She had to run out of there. She had to get out; she had to go outside... But she couldn't... Her body wouldn't respond, she felt so weak... she couldn't see straight, everything was blurry... She had to make out before... before...


Chapter 1: CSI

Disclaimer: 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation' and 'CSI: Miami,' characters and all related terms and concepts are trademarked property of CBS Productions and Alliance Atlantis Communications. No copyright infringement is intended or contained within this story. I am in no way affiliated or recognized by CBS, just a fan writing for fun.

Note: Hello! Thanks for giving this fic a try. Please don't forget to read the author's notes at the bottom; they may contain useful information to the readers. -Carla.

"Mercedes Valencia, you say?"

Detective Frank Tripp nodded, arms crossed and eyes squinting against the glaring reflection of the sun's rays on the water surface, as he looked down at the girl's body as she was given a preliminary examination by their ME. "Yes. Seventeen, fresh out of prep school, heiress to a huge fashion empire and apparently quite the socialite."

Lt. Horatio Caine took off his sunglasses, seeming pensive. "I see. Daughter of Eloisa Valencia, the Puerto Rican designer," he stated gravely. Det. Tripp nodded yet again, and Horatio turned to look down. "Did she drown, Alexx?"

Medical Examiner Alexx Woods sighed as she examined the deceased's brown-haired head from one side. "I can't say until the post, but I'm almost sure she did. She was hit in the back of her head, but it was not a fatal blow. It might have caused her to black out. There's also a cut on her thigh; it's not deep, but that's where most of the blood is coming from." She shook her head sadly. "Poor dear, she's just a kid."

Det. Tripp agreed with her, looking at the blood still noticeable in the water. "She was pushed from her room." He pointed to a balcony three stories above the other side of the pool, drawing Horatio's attention to it. It was a small area, delineated by a low concrete wall and sliding glass windows from the top of the wall to the ceiling. The windows were open, and he could see movement inside; CSI trainee Natalia Boa Vista was up there, processing the scene. "Her kid brother and the nanny were here. Said they didn't hear anything but they found the body. The nanny called 911. Calleigh's taken them in for questioning."

Horatio 'hmm'-ed his assent. "How old is the boy?"

Det. Tripp shrugged. "Dunno. Five, six, maybe."

"Very well. Mr. Wolfe, what do you have for me?" he asked, raising his voice so that the man who was crouched on the other side of the pool could hear him.

CSI Ryan Wolfe was examining something he held in the palm of his hand. He didn't raise his gaze even as Horatio walked up to him, but he did reply. "Not much. No blood around the pool, only in the water, though I did find a wristwatch laying towards the right side. Very expensive. Could be hers, it might've dislodged during her fall." He finally looked up at his boss, showing him what he was holding. "And this."

Horatio knelt down beside him. "An engagement ring." He took the jewelry from Ryan's hand and examined it himself. "Engaged at seventeen..." he paused for a second, then gave the ring back to Ryan so he could bag it. "I'll go and supervise Miss Boa Vista. Mr. Wolfe, I want you to wrap this up so Eric can drain the pool. Then you'll go back to the lab and help Calleigh with the witnesses."

They both stood. "Sure you don't want me to stay?" Ryan asked. "This house is..." He looked up and let his gaze slide over the property. "...Big," he finished, and his emphasis on the word was not lost on Horatio.

"Don't worry, Mr. Wolfe. If we have to pull an all-nighter, then that's just what we'll do."

"I was afraid you'd say that," Ryan muttered to himself as Horatio went inside the house.


"She hit her head here," Natalia explained to the Head Investigator as he looked around the room. She was pointing to a metallic shelf located above the bed. "There's blood on the shelf and spatter on the wall. It also pooled on the bed and stained the pillows and stuffed toys." She showed him a couple of teddy bears from the pile that was on the bed that had been stained deep red. "She fell here after she hit the shelf."

