What happens when the past you wanted to forget collides with the present you're living? The woman who was Natalie Vega is about to find out. . .

Disclaimer: Characters and lyrics aren't mine. I'm just borrowing them for my own, and perhaps your, amusement. . .

Fallen: Chapter 1: Going Under

A few years from now and half a country away from Lanview. . .

Flashing lights.

Yellow tape.

Police officers and men in forensics gear swarming around, asking questions. . . looking for evidence.

Searching.

Always searching . . .

She was used to it.

Was a part of it.

Only, tonight she wasn't playing her usual role in what was in many ways a well organized drama that was played out in front of a changing set.

Tonight she did not play one of the people who were asking the questions, but a victim.

And yet she wasn't. . .

She had played the victim before.

To many times

She had been hurt before, but never like this. . .

Now I will tell you what I've done for you
50,000 tears I've cried
Screaming,
Deceiving,
And bleeding for you
And you still won't hear me
....Going Under....

Arms wrapped tightly around herself, she stood on the edge of the scene--- on the wrong side of the tape--- and watched. Her mind was working on autopilot as she catalogued the movements of her co-workers. The way one bent to mark off and pick up a bullet casing. The way another swabbed at a blood sample. How someone else picked up a gun that she would place money on was her husband's used only for target practice and worn only to keep Brass off his case service revolver. There was the flash of a camera as pictures were taken. The fight to find and preserve evidence so the quality could be brought to justice. . .

Don't want your hand this time
I'll save myself
Maybe I'll wake up for once (wake up for once)
Not tormented daily defeated by you
Just when I thought I'd reach the bottom

The hand on her shoulder caused her to jump slightly. Swallowing, she refused to look to see who it belonged to.

It wasn't hard for her to guess.

There were only a few who would approach her right now. Who would think of trying to pull her out of the hole she was falling into, and she didn't want to face any of them.

To allow them to see the guilt that was quietly eating away at all that she had made of herself--- or rather all that she had made of the woman that they thought her to be. . .

I'm...dying again
I'm going under (going under)
Drowning in you (drowning in you)
I'm falling forever (falling forever)
I've got to break through
I'm...going under

He had been watching her on and off since his arrival and throughout his subsequent argument with the dayshift supervisor over who would be handling this particular case. They had come to a tentative agreement. One that he could live with even if the other man couldn't. He knew he would be getting a call from Mobley at some point.

Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, he started towards her, because right now he had another duty to perform. Calling out orders to a few o his team, he crossed the yard and ducked under the yellow tape that marked off the area with an ease of familiarity. He then turned and moved to her side. Eyes on her profile, he put his hand on her shoulder, wanting to get her to reconnect with her surroundings.

He had expected her to pull away; she didn't.

He had expected her to say something; she remained silent.

"I can have. . ." he started softly, noting how she tensed under his hold and started to pull away. His hand falling to his side as he watched as she started determinedly crossed the scene, her feet seeming to automatically keep her out of the path of evidence and various personnel.

Bemused, he watched as she ducked under the tape and approached the dark haired man in a leather jacket.

That bemusement turned to surprise as she stopped before him and slapped him.

Blurring and stirring the truth and the lies
(So I don't know what's real)
(So I don't know what's real and what's not )
Always confusing the thoughts in my head
So I can't trust myself anymore

To say that the call hadn't surprised him would have been an understatement, the reason on the other hand had.

In the few weeks since he had started to reinvestigate the gambling ring that had first brought him into her life due to some anonymous tips had had him mentally preparing for a call from her, in fact that was why he had made sure she had known he was in town. After all, if the ring was back in business she could be an eventual target.

But this--- this he hadn't expected.

He had thought that if there were to be a victim it would be her, but then again since he hadn't spoken to the investigators on the scene, he supposed he couldn't assume anything. For all he knew, she could have been the intended target.

"YOU!" she spit at him as she came to a stop in front of him and raised her hand, slapping him hard across the face. "You just couldn't leave well enough alone, could? What destroying my life once wasn't good enough? You had to comeback and finish the job?"

