TITLE: Return Gently at Twilight, Chapter 5
FANDOM: CSI: Miami
PAIRINGS: Eric/Calleigh, possibly some Speed/Calleigh, if you want to see it that way.
WORD COUNT: 756
SUMMARY: One long night at the lab, a ghost is lurking around, and old memories are brought to the surface.
SPOILERS/WARNINGS: Anything through the end of season seven is fair game.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Title taken from a poem by TS Eliot. Set sometime after the end of season seven, but no real timeline given. Written for paranormal25 on LiveJournal. This is the last chapter, thank you all so much for reading and reviewing.
Calleigh glanced over, a wave of something – sadness, fear, some indescribable mixture of the two – passing over her. She squinted, attempting to discern shapes in the dark. Being inclined to believe in supernatural phenomena was not something that she was used to. Ghosts were something to be confined to campfire stories and spooky movies, they weren't real…but there was something unexplainable, something she quite couldn't put her finger on.
"Just because you can't see him, Cal, doesn't mean he's not there," Eric whispered, recalling one of the last times he had seen Speed. Had that been his ghost visiting, or was it, as the doctors and Horatio suggested, hallucinations?
And then, she made out a faint outline. "No," she said, between clenched teeth. "I can see something." Chills rattled through her spine, as she reached out a tentative hand toward the outline. "Speed? Is that you?"
Natalia crawled over closer to Eric and Calleigh. "What's she doing?" Natalia whispered to Eric. "Can ghosts talk?"
He shrugged. "I'm not sure," he replied in hushed tones. "Probably."
"But what is she doing?"
"If we're quiet, maybe we'll find out."
Her hand was flat, her fingers pointed to the ceiling. Gently, she inched her hand out closer to what she perceived to be his ghost. She glanced behind her, looking cautiously at Eric and Natalia, almost for some sort of implicit approval, before placing her hand right near the edge of the outline.
There was a faint rustling sound next to her ear, and an icy tingle swept through her hand, a soft glide, nearly indiscernible, almost like a very cold kitten's tail gently rubbing against her palm. She leaned into the touch. It was comforting in a way.
A soft whisper in her ear, yet it was clear as a bell. She sucked in her breath, a faint hiss emitting from her lips, and she found herself having to fight the urge not to cry. She rocked back, scrambling to get on her own steady feet. She leaned against the lockers, pressing a hand to her forehead.
"What happened, Cal?" Eric asked, as he pulled her close to him, allowing her to lean on him for support instead of the lockers.
"He said my name," she replied, feeling the stale air of the locker room rush back into her lungs, as she sunk into his embrace. "He said my name," came her voice, more quietly this time, more thoughtful in tone. The repetition was to allow the words to sink in, the reality of the situation stark in her mind.
Eric glanced over at Natalia. "Can you check to see if the door's open?" he asked, propping Calleigh up.
She walked over and cautiously jiggled the handle. "I think it's open," she replied. "I guess he wants to let us out."
"Good. Let's go."
"Where have you three been all night? There was a ghost lurking around, after all," Ryan said, looking over at them. "I thought Casper would have gotten you by now."
"We know," the three said in unison, casting glances at each other.
"You know there was a ghost?" he asked, almost incredulous. He thought he had the biggest scoop of the century thus far, and he had been scooped? Maybe, he thought grimly, this is why journalism had never been an option for his career path.
"Ryan, there's a lot of things you don't know about tonight," Calleigh said, yawning slightly and covering her mouth. "I'm going to go out for a proper breakfast, anyone want to come along?"
"I'm coming," Eric said, wrapping his arm around her waist and smiling.
"Aren't you going to thank me for solving all of our cases so you can have that proper breakfast?"
"Yes, our stomachs thank you," replied Eric with a laugh. "Natalia, you interested?"
"Nah, you two go on ahead. I'll find something later."
As the first flickers of sunlight spread over the horizon, Eric and Calleigh walked out of the lab, arm in arm, laughing and feeling the warm morning breeze in the air. It was a nice relief, after the night they had had, and a warm, inviting breakfast awaited them.
Looking out from a lab window, Speed watched intently as two of his best friends walked away, and his lips curled into a small smile. It was nice to see them again, after all this time. Hopefully they'd be back again some night. Then they could hang out again…just like how it used to be.