TITLE: How to Catch a Bug


ARCHIVE: Anywhere, just let me know so I can brag ... hehe, j/k.



DISCLAIMER: All known characters and premises belong to their respective owners. So there.

SUMMARY: How to catch a bug in less than 24 hours without really trying...

Catherine sighed, leaning back against the couch, and observed the barrenness surrounding her. A place that was normally bustling with bodies and conversations had been vacant for the past couple of hours, fuelling her boredom. Clicking her tongue, she lazily picked up a magazine, flipping through it with an uninterested air, as her eyes continually seemed to jump to the door...waiting for him to show up.

"Good afternoon, Catherine."

Her eyes met the grey orbs of one of the younger CSIs, who had just entered the break room, coat still in hand. Her eyes followed the droplets of water from his dampened jacket, each free-falling before they met their demise on the cold linoleum floor. Her scientific mind captured each droplet, visualizing the splattered pattern even before it collided with the floor, each casting a distinct figure. Her eyes jumped back to his, "Warrick, hey." She nodded towards his jacket, a question looming in her raised eyebrow.

"Ah, I was running a bit late - just wanted to check in, let you all know that I'm here." He looked around the empty room.

"Well, you're not the only one getting demerit points for tardiness." She swept her hands open, motioning the lack of bodies cluttering the room.

"Maybe they weren't prepared for the sudden downpour we've been getting." He theorized, pointing towards the window; rain cascading down the glass, almost like a sheet of water trapping the Las Vegas area.

Catherine let out a deep breath, frustration aimed towards a certain gentleman she was still waiting for. "Well, I got in early, before it really started pouring." She finished her last statement as Sara and Nick trudged in, both dwarfed by large rain-jackets complete with hoods.

"Pleasant day today?" Catherine chirped innocently.

"You're dry - I hate you." Sara commented dryly, her downwards smile contradicting her words of threat.

Catherine grinned, her eyes still searching for their missing link. "We're still short one member -"

"I'm here!" He bounded in, skidding in front of the break-room door, and plopped down heavily beside the strawberry-blonde. His hair was damp, and he shook it like a wet dog, sprinkling a frowning CSI in the meantime.

Catherine passed a finger across her cheek, flicking off a drop of water that clung dearly to her skin. "Thank you...Greg." She muttered, through clenched teeth. Her eyes travelled back to the door and she discreetly tried to check her watch.

"Anyone seen Grissom?" Greg voiced Catherine's unasked question.

Catherine glanced at the lab tech and shook her head.

Knowing that her supervisor's life revolved around the lab, she had come in early, hoping to seduce him into having a small breakfast to catch up on old times - and voice her fears of the sudden drifting their souls seemed to be showing signs of.

However, instead she had spent the better part of her evening putzing around the lab, before finally collapsing on the couch in the break-room, and staring out the window before succumbing to sheer boredom.

Catherine shrugged, glancing at the other CSIs. "Well, I'll head into his office and see what cases he had for us." She offered, directing herself towards the familiar room.

She checked the door and her expression clouded, finding it unlocked. She peeked her head in, noting not only a lack of a supervisor, but no movement what-so-ever. Eyeing the terrarium cautiously, she neared his desk and spied a folder with the current date stamped on it. Lightly gripping it, she turned on her heel and headed towards the door, though stopped by a rasp cough filling the room.

Her eyes caught sight of him; his being in a curled up position, facing away from her worried glance. "Gil?" She took a tentative step forward, closing the door behind her. "Someone had a late night..." She muttered to herself, taking a moment to observe him clad in a pair of black pants and a simple black sweater - a rather casual look she wasn't used to seeing.

She walked over stealthily, looking down on his sleeping form; her eyes taking in the the serenity that echoed off his face when in such a vulnerable state. She noted his position, the corners of her lips twitching ever so slightly upon catching a glimpse of a little 'Grissom skin' near his waist, most probably due to his movements while under slumber's control. She reached out, letting her hand rest on his cheek in an effort to rouse him, but not evoke any fear. "God...Gil." She withdrew her hand abruptly, placing it against her own cheek in comparison: he was hot to the touch. "Gil." She shook him a little more forcibly, worry creeping into her voice.

Gil turned over on his back, red eyes revealing fatigue with a hint of weakness following close. "Cath..." His throat scraped as his words reached her.

"You okay?" She leaned over him, one hand on the exposed skin right above his hip, the other on his forehead. She noted his flushed skin, beads of sweat adorning his temples and a slight shiver caressing his lips.

He took in her assessment and let out a tired laugh. "Yes, Catherine...I have the flu." He dead panned, turning over once again.

She stared at his back, mouth slightly open. "Okay," she began, clapping her hands together, "I'm going to hand out the assignments and then I'm taking you home." She grimaced, aware of her choice of words and finally broke out into a slow smile, fully aware that her supervisor's eyebrow was probably reaching for the stratosphere at the moment. "So, stay here and I'll go talk to the team." As she headed out the door, she called over her shoulder, "and wipe that stupid smirk off your face."

Catherine stepped back into the break-room, observing the now drying CSIs. She held up a paper and handed it to Nick, allowing her authoritative voice to echo through the room. "Okay, you're with Sara...an 11-12 near the Tangiers."

