Disclaimer: Not mine.

Author's Note: As with lots of my stories, I actually wrote this as a one shot. Then I kept going. And going. We'll see if that was a good thing or not, won't we?

Some kind of warning will apply as Built to Kill Part One introduced the idea of rape or sexual assault on a main character. So there is your warning. Nothing graphic. I promise. This story will most likely revolve around the events of Built to Kill 1 & 2. Any other episodes afterward may or may not factor.

Other incidental warnings: 1) This is written in the second person, but it's not one of those "You Choose The Adventure!!!" kind of stories. I would never subject you to such pain and unnecessariness. I also realize this isn't the most popular person to write in, but I'm finding myself comfortable writing in it.

2) Femslash. 'Nuff said.

3) The main character may frustrate you. Trust, I've been frustrated with her character as well, lately. I apologize ahead of time.

Warnings done. I hope you continue to read. Enjoy.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Summary: You are the reluctant romantic, stuck between two loves: one fully fledged, the other pure mania. So what will you do about it? You haven't the faintest clue. Spoilers for Built to Kill; GSR, C/S

The Irony of It All

by e-dog

Part One: You answer.

You're not too sure anymore.

Maybe, you did. Well, of course you did. You must have. Just like any other kid who dreamed and wished and hoped. Yes, many years ago, you pictured a future that had you in a completely different place than the one you currently find yourself in. Isn't that truly the story of any human being walking this earth? What one dreams doesn't necessarily become reality?

Oh, how true that is! You can remember it so well, too. That future was a lot less murky. It was infinitely happy and chaos free. You went out drinking and dancing. Most importantly, you had friends to go out drinking and dancing with. Your job had a desk, an ergonomic office chair and several family portraits. It had everything, but those faces. . .. The faces in those family portraits were never clear. Never.

There was this one time you. . .oh what does it matter what you thought?

Well, it matters a lot, actually. It matters to you.

There was this one time you thought that maybe. . .. Maybe you had found yourself inside the seemingly happy photographs. You were sandwiched between someone you might have known and another person who felt familiar, but you couldn't be sure. Needless to say, you were happy. You were so very happy in that photograph.

Alas, that happiness was purely fictitious. Wishful thinking. A childhood dream.

So here you are, dreaming about a future that never came to fruition. You don't have a desk or an ergonomic office chair. There are no family photos. You go out. Occasionally. Mostly with the people you work with. Okay, make that rarely. You haven't spoken to Greg outside of work in weeks, now that you're thinking about it.

You are living proof that whimsical, childlike dreams never come true. That seemingly happy, chaos free future was conjured up by a very innocent little girl many, many, many years ago. Years before meeting the great Gil Grissom. Years before stumbling unto that job at the coroners office. A job that ultimately led you here to Las Vegas. Back to him.

Well, to be honest, you're a bit fuzzy on the details as to how you found yourself to be in Vegas. You're almost certain that the coroners job had some part in it. Still, how did you find yourself staying beyond the Holly Gribbs case? What made you take on work as a full time CSI?

Was it to investigate Warrick? To appease Grissom? Maybe.

Your life has always been like that.

Fuzzy. Unclear. It would be impossible to pinpoint the exact moment, the exact person or the exact monolithic event that finally led you to stay permanently. You just know that you are here and that you are here to stay.

-------------------------

You slip out at first light. He doesn't like you leaving by yourself without saying a word, but this is a rare chance to watch the sunrise from the suburban perspective. Normally, you're leaving the lab at 8 in the morning, the sun already high in the sky and the beauty already lost to you. If it is one thing you miss most these days, it's the simple pleasures. Your night shift job constantly robs you of such delights.

So, one could imagine how nice it was to have a fairly open and shut case; a chance to go home early. Wow, you going home early. What a thought.

You still wince thinking back on it, however. Your condolences were much too late once discovering the bereaved was actually the victim's partner in life. To have accused him of the crime. . .well, it wasn't something you could've known. You shouldn't blame yourself, but a piece of you still does. He didn't deserve to be treated that way. No one in his position would ever deserve that.

