CHAPTER ONE:

old lovers and big brothers

Opposites attract. That's a universal rule, right? At least that's what Kasey figured when she found herself sort of eyeing CSI Greg Sanders.

She liked country music, going out line dancing, drinking cold beer and playing pool.. He liked latex, heavy metal and he was borderline obsessed with anything old Vegas mob related.

The only problem with this was that her older brother, Nick Stokes, also a CSI Level 3 now, worked with him.. And Nick, he was a huge baby when it came to her even considering dating a guy he knew.

Or any guy for that matter. In fact, every single guy she'd ever been attracted to, her big brother quickly tried to end things with.

The last time she'd come out to Vegas, she'd been a kid, maybe 18.. Entirely too young for Greg who was 21 at the time even though they'd sort of flirted, went out to a movie, talked on the phone for hours at a time and, the kicker, he'd sort of been the first guy she let her guard down enough to let kiss her.

Now she was 25 and her whole life was upside down.. That last visit, the happier times seemed like they'd come and gone ages ago, really. She was just getting herself out of a really bad relationship, trying desperately to get her life back together, get her heart out of the million pieces that her former boyfriend and almost fiance Deke left it in.

She smiled a little bit, already feeling a lot safer and a little happier even, as she parked her Silverado and climbed down, locking the door, looking at the police station she'd spent so much time in that summer..

She could say it was because she was considering a career in forensics all she wanted, but she knew the truth.. Even now, as she thought back on it, she knew without a doubt really...

She'd fallen for Greg back then, and she'd never actually gotten over him.

"Let's just hope Nicky's not pissed that I didn't call first." Kasey muttered as she made her way into the area of the building designated for the crime lab. The truth of it was, she was back here, with her older brother because he was her safety net, her protector.. And right now? With the mess she was in right now, she needed that more than anything else, really. The opportunity to prove to Greg that what they had then had been real, it had been completely and totally right although slightly imperfect at times, well... It was really just an added idea she'd had the entire drive to think about, to plan. And she fully intended to see it through, despite anything that stood in her way in the process..

Unless of course, the feelings she'd felt then, still felt now were one sided.. In which case, she'd step away, she'd let him be happy. But if there was even a slight chance that he MIGHT feel it too?

You bet your ass she was fighting for what she knew now she'd been stupid to let him talk her into letting go back then.

She spotted her brother and smirked as she got a running start, jumped on his back as she squealed loudly, "Nicky.."

"And that has to be my adorably insane baby sister, Kasey."

"Urmm, duh. I'm your only sister, dummy."

"Really mature, Kasey." Nick said as he stood the pint sized brunette on her own two feet and asked, "Any special reason you're here?"

Kasey shrugged a little and said "Welll.. I am 25 and you did promise that when I was old enough, you'd really show me Vegas." the lie coming quickly and hopefully, convincingly enough that Nick wouldn't ask any questions... Apparently, luck was agaisnt her, because a concerned look filled his eyes as he looked at her and then said quietly.. "Kasey..."

"Nick.. I'm serious, that's it."

"So this jerk named Deke isn't why you're here?"

Kasey grumbled and said "Mom talked to ya, huh."

"Yeah.. She told me something about him treating you like crap, she was really, really worried. I told you when he gave you that ring, I thought it was a bad idea, you were too young... What happened?" Nick asked, eyeing his sister in concern as she sighed and said "He was a good guy.. At first.. and then I said yes, and his true colors came out.. I know, Nick, I know.. G'head and say it.. I told you so."

Instead of saying what he wanted to, he hugged her and said "Just glad you got out of that and you're okay. Maybe a little time away from there will do you some good, huh?"

"God I hope so." Kasey admitted as she caught sight of Greg walking into the lab. The first thing she noticed was that he looked a lot more grim and unhappy than he had back then.

"Hey Greggo.. Look who's here. Remember little Kasey?"

Greg turned around and looked, his eyes settling on a slightly more grown up Kasey Stokes. He gave a half smile and walked over wondering what made her come to Las Vegas now...

It honestly felt strange, because he'd been thinking about the summer she came to visit while still 18, a recently graduated senior in high school, a lot recently.

Of course, he hadn't been stupid enough to tell Nick that, Nick might kill him. They might be friends now, yes, but Nick was definitely the definition of a very overprotective older brother.

And he'd sort of had a crush on her back then, which Nick sort of held over his head every now and then. Then again, Nick only halfway knew what happened that summer..

To be honest, Greg and Kasey had sort of been casually dating, being as discreet as they could.. But he'd been stupid and let himself think that the age difference was too big, and he'd let things go, because he wanted her to go back to Texas, go on to college, maybe experience life a little more.. Even though he hadn't wanted to and he'd hated doing it.

Truthfully, seeing her now, he realized that he actually hadn't gotten over the slight crush he had on her and he was really, really kicking the shit out of himself mentally because he'd let her just go back then when she wanted to stay, be with him.

And her showing up right as he'd had his heart ripped out by Ellen, right when he'd actually been thinking about her, about the summer she'd come to visit, the way they sort of covertly flirted, shyly, of course..

