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10 March 2008 @ 09:14 pm
Fanning the Flame [CSI; Grissom/Catherine]  
TITLE: Fanning the Flame
FANDOM: CSI
PAIRING: Grissom/Catherine
SPOILERS: "Play With Fire" (3x22)
RATING: PG
SUMMARY:


*****

"Was that all?" Gil questioned as he rose to his feet, heading to the door, where Sara Sidle was currently standing post. She'd just updated him on their now-closed case, telling him they'd caught the second suspect in the Alison Carpenter murder.

He wanted more than anything to just brush past the young woman and head to his Denali... head home to his townhouse so he could call Catherine and make sure she was okay. He still hadn't been able to catch her after she'd stormed out of A.D. Cavallo's office earlier that day.

Sara's soft voice broke through his thoughts. "Would you like to have dinner with me?"

He froze. How many times had she thrown herself at him? He began to count the instances. There was one in which she asked him to sleep with her... another in which she asked him to take a walk with her. A few times she'd asked him to breakfast, under the guise that some of the other CSIs would be going with as well, but he didn't fall for it. He knew of her intentions, and he knew he couldn't give her what she wanted. He couldn't be in love with her.

"No," he finally replied, drawing the word out almost in question, as if asking why she was still pushing for this.

"Come on. Let's just go to dinner, and see what happens."

He sighed. She just wouldn't give up. "Sara..." He shook his head. Perhaps if he told her who he really cared for, she would back off. But a part of him knew that not only would that be unethical and possibly put his career in jeopardy... but that it also wouldn't stop her. Would he have to yell at her to get it through her thick skull? "I don't know what to do about this."

"I do," she replied, her voice low and insistent.

Oh no, he thought, inwardly groaning. She's going to try to kiss me, isn't she? But before he could process a move to counter-act whatever advance she was about to make, a movement in the corner of his eye caught his attention, and mere seconds later his strawberry-blonde deity was in the doorway, unknowingly rescuing him. "Gil..." she whispered.

Disregarding Sara rolling her eyes at the interruption, he furrowed his brow, tears on Catherine's cheeks catching in the light from his office. "Cath?"

"I'm sorry to interrupt," she murmured shakily, receiving a disapproving grunt from Sara... "But I just... I--" Emotion began to consume her, tears escaping through the corners of her eyelids... alarming Gil.

"Cath, c'mere," he whispered, reaching out for her hand.

Sara shifted her weight, growing impatient... not only at Grissom's lack of a reply to her last comment... but at his annoying devotion to Catherine Willows, as well. "Grissom," she huffed.

He held up a finger. "Just a minute, Sara," he murmured, his eyes seeing only Catherine. He took a seat on the edge of his desk, one leg dangling over the edge while one remained bracing him on the floor. Tugging gently on Catherine's hand, he pulled her closer, stopping when she was standing just between his knees. "What happened?" he asked her gently, still grasping her hand in his as his other wiped her tears. "Why are you crying?"

"I went to see Greg in the hospital," she whimpered, eyes still brimming over with unshed tears. "I told him what happened to the lab. I told him it was me who... who--" Her voice left her once more as she burst into silent sobs, her slender shoulders shaking.

Without a second thought... not caring whether Sara or the entire world was standing in the doorway watching, he pulled the strawberry-blonde against him, gliding a hand through her hair while the other wound around her waist... holding her tight as she wept into his neck. "Cath... shh, sshh," he whispered.

Sara let out another loud huff, nausea brewing in the pit of her stomach as she watched the display between her supervisor, and the one woman who embodied everything she hated, yet everything she wanted to be. How this woman succeeded in winning the heart of the one man Sara wanted, she was dying to know. What was it Catherine had that she didn't? Sure, she was drop dead gorgeous, had the body of a twenty-six-year-old, and the brains of an M.I.T. valedictorian, but what else was there? What was it about Catherine that had Grissom spellbound?

His heart-fluttering, tenor voice drew her out of her reverie as he enquired of Catherine, "What did he say? Was he upset?"

"No," she cried softly, a portion of his shirt balled in her fist as she clung to him.

Sara had to fight from stepping forward and wrenching Grissom's shirt out of the strawberry-blonde's grasp. And then... as the topic of their conversation began to sink in... it dawned on her, and her voice became laced with venom. "You blew up the lab?"

"Sara..." he warned.

She raised a hand defiantly to halt any admonishing words on their way out of his mouth, and took a step into the room. "YOU blew up the lab?! I don't believe this!"

"Sara, I..." Catherine's voice was weak, already clogged with remorse, her face saturated with tears.

"No, don't even try to apologize, Catherine. Greg and I could've been killed!"

"Stop it, Sara," Grissom warned her again, his voice a low growl as his eyes remained intently focused on Catherine.

"No!" she spat back, not caring how childish she sounded. She planted her fists on her slim hips. "Y'know, this just figures!"

"Sara!" Grissom's release on the strawberry blonde didn't relent as the fiery brunette continued her tirade... it merely incited him to pull Catherine closer, her soft cries steadily increasing in volume, morphing into sobs.

