"Wolfe! You son-of-a-bitch!"
That was the last thing Officer Adrian Sachse heard before the pain hit him. He felt a body crash into his back, pinning him to the ground, leaving him unable to reach for either his gun or his radio. He let out a yell of pain as something hard… wooden… he didn't know, crashed into his back. He groaned as the man above him held him down and just kept hitting. He tried to turn over, tell him he wasn't Officer, no, CSI Wolfe. But it hurt too much. He curled up as much as he could and let out a curse in his native Portuguese. He felt the man pinning him to the pavement hesitate. He heard a muttered curse, then pain exploded in the back of his head and there was nothing.
Ryan Wolfe moved confidently through the Trace Lab, his shift almost over, pausing by the printer, before heading back to his desk. He picked up a glass beaker, meticulously wiping the dust out of it. He threw Tim Speedle a 'hello' without turning around or putting down his beaker. This was his space, he couldn't be touched here. He placed the beaker back in its tray and picked up another, turning around as Tim started to speak.
"Hey, when you were on patrol, did you know a cop named Sachse?"
Ryan frowned and nodded, "Yeah, Adrian, he's a good guy. Why do you ask?"
"Delko and I were called to a scene today; it was him, assault on an officer. Someone had beaten the absolute crap outta him."
"Jesus! Is he gonna be ok? What hospital is he in? I'll go visit him after shift."
"I don't think that's a good idea, Ryan," both trace analysts turned at the sound of their supervisor's voice.
Ryan frowned, "Why not?"
Horatio stepped into the trace lab and spoke quietly to the two, "Eric and I just finished taking Officer Sachse's statement. He says the only warning he had before he was assaulted was a man's voice yelling 'Wolfe! You son-of-a-bitch!"
Ryan blinked, "Holy…"
Horatio nodded, "Exactly. That's why you can't go anywhere near this case," he looked up, catching sight of Eric, "Gentlemen, if you'll excuse me. Speed, keep me informed."
Turning back to the doors, beaker still in his hand, Ryan froze. No. It couldn't be him. What was he doing here? The beaker slipped from his nerveless fingers, shattering on the floor. Tim spun at the sound, seeing Ryan, pale and stunned, staring into the labs foyer, in a pool of broken glass. Tim moved up alongside Ryan, carefully leading the stunned analyst over to a stool and sitting him down, before sweeping up the broken glass. Ryan stayed where he was, pale and unmoving, even as Tim grabbed him by the shoulders, trying to get him to talk.
Tim whispered, "I'm so sorry," before slapping Ryan across the face.
Ryan jerked, before staring up at Tim with what could only be described as pure terror in his eyes. Tim started slightly, before turning to face the lab, eyes scanning around for the reason Ryan, his Ryan, was looking so scared. He frowned; nothing seemed out of the ordinary, except… That guy… the suspect in the Sachse case. He glanced down at Ryan, who was also staring at the suspect. Well, Ryan obviously knew him, and the memories were definitely not pleasant.
Ryan started to breathe rapidly, he knew he shouldn't, knew he should calm down, but he couldn't help it. His eyes grew impossibly wide as white spots danced in front of his eyes. He couldn't breathe. Oh God, he couldn't breathe. Speed gasped as he felt Ryan's panic surge over him. Speed fought to control his own breathing, before grabbing Ryan's face and forcing him to look into his eyes.
"Ryan…" the scruffy-haired analyst said softly, "Ryan, breathe… just breathe… I'm right here."
Eric Delko walked down the hall chatting animatedly to his supervisor about the Sachse case. Their suspect had no alibi, they just needed to wait on the mass-spec results, the DNA results and Speed's trace results. He glanced into the Trace Lab, hoping to catch Ryan before he left, and stopped short. Ryan was sitting in the lab, in the throes of a full-blown panic attack, Speed holding him close.
"Ryan?" he said, walking rapidly across the room, "Oh God… Caleb…"
"Is fine," Speed finished, still holding the now calmer CSI, "I don't actually know what happened, but it has something to do with that guy," he finished pointing at the suspect.
Ryan pulled back from Speed's arms, shooting the other man a shaky smile, before sitting back, leaning heavily against the layout table. He kept his head bowed, breathing carefully, his hand creeping up to unconsciously rub at a spot on his shoulder just above his heart. He looked up at his concerned teammates and his worried lover.
