Disclaimer: Not mine.

A/N: I didn't really know what to do after the season finale… until I saw Lost Son tonight. NOW I have an idea. SO! IMPORTANT! THEY GOT EVERYONE WHO WAS BUILDING THE BOMB BEFORE HAGEN SHOT HIMSELF, AND SO HORATIO PUT HIS FAMILY ON THE PLANE WITHOUT KNOWING ABOUT HAGEN! Have I made myself clear? This is my twisted world. Deal with it.

Flinch

"Caine." Horatio answered his phone, watching the plane containing his brother's family fly off.

"Horatio?"

"What's up, Alexx?" Horatio frowned slightly. Alexx sounded really worried.

"Horatio, Hagen shot himself."

"What?"

"Yeah. He was dirty. And he couldn't take it any more, so he killed himself." There was a pause, and then, "Horatio, he killed himself in the lab."

"Where?" He had a bad feeling about this…

"In the firing range."

"The firing range?"

"Yeah. Right behind Calleigh."

"What?" He was reduced to asking questions, but he was struggling to comprehend the whole matter. Hagen shot himself while Calleigh was there?

"He came to talk to Calleigh, and then he shot himself when she turned back to shoot."

"How's she doing?" He was heading for his Hummer now, a blind notion that he had to find and help Calleigh directing his body.

"Horatio… she wants to quit. She was fine until she went back to the firing range to shoot. They didn't clean the ceiling, and part of Hagen's brain was up there, dripping blood on her sleeve. It pushed her over the edge, I think."

"Where is she?" He started the car, pulling out of the hangar.

"She went home. Horatio, she needs someone to talk to."

"Don't worry, I'm on my way."


"Calleigh?" The voice that accompanied the persistent knocking on her door was familiar, and she managed to force her mouth to work.

"It's open."

"Calleigh?" The voice was closer this time, and it's owner knelt down in front of the couch she'd been sitting in for several hours.

"Hey, Handsome." She tried to smile, but it didn't come across as cheerful, just sad.

"Calleigh, Alexx told me what happened." He reached a hand forward, tentatively. "I'm not even going to bother with 'are you ok'."

"Thanks." She sighed and closed her eyes. "Everyone's been asking that. I just want to start yelling 'What do you think?' back at them."

"Well, they're just trying to help. It isn't their fault they don't understand." That got him a tiny half-smile, and so he continued. "Hey, just hang in there, ok?"

"That's what you said when…" She couldn't finish her sentence. Leaning forward, burying her face in Horatio's shoulder, Calleigh sobbed. She was crying for herself, for Hagen, for Speed, for everyone whose murder weapon she'd ever processed… In jobs such as theirs, pressure has a tendency to build up. Burn out is common, and the ones who stick around usually have a great way of relieving stress. Calleigh's had been taking her gun down to the firing range and shredding targets. Now, she couldn't do that without imagining the click of that pistol cocking, the eerily loud smack the blood had made dropping onto her coat, the red against the white…

Horatio wrapped his arms around her back, pulling her closer as she cried her pain out onto his shirt. He remembered how hard it had been to watch Speed die, but he hadn't killed himself nor, in death, taken Horatio's last safe haven. He knew suicide was always selfish, but Hagen had been more selfish than most. He'd ignorantly stripped Calleigh of the only thing that could help her deal with his death, and for a moment Horatio wished Hagen had survived simply so he could have the pleasure of killing him personally.

It was hurting him too, though, to watch Calleigh in so much pain. He hadn't been there for her… he'd been off comforting Yelina and had forgotten about the person who meant the most to him. Making small shushing noises, he stroked Calleigh's hair as he internally berated himself for not being there when she had needed him. That was NOT going to happen again. But what if she quit?

"Hey, Beautiful?"

She didn't raise her head, just mumbled into his shoulder. "What?"

"Alexx said you wanted to quit."

She pulled up a little to look at him. "I have to, Horatio. I can't do my job any more. I can't force myself to use the firing range, to pick up a gun and squeeze the trigger… I could, and then blood started dripping from the ceiling. Now, every time I pick up a gun, I hear his pistol cocking. He was the one who held the gun to my head, Horatio. I picked out the make of gun from the sound it made when cocking, and then I heard it again and in a split second I knew… and then it went off." She shuddered. "I can't go in there, I can't." She dissolved into tears again.

"Hey, hey, it's alright, shhh…" He slowly rocked them back and forth. "How about you go on leave until after his funeral, then we'll talk about this again, ok?"


She watched them fold the flag, perfectly creased into a much smaller size. Handed over to Hagen's mother, it seemed to unimportant to be the symbol of death that it really was.

The other group off to one side raised their guns, and fired them once. Calleigh flinched. It was too like… and then she cut off that train of thought and turned to Horatio. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder without needing to be asked.

Again, he wanted to kill Hagen. Calleigh had been far from innocent, but she hadn't been anywhere near as numb as she would have to be to survive something like this intact. He could practically see the open wounds on her soul. She'd told him that she felt responsible for Hagen's death, when she'd brushed him off and picked up her gun again. It had taken him the full week and a half since the suicide to convince her she was wrong, and even now she was teetering on the edge.

"Hey, Beautiful, let's get out of here." His hand went to the small of her back, and he led her towards Hagen's mother so they could pay their respects and leave.

Once they were safely back in the Hummer, silence reigned. Calleigh was staring out the window, not even noticing that they were back at the lab.

"Come on, Calleigh."

Horatio helped her out of the car, his hand on her back again, guiding her through the hallways. She didn't say anything until she realized where they were headed.

"No, Horatio."

"Trust me, Calleigh." He gently pulled her through the doors of the firing range, signing them both in quickly as he coaxed her forward. "Trust me. We're just going to stand there. I promise, Calleigh. I don't want to lose you, Calleigh, let me help you work through this." Finally, he got her into the booth. "Look, Calleigh. Look up. There isn't anything there. You can do this, Calleigh, you can feel comfortable here again."

She looked at the gun on the counter in front of her, then picked up a set of padded headphones and put them on, not noticing that he mimicked her. She continued to stare at the gun, running one hand gently over it, taking in the make, the caliber of the bullets, the size, the shape. After a few minutes, she managed to convince herself to pick it up, but she couldn't point it. About to set it down again, she was surprised to feel a pair of arms wrap around her, a set of hands on her wrists. Horatio had stepped behind her and slipped his arms around to the gun, helping hold her hands steady so that she could fire at the target that dangled from the ceiling.

"You can do this, Calleigh. Come on." He was whispering in her ear now, sending shivers down her spine, and she wanted to do what he asked so badly… "Fire, Calleigh."

Without thinking about it, she did. The noise sounded deafening, but a hole appeared in the target, right in the heart. She set the gun carefully down, removed her earphones, and turned around in Horatio's grasp. He leaned down and brushed his lips gently across her forehead. She leaned into the caress, then looked up at him.

"When do you need me to start again?"

A/N: Ok, this seemed a little out of character, but I think that once Calleigh is away from everyone, she'd have the same weaknesses as everyone else… and I really hope she isn't gone for good, cause she was the reason I watched the show.