"Sara, I really am sorry. I really am. It wasn't intentional-"

"Oh, like hell it wasn't!"

"ENOUGH!" Grissom roared, his eyes blue flames as he stared the young CSI down... silently daring her to defy him one more time. "Sara, I want you to leave my office, right now! You're extremely out of line."

"No way, Grissom! She--"

"She has done nothing wrong Sara, whether you believe it or not! The incident in the lab was unintentional. And, if anything, whoever left the hot plate on is at fault, here. Not Catherine." His eyes bored into her. "Now I suggest you turn around and exit my office quickly. You wouldn't like having a suspension on your record for insubordination."

Sara met her supervisor's eyes, giving every last ounce of a challenge she had in her. Finally, upon seeing him turn back to the strawberry blonde still standing between his knees... and reaching out to wipe at her steadily-flowing tears, Sara's eyes narrowed to thin slats. She let out her breath in a huff. "Fine," and then turned tail and exited the office... slamming the door behind her.

Once the office had been engulfed in silence, Grissom pulled Catherine against him, his arms snaking tight around her waist... one soon wandering slowly up her back to wind through her hair again. "Cath..."

"God Gil, they hate me!"

He shook his head vehemently against her, his heart breaking at the agony in her voice. "No they don't, Cath. Sara's just upset. She'll get over it." He pulled back briefly. "'This too shall pass.'"

Even through her emotional state, Catherine rolled her eyes. "Oh would you stop the quotes, Grissom?"

He inwardly smiled at her ire, but outwardly he winced slightly. "Okay, I know that was probably a bad time, but there's no need to 'Grissom' me for it."

"Sorry, I just... I'm so..."

He nodded in understanding, pulling her once more to his chest, one hand settling on the small of her back while the digits of his other twined abstract patterns in her hair. "I know, I know. I think you're worrying too much about this, Cath. The kids do not hate you. Greg, for sure, doesn't. I'm sure he understands."

"And Sara?" She moved her head slightly to look up at him with wide, aqua eyes.

"Sara..." he sighed, shaking his head. "She'll come around, Cath, trust me. I have no doubt that she'll be upset about this for awhile, but eventually she'll just give up and get over it."

"Really..." Catherine muttered, tears slowly drying as a sudden anger toward the young brunette began to settle in. "She hasn't given up on you, yet."

At this comment, Gil pulled back with a furrowed brow, glancing questioningly at his goddess. "What?"

Another roll of the eyes emanated from her, followed by a dry, "Oh please, Gil. Everyone at the lab has noticed her pining after you. You can't tell me your astute observational skills haven't clued you in to that as well."

"Yes, but..." He finished drying the leftover tears already beginning to soak into her cheeks. "I didn't realize everyone else had noticed."

She pinned him with what he could only describe as a pure 'Catherine' look. "Gil... the napkins in the breakroom noticed."

At this, he couldn't help but chuckle, shaking his head. "I suppose she's been a little less than subtle." He sighed, a slight smile still remaining as his eyes traced her face. "But nothing's going to happen between Sara and I."

She nodded. "I know that. You have more integrity than that."

"Not just for that reason..."

"You're not attracted to her?"

"Not in the way she wants me to be."

His eyes and lips smiled the truth back at her; and she burst into a full dazzling grin, lightening her formerly stressed and saddened features. "Good thing she's not here to see you smiling. That'd be heartbreaking." She paused for a moment thoughtfully, then started toward the door. "Actually, lemme go get her..."

His hand grabbing her elbow pulled her back, his affectionate gaze stopping any other wry comments on their way out of her mouth. "Cath."

She smiled, almost fully immersed in a trance from the affectionate look on his face. "Hmm?"

He paused, as if gathering courage to make some grand gesture or comment, then leaned close. "I'm not attracted to Sara... because I have an affinity for strawberry-blondes." And with that, he released her, rising from his spot perched on the desk to give her a Puckish smile and head to the door.

Catherine stood cemented in her spot, staring slack-jawed at the door before her brain finally caught up with her, and she too headed for the door. "Hey, wait!"

She startled when she found him waiting just a few feet outside his office door, still smiling that gorgeous, close-lipped smile. "Yes, Catherine?"

She halted inches from him while he leaned against the wall, staring, amazed, into his eyes at the first leap he'd taken in the past eighteen years of their relationship. Finally, she found her voice, meek as it was. "Make me breakfast?"

His smile became a little brighter at the shy inquiry from the normally confident strawberry-blonde. "I was just thinking about what to make for you. Come on." He gestured toward the exit, gallantly allowing her to move first... and when she did, he settled his hand on the small of her back, guiding her way.

She turned back to grin at him, asking in a low voice, "My place or yours?"

"Mine," he replied with a chuckle, checking discretely for prying eyes and ears before reaching out to grab her hand while they neared the exit. "Knowing how often you cook, I'm sure I wouldn't find more than spoiled milk and old pickle juice in your fridge."

She narrowed her eyes at him. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, Emeril." As they headed out, they missed one pair of chocolate eyes trained on their retreat, coffee being sputtered out at the exchange she'd just witnessed.


FIN