This fic was originally posted on GeekFiction for the Valentine's Day Smutathon. I didn't post it here because I thought maybe it was too mature but after some of the fics I've read, I changed my mind.
A thousand thanks to Inamberclad for the beta and the Brass love, and to my good friend, C, for all her smutty suggestions. Oh, yeah, this is a result of something that Jim says to Catherine in the S6 episode, "Bite Me" so the story takes place after that episode and before "A Bullet Runs Through It". As usual, I added in more stuff after the beta so all goofs are mine and I'm not sharing.
Catherine only half believed Jim Brass when he said he'd take her to Cancun on his dime but when she called his bluff two weeks later and the following week he flashed the airline tickets, she nearly fell over.
"I may be a lot of things, Catherine," Brass had said with an unwavering stare, "but I never go back on my word."
After the disappointment she'd felt at Warrick's marriage, Catherine decided it was time to move on. She and Jim had flirted enough in the past to know there was a serious undercurrent to the friendship but beyond dinner or drinks, neither of them had ever acted on it. But then came Jim's off-handed remark about Cancun and for once Catherine felt like taking a chance.
So here she was on the first full day of the trip, lying on the white sand beach in Cancun, enjoying the heat of the sun and the cool ocean breeze, reading the same sentence of her paperback over and over. She hadn't intended on letting her mind wander and she put the blame squarely on Jim for causing it to happen.
Who knew the man could look so damn sexy wearing nothing but a bath towel?
Not that she was supposed to have seen that. He thought she'd already left for the beach so he was equally surprised when she came through the door and caught him at the bathroom mirror, shaving. When he'd warned her that he was only wearing the towel because two minutes earlier the maid had come to the door, Catherine had a hard time hiding her disappointment.
Catherine could sense that Jim was still uncertain about what this long weekend together meant. He'd never let on that this trip was any thing more than two friends taking a vacation far away from the seedy side of Vegas. But she knew what she wanted when she said yes. She knew what her expectations were; the fact that he'd booked a single room only raised her hope that he was on the same page.
So far Jim had been the perfect gentleman but after the towel incident, Catherine wasn't so sure she could continue to be the perfect lady.
A dark shadow moved over her and suddenly she was in the shade. Looking up with a ready scowl for the offensive cloud, she was surprised to see Jim standing over her.
"Game over?" she asked, squinting at him and hoping he wouldn't notice that from her vantage point, she had a pleasant view up his shorts and to his crotch. Unfortunately, he moved before she could actually see whether he was going commando or not.
Wearing a Tommy Bahama camp shirt and a pair of well-worn cargo shorts, he hardly resembled the hard-nosed detective she'd rarely seen out of a jacket, pressed shirt and tie. Admittedly, she liked this Brass much better.
He plopped down next to her on the large beach towel and idly brushed the sand off his calf. "Yeah," he said with a sigh. "Good thing I'm not a gambling man."
"I take it your team didn't win." Even on vacation in the Yucatan peninsula, Jim had found a way to watch a hockey game.
He shook his head no. "My team didn't show up."
"Well, now that you're here," she handed him a bottle of sunscreen, "how about making yourself useful?"
Ordinarily Jim Brass wouldn't have minded the opportunity to apply sunscreen to Catherine's sun-kissed skin. But then, ordinarily, her barely covered buttocks wouldn't be playing havoc with his self-control and causing him to think of all the things he wanted to do to her at that very moment.
Rubbing the lotion between his palms, imagining without much effort what the scrap of material hid, he tried to tell himself he could do this. After all, he prided himself on his calm, cool, demeanor. Unfortunately, Jim was a red-blooded male and right now, all that red blood was rushing straight to his groin.
If looking at her caused his blood to pulse, touching her was even worse. Running his hands over the smoothness of her freckled shoulders, down the contours of her back and over those much admired hips, along the back of one thigh and then the other, Brass tried to think about anything but her relaxed, supple body under his fingertips and how uncomfortable the growing ache in his shorts was becoming.
