Disclaimer: I do not own CSI or any of its Characters. I just like using them for my amusement.
Author's note: This takes place after the season finale. I'm anti-GSR so you've been warned.
Catherine Willows was sitting in her office. Her shift had been slow so far and she was finally getting a chance to work on the stack of papers that had been on her desk for the last week. She was coming to understand why Grissom was always late with his reports.
She had just finished her umpteenth report when her phone rang. There was a dead body that needed her attention. She heaved a sigh, but was secretly thankful to get away from the sea of blue ink and red tape.
The scene was an 18 year-old blonde girl named Gina Marshall. She was shot twice in her Spring Valley home. There was no sign of forced entry and no sign of a struggle. This girl didn't know it was coming. Catherine shook her head in sorrow. The girl looked like an older version of Lindsey. She grabbed her kit and started collecting the evidence.
Just as she was packing up her collection of evidence, back at the lab Gil Grissom got a call. Graveyard shift had started off busy and now it was another dead body. Grissom knew everyone else was already out on a call, so he decided to take this one.
Once Grissom got to the scene in Henderson, he found the victim was a 22 year-old man. He just finished closing up the retail store where he worked when he was gunned down outside. The deposit bag was missing and robbery was suspected as the motive in the death of Kevin Otis. Grissom didn't even try to ponder what would make a person kill another over a couple thousand dollars.
Later that shift, Grissom walked through the hallway and into the DNA lab. He hoped the report on the evidence he had collected earlier was finished.
"Do you have the Otis report ready, Wendy?" Grissom asked to the woman's back, not looking up from the one in his hands.
The woman's body tensed as she handed Grissom a report without uttering a word. She knew she'd run into him eventually, but she didn't think it would be this soon. And it's not that she didn't want to say something—anything—it was just that she couldn't even manage a 'Hi'.
"Thank you," he said still not looking up from the report in his hands.
He probably doesn't even notice I'm not Wendy, she thought a little relieved, going back to the test tube in front of her.
Then, as if he'd heard her thoughts, he looked up and observed, "You're not Wendy."
The woman completely froze where she stood. She was trying to figure out if she had accidentally uttered her last statement aloud. She didn't look up from the test tube in front of her, attempting to hide her uneasiness. After a moment she forced herself to say, "Not today."
"Did she quit?" Grissom questioned the woman.
Finally, she gathered all her strength and looked up at him with her crystal blue eyes. She shook her head, causing a few of her black hairs to shake loose from the ponytail. Timidly she answered, "She…she had a car accident or something and they asked me to fill in."
"And you are?" Grissom raised an eyebrow.
"Oh, sorry," the woman replied, realizing she had forgotten to introduce herself. "Cate Dietz." She started to extend her hand, then realizing it was gloved and why it was gloved, she pulled it away. She gave a weak half smile and shrugged her shoulders. "It's my first day…and my second shift."
"Gil Grissom," he said with a nod, noting that there was something familiar about her but not quite sure what it was. Then he added, "It's your first day and you're already pulling a double?"
She shrugged again. "Mindfreak is a repeat tonight," she let out a nervous giggle. "Anyway, I've got a lot to do," she motioned to the vials in front of her. She needed to get him out of the lab so her heart would slow.
Grissom took the hint. "Nice to meet you," he said and then exited.
Nice to meet you, again, she thought as she exhaled and her muscles loosened. Although she didn't know if their first encounter really counted as a 'meeting'. They had exchanged names and did the obligatory hand shake, but he had done the same with so many other people that day about a dozen years ago. She knew the man who'd guest lectured at her university so long ago wouldn't remember just another student. However, to her, he was much more than a guest lecturer. She didn't know where she'd be if it hadn't been for Gil Grissom.
Grissom walked down the hall towards his office, totally oblivious that anything out of the ordinary had occurred. As he was entering it, he heard someone call his name. He turned around in time to see Catherine hurrying down the hall towards him.
"Grissom," she repeated. "I need to talk to you."
"Sure, what's up Cath?" he replied as they walked into his office.
"I've been looking at the ballistics report I just got and I think we might be working the same case," she told him.
He raised an eyebrow. "Oh?"
"It looks like my bullet from the Marshall case matches yours from the Otis case," she replied.
"Interesting," he replied, taking the report from Catherine, wondering what a home invasion in Spring Valley had to do with a robbery in Henderson.
