Listening In
Archive: fandomaid until march 14th
Rated: pg
Warnings: char death, spoilers
Spoilers: episodes 301 and 303, Lost Son and Under The Influence
Summary: "It wasn't everyday someone listened in on one of Horatio's conversations when he meant for it to be private."
Disclaimer: Not mine, never was mine, never will be mine, I'm just "borrowing" them. Really. I'll return them. Eventually.
For: fadomaid
Authors Notes: Okay. This was inspired by the scene where Wolfe was in the locker room when he was still in patrol uniform and he sees Speed's locker. Yeah. This was all from that. And of course, Lost Son was relevant. But we should probably just say post-Lost Son, Pre-Lost Son or AU- Lost Son from now on, huh? Anyways.
Word Count: 1174


Calleigh Duquesne had been about to go into the locker room to get her cigarettes when she saw him. Ryan Wolfe. The new guy. He was stopped, looking at the locker still labeled "Speedle".

Turning away, Calleigh went into the lab that Tim had practically owned- he'd run it, at least. Rummaging through a drawer tucked away on the side of a little used desk, she came up with her bounty: a half empty pack of Marlboro's and a scull and cross-bone Zippo lighter. Tim's 'just in case' supply. A supply she had raided often over the last few years.

With carefully controlled movements, Calleigh went out the backdoor, settling on the stoop. Hard cement propped her up as shaking fingers brought one of the cigarettes to her lips, and the other shaking hand got the Zippo – the lighters that always light – to light it.

A deep inhalation seemed to calm her down, though the tears that had appeared in her eyes didn't go away. The deep blue pools looked like oceans more than ever then, shimmering with her tears. As she exhaled, they began to fall.

Her father could be a murder. While she loved him, she didn't particularly find it shocking. With all of the trauma that his drinking had brought o her adolescent years, it getting him in trouble now was no surprise. But she didn't care about that. She didn't even care that her boss was unhappy abut her fouling up the investigation by having her father drink before she brought him in.

She did care, however, that there was a new guy. Someone to replace their old teammate, Speed. Her Tim.

She had just lit her second cigarette when the door behind her opened. Hope flared with in her, her body reacting to the usual pattern. Tim would join her out there often as not, and her body knew it. But she squashed the hope, pushing it down within her, ignoring the part of her that cried out. Twisting her torso around to view the door, she knew she wouldn't find what she wanted. Instead, she came face to face with her boss.

Horatio Caine looked down at her, the small blond haired blue eyed beauty that she was. She was sitting on the steps, tears sliding silently down her face, a half smoked cigarette in hand. She looked pathetic, really, but he could see the defiance about the whole situation in her eyes, in her posture.

"Oh Calleigh," he sighed, sitting down and pulling her into his arms, letting her cry it out against his shoulder. After a minute he took the cigarette from her, snuffing it out on the cement beside him. "Those things will kill you you know."

Calleigh choked out a strangled laugh, her face turning up in a small, though sad, smile. "I know. So did Tim. We're lab techs, remember?" she raised an eyebrow in rebellion, her usage of present tense plain. He knew well they knew, or had known, what the chemical make up of cigarettes were. "I never thought I'd find someone else who smoked them even though they knew what was in them. He didn't either." Her slight smile began to falter. "Oh god, Horatio. I miss him so much…"

The door behind them cracked open just a little. Ryan, looking for Horatio, had been pointed to the back stoop. He could see Calleigh, her head buried against their boss, sobbing.

"Why'd he have to die, Ayche? Why? And did you have to hire someone now?" she asked. She sat up suddenly, lighting another cigarette, her movements jerky and agitated.

Ryan was confused. Someone had died and that train of thought had led to him being hired. Not only that, but she was upset about it. He did have to give her credit, though; she was a good actress, keeping her feelings from showing until she thought she was alone with their boss. Pulling back a little, he let the door settle back against the jam, allowing for him to still hear the conversation.

"Calleigh…" he said warningly. "We need someone to take his place. You know that. Give the boy a chance. He's not Tim, but he'll do a good job. Nobody can be Tim, or take Tim's place, Cal." Horatio was gentle as he talked, soothing. But the implications were there.

Calleigh sighed, wiping her face unsuccessfully with the back of her hands. "How's his gun care?"

Ryan blinked, surprised once again. Tim… Tim Speedle. The officer killed in the line of duty a few weeks before. Her Tim? Her lover, maybe? He was replacing him then, taking the place of someone she cared deeply for. Someone they all cared deeply for, apparently.

And why the hell did they all care about the way he took care of his gun?

Horatio rubbed her back as she took a last drag from the cigarette. "I checked. First thing I wanted to know. He's OCD about it, Cal. Not as bad as you, but I doubt anyone could be." He paused, giving her a soft smile. "You won't have to go through that again, Cal. He'll keep his gun clean."

Ryan leaned back. This was news to the rest of the world. Tim Speedle, while killed in the line of duty, had died of bad gun maintenance. And he'd been this southern beauty's lover.

And he was replacing him, on a case that could put her father in jail. For murder. Though he'd noticed she didn't seem to be crying about that. From the way it sounded, he was a drunk. And the way they all had acted, not only was Calleigh aware and maybe use to it, but the others had at least known about it. While Calleigh might not want her father convicted of murder, it was obvious that it came as no surprise that his drinking had gotten him in jail.

Stepping back, Ryan decided he'd work this case the best he could. He'd hope her father was innocent, for her sake, though he personally felt someone who couldn't remember whether they killed a person or not shouldn't be on the streets. And hope that someday she would respect his work and forgive him for replacing her lover.

Only time would tell though, and he knew it as she turned away, walking back towards the labs. Entering, he shut an errant drawer, one that had the appearance of being well gone through. Catching the whiff of tobacco as he shut it, he grinned, now knowing where Calleigh kept her stash of cigarettes. He wondered if she would continue to, now that he was there.

On the back stoop, her ass beginning to hurt from the hard cement, Calleigh lit one last cigarette as Horatio left, soothing her riled nerves. Maybe someday she might like this Ryan kid. But for the moment she would settle for respecting his discretion.

It wasn't everyday someone listened in on one of Horatio's conversations when he meant for it to be private.

Finished October 6, 2004.