DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Taking a Chance
By Ann


"Warrick, can you drop off this sample at DNA for me?" Catherine held out the sample in question for the investigator to take.

"Sure, Cath, no problem. You got something else you're going to check out?"

Frowning, Catherine replied, "Huh? Oh no, not really. It's just that I don't want to run into Wendy."

"Wendy? Good looking Wendy Simms? Why are you avoiding her? She's hot. I tell you what, if I wasn't married, I'd definitely ask her out," Warrick replied, nodding his head up and down in confirmation of his assessment.

Catherine looked away and muttered, "You wouldn't have a prayer."

Not hearing her words, Warrick opened his mouth to ask Catherine to repeat her comment, but Nick walked up interrupting his question. "Hey Warrick, Grissom said for you to ride with me over to a crime scene at the Bellagio. He said Catherine could take care of the lab reports."

Handing the sample back to Catherine, Warrick apologized, "Sorry, Cath. I'll check back with you later on the results." He and Nick walked down the corridor leaving Catherine in the hallway holding the evidence.

Turning, Catherine made her way to the DNA lab, talking under her breath. "Okay, Catherine. You can do this. So what if she made a pass at you? You have to maintain your professionalism; you can't give into your desires. You can do this; just don't look in her eyes."

Catherine walked into the lab internally continuing with her pep talk as well as listing reasons why it was a bad idea to date Wendy. She was standing in the middle of the empty room before she realized Wendy wasn't even there. Looking around the lab, Catherine found herself disappointed at not seeing the attractive young woman.

Placing the container on the nearest lab table, Catherine took a seat on a nearby stool, and putting her elbow on the table; she leaned her head on her hand and pinched the bridge of her nose.

Seconds later, she almost jumped out of her skin when a hand lightly touched her shoulder accompanied by the voice of the woman she'd been avoiding as of late.

"Catherine? Are you okay?" Wendy asked worriedly, lightly rubbing circles on the older woman's shoulder.

Catherine made the mistake of turning toward the voice and was immediately lost in the beautiful doe eyes of the DNA specialist. All her earlier warnings flew out the window as her lips betrayed her by smiling, and her heart literally skipped a beat when Wendy smiled back.

The two women continued to look at each other longingly as the soft glow of the fluorescent light provided the perfect backdrop. As Catherine reached up to touch Wendy's face, Sara walked into the lab with her head down, fully concentrating on the file in her hand.

"Hey, Wendy. Do you have my results yet?" The dark headed investigator asked, finally glancing up to see Catherine sitting on a stool and Wendy standing a few feet away.

Moving toward a side table, Wendy replied, "Yes, they've just finished. Give me a minute to print them out for you."

Catherine closed her eyes and chastised herself for being so careless. 'Great, Catherine. A couple of seconds later and Sara could have walked in to find you caressing Wendy's face. How in the hell would you have explained that? Um, Wendy is using a new moisturizer, and I was admiring how soft her face was? Ugh…face it, Catherine. It'll never work. You're too old and jaded for Wendy, not to mention scared shitless of what the others will think.'

Opening her eyes, she found Wendy once again beside her, and there was no sign of Sara. "Catherine, I'm worried about you. I'm off shift in an hour, so why don't you let me take you home? I'll call Mr. Grissom and let him know you're not feeling well," Wendy offered as she reached out and took Catherine's hand.

Catherine stared down at their joined hands and shook her head sadly, "I'm okay, Wendy. I'm just a little tired. Thanks for the offer, though. Now, I've got a sperm sample that needs your attention. Do you think you could run it before your shift change?"

Squeezing Catherine's hand, Wendy smiled and replied, "Sure, I'll get right on it." She released the older woman's hand and reached for the evidence. Walking over to a set of machines, she began to process the sample.

Catherine watched Wendy for a few minutes before standing and walking away. Heading for her office, she realized that she truly was tired, both mentally and physically. She opened the office door and walked directly to the couch to lie down. The results wouldn't be ready for at least a half an hour so she had time to rest; everything else could just wait.

She awakened later to a buzzing sound and turned to find her pager sitting on a nearby table. Reaching over to retrieve it, she also noticed that someone had placed a blanket over her. Frowning, she sat up and lifted the pager up to read her messages when she suddenly caught sight of the time stamp.