"That guy's name is Ben Cassidy," he said softly, "He's the reason we had to send Caleb to Uruguay."
Eric's face hardened, "Excuse me," he said, getting up and turning towards the door, mumbling under his breath in furious Russian.
Horatio grabbed the fuming Cuban by the arm, "Eric, not now, he's a suspect in an ongoing case. If you can't be objective, I'll give it to Calleigh."
Eric snarled a few more curses in Russian before answering, "No, H, I got this. I can do my job."
Horatio nodded, "OK then. You and Speed, take Ryan home. Caleb's probably worried sick."
Eric growled, still cursing in Russian, before he nodded, moving to Ryan's other side and helping him to his feet. The two CSI's helped Ryan through the lab and out to Eric's car. They put the still shaken analyst into the front seat and drove him home. They were met at the door by a frantic Caleb.
"Ryan? Eric? Speed? Somebody? What's going on? Is he ok?"
Eric moved to take the trembling man into his arms, whispering soothingly to him, "He's ok, he's not hurt, he had a panic attack at work, so we brought him home."
Caleb stiffened in Eric's arms, "He's back, isn't he?"
The four men moved into the lounge room and sat down. Eric and Speed looked at the uncharacteristically silent twins and frowned in concern.
"What happened?" Speed finally asked.
In answer, Ryan pulled down the collar of his shirt. The expanse of skin that was revealed was unmarked. Ryan pulled the shirt down further. Speed and Eric both gasped. A jagged scar, about 4 inches long, stretched its way over Ryan's heart. The youngest CSI stayed silent, leaving his brother to tell the story.
"We were sixteen, in high school…" the blind man said, before his voice dropped almost too quietly, "And it's all my fault…"
Sixteen-year-old Ryan Wolfe weaved his way expertly through the throng of people in the high school cafeteria, two lunch trays balanced precariously in his hands. He plonked himself down in his chair opposite his twin, Caleb, sliding one of the trays over to him. The blind teen put away the Braille copy of his history textbook and pulled his lunch in closer. He sniffed, making a face.
"What culinary delights have we got today?"
His twin smirked, "Top right, something that might be peas. Top middle, unknown. Top left, I-can't-believe-they're-calling-that-potato," Ryan grinned as Caleb started to snicker, "Bottom right, unknown. Bottom middle, possibly pumpkin... or mutated sweet-potato. Bottom left... I'm so sorry, Cay..."
Caleb's face twisted into a look of mock horror, "No... tell me it isn't so, Ry..."
"I'm afraid so..."
"It's The Nasty..." they said in unison, pulling faces at the cafeteria's mystery lunch meat, known to them both as The Nasty.
Picking up their forks, the Reader twins poked at their lunch, turning over the age-old debate... eat the cafeteria food and risk food poisoning... or go hungry? As one, they decided on the latter and pushed their trays away. Ryan gathered up both trays, dumped the food in the bin and placed the trays in the stack. He turned back to the table to find Caleb sitting ramrod straight in his chair, his head tilted to one side, anger in his grey eyes. Moving quickly he sat back down, pulled out his geography textbook and began to ask Caleb questions about the geography homework in a slightly louder than normal voice. Internally though, he was zooming his way along the link between their two minds.
'Cay? What's wrong?'
'That low-life, scum-sucking, pissant...'
'The football captain? What about him? Isn't he dating... Oh... he's dating Amy Beecham. Is that what's bothering you?'
'Ok... fine... that's part of what's bothering me. Amy's brilliant, probably my only friend besides you, and she's dating that... that...'
'Yeah. But what's bothering me more... I just picked up a stray thought from Ben... he's cheating on her, Ry. With two other girls.'
'I know. That is why I'm angry.'
Still pretending to talk to his brother about their geography homework, Ryan fought the urge to wince. When Caleb got like this, it only meant trouble. Yes, it was horrible that someone as nice and sweet as Amy Beecham had to deal with an ass like Ben Cassidy, but what Caleb was thinking (and Ryan knew he was thinking it) was going to get them hurt one day.
'Caleb… Please don't do this…'
'Do what?' there was far too much innocence in that remark.
'You know what… Cay, please, it's gonna get us in trouble one day.'
'What's the use of having these abilities, Ry, if we aren't going to use them to help people?'
Ryan recoiled as though he'd been hit as Caleb forcibly threw him out of the link. He blinked through the disorientation, belatedly realising that Caleb had left the table and was now navigating his way carefully through the cafeteria after Ben Cassidy.
