AN: This is a little piece that takes place in my CSI universe in which Ryan joined the team at the beginning of the first season and Speed never died. I'm thinking of doing a complete rewrite of season one, the plot bunny is biting at me, but so far my muses haven't quite figured out how they want to handle that one.
In the blink of an eye Ryan's day went from bad to worse. First a blackout sometime in the night had reset his alarm clock making him ten minutes late for work. When he got to work he found his locker defaced just like it always was since he moved up from patrol. Horatio assured him they were trying to figure out who was doing it, but Ryan didn't push it. He knew that some people in the lab and on the police force still looked down on him for his partner's death even though both of them had only been doing their job in a dangerous situation. The only good part of the day was being assigned to work with Speed and Delko. He liked working with them even if sometimes he couldn't tell if Speed was joking or being malicious with his sarcasm and biting wit. Either way working with them was always an interesting experience to say the least.
That was how Ryan found himself waiting on the docks for Delko to rise from the watery depths where he was searching in hopes of finding the murder weapon. Speed had left to take the evidence they had gathered already back to the lab. Ryan was talking with an officer, a nice guy who was one of the only patrol cops not to lay any blame on Ryan for Cameron's death. It was just the two of them on the dock. The other uniforms had been called away to another scene, which was okay because the area had already been secured and one uniform and an armed CSI were enough.
"Do you miss patrol?" Officer Wilson asked, glancing over at the young CSI.
Ryan sighed. "Sometimes."
"I don't know how you do it. You couldn't pay me enough money to spend hours doing that meticulous lab work." Wilson said.
"Someone has to do it."
"Don't get me wrong, unlike some of these grunts out here I appreciate the work you CSIs do." Wilson said. "Without you guys half the pricks we bring in would walk."
"Without you guys we wouldn't catch half the pricks we do." Ryan replied, shooting the officer a small smile.
"Hey now, don't get all mushy on me Wolfe." Wilson teased with a grin. "Word'll get around that-."
If Ryan had still been looking at Officer Wilson he would have seen what was coming, but at that moment he had been looking toward the water watching for Delko. Ryan heard a sharp crack and spun while simultaneously pulling his gun. A backhanded punch caught him square in face and he was knocked backwards. His gun slipped from his grasp and a strong kick to his chest knocked the breath out of him and sent him crashing to the dock. For the first time he saw his attacker was a big man that had a definite height and muscle advantage. The man went for Ryan's gun and the only thing Ryan could do was kick it into the water where the man couldn't get it. The man growled like some kind of wild animal and charged for Ryan.
This time Ryan at least saw the attack coming. He rolled to the side and scrambled to his feet as the man turned to come at him again. Ryan ducked the man's wild swing and snapped off a jab to his assailants gut. The raging man was winded and Ryan made a move to go on the offensive, but his attacker recovered quicker than expected. With the roar of a man ensnared by insanity the bull of a man tackled Ryan as if they were in a major league football game. Ryan grunted as the man's shoulders drove hard into his ribs and the breath was knocked out of him again, this time with a sharp fiery pain and sparks flashed in his vision as his head connected hard with the wooden deck.
"Told you I'd get you."
Ryan had no time to contemplate the man's sneer before he was being pummeled viciously. He wasn't willing to go down without a fight though. He lashed out with a punch to the man's jaw and as his attacker tipped to the side he threw all his body weight into reversing their positions. The big man allowed for the roll, but used his overpowering muscle mass to keep rolling and tried to pin Ryan again, but the ex-patrol cop still had fight left in him. Ryan was able to get his feet pulled up between them and with a mighty kick sent the man flying backwards.
Both men scrambled up at the same time, but this time Ryan's assailant pulled a knife from his belt. Ryan's already quick heartbeat quickened even further. He had training in disarming an armed opponent, but he'd never had to use it before. He'd only been caught this off guard one other time and that had resulted in tragedy. If he wasn't quick on his toes this time it would be his death.
"Gonna gut you, pig." The man snarled.
Ryan didn't say anything and that seemed to infuriate the man even further. The man charged straight at Ryan who leapt back from each swipe and sidestepped each thrust waiting for the perfect time to strike. He was so focused on the knife he only had a moment to get his arm up to block a punch to the jaw and then instinctively put his arm up to block the other attack. The knife sliced through his flesh with ease and Ryan stumbled back, foot catching on a raised plank. His fall saved his life, the slash aimed at his throat caught his cheek instead. His would be killer dove on him, bringing the knife down to stab, but Ryan caught the man's wrist and twisted. The knife skittered across the dock out of reach of either fighter as the man howled. Ryan continued to hold the wrist as he was able to get his feet into play again, kicking his assailant off him.
