Rumor By Starlight
Rating: CSI-1
Summary: They heard a rumor…
Disclaimer: I do not own CSI
Written For: Anne

“I know what we can play!” Greg declared, his eyes lit up like the street lamps that were severely lacking in this section of desert.

Grissom didn’t bother with a response; he just continued to look up at the starlit sky.

Catherine rolled her eyes at Grissom’s (lack of) reaction, and smiled sweetly at Greg. “Is it going to be more interesting than I-spy was?” she asked him.

“That would have been more interesting if Grissom wasn’t such an expert,” Greg defended himself, glaring pointedly at Grissom.

Grissom turned to face him now. “It’s my job to be observant, Greg.”

Greg mumbled a mimic of Grissom’s statement audible only to Catherine because she was sitting beside him. Hugging her jacket tighter around herself, she let out a long sigh. The air was starting to get cooler, and her patience with Grissom and Greg was starting to wear thin. If the recovery vehicle didn’t arrive soon, they would have to resort to sitting in the Denali for warmth, and she really did not fancy being in a confined space with the two of them.

“Okay, Greg, we’ll play your game,” she said, willing to try anything to break the tedious silence. She silently began a mantra to remind her to keep four spare tires in her Denali from now on. They had already been sitting in the cold night air for an hour, and no headlights were visible on the long straight road in either direction.

“Excellent!” their team’s youngest CSI exclaimed. “Okay, it’s called Truth or Rumor ”

“Greg we’re in the middle of the desert,” she interrupted him, “If this involves dares ”

“It doesn’t,” Greg assured her. “We won’t need to do anything but talk.”

“Okay,” she nodded. “Carry on.”

“Right so we get to ask each other if rumors we have heard are true or not.”

“How is that a game?”

“Well, it’s not so much a game as a conversation piece… But we really need one of those right now… Besides, you can always lie.”

Catherine contemplated his idea for a few seconds, and looked to Grissom to see what he thought. His gaze was still directed at the stars no doubt contemplating trucks and trees. She smiled a little at the memory of the last time they had stood in the desert together and looked up at the night sky.

“Earth to Catherine and Grissom,” Greg said, drawing her attention back to him. “Are you in?”

“Yeah we’ll play,” she answered for both of them, knowing that Grissom was most likely going to just ignore any questions put to him. Well, she would see about that. There had been several rumors about their leader that she would like clarifying. He couldn’t escape from here, so this was probably the best opportunity to ask him about them. “But we shouldn’t be allowed to lie. We tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

She couldn’t be one hundred percent sure because the lighting was non-existent, but Greg seemed to look apprehensive for a second before he nodded and agreed to her terms.

“And seeing as it was your idea,” she continued, “We’ll ask you the first question… So, I heard a rumor that you don’t actually like the music that you subject us all to at the lab, and you just play it to annoy Grissom. Is that true?” she asked him with a smirk.

“Er… well,” Greg stuttered.

“Nothing but the truth, Greg,” she teased.

“Whose idea was this?” Greg muttered. Sighing heavily he offered his answer. “Yes it’s true… I mean at first I was playing music I like, but, yeah, lately some of the stuff I just chose to annoy…” he hesitated, but a pointed clearing of her throat from Catherine forced him to continue, “… Grissom,” he concluded quickly.

Grissom’s face remained directed at the sky, but he did make a “hmm” sound, and Catherine giggled.

“Okay, okay, your turn!” Greg hurried on. “Catherine, is it true that you still own your outfits from when you danced at the French Palace?”

“That has actually been a rumor at the lab?” she asked, shaking her head at the bizarre things people find to gossip about.

“Yep,” Greg replied. “Well, there was slightly more to the rumor, but rather than expose the whole thing to your knowledge, I thought I’d just see if this half is true first.”

Grissom let out a small laugh at this, and Catherine turned to face him, amazed that he had shown awareness of the conversation going on beside him.

“Ah, so you are still with us!” she said, smirking.

“Of course I am. You agreed that I would play this ‘game’…” His tone made it clear that he used the term loosely. “So I need to pay attention.”

Catherine paused for a second, before shaking her head again, and deciding now really was not the time to try once again to figure out how Grissom’s mind worked. She looked back to Greg and said, “Yes, Greg, I still have my outfits from when I danced at the French Palace.”

Greg made an appreciative whistling sound, so Catherine slapped him playfully on the arm.

“Right, Gil, it’s your turn,” she said, turning back to the man on the other side of her.

“Go ahead,” Grissom said. “I doubt I’ve been the subject of many rumors.”

Both Greg and Catherine laughed.

“Oh,” Catherine teased, “In that case you’re in for quite a surprise. You’d better hope recovery gets here soon.”

“Can I ask the first question?” Greg asked eagerly.

Catherine frowned at him. “Greg, you’ve already admitted you play music to annoy Grissom, do you think asking a question is a good idea?”

Greg shrugged. “Hey, if I’m going down, I might as well go in style.”

Catherine considered this for a moment and then made an affirmative sound. “Makes sense. Go on.”

“Okay, Grissom. Is it true that you slept with Lady Heather?”

Catherine whistled. “Ooh, that’s some style!” Then she looked expectantly at Grissom.

“Yes, it’s true,” he said without preamble.

“What?” Catherine said, shock written all over her face not that either of the men could see it.

“We were talking, and we fell asleep,” Grissom had continued.

A smile curved Catherine’s lips. “That’s the whole truth?” she asked.

Grissom rolled his head towards her. “That’s the answer to the question.”

“Aw, man!” Greg exclaimed. “Darn euphemisms!”

“You should always be careful how you word your questions, Greg,” Grissom advised him.