"Presumably unconscious," Horatio added. "Signs of struggle?"

Natalia shook her head, still looking around for something she might've missed. "None. Other than the items on the shelf, everything else seems to be in its reasonable place, and in order." She turned to the balcony to continue the investigation. "I was going to start on the balcony now."

Horatio followed her outside. "The windows are open just enough for her body to go through," he noticed.

"I wonder why whoever killed her didn't just break the windows," she put out, as she opened her equipment.

Horatio knocked lightly on the glass, then noticed a small, rectangular sticker on one of the closed panels. The name of a company was written there, along with a catchy slogan, phone and fax number, in translucent, almost-transparent, lettering. "It's bullet-resistant glass. At least partially; it's not thick enough to offer much protection, but a few layers might help given that there are no bars to keep intruders out. It wouldn't have broken that easily, especially without a blunt object at hand."

"There's blood on the edge of the windowsill," Natalia let him know. She took pictures of it before taking a sample, and Horatio leaned over her head briefly to see it. Effectively, the blood was smeared on the metal of the window rail, and a little had dripped down onto the wall, barely distinguishable against the dark background.

"Good." Horatio looked around the small area once more, and walked back into the room. "Might wanna check the glass, there are probably prints on it." As Natalia set to work on it, Horatio started looking around, trying to find anything that might give him a clue as to why anyone would want to kill young Mercedes. There was, of course, the fact that her family was rich. It was a reason her to have bulletproof glass windows, alright. However, it was that precise fact that made him doubt that simple theft or even a kidnapping attempt was the reason for the murder-- the security in that mansion was incredibly tight. Nobody could get inside without an access code, and only family members and the security service provider knew those. The group of CSIs were allowed inside simply because it was a murder investigation and federal law overruled any contractual obligations of the security service provider in case of a criminal investigation. Had they not been with Law Enforcement, they would still be standing outside. In fact, that was exactly what happened to the mob of media workers and paparazzi that currently surrounded the place in search of a story.

There was no way that just anyone had come in and killed Miss Valencia. Whoever it was, he or she was invited in. It may have been for the money, but it was more than that; it was personal.

The room itself was very over the top. It was clear that this young girl had been spoiled with everything that money could buy-- a disco-ball on the ceiling, silk sheets on the bed, the biggest plasma HDTV that Horatio had ever seen outside of an electronics store-- and that she had given good use to her personal space. The walls were painted a very deep, regal purple, and the furniture had golden and silver accents. Her closet was big enough to be called an adjacent room. There was a bar on the corner opposite to the balcony... perhaps it was purely for aesthetic purposes, perhaps not. Her headboard was adorned with the name "Mercedes" in glittery (he guessed rhinestone, but of course, it not being his area of expertise, he could be wrong), cursive lettering. The ceiling was adorned with shimmering stickers that would possibly give the illusion of a starry sky at nighttime, when the lights were turned off. And occupying the whole of the farthest wall there was a big mural, shaped like big flowers, where hundreds of photos were clipped, forming a floral collage.

He looked at the mural for a long time, going over the pictures. Frank was not kidding when he said she was a socialite, not at all. Miss Valencia turned out to be quite the party girl. The vast majority of the pictures were taken in some sort of party scenario-- nightclubs, pool gatherings, the beach-- and although he'd seen pictures of other socialites of the time on television and on the internet in far more compromising positions than this girl was, there was enough alcohol and minimal clothing in the pictures to conclude that Mercedes Valencia was definitely no blushing innocent.

One picture in particular caught his attention. It was a relatively innocuous picture, compared to the rest: Mercedes was smiling brightly at the camera, her straight brown hair falling over her shoulders as she sat on the lap of a young man who hugged her from behind. Of course, she was holding a drink, and the man was clearly older than her (a good half-dozen years, perhaps, Horatio guessed), but what really stood out to him was the shiny ring that adorned her finger as she covered the man's hand with her own.