He wondered if it meant something.

"Wow.. You got.. taller." Greg finished as her brother gave him a glare, noticing he'd been about to say something else.

Nick smirked to himself.. He'd always sort of known that his baby sister had a crush on his best friend, and that maybe, with his best friend, the feeling was mutual, Greggo just hadn't been quick enough to realize that, until of course, he'd stupidly let her get on that plane, go back to Texas without a fight or trying to stop her..

Kasey hugged him as she said quietly, "I missed you, Greggy." so her brother couldn't hear her. That's all she needed right now, Nick stepping in, getting all overprotective big brother over her like he had the slightly annoying habit of doing.

Greg smiled a little as he hugged her back. When the hug broke, he happened to notice the fading bruise and for a moment his warm golden brown eyes clouded with a little bit of anger.

He'd heard all about the jerk named Deke when Nick came back from a visit home, was asking them all what he should do about the guy, he just had a bad feeling about him.

Greg, of course, had been a little more than jealous, but he'd been dating Ellen then, so he'd tried his best to tune it out.. Apparently, their little summer flirting back then had been a phase in her life and in his, he'd told himself then.

If she was here and not back in Texas with this loser Deke, maybe that meant she'd gotten away from the guy. Greg found himself hoping so actually.

Catherine leaned in and whispered to Sara, "And again.. The air in here is so thick you can almost see it. Just like that last time she was here.. They spent a lot of time together.. I always sort of thought they had something going on, to be honest.."

"I know right? Somebody get those two a room. And yeah, I know exactly what you mean.." Sara mused as she added, "I kind of saw him kissing her one day.. Do not tell Nick.. He'd kill Greg, you know how he gets about baby sister."

" I don't know about you, but I fully intend to meddle. Look at them." Catherine whispered as Sara nodded, smirking as she added, "He's a good guy, he really deserves this.. You know how he's always sort of perked up when her name comes up in one of Nick's conversations..."

Nick spoke up from behind them and said "If it gets him back to old greg and Kasey the fuck away from that Deke jerk, count me in. Besides.. If I had to honestly pick someone and I could, and get away with it? I'd have to pick Greg. And Sara? You're not the only one who busted 'em.. I just never told her or him I knew they were kind of seeing each other.. I was just happy he wasn't one of the jerks she usually picks to date, to be honest."

The three friends and co workers smirked to themselves as they watched Greg and Kasey having some sort of no talking conversation.

They'd done that a lot the summer she came and visited.

"So.."

"So.."

"How long are you here?" Greg asked, looking around, wondering where everybody practically ran off to, sensing something odd about them actually giving the two of them privacy, especially Nick, given the talk they'd had while she was here last time visiting.

"Dunno." Kasey answered as she managed a slight smile and said "I just.. I had to get the hell away from him.. He turned out to be a monster.."

"I heard." Greg said quietly as he tried to keep the slight jealousy he felt from surfacing. "Did he do that to you?" he asked, his hand going to the bruise, lingering there as his eyes darted around quickly, making sure Nick was nowhere in sight.

When she didn't look at him, she couldn't look at him, he growled and said quietly, "I'm gonna kill him. Does Nick know he's been hitting you?"

She shook her head and said quietly ,"Greg, it's okay.. I'm out of there, I'm safe now."

"Someone should still kick his ass, Kase." Greg said as he looked at her, concerned..

She sighed as she looked around a little and cautiously leaned her forehead against his chest. It felt like it had then, right. Just like she'd sort of known it would. Just like it'd never felt with the jerk she'd almost let herself be fooled by, Deke.

"You just hold me, damn it." she said as her voice came out muffled by his gray button down shirt.

He stifled a little bit of a laugh as he muttered "Okay, fine, damn it." and after looking a round yet again to see if nobody was looking, putting his arms around her. His lips found the top of her head as he managed a smile.

A throat clearing, however, had them both springing apart as Hodges asked, "Something going on?" and smirked at Greg.

"Damn it." Greg muttered as Kasey shook her head and said quietly, "You need to loosen up. I'm a grown ass woman, Greg. Nick's gonna have to deal with it. Because I just got the answer I needed."

"To what?"

"If I was the only one who felt it back then."

Greg stared at her a moment and then said quietly, "Okay, you got me.. But.."

"But nothing, damn it. Look, every concievable problem you came up with back then that could happen to us? Gone now.. Unless.."

He smiled a little to himself and then said quietly, "It's been a bad time lately.. Let's just see what happens, okay, Kase?"

She nodded and then said quietly, "I know exactly what you mean." as she looked up at him, confused. She knew something was on his mind, something had him hurting right now, she could sort of just tell.. But she also knew that he did feel something, the fact that he hadn't denied it now only told her this. Had he not felt something, she knew how he was, he'd have told her.

Unless he'd changed, or he was trying to be sweet as usual and let her down easily... As soon as this thought entered her mind, she sort of started to give up hope just a little bit. As much as she'd been through with Deke, the mental and physical abuse and cruelty, she was easily confused now, she didn't really trust her own instincts anymore... And maybe she'd completely misjudged this entire thing, seeing him again.. Maybe he was just behaving like he had back then because he felt obligated to.