Chuckling to herself, Catherine looked back to the disappointed CSI. “Okay, Greg, is it true that you have a crush on Sara?”

From his silence, Catherine decided that he was blushing.

“Yes I do,” he answered eventually, with a sigh of dejection.

“What’s the matter, Greg?” Catherine teased him. “Aren’t you enjoying your game?”

He mumbled something incoherent and then started to ask Catherine, “So, Catherine is it true ”

“Er, Greg,” Grissom interrupted him, “I think it’s only fair that I get to ask Catherine’s next question. You asked the first one.”

“You didn’t object to Catherine asking my second question,” Greg complained.

“Didn’t I?” Grissom asked, innocently.

“Okay, bring it on,” Catherine declared, turning to face the older of the two men.

Grissom angled his body to face her now, focussing all his attention on her. “Is it true that you have a tattoo of a butterfly on your right butt cheek?”

“Wow, I’ve never heard that rumor!” Greg exclaimed, surprised.

Catherine’s gaze had held Grissom’s, the connection not broken by the other person present’s outburst.

A smile was on her lips, and, had there been any light, he would have seen the sparkle in her eyes. “Yes, that is true,” she replied. Adding, in a lowered voice, “As you well know.”

“What was that?” Greg asked.

Catherine turned to him now. “What was what?”

“After your answer you said something else, I couldn’t hear it.”

“I just asked Gil how he knew that,” Catherine lied convincingly.

“Oh,” Greg said, rather disappointedly. “Right, now I suppose it’s your turn to ask Grissom a question.”

“Ah, so it is,” Catherine said, grinning as she turned to face Grissom, who had returned his gaze to the stars. “So, Mr Grissom, is it true that your date with Sofia lasted until four o’clock in the morning?”

“You had a date with Sofia?” Greg exclaimed so loudly that Catherine physically jumped, colliding with Grissom and sending him off balance as well.

Luckily Grissom managed to regain his footing before they fell over, and Catherine found her face in his chest, and his hands held her elbows. She looked up at him before straightening up, and found that the latter action brought her face very close to his. She didn’t move away.

“Yes it did last til four in the morning,” he told her, his breath caressing her face as he spoke.

She felt a hot wave of disappointment sweep across her face and began to pull back, but he tightened his hold and whispered in her ear, “But we were just talking… And mainly about you.”

She whipped her face back to look him in the eye, surprised, not only by his comment but also the sincerity with which it was said.

“Hey! Stop with the whispering!” Greg demanded. “The game was my idea, I get to hear the answers.”

“I was just asking Catherine to keep that fact quiet…” Gil told him. “I’d ask the same of you, Greg. What’s said tonight stays between the three of us.”

“Agreed,” Greg said quickly, obviously worried what else he was going to have to admit to.

While Catherine had now turned away from Grissom, his hand remained on the small of her back, and, despite having a thick coat on, she could feel a tingle radiating from that spot. Her mind was racing with what Grissom just said, and combined with his touch was coming up with all sorts of images of what they could be up to if Greg wasn’t with them. It was hard enough at the best of times to regulate her feelings for Grissom, without him giving her reason to think perhaps he had similar feelings for her.

Lost in her thoughts, Catherine was startled when Grissom’s voice whispered once again in her ear. “Catherine,” he breathed.

Grissom chuckled when she jumped and she offered him a glare that possibly would have scared him if only he could have seen it. “What?”

“We need to ask Greg a question,” he said, and she could hear the remaining smugness in his voice.

“Ah, okay. Well I asked the previous two, so you can have a turn,” she said, overly sweetly.

“Thank you,” he stated. “Greg, is it true that you have never actually been surfing?”

“How do I not hear these rumors?” Greg asked, pouting. “Yes it’s true… But I still enjoy the idea of surfing…. Now it’s finally my turn to question Catherine again. Is it true that you wear your French Palace outfits for Grissom?”

Catherine choked on the breath she was inhaling, sputtering and coughing with laughter. “That’s the other half of the rumor?”

“Yes,” Greg replied definitively. “So is it true?”

The sound of a truck engine made them all stand up and move away from the Denali.

“Finally!” Catherine exclaimed.

The recovery truck pulled up beside them and Catherine explained what had happened.

Greg’s attention turned to chatting up the young female of the two mechanics, and Grissom quietly walked up behind Catherine who was watching them change the tires.

“You didn’t answer Greg’s question,” he said quietly.

She turned to face him, her arms crossed over her chest. “Well, you know that rumor isn’t true.”

Grissom nodded. “I do.” He took a step closer to her. “Maybe one day it will be?”

Catherine tilted her head to one side, observing his face in the light from the recovery truck. “Has the fresh night air gone to your head?”

He smiled. “It helped to clear my mind.”

“So you do realize what you’re saying?” she asked him, straining to make sure she could hear his response over her pounding heart.

He took another step closer, bringing his chest into contact with her folded arms. “Yes I do… Catherine, out here, with nothing but you, the sand and the stars and Greg, the road and the car, but that sounds less romantic reminded me how simple life should be. The rumors are out there, other people clearly think there’s something between us, and you know as well as I do that there’s always been an attraction. Let’s stop making this complicated… Let’s turn some of these rumors to truth,” he smirked, his eyes sparkling.

Catherine let her arms drop to her sides, so she didn’t feel like she had put up a wall between them. “You know, if Greg looks over here now, it’ll start a whole new set of rumors?”

He snaked a hand into her hair and pulled her closer. “No. If Greg looks over now, it’ll start new rumors,” he said before pressing his lips to hers.

The End

Terms of the assignment:

Must have: Greg
May have: Lady Heather, Stars, Sofia
Must not have: Sara bashing