Title: Zero to Sixty

By sexyspork

Fandom: CSIM

Rating: PG-13

Warning: Slash, violence, language

Pairing: Eric/Ryan UST

Summary: Out of all of them, Ryan was the fastest.

My (failed) attempt at hero!Ryan.

--

Out of all of them, Ryan was the fastest.

Oh, there was no doubt that they were all fit and ready to chase suspects up and down Miami when need be. But between Natalia and Calleigh's shoes, Eric's swimmer build, and, as much as they hated to admit it, Horatio and Frank's age, none of them could match their youngest in a flat out run. Which wasn't surprising, seeing as he had been on patrol and when Ryan had a routine, he rarely broke it, and that included keeping up with the physical requirements of his previous job.

So it wasn't a shock that at the first glint of gun-metal, Ryan was the first to react.

--

There was a roaring in his ears at the sudden flash of metal, and Ryan was already moving across the crime scene, the yelling incomprehensible and muzzy in the background. This wouldn't happen again, because he refused to let it happen. He was here this time, and he would make a difference. He refused to think otherwise.

Slamming into Eric's body wasn't exactly how he wished to be acquainted with the object of his desire, but he would have sobbed with relief if he were able when the first sound of gunfire echoed across the room because Eric was safe! Ignoring a sudden searing pain along his left shoulder that vanished with the onslaught of adrenaline and the way the larger man was trying to push him off, which Ryan was going to yell at him for later, the youngest CSI waited until the sound of a magazine being ejected drowned out everything else. And it was that soft click that was louder than H's and Frank's yelling from the second story, louder than the officer calling out for backup, louder than everything.

And Ryan was moving again.

He was across the room, the couch they had taken refuge behind nothing more than a minor obstacle, and he was tackling the suspect to the floor. Or, as the world suddenly tilted and rolled, down a stairwell. If H didn't kill him for this mistake, no one was going to let him live it down.

The pain was coming and going in waves as he and the suspect lay stunned for the briefest of moments at the bottom of the flight of stairs before they were grappling for the gun still in the other man's hand. He was bigger and heavier than Ryan (wasn't everyone?), but it was Ryan who was trained and it was Ryan who easily threw the other man off him. Rolling to his feet and slamming his heel down on the gun-hand, the sudden howl echoed through the building as Ryan kicked it away, and then the officers were there, wrestling the suspect into the ground.

Slumping against the wall, he didn't notice the blood trail left behind as he slide down, but he did notice Eric who immediately went to the younger man's side.

"Jesus Christ, Wolfe." He murmured, eye trailing over Ryan's form assessingly, which Ryan would have enjoyed a bit more if everything wasn't so damn painful. Then Eric was yelling for paramedics, and the world went black.

--

Ryan hated hospitals.

He hated them more than was reasonable, really, because he knew they were there for a good thing, because healing and trying to fix the damage was almost as admirable as finding out the cause of the damage in the first place. But medicine, in his mind, was merely damage control; a reaction to an action. And once the damage was done, it was done.

Because neither he nor Eric had been exactly whole when they left the hospital from each of their previous visits.

Looking around the room, Ryan wondered how much trouble he'd get into with Alexx if he tried to check himself out. She had made herself very clear that he wasn't even going to think about, but leaving the consequence up to his imagination was beginning to loose its effectiveness. Really, what was the worst she could do to him?

Ryan shuddered and decided it wasn't the best idea to find out the boundaries right this moment.

The almost silent opening of his door made him tense, but Eric's silhouette in the soft lighting made him relax.

"A little late for a visit, don't you think?" Ryan said softly, though he had the room to himself and really didn't need to worry about waking any other patients right this moment. They were all probably drugged to the gills anyways.

Eric froze at the doorway, and Ryan smirked in amusement, before the older man regained his equilibrium. "Aren't you supposed to be sleeping?"

Ryan glanced guiltily at the IV stand. It was still in, so they shouldn't complain! All he did was… hinder the flow. He'd rather be in pain than have that drug fuzziness that ate away at his consciousness. It was for his own protection, really, because Alexx always found ways to drag up things he didn't want to talk about when he was high as a kite.

"I just woke up," he lied, and he knew Eric knew he was lying. It sucked having a partner who could read him so well. "And why are you here?"

"Couldn't sleep." Eric said with a shrug, claiming the chair by the bedside. The silence wasn't uncomfortable, per se, but it did have Ryan toying with the medical ID bracelet on his wrist. A quiet Eric made him nervous, because he couldn't tell what the other man was thinking. Eric wore his emotions everywhere, and from flashing eyes or clenched fists, there were easy tells to Eric's moods. But a quiet, non-moving Eric? That was like Ryan telling a convincing lie, as it only happened once in a blue moon.

