"Your chariot awaits, m'lady."
She smiled, but eyed him slightly more warily, and suspiciously, and leaned against the doorframe. "And, where exactly might my chariot be taking me?"
"We're going to celebrate Warrick's marriage," he stated, still smiling.
Catherine's head fell to her chest briefly, then she looked back up, face solemn. "Gil, I appreciate the gesture, but "
"You've taken Lindsey to school?" he interrupted her.
She nodded. "But "
There was nothing judgemental or reprimanding about the tone or inflection of his voice, but hearing her excuse back to her showed Catherine how lame it actually sounded.
"I am," she said, weakly, no longer convinced by it herself.
"We won't stay long… I just think it's important that we're all there. The whole team. Back together again."
"Gil, I "
"Catherine, do you regret moving back to graveyard?" he asked.
"No," she said immediately. "Why would you even think that?"
She thought she saw relief pass over Grissom's face, before his look of concern quickly returned.
"You've seemed… withdrawn for most of the shift, and now you won't come out… Is everything okay?"
She tried to smile reassuringly. "Yeah."
"Is Lindsey okay?"
"I'm fine too," she replied, her smile still in place.
"Has Sam been bothering you?"
She shook her head, not in response to the question, but in confusion as to what was going on. "Gil, what's with the inquisition?"
The cheerful air that had radiated from him since she had opened the door slipped, and he suddenly became serious. "I'm trying to… disprove my theory."
Catherine frowned again. "Your theory?"
Grissom nodded. "Catherine, why won't you join us?"
"I just don't feel like it."
"Because it's Warrick?"
The fact that she couldn't meet his eyes any longer was probably what told him he'd found the root of the problem. She laughed a little, watching her feet nervously shuffle on the spot. "Can't get anything past a CSI, can you?"
"Had something happened between you?"
She shook her head. "No."
"Did you… want something to happen?"
She stopped shuffling and looked back up at him, with a sad smile. "No… Not really… That's why this is so silly… And I just need to go to sleep, and sort my head out."
"So, it is Warrick's marriage that's bothering you?"
She had thought that her eyes were pleading with him to end this topic of conversation, but clearly that had failed, or he was ignoring her.
"I told you, it's silly… I just need to sleep, and I'll be over it… Please, Gil, go. Have fun! Give him a hug from me." She smiled as Grissom didn't look particularly keen on the idea of passing on that hug.
"I'd much rather you came and hugged him yourself."
She grinned, now, for the first time, completely genuine. "Ah, but I kinda like the mental image of you doing it for me."
"You know, if I was as perverse as you implied that I am, I could take that the wrong way," he smirked.
And she smirked back. "Who's to say that's not how I intended you to take it?"
They stood in a brief silence, eyes locked, smirks slowly growing into smiles, until eventually they both started laughing.
"That's better," Grissom said. "Grab your purse."
"Cath…" he mimicked her tone, smirking smugly again.
"Why are you doing this?"
He became serious once more. "Because I know you'll regret it if you don't come."
She held his gaze for a while, cursing the fact that he knew her so well. And simultaneously cursing the fact that he would therefore know that she knew that he was right.
She narrowed her eyes at him, and turned, walking through the open door into the house.
"You'll have to give me ten minutes to change."
"You're just trying to stall," he commented, following her inside. "Just get your purse."
"I want to change."
"You look beautiful " He stopped short when she swung round to face him.
"You look beautiful… As you are," he stated, apparently unperturbed despite the glare she had found herself sending him.
"Okay, you're not Gil Grissom," she said, shaking her frowning head.
"I'm pretty sure I am," he responded with a smile.
"I'm beautiful?" she said, eyebrow raised to convey her meaning as to the fact that his comment was out of character.
"Yes you are."
"You don't say things like that."
"Maybe it's time I started."
"Because I don't like to see you sad."
"And you think telling me I look beautiful will make me happy?"
