Categories > TV > CSI

Caldwell

by TaraKeezer 3 Reviews

Bug guys don't do cats.

Category: CSI - Rating: PG - Genres: Humor - Characters: Gil Grissom - Published: 2006/04/07 - Updated: 2006/04/08 - 3280 words - Complete

Disclaimer: Right. Like I actually own any of these characters? Please. Anthony Zuiker and company own CSI. I own a cat whose main purpose in life is to shed on my carpet.



Bug guys don't do cats. End of discussion. Period.

No.

Add a line and turn that period into an exclamation point. And then add two more exclamation points, because Grissom is serious. Bug guys don't do cats.

He's in the middle of explaining this to the cat that is currently hiding under the passenger seat of his Denali when Catherine walks up. "Uh, Gil? Who are you talking to?"

"The DB's cat," he says, bending down to try again to drag it out of his vehicle.

"How'd it end up in there?" She cranes her neck for a better look, but between Grissom's body and the set-up of the SUV, it's a lost cause.

"I opened the door, and when I stopped to answer a question from Greg, the cat hopped in." He gives up for the moment and looks back over his shoulder at her. "I'm too big. Can you get it out?"

"Me? Not a chance." She backs away, her hands up to fend him off. "If I show up at home with cat hair on my clothes, Lindsay's going to be all over me about getting a pet. No way."

"But -"

"You're on your own, Gil."

"What am I supposed to do with it?"

She shrugs. "The city pound?"

"Catherine," he says with his last thread of patience, "if I wanted to kill it, I would take care of it myself. Any other suggestions?"

"Get it out of your truck?"

Grissom glares at her until she walks off then tries, yet again, to get hold of the cat. The problem is that the cat, small and well-groomed with tuxedo markings, is able to move faster than he can. It's impossible for him to corner the animal, and none of his guys are coming by to help. He makes a mental note about the lack of help and starts planning payback.

"Any luck yet?" Catherine is standing there with a paper bag in one arm and a plastic tub in the other hand.

"No." He has a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach when he points and asks, "What's that?"

She lifts the arm with the paper bag and says, "Cat food, food dish and a small bag of cat litter." Lifting the tub, she adds, "Litter pan. You'll need all of this stuff."

"No I won't!"

"If you're not taking him to the city pound, you're taking him home. Unless you're going to let him live in the truck?" At his scowl, she very nearly smiles. She doesn't, but it's a close call. "Didn't think so."

"There has to be a no-kill shelter in town," he says, feeling a tendril of panic start to curl through his brain. The panic isn't right. He's a bug guy, and bug guys are cool. They don't get upset over little stuff. Not only is he a bug guy, but he's also a bug guy who sees bodies in various states of decay and mutilation on a regular basis. Grissom has stones, and he knows it, so one small and stubborn cat shouldn't be doing this to him.

"It's four in the morning. Will you be able to contact one anytime soon?" She dangles the litter pan before him. "It's your choice, of course, but do you honestly want the cat pooping on your floors?"

His jaw clenched, Grissom finally snatches the pan from her and takes the bag as well. "This is only until I can get hold of the shelter."

"Sure it is," she says in a way that isn't at all comforting. Grissom thinks she knows something he doesn't, and he wants to find out what it is, but she's talking again before he can ask. "I found his papers in the house. His name is Caldwell, and he goes to the Three Kings vet clinic on Thompson. Maybe they can find a home for him."

"You couldn't have mentioned this earlier?" He peers down into the bag and sees the papers in question.

"I could have, but then I'd've missed the look of panic on your face," she says with a grin. "Oh, I also found his toys and put them in there. Maybe you can use one of them to get him out of your truck."

"Thank you so much," he bites out. With as much dignity as possible, given that he's spent the last half hour chasing a cat in his truck, Grissom places Caldwell's things on the front passenger seat. "I'm going home first, then I'll be back at the office."

