A/N: I love Presidio Med, but I hate how that Rae makes my poor sweet Nick suffer, so I decided to create my own character to make him happy and bash Dr. Brennan. Thing is, I am studying to become a virologist, so expect to find some nice diseases. You can also expect to see a pretty rough side of Nick, but don't worry… he'll soften. Cross my heart and hope to die.

Oh, btw, in this story, Rae never got the divorce, nor did Nick build that lovely tent for her. Thing is, I had pretty much developed this story before those episodes and well, would you please overlook that? For plot's sake?

Now, yes, here's the story.

Chapter 1: First day, first impressions.

Shari Hayes looked at her reflection on the toilet's mirror and a wide grin quickly spread across her face. Her lab coat looked great on her, she had always thought so, from the very first day she had worn it for College. It did conceal a bit her curves, but they were still there, ready to catch men's attention.

Looking closer, she had to admit there was nothing remarkable in her appearance, yet she was more than satisfied with it. Her hazel eyes were slightly oval and fringed with long, thick eyelashes, but it was their brightness what made them really attractive. They contrasted with the fairness of her complexion, only disrupted by her cheeks, which had a reddish hue. Her lips were full and she was proud of them, as well as of her hands, so delicate and feminine.

The only thing she regretted was having to wear her wavy, mahogany hair tied. ' Well, duh! Of course you have to,' she chided herself. ' You're working at a hospital.' Shari admitted she was being vain, but it was her first day in a new job, at a new city and she needed all the confidence she could gather.

This new employment was a great opportunity for her and the money was good, since she would have to jobs in one. She had her office at San Francisco University Hospital and she would work at its high complexity lab, but she would also have to collaborate with Presidio Medical Group, a private healthcare organization.

She had noticed they were a pretty tight-knit community the two times she had been there for interviews and she had felt a bit of an outsider; that was why she liked the hospital better. Everyone had welcomed her warmly, her lab companions seemed really nice people to work with and she loved her office and its great view of the city. She knew that, at some point, she would have to cross over to Presidio Med, but she preferred to postpone that moment.

With a sigh, she applied a bit more lipstick and left the Hospital's personnel toilet. Outside, David Eidenberg, Presidio Medical Group's Staff Chief was waiting for her. He was a pretty nice guy and had always treated her cordially, like an equal, even though he was her most immediate boss.

" Shari, I couldn't find you anywhere!" He said as a greeting.

" Oh, well, I'm still adjusting to my new surroundings," was her soft reply.

" Have you been to Presidio already?"

" No," she answered.

" Then come with me, I'll show you around and introduce you to your co-workers," he offered, good-naturedly.

" OK..." David didn't notice her reluctance and led her outside the hospital. They crossed the street and where about to enter the Usher Medical Tower, when he stopped in front of two men.

" Matt, Nicholas," he greeted, " so good to find you here. I would like you to meet Shari Hayes, the most recent addition to our team. Shari, these are Dr. Matt Slingerland, internist and Dr. Nicholas Kokoris, surgeon, and the newest here until you arrived."

Shari hadn't expected starting to meet her colleagues so soon, 'but what the hell?' She told herself as she smiled at the two men.

" Hi, nice to meet you." She held out her hand and Matt was the first to take it; his grip was warm and his shake, firm. He wore a smile on his face and she could tell it was genuine.

" Welcome to Presidio Med," he said.

' Hell, some British accent,' she thought. The man looked quite good; tall, dark hair, lovely eyes… probably a modern Casanova. " Thank you," she replied, smiling a bit more.

Then it was Nicholas' turn and, for some reason, he didn't make her feel very comfortable. Maybe it was because he was watching her in a way that was very similar to how she studied viruses under the microscope.

He shook her hand briefly. " My pleasure."

Matt saved the impulsive woman from asking him what his problem was. " Are you from San Francisco, Miss Hayes?"

" Please, call me Shari. And no, I come from Boston."

" And how's this city treating you so far?"

" Well, I can't complain, it has been nice having a change of scenery," she said wholeheartedly.

" Are you here for the lab opening?" Was Nicholas' dry question.

" No," intervened David. " San Francisco General has hired her as Head of their Epidemics Department and she will work in collaboration with us, in case we have to deal with any sort of virus."

" Unlikely, I must say," remarked Matt.

" I don't only handle exotic viruses, Dr. Slingerland. You can count on me for the simplest influenza case. Anything that involves a little bug."

Matt smiled at her answer and David checked his watch. " Now, if you'll excuse us, we need to continue our tour..."

" Sure, we don't want to monopolize her," joked Matt. " Welcome again," he added.

" Thank you, really," she told him.

" Gentlemen." Nodding, David took Shari away from the two doctors and towards the building. But before they entered, Matt stopped them. 

" Where's your office?" He asked.

" 5th floor, in the Epidemics area. But I will the 6th floor lab most of the days."

" I'll see you then," he said with a broad smile.

" It's been a pleasure, Dr. Slingerland." She then remembered her manners and turned to where Nick was standing. " Dr. Kokoris, have a nice day."

The Greek man answered with a " You too." and David guided her inside the building.

" Pretty, huh?" Asked Matt once they were outside hearing range.

Nicholas shrugged. " Definitely not my type."

" What, you don't go for beautiful, young women?"

" No."

Now Matt was utterly bewildered. What could have gotten into his friend? He was usually nice, with great taste when it came to women, liked to meet new people... something definitely wasn't right. " Even so, you could have been a bit nicer to her."

" Why should I? I have worked all my like to get where I am and this brat, who isn't even thirty years old is Head of a department," he snapped.

' So this is what this is all about?' " C'mon, Nick, cut the girl some slack! She is alone in a new city. Doesn't it sound familiar to you?"

As the two doctors engaged in a friendly argument on each other's stubbornness, Shari was making new acquaintances at Presidio Med. She first met some of the nurses and lab technicians. Then, she was introduced to the female staff. Drs. Letty Jordan, Rae Brennan, Jackie Collete, Jules Keating and Harriet Lanning. They all were cordial and gave her a nice welcome, but Shari knew they were curious about her. And when David mentioned she was Head the Epidemics Department, she caught a few surprised expressions. That didn't bother her, she had been expecting that. It wasn't usual seeing such a young woman in such a high position, but she was confident that, in time, she would prove to be fit for the job.

***

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