'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the lab not a creature was stirring… because they were all at the Bellagio for the `Police Department and Friends Holiday Party'.
It had surprised all the invited guests that the party was at such an expensive location this year, but most had figured out that the resolution of a recent crime spree at the hotel might have left the manager feeling that he owed the department a favour.
Dinner had been served, followed by speeches of thanks from the Sheriff and the Mayor, and now music was playing and wine was flowing perhaps a little too much in the direction of the graveyard shift staff.
Gil Grissom watched from his seat in the corner as Catherine Willows and Warrick Brown put the other guests to shame on the dancefloor; Greg Sanders was trying out his chat-up lines at the bar; and the Supervisor had long since lost track of Nick Stokes and Sara Sidle but he doubted they could be causing anymore of a stir than their colleagues were.
Said `stir' was something only Grissom was seeing. To everyone else in the room, Catherine and Warrick were just dancing.
But to Grissom, Warrick's hands were a little to close to Catherine's ass; the space between them was a little too none- existent; and her body swayed a little too provocatively.
The music changed to a rendition of "Santa Baby" and Catherine swiped a Santa hat off a passing waiter and pulled it onto Warrick's head, giggling as she did so. She then placed her arms around his neck and he pulled her body close to his as they moved slowly in time with the music.
Grissom watched for a few seconds longer, jaw tight with rising jealousy he knew he had no right to feel. Unable to watch anymore, he looked down at his drink, lifted it to his lips and as his eyes once more flitted to the couple on the dancefloor he finished it in one mouthful.
He took one last look at Catherine as he stood up from the table and, with a sigh, walked out of the ballroom.
Halfway across the hotel foyer, Grissom discovered where Nick and Sara had disappeared to. There they were, stood leaning against a pillar, talking and laughing and a second look confirmed it holding hands.
Despite his mood, Grissom's lips twitched into a small smile, pleased that someone was getting what they wanted for Christmas.
He reached the doors and stepped into the cool evening air, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath.
"Sneaking out without saying goodbye?"
He opened his eyes at the sound of the familiar female voice behind him and, reluctantly, turned round.
"I didn't want to disturb you," he shrugged, casually, forcing his face not to betray what he had really been feeling.
Catherine took a step closer to him. "It disturbed me to see you sneaking out without saying goodbye," she stated seriously.
"I needed some fresh air," he responded.
She smiled sadly. "You say that as if you intended to come back inside."
"What makes you think that I didn't?"
She shrugged. "I have a sixth sense when it comes to you."
He offered a small laugh though he knew it wasn't meant as a joke.
"I did ask you to dance, Gil," she continued when he didn't speak.
He nodded. "I know."
"And you said no."
There was a short silence, and then she spoke again. "It was Warrick's idea, you know."
He frowned. "For you to ask me to dance?"
"No. For us to dance like that… He said it would make you jealous…"
He managed not to react.
"… I said you wouldn't show it, even if it did."
He was still being quite successful at remaining impassive, despite the fact that she was now studying him as she did blood evidence at a crime scene. After a few seconds she sighed.
"Is he right?… Are you jealous?"
"Do you want me to be?"
"Answer my question."
"Are you going to answer mine?"
"I think the fact that I was dancing like that at Warrick's suggestion answers your question."
"And I think the fact that I couldn't stay to watch you dance any longer answers yours."
Catherine smiled and nodded. "Then I guess the only question left unanswered is Lindsey's."
Grissom frowned. "Lindsey's question?"
Catherine nodded again and opened her purse as she walked towards him. "Just before I left the house she asked me if I would finally be kissing you beneath the mistletoe tonight."
She stopped just in front of him.
"What did you say?" he asked, his heart rate increasing with her proximity.
"I told her I was going to a very fancy party at the Bellagio, and there most likely wouldn't be any mistletoe, unless Greg had brought some."
"…So," Catherine continued, producing an item from her purse, "she gave me this in case I needed it." She held up the piece of mistletoe for him to see.
Grissom smiled and took the last step needed to close the distance between them. He took the mistletoe from her hand and placed it back in her purse. "You don't need it," he said quietly, and then he dispersed her look of panic by pressing his lips softly against hers.
When he pulled back, Catherine smiled up at him. "You realise you can't write that off as just keeping to Christmas tradition now?"
He nodded. "I can live with that."
"Good." Catherine grinned but then her face straightened. "I'm sorry for putting you through that… I should have "
Grissom placed a finger across her lips. "No, I'm sorry you had to take measures to find out how I feel… I should have told you… A long time ago."
Catherine smiled. "Yes you should." She reached up and pulled his face down to hers for another kiss. "Now come back inside and dance with me!"
She took his hand and led him back into the hotel.
Halfway across the foyer they passed Nick and Sara who were still talking and laughing.
Catherine excused herself from Grissom and slipped the mistletoe out of her purse. Walking up to Nick, she placed it into his hand and then left, with a wink and a smile.
She walked back to Grissom and gave him a small kiss. "Should be a happy Christmas for all," she said, with a smile.
Grissom nodded. "And for all a good night."