The Form Complete - carleton97

Chapter One, Knit of Identity

August in San Francisco wasn't exactly what Nick had been expecting. Even though he knew it was more L.A. than San Francisco, when he thought about California, the image in his head was of blue skies and palm trees ... sort of like Baywatch. Only without David Hasselhoff, of course.

San Francisco was nothing like Baywatch.

Nick stopped picking his way across the craggy beach and sat on a conveniently flat rock. It wasn't that Nick disliked his new home; in fact, in the week since he'd moved his life out of Dallas and into San Francisco, he found himself quickly falling in love with the city and its atmosphere. It was just that he'd had certain expectations about moving from Texas to California. And, while he was a little disappointed the ground wasn't thick with drag queens, he was mostly relieved to have his assumptions proved wrong. Even though its liberal reputation was part of what drew him here, it was a bit of a relief to realize there wasn't that much of a difference on the surface.

The only real problem was that it was too cold, dammit.

As today's walk on the beach illustrated. It was overcast, just like it had been for most of the past week, and there was a stiff breeze coming in off the Bay. Hed grabbed a windbreaker when he left his apartment and was glad that he did. It wasn't freezing, but it was sixty-eight, and that was a good thirty degrees cooler than what he was used to in Dallas.

He remembered being a kid and living for the nearly unbearable heat summer brought to Texas. He remembered running down the block to his friend Mike's house and barely being able to breathe in the thick July air. He remembered the cold shock of the hose when his sisters decided to ambush him. He remembered his dad coming home, red-faced and sweating, from a round of golf with his judge buddies.

Nick was doing his best to curtail the nostalgia and homesickness he could feel skirting around the edges of his contentment, but it was hard. He'd lived in Texas his entire life and there would always be a part of him that considered it home. Even though he loved his family and loved growing up there, Nick didn't regret his decision to leave. He knew getting out, even a little, from under the shadow of his family was something he needed to do. Even if his parents weren't Chief Justice Stokes and Public Defender Stokes, just being the youngest of seven would have made it hard for him to truly be himself in just about anywhere in Texas. So, while he didn't regret his decision at all, he was having a slight case of the 'what-ifs.'

What if he had taken the more traditional CSI job in Las Vegas instead of choosing San Francisco and the chance to help develop their comprehensive investigation unit? What if his mom hadn't kept pressuring him to settle down with 'a good Christian girl?' What if he'd just stayed in Dallas...and in the closet?

That was another thing; the whole bisexuality thing. He wasn't exactly planning on leading any Pride parades, but he wanted to finally break down the door of the damn closet he'd shoved himself into during college. He wanted to be able to take a hot guy out to dinner without having to maintain the public pretense of being 'just friends' or 'old frat buddies.' Part of the problem was, though, he wasn't exactly sure how to date guys. Somehow he thought there was more to it than handjobs in the service alley behind the science building.

He had time to figure it out though. Hed only been in San Francisco a week, after all, and tomorrow he was meeting his team and starting a new job. The wind gusted just as a wave broke against the rocky shore, sending a cool mist of salt water up in the air and over the two men holding hands a little ways down the beach.

Maybe the San Francisco weather wasn't so bad after all.


Disclaimer: CSI and its characters are the property of CBS, Alliance Atlantis, and Jerry Bruckheimer. I just play.

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