Title: Walking Her Home

Author: lildreamer

Rating: K+

Pairings: HC

Spoilers: none

Summary: He remembered the night he fell in love. It was the best night of his life.

Disclaimer: I don't CSI: Miami or any of its characters. The song "Walking Her Home" belongs to Mark Schultz.

Okay, on with the story…
It had been a long day for all of them. Case after case had been coming in all week with no end in sight. Murder, kidnapping, robbery, sexual assault—they'd seen it all that week. And all the mental stress that came with it was starting to take its toll on all of them. Especially Calleigh. One case in particular had hit very close to home for the blonde CSI. The victim's father had been drunk. He hadn't seen the other car until it was too late. He'd walked away from the crash with barely a scratch, but the other driver had died instantly. Sad part was, the other driver was his son.

The man had been charged with vehicular manslaughter along with negligent homicide as after the accident, he'd fled from the scene, leaving his son to die instead of calling it in. That evening, Horatio had found Calleigh hanging around in the parking lot alone. She just stood there by her car with her arms crossed, looking up at the moon. Horatio walked up to her and saw that she was crying. The case had reminded the CSI too much of her own father. It broke his heart to see her this way. He stayed there with her, lending an ear and a shoulder to cry on.

A few days later he invited her to dinner and movie. He'd told her it would help her feel better and get her mind off things. And it did. But something else had happened that night as well. Something neither of them had expected.

Looking back, he sees it all
It was her first date the night he came to call

Horatio promptly arrived at her apartment at 7:30. Feeling slightly nervous, he knocked on the door and waited patiently for her to answer. It was strange. It was like he was a teenage boy again on his very first date. But this wasn't a date. It was just a night on the town between friends. Right?

He heard her voice and a moment later the door opened. One word was all he could manage to say when he saw her.


She smiled shyly at him, her cheeks turning pink.

Calleigh didn't look like herself at all. Her long blonde hair was pulled up into an elegant knot. And she looked very pretty in a red v-neck sweater and a knee-length black and red skirt. A small smile tugged at the corners of Horatio's lips when he noticed her shoes. Brown cowgirl boots. You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl.

"You like them?" Calleigh asked, pulling him from his thoughts.

He smiled. "They suit you somehow."

Her blush deepened, her cheeks beginning to match her sweater. "Thank you." Suddenly remembering her manners, she invited him in.

He'd been there before for parties and such. But it looked so different now, without all the people. A single couch sat in the middle of the room looking very inviting. Small, intricate paintings hung on almost every wall, except one. On that wall hung the one thing you wouldn't expect to find in a woman's home. A gun case. Horatio's smile broadened. Calleigh was one-of-a-kind. She was the only woman he knew that could be absolutely fascinated by a deadly weapon.

He watched as she disappeared down the hallway to his left. She'd left her purse in her bedroom. His gaze then shifted to his right, toward the kitchen. To his surprise, it was occupied. Seated at the small dining table in the corner was Calleigh's father. Papers and folders were scattered all over the table. The man was busily jotting down notes, pretending he hadn't been watching them. Wow, this really is like high school.

"Mr. Duquesne, it's nice to see you again."

The older man looked up from what he was doing. "Lt. Caine, what a pleasant surprise. What brings you here?"

Wordlessly, Horatio's eyes darted toward the hallway.

Mr. Duquesne smiled. "Oh, I see."

And her dad said, "Son, have her home on time
And promise me you'll never leave her side."

The two men talked casually about this and that until Calleigh reappeared, purse in hand. She looked between her father and her boss. They'd stopped talking the moment she walked in. Whatever they had been talking about, they were keeping from her.

"Are you ready?" Horatio asked, moving toward her.

She nodded. "As ready as I'll ever be."

Before they left, she gave her father a hug goodbye. "See ya, dad."

"Have fun, Lambchop."

"I will."

She didn't notice the wink and smile the two men shared as she and Horatio walked out the door.

He took her to a show in town
And he was ten feet off the ground

The evening had begun pretty well. Horatio had surprised Calleigh by taking her to dinner at a fancy restaurant. She wasn't quite sure how he could afford it all. And actually, he wasn't sure either. But it didn't really matter. He just wanted to make her happy.

