A/N: Hi all! First things first:
1. This is a songfic. Eventually. Kind of. Let me explain. Each chapter (save for chapter one) will be started with a line/some lines from the song Why Can't I by Liz Phair. And the fic is kind of based off the song…so yeah.
SLASH! If you don't like it, don't read it! Also, this fic is humorous
in some parts, fluffy in others, and angsty towards the end.
3. While this fic primarily features Greg and Ryan, it does contain their respective team members in the beginning and end.
language, sexual content (nothing really smutty, sorry!) and just
because I want it to be. If you believe the rating should go up/down,
review and tell me. Also, un-beta'd, so any mistakes are mine.
5. Please read and review! Flames are not advised, but I'll take any and all reviews in stride. But please, don't review and be like "Ew! I hate Greg/Ryan!" or "Ew! Slash!" or something stupid like that. Constructive criticism is nice, since this is my first CSI: Miami fic.
6. CSI: and CSI: Miami belong to Jerry Bruckheimer, CBS and Alliance Atlantis. I own neither the characters nor the places nor yet the song. Only the plot. Spoilers for Play With Fire (CSI:), but anything up to pretty much before Nailed (CSI: Miami) is fair game. Oh, and the song Greg quotes is (conveniently) Must Get Out by Maroon 5.
Why Can't I?
It had started out so innocently.
Horatio had informed Ryan that he was being sent to a forensics conference in Chicago. Ryan had tried to argue this, insisting that he really had important things to do at home. Horatio had just quirked one eyebrow at him, and Ryan knew he was sunk. Screwed. Forced to go against his will.
He told Calleigh this while they went over a vic's clothes for trace evidence. "Calleigh, it's really not fair. This is my fourth conference this year!"
"Mmm," said Calleigh as she carefully bagged a blue thread.
"Are you even listening?" asked Ryan, leaning on the table and giving her a look.
"Yes, Ryan, I'm listening. Who knows, maybe this one will be fun. Maybe you'll meet some gorgeous guy and have a whirl-wind romance and..."
Ryan snorted. "Yeah, right, like that's gonna happen." He paused, then said quietly, "Besides, I'm not looking for anyone at the moment."
She shot him a look. "I thought you and Kyle broke up ages ago."
"Not ages, only a few weeks," muttered Ryan. "Anyway, this has nothing to do with Kyle. I'm just not looking for a relationship at the moment."
Calleigh just rolled her eyes as she went back to collecting evidence. "You know, Ryan," she mentioned conversationally, "you do realize that by the time you're ready for a relationship, every guy will be either dead or taken."
Now it was Ryan's turn to roll his eyes. "Don't be overdramatic. It's not like I'm old or something."
"No, but you may be legally retarded."
Ryan peeled his gloves off and tossed them violently into the garbage can. "Just because I'm not interested doesn't mean I'm retarded," he snapped, heading towards the door.
"Ryan, where are you going?" asked Calleigh, concern edging into her voice.
"On break," he said icily, storming out of the room and leaving a very troubled Calleigh behind.
When Ryan blew into the break room like a hurricane about to decimate anything in its path, Eric Delko didn't even need to ask what was wrong; he knew. "Calleigh going at you again?" he asked, just to make sure, lifting his coffee mug to his lips and taking a sip.
Ryan shot him a look before grabbing a mug and slamming it on the counter with enough force to break it. "Goddamnit!" he exploded.
"Wow, Wolfe," said Eric with raised eyebrows and a bemused expression. "Whatever Calleigh said must've really gotten under your skin."
"It's nothing," said Ryan roughly, sweeping the shards of ceramic into the garbage can.
Eric didn't say anything, merely taking another sip of coffee and grimacing. "Well, you're not missing much with this coffee," he remarked, setting his mug down with distaste. "No one around here apparently knows how to make anything besides crap." Ryan just shrugged moodily before slumping into a chair and rubbing his face exhaustedly. Eric gave him a concerned glance. "You sure you're ok?"
Ryan nodded slowly. "Yeah, I'm fine…did you hear Horatio is sending me to another conference?"
"Yeah," said Eric with a smirk. "Better you than me, man, that's all I've got to say. I hate those things with a passion."
Ryan shot him a look that would've stopped the polar icecaps from melting. "And you think I enjoy them any more than you do?"
"No," said Eric, still smirking, "but I do enjoy your reaction when you find out you have to go." Ryan's sour look flickered for a moment as he choked back a grin. "Seriously, man," continued Eric, "I'm sure H has a good reason for sending you to pretty much every conference in existence."
Ryan snorted. "Yeah, either that or he's just—"
"I'm just what, Mr. Wolfe?" interrupted Horatio's voice from the door. Eric almost choked on his coffee at the look on Ryan's face.
"Er…uh…I have a case I need to get back to," said Ryan, desperately looking for an escape.
"Actually, I think your time would be better served at home, packing," said Horatio calmly. "After all, your flight leaves at five tomorrow."
