"Mixed Feelings" - CSI:Miami Fic (for "Just Murdered")

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by miamirocks, May 6, 2007.

  1. miamirocks

    miamirocks Lab Technician

    Nov 19, 2006
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    Hey all,

    This is a bit long, but I've had this in my head for awhile. It addresses the whole E/C "kiss" on the cheek - admittedly from an "H/C" shipper's POV. Don't worry, though - there will be no disrespecting Eric here...

    I posted this on the yahoo H/C group and on fanfiction.net, but just thought I'd see what you guys hangin' out at TalkCSI think. And I think I may be doing a "Part II" to this - following what happened in "Burned."

    Anyway, here's the fanfic:

    Title: "Mixed Feelings”
    Author: ducainefan
    Subject: H/C relationship, E/C friendship
    Summary: What happened after Calleigh kissed Eric (on the cheek)? (Spoilers for Season 5’s “Just Murdered” be here!)
    Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters on CSI:MIAMI, nor am I making any money off this - as a matter of fact I don't make much, so please don't sue!

    Miami-Dade Crime Lab – April 2007

    Eric Delko was stunned. Had Calleigh Duquesne — the Calleigh Duquesne he’d worked with all these years — kissed him? Granted, it had been on the cheek, Eric thought, but part of him was dazed and slightly giddy.

    “What was that all about?” asked a familiar voice. Eric tensed up immediately, turning to see Natalia Boa Vista before him.

    “Nothing,” he stammered, but deep down he hoped it was something – could be something more than just a peck on the cheek. He hadn’t felt that appreciated in quite some time, and he intended to do something about it.


    The gossip spread like wildfire. Were Delko and Calleigh a couple? Whispers between other observant CSIs indicated that word had gotten around about that friendly peck on the cheek. That incident, coupled with the way Calleigh had been hovering over Delko since his return, started rumors flying – all the way back to the office of Horatio Caine.

    “Hey, H,” Delko started, a case file in his hand. Horatio was looking out his office window, his eyes squinting. “I just wanted you to know Tripp booked that pool boy.”

    “Thank you, Eric,” Horatio replied, turning and taking the file from him.

    “Listen, H, I – I wanted to thank you, for havin’ my back. My doc just testified on my behalf, and I guess the judge thought her word was good enough to keep me off desk duty.”

    “Good to hear,” Horatio said, looking down. Eric could tell he had something to say, but for some reason was hesitant.

    “Somethin’ up, H?”

    “Eric, I know it hasn’t been long since … the shooting,” he said, looking up. “I just wanted to ask how you were doing – how you were adjusting.”

    “I’m gettin’ along OK. I have you guys to thank for that.”

    “There’s no need,” Horatio said. His hesitancy was still apparent, and Eric could tell that there was something else on his boss’s mind.

    “Listen, H, what’s goin’ on?”

    “I uh — ”

    “Hey, if it’s about those crazy rumors goin’ around about me and Calleigh … I just want you to know that it’s not affecting our professional relationship.”

    Horatio looked up, and Eric could see a hint of shock in his eyes. “Are you saying … that you and Calleigh are…”

    Eric smiled and looked down. “I don’t know, H, I don’t know… I just got this feelin’ – She’s been so great since I got back, helpin’ me out, havin’ my back. And then the other day …” Eric was blushing now, embarrassed to be talking about Calleigh like this to Horatio, but he knew H wouldn’t break their trust. “She kissed me.”

    Horatio’s eyebrows went up, and he was surprised that Eric was even sharing this with him. He supposed their closeness in Rio had brought them to a point where Eric felt comfortable enough to tell him these things – like asking advice from an older brother. But what Eric didn’t know was that they were both pining after the same woman — and, as the great dramas of the past have foretold — that never bodes well for a friendship.

    Eric was still smiling, looking down, and didn’t notice the concerned look on Horatio’s face. “I mean, it was just on the cheek – but I don’t know, it felt like there could be more, you know?”

    Relief flooded through Horatio as he ducked his head. He should’ve known. Calleigh was always so sweet, and her good intentions could often border on flirtation. Considering the low that Delko hit this week, Horatio wasn’t surprised that Calleigh would offer such a sign of affection. He chastised himself for doubting her.

    “Hey, H,” Delko said, startling Horatio out of his thoughts. “Can we keep this between us. Mano y mano?”

    “Of course,” Horatio said, feeling a slight pang of guilt. He wanted Eric to be happy, and didn’t want to mislead him. But he and Calleigh had had a long discussion, and there was no getting out of the promise he made to her. If anyone was going to break it to Eric, it would have to be her.

    “So … you think I got a shot? I mean, she’s way out of my league, I know, but she’s the best friend a guy could have, and that’s gotta count for somethin’.”

    Horatio looked at him with sad eyes. “Maybe you should ask her yourself,” he said quietly. He was torn – he wanted Eric to be happy, but not this way.

    Eric was too consumed by his own thoughts to fully register Horatio’s tone. “I – I think I will ask her, thanks H!” Eric said as he waved, walking out the door. Horatio sighed, turning to look out the window. He wondered if he had done the right thing.


    “Hey Cal, wait up,” Eric called as he ran to the front steps of the Miami-Dade crime lab. It was quitting time, and Calleigh had been heading to her Hummer to call it a day.

    “Hey Eric,” she replied, a broad smile on her face. She was happy to see him so relaxed and focused after this last case – he was almost back to his normal self – almost. “What can I do for you?”

    “I, uh, I was wondering if you had any plans for tonight…”

    “Plans? I, um…”

    “I mean, just if you wanted to hang out tonight … like old times, you know?”

    “You know, for you Eric, I think I could do that,” she replied with a smile. “I just have to rearrange some things first …”

    “Hey, I don’t wanna put you through any trouble,” Delko began.

    “It’s no problem, babe” Calleigh said sweetly.

    Delko grinned. ‘Maybe she does feel somethin’ for me,’ he thought to himself. “So, am I crashin’ some big plans you had or somethin’?”

    “Not exactly,” she said carefully. “I just – I have to make a phone call, if you’ll excuse me for sec.”

    “Uh, yea, sure,” Delko said, his curiosity piqued. Calleigh went to walk toward her car, but stopped suddenly.

    “I’ll tell you what – why don’t we meet at Café San Marco at, say, 8 p.m. – That sound good?”

    “Yea, yea, that’s perfect,” Delko replied. “I, uh, I’ll see you there.”

    Calleigh nodded, smiling and giving a wave as she started to dial on her cell phone and headed toward her Hummer. Delko just stared after her, a large grin growing on his face.


    “Hey,” Calleigh said into her cell phone as she drove down the streets of Miami to her apartment. “It’s me. Just wanted to tell you that we’re gonna have to postpone things tonight – Eric wanted to go out, and with the week – hell with the year he’s had, I think it’d be good for him. Call me when you get this, handsome.”

    She hung up the phone, her thoughts starting to wander to the case they’d just closed out. It had cropped up some pretty painful memories – memories that she was hoping to put out of her mind tonight.

