spoilers: up through season 5

Grissom had been looking for Catherine. She'd forgotten to initial a page of her case report and the receptionist had pointed him toward the morgue. He was a little worried about her. She was distant toward him which was unlike her. She seemed tired, more so than usual, and yet he saw her dressed to go out again and again. Part of him knew it was his attitude toward Sam Braun and the money that had driven this wedge between them but at the same time, he didn't trust Sam Braun and he just wanted Catherine to be safe.

He turned the corner and was surprised to see Lindsey burst out of the doors, at a full run.

"Miss Willows," he said; his voice stern. "We don't run here." She stopped and looked up at him. She had tears on her cheeks, ruining the make-up that she was too young to wear. Grissom could hardly remember being twelve him self. He knew nothing about twelve-year-old girls. "What's the matter?" With his question, she started crying anew. Grissom inwardly grimaced. "Come on, then." he said, touching her shoulder and leading the young girl to his office, the case file in his hand forgotten.

He opened his office door and turned on the light. Lindsey sat on the sofa and let her head hang down, her wispy blonde hair hiding her red cheeks. He sat on the coffee table facing her.

"Now," he said. "Why don't we start from the beginning?"

"Mom's pretty mad at me," she whispered, her tough exterior gone.

"She was worried about you. As was I," he added. "Hitchhiking is not only illegal, but a good way to get you killed, or worse."

"What's worse than being killed?" she asked.

"Lots of things," he said. He would let Catherine explain the horrors of rape to her daughter. He rose and moved to his desk. Inside the drawer was a Snickers bar and he pulled it out and offered it to her. "Chocolate helps,"

"I'm on a diet," she said, tucking her flyaway hair behind her ears.

"Well we can share it. If you only eat half, it doesn't count." he said, taking a knife out of his kit and slicing it in half through the packaging. She accepted it and nibbled on the chocolate bar, peeling back the wrapper slowly. "Miss Willows, what were you doing in the morgue?"

"Mom wanted to show me something," she whispered.

"A body," he supplied.


"Your mom loves you a lot, you know that right?" he asked. Lindsey just shrugged.

"She's always mad at me. Sometimes I wish I could've just gone to live with dad." she said.

"Your dad… as much as your dad loved you, Miss Willows, he was very unfair to your mother. She worked hard at her marriage and at raising you, and as payment he hit her and cheated on her." Grissom said frankly. "Your mother would die for you, and you would do well to remember that."

"Yes, sir." she said, sufficiently ashamed. Grissom glanced up to see Catherine standing in his door way.

"Come on, baby," she said and Lindsey looked up, startled. "I'll take you home."

"Okay," she said, wiping her face with the back of her hand. To go along with the smeared make-up and tears, she drug chocolate across her cheek as well. She was an enigma to Grissom – still such a child but desperate for woman hood. He imagined Catherine had been much the same way, running away at 16 with a man she hardly knew. "Thanks Mr. Grissom."

"Anytime." he said, smiling at her. Catherine took her daughter's hand and he watched them walk away.

He went home soon after they left, feeling stifled in the busy lab. His shift had ended over an hour ago and his vision was bleary with exhaustion. His house was quiet and just the way he had left it. He didn't bother to turn on any lights on the way into the bathroom. There was enough sun filtering through his heavy drapes. He turned on the shower and let it warm up as he went to the bedroom to undress and put his clothing into the laundry basket inside his closet.

He thought that Lindsey needed a real father as much as Catherine needed a stable man in her life. But the nuclear family was something that was rare in the modern world. His mother had been deaf and his father hadn't ever been able to understand his son. Catherine's parents had driven her to run away and Sara's family took the cake. She'd been placed in foster care after her mother had stabbed her father to death. In some ways, Lindsey led the good life. It was Catherine who was always scared.

Grissom tried to be a stable factor for his friend but he was sure he wasn't what she wanted anyhow.