He frowned now. "I thought it might… Look, Catherine," he said, stepping closer to her, "I'm not good at this kind of thing… I don't know which bit of `you're beautiful' it was that made you angry… I just wanted to see you smile. I know how hard it is to watch the person you love go about their life, clearly not feeling the same way about you… But I learned a long time ago, that you have to support them, and be there for them. It doesn't make you feel any better to pine over them "
"Gil, I'm not in love with Warrick… I'm not pining over him."
"Then why are you so sad?"
His eyes were too full of genuine concern for her to try to avoid the question. "Because in my crazy, messed up head, Warrick was my back-up."
His furrowed brow indicated that he didn't quite understand, so she continued.
"There's always been a spark between us, and I guess I thought it would always be there… If things didn't work out with - … anyone else, then perhaps that could be explored… It was selfish, and silly, and this whole marriage thing just came as a shock… And highlighted the fact that I'm now out two for two on potential future relationships… That's what's making me feel sad… I look towards my future, and… Well, there used to be possibility, and now there isn't… I told you. It's silly… I'll go and get changed." She turned away from him and headed once more for her bedroom.
"You've still got me."
She stopped when she heard his words, and turned back slowly. She allowed her eyes to meet his, and took a moment to assess whether or not she had heard him correctly, and what exactly he had meant.
Though he hid it well, he looked nervous. It was something rarely seen from Grissom, but she recognised it, having seen it before, when he had told her about his surgery, and when she had visited him at the hospital just before he went in.
"Have I?" she asked eventually.
His nod was quick and short.
She took a step closer to him. "I thought I'd already lost you."
He seemed surprised by her comment, then feigned a pensive look, before saying: "I'm ninety-nine percent sure I didn't get married yet."
She laughed a little. "Do you have any plans to?"
"Not right now… But, when I do, I'll be sure to discuss them with you first."
She smiled again, and the moment lasted a few seconds, before sobriety crept back into her eyes, and the corners of her mouth slowly fell. "After the… Adam… incident… you and I… Well, even before then… We seemed to fight a lot more… I thought "
"It's hard to watch the person you love go about their life, clearly not feeling the same way about you…" he quoted his earlier words. "Sometimes I wasn't so good at the support and being there part. Pining occasionally got the better of me… I'm sorry… But if you need a new potential love interest… I'm available."
His confession had stunned Catherine into silence, and even now she still didn't know what to say. It was only when the silence of the room became deafening, and Grissom was looking decidedly anxious, that her mind threw out some words.
"To stick with this crazy TV show metaphor that you've started you wouldn't be a new potential love interest… For at least twenty years, you were the one most fans were rooting for."
She let her words hang in the air for a while, and held his gaze while Grissom considered her meaning.
"I'm not sure this metaphor is working," he said, with a small smile.
She laughed. "Perhaps not… But you know what I mean?"
And she nodded. "So what do we do now?"
"Now," he said, glancing at his watch, "You get your purse… Before they think we're not coming."
"Damn, I thought you'd have forgotten about that," she smirked, walking towards him. She stopped in front of him and reached past him to get her purse from the table that stood just beside the door.
He shook his head. "And now you've no excuse… Your future holds possibility again. So you must be in a celebratory mood."
She straightened up, and her eyes met his. "I'd like to think it holds more than possibility."
A mischievous smile crept slowly across his lips. "Ah… Well you'll have to tune in next week to find out."
She closed the distance between them and leaned up so that her lips were almost touching his. "Are you sure you can take the suspense?"
He swallowed hard, and raised his hand, to softly caress her cheek. "I guess the fans have been very patient… Perhaps we could give them what they want now."
Catherine grinned. "I like the way you think… But we've definitely overdone the TV thing now."
His laughter was lost into a tender first kiss as Catherine pressed her lips and her body into his. Their arms wrapped tightly around each other, a quick break for breath led into a deeper kiss as tongues duelled, and twenty years of sexual tension fought for resolution.
When they finally managed to pull apart again, Grissom commented that they really should be leaving. Catherine nodded, but made no move to action that. She kissed his lips softly. "Just so you know… This works much better than telling me I'm beautiful to make me happy."
"That's good to know," he smiled, tenderly kissing the end of her nose. "Because I intend to do a lot more of both."