same answer. She followed the woman the short distance to her office and sat in the comfy chair across from her. "What have we got?" she asked.
Catherine took a drink of her coffee before opening up the case notes for Wendy to see. While the lab tech looked at them she shared the details out loud. Mrs. Senders reported a burglary occurred at her house Tuesday afternoon. In her statement she said she had gone down the street to visit a neighbor and while she was gone someone broke in and stole some money and most of her jewelry. The husband was at work, his alibi checked out.
"Wait a second," Wendy interrupted. "That's not all they took." And she looked up with a perplexed look.
Catherine smiled, "Yeah that's where it starts to get weird."
"Mrs. Senders reported fifty rubber ducks missing too?" Catherine nodded, amused at the look on Wendy's face. "First off, why would anyone have fifty rubber ducks? That's strange in and of itself. Secondly,"
"Why would anyone steal fifty rubber duckies," Catherine finished for her. "Welcome to my nightmare."
Wendy shook her head with a grin, "I'm going to need more coffee, aren't I."
The other woman chuckled. "Well I can help with one question. They had the ducks for the Annual Las Vegas Fireman's Charity Duck Float."
Wendy raised an eyebrow. "A duck float?"
"Yeah, people buy rubber ducks and the money goes to the charity. Then everyone brings them to the river and puts them in. It's like a big sea of ducks. It's crazy," she informed.
"Okay. Well that explains one thing. But still leaves us with why someone would take them. Somehow I don't think it was so they would have more ducks than the competition."
"Right," Catherine agreed. "And you know, when I talked to Mr. Senders he was acting normal until I touched on the duck subject and then he got a little weird."
"How so?" Wendy asked.
"At first he was surprised. Apparently he hadn't known his wife had reported them as missing. Then he got really adamant that they weren't important and they could always get more. Like he really wanted me to forget about them."
Wendy laughed. "It's a kinda hard to get that many ducks off the brain." Catherine laughed too and Wendy thrilled at the sound while she returned to looking at the file in her hands.
"Hmm. No unknown fingerprints. But there was also no sign of forced entry. Did they have an explanation for that?"
The other woman nodded. "All the prints belonged to the owners and the rest to some of the neighbors. They had a party the Saturday before."
"And there's no chance one of them might have done it?" Wendy asked skeptically.
Catherine shrugged. "We interviewed all of them, even though both the Senders insisted none of them would have done it. They all had alibis except for their immediate neighbor " She rummaged through some papers and put the glasses that had previously been on her desk on once she found what she was looking for. "Mr. Philips. He lives alone and said he was at home at the time of the break in, but both the Senders claimed they have known him for years and he's a dear friend. They swore he didn't do it and with the cover of the party we have no other evidence to suspect him."
Wendy leaned back into her chair, her legs coming up underneath her and Catherine barely held back a smile at the adorable picture. The lab tech was concentrating; Catherine could see the wheels turning in her head. She got so caught up in studying the woman that she missed her question the first time around. "What?" she asked distractedly.
The brunette allowed herself an inward smirk before asking again, "What's this about a dead cat?"
The other woman nodded. "When we got there I saw there was a dead cat in their back yard. When I asked about it Mrs. Senders said it was their cat and she had found him dead a few hours before. That's why she was at the neighbors, seeking comfort apparently."
Frowning, Wendy murmured, "Poor kitty. What did he die from?"
Again Catherine shrugged. "They weren't sure. Mrs. Senders said he was relatively young and had been with them since before they moved to the neighborhood." Scanning the document in front of her she continued, "She stated that she had given him a new toy to play with and about an hour later came outside and found him dead. No outward signs of trauma."
"What was the toy?" Wendy wondered aloud and as she said it Catherine was already scanning her notes.
"I'm not sure," she said finally. "Could be significant," she added and Wendy nodded. "I'll give them a call and see if she remembers."
Across the desk Wendy stood and stretched and the phone paused on its way to Catherine's ear as she admired the small strip of skin that appeared as she did so. "I'll go get us some more," she said and grabbed the empty mug off Catherine's desk, winking as she left.
Catherine's eyes followed her out the door and she sighed as the phone rang in her ear.
In the break room Wendy was smiling as she poured two mugs of coffee. Unfortunately for her, David Hodges was in the vicinity and once he saw the mega watt smile she wore came swooping into the room. "What do you know?" he asked suspiciously.
She glared as she poured one creamer into Catherine's and two into hers. "Nothing," she replied evasively.
Noting the presence of an extra cup he asked, "Who's that for?"
