TITLE: All the Right Breaks
AUTHOR: Sugah Sugah
SUMMARY: What would Calleigh think of Ryan and Natalia's date?
SPOILERS: Through "Dead Air" (season 4 episode 21)
PAIRING: Calleigh/Ryan, Natalia/Ryan by default
DISCLAIMER: I wish to God I owned them. Then I'd be living in a nice house somewhere in southern California instead of in my parents' house in PA. But I don't own them, sad but true. This is just to satisfy my muse, who is not thrilled at the prospect of a Ryan/Natalia/Delko triangle (is it just me, or did that come out of left field?) and wanted to do something about it. I am making no profit. Please don't sue.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: My first "CSI: Miami" fanfic, though I've dabbled in other shows. I'm a diehard Calleigh/Ryan shipper, and I thought that they were moving forward this season. Only they're not. Stupid false hopes.
Loosely based on the song "Some Hearts" by Carrie Underwood. Those of you who may have read my HP or "Without a Trace" fics will know that I have a tendency to come up with titles in song lyrics.
All the Right Breaks
"Some hearts, they just get all the right breaks…" – Carrie Underwood
Calleigh was in a good mood. They didn't often deal with kidnappings, but when they did, it was always nice when they found the person alive. It made her think that maybe, just maybe, there was someone watching out for them, taking care of them, making sure they were okay. Finding someone alive tended to remind her of why she had become a criminalist, which was to help people. When she was struggling to match shell casings to gun barrels to use as evidence in a murder investigation, she didn't get the same sense of satisfaction as she had today, learning that her finding that shell casing had led to Horatio and Ryan finding Brenda Collett alive. It was a good feeling – put her in a good mood. Kidnappings usually didn't do that to her.
She sensed it had something to do with a case, more than a year ago, involving the disappearance of a little boy from his karate class that ended up turning into one of the worst days of Calleigh's life. She still dreamed about it sometimes – seeing Tim's body sprawled on the floor like that, in a pool of his own blood, struck down by his own weapon. It gave her the chills just thinking about it.
Sometimes she thought that she could have loved Tim, if she'd given herself the chance. She definitely cared for him; they'd been quite close. She considered him to be one of her best friends. But whatever the reason, she hadn't let herself get that close. She wouldn't put herself in that position. Love made you vulnerable, and if there was one thing Calleigh Duquesne did not like, it was feeling vulnerable.
Still…a part of her wondered what it would have been like.
Her eyes started to burn, a sure sign that she was tearing up. She delicately wiped the tears from the corners of her eyes, checking around to make sure that no one had seen. The only other person in the room was Dan, and his eyes were on the computer screen in front of him, as per usual. He probably didn't even realize that she was still in the room. She quietly took her leave and moved out into the hallway, where the late afternoon sun filtered in through the windows, giving the whole place an ethereal glow. It reminded Calleigh of a photograph that was out of focus.
Calleigh intended to head to the locker room, grab her things, and see if Ryan wanted to go out for a drink. She'd first asked him a while ago, after that child molester case, and it ended up turning into a weekly thing – usually after a particularly tough case, when she wanted to go out and not think about shell casings or bullets or forensics or guilty or innocent. When she wanted to just be Calleigh Duquesne and not "Bullet Girl".
Lately, though, she got the feeling that it was less about that and more about spending time with Ryan outside the lab. They'd been working together a lot lately; in fact, this was the first case in a long time where they hadn't been pouring over photos in trace documents or puzzling over Valera's findings. The only time she had seem him was to go to that bar where Rick had found Charlie. After having spent so much time with Ryan over the last few months, spending so little with him felt kind of like suffering through withdrawal.
Ryan withdrawal. Quite possibly the worst of them all.
