Title: Fortune Cookie

Author: Dana

Rating: K+

Disclaimers: I don't own anything. Everything belongs to Jerry Bruckheimer, CBS, and Alliance Atlantis. I'm just borrowing some characters for awhile.
Summary: Catherine reads her fortune.
Spoilers: Small ones for 'Ellie,' 'Burden of Proof,' 'King Baby,' and 'No Humans Involved,' but nothing that will ruin the episode if you haven't seen it. It takes place during or after season 6.

I take off my glasses and put them on one of the open folders on the desk. I close my eyes and rest my head in my hands, my elbows on the desk.

I'm so tired of doing paperwork, but with Gil out of town, I'm the 'lucky' one who gets to do all of it. I'll never understand why those bug conferences are so important, but different strokes, I guess.

I sigh and look at the clock. No wonder I'm so tired--it's 4:23 am, and I've been in this chair for nearly three hours. I even missed my lunch break--or whatever a meal at 3 am is called. As if on cue, my stomach growls.

I've got some leftover Chinese food in the break room refrigerator. Maybe it's good that Gil's not here. He'd probably have an experiment in the fridge. I smile at his quirkiness as I stand up. My smile turns into a grimace as my tired muscles protest the movement. I stretch my arms upward, trying to alleviate some of the tension. I should make Mr. Quirky give me a massage when he gets back. Too bad that's not until tomorrow.

I leave my office and I'm not surprised to find the break room empty. I take the bag with the two containers of leftovers out of the fridge. My mouth waters before I can even get the food into the microwave. In a couple of minutes, the orange-pineapple chicken and fried rice are piping hot and smell delicious. My stomach growls again.

I put the food on the table and grab a bottle of water from the fridge. I could use coffee, but it wouldn't taste that good with Chinese. My mouth is still watering when I sit down to eat. I quickly finish the savory leftovers, wishing I had more. Maybe I'll stop at my favorite Chinese restaurant on the way home. It never closes. This is Vegas, after all.

I stand up and grab the bag the containers were in. There's something still in the bag. A fortune cookie. Jackpot! I decide to save the fortune cookie for the walk back to my office. I remove the plastic wrapper from the fortune cookie and throw away my trash before leaving the break room.

I break the fortune cookie in half, popping one half in my mouth and pulling the slip of paper out of the other half. As I chew the sweet treat, I silently read my fortune: 'The love of your life will appear in front of you unexpectedly.' Love of my life--yeah, right. Like that will ever happen. Oh, well. At least the fortune cookie is good. I pop the other half in my mouth as I near my office.

I toss the slip of paper on my desk as I sit down in my chair. I'm fed and refreshed and ready to get back to another round of paperwork. I don my glasses and dive back into the piles of papers strewn across my desk.

An hour later, there's a knock on my door.

"Come in," I call. I look over the top rim of my glasses to see who's at the door. The door cracks open and I'm surprised to see the person standing there. "Gil? What are you doing here? You're not supposed to be back until tomorrow."

"Good to see you, too." He smiles.

"That's not what I meant," I reply, rolling my eyes.

"I know. I got an earlier flight."

"Couldn't wait to get back to work?"

"I wanted to see you."

"Right," I say sarcastically. "Oh, wait. Let me guess. You missed my tush."

He smiles and I know he remembers saying those words. I joke with him, but I know I'll never forget hearing him say them.

"I missed more than that."

Enigmatic as always. Not that I expected anything else.

There's a pause. It's not uncomfortable, though. We're silently daring each other to respond to what was just said.

He eventually buckles and changes the subject. "So, do you mind catching me up on the cases?"

"Now that sounds like the Gil Grissom I know. Gets off the plane and comes to work for two hours." I smile as I remove my glasses. "Well, since you're here, do you want to come in?" I gesture to the half-open door.

He opens the door the rest of the way, showing me the bug case he's holding.

"Let me go put these guys in my office. I know you love the fetal pig, but I also know how you feel about my creepy crawlies."

"Thanks for thinking of me."

He turns to leave and mumbles something that sounds like, 'I always do.'

No, that can't be right. There's no way he said that. I watch Mr. Quirky walk away, and as I put my glasses back on and refocus on my desk, the slip of paper catches my eye. I pick it up and read it again. 'The love of your life will appear in front of you unexpectedly.' Love of my life... Unexpectedly... I look at the doorframe where Gil had been only a moment ago. Maybe there's something to this fortune. And maybe I'll even ask him for that massage.