Disclaimer: CSI and all copyrighted materials are the property of CBS. I have no rights to claim the characters, plotlines, or anything else of that matter.

A/N: Hey, thanks for all the great reviews since my last chapter in January. I'm back with more delectable delights for you all! Thanks for waiting (okay, so maybe you weren't actually waiting…humor me here).

Spoilers: If there weren't any, I would have no story. But hey, Double Whammy! Alright!

Chapter 16: Awwww! How Very Thoughtful of You!

Gil really had missed Catherine, in more ways than one. After his rendez-vous with Catherine, Gil began to reminisce to when she had first commenced supervising the Swing Shift. That first week was difficult…

Catherine was working away in her new office when she glimpsed a familiar figure in her doorway. It was Gil! She sure had missed him. Now she was caught in Warrick's mess and, not working the same shift as Gil, doubted she'd be seeing him anytime soon. Alas, there he stood in her doorway, cradling a jar in his arms. Upon closer inspection, Catherine distinguished his radiated fetal pig as the floating contents of the jar.

"Taking your pet for a walk?" she joked, half serious. The only live pet she'd known him to have in a while was his pet tarantula; had he decided to bring it along, the damn spider probably would not have survived the duration of the walk.

Grissom walked in and sat down across from Catherine-unusual, considering it was normally Catherine that would drop by and make herself comfortable in his office. "I know how much you love my little fetal pig, so I'm giving him to you as an office-warming gift." Inside, Catherine went to mush-AWWWW! She knew how rarely Gil gave presents to people, and how a gift like this had such precious value to Gil. It reminded her of the time he gave Lindsey a gorgeous butterfly necklace with the kind of butterfly she had pointed out to Gil that she most adored.

However powerful Gil's charm may have been on Catherine inside, her countenance showed no such glimmer of delicacy. "That is sooooo thoughtful," she said, still half joking. "Now tell me why you really stopped by. You checking up on me?" Catherine hated that she always felt the need to keep her emotional defenses up.

"No," said Gil, slightly shocked, but still laughing a little. Another rare moment it was, to see Gil acting human instead of robot boss.

"What've you heard? Who talked to you?" Catherine persisted, still not buying into his genuine visit.

Having known Catherine for quite some time, Gil could read her like a book. "See? You've been on the job for a week and you're already paranoid."

Catherine laughed off the irony of his last statement. "When I was your right hand-and your left- I always knew that if it hit the fan, you'd be the first to get dirty." His commitment to his team was something Catherine really admired about Gil Grissom. It was true-all the while he had been her supervisor, they had practically been equal partners. Catherine had worked tirelessly alongside Gil, and she was no stranger to the fact that he cared and sacrificed for everyone that would work and care for him. When a member of the team waded into crap, he always jumped right in there with them. It brought Catherine back to the time she had accidentally blown up the lab-Gil had stood right beside her all the way.

"Hey, that's the job." Gil may not have understood people or politics, but he understood his responsibility as supervisor.

"Yeah, that's the job." Like Gil, Catherine understood that she was nothing without her team. Gil nodded in response. "Did you ever play politics?" she asked.

"I once ran for president of the science club in junior high," Gil reminisced. Mary Hardy beat me out by one vote." His voice had not even the slightest tinge of regret or hate.

"I'm going to guess that you didn't vote for yourself." Catherine could read Gil as easily as he could read her.

Gil responded, "I'm not any good at politics. And it's cost me. It's how I lost Nick and Warrick." Again, his voice gave away no feelings of regret.

"Your loss was my gain," Catherine remarked.

"Yeah. And at least I know they're in good hands." Catherine smiled. She hated that Gil could make her melt so easily.

That day, Gil gave Catherine a very bittersweet goodbye. He had to go start his shift, as she had to go finish hers. It was nice and comfortable to see each other again, but the reunion was only fleeting-their meetings were few and far between. Gil recalled their next encounter, which-albeit shared with the rest of the old gang- Gil felt as if he and Catherine were watching Greg, who had been like the son they never really wanted, graduate to the dizzying heights of Criminalistdom. The memory made him nostalgic for diners with his work family…

Gil, Sara and Catherine quickly turned out the lights in Gil's office and took their places in the dark nook beside the door, out of unsuspecting Greg's peripheral vision. He had no clue what they had in store for him-sucker.

Within about 45 seconds after assuming the position, a melancholy Greg entered Gil's office. "You wanted to see me?"

Perfect. He was looking straight at the bait. Sara pulled the string to make the gel Mr. Wiggles in Grissom's hat swivel around, wearing a sign that read "YOU PASSED!" That was Nicky's idea. Boy, Gil and Catherine were proud.

The rest of the gang took advantage of Greg's momentary shock to step out of their hiding places. Ecklie, too, joined in the applauding and accolades. Sara gave the still awe-struck Greg a hug, followed up by a kiss on the cheek and hug from Momma Cath. "Well done," she congratulated. The boys all made their rounds giving him congratulatory hand shakes as Gil beamed proudly.

"Congratulations, Sanders," Ecklie chimed in sincerely. "Good work."

"Thank you."

Always the party-pooper, Ecklie didn't hesitate to send them on their merry way. "Okay, gang, there's people to put in jail. Let's get back to it, shall we? Come on, come on, now, party's over. Let's go." Following orders, everyone filed out without commotion.

"Good job," Nick added.

Greg looked over to Gil, still slightly shell-shocked. "I don't get it. I got the wrong guy, the wrong manner of death."

Gil, assuming his mentoring ways of old, responded, "I don't expect you to be correct in all your interpretations all the time. You collected the evidence. You thought there was something missing; you went back and found it. Hey, that's the job. Congratulations, Greg." They then shared a genuine handshake, mentor to pupil.

"Thank you."

In the doorway, Catherine held a bottle of champagne while Nicky, Sara and Warrick held glasses for everyone. Greg rushed over to the celebration as they handed him his first drink as a CSI.

"Cheers. To you!" the gang applauded. Gil held back, watching them celebrate.

Times like these reminded him of every time that the people at work had cracked his emotional shell and became a family to him.

"Watcha thinkin' about?" Catherine asked, stopping by his office about an hour into his shift.

"I was just thinking about what it's like to have a family. Do you remember how we told Greg he passed his final proficiency test? It was like having all the kids home to celebrate the youngest's graduation," Gil said nostalgically.

"I remember that day," Catherine said, assuming her usual seat on his desk. "I don't think any of us will ever forget Mr. Wiggles."

"You know, Cath, I really have missed you. It's like my left and right arm are missing. I'm not used to not having you around me."

"Gil, you sound like you're suffering from separation anxiety."

"Catherine…" Gil sighed, lifting his head to match her eyes to his. "I think one day, it will come. We will be a reality-have our own family. Make good on your promise to me, Cath."

"Gil? Are you proposing?" Catherine was slightly shocked.

Gil took off his glasses and took a moment to contemplate exactly what he was doing. "Seeing us as a family is rare. I'm just making sure we're still good on our promise."

"When the day comes, Gil, you and I will be a family. It will come when both of us have reached that point in life where we just can't live without each other. It will come when this lab is long behind at least one of us. I promise," Catherine gently cooed.

And until then, they would have to continue on, forging ahead with the ever-sacred, invaluable marriage of their minds.