So Long Ago

Disclaimer: I won't own anything affiliated with CSI in this entire story. I only own the other characters, figments from my mind.

Author's Note: This is a fic about Sara as a kid growing up. If I messed up any dates or ages or events or anything I apologize ahead of time. Anyway, please read and review. I hope you enjoy.

"So long a go, we were all different. We were young and innocent and free. As we grow, the innocence slips away and our course of action must be taken in our own hands."

For some, this time comes sooner than wanted.

August 11, 1981

The prospect of Middle School seemed to get scarier as Sara Sidle stood in front of the large building. It was the first day of 6th grade for Sara, and she could not help but feel hopelessly alone starting this mile marker in her life. But she didn't worry. She preferred to be alone anyway.

A shrill bell rang across the grounds and students began hustling toward their homerooms. Sara glanced at here schedule once more before taking off.

Sara's first class Science was the only one she really cared about. Her teacher, Mrs. Lamont, seemed good enough. Sara was pleased to learn they would be covering chemistry and biology, among others. She preferred life science, and enjoyed doing chemical experiments.

Her other classes were unfortunately less satisfactory. They seemed to suck the fun out of school completely.

Thus, the first day of Middle School had been long and boring and Sara was relieved to open the door to her house.

"I'm home!" She called. She wasn't talking to a person, her parents were both at work, but right on cue, her black and white tabby cat bounded toward the door, more doglike than anything else.

"Hey Willy," Sara bent down to stroke the cat. Sara first found Willy digging through her garbage. She gained his trust by bringing him table scraps every day. Her parents found out, but instead of sending the tabby to a shelter, they allowed her to keep him. This was years ago, when Sara enjoyed life.

Sara went up to her room, closely followed by Willy. She set her things down and lay down on her bed. School teachers usually never gave homework the first day of class, so Sara rolled on her stomach and pulled a book out from her bed shelf. She was reading Of Mice and Men, a classic by Steinbeck.

She let the comforts of reading indulge her and she soon lost track of time.

"Sara!" A voice brought Sara back into reality. She sighed in defeat and put her book away and rolled of the bed.

Sara walked into the living room to find her dad flipping through T.V. channels. He didn't use to watch T.V. He used to come home and read with Sara. He used to come home sober.

"Hi dad."

"Is your mother home?" he asked gruffly without so much as a hello.

"No, she's working until 7." Sara replied coolly. Her father scoffed.

"When the hell am I supposed to eat then?"

Sara rolled her eyes. You could cook yourself, she thought. Her father turned his attention back to the TV and Sara went back to her room. Willy stared innocently at her as she entered. Sara could not help but laugh.

"You read me better than anyone, Willy," she said to the cat, stroking him gently. Willy was her best friend.

At seven fifteen exactly, Sara heard the front door open. She bounded out of her room, ran through the hallway, and turned into the foyer.

"Hi Mom," She said happily. You could say as an understatement that Sara got along with her mother much better than her dad.

"Hey Sara, how was your first day of Middle School?" She asked tiredly.

Sara shrugged. "It was okay."

"Is your dad here?" she asked looking down the hall.

"Yah, I think he's asleep on the couch." Sara replied throwing her thumb across her shoulder.

"Okay, I'm going to fix dinner. Have you fed Willy?"

"No, I was just about to do that."

"Okay, go." Her mother shooed her toward her room. Sara walked in and carefully closed the door behind her. She slid to the floor, waiting for the blow. Willy crawled onto her lap and purred softly. Voices from the living room carried to Sara's ears.

"Where the hell have you been?" Her father's voice was loud and angry as always.

"Working. At least one of us does." Her mothers cool voice defended her place.

"Don't go there Laura. I work just as hard to support this family!"

"Then where does the money go? To your drinking?"

"It's my money-"

"You have a family. A daughter who you don't even know."

Sara sighed. She knew her name would come up. Silence followed and she heard cabinets open as her mom prepared dinner. She couldn't understand how she put up with him. The arguments, the problems, the drinking…why did she have to live like this? A single tear escaped her eye and fell lightly on Willy. He looked up and gently licked Sara's arm in comfort.