Disclaimer: We do not own CSI. It's unfortunate, but true. Anthony Zuiker, et al. owns it, apparently.

Chapter One

Florida, 1993

The sun shone down hotly, although it was only early in the day. Standing in a beach vendor's line, Sara Sidle lifted her hair from her neck, in hope that somehow, the humid air would cool her. It was cramped where she stood, crammed in between other college students on vacation.

Dropping her futile attempt at cooling down, Sara glanced down to check the leftover change she'd borrowed from Ken Fuller, who she had traveled to Florida with. It was correct, although slightly slippery from her grasp and just enough to buy each of them a small Coke. Sara looked up and moved forward quickly when she was nudged roughly from behind, to fill in the gap she had left. Counting the people in the queue in front of her, she found that she was now third in her line.

Nearly two minutes later, after standing in the little shade that the palm trees cast, it was Sara's turn to be served. "Hi, could I please have," She was interrupted by another shove from behind. Losing her balance, coins dropped when she grabbed wildly at the counter as she spun.

After regaining her balance and glaring at the guilty party, Sara turned back to the counter.

"What'll it be, miss?"

It was then that Sara realized she had dropped the coins. She cast a quick glance to the ground but with no luck, the money having rolled out of sight, under the vendor's booth and customer's feet.

The vendor was unsympathetic. "If you aren't going to order, move to the side."

"Here, let me."

The man's hand that appeared on her arm, just above her shoulder, wore no ornamentation. Quickly traveling to connect a face to it, Sara took in a white, long sleeved business shirt that was not rolled back like so many other white collar workers trying to escape the heat. This, Sara processed rapidly before continuing upwards. Bright blue eyes met her own brown ones, concern obvious in them.

He had a kind face, Sara decided. "No, it's fine, I don't really need anything." She tried to back away as grumbling could be heard from the impatient people behind her.

He held on tight. "Don't, I mean, I think you do need something. It's too hot out here." Ignoring the gathering behind them, he turned back to the vendor.

"Have you decided, yet?" Leaning on his elbows, the vendor looked thoroughly annoyed. 'Probably because he isn't making any money, us standing here." Sara thought.

"Yes, I think so. The lady will have a?" He turned back to Sara to ask silently with a raised eyebrow.

"A small Coke."

"And I'll have the same, thank you."

After they were served, they quickly escaped the mob and headed directly to the side of a building, where there was a knee-high brick flowerbed with a few straggly pansies planted haphazardly. Finding a clean spot, they sat down.

Taking this moment of silence, as they both sipped from their straws, Sara studied him. He was in his mid thirties, she guessed, although it was hard to tell. A few grey hairs, hardly distinguishable from the rest of his hair was the only give away to his age. Laugh lines creased at the corner of his eyes, but they could form early. She stuck a hand out for him to shake. "Thank you, back there. I'm Sara Sidle."

He took her hand and shook it, his grasp firm and dry, despite the heat. "I'm Gil Grissom. And don't worry about it. Anything, for a lady in distress."

Sara smiled at him widely, showing her gap-toothed smile. She didn't have anything to say to that, really, and let the conversation lapse as she took another drink. He, now 'Gil' in her mind, followed suit.

It was getting hotter, and it was refreshing to sit in what constituted as shade and drink something cold, but as her thoughts wandered, Sara remembered that Ken was waiting for her to return with drinks for them both. He was nice, Sara decided, but she didn't especially enamor him.

A slurp brought her back to the present. Gil had reached the dregs of his bottle. So well mannered and charming, Sara knew instantly that he was embarrassed by his social gaffe. For someone that had rescued her, Sara wasn't going to leave him like that.

She slurped too.

Looking up into his eyes, she laughed at his shocked expression. "Don't worry about it, it's nothing." Her laughing only increased when the elderly lady who had been sitting next to them hurriedly left, muttering something about "Ill mannered young hooligans." Gil joined in.

Slowly, their laughing subsided, as they moved onto a safer topic. "It's so hot here. I don't know how you can even wear long sleeves." Sara felt she was over dressed, in a sky blue singlet top and mid thigh length shorts.

"It's not too bad. Besides, I live in Las Vegas."

She knew it wasn't any of her business, but her curious nature got the better of her. "So what are you doing down here?"

He didn't seem to mind answering. "I'm just visiting for a seminar about forensics. I'm a CSI, a Crime Scene Investigator."

"Oh, wow. That's one job I haven't thought about. Where is the seminar?"

"It's at Wyndham Grand Bay Coco. Grove Hotel. Would you like to come? It's at two in the afternoon, tomorrow."

He asked it without thinking, she was sure. Sara knew of that hotel. It wasn't exactly college student accommodation. "Thank you for the invite, I'll see if I can come." It was an ambiguous response, but Sara wasn't certain that it was a good idea, to go. She strove for a new topic of conversation but came up with none. She looked down, to the condensation gathering outside her drink and shook a few drops loose before she took a sip.

It was Gil's turn to rescue her. "So, you're at college?"

That was an easy topic. "Yes, I'm nearly finished my Bachelor of Science."

"What are you majoring in?" He appeared to be very interested in her. It was nice of him.

She finished her Coke. "Physics." Sara's humor caught up with her. "A friend of mine is always asking me why it isn't a 'Spinster of Science', though, you know, with equality for the sexes and all."

He grinned at her, his blue eyes twinkling. "You should take that up with the schools. That's a terrible oversight."

"It is."

A seagull landed next to Sara, breaking their easy conversation. It was a big one, obviously living well now that spring had come and the tourists had arrived. It quickly reeled away with an indignant sounding squawk as a man came too close.

"Sara!" It was Ken, jogging towards her. His brown hair flopped in front of his hazel eyes but he brushed it out with a flick. "Where have you been? I have been waiting, I mean, oh." He had realized that she was talking with Grissom, obvious by how they were positioned towards each other. "Hi, I'm Ken." He thrust his hand out for Gil to shake.

Gil shook it, introducing himself and then standing. "I've got to get back, Sara. Maybe I'll see you tomorrow."

"I'll try and make it, Gil. Thanks again for the drink." They exchanged smiles, then Gil turned and walked away. Sara watched him go, even as Ken spoke to her.

As Gil departed, he heard part of Sara and Ken's conversation that the wind carried after him.

"Who was that?"

"Oh, that was someone who was nice to me, that's all, Ken."