"Oh no..." Ryan breathed as he threw off the last of the dizziness and took off after his twin.
Caleb moved with a slow, easy grace, following the football captain's clomping steps. His cane tapped the floor lightly in front of him. He felt bad about throwing his brother out like that, but Ryan didn't understand... Why had they been given these abilities if not to stop assholes like Ben Cassidy from ruining lives? So intent on stopping the football captain was he, that he didn't hear the frantic footsteps of his brother behind him.
The blind teen followed the football captain through the school, out onto the football field and under the bleachers. He waited silently. Soon the voices of Ben Cassidy and one of the cheerleaders, Bethany Kimball, floated back to him. He scowled, still not hearing Ryan running up behind him.
"Cassidy!" Caleb called.
"What do you want, freak?"
"Does Amy know about Bethany? For that matter, does Bethany know about Amy? And do either of them know you're banging Courtney Dennikin as well?"
Ryan winced at Bethany's outraged squeal. He stepped forward just in time to see the petite cheerleader slap Ben across the face and storm off. Ben seethed. Uh-oh. This just got very, very bad. Ryan watched as the huge, buff football captain turned on his brother and raised a fist. He stepped up beside Caleb, his dark eyes almost black with anger.
"Tough guy," Ryan sneered, "Bet it takes a lot of courage to swing at a blind person."
Caleb spun on his twin, "Stay outta this, Ry."
Ryan looked over at Caleb, "What? And watch him beat the crap outta you? Hmm... let's see... no."
That was all the opportunity Cassidy needed. The bulky footballer launched himself at Ryan, sending Caleb flying as well. The blind teen stumbled backwards, his foot catching in the bleachers, spinning him round as he fell. Caleb heard a sickening crack. Then the pain hit. The Reader screamed as waves of pain rolled up and down his leg. He felt Ryan fluttering around the edges of his mind, trying to enter the link, but he resolutely shut him out. Ry didn't need this.
Ryan hit the floor hard, Ben landing on top of him, the footballer's knee hitting Ryan square in the stomach. As Ryan lay on the hard dirt floor, gasping for breath, black spots dancing in front of his eyes, he heard his brother scream. Oh God, Caleb. A surge of anger welled up in Ryan, the son-of-a-bitch had hurt his brother. Furiously, Ryan brought a knee up between Cassidy's legs, relishing in the strangled yell it brought him. Cassidy rolled off him and Ryan leapt on the larger teen, throwing punches wildly.
But Cassidy wasn't the captain of the football team for nothing. Easily overpowering the Reader, he pinned Ryan to the floor, throwing punch after punch, until all Ryan could do was curl into a tight ball and hope it was over soon. He could feel Caleb fluttering around the edges of his mind, trying to enter the link, but he resolutely shut him out. Cay didn't need this.
Caleb twisted his head from side to side, trying desperately to ignore the pain in his leg. Ryan. Where was Ryan? He'd heard someone getting the crap beaten out of them and knew with horrible certainty that it was his brother. He shifted his leg experimentally, trying to help his brother in some way. He bit back another scream as fiery bolts of agony shot up his shin.
Barely conscious, Ryan felt himself being hauled to his feet. He moaned in pain as his broken ribs protested strongly. Caleb tried to drag himself closer to Ryan, whimpering as his broken leg shot bolts of agony through him. Ryan blinked fuzzily, getting his feet under him. Cassidy pulled back his fist. Ryan's vision cleared enough to see the huge footballer's fist on a collision course with his face. He turned his protesting body away as quickly as he could, huddling over one of the metal bleachers. Cassidy's fist still thundered into him, but hit his back instead of his face.
Ryan was shoved forward into the bleacher he was huddled over. He choked as the air was knocked out of him. He heard a low keening noise that he belatedly realized was him, as his broken ribs screamed at him. Ryan frowned blearily as he felt something wet trickle down his chest and stomach. Wet? No... shouldn't be wet. He staggered away from the bleacher. He turned to face Cassidy, a look of hopeless resignation on his face, no matter what he did, he was going to get the crap beaten out of him. The hopeless resignation turned to bewilderment as Cassidy backed away from him, face horrified, hands held out in front of him, hands covered in... was that blood?
