Title: Hidden Fear

Author: dyingsacrifice

Fandom: CSI: Miami

Pairing: Ryan Wolfe, Eric Delko

Rated: PG-13

Genre: Drama

Summary: It only happened once, but Ryan can't seem to get past the fear of it happening again. SLASH!

Disclaimer: I don't own CSI: Miami, nor do I know any of the actors. This has been made up in my sick little mind for your viewing pleasure. None of this is real, just simply fiction.

Hidden Fear

The last thing I would ever expect to do during a fight with my loved one is have my mind a million miles away and on a totally different subject than the one we are currently arguing about. I can't get my mind away from the incident that occurred no more than two months ago on our last fight. I try not to think about what transpired that night and am usually able to avoid any thoughts on it, but during our fights I can't stop the memory and fear from surfacing.

You hear about such situations all the time and think to yourself, "That would never happen to me" and I used to think this way as well, that is until I found myself in that exact situation. I had never seen it coming, much less from Eric. On some level, in my mind, I know he didn't mean to do it and I know that the guilt is eating him alive, but that doesn't make it any less painful...

My eye sight is met with darkness when I awake from a restless sleep. I take a glance at the wall clock and let out a groan of frustration when I see that it is two o'clock in the morning. I sit up from my lying position on the couch and stretch my body to relieve it from the aches and pains it acquired during my sleep. I stand up unsteadily and make my way toward the bedroom to see if Eric is home yet.

He has been going to the clubs in town more often now than he did before. They used to be a place he frequented before we started dating and once we got together he hardly ever went anymore unless I was by his side. I am not much into the club scene though so we rarely went. As of late however he has been going far more often than before. There is not a night this week that he hasn't gone. He knows how much this has begun to bother me, but has yet to show that he actually cares how I feel.

Gradually as he has taken to going to the clubs again I have found that he stays out a little later than the time prior. I don't know why he feels the need to go out each night and I highly doubt it is because his friends are missing him. To me it feels like there is something much deeper going on here only I have yet to find the courage to call him on it. I have asked him why he goes out all the time, but he claims that it is the need to be with his friends and then the discussion ends there. I don't want to believe that he doesn't want to spend time with me anymore or that he is becoming bored with our relationship, but I find it to be more difficult to push these thoughts into the back of my mind when he leaves me at home all the time.

Hesitantly I enter my dark bedroom and my hand hovers over the light switch. I want to believe that Eric is in bed asleep and just didn't want to wake me when he got home, but deep inside I know he isn't here. Normally he would wake me up to tell me to go to bed because he can't sleep without me beside him nor does he want to sleep without me there. Even with how late he has been coming home he still wakes me up when I am sleeping on the couch and the fact that I woke up alone at two A.M. says one thing: he hasn't come home.

Taking a deep breath I switch on the light and close my eyes at the sudden brightness. Slowly I reopen my eyes so they can adjust to the now lit room and I quickly scan the room only to confirm my thoughts. The room is empty and the bed is still made from this morning. Eric is still out on the town, at two A.M., and now I am becoming pissed off. This is getting to be ridiculous! He should be home with me right now and not at some random club doing God knows what with God knows who. I don't think I am being selfish either; it is not selfish to want to spend time with my boyfriend.

I know I need to calm down so I can talk with him rationally when he arrives home, but at the moment anger is boiling in my chest and I can't push it down like I have been able to in the past. I am tired of waking up alone on the couch and I am tired of him going out all the time. I would like to simply spend a quiet evening at home with him again or go out for dinner like I enjoy doing. We haven't gone out for dinner in over a month now, in fact we haven't gone out anywhere in a long time. It isn't that I haven't tried; he just never wants to go anywhere and usually has an attitude when I finally talk him into going out so by now I don't see how it is worth the fight that always follows.

With my fists clenched at my sides I make my way back down the hallway and don't stop until I am in the kitchen. I am tired and angry, not a good combination. Turning on the coffee pot I take a seat at the table and wait for the coffee to be done. I am half tempted to call Eric on his cell phone because that is what I really want to do at the moment, but I hold myself back. All I would end up doing while in this frame of mind is yelling at him, that is if he even answered my call. Usually when he is out he doesn't answer his phone, I don't know if he doesn't answer any of his calls or just mine, but I have come to expect my calls to go unanswered.

I pour myself a cup of coffee once it is finished and then slowly make my way into the living room to wait for Eric to get home. I sit down on the couch and try to get my anger under control so I don't blow up on him the moment he walks through the front door. I need to keep a level head so I can tell him how I feel about him going out all the time and the only way to get my point across is by being rational. If he loves me he will hear me out, possibly even take in to consideration the fact that this is hurting me and will stop going out so often.

