Here's the final chapter. Thanks to everyone who read and reviewed.


There was no more dinging. Catherine opened her eyes just to open her eyes. Sitting up on the couch she glanced at the clock across the room. It read 9:08 a.m.

Getting off the couch now, Catherine walked to the front door and opened it wide. It was certainly morning outside. She could see the neighbor's kids across the street already playing in the front yard.

Walking back into the middle of the room, Catherine scratched her head. Had last night really happened? She remembered it as if it was a dream, and it wasn't until Catherine noticed that the mug of teat still lay in the floor, but the spilled tea was long gone. Catherine then looked to the counter and noticed that there was a carton of eggs there.

Suddenly, everything that had happened came rushing back to her. Sara and her watching home movies, Sam's empty office, the quiet lab…

Catherine knew what she had to do. First, she ran into her room and dug out all of the presents that she had for Lindsey and placed them around the tree in the living room. There wasn't a whole lot, so Catherine searched through the house looking for more things to give her daughter. Doing this, Catherine realized that she didn't have any presents for her colleagues because, of course, she was now going to head over to Nick's. Oh, they won't mind late gifts, Catherine thought as she searched though her closet for any signs of presents.

Placing the last present (a my sized Barbie Catherine had really been saving for Lindsey' birthday) next to the lit up tree, Catherine stood back and admired the thing. How could she have ever hated this holiday? It was a time to be with friends and family and most of all the people she loved. What Sara, Nick and Warrick had shown her last night really opened her eyes. There wasn't anything Catherine could do about the past, but accept it and move on. The present might not be what Catherine wanted, but she had to embrace it for all it's worth. And the future doesn't have to be sad and depressing because of her actions today. This was here life, and she was going to set things on the right track. 

The only thing that still confused Catherine was the timeline of events. Catherine had gotten home from the lab at about five and fallen asleep not long after that. So, she had really only gotten about four hours of sleep, but that amount was good compared to other days. However, Sara had come at one, Nick at two and Warrick at three. Did she sleep through an entire day and not know it? 

"Mommy, what are you doing?" Lindsey came staggering out of her room rubbing her eyes. She looked at Catherine standing there surrounded by every last present in the house and wrinkled her nose.

"It is Christmas, isn't it?" Catherine asked walking over to her daughter. She squatted down so that she was at eye level. Lindsey shook her head yes, and then looked at the presents in confusion.

"I heard you and Mary talking last night." Lindsey said, "You sounded mad. I'm sorry for making cookies with her."

"Don't be sorry," Catherine said almost in a whimper, "I should be the one apologizing. We should have made cookies the beginning of the week. I'm sorry, Lindsey." At this the little girl's face lit up, realizing that her mom was not in a bad mood after all like she originally assumed. She looked longingly at the presents for a moment before Catherine gave her a little push and Lindsey ran head first into them tearing through wrapping paper and boxes.  

Catherine stepped back and watched in awe at her little girl. She smiled. How could she have been upset and depressed just the night before? She had a wonderful daughter, supportive friends and…

The phone rang. It was a little early for a Christmas call, but Catherine walked over and picked it up.

"Hello?" she asked into her end. Lindsey from the other side of the room squealed finding a Lizzie McGuire tape.

"Catherine?" the voice said, "It's Sam."

At first, Catherine didn't know what to say. After a moment's hesitation, she finally spoke. "Hi Sam." She replied taking the phone over to the couch and settling down to see Lindsey open up another Barbie doll.

"I just wanted to call and wish you a Merry Christmas." Sam replied. He sounded a little sad like he knew that his granddaughter was opening presents and he wasn't there to witness it.

"Thanks." Catherine replied, twirling the cord around her finger. "Look, Sam, I'm sorry. I've been really cold lately towards you and I think that's because of everything I'm going through right now."

"Hey, it's okay, don't worry about it, Mugs. I know things have been a little stressful lately. I'm used to being beat on by people."

"Aren't we all?" Catherine had to hamper down a stiff laugh. She paused for a moment, still mulling over her next move. "Sam?" She asked, and took a deep breath. "Are you doing anything tomorrow? Lindsey might get a kick out of seeing your ranch all dressed up for the holidays."

