Hello all, Happy December!
This has been cross-posted to a couple of places, so apologies if you've already seen it :) Written to try to work my way through writer's block. And, of course, because Horatio and Calleigh are a weakness of mine ;)
Calleigh collected the last of her things from her locker and closed it up for the night. She was just picking up her coat from the bench when Horatio walked in.
"Doing anything good tonight?" he asked, his head bowed as usual. It often struck her, in her occasional reveries about the Lieutenant, that he seriously must not know where he was heading. His head drooped, his dark glasses on…it was surprising he was as unscathed as he was. "Calleigh?"
She realised she was in one such reverie. Her shoulder fell against the locker block, her feet crossing at the ankle. "Ask me tomorrow?"
"Ah," he mused.
"I'm thinking I can be home by around 10ish, maybe curled up in bed by half past…" A finger played against the underside of her chin, while her eyes looked into the distance, formulating a plan. "Alone that is," she corrected.
"High hopes, I see."
"Well, I'm a scientist; I work with evidence, no? From what I have been told about this guy, Kevin," she counted off on her fingers, "he works security at a bank."
"Strike one?" Horatio smiled.
The 'security guy' finger pointed at him in a 'dead on' gesture. "Two: he is tall. Which translates to anything above five foot four inches."
Horatio nodded his understanding.
A third finger was added, "Three. He likes cop shows, so believes he has an understanding of the criminal system…from Sipowicz." Her eyes signalled her alarm and shame.
"And four…the doozy," a hand came massaged at her temple, before her whole face transformed into that of a Paris-wannabe. "He's, like, from Louisiana! That's, like, where I'm from!" Calleigh's feigned excitement and shock, obviously an impression of whoever set them up together, dissolved into despair. She had to stop talking to people who worked at Starbucks.
"And you're still going because…"
"The Miami County Fair's in town. That's where I'm meeting him. I wanted to go and it's just a little bit too sad to go on your own." She shrugged. At least she was getting something out of it.
"Well, good luck. You never know, this guy may turn out to be six-foot-one with an actual legal history with criminal law and only moonlights as security."
She leant in close to whisper, "A girl can hope."
A girl may hope, but wishes do not always come true. Her instincts where right, Kevin was an ass. Of the grandest scale.
He apparently gave into the Southern stereotype just a little too much, seeing Calleigh Duquesne as the Scarlett O'Hara damsel in distress. Luckily, thankfully and by the grace of whoever above, he did not know about her career. Kevin had already boasted that he had seen every episode of 'NYPD Blue' and 'Law & Order', which was apparently quite a feat with the amount of seasons they had both had. Who knew?
But the Fair was amazing. She had instantly regressed to being six years old and holding her Daddy's hand as he took her on all the rides and won her stuffed animals that were even bigger than her.
"Oh, perfect!" Kevin exclaimed as they passed the Tilt-O-Whirl and sidestepped the fallen hotdog. "A shooting gallery!"
She grimaced just a bit.
"I happen to be quite a good shot. It's all the training we have to do to work security. We have to save lives, you know?" He beamed, impressed with himself. "And I have a couple of firearms at home. A couple 9-mils, some 38's. I bought them from a guy who comes in the bank. You don't need all that paperwork that the cops say you do," he shook his head, oblivious to the fact that Calleigh had stopped walking a few steps behind. "Come on! I'll win you giant teddy!"
She was almost ready to quit the night right then and there. If it wasn't for a glimpse of the unmistakable red head propping up the shooting gallery.
She had to chuckle as Horatio welcomed Kevin, taking his money and handing him the pellets for the simple shoot-a-duck target game. She began to follow Kevin's gestures, flashing a grin to Horatio but shaking her head a slight, signalling not to alert her date to them knowing one another.
"Ma'am," Horatio smiled.
"Sir," Calleigh smiled back.
"Babe," Kevin said, causing her to shoot him a 'what?' expression. "Start picking your animal 'cause I rule at this game."
She smiled and nodded, letting him live his fantasy. He shot at the targets, to his credit one of the ducks collapsed back.
"That's one," Horatio said, keeping score.
Kevin tried again. He missed the second target.
"You have one pellet left, young man. You need two out of three to get a prize," Horatio warned, watching Calleigh fighting her giggle.
He missed the ducks again.
Calleigh squeezed Kevin's arm, "Oh, don't worry, babe."
Horatio produced a marbled bouncing ball. "Your prize for hitting one target."
Kevin looked at it in disdain, and passed it to Calleigh. It wasn't quite the giant pink teddy he was hoping for.
"Maybe the lady would like to shoot?" Horatio asked, passing the gun to Calleigh.
The date was already over, why not have some fun? She fell into Kevin's stereotype of her, and poured on the accent. "Oh, a gun? I don't think little ol' me could shoot something like that!"
Kevin saw it as way to re-establish his ego, being a better shot than the petite gorgeous blonde at his side. "Give it a try, babe!"
"Oh, okay!" Her cheeks dimpled at the grin she portrayed.
"Now, listen," Kevin told her, "Shooting is more of a man's sport, so don't worry if you miss."
"Yes, miss, it's more of a man's sport," Horatio repeated, relishing in the 'bite me' look on Calleigh's face.
So, what was she to do? Make Kevin feel like a man again and throw her perfect aim off? Or show him just how much of a 'man's sport' shooting was, and hit all her targets and win him the toy?
She looked at Kevin's hopeful smile. She was already going to shatter him when she not only told him she was going to be busy for the next decade or so, but also that he was breaking the law with his unregistered firearms and was actually on a date with a member of the Miami Dade Police Department. She might as well give him something to hold on too…
So she did. Calleigh Duquesne, nationally renowned 'Bullet Girl', missed all three ducks barely five-foot from her. But she saw Kevin's face light up so that was all she needed.
That is, until he turned and said "That's okay, babe! You just stay looking pretty."
She didn't even need to say a word to Horatio, just shot him a look and found more pellets in her hand. She loaded up and shot the hell out of the targets in rapid succession.
Horatio grinned at the beaming smile on Calleigh's face. "That's how us pretty girls do it!"
"Kevin, dear sweet Kevin," she said, pulling her shield out of her bag, "I'm CSI2 Calleigh Duquesne, specialising in ballistics analysis, and you? You just got whooped by a girl. Also, I'm sorry to say that I don't think I can see you again, but you will be seeing some of my co-workers when they come to collect the illegal firearms you just admitted to keeping." She took a breath and clicked her cheek, "Sorry, babe."
Kevin was at a loss for words, his wide eyes scanned around him, settling on the shield that Horatio was now flashing, his hands on his hips and his blazer to the sides. He spun on his heel and walked away.
Calleigh groaned out her relief. "Oh, Thank God!" She tottered up to the free space near Horatio and hopped up for a seat. "What are you doing here anyway, Handsome? Not that I'm not glad to see you."
"I got a call a few hours ago from the Fair directors to say that their shooting gallery guy was sick and they didn't have a qualified replacement, and could I send someone to help out. I figured you would some how end up around the guns and might need bailing out from your date, so I thought I'd offer my services."
"God bless you," she grinned. Her face turned serious for a second, "Hey, where's my giant pink teddy? I got all the targets!"
Horatio's head drooped in amusement, as he lifted down the oversized stuffed animal. It was at least half her height and twice her width, but she clung onto it like that six year old she used to be.