DISCLAIMER: Don't own anything associated with the show… I just like playing with the characters in it from time to time. Dance Monkeys! Dance!
RATING: T for Teen
SPOILERS: Through US Aired Episodes of Season 9
WORD COUNT: 1359
SUMMARY: Catherine pays a regular visit to an old friend.
A/N: It's the week of Birthday Fics. This one was written for one of my favorite readers, and my very own sneak peek sounding board, lostladyknight. She lets me tease her with little bits of stories and has been a wonderful ear during the time of our acquaintance. I hope that she enjoys this story even a fraction as much as I have enjoyed knowing her.
REVIEWS: Reviews are the way I know if people are enjoying the work or not. So, if you leave one, THANKS! And if not, I hope you found at least a little something to brighten your day, and thanks for taking the time to read.
Sitting back in her car, her eyes closed against the bright morning sun, Catherine replayed the events of the shift back in her mind. She shook her head at the memory of Nick and Hodges speeding around the garage beating on those mailboxes.
While it irritated her to see them being so destructive and having fun doing it, that wasn't what really bothered her. No, it was good to see them enjoying themselves again. But it was also disheartening to know they were moving on. Before long, she was sure no one would remember the man who was missing from all the fun.
But she would never forget.
Taking a deep breath, Catherine picked up her head and put the keys in the ignition. The shift was over and it was time to go home; to go home alone, again.
Her car pulled away from the lot and headed down the road. Catherine was fairly certain the vehicle knew the route just as well as she did. No matter where she started in town, she always found her way there.
Listening to the click of her shoes on the concrete walkway, she made her way between the rows of stone and bronze monuments; the monuments of the dearly departed. It was always so quiet here, the only sounds to be heard were the soft hum of the city streets beyond and her own feet tapping over the walk.
As she neared the familiar spot, Catherine was suddenly remorseful that she never paid the same attention to Sam after his death. She drove by the construction area a hundred times every week, and not a day went by she didn't encounter something that reminded her of him, but it wasn't the same.
When she came upon the stone bearing his family's name, she stopped. Falling back into her old Catholic schoolgirl days, Catherine made a sign of the cross, whispered a quick prayer and carefully knelt down in order to clear the debris from his final resting spot
His stone was still on order, so the only thing to mark his place was a small metal plate on a stake and the slightly raised sod of a new grave. A freak rain storm had washed away the index card with his information on it, leaving only a sun-dried pulpy mess plastered to the metal plate. It was a sad fact of life, the dead were easily forgotten.
But she would never forget.
It was silly, her constant attention to the final resting place of a man she never really knew. At one time, she thought she knew him, but there had been too many instances in the past which told her otherwise.
His marriage was a huge shock to everyone, and none more than she. But even that was minor compared to the news of Warrick's son. It all made Catherine wonder if she ever knew him at all.
And yet, here she was, kneeling in front of his grave, ready to unburden her soul to the remains of the man who was such a mystery to her.
"I saw your Grandmother's old house yesterday. Had to cut through the neighborhood to avoid a traffic jam, and went right past it. They've repainted again, and it looks much better now." Catherine looked around once more to make sure there wasn't anyone close enough to hear her.
"Greg's doing really well with that new girl I told you about. I guess all that time he spent working with Sara paid off. He's got a great knack for teaching, and he seems to be enjoying it." She sighed, thinking about where Greg had gotten his skill for teaching.
Sara was never far from anyone's thoughts, but Greg seemed to be deeply affected by her absence. He was doing better, but she knew he was still frustrated not knowing her current status. Since her second departure, not even Greg was getting emails, and it was starting to wear on him.
"Grissom is struggling. I tried to get him to call Sara again, but he says she's not available. Whatever that means." The involuntary roll of her eyes was wasted on the silent metal marker before her. "I don't know, maybe it really is over now. She seems to have cut herself off from everyone at this point. I just wish there was something I could do." Catherine chuffed at that. If there was one person who Sara would listen to, it was most certainly not her.
"If only you were here. As rocky as you guys started out, I know she'd at least hear you out." Shaking her head, Catherine realized that Grissom had been right all along. Warrick really was the heart of their team. And everyone on that team followed their heart. But without him, they were broken. She was broken.
"Nick's doing pretty good. He's using the work a lot, but not in a bad way. It's been nice to see him smile again." The corner of her mouth turned up. "Maybe we can all take some lessons from him, huh?"
A deep, deep sigh released from her body, causing her shoulders to slump a little. "I'm doing my best. I've been doing what I can to keep Grissom from falling under the tide, and keeping the work from overwhelming all of us. It's been tough, but with the new girl it's gotten a little easier. Grissom has a line on another new guy, too. But that remains to be seen."
Running her finger along the edge of the temporary marker she admitted, "Lindsey's been my salvation. I almost lost it when I found her at some club on Halloween, but she's a good kid, Warrick. You were right. She really is turning out more than okay."
There was a smile back on her face. "I wish you could see her, Warrick. When I watch her dance, I swear she's floating. If I didn't know any better, I'd say she was an angel."
There was a slender hand laid upon her shoulder, "Guess it's a good thing I have those horns sticking out of my halo… Just so you can tell the difference."
Catherine turned to see the soft smile on her daughter's face. "Hey, what are you doing here?"
She shrugged and handed her mother the bunch of flowers she carried with her. "Gil said you'd taken off early… So, where else would you be?"
"Thanks." Catherine took the flowers and replaced the wilted ones with them.
"I figured he'd need some new ones." Lindsey squeezed her mother's shoulder as she brightened up the gravesite. "When's his headstone supposed to be in?"
"Couple more weeks, they said." She kept her eyes trained on the temporary marker, afraid her daughter would see the tears threatening to break free from her eyes.
Lindsey's soft voice destroyed that possibility. "Maybe we can do a little unveiling thing when they install it, huh?"
"What?" Staring at her daughter, Catherine was shocked by the girl's suggestion.
"You know…like what Gran did with the plaque at the new Rampart. Just a few people from work, and maybe let his ex know…so she can bring the baby?" With each word from her daughter's lips, Catherine felt a surge of intense pride filling her soul.
"I don't know. I just thought it might be good for everyone. And maybe Gil would call Sara for that." And that was when Catherine scrambled to her feet to take her daughter up in her embrace.
"How'd I get so lucky?" Her tears were no longer hidden. In her arms was the source of her greatest joy and she was not ashamed to show the depth of her emotion anymore.
"Years of hard work and torture." Catherine held her away to get a good look at the impish expression on Lindsey's face. With a mischievous glint in her eyes, Lindsey added, "But I'm sure I'll screw up some more to finally turn your hair gray."
Catherine shook her head and started to walk back down the row as she answered, "Not as long as there's chemistry and Miss Clairol, Smart Ass."