Aside from that bump at the end, it was nice to reflect. Bask by an open fire, drink tea and discuss anything and everything with your significant other. Unfortunately, these topics always include death. It's something he still likes to do. Talk about work at home. Gil can't seem to separate the two.

He was sleeping soundly when you left him. He probably didn't even feel the kiss you pecked on his cheek and that nearly infuriates you. It's silly to be upset by such a thing (almost selfish), but after being ignored by him for so long, you want every gesture, every touch, every kiss to be noticed. You won't accept sleep as an excuse for inattentiveness. More like you can't accept that. He's supposed to notice everything all the time. He does owe you at least that much, doesn't he?

It shouldn't upset you. He gives you his all when he can. A great observer at night, his eyes seem to be closed off and lacking during the day. His ears only picking up what they want to hear. His lips only saying what's safe.

His shining romanticism really bright when he remembers your favorite foods or flowers or star constellations. This memory is really acute at work, his mind already in overdrive thanks to your overbearing caseload. Maybe that's why he has to talk about work so much. He's not sure how to continue your relationship at home.

Home. It's funny to call his house "home". It's not your home. Not yet, anyways. Honestly, you're not really sure if it ever will be your home.

It's not that you didn't think of the consequences. You knew the risks. So did he. It's only after the act was done did the risks really become scary. The risks became real. With these increasingly dangerous risks hovering over you all the time, you're afraid the two of you will never have a home to call your own. Not unless one of you decides to suddenly up and move out of the Las Vegas Crime unit. Funnily, you can't see you or Gil giving up your positions that easily. Not even for love.

You blink. Where are you? You have been driving around for who knows how long, losing track of your future. So, what was it you wanted again? Oh, that's right. You wanted to see the sunrise.

Your vehicle cruises down the lane toward one of your favorite spots in Vegas. Well, it's just outside Vegas to be more precise. A community park with a nice little manufactured river flowing under a cute little bridge, with equally cute wooden benches and fancy street lights. Even though this place is completely store-bought and fake, this particular bridge offers the best view of the sun. That beautiful yellow-orange orb rises over the peak of the horizon at the most perfect of spots and you can watch it from that fake little bridge over that fake little river.

The little lot is empty as you pull in. The walk to the bridge just as scarce. The communities nearby are all sound asleep, missing out on the glory of the sunrise. You lean on the rail, your pale reflection trying very hard to stare back up at you from the turbine frothy water. It seems this place is the metaphor of your life. Beautiful on the outside, machine powered underneath.

You scowl at the thought and proceed to watch the sun. It is nearly at its pinnacle height. Unfortunately, you have missed most of the glorious occasion on the drive over here. Well, maybe another day you can sit here and watch the whole thing. Maybe another day, you won't be here to watch it alone.

It's time for a walk. Time to enjoy the solitude while it is still within your grasp.

Wait. No it isn't. Your cell phone buzzes the arrival of a text message. It's Sophia. Another dead body.

You stare back out at the sun, now perched high above you and you sigh deeply.

Well, that didn't last long.

-------------------------

A miniature crime scene next to the actual crime scene. Every detail exactly the same. Interesting.

It never ceases to amaze you how utterly creative the criminals in Vegas can be. After working here for nearly 7 years now, one would think you had seen it all. It seems you have only scratched the surface of the criminal mind.

"I think Malibu Barbie did it," you remark. It's pretty much the same old routine between the two of you. Process the scene, make light jokes, assess the situation with metaphors and similes. Grissom throws in his share of corny one liners and you would be lying if you said they didn't put a smile on your face most days. Today, you manage to hold your amusement to a smirk.

He also manages to hold off any questions on your disappearing act. He really doesn't like you leaving without saying a word. He has said this to you once before. One time he practically ordered that you stick around for an entire day at least once. Wait for him to wake up so he could see your face first thing, he told you. Well, if it's one thing he should know by now, you don't like being ordered around. You'll come and go when you damn well please. This isn't a marriage.

As you snap a few pictures here and there, you ignore the curious look in his eyes. You sigh inaudibly, scolding yourself for your own bitterness. It's not his fault you're so insecure. Hell, it's hard enough trying to explain to him your reasons for wanting to leave because frankly, you're still having trouble sorting that part out yourself. You love him. He loves you. What is driving you out of his home every day? It's not like your apartment is some great castle littered with bear rugs and fine wine cabinets begging you to come home.

