This is the story of Gil Grissom and Catherine Willows, and the amazing coincidence that bridged a rift and brought them closer together again.
Some history is required before the effect of the coincidence can be retold, though, as, ironically, the coincidence itself occurred before our two characters even met.
Many years ago, a young Catherine Flynn journeyed to Las Vegas to start afresh, to live the exotic life the lights and glare seemed to promise. Alone in a new town, far from home and friends and family, Catherine found herself a job waiting tables, but found the wages were not enough to pay the rent and allow her a semblance of a social life to make some new acquaintances. Seeking other ways to make money Catherine’s attention was drawn one day to a poster regarding medical research.
While Catherine investigated further, to establish whether the substantial sum of money promised was too good to be true, and if the procedures requested would adversely affect her long term health, elsewhere in Los Angeles, a young man by the name of Gilbert Grissom, was also looking for a little extra cash to help pay for his studies. A similar medical research poster caught his attention and he commenced investigations of his own.
It is as a result of this medical research that we have an amazing coincidence to recount. For unbeknownst to either participant, a year later, the facilities conducting the originally separate research would exchange resources, and a mix up would set in motion a sequence of events that would only become apparent twenty-four years later.
Twenty-four years later, on a chilly day in November to be precise, when CSI level three, Catherine Willows, was called to the reception of the Las Vegas Crime Lab, to greet a mysterious visitor…
“Agent Alyssa Markham,” the young lady introduced herself, holding out her hand for Catherine to shake.
“Agent?” Catherine asked cautiously, as she accepted the out-stretched hand, shaking it once, before letting go and returning her hand to her side. Something about this woman seemed familiar, but Catherine was pretty sure they had never met before.
“Sorry, force of habit,” Alyssa said with a pleasant smile. “I’m with the FBI, but I’m not actually here on a matter of business.”
“Oh?” Catherine commented, now even more puzzled as to why this woman was here. As far as she knew she had no reason to be randomly visited by an FBI agent claiming not to be on official business. Mentally shaking her head, she reminded herself that she wasn’t Grissom. She had no reason to be as mistrusting of the letters FBI as he seemed to be.
“Actually I was hoping I could speak to you about a private matter. I could come back some other time, if that would be more convenient.”
“No, no. Now’s fine, I was just about to finish my shift,” Catherine said, wearing a frown of intrigue. “I’ll get my things, and there’s a little coffee shop around the corner where we could talk more privately.”
Alyssa seemed relieved, and Catherine noticed for the first time how nervous the young woman appeared to be. “That would be great,” she smiled, gratefully. “Thank you.”
Catherine nodded, and walked towards the locker room, wondering what on Earth this could be about. At the back of her mind it still niggled that there was something familiar about Alyssa, but she couldn’t put her finger on what it was. Hopefully the link would become apparent when the ‘personal matter’ was explained.
Catherine was three steps from the door of the locker room when said door swung open, and Gil Grissom walked out of the room.
“Gil?” Catherine asked, surprised to see him. “I thought you were in New York at a conference.”
“I flew back early,” he said, with a shrug.
“And came straight to the lab?”
“Because you like to work with the dayshift?” she teased, though her tone was dry, no longer able to share the same banter with her supervisor that she had in previous years. Their friendship had begun to wither several months ago, and neither seemed to be trying to revive it.
“No. Because I missed my pets,” he replied with a twinkle in his eyes.
She shivered. He knew she hated those creatures. Then something in Grissom’s expression seemed to register significance on her brain, but it was all a blur and she couldn’t place the relevance her mind was trying to show her.
“Are you okay?” Grissom asked, obviously having noticed her distraction and confusion.
“Yeah,” she assured him. “I’m just… Having an unusual day.”
“Bad case?” he asked, genuine concern in his voice.
“No. No, it’s not work related… Actually, Gil, could you ” She stopped herself, remembering that they were no longer as close as they used to be, and she had no right to ask this of him.
“What?” he asked.
“It doesn’t matter,” she dismissed it with a smile. “Go see your pets. I’ll see you tonight.”
She began to take the remaining steps to the locker room but he stopped her with a gentle hand on her forearm. “Catherine… What were you going to say?”
She glanced briefly at his hand, enjoying the familiar warmth and security radiating from his touch; then she looked up into his eyes, and seeing his sincere concern, she decided to go ahead and ask.
“There’s a young FBI agent ” She felt Grissom tense at the term. “in reception. She said she wants to speak to me about a personal matter, nothing to do with the FBI… I said we can go to the coffee house around the corner. I was just wondering if you would come with me… us? I’ve just got this weird feeling about the whole situation. I mean, not from her, she seems lovely and she can’t be more than twenty-two, twenty-three years old. I’m sure she’s not dangerous or anything, and I have this feeling I do know her from somewhere but ” She stopped when Grissom placed two fingers across her lips.
“Catherine. You’re rambling. Of course I’ll go with you. Just let me grab my jacket,” he said with a smile.
Catherine let out a breath she didn’t realise she had been holding, and walked into the locker room when Grissom held the door open for her.
