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10 March 2008 @ 10:10 pm
Icing [CSI; Grissom/Catherine]  
TITLE: Icing
FANDOM: CSI
PAIRING: Grissom/Catherine
SPOILERS: None
RATING: G
SUMMARY:


*****

Cotton over cotton, criss-cross, pull each one behind the hooks and tighten until it hurts. Repeat. Once at the top, make a knot, make a bow, tighten and be done with it. One down, one to go.

“Gil, hurry up!”

Cerulean and aqua meet, one colored with amusement, the other with annoyance. “I’m almost done, Cath,” he assures in his rich tenor, putting the finishing touches on the second bow. “I’m not the one hell-bent on doing this, anyway.”

An antsy bounce, up-down, up-down is his answer. He tries to ignore the motion happening near her chest as she executes this childish move but fails. “Very mature,” he mutters.

“And you sneaking a peek at my goodies is the epitome of maturity?” she shoots back, ever the observational one.

He can’t help but smile up at her in response, busted. “Do you wanna do this or not?” he enquires, attempting to sound threatening but failing miserably at that, as well. No use sounding threatening when there’s a smile ten miles wide negating you.

“Yes, I’ve been waiting forever to do this. Let’s get to it!” she exclaims, and bounces anxiously again, her following sly grin alerting him to the fact that that one was just for him.

He rolls his eyes. “Fine. Let’s do this and be quick about it.”

Her mouth forms an ‘ooh’ as she grins devilishly at him, taking his hand to pull him up as she sighs mock-wistfully, “So romantic, Gil.”

He mutters something that sounds a lot like, “Yeah, yeah,” before allowing her to pull him to his feet. Immediately he wobbles, gripping her hands tighter as he fights for equilibrium. “It feels like I’m on stilts,” he complains, a vertical line creasing between his brows as he scowls in the direction of his feet.

Now it’s her turn to roll her eyes. “Well, you are walking on two blades.”

He nods and grunts a response, then allows her to lead him out of the locker room, a cold rush of air hitting him as she does so. He immediately sets eyes on crowds of people all moving in one uniform direction, his scientific eye already calculating the centripetal force acting on each one as they move round and round, gliding, sliding, and spinning.

“I’m not going to remember how to do this, Cath,” he warns as she leads him closer and closer to the ice.

“Sure you will,” she assures him, tossing him a dazzling smile as if that could encourage him further. “It’s sorta like riding a bike.”

He shakes his head. “This is nothing like riding a bike, Catherine. A bicycle is a two-wheeled form of transportation, hence the name, that is typically used on pavement -- not ice. There are handlebars to hang on to, versus just air in this case. There are pedals, brakes and gears to guide your motion, not the slickness of an icy surface. And while riding a bicycle, I never remembered having two sharp blades poking out of my shoes.”

A grin twitches at the left corner of her lips, half of her pearly white teeth visible. “Only you could turn a simple expression into a scientific dissertation.” She tugs at his hand, beckoning him onto the ice as she glides onto it effortlessly. “Come on, Gil, this could be fun.”

He nods. “Yes… it could be…”

She rolls her eyes. “Just shut up and let’s skate.”

So he steps onto the ice, the tone of her voice inciting him to halt his complaints and indulge her… and immediately he starts to fall. She releases a slight chuckle, though she tries to cover it up, and helps him to the nearby wall. “Easy there,” she teases. “If you get back to the lab in a body cast, the kids’ll start to ask questions.”

“Well, for every one of those questions, there’ll be one simple answer: ‘It was all Catherine’s fault.’”

“Come on, Gil. Just relax. Loosen up a bit. I’ll try to refresh your memory as to how this is done, okay?”

He meets her eyes, and she smiles gently, affectionately, melting his reserve. If only she knew the power of that smile, he thinks. She could melt all the ice in this arena if she did that long enough.

So they skate. She reminds him of the mechanics of ice skating, and before long he’s able to keep up with her graceful gliding movements, staying beside her all the way. When he reaches for her hand, she smiles, knowing it’s not merely for keeping his balance on the ice. When she looks into his eyes, she’s fully aware it’s for keeping his balance in other ways, as well.

