Title- Gain Control Again

Authors- Dame Flame and pepsicolagurl

Rating- Uh...we'll call it PG13 for now.

Disclaimer-We dare you to sue. The only thing we own of value are our cigarettes, and pepsicolagurl'scan of Coke. That's what's keeping me going as I write this. We took the title and lyrics from the Blue Rodeo song, "Til I Gain Control Again"

Author's Notes- (from Dame Flame, because this is my first story). BIG thanks to pepsicolagurl for all of her help, guidance, and friendship over the years. I've been with her since she completed her first fan fiction story (dude, Brooklyn and her "misadventures" were so long ago), and now we've come to this point. And now, even through everything that's happening in real life (and I hope that your grandma gets better soon), you're still there. I love you for it. And remember, we changed the events from "Lost Son", as in what happened at the jewelry store. Everyone else, enjoy and let us know what you think.

Thanks- to an online spellcheck, because we both suck, and don't have Microsoft Word on our computers. Long live Wordpad!

Spoilers- From Lost Son on. You'll understand.

Gain Control Again
Chapter One

And like a lighthouse you must stand alone
Landmark a safe's journey's end
No matter what sea I've been sailing on
I'll always come back home again

Out on the road that lies before me now
There are some turns where I will spin
I only hope that you can hold me now
'Til I gain control again

She called him Marshall.

When he had first come there to stay at his house, she had taken to calling him Marshall, because he didn't know or couldn't remember his name. She had once had a son named Marshall, but he had either died or disappeared. Either way, her son wasn't around, but now, he was. He was kind and gentle with the old woman, making sure of her comfort at all times. He took care of her little garden in the front of her yard, he cooked meals for her when she allowed him into the kitchen, and he cleaned the house from top to bottom.

There was something wrong, however. Something that nagged him day and night. The doctors had told him that maybe, one day, when he wasn't trying, when he least expected it, he would remember. It might come in little bits and pieces, no more than flashes of memories. Or it might come all at once and overwhelm him.

They had done everything that they could for him in the hospital, but they couldn't explain what had happened, either. It had been a busy day, they had been overflowing with patients, and somehow, they had lost his chart and all of his personal effects. They didn't know who he was, either. There were no clues to who he was, who he had been. The doctors, and the woman, had suggested going to the police station and having them run his fingerprints through some sort of computer, but he begged off, saying that he didn't need that, he would remember. And besides, there was something that was telling him NOT to go to a police station until this was all cleared up.

"Marshall?" he heard the woman call, and he turned immediately on his heel, leaving the open newspaper on the kitchen counter, next to his almost cold cup of coffee. He peeked his head into the living room, where she was tucked into her favorite chair in front of the television. "Marshall, could you make me a cup of tea?" she asked.

He grinned, and for some reason, the movement felt strange. Like he didn't do it much before. Was that some sort of clue about his past? "Of course, Mary. I'll have it for you in just a second." He left her to her soap opera and went back into the kitchen, starting up the electric kettle on the counter. He sipped his coffee and made a face, dumping the dregs down the drain. Did he even like coffee, he wondered, pouring himself a glass of iced tea instead. As much as he liked Mary, and owed her more than he could ever imagine for letting him stay with her, she made her iced tea awfully sweet.

The water still had awhile to boil, and while he waited, he took a lemon out of the fridge and placed it on the counter, rolling it with the palm of his hand, pushing it down slowly. Where did he learn that, he wanted to know. He knew that it would make the juices in the lemon more apparent, but someone had taught him that, and he didn't remember who anymore. Shaking off the thought, he picked a knife out of the wooden block and carefully rested it against the citrus fruit, using his free hand to steady it. He sawed the knife back and forth slowly, never noticing how close he was coming to his fingers, until the knife slid through his skin, causing him to jerk back in surprise.

As he made his way to the sink, he noticed a single blood drop on the counter.

(get a swab)

And what the hell did that thought mean?

His eyes were trained on the single drop of crimson, when another slid down his finger and landed near the first. He was enthralled by it, for some ungodly reason. It was blood, nothing more, nothing less. His blood. He cut his finger, there was nothing fascinating about that.

(drip pattern)

It was just like hearing voices in his head, he reasoned, only this was the voice of his past, or someone that had to do with his past. He ignored it, just like always, and turned on the tap, sticking his finger underneath. He watched the blood disappear before he patted it dry with a towel and applied a bandage from a nearby drawer. The kettle began to shriek beside him, and he went about making his landlady's tea.

Maybe he was a meteorologist, he reasoned. Wouldn't that have something to do with a drip pattern? For some reason, that brought a smile to his face.

Had it really been that long, she wondered, turning to look at the calendar in the break room. Yes, it had been. Three months since the incident at the jewelry store, three months since he was alive and then suddenly dead in the hospital, three months since the funeral. It seemed so long, and yet, not all that long ago.

She smiled over her coffee cup at the young man sitting at the table, his eyes barely open. Tim Speedle's replacement (and really, that was the only way to think of him) still hadn't gotten used to the long shifts and early wake-up calls. Those almost closed eyes were puffy, his hair looked...well, messy would be the best word, she supposed, and the clothes that he was wearing looked awfully familiar. In fact, they were the same ones that he had been wearing the day before. "Ryan?" she asked quietly, watching the young man swing his head in her direction. "You know, there's a reason why most people keep a change of clothes in their locker."

