This is a quick one-shot set after Hell Night. It's Horatio and Ray Jr. on their Saturday fishing trip, with Ray having a well deserved rant about Rick Stetler. :)
Dcmlr - you know the drill...
The Miami sun was rising in the distance, casting multicoloured shimmers across the rippling water. The Saturday morning brought a slight chill that would no doubt disappear before long.
The luscious green foliage waved about the edge, sending rustling noises for miles. The only sound in an otherwise silent lake.
The small boat that housed Horatio and his nephew sat anchored in the water, a few miles from land. The two sat on the seats, attaching new bait to the lines. A few small fish had bitten in the two hours they were there. Horatio gave Ray Jr. a victorious squeeze on the shoulder as the young boy threw them back.
The conversation had ventured from school to football, with a fleeting mention of girls that had quickly been abandoned when a blush rose on Ray's cheeks. Now they sat in silence, chuckling at the difficulty of securing the wriggling specimens to the hooks.
Once they cast off, they sat back and waited. Ray grabbed a cola from the cooler box and took a sip. "I don't like him, y'know" he announced. His uncle's expression told him he needed to clarify, so practically spat "Stetler"
"Hmm" Horatio smiled, understanding the feeling, "Why's that?"
"He tries to be my 'friend'. I've told him I don't want him as my 'friend', but he says that he loves mom and needs me to like him for her sake"
Horatio tried to hide the grimace he experienced hearing Stetler loved Yelina. "And you don't like him?"
"No way" Ray chortled. "He acts like I'm not even there most of the time. It's only if moms there that he'll be all 'happy-happy'. That's why they went away, y'know. Stetler talked her into it. She didn't want to go; she didn't want to leave me with Granma."
Horatio internally sniggered at his not-so-fond memories of Yelina's mom at the wedding, and Ray's funeral…
"But he just got all over her and was kissing her and stuff" Ray went on, his shaggy hair falling into his eyes as his actions grew more animated, "And said he wanted her all to himself"
"And what did you do?"
"Threw up. Or at least I wanted to"
Horatio chuckled. He was having the same reaction to the images in his mind of Stetler practically mauling Yelina. "What did your mom say when you told her how you felt?"
"I told her I didn't want her to go, because we always spent Hallowe'en together"
"Movie night" Horatio nodded, knowing the tradition
"Yeah! We get all dressed up, then just crash on the couch with films and junk food! It's what we do! I can't do that with Granma"
"No, I suppose not"
"And she just said that Rick had already paid for the hotel and it was all booked. He came into my room later and said that maybe 'It was for the better'" Ray screwed up his face and put a mocking voice on as he quoted Rick, "and that 'maybe you're getting to old for that now anyway. You should be out egging houses with your friends'"
Horatio concentrated on his breathing, his fists balling and loosening out of Ray's sight, "Did you tell your mom that?"
"She just said maybe he was right…not about egging though. But I could tell she didn't think that. It's just Stetler"
"You want me to talk to your mom, or Stetler?"
"I want you to get rid of him!"
"Hmm. I can't do that, Ray. As much pleasure as I'd take from doing that, he's dating your mom, and they seem…happy. But I can certainly talk him and tell him to back off, that you're not ready for another father," Horatio leant closer to his nephew "and maybe drop a hint or two that we both don't want it to be him"
"He's already started on that trip as well" his face contorted in disgust. "He once asked me to call him 'Uncle', so I told him, I said I already have an uncle"
Horatio chuckled, picturing Rick's face after being verbally abused by a twelve year old
"and then! Then he tried to get me to watch hockey! Hockey!"
Horatio chuckled again, knowing Ray Jr and Sr's distaste for the sport "I trust that went down well"
Ray scoffed. "I told him my dad didn't watch Hockey, so I definitely wasn't. So he said that, get this, my dad wasn't around, so he wouldn't tattle on me if I watched it!"
Horatio's fists balled again. How could Rick just belittle his nephew in such a way? And make a remark like that to a young boy who lost his father! Given the chance, any chance, Rick was going to hear about this…in the nicest possible manner of course.
"Is this why you went with those boys on Hallowe'en?"
Ray shyly nodded.
"You know you can come to me Ray. We don't need a fishing trip for you to tell me anything. Just phone me up, or come find me. It'd be safer on your record" Horatio added, with high eyebrows. Ray nodded again. "Listen," he laid a hand to the back of his nephews head, "talk to your mom. Maybe mince your words a little, but tell her what you told me: how you feel. I'm not promising Rick'll be out on his ass, but she'll work on it. She wouldn't do anything that you didn't want to. She loves you, she worries about you. She only wants you to be happy"
Ray nodded again. Horatio knew he had listened to what he'd said, and would heed his advice. Ray was a good kid, but he was growing up father-less, and with Rick Stetler as a possible, but unlikely, replacement. It was no secret that the IAB Agent and the CSI Lt. had had there differences in the past, and it was certainly no secret to those close to him, that Horatio didn't like Rick's relationship with his sister-in-law. But if Rick kept going the way he was going? Horatio was going to have to have some choice words on behalf of his nephew. Nobody came in the way of family.