The Courtship of Catherine Willows
(or the modern fairytale)
Note: Okay, I'm admittedly a little crazy on the subject of Greg/Cath, mostly because I think it would be outrageously cute. Come on, support the sickness!
Disclaimer: I don't own CSI (much to my continuing dismay), or any of its characters. Any additional mentions of other property in this story (i.e., Ever After and "Stacy's Mom") belong to their respective owners, and the only thing that's mine is the story itself, which I hope you enjoy.
Pairing: Greg/Cath, Greg/Sara friendship, and a few mentions of Grissom/Sara
It started somewhat innocently.
Or it would have started innocently, had Sara not been so damn observant. He'd been trying to start it innocently, but Sara had ruined that approach when she came in the lab, dropped a load of samples on his desk with immediate orders to get working on them, stat, and had said, "You've got it pretty bad for Catherine, don't you?"
"No," Greg said. "Of course not. Whatever made you think that?"
He looked around for some excuse to run away. The lab had to have a fire-escape somewhere that Sara didn't know about. He couldn't use the "something's burning in the DNA lab," excuse, since he was there anyway. Besides, what with the DNA lab's recent history of, well, exploding, that joke could no longer be made quite so nonchalantly.
"Well," Sara said, "I just noticed that whenever she's around, you start blushing. . . and you work overtime every single time she asks you to . . . and you always get her coffee before she asks you to . . . and, though this is circumstantial evidence, I saw the little periodic table that you covered with 'I heart Cath.' Not that it's any of my business, of course."
"How did you find my periodic table?"
"I was actually looking for my results. You didn't have them, since you were busy in the break room, flirting with Catherine." She was grinning at his devastated reaction. Cruel, cruel woman. "You've got it bad, Greggo."
"Am I that obvious?" he moaned, his head in his hands.
"Yes," Sara said seriously. "Yes, you are. So what are you going to do about it?"
He propped his head up. "I don't know. What did you do about that huge crush you have on Grissom?"
"I do not have a crush on Grissom."
"Of course you don't," he said sarcastically, happy to have turned the tables.
She recognized his teasing tone and smiled. "Am I that obvious?"
"Yes. Yes, you are."
Sara shook her head. "You know, Greg, I can tell when you're trying to change the topic of conversation. We aren't going to use me as a model for your love life."
"Obviously, since I don't have the hots for Grissom."
"Sorry. You were saying?"
"Ask Catherine out," she said firmly. "I know she isn't seeing anyone right now, and you're - - cute. Fun." Sara looked like she was considering how many adjectives she could add before she ran out of positives. "You have good taste in music."
"Aw, I never knew you cared."
"Sorry. But Catherine's - -"
"I was going to say experienced. I'd never call a woman old, Sara."
"I said older, Greg. Comparison, not straight adjective."
"You're hedging. And of all the people to talk to me about age being a factor in who you do or do not have an attraction to - -"
"Sorry. So Catherine is more experienced. Of course, I have charms of my own - - not unsurpassed in the market, of course, but there nonetheless. Do you think I could woo the Lady Catherine?"
"Woo," he repeated. "I always liked that word. See, it sounds Chinese. So could I woo Cath?"
"You could ask her out," Sara said again. "Sometime when she's off-shift, and you know she's going to have a babysitter for Lindsay . . . or you could invite her to your place for dinner - - can you cook?"
He kissed his fingers. "I am a master of cuisine, mademoiselle."
"Hot Pockets and ramen don't count, Greg."
"I have another method of cooking. It involves a phone and the pizzeria two blocks down."
"You really are a charmer. I can't imagine any woman ever turning you down." She smiled to show that she was joking. "I'm serious - - woo Catherine." She wrinkled her nose at the "woo" part, but continued soldiering on bravely. "She needs someone, and you need someone. Besides, it'd be cute. You'd have a Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher vibe."
"Mrs. Robinson," he said, grinning.
"Stacy's Mom," she retorted.
"Wow, Sara. Far more updated on popular music than I suspected."
"Sorry. What are these samples for, again?"
She said, patiently, "Double homicide. Grissom wants you to check for matches in the individual samples, and look for an ID on CODIS."
He nodded. "Right." A series of complicated plans were beginning to form in his head. Operation Prince Charming was about to begin. He was starting to be happy that Sara had dropped the bombshell on him. "Is there anything else I can do? You helped - - thanks. I could. . ." He snapped his fingers. "I could test your DNA with Grissom's! Get the results on all your probable children! Think of how awesome that would be! You and Grissom. Gil Junior and Sara the Second . . ."
"Sorry," he said. "So where should I take Catherine for dinner?"
Sara hesitated, thinking. "She likes Italian. Try Moticello's, on Ninth. I heard they have great fettucine alfredo."
He beamed at her. Italian! Fettucine! It was all of the glamour of a homemade dinner without him slaving over a hot take-out menu. He amended previous thoughts and decided that he was very happy that Sara had stopped by.
"You're like my fairy godmother, Sara!" he said, standing and hugging her enthusiastically.
"Who does that make you? Cinderella?"
"Of course not. I'm Prince Charming, Cath is Cinderella, you're the fairy godmother, and Nick, Warrick, and Grissom can be the singing mice!"
Grissom had, apparently, been headed for coffee, but he stopped in front of the lab door and pointed at Greg before reconsidering, much to the lab tech's delight.
"I'm not even going to ask," Grissom said with a sigh, and walked off shaking his head.
"I can see why you find him attractive," Greg said confidentially to Sara. "Often have I found myself wondering how exactly he projects so much magnetism that draws young, innocent female co-workers near to him - - wondering how to duplicate his magic - - "
Two hours later, test results safely turned in to Grissom, who still seemed wary of him after the "singing mice" comment, Greg headed for the break room. He could already see Catherine from his stance at the end of the hall - - she was sitting at the table, sipping coffee and looking at the newspaper.