    ‘Everybody has their problems,’ Calleigh whispered to herself. ‘Just look at poor Eric.’ She sighed. Things had been so difficult at the lab without him, and she was determined to make sure he got back on his feet. She was his friend, and had watched him grow from a young newbie to a damn good CSI – she wasn’t going to let him go, not without a fight. That’s why she’d agreed to go with him tonight, even though it pained her to cancel her other plans.

    ‘Things will get better,’ she tried to reassure herself. Today, she felt as if that actually might happen – seeing Eric all smiles, intent on solving the case – more focused than he’d been since he’d come back to work. He was slowly coming back to himself, and she wasn’t going to let him down.


    Eric was sitting in a booth at the Café San Marco, fiddling with a napkin, when he saw Calleigh walk in. She gave him another 1,000-megawatt smile as she sat down across from him.

    “Hey,” she said. “See anything good on the menu?”

    “Huh?” Eric said, somewhat dazed. He was slowly being blown away by her beauty, which he was allowing himself to see for the first time.

    “Babe, you OK?” she asked, noticing his bewilderment.

    “I – yea, I’m fine,” he said. “I just – you look … beautiful,” he said softly.

    “Well, aren’t you sweet,” she replied, still smiling. “So, what’s on your mind, Eric?”

    “What?” he said, looking up, somewhat surprised.

    “I mean, it’s just that we haven’t … hung out … in a long time, and I just wanted you to know … if you want to talk, I’m here.”

    “Thanks, Cal,” he said, tears starting to form in his eyes. While he did have a reputation as a “playa,” Eric was always a very sensitive man at heart. He wore his emotions on his sleeve, and was never normally afraid to say what he felt. Right now, however, the words weren’t coming.

    “Hey,” Calleigh said, gently reaching for his hand, “you know you can tell me – what’s goin’ on? Does it have something to do with that case – with your court appearance?”

    “No,” he said quickly, looking down at their hands. “I just … I wanted to thank you, again, for being there.”

    “Any time,” Calleigh replied, squeezing his hand before letting it go.

    “And,” Delko continued, swallowing and trying to summon up his courage, “I wanted to say … that I was hoping, I was hoping maybe we could …” He trailed off, laughing nervously, not sure how to put his feelings into words.

    Calleigh watched him closely, and could sense a tension building. “It’s OK, Eric, what is it?” she urged.

    “I – I was wonderin’ if you wanted to be more than … more than just friends,” he rasped, looking into her eyes.

    Calleigh was blown away. She chastised herself for not seeing this coming. Eric had the sweetest look on his face – like a lost puppy, she thought. But Calleigh knew that if she told him the truth, it would break his heart. And she remembered all too clearly what had happened the last time she told a man that she just wanted to be friends.

    “Why, I - I’m flattered,” she said, stuttering slightly.

    “And?” Eric said hopefully.

    “And,” Calleigh started carefully, “I’m very lucky to have you.”

    “Nah, it’s – it’s the other way around,” he said. “So, so does this mean you’ll think about it?”

    Calleigh looked down. She couldn’t hide anymore, couldn’t pretend. She couldn’t lie to one of her best friends.

    “Uh oh, what is it Cal? Did I – did I speak outta turn?”

    “No, no,” she said quickly. “It’s just that, there’s a lot going on in my life right now…”

    “You can always talk to me,” he tried to reassure her. “I’m here for you, too, you know.”

    “I do know that, Eric, and I appreciate it, believe me…”

    “But…”Eric said, his brows furrowed.

    Calleigh sighed. “Eric, you were there for me when John – when all that went down. I – I don’t ever want to go through that again.”

    “You won’t Cal – I promise. I’m not suicidal – I feel like a new man, like I’ve been given this second chance to make everything in my life right,” he said, grasping her hand. “You helped realize what a gift this whole thing has really been – it’s opened my eyes in a way. I – I love you, Cal…”

    “Oh, Eric,” she said, squeezing his hand. “I – I wish I could tell you …”

    “Tell me what, Cal?”

    “Tell you … that I think the world of you, that I was so scared of losing you …” her voice trailed off as she pursed her lips nervously. She was getting caught up in her emotions, but also trying to stall the inevitable.

    Eric realized she was holding something back. “Calleigh, what is it? What’s goin’ on? Please tell me.”

    “We can’t see each other, Eric,” she said flatly. She watched as Eric’s face fell and he let go of her hand. “Eric, I’m so sorry, I really am.”

    “No, no it’s OK, it was just – I was just …” He looked down, embarrassed. “Is it because we work together?”

    “Well, that’s part of it,” she started.

    “Yea,” Eric said softly. “I never really thought about us, you know, bein’ a couple – til the other day …”

    “Oh my gosh, Eric, I am sorry if I misled you —”

    “No, hey, Cal it’s not you’re fault,” he said, looking into her eyes. “I never wanted to jeopardize our friendship – I still don’t.”

    “We’re still close, Eric,” she reassured him. “I’m still here for you … I’m sorry I can’t be there for you the way you want me to be right now.”

    “Right now?” he said, a tinge of hope in his voice. “So maybe, maybe things’ll change?”

    “Eric … I guess we never know what’s going to happen to us. Right now I just want to appreciate this time we have. You know, good friends are hard to find.”

    “Yea, yea they are, Cal,” he said, a hint of a smile returning. “Thanks for being such a good one.” Calleigh smiled back.

    “Excuse me,” said the waitress who was standing by their booth. They both looked up, wondering how long she’d been there. “Are you two gonna place an order, or is this one to go?”

    “We’re stayin’,” Calleigh said, looking over at Eric.

    “Yea,” he said with a grin. “Yea, we’re stayin.”


    Calleigh sighed as she began to get ready for bed. Looking in the bathroom mirror, she started to remove her makeup, thinking about the exchange between herself and Eric. She and Eric had had a long talk about some of his struggles – and a few of her own. He was a good friend, and she was glad she had been able to let him down easy – and without letting him in on her secret.

    As she wiped away the remainder of her eyeliner, she felt two strong arms wrap around her waist from behind, and soft lips brush against her neck.

    “So, I heard that Mr. Delko and yourself had quite the time at Café San Marco tonight,” said a low voice that Calleigh was all too familiar with. She giggled as she looked in the mirror, seeing that the man’s eyes showed no signs of jealousy or concern.

    “Horatio,” she chuckled, grasping one of the hands that were wrapped around her waist. “What exactly did you hear?”

    “Well, ma’am,” he began, putting on his “interrogation” face, “Word on the street has it that the two of you had a very intimate meal, and that while you left separately, your car was headed toward his side of town …”

    “Hmmm … I suppose those are some pretty incriminating allegations, but have you looked at the evidence, lieutenant?” she asked playfully.

    “I believe the most important piece of evidence is standing right in front of me,” he whispered. “And I intend to examine it – very thoroughly.”

