A/N: Holy crapola, that's a lotta reviews. Y'all gonna hafta forgive me if I don't update as often as you like, I'm fair busy with school right now and rarely come to FFN anyway…(now imagine Calleigh saying that in her beautiful southern accent)

-+

Eric finally dragged himself to Ryan's room in the hospital, since he had to interview a victim there anyway. He poked his head in cautiously, swallowing when he saw the white bandage covering Ryan's right eye.

"Delko," Ryan greeted without looking at him. He couldn't possibly see through the patch, could he?

"How'd you know?"

"The staff of the hospital has quiet shoes. Horatio knocks. Calleigh wears heels, and so does Alexx. Come to think of that, high heels are pretty impractical for crime-scene work. That leaves you, the only one who hasn't swung by yet," Ryan deduced easily.

"Sorry."

"It's no big deal."

"H told me that he just found you on the floor, with your eye slashed open. That true?" Eric asked in his quiet, fierce way.

"Something like that," Ryan shrugged awkwardly, wincing as he jarred the medical equipment.

"He says he doesn't know who did it."

"Is there a point to this?"

"Your own mother sliced your cornea." Eric dared Ryan to say it wasn't true.

"I don't recall anyone suggesting any such thing."

"Well, unless some other ring-wearing person was extremely angry with you, that you wouldn't want to defend yourself against or want to see arrested, that's the official theory. H is pushing to get her barred from the station," he warned.

"She certainly won't take that well," Ryan smiled humorlessly. "She likes to come and harass me every so often."

"She like to slash you open every so often, too?"

Ryan shrugged.

"You hate it when you find abused kids who die because of their parents – why not help yourself for once?" Eric sighed.

"She's better than Sir. My father, that is."

"Do I even want to know how much worse that is?" asked Eric unhappily, as he sank into an uncomfortable hospital chair.

Ryan smiled humorlessly. "Until I decided to go to Miami University, they only ever neglected me. Left me with nannies, or alone. Mom filled out applications to the Ivy Leagues for me. I looked them over, and most of the personal information wasn't even true. I decided I didn't want to go to Yale and be a hotshot lawyer like my dad. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, exactly, but it would involve science or language, maybe social work. When my roommate's boyfriend killed himself, I met a few cops, good cops. They opened up a new avenue for me, a different kind of social work. I could catch the bad guys. Except once I finished my forensics degree and went into Police Academy, I realized the cops didn't always catch the guys, seal the deal. That was CSIs.

"So I put in for transfer and waited. It wasn't…it wasn't how I wanted to get the job, but I had it, for better or for worse."