He was a nice guy, Ryan. The others sometimes didn't give him enough credit. Yes, he was competitive, but they all were. He and Delko were constantly at his throats, but Calleigh remembered that Delko and Tim had been the same way, years ago, when they first joined the team. Calleigh admired Ryan for sticking with it. He had come onto a team with established loyalties – challenging enough for any newbie, but to replace a former member, a former member who had recently died… It showed a great deal of fortitude, of perseverance. Both traits Calleigh happened to admire. She admired a lot about Ryan, truth be told, and he was fast becoming a good friend. Not quite like Tim had been, but then, no one could replace Tim.
He wasn't bad to look at, either. He looked so cute in that little sweater vest he was wearing. Calleigh bit her lip to keep from smiling and felt her cheeks grow warm. She knew she had to be blushing. No, a girl could definitely do worse for herself than Ryan Wolfe.
As much as she thought she could have loved Tim, that's how much she thought she could love Ryan. He and Tim were complete opposites, but there was something about the both of them that drew Calleigh in, and before she knew it she was in over her head, drowning in these emotions that she hadn't even known she possessed until it was too late.
But it wasn't too late with Ryan. He was still here and – to the best of her knowledge – single. Whatever had been going on with him and Erika Sykes was apparently over, and Calleigh was glad for that. She didn't like Erika; something about the reporter just rubbed Calleigh the wrong way. And it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Erika had clearly set her sights on Ryan. Absolutely nothing to do with that.
She was on her way to the locker room when she caught sight of Natalia and Ryan walking out of it together. It was no secret that Calleigh wasn't one of Natalia's biggest fans, and for a moment Calleigh wondered if she were going to have to ask the tech to join them when she realized that they were deep in conversation and showed absolutely no signs of separating.
Calleigh hid in an alcove. She didn't want to eavesdrop, but something about the way they were walking, it sent up red flags. She maintained hope that Ryan was just walking back with her to her lab, except that Natalia had her purse, and Ryan kept talking about dinner.
It wasn't until Delko walked out of the locker room a few moments later, looking like he had just swallowed something particularly nasty, that Calleigh realized with horror what was going on.
Ryan and Natalia were going out on a date, and Calleigh Duquesne felt something she hadn't felt in quite some time – jealousy.
Tears stung her eyes once more, but she blinked them away. First Delko, now Ryan… Did Natalia intend to whore her way through the entire lab? Who was next? Dan? Horatio? What right did she have to go anywhere with Ryan? What right did she have to be the one he touched so intimately, on the small of the back as they walked, as though they had been dating for months?
Why had Ryan asked Natalia and not Calleigh? What did Natalia have that she didn't? Was it really too late with Ryan, like it was too late with Tim? Calleigh licked her lips and stared at the floor. That could be her walking with Ryan, if only he'd given her the chance. She thought she'd made the first move by asking him out all those weeks ago, but apparently the message hadn't been clear enough to penetrate his thick skull. And now, he was on his way to dinner with Natalia, the office whore. Some people, they just had all the luck.
Calleigh sighed. What right did she have to be jealous? Because she and Ryan went out for drinks every once in a while, that meant they were in a relationship? Of course not. Calleigh went out for drinks with Delko sometimes, too, but that didn't mean that there was anything going on with them.
She looked up in surprise at the sound of Delko's voice. She hadn't realized he was standing there; she thought he'd gone already. The look on his face suggested that he was feeling exactly what she was feeling.
"Delko," she said, plastering on a big, fake smile, "hi there. I was just on my way to find you. Did you want to go out for a drink?"
Delko spared one last, lingering glance at the two people in the distance before turning back to Calleigh. "Sounds like a plan."
Calleigh made up her mind as she and Delko headed for the door. She'd missed her chance to find out what it would be like with Tim. She wasn't about to miss her chance with Ryan. One date didn't make him and Natalia a couple; Calleigh still had a shot. She would spend as much time with Ryan as possible; she would make him realize that she was there, ready and willing, determined to do whatever it took. She was going to be one of those people who got all the right breaks, no matter what the cost.