A/N: I have realized I haven't been into CSI:Miami much anymore since discovering and experimenting with other fandoms... I must confess I haven't liked the show much lately. I feel like all has become too focused on 'sensation', that the forensics used aren't even always correct or realistic anymore. I quite dislike how our leads, our Calleigh Duquesne and Horatio Caine, don't even seem to be talking anymore – I don't care about the discord between the actors! There's so much left unsaid between them!
I chose the title of this piece for more than one reason. For one, it (indirectly) refers to the episode Breathless (1.07), which contains, despite it being quite obviously acted, one of my favorite DuCaine scenes: "Personally? Leather chaps, nothing else…" That one was hilarious. There are at the least two more hidden reasons which are supposed to come to their rights within this piece of fanfiction itself. One should be easy to catch in this chapter, and another hopefully in the ones following.
I'm happy (and hoping) to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Please review if you like.
Chapter 1: Sleeping Beauty
Horatio Caine seriously doubted he had ever really driven this fast before. He had maneuvered through the streets of Miami with sirens loud, Frank beside him in the passenger seat of his Hummer, turning greener every car he passed. He couldn't care about that now. His friend would be regaining color soon. Frank Tripp would be alright. He, however, didn't believe he could say that from the rest of his friends, his colleagues, and employees.
As Frank beside him tried not to retch because of the very fast drive they had had, the lieutenant quietly scrutinized the scene before him. Everyone lay slouched on the light, shiny floor. Papers and whatever else his people might have been holding were scattered beside and around them. Even though Horatio had missed most of his son Kyle's childhood and thus never had read him any fairytales or such, this scene reminded him of the fairytale of the Sleeping Beauty. He vaguely recalled listening to the voice of his mother as she read it to Raymond and him from their big, golden colored paged book with fairytales. He felt like the Prince entering the city where everyone had fallen asleep. Were they only asleep, though?
"What the…?" it suddenly sounded from beside the red haired lieutenant.
He couldn't care to look at his friend, but he sounded more like himself once more at least. He would regain soon. Horatio squinted, turning his head to find nothing dangerous he could either see or smell. Horatio then quietly walked to Natalia Boa Vista's motionless body, sitting down on one knee beside it, and feeling for a pulse in her neck. He felt a very weak one. "Frank?" he called, turning his head to look at his friend, who thankfully already had taken his phone to call for help.
Horatio could feel himself getting dizzy. The dangerous, invisible and odorless stuff must linger in there still. He easily got up, better aware than anyone else that whatever this was, it most likely had a somewhat stronger effect further down. There were some reasons for that, which he couldn't care to ponder about right then either.
Then with a pang of fear, something dawned on him, as he began hurrying in the direction of Ballistics. The solid, sound proof walls combined with the fact that there was no working air-conditioning there made anyone who possibly might have been at the range a very easy victim for whatever was going on there. He just ignored Frank's questioning and hurried further to his destination. The door of the range was wide open. He immediately frowned at that unfamiliarity. Calleigh never left the door open.
He then saw the reason why it was, running forward to where Eric and Calleigh both lay. He settled down on one knee beside them, sighing in relief upon feeling Eric's pulse. That made him think that Eric must have arrived there later. He needed to get him off Calleigh. Her motionless, petite figure couldn't take all his weight.
"Frank," Horatio said, hearing the shuffling of his friend behind him, "Help me move him."
Frank reached them, aiding in rolling him over. Horatio then slid his fingers to Calleigh's neck. Panic took over him while moving his fingers a couple of inches to the left, then back. "Sweetheart…" Horatio's voice sounded.
Frank's eyes locked on the scene beside him, and he, too, could feel his intestines shrivel together as he saw Horatio's fear rise at not finding a pulse. He and Calleigh had always gotten along well. He watched as Horatio raised the blonde's upper body in his arm and tried feeling for a pulse again with his other hand to the other side of her neck, before lowering his ear to her mouth. "Frank. She's got no pulse I can feel… And she's not breathing."
He then picked her up into his arms easily, running from the range with Calleigh cradled against his chest. Upon reaching the hallway, a couple of EMTs with two gurneys rolled from the elevator. He could notice the shock readable on their faces, looking at the very same scene Frank and he had discovered earlier as well. He ran to the first gurney, carefully putting Calleigh on it and screaming, "She is not breathing!"
"I realized too late, Frank," Horatio said, both of his elbows leaning onto the edge of Calleigh's hospital bed as his fingers were waved together, her hand in between them. He had once seen her much like this, with too many tubes running from and to her body as they were what kept her alive. He had hoped to never see it again. At least there was one little comfort for him. At least now he could be the one sitting by her side holding her hand, whereas Eric had taken up that spot last time, while he just had been forced to watch them through a layer of glass. More than ever before had that made him realize that things between Calleigh and him would never be the same again, even though he wanted. He really wanted to get their mutual understanding back. It had begun collapsing after Speed, and then with Jake…
"Don't blame yourself like that, pal," Frank said, putting his hand on his friend's shoulder.
"I'll never forgive myself if she doesn't make it," Horatio said, before looking up from Calleigh's shut eyelids and lips, her light blonde hair sprawled over the pillow gracefully even though the situation. "How are the others doing?" he questioned.
Frank nodded. "They're going to be alright, but they'll most likely have to stay at the hospital for a couple of days… but just to make sure. They have given them something that will get them awake. Eric's already awoken, since he wasn't exposed so much. He just said everyone was already down when he came in about half an hour before us. He's been asking about Calleigh."
Horatio sighed, before looking at his second-in-command once again. "Her lungs have become weaker because of what has happened last time." He didn't need to say any more. Both he and Frank vividly recalled when Calleigh had almost choked interrogating a suspect – though neither had been there – and then had been on a thread between life and death after she had risked her life saving someone at a burning crime scene. "They have failed far easier, and thus these machines are breathing for Calleigh until her lungs can take up with that again. She's… Her carrier as a CSI is over, Frank."
Detective Tripp looked at his friend, then at Calleigh bewildered. Of course, if he maybe hadn't been so close to the situation, he would have realized by now that she most likely was going to have consequences of this. He unconsciously had been pushing past that for the past couple of hours, though. He said no word.
"They can't say how big the damage is quite yet, but…" His words trailed off, and he felt Frank's hand on his shoulder momentarily tighten. He lowered his head, and while holding onto Calleigh's colder hand, he did something he hadn't done in quite a while: he prayed.