"See you then," Catherine says with a smile that could technically be called a smirk.

"I doubt it." Grissom looks back at her and gives her what the rest of the CSIs have dubbed his evil smile. "You'll be looking through the DB's compost heap."

"What?" She knows she shouldn't have pushed him as hard as she did, but this punishment is over the top.

"I want a full inventory of the contents of that heap, Catherine. There's no telling if the killer left something there unless you look." A satisfied smile is on his face when he gets into the driver's seat and closes the door.

Catherine gives him the finger as he drives off.

~~~
At a stoplight, Grissom looks into the paper bag again. Catherine was right - it's a small bag of litter. He stares at the litter pan and does a quick calculation, coming to the conclusion that he really needs to get more litter on the way home.

He pulls into a Wal-Mart parking lot, hesitating briefly over leaving the cat - Caldwell - alone in the car. It's half past four, and the temperature is already in the low nineties. The sun won't be up soon enough to heat the truck further, but he's still anxious about the cat. He doesn't have water he can leave for it, and if his trip into the store goes like every other visit he's made to Wal-Mart, it will easily be a half hour before he gets out again.

Grissom sighs then digs around in his evidence kit for the spare key to the truck. He leaves the Denali idling with the air conditioning on low then locks it and heads into the store. With only a bag of cat litter to get, he tells himself, he should be in and out in no time.

Forty-five minutes later, he gets back to his truck. He found the cat litter without any trouble, but then he found all the other little things that cats seem to need as well. A good ten minutes was spent simply debating the merits of one hairball remedy over another, and in the end, he got both. He figures he can donate whatever is left over to the shelter that ends up taking in the cat. It's likely the place will also take the extra food, carrying cage, toys and dried catnip he bought.

Before Grissom gets back into the truck, he looks under the passenger seat and feels a flutter of worry that the cat isn't there. He checks under the driver's seat and is absurdly relieved when Caldwell's eyes reflect back from the flashlight.

"We're going back to my place now," he says to the cat. "And you're only going to stay there for a little while. Understand?"

Caldwell doesn't answer.

~~~
When Grissom pulls into his garage and presses the remote to close the door behind him, he contemplates the various ways he might be able to entice the cat out of his vehicle. It turns out he needn't have bothered. As soon as he opens his door, Caldwell shoots out between his feet and lands on the garage floor.

After pausing to lick his right shoulder, Caldwell sniffs the air briefly then looks around. When he sees the door to Grissom's townhouse, he walks up to it and sits down, waiting for Grissom to open it.

For his part, Grissom is annoyed. The feeling that he's being scammed is growing, and there's not a damn thing he can do about it. He grabs the paper bag and litter pan from the front seat and joins Caldwell at the door. "You and I are going to have to have a talk," he says, unlocking the door and opening it.

Caldwell chirps - Grissom thinks it's a chirp of agreement - and walks inside as calmly as if he'd been doing so all his life. Grissom follows him in and heads for the kitchen. Once there, he sets everything on the counter then turns to head back to the garage for the rest of the stuff.

He nearly tumbles ass over head when he realizes too late that Caldwell is sitting right next to his feet. After catching himself, Grissom says, "Rule one is that you don't hang around my feet when I'm standing up. Got that?"

Caldwell narrows his eyes and offers a brief meow in reply.

Not one to anthropomorphize objects or animals, Grissom nevertheless concludes that Caldwell just told him to forget it, that he would sit anywhere he pleased.

Grissom narrows his eyes back at the animal and repeats, "I mean it - don't hang around my feet when I'm standing up. You're here because it's too early for me to call your vet or a shelter. Piss me off too much, and I'll take you to the city pound. Got it?"

Caldwell looks unconcerned, though he does stand and walk over to the stove. It's away from Grissom's feet, so he figures the cat has accepted rule one.

When the rest of the bags are in the house, Grissom puts food and water down for Caldwell, who sniffs at both then looks up. Grissom picks up the litter pan and cat litter before going to his small laundry room.

