Shattered Glass

He held the glass in his hand and marveled at the facets interacted with the light in his office. To him the glass represented life. As a whole it could weather most tempests, but the closer to an edge it got, the more likely it would fall over and crash. Just like his life.

His finger pushed the glass steadily toward the edge of the desk. Everything had been measured and the stopwatch was ready to go.

The sound of a glass shattering filled his office. Gil Grissom watched as the shards from what was once a glass scattered on the linoleum floor. He looked up when his Big Mouth Billy Bass distracted him from his experiment.

"So, what did the glass do this time?" Catherine asked standing just inside his door. She had seen the glass fall to its demise. Grissom gave a half smile at Catherine's casual attitude.

"I don't know. The police think it was suicide, but I'll have to investigate." He paused listening to her chuckle. "What can I do for you, Catherine?"

"Actually, I came to apologize for what I said during the trial."

"You don't have to apologize. You had every right to say what you did."

"No, I didn't. I lashed out at you for no reason other than I was frustrated."

"Cath, I understood. If you had done that to anyone else, I would've been worried. I'm your friend, I understand where it came from."

Catherine shook her head not willing to let the topic slide, "I shouldn't have blindsided you like that. You needed to concentrate on the case and I was upset that you weren't aware of what was going on with the team."

Silence filled the room. Catherine looked around the room taking in the variety of items he kept there. Noticing only one bottle of Red Creeper on one of the utility shelves she noted aloud, "Sara been raiding your powders again?"

"What? Oh, yeah. She loves that stuff. I'm thinking I'll give her the recipe before she drains me completely dry."

"Not before you give it to me." Grissom looked at her quizzically. She elaborated, "The recipe. You said I would be the first one you'd give it to."

The light dawned in his eyes as he recalled when he made that promise- the first time he had used it when investigating a suicide with her. "I haven't forgotten. You'll be the first one, I promise."

"I want to call a Truth." He knew this was coming sooner or later. Part of him hoped that she wouldn't hear about what happened, but he knew that it was inevitable.

"Okay."

"I saw Sara yesterday. She had a few choice words to say about you. I want to hear your side." Catherine sat down on the only other chair that wasn't serving as a temporary storage area and waited for him to answer.

"I'm not sure what all happened. I called her in to cover the high school scene while the rest of us worked the Newman murders. I didn't know she called to say she was two hours out and I let my annoyance shine through when she finally arrived." He paused for moment. "After both cases were filed, she stopped by my office. I had just collected my messages and found the one from her. I tried to apologize by saying she did a good job. She accused me of being confusing."

"Ah. Let me see if I've got this straight. She's mad at you because you tell her that she should have a life outside of the lab, and then you, in her eyes, get mad when she isn't sitting by the phone or police scanner waiting for your call for help," Catherine summed up after putting both versions of the incident together.

"To put it bluntly." Grissom rubbed his face, irritated that he couldn't seem to get a good grip on what was happening between him and Sara.

"Okay, that explains problem one. Now, what are you going to do about it?"

"I... I could send another plant." Catherine's glare told him that this wasn't a good option. "Or maybe not. Okay, I'll have a talk with her about this." He thought for a moment before continuing knowing that she wouldn't hold what he said against him. "I just don't know how or if I can do it without damaging what is left of, I don't know. Relationship, I guess you can call it."

"I know I asked you this before, but what is between you two?" she asked looking for a way to guide him into supplying himself with the answer he sought.

"Honestly, I haven't a clue anymore. I thought we were friends, but lately I've been feeling-"

"Jealous?" Catherine suggested calmly.

"No, protective. She's trying so hard to be like me, but," he trailed off not quite sure how to continue.

"But?" Catherine wasn't going to let go. She knew he had to tell someone; he had to let someone in to vent off the pressure he was feeling. That was why she called the "Truth."

