Disclaimer: None of the characters belong to me except Alicia Telis. I am playing with them they are my muse. I promise to give them back in good order. This is a twisted GSR... but then what is romance without a little work. Alicia BTW is not a Marysue type character - I hate them.

As is my tradition NONE of this is beta'd - I know I should have it done but I am terribly impatient.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it… does it still make a sound?

Chapter 1

A crescendo of dry retching could be heard coming from the dank and redolent alleyway. There'd been a roaring downpour mere hours before and Mother Nature in her tantrum state had made the normally ghastly smell of decay and filth, almost overwhelming by tossing several inches of water into the mix. Add to that, the stench of a two day old decomp that had been snack food for rats and the like, and Nick himself had had difficulty keeping down the ding dong he'd dined on earlier in the evening.

The sound was faint and almost distant as though the person being sick was trying to disguise it in some way. In fact, it would probably have been lost in the normal din of the Las Vegas night if its occurrence hadn't been such a shock to the person standing on the other side of the cement block wall. Sara Sidle had rarely ever been sick on the job. In fact Nick could only ever remember one other time. "Hey… you alright?"

Two dark eyes peered around the wall and met with a nod from the woman who was too busy aiming what was left of her stomach contents into a random garbage can, to respond normally.

"Like hell you are." The tall dark haired CSI stripped off his gloves, shoved them inside a baggy, and dropped them into his case. "Sar, you just lost your entire dinner and half of your stomach lining." A warm hand was placed on her back. "Let me call Grissom, someone else can come out here and help me. You need to go home, Buttercup."

Earlier back at the lab, Sara Sidle had looked positively green in the harsh light of the break room. At the time, Nick Stokes had considered saying something to Cath while was she was handing out assignments, but the blonde woman had been extremely ill tempered. She'd even gone so far as to climb up Greg's ass for some seemingly unimportant comment. In light of the acting supervisor's mood, the Texan had kept his opinion to himself figuring that since the slim brunette was paired with him, he would be able to keep an eye on her.

In retrospect, his silence had been a bad idea. Sara's face had become completely ashen in the car, and had grown even more ghost-like as she emptied her belly into the stinky olive colored garbage pail; she was presently cozied up next to.

"He's off for the night, so please don't bother him with this…" Sara said in between heaves. "…and Cath…" the young CSI waved her hand as if that explained everything, and then coughed up some more phlegm.

"Yeah I know." Catherine Willows had been pissed off for the better part of a week. No one knew what the exact root cause of her short fuse was, though all of them had their suspicions. It was the same thing that had the rest of them walking around on eggshells for the last two months; Alicia Telis, the attractive, self proclaimed know it all, new girl CSI… She was Ecklie's pet, and if rumor was correct, Grissom's new girlfriend. And to say that Catherine didn't like her would have been understating the obvious. Though they had come to an uncomfortable truce after the first two weeks, clearly something had gone down recently that no one was privy to. As a result, the usually approachable Willows was on a tear that had no one wanting to be partnered with her for the previous five days. To make the situation a little easier Grissom had worked with the older woman and left the rest of them to partner up. Not a simple thing to do since no one really wanted to work with the newbie, either. Fortunately for everyone, Grissom had doled out the torture fairly evenly, almost everyone in the group had been forced to work with her– but only once in the five day period, and two days in court had seen to it that Sara had been fortunate enough to avoid having to deal with the woman at all.

"I'll be fine, can you just get me my…" Another heave wracked her body, and Nick reached in and pulled Sara's hair back from her face, "purse…" She continued once her stomach had stopped its latest assault.

"Uh…sure…" He was unwilling to leave her alone, but realistically didn't have much of a choice. "I'll be right back…" He told her and high-tailed it back to the Denali where they usually stored their personal items. True to his word he was back within a minute, Sara's oversized bag dangling from his hand.

"There's a blue package of wet wipes inside, can you grab me some?" The tall brunette instructed. You're done puking, she silently ordered her stomach; after all there really wasn't anything left to come up. But she was till reluctant to step away from the garbage can just yet, instead she stood, bare hand pressed against the rim, hoping to God her rebellious digestive system would cooperate.

"Okay… yeah…" It was odd. After being smacked in his junior year of high school by a petite redhead named Annie Melba, Nick Stokes swore he would never go through a woman's purse again even if asked. Fighting off the flinch reflex that was ingrained in him, he tugged the zipper aside, reached in and tried to find the package with his eyes closed. A moment later his hand reappeared clutching the slick plastic folder. "Here…" Yanking one of them out, he reached over and held the cool cloth to her forehead.

An almost visible sigh escaped her chest, as she inhaled the wipe's comfort for a moment and then gingerly took it from him and drew it over the rest of her face. "Thanks…"

"You should really be at home, you know…"

"I know I'm a liability right now…" Sara managed still dabbing at the corners of her mouth. "But we're almost done here. Let's finish up and go back to the lab, and then I'll head home."

"Sara, you're in no condition to finish anything up. You're gray for God's sake. And I don't mean your hair…" He added.

Chucking the wipe into the can, the slim brunette tugged on her shirt tales and then straightened her vest. "We only have ten more minutes here max." She reasoned. "I'm done at the side of the house. I was ready to throw my stuff in the truck and then give you a hand when all this happened."

Grim faced Nicky glared at her a moment wondering what the odds were that he could bodily pick her up and get her to the truck without getting punched.

A slight smile spread across the young woman's face, almost as thought she new what was going through her co-worker's mind. "I'm okay now, really…"

"No you're not, but you're too damn stubborn to listen." With that Nick haphazardly shoved the wipes back into her purse and the passed it to her.

"Oh God…" the smile immediately melted off Sara's face and a moan escaped her. The hand that had been reaching for the purse suddenly found purchase garbage can once again, and she turned immediately as a mixture of water, phlegm and something green forcibly made its' way out of her mouth. The purse quickly forgotten hit the ground with a thud its' contents bouncing in every direction.

Nick wanted to say I told you so… It almost fell off the tip of his tongue but instead he placed a warm hand on her back. "I'll take you back to the car…let's go…"

Sara waved him off. "I'm done…"


"No really…" To prove her point she tentatively stepped away from the garbage can and leaned over to pick up her stuff.

"Look, Evans is up at the front." Nick followed suit and began grabbing at a collection of odds and ends and passing them back to the young woman beside him. "He can give me a hand loading up the truck. You go sit." He held up a package of condoms and turned a lovely shade of red, before passing them to an equally crimson Sara Sidle.

"I'll grab my stuff and then go to the car."

It was a compromise and Nick knew it was the best he was going to get. "Okay. I just need to get some samples from the wall and I'm done too."

Clutching her bag Sara, turned and made her way back towards the lot and abandoned house they'd been processing.

Spotting a white bottle still laying on the ground Nick reached over and swiped it up. "Sara… you forgot these." The words were out of his mouth before he even had a chance to read the label. A moment later he was staring into two worried brown eyes. "What the hell?" He held them up to the woman whose hand was now out stretched waiting for the bottle. Immediately everything fell into place, and the look on Sara Sidle's face confirmed it.