She stepped back, gave him a small smile, slightly hurt look in her normally deep golden brown eyes as she shook her head and turned to walk away, stopping to say quietly, "I.. I'm gonna get back to Nick, get his apartment key.. Then I'm gonna go look for a job or something. Maybe I'll see you around."

He watched her go, his hand in his spiky light brown hair, completely confused. What happened to her with this Deke guy, and what the hell happened just now? He thought things had been going okay, really..

Then he growled to himself as he muttered, "Nick? If I see this Deke asshole anytime soon, you're just gonna have to get in line, big brother. Because I'm going to kill him. Something happened to do that much damage."

Normally, hearing what he'd just said, Kasey would have agreed, she wouldn't have acted confused or hurt, she'd have known what he meant when he said that just now.

Maybe she'd been acting like she had because she felt obligated to, due to what they had back then..

Like her, he'd been hurt badly too, and now he was just as easily confused, didn't trust his own judgement anymore either.

Would the two of them ever get on the same track again, or was this life's way of pointing out just how doomed they were from the start?

Either way, she was back in Las Vegas, and from the sound of it, she didn't seem to be leaving anytime soon.

"Where'd ya go, Kase?" Nick asked as he and Catherine, Sara all exchanged hidden smiles. They'd been watching from the break room, naturally, through the closed blinds.. And it didn't help that Hodges ran in to snitch on Greg almost as soon as he'd kissed the top of Kasey's head moments ago in the hallway.

"Just talking to Greg.. Hey, I'm gonna go crash actually.. You do know I'm staying at your place until I get my own.. Right?" Kasey asked hopefully as Nick looked at her, confused..

From in here, it'd looked like things were going damn good.. Why'd she look upset right now?

"Something wrong?"

"Nah, just tired I think. That's a hell of a drive, big brother."

Nick handed her his apartment key and she told him, "If you get in and I'm not there, I'm lookin for work."

"So you're gonna stay, huh?"

"Yeah.. I mean unless you don't want me here."

"Are you crazy? Yes I want you here.. Hell I wish mom and dad would come down more often. I miss you guys." Nick said as Kasey nodded and said "I missed you too."

She walked out and the door to the breakroom shut as Sara asked, "Okay, anyone notice how she looked just now?"

"Yeah.. But it looked like things were heading back in the direction they were in last time those two were together." Catherine muttered as Nick nodded and said quietly, "Damn it.. It's that damn thing he had with Ellen and the thing she had with Deke.. They're both hurting, they're both just trying to keep from hurting again."

Hodges spoke up and said solemnly, "From what I saw, and this is my personal opinion.. I know it's probably not going to matter, but.. I really think they should be together."

"Did you hear anything when you were out there, Hodges?" Nick asked as the man simply shrugged and muttered, "It all went downhill after he said something about having had a bad run lately, they'd see where things went.. Then she stepped back, made an excuse about coming in here."

"Damn it. Both of 'em are so damn stubborn."

Kasey unlocked her brother's apartment and looked around groaning at the mess. "Damn it, Nick, you never were a neat person. This is gonna drive me batshit crazy." she muttered as she started to clean, maybe take her mind off of tonight.

She didn't know what to think anymore, or do even.. Maybe she just needed to find herself first, let him deal with whatever he was going through too. To be fair, she might have came on too strong..

But he'd been doing the same things as she had back at the station.

Back in the crime lab, the team got a call out to a local quarry.. And at that local quarry, they found the body of a 24 year old girl with a bloodstained Queen of Hearts playing card on her chest, cigarette burns on her arms, the girl smelled as if she'd been soaked in alcohol also.

Something about the crime scene didn't sit well with Nick Stokes, but for now, he kept the thoughts to himself.

It was something about the drawing on the Queen of Hearts card.. he'd seen it somewhere before, he just couldn't put his finger on it, really..

A FEW NOTES FROM THE WRITER:

Okay, so I'm not even sure where the hell this story came from, or this beginning at least. I've always wondered what it'd be like to have Nick as an overprotective older brother to a sister who wound up falling for my personal favorite character on the show, Greg Sanders.

Let it be noted, I haven't actually been able to WATCH CSI for a really, really long time. So if I've completely made a mess of this, sorry, I'll try to do better if you guys even want me to continue this story.

I'm sort of making up this case as I go by the way, I might or might not base the killer on several past serial killers, I'm not sure.

In any case, here it is, if you're interested in seeing more, let me know.

Go easy on me, y'all. Haven't ever tried writing a CSI Romance/Suspense type deal and posting it before.

For those curious, this is sort of post Kiss Before Frying. It's basically me inserting a bit of well, myself in oc form, into the equation, using two of my absolute favorite characters from the series.

I've got tons for all three versions of CSI tucked away on my computer, but I'm just not too sure if I should write for the series (all of them) considering I use oc's a good deal, I don't really get to watch often enough to have a proper feel for the characters, etc and I don't wanna piss anyone off?

So yeah, that's about it. I'ma quit rambling now and go. If you want me to actually make this into a story, tell me, please?