Then Eric was moving, up out of the seat and Ryan breathed a quiet sigh of relief until the older man got right in his face.

"If you ever do something that stupid again, I'll shoot you myself." Eric growled, and Ryan was glad that his own temper was rising to the occasion. Feeling angry was better than feeling… other things.

"And let you get shot?" Ryan hissed back. No… just no. Ryan couldn't deal with Eric being shot again, he just couldn't.

"If it keeps you safe? Yes!" Eric bit out, struggling to keep from yelling. "He could have blown your head off! You could have snapped your neck with that fall! Damnit, the whole scene could have gone done differently and you could be dead!"

So what? Ryan knew the status quo, hell, he agreed with it for the most part. Eric and Calleigh, and Natalia by default now as much as it pained Ryan, always came first in the eyes of Horatio. Ryan knew his job, it was what H gave to him in his efforts to find the mole, and it was to keep the team safe. They and the lab came before Ryan, because Ryan was replaceable.

Eric wasn't.

"What about you? You're my partner; you're my friend-" you're my everything "-was I supposed to just stand back and let you get shot again?"

Eric froze slightly, and Ryan shivered as the small exhalations of warm air against his face. He'd better enjoy it, because Lord knew this was only as close as Eric would ever get. Realization flashed across the other man's face as he pulled back slightly.

"That wasn't your fault, Wolfe."

Ryan gritted his teeth, the throbbing pain of his body becoming a bit much, or that's what he convinced himself, anyways. Because Ryan Wolfe did not tear up for past regrets. The past was the past, but he could learn from it.

"I should have been there to watch your back."

"I lived." Eric said hotly, shifting on his feet.

"I lived." Ryan snapped back, reveling in the flash of irritation that crossed Delko's face.

Eric growled, and if it hadn't been for the sudden blinding light that had been flicked on, Ryan was sure he would have grabbed him and started shaking him. But as it was, they both immediately shut their eyes to ward off as much as the pain as possible, and both felt sheepish at the silky smooth, "Officer Wolfe. Officer Delko."

"Dr. Douglas." Ryan acknowledged, spots dancing before his eyes as he tried to focus on the man who was standing in the doorway, acting very much like a parent who had caught his children sneaking out of bed.

The middle-aged gentleman gave Eric a look, who winced which made Ryan smirk a bit, before he turned to his recalcitrant patient. Blue eyes narrowed behind spectacles when Douglas caught sight of the IV line, and this time it was Ryan who winced under his steely gaze.

"Dr. Woods warned me that should I have any problems with you, to let her know immediately." He said, smirking at Ryan's yelp of panic. Adjusting the IV to the correct flow, he continued, "If you touch this again, Officer Wolfe, I will have no choice but to restrain you."

"It's only a graze," He muttered, trying to drown out Eric's snickering as the cocktail of drugs began to work their magic. Though he hated to admit that it did make his shoulder feel better.

"A bullet graze, several contusions and lacerations, four fractured ribs, and a fractured clavicle. Leave the diagnoses up to the trained professional." Douglas sniped, though his hands were gentle as he settled Ryan into a new position to be as comfortable as physically possible.

"And you, Officer Delko, are visiting past the normal hours." Ryan couldn't help but smile at the way Eric tried to grin that lop-sided, charm-the-pants-off-of-anything-breathing grin, but simply wilted under the doctor's glare. If this was how Delko was with the doctor, Ryan couldn't wait to see him with the nurses.

"A suspect tried to take out a cop, and we look after our own." Eric said breezily, Ryan noted as the world started to look a little fuzzy around the edges, and he wasn't doing a very good job at being convincing.

Dr. Douglas merely crossed his arms and looked at Eric, and the other man slumped.

"Lemme say goodbye and I'll leave Wolfe alone."

"That sounds like a good plan." Douglas said dryly, clearly not intending to leave until Eric did the same. Eric didn't pout per se, but his expression made Ryan giggle. And from the startled look on the older CSI's face, he had heard it.

Eric was really beautiful, Ryan noted to himself as the other man leaned over the bed slightly. Damn drugs. They made everything worse. Or better, because now it felt like he was flying.

"I'm so out of it." He muttered petulantly, this was the very reason why he had messed with his IV, and Eric grinned in response.

"Few more days, and you'll be out and driving us off the wall." And Eric's pause caught what little functioning attention Ryan had left, and even he could tell there was something in the undertone, something he couldn't identify. "…Thank you."

Ryan blinked, and then Eric was gone, and sleep came easy enough for the first time in a while, because Eric was safe. And that's all that mattered.

--

The boys are dunderheads. That's all I'm saying.