    She giggled at his innuendo. They had always had a way of reading each other – knowing what the other was thinking. She turned from the mirror, facing him as he continued to hold her. She looked into his eyes, and could tell there was something still nagging at him.

    “Horatio,” she began. “What do you want to know?”

    “I – I trust you Calleigh,” he started.

    “I know you do, but you’re still trying to piece something together, aren’t you?” He grinned, looking down. He could never hide from her. “I can tell by the way your eyebrows are furrowing – which is very cute by the way.”

    He gave her a smile for that, and sighed. “Well,” he started, “I was wondering how Eric took it …”

    “I didn’t tell him,” she said.

    “But how —”

    “I started to explain, but he cut me off, asking if it was because we worked together. I said that was part of it …”

    “I see,” Horatio said, drawing her closer. “So he still doesn’t know about us.”

    “No,” she said quietly. “I just – I can’t believe I didn’t see this coming, Horatio. I should’ve never misled him …”

    “Sweetheart, you didn’t do anything wrong,” Horatio reassured her. “You were trying to comfort a friend, to give him support.”

    “I know,” she sighed. “It’s just – things between you and I, they happened so suddenly, and I was afraid.”

    “Afraid that we’d made a mistake?” Horatio asked, his eyes searching hers intently.

    “No, no,” she said quietly. “I mean, at first, yes, that was a concern … but it’s just … I could see myself reflected in Eric tonight…”

    “I – I don’t understand,” Horatio started.

    “Relax handsome,” she replied, bringing her right hand up to his face. “What I mean is, I don’t know what I would’ve done if you’d said no to me all those months ago…”

    “I see,” Horatio said, taking her hand. “I never meant to put you in this position, Calleigh. I should’ve been watching over Eric more carefully myself…”

    “You’re getting that lawyer disbarred, Horatio, I think you’re doing just fine,” she replied with a smile. “The three of us are good friends, but I’ve always known that there was a special closeness between you and I. I felt it since … well, let’s not bring up bad memories…”

    “I agree,” Horatio said quietly, squeezing her hand. “But I do think we are living quite dangerously.”

    “You’re thinking about how much longer we can keep this a secret?”

    “I’m thinking,” Horatio said, “about how much longer I want to.” He leaned down, kissing her gently. She lifted both hands to his face, pulling him in. After several long moments, they pulled away, gazing at each other again.

    “Well, lieutenant, I think you’ve made your point,” she said with a smirk. She sighed, her tone turning a bit more serious. “Do you think Eric is going to resent this?”

    “I don’t know,” Horatio began.

    “But you don’t want to have to lie to him,” she continued.

    “I could never lie to him,” Horatio said. “We formed a bond over the past year … I can’t break that trust.”

    Calleigh moved a hand to brush back an errant strand of her hair, a nervous reaction that Horatio had picked up on. He stopped her hand in mid-motion, taking it in his own, and kissed it. “Horatio,” she rasped, “I know … we’ve never discussed Marisol …”

    Horatio closed his eyes at the sound of her name and swallowed. “I know,” he whispered.

    “If you’re not ready, it’s OK, it’s just that with Eric —”

    “I understand, and I don’t want you to worry about it,” he said, gently brushing the strand of hair away from her face. Calleigh looked down, and Horatio could sense her frustration. “Calleigh, I’m sorry, I —”

    “Shhh,” she said, putting a finger to his lips. “It’s alright … I’ll get you to open up to me eventually, handsome,” she added with a half-smile.

    “I have no doubt, sweetheart,” Horatio rasped, pulling her close. “I have no doubt.”

    He held her near, thinking about how lucky he was to have her in his life. He kicked himself for his own guarded nature. He regretted that it took Calleigh coming to the brink of death not once but twice to get him to realize how important she was to him – both professionally and personally. First, she had been run off the road – and he had been on the other end of what could have been their last conversation.

    ‘I think I can get you a shooter,’ she had told him cheerfully. He trusted her enough to let her process the scene alone. She was his ace, and he knew he could count on her.

    ‘Good work,’ he began, but was cut off by a loud bang. He wasn’t sure what had happened. ‘Calleigh – Calleigh are you there?” he asked tensely. Horatio never lost his cool, but he was close breaking as he sprinted to the AV department.

    ‘Mr. Cooper, I need to get the GPS coordinates for one of our vehicles – now, please,’ Horatio said urgently. As Dan Cooper entered the ID number to Calleigh’s Hummer, Horatio’s heart sunk. On the map, it was plain to see that the vehicle was not only no longer moving, but it wasn’t even on the road.

    ‘Oh man,’ Cooper said. ‘That’s sitting — ’

    ‘Right in the middle of the waters of the Everglades,’ Horatio finished, dashing off to his own vehicle. He got on his cell immediately. ‘I need dispatch, we have a possible officer down …’

    Horatio drove for what seemed like an eternity, his knuckles turning white as they grasped the steering wheel. His siren roared as he sped down the main highway, cutting through the short cut Alexx had told him Calleigh had taken. ‘She would be alright,’ he told himself. ‘She was always alright.’ But dark thoughts ran through his mind – thoughts about losing Marisol, and his brother. He had handled their deaths by pushing them down, swallowing the pain, but he didn’t know if he could take this blow – if he could deal with losing his best CSI, and, truth be told, his best friend.

    As he pulled up to the spot where the coordinates placed the Hummer, Horatio was ready to dive into the water himself and get her out. He stopped the car and jumped out, surveying the area, and seeing the tire tracks. He swallowed hard, following the tracks to the water, and was about to remove his suit jacket and dive in when he caught a glimpse of blond hair to his left. She was safe.

    He sighed and looked down, gathering himself, and then looked at her again. She was in shock, and hadn’t even noticed him. She was staring at the water.

    “Calleigh,” he said quietly. “Calleigh,” he began with more urgency, and she looked up at him. He removed his sunglasses, wanting to connect with her, to look into her eyes without any boundaries. “Calleigh?”

    Their eyes locked, and he knew that she would be alright. He crouched down, moving close to her. “Rescue’s on the way. I don’t want you to move until we check you out.”

    “The evidence, it’s um…”she started. He almost smiled. That was his Calleigh – putting the case before her own well-being.

    “Right now, sweetheart, that’s not important.” And he meant it. As dedicated as he was to his profession — which he considered more of a vocation than a job — at that moment he realized nabbing the man involved would be a hollow consolation that could never make up for the loss of Calleigh Duquesne. That’s something he had known for a long time — a point that was acutely hammered home after Tim Speedle’s death – he had caught Speed’s killer — shot and killed him during the commotion, in fact — but it wasn’t enough. It would never be enough.

    “But it’s all been compromised,” Calleigh continued. Horatio could tell she was shaken up, her right hand on her pulse, checking her heartbeat. He wanted so badly to hold her, but she still needed to be looked at.

    “Yes, everything but you, ma’am,” he said to her, standing, watching the ambulance pull up. “Over here,” he called, as he turned back to Calleigh, kneeling down again. “Don’t worry about this – it’s going to be fine,” he reassured her.

