Title: Post Script(Sequel to The Letter)
Fandom: CSI: Miami
Pairing: Eric/Ryan, Horatio/Speed(unrequited), Ryan/Speed(remembered).
Spoilers: General from Season 3 to the end of Season 4.
Summary: Horatio talks to Ryan about Speed's letter.
Disclaimer: I don't own em, don't sue.
Feedback: No flames please
Horatio stood in the hallway outside of Trace, watching as Ryan hobbled around the Lab on his crutches. It had been two weeks since Ryan had broken his ankle in a raid and his foot was healing, but he was restricted to the Lab, which he hated. Alexx and Calleigh had made good on their threats and had installed a camera so that Alexx could keep an eye on her boy while she was in autopsy and Calleigh checked by frequently to make sure that he was following doctor's orders to the letter.
Horatio laughed quietly to himself. No one would believe that just two short years ago, Ryan had been lucky for anyone other than Horatio himself to pay any attention to him. Being hired two weeks after Speed had been killed had pretty much guaranteed that there was going to be some unfair resentment directed at him. Thankfully, Ryan had a thicker skin then anyone would give him credit for and had stubbornly stuck it out and now he was a valued part of the team.
But Ryan had his secrets and one of them Horatio had discovered entirely by accident when he'd been getting the young man a change of clothes after the raid and had found a letter from Speed addressed to him. That was when Horatio's world had gone off its axis. He'd found out that not only was his deceased friend gay, which he'd always kind of suspected, but that Speed had been in love with him, but had been too scared to tell him. Horatio knew that if Speed had come to him and told him, he would've been surprised but he would've been open to a relationship with the young man. Now, it was too late and Horatio had begun going over every moment he'd spent with Speed in those final days and wished he'd said something then.
But one of things that he'd been thinking about non-stop was the revelation that Speed and Ryan had been friends. Pretty good friends if Speed had entrusted Ryan with the very personal letter to be delivered to Horatio. Horatio found himself desperately wanting to know more about the more personal side of a man he'd thought he'd known fairly well, and Ryan seemed to be the only person who could answer his questions.
Suddenly, he became aware that Ryan was staring at him, his big green eyes filled with curiosity. "Is something wrong Horatio?"
Horatio shook himself out of his thoughts, "Uhm, I wanted to talk to you about Speed."
Ryan stared at him for a minute and then grabbed his crutches, hobbling to the hallway. At Horatio's confused look, he smiled ruefully. "I'd rather not discuss it here. Besides, I'm getting claustrophobic sitting in this lab all day."
Horatio smiled and held open the door, they paused on the way out to tell Calleigh where they were going so Eric and Alexx wouldn't worry before following the young criminalist out to the parking lot.
They drove to a small seafood place that Horatio knew, after receiving their food, Horatio decided to get down to business.
"How did you and Speed meet?"
Ryan wiped his mouth and smiled faintly at the memory. "We met at a crime scene. It was when I first started patrol. It was a B & E and Tim came by himself. And, I don't remember what he said, but I made some comment about the way the glass was broken, and Tim just gave me this odd look. Didn't say anything, he just went back to what he was doing. Well, after shift, I was leaving the precinct house and Tim was sitting by my car on his motorcycle and invited me to dinner. We went to this place in Little Havana and we talked."
Horatio watched the young man, fascinated by the little details of the story that said more than the actual story; the look on Ryan's face, the fact that he called Speed by his first name, something that Horatio, Calleigh, Eric and Alexx seldom if ever had done while their friend had been alive, all those details confirmed Horatio's suspicions that Ryan and Speed had been closer than Ryan was letting on.
"What'd you guys talk about?"
Ryan smiled again, "Just about everything. Our childhoods, working in Miami. Then he asked me how I liked patrol and I told him that I liked patrol okay, but that I really wanted to be a criminalist. He asked me about my education and explained to me what was involved in becoming a criminalist but he said if I was really interested, he'd let me know when there were training sessions and would help me with the classes." Then his smile turned rueful, "When I'd finished my final class, Tim took me out clubbing and swore that he'd put in a good word for me with you, when I was ready. That was two weeks before he was shot."
Horatio could see the tears in Ryan's eyes and pondered the story, there was still something that Ryan wasn't telling him. Something about the way he said Speed's name told the red-head that Ryan and Speed's relationship was more than just mentor/protegee/friends. Leaning back in his chair, he watched his youngest CSI for several minutes before asking the question that was weighing heavily on his mind. "Ryan, were you and Speed…" He found himself unable to say the words.