He saw even less of Catherine when she was moved to supervisor of the swing-shift. She'd wanted days and he'd wanted to give it to her because it was what she wanted, but it still wasn't the same when she was gone. At least on the swing shift, they occasionally crossed paths. Sometimes when he walked by her open office door, he could see his fetal pig on her shelf. They were always moving, always leaving or coming back, or headed for one of the labs. They walked by one another, met eyes, but didn't speak. He would nod and the corner of her mouth would rise a little. Sometimes he would see a glimpse of her red-blonde hair as she rounded a corner or smell her perfume in the locker room. He was glad tot have Sara on the team and Greg was making progress but he had a feeling that this was all temporary. No one was happy. Sofia felt ignored, ostracized and he admittedly did very little to welcome her. He wanted his boys back and he wanted Catherine at his right side once again. Still, he didn't want her to be demoted and he feared things would never be the same.

One morning Grissom arrived to work and made his way into the locker room. Catherine was sitting on the bench in front of her locker, the metal door open. She was just sitting there, her jacket still in her hand, her badge not yet clipped to her slacks. He didn't say anything, just went and sat beside her. On the bench, he pushed his hand until their pinky fingers touched. She sighed, and rested her head on his shoulder. He kissed the top of her head and let his hand fully cover hers. He gave it a squeeze and she turned her hand over so she could lace her fingers with his.

"Gil," she said, her voice sounding small.

"Me too," he assured her. Greg appeared then, his head phones blaring as he stumbled his way into the locker room. Catherine stood and kicked her locker closed. She stepped daintily over Gil and didn't let go of his hand until it was too far for their arms to reach.

In Grissom's Catherine-related fantasy, she appeared at his door when he was home. He didn't know what happened after that. It was just the act of her seeking him out on their own time that filled him with a sort of warm buzz for that was the relationship they'd once had. Grissom didn't want their friendship to be conditional on some asshole smacking her around. But Catherine hadn't needed Grissom to pick up her pieces in a long time, now. She was a level three, she had the money, and she was past the drugs and the stripping and the desperation that helped get her where she was today.

So when he was alone on his couch with a book in his lap and the discovery channel on mute (captioned for the hearing impaired), and his doorbell rang, he didn't know what to hope for. People rarely called on him unsolicited. He got up and smoothed his clothes before opening the door.

"Are you going to gawk at me or let me in?" Catherine asked, smiling.

"I wasn't sure it was really you," he admitted, stepping aside so she could come in. "What do you need?"

"Oh, Lindsey's at school and I couldn't sleep – I have a few hours until my shift and I knew you'd be home," she looked at his sweat pants and t-shirt. "I didn't wake you did I?"

"No," he said, smiling. "I'm glad you're here." He took her jacket and hung it on his coat rack by the door. "Have you eaten? I can fix you something."

"I'm fine, I just wanted to… this sounds stupid. I just wanted to sit with you." she said. He knew the feeling. So they went to his couch where he lifted the blanket so they could both settle beneath it. She kicked off her shoes and he turned the volume up low on the television. Before the program ended, however, she was asleep on his arm.

This was how it used to be. He let his fingers weave into the ends of her silky hair. Her hair was long now, as it was when they first became friends. She'd cut it off for a while but now it was growing again, long and straight. Her breathing was soft and steady and watching her was better than TV.

The thing about Catherine and him was, they'd never been more than friends. There had always been something – her education, her stripping, Eddie, and then Lindsey and by the time everything was settled, he was her boss and any sort of relationship between them was inappropriate in his opinion. Things were different now, though. Both supervisors, despite the fact that they never saw one another.

"What are you thinking about?" she asked. He hadn't known she was awake and he removed his fingers guiltily from her hair.

"You and me," he said.

"You were really good with Lindsey. I never thanked you for that," she said.

"I just wanted her to know how important you are." he said. She sat up and pushed her hair back.

"Gil, I want to try something." she said.

"An experiment?" he asked, his interest piqued.

"Yes, an experiment I should have tried years ago." she said. "Are you ready?"

"Yes," he said. She leaned in to him until her face was close to his. Then, she tilted her head and brought her lips against his mouth. In hindsight, Grissom shouldn't have been surprised by Catherine's experiment but in the midst of it, in the first moment of the kiss, Grissom felt his heart stop. Would he wake up alone in his bed? His fantasies involving Catherine rarely moved past him opening his front door. He wanted it too much to imagine anything more for if he made love to her in his dreams, he wouldn't be able to look her in the eye come morning. Now, here she was, in the warm cocoon of his sofa and blanket and he knew what her lip gloss tasted like.