They went to a movie afterwards. Night at the Museum. It was the only thing out that seemed to appeal to either of them. They'd gotten about halfway through the movie when both their cell phones suddenly began to chirp. They both glanced at their phones then at each other, slightly annoyed by the interruption.

Duty calls.

The two quickly and quietly made their way out of the theatre and immediately shifted into investigator mode.

The page had come from Det. Frank Tripp. There had been a robbery at small convenience store nearby. The owner had been killed, but not before he'd shot down one of the thieves. What had caught the detective's attention was the tattoo he'd discovered on the thief's chest. The guy was a Mala Noche. And he knew Horatio would want in on the investigation.

Once Horatio and Calleigh arrived, the two went their separate ways. But not without getting a few curious looks from their friends and teammates. Calleigh went to help process the scene while Horatio got a quick briefing from the detective. The process took all night. It was about four in the morning by the time they had finished. Everyone was tired.

"I think I'm gonna head on home, Horatio. If that's okay," Calleigh yawned, returning her kit to the back of the Hummer. "It's way past my bedtime."

"Need a ride?" Horatio offered.

Calleigh shook her head. "No, it's okay. I think I'll walk. It's a beautiful night, and besides, it's just a couple of blocks from here."

"Are you sure?"

She nodded.

He knew she could take of herself and wanted to respect her wishes, but he just couldn't bring himself to leave her. "Want some company?"

She smiled. "I'd like that."

With very specific orders, Horatio left the Hummer with Eric and the rest of the team. With huge smiles on their faces, they watched Horatio and Calleigh's retreating figures disappear down the road.

The two walked in silence for a while, just enjoying each other's company. The neighborhood was pretty quiet then, what with most of the people still asleep in their homes. And as for the night crawlers, most of them had already begun returning to wherever it was they came from.

Horatio found himself staring at his friend, moving closer to her as he did. He didn't know why, but spending the evening with her had made him feel alive again. Somehow, being with her had brought him out of his shell. Ever since he'd lost Marisol and Ray, his life just seemed to fall apart. He'd felt so lost and all alone. But even now, as he gazed at his blonde companion, he could feel all his burdens just lift off his shoulders.

Their hands brushed up against each other and Horatio took her hand in his, their fingers intertwining. Taken by surprise, Calleigh turned her head and looked down at their hands. Horatio watched her nervously, afraid he'd done something wrong. She looked up at him. But instead of slapping him, she squeezed his hand, her lips curving into a beautiful smile. His heart melted.

As he was walking her home
And holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled, it stole the breath right out of him

A warm feeling coursed through his body as they kept walking, hand in hand. A huge smile remained on his face the rest of the trip. He couldn't help it. He'd never felt so wonderful in all his life. She'd done that to him. With just a simple smile.

They came to a large tree in front of her apartment building and Horatio stopped. He faced her and took both of her hands in his.

He looked into her bright blue eyes. A gentle breeze lifted her blonde hair so that it swam around her, highlighted by the moon. She was the most beautiful thing Horatio had ever seen. He was so taken with her that he had trouble even speaking. "Thank you."

"For what?" She stared at him, slightly confused.

His face softened and he gave her a special smile. "You…you are the best friend a guy could ever have."

What? She searched his eyes. And what she found there was something she hadn't expected. Love. His eyes were full of love. For her.

She smiled softly, putting her arms around him. "You're very welcome."

They hugged tight then, tighter than they had ever hugged before.

Horatio pulled back and brushed blonde strands of hair from her face. "I will never let anyone hurt you. Not if I have to die first."

Tears flooded Calleigh's eyes. No one had ever said something like that to her and really meant it. But Horatio was different. Just by the look he was giving her, she knew that he meant every word.

As they stared at each other, the distance between them began to shrink until their faces were only inches apart. Ever the gentlemen, Horatio looked deep into Calleigh's eyes, silently asking for permission. Before she could respond, their lips met in a passionate kiss. His arms slid around her waist as she threw hers around his neck.

The night seemed to disappear around them. It was like they were floating on a cloud.

"Look," Horatio whispered, breaking away from the kiss, his gaze drawn toward the sky.

