Title: Found

Chapter 1

Spoilers: "Lost Son"

Disclaimer: Not mine. If they were, "Lost Son" wouldn't have happened.

Author's Notes: I was in a weird mood when this story came to me. You're going to need to suspend disbelief and have a sense of humor. I wrote this, in part, as a response to fandom's refusal to accept the death of a beloved character. It's one of the things I love about fandom. Shared denial. : D Anyway, that's the fancy literary reason I wrote this. I also wrote it because I thought it would be more fun than mourning our "lost son."

Warnings: Repeatedly beats you over the head with references to a certain character's death. Also, slash. And lots of sad CSIs.

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Standing in the corner of the locker room, I fold my arms across my chest. It's been a weird couple of days. To be honest, it all seems like a dream. And yet, I know it's not.

I guess I always knew death was a possibility, but I dismissed it as something that happened to other cops, other teams. Even when death hit close to home—Megan's husband, H's brother—it always seemed distant.

Shaking my head, I let out a breath. Maybe it really didn't happen the way I remember it. Maybe this is some surreal dream, and when I wake up, I can have that talk I've been meaning to have with the man I . . . the man I love. Wow. I'm still getting used to the sound of that. To be totally honest, I fought my feelings for a long time. They scared me, I guess. I'd finally managed to choke my courage up enough to spill my guts when it happened.

"Damn it," I snap, hurtling my fist toward my locker.

Instead of doubling over in pain, I just stare silently at my arm, or what I can see of it anyway. You'd think I'd feel horrified by the fact that my arm from the elbow down is currently submerged in my locker. Oddly enough though, I'm more curious than anything. Must be the scientist in me.

I guess this is the evidence I needed. Now I'm sure what happened to me. I died. I'm dead. I've bit the big one. Yet here I am.

So I'm a ghost.

Okay. I can work with that.

Straightening my body, I try to open my locker, but every time, my hand goes right through. Damn. How did Patrick Swayze do it in Ghost? I seem to remember him talking to that crazy ghost in the subway . . .

Hmm . . . I glance around. So I wonder if I'm alone. Maybe I'll bump into Sean Donner or Raymond Caine. Or maybe I could wander down to the morgue. If I want to find a dead person, that would be good place to start.

Unless I can't leave. Maybe I'm stuck haunting the locker room. That would suck.

"All right, Frank," says a familiar voice, "I'll see you."

Eric.

Eric Delko. The man I love.

Why, why, why didn't I tell him?

Letting out a breath, Eric drops onto the bench in front of our lockers. He sits, unmoving, for a while, and then he stands up and starts to take off his shirt.

Okay, well, that could be an advantage to haunting the locker room. Maybe he'll take a shower. It's not like I've never seen Eric without his shirt before, but before, I couldn't stand here and blatantly stare.

Eric definitely has a nice chest. It's strong and well-developed, but not so overly muscular that he looks burly. I don't know how many nights during my life I laid awake thinking about Eric's chest. And his arms. And his . . .

Feeling emboldened, I walk over to Eric and say, "So, Delko, why don't I come over to your place tonight? We can hit the sheets. You won't even have to buy me dinner."

Eric tosses his shirt beside him on the bench, and then leans forward, resting his head against cold metal. After a few seconds, he lifts his head, and to my surprise, reaches over and opens my locker. It's empty inside, but Eric stares into it, as if he's looking for something.

Suddenly, he slams it shut. "Dammit," he says, "Why didn't I tell you?"

"Tell me what?" I ask.

He shakes his head. "What's the worst you could have said?"

"I don't know," I say, even though I know he can't hear me, "What did you want to tell me?"

Just then, Calleigh ambles in. "Hey, stranger," she drawls, "You finally going home?"

"Yeah," Eric says, "I'm headed that way."

"Well," she says, "Do you want to grab a bite?"

"No, Cal. Not tonight."

Calleigh reaches out and places a hand on each of Eric's arms. "Come on, Eric. You've been living like a hermit since Tim died."

He has?

"Leave me alone. I'm fine," Eric says defensively.

"Eric," Calleigh says, "It's been a month."

A month? I've been gone a month? No way. It was a couple of days ago.

"Calleigh," Eric says brusquely, "Leave. Me. Alone. Okay? People die."

Calleigh sits down on the bench. "Eric, everyone is concerned about you. You've been so stoic."

"I've already had the lecture from H," Eric says, "Thanks."

Standing up, Calleigh leans over and kisses Eric on the cheek. "Call me if you need me, Eric. Please."

"Yeah, whatever," he mutters. Slumping onto the bench, Eric stares up at the ceiling. "This can't be happening," he says quietly.

"I know what you mean, Delko," I say, sitting next to him on the bench. "I can't believe it."

It aches to see Eric like this. I want to reach out to him, to touch him. Summoning my resolve, I stretch my arm toward Eric, and gingerly lay it on his shoulder. For a split second, I think I may have done it. My hand rests on Eric's shoulder rather than passing through it. Then suddenly, whatever control I have slips away, and my hand fades right through Eric's body.

Suddenly, Eric jumps up as if he's been hit. Grimacing, he reaches up and starts to rub the very place I touched him.

"You felt that," I say, hope swelling in my chest, "You felt that."

"I need sleep," he murmurs. Throwing his shirt back on, Eric stares in my direction, and then bolts out of the room.