Disclaimer: All characters and such belong to CBS. I own the characters that I made up and the new plot.
Author's Note: Ok, before you all freak out on me about posting a new story instead of adding a chapter to some of the others, let me explain! All my other stories at least have chapters-in-progress and I promise they will be updated soon!!!! It's been a rough six months or however long it's been. I'm at college now and I don't have chores to worry about, BUT I do have a job and extracurricular activities and homework so don't expect me to devote every spare minute to fanfic stuff. However, I should be able to update more regularly than I have been.
Also, I thought of this story and new characters a while ago, but unfortunately one of the character's names (not mentioned in the story yet but will become central to the story) is the same name as one of the CSI shows' new characters and I want to establish the fact that I did not copy the name. If anything, they stole it from me! :)
That said, carry on!
Lieutenant Horatio Caine stood just outside his office door for a moment, surveying his team gathered inside. They were talking amongst themselves, unaware of his presence for the time being. He smiled to himself and glanced once more at the paper in his hand. They had absolutely no idea what was about to transpire, and he couldn't wait to see their reactions.
He entered the room, and all the conversations came to an abrupt halt.
"Hey, H, what's going on?" Eric asked.
"Yeah, your message was kind of cryptic," Calleigh added in her southern accent.
Ryan and Natalia voiced their agreement.
Horatio rolled the chair out from behind his desk and joined the others. He sat down and shuffled through the papers again.
"C'mon, Horatio," Calleigh insisted. "You're smiling. It must be good news."
He laughed a little at that. "That's putting it mildly." He made them wait a few more tense seconds before he refolded the papers and looked up. "I'm sure all of you remember the Cassidy North case."
"How could we forget?" Ryan asked ironically.
The case in question had been wrapped up about two months previously. Cassidy North was an outrageously rich actress, famous for partying, drug use, and constantly being on the front cover of tabloids. Paparazzi followed her every move—except her last. She had been found dead in her top-security luxurious home after a night of club hopping. Horatio and Calleigh had been assigned to the case, and at first everything supported the fact that it appeared to be a suicide. Cassidy had been found facedown in her garage on a pillow near the tailpipe of her silver Mercedes-Benz. However, Cassidy's best friend Kara Winters had insisted vehemently that Cassidy would never have even considered suicide, and a few things had seemed somehow off to the two CSIs.
It had been a busy week for Miami-Dade CSI. A string of robberies, a huge gang shoot-out, two especially grisly murders, and a tense kidnapping had stretched the investigators from all three shifts to their absolute limits. Because of the amount of evidence pointing to suicide, as well as the lack of personnel, Stetler had insisted that they close the case and move on. Horatio and Calleigh, trusting their own instincts and urged on by the tearful pleadings of Kara, had quietly continued the investigation by handing off larger assignments to their colleagues and working off the clock whenever they could. Stetler was just starting to get suspicious when they finally found the tiniest pieces of evidence that conclusively proved Cassidy's death was no suicide. They had arrested her killer, the case had quickly gone to trial due to its high profile, and the murderer had been sentenced to life in prison.
"So what do those papers have to do with the case?" Natalia asked.
Horatio smiled once more and unfolded the papers in his hand. He passed a copy to each of his CSIs. They all began to read over the photocopies of a handwritten letter, composed in the soft, loopy script of a woman. It enthusiastically yet formally expressed deep appreciation to the day shift of Miami-Dade CSI for its thorough investigation of and dedication to the murder case of Cassidy North.
"But you and H were the ones who pulled it off," Ryan said to Calleigh with a slightly confused frown as he glanced up from the letter.
"We told her how we adjusted the caseload," Calleigh explained. "At first she wasn't sure if she wanted us to keep going anymore, since she was afraid we were putting other cases at risk."
"Stetler said the same thing," Eric muttered.
Horatio nodded. "I explained to Ms. Winters that my shift had some of the most dedicated and capable CSIs I had ever worked with, after which she was quite content to let the investigation go forward."
The whole team smiled at that.
"So," Horatio continued, "after the case was satisfactorily ended, she sent us this letter, and something else…" He reached inside his jacket and withdrew a slim white envelope. "Read the last paragraph of the letter."
Calleigh skipped to the end and read it aloud. "Once more, I can hardly express my gratitude to you and your team. I know how much you sacrificed to see that my best friend's killer was brought to justice. Please use the enclosed materials to relieve some of the stress on your department so that you can continue to do your essential work. Sincerely, Kara Winters."