Engaged at seventeen, indeed.

He carefully detached the picture from the mural and flipped it. Written in tidy, heavily-arched and clearly feminine handwriting, was the phrase Merce & Tommy 03-23-07 donde Mariana, good times! He made a mental note regarding this Tommy person. He was most likely the fiancé, and although they looked happy in the photograph, appearances could be deceiving.

"There was a handprint on the window," Natalia announced, dragging him out of his reverie.

"Excellent," he turned to check her progress when a familiar face entered the room, that of CSI Eric Delko. "Ah, Eric. Anything in the pool."

"Nothing, H," the man replied somewhat dejectedly. He looked over at the third occupant of the room for a fleeting second, and then back at Horatio. "I've got some info from security detail, though. Like you thought, the whole house is under the system but Mrs. Valencia demanded that her and her kids' rooms not be monitored for privacy. They don't use cameras; apparently they took them down after a past instance when one tape was leaked out to the media. Private life of pampered heiress made some big bucks."

"It figures," Horatio deadpanned. "We'll have to get our culprit in some other way, then. How's the pass code activity?"

"Door's been opened only three times-- once by Mrs. Valencia, at 10:30 am, as she was leaving and I guess she let the nanny in. The second and third times, at 11:30 and 3:30, by the girl, as she was leaving and coming back."

"Was she alone?"

"No way to know."

"But we do know that nobody has disturbed the system in any way."

"That's right. Which means..."

"It means that they either knew how to disable the system... or they were invited," Natalia intervened as she closed her kit, taking Horatio's words out of his mouth. The two men regarded her for a moment, in silence.

"That's correct, Miss Boa Vista," Horatio finally said, drawing Eric's attention to him as well. Drumming his fingers lightly against the frame of his sunglasses, he looked down as he thought. "I believe we need to find out where Miss Valencia went this afternoon. Natalia, go back to the lab with Eric and Frank. I need to make some inquiries."

The two CSIs nodded and followed their boss out of the room, towards HQ in order to analyze the evidence.

Author's note: Hello again! Thank you so much for reading! This is my first CSI: Miami fanfic. Actually, it's my first CSI fanfic, period, and pretty much my first attempt at writing a murder/forensics/police kinda plot. I'm sure it's going to suck because I may understand much of the science behind it, but laws just elude me, haha. But uh, I discovered A&E was airing episodes of CSI: Miami every weekday and, well, Miami's always been my favorite of the three, and I was reminded of how cool it was and how long it had been since I'd seen an episode! I got hooked again. And when I get reacquainted with a former obsession, fanfiction is the result. Yep, that is your fate, people of the world.

Anyway, I will try my best for this to be season 5 compliant, but I haven't seen any season 5 episodes yet so there might be glaring errors here and there. If you find any, tell me and I'll correct them. I really depend on you guys because there's a very distinct possibility that I won't be able to see the last episodes of season 5 until, like, September. Sucks for me, yeah. But for that reason I'll definitely be open to you bonking my head with a hammer if I screw up somewhere along the way. I'm anal-retentive when it comes to keeping to canon.

Credit for the inspiration for this fic goes to all those of you who have posted RyanCalleigh music videos over at YouTube; you all rock! I've seen them all so many times over-- the same scenes, over and over, and I still squee every time. I don't much get the CaRWash thing (well, I know where it comes from, but I don't think it fits our two lovebirds all that much), but the shippers are awesome! Keep up the good work, especially now with those -cough- spoilers that just made it out.

In the next chapter!: It's back to the lab as we interrogate the people involved. Turns out one of those is a familiar face! Not only that, but she somehow creates some sort of tension between two of our favorite CSIs. We take a deeper look at Mercedes' unconventional life, and the case moves forward. Can't tell you how long it'll be, as it all depends on where I find a good stopping place, but it'll surely be exciting! Stay tuned and please leave your comments, this is just getting started! -Carla.