Walking back into reception, Catherine spotted Alyssa looking at the notices on one of the walls, and indicated to Grissom that it was she they were having coffee with.
The two CSIs approached, and Alyssa seemed to sense them and turned around smiling. The smile fell abruptly and was replaced by what looked like shock however, when Alyssa’s eyes came to focus on Grissom.
“Mr Grissom?” she asked, apparently flustered. “I … er… I thought you were in New York this week.”
Both Grissom and Catherine frowned, glancing at each other and back to Alyssa, then back to each other again, a questioning look on Catherine’s face, as to silently ask Grissom for an explanation. He shrugged and they both faced the young agent again.
“I’m sorry,” she said, shaking her head. “You just took me by surprise. I actually was hoping to speak to both of you, but the information I looked at said Mr Grissom wouldn’t be in Las Vegas this weekend, so I had resigned myself to only speaking with Ms Willows.”
That really didn’t help ease their confusion.
“I’m sorry,” Alyssa said again. “None of this will make sense without me explaining the reason why I’m here. And I think that’d be better done in private.”
Catherine and Grissom nodded, both somewhat unable to think of much to say, so the three of them left the lab and walked to the coffee shop in confused silence.
It was in this coffee shop, on this chilly November day that the amazing coincidence was revealed to our heroes. Given its aforementioned amazingness, however, they were reluctant to believe that it was true…
“Well, obviously it’s impossible,” Gil said, following Catherine into his office and closing the door behind them.
“Well, it’s not completely impossible,” she responded, turning to face him, running a hand through her hair. “I did donate some eggs when I was … about nineteen.”
“And I did donate sperm when I was doing my phD, but what are the chances that ”
He stopped as they both realised the potential truth of the situation.
“Whatever the odds, Gil, they do exist…” Catherine said, calmly. “So, it isn’t completely impossible.”
Gil nodded slowly, absorbing the full meaning of those words. “She’s our daughter?”
Catherine tilted her head to one side, a small smile quirking her lips. “She’s our daughter.”
Alyssa had explained to the two of them that she had known from a very young age that the parents who had raised her were not her biological parents. The full circumstances surrounding her conception were not revealed to her until she was old enough to understand, however, so since she was sixteen, she had known that her actual parentage had been a mistake.
Unable to conceive a child naturally, her parents had signed up for an experimental procedure. Her mother’s egg was supposed to be fertilised with donor sperm and implanted into her mother to carry the baby as normal. When Alyssa was four years old, however, and in hospital after a fall, it was revealed that she was not biologically related to either of her parents.
Fearful that their daughter would be taken away from them, Mr and Mrs Markham decided against suing the medical company, and kept the information to themselves. They loved Alyssa as if she were their own, and saw no reason for that to change. And it didn’t. Alyssa was a happy and well-loved child, raised with affection in a close-knit home.
She had always had an inquisitive mind though, and, on several occasions, had wondered what her biological parents were like. Which parts of her personality did she get from her mother, and which from her father? Which of her physical characteristics came from which parent? And did she have any siblings out there in the world?
They were questions she openly discussed with her mother and father, there being no secrets in the Markham household. They knew her desire to gather this information was no slight on them as parents, but simply their bright, intelligent little girl’s mind working as it always did. Posing questions, seeking answers and understanding. It was something they had always loved about her, and they refused to dampen that spirit and inquisitive nature.
Thus they had given her as much information as they could, and Alyssa herself, having been accepted into the FBI at a young age due to her intelligence, used contacts she had made to piece together the puzzle of her parentage.
The result had brought her to the Las Vegas Crime Lab, after she was stunned to find out that both her mother and father were listed as working there. It seemed impossible at the very least, improbable and Alyssa began to wonder whether the circumstances surrounding her birth were as much of a mishap as she had been told. Surely her parents would not have lied to her? But what were the chances that randomly donated egg and sperm would have come from two people who now worked together?
When she asked her parents, however, they were as surprised as she was, and also wondered if her information was correct. Alyssa double-checked, and all details pointed to the improbable being the actual explanation. And so she accepted that her biological parentage was an amazing coincidence, and set out to meet the people who had made her existence possible.
Understanding that it was unreasonable to expect Gil and Catherine to just accept the amazing coincidence and embrace her as their daughter, Alyssa told them she would consent to a DNA test, assuring them it would put her mind at ease as much as theirs.
Of course, DNA tests take a while, and during this time, our heroes spent some time getting to know their newfound daughter, who was gradually more intrigued as to whether her newfound parents were actually more than just the colleagues she had assumed them to be. So on a slightly warmer November day later the same week, she decided to ask them…
“Oh, no!” they answered her simultaneously.
“We’re just friends,” Catherine assured her.
“We’ve known each other for a long time,” Gil said.
“That’s why we can finish each other’s sentences… It’s nothing more than that.”
Alyssa was about as convinced as we are.
She nodded. “Okay… You just seem very close, and yet there’s an air of distance around you. As if by my presence you’ve been forced into a situation you simultaneously want to be in, and yet don’t want to be in…”
Gil and Catherine looked anywhere but at each other, and Alyssa smiled to herself. “Okay. Forget I said anything.”