I'm...dying again
I'm going under (going under)
Drowning in you (drowning in you)
I'm falling forever (falling forever)
I've got to break through,

"Well, she certainly looks happy to see him," a voice said off to his right. "Wonder what that's all about and what Brass will think of it."

He turned, his blue eyes blazing slightly, "Catherine, why am I not surprised that you were the one sent to 'help' night shift out."

The red head shrugged her shoulders and smiled coyly, "well, I am second in command of day shift and know all the players involved."

"Not to mention the preconceived notions you carry."

"Some of us work with out guts, Grissom. It helps a lot in the job."

"It's the evidence that tells us what we need to know."

"And right now, the evidence is telling me that that," she paused pointing towards the woman who was collapsing into the man's arms, "is suspicious."

"That or do you still have to be the only female field CSI with any sort of power around here?"

"I'm not the one who made her leave, Gil, and I'm sick and tired of you blaming me for it. As for her," she shrugged, "I know she earned the promotion. And you know, in a way, I kinda helped, after all, my sister's the one who watches Christina nights so that she can have the freedom to do just that. See, my problem with her is that she's always been hiding something. Looks like it's finally caught up with her, and before you stay anything, that's what the evidence tells me. Not my gut. See you back at the lab," she added huffily as she slipped under the tape and stormed off.

With nothing else to do, Dr. Gil Grissom looked back signaled to the most experienced of his two CSIs. He didn't wait to see him give orders to the next most senior CSI on the case as he crossed to the broken one sitting in the arms of a man who was not her husband in the yard in front of her house. . .

I'm, so go on and scream
Scream at me, so far away
I won't be broken again
I've got to breathe
I can't keep going under

"Nice to see you too," John McBaine said as he raised a hand to his stinging cheek and smiled wryly. "You still have quite an arm there, Champ," he said softly as he reached out a hand and wiped at a tear he knew she didn't want him to see, yet alone acknowledge, but as usual around her, he was unable to stop himself. "Its going to be ok, we'll get whoever did this. You're going to be safe."

"ME? You think I really give a damn about my safety right now? Someone's. . . someone's tried to kill my family, John, and like last time, it should have been me."

"Don't. . ."

"We switched cars. His was acting up and since he was picking up Tina. . ." she gulped, tears running down her face as she let him pull her close and to him. Burying her head in his chest, she let her feelings flow out of her as she couldn't with anyone else, because no one else knew what she knew. No one else knew who she had been. That this was her fault, just like Christian. . .

"It's not like Christian, Natalie," he said softly into her hair as he lowered them to the grass. "He's still alive, fighting for you."

"But for how long? And what about Christina? There's blood in the car. Even if Greg rushes the results, it will take. . it will take to much time than I can bear to find out if it's her. My daughter could be out there dying or already. . . I can't lose my family again, John. I need Christina and Warrick too much. I just can't do this again."

"You won't have to, Natalie," he said softly as footsteps approached. He looked up slightly to see a man with dark hair and an older man, with gray approaching. He gazed their distance as being too far to have heard his slip, unaware of the older man's talent at reading lips, before turning his attention back to his charge. "I'll fix this. I promise. I owe you that much," he whispered into her hair.

I'm...dying again
I'm going under (going under)
Drowning in you (drowning in you)
I'm falling forever (falling forever)
I've got to break through,

"Even you can't fight back death," she said softly as she pulled away and brushed her hair out of her eyes before swiping at her eyes and cheeks with her hands. "But you, you work with them and you at least bring my back my daughter. You help me get her back alive, or I swear to god, John, I'll put you in a body bag myself."

Stopping about a foot away, Nick Stokes caught the tone of his sometimes partner and frowned, "Mig, you ok?"

"What the hell do you think, Nicky?" she asked as she looked at him and then past to her boss. "Gris, if that offer of a ride is still open, I think. . . I think I can manage leaving now."

Looking at her as if she were one of his bugs momentarily he nodded, "Nick or I can take you, that is if your friend, isn't willing to."

