Title: This Is How We Burn Author & Beta: Shadowfax27 Fandom: CSI: Miami Pairing: Eric/Ryan - The Hardy Boys Rating: PG-13 for language and mild sexual reference Disclaimer: I think we know by now that I don't own these gorgeous gentlemen. =( Summary: Fire. It permeates every aspect of their relationship. It’s as close to heaven (or hell) as they’re ever going to get. A/N: This is kind of an angsty ficlet. POVs shift from Eric’s to Ryan’s to both (3rd Person). For: Persikay – Thanks for the prompt: “fire”! ----- This Is How We Burn Fire. It’s the first thing they noticed about each other when they initially met… Beneath the cool hazel greens of Ryan’s eyes, Eric noticed a stubborn resolve that would not be quenched by doubts or insults or snide remarks. It is a determination to want to do a good job – an almost imperceptible need to do his best, to get things right the first time. He’s hard on himself when he makes a mistake… Eric knows that too well. He’s pointed them out to him before. Several times, in fact. And condescendingly more often than what’s called for. He knows that as hard of a time he gives Ryan, that the younger man would be even harder on himself. Self-punishment, Eric would sneer in secret. It’s a twisted form of revenge. Nothing like a few choice words said at just the opportune time to cause Ryan to doubt himself, his abilities. Nothing like reminding the young criminalist that he’s just a replacement; that he’s no Tim Speedle in his eyes; that he’d never measure up to his expectations. He’d never be good enough. And yet… There’s something in the younger man’s eyes that Eric couldn’t quite escape. Something that tells him his barbs haven’t missed their intended mark. Was it pain? Bruised ego? Wounded pride? He shrugs his head and tries to look away but finds he’s unable to do so. He keeps looking back because… Those eyes… They hold him captive against his will. And when he’s finally able to tear his gaze away, he finds those same hazel greens lurking in his deepest thoughts, swimming before his mind’s eye; haunting oracles that pierce even the darkness in his sleep. Because veiled behind the slight creasing of his eyebrows, past lips set in thin defiance, and beyond the calculatedly composed façade, Eric found something else he didn’t expect… Fire. It’s what he feels rising in his chest, that volatile feeling that burns his face to a furious red whenever he and Eric get into another argument, another fight. It could be something as important as the case they’re working on. But sometimes (and sometimes too often), it’s as stupidly simple as a misunderstanding or teasing gone too far. It doesn’t matter… Either way, they’d both get angry, fly off the fucking handle until one or both of them would apologize… and then it ends. Suddenly. Like a flame that’s been snuffed out. The oxygen that was feeding it? Gone. Vanishing like a dying man’s last gasp. Sometimes they’d cry, hold each other in a trembling heap of comfort and reassurances and near-empty promises that both know will be broken time and time again. And then they would be back to ‘normal’ once more… as normal as they’re ever going to be. Until the next time they hit the roof all over again, and the whole cycle begins. Sometimes they’d actually talk about their problems; work out the kinks in their relationship: things that drive each other up the wall, things that make the other tick. In these instances, shouting matches have become the norm, something to be expected, something their ‘discussion’ wouldn’t be complete without, especially when tensions inevitably escalate, when the validity of the other’s point of view is selfishly ignored. It becomes easier to point the finger, then, to place the blame solely on the other. But eventually, they’d come to a stalemate, a standoff, and work things out; make promises to do better next time. Most of the time, however, it’s the cool resignation and dreary acceptance that what they have is as good as it’s ever going to get. It’s what drives them to ‘just drop it’ and move on. That it’s better to sweep things under that proverbial rug anyway; turn a blind eye and willfully ignore the obvious issues in their relationship – issues that continue to drive a wedge between them. Issues they know are threatening to break them apart. “It doesn’t matter…” That’s what they keep telling themselves. Suck it up. Move on. Repeat. That’s the way this fuck-tastic cycle goes… End of story. Fire. It’s the one thing they’re not lacking when it comes to fulfilling that raw desire. It’s the dead heat during an argument that leads them to ravage each other’s bodies in wanton, merciless need. It’s the rage that catapults the other into white-hot fervor – a burning need that sets their bodies ablaze and leaves them seeing bursts of explosions behind their eyes. They’d scream each other’s names, then, phenomenally consumed in the fierce rapture of the moment, before slumping in utter exhaustion, sheets wet with the evidence of the night’s exertion. They’d wake up the next morning tangled in each other’s embrace, legs and limbs holding onto each other in quiet desperation, fearing somehow that letting go would mean giving up on what they have: on their love, on everything they’ve accomplished together – it would signal the end of their tumultuous affair. “We’ve come so far for this to end…” And as much as it hurts to think about how much pain they cause each other, the thought of letting go of the one person who’s brought so much fire into their lives hurts even worse. And that’s why they keep holding on… That’s why they won’t let go. Fire. It’s the one thing that keeps them from going past the point of indifference, even though they bring out the best of the worst in each other. It’s the one element that fuels their relationship. The one constant dynamic that rekindles their fiery love whenever the embers of their unlikely friendship and romance need to be stoked. Because in the backs of their minds and somewhere deep in their hearts, they know… They have too much fire left in them to simply give up. Too much fire in their relationship to just throw it all away. Too much fire that burns through their veins when they make tireless love. Too much fire when it comes to caring about the other. And despite the constant fights and questionings of whether or not it’s best to stay together or to break up and move on, they know that no one else could make them happier or feel more complete than being with the other. That deep down, they care about each other with a love so powerful, so intense, they’re managing to forgive and forget and keep moving on despite obvious flaws. That this is as close to heaven (or hell) as they’re ever going to get. Fire. It permeates every aspect of their relationship. It’s the one constant that still drives them to stay together, to fight for their love. But it’s also the one thing that could threaten to break them apart. ----- THE END Reviews make my penguins terribly giddy. Make them terribly giddy, why don’t you? A/N: Just a short ficlet that sort of summarizes Ryan and Eric's intense relationship. Hope you guys enjoyed it!