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En Famille

copyright 2003, by Soo

Disclaimer:    CSI and it's characters were created by Anthony E. Zuiker.  They are used herein without permission, but in the spirit of admiration and respect.  No infringement of copyright is intended, and no profit, of any kind, is made by the creator, maintainer or contributors to this site.

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Catherine walked down the corridor and into the lounge. It was emptier than she'd expected. She sat a few seats down from the lounge's only other occupant. She dug out the latest forensics journal from her bag and settled in for the long wait.

"Ms. Manchester?"

Catherine looked up and gasped.

Lady Heather.

She hadn't recognized her when she had entered the lounge. Gone were the slitted skirts and sexy shirts that she had worn every time Catherine had seen her before. In their place were black khakis and a shirt that she could almost see Grissom wearing, if he was a few sizes smaller.

She listened in as the doctor conferred with Lady Heather. The operation was proving to be more successful than they had hoped.

As the doctor left, an amused Lady Heather turned to her, "Catherine."

"Lady Heather?" She queried, not sure how to address her.

Lady Heather looked pointedly down at her clothes. "You may call me Heather."

Catherine nodded, "Heather." She paused. She wasn't sure what she wanted to say. A few seconds passed and she decided to throw caution to the wind. "I didn't expect to see you here."

"Gil asked me."

Catherine's eyes widened. "He asked you?"

Heather's eyebrow arched. "Is that a problem?"

Catherine shook her head. "No, I...just didn't know your relationship had progressed that far."

Heather smiled. "Gil is a very private man."

"Boy, is he." Catherine muttered softly and heard Heather's answering chuckle. It was obvious that their relationship had progressed a lot further than she'd even thought possible.

For as long as she had known Grissom, he'd been closed off to even the remote hint of a romantic relationship. So what was it about Heather that was different than all the rest? How had she broken down the walls that nobody else had? How was it that neither she nor anyone else on the team had noticed the change? And just who was the dominant in this relationship?

"You may ask me anything you want." There was a slight pause, "I might even answer it."

Catherine's eyebrow arched. "When? Before or after the Buchman/Richards case?"

Heather smiled. "That's not the question that you really want the answer to." She paused. "But to answer that question -- during the case."

"During? That must've been..." She trailed off. She couldn't imagine Grissom starting a relationship during a case especially with someone who had been a suspect. "Difficult."

Heather nodded. "We both made some...mistakes. Oddly enough, we overcame both our natures."

"And he told you about his hearing?"

Heather frowned. "I guessed and he confirmed."

"I had to do that as well. So he's still insanely close-mouthed with you?"

Heather shook her head. "No, I demand communication. I guessed before our...relationship started."

Catherine's eyes narrowed. "You hesitated on relationship."

"It's been a long time since I've been in a relationship with someone I consider my equal." Heather shrugged. "A long time since I've used the word and meant it."

Catherine took a good look at Heather and saw the truth of Heather's words. Any doubts that she might have had about their relationship vanished. She could tell that Heather would do everything in her power to keep them together. Feeling slightly uncomfortable at this realization, she looked around the lounge and saw a frazzled looking nurse walked up to them, "Ms. Manchester, you may see Mr. Grissom now."

"Thank you." Heather rose. "May Catherine join me?"

"I'm sorry, only one of you at a time. Is she family?"

Heather looked over at Catherine. "Yes, she is."

Catherine eyes widened in surprise. She hadn't expected that. She rose and joined Heather. They walked down the corridors to the post-op area.

The nurse paused before Grissom's room. "He won't be able to hear anything for a few days."

Heather nodded. "I know."

The nurse continued, "As long as there are no complications, you should be able to take him home tomorrow. Make sure he rests. He may return to work after a week but no physical exertion for at least three."

Catherine snorted. "Keep Gris away from work? I'm glad it's you and not me."

Heather laughed. "If worse comes to worse, I'll handcuff him to the bed."

"That you could," Catherine smiled.

Catherine turned back towards the nurse and saw a shocked looked pass over her face, "He's going to be a little groggy and disorientated. Don't keep him up to long."

"We won't."

Catherine stepped back and watched as Heather entered the private room. She smiled faintly at the nurse as she left and looked up and down the corridor. She wondered what she should do. Should she go back to the waiting room to give Grissom and Heather some privacy or should she wait here so they wouldn't keep Gris awake too long?

She peeked into the room and stopped. Heather was perched on the side of the bed and was deftly finger spelling. A few seconds of concentration and recalling the hours that she had spent practicing with Lindsey for school, Catherine was able to make out what Heather was saying to Grissom. She bit her lip. Heather wanted him to tell the rest of the team about the surgery.

Grissom shook his head and looked away. Catherine held her breath as she watched the two of them together. She knew this was private and that she should look away but she couldn't help herself. The dynamic between them was so strong that she could feel it all the way out here in the corridor. How had she missed this? How had any of the team missed this?

She watched in fascination as Heather drew Grissom back towards her and held his jaw firmly in her hand so that he couldn't look away. Heather slowly repeated what she had spelled out before.

His team was his family and they deserved to know everything.

Catherine flushed when Heather nodded in her direction. Grissom closed his eyes and nodded in acquiescence.

She lowered her eyes when Heather bent down to reward him. Catherine abruptly turned away from the room and began to pace the hallway, finally giving them privacy that they deserved.

A few moments or maybe a few minutes later, a door creaked and Catherine turned to see Heather letting her into Grissom's room.

Catherine paused in front of the door, "Thank you."

Heather tilted her head in acknowledgement, "You are his family."

Catherine smiled and nodded as she entered the room. "Welcome to the family."

 

FIN

copyright 2003, by Soo

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