Finally, something kicked in deep within the part of his brain that controlled instinct and he put his hands onto her shoulders and pulled her toward him. She came fumbling into his lap, all limbs and angles – her elbow hit his solar plexus but he didn't care. The important thing was that she hadn't stopped kissing him.

He'd played with the crisp ends of her hair before, when he thought she wouldn't notice but now he indulged by plunging both hands into her hair and anchoring her head to his. Before long, she opened her mouth and invited him to explore, which he did with fervor. Dimly, he became conscious of her hand against his chest and he pulled his head back to look at her, his breathing more ragged than he thought it would be. His heart beat in his chest once more, hard and fast like a marathon runner.

"Jesus, Gil," she said, looking at him with wide eyes and high brows. "Who the hell was that?"

"Who?" he asked.

"Because if I'd known that you could do that 10 years ago…" she trailed off, shaking her head.

"Why did you do that?" he asked, pulling his hands away from her and placing them at his side while she slid back onto her own cushion. The narrator of the historical documentary still droned in the background.

"Because I wanted to know what would happen." she said.

"What did you expect?" he asked.

"I expected that I would react like that and you would be surprised and then, I don't know, chastise me," she admitted.

"How could you think I wouldn't want you?" he asked.

"Men always want me, but you were never like other men," she said.

"I don't want the French Palace you, I want this you," he said, placing his finger against her temple. "You are intelligent; you're funny and kind. I don't care about your clothes or your make-up or your body," he assured her.

"I'm so confused," she said. "Everything is changing."

"I've always been here for you and that isn't going to change." he promised her.

"Will you kiss me again, Gil?" she asked. "Before I go to work?" He lifted an eyebrow mischievously.

"Come here," he ordered, leaning back a little against the cushions. She smiled softly and crawled back into his lap. He pushed the curtain of hair aside and pressed his nose into the place where her neck became her shoulder. He inhaled deeply, high from the smell of her perfume, her shampoo, her skin. He licked the skin softly, wondering if it tasted as good as it smelled and he was rewarded with a sharp intake of breath from Catherine. He smiled against her neck before he nipped at the skin, catching it lightly between his teeth.

"Leave a mark and you'll be sorry," she sighed and he chucked, releasing the skin. He kissed the tender spot and began moving up her neck. He flicked his tongue against her earlobe and was delighted to see how it made her squirm. He slowly began moving over her cheek, making a slow but steady pace toward her lips when she grew impatient and grabbed his face, forcing his mouth against her own. His hands went to the hem of her shirt and slid underneath, the pads of his fingers felt hot against the skin of her stomach. She pushed herself against him harder, until he was flat on his back and she was on top of him, the blanket a tangled heap forgotten on the floor.

When the phone rang, he felt the guilty jump go through her body. She sat up, wiping her mouth with her fingers and watched him get up to find his phone. His arousal was obvious and she felt her already heated skin turn bright red. The flush was warm and mixed with triumph that she could do that to him. Sure, she'd once made her living giving men boners but this was Gil Grissom, this was a man who mattered. She couldn't hear him for the roar of blood in her ears. She was so aroused by him that it hurt.

"What was that?" she asked, when he replaced the black telephone into its cradle.

"Nick called in sick, Ecklie wanted to know if I would cover for him." Grissom replied.

"You haven't even gone to bed from your last shift," she pointed out.

"I'll be in a very cold shower," he said with a shrug, heading toward the bathroom. He hadn't thought that she would wait around for him but when he emerged from the bedroom dressed; she was still sitting on his couch, flipping through a magazine she was not at all interested in.

"Catherine?" he asked.

"I thought we could go together," she said.

"I have to stay several hours later than you," he pointed out.

"Well, I can at least drive behind you." she said. He smiled.

"Of course," he reached out his hand to pull her off of his couch and loosely into his arms.

"We're gonna have to talk about this," Catherine said.

"Whatever we decide, never tell Ecklie – he'd have a field day." Grissom said.

