Whew, we're up to the last part. Thanks to everyone for the kind feedback.
Disclaimer and distribution notes in Part I.
The bank manager was poised over the keypad; sweat poured down his face and his weight constantly shifted from foot to foot. He looked about as stressed and sleepless as Eric felt. Delko wanted to snap at the man to hurry up, but punching in the code now would be useless. They had to wait another seven seconds, even though it felt more like a week. The paramedics looked anxious too; the sirens were still blaring outside. Hell, even the coroner looked tense.
Eric nearly jumped when the manager started punching in the code. "Come on, come on," he murmured under his breath. "You're not going out like this, Wolfe."
At last, the massive door began to open. Eric, the manager and the coroner rushed to push it open faster. The paramedics ran inside as Horatio called out to them.
It went against his every instinct, but Eric stepped aside and stood next to Calleigh. Right now he would only get in the way and Ryan couldn't afford that right now. Without meaning to, he reached out and grabbed her hand, squeezing it.
Calleigh took a deep, shaky breath and held Eric's hand as tightly as she could. She felt like she'd just run a marathon.
Moments later, the paramedics were rushing back out, shouting vital signs back and forth to each other. Eric only caught a glimpse of Ryan's face, but he didn't like what he saw. His skin was ashen and had a waxy sheen to it.
Horatio was a few steps behind the EMTs. He never took his eyes off the gurney, but he stopped in front of the other two CSIs. "He lost consciousness about four minutes ago, but he's still breathing on his own. I'm going to ride with him." Without another word, Caine slipped into the back of the ambulance.
"I'll give you two a lift," Eric's head snapped around at the sound of Tripp's voice. He hadn't even seen the big detective enter.
"Thanks," Calleigh nodded, starting out with him.
Eric took one last look at the vault, then left.
The trip to the hospital was a complete blur for Calleigh. For the life of her, she couldn't remember if anything was said or not. But that didn't matter right now. All she was concerned with was finding out how Ryan was doing. She rushed down the hallway until she came upon Horatio. His back was to them and, as always, his body language was impossible to read. "Horatio, how is he?"
"The doctor hasn't come out yet, but Mr. Wolfe is still fighting."
"Oh thank god," She breathed, dropping on to a bench. The thought of Ryan struggling for so long only to lose now tore at her. When Eric arrived, she scooted aside to make room for him. Tripp remained standing.
"When the time comes," Horatio said after a long moment, "You will both owe Mr. Wolfe an apology."
Of all the things Tripp had expected to hear, that wasn't one of them. "What're you doing, Horatio?"
"Frank," Horatio looked over his shoulder. "I... am keeping a promise." He returned his attention to Eric and Calleigh. "Two nights ago, Ryan was abducted by the Russian mob. They attempted to torture him until he agreed to destroy evidence. When that failed, they kidnapped a child and held him hostage. He concealed the evidence until he was sure the boy was safe."
"H, we didn't know." Eric shook his head.
"Now you do, Eric." Horatio took off his shades. "Now you do."
Horatio turned to face the woman who had spoken. She was wearing a pristine lab coat, but the scrubs underneath were splattered with blood. "Yes, Doctor?"
She put her hands in her pockets. "The bottom line is that he lost a lot of blood. The knife nicked his spleen, but we were able to save it. He's got an infection, but we've put him on some powerful antibiotics and that should take care of it quickly. He's also got three cracked ribs. In the end, he's going to be off his feet for at least two weeks, but he should make a complete recovery." She nodded soberly. "I can't begin to tell you how lucky he was, a few more minutes and he wouldn't have made it. We've moved him into a recovery room."
Horatio nodded, "Thank you."
After the doctor excused herself, Eric stood up. "H, I'm going to sit with him."
"Me too," Calleigh said quickly. "After everything that's happened, we owe it to him."
"Come on, Horatio, I'll give you a lift." Frank said. "You need to get some rest and besides, Wolfe's in good hands."
Horatio watched as Calleigh and Eric entered Ryan's room. He was asleep, so they took great pains to place their chairs on either side of him and sit down without making any noise.
"That he is, Frank." Caine put his shades back on. "That he is."
Well, I hope you all had as much fun reading this as I did writing it.