A worried, but dignified older woman was waiting at the front desk when Delko, Calleigh, and Ryan returned from their newest crime scene. Ryan stopped, looking startled to the trained eyes of the investigators.
"Mom!" he half-questioned, half-exclaimed. She gave him a stern look. "Sorry, ma'am."
"Ryan, when will you give up this silly police nonsense for a good career like a job in your father's firm? It's not as though you don't have the credentials – did we waste all that money on law school?"
"M – ma'am, not in front of my coworkers, please? I'll take you to lunch and we'll talk," Ryan suggested, more reasonably than he'd ever been to Delko, Eric noted wryly.
"Absolutely not, young man. If I have to embarrass you in front of the world in order to get you to stop this dangerous nonsense, I will. A Wolfe on the police force! Unheard of."
Calleigh and Eric glanced at each other as Ryan shifted uncomfortably.
"Mrs. Wolfe, I'm Calleigh Duquesne, one of Ryan's fellow CSIs. He hasn't been on the police force in months."
"CSI, police, you still get shot at, Miss Duquesne, and I won't stand for a Wolfe to be shot at."
Calleigh had met women like this in Louisiana. Marriage was a symbol of status to them. A single, working woman didn't have a chance in hell of getting through to them. She sent a pleading look to Eric, who shrugged.
"Hey, Wolfe, how about you give me and Calleigh anything you want analyzed pronto, and we'll take care of that while you take care of this?" Eric smiled humorlessly, temper clearly strained.
"Right, sure," Ryan acquiesced, atypically of him. He handed over his whole work case. "Tell me if you borrow anything…please."
Eric blinked. Not a "don't touch anything that's not evidence," "don't go stealing all my hard work," or a "keep your grubby hands off of my supplies." The remark left the case open to filching. Well, he did need new evidence bags…and flashlight batteries…and he'd scratched up his UV glasses pretty badly…
"Sure," was all he replied, and left with Calleigh.
"Ryan, what do you have against your father's firm?"
"I just want to make my own way. If I work for Sir I'll either get a cushy work-free paycheck or be a gopher for the rest of my life. On the MDPD, I wasn't Ryan Wolfe, heir apparent to a throne of millions, or are you in billions now? I was a guy. A normal guy. That was nice. I hadn't been normal before."
"That's because you're not. You're special. We paid for the best childcare, the best private schools; Ivy Leagues for college and law school…what more could you want? What else could there possibly be?"
"Parents," Ryan whispered, so low Mrs. Wolfe couldn't hear him.
"What was that?"
"I said, it would've been real nice to have some parents. Not nannies, not nurses, not tutors, and not fancy private schools. A mom. Not a 'Ma'am.' A dad. Not a 'Sir.'"
"You ungrateful little wretch." The dangerous utterance proceeded a hard backhand. Mrs. Wolfe's engagement ring cut his right eye, and he covered it with his hand, holding in furious oaths. She turned on a heel and stormed out, and Ryan swore loudly when the elevator doors closed.
"Mr. Wolfe?" Horatio asked.
Ryan turned to his boss's voice, lowering a blood-covered hand.
"SOMEONE CALL 9-1-1!"
A/N: I love Wolfe's pretty face, even though I've cut it open, and I think there's gotta be a reason he's on this career track other than low SAT scores, since clearly he's not an idiot. I think when he told H that more parents are neglectful than one would think, I was positively inspired for a Wolfe-is-a-neglected-rich-kid fic. That one never really got off the drawing board (or the spiral notebook, as the case may be) but I tried to incorporate some of the idea into this one, which was inspired by the commercial for the November 14 episode of CSI: Miami.