"There are two occasions that I can easily recall that you were directly in danger. I was worried for you, of course, because we are co-workers and friends." He saw her disappointment, and heartache, cross her face. "Calleigh…hear…hear me out, please." Once she nodded, he continued.
"The first time that instantly comes to mind was during the manhunt for Hank Kerner and Stewart Otis. Kerner was trying to erase those who had been responsible for his going away. He had been relentless, even killing a state attorney. But you caught him."
"The second time that readily comes to mind was when you had been forced off the road into the canal. When I found you sitting on the side of the road, staring out over the water, I was happy that I had not lost another friend that day."
He saw the tears that filled her eyes, and realized that he sounded like he was trying to let her down easy. He didn't want that. He raised one hand to her cheek and wiped at a tear that had started to run down her cheek.
He offered her a comforting smile, then continued with what he wanted to tell her.
"However, when I returned from Brazil, and learned that you had been kidnapped, and still not found, I was more than worried, I was scared…terrified." He paused and took a breath. He felt his eyes start to sting. "When we found you, I was so happy, I still had you in my life, I had not lost…you. I…I had not lost…lost my heart. My…," he dipped his head and spoke the rest in a near whisper, "My love."
"Horatio?" She couldn't believe what he had said. Did he really mean that he loved her too? Memories of her kidnapping flooded back into her mind, and more tears spilled down her face
He saw the look that crossed her face. He knew that she was confused because of the emotions that she was feeling right then. He hooked his sunglasses around his neck and reached the hand that wasn't on her face into his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. He used it to softly wipe away the tears that were starting to flow freely down her face.
When she took a breath in then out and began to cry more, he pulled her into his embrace. He held her against him and let her cry into his chest. He let one hand stoke her blond hair, and his other wrapped around her waist holding her close and offered her soft calming words. He felt her arms hesitantly wrap around his middle as he hugged him while she cried.
He couldn't recall seeing her breakdown like this. Even after they had got her away from her kidnapper, she had been close to it that day, but she had managed to hold it together. He was worried about her.
"Calleigh? Sweetheart? What's wrong?" he asked her once she had calmed down and the tears had seemed to slow down a bit. "Please, Sweetheart…talk to me."
Her breath hitched when she inhaled. "I had been so scared that day! I didn't know if you guys would find me before he decided that I wasn't needed anymore!"
"I've always found you before."
"But I didn't know that you were back from Rio. You had been taken away as I left for the call that lead to me getting taken."
"I understand. I didn't find out about you being taken until I was on my way back. Eric had met me at the airport and filled me in on everything. I…I felt my stomach drop and my heart in my throat when he had said that they hadn't found you yet."
She pulled away from him far enough o raise her head, and looked into his eyes. "When he forced our way into that room, and I saw Ryan, Eric, and Frank sitting there and I didn't see you…it was like my fears had been confirmed, that you had gone to Rio and would never be coming back. I was ready then for him to kill me. I had thought that was going to happen to you when you left."
Horatio cupped her cheek, still holding her close with his other hand. "I had never wanted to tear someone apart more than I had when I saw him walking in behind you with a gun to your head."
"Not even when Marisol was killed?"
"No, I wanted to kill that bastard who had her killed. I didn't want this bastard to die right away. I wanted him to suffer for any pain that he had caused you."
Her heart had skipped a beat. She knew how deeply he cared for his late wife. To learn that it paled in comparison to what he felt for her, shocked and overwhelmed her.
"When I heard your voice from behind me, I was so happy and relieved. I was also ashamed that I had basically given up hope on you returning from Brazil."
"I had almost given up, myself. On the way down there though, I knew that I had to return. I had to return to you. When I found out that you had been taken, I had to find you and make sure that you were safe."
He lowered his head, tipping her face upwards, and gently touched his lips to hers. The kiss started off soft and gentle, then it quickly filled with a hungry passion.
When they broke apart for air, he placed his forehead against hers, and while still gasping for air, said, "I've…I've wanted to do that since…since you handed off that gun that he had on you." Then he smiled warmly at her.
She flashed him one of the brightest smiles he had seen from her in a long time. "What took you so long, Handsome?"
"I don't know, Beautiful, I don't know." He gave her another quick kiss and the lips, and he put his sunglasses on, "I love you Calleigh Duquesne!"
"I love you, too, Horatio Caine!" A blush crossed her cheeks and he didn't miss it.
"What is it?" he asked, as he took her hand, interlacing their fingers, and lead her back to his car.
"I wanted to say that you for the longest time."
"Well then, Beautiful," he smirked at her, "what took you so long?"