Ryan blinked. It was blood. He looked down. He was covered in it. It trickled down his chest and stomach, staining his shirt and pants, coloring his hands red. He hissed as the pain hit him. It spread, like the blood, from his chest, out and out, til it covered his whole body. Ryan's vision blurred. His shields wavered, then fell. Just as he did. As Caleb flew through the link, trying to help his brother, Ryan's knees buckled and he pitched forward, landing awkwardly on his side. He took 2 shaky breaths, sending Caleb the barely comforting 'I'm still here, buddy', before his world went dark.
Caleb blinked, his sightless eyes staring wildly around the underside of the bleachers. He screamed for his brother. Ryan? No... Where? He started to hyperventilate. He couldn't feel Ryan anymore. Caleb screamed again. Where was he? Cassidy stared at the twins. Ryan lay as though dead, covered in blood. Caleb was frantic, sightless eyes whipping back and forth, leg twisted unnaturally under him. The footballer looked down at his bloody hands, fought back the urge to gag and ran for the showers.
Coach Harvey Byron frowned as he heard the running footsteps through the locker room. He sighed. If he's told those boys once, he's told them a thousand times... don't run in the locker room. He got up from his desk to give the runner a talking to. He moved through the locker room, hearing the shower running. He stuck his head in the door, scowling at all the steam pouring through. Another thing. If he's told them once he's told them a thousand times, turn on the damn exhaust fan.
"Hey!" he called to the person in the shower, waiting for the steam to clear.
There was no answer. Coach Byron frowned. He could see one of his boys in there. He opened the door a bit wider. More steam rushed out, allowing the coach to see the teen frantically scrubbing every inch of his body.
"Cassidy? What in the hell are you doing, son?" the coach asked, moving further into the room.
Cassidy spun, staring at the coach with wide eyes. Coach Byron frowned. This wasn't good. Cassidy looked spooked. His eyes kept flicking off to the left. The coach looked around the shower room. His eyes settled on the laundry bins in the far corner. As he made his way over to the laundry bins, Cassidy winced and made a protesting noise. Coach Byron ignored him and pulled open the nearest bin. The coach's eyes widened as he saw the pile of blood-covered clothes. He turned back to Cassidy. Not a mark on him. Then whose blood was this?
"Ben," Coach Byron said slowly, "What have you done?"
Cassidy turned angry eyes on his coach, "It was those goddamn freak twins!"
The coach moved closer to him, shutting off the water, "The Wolfe twins? Cassidy… what did you do?"
Cassidy didn't answer. Coach Byron grabbed the teen by the shoulder and swung him round to face the bloody clothes in the laundry bin. Cassidy winced and looked away.
"Cassidy… where are they?" the coach said in a low voice.
The football captain slumped under the coach's intense glare, "Under the bleachers," he whispered.
Coach Byron took off running. He skidded to a stop underneath the bleachers, his eyes widening. Good God, Cassidy, why? He moved quickly over to Ryan, feeling for a pulse and breathing a sigh of relief when he found one, beating weak but steady under his fingers. Pulling out his cell phone, the coach phoned for an ambulance, fighting against panic and the urge to vomit as he caught sight of the blood pooling under Ryan's chest. Putting his phone away, the coach got to his feet. Hearing a noise he turned, catching sight of Caleb, curled in the corner, crying quietly, his leg still twisted horribly underneath him.
"Caleb? Son?" the coach said quietly, crouching down next to the blind teen.
Caleb turned teary, sightless eyes up to the coach, "Coach? Where's Ryan?" he asked, voice cracking over his brother's name.
"He's about 5 feet away, son, he's gonna be ok. I called an ambulance… Listen… you can hear the sirens," the coach said soothingly, one hand on Caleb's shoulder.
The wailing of the sirens grew louder and the ambulance hurtled into the school, coming to a stop just outside the football field. The three paramedics inside leapt out, pulling gurneys and med-kits after them. They rushed over to the twins, two dropping to their knees beside Ryan, the third moving over to Caleb. Caleb's head twisted back and forth, catching pieces of conversation and thought, his shields in tatters.
'Jesus, what son of a bitch did this? If I weren't a medic I'd…' Caleb shook his head, no need to continue with that line of thought from one of the medics.
"Hey there, my name's Frankie. You're Caleb, right?"
Caleb nodded, picking up another thought from the medic, Frankie, 'Holy shit, he's blind! What kinda asshole takes a swing at a blind guy?'
