Disclaimer: I do not own CSI.

AN: Trying to beat writer's block here.


I always dust myself off after shift. I go home and head straight for the shower. Then a few hours later I'm ready to go back to work and face the mess again. That's my system. Some days it works; a lot of days it doesn't. But I still continue the pattern. I'm addicted to my job. The hell it puts me through isn't enough to keep me away.

Picking myself up off the ground is harder. Much harder. That isn't part of the pattern. It's its own separate… thing. And it's still relatively new. It's made me late for work twice in the last three months.

I rub a hand over my eyes and stare blankly at the hairs I'm supposed to be taking to Wendy.

Snow White whistles while she works, but she's the one with bloody lips. I'll stick with not slowly bleeding to death and the occasional singing. And… thinking. Lots of thinking. I don't get as much work done before shift as I used to.

My eyes drift over to Catherine's office for a moment before I tear them away. She won't be here for another hour. Staring at her duck-ridden desk isn't going to change that.

I'm glad she's not here yet. I don't want to be around her. Out of sight, out of mind. …I don't know if that's a lousy theory or not. I'd have to stop seeing her every time I close my eyes to test it.

I never wanted to fall in lust or love with Catherine. Just friends would have been fine. More than fine. Then I wouldn't be spending half my time fantasizing about killing her new boyfriend.

The other half is spent trying to get over her. So far, that hasn't gone well. It might have something to do with me staring at the ducks on her desk while I try to convince myself that I don't need her; don't love her.

I look away from her office and glance at the clock. My hour's almost up. I should get the hairs to Wendy before shift starts. I sigh and run a hand through my hair before snatching the hairs off the table and marching over to the DNA lab.

I take a few deep breaths and try not to count the seconds left before I see her again. I concentrate on raising the defenses I know I have as high as they'll go and keeping my face blank. Maybe today… maybe I'll finally be able to look at her without my heart speeding up today.

The second I step into Wendy's lab, my hopes melt away. I stare at the object of my affection as she 'asks' for the DNA results of the blood she dropped off last shift. I watch the fiery glow in her eyes and the way she brushes her hair out of them. I look at her, and I can't understand why I don't want to love her.

Then I look away and drop off my hairs, and I remember.

We don't get along. She has a boyfriend I want dead. She makes me want to love her. She holds my heart in her hands, and she balls her fists too often.

I don't want to love her, but every time I see her, I fall.

…Maybe this time I'll admit that I can't get up.