They skate round and round with the rest of the crowds of people, moving a bit slower than the rest both to enjoy the moment and to carry on a conversation while skating. She tells an anecdote of the first time she’d gone ice skating as a child at her grandmother’s lake cabin, and then how every winter afterward she and Nancy would spend a week at that cabin just to get in a week’s worth of ice skating.

He smiles along, touched that she so freely shares her life stories with him… a pang inwardly hitting him and making him feel guilty that he doesn’t often return the favor. The last time he’d done so was shortly after she’d been promoted to swing-shift supervisor, and he’d brought her his favorite fetal pig as an office-warming gift. He’d told her a short story about the only time in his life he played politics, and had lost by one vote in a junior high election.

He can’t even turn his memory back far enough to recall the last time he’d shared something personal prior to that moment. For years he’d fought getting too close, he’d fought letting her in, but after twenty years he’d realized in vain that the walls he’d erected around himself to provide him shelter had been slowly knocked down, bit by bit, by the sheer willpower of the strawberry-blonde beside him.

“When was the last time you went ice skating, Gil?” she asks, the soft alto drawing him from his thoughts.

Don’t close up, his inner voice immediately reminds him. Strangely enough, that inner voice sounds remarkably like her. He smiles, tugging on her hand with one of his own while his other settles on her lower back, guiding her out of the way of the faster-moving crowd. He slows his pace, and she follows suit, neither willing to relinquish their hold on the other.

“It was in tenth grade,” he begins. “My high school in California had a Valentine’s ‘dance’ that was actually an ice-skating party held in our own hockey arena. I had somehow gotten up the courage to ask Susan Keystone, a girl I’d developed sort of a crush on, to go with me… and by some stroke of luck she’d said yes.”

She smiles, trying to imagine a nervous, fifteen-year-old Gil Grissom asking a girl to a dance, and turns back to him as he continues. “I didn’t know how to skate, so I was extremely nervous about going to this dance, but she taught me how.”

“I’m glad she did,” Catherine murmurs, throwing a glance down at his skate-clad feet. “She did a pretty good job, too, from the looks of how you’re doing.”

He chuckles slightly. “That was the night I had my first kiss.”

At this, she raises her eyebrows. “At fifteen?”

He nods. “I’d never had much courage to approach girls in junior high. That had technically been my first time ‘out’ with a girl, so…”

She grins affectionately, wanting to fling herself into his arms at seeing the blush tingeing his cheeks. “I think it’s sweet.”

“It was actually sort of an accident,” he continues. “We’d been skating along, doing just fine, when all of a sudden some of the hockey players came up behind us and practically ran us over. We fell down, she landed on top of me and bruised one of my ribs, and then it just sort of… happened.”

“And how was it?”

He shrugs, the expression on his face mimicking the shrugging motion of his shoulders. “It was no big deal. I mean, it was sorta nice, but… not exactly what my fifteen-year-old mind had imagined a first kiss to be.”

Now she’s curious. “And how did your sophomore-self expect a first kiss would go?”

“Well, this could have been the influence of Hollywood, but I had sort of expected that whole symphony-and-choirs-singing sort of thing.” At the look on her face, he clarifies. “Not literally, but that whole sort of… takes your breath away, shoots tingles from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, turns your world upside down sort of thing.”

Her lips part into a dazzling grin, and she nods. “That sounds just about right for a fifteen-year-old’s expectations.”

He chuckles. “Yes, well, trust me. That’s all it was, an expectation. Nothing more than Hollywood planting seeds of hope in the minds of the young, that such a thing can really happen.”

She furrows her brows at this. “You don’t think a kiss can be like that?”

“In reality? No. A kiss is a kiss. Some are nice, some are better than nice, but they’re all just kisses.”

She shakes her head at this conjecture, smile slowly reappearing. “I’m sorry you feel that way, Gil.”

A silence settles over them as they continue to skate hand-in-hand, both sets of eyes focused on the ice gliding by underneath them. After a few moments, he chances a glance at her, at the same time she slowly turns her lowered eyes to his. He wants to say something, wants to reveal his feelings to her, but instead he lamely enquires about her own first kiss.