Caleb winced, trying hard to shove his shields back up, "Where's my brother?" he asked, to take the medic's attention off him.
Caleb winced again as he was overloaded with thoughts from all three paramedics. Frankie kept talking to him, assuming it was his leg making him wince. Caleb resisted the urge to smile bitterly, he'd long since stopped caring about his leg.
'Pressure's down… goddamn, look at that cut!'
'Whoa, that's a lot of blood…'
'… lucky to be alive…'
'Hey, they're twins! Well hell, the other one's blind! Probably a good thing he didn't see this…'
Caleb let out a soft whimper. Frankie placed a soothing hand on his shoulder, "Hey, its ok. You're gonna be fine. You're brother's gonna be fine too. We're the best in the business."
Caleb twisted his head from side to side, still fighting to put his shields back up, as the gurney he was riding on was bumped into the back of the ambulance. He snapped his head to the left as he heard the sound of another gurney being bumped in next to him. He felt a soothing hand on his elbow, felt it move down to his wrist and tug gently. He heard Frankie's voice telling him it was ok, so he let the hand on his wrist pull him lightly and place his hand on top of another hand. Ryan? Caleb ran his fingers carefully over the hand under his, breathing a sigh of relief as he felt the steady thump of the pulse in the wrist. It was Ryan, it was his brother. He was ok.
Ryan blinked blearily, eyes trying to focus. He glanced around, trying not to turn his head. White walls, scratchy blanket, disgustingly bright fluorescent light. He was in hospital. Hearing movement next to him, he turned his head slightly, smiling weakly as he saw Caleb sleeping, head pillowed on his arms, occasionally wincing as he picked up stray thoughts from those around him. Shields. Ryan frowned. Oh crap. The shields were FUBAR. Ryan nudged his brother's arm lightly. Caleb mumbled in his sleep, before his head snapped up.
"Hey Caleb, you ok?" Ryan said weakly.
"Am I ok? Am I ok?" the blind teen spluttered incredulously, "You almost died, you've been unconscious for nearly 3 days," Caleb reached for the crutches leaning by the side of the bed.
Pushing himself away from the bed, balancing carefully on the crutches, his back to Ryan, Caleb sent to his brother, 'You threw me out of the link. The last thing you sent to me was 'I'm still here, buddy'. Then nothing. I couldn't feel you; it was like you didn't exist.'
Caleb turned back to face his brother, eyes shiny with unshed tears, and spoke "I thought you were dead, Ry."
"Well I'm not, Cay, I'm still here," Ryan said, shifting slightly before sending to his brother, 'Come on, Cay. I'm sorry; I honestly don't remember sending you anything.'
'S'ok,' Caleb sent back, carefully maneuvering his way back to the side of Ryan's bed, 'The shields are screwed'.
'I noticed. Help me put 'em back up, will you?' Ryan sent, carefully putting his shields back up piece by piece, the corners of his mouth curling up when he felt Caleb start to help him.
They'd just finished when they heard the clumping, methodical footsteps that could only mean one thing, "Morning, Captain Oblivious," the twins chorused as one.
The USMC captain stopped, his hand inches from the door, about to knock, "You know I hate it when you do that."
Ryan and Caleb just grinned cheerily at him, before Caleb spoke, "Yessir, Bucket, sir, we won't do it again, sir."
Ryan snorted with laughter. Caleb grinned and waved the UMSC Captain into the room. Used to his boys' antics, Captain Charlie 'Bucket' Murphy just shook his head and walked into the hospital room. He took a seat next to Ryan, frowning at Caleb and tugging his broken leg onto his lap.
"Supposed to have that elevated, Caleb," he said gruffly.
"Yeah, Caleb," Ryan teased.
Bucket turned on him, "Don't get me started on you, Ryan."
"Yeah, Ryan," Caleb mimicked.
"Can it, you two, I'm serious," Bucket said, using his 'military voice', "Ryan nearly died, Caleb was seriously injured. Why? Because you two are Readers."
Caleb flinched, "I know, it's my fault, I went off halfassed…"
Ryan poked him sharply, "Shut up."
Bucket looked surprised when Caleb's mouth abruptly snapped shut. He blinked at Ryan a couple of times before continuing, "I spoke to the school, the guy that did this is going to juvie. But the school has…" Bucket's face twisted in disgust, "… requested, that I send you to a different school so that they don't have to deal with anything like this happening again."