Inhaling sharply, he gathered what was left of his battered restraint and applied more sunscreen to the backs of her calves then retraced his path up her legs. Stopping before he reached the enticing juncture of her thighs, he shifted his position as the ache now became a hard throb. Jim might have been able to corral all his dirty thoughts but another part of his anatomy had its own dirty thoughts—and right now, it was winning.
Catherine rose up on one elbow and removed her sunglasses. "Everything okay?"
"Yeah," he replied, alarmed at the slight crack of his voice. Clearing his throat, he tried it again. "Fine. Everything's fine."
Much to Jim's chagrin, Catherine continued to eye him, her expression bordering on highly amused as her gaze came to rest somewhere between his waist and thighs.
"You look hot." She brought her long legs around and sat up. "Maybe we should unbutton a few of these."
Her fingers had already loosened two buttons before he could protest. Not that he protested very hard. There was something to be said about having a woman unfasten his buttons, her nimble fingers lingering on each one. But soon enough she'd see what he was trying to hide and already he could feel the tips of his ears burning.
Catherine brushed the shirt from his shoulders, letting it fall onto the sand. Fortunately for Jim, something else caught her attention.
"What's this?" she asked, fingering the small, silver medallion that rested against his chest.
"St. Michael, the patron saint of Police Officers. He's supposed to protect my sorry ass."
"Seems like he's done a pretty good job so far." Catherine lifted the round medal and looked at it. "Slaying the serpent. Seems appropriate."
He'd never thought of it that way but she was right. "My mom gave it to me when I graduated from the police academy."
"And you've worn it ever since?"
"Yeah. She never wanted me to be a cop so this was her way of giving me her blessing." Jim cringed at his own words and felt some of the pressure ease off his crotch. Jim Brass, mama's boy. Yeah, that just shot down his reputation, not to mention his erection.
But the teasing he'd anticipated hadn't come. Instead Catherine ran her thumb over the medallion then replaced it against his skin, the sterling silver nearly lost amidst the graying chest hair.
Her hand still on his chest, Jim merely watched as she leaned forward and lightly kissed his right shoulder, then worked her way across his collarbone to his left shoulder, then up the side of his neck to the tender skin just below his left ear. Closing his eyes, enjoying her little assault, he was fully aware that his mental gaffe had been completely forgotten and his libido was back in top form.
He wasn't sure if it was Catherine's tongue launching an investigative attack on his mouth or the friction caused by her hand stroking the length of him through the fabric of his shorts that caused him to let go of the last strands of his reserve but right now, all he could think about was how badly he wanted her.
Starting his own exploration, he brushed his palm against her left breast, as if testing her willingness, then meeting no protest he slipped his fingers inside her top and found the rigid nipple. Cupping her breast, his large hand pushing aside the flimsy material, he lowered his dark head and brushed his lips over the nipple.
Her deep, throaty moan and her hand gently fondling his balls made him realize that he was about to have a messy accident if he didn't get his self-control back quickly.
Reluctantly, his hand went to hers. "Cath, if we don't stop…"
She cupped his face, her eyes full of heat. "I don't want to stop." That look, both lascivious and hungry, told him that she wasn't about to be deterred. And Jim Brass was never one to disappoint a woman—at least not this one.
Looking past her shoulder, he said, "Come with me." Getting to his feet, not caring how obvious he was, he held out his hand to her, watching with amusement as she made a few adjustments of her own, and led her up a path, away from the beach.
It wasn't exactly private but at least it was away from the ever-invasive sand and the occasional beachcomber. Still, Jim was fairly certain the authorities would frown upon what they were about to do but kissing Catherine hard, his tongue finding hers and engaging in a long, masterful duel, his aching erection grinding against her hip, made it a risk he was willing to take.
Unfortunately, Catherine had the same thought. "You know, we could probably get arrested for this," she said, her lips centimeters away from his.
