Benefit
Rating: Trainee
Summary: If only they'd drawn straws…
Disclaimer: er, not mine :-(
Spoilers: Season Five ­ Down the Drain
A/N: Post-ep Down the Drain

He appears to be enthralled in whatever paperwork is on his desk when you arrive, so you hover in the doorway for a couple of seconds: just watching him; considering him; contemplating whether or not it is a good idea to have the conversation you intend to have.

You have almost decided that you should turn around and leave when you realise he is looking at you. You smile sheepishly and step into the office. "Hey," you say, completely nonchalant; completely normal.

He smiles. "Are you okay?"

You nod. "Yeah." Then your eyes flit around his office. You're not looking for anything in particular. You're just not looking at him.

You feel his eyes narrowing as they watch you, and you know he's not buying that lame lie. "Catherine?"

You let your face meet his, but you still try to avoid his eyes. If they manage to catch on to yours, you'll be lost forever. "Yeah?"

"Are you sure?"

Perhaps you shouldn't watch his lips either ­ too much fantasy is invoked as they move slowly as he speaks. So you settle for looking down at the pen you have found to fiddle with on his desk.

"I'm fine." You drop into the chair opposite him, taking the pen with you. "You?" Now you look up. If your subject change can work, then there's no problem with you looking at him.

"I'm good…" He is still looking at you like you're a piece of evidence that he just can't figure out. "So, what can I do for you?"

You frown, momentarily not understanding that you are sitting in his office, and that implies that you want him for something. "Oh," you say quickly, with a small laugh at yourself to ease the suspicious tension. "Nothing."

His eyes twitch narrower for a split second, then he sits back in his chair. "Okay."

That's all he says. Then he just looks at you. He's not staring, and he's not particularly studying anymore. He's just looking. And you find that is worse than the other two. You can't fight it. You are drawn to his eyes, as you always are, and are locked under the spell your heart cast on you long ago. That Grissom would always have this effect on you. That you would love him, regardless of whether he loved you. A somewhat cruel spell for a heart to place upon its owner. But, then, every time you see him, you understand why it can't let go.

The silence has gone on long enough, his eyes on you have achieved their goal. You tell him the truth.

Taking a deep breath for courage, you glance away, not sure if you actually do want to see his reaction to this. Remembering that you need to, you return to meet his gaze.

"Warrick and I ­ " You stop, partly because you're not sure how to phrase the next part, and partly because you're thrown by the tightness that briefly enveloped his features as you spoke. You are sure it was there, but it's gone now. Shaking it from your mind, you continue. "… We …" It's there again. It almost looks like fear. "Are you okay?" you ask.

He nods, face once again clear. "Yeah… I'm intrigued as to how your sentence finishes, though," he smiles, and you cannot tell if it is forced or genuine.

You laugh nervously, and focus once more on the pen. You think, perhaps, that it would be better to continue not knowing that he doesn't love you, rather than forcing him to tell you that he doesn't. After all, the spell dictates that you will love him anyway. And that would be so much easier if there was still that air of possibility. But, then again, it's that possibility that has brought you here. Loving him would be even easier if he loved you too.

"Catherine?"

You look up.

"You know that the rules don't expressly prohibit relationships in the workplace… I'd have to assign the two of you to different cases, but… there would be no problem," he states.

So there's your answer.

"Really?" you ask, your chest feeling a little constricted now as you're forced to face the reality you tried to deny existed.

He nods. "We spend most of our lives at work, and, particularly on the graveyard shift, that can make it very difficult to meet people outside of work… The force wouldn't have a problem with it ­ "

"What about you?" You couldn't resist. Obviously you have some sort of pain fetish.

"Well… As long as you're professional and don't let it interfere with your ­ "

"No, Gil!" The pen falls to the floor as you stand and clamp your hands onto the edge of the desk. "Not as my supervisor, as my friend! Would you have a problem with it?"

He frowns, and you know you're entering territory that he likes to avoid. "If he makes you ­ "

"There is nothing going on between me and Warrick!"

You do feel bad that you are confusing him so much, but you've started now, and you can't seem to stop.

"We… had a … moment earlier… that's all."

"A moment?"

"I fell, he caught me… there was eye contact…"

You just look at each other again, and you can see him trying to process it all, trying to figure out what the hell you are talking about.

You sigh a little and sit back down.

"Catherine, are you aware that you aren't making any sense?" he asks, and his accompanying smile almost looks nervous.

You laugh slightly, and drop your head back, as you try to regroup your thoughts. A few seconds later, you settle your head back into its normal position, and determinedly focus your attention back on Grissom.

"Have you ever had a `moment', Gil?…" It's a rhetorical question, you don't wait for an answer. "You're so close to each other, your eyes are locked, the air between you crackles as an invisible force draws you together…" you trail off, because your mind is picturing you and Grissom in such a moment, and the intensity of your feelings is overwhelming your power of thought.

"I've seen it in movies," he says quietly, almost sadly, with a small smile.

You smile back, sympathetically. "It was just like that… But nothing happened."

He does look a little uncomfortable now, you notice, but you are talking about feelings, and that's not his favourite topic. "Well, maybe if you talk to him ­ "

"I have… We sorted everything out."

His frown intensifies. "So you're trying to tell me there's a possibility that there will be something going on between you?"

"No… There so easily could be… He is a very attractive man, and there is chemistry there, but, in that moment, there was a stronger force keeping us apart… And we both agree that we shouldn't fight that."

He is looking at you as if you are speaking a foreign language now, his confusion creasing all his features, not just his forehead. "So why did we just have this conversation?"

You smile, understandingly. "I guess I just wanted to talk about it."

"Maybe teach me the benefit of drawing straws?"

Now you are frowning. That question implies that he knows exactly what you're talking about. "Meaning?" You want to make sure you're on the same page.

"If it had been me and Warrick going through the drains, then that moment never would have happened, you wouldn't have needed to talk about it, and I wouldn't have spent the last few minutes being more confused than I ever have been before."

Ah. You are not on the same page.

You nod, trying to keep your disappointment from showing, and you smile a little to ensure it is concealed.

"Alternatively," he continues, "if it had been me who went with you, then I would have caught you, and we would have shared that moment."

Unprepared for that you are unable to keep your surprise from showing on your face. Your eyes are wide, but constricted by the furrowing of your brow and your mouth is slightly open, as you search for something to say.

You are still at a loss for words, when he moves round to your side of the desk and kneels in front of your chair. Holding your eyes captive with his, his body rests against your knees as he leans towards you, placing one arm either side of you, his hands settling against your hips.

"We're so close to each other," he whispers, his face nearing yours with each word. "Our eyes are locked and I'm sure I can hear crackling," he laughs and you feel his breath against your lips. "Is this where the moment ends?" You feel each word as his lips brush yours, and then you're both frozen. Eyes locked, waiting, anticipating. "… I'm not feeling any resistive forces," he says, voice barely reaching an audible level.

You respond in equally hushed tones, "Me neither," and you have only just finished speaking when his lips press gently against yours.

THE END