Well, maybe not cabinets, but there is wine.

You feel your cell phone buzzing against your belt where it is clipped. As pathetic as this sounds, two calls in the span of an hour is quite remarkable. You're lucky to have two calls in a week let alone one hour. You take the call outside, noticing the ID is unknown. You answer.

"Sidle."

"Sara?"

You frown. The voice sounds oddly familiar, but there is something different about it. A moment later, you realize you haven't answered and the caller releases a sigh to let you know it. You snap out of your daze, "Yes, this is Sara. I'm sorry, you are?"

There is a slight pause before the voice lets out an exasperated laugh, "It's Catherine."

Right. Of course. You flinch slightly, feeling horrible for not recognizing her voice immediately. While you and Catherine have been on a smooth road as of late, neither of you felt it necessary to exchange numbers. Come to think it, you're not quite sure how Catherine got your number in the first place. You make a mental note to ask her later.

"Cath, right. I knew that. It's just late...early. . .however you wanna look at it. What's up?"

"I need you to stop by a motel." Another pause. "I just need your help."

Hold the phone! Catherine needs your help? That's a bit weird.

Whoa. Wait. A motel? You almost missed that little detail. Catherine is at a motel and she wants your help. She's either A) in trouble, B) having car trouble and needs a ride or C) asking you to join her for a quick rendevous to do the horizontal tango before the next shift.

It's definitely not option C. You look around, as if you are being watched by tall, dark CIA agents, then ask discreetly, "Cath, is everything alright?"

"I'm fine. Just. . .Sara, I could use your help, okay?" Catherine sounds edgy. She sounds pissed. She sounds worn out and confused. Usually, you can equate those first three emotions to the fiery blond on any given day, but that last one...not so much. Confusion is not something that happens to Catherine very often.

"Sure, sure, where are you?" you say, complying quickly.

It's not too often Catherine Willows specifically asks for your help and hell, it would be nice to have someone owe you a favor for a change. You scribble down the name of the motel and the road and promise to get there as soon as you find a replacement. You hang up, still somewhat bewildered that she called you. Than again, Catherine asking anyone for help is a monumental occasion. Your next call is to Greg.

About 20 minutes later, Greg Sanders arrives and manages to make it through all the crazed fans of the late rocker. He stares at you incredulously, "I can't believe you're leaving the crime scene of Izzy Delancey!"

You can only smile. Why are you the only one who never knows anything about anyone? Were you really that much of a hermit? Well, maybe you still are. Hell, Grissom knows more about the lifestyles of the rich and famous than you do. Did you not nonchalantly reply to Grissom's explanation of the famous rocker's hit song with, "I'll download it"?

Greg is still looking at you like you have two heads and it's time to get going. Ignoring his utter disbelief, you explain what hasn't been processed and where to start. He takes these instructions in stride. As you walk away, you add over you shoulder, "There's just something I have do. Thanks."

You race to your Tahoe and check the time. You suddenly feel like you're on some important mission. Only you can accomplish whatever task Catherine gives to you and suddenly that makes you feel wanted. You rather enjoy that feeling immensely and eagerly start the ignition.

Catherine has been waiting long enough, so you will have to break a few speeding laws to make up for any lost time. You're not sure what has your co-worker sounding so desperate, but you're sure time is of the essence.

-------------------------

"I called you."

The taxi leaves and you stand there for a moment. Everything had happened so fast, you're not sure if it even happened at all. Words are processing ever so slowly in your brain.

Dancing. Rufy. Slang for Rohypnol. Rape.

The word processing is over. Time to work.

You work the room, just as Catherine requested, and find nothing. You go over the room again and again and again. Nothing, nothing, and more nothing. This guy had hurt Cath in a way that was unforgivable. There had to be something left. More sweeps of the room, the bed sheets, the toilet and the shower.

You cut the UV light, finally facing the truth. Whatever he did, it was good. There are absolutely no traces of a rape or sexual assault in this room. No used condoms. No semen streaks.

