I wrote this back when 'Bang Bang, Your Debt' aired and never got around to typing it up for some reason. It's short, and pretty boring, but I thouht I'd post it anyway. Not mine. Spoilers for BBYD, obviously. Enjoy!

He knows Speed is dead. That his best friend and lover's corpse is slowly decomposing six feet below him. That he is not, in fact, walking around Miami using his credit card or helping Eric solve cases.

He knows.

So why is it so painful for him when they find Cooper there with the CSI's credit card stashed in his wallet?

No one got hurt, right? He hears the lab rat say to Calleigh. And he should be right, but Eric's heart is shattering all over again. Just like it did that day.

He let himself believe, because he wanted to so much for it to be true. For Speed to have survived the shootout at the jewelry store somehow and gotten roped into some federal undercover job or something.

But, he didn't. Alex performed the autopsy. They watched his casket get lowered into the ground. The folded up flag get handed off to Speed's family. Watched the casket get covered in dirt. He was gone.

But, Cooper's stunt didn't explain everything.

How could he have known about the beer bong, or the bullet's trajectory? Surely, the illusion his injured brain concocted couldn't have known that anymore than he did, could it?

He's still seeing Speed, too, but he's not stupid enough to tell anyone else that. All that will get him is a trip to the Department shrink and a search for a new job. But, sometimes, when he's out working scenes, he'll see the man out of the corner of his eye, like a figment of his imagination, and he'll have an easier time of remembering crime scene procedure.

All in all, the brain damage he has is probably to blame, but so what if it means he gets to see his Speed?