Caldwell follows him, staying well clear of his feet. Grissom has just finished putting the litter in the pan when Caldwell jumps in. Fascinated, he watches as Caldwell does what cats are reputed to do - use the tray and cover his waste.

Grissom nods in approval and says, "Good. Now come on. We have to talk about rule two."

He heads into his study and stops inside the door. Caldwell walks a few feet past him and sits next to Grissom's office chair. A faint skittering comes from the tank where the Madagascar hissing roaches live, and Caldwell looks up with interest.

Very firmly, Grissom tells him, "These insects and spiders are off limits to you. You're not allowed to take them out to play with them. You're not allowed to mutilate, maim, kill or eat them. Any of them. Got it?"

Caldwell gives him a look that can only be described as disbelief. His meow seems to be a question.

"No. Not at all." He points his finger. "If I find one dead insect where it shouldn't be, you're going to the city shelter."

After a heavy sigh, Caldwell chirps. He doesn't look back as he leaves the study.

Unwilling to rely on the willpower of an unknown animal, Grissom closes the door to the study and heads back to the kitchen. Caldwell is sitting next to his food bowl and looking a little lost for the first time.

Grissom pauses, then bends down to scratch his ears. "I'll call your vet's office when I get off shift. We'll find a new home for you."

In response, Caldwell rubs his face on Grissom's hand and purrs a little.

~~~
"No, she's dead, and as far as we can tell, she doesn't have any family." Grissom looks up as Catherine stands in the doorway to his office. She looks dirty and disheveled, and despite the odor that starts to fill his office, he smiles. It's good to be the supervisor.

On the other end of the line, Dr. Kerry says, "I'm sorry, Mr. Grissom. If Caldwell were better tempered, I might try placing him with one of my other families."

"What do you mean by better tempered?" Except for the thing with the truck, the cat had been remarkably well behaved.

"He doesn't get along with other animals," she answers. "He's also eight years old, which means it will be hard to find a home for him. Most people want kittens."

"Hard, but not impossible, right?" At her vague agreement, he continues, "Is there a no-kill shelter in town?"

"There is, but the state shut them down temporarily." She sounds distracted, like she's anxious to end the phone call. "Furry Friends might be back in business in a month or so, but it depends."

"Depends on what?"

"On whether they can thoroughly disinfect the place or not. They've had a problem with respiratory illnesses lately, and a number of animals have died." She sets something down with enough force for Grissom to hear it over the phone. "Look, I wish I could help you, but unless you have someone who can take him in or you're willing to take him to the pound, you're stuck with him."

"But -"

"I have patients to see to. Caldwell's shots are current through the next two months. After that, he'll need to come in. You can make an appointment closer to the time. Goodbye."

Grissom stares at the handset as the dial tone starts, and then he looks up and stares at Catherine.

She makes a quick decision not to bitch. Instead, she tells him, "I found the gun at the bottom of the compost heap. It was a good call on your part. I'm going to get cleaned up. See you tonight."

Catherine is gone before Grissom can even open his mouth to object.

~~~
It's been a week since Caldwell moved in, and Grissom is finding the experience to be not as awful as he thought it would be. For one thing, Caldwell seems to have a fetish about keeping all his toys in one place, specifically the northeast corner of Grissom's bedroom. When he wants to play with one, he'll pull it out of the pile and take it to wherever Grissom is sitting. After he's done playing, Caldwell invariably puts the toy away.

He tries not to think about the fact that the cat is tidier than he is.

At first, Grissom ignores Caldwell's play. But when he's watching a poorly done British series about vampires, demons and other things that go bump in the night, he gets distracted by Caldwell's sudden acrobatics. They're new to Grissom, and he doesn't ever recall seeing a cat behave quite that way.