Knowing that ignoring him was like ignoring a three year old she rolled her eyes. "No one." She picked the mugs up and headed back to Catherine's office, knowing when this was over she would have to field a hundred and one questions from the nosy tech, but decided she couldn't wait around 'til he left. At least Catherine wouldn't let him bother them once she was inside the safety of the office.
He followed her and when she walked inside she set a mug by Catherine again, who grinned when she tasted it and realized she had put in the right amount of creamer. They locked eyes for a moment and might have gotten lost there had Hodges not cleared his throat from where he stood in the doorway.
Wendy swiveled with a glare, but it was Catherine's pointed look and accompanying, "Can we help you?" that made him blanch. Noting the use of the word 'we' he hesitated. He had thought maybe Wendy was just getting the CSI some coffee to gain brownie points, but it appeared she was working something with Catherine and his curiosity piqued.
He cleared his throat again, admittedly uncomfortable at the looks he was receiving, but thought the potential of getting in on the case was worth it. "I was going to offer my expertise in the case you're working on."
The DNA tech rolled her eyes and Catherine had the grace to only look amused for a second before saying thanks, but no thanks. He faltered for a second, then pointed at Wendy. "But she's helping!"
That was the last straw for Wendy who did not appreciate him talking to Catherine like that. She strode over to the door and smiled sweetly. "That's because I'm a good girl who gets my work done. Not to mention I have no ulterior motives here." With that she shut the door in his face and turned back to the other woman who was eyeing her contemplatively. "What?" she asked.
"Nothing," Catherine with a smirk. "I just wouldn't have pegged you as a good girl."
A flush rose to her face, but Wendy recovered as she sat down in her chair. "Well I have to keep up pretenses when I'm at work, don't I."
The flirty tone she used made Catherine bite her lip, but she batted back with, "So what you're saying is you aren't a good girl when you're off the clock huh. That's more of what I pictured."
The boundaries they were playing with were dangerous, but Wendy had never been one to forfeit a game. She added an edge to her coy tone, "You pictured me being a bad girl in my free time?" She hadn't seen Catherine speechless before and resolved to work on her comebacks so she could see it more often. The other woman's mouth parted and she looked away before focusing on her coffee that she hoped would cover the blush on her face.
Wendy noted her discomfort and lightened her tone. "Well, sorry to say you would be mostly disappointed."
Catherine looked at her sharply, coffee forgotten. "Would I be?" she asked and the question sent a thrill through both of them. All words had been evacuated from Wendy's brain as she tried to come up with some form of answer to the question that seemed to have made her mute. Luckily or unluckily as fate may have it the knock on Catherine's door stalled any response she might have had.
"Come in," Catherine called, unsure whether to be relieved or annoyed. Grissom poked his head in and looked from woman to woman. Eventually he explained that Hodges had complained that Catherine was using her authority to pull Wendy away from her work to help her on a case.
Catherine gave him a pointed look. "And you honestly think he was telling the truth?"
He shook his head. "No. But I had to make it look like I was listening for propriety's sake, right?"
"Whatever," she replied. "Well I did steal her, but all her work is done boss. So you can report that back if you like."
Wendy held up two fingers, "Scouts honor."
Smiling in response he said, "I really wasn't worried, just wanted to pacify him so I could get back to work. Continue," he said and shut the door.
Catherine brought one hand up to massage her temple and Wendy laughed. "Kinda makes you want to work from home, huh."
The CSI laughed and agreed. "Speaking of work, you'll never guess what Mrs. Senders had to say."
Sitting up Wendy was immediately focused on the case again and eager for the information. "What?"
"She said she had given Jingles " she paused, "That was the cat's name." Wendy waved her on impatiently and she smiled. "Okay, so she said she had actually given the cat a rubber duck to play with."
Watching as the information was processed by the lab tech she answered what she knew was going to be her next question before she could ask it. "No, we didn't find the cat's duck. But then again we weren't looking for it either."
Wendy looked at her with a smile. "You'll let me know what you find?" Just then her pager beeped which meant she had new evidence to process. She stood regretfully, but Catherine's next words erased that.
"I'll keep you in the loop," she promised. "This is bound to be interesting." Her eyes sparkled, partly because she was anxious to find this duck and partly because of the grin Wendy had given her before she left.
Three hours later and Wendy had finished with the first set of evidence she had to run, but was now immersed in running more from Nick's case. It was hard to keep from looking to the hallway, just to see when Catherine got back and she told herself it was because she wanted to know what the CSI found at the scene, not any other reason. But she was unable to forget the way she had reacted to the flirtation between them earlier and that was making it difficult to believe herself.