    “I – I’m sorry,” she said, looking down.

    “There’s nothing to be sorry about, this was not your fault, sweetheart,” he replied.

    “Lieutenant,” the medic called, putting down his kit and kneeling next to Calleigh. “How long was she in the water?”

    “I’m fine,” Calleigh interrupted. “I broke the window and swam out, and I’m fine.”

    “You need to be looked at,” Horatio insisted. Calleigh put her head down in resignation, sighing.

    “Alright, let’s get this over with so we can catch this SOB,” she muttered as the medic took out a miniature flashlight and began examining the pupils of her eyes.

    “I’m going to be right over there,” Horatio said, pointing to the group of police cars that had just pulled up a few feet away. “If you need anything …”

    “I’ll be fine,” she said, but her voice was still shaky.

    Horatio nodded, standing up. He gave her one final glance before putting on his sunglasses and heading for the police cars. He pulled out his cell phone. “Eric, I need you in the glades. Calleigh was run off the road. She’s fine, but we need to get this vehicle out of the water. Bring your wet suit.” He snapped the phone shut and looked up to the sky, thankful that his CSI was still in one piece.

    However, with Calleigh healthy and back at the lab, the case at hand soon took precedence over his personal feelings. He pressed on in the days and weeks that followed, trying to push back any romantic emotions he had for her – he had been doing that for so long that it was almost easy. Almost.

    And then it happened. He’d gotten the call that Calleigh had been shot at the pier, but was alright. Horatio didn’t understand until much later why Calleigh’s second brush with death had affected him even more than the first instance.

    Horatio was angry. He refused to go down to the pier – he didn’t want to see her, to ask her if she was OK. Calleigh had gone without back-up, without even telling him. He knew the case was moving quickly, but that was no reason to put safety on the back-burner, especially when they were dealing with terrorists. Again, the case consumed him, and because of the limited amount of time they had to thwart the terrorists’ efforts, he had been forced to take them out himself. And he had – one good shot to the gas tank was all it took. In the back of his mind, he had wished Calleigh – the surest shot in the state of Florida, at the very least — had been there to take the shot.

    Afterwards, he ran into Calleigh in ballistics, as she filled out her final report.

    “Knock, knock,” he said, entering the lab.

    “Hey, Horatio,” she said with a smile. “I heard you made some shot, blowing up that semi today.”

    “I heard you had some excitement of your own,” he began, his voice low.

    “Yea … I, I was just following a lead and it went south,” she said quickly, pursing her lips.

    “Thank God for Kevlar,” Horatio said flatly. He wanted Calleigh to know that he was not pleased, and he could tell it was sinking in.

    “That’s what Nat said,” Calleigh replied quietly, looking back down at her report. She looked up suddenly, a fire of her own burning in her eyes. “Listen, Horatio, I know I didn’t tell you about it, but I can hold my own, and I followed protocol to the letter…”

    “Except the part about always bringing back-up to the scene,” Horatio retorted.

    “There was no time,” she said, exasperated. “For all I know he could’ve had the bomb, or a nuclear device.”

    “And if he did, what would you have done? What could you have possibly done by yourself to stop him?”

    “I – I just wanted to catch the guy – and it would’ve been fine if Jake hadn’t tried to play hero.”

    “Apparently he wasn’t the only one,” Horatio said. “What were you trying to prove?”

    “Excuse me?” Calleigh replied sharply, slapping her pen down and stepping close to him. They were eye to eye, facing each other. “I’m not trying to prove anything. I’m just trying to do my job – but that job becomes difficult when the people I work with don’t communicate with me — when my boss decides to run off and try to save the world while I’m stuck following dead ends and bad leads.”

    “You’re crossing a line,” Horatio said tersely.

    “Am I?” she retorted, holding her ground. “I’ve been following protocol since the day I stepped into this lab – what was it, 10 years ago now? And what’s come of it? I’ve become a glorified babysitter – trying to hold down the fort while you’re off exorcizing your personal demons. So forgive me if I wanted to follow a hunch for once.”

    Horatio was speechless. He had never seen her act this way. Finding no words, he simply turned and walked out.

    That evening, he went down to the beach, a place he normally visited when he was troubled by something. Placing his hands on his hips, he looked out at the ocean, wondering how things had gone so wrong. He was distancing himself from the team – mostly because he felt Calleigh was doing a good job of training them on her own. Maybe he had put too much on her – he had left her holding the bag while he and Eric went to Rio.

    They had always had such a good relationship – he couldn’t understand where it had all gone so wrong.

    “Horatio?” he heard a familiar voice call from behind him. He looked over his shoulder to see Calleigh walking toward him. She had a sad look on her face as she approached him. “Horatio,” she said again, standing next to him. “Can we talk?”

    “Always,” Horatio said, removing his sunglasses.

    “I’m sorry for today – I was out of line…”

    “What’s going on with you Calleigh?” Horatio asked gently, placing his hands on his hips and leaning in closer. “It isn’t like you to throw protocol to the wind like that. You could’ve been killed.”

    “I know,” she said quietly. “I was just so determined to make this case – to show Jake that I can handle myself …”

    “I think he knows that already.”

    “It’s just – What’s happening to this team, Horatio? What’s happening to you?”

    Taken aback by the shift in conversation, Horatio took a step back. “I – I don’t know what you mean…”

    “I mean,” Calleigh explained, “that ever since Rio, you’ve been very withdrawn – even before that. I don’t mean to pry, but I’m worried about you…”

    “I’m fine,” Horatio said, looking out at the ocean. He knew she could tell it was a lie.

    “Damn it,” she whispered. “I can’t keep this up. I can’t keep trying to hold this team together while I wait for you to become whole again.”

    Horatio continued to stare at the ocean. He didn’t want to give in to his emotions. He was capable of handling anything the world could throw at him – he’d swallow the pain and turn it into determination. “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” he whispered, more to himself than to Calleigh.

    “Do you really believe that?” she asked, and he could feel her burning gaze. He looked down.

    “I used to,” he said softly, making one of the most honest statements he’d made in a long time.

    “Whatever’s goin’ on, Horatio, it’s eating you up inside. I’ve known you for long enough to see that you’re not getting past this.” Horatio looked up at her, finally meeting her gaze as she continued. “If we’re going to be a team, I need you on my side.”

    “You’ve got me,” he said quietly.

    “You know I don’t like to tell people how to live their lives, but, as a friend, I’m asking you to listen … I think you need help, Horatio,” she said hesitantly. “I don’t think you’ve taken enough time to process … everything.”

    Horatio shook his head, looking away, but she insisted.

    “When you went to Rio,” she said, looking down, “you trusted me with the lab. Will you trust me on this?” She reached out and took his hand.

    “I …” Horatio stared down at their fingers, which were interlocked. His pulse quickened as he thought about how fortunate he was to be holding her hand and talking to her, instead of breaking news to her father that she had been killed in the line of duty.