"I'll flash my badge." He wanted her and he couldn't wait. Judging by the feel of her hands on his zipper, she wasn't about to wait either.
"Oh, yeah?" Her fingers fumbled with the button of his shorts, causing her to look down.
"It's tattooed on my ass." Freeing him from the encumbrance of fabric, he saw the flash of surprise flick across her face and felt another rush of pleasure. Obviously, she liked what he had to offer.
"It is not." She leaned around to check his ass just to be sure.
"Made you look." In one swift move, her top fell to the ground.
Now it was his turn for admiration. Her breasts weren't large but in Jim's opinion, they were nothing short of perfection. Her nipples stood out, demanding the attention he so willingly gave them. With a hand on one breast, his mouth went to the other, licking and teasing until she was arching under his touch and eliciting soft moans.
Jim felt her hands wander over his buttocks, around his hips, and then gently close around his hard shaft, making him inhale so sharply at the jolt that pulsed up and down his spine that he nearly choked. Leaning against the trunk of a palm tree for support, he thought for a moment his knees would buckle as she increased the pressure ever so slightly.
If that was the game she was going to play, he was definitely up for the competition. His hand left her breast, traveling over the curves of her body to the pliable elastic of her bikini. One of them was over dressed at the moment and it sure as hell wasn't him.
He heard her sharp breath as his fingers snaked inside her suit, sought out the soft, slick folds between her thighs, and tantalized her further with a masterful manual dexterity that he liked to think had evolved with age and experience.
Catherine bore down on his fingers, her hips gyrating against his hand, her breaths coming in ragged, rapid gasps followed by a loud, heavy sigh. But just when Brass thought he'd won, she responded by increasing her manipulation of him and for the first time in his life he'd never cared less about losing.
He wasn't going to last. Through the fog in his mind he tried to keep his fingers focused their task, on the hard bud of her own arousal, but now both of her hands were on him, one hand grasping the thick root of his shaft while the other gripped his balls, fondling and squeezing, doing everything to make him lose the last threads of his control.
Closing his eyes, he could feel himself starting to shake and knew he was close to the edge. As his hips began to thrust into her hand, he reached out and clutched one of her breasts, rubbing the hard nipple in time with his strokes.
The pressure had reached its peak and so had Jim. He was past the point of caring about competitions or curious on-lookers or the heat of the sun on his back. Quick, short thrusts devoid of co-ordination followed by one last hard thrust and finally, release.
If the tree hadn't been holding him up, he would have collapsed onto the ground. Bent over and panting, Jim looked up at her and caught the amusement on her face as he struggled with his shorts.
"Here," she said with much more composure than he had at the moment. "Let me help." She tugged the shorts over his hips but let him do the honors of tucking himself back in.
His senses mostly regained, he leaned forward and kissed her deeply and slowly, taking time to enjoy it. Inching away, he smiled. "I don't know about you but I need to take a dip in the water."
Catherine returned his smile, knowing exactly what he meant. "Me too."
Taking her hand, he led her out of the tangled vegetation that had served its purpose well. "Um, Cath," he said still a little breathless. "Don't ask me to apply any more sunscreen, okay?"
All he got in response was a slightly wicked grin.
Catherine ran her finger down the length of Jim's nose. "So, how come you never told me you broke your nose."
"I didn't break my nose." He grabbed her hand and kissed her fingers. "Someone broke it for me. And you never asked."
"I'm asking now."
"I did a little boxing in the Marines. One of the guys got in a lucky punch, broke my nose." He rose to one elbow. "How'd you know?"
"You do—but only when you lay on your back."
"I'll make a point of sleeping on my side. Is that how you knew about my broken nose—because I snore?"
She shrugged. "Call it an educated guess. Many people who snore have a deviated septum. The most common cause of a deviated septum is a broken nose."
Jim frowned at her as he rolled onto his back and tucked his hands behind his head. "No need to go all Grissom on me."