She then relays a tale of being eight years old on the playground, when one Tommy Richards had run up to her and planted, in her words, ‘a big wet one’ on her lips before she had retaliated, knocking the baseball cap off his head and shoving him to the ground, then running away.

He chuckles at this, shaking his head slowly, able to picture it perfectly. “Even so young, you were a heartbreaker, Cath,” he teases, and watches the smile crossing her lips.

They’re jolted out of their moment by loud laughter behind them, followed by gleeful shrieks and screams, and they turn to see several teenagers playfully shoving each other while skating rapidly around the arena. They stop, still holding hands, and chuckle at the sight, until the teenagers, in their obliviousness, start barreling down on them.

“Oh, God…” she murmurs deep and low. “Gil?”

“Yeah…?” He too is watching the teenage express-train coming at them, eyes widening.

“Move!”

It’s too late as the group of teenagers burst past them, jostling them and separating them in the process. Gil sways in one direction while Catherine sways to the other, hands immediately shooting out to find each other, searching for balance.

They find equilibrium, but only for the briefest of moments, as Gil’s height and strength win out over Catherine’s petite form, and both criminalists find themselves lying on the ice. They groan, winces on both their faces, Gil’s hand going to his rib cage while Catherine’s hands splay out on either side of his abdomen, pushing her weight off of him slightly.

His voice is strained as he asks painfully, “Remind me why I let you talk me into this?”

Her pain dissipates as she takes in his adorably rumpled appearance, cheeks bright pink from the chill in the arena, blue eyes staring inquisitively at her… and she can’t help but chuckle, her tone affectionate as she replies, “Because you love me.”

He almost responds in the affirmative, and she knows this by the way his mouth starts to form his next words… but he halts them on the way out, pausing to furrow his brows at her. “Wait… I thought I was supposed to say that to you first.”

She grins. “I know, but you’ve been working on doing that for twenty years, so I figured for once I’d be nice, and…” she shrugs, almost coyly, her eyes flitting to his lips before moving back up to his face. “Help you out.”

He chuffs at this remark, his hand finding her face. “Well, thank you for lending me a hand.” He then stares seriously into her eyes as he remarks next, “And I do love you.”

“I know you do,” she murmurs, love overflowing from her eyes as they trace his features. “I love you too.”

They share a kiss then, lips chastely clinging before pressing firmly… then deepening, twenty years of repressed emotion released in a matter of fifteen seconds. After pulling away, they stare at each other in amazement… as if in awe over what’s just occurred.

“Well…” Catherine breathes, a smile plucking at one corner of her kiss-swollen lips. “How’s that for a first kiss?”

Gil tilts his head in response, eyes focused on the high, steel-beam ceiling of the arena while a wistful smile plays across his own lips. “Hang on a second. My world’s upside down.”

A girlish giggle escapes at this comment, despite her efforts. “Gil… you are upside down.”

“I know,” he murmurs, and pulls her tight against him in a brief hug, unable to wipe the idiotic grin from his face. “I kinda like it this way.”

Another giggle emanates from his strawberry-blonde beauty before she helps herself to her feet and extends a hand downward to him… her other hand bracing his elbow as she pulls him up. “C’mon, let’s get out of here.” She jerks her chin toward the locker rooms, beckoning him with a grin. “I think we’ve had enough fun on the ice today.”

He agrees, and they skate off the ice, ignoring the grins and inquisitive looks they get from those in the crowd that had seen their kiss. On the way into the locker rooms, he stops her with a tug backward on her hand. “Wait a minute.”

She turns to him wearing a beatific smile. “Hmm?”

“Was this whole outing a ruse so that I would admit my feelings for you?”

She feigns shock. “Gil… shame on you for thinking I’d manipulate you in such a way,” she chides him in a low voice. Riding on that scolding’s coattails, however, is a devilish grin, and she leans in to caress his lips with hers once more. When she pulls away, she then admits, “This was to maybe get a kiss out of you,” and commences with leading him to the locker room once again. She throws him a look over her shoulder. “That whole ‘I love you’ thing was just icing on the cake.”


FIN