While everyone had been listening intently to Calleigh reading Kara's parting words, Horatio had pulled a slip of green paper from the envelope. When they looked back up at him to ask what exactly those materials were, he was able to show them.
Calleigh's eyes went wide and Eric's jaw actually dropped as they saw the number printed on it. Ryan kept blinking and trying to count zeros while all Natalia could get out was, "Oh…"
"I remember talking to Yelina when I reopened the Abby Sandoval case and telling her to call city council and have them send me more criminalists," Horatio went on with a smile. "It looks like now they won't have to."
"Did she seriously give us that much money?" Ryan asked incredulously.
Horatio nodded. "Part of it is her own money, but most of it is money from Cassidy. She left everything to Kara." He smiled as he glanced down at the check. "She gave us very specific instructions on how to use this: hire at least one new CSI and buy one or two pieces of new equipment we weren't able to purchase before." He looked around at their still-stunned faces and added, "I wanted to tell you earlier, considering what the last few weeks have been like, but the department asked me to wait until everything was official."
"And this…it doesn't fall under the category of 'thou shalt not accept gifts'?" Natalia wondered aloud.
"Nope. It's for the entire department, it's essentially been willed to us, the matter is public, and I'm told it's excellent PR for the county."
"So the department can't use this for anything else?" Calleigh smiled. "We're definitely adding to the team?"
"Exactly. And I…I have final say. The check is made out to both the department and myself."
Eric, Calleigh, Natalia, and even Horatio laughed out loud as Ryan stood up and declared, "I think someone needs to show me how to do a cartwheel, right now!"
A few hours later, Horatio sat in his office alone, drafting a want ad for their new criminalist. It was not a task to be taken lightly—he had to find the right person to add to an already incredible team, someone ready to take on Miami's worst, someone highly skilled and creative…
He was so intensely focused on typing out a list of qualifications that when his office phone rang he actually jumped. Slightly upset at the distraction, he looked over at the phone's caller I.D. display and frowned. Cleveland, OH PD? Who do I know in Ohio?, he wondered as he picked up the phone.
"Miami-Dade Crime Lab, Lieutenant Caine speaking," he announced.
"Horatio Caine," a middle-aged man's voice happily exclaimed. "It's been a while!"
It took him a few seconds to associate the voice with a name. "Travis Mendel?"
"One and the same," he replied.
"Wow. It's…it's been a while. How're you?"
"Yeah, it sure has. Good old FSU. I'm doing well. And yourself?"
"Pretty good…I'm still having trouble believing it's you." Horatio and Travis had been very close friends during their years at Florida State University where they had both majored in chemistry and expressed interest in joining law enforcement. They had lost touch after Horatio had joined the force in New York and Travis had joined the force in North Carolina and gotten married.
"Well, it's me!"
"What're you doing in Ohio?" Horatio leaned back in his chair a little, want ad all but forgotten.
"Lacey and I thought the kids should be closer to their only grandparents, my parents. The original plan was to move to Akron just a few streets away, but then a position opened up with CSI in Cleveland, so here I am, swing shift supervisor."
"Congratulations on everything, Travis!"
"Thanks Horatio." He laughed. "No need to ask how you're doing!"
Horatio was slightly confused. "Is my career that public?"
"Well, yes and no. I found your stats on the MDPD site along with the other supervisors, but I found the information about your lucky break on the criminalist central site."
"Lucky break…? Do…do you mean the outcome of the North case?"
"And the accompanying reward, yes. Way to go Horatio!"
He laughed at that. "My team members are the ones who deserve congratulations, Travis."
"There's that famous modesty again. Someone had to lead them, you know. You're every bit as deserving as they are."
"I suppose that's true…wait a minute," he frowned. "The results of the North case are online?"
"Yeah, there's a great article on there entitled 'The Smallest Piece of Evidence' or something similar. It's about your team's dedication to the North case."
"Who posted it? When?"
"Umm, looks like the public relations guy for MD CSI about…a week ago."
Horatio heaved a sigh of frustration. "He could tell every other CSI in the country, but I couldn't tell my team until today?"
"I know," Travis replied emphatically. Abruptly, he switched tones. "So how's the new CSI search going?"
"I'm just drafting the want ad, actually."
The lieutenant frowned. "Why is that?"
"Because I'm about to save you a lot of time and effort."
"I have the CSI you're looking for."
Author's Note: I may have had to take a little creative license with the way they acquired the funds, but that's why this is fiction. Other than that potential issue, what did you think? Please review if you can!! Thanks you guys—you're all awesome!!