Ryan smiled and saved him the trouble, "Were we lovers?" At Horatio's nod, he sighed, "No. I guess you could say that we were friends with benefits. If one of us had a bad day, the other would come over and I'll leave the details up to you as to what would happen."
Horatio smiled, "Did anyone else know about you and Speed?"
"Yelina knew." Ryan replied, "She and Stetler came into a bar Tim and I were at and she talked to us for awhile. After Tim was shot, she came to me and said that she'd promised Tim that she'd put in a good word for me if anything were to happen to him and that if I still wanted to be a criminalist and was willing to wait a few weeks, she'd talk to you."
Horatio nodded, "What about the letter?"
Ryan laughed softly, "I was wondering when you'd get to that. Tim gave me the letter the day before he was shot and asked me to give it to you when I thought the time was right. And I fully intended to give it to you, but everytime I was going to, something always came up. At first, it was because I had just joined and Tim's death was so fresh. I was afraid that if people found out that not only did I know Tim, but that we were sometimes lovers, it would backfire and people would say that not only was I using my friendship with Tim to get ahead but I was slandering his memory by implying that he was gay. I didn't want to deal with that." He paused for a moment before continuing. "He meant everything in that letter, Horatio. I watched him write it and I know that everytime he talked about you, his eyes would light up. He thought very much of you and was trying to screw up the courage to talk to you when he died." He looked at his boss for a long time, "What would you have done if Tim had come to you with his feelings?"
Horatio was stunned by the question, he hadn't expected Ryan to be so forward about this, but at the same time, he could understand that Ryan had been very close to Speed and wanted to be sure that his deceased friend's feelings weren't misplaced. "Well, I was flattered when I read the letter. I think that if Speed had come to me, I would've been surprised, but I would've given it a shot." He could barely hold back his smile at the way Ryan's eyes brightened at his reply. Clearly, this had been weighing on Ryan's mind for awhile. They ate in silence for several minutes before Horatio spoke again. "Do the others know about you and Speed?"
Ryan nodded, "One day, while you were out on a case, Mrs. Speedle showed up with a box of things that she knew that Tim wanted me to have and asked me to come by his apartment to see if there was anything else I wanted before they went back to Queens. Well, I'd forgotton that Eric, Calleigh and Alexx were behind me, so they all found out. After they got over their shock, they all asked me questions and stuff. Of all of them, Eric was the most surprised to find out that Tim was gay. Alexx already knew and Calleigh had a pretty good idea." He smiled again, "That was when Eric first asked me out."
Horatio smiled, he hadn't been surprised to discover that Eric and Ryan had gotten together, those two were at each other's throats so much that anyone who noticed would think that they were either deeply in love or were on the verge of killing each other. Fortunately, it was the former or Horatio would've had a big problem on his hands. There was another long silence before Ryan spoke again, "I still miss him. He was one of the few close friends I had on the police force when I started. He always believed in me, always answered my questions during my classes and the training sessions. He was also one of the few people I could talk to about anything." He smiled, "We used to have the best conversations. We'd start talking about one thing, and by the time one of us either left or we went to bed, we'd be on another subject entirely. I miss that."
Horatio tried not show his surprise at the idea of Ryan talking to anyone more than he had to, but somehow, the image of Ryan and Speed talking long into the night made perfect sense. Despite the vast differences in their approaches to crime solving and organization, Horatio could see the similarities that he hadn't seen when he'd hired Ryan. Both men were quiet and reserved but with a great intelligence that most people wouldn't look for. He wished he could have seen them together, it certainly would've been interesting.
Ryan looked at his boss for a long time, "Did this answer your questions?"
Horatio smiled, "Yeah, it did. I didn't realize how little I actually knew about Speed until I found that letter. If I didn't know better, I'd almost think that someone pushed that letter out of your locker, just so I'd find it."
Ryan laughed, "I believe it. I've always believed that the dead watch over the people they'd cared about while they were alive, could be that Tim decided I'd waited long enough to give you that letter and took things in hand." He wiped his mouth, "Are you ready to go?"
Horatio nodded, reaching into his wallet, not letting Ryan pay before helping his CSI back to the Hummer. As they drove back to the Lab, Horatio couldn't help but smile a little. His talk with Ryan had cleared up his questions and had strengthened his belief that he and Speed were destined to be together and would have their chance when they met again.