    Calleigh looked up at him intently, and he couldn’t help but give her small smile, squeezing her hand. She blushed, looking down, not knowing what to do next.

    “Thanks, pal,” Horatio whispered, his voice raspy. “I suppose I deserved that.”

    “You deserve a lot better, Horatio,” she said, locking eyes with him.

    “I’m…I’m glad I didn’t lose you,” he said softly. “Who could ever replace my bullet girl?”

    “You’d get by, like you always do,” she replied, touched by his words.

    “No,” Horatio said. “You’re right, I haven’t been … thinking clearly as of late.”

    “Maybe it’s because you’re trying to do this all by yourself,” Calleigh said, moving closer. “I mean … You know I’m here … for you …”

    “I do,” he rasped. He nearly flinched when she reached up to touch his face, frightened of what it might lead to. He was surprised when she began to wipe away an errant tear that he had let escape. He didn’t realize he’d been crying.

    “Let me help you … Come here,” she rasped, bringing him in for a hug. He couldn’t find the strength to pull away. “You hang in there,” she whispered into his ear, and he ducked his head, remembering the last time they’d been this close, his own words echoing back to him.

    They held each other for several more moments, their eyes closed, trying to fend off their tears. “I love you,” Calleigh whispered in a barely audible voice. Horatio’s eyes opened, and he pulled back, looking at her. “I, um…” Calleigh started, trying to recover. “I’m sorry, that wasn’t… I shouldn’t have…”

    “Calleigh,” Horatio said softly. “Look at me, sweetheart.” She looked up, nervous, shocked that she had just voiced her feelings aloud like that.

    “I’m sorry, I said too much,” she started.

    “You have nothing to be sorry for,” he interjected, taking both her hands. “I know I’ve been distant, but I’ve been thinking about things … I can’t lose you, Calleigh.”

    “How do you mean, Horatio?” She was still nervous, biting her lip.

    “I mean,” he said, leaning in closer, “the hell with protocol.” He bent his head, kissing her lips gently, his right hand caressing her face. Taken aback by his actions, Calleigh gasped, but soon moved into his embrace, returning the kiss fiercely. Finally, they both broke away, breathless.

    “Where did that come from?” she asked, grinning.

    “I don’t – I don’t know…” he said wistfully, looking down with a grin of his own. “From here, I suppose…” he said, bringing her hand to his heart.

    “Cal,” he said, “before this goes any further, I want you to know something…”

    “What?” she asked, leaning into him.

    “I love you, too,” he said in a low voice, turning serious, “and I never want to see you hurt because of it.”

    “I’m a big girl,” she reassured him. “I’ll be fine.”

    He smiled sadly at her, remembering how Marisol had told him the same thing. “I don’t want to cause you any undue pain,” he continued.

    “Shhh,” she said, cutting him off. “OK, Horatio, listen to me. Promise me you’ll keep this under wraps – we won’t tell anyone. That way you won’t need to worry about my safety, and I won’t need to worry about the higher ups thinking I slept my way to the top.”

    “I promise,” Horatio said. “Just between us…”

    Calleigh stroked his face, drawing him into a gentler kiss that soon intensified. “Love you,” Horatio rasped between breaths. They finally broke apart, hands still interlocked, and looked out over the ocean, watching the sunset.


    “Earth to Horatio,” Calleigh said, pulling him from his thoughts. She was still facing him, wrapped in his embrace, and gently smoothing her hand over his cheek. “What are you thinking?” she asked.

    “Just about us … about how much we’ve come through this year … I’m lucky to have you, Calleigh,” he said.

    “Why thank you kindly, lieutenant,” she drawled, wrapping her arms around his neck and leaning in close. Turning serious, she looked Horatio straight in the eye. “We’ll figure this out …”

    “I know,” he sighed. “I was afraid people might be catching on already.”

    “I know,” she smiled. “We do work with a bunch of investigators, don’t we?”

    “Top-notch at that,” he said, shaking his head. “I know this hasn’t been easy, us staying apart on cases … I never meant to sacrifice our professional relationship…”

    “You haven’t,” she replied, her hand stroking his face. “I mean, I’ve missed that part of it … but I knew it wouldn’t be for that long, just until we thought of a way to sort this out.”

    “And we will,” he said in a determined tone.

    “Horatio, about Eric…”

    “I told you, you don’t have to worry about it—”

    “Yes I do,” she replied softly, her fingers stroking his hair lightly. “He’s my friend, too … and this is about his friendship with me – I don’t want to mess this up either, Horatio.”

    “Understood, ma’am,” he said, pulling her close. “So, detective, any big plans for tomorrow evening?”

    “Well,” she said, looking up playfully. “There is a certain red-headed lieutenant I’d love to have a home-cooked meal with…”

    “Hmmm,” he said. “Who’s cookin’?”

    “I was thinking … Alexx?” They both laughed, then pulled each other in for another kiss.

  2. cainesugar

    cainesugar Coroner

    Jan 22, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Wow. That was beautifully written, even from the POV of a E/C shipper. From any viewpoint, it was beautifully written, displayed many angles of an emotion-filled scenario, and gave me a good picture in my head. You're a very talented writer and I'd love to see more from you! This was amazing!
  3. MacsGirlMel

    MacsGirlMel Mac's Personal Assistant

    Feb 5, 2006
    Likes Received:
    *claps* You did very well indeed...I'm an H/C shipper myself and loved reading it :)
  4. ilh214

    ilh214 Pathologist

    Feb 25, 2007
    Likes Received:
    this was great! i don't even like het and i liked it lol. but i did used to be an H/C shipper...way back when. anyway, it was really well written. :) would love to read more. great job!
  5. miamirocks

    miamirocks Lab Technician

    Nov 19, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Wow - thanks for the great feedback guys glad you enjoyed it. I initially was just going to make this a standalone, but I've been getting some great responses, so I wrote a second part, which I'll be posting shortly.

    cainesugar — Thanks for the kind words, it means a lot, especially coming from an E/C shipper :) I have to say, they do have a sweet relationship, I'm just very attached to my own ship, as you can probably understand :) I'm glad you read it, and even more happy that you enjoyed it.

    MacsGirl — I love your Stella/Mac sig. - that's cool, kinda like H/C :) Thanks for the feedback, I hope you like the next part.

    ilh214 — Your Speed sigs are really cool - I miss Speed terribly :( I like to put references to him in my fanfics, just to remind people how awesome and important he was to the lab. And now that Ryan's gone, it makes Speed's death even more poignant, I think.