"That's bullshit!" Ryan snapped, "There's at least fifteen other readers in the school, right Cay?"
"Nineteen if you count us, the janitor and the Russian exchange guy."
Bucket looked at his boys, "But none of them nearly died on school property."
Ryan sputtered furiously, while Caleb snapped out, "Oh and that's suddenly our fault!"
"Settle down!" Bucket barked, "I'm not saying that any of this is your fault. But that is how the school is seeing it. Boys, there is no other school in Miami that's willing to take the both of you. Not now that they know for certain that you're Readers… unregistered ones at that."
The twins winced, "There's nowhere?" Ryan asked.
Bucket shook his head, "Nowhere. I've found one school…" here Bucket hesitated.
"One school…?" Caleb gestured for him to finish.
Bucket swallowed, "I've found one school that's willing to take Ryan."
"Ryan? Ryan… and…?" Ryan said, hoping Bucket didn't mean what he thought he did.
"No Ry, just you. Bucket's saying he's found a school willing to take just you," Caleb murmured, head bowed, a bitter smile twisting his face.
"No… nuh-uh… you wanna split us up!" Ryan's voice rose to a yell.
"Easy, Ryan, easy. No-one's doing anything. Not yet. It's up to you two. The way I see it though, you have 2 choices. You know I'm getting reassigned to Uruguay soon? Well, your first choice is, tell the school to shove it up their ass; you both come with me to Uruguay and get home-schooled on the base. Your second choice is, Ryan stays here, goes to school, I take Caleb with me and he gets home-schooled on the base."
Bucket stood up, easing Caleb's plaster encased leg onto the chair, "I'll let you two talk it over. I need real coffee, not this hospital crap."
With those words, the burly USMC Captain left the room. Ryan watched his retreating back. Caleb kept his head tilted, listening until Bucket's footsteps had faded into the noise of the hospital. The twins stared at each other, Caleb's hand instinctively reaching for Ryan's. Ryan put his hand over his brother's and gave it a squeeze. He frowned slightly, before letting his eyes go vacant as he linked with his twin.
'Well this sucks,' Ryan sent dryly.
'No? Really?' came the sarcastic reply.
'I know, I know. We gotta work this out.'
'The school will take you, Ryan…'
'I don't wanna be split up.'
'Me either, but…' Caleb paused, collecting his thoughts, 'You wanted to be a cop, one of those forensics guys. Ever since Bucket busted us watching that crime-scene documentary. You're not gonna get that in Uruguay, Ryan. Not a hope in hell.'
'What about you?'
Caleb sent his brother a mental smirk, 'You and I both know I don't need college for working at the American Foundation for the Blind.'
Ryan shot him a weak smile in response, 'You think we should take option 2?'
Caleb squeezed Ryan's hand, 'I'm not saying we have to like it, Ry…'
Caleb sighed, reaching his hand out for Eric's, "Five days later, Ry got released from hospital, then two weeks after that, Bucket and I flew down to Uruguay."
Eric shook his head in disbelief, "All that… just because some asshole couldn't keep it in his pants."
Speed had moved next to Ryan and was holding him tight. Eric shifted slightly, his hand automatically finding Caleb's questing one. The four men sat in silence for a while. Ryan and Caleb had each other's wrists in a death grip. Speed ran his hands up and down Ryan's arms, trying to get the smaller man to relax. Eric sat with one arm around Caleb's waist, staying very still, as the blind man ran his free hand up and down the Cuban's chest and over his face, as though to reassure himself that Eric was still there.
Speed spoke softly to Ryan, "And the guy that Delko questioned today, the one you saw in the lab… he did all that?"
Ryan released his grip on Caleb's wrist, nodding, "Is that the guy you like for the Sachse case?"
"He has no alibi, wood splinters in his hands and now…" Eric trailed off.
Ryan smirked mirthlessly, "Now 'Wolfe! You son-of-a-bitch!' is making a whole lot more sense."
Caleb tapped Eric's leg lightly, "I'm lost. Someone fill in the blind man, please."
Eric sniggered softly, before his smile faded, "We had a case today, someone had beaten up a cop…"
"With a two-by-four? I think I heard that on the news," Caleb said.
"That's the one," Speed continued, "This cop though; he was 5'10, dark hair, dark eyes, slender build, and pale-olive skin."
Caleb blinked, "Is it just me? Or did you just describe Ryan?"