"Well, I'll just be extra mean to you at work," she said. "Then everyone will stay away from me,"

He followed her Denali all the way to the lab even thought she drove faster than he was comfortable with. He pulled in several spots away from her space and when he arrived at the glass doors, she'd already gone inside.

Grissom found that he actually liked Sofia when she wasn't under Ecklie's thumb. She was a good CSI and they rarely found something they couldn't collectively solve. So, when she mentioned moving on from the lab, he did what Ecklie had been after him to do from the beginning – he took her to dinner and convinced her to stay.

When he got back to his office, Catherine was sitting in his chair.

"You have your own office now," he pointed out, turning on the overhead light and hanging up his jacket.

"You took her to dinner?" she whispered, harshly.

"As her supervisor, yes." he said. Catherine scoffed. "You pretending to mean to me – this isn't now, is it?" he asked.

"I already have to worry about Sara constantly throwing herself at you, and I just don't have time for another woman." she said, folding her head in her crossed arms. Grissom chuckled and Catherine's head shot up, her eyes narrowed.

"If I had wanted what Sara wanted, it would have happened years ago," he promised. "As for Sofia, she's a good CSI and I didn't want my team to lose her."

"I'm sorry," she said. "I don't even know where we stand,"

"Next time we have a few hours together, we'll have dinner and figure this out." He promised. "In the mean time, take out Nick if you feel like it. I don't mind."

"Ha, I'm taking Warrick," she said. "Or better yet, he's taking me." With that, she sauntered out of his office leaving a perturbed Grissom in her wake.

They went out for drinks nearly two weeks later. They got a table in a restaurant at one of the casinos and he ordered bourbon while she got a cosmopolitan. The drinks came and she nervously ran her fingers up and down the narrow stem of the martini glass. She didn't know she was doing it and it was doing a pretty good job of turning Grissom on; the up and down movements leaving condensation on her finger tips.

"You look beautiful," he said, a peaceful opening statement. She smiled, tucked her hair behind her ear.

"Thank you," she said. Catherine, despite herself, never got tired of men telling her that she was beautiful, especially now that she'd turned 40. But it meant more coming from Grissom. He was stingy with his compliments and even when he did throw one her way, it was about a case.

"I'd like to see you more often than bi-monthly." he said.

"I'm afraid that if we do this, and it doesn't work out, then 15 years of friendship will be ruined." she said, her hand moving once again. Up and down, finger nails tapping the base. She took a sip. Liquid courage. He did the same.

"What if it goes well?" he asked.

"How well has it gone for most of this year?" she asked.

"It's been a tough year at the office." he acknowledged. "Why did you kiss me, then?"

"Because I missed you! And because things have been changing between us and because you were doing this very irresistible thing with your lip and you're doing it right now and sometimes you're just Grissom to me, you know, just Bugman, but there are these other times when I look at you and I get this flash of heat through my whole body." she said, her eyes drifting down to his lip. "Women like me don't date men like you, Gil."

"I know that," he said.

"No, not because I used to be a stripper,"

"Exotic dancer," he corrected.

"Because you're smart and I'm poor white trash," she said. "Women like me date men who end up hitting them."

"Do you think men like me ever get the beauty queen?" he asked, softly. She sighed.

"Gil, you just don't know how sexy you are. That makes you even more sexy." she said. He raised an eyebrow, a trademark expression for him and slid a plastic card across the table to her. "You got a room?"

"It's up to you," he said. She sipped at her drink which was nearly empty.

"Carpe diem," she said. "Let's go." When she stood, he eagerly followed her. She reached out behind her while walking and he took her hand so she was leading him toward the elevator bank even though he'd been the one to boldly purchase the room for a night. And he had splurged – he didn't have much to spend his money on and a night out with Catherine was the best thing he could think of to do. In the elevator, she pushed him against the wall and started nibbling on his ears.

"You know there are cameras in here," he whimpered as her teeth drug across his sensitive flesh.