My heart! My love! Oh, right, this is supposed to be Cinderella, not Shakespeare. Ah - - bibbity-bobbity-boo? No, that's Sara's job. Did Prince Charming actually have any dialogue in that film? Maybe if I take Ever After, the Drew Barrymore version, into consideration, then - -
Oh. Catherine. Wooing. Right.
He entered the break room. "Hi, Cath."
"Hey, Greg." She folded the newspaper down. "You sound - - chipper."
"Do I?" He laughed nervously and turned to rummage through the fridge so she wouldn't see his growing blushing. "Well - - all the cases are done for a while, and I can just relax . . . have myself some - - non-fat yogurt? Oh, that's Sara's. Carb-free. . . Nick's. The grasshoppers have got to belong to Grissom." He slammed it hurriedly. "So, since you don't have any food in here, and I don't have any food in here, then maybe I should take you out to dinner. At Monticello's. Because they have great fettucine alfredo."
She raised her eyebrows. Greg composed a mental sonnet.
"Greg, are you asking me out to dinner?"
That could mean a thousand things. He suddenly flashed back to the time he'd gotten turned down in tenth grade, asking out the most popular girl in school. But Catherine liked science geeks!
"Yes," he said, decisively. "I am. Catherine, would you like to have dinner with me?"
She looked him up and down. Evaluation. He tried to look tall and manly. Think of Bruce Willis. Arnold in the early Terminator. Russell Crowe. Prince Charming?
"Okay," she said finally, smiling. "I'd like that."
Yes! Go me!
He made a note to himself: Repress doing cartwheels in the middle of the lab out of excitement. Also, thank Sara for being an excellent fairy godmother and enlist singing mice chorus.
"Great," he said. "When do you go off-shift?"
She checked her watch. "In about a half hour. So - - it'll be noon - - not exactly optimal dinner conditions, but - -"
"We can make it work."
Wow, where did THAT confidence come from? Maybe somebody put something in my coffee. Whatever it is, I want more. And now. I want a prescription and a needle.
"I might have to change. I don't look right for a place like Monticello's."
"You look beautiful," he said sincerely. "Who's going to keep you out? Me, on the other hand - - okay, admittedly, the Hawaiian shirt might not help us get in. I'll have to go home first. But then, I could pick you up? At your house?"
Then I could see if Sara has a pumpkin coach up her sleeve. Or I could just paint my car orange - - Okay. This metaphor is becoming over-extended. But if Catherine shows up wearing glass slippers, I'm really not going to be able to help myself.
"Sure, that's fine." She was practically glowing. Composed, sure, but glowing nonetheless. He gave himself a thousand mental points for calling her beautiful. Clearly, it had worked. And - - honesty! They were making strides already. He was glad he picked a good fairytale to emulate. Sleeping Beauty wouldn't have been nearly as fun - - and he really didn't want to play the Beast to Catherine's Beauty.
"What are you grinning about?" she asked.
His smile softened. "Just thinking that I'll have to have you home by midnight before I find out that all of this is too good to be true."
"You're really, really sweet, you know that?"
"I don't want to turn back into a lowly scullery maid," he said seriously. "See, Warrick, Nick, and Grissom are my evil stepbrothers, and they all got to go to the ball, and . . . well, I think you can guess the rest of it." He heard himself yammering and cut short. No need to give her a bad impression. Besides, he was reversing the sexes in his modern fairytale, and that simply couldn't do. And the three other men CSIs already had their jobs as singing mice.
Catherine didn't seem put-off by his runaway metaphor. "Maybe I'll keep one of your sneakers and check you tomorrow," she said lightly. "Cinderella."
He acted offended. "I'm Prince Charming."
"Sure you are."
"I am. Really. What, do you want to be Prince Charming?"
"Princess Charming," she corrected.
"See, but there's the problem. There's no way to make the name 'Cinderella' masculine."
He shook his head. "I refuse to be called Cinderelroy. Besides, I'm definitely Prince Charming. I just walked right in here and swept you off your feet. I deserve a crown for that."
"We could just be Prince and Princess Charming," she suggested.
He thought it over. "Okay. I could agree to that. So I'm definitely going to plan a happy ending for this date, then, right? Fairytale romance, and all that? No need to worry that you'll throw a glass of wine at me and storm out in the middle of our incomprehensible-by-traditional-timekeeping-standards dinner?"
"No need to worry," Catherine said. "I like happy endings."
"Me too." He offered her his arm, like a bizarre courtier. "May I escort you to my pumpkin coach?"
"You're going to clock out early?"
"Hey, someone in this lab has got to have a decent love-life. It might as well be us, you know. And between the two of us, we've stocked up enough holiday breaks to take a year off. A half hour shouldn't matter too much."
"Well, I don't have a case," she said thoughtfully.
"See? Everything works out!"
"Happily ever after?"
He nodded firmly. "Happily ever after. So, can I consider you successfully wooed?"
"Woo? I like that word." She grinned. "Sure, I'm wooed."
"I knew you were my soul-mate," he said. "It sounds Chinese, doesn't it?"
And so the Prince and Princess Charming (because they never could decide exactly who was Cinderella and who wasn't) went out to their Italian dinner, and Princess Charming most implicitly did not throw her wine at the prince. They became first smitten, and then an item, much to the delight of a certain fairy godmother, and the bemusement of three singing mice. And Prince Charming continued to woo his princess, who continued to be agreeable to being wooed with gifts of jewelry and extra spray bottles of Luminol, until the courtship was completed, a ring offered, and accepted.
And they lived happily ever after.