"Yes, sir," said Ryan meekly, standing and sulking out of the room like a dog with his tail between his legs.
Horatio turned back to Eric, who was grinning. "Another conference, H? Who suggested he go to this one? Calleigh again?"
"No, Eric," said Horatio, smiling slightly. "Actually, it was me."
Eric fell silent for a minute, then asked, "Do you think he'll find someone?"
"I hope so, Eric," said Horatio grimly. "I hope so."
In the meantime, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Gil Grissom had just informed his own young CSI that a plane was leaving the following morning for Chicago, and that he had better be on it. Greg Sanders' reaction, however, was very…Greg-like.
"Sweet!" he exclaimed, practically giddy in his excitement. "How long will I be gone?"
Grissom raised one eyebrow at the young man. "You know, Greg," he said conversationally, leaning back in his chair, "someone might get the impression that you don't particularly enjoy working here."
Greg blushed and ran a hand through his hair distractedly. "It's not that I don't like working here," he protested. "It's just that I haven't had a vacation in close to three years."
Grissom shrugged in acknowledgement. "Well, either way, your plane leaves at six tomorrow morning. You may get slightly jet-lagged, but it shouldn't be too bad. The conference itself lasts a week, not including the two travel days, so I'll expect you back in nine days, ready to make a full report."
"Sir, yes sir!" said Greg, standing at attention and snapping his heels together smartly.
"Oh, and Greg?" said Grissom, looking over the top of his glasses at him. "Take the rest of the night off to go home and pack."
"Ok, I will." He turned to leave, then paused. "Hey Griss?"
Grissom looked confused. "For what?"
Greg shrugged, looking embarrassed. "You know, for letting me go. It's just…this city sometimes, you know? 'This city's made us crazy and we must get out.'"
Grissom raised his eyebrows. "Quoting now, are we? You're emulating me a bit too much, Greg."
Greg shrugged again, smiling slightly. "You know what they say, Griss. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
Grissom rolled his eyes, then pursed his lips in concentration. "Ok, I'll bite, who said it?"
"Who said what?" asked Greg, raising an eyebrow of his own.
"Your quote. About getting out. Who said it?"
"Maroon 5," provided Greg with a grin, turning and leaving a very confused Grissom to wonder who or what Maroon 5 was.
At precisely 3:00 the next morning, an immaculate-looking Ryan arrived at the Miami International Airport, bringing with him every piece of luggage he owned, containing every single thing he thought he could possibly have a need for, including the slightly tattered and exceptionally horrendous sweater his Great-Aunt Edna had knitted for him some five years ago. He had worn it once to humor her, but her cat had tried to use it—and him—as a scratching post. In all honesty, he should've gotten rid of it years ago, but hey, Chicago was cold. Even in September. Even after one of the hottest summers on record.
But that was neither here nor there. Ryan was prepared. Prepared for whatever might come his way. Prepared for whatever Chicago might throw at him…or so he thought.
It was about a half past five when Greg stumbled into the airport, gulping down coffee from the steaming mug he held in one hand, the other clutching a large duffel bag into which he had thrown a few pairs of jeans and a couple of t-shirts, along with his toothbrush, electric razor, stash of Blue Hawaiian, and whatever else he had managed to grab on his way to the car. His hair stuck out at every possible angle, for once not because he had gelled it, but rather sleep and a quick tumble in bed with soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend Kristi taking its toll on his hair.
Greg groaned as he stood in line to get through security. That's what he had forgotten to do. Quickly, he pulled a pen out of his pocket and scribbled on his hand, "Break up with Kristi!" before grinning. A whole week, alone in Chicago. Illinois wasn't going to know what hit it. He could hardly wait.
Ryan sat nervously in his airplane seat. He checked his cell phone for the fifth time to make sure it was off. A pang of guilt struck him when he remembered that he had been planning on calling Kyle back. Kyle had left him a voicemail the previous night, begging for Ryan to forgive him.
On second thought, maybe it was better that Ryan had forgotten to call back. Maybe Ryan would find someone, and they'd be together and happy. Yeah, or maybe not.
His stomach knotted as the plane's engines revved. He hated flying.
The pilot's voice began speaking over the intercom, but Ryan tuned it out, only hearing, "Approximate landing time 10:00 am central time. Remember to set your watches back, folks!"
Ryan instantly checked his watch, then relaxed when he remembered that he had already changed it. This was going to be a long trip…
Greg air-drummed to Black Flag as he waited for the plane to take off. He ignored the wince of the elderly woman next to him as the music pounded in his ears and coursed through his veins. He only removed his headphones when a kindly stewardess reminded him that electronic devices were not permitted during take-off and landing.
When his ears adjusted, he heard the captain say, "Approximate arrival should be at 10:00 central time. Remember to set your watches forward."
Greg grinned in anticipation as the engines revved noisily. This was going to be one of the best trips in Greg Sanders history; he just knew it.