"I'm aware," she breathed, and her hot breath in his ear made him groan slightly. Her fingers moved from the back of his neck, to his shoulder, down his chest, and rested on his belt. He groaned at the implication and then whimpered as her hand moved further south, brushing the erection straining against his pants. The elevator opened and he pushed her out of it, toward the room. He had the plastic key card out before the door to the room was even in sight.

He put the plastic into the slot and the light turned green. They heard the lock unclick and he opened the door to the nice room with a large bathroom and king sized bed. Catherine was looking at him like the cat that caught the canary and he was enjoying the attention. She was just about to kiss him when his pocket started to vibrate.

"Oh no," he moaned but his fear was confirmed when a loud beeping came from Catherine's clutch.

"Fuck," she spat, opening the bag and pulling the pager out – her movements were sharp with disappointment.

"If they're paging both of us, it's got to be important." Grissom pointed out. "I'm not even on call tonight." She looked at him, her frustration clear.

"Another time," she said. "I want triple time for this, though."

The elevator ride down was somber. They didn't touch for it would only make it worse.

The weeks that followed were frantic and exhausting. Case after horrifying case poured into the crime lab and it was the night of the full moon when Nick was taken from his crime scene. What followed now was a blur – they were both up for hours and when Grissom took a bathroom break in the midst of hour seven, he saw Catherine weeping in the locker room but he didn't even pause to comfort her. All he could do was think of Nick and all he could do was not think of Nick in his glass grave.

Catherine was frantic when she found the gravesite and when Grissom was kneeling on top of the plexiglass, he could see Catherine out of the corner of his eye, wringing her hands. She was crying, but he imagined she didn't even notice it. He could have been crying as well? Who knew what to feel at that moment, looking down at Nick covered in dead ants with a gun to his throat?

"Poncho," Grissom shouted and placed his hand against the glass. Nick's hand was shaking and curled but he put it against Grissom's and it was really only a few minutes more before Nick's body was flung up out of the grave and was swiftly put in the ambulance. Grissom had planned to ride to the hospital with Nick but Warrick beat him to it. Grissom drove to the hospital in silence with Catherine in the passenger's seat shaking so violently and she had to hold onto the arm rest with both hands and Sara in the back with the widow down, throwing up out the side as they sped after the blinking red lights and sirens.

At the hospital, they kept Nick sedated for three days straight because every time he woke up, he would start screaming. His parents sat at his bedside constantly and Warrick took all his vacation for the year so he could stay as well. Grissom went as often as he could, as did Sara and Catherine. Grissom had been at the hospital for several hours now when Catherine showed up.

"I'll take you home," she said.

"No," he shook his head. "I don't want to go home,"

"Gil, he won't wake up until the morning. You need a good meal and a change of clothes," she said, trying to sound stern. She just sounded tired like the rest of them. She took his hand, the first time they'd really touched since it had all happened. He looked up at her.

"All right," he said, and followed her out of the white hospital. Las Vegas didn't mourn for Nick the way that the Crime Lab did. The lights of the strip still swallowed the lights of the stars and as Catherine drove him home, he could feel the anger rising up from his gut, to his chest, until it sat hot and insistent on his tongue. Not knowing what to do, he let go and punched the window to his right.

Catherine shrieked and nearly drove the SUV off the road as the glass shattered – most of it out of the car but a good amount on Grissom's lap and enough embedded into his had.

"Jesus Christ!" she screamed, but she sounded scared, not angry. Grissom watched the blood stream out of the wound and down his wrist, into his lap. He felt stupid and held his wrist, helplessly.

"Sorry," he said.

"Did it help?" she asked.

"For a minute," he confessed. She pulled into the driveway of her house, not his. He didn't seem to notice. She opened the door for him and made sure to bring her kit inside so there was nothing worth stealing in the car. Inside, she turned on the light in the kitchen.

"Lindsay is asleep," she warned him. It meant her mother, Lily, was probably in the guest room as well. A full house. She went down a dark hall and came back with an arm full; a towel, a first aid kit, and some tweezers. She put the towel down on the counter and took his hand. "That was really stupid," she said, as she started to pluck the glass out with the tweezers. He knew he'd go to the hospital tomorrow to get it checked out. He felt a little dizzy from the exhaustion and the anger and the loss of blood. What she was doing hurt but he didn't complain.

