MiamiFicTalk Yahoo Group's Prompt: #06 - Sunrise.

I feel I should say, 'Smoking can seriously damage your health'.

It had been two of the worst possible days a CSI could experience. A quadruple homicide was called in at the beginning of the shift, Calleigh was the first on scene. Three children, one mother. Blood everywhere. Bullets in walls, furniture, soft toys. It was the kind of scene that you almost wanted to refuse going to because you just knew the toll it was going to take on all involved, but you never did. It made you get there faster. Especially for the children.

Calleigh was already into her third shift. The first and second –back-to-back – was processing the scene, the third –and whatever was to come- going over the evidence.

All cases and spent bullets had been recovered, totalling 36, and identified as being from an AR-15 semi-automatic, gas operated, shoulder-fired rifle. Heavy, heavy artillery for such a task. Now it was to single out the fatal bullets, the trajectories, basically everything that happened in that small house in Scott Lake from the hours of 6am to 9am.

When the immunity to caffeine was setting in and it felt like she was re-breathing the same air over and over again, Calleigh knew she needed a break. She trekked through the quiet halls, her legs heavier with each step, and opened the fire escape door.

The dewy morning air hit her, producing goosebumps all over her body. She sat down on a step and cast her eyes to the orange hues of a Miami sunrise.

Shaded clouds from yellow to burnt-orange floated in the tranquil sky. Palm trees, faded with the backlight, turned black and stood out even better than with the full day sun. The ocean in the distance gently lapped against the shore, one world tickling at another.

She reached into her pocket, pulling out a small white box and flipping the lid. With a sigh, she fingered at the thin tubes within, just two cigarettes missing in the year she'd had them. One went to her mouth and she grabbed the lighter from inside the box and scorched the end.

The first drag was deep and filling. It wasn't something she did often, nor even admitted too really, but it was something that she found herself doing when she was completely and utterly depleted in every aspect.

She rested her arms against her knees and watched the sky.

The door behind her made a clatter as it fell back against the bar, staying open until Calleigh, and now Horatio, closed it properly when they re-entered the labs.

He looked down to her, before following her previous eye-line to the golden orange vista. She gestured with her cigarette, clasped between two fingers, "Sometimes you just have too."

He pulled at the material at his thighs before taking a seat next to her. She offered him the cigarette packet, he obliged. She watched from the corner of her eye as he lit up, blowing the smoke high into the sky.

They sat in silence for a while, watching the trees bustle slightly in the breeze and the clouds gently float on by.

"I still don't get it," Calleigh said, "How we can have something as amazingly beautiful as this, and yet have so many horrible and heinous people out there who do such unspeakable things."

"It hardly seems fair, does it?"

Calleigh shook her head and sucked at the cigarette again.

"You know how I think about it?" Horatio asked, rhetorically. "If we didn't have the horrible, how would be know what was beautiful? If we didn't have the heinous crimes, we couldn't compare them to a sunrise and appreciate the wonder and it's coming back day after day."

Calleigh thought about it for a while. "I like that. Without the ugly, we wouldn't see the beauty."

They both finished their cigarettes, stubbing them out on the metal structure.

"Go home. Sleep. Come back fresh in the afternoon and hit it all again. You've done enough work for that family to warrant a couple of hours of rest."

Calleigh nodded, knowing it to be true but still a little reluctant to go, but her body was so lethargic it was a necessity. She stood to go back inside and gently stroked her hand over Horatio's shoulder as she passed. "It goes both ways, y'know?"

He smiled at her valiant, though useless, effort.

The beauty of the sunrise before him; the knowledge that his team were working literally until they dropped to find justice for the victims, and of the anticipation of ridding the streets of more of the evil that they disguised, was all his needed to enter his fourth shift.