You lean against the wall as the reality of the situation finally hits you. Catherine Willows may or may not have been raped and that same woman had called you first. Catherine called you. The question was, why? Why you? Why not Warrick or Grissom?

Well, maybe the last person she wanted to talk to was a man. Maybe she knew you wouldn't go all puppy eyed and stare at her with syrupy sympathy and pouted lips. She knew you would get down to business and she knew you wouldn't scold her too much for not allowing the crime lab to process the evidence. You suddenly realize that Catherine knows you better than you think and that scares you because you barely know her at all.

You shut your kit and gather up the other physical evidence and your camera. There is little left here in the room to process. You doubt any of it will lead to Catherine's abductor.

On your way out to the parking lot, you swear aloud. Your anger surprises you, but feels justifiably good. You bang a hand against the car and swear again. Catherine just had to process herself, didn't she? Damn it! She had to break the rules and ruin any chance of catching the bastard.

You're very angry now. So angry, you regret not yelling at Catherine earlier. You regret being so passive. You regret a lot of things when it comes to her.

You search your pockets for your phone determined to scold Catherine for being so stupid. You find the phone and your finger hovers over the call button, but you don't make the call. You know that you can't make the call. You're not mad at her. You're mad at yourself. You're mad that you couldn't find more evidence in that room and that is a sign of inferiority. You have failed her.

You load all of your belongings into the back of the Tahoe. You begin the drive back to the lab and dream of another sunrise.

-------------------------

Grissom had kept you busy. At times, you wondered if this was his attempt at sheltering you. Maybe he assumed a volatile Catherine wasn't something you could handle very well. Maybe he was right. There's nothing in your past that would indicate otherwise. Your confrontations with Catherine have never gone in your favor.

Whatever his reasons, the miniature crime scene case has held nearly all of your attention. By the time you had heard of the car accident and Lindsey Willows' kidnapping, the young girl had been found and the perp seriously wounded. What upsets you more is being told much, much later that all samples collected by Catherine turned up negative for spermicide. She wasn't raped. While you're relieved by the results, you're disappointed those results had been held back from you for so long.

You have a feeling that was Grissom's doing as well.

You leave him at the lab, haunting that model with pained eyes. As you drive away, you rub your lips nervously, worrying for him. Worrying about him and his fascination with the model crime scene. He said he would handle it. He said he would take care of it himself, but that means late hours at the office. That means his attentiveness toward you (or anyone else for that matter) will be next to nil for the next few weeks and that you will have to ride out his latest wave of obsessiveness until it is over.

Up ahead, you notice the traffic has slowed to a crawl. Something has happened, but from your view, you can't tell what it is yet. Police cars, ambulances and other emergency vehicles surround one of the casinos.

Oh, wait just a minute. It's a Sam Braun casino. You shake your head in annoyance. That man can't seem to stay out of trouble, not even for Catherine's sake. You finally are forced to come to a complete halt as curious onlookers have stopped to get a good look. Or possibly snap a few photos with their camera phones.

You can admit, you are a bit curious yourself and search the crowd for any familiar faces. You see some people from the local news station that you recognize. That one man looks to be Detective Vartann, but you can't be sure. You think that maybe you'll spot Sam Braun talking to the press or claiming his innocence to whatever debauchery has taken place here.

You're surprised to find someone else, standing alone and away from all the chaos. Someone who doesn't deserve any more grief or pain today.

Tears have left stream marks down her face. Oh no. No, no, no. What's happened? Blood is dripping from her hands. Where did the blood come from? Is she hurt? Why her? Why now?

You haphazardly maneuver around the traffic and park your car on the side of the road. Leaving the engine running, you hop out and run up to the shaken CSI. Breathless, you say, "Catherine? Catherine, what happened? Are you okay?"

"Sara?" Catherine says bleakly, turning around and staring at you with profound incredulity. "What are you doing here?"

Good question. What are you doing here? How did you get here? How was it you ended up staying in Vegas permanently? Maybe the answer to that question isn't as hard as you think it is. Maybe you do know what has you standing right here, right now. Maybe you know exactly why you haven't driven away, pretending you saw nothing.