Catherine kissed his neck. "Aw, poor Jim." Reaching under the sheets, her hand brushed against the inside of his thigh. "Can I make it better?"
He grinned. "Yeah, you can." He kissed her, not deeply but lightly and mischievously, a teasing kiss that let her know all was forgiven—even if there really wasn't anything to forgive.
After spending the day on Isla Mujeres both Jim and Catherine had returned to their room exhausted and slightly sunburned. Jim had fallen asleep on the bed, while Catherine dozed on the chaise out on the lanai. When they both awoke nearly two hours later, they'd decided to forgo Senor Frog's and order room service instead.
Now since they were both wide awake and had nothing better to do, Catherine decided now would be a good time to continue what they'd started yesterday on the beach. She'd find out soon enough if Jim was a willing participant.
With her hand tracing lazy circles around Jim's navel then slowly following the line of course brown hair down to the thicker, wiry thatch and the mildly aroused male organ, she watched his face for a reaction as she gently stroked him. His expression didn't betray him but his hips did, moving in an instinctive response to the stimulation.
Tossing aside the cotton top sheet, Catherine crept over his body, inching his boxer-briefs off his hips and over his legs, freeing his erection, before settling comfortably between his lean, muscular thighs. Admiring Jim Brass in all his male glory, she bit her lip expectantly. Yesterday had been a flurry of hands and kisses. No time for appreciation. Now she was going to do it right.
Leaning forward, she grasped the thick root of his shaft and flicked her tongue first over the smooth head of his penis, then over the organ's entire length. When she reached the head again, she gave him one last, daring look before opening her mouth and drawing him in.
Brass resisted the urged to buck his hips up at her and make her take every inch of him. Instead he tried to sit up but her hand pressing on his stomach told him unequivocally that for the moment, she was in charge.
Catherine took as much of him as she could, licking and sucking. Her eyes closed, she was barely aware of her own rhythmic movement against his leg as she focused on pleasuring him. And then when she knew she had brought him to the brink, she abruptly stopped.
Crawling up his body, her mouth found his. She kissed him deeply, her tongue engaging in a sensual, yet heated battle with his until at last, he emitted something that sounded like a low, guttural growl and with sudden alacrity that she'd completely misjudged, he grabbed her by the shoulders and rolled her onto her back.
Now he was in charge.
A feral flash in his eyes and seconds later he was tugging at her T-shirt and urging her out of the lacy, low rise panties, kissing her breasts, tonguing one nipple as he stroked the other, while his free hand roamed her body.
Impulsively, Catherine parted her thighs, allowing him access to all the places she wanted him to touch, his thick fingers already promising so much. She was already slick with anticipation and when his fingers found the hard bud of her aroused clitoris, she grabbed his shoulder and let her fingernails bite into his skin.
"Now, Jim," she nearly begged. "I want you now." Catherine didn't know Jim as a lover but something told her to trust him implicitly. He was too thorough, too attentive to leave her desperate and aching.
And he didn't. She felt him reaching down, guiding himself to her. She couldn't help pushing her hips to him, her body craving to have him. When he felt she was ready to take him, he was slow, sure and immensely skilled, sliding into her inch by inch, making her acutely aware of him.
He started to move, slowly at first, with long thrusts that mirrored the same control he'd displayed yesterday, pulling out, pushing in, finding just the right amount of friction. And Catherine delighted in it.
Deep, satisfying contact, the humid, heat of him, the feel of him, all converged into a hundred different emotions rushing through her. Her hands gripping his sides then sliding across his chest, she exulted in the feel of him, in the hard male contours that flexed with each movement, in the sinewy muscle visible beneath the pelt of soft fur.
His gaze never left hers; never faltered even as his hand closed around her right breast and the tempo increased to faster, shorter more potent strokes. Catherine instinctively lifted her hips, allowing him to drive deeper, knowing he was close to his own release. Fast, impulsive thrusts made Catherine grip his hips and arch her spine against him, meeting every hard thrust until she had to lock her legs around him, becoming part of him as the mounting tension became almost unbearable. Just a few moments longer, just a few more thrusts and she would be there.