It's a few minutes before he can see that Caldwell is fighting with one of his wooly balls - one that had been impregnated with catnip. Caldwell stays on his side much of the time, but eventually, he manages to push himself up against Grissom's feet. At that point, in defiance of everything Grissom thought he knew about physics, Caldwell not only does a backward summersault, but he also manages to leap straight up and land in Grissom's lap.

The two of them freeze. Lap time is something new for them, and neither seems entirely certain it's a good idea. Grissom hesitantly raises his hand and scratches Caldwell's ears. Caldwell thinks about it for a moment then leans heavily into Grissom's hand before settling down on his lap. As Grissom continues to scratch his neck and ears, Caldwell's purring gets loud enough to start competing with the television.

Grissom turns it off, happy to have something else to do.

~~~
Ten days after a tentative agreement was reached on the issue of lap time, Grissom comes home in a bad mood. The case involving Caldwell's former owner took a turn for the worse early that morning, resulting in a double for Grissom, Catherine and Greg as they scrambled to find enough physical evidence to keep their prime suspect in custody. As it turns out, Greg was the one to save the case, and while Grissom is happy about that, he also wishes Greg had come through sooner. The stress of the day and Ecklie's sniping have taken their toll, and Grissom is left with the beginning of a migraine.

Caldwell takes one look at him when he walks into the townhouse and offers a very quiet meow. He watches Grissom carefully move around and follows him into the bathroom first and the bedroom second. Once the shades are drawn, Grissom undresses and slowly climbs into bed. Caldwell is there first, though Grissom doesn't realize it. He's too focused on minimizing the headache, even knowing it for a lost cause. The auras tell him it will be a bad one.

As he lies back on his pillow and arranges himself in a position he can live with for the next few hours, Caldwell steps softly to his head. Grissom is startled at the brief lick given to his temple but not enough to kick the cat off the bed. Caldwell curls up into a ball and tucks himself into the crook of Grissom's neck and left shoulder.

He lets Caldwell stay. The warmth and closeness of another living being is unexpectedly comforting, and Grissom can feel the tension easing up.

In less than fifteen minutes, both are asleep.

~~~
"Hey, Griss!" Greg bounces into his office with a big grin on his face. "I found Kathleen Dante's brother."

Grissom looks up and feels a brief curl of anxiety at the news. His reaction is ridiculous. A family member means that Caldwell has a potential home, and that's cause for celebration. He repeats that to himself two more times before asking mildly, "Oh? Will he be coming to claim her property?"

Greg drops into the visitor seat and crosses one leg over the other. "He'll be in town long enough to put everything up for auction, and then he has to leave again."

"Did he not get along with her?" Grissom may not be the best at understanding human relationships, but he's fairly certain that siblings should be a little less cold than that.

"It's not that. He's in the Marines, and he's stationed in Iraq right now. His CO gave him compassion leave, but a lot of that will get eaten up in travel time." Greg leans forward and snags a chocolate-covered grasshopper from the bowl on Grissom's desk. "I mentioned the cat. He said you could do whatever you wanted with it."

"You're kidding." His anxiety lessens at this unexpected news.

"He can't take it overseas with him, and he doesn't know anyone who could adopt it." Greg bites off the grasshopper's head and smiles. "Looks like you've got a cat, huh?"

Grissom would like to express his pleasure at the news, but he's a bug guy with a reputation to maintain. If word gets around that he's happy to keep Caldwell, he'll never hear the end of it. No. Best to nip this in the bud.

Grissom scowls. "As soon as that no-kill shelter opens up again, he's going in."

Though Greg opens his mouth to respond, the look on Grissom's face is enough to convince him to get a bit more distance between the two of them before saying anything. He pops the remainder of the grasshopper in his mouth and stands up to leave. At the door, he swallows his snack and says, "Don't worry. I won't tell anyone you're keeping the cat. Your secret is safe with me."

After Greg leaves, Grissom allows his head to drop to his desk.

Bug guys don't do cats.
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