TITLE: Chewed Out

AUTHOR: Gomey

ARCHIVE: Anywhere, just let me know so I can brag.

RATING: PG

SPOILERS: None

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

SUMMARY: "Grissom just doesn't like someone popping gum in his face. He's allowed to have his vices."

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Nick was the last to file into the break room, where the other four CSIs were presently awaiting their orders from their leader. The young Texan walked in and plopped down on the couch, arms folded across his chest.

"Oh, looks like someone just came back from the Principal's office." Warrick jested, giving his best friend a pat on the shoulder.

"Are they sending you home with a note?" Greg cooed playfully, winning a grin from Sara who sat at the table, beside a curiously silent Catherine.

"Grissom ragged on me because I was chewing gum!" He drawled, brow furrowed with annoyance. "Made me spit it out and everything." His tongue ran the course of his mouth, tasting and testing in search of any trace remnants of the gum now lost.

"I swear, I didn't think Grissom could get any more anal -" Greg started, taking up for his friend.

"- but there he goes, blowing an artery over a piece of gum." Nick finished his sentence through grit teeth.

"Guys," Catherine finally spoke up, "Grissom just doesn't like someone popping gum in his face. He's allowed to have his vices." The strawberry-blonde stuck up for her boss and best-friend. "In any case, just don't let him catch you with it." A large candy-pink bubble appeared before her mouth and disappeared, following a controlled 'pop'. She gave the team a toothy grin.

"And Grissom lets you chew gum?" Sara asked, mouth slightly ajar. She had always pegged herself as his favourite, and was now starting to doubt her previous thoughts.

"No..." She smiled slyly. "He just hasn't caught me yet." Catherine wiggled her brows, blowing another bubble, the loud 'pop' intensifying her point.

"Catherine."

All eyes snapped to the supervisor standing at the doorway, and then the four younger CSIs gazes seemed to travel to the unperturbed strawberry-blonde sitting casually at the table.

"Gil."

The frown met the smile in the middle of the room, and the frown silently turned to leave, beckoning the smile to follow.

Catherine got up and tossed a grin over her shoulder. "Busted." She mouthed to them, walking with a certain air of confidence that sparked a tiny pinch of jealousy in the others.

"She's going to get butchered." Sara remarked, her stare fixed on the closed door, echoing everyone else's in the room.

"I don't know...Catherine and Grissom in a fight - wouldn't know who to bet on." Warrick stated, taking a sip of his drink.

All four CSIs sat up upon hearing a loud thump coming from beside the door, where their view was obstructed by the closed blinds.

"Do...do you think he...hit her?" Greg spoke very slowly, eyes wide.

Nick got up from his seated position, finding Sara on her feet as well. He glanced over at Warrick, finding him leaning against the wall.

"Come on, do you seriously believe that Grissom would hit Catherine, of all people?" Warrick mentioned, tossing his cup into the sink.

"Yeah, Catherine can really pack a mean punch." Greg agreed. He paused for a beat, cocking his head on the side. "Do you think Catherine hit Grissom?" His eyes widened again.

Warrick shook his head, running his hands under the water.

"Maybe we should check on them?" Sara offered, curiously straining her ear to pick up the significance of the low groans that were carried through the window walls. "I hear groaning - I think someone's injured." She made a haste path to the door, only to have Catherine surface in front of her. "Catherine." Sara breathed out, confusion controlling her darting eyes from strawberry-blonde to the blue-eyed man that had just entered the break room.

"Everything okay?" Nick whispered to Catherine, having just observed her march oddly to the couch.

"Yeah." She replied with disinterest.

"No more gum, huh?" He whispered again, noting the lack of chewing movement.

"No." Her eyes stared straight ahead.

"Okay, Sara and Nick, DB over at McCarren International Airport." He handed the two brunettes a file and turned to Greg, thrusting a file towards the youngest member of the investigating team. "You're with Warrick, a hit and run on the strip." He pointed to the strawberry-blonde, still sitting on the couch. "Catherine and I are on call; we both have paper work to catch up on."

The four CSIs remained un-budged, each trying to process what went on behind closed blinds. Their eyes scanned their supervisor and then the other senior CSI, and found nothing to be bruised, butchered or beaten. Shrugging, they cast glance at each other before turning on their heels and heading towards the door.

A loud 'pop' stopped them in their tracks and they all turned, mouths ajar upon witnessing their supervisor, red-faced, with traces of candy-pink bubble gum on his face.

–Finis–