Her climax was fierce and intense, causing her to cry out as her internal muscles contracted uncontrollably and to grasp his firm buttocks as if she were trying to pull him even deeper inside.
As awareness trickled back, she could feel the rigid tenseness in his body and suddenly became realized that he had been holding back, waiting for her release before he found his own.
More punishing strokes and he was there, throwing his head back and closing his eyes tightly before collapsing onto her, panting and sweating as his heart pounded against his chest.
Catherine was aware of so many things at that moment: of the heavy smell of musk in the room, of the heat of his body, of the annoying cramp in the muscle of her left calf, but mostly she was aware of the great affection she suddenly felt for this man.
Putting her arms around him, stroking his damp hair gently, she wondered how she had underestimated him so badly all those years.
Jim lifted his head and kissed her jaw. "I'm crushing you," he said before rolling onto his back and letting out a deep breath.
Looking over at her, watching her stare up at the ceiling, he frowned. "Everything okay?"
She lifted herself onto one elbow and ran her hand over his chest, enjoying the soft, glistening hairs under her fingers. "Jim, do you realize how little we know about each other?"
"Well, I gotta admit I know parts of you a lot better now than I did a few days ago." Not even his little laugh could make this conversation go away. He'd really hoped to avoid it but the determined look on her face told him it was inevitable.
This was the part he dreaded: the sex was incredible and she felt some deep inner connection and now she wanted the relationship talk.
"Cath, we know a lot about each other. We know we both got enough baggage to fill a room."
Catherine shrugged. "Yeah, well, I'm talking about personal things. Like why you have a snowflake tattoo on your right shoulder."
His face clouded over briefly. "Let's talk about something else."
Catherine suspected the nerve she struck had to do with Ellie. Ever since Jim had returned from Los Angeles, he'd barely mentioned his daughter. "Okay, like what?"
He thought for a moment. "What's your favorite movie?"
"That isn't what I meant."
"It's a start." Jim knew exactly what she meant but he didn't want anything with a complicated answer. He didn't do complicated very well.
"All right," she answered with a serious roll of her eyes. "Dr. Zhivago."
"I saw that one."
She gaped at him. "You saw Dr. Zhivago?"
"I was married once, remember?" He lifted up just enough to kiss the tip of her nose. "What's so special about Dr. Zhivago?"
"Sam took my mom and me to New York City when I was 10. We took one of those carriage rides around Central Park. It was in the middle of winter and it was snowing but I didn't care. I felt special, like Lara, in the movie. I still think of that moment every time I hear that song."
"You know…" Catherine proceeded to hum a few bars of Lara's Theme until Brass finally recognized it. "What about you? What's your favorite movie?"
"Die Hard," he answered without hesitation. "When Bruce Willis is all alone in that building and it's Christmas…" Brass sniffed and wiped away a pretend tear, "I just get all emotional."
Seconds later Jim was clutching at his chest in mock pain where Catherine punched him.
"You are such an ass!" she said with a laugh.
"Beats all the other names you've called me at one time or another." He rolled onto his side then hovered over her.
Grabbing hold of the silver chain and the St. Michael's medallion that dangled from his neck, she pulled on it, causing him to lean towards her. "You deserved all of them," she said, meeting him halfway in a drawn-out kiss. "And next time, I get to be on top."
"Let's sit," he said, already heading for a spot on the sand and pulling her down with him. It was their last night in Cancun and they'd yet to watch a sunset—even if they couldn't actually see the sun set.
Settling against his chest, welcoming his arms as they wrapped around her, feeling his chin rest on her shoulder and his lips nuzzling her neck, Catherine couldn't recall a time when she'd felt more content. She knew when she'd accepted his offer that whatever happened could ultimately kill a good friendship. But in the end, she'd felt something much stronger had been forged.
