Chapter 1

"Eric. I know how hard... how hard you're fighting right now. And I know how easy it would be to slip away and be with Marisol. I think about that, too, but I don't want you to do it. I'm not ready. I'm not ready for you to... I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. It's just... I... I... I've... I lost her, and... and Ray... and Speed... You're... You're all I've got left, Eric. So... I... I want you to do what we always do. I want you to fight. It's what I need you to do... It's what I need you to do... I'll be right here."

Detective Calleigh Duquesne quietly closed the hospital door to Eric's room on ICU. She had wanted to go and sit with Eric and wait until he would wake up, but noticed that he already had a visitor. Horatio hadn't appeared to have seen her, so she had quietly closed the door again, deciding to wait until he would leave. Right when the door would have fallen into the locker, though, Horatio's emotion filled voice had sounded through the room. Calleigh's curiosity had taken over, and she'd remained listening until he was finished. Now he was, and she'd regretted listening. Nothing kept her from pulling the door shut this time, and she slowly sank down against the hospital wall. Two doctors that passed gave her a worried look, but she tried to smile them away, and it worked. As soon as both doctors had rounded the corner, however, Calleigh hid her face in her hands and sighed deep. She so wanted that she hadn't just heard this.

Eric and she had been the only ones left from the original team Horatio had taken over from Megan. She knew how much he'd loved Marisol. She knew that he'd never been able to get over it, and that he partially blamed himself for her death. And if she knew Horatio well, Calleigh had a pretty good idea of what Horatio had done when he and Eric were in Brasil. If she knew Lieutenant Caine well, Julia's accusations had not been false. She didn't doubt that she'd do exactly the same if anyone touched someone she cared for. She still hadn't forgotten about Jeanette and Hank Kerner. Her blood still started boiling when she only thought about his name. Right now, however, she was too tired and sad to ponder about it.

Calleigh knew that even though Raymond had been 'dead', he still considered his widow Yelina as his rightful sister-in-law. If he, what the young blonde supposed he did, still saw Eric as his rightful brother-in-law, then technically Eric wasn't the only one he'd got left. She didn't really think he only saw lawful or blood-relatives as his family, though. He basically lived at the job, and she knew there had at least once been a time when he would think of his team as his family, just like she did. They weren't only colleagues, or friends, but family. He'd after all mentioned Speed's name.

Maybe he'd started thinking about the team differently ever since Speed's death? Calleigh had sure felt the change. Horatio would never allow himself to be as close to them as before; honestly the two of them had rarely talked in ages. She sometimes missed that, even though her relationship with Eric had been lifted to a higher level. She still missed how Horatio and she would form the best, crime-solving team. She missed talking to him, but she didn't have much time to worry about it lately, because she'd spent every free moment with Eric.

In times of need, however, the team could still count on his support. She had not yet forgotten about the angry glare in his eyes when Horatio had held her abductor under shot and had threatened to kill him, if he even moved. She knew. So, actually... Eric wasn't really the only one left. She was still there, too. There had been a lot of occasions in the last year where she could have lost life, but she hadn't. She was still there, and it hurt to be forgotten by him. The one she'd never thought she'd be forgotten by.

Suddenly, a loud beeping noise went off inside Eric's room and she got up in one movement, looking through the window horrified. Horatio was looking from the left to the right in almost panic. And that sight overwhelmed her so much that her breath caught for a few instants. Eric was lying there, tubes running in and out of him while he fought for his life. And it had been her fault that he'd ended up in there. Hers, and only hers; she'd shot him. And now something was going wrong, and as she looked from the left to the right in the hallway, and three nurses hurried by, rushing into the room, her thought was being confirmed.

Horatio was being shushed out of Eric's room onto the hallway. The two of them shared a brief, panicked glance, and understood each other without words. That was still left of their former strong bond. Calleigh and Horatio both just stood there, looking through the window and the nurses' every movement. He couldn't die. He couldn't.