Disclaimer: I don't own anything, I'm just borrowing things for a while and I promise I'll put everything back exactly how I found it when I've finished. Well, almost exactly how I found it. ;)
The CSI team were all taking discreet glances at their watches, hoping that the Christmas party would be ending soon. None of them had really wanted to go, but Greg had put their names down and there was no backing out. Mr Sanders had regretted his decision ever since.
"Whose round is it?" Warrick asked, looking at Catherine.
She smiled. "Yours, dear."
"How did you work that out?"
Nick shook his head and laughed. "Never ask whose round it is. The asker gets to pay."
"Asker, Nicky?" Gil repeated.
"It's not a word," Sara supplied.
Nick shrugged. "It is now. Come on, Warrick, man, get moving. We could die of thirst here."
Sara put her hand on Gil's arm and looked at him. "Dance with me. I'm bored."
But Gil shook his head. "I don't dance."
Catherine looked at him. "Oh you do, Mr Grissom. Just not very well."
"It amounts to the same thing," Gil replied.
"Hey, guys, are we having fun yet?" Greg asked as he bounded over. His reply was four severe glares. "I take it that's a no. I'll just…be somewhere else." He turned and almost ran into Warrick. "Ah, good. Looks like they need more alcohol."
"Why don't we make him pay?" Warrick asked grumpily as he sat back down again.
"Finally!" Catherine exclaimed.
Warrick frowned. "What?"
"I've been waiting all evening for you to work that one out, darling."
He just shrugged. "What can I say? I'm a slow learner."
Catherine smiled and winked. "Not that slow."
"Too much information!" Nick said, covering his ears and turning to his date for the evening, Donna, who was laughing. "Did you guys hear that?"
His question was directed at Gil and Sara, but they were having an in depth, private conversation and didn't reply. Time passed slowly, but when midnight looked a lot closer than it had done all evening - it signalled the end of the torture…party, of course - the team started to liven up a little.
"Last dance coming up, folks!" the DJ announced.
"Finally!" Catherine exclaimed again.
Gil suddenly stood up and looked at Sara, smiling. But instead he turned to Catherine. "Would you like to dance?"
The blonde stared at her old friend. "Say what?"
"Dance, Cath. You know, shake your tush to music." Gil shrugged at the others tried not to snigger. "Or something like that."
"Well, your tush does look good, especially when being shaken," she replied cheekily. "Alright. If you don't mind, Sara."
Sara tried to keep her face straight as she shook her head. "No, of course not. You guys go ahead."
"Warrick?" Gil asked.
"Break a leg, man."
"Not literally, of course," Nick added.
"Play nicely, children," Catherine called over her shoulder as she took Gil's hand and allowed him to lead her across the room to the dance floor. Once there, he slipped a hand round her waist and pulled her close to him, while she rested her cheek against his shoulder.
"I don't want to upset anyone, but did they used to be a couple?" Donna asked tentatively.
"Not that we know of, though I've said the same thing a few times," Nick replied before looking at Sara and Warrick. "Don't you guys mind?"
Warrick shrugged. "Why should we?"
"Yeah, they've been friends, like, forever," Sara agreed. "If anything was going to happen between them, it would have done by now." She suddenly looked at Warrick. "Dance with me."
"I don't dance."
"Neither does Grissom, apparently, but he's doing a good job so far," Nick replied, indicating the couple on the dance floor. Gil had just said something and Catherine laughed loudly before burying her face into his chest.
"Right, Nicky, you're it. Excuse me," Sara said to Donna before grabbing Nick's hand and dragging him off his seat.
Warrick sighed. "I guess that just leaves you and me."
Donna nodded. "Guess it does."
"Want to dance?"
"I don't dance well, unless it's break dancing, but I'm probably too old for that now," Warrick told her.
Donna smiled. "That's okay, I don't dance well either so we'll make the perfect couple."
"Why?" Catherine asked suddenly, pulling back a little to look at Gil.
"Why save the last dance for me?"
Gil shrugged. "It just seemed right." He sighed and tried to look anywhere but at the woman in front of him. It wasn't working. "We've been through a lot, Cat, haven't we?"
She smiled. "You haven't called me that in years. You know you're the only one who can get away with it."
He nodded. "I know. I thought for awhile that we were drifting. It was like I didn't know you any more, and you didn't know me. Somehow we'd become two different people and despite being together every day, we'd grown apart."
"I know, I hated that time," Catherine told him. "You've been my best friend for so long, and then suddenly you weren't there. I mean, physically you were, of course. But…."
"I understand," Gil said. "But then I realised that we hadn't changed that much, and we hadn't drifted that far, but we'd stopped talking. When did that happen?"
"I could probably give you an exact time and date if I thought about it hard enough," Catherine quipped.
"Please don't. I have the feeling it was all my fault."
She shrugged. "Not really. Maybe you were more to blame, but in the end, it takes two to make any kind of relationship work, and two for it not to. I don't want to play the blame game with you, Gil; especially not you."
Gil suddenly put both arms around her and pulled her flush against him. "Let's not go to that place again," he said. "I hated it."
Catherine nodded. "Me too." She pulled away slightly and put her hands on his cheeks. "Merry Christmas, Gil," she said, kissing him soundly on the lips.
"Merry Christmas, Cat," he replied.
Nick turned to look at Sara. "Man, that looks like a good idea." He suddenly moved forward and kissed her. "I've been wanting to do that for so long!" he said, grinning.
Sara, however, looked like she was about to kill him, but the Christmas spirit worked its magic quickly. She grabbed Nick's shirt and pulled him to her. "Don't *ever* do that again," she told him quietly.
Nick tried to look hurt. "Not even at Christmas?"
"*Especially* not at Christmas," Sara replied, then she kissed his cheek and let him go. "Maybe for New Year, though, if I don't get a better offer."
"Don't worry, they're always like that," Warrick told Donna, who was looking a little jealous. "Not usually so…expressive, though. But it's all harmless."
"I know that," Donna replied.
Warrick looked surprised. "Oh? I just thought…."
"I was wondering why they get kisses and I don't," she interrupted, grinning.
"Well, I don't know you that well, but…." He gave her a quick kiss on the lips and then one on either cheek. "How's that?"
"Very nice, thank you."
From a shady corner of the room, Greg Sanders watched in satisfaction. The team needed a little bonding time, and he had finally managed to get them to bond, although he was a little unnerved about the kissing.
*'Yes,'* he thought smugly. *'Well done indeed.'*
Little did Greg know that two hours later he would from a street sign by his ankles, feeling decidedly less superior.