    Hope you guys like Part II!
  6. miamirocks

    miamirocks Lab Technician

    Nov 19, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Hey all,

    I got some pretty good feedback on the first part (thanks!), so I just thought I’d post Part II before the next episode airs. Hope you guys enjoy it – please let know what you think! Thanks :)

    Here’s the link to Part I:

    “Mixed Feelings” – Part II: “Beautiful Letdown”

    Title: "Mixed Feelings”
    Author: ducainefan
    Rating: PG-13
    Subject: H/C relationship, E/C friendship
    Summary: What happened after Calleigh kissed Eric (on the cheek)? (Spoilers for Season 5’s “Just Murdered” and “Burned” be here!)
    Part II Summary: Some missing scenes from “Burned,” and what was really with the “look” between Eric and Calleigh at the crime scene … And yes, this fanfic was (in a small way) inspired by the Switchfoot song “The Beautiful Letdown” (for what happens to both Ryan and Eric.) Definitely take a listen if you have a chance…
    Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters on CSI:MIAMI, nor am I making any money off this - as a matter of fact I don't make much, so please don't sue!

    Part II:

    “So … you and Calleigh, huh?” Natalia Boa Vista said nonchalantly as she and Eric Delko stared at the computer screen, waiting for a suspect to pop up in their latest case, which involved a house fire that was obviously anything but unintentional.

    “What?” Eric said, half-laughing. Inside, he was thinking about how, just last week, he thought there could’ve been something, just like Nat was suggesting now. But after the talk he had with Calleigh at Café San Marco, he realized any romantic plans he had been thinking up were going to be put on hold – at least for now. She hadn’t exactly said they couldn’t see each other – just that they couldn’t see each other now.

    “I saw her kiss you,” Natalia continued, a hint of jealousy in her voice. But she soon started smiling, and Eric couldn’t help but return her grin.

    “It was just a kiss on the cheek,” he said shyly. In reality, he had hoped it would be more, but for now he would respect whatever reasons Calleigh had for not wanting to start a relationship.

    Soon a suspect came up on the screen, leading the discussion back to business. But that conversation would continue to play in the back of his mind as he met up with Calleigh later on.

    Eric was just filling Calleigh in on some of the details of the case when Calleigh decided their best course of action would be to go back to the crime scene.

    “You wanna ride together?” she asked Eric sweetly.

    “Sure,” he said with a grin on his face. ‘I sure hope she gets things figured out soon,’ he thought to himself, ‘because I am really starting to fall for her…’


    Calleigh was trying to figure out a way to best break the news to Eric. At first, she thought the drive to the crime scene might be a good time, but they both ended up discussing the particulars of the case. She had to admit, something wasn’t sitting right with her on this one, but she felt like they were bound to find something back at the house. The closest they came to any personal discussion was Eric cracking jokes about Detective Frank Tripp’s car.

    As usually happened, the case took precedence over any private conversation she had wanted to have. She had told Horatio that she needed to deal with this, but she just couldn’t find the right moment – duty always seemed to call. Until, that is, she and Eric arrived back at the crime scene later that day. She was snapping photographs by the door, and picked up a piece of glass, accidentally cutting herself.

    “Here, let me see,” Eric said softly. He held her finger gently, removing the glass. She noticed that he was holding onto her a little longer than he needed to, and that look in his eyes – it reminded her of the one he gave her at Café San Marco, right before he told her he loved her. She was conflicted – she cared for Eric, but she had to tell him the truth. Tears started to well in her eyes, realizing that she might hurt him, but knowing she really had no choice. She couldn’t let him keep feeling this way about her. It wasn’t fair to either of them.

    “Eric,” she said softly. She was about to tell him everything when he noticed something on the glass – or rather, something that wasn’t there. And back to the case they went.


    “Wow, twice in one day, that’s more than I’ve seen you in months,” Yelina said incredulously.

    Horatio ducked his head, not sure what to say. He had been concerned about how Eric might take the news of his relationship with Calleigh, but he hadn’t even thought about telling Yelina. She had come back into his life so unexpectedly during this case, and he was caught off-guard.

    “I’m sorry about that,” he said in a low voice. He didn’t know how to tell her that the main reason he stayed away was his relationship with Calleigh.

    “It’s OK,” she said. “We’ve both had a tough year.”

    That much was true, Horatio thought, but having to tell Yelina – someone he loved and once thought he could have a romantic relationship with – that he was seeing someone else … he had wanted to plan it all out, the words, the explanation. He still cared deeply for her, and for Ray, Jr., but there were other considerations now.

    “I wanted to ask you a favor,” he started, changing the subject back to the case at hand. However, he would later go on to regret ever asking for that favor…


    Calleigh hadn’t seen Horatio all day, which wasn’t really odd, as they had been trying to avoid working together to ensure that no one caught on to their relationship. But something seemed off, she thought. Something didn’t feel right.

    After she finished the final interrogation, she headed to Horatio’s office to drop off her findings. Looking out his office window, she noticed that he was talking to a woman outside. Her heart jumped into her throat as she recognized the woman to be his sister-in-law.

    Calleigh sighed, narrowing her eyes, trying to determine the tone of their conversation by their body language. She noticed Horatio turn and say something to Yelina, who then walked toward her car. Calleigh couldn’t help the jealousy that sprung up within her, but she was determined to trust Horatio on this. If they didn’t have trust, what did they have?

    Shaking her head, Calleigh walked out of Horatio’s office and toward the elevator door, just in time to hear IAB Sergeant Rick Stetler’s words to Ryan Wolfe.

    “You’re fired,” he said flatly to the young CSI.

    Calleigh stopped dead in her tracks. ‘What the hell is going on?’ she thought.

    “I need your gun and your badge,” Stetler continued.

    Calleigh’s jaw dropped as she watched Ryan hand over his weapon and shield. She saw him whisper something, which just seemed to irritate Stetler more.

    “You don’t get it,” he said mockingly. “All your cases have to be reviewed now. Criminals are gonna be walking the streets…”

    Calleigh stood there, frozen, until the elevator doors closed on Ryan. She nearly sprinted over to Stetler, anger blazing in her eyes.

    “What the hell just happened here?” she hissed.

    “Why don’t you ask Horatio,” he said, walking away. Calleigh stared back at him in disbelief, then looked at the elevator doors. She was going to get to the bottom of this.


    Horatio stared out the window, watching Ryan Wolfe leave. He wasn’t sure how to feel about the situation. Ryan had lied to him – that much was certain. But it was the why that continued to nag at him. He knew Ryan was a good CSI – but he was impulsive, and this wasn’t the first time he’d made a bad decision.

    He was surprised when Ryan turned toward the window, feeling his gaze. Horatio wanted desperately to reassure him that things would be OK, but the reality was that he was down a CSI – and a dedicated one at that. He smiled slightly, trying to show Ryan that he still cared. But Ryan didn’t seem to understand, or chose not to – he could tell by how he turned away and looked straight ahead, walking toward the cab.

    “Horatio,” Calleigh called from the hall, coming up to his side. His eyebrows went up and he turned suddenly. “I just heard Stetler fire Ryan,” she continued. “What the hell is going on?”

    Horatio sighed, looking down. “I’m not sure…”

    Calleigh looked out the window, watching Ryan get into a cab. She caught his eye briefly, just as the cab was about to pull away. His hardened look softened as he saw her, and she could see the tears in his eyes.