Sara's frown made no effort to conceal itself. "An 11-12?" She shook her head, "you know how I feel about cases regarding animals, Catherine."

Catherine nodded, taking up for her supervisor's decision. "I know, that's why Grissom wants you on the case - he knows that you will take it seriously."

Nick sighed. "Animals..." He commented, though it mirrored more of a pout. "I'm CSI level three...and I'm investigating a dead animal." His voice was dry, frustration evident.

Catherine rolled her eyes, impatience winning her normally controlled behaviour. Perhaps her motherly instincts were attacking full-force, letting her thoughts travel back to taking care of the docile man, curled up on a couch - for she felt her fuse run short. "Look, your names are on this file and maybe there's something more to the case. You know Grissom, he chooses CSIs because he believes their skills are deemed most appropriate to the case in question." She defended Gil's decision and before any more words were exchanged, she turned facing Warrick, closing the discussion with the two bold brunettes. "You were working solo on the DB near McCarren International Airport, but take him with you." Catherine pointed to the lab rat, who seemed in a rather antsy mood. "I'm sure Hodges can handle any evidence that needs to be processed, in the meantime."

Warrick nodded, but his furrowed brows revealed his confusion. "Where is Grissom, exactly?" He asked, and the other three stopped, curiosity winning.

Catherine sighed, pressing her lips together. She struggled whether to reveal his current vulnerability or to make up some lame 'cockroach racing' excuse. "He's uh...he's a little under the weather right now." She shrugged, letting honesty run it's course. "I'm going to drive him home, so he can rest up." She held up the folder, supporting her words. "I was scheduled for paperwork anyway, I'll just do it at his place and make sure he actually stays in bed. You know him - he'll be working even on his deathbed." She quipped sarcastically.

"Oh, I'm sure you can lure him into staying in bed all night." Greg wiggled his eyebrows suggestively, allowing his eyes to trail up and down the strawberry-blonde's toned body.

"Anyway..." Catherine eyed the young lab rat with mock distaste. "I'll be on call -"

"- I'm not going home."

All five pairs of eyes flicked simultaneously to see a rather disoriented Graveyard shift supervisor leaning sluggishly against the doorframe.

Gil shook his head. "It's just the flu, it's not the end of the world."

Sara, Nick, Greg and Warrick all took a giant step back, distancing themselves from his germed aura. Catherine rolled her eyes at their attitude and approached her best-friend, slinging his arm around her shoulder and offering him support.

"Don't you guys have work to do?" She didn't even glance at them, her focus solely on Gil.

"Aren't you afraid of getting sick, Catherine?" Sara asked.

Catherine chuckled. "I have a full-time job as a mother and as a CSI - I can't afford to get sick." She glanced over at Gil, placing her hand against his forehead again. "I got the vaccine awhile ago, it protects against most airborne germs..." She added as an afterthought.

"Smart girl." Gil smirked, though it just reflected his current frailty.

"C'mon, let's go." Catherine directed him towards the locker-room, as the four investigators watched the two senior CSIs walk off together; a knowing look not far behind.

As they were exiting the room, Sara glanced at the file in hand. "Leave it to Catherine to get distracted by Grissom..."

Her eyes caught view of the with-held cheeky grins from her co-workers, regarding the statement just uttered. "Uh...Sair, you sure that you aren't the -"

"Shut up, Nick." Sara rolled her eyes, cutting off the Texan before he could wiggle a crimson hue from her. "She read it wrong, we actually have a 211," her eyes jumped to Nick's, "a robbery."

Nick peered over Sara's shoulder, "and possible 240." He shrugged and headed out the door, "I hate assault cases." He mumbled to himself.

Warrick turned around, just in time to see Greg come back from his excursion to the lab. He eyed the young lab rat up and down. "You've got to be kidding." He sighed, turning around and heading to the parking lot.

Greg looked down at his attire, complete with utility belt, backpack and other various gadgets, strategically attached to him. "Always be prepared." He called after him. "It's the way of the CSI."

"It's the way of the Scouts." Warrick corrected.

Greg paused at the door, head cocked to the side. "So I was a scout." He shrugged, opening up an umbrella and trying to keep up with Warrick's long strides.

Meanwhile, Catherine guided Gil to the bench in the locker room and began to put on her coat. "Why didn't you just stay at home, Gil?" There was a minute trace of impatience mixed with motherly instinct that laced her tone.

"From the look of things, I figured I'd be able to handle it." He offered lamely, unconsciously rubbing his tired eyes.

"From the look of things - you look like hell." She dead panned, helping him on with his jacket.

He closed his eyes, feeling her hands on his chest, wrapped around from behind and even if it was for but a second, it was still branded in his brain. He let out a sigh, throwing a cheap 'thanks' in her direction; half towards her vivid description of his current appearance, and the other half towards her treatment of him as if he was an invalid. "Look, you don't have to do this." He shrugged. "I can drive myself home."

"In your condition?" She eyed him, taking out her umbrella. "I'm surprised you even made it here alive."

"It's just the flu, Cath." He repeated his same weak excuse and stood up abruptly. A dull ache to his body followed by a series of breath-robbing coughs followed, forcing a groan out of the ill supervisor.

Catherine stood there, leaning against her locker with a smart-alec grin blatantly standing proud.

"Take me home."