"I ruined your towel," he said, finally, as she finished wrapping gauze around his knuckles.

"Gil," she said, looking at him with concerned eyes. "You did everything right. Nick's going to be okay,"

"He thought I was disappointed with him," Grissom whispered, fiercely. "Maybe Ecklie was right to split us up, maybe I was wrong to ask for them back. How could he think that?" And then he did something he'd yet to do. He put his head down in his crossed arms and started to cry. His sobs were large and painful – they fought their way out. His ribs hurt and shoulders shook and he left tears and snot everywhere. Catherine reached out and ran her fingers through his hair in an attempt at comfort. He looked up to see her eyes glistening as well.

"Come on," she said, taking the towel and putting in straight into the trash, leaving the rest of the mess for the morning. She stood and he followed, helpless to do anything else. Down the dark hall was Catherine's bedroom and she shut the door softly behind him. He opened his mouth to speak but she put a finger to his lips to quiet him, to remind him of the daughter in her room and her mother down the hall.

Catherine doesn't bother to turn on any lights. The room is almost completely dark save for the green light coming from the digital clock on her night stand. Catherine wasted no time in carefully pulling Grissom's shirt up over his head. She let him remove his own pants as she worked on taking off all her clothing. Finally, after a lot of quiet rustling and grunting, they stood naked. Catherine pointed to the bed and Grissom took the hint and lay down, pulling the comforter back first.

She lay down next to him with her head on his chest. She had planned, walking down the hall, to make love to him, to help ease his pain, but instead, she simply pressed her warm body against his and watched him fall asleep.

She woke up to Grissom's mouth on her breast, the sunlight turning her bedroom yellow. It was just after 6:00 and Grissom's eyes were dark and blue – his need was evident against her thigh.

"Make me feel alive, Catherine," he whispered into her skin. She nodded, and pulled him up so that his face was level with hers. It was easy to kiss Grissom. He was a leader but knew how to follow her lead. Their kisses her unhurried and languid – a modest exploration before she began to squirm beneath him in anticipation of what was to come. He moved his hand down her flat stomach to the warmth in between her legs. She wanted to scream at the way it felt to have Grissom touching her so intimately but she bit at her lips as to not wake her family. He let his thumb circle the bundle of nerves while one and then two fingers slid in and out of her. She shut her eyes, screwed them shut but his teeth on her collarbone made her open them again.

"Stay with me," he said. "I want to watch," She groaned a little, but kept her eyes open, focused on his. His fingers sped up and he looked like a boy on Christmas. Finally, the pressure and the heat overwhelmed her and her body bucked up against his hand, her thighs clamping together.

"Oh," she whispered. "Oh," she said as her toes curled and he pressed his lips to her while his hand stayed unrelenting in its movements. Finally, she collapsed against the bed and pushed his hand away, trying to catch her breath.

"That was inspired," he said, and she meant to glare at him but he just looked so honest.

"Lay on your back," she said, and he complied, completely under her thrall. She reached into the nightstand and her hand came back with a condom. She wasted no time in tearing the foil and rolling the latex down his shaft. His breath hitched at the contact.

"This is really going to happen," he said. "You and me,"

"You and me, baby," she assured him, throwing her leg over him and quickly lowering her self down onto him, all in one fluid movement that made his eyes bulge a little. She wanted it to last all morning but he felt so good inside of her that she couldn't help but speed up her movements and before long his hands were on her hips and his head was flung back into the pillow. She smiled as she watched him find his release and when he'd stopped bucking, she leaned down and kissed his cheek.

"But you didn't," he started but she held up her hand.

"Plenty of time," she promised. He nodded, and let his eyes close. She lifted off him gingerly, already feeling a little sore but it was a pleasant ache. She curled her body against his until it was time to get up to make her daughter's lunch and send her off to school. She let Gil sleep until there was no one in the house but them.

Grissom woke up feeling rested. He could hear the shower in the master bedroom's attached bathroom and smiled to him self. It was warm in the bedroom and he was happy to push the comforter off his slightly sweaty skin. He smelled like sex. Catherine's shower curtain distorted the image of her body some but he could still see that she was naked and this pleased him. He slowly pulled back the curtain intent on a warm, sexy shower but the sound of the water had covered the sound of her crying.