    “Horatio…” she insisted. “What happened?”

    “Mr. Wolfe,” he started, “has gotten himself in quite a mess.”

    “How so?” she rasped.

    “It seems he was paying off a bookie today on the clock. A bookie who happened to be a suspect in our arson case today.”

    “I should’ve …” Calleigh said, stopping herself and shaking her head. “He should’ve come to me…”

    “You don’t seem surprised,” Horatio noted. “Do you know something about all this?”

    “Back in October, Ryan had gotten involved in that whole ‘death pool’ gambling ring,” she explained. “I covered for him, but tried to explain that he needed to be careful. I guess I didn’t do a very good job.”

    “We can’t blame ourselves on this one, sweetheart, although I wish I would’ve known this sooner…”

    “I’m sorry,” she started. “It’s just that you were …” she stopped herself. “I thought I had handled it.”

    “I understand,” he said, turning toward her.

    “I don’t understand any of this, Horatio – just like that, he’s gone?”

    “I gave him a chance,” he said. “I gave him a chance to explain himself and he lied to my face, Calleigh. I couldn’t help him.”

    She shook her head. “I understood when he lied about his eye, but why wouldn’t he confide in us about this?”

    “That,” he said, putting his hands on his hips, “is a question only Mr. Wolfe can answer.”

    Calleigh turned to the side, running her hands through her hair nervously. “So,” she said quietly, looking up at him. “What do you want us to do?”

    Horatio sighed. “Our jobs,” he said, grasping her hand and squeezing it before walking away. She looked back at him – surprised that he’d even shown that small sign of affection at work. She noticed where he was headed — the locker room.


    Horatio grabbed the bag and walked over to Ryan’s locker. Stetler had sent a patrol officer to gather Ryan’s belongings, but Horatio made it clear to the patrolman that he would take care of it.

    He stared at the nameplate for a long time, remembering the last time he had to do this. But Ryan wasn’t dead, he thought. There was still hope for him, even if he wasn’t on the team anymore. Maybe this is what needed to jolt him out of whatever trouble he’d gotten into — maybe this could be the springboard he needed to get on the right track. However, everything in Horatio gut told him otherwise. ‘Would this only serve to push Ryan over the edge?’ he wondered.

    “Hey,” a familiar voice called. Horatio turned, seeing Calleigh standing next to him. “Did you want me to help you with Ryan’s things?”

    Horatio’s jaw clenched as he turned his away, shaking his head. “I can’t believe …” he started.

    “Hey,” she said, gripping his hand. “Let me help you this time around, handsome.”

    “OK,” he rasped quietly, nodding. “OK.” He placed the bag on the bench and opened the locker. Calleigh reached in to pull out one of the two pictures that were taped to the door. It was from the lab’s Christmas party this past year. They were standing in a semi-circle — Alexx, Calleigh, Eric, Ryan and Horatio — and seemed to be caught off-guard by Natalia, who, being the newbie, was the designated photographer.

    “One big, happy family,” Calleigh said, her voice filled with regret and a tinge of bitterness.

    “Calleigh?” Horatio said, concerned.

    “I’m sorry,” she replied. “I just – I feel like I let him down. We were pretty close, but after everything happened with Eric … I couldn’t keep an eye on both of them at once, you know?”

    “I guess we’re pretty bad parents, huh?” Horatio said, trying to lighten the mood a bit.

    Calleigh gave him a sad laugh, putting the picture in the bag. “Do you think he’s gonna be alright?” she said quietly.

    “I hope so,” Horatio said, reaching into the locker to grab a shirt and slacks that were resting on the bottom of the locker. “If he’s not careful, he may lose more than his job next time …”

    “Let’s just hope there won’t be a next time,” she said shakily, reaching in to take down the second picture, — a shot of Ryan with his 6-year-old niece.

    Horatio turned and glanced at the photograph. He’d never really gotten to know Ryan as well as he would’ve liked, he thought. “Who’s that with him?” he asked curiously.

    “That’s his niece, Bella,” Calleigh said. “She’s a sweet girl. Likes ‘Hello Kitty’ apparently … Real sweet girl …” she said, trailing off.

    “What have I done, Calleigh?” Horatio said sadly, sitting on the bench and putting his head in his hands. “What have I done?”

    “Horatio,” Calleigh started, sitting beside him, “there’s nothing you could’ve done about this.”

    “I gave Stetler the tape,” he said flatly.

    “What tape? What are you talking about?”

    Horatio sighed, folding his hands and bringing them to his lap. He leaned forward. “I had Yelina shadow our suspect, and that’s how I found out about Ryan – through video that Yelina had taken…”

    Calleigh sat quietly, looking at him, urging him to continue.

    “I sat down with Ryan … explained the situation … tried to give him a way out … but once he lied to me, I had to turn it over to IAB … I didn’t know what Ryan was involved in, but I couldn’t let the lab suffer because of it. If it ever got out that this was covered up …”

    “It’s a hard spot to be in,” she said carefully. Horatio could tell that Calleigh wasn’t thrilled with his decision to give the tape to Stetler — of all people — but he also knew that she understood his reasons — at least he hoped she did. “It’s not your fault,” Calleigh continued, placing a hand on his shoulder.

    “I wish it felt that way,” he said, shaking his head and looking down at his hands. Calleigh’s hand came up to his face as she lifted his head. He turned toward her, meeting her gaze. “Calleigh,” he rasped.

    Calleigh leaned into him, kissing him gently on the lips.

    “Hey, guys, I heard Wolfe —”

    They both recognized the voice and pulled apart immediately, glancing toward the door. Eric stopped in his tracks as they both wondered if he had seen.

    “Calleigh? H?”

    “Eric…” Calleigh said carefully.

    “Am I … what’s goin’ on?” Eric said, a hint of confusion in his voice.

    “We’re um … we were just cleaning out Ryan’s locker,” Calleigh explained.

    Eric looked at Horatio, who was staring at the floor. “So it’s true - Wolfe’s out,” he said matter-of-factly.

    “Yea,” Horatio said sadly.

    “How’d it go down H?” Eric asked, his voice somewhat tense. Horatio wasn’t sure if it was because of Ryan getting fired, or because Eric had just seen his boss — his brother-in-law — kissing Calleigh.

    “It’s a long story,” Calleigh said, getting up and walking over to Eric. “I’ll fill you in.” She turned back to Horatio. “You gonna be OK?” she asked.

    “Yea,” he said. “I’ll take care of this.”

    “OK,” she said hesitantly. “I’ll see you la — I’ll see you,” she replied. “C’mon Eric,” she said, putting her hand on his shoulder.

    Horatio watched them walk out, wondering if the day could get any more complicated.


    “So, Ryan’s got some secrets of his own,” Eric said, his arms folded. He and Calleigh were seated in the break room. “And, if I had to guess, I’d say he’s not the only one…”

    “What do you mean?” Calleigh replied guardedly.