At the tone in the older man's voice, John stood placed his hands palm up in front of him, "I'm just going to get something from my pocket," he said as he slowly pulled out his wallet with one hand, his other still out, as Natalie tried to figure out why her boss and mentor seemed to be acting strangely.

Grissom reached out and took the wallet and opened it, then turned it over to Nick. "I didn't expect the FBI to react so quickly, even for a CSI," he said evenly as Nick frowned and handed McBaine back the wallet.

"Meg helped me out on a case while she was still in college. When I saw the information come in I figured I'd help," he answered smoothly before he reached out a hand to pull 'Meg' to her feet, the look he gave her warning her not to argue. Not that she could.
Technically, he was telling the truth. . .

"I didn't know you had helped the FBI out," Grissom said simply.

Natalie swallowed, hard, knowing the tone from sitting in with her supervisor during interrogations. "Well. . . um. . . it was a long time ago. . John had dropped a file and I recognized a list of chemicals as being the ingredients of make-up. That's about it, unless, you add the fact that he later convinced me that I should give forensics a shot instead of bartending."

"Right," Grissom sighed, "Well, then, Meg, why don't you go to Nick's car. He'll drive you to the hospital while I introduce Agent McBaine to Brass and Mobley," he sighed, not relishing the task.

"I'll catch up in a minute, just want to tell Griss something," Nick said with a reassuring nod.

At a look from the men, Natalie nodded, "I'll walk you," John said as he draped an arm over her shoulder.

"What do you need, Nick?"

"I've heard of John McBaine before. Gris, he's trouble," Nick informed him with a shake of his head.

"I'll be sure to look into his record, Nick. We won't let someone who can't cut it in the loop. Not with two of ours involved," Grissom reassured.

"That's just it, Grissom. He's good. Almost two good. The thing is, he tends to get people killed, or at least that's what I heard."

"From who?"

"An old friend. Seems McBaine got his brother-in-law and sister killed when things went bad on two separate investigations. I don't really know the details. Kevin was a bit drunk when he was going on about it."

"I'll keep that in mind. No go get her to the hospital. I want to know how good or bad Warrick's condition is," he ordered. He watched the younger man start to walk away and then stopped him. "Nick, what were their names?"

"What?"

"Your friend's brother-in-law and sister. What were their names?"

"Christian and Natalie Vega, why?"

"Just something to look into. . ." Gris muttered as he signaled the man to continue.

"Gil, where's Meg?" Detective Jim Brass asked, causing the CSI to turn.

"Nick's bringing her to the hospital, why?"

"We may have caught a break. One of the kids who called this in got a look at our shooter before taking off. Gave us a description. The sketch artist just finished," he said as he handed the paper with the drawing to Grissom.

"What's that?" Catherine Willows asked as she came up behind them, Greg Sanders also joined them.

"Well, Willows, isn't this a nice surprise," Brass said, tongue in check.

"Isn't it though. What've you got?"

"Witness's description," he said as he started to take the sketch from Grissom.

"Actually have a witness with a good enough account, I'm impressed," McBaine said as he joined the group and managed to get the sketch first.

"Hey," Catherine protested. "You can't just go around. . "

"Actually, I can," McBaine said simply as he tried to make out the lines in the dark. "Damn, doesn't any one have a light?"

"Grissom?" Catherine asked through clenched teeth.

"Sure," he replied as he pulled a small penlight out of his pocket and flipped it on.

"That wasn't what I meant."

"Yeah. I know. This is Special Agent John McBaine, he'll be helping us out on this."

Brass nodded at that as he took in the agent's change in expression, "you recognize the guy?"

"Yeah, I recognize him," John answered as the sound of a car passing caught their attention. As the car past, with Natalie's head pressed tiredly against the window he couldn't help but wonder how he was going to break the news to her that he could identify their one suspect.

And not only that, but that it was the presumed dead Christian Vega. . .

I'm, going under (going under)
Going under (drowning in you)
I'm going under

Song credit: Going Under ~Evanescence