Disclaimer: I do not own anything from CSI: Miami, wouldn't want to!
A/N: Thanks you for all the reviews, alerts and encouragement! Thanks for reading!
Horatio came around from behind Ryan and took Callie's place on the coffee table. Not caring what the others would think he gently took the young mans face in his hands. Causing Ryan to meet his eyes, Horatio started speaking in a low tone, "I know I've been a bastard where you are concerned. For three years I've been avoiding these overwhelming feelings I've buried deep inside. I didn't want to believe you could be my son. After all these years, I thought you would hate me or blame me for not being there. I took the cowards way out, not knowing...would mean not having to face the past." Horatio paused taking a deep breath, making sure not to break eye contact with his charge. "I was wrong in so many ways. I was right in choosing you to help me fake my death. Your skills and loyalty made you the perfect one for the job. But I didn't think about your career and how helping me would affect you personally. It doesn't justify how you were treated, and not just by me. I didn't learn until later that they practically accused you of murdering me...I'm so sorry for the pain caused by my stupidity. I never told you thank you, for the great job you did!" Looking into Ryan's eyes he could see the pain in them. He could only hope that Ryan saw the truth and determination in his own. "And then I failed you as your boss and let you down. You were missing and I didn't do enough to find you. I wasn't there for you! When you told me about the Russians and Billy, I took for granted that you were okay. On the drive back to headquarters I realized you hadn't told me everything. I expected you to be waiting for my return, and was surprised when you weren't there. I was trying to find you when the hospital called. I wanted to get there as fast as I could hoping you would be okay. I didn't want to lose you as a person, teammate, and someone I would proudly call my son. You really do matter! I hope you'll be able to forgive me."
Sensing Horatio was done, Ryan closed his eyes and leaned back breaking contact. He was emotionally and physically tired. He could tell his coworkers were sincere. Now he just wanted to be alone, think things through. Of course being at Horatio's place he couldn't tell everyone to leave.
Calliegh and Eric were just a little stunned by H's confession. Eric just shifted in his seat uncomfortable by all the feelings on display.
Calliegh, ever practical, broke the silence asking cautiously, "So H...is Ryan your son?"
That made Ryan open his eyes. Horatio now had three sets of eyes boring into him.
"Huh?" H was still thinking about all he told Ryan. "He might be." He reached for the box which had been pushed to the side and forgotten. Looking Ryan in the eye he asked, "Do you feel up to finding out the truth?"
Not really knowing how he was feeling, Ryan looked around and saw only concern on the faces of those with him. "W-what if I am y-your son? W-what then?"
"We'll take it one step at a time. Either way, Ryan, it will make no difference to me. I'm proud of the man you are. I plan to get to know you better no matter what!"
"Horatio is right Ryan, we'll be getting to know you because we really want to," Eric encouraged.
"May I ask what's in the box that will prove something this important?" asked Calliegh.
"What I have in this box is the only connection I have to my first love and my little boy. I'm not speaking of Julia and Kyle. Her name was Carolyn, and my boy's name was...Ryan. She left me, taking my precious son with her. These few pictures are all I have. Ryan's mother's name is the same and the resemblance is...is amazing."
Ryan held his hand out to take the box. H opened it and then gave it to the young CSI. The first picture on top was of a cute little boy with dark brown hair and hazel eyes, smiling at the camera. Eric leaned over curious to see and Calliegh came around the back of the couch to look. "Is that you Ryan?" Eric asked.
Ryan looked at the three and shrugged his shoulders. "It could be, I-I never had any pictures of me growing up. There was a family photo taken just before my mother died, that's all I have."
They were all shocked and saddened by that simple admission. Ryan didn't notice as he was shakily reaching into the box to see the next picture underneath. He picked up the one of the little boy and then gasped at what he saw. There in the box was his mother smiling up at him. What little color had been in the young man's face drained away. His trembling hand picked up the photo, and he traced the outline of her face. "T-that's my mom," Ryan whispered weakly and proceeded to pass out. The picture fell to the floor.
"Ryan!" They all exclaimed at once. Eric stood up and helped position Ryan on the couch so that he was now laying down. Calliegh ran to the kitchen and came back with a wet towel which she placed on Ryan's forehead. She picked up the photo and gave it a good look. "No wonder you suspected him of being your son, he looks just like her."
Horatio didn't hear Calliegh, he was sitting staring at his son running his fingers through Ryan's hair. It seemed like a million different emotions were emerging in his own thoughts; happiness, love, sadness, guilt and shame. 'I guess we'll have to take one step at a time. I can't imagine what he thinks of me. I wasn't there for him growing up, and I certainly wasn't there for him as a boss. Will he continue to let me help him now? I'm so sorry Ryan, my son...I wish I would have faced my past when we first met. I'll try my best to be there for you now.'
"H, are you okay?" Calliegh asked. Horatio, realizing he was asked a question, absently replied, "Yes, I'm fine. I'm just worried about Ryan."
Eric just put a blanket over the prone figure as he quietly thought out loud, "Wow! That's a lot to digest for all of us. Do you want us to stay a while, is he going to be okay?"
"I'm not sure Eric. Alexx will be here in about an hour so I'll have her check Ryan, but it looks like he may have just fallen asleep. He definitely needs to rest. You both can stay if you like."
"Maybe you should rest a bit too H," said a concerned Calliegh. "We'll keep watch over Ryan. Why don't you use the recliner."
"Thank you Calliegh, I think I will." He got comfortable in the recliner and soon dozed off. Calliegh removed the cloth from Ryan's forehead tucking the covers around him. She and Eric made their way to the kitchen, sat at the table and quietly talked. Alexx and Frank came about an hour later. The bell woke Horatio up, he got up slowly and let them in. "Hello Alexx, Frank, come in."
"What's up H?" Frank asked knowing something was wrong. "Is Ryan okay?"
"I was hoping Alexx could tell me," Horatio stepped aside to let them in.
He and Alexx went straight to the couch where the young man was asleep. Frank noticed the pictures while Alexx quickly assessed how Ryan was doing. Eric and Calliegh came into the living room at that time to say hello.
"He seems to be alright," Alexx informed as she took hold of Ryan's wrist to take his pulse.
Ryan woke with a start when Alexx was taking his pulse. He slowly sat back up not wanting to look at anybody. He wasn't sure about anything anymore.
"Hey Baby Boy, glad you're awake!" Alexx sat down next him an pulled him into her arms. She had glimpsed the lost look in his expressive eyes. Ryan turned towards her and buried his face on her shoulder, relishing her safe embrace. Alexx was just a little confused as to why her boy was so lost. Frank who was studying the pictures, quietly showed them to Alexx. Alexx's eyes widened when she saw the resemblance and mentally made the connection as she looked at Horatio's worried eyes. "You just need some time Ryan, things will become more clear in time." She hugged him a little more tightly, feeling him relax against her.
"H, Eric and I are gonna head out, we'll call tomorrow. Bye Ryan, Alexx, Frank." Eric and Calliegh headed home hoping things would be okay.
Alexx, sensing Ryan had fallen asleep once again, gently released him, "Frank bring me a pillow, H, help me get him more comfortable." Frank went upstairs and came back with the pillow from the spare bed. The three got the boy reclining snugly on the couch, hoping the sleep would be restful for him.
"So H," Frank said quietly, "Ryan is your son."
"Yes, he is, Frank, Alexx. Yes he is!"Horatio proudly replied.