Title: Sticky Situation

Author: Dana

Rating: T

Disclaimers: I don't own anything. I'm just borrowing the characters for a bit.

Summary: What happened to Gil's beard between seasons 6 and 7?

Spoilers: Season 7 previews, a small one for 'Inside the Box,' and I suppose a small one for late season 6.

A/N: I have no beta, so any mistakes are mine.

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"Cath, you got anything to drink in here? My mouth is dry." Gil sat in the passenger seat of Catherine's Tahoe.

"Well, you should've thought about that before you downed two large tubs of buttered and salted popcorn during the movie. You can eat two tubs of popcorn, but you only get a small drink?" she kidded him.

"If I'd gotten a bigger drink, I would've had to go to the bathroom. And I didn't want to spend a minute away from you."

She glanced at him and rolled her eyes. "Suck up," she said, smiling. "I've got some bubble gum in my purse. That's the best I can do until we get back to my house."

He dug around in her purse until he found the bubble gum. He unwrapped the pink confection and popped it in his mouth. "Thanks." Soon, he was chomping loudly on the gum. He tried to blow a bubble, but decided he didn't have enough gum to do so. He fished through her purse again until he found another piece. He unwrapped the second piece and put it into his mouth, too. He chewed the gum until it was malleable enough to blow a bubble. He blew a sizable bubble, then sucked it back into his mouth with a loud 'pop.'

"Gil."

"What?" he asked before popping another bubble.

"Stop."

"Why?" He popped one again.

"Because it's irritating!"

"Then you shouldn't have offered me the gum."

He started to blow another bubble when she interrupted him. "I swear, Gil. If you do that again, I will pop it for you."

He chuckled, but chose not to blow any more bubbles for the remainder of the ride.

----

When they arrived at Catherine's, they pulled into the driveway and parked next to Gil's Tahoe. Once inside the house, they went to the kitchen to fix some drinks. As she filled the glasses with ice, he blew another bubble, just to tease her. Her reaction was faster than he anticipated and she smashed the bubble gum against his face.

His stunned expression made her giggle and she quickly covered her mouth with one hand.

"Catherine!" he exclaimed.

"Gil, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to do that!"

His beard was covered in the pink, sticky goo. "Right!"

"I honestly didn't, Gil. I just wanted to pop it, not get it stuck in your beard. Besides," she continued, stepping closer to him, "I like your beard. Why would I deliberately do anything to mess it up?"

Even though they had had some rocky patches in their relationship, he could never stay mad at her for long. He offered a tiny smile and allowed her to step into his embrace before saying, "Regardless, you're going to help me get this stuff out of my beard."

She giggled at the pink stickiness once again.

"That's only fair." She stepped out of his embrace and walked to the pantry. "Peanut butter and mayonnaise are good for getting gum out. Or ice."

"Peanut butter and mayonnaise? Really?"

"Yeah, I went through many jars of both when Lindsey was little. We'll try the peanut butter first."

She found the jar of peanut butter in the pantry and took it back to where Gil stood. She stuck her hand in the jar and got a good amount of peanut butter on her fingers. She spread it over his sticky beard and waited for a few minutes. When she tried to wipe the goo off his beard, only the peanut butter and tiny bits of the gum came off. The majority of the gum was still there.

"Okay," she said, slightly puzzled. "Let's try the mayonnaise." She put the peanut butter jar on the counter and got the mayonnaise from the fridge. He held the jar and lid while she slathered the white-ish blob on his beard. Again, they waited. And again, little pieces of bubble gum came off, but most of it refused to budge.

"Damn!" she exclaimed. "Well, we can try the ice." She wiped her hands on a dish towel as he put the mayonnaise jar on the counter next to the peanut butter. She then grabbed one of the glasses she'd filled with ice and shook a cube into her palm.

Gil watched as best he could while she rubbed the piece of ice along his sticky, pink-plastered beard. "Jeez, Cath. You're not going to have to worry about getting gum out of my beard. You're going to freeze off my whole damn jaw."