"What've you got?" she asked Grissom.
"The DNA results from the Otis case," he replied, not looking up from the report he just took from her.
"So you met the new girl," she inquired.
"Yes," Grissom confirmed. "What happened to the other guy?"
"Quit," Catherine answered. "He didn't like the hours."
Grissom looked up at Catherine and questioned, "It's her first day. Is she experienced enough to work a double alone?"
"Of course," Catherine responded, a little offended at his question. She wondered if he actually thought she'd have someone who wasn't qualified working in the lab. "She's got a degree in Biology and worked in the Atlanta lab for a number of years."
"Any good?" he asked.
"Her work so far has been excellent," Catherine jokingly replied.
Grissom got back to the matter at hand. "Do the victims have anything else in common besides what killed them?"
Catherine opened the file in front of her. "Not that I can see, but I'll get on it."
Grissom nodded. "I'll check with Sophia to see if anyone can place a vehicle or person at both scenes."
Catherine exited Grissom's office and they both got to work.
Elsewhere in the office, Cate was working on some more evidence. Her run-in with Grissom had caused her to be a little uneasy. It wasn't every day that she ran into her idol. So, she decided she'd turn on some music to help calm her.
As the classical music filled the room, she got lost in the rise and fall of it. It helped melt away the nervousness she had felt. And for the first time in a long time, she started dancing along with the music. She had generally reserved her ballet for the comfort of her room where no one watched, but she needed to release her extra energy. She did her work as she did her dance, picking up a test tube, doing a pirouette and placing it in the centrifuge. She was totally oblivious to her growing audience.
Greg Sanders was the first member of her audience. He was going to the lab to drop off some evidence to be processed. Before he entered, he heard the music. It wasn't what he had played when the DNA lab was his, but it wasn't so bad. Then he saw her dancing and stopped in the doorway.
He knew right away it wasn't Wendy, even though he hadn't seen her face. The hair color and stature were all wrong. This woman had black hair; Wendy's was red. Wendy was also taller and didn't dance. He didn't want to interrupt her, so he stood, watching.
Warrick Brown came down the hall a few moments later and wondered what Greg was doing.
"What's going on?" Warrick asked as he approached.
Greg put his forefinger to his lips and then pointed into the lab. Warrick looked and saw what held Greg's gaze. It wasn't everyday someone danced around the lab as they processed evidence.
Nick Stokes and Sara Sidle turned the corner and walked down the hall that contained the DNA lab. They were discussing a case they had been working on. They stopped when they saw Warrick and Greg standing just outside the lab.
Nick was about to ask what they were doing, when he reached the door to the lab and saw the woman dancing. He smiled, wondering if the woman realized she had gained an audience. Sara joined them when she saw the smile on Nick's face.
After another minute, the music stopped and the woman stopped dancing. Her small audience of CSIs started to clap. She turned toward them, finally away of their presence. She dropped the rubber stopper in her hand and immediately ducked down behind the table to find it—and get out of their view.
She took a few deep breaths and tried to calm her again excited heart. She couldn't believe people had been watching and she didn't notice. She made a mental note not to dance in the lab anymore. When she had decided her cheeks were back to their normal color, she stood to face her audience.
"Hi," she said, giving a weak wave and smile to the four still standing there.
Greg was the first to walk in and extended his hand. "Greg Sanders," he introduced himself.
She took his hand, worried about how sweaty her palm probably was, "Cate Dietz."
Then each of the other three introduced themselves in turn, shaking her hand.
After they introductions were concluded Cate added, "I'm honored to meet you all. I've heard so many good things." Then under her breath she muttered, "I'm so embarrassed."
Nick heard the utterance, "Nothing to be embarrassed about. You're good."
Her cheeks flushed again; she didn't think anyone heard her. "Every little girl wants to be a ballerina," she replied quietly, trying to downplay his compliment.
Nick, Greg and Warrick all looked at Sara after Cate's comment. Sara shook her head. "Never," she answered their silent question, then asked one of her own, "Did Wendy quit?"
Cate shook her head. "She had a car accident. I'm just filling in."
"Are you new?" Greg questioned.
She nodded. "First day and I have a lot of work to do," she stated, trying to empty the lab once again.
"Well, then I'm sorry to give you more," Greg responded with a charmingly apologetic smile, handing her the evidence in his hand.
"That's the job," she shrugged. "Now if you don't mind…"