"I was driving. . .," you finally reply, but you can't get much more out. The look on Catherine's face is just heartbreaking. You're unsure of what to do. This isn't exactly your forte. Catherine is the people person. Catherine is the comforter. You are not any of those things. You don't know what to do.

"He's gone," Catherine mumbles, looking away. "He's gone."

You want to ask who is gone, but the answer is just ahead of you on a stretcher. A tarp is being pulled over the head, but not before you see who it is. You once thought that man was invincible. Maybe Catherine thought so too. You whisper something. You're not too sure what it is you just said, but you hope it was something along the lines of "I'm sorry."

Sam Braun is dead. Catherine's biological father is dead and suddenly she looks so very lonely. Lonely and lost. Instinctively, you reach an arm out, tentatively wrap that arm around Catherine's shoulders and coax gently, "C'mere."

To your surprise, Catherine accepts the embrace for what it is. A symbol of condolence. A gesture of friendship. Her head rests in the crook of your neck before the floodgates pour open. Both of your arms wrap around her at this point, holding her as tightly as possible. Her blood soaked fingers dig into your back as she clutches you with all the strength she has left.

You're enjoying this contact way too much, considering the circumstances. Even so, you enjoy it just the same and you hate the fact that you can only hold her like this during moments of calamity.

As you listen to the cries of an embittered and grief stricken woman, your eyes catch sight of first light.

The sun is beginning to rise.

-------------------------

The sun desperately wants to peek through the clouds.

You feel cold and you bet Catherine does as well. You wish to be at that park. You wish to be on that bridge standing over the turbine frothy water. You want Catherine to be there with you. You want a chance to erase what happened here, but this isn't about your wants or wishes anymore. You have to focus on what she needs. She needs to know that she's not alone.

So you stay with her until it's over. The detective you had mistaken for Vartann questions Catherine, but is courteous enough to be direct and succinct. He can see she is in pain. You can see it too. For all the evil Sam had brought into her life, he was still her father. In the last few years, he had tried to be that father even when Catherine didn't want him to be. It was only natural to mourn him.

As an EMT cleans the blood off Catherine's hands, you can only think of yourself and your father. There was blood on you, you remember. Cast off from the wall. You walked past it, accidently brushing your arm up against the dark liquid that once flowed through your father's veins. As a child, the red pattern on the wall simply translated as splattered paint. It didn't symbolize death or anything like that. He was just bleeding and that wasn't too far from normal. There had always been blood in your house.

Blood wasn't normal in Catherine's home, you realize. It wasn't normal in any home but your own. You're certain she is doing everything she can to keep from puking. You learned to stomach the idea long ago.

The EMTs are done and the detectives busy throwing out their theories on why Sam's killer shot him in public. Catherine is heading back toward you and she is looking at the ground as she walks. You have to hold up your hands to physically stop her before she bumps into you.

"Sorry."

"It's okay," you smile softly.

"No, I mean, sorry about your shirt," she corrects you, waving her hand absently. She's gesturing toward your mid-section.

You glance down and see hand prints. Her bloody hand prints. You had pulled her in for that hug and her tainted hands clung onto you like a life preserver. You look back up at her and repeat sincerely, "It's okay. Really."

She half laughs, "It's blood, Sara. It's not going to come out."

"I'm really not worried about the blood or my shirt," you tell her, resisting the urge to cup her face in your hands. Resisting the urge to touch her period. "I'm worried about you."

She turns her head away, her gaze landing on the spot where she cradled Sam in her lap. You think she might cry again.

"Want me to drive you home?" you ask.

"I drove here." Her voice is monotone. You can see she is in no condition to drive back by herself. You begin to wonder if she will even go straight home. She might stop by a bar or a liquor store on the way. Something to take the edge off.

Well, no. She probably wouldn't do that at all. That's more like something you would do. Or something you would've done in the past. You're not an alcoholic, but it's not uncommon to occasionally find yourself taking a vacation at the Jack Daniels ranch, listening to the drum machine pounding in your head.

Crap. Catherine is walking away from you now. You can't let her leave. Not without you.

"Cath, wait a minute. Let me drive you back," you insist. Your voice isn't very forceful, but it probably should be. Trying to get Catherine to do something she doesn't want to is like trying to convince a disobedient four year old that they can no longer play outside after dark. It's the danger they are completely oblivious to. In a way, her stubbornness has a certain innocent quality. An endearing, irritating, innocent quality.

