Disclaimer: CSI and its related characters belong to CBS, Alliance Atlantis, and the show's creators; no copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: There's a slight reference to Must Be the Heat but this story can stand on its own. Mucho, mucho gracias to beaujolais for her incomparable beta skills and sharing my enthusiasm for all things Brass. This one's for you. Any mistakes are mine and mine alone.
Summary: Catherine has a rough morning at the crime lab and Jim is there to help her forget.
Catherine Willows, at the strong urging of Grissom was on her way home. The case had hit her especially hard and she'd let her personal feelings interfere with the interrogation of their lead suspect. Infuriated wasn't the right adjective to describe how she felt about letting everyone in the room be privy to her emotions.
Hell, she was pissed off at herself for allowing such a situation to get out of control.
Slowing her vehicle down at an intersection, she started when her mobile emitted a series of chirps announcing a call.
The silence on the other end disturbed her. She rechecked the LCD screen to confirm who the caller was.
"Hang on a sec… Where are you, Cath?"
"Taking Grissom's advice and heading home."
"And why not?"
"I've got a better idea." Brass was quiet for a few beats and Catherine could practically hear the man formulating a proper response. "You still have the key to my place?"
She certainly wasn't expecting that. "Jim, what're you thinking?"
"Breakfast. That's it. It'll also give us some time to talk." Jim paused letting his answer sink in. "You interested?"
"I don't know. I'm not exactly having a good morning."
"Yeah well, I'll have to take you up on your offer some other time."
"I'm not above groveling, Cath, so don't make me go there."
Picturing the gruff, homicide Captain begging for her company did it. She cracked a slight smile.
Just to startle her Brass said, "See, I knew I'd get you to smile."
"All right. You got a breakfast date."
"Okay, I'm on my way. Why don't you beat me to the punch, make yourself at home and I'll see you in a bit."
Catherine nibbled on her cell phone's antennae for a few seconds, going over the conversation she'd just had with the detective. Although Brass had been subtle in his delivery, she knew he was trying to get her mind off of what had occurred in the interview room.
She had to admit that she needed the distraction.
There was no sense in burying the incident as if nothing had happened or going home and crying herself to sleep. She had to talk to someone and Jim Brass seemed like he was willing to offer up an ear, and most likely a shoulder in case she needed it.
At the following traffic signal, she came to a decision and turned the car around.
The key worked just fine on the lock and Catherine admitted herself into Jim's home. It'd been almost two weeks since she'd last seen the interior of the man's house.
Much too long in her opinion.
Wandering into the kitchen she managed to stifle a giggle when her eyes came to rest on a brand new breakfast table. After reaching into the kitchen fridge for a bottle of water, the memory of that day—including the importance of the table—flooded her senses and she decided it'd be best to sit down.
It'd been a warm summer day… After some playful antics with a sprinkler, coupled with the heat, Jim and Cath had ventured into unexplored territory. Her skin prickled as she remembered how good it felt to feel his hot breath on her chilled skin. Jim had touched her in all the right places and for days, he was all she could think about.
But the previous breakfast table had suffered from their abrupt and intense encounter. And with that last thought her eyes opened and she couldn't hold a short bout of laughter in check any longer.
Several seconds later, Catherine raised her bottle in a silent toast then drank a bit of water.
"God that was good," she whispered to herself.
"Whoa, and I haven't even done anything." Jim's sudden response startled her, and she wheeled around on the barstool to find him leaning against the doorjamb with a smile on his face. "Who, or what is on your mind?"
"Just thinking," she sighed.
"Want to talk about it?"
Catherine couldn't keep a slight blush from creeping into her cheeks. She figured it'd be best to steer the conversation in another direction before he noticed. "I lost it, Jim. I'm so ashamed of myself."
"Don't be. It happens to the best of us. Especially if in my opinion he had it coming to him. This case just happened to have gotten under your skin." Jim approached her and gave her hand a gentle squeeze.
"They all do, it's just I've never lost my composure to that extent. I'm sure I'll be hearing from the DA about this."
"Thinking that far ahead."
"You're right. But forgive me for worrying about the possibility—"
"You won't. Some of the culpability rests with me."
Although it was subtle, a look of surprise flitted across Catherine's features. "I don't understand."
"Lead detective," Brass said, gesturing at himself. "Therefore, I should've been involved with the interrogation instead of having an impromptu tête-à-tête with the suspect's significant other in the hallway. I'm sure I'll be hearing from everyone's favorite under sheriff."
"Impromptu … more like a planned distraction."
"Yeah, she practically threw herself in front of me."
"What a mess."
Jim sighed. "Listen, let me fix you up something then we'll settle ourselves on the couch and if you'd like we can continue this there."
"About that … I'm not hungry."
"Oh really?" Jim feigned surprise and took a step back. "Cath, are you actually saying no to my signature egg omelet?"
Catherine poked him in the ribs then her eyes grew serious. "Yes, but I'm not saying no to your company. Raincheck on the breakfast?"
"Raincheck it is." He winked. "Let me get into something a bit more comfortable and I'll be right out."
Catherine poked him a second time then watched as he disappeared through the doorway. She stayed at the kitchen counter trying to figure out what she really wanted from this man. Was she still in need of a shoulder or his ear, after he had just proven to be more of a distraction than she'd previously thought? She wanted to do more than just talk; she wanted to forget the morning she'd just had at the crime lab.
Let the repercussions hit her tomorrow when she knew she'd be better equipped to handle the situation.
