Title: California Dreamin'

Genre: Angst/Drama

Summary: Always a Californian girl, Natalia moves to Miami in hopes of starting a new life away from abusive ex-husband, Nick. Mention of Abuse scenes and angst.

Timeline: Season 4/5.

Pairing: Natalia/OC, and a little Eric/Calleigh

Author's Note: It's been a long time coming, but thank you Anitra Mason for your patience and idea for this prompt. I am sorry that this is posted later than intended, I needed time to develop a plot and then I ended up moving and just now got my internet back. .

This story veeeeery loosely follows some events and timeline of the show, though some events may not occur in order. Please forgive me for anything that sounds out of character. It's been a long time since I started a new story.

-There's a reason why she ended up in MDPD, there's a reason for it all.-

"All the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray,

I've been for a walk on a winter's day

I'd be safe and warm, if I was in LA

California Dreamin', on such a winter's day"

Chapter 1: California Dreamin'

She didn't know how much more of it she could take. Natalia felt like she was under the umbrella of abuse. She knew it was wrong, knew she'd lost a little bit of her light, but she didn't know what to do about it. Natalia sniffed and indistinctly placed a cool hand to her sensitive cheek, which was a direct result of Nick's anger towards her.

For the moment, Natalia felt relieved that Nick was out of the house. It gave her time to think about what she was going to do. Her friends had noticed she'd stopped hanging out with them. Natalia had never been like that before. She was always the life of the party. It only took a few times for Nick to knock her down a few notches…

Sighing, she wished she could use the excuse that he was drunk and that was the reason why he was out of his mind. Natalia knew she had to get out; she didn't want to be part of the statistics and didn't want to be that woman. It wasn't so easy to leave the relationship as most people thought. Natalia jumped as the front door burst opened, revealing an angry Nick. He didn't even say anything to her, just walked up to her and pushed her against the wall as he wrapped his hands around her neck…

Natalia gasped as the machine beeped, indicating that a match had come up in the database. She sighed, thankful she had the DNA lab to herself for the moment. It was cases like this that put her mind in a frenzy and like an army vet with PTSD, her mind acted on its own, drifting to grisly details of her past.

She needed to get herself together, but the question was how? The team was currently working on a case of a murdered twenty-five year old with a three-year old son and all signs and theories led to domestic abuse. Natalia's heart dropped in her stomach as the name finally showed, revealing the victim's husband.

Natalia jumped slightly as the glass door of the lab snapped open and Eric came in. "Are you okay?" Eric asked, concern evident in his voice. Natalia's jump did not go unnoticed by him.

Natalia nodded her head. "Yeah…it's this case…"

Eric nodded his head, already knowing the effect this case would have on Natalia. In his opinion, men who beat on women were cowards. He had sisters and nieces and the thought of any of them falling prey to a man was sickening to him. Eric's jaw clutched in response and he looked at the computer. "Do you have a name?"

"Um, yeah," Natalia said, shaking her head. "DNA belongs to Michael Benton," she said, turning the computer screen to face Eric. "Apparently he's already done time for domestic abuse. Six months…"

"…And he's out," Eric said, letting out a sigh. "Alright, I'll have PD bring him in."

Natalia nodded her head as she watched Eric walk out the lab. She rubbed her arms comfortingly as details of her own attack crept back in her mind. Her ex-husband was currently serving time for domestic abuse. Shaking her head, she decided that work may take her mind off of things and started to write the report on her findings.

As the evening drew to a close, they were no closer to an arrest. Their suspect, the victim's husband, stated the obviousness of his DNA on the victim. They needed to review their evidence, revisit the crime scene but as the day ended, it was a job for the evening CSIs. Natalia punched out and shifted her card to off-duty. She couldn't wait for the fresh air of the evening.

"You should stay home for the night," Nick said, stroking the soft, golden skin of Natalia's face. He pushed a few strands of her hair away from her face and tucked it behind her ears. He looked in her wide, brown eyes, "you went out last weekend. You should stay home with your husband."

Natalia smiled and bit her lip. "I know, I knowww," she dragged out. "It's Tammy's birthday and I'm her best friend…she's kinda expecting me to be there…"

Nick cocked his head to the side, his eyes going feral like an angry cat. "So spending time with Tammy is more important than spending time with your husband?" She didn't even get the chance to answer before Nick backhand smacked her in the face with enough force that sent her flying to the kitchen's floor.

The metallic taste of blood instantly filled Natalia's mouth and she sat against the kitchen's island to regain some composure. She found herself gasping in shock over the fact that Nick had hit her.

"I'm so sorry, Nat," Nick said, extending his arm to help her up. "I don't know what happened, but it will never happen again…"

Natalia took his hand and stood up. Her eyes stung with tears. She and Nick had been married for a year and half and never before had he hit her. She was aware of the statistics regarding domestic abuse and knew if it had happened once, it would happen again. She hoped it wouldn't. She and Nick had planned to settle and have a family…

The crack of thunder woke Natalia out of her sleep and she looked at her clock, noting the time at 11:50PM. It was going to be a lonely night. Her new husband, Mike was working extended hours at the police station on road assistance as a tropical storm had settled over Miami. Nights like these, she wished she was back in California where tropical storms and hurricanes weren't an issue. Rain pounded the window as the storm continued to crackle in the sky.

Natalia jumped when her phone rang. Pushing the comforter away from her, she stood to answer it. She made it on the third ring. "Hello?" Natalia answered sleepily.

"Yes, Natalia?" the woman on the other end said. Once she confirmed it was Natalia she was speaking to, she continued. "It's Heather from the BWJP," she said, naming the group Natalia belonged to. "I was sending this call as a notification that Nick is out of jail. If you'd like to come in for a meeting, feel free to stop by for support at any time."

Natalia felt her veins go cold. This could not be happening. "Okay, thank you." Hanging up the phone, Natalia let out a breath of air. Nick was in jail in California…she was Miami on an entirely different coast. There were millions of people in the world, there was absolutely no chance that Nick would even begin to think that she was in Miami.

A bolt of lightning struck near her house followed by the crack of thunder. Natalia contemplated calling her husband but decided against it. She climbed back in bed and pulled the blankets to her neck. At only 12:00am, it was going to be a very long night.