"Sara, I'll be okay," Catherine says, her tone full of warning. She hasn't stopped walking and she's getting away. She wants you to back off. You know that you should, but for some reason, your brain doesn't compute. You race to catch up, jump in front of her and block her path. Her eyes are full of flames and tears. "Sara, leave me alone."

"No, I'm driving you home," you say defiantly. She wants to play the Who Can Be More Stubborn game? Hey, it's on.

Catherine sucks her teeth in disbelief, shaking her head, "Look, I appreciate what you did back there, but I'm fine now."

You feel like pulling your hair out. Resisting the urge to twitch, you still keep her from leaving on her own (which only infuriates her more) and shake your head no. "I know this is tough, but this is no time to be all high and mighty. . ."

"Stop! Just stop!" she spits at you, her eyes welling up with tears again. "Sam is dead, yes, but he. . .he wasn't my father. I never wanted him to be. . .Just stop pretending you care, Sara. I will be fine."

Ouch. That one hurt. You do care. You care so much, it aches deep within a place you can't reach. She could never know how much you actually care because she would never believe it. You breathe in deeply, keeping your own hurt feelings at bay. It's time to play dirty.

With a soft, assuaging voice, you say, "You called me, remember?"

This quiets her. Her silence is so abrupt, you almost forget what you wanted to say. You elaborate nervously, "I mean, you called me about. . .before. I know not for this, but you trusted me before. Trust me now. Let me drive you home."

Something in your plea breaks her. She averts her eyes away from yours and says, "I'm sorry, about what I said."

"It's okay," you say.

"My car is in the garage," she says. She motions toward some building off to your left. It's not an outright yes, but you take it as one.

You put a hand on the small of her back and lead her to your vehicle. You really have no reason other than your own desire to touch her there. Still, she doesn't seem to mind the contact. In fact, it draws her closer to you. You help her up and into the passenger side. She mumbles a "thank you".

You climb into the driver's side, check the gas and battery life (considering you left the engine running for the last twenty minutes) then maneuver your way back into traffic. The flow is speeding up now that Sam's body is gone. The craziness is over. The spectacle has ended.

It feels good to be moving again. The lights of Vegas are a great distraction for both of you.

-------------------------

You are surprised to see some professional cook yelling Bam! at you while you sift through grapefruit in the produce section. When did they install these televisions? You were just in here last week and they weren't here. Well, you think they weren't here. You have a penchant for being oblivious.

Monstrous flat screens hang from the ceiling, begging to be watched. They tell you how to make 30-minute meals and how to set your dining room table. Use our Club Cards to qualify for a make-over of your entire kitchen!, it bellows. You can only shake your head. Grocery shopping is already a hassle. Adding television is just outright hazardous to ones mental health.

"You're distracted," Grissom says, coming up behind you. He has found a loaf of Italian bread and a box of pasta. Tonight he is cooking dinner for you.

"It's the tv," you say, pointing.

"No, I mean, you're distracted," he repeats, putting emphasis on the last word. He must be referring to work. At the lab, he caught you staring at the same crime scene photos for more than thirty minutes even after all evidence obtained from them was exhausted. You don't know if he's chastising you or just making an observation, but you respond with cattiness anyway.

"So are you."

That miniature model is all he ever thinks about anymore. It's been a week since the death of Izzy and he still obsesses over it. He takes about 45 minutes each day to study it. To poke at it and prod. This outing is the first thing you two have done together since then. You miss him. You don't know if he misses you with the same fervor.

"I know why I'm distracted," he replies gently.

He wants to know why you're troubled, but you don't want to say it aloud. The truth is, you feel guilty. While he's been pining over an old case, you've been pining over Catherine. It's wrong of you to be angry with him. He's been languishing over an object. You've been admiring another person.

You hate to think of Catherine as a victim, but she is just that. She is a victim and that's where the hours and hours of pining stem from. You can't stop thinking about how she could've been raped. You can't stop thinking about her mental health. You can't stop thinking about her in general and you're not sure how to rectify this. You know she's a strong woman. She will bounce back from this, true to form. You know she's strong.