Calleigh turned. The first pink tinges of light were brightening the horizon. They stood together, arms around each other, and watched the sunrise.

And down that old road
With the stars up above
He remembers where he was the night he fell in love
He was walking her home

Horatio paced back and forth in the waiting room, anxiously. He wasn't sure whether to feel excited or worried. It had been two years since the night he'd fallen in love with his best friend. They'd married one year later. Then a few months afterward, they found out she was pregnant.

He couldn't believe how lucky he was. After all this time, she hadn't left him like so many others had. She stuck by his side. She'd been the only constant in his life since his brother died. She'd made his life whole again. And now she was giving him something he never thought he'd have. Much less deserved.

A family.

Two more years and a waiting room
At half past one
So when the doctor said come in and meet your son

The double doors at the end of the hallway suddenly opened and a man in green scrubs slipped out. He made his way over to Horatio, smiling.

"Congratulations, Lt. Caine," the man said, shaking his hand. "You have a son."

And his knees went weak
When he saw his wife
She was smiling as she said, "He's got your eyes."

Horatio followed him back into the room. Calleigh was lying there, smiling at him through her tears, a bundle in her arms. Tears flooded his eyes.

He had a son.

"He looks like you," Calleigh whispered, gently handing him the tiny bundle.

Horatio looked down at his sleeping son's face and was suddenly overwhelmed by the emotions. He began to cry openly. He looked back up at Calleigh who was now crying with him and smiled.

"I—I have a son…"

They were able to bring little Timothy Raymond Caine home a couple of days later. Horatio lay in their bed watching Calleigh interact with their son. Raymie was lying between his parents, wiggling around and cooing. Horatio loved to watch them. They were perfect.

And as she slept he held her tight
His mind went back to that first night

Raymie soon fell asleep and so did Calleigh. Horatio smiled, watching them sleep. They were his world.

And he'd never forget that magical night.

When he was walking her home
And holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled, it stole the breath right out of him
And down that old road
With the stars up above
He remembers where he was the night he fell in love
He was walking her home

The years went by and they had another child, a daughter. Paige Marisol Caine. She had strawberry-blonde hair unlike her older brother who had their father's red hair. They both grew up to be very smart, what with having a cop and a CSI as parents. They both also inherited Calleigh's love for guns—much to both their parents' dismay.

He walked her through the best days of her life
Sixty years together and he never left her side

Both Horatio and Calleigh retired from the force around the same time. The years had taken their toll. And their lives were nearing the end.

A nursing home
At eighty-five
And the doctor said it could be her last night

Horatio sat in her room, watching her sleep. She looked so fragile now. Though she'd insisted on keeping her hair long, the strands had lost their color and had become white as the snow. As did his own. Her skin had wrinkled with age, her face only a shadow of what she once looked like.

He watched her chest slowly move up and down as she breathed tiredly. Her body was failing. It was shutting down. And though they hadn't told him, he knew. He knew it was only a matter of time. She would stop fighting soon.

The nurse watched the old couple from the doorway. She shared a look with the young doctor who was standing behind her.

And the nurse said, "Oh
Should we tell him now?
Or should he wait until the morning to find out?"

The man shook his head, answering her unspoken question. And they let them be.

The two returned that night to check on Horatio and Calleigh. And what they found broke their hearts.

But when they checked her room that night
He was laying by her side

Horatio had pulled himself up on the bed to lay next to his dying wife. He held her small, frail hand, stroking it with his thumb. He whispered something in her ear. She glanced briefly at him, gently smiling her goodbye.

Oh he was walking her home
Holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled when he said, "This is not the end."

Horatio gently moved a strand of hair from her face. Even now, he still thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

Just for a while they were eighteen
And she was still more beautiful to him than anything

Calleigh's eyes fluttered, and she was gone. A tear fell quietly from Horatio's eyes.

He was walking her home…

Horatio stood in front of Calleigh's grave, staring at the headstone. Remembering the night he had fallen in love with her. It had been the best night of his life.

Looking back
He sees it all
It was her first date the night he came to call

Two days later, Horatio went to join his wife.

Happy Valentine's Day! Reviews welcome!