The results of the DNA test confirmed that the amazing coincidence had in fact occurred and Catherine, Gil and Alyssa all received the news with tears in their eyes and smiles on their faces.
John and Jessica Markham flew in from their home in Seattle to be with their daughter, and all four parents found common ground discussing Alyssa’s childhood, and assigning candid blame for each trait and characteristic.
Alyssa watched the exchange with a smile on her face, finally knowing the name and laughter of every person who had made her the woman she had become.
She watched our heroes glance at each other throughout the conversation, their eyes catching and lips smiling before they forced their gazes to part again. She wondered what had happened to create the tension that was interwoven with their attraction, and, with a mischievous sparkle that had been attributed to Gil determined that she was going to fix things.
And her plan came to fruition on a cold day in early December when Gil and Catherine’s colleagues from the Crime Lab were gathered at Catherine’s house to be told of their recent news…
All in all, the team seemed to take the news well. They were, understandably, surprised and confused by the announcement, but seeing that Grissom and Catherine were happy and had accepted the unlikely story as truth, they too embraced it, and each of them took the time to speak with Alyssa and get to know her better.
During her conversation with Sara, Alyssa surreptitiously caught the eye of her newly discovered younger sister, Lindsey, and nodded once at the girl. Lindsey grinned and nodded back, and then approached Grissom and Catherine, as discussed in their strategy meetings.
“Hey, Mom,” Lindsey said, cheerfully, sitting down in the vast space that was between Grissom and Catherine on the sofa in the living room. “Hey, Grissom.”
Both adults turned to face her, smiling.
“Hey, Linds. How are you doing?” Catherine asked her, still worried about how her daughter was taking the news about having a sister.
“I’m great, Mom. Stop worrying! Alyssa’s amazing! In fact I wish she’d turned up sooner, but, hey, at least she’s here now,” Lindsey rambled, grinning. “Anyway,” she continued before anyone could comment, “I was thinking and don’t you think it’s like a sign or something that you two are her parents? I mean, what were the chances that your egg, and your sperm, would be used to create a child in days when you didn’t even know each other… I think it’s spooky! And must be a sign.”
Grissom and Catherine glanced uneasily at each other as Lindsey spoke, each having had similar thoughts, and each having now forgotten the reasons why they had been drifting apart. They had spent so much time together lately with their daughter enthralled in such a new situation a situation that did provoke thoughts like Lindsey’s. It was difficult not to think about how differently a daughter could have come into their lives; how they could have pursued an attraction that had been apparent since the day they met.
“I’m just saying,” Lindsey was still talking, “Maybe it’s something to think about. It’s been obvious to me for years that you two love each other, and Alyssa noticed it after like a day, she told me! Perhaps the universe is giving you a shove in the right direction! I mean you’ve been drifting apart lately, and then BAM! Your daughter shows up? I’d say it’s a pretty amazing coincidence!”
Catherine broke their eye contact to look at Lindsey. “Since when do you think Grissom and I love each other?” she asked, surprising herself as well as Grissom, as she was sure she’d been going to ask since when Lindsey had been interested in the universe and signs. Out of the corner of her eyes she could see that Grissom was staring at her, eyes wide, but she ignored him and focussed on Lindsey.
The girl just shrugged, and replied, “I don’t know, Mom. It’s just been, like, obvious for a while… For a CSI, you’re really not very observant when it comes to what’s right under your nose.” Lindsey grinned mischievously and shuffled off the sofa and across the room before Catherine could respond.
“She’s got a point,” Grissom said, drawing Catherine’s attention back to him.
“I know,” she nodded, slowly letting her eyes meet his. “And I have a feeling Alyssa helped her make it… I think my daughters conspired against us,” she smiled.
“Our daughters ” Grissom began to say, before realising it wasn’t that simple.
“Not quite,” Catherine said quietly.
“But it could be.”
Catherine raised an eyebrow as her heart skipped a beat. “One step at a time, Gil,” she laughed.
“Catherine, we have a daughter together, I think we’ve already skipped a few steps,” he smirked.
Noticing now how close her knee was to his, Catherine realised they had subconsciously moved closer to each other on the sofa. “Yes, but they’re steps that I enjoy,” she said softly, allowing herself to move even closer.
“So we’ll start at the beginning?” Grissom asked, his voice equally lowered.
Catherine nodded. “Well, we can skip the introductions.”
And, all thoughts of why their friendship had begun to wither, now firmly lost beneath thoughts of how they could share so much more than friendship, our heroes kissed. It was brief, but tender, and held promise of so many more for their future.
Across the room Alyssa sat beside her little sister and watched her biological parents reunite. When she had first uncovered that the two donors now knew each other, it had seemed like an amazing coincidence. Watching them now, it seemed so much more like destiny.
Assignment: Must have Catherine and Gil having a child that no one knows about that isn't Lindsey, may have the team finding out, Catherine and Gil still being apprehensive about a relationship, flashbacks. Must not have GSR.