The moment I hear Eric's key in the lock of the front door I freeze and unconsciously hold my breath as I watch him step into the room. As soon as his eyes land on my form he lets out a sigh and keeps his eyes from making contact with mine. His movements are slow as he shuts the door behind him and relocks it. I don't move from my spot on the couch, but I manage to let out the breath I was holding and fix Eric with an accusatory stare. When he finally turns to face me I motion for him to take a seat on the couch and frown when he lets out an audible groan.

"Can't we do this in the morning? I'm really tired and would just like to get some sleep. I'm sure whatever you have to say can wait until then." He says as he begins to make his way down the hall.

With quick movements I stand up from the couch and, not that I mean to, fix his back with a cold glare. "No this can't wait until the morning. I have some things I need to say and we have some things to discuss, we will do this right now because I am not going to wait this time." I say firmly; proudly standing my ground. "Now would you please sit down?"

I watch as he stops dead in his tracks and after a moment he slowly turns around to give me a death glare. However I don't back down like I usually do, this time I calmly sit back down on the couch and keep steady eye contact with him. He lets out a heavy sigh when he realizes that I am not going to give in and begrudgingly makes his way over to the couch where he flops down next to me.

For a long moment I don't say anything, now that I have him where I want him I don't know how to express how I am feeling. I have a feeling this is a lose, lose situation because he seems rather uninterested in what I have to say and he seems angry as well, but I have to try to get through to him... I have nothing to lose.

"Alright are we going to get this over with some time soon or can I go to bed?" He asks in an irritated tone and I let out a sigh at his impatience, it's not my fault he decided to stay out all night.

"Eric... I'm tired of you going out all the time, why can't..." I don't get to finish my sentence because his very audible sigh ceases all words from leaving my mouth.

"You're upset cause I like going out, look Ryan I used to go out all the time before I met you... I figured you would have known the type of person I am by now. I won't apologize for wanting to enjoy myself once in a while and I can't deny that it really pisses me off that you would want to change me, you're supposed to love me for me and that includes what I enjoy doing on my down time."

This causes a glare to form on my face. "For one I'm not trying to change you and I do love you for you, you seem to forget that I enjoy going to clubs once in a while too. It's just that you haven't been going once in a while, it's been every night!" I take a deep breath to calm myself because I realize I am getting worked up and that is the last thing I need to be doing at the moment. "I don't care that you go out to the clubs once in a while Eric, it's just I would like some of your time as well. I am your boyfriend after all and would like to spend some time with you when we're not working. We used to do things together, whether it was out in public or in the privacy of our own home, you didn't feel the need to go out all the time before."

"Well I just never realized how much I missed it and you can't fault me for it, clubbing used to be a big part of my life after all. I miss the night life and the adrenaline that comes with it, I miss the whole scene."

"I understand that because I have been missing my boyfriend so fucking much lately." I say quickly so I don't miss the opportunity to express it and his face becomes blank for a moment.

"I don't want to fight with you Ryan." He says as he stands up and my face falls at his reaction. "I'm sorry you're feeling neglected, but you can't force me to give up my life."

"I thought I was a part of your life." My voice expresses my sorrow, but just as quick as it came anger takes its place. "I'm not asking you to give up what you enjoy doing Eric, I'm simply asking for a little bit of your time." Now I am standing as well and am right in his face. "Why do you feel the need to go out all the time anyway?"

"Just let it go Ryan." He says in a warning tone of voice, but I choose to ignore it.

"No I won't let this go; I wanna know what's pulling you away from me. You didn't feel the need to go out all the time when we first started dating, you actually wanted to spend time with me and now I can't get you to spend even five minutes with me. What gives Eric, why is going out every night so damn important to you?"

"Because ever since I got with you I feel like I'm this entirely different person that I don't recognize, I'm different when I'm with you. I don't go out like I used to, I never hang out with my friends. I find myself buying flowers, which I never used to do before! Before we got together I used to do what I wanted, I was free. Now I have to check with you to make sure you don't already have plans for us. Before all I could think about was going to one of my favorite clubs, hanging out for a while just having a good time and then hooking up with some random person. Now all I can think about is you and your smile, the way your eyes light up when you talk about something that you truly love. Now all I can think about is going home to you and holding you tight as we do something as simple as watch TV. This wasn't how I used to be Ryan, I never used to have a care in the world and now my world is centered around you." He lets out with a frustrated groan, throwing his hands up in the air to emphasize his point. "I didn't even notice this was happening until my best bud said that I had changed and that they missed the old me."

My face softens and this overwhelming feeling of love engulfs me as I listen to his words, I never realized how much he loves me until this very moment. "So that's what this is all about... you're afraid of commitment?" I ask this with a small smile on my face.

"No I'm not afraid of commitment!" He practically growls as he turns to look at me with burning eyes. "This thing with you, this relationship, is making me lose myself. Don't you get it Ryan? I'm losing myself in you, I'm losing myself in this relationship and that is what is scaring me to death."

"You're not losing yourself Eric, it's quite the opposite in fact... you're finding yourself. You've found happiness; you've found something more in life and you're settling down." I say softly; not sure how he will react to my words.