Catherine could almost hear Sam smiling through the phone. "I'll see you around lunch time." He responded, they said their goodbyes and hung up the phone.

"Lindsey, come here," Catherine beckoned for her daughter to come over to her, and when she did Catherine drew her into a hug. "I'm sorry if I haven't been a good mommy lately. A lot of stuff has happened in the last year and it has been hard to cope with.  You know that I always love you, right?"

Lindsey shook her head, "Of course I know, mommy. You always tell me so."

Catherine smiled and let go of her daughter who went bounding across the room to play with the rest of her toys. Getting up off of the couch, Catherine walked into the kitchen and took the carton of eggs off of the counter. She was going to need the whole thing of them if she was going to make some eggnog.


"Do you want to get the door?" Nick called from his kitchen. He and Greg were in there preparing the turkey while Sara, Warrick and Grissom sat in the other room waiting for the meal to be served. They were still expecting Brass, and maybe even an appearance from Doc later.

Warrick got up off of the couch and made his way to the door, Muffy at his feet. He gazed through the peephole at the person standing on the other side. "It's Catherine." He said out of confusion, turning back to look at Grissom on the couch. "I thought you said that she wasn't coming."

"She said that she was working today," Grissom said glancing over at Sara who sat on the couch next to him. He secretly wanted to go over there and join her, and now that Warrick had his back turned to them, he believed that this would be the perfect time to make his move.

The door swung open. "Hi Catherine, Lindsey." Warrick said bending down to say hi to the little girl, "What made you change your mind, Scrooge?" he stood back up and Lindsey ran under his arm chasing Muffy across the floor.

"I'm sorry that I've been a Scrooge." Catherine replied, stepping into the room and shut the door. "Things just haven't been easy."

"Well, I'm glad you changed your mind." Warrick looked down the hallway towards where Lindsay and the dog had just run.  "That's Muffy that Lindsey is chasing." Warrick added and then took the pitcher of eggnog from her hands.

"I know." Catherine replied, not giving the topic another thought.

"How do you know?" Warrick questions as he lead her into the kitchen.

Realizing her mistake, Catherine shrugged her shoulders, "Little bird told me?"

Nick looked up from the turkey and smiled when he saw the pitcher or eggnog in Warrick's hand. "How did you know that I wanted eggnog?" Nick asked after he had placed the turkey in the oven.

"A little bird told me that, too." Catherine smiled warmly, and gazed over all of the food in there. She was a little startled to see a plate of dreidel cookies sitting on the counter, the same ones that Sara had been making at her house. Shaking her head, Catherine exited the kitchen walking into the living room. She was surprised to see Grissom and Sara sitting, for one, in the same room, but now they were sitting on the same couch, talking to each other.  Catherine's smile grew broader.  

"What?" Sara asked, looking away from Grissom and over at Catherine.

"It's just good to have the feeling that everything is right in the world for once." She said, sitting down in one of the chairs. Lindsey came running into the room close on the heels of Muffy and jumped into Catherine's lap. Warrick reentered the room and leaned up against Catherine's chair, scooping Muffy up into his arms. Nick and Greg then emerged from the kitchen carrying wine for everyone. 

"Since we're all here, I just want to say thanks," Catherine stated taking one of the glasses from Greg.

"For what?" Grissom asked taking a drink into his hand.

"For not strangling me every time I take the limelight, or for every time I get emotionally involved in a case. For every mistake I make on a case, for every suspect I test my DNA against (at this Greg just made a slight gagging sound) and for just putting up with me in general. Thank you."

"What are we supposed to do?" Nick asked, taking a sip, "It's not like we can take drastic actions and hide your body somewhere."

Catherine laughed, "That's true, but still, I'm not the easiest person to get along with."

"That's okay, Catherine, we all still love you." Warrick placed his arm around her neck. "A toast," he said now raising a glass. "A toast to many more good times," he looked around the room at everyone, "Mended relationships," Warrick stared at Grissom and Sara for a moment and then turned his attention to Catherine, "And many more solved cases."

"Amen." Sara said leaning slightly into Grissom.  Everyone noticed but no one said a thing.

"Well, just God bless us, every one." Greg stated, chugging the rest of his drink. "So, who wants some eggnog?"   


The End

Happy Holidays everyone, whatever celebrations they may be.