"Cath," he said, trying not to surprise her. She jumped a little, which only made her cry harder, launching herself into his open arms. Her body was slick and heated against him. He made soothing noises. "What can I do?"

"Nothing, I just… starting thinking about Nicky," she said. "I just got so scared for him all over again."

"We'll stop before work," he promised.

"I know. It's better now that you're here." she said, smiling a watery smile. She stepped aside so he could have access to the hot water; he was careful not to get his bandages wet. She helped him rub her expensive salon shampoo into his graying hair and giggled when he had a head full of suds.

"I'll smell like you all day," he said. She shrugged, though he could see she thought this was a good thing.

"You're very cute, Gil." she said. Once they were all soap free, she turned off the water and handed him the towel that was on the rack. He took it and wrapped it around his waist, watching her walk naked down the hall to the linen closet, dripping. She was beautiful.

Dressed and ready for work, they stood in the driveway, surveying the window damage.

"You should really go in and get that looked at," she said, looking at his hand.

"I'll have Doc Robbins look at it," he promised. They drove to the hospital to have a quick check in on Nick. He was alone in his room, which was rare, but awake and coherent.

"Hi Nicky," Catherine said, leaning down to kiss his cheek. "How are you feeling?"

"Okay," he said. "Hi Boss,"

"Hello," Grissom said. "Nice to see you awake."

"They said I could leave in a few days," Nick said, using the control attached to his bed to sit him up.

"You don't have to come back to work until you're good and ready," Grissom promised.

"I know," Nick said. "Warrick was here a while ago, he said things have been slow anyway." Grissom knew this to be a lie but he made no move to correct it.

"We all miss you," Catherine added. "Call whenever you need to."

Nick mother walked in looking tired and drawn.

"Mrs. Stokes," Grissom greeted with a nod of his head. Before too long, he and Catherine excused themselves. They drove back in separate cars for Grissom had left his at the hospital. They parked beside one another at the lab, this time.

"I'll pay for the window," Grissom commented, holding the door open for her.

"Don't I know it," she said. She went to clock in but his shift didn't start for a while yet so he went to the morgue. Doc Robbins tsked at the sight of his hand.

"Catherine did a good job getting most of the glass out, but you could use a few stitches and an antibiotic." he said. "What happened?"

"I fought the window and the window won," he said, dryly.

"This will hurt, but probably not more than the initial accident," Robbins said. Five stitches and a prescription later, Grissom went to his office. Ecklie was loitering outside it, Catherine standing next to him looking cross.

"Gil, I wanted to have a chat with you and Catherine," he said.

"Of course, Conrad," Grissom said tiredly, unlocking his office and letting them inside. He sat at his desk, and Catherine sat in one of the desk chairs. Ecklie, not wanting to see subordinate to Grissom, stood. Catherine rolled her eyes.

"I've examined your request to have Brown and Stokes put back onto the night shift," he said. Catherine looked at Gil, unaware that Grissom's had really wanted that. "I'll approve it, if Catherine doesn't mind losing half her team." He smile was smug, knowing how feisty Catherine was and knowing she would be unwilling to cooperate.

"Cath?" Grissom asked, turning to her. Catherine bit at her lip in thought.

"That's fine," she said, relishing the look of surprise on Ecklie's face. "But I want to go back, too."

"What?" Grissom said.

"That's a demotion," Ecklie said, unnecessarily.

"Yes," Catherine said patiently. "Put Sofia on the swing shift where she belongs and put me back with Gil and for the love of God, Conrad, from now on stop messing with things you don't understand."

Grissom grinned. He couldn't help it. He was never more in love with Catherine than he was at that moment. Ecklie was flustered and left without speaking, slamming Grissom's door behind him. Grissom stood, still smiling, his hands in his pockets.

"That was hot," he said and Catherine laughed, walking around the desk so she could wrap her arms around him and kiss his cheek noisily.

"I'll go tell the others," she said. He nodded, watching her walk out of his office with his head cocked to one side, enjoying the view.