JUST A QUICK STORY THIS TIME – SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT. I HOPE YOU ENJOY READING IT AND PLEASE CONSIDER REVIEWING IT AT THE END. MANY THANKS IN ADVANCE.
Catherine Willows had almost finished work for the night when she received the phone call.
As tired as she was, she pushed it aside and hurried to lock away the evidence she had been working with before grabbing her bag and jacket from the locker room and heading to the car park.
In the heavy morning traffic, the ride to the hospital seemed to take several times longer than normal. She found her thoughts drifting to Nick and how their relationship had progressed over the nearly 15 years they had worked together.
She smiled to herself as she remembered the first time they had met. Jim Brass had been the night shift supervisor back then and Nick had transferred from Dallas police department to join the CSI team as a green level 2 rookie. He arrived for his first night with an infectious enthusiasm to learn and had an endearing mixture of confidence, bravado and vulnerability which Catherine warmed to immediately.
She felt an instant maternal bond to him. She suspected he had a similar effect on a lot of women.
He had slotted into the team effortlessly. Jim Brass had taken an instant liking to his new colleague as well – delighted to finally have another cop on the team…despite his youth and the fact he had only spent a handful of years in the PD as a stepping stone to forensics.
Gil Grissom seemed happy enough with Nick's arrival – although his attention span was seemingly limited to one major project at a time and it had been already focused on his new protégé – Warrick Brown.
Warrick had been a new acquisition as well. He was a local of Las Vegas who had studies at LVU before joining the grave shift team. He oozed coolness – he was someone that caught people's attention as soon as he entered a room. But his brooding good looks and confident swagger hid a fiercely intelligent mind. Grissom had his new project.
The team matured and grew together, Jim Brass the anchor and Catherine and Grissom the rudders – guiding and teaching their two younger colleagues. With Grissom preoccupied with Warrick's development, Catherine concerned herself with Nick's. The two youngest team members formed a strong bond – their friendship negated any jealousies which may have been triggered by perceived favoritism – and their competitive natures instead nurtured a lighthearted rivalry.
Catherine had watched with pride as Nick developed his own personal stride and weathered many personal storms to become a proficient crime scene investigator in his own right.
She had acted as his mentor and confidant. She had chastised him and praised him. She had teased him and comforted him. She had pushed him and protected him.
Her patient nurturing had paid off in dividends. She had watched with immense pride as he had grown in both skill and confidence. He had weathered the death of Holly Gribbs in his rookie days with a professionalism that belied his experience. He had handled Sara's kidnapping and the death of Warrick with compassion and sensitivity despite his pain. He had dealt with his own traumas – childhood abuse, kidnapping, being buried alive, having guns drawn on him, having been shot – with courage and dignity. He had stood up when Grissom had left – had become the rock of the team – and had been rewarded with a promotion to assistant supervisor.
He had come full circle. From the young, green, new kid of the team, to assistant supervisor and mentor.
Catherine smiled again as she pulled her car into the hospital car park, happy to have had a hand in the transition.
She headed into the main entrance of the hospital and took the lift up to the sixth floor. As tired as she was, she needed to visit Nick - she needed to see her friend. She needed to give him a hug and to tell him how proud she was of him.
She stopped momentarily as she caught sight of her colleague standing in the corridor, looking through the large glass wall into the hospital room.
Smiling with affection, she walked briskly towards him and lay a gentle hand against his back, pulling him into a warm embrace as he turned towards her.
"Hey." she murmured.
"Hey," he murmured back, "thanks for coming, Cath."
The two friends pulled apart and Catherine continued to grin proudly at him.
"I couldn't get here quick enough, Nicky." she replied. She turned to the window and leant against him as he brought a strong arm around her shoulders and pulled her towards him, his other hand pointing through the glass.
"That's him there – second cot from the left…..that's my boy!" said Nick, his voice bursting with pride. "Tobey William Stokes."
Catherine's heart melted as she saw the tiny baby boy swaddled tightly in a pale blue bunny rug.
"He's perfect, Nicky," she whispered, "just perfect."
Nick beamed at her.
"How's Lou doing?" Catherine asked.
"She's doin' great." he replied. "She's sleeping now. But she did so great, Cath. You girls are amazin' creatures!"
"Come and hold him." Nick said, reaching to take her hand and leading her into the gown up room to the side.
Catherine slid into a clean, white gown and took a seat in one of the recliners set up against the wall while Nick headed into the nursery room and arrived shortly after with the tiny bundle. He gingerly passed his newborn son to his boss.
She gazed down lovingly at the little boy, who slept soundly in her arms, and bent her head slightly to smell his fresh 'new baby' smell.
"Oh, you forget how tiny newborns are." She whispered, bringing a finger up to gently stroke the baby's face. He gurgled and wriggled at her touch. Catherine laughed as she watched his little lips move as if sucking.
"Hey, Cath?" Nick said quietly.
"Yeah?" Catherine replied without taking her gaze from the little man snuggled up in her arms.
"Lou and I were wondering…you know…we wanted to know if you'd consider being Tobey's godmother." he said.
Catherine's head snapped up – her eyes meeting Nick's.
"Really?" she asked, stunned by the offer, "Nicky, I don't know what to say….I'd be honored."
Nick smiled back at her and then dropped his gaze back to his son.
"He's pretty awesome, huh?" Nick mumbled.
Catherine chuckled and looked back up at him.
"Yeah, Nicky…he's pretty awesome." she replied. "You did real good."