    “I saw you with H, Cal — I don’t know what was goin’ on, but it was pretty clear to me that you were sharing a very … intimate … moment.”

    “Eric,” Calleigh started. “I – I don’t know what to say…”

    “So it’s true? You two got somethin’ goin’ on?” Calleigh looked nervously, pursing her lips, trying to figure out what she should say. “Hey, it’s cool,” Eric said in a tone which made it clear that it was anything but that.

    “I’m sorry,” she replied. “I know this is awkward …”

    “No,” he replied, “No, the conversation at Café San Marco — that was awkward. This … this is just … unbelievable…”

    “Eric, I never meant to hurt —”

    “How long?” he said sharply.

    “Eric, don’t …”

    “How long?” he insisted, his tone still terse.

    “Eric, I’m going to tell you this, as a friend, but I want you to know – my personal business is my personal business.”

    “You bet this is personal,” he hissed.

    “He loved your sister, Eric…”

    “They should’ve never gotten married …” he said sadly. “I don’t know why Mari thought … I could feel it was all wrong.”

    “Eric, if you can remember that, then you can remember how happy your sister was with Horatio,” she said, her voice strained. “I remember – I remember because I kept asking myself why, why would Horatio open himself up to a complete stranger? Why would he give his life to someone he hardly knew?”

    “So, did he tell you?” Eric asked.

    “I never asked,” she said quietly. “Ultimately, it wasn’t my place to question their relationship — and it wasn’t yours either, Eric.”

    “She my sist—”

    “Yes, she was your sister, Eric, but she deserved a right to choose her own path, just like anyone.”

    Eric sighed, tears forming. “It’s just … I miss her …”

    “I know,” Calleigh said. “And I’m sorry.”

    Quickly wiping away a tear that had escaped, Eric gave Calleigh a bitter chuckle. “So, uh, how long before you entered the picture?” he asked, and she could tell he was still angry.

    “Around December,” she said matter-of-factly.

    “Wow, a whole seven months, that’s class…”

    “Eric —”

    “I was talkin’ about H,” he said angrily.

    “I don’t care who you were talking about,” she said, anger rising in her own voice. “I try the best I can to let people live their lives. I respected Horatio’s decision last year, even if I didn’t particularly agree with it. You should try and do the same.” She turned to walk away.

    “Yea,” he rasped, and Calleigh turned to face him. “Yea, I’ll try. Just tell me one thing.”

    “What?” she responded, stealing back tears.

    “Why him and not me?”

    She sighed, moving toward him, taking his hand. “Eric, you’re sweet … You’re always trying to do the right thing. You’re a lot like Horatio in that way,” she said softly. “I just – I know you, Eric. I know you’re not … a one girl kinda guy, and I’ve already been to that party more than once. I need some stability, and I would never want to hold you back …”

    Eric was speechless. He didn’t actually expect answer.

    “Besides,” she added, giving him a smile, “I’m kinda old for you, you know.”

    He chuckled at that comment, looking down. “Not by that much,” he said playfully.

    “See what I mean? You’re always so sweet, and you’re gonna make some woman a very lucky lady,” she replied, squeezing his hand.

    “Cal,” he started, becoming serious. “You should know that … since … since the shooting, I’ve gotten a whole new outlook on life. I’m not the same guy anymore. I want a commitment – I wanna try … I would never dream of asking you to start a relationship with me if I didn’t.”

    “Eric … I can’t change things, I can just tell you that I care about you, and I want you to be happy,” she said. “But we’ve got much bigger concerns now. Ryan’s out, and while I know you two never got along very well, this is still going to have major repercussions for us.”

    “No, I – I know that,” he said, a determined look on his face. “I know we gotta step it up, but we can do it — we’ve done it before.”

    “Now that’s the Eric Delko I know,” she said, smiling.

    “Calleigh, I – I’m sorry, I was just kinda caught of guard here.”

    “I know – I just hope you can understand. Horatio was very worried about you, I can tell you that. He was so afraid that this … that our relationship … would jeopardize your friendship.”

    “I just wish he would’ve told me,” Eric said, exasperated. “I may not like it, but at least I could respect that a little more than findin’ out like this.”

    “That’s partially my fault,” Calleigh replied. “I told Horatio I’d tell you. It was just never the right moment …”

    “Look, we’re cool, and I mean that,” Eric said.

    “You should talk to Horatio,” she said. “Air things out …”

    “I don’t know,” Eric began. “I guess I’m just afraid I might lose it … say something I’m gonna regret … like I almost did with you.”

    “Then give it some time, but don’t wait too long. You know how he gets when something’s eating at him, and combined with what happened to Ryan … I just think he could use as many friends as he can get right now.”

    “Yea,” Eric said quietly. “He’s always had my back … I just don’t understand why this was such a big secret.”

    “Do you remember what I told you at Café San Marco?” Calleigh asked.

    Eric looked down, thinking about the conversation they’d had not that long ago. He started to put it together. “You mean, this might not be looked upon so well by the higher-ups,” Eric said. “Yea, I could see that, especially with the beef Horatio’s been having with that guy O’Shea.”

    “Then you can understand why we want to keep this as far under the radar as possible,” Calleigh said, looking at him intently.

    “Don’t worry Cal, I would never say anything,” Eric replied. “I promise.”

    “I know you won’t,” she said, “and I’m grateful for that. Truly, I am.”

    “Well,” Eric said mildly, “Just don’t let Stetler catch you guys in a lip-lock in the lockers, alright?”

    Calleigh blushed, looking down. “I’m gonna try and do some rumor control with this whole situation with Ryan, ” she said, her face forming a frown.

    “Do you think he’s gone for good?” Eric asked, and Calleigh was slightly surprised to hear the sadness in his voice. She could see he was concerned about the young CSI — or former CSI, now.

    “I don’t know,” she said. “Getting fired … that’s pretty hard to come back from.”

    “I almost got fired once,” Eric said, looking away. “I was right on the edge — but H, he pulled me back. He would’ve done that for Ryan in a heartbeat if the fool had just told him the truth. Stupid kid…”

    Eric looked away, but she could see the pain in his eyes. He really was different, more mature than he had been before the shooting. It touched her to see his concern for Ryan – she always knew they were like brothers — fighting like dogs one minute, but fiercely loyal and protective of each other in the next.

    “C’mon,” Calleigh said, gesturing toward the door. “Let’s go help Horatio.”

    He nodded, and they headed out of the break room together.
  7. MacsGirlMel

    MacsGirlMel Mac's Personal Assistant

    Feb 5, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Interesting...I hope Ryan gets his job back. More soon!
  8. ilh214

    ilh214 Pathologist

    Feb 25, 2007
    Likes Received:
    that was really great. i like your version of what happened so much better.

    more...soon? please? i'll give you a lollipop. :D
  9. beautifuldisaster

    beautifuldisaster Lab Technician

    Jul 26, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Re: "Mixed Feelings" - CSI:Miami Fic (for "Just Murdered")


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