"What?" Catherine threw the blanket to the side and stomped from the room looking for Warrick, and for his sake, it would be best if Catherine never found him.

Finding the object of her search in the break room, Catherine headed straight for him with fire in her eyes. "Warrick! What the hell is going on?"

Looking up from his magazine, Warrick lazily replied, "Oh, hey Cath. How're you doing?"

Placing her hands on her hips and widening her stance, Catherine gave him one of her force ten glares. "Why did you put my pager on the table? I never heard the damn thing. That's why I wear it on my belt, so I can feel the vibration. Why didn't you wake me when the results came in?"

"Whoa, whoa. I didn't take your pager off your belt; I never even went into your office. I just peeked in on you to see if you were okay. I ran into Wendy, and she told me you weren't feeling well. She gave me the results from the sperm sample, and I called Brass. There's an APB out on the suspect, but they haven't found him yet. I would've come to get you if we had him," Warrick explained, trying to calm the irate woman.

Expelling a breath, Catherine took a seat next to her friend. She leaned over, put her elbows on her knees, and looked down at the floor. "I'm sorry, Warrick. I guess I'm not up to par after all."

Patting her back, Warrick asked, "What's going on, Cath? What's got you so off balance?"

Catherine laughed and replied, "I just feel old, Warrick, and I truly hate that feeling."

"C'mon, Cath. You're not old. You look like a million dollars, and you can outlast all of us. What's really going on?"

Glancing around the empty room, Catherine whispered, "I found someone I'm attracted to, only …um, *she's* much younger." Expecting her friend to be shocked and disgusted by the gender of her attraction, Catherine turned to find a smiling Warrick.

"It's Wendy, huh?" Warrick asked, chuckling.

"Damn it, Warrick. This isn't funny. For the first time in my life, I'm unsure of myself, and I think I hate that feeling more than feeling old," Catherine replied. Sitting back against the couch, she rested her head against the back and looked up at the ceiling. "What am I going to do?"

"You're going to march down to the DNA lab and ask the woman to breakfast. It's time you put your fears aside and took a chance on happiness," Warrick ordered in a tone that brokered no argument.

Sighing, Catherine replied, "Wendy's already gone. She went off shift hours ago."

Warrick smiled broadly and said, "No, she's not. She's waiting around to see if you need a ride home."

Catherine rotated her head toward her friend, clearly shocked at the news. "You're kidding, right? Why would she do that?"

Placing his hand on top of Catherine's, Warrick replied, "She cares about you, Catherine. Who do you think took off your pager and put that blanket on you?"

A grin formed Catherine's face until it eventually progressed into a full-blown smile. Standing, she looked down at her old friend and said, "Tell Grissom I've gone home." She then turned and walked from the room like the Catherine of old.

Warrick watched her leave and grinned. "Atta girl, Cath."

Stepping into the lab, Catherine experienced a sense of déjà vu, only this time, she knew Wendy was nearby. She walked over and purposely sat on the same stool from earlier to wait for the young woman to return. This time when Wendy spotted Catherine, there was no doubt in her mind that the redheaded investigator was feeling much better, especially with the bright smile the older woman was displaying.

"Catherine, it's good to see that you're doing better. Do you have another sample you need me to run?" Wendy asked, silently hoping the visit was more personal in nature.

"I thought your shift ended earlier. What are you still doing here?" Catherine asked in a teasing voice, and rising from the stool, she stepped confidently toward the lab specialist.

Surprised, but pleased by Catherine's tone, Wendy replied, "I thought I'd see if you needed a ride home." Waiting for a response, she silently tracked the other woman's progress until she stopped just inches away.

"Well, I don't," Catherine answered, watching the younger woman's face change to obvious disappointment. Taking Wendy's hand, she quickly added, "But I thought we could go get some breakfast."

Wendy looked down just as Catherine squeezed her hand. Glancing back up into shining blue eyes, she smiled and replied, "I'd like that, Catherine."

Together, the two women walked from the lab and headed for the parking lot, both pleased that Catherine had finally decided to take a chance.

The End

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