"This is my change of clothes, believe it or not," Ryan Wolfe told her, a hint of a smile creeping onto his face. He watched as she turned around and poured another cup of coffee, handing it off to him. "Thanks," he said, although his word was interrupted halfway through with a yawn.

"Not a problem," she answered, sipping her own coffee. She watched as he slumped down on his elbow and stuck his face over the cup, inhaling the coffee until it was cool enough for him to drink. She still wasn't used to the new addition to the lab, although she was getting better about it. It had been a hell of a shock the first time that she had walked into the trace lab and seen the lab coat covered back turned towards her, head bowed over something. She had almost said good morning to Speedle, before she realized that it couldn't be him. It had been Ryan, of course, and when he had turned to look at her, he had known what she was about to say, and only offered a brief smile.

The poor kid was probably sick of that, but there was no way around it. He had been good about it, they all had to admit to that. To this day, no one had had the heart to take Speedle's old locker, even though his name had been removed from it. Ryan, himself, had taken one that was broken and fixed the door and lock himself. Speedle's locker was bare, everything that had been in there was taken away and sent to his parents.

She broke out of her reverie when the door to the break room opened, and two equally tired people walked in. They had been called in, early in the morning, to work on a gang shooting, extending their shift to almost match that of the graveyard crew. After only a few hours of sleep, they were back at it. Neither of the men hid the exhaustion well, however. "Morning, guys," she said, smiling at them, as the younger man made a beeline for the coffee maker.

"We have a new case, and I want everyone on it," was the greeting that she got. They stifled their smiles and gathered closer to the table that Ryan was sitting at. "Three people have brought this to the attention of the police, and we've been asked to look into it. It'll be a nice break from homicides," he added, hoping that it would wake them up a little. It did, but barely. "It's a missing persons case, a somewhat old one." The enthusiasm died.

They all knew the horrors of working a missing persons case, especially one that had been open for awhile. A lot of dead-ends, talking to uncooperative people, and hours in front of a computer screen, scrolling through useless information. The chances of finding someone after a period of more than week was slim to none, and by now, they would be looking for a body, not a person. It was never much fun, not that their job was supposed to be fun.

"Three missing people, actually, and that's why I need all of you. There might even be more." Eyebrows were raised, looks passed from person to person. Maybe this would interesting after all. "At separate times, three people have been taken to Jackson Memorial, and three times, they've lost their patients."

"Wait, lost them? What, put them in the wrong room or something?" Eric Delko asked, drumming his fingers along the side of his coffee cup.

"Lost them, as in lost them. Personal effects, records, medical files. All three times, the families were directed to other patients, and when the real patient couldn't be found, they had 'died', according to the hospital. However, two of the people lodging the complaint haven't had access to their loved ones body, because they can't find the body."

Calleigh's face showed the horror and disgust at their supervisor's words. "You mean...they literally lost people and have done nothing to rectify it?"

Horatio Caine smiled, but it was humorless. "They've offered money."

"That's even more wrong."

"Be that as it may, it's now our case. And this is what we're going to do. Calleigh, Ryan, I want you to go talk to the three families that brought this to our attention. Get all the information that you can from them. Eric and I will go to the hospital, see if we can get the medical records, talk to the nurses and doctors. In essence, there's no crime scene to process, but that doesn't mean that this isn't a crime. Treat it as one."

They nodded and dumped out the remains of their coffee, heading towards the garage without a word. Horatio passed over the list of addresses for Calleigh and Ryan before they climbed into one of the Hummers and pulled out immediately. Ryan was quiet for a few moments, but he couldn't resist asking the question that had been gnawing at him ever since Horatio had mentioned the name of the hospital. "Was Jackson Memorial where..." he began, and then trailed off, unsure of how to continue.

She nodded, turning the corner. "Yeah, that's where they took him." She chanced a look at him from the corner of her eye, and smiled suddenly. "Don't get that look on your face. It's taken us all awhile to realize it, but Tim was Tim, and you're you. Two completely different people. It's hard for you, isn't it?"

He shrugged. "Kind of," he answered frankly. "It just seems that...everyone knew him, everyone liked him. It's like he could do no wrong or something. And then, I come along and everything goes to hell in a hand basket. But I've gotten used to it. Some of it," he amended when he saw her look.

"What have you had to get used to? Look, I realize that it hasn't been easy on you, and we weren't really helping matters much, but we have been trying."

"I know. It's just...the looks that you get from certain people." Alexx, he had wanted to say, but didn't have the heart to. He could tell that Alexx Woods and Tim Speedle had been close in some way, and having Ryan come in suddenly, that soon, didn't sit well with her, but there was nothing that he could do about it. He tried, Lord knows that he did, but nothing seemed to help when it came to her. "It's okay, I know it'll go away after awhile, but for now, I just deal with it."

She smiled briefly, before pulling into a driveway, behind a sporty little compact. "I'm sorry," she said, but who she was apologizing for, and why, she didn't know.