Thank you everyone for reading Like Horatio, Like Madison. Now it's the sequel. I do not own CSI: Miami or its characters, only the situations I put them in.
"I know, Alexx," Horatio said sadly to his friend over the phone, "I just don't know what to do."
Ten minutes after storming into his room, Horatio had desperately needed to talk to someone about everything that had happened. The first person who had come to mind was Alexx for he knew he could always talk to her about anything, especially Madison. He had been explaining to her how he had found at when she asked, "What did you say to Madison about this?"
Horatio remained silent a moment as he thought back to how he had handled the situation which had not been with the greatest of grace. He had broken a window, shouted at her, and then just left her alone. He put his head in his free hand and answered ashamed, "I yelled at her how she could have kept this from me, shouted at her that she had been lying to me, and then hollered some more about how I could have saved her. Then I topped it all off by throwing my keys at one of the kitchen windows shattering it, and stomping off to my bedroom without giving Madison the chance to tell me why she had kept quiet. I screwed it all up, Alexx."
Alexx remained quiet as Horatio could picture the look of horror on her face and said disappointed and angrily, "Well, I should think so! Horatio it will all work out. Just take her to the hospital, have them do what they need to do, and if you need any help at home with her you have my number. I will come anytime, baby."
"Thank you, Alexx," Horatio said gratefully. "You have no idea what this means to me."
"I have a pretty good idea," Alexx replied, chuckling slightly, "but now I think you have some making up to do with your niece."
"Yes, I do," Horatio answered ashamed. "Goodbye, Alexx, and thank you again."
He hung up the phone. Horatio rubbed his face, and tried to think what to say to Madison that would make up for his behavior earlier. Deciding that he couldn't do anything except apologize and listen, Horatio headed out of his room and into the living room. One look around told him Madison wasn't in there, and then he looked outside, blinded momentarily by the setting sun, and saw her sitting with her back to him out on the lanai. He sighed as he headed towards her and silently slid the sliding glass door open and asked her quietly, "May I join you?"
Madison continued to stare off into space and didn't answer him. Horatio took a seat across from her so that he could see her eyes which were puffy and swollen as though she had been crying for hours. Horatio hung his head in guilt as he said, "I'm sorry, baby girl. When I heard the news, I lost it. I was worried and scared and angry. However, I shouldn't have treated you the way I did and I am sorry. Will you ever forgive me?"
Madison broke her empty gaze and turned her head to stare at Horatio, her face cast in shadow. She considered him for a moment before she said barely above a whisper, "Alright."
Horatio sighed in relief, but even though she had forgiven him, he could still tell she was deeply hurt. Slowly Horatio reached across the table and gently took her hand that had been propped up on the table and said, "I didn't give you a chance earlier to explain to me why you kept this hidden. I believe I owe you that if you want to tell me."
Their identical eyes were staring holes into one another as Madison wondered if it would be worth it to tell him everything that was going on inside, but she reasoned that since she had kept something as important as cancer from him, that he deserved some sort of explanation why. Finally Madison closed her eyes, gripped his hand tighter, and began, "The first time I was in the hospital for this was awful for me. I was so scared and even though Mom was there I felt so alone. No one knew what I was going through, to think that you may die any day. Then there was the chemo which was an awful experience in itself. Your very bones are on fire, your skin is so sore, and you constantly feel like you have the worst flu ever. Then I was even more scared when I heard one of the doctors tell Mom that the chemo wasn't working; that if they couldn't find a donor for me for my marrow transplant that I was certainly going to die. I couldn't handle it, and I couldn't even begin to tell you how happy I was when Ray was a match, and then I could finally go home. When I got home, I made a vow to myself that I would never go back into a hospital ever again."
By this point in her story, tears were streaming down Madison's face. She made no attempt to wipe them away as she continued, "Well, I did stay out until last year with me getting shot. I was scared then, and even though you were with my practically all the time, I still felt alone. It got even worse when you were at work one day, the day Dr. Monroe told me they had found that my cancer had come back, and if I wanted to tell you myself or they tell you. Well, I knew that as soon as you found out that you would keep me in the hospital, and I was so ready to get out that I never told you. I don't know what it is, but when you're in the hospital for a long amount of time you get depressed like you'll never get out and feel like you used to. It's just horrible, Uncle Horatio."
Horatio's heart ached as Madison completely lost it and started sobbing. Horatio got up and circled around the table, never once letting go of her hand, and picked her up and held her in his lap, letting her cry into his chest. He had never known what a bad experience going to the hospital was for Madison. She had never once complained to him, but then again, Madison never complained. As he thought about that, he thought about how she had been in pain all this time, and had never once shown it to anybody or said a word. Even though he was mad at her for not telling him, he was still proud of how strong she was.
He rocked her back and forth for about twenty minutes until she finally stopped to crying. It was almost dark now so Horatio gently lifted her up and carried her into the house. She didn't fight with him as he sat on the couch and placed her on his lap once again. Another ten minutes passed in silence, each deep in their own thoughts. Finally, Madison lifted her head slightly and asked, "You're going to take me back to the hospital, aren't you?"
Horatio stared at her and then said, "I have to, Madison. I can't let you suffer."
"I will anyway, Uncle Horatio," Madison explained, her voice cracking. "This wasn't painless last time, and I doubt it will this time."
Horatio closed his eyes as he thought how right she was. Cancer at any level was never painless. He sighed as he said to her, "Madison, this is the only way I can think of. I'm sorry, baby girl."
Madison shook her head as she whispered, "I would rather die then face all this again."
Horatio's eyes snapped open when he heard her say that and immediately said rather loudly, "No, you wouldn't, Madison! Just think of all the people you would be leaving behind who would have to suffer with the pain of losing you! Madison, we all love you too much to see you give up and die! No, I won't hear another word of it! I won't lose you like I lost the others!"
Madison stared into his eyes, knowing that she had hit a tender nerve. Madison knew he was referring to Speed, Marisol, her mother and father, and others she had no idea about. She knew that if he lost her that he would be devastated, no that he wasn't with the others, it was just that she was like a daughter to him, and he had the kind of love for her that only a father and daughter could explain. She sighed as she knew she was going to have to stay alive for him, so that she would not make him suffer. She wasn't going to do that to him.
She smiled to herself as she snuggled into his chest and told him, "Okay, Uncle Horatio you win. No matter how bad it hurts, I'll fight."
Horatio grinned and kissed the top of her head as he replied through tears, "That's my girl. I knew you wouldn't quit on me. Thank you."
"No, Uncle Horatio," Madison said, "thank you. If it wasn't for you, I'd probably just go ahead and die."