Disclaimer: This is not my first fan fiction written, but my first ever CSI story. So I'm aware that it might be awkward or badly written or out of character. It's a learning process, I suppose. I would also call this somewhat of a work in progress, as I might add or change a lot as I get more confident writing CSI fics. I'd rate this harmless to all ages, definitely to anyone able to access this site. It's based on the season 1 episode Who Are You. I Have Changed, by TruSidle There’s a lot in my life that’s good, that’s fun, that’s exciting. Showing up for work each day, leaving my car at dusk and knowing I won’t see it again until dawn thrills me. What I do is good. What I do is help. I don’t pull people out of burning buildings, and I wouldn’t really describe myself as brave. But I help, in my own way, by following the evidence. By following the triad, like Grissom always reminds us. I do it, and I do it well, with appreciation and respect for each separate case. When someone’s life is cut short it’s my job to find out why they weren’t allowed to experience another birthday. It’s up to me and my co-workers. My friends. We all have our weaknesses and we all have our strengths, but together we get the job done. “The evidence doesn’t lie, but people do.” The words have been imprinted into my mind with a permanent marker, and they ring through my ears as soon as a case doesn’t add up. I know the job and I know it well. I have my flaws and I make mistakes, stupid mistakes even, but I’m only human. In spite of what you should know, of what you have to know, people often think they’re invincible. Untouchable. They’ve never been in a dangerous situation, and so that simply cannot happen to them. I’m ashamed to admit that part of me also lived in that illusion. I never did anything reckless, and I never strayed from the path of logic, but from time to time I had a too confident spring in my step when crouching under the yellow tape. Not a worry in my pretty little head that maybe something was afoot. Maybe the burglar would return. Maybe the murderer would pay the site a second visit. Maybe, maybe, maybe. If Grissom had known about my nonchalance he would have scolded me, and lectured me. He would have been right to. I don’t think that anymore. I know I’m not invincible. I know I can be hurt. I know what fear really feels like. Sometimes I’ll listen to Greg going on about a horror movie he has just seen, explaining the gore and the fear you’re supposed to feel with excitement in his voice and with his hands moving rapidly for emphasis. Before it amused me, because although I had been afraid I had never been afraid. I had seen death up close and I’d witnessed the horrific things some people so easily do to others, and yet I hadn’t been afraid. It’s different now. I know how mortal I am, and I know what it feels like when your heart is screaming in your chest. When your mind is trying to wrap itself around the fact that you might just not survive this. When your blood is boiling and tears are burning and you want nothing more than a second chance. A do-over. We don’t get do-overs in life, that’s not part of the deal. I know that now. Sweat still prickles my skin, when I think of the moment where it all changed. Where I changed. Someone who hasn’t been in the same situation can’t understand the guttural fear that grips you when you’re staring into the barrel of a gun. The jolt your heart makes when you think “this is it”, and when your lips form the word “please”. Unless you’ve been there you can’t know. But I can. I will never walk into a crime scene with even a hint of arrogance in my blood ever again. I have learned. I have changed.