"I'm just trying to help. We're making some progress."

"At this rate, we'll be here all night. This was not how I pictured our night off."

"I know, and I'm really sorry. I don't know why none of this is working. Just one of them worked when Lindsey used to get gum in her hair." She shook another cube into her palm, the first one melted away.

He gently took her wrist in his hand, effectively breaking the contact between his jaw and the ice. "It's no use. I'm just going to shave it off."

"But, Gil--"

"No, I've been thinking about shaving it off anyway. Now is as good of a time as any."

"I really am sorry, Gil."

"Don't be. It was my fault," he admitted, pulling her into his embrace. "I shouldn't have blown that last bubble."

"I'd kiss you if you didn't smell like peanut butter and mayonnaise."

"Well, let's get me cleaned up so we can get to the kissing."

"Come on," she said, grabbing his hand and pulling him behind her down the hall toward the bathroom. She flipped on the light and he shut the door behind them.

She got the shaving cream and a disposable razor from the cabinet under the sink. "Here you go," she said as she offered him the can and the razor. "It's the only thing I've got besides my razor. And I wouldn't want you to cut your face by using that one."

"Me neither." He took the items from her and put them on the counter. Then he plugged the sink drain and filled the sink with hot water. When he looked in the mirror, he couldn't help but chuckle at his own reflection. "I don't wear bubble gum well, do I?"

"I don't know. It's not that bad," Catherine replied. "Pink is a good color on you."

He cut a sideways glance at her before spreading the cream over his beard. "This is a little better."

"Now you look like Santa Grissom."

"Ho, ho, ho! Well, I do know what you want for Christmas," he said. "And Santa Grissom will do his best to see that you get that."

She laughed and gently shook her head, enjoying his playful side.

He rinsed his hand in the water and picked up the razor. He removed the protective cover and swished the razor in the water. As he shaved the first strip of his bubble gum beard, Catherine sat on the edge of the tub and said, "I'm really, really sorry, Gil."

He shaved away another strip. "I already said it's not your fault. You didn't make me blow that last bubble." He continued shaving off his beard.

"So you're not mad?"

"No, but can I ask you something?"

"Sure."

"Do you have another razor?" He showed her the razor that had bubble gum stuck on the blades. "I'm only half done."

She laughed. "Yeah. Under the sink."

He found another razor and repeated the motions he'd done with the first one.

She watched him shave off the rest of his beard.

"I think I'll keep the mustache. How's this?" he asked, turning so she could see the new look. By the look on his face and the tone of his voice, Catherine knew he was being facetious.

"It looks worse than Nick's did. It's got to go," she replied in her own joking manner.

"Ouch!" he exclaimed in mock-hurt. "What will Nick say when I tell him that?"

"Nothing, because you're not going to tell him. I mean, how would you explain that the bubble gum was from me and that you shaved off your beard in my bathroom? He would put the pieces together and figure out we're more than friends."

"Good point." He shaved off his mustache and let the water out of the sink.

"So, what do you think?" he asked as he turned so she could fully see his face.

She smiled widely and stood up. "I like it." She stepped closer to him and cupped his face in her hands. "I like the beard, but this is nice, too. And it's been a long time since I've been able to do this." She gently kissed the cleft in his chin. Both of them grinned when she pulled back.

"Ah, yes. I believe it was right after my surgery three years ago. I'm glad I told you about that beforehand."

"Me, too. And I'm glad I could be there for you." They wrapped their arms around each other, her head resting on his shoulder, his cheek against her hair.

"So, do I still smell like peanut butter and mayo?"

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Nope. You smell like my favorite scent."

"Shaving cream?"

"No. You."

"Does that mean I get a kiss?"

"What do you think?" she asked, slightly pulling back and cupping his face in her hands again. She kissed him thoroughly and grinned when they broke the kiss.

"What?" he asked.

She could hardly keep from laughing. "You still taste like bubble gum."

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Finis