Ryan lunged at the man, determined to keep him down and off balance, but the other man was obviously an accomplished brawler. Ryan groaned in agony as his already abused ribs took a stiff kick. He didn't have time to recover before his assailant was up and kicking him viciously. Ryan tried to roll away from the kicks, but the man stepped down on his wrist with one foot and then stomped down on his chest with brutal power.
"Don't you remember me, pig?" The man demanded as he continued to beat on his weakening victim. "You took my brother down and told me you'd be back for me."
Ryan's brain was scrambled, but he remembered the drug bust the man was talking about-the Thomason brothers. Ryan and Cam had gotten Paul Thomason for possession with intent to sell, but they hadn't been able to get charges to stick on Henry Thomason. Ryan had hated the fact that they had to let Henry walk and Cam had thought that was going to come back and bite them in the ass. Guess he was right.
"Well, looks like I got you."
Ryan was silently hoping that Delko would surface, but that was looking like it was going to happen too late. Henry kicked him one more time then reached down and grabbed Ryan by the collar with both hands and pulled him to his feet. Before Ryan could put up a fight Henry's hands shifted and grabbed him by the throat and squeezed as he was lifted off the ground. Ryan had already sustained a devastating beating and simply didn't have the strength left to fight anymore. He struggled weakly, his pathetic kicks doing nothing to faze Henry. He did the only thing he could think of doing. He scratched at the man's hands digging his nails deep into the flesh in hopes of giving his coworkers enough to nail Henry later.
"Say goodnight piggy."
"Drop him!" An authoritative voice barked. Ryan couldn't see what was going on behind him, but he heard movement and recognized the voice. "I said drop him!"
Henry did the opposite. He released one hand and then twisted his other arm so that he was still holding Ryan by the throat with one hand with Ryan's back to his front. Now Ryan could see Delko standing a few feet away with his gun pointed right at Henry and a look of fury on his face. Henry was no longer choking Ryan, but his hold was unbreakable and Ryan still didn't have the strength to free himself.
"Try and shoot me and you'll shoot him instead." Henry taunted.
"Look save yourself another murder charge and let him go." Delko negotiated.
Ryan could feel the growing tension in Henry's body. Obviously the thug was realizing just how screwed he was. If he had just killed Ryan quickly while Delko was still underwater he might have gotten away with it. But now he was pretty much out of options. If he went ahead and killed Ryan he lost his hostage and Delko would take him down. If he let Ryan go he was still going to go down. Any other options he might have had were quickly disappearing as the telltale sound of sirens drifted to the trio.
"Drop your gun or I'll snap his neck." Henry ordered.
"Back up is on the way, there's nowhere for you to go." Delko said, his gun never wavering.
"If I'm going down I might as well just kill him too seeing as how I've already offed a cop." Henry retorted.
"Kill him and you won't be going to trial."
"Are you threatening me pig?"
"I'm warning you."
Ryan still didn't have the strength to put up a prolonged fight, but he knew now all he had to do was give Delko an opening. Before he could the situation tipped in the favor of the good guys as back up arrived in the form of four uniforms, Speed, and Horatio. All of them approached the scene with guns drawn and ready. Ryan could feel Henry's desperation increase as the odds against him went way up.
"If you know what's good for you let him go." Horatio ordered. "You don't want to do this."
"Who says? He and his damn partner put my brother away." Henry growled. "If I'm going to prison I might as well finish what I started."
"You'll get the death penalty for killing two officers."
"Gonna get the death penalty for killing one officer."
Ryan could feel the negotiations were not going in his favor. Henry was going to go down, but it was sounding more and more like he was going to take Ryan with him. Ryan knew that his boss was saying everything he could to save his life, but Henry wasn't biting. It was going to be up to him to save his own life or to at least give them the opening they needed. Delko was close enough to take advantage if Ryan could just gather the strength...
"Take one good look at them, pig. Cause this is the end for you." Henry said just loud enough for Ryan to hear
Ryan lifted his leg just enough to back kick Henry in the kneecap. Henry howled and bent over just enough for Ryan to elbow him in the nose. That was enough for Henry's grip to loosen and Ryan twisted away before his strength gave out. Delko tackled Henry and struggled with him until the four uniformed officers got in on it. Henry was restrained and cuffed with more force than necessary. In an instant Delko was at Ryan's side with Speed and Horatio joining him only seconds later. He heard their worried voices, but as the adrenaline of the situation began to fade so did his grasp on consciousness. As he let the darkness take him he took comfort in knowing he would live to see another day.