They were good together, they had a history that gave them more than just work in common and they genuinely enjoyed each other's company. It didn't hurt that the sex had been better than she'd ever imagined. Yes, she truly had underestimated Jim Brass.
Jim lifted her hand, pressing his palm against hers and noticing how small her hand was, how slender and delicate her fingers were compared to his before closing his fingers around hers and gently squeezing her hand.
He regretted leaving, regretted what he knew awaited him, awaited both of them, back in Las Vegas. He knew this trip was nothing more than a respite and when they returned, he'd be the homicide detective and she'd be the CSI. Their paths would cross often on duty and occasionally off duty but the familiarity they had here would be lost. They would think often of their time together here but in a few months Cancun would be nothing more than a memory relegated to few photographs stuck in a drawer.
"What now, Jim?"
Catherine's words jolted him out of his reverie. "Um, we pack and head back to Vegas tomorrow morning?"
"No, I mean does sex change the friendship?"
"Sure it does. Now when I'm picturing you naked, I don't have to use my imagination any more."
"See, this is the problem. You don't take this serious."
He tilted her chin back and kissed her forehead. "Yes, I do, Catherine. I take this very seriously but you said it yourself. Office romances never work."
"So this is just a one-off trip with no long term plans."
"That's all it is."
She nodded, her lips in a tight line. "If that's what you want."
Brass tilted his head, trying to get a look at her face. "I think it's the best that I can do for you."
"Because you're not relationship material."
Brass kissed the top of her head. "Got it in one." Urging her to turn around so he could look at her, his eyes intense even in the waning light, he said, "Catherine, I love you. But I know I'm not the man for you. You had one bad marriage and a couple of not so great relationships. You deserve someone who can make you happy and I'm not the man that can do that."
Catherine leaned against him again. "What, you think you can't make me happy?"
"Let's just say I'm smart enough to know my limitations." He thought about his words and smiled, even though she wasn't looking at him. "And before you say it, you need a relationship that's based on more than sex."
"You think that's all we have?"
He reached for her hands and held them tightly. "Don't get me wrong. I think this weekend has been great but when we get back to Vegas…" he shrugged, not really wanting to share his fears.
"We go back to our own lives." Catherine looked down. She understood what he was saying but that didn't mean she agreed. The promise of something more had been heavily on her mind this weekend. Now she'd been turned away and the rejection hurt.
Turning towards him, trying to salvage whatever she could from a relationship that wasn't to be, she asked, "I don't suppose we could at least be friends with benefits?"
Jim smiled. "I didn't say there couldn't be exceptions. And you know I'm gonna be picturing you naked." Leaning forward, he kissed her gently, lingeringly, before slowly pulling away. "Are we okay?" he asked.
"Yes, we're okay." She looked away. "I'm just disappointed."
Understanding the implications of her disappointment probably more than she knew, Jim smiled. "Thanks."
Together they sat alone on the beach, the sun's light completely gone behind the land, and listened to the sound of the waves, washing against the shore.
Four Months Later – Valentine's Day
The package had been delivered to her at work with no card or note. Just her name printed boldly in black felt pen on the outside. At first she'd been leery of the plain, brown box but as she cautiously opened it, she smiled at the smaller box neatly wrapped in white paper with red hearts tucked inside. Sitting at her desk, unwrapping the mysterious box, she opened the lid and carefully removed a brightly jeweled music box.
Opening the lid, she couldn't keep the wide grin off her face as the sounds of Lara's Theme filled her small office.
Tucked inside was a card, the handwriting at once familiar:
For when you want to feel special. – JB
She didn't notice him leaning against the doorframe, watching her with that hint of a smile playing at the corners of his mouth, until she looked up.
"You were wrong."
Jim pushed off from the doorframe and wandered inside, perching himself on the corner of her desk. "Aw, come on. You know I'm rarely wrong."
Ignoring him, she said, "You are the man that can make me happy."