"You don't understand, I'm not settling down! I've never had this happen to me before in any of the other relationships I've been in, I'm losing myself Ryan, it's like this relationship is killing me and I don't like it... I don't like this person I'm becoming." He says this last part softly, avoiding my eyes with a guilty expression on his face.

A deep cloud of despair suddenly hovers over my soul as these words are uttered and I can't keep the hurt out of my eyes as I try to get him to look at me. "That's how you truly feel? Our relationship is killing you Eric?" My voice is laced with hurt as well as anger as I say my next words, "Why don't you just be straight with me and tell me you don't want to be with me anymore? It would be easier than watching you go out all the time and avoid me like you have been doing. Better yet why don't you rip my heart out, break it all to pieces with your bare hands and then leave it on the floor for me to pick up myself... oh wait you already did that."

His eyes are blazing when he turns them on me. "I don't have to take this, you were that wanted to talk in the first place. You were the one that wanted the truth!" He practically screams this as he makes his way toward the front door and I am quick to follow him. I grab his arm only to have him throw it off. "Don't touch me Ryan, we're done talking and now I am leaving. Don't wait up for me since I don't know when I'll be back."

"Don't leave like this Eric, this needs to be resolved." I say stubbornly as I grab his arm once again.

Before I realize what is happening he turns around and I lose my grip on his arm. I only have time to widen my eyes before his raised fist collides roughly with my cheek bone and I fall to the floor. The pain registers a moment later and I can't help, but wince. I am too stunned to do anything though and the emotional pain that is coursing through my being outweighs the physical. He just hit me; my Eric just hit me... that just sounds so foreign to me, so wrong.

Almost hesitantly I raise my head to meet his gaze and I stare at him with wounded eyes. He is covering his mouth with his hand and his body is trembling slightly. His eyes show that he is possibly just as shocked as I am and a powerful guilt lies within them as well. Slowly he bends down beside my fallen form and reaches out to touch me. I can't stop my initial instinct to wince and jerk away from his touch though. He quickly retracts and falls to his ass as tears quickly fill up his eyes only to fall down his cheeks; staining them in the process.

"Ryan... Oh my God Ryan I'm so sorry. I... I didn't mean to, I... please forgive me, I didn't mean to hurt you." His tears turn into sobs as he continues to beg for my forgiveness, I am torn between rushing out of the house and taking his shaking body in my arms. "I can't believe I just did that, you have to believe me... I... I would never want to hurt you Ryan. God I'm so, so ashamed of myself. Please forgive me baby, I didn't mean it I swear!"

I stare at him as I slowly sit up, tenderly rubbing my injured cheek bone. He looks at me with pained eyes and I have to look away from them. I am just so confused at the moment because I want to believe that he is sorry, but I find it hard to trust his words right now. Never before had I had trouble believing in him and now that is shattered.

"I... I don't know how to handle this, my God Eric you just hit me." I say in a broken tone of voice as I return his stare.

More tears fall from his eyes as he crawls over to me and at first I am reluctant, but after a moment I give in and let him take me into his arms. "Please don't leave me, I love you Ryan. I love you so much and if you don't want me going to the clubs than I won't. I'll do whatever it takes to keep you here with me!"

"You have to promise you'll never hit me again." I say firmly as I begin crying with him; hiding my face against his chest.

"I promise babe, never again! I swear I'll never hurt you again." He keeps mumbling, "Never hurt you again, I swear." as he cradles me in his arms and we cry together.

We have fought many times since that night, but never about our relationship. He hasn't been to a club since then either and I am grateful to him for that. He spends more time with me, like he did when we first started dating, and seems to be warming up to the idea of commitment. We don't mention that night or the events that took place, but there are times when he will come home with flowers, candy or some stuffed animal. He always says he bought them for no particular reason; that he just wanted to make me happy. It is these times when I know he has been thinking about that night because though he is smiling there is pain in his eyes that he is trying to hide, but I can see it so clearly. That night often crosses my mind as well, but I choose to keep it hidden. We are trying to move past it and to talk about it would put unnecessary strain on our relationship.

Moving past it is a struggle though and even now all we are fighting about is the fact that he has left his dirty towel on the bathroom floor from when he took a shower. We fight about stupid things when our minds can't avoid memories of that night, on top of my OCD of course because silly things easily set it off. He is heatedly arguing back with me about this, even though he is aware of my OCD, and throwing his hands around in the air. I know he would never think of laying a hand on me again, but every time we argue I can't stop the flinch that forms on my face nor can I help the fact that I step out of the reach of his fists. I hate this underlying fear that now resides in my soul and I want to trust him like I once did, but I find it difficult. I often wonder when this fear will ease with time, but deep down I know that he has left a scar so deep that it will never fade.

The fear that he will hit me again is strong and I don't know if our relationship can survive this, but I love him too much to give up on us... I will hide my fear as long as I can, while my heart bleeds in front of his blind eyes.

.The End.