Speed sighed, "Exactly. The cop was attacked from behind by a guy that yelled 'Wolfe! You son-of-a-bitch!' before beating the crap outta him with a two-by-four."
Caleb and Ryan winced, "Cassidy," they said in unison.
"Hey, we don't know for sure…" Eric said carefully, running his thumb over Caleb's knuckles.
"He's right," Speed nodded, "We still have to wait on the DNA and trace results to be sure."
Ryan sighed, smothering a yawn, "And you won't have those until tomorrow."
Caleb didn't bother to hide his yawn, "You guys are crashing here tonight. It's midnight already. And Ryan is calling in sick tomorrow."
"No arguments," he added as both Eric and Ryan opened their mouths to protest.
Speed rubbed his eyes tiredly, "I actually agree with Caleb on this one, come on Ry."
Speed pulled the unresisting Reader to his feet, wrapped an arm around his waist, waved over his shoulder and went to bed. Eric and Caleb sat together for a while longer, the blind man still running his hands restlessly up and down the Cuban's arms. Smiling gently, Eric caught Caleb's wrist, his smile growing bigger as the Reader grinned sheepishly. Mimicking Speed and Ryan's movements from earlier, Eric pulled Caleb to his feet and wrapped an arm around his waist. He let his eyes go vacant, allowing Caleb the use of his eyes, to see where he was going. Smothering a yawn of his own, Eric gently squeezed Caleb's hand and led them both to bed.
The following day was torture. Ryan cursed Caleb for making him stay home, but he knew that going to work would only have resulted in another panic attack. But he knew that Speed and Eric were coming over straight from shift and that was any minute now. Ryan watched, Caleb by his side, as Speed and Eric walked up the driveway. The two CSI's were talking quietly to each other, both keeping their thoughts hidden from the twins. Ryan had the door open before Speed and Eric had even finished walking up the steps, Caleb crowding against his shoulder. Speed and Eric looked at the identical strained faces before them.
"We got him," Speed told them, moving to take Ryan in his arms as the Reader sagged against the doorframe in relief.
"Would you believe Speedy here pulled a Mulder on him?" Eric sniggered, taking Caleb's hand.
Ryan raised an eyebrow, "Speed did what now?"
Speed rolled his eyes, "You're an ass, Delko."
Caleb grinned, turning Eric and pushing him in the direction of the couch, "No, no, no, Speed, I'm intrigued now. What did you do?"
Speed sighed, "Since Delko couldn't even look at the guy without wanting to rip his nuts off, I was given the job of questioning him. I was in there for maybe 10 minutes, but I wasn't getting anywhere, his lawyer just kept stonewalling me. So I took a break and went back in."
"What he's not saying is that during the break he sat outside and memorized the file, then went back in without it," Eric threw in with an evil smirk.
Speed shot him a glare, before continuing, "Yes, ok, I went back in without the file. I figured, he hates Readers, I'm allowed to lie to suspects. So I just sat there and stared at him for a good 5 minutes, then asked him the same questions about the evidence and his alibi but threw in random questions as well. Things like 'Was Amy Beecham a pretty girl?' 'Did it hurt when Bethany Kimball slapped you, or was it just more noise than pain?' After a few of those random questions, his lawyer was looking at me like I had a second head, but Cassidy just lost it. Made me really glad I'd asked for the uniform to be present during questioning."
Ryan grinned at Speed, giving him a quick kiss, before saying, "You made him think you were a Reader. That is brilliant. That is pure genius."
Caleb nodded slowly, "Gotta admit, I never would've thought of it."
Speed just gave them all his trademark half-smirk and started to reply, "Well..."
Ryan snorted and finished his sentence with him, "... I'm just that good."
Speed smirked and pulled Ryan down onto the couch with him. Eric rolled his eyes at him from the other couch, not able to move anything else because Caleb was curled into his chest. Ryan smiled, leaning back on Speed's chest and closing his eyes, confident in the knowledge that his panic attacks would now be a thing of the past. Eric sat; automatically reaching his hand for Caleb's, wondering how someone could hate the man currently curled into his chest enough to want him and his brother dead. Caleb lay, head on Eric's shoulder, relief flooding through him now he knew that Cassidy could never hurt them again. Speed shot Eric a small smile over the twins' heads, knowing that the two of them had just helped their lovers no end. The four men sat in companionable silence, each taking comfort in the fact that a dangerous criminal was off the streets.