Determined, she set the bottle of water on the counter, unclipped her gun holster and cell phone then placed the items next to each other. She left the kitchen and slowly made her way down the hall to Jim's inner sanctum. As she approached the bedroom door, she could hear the shower running and took that as a good sign.
Listening for any indication that Brass was about to shut off the water she undressed as quickly as she could and placed each article of clothing on the back of a chair nearby. Catching her reflection on a wall mirror she bit her lip then ran her hands over the length of her body, shuddering as goose pimples erupted on her skin.
A loud thump emanated from the bathroom, followed by a series of curses concerning the sudden change in water temperature caused Catherine to jump. A bit alarmed but unwilling to give herself away, Catherine walked over to the expansive bed and crawled across its surface then lowered herself onto her stomach. She thought she had a good view of the bathroom from there, but disappointment set in when she realized it wasn't so great after all.
At least Brass would get an eyeful when he emerged from his shower. Just don't fall asleep, she thought to herself with a sigh.
A few minutes later, Brass exited the bathroom wrapped in a fluffy blue towel, trailed behind by wispy tendrils of steam. He wasn't aware he had company in the room as he toweled dried his hair, that was until he looked up and his eyes came to rest on her beautiful body.
Rubbing his eyes, he then ran his hand through his slick hair in disbelief. Nope, not imagining this, he thought with a slight grin.
Throwing the extra towel across the room, he approached the bed and slowly lowered himself onto his side next to her.
Brass ran his fingers up the length of her thigh and along her back then softly chuckled when he failed to elicit a response. "Cath?"
Catherine moaned and began to stir. Eyes still closed she asked, "I fell asleep, didn't I?"
"'Fraid you did." Brass moved a lock of her hair out of her face.
Catherine began to shift onto her side. "Great company I turned out—"
Placing a warm hand on her waist he stilled her movements. "You've had a rough morning." Leaning over, Jim tenderly kissed her on the shoulder then whispered into her ear, "Let me help."
Almost immediately her doubts robbed her of a smile as she sunk back down onto the bed. "I don't know, Jim."
Brass cut her off by trailing soft kisses down the back of her exposed neck. "Objection overruled. Now, lie still and I'll be right back."
Another kiss on her shoulder and Brass's warmth vanished from her side. She groaned resisting the urge to roll over and investigate what he was up to.
Brass returned from his trip to the bathroom enveloped in his bathrobe and settled himself at the foot of the bed.
"Jim, what are you…? Oooh…"
Brass chuckled to himself as Catherine nearly jerked her leg away when he wrapped his warm hands around her foot and began massaging it.
"So, anything on your mind?"
"Yes, please don't stop," she said then moaned when his hands slowly traveled up to her calves.
"Your wish is my…" Brass stopped mid sentence as his hands encountered a particularly tense spot on her right calf and she hissed. "Did I hurt—?"
"No. Keep going, don't stop."
Jim continued his ministrations and watched her squirm as he came across another tricky spot. Unwilling to hold in his true feelings for her he offered in a low voice, "You're beautiful."
The sound of an almost inaudible sigh was her only answer.
"That's it, Cath. Let go," he whispered, but he already knew what to expect from this encounter. Nothing more and nothing less and that's exactly what he was more than willing to live with. The softest of moans escaped her lips and her breathing evened out letting him know that she was lightly dozing—much to his veiled amusement.
He scooted off the bed and grabbed a heavy afghan throw from the nearby chair. As he went to drape it over her she stirred and softly murmured, "Stay."
How could he deny her?
Jim placed his robe across the bed and slowly slipped under the blanket alongside her. The minute his body met her flesh he closed his eyes. It was electric and the slight chill that had settled onto his own skin disappeared as Catherine automatically draped her arm across his bare chest.
"Thank you," she murmured and planting a soft kiss on his shoulder she immediately fell asleep, comforted in his closeness.
Jim on the other hand successfully managed to stifle a groan and ran a gentle finger along the side of her exposed cheek. "Ssh, don't worry about it." He was aware that this morning wasn't about him deriving his own pleasure out of her presence; having her in his arms was about providing her the comfort she needed to get through this all. His own arousal be damned.
He buried his nose in her hair and kissed the top of her head. Sleep took its time in claiming him, but after several minutes he managed to twist himself without disturbing her and turned off the bedside lamp.
"Sleep well, Cath."
The sun rose lazily on the horizon, steadily illuminating the bedroom but Jim was already awake, albeit a little uncomfortable as his body reacted to her presence. However, he wasn't complaining. His eyes came to rest on Catherine's strawberry blonde head and he deeply inhaled. To this day it amazed him how close they had become in their relationship. To say it was unexpected wasn't saying much as Jim always thought himself unworthy of her attention. Yet, here he was entangled within her arms and he had to admit it felt right. Not to mention, certain portions of his anatomy strongly agreed with that assessment.
Ever the gentleman, Jim tried—and failed—to extricate himself from the bed without rousing her. In one fell swoop Catherine had her fingers wrapped around his wrist and he acquiesced, allowing himself to be pulled back under the covers.
"You're not getting away so easily." She softly nibbled his earlobe.
"B-Breakfast?" he managed to ask as her hand slowly traveled lower.
Gasping, Jim closed his eyes as her warm hand found and encircled its intended target.
They spent the next hour luxuriating in each other's intoxicating heat. The world outside and the worries that came with it would have to wait.Fin