Summary: An alternate look into the fate of Grissom and Sara's first meeting…
Disclaimer: Dude, I like, totally own everything in this story. In fact, I own the entire world too!
A/N: For anyone still reading it, I swear I'm trying to finish Irreversible, but my muse as completely and totally deserted me. : (
Anyway, this idea just got stuck in my head one day and wouldn't leave until it was put to paper, so here goes! lol it's kinda slow so start off with, but I do get to the point!
The sea breeze blew softly over the quiet beach, kicking up sand and ruffling the hair and clothes of the fourteen young university students lined up near the water's edge, their eyes trained on the life-sized dummy lying half in, half out of the water. They took meticulous notes in neat binder folders, documenting the fake body's position, the water's movements, and the body's movements in the water while their professor taught them of the conditions and calculations of corpses found on beaches.
Gil Grissom shifted and pushed his hair out of his face, sweating profusely in the heat of the summer's day. He was tired from the two hour long bus ride down to this deserted patch of beach, the professor insisting that they needed an out-of-the-way, untouched location to observe their experiment. Secretly, Grissom was also a little bored, as he had already mastered the ins and outs of the calculations of the movements of the 'body'. He stood towards the back of the group, glancing around at the beach around him. It truly was deserted; not a person in sight, hardly even an animal, just a lone seagull down the far end of the beach. The small, empty beach backed onto a small, empty road, which belonged to the small, empty town of Tomales Bay, California.
Grissom was just about to turn his attention back to his professor when there was a flurry of activity on one of the sand dunes that lined the back of the beach, backing on to the road. Sand flew up and danced around in the air as a young girl sprinted over the top of the dunes, racing down the side of the hill and out across the sand. She raced across the beach and right along to the far end where the sand merged with rocks, disappearing from sight.
A few of the other students either commented quietly or laughed at the young girl's antics, and Grissom smirked and tilted his head, before turning back to his professor.
It was a full half hour later that the professor finally wrapped up their experiment and the students packed up all the equipment, and their dummy, who they had nicknamed Bobby, and began it carting it all back to the bus. Halfway across the beach, Grissom momentarily lost his footing, almost losing his grasp on Bobby's feet. As he glanced down at his hands to get a better grip, he noticed something on the sand beneath him. Something that looked a lot like blood. He glanced around at the other students and opened his mouth, ready to tell someone that they had spilled something, or dropped samples from their experiment. He then realised that he was actually at the front of the group, and no-one had spilled anything before he walked past… and also that, for all appearances, no-one looked as if they had dropped anything. He stared at the red-stained sand, glancing around and pondering its origins, when he noticed that there were actually several drops of it… in fact, there were quite a few… and they were leading away towards the side end of the beach, where the young girl had ran before-hand. The girl…
He hadn't seen the girl bleeding or looking injured at all. She was probably fine. It was probably definitely none of his business. But Grissom couldn't help but grapple with the 'what ifs' of the situation. After all, the girl had been running very fast… and she had been clutching one hand tightly to her face…
Ignoring the dissatisfied grunt of his Bobby-lifting partner, Grissom quickly passed the dummy's legs over to the man next to him and took off along the beach, following the trail of blood drops, yelling over his shoulder that he just had to look at something, that he would meet them at the bus. His professor tersely replied that they would be eating lunch at a small café/diner just down the road, and that he should meet them there when he was finished.
Grissom picked up his pace as his classmates disappeared from sight, searching among the groups of dark rocks scattered across this strange, hidden pocket of beach when he finally spotted her.
She was sitting with her back against one of the larger rocks, her thin, almost spindly legs stretched out before her, gazing absently out at the ocean. She clutched a bunch of blood-stained tissues in one small but sturdy hand, her body looking about ten or so, her face and eyes making her look much older.
"Excuse me, are you ok?"
The girl jumped at the sound of his voice, having not heard him approach. She blinked up at him, startled, then glanced around behind him and across at the main beach, as if trying to assess whether or not she was in any danger.
He tried again, stepping a bit closer to her. "I'm one of the students who you ran past on the beach a while ago… I um… I just wanted to make sure you were ok… you were bleeding…"
She narrowed her eyes at him, then seemed to decide he was relatively safe, shifting more to face him. "I'm fine, thanks. The blood was just my nose, I get nose-bleeds. I um… I live just across the road." She seemed to throw that bit in with a definite warning sub-plot… right across the road, my family will notice if I'm not home or if I'm missing/dead…
"Oh." Grissom shifted awkwardly, studying her face, where tell-tale signs of blood did indeed linger around her nose. He wanted to mention that the quickly-forming bruising across the bridge of the nose suggested that this was something more than a nose bleed, something probably involving a fist. But he kept his mouth shut. He had no idea who this girl was, or why her nose was bleeding, and while the law-enforcement-driven side of him told his that it was everyone's business, the larger, uncertain, rather sheltered college student side said that it sure as hell wasn't his place to question.
He shoved his hands into his pockets and looked uncomfortably down at her. "So… you're sure you're ok?"
She fixed her eyes onto his and gave a wry smile laced with hidden meanings.
"I'll be fine."
He nodded and his eyes lingered on her freckled cheeks. "'Kay, then… I'd um… I'd better go then… so um… take care, yeah?"
The small, fragile, resilient-looking girl smiled and nodded. "Take care yourself."
So he left her sitting there, her thin body curled in on itself against the harsh, unforgiving rock, her feet pressing into the wet sand, and he trekked back across the beach to rejoin reality.
He paused at one point, halfway across the main beach, and looked back at the girl. She had shifted during their conversation so that she was just visible from his vantage point on the beach, her hair floating about her face in the soft breeze, knees pulled to her chest, arms wrapped loosely around her legs. She was gazing out across the ocean once more, her mouth pulled into an almost-frown, but her face thoughtful.
As he watched, she turned her head and looked across at him, tucking her hair behind her ear and squinting in the sunlight. Then she smiled at him, with the sun shining on her face, and Gil Grissom all of a sudden had the strangest feeling that he was meant to know this girl. That somehow, she was extremely important.
Then she lifted her fingers and gave him a tiny wave, dark eyes laughing in the sun, before turning her face back to the empty blue abyss before her.
And Grissom turned his face back to the stuffy, dark, gravel road before him, with her face lingering, almost forgotten, in the back of his mind…
Until one day when a girl, well, a woman really, with long, sun-stained limbs and dancing brown eyes, raised her hand in the middle of a seminar and his stomach surged with an all too familiar feeling that somehow he just knew this all-important girl…