Two hours later and it was the end of her shift. She was stalling, cleaning up things that weren't hers to clean and looking to help anyone except Hodges who had eventually stopped asking her questions after two hours or so.
She was currently organizing the contents of the small fridge in her lab which purposely put her back to the door. She was tired of not seeing who she wanted to see walk by. Telling herself this would be the last unnecessary task she would do before leaving she took it on slowly, methodically rearranging things in no particular way.
Catherine walked into the lab in a rush hoping Wendy hadn't left already, but stopped short when she saw the woman muttering to herself while rummaging around in the fridge. She took the opportune moment to observe her; the adorable messy bun, her silky blouse that Catherine knew would be soft to the touch, and the jeans that so should not be deemed work appropriate. She knew she was about to get carried away so she let her presence be known.
"Hey, you're still here."
Wendy whirled around, almost breaking the jar in her hands. She laughed self consciously before putting it in the safety of the refrigerator. "Yeah, I was just " she gestured vaguely and changed the subject. "So what did you find?" she asked eagerly.
The CSI walked into the lab coming to stand by the table with her. "It was the neighbor," she divulged.
"Mr. Phillips? How did you figure that out?"
Catherine smiled and pulled up a stool. "We found Jingles' rubber duck torn up in his yard. And inside of it was " She paused for dramatic effect, loving the exasperated way Wendy stomped her foot. "Cocaine," she finished, watching the woman's eyes get bigger. "The cat overdosed. Who would have thought?"
"Turns out Mr. Senders and he were in on it together. Senders filled the ducks with the coke. He was going to mark them and take them to the charity float where another dealer was going to wait downstream and catch them. He got cold feet though and enlisted Philips' help. They set up the burglar scheme, never figuring the wife would realize they were missing."
"So you brought him in and he spilled?"
The woman nodded, "Yeah. Brass gave him a deal and he squealed. So case solved."
"Hopefully they get them on animal cruelty too or something," Wendy added as an afterthought and Catherine chuckled.
"I'll see what we can do."
They shared a smile and Wendy thought it looked like the other woman wanted to say something more, but she didn't so she spoke up instead. "Thanks for letting me help you."
Catherine stood and looked puzzled. "Letting you? I asked you and I'm grateful you agreed. You led me to the cat which led us to the drugs." She smiled, "You're going to do great on your field test."
Wendy beamed. "Yeah?" she said.
The CSI nodded, but looked thoughtful. "Definitely. Although it's going to be a little distracting having you around more often."
Frowning Wendy was about to ask why, but then Catherine closed the distance between them and after a searching look, leaned in and kissed her softly. The younger woman barely had enough time to close her eyes before the kiss was over, but she kept them closed until she heard Catherine ask, "Did that answer your question?"
Opening her eyes she smiled at the woman who was desperately hoping she hadn't just done something she would get written up for sexual harassment for. "I think so " she hedged and hid a smile at the knowing look Catherine wore.
"Well let me try words then so I'm perfectly clear," Catherine said. "I'm really going to enjoy having you around me more, but it's going to be distracting because I'm going to want to do this to you all the time." She stepped closer, forcing Wendy to hit the back of the counter with a soft gasp and this time the kiss was harder and needier from both of them. When they separated both were breathing heavily and Wendy thought she would need to stand on the other side of the room in order for this newfound sense of vertigo to dissipate but she couldn't make her legs move.
Instead she laced their hands together, squeezing them when she saw the smile it produced from the woman she'd been intoxicated by from day one. "Well Ms. Willows, you'll have to find a way to refrain from indulging in your distractions because I'm good at work, remember?" she winked.
The woman pouted, but then replied, "That just means you'll have lots of pent up feelings to work out when we aren't here."
This elicited a groan from Wendy and she leaned back into Catherine, saying in a low voice, "Could we be not here very soon?" Catherine had no chance to agree however before she found her lips were busy with Wendy instead. The brunette traced her lips with her tongue and she automatically opened her mouth against hers. Her hands started wandering down to her stomach, but when they hit the barrier of Wendy's white lab coat she remembered where they were and stepped back.
"No fair," she said. "I thought you were good at work."
Wendy grinned wickedly. "Technically I'm off the clock."
Catherine muttered something about still being in the workplace so the technicality shouldn't count, but then she stopped herself. "I really shouldn't be arguing this," she realized.
The DNA tech grinned. "No you shouldn't, but it's fun watching you try." She looked hesitant, "What do you say I take you out for breakfast and you can continue your argument on the way?"
Catherine pretended to think about it which made the other woman regret asking until she realized she was kidding. Slapping her arm she said, "Come on, lets get me out of the workplace." And she was correct in the assumption this would hurry Catherine along.
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