"Nothing to worry about," you say to him, but you are mostly trying to convince yourself. No, you shouldn't worry about her.

Oh, but there is plenty to think about. Sam Braun's funeral is today. A huge part of you wants to be there with her, but it's not really your place or your family. Still, Catherine means something to you. She needs someone strong to lean on and while you may not be the incomparable candidate for Best Friend, you are more than an acquaintance to her. You are her friend, on some level. After what happened last week, you feel there is a trust between the two of you that wasn't there before. You must be friends. Sort of friends.

"Have you heard from Catherine?" you ask. You can't help but bring her up in conversation.

"She called. She'll be back in a few days. I told her to take as much time as needed," Grissom says.

"Good. That's good. She'll need it." You smile and remark, "She won't admit that she needs it, but she will."

Grissom chuckles lightly, "I won't argue with you on that. She is stubborn."

That she is. It's something that's undeniable. It's something that's always intrigued you. You're still smiling and maybe Grissom sees you, but for some reason, you don't care.

-------------------------

You don't really remember when you fell in love with her.

It could've been that first day. That initial interaction wasn't so pleasant. Oh goodness no, that wasn't fun at all. She was cold and bitter and angry. Not angry with you, you don't think. Angry that you were there to take the place of Holly. A young woman that Catherine was fond of.

Well, you like to think she wasn't angry with you. She might have been.

Later on during that case, however, you witnessed her ingenuity. Her cleverness. Her use of the phrase 'bling bling' was quite amusing, of course, but her improvisation got the job done and that's what impressed you the most. From that point on, you knew she was special. It may have taken a few more years to realize just what 'special' really meant to you, but you knew she was special nonetheless.

No one at work knows you play for both teams. Or, you used to. . .strike that. You still do. After college, the "experimenting" was over. You had a string of disastrous relationships with male partners who all became carbon copies of one another. The only one that hasn't become an utter disappointment is Grissom. You do love Grissom, you always have. Even when he claimed not to have loved you back, you loved him. So, how does Catherine factor into all this if you're seemingly happy with what you've got?

Long ago, you decided that Catherine wasn't the one. She was just a crush. Your crush on her migrated into an annual thing; something that came up during your "off seasons". That being when you are utterly alone and single, the thought of you and her is suddenly plausible. (A little whiskey usually helps this notion.)

You still don't know if she even likes women in that way but you haven't stopped dreaming about it. You haven't really stopped hoping.

Anyway, reality usually sinks in sometime after your latest alcohol binge has worn off. The crush is over. Just like that, you're back to pining over Grissom and the ones that got away. Oh, you are a fickle one, aren't you?

Catherine is not a possibility. It's not because she's a supervisor. You've already broken that rule with great ease. It's because. . .she just isn't. She's not a possibility.

It probably doesn't help that coverage of Sam's funeral is everywhere. You can't deny the news coverage is well deserved. He was quite the public figure and in his heyday, a man to be feared. His power really meant something back in the old days. He was untouchable. Unfortunately for him, that power couldn't protect him in a world that had lost the ways of Old Vegas.

Catherine's face has popped up a few times. She's not being interviewed or anything, but word got around fast she was Sam's daughter. Also, from a cameraman's point of view, she has a face made for film. Even in mourning, she's stunning. The press wasn't allowed inside the church for the ceremony, so they've got about 30 seconds of footage of her walking to her car. Thirty seconds is quite enough for you, thanks.

You turn off the television. Watching her image on the small screen has only made your pining worsen. You gulp some more wine. Grissom is at the lab. You are home alone.

You're not an alcoholic. This is your first drop of liquor in several months. You haven't even had a drink socially with Greg, Nick or anyone in that time. Even though it's been so long since your last drink, the liquid is smooth as it travels down your throat. It warms you up from deep inside and it's the warmest you have felt in weeks. It wouldn't hurt to fill up the glass one more time. You can sip it until your head feels heavy. This will lull you to sleep, you hope.

You pour another and another. You hope and drink and try to drift away, but sleep is not coming.

Grissom hasn't called yet. He usually does.

To be continued. . .