Years ago, when she had been promoted from a lab technician to C.S.I., she needed a way to vent off her frustration; Grissom had seen that need. Thus, he instituted something from his past for those times that she felt like screaming at the nearest object to her. Anytime either needed to discuss something without consequences they would call for a Truth. It was used often at first, but over the years they used it less and less. In fact the last time a Truth had been called was when she had shown up at work an hour late and looked like death warmed over. A year later she separated from Eddie.

"...I just don't want her to make the same mistakes that I did. I've been down that road, I know what it's like." Grissom's words broke into Catherine's thoughts, bringing her mind back to the present.

"Then tell her that. Let her know that she needs to find her own mistakes."

"That's it? Just tell her to make her own mistakes and hope to God that it doesn't blow up in my face?"

"Yeah. Gil," she waited until his full attention was on her. "You can't predict human behavior, no one can. You just need to trust that she will understand." He tried to protest, but she cut him off. "Gil, I know you were hurt by someone in your past, but you have got to let it go. Not everyone is like that."

"You're right, as usual. Thanks."

"Good. Now on to problem two."

"Hold it, only one problem per Truth, remember?"

"It's been a very long dry spell, humor me." The look she gave him said volumes. She was being serious and given her stubborn nature she wouldn't back down from discussing it. He sighed and nodded for her to tell him what the second problem was. "Greg."

"What did I do now?"

"The rash?" Grissom looked at her blankly. "God, Gil! You gave Greg a rash to justify a plausible link between Berglund and the Newman murders! Did your sense of ethics take a leave of absence without giving notice?"

He winced at the accusing look on her face. He could always count on her to remind him of the perilous dance he did while solving a case. Grissom thought he had it all planed out, but he jumped a step when he pressed Greg to serve as a guinea pig. "You're right. I was just so excited by a chance to use something different to connect a murderer to the crime that I got ahead of myself. I'm sorry."

"I'm not the one you need to apologize to. Greg is scared of you now. He thinks you're out to get him or something. He practically jumped through the ceiling thinking that I was you when I turned his music down to ask him something."

"I get the point. I need to start repairing my bridges, so to speak. Are we done?"

"With the Truth? Yeah." She paused for a moment considering her friend. He looked more tired than normal. "Gil, is everything alright?"

He didn't answer immediately. The Truth had helped put things in perspective again. She said that the Truth was over, but he knew that he needed it to continue a little longer. "Truthfully?" She nodded. "No, but I've got a better handle on the problems."

He smiled trying to break the tension that had built up in the office. When she didn't return his smile, he got concerned. "Cath, what's wrong?"

"I miss the old Gil," she said softly.

"So do I. But I hear he's trying to climb back up." The last comment brought a smile and a chuckle.

"Well, tell him to hurry up, it's lonely up here and his replacement has been all too serious lately." Their laughter permeated the office and filtered down to the break room where the rest of the team was catching a moment of camaraderie before heading home. The sound startled all of them, but it was gone just as suddenly as it arrived before anyone could figure out who were laughing.

Catherine got up to leave after they both calmed down. The tension in the room had dissipated quickly and her old friend looked like he was going to recover. "So, what really happened to that glass?"

"I was checking my constants."

"Still 9.81 meters per second squared?"

He looked at the stopwatch on his desk; it was still counting. He had forgotten to stop it when the glass hit the floor. For the first time in two years he decided to just trust that Newtonian physics was still applicable to his experiment. "Yep."

They looked at each other before Catherine shifted her purse and started to leave. "Have a good morning, Catherine. I'll see you tonight."

"Don't stay here too long, okay. Clean up the glass and go home."

"I will. And, Cath?" She turned around expectantly. "Thanks for the talk." She nodded and left his office, the motorized bass covering part of her chuckle as she left. He bent down and began to pick up the broken shards of glass. Maybe his life wasn't like the glass after all.

He placed the shards into the glass receptacle in the corner and listened as the footsteps and voice of his friend saying good-bye to fellow workers faded in the distance. Of all the constants that affected his life on a daily basis, she was the most important of them all.