Written for MiamiFicTalk Challenge. #14 - Choices.

Rewrite for the Horatio backstory from 4.06:: "He vowed to protect and serve, until his partner became entangled in a personal scandal. In order to salvage his partner's career, Horatio packed his belongings, tranferring to a new police department in the sunny paradise of Miami." Tricki, because we keep missing eachother!! xx


Horatio sat up on one elbow, the bed sheet shifting across his naked form. The silken caramel-coloured skin facing him was too enticing as he traced patterns across her back, placed butterfly kisses on her shoulder and lightly caressed his way to her stomach. The involuntary shivers across her body gave him the sign that she was awake, just not ready for the exploration to be over yet.

"It's closing in on seven, Dans," he whispered in her ear, eliciting a groan. He moved the brunette curls from her neck and kissed the newly exposed skin.

"Well, if you expect me to get to work, you'd better quit that fast," she smirked, although still rolling her neck for better access for him.

He gave a chuckle but carried on regardless. He stroked his way lightly back down her body and rested a hand on her hip, using it as leverage so to turn her over and capture her lips in his. She moaned into the embrace, scratching at his back with her nails and rubbing her leg along his.

She allowed a few more minutes of his tongue on her skin, offering a repeat performance from the night before, but ultimately twisted herself out of the bed. She smirked as Horatio heaved a sigh and rolled onto his back, his arms folded beneath his head.

Dana sat on the edge of the bed and picked her clothes up from the floor. Slipping the skirt up her legs and fastening the bra behind her back, she fed her arms through her shirt but allowed herself to be pulled back down onto the bed and into Horatio's kiss again.

"I gotta go," she grinned.

"Coming back tonight?" he asked, running a finger along her collar bone.

"Now that depends…"

"On…?"

"Whether the anticipation of me maybe coming by tonight adds to the fun…"

His eyes told her the answer without a shadow of doubt, she felt her breath hitch in her throat and forced herself to get up and out of that room before she really was late for work.

He heard the front door close behind her and forced himself to get up before he was late for work also.

He jumped in the shower and revelled in the scolding water cascading down his body - the perfect remedy for a frozen New York morning. Well, maybe not perfect - that remedy got interrupted. He cursed and ruled the day that Dana Kieran came into his life and into his bed.

---

"Okay, where are we?" Horatio asked, facing the wipe-board baring the latest case for New York's Homicide squad. A voice came from behind a computer screen updating him with the night's offerings. "Sounds good. Where is my partner this fine morning?"

"Boss called her in," the computer-hidden voice said, "Didn't look too good."

He didn't bother to ask just how the guy would have known what anything looked like that wasn't plastered on his screen. Instead, he took off to his shared office in hopes to find his partner. The thud and smash of something thrown against the wall told him that the office was certainly not empty. "Morning?"

"Oh, piss off." Dana Kieran spat, her curls bouncing on her shoulders.

"Hey, what happened?" He shut the door behind him and took a tentative step in the room. She was temperamental at the best of times, but when annoyed as well? The Empire State paperweight in 17 pieces on the floor gave a clear indication.

"What happened? They know. Some little brown-noser has told Boss that I'm sleeping with someone from work. What has it got to do with them?" she was almost shouting now, her green-eyes resembling those of cats ready to pounce.

"Someone?"

"Oh yeah, only I'm the bad guy here. You're off the hook. What am I supposed to do now? If they fire me-"

"-are they?"

"I don't know. They say that they need to 'discuss the situation' because of the high profile case and the 'scandal' that could come of it. What am I supposed to do, Horatio? I've got a husband, I've got a kid in school, they don't need to know about this…"

He raked a hand through his hair. He was waiting for this day to come. He knew what they were getting into was dangerous on so many levels, but it just happened one night. Then the night after that, and the night after that…Until it was a regular thing that neither dared hint at anywhere outside of his apartment. She wouldn't sleep over often, that was one of the perks of a high profile homicide case - long nights were a given, which proved a legitimate excuse for her home.

He wasn't proud of it, of course not, but there was something about Dana Kieran that mesmerised people. When Horatio had been promoted up to the squad he was even warned about her, "Watch Dans. She breaks stereotypes, breaks bones and breaks hearts." He laughed it off, but it soon became clear. She rarely talked about her life outside of the office so he didn't know of the husband when he had started lusting after her. After he had learnt, he was so far over the precipice with her that he didn't care, just so long as he saw her again.

But he never once wished that she would be all his. They would never survive each other. And he never wished for something to happen that could hurt her child.

"Okay, listen, this is what's going to happen," Horatio said, guiding her to her desk chair and rolling his own closer to her. He leant on his knees as he quietly said, "I've been offered a job in a new department down in Miami. If I leave during the case it'll create more of a scandal and yours - ours - will blow over in a New York minute. It won't hurt the case because we've got the guy, we've just got to get him to talk which you can do in a second."

"Horatio…I can't let you do that. You love New York more than anyone, I can't let you leave it just to save my ass."

"Hey, my ass is eventually gonna get dragged into the whole thing, so I'm saving my own." He smirked. "Anyway, I was already seriously considering taking the position. I get to chose my own team and build it from the ground up…"

She was impressed, "Nice."

"Let me make a few calls, fill out a few forms and I'll fix all this," He stood up.

"Thank you, Horatio," Dana whispered as she stood and went to hug him.

He backed off with a smirk, "That isn't gonna help save our asses, y'know"?

She laughed, "No, I suppose not."

Horatio, hand on the door, turned back to Dana. She was definitely calmer than before, her whole demeanour had shifted. She raked one hand through her curls while the other rested on the back of her neck, she heaved a sigh of relief and spun to see him watching her. The relieved and thankful smile she gave him was reason enough that he'd made the right choice. She had more to lose than him; he only lost her.