Author's Note: I'll say it right away – major spoiler for season 6. If you'd rather be surprised, then turn back now. Run as fast as you can, hehe, because this fic will revolve around that point. Don't care? Then please continue. I have no idea how long this will actually turn out to be, but I'm guessing VERY long.
Updated to say: These first several chapters were written before the show, so there are several things that don't match up.
Remember: I don't own the show so don't sue me. :-)
Thanks to Olly the uber beta of wonderfulness. I couldn't have done it without you. And I've learned that it's not even worth attempting to go it alone. Thank you so much.
No Other One
Prologue: The Two
By Duckie Nicks
"There is a woman at the beginning of all great things." – Alphonse de Lamartine
He was drunk, but not drunk enough to forget that Yelina was now married to his brother. Drinking the iced scotch steadily, Horatio planned to remedy that. The line between pleasantly and embarrassingly drunk was small, and the redhead refused to be the latter.
The large hall was filled with people; leave it to Raymond to invite everyone he knew. No doubt his brother wanted to show off his new wife, Horatio thought with an unusual savageness. This seemed to be as much a trophy ceremony as a wedding reception.
And Horatio rationally understood that this was his jealousy talking – was even more painfully aware that he had had a chance to stop the whole thing long ago. But he had made his choice, had never told Yelina how he felt, and all that was left was damage control. The redhead wouldn't make a drunken scene, but he was determined to be as numbed as possible.
There was no chance of forgetting today completely. How could he? Yelina was now officially his sister-in-law, untouchable now in a way she hadn't been before. This made them family, and he'd remember that change for the rest of his life. However, there surely wasn't any harm in trying to blur the memory…
Sipping down the rest of his drink, he waited a requisite ten minutes before ordering another. As unhappy as this made him, Horatio had no desire to let anyone else know it. Of course… with everyone else focusing on the happy couple, he was pretty sure he could dance around naked on the bar without being noticed.
But just in case…
He'd already almost screwed up between scotches one and two. Waiting for another drink, the redhead had looked around the room and caught Yelina's eye. His new sister-in-law smiled until she had taken in his appearance, had examined the look of defeat on his face. She had frowned, became sad herself, and he had turned away. He wasn't going to ruin her day.
Even an hour later, Horatio refused to look in her direction. Not that he really needed to; every so often, he'd catch her laugh over the din of clinking glasses and generic band music. She was happy, which was all the confirmation he needed to know that he was standing out on the limb by himself.
Now, with a fresh drink in hand, he slowly began to sip it. He needed to pace himself, he thought.
Another hour passed slowly, and finally the liquor combined with despair began to wear on him. He should just leave; this was his brother's day after all, and he shouldn't ruin it. He needed to leave for fear of doing something inappropriate and horrible. Needed an escape from this, from the sadness rushing through him and mixing with all of the scotch.
And it was at this moment that an escape should appear.
She was tall with long brown curls and dark eyes. He didn't catch her name when she introduced herself as she sat down next to him. Horatio didn't hear what the mystery woman was saying, but he didn't need to know; the look in her eyes was unmistakable. And even if it weren't, after he'd ordered her a drink, her intentions were made perfectly clear. The way her hand groped at his inner thigh, the way she looked at him so lustily, was all he needed to know.
She was a poor substitute, but Horatio didn't care. It was better than drinking alone. Certainly better than going home alone to an empty bed and torturing himself with what his brother was doing that night.
He knew he should stop this, figured that it couldn't end well, but… she was an escape – and an attractive one at that. And if Yelina was taken, then why shouldn't he enjoy himself?
Looking over at the mysterious woman one last time, he took her hand, and they left together, never looking back.
Sixteen years and nine months later…
They'd met in this park several times over the last year. Yelina was never really sure why he insisted on meeting her here. It was out of the way, but she didn't mind. The little area held only happy memories for her; it'd been a long time since she'd been here last, but Yelina could remember bringing Ray Junior here several times to feed the ducks.
Arriving only minutes after her, Horatio, sunglasses on and shield clipped to his belt, got down to business immediately. He handed her the file, and she listened intently to what he said.
"Kyle Harmon, Yelina." She opened the file and flipped through it to the pictures he'd had taken six months earlier. Her eyes raked over the image of the boy; he was pale, probably naturally so, but his skin almost looked sickly in the mug shot.
His blonde hair was thick, sticking out every which way, and his dark brown eyes seemed filled with sadness. He would have looked cherubic, she thought, if not for his expression and those eyes. Her eyes glanced over to his listed age: sixteen, but hardly youthful.
"You want me to follow him." Yelina didn't look at Horatio as she said it. She leafed through the file some more and began to read the boy's history. There was something familiar, she thought – maybe something familiar about the teenager, but she couldn't place it.
"If you would, please," Horatio said.
She looked at him then. His sunglasses made it impossible to read his expression, but his jaw was set. His lips weren't quite frowning (just a thin line), and Yelina could tell he really wanted her to do this. That, unlike most of the other times he'd hired her, this was for real. This wasn't something to keep her occupied and safe. Thankfully.
"You're serious," she said in disbelief. He smirked, before quickly reapplying the stoic expression on his face.
She looked back down at the file. Kyle Harmon was only sixteen, but he'd already committed a series of crimes. No, this definitely wasn't a waste of her time.
Yelina was tempted to rub it in Horatio's face, truth be told. She wanted to point out that finally he had had to accept her being a private investigator. Wanted to make him admit just how capable she was and how she didn't need to be treated like a child.
But she knew that if she did that, that would be cruel and childish, and for a man who hated to ask for anything, this was something. Besides… to ask for her help and admit he was wrong – that was too much for Horatio.
Deciding not to push her luck, she brushed a curl out of her sight and finally said, "All right… yes, I'll do it."
Horatio gave her a small smile before walking away, but she was in no rush to leave the park.
Looking around, hardly anyone else was there. Though it was still daylight outside, it was one of those last few days of summer – where the sun seemed determined to overheat anyone under its rays. And Yelina seemed to realize then just how warm it was outside. Ready to get out of the heat, the brunette started to walk to her car.
Ambling along the worn dirt path, Yelina looked back down at the file in her hand. It seemed straightforward enough.
For the rest of her life, she'd never admit to just how wrong she had been.