Hopefully within another week, my wrist will be healed and I can get back to updating the stories that Athena has left hanging in favor of new ideas that keep popping up into her head. As it is, I'm still too tender to do much more than a couple of paragraphs at a time before it swells again and hurts quite badly. So for now I will give you an old one reprinted with a new title and new summary. Tranfering files from a zip drive doesn't hurt like actual lengthy typing does.

Thank you to all who have been reading and reviewing the fics. The reviews mean more than you will ever know.

Coming Home to Her

(Reprinted with permission of the original author.)

Monday finally ended and Calleigh had never been more glad to see the end of any day in her entire life. Mondays alone were bad enough. Mondays and a bad hair day combined were even worse. Mondays without Horatio Caine to direct the CSI team were indescribably horrible. The whole day had been one stress after another and Calleigh knew that she had an entire week of just such stress facing her without the redheaded Lieutenant at his usual post of first in command.

Wearily, Calleigh made her way to the bathroom and forced herself to go through the motions of a shower and shampoo. The warm water of the shower and the fragrance of her body wash partially revived her sagging spirits, and the vigorous scrubbing she gave her hair and scalp helped ease the nagging headache that had been with her all day. Still she was utterly exhausted and decided just to put on her favorite soft, pajamas and read in bed for a while instead of eating. She just wasn't hungry enough to make the effort. She lay back against the pillows of her bed and sighed heavily.

"I'll check in with you each evening just to keep up with what's going on with our current cases, is that okay?" he had said.

"I'll be waiting for the call, Horatio."

"I appreciate that, Ma'am."

And then he was gone…on board a plane for a weeklong explosives conference in Tallahassee.

The phone lay still and silent in the palm of Calleigh's hand, taunting her. For a few moments, she flirted with the idea of calling him.

"Admit it, Duquesne," she said aloud. "Current cases has nothing to do with why you want him to call. You're missing the sound of his voice and the way he looks at you with those blue eyes, like he can see all the way to your soul."

For almost an hour she tossed in the bed, restless and edgy, until finally she gave up the idea of getting an extra two or three hours of sleep.

Giving her blonde mane an irritated shake, she slipped out of bed and softly padded to the kitchen, carefully tucking the phone into the pocket of her soft, blue and white striped robe as she went. She had just poured herself a cup of coffee and was headed to the living room to watch a movie, when her pocket emitted a soft trill. For just a second she analyzed the tingle that zipped through her nerves as she reached and pulled the phone from her pocket; pleasure pure and simple. In spite of her best efforts, she couldn't help the broad smile that spread across her face as she flipped it open and answered, hoping the breathlessness that suddenly settled on her didn't sound all the way through the phone to his ears.

"Duquesne," she answered.

"Calleigh."

One word, spoken in that husky deep voice and her knees suddenly threatened to dump her unceremoniously into the floor. She sat down on the edge of the couch, clinging to the phone as though it were a lifeline in a hurricane.

"Hello, Handsome, right on time I see."

"Always, Ma'am. How are things going?"

I miss you Horatio. I never wanted to admit it before, but now I know what I've felt for so long.

Aloud she said, "We are doing just fine here. Ballistics confirmed the match on those shell casings we recovered at the scene of the Barkley homicide and we've all but got that one locked up."

"I knew you'd nail that one. What about the Sanderson case?"

"Well, the judge is stonewalling us on the search warrant in that case. Frank has been to see him twice and still no papers yet."

"Hmmm."

The sound of his wordless comment vibrated through the phone into Calleigh's ear and settled into her sense like a soothing caress, and without realizing it, she whispered his name…"Horatio."

"Yes, Calleigh?" He asked.

A deep blush colored Calleigh's face as she realized she'd spoken aloud.

"I…uh…"

"Calleigh, are you okay, Sweetheart?" Horatio's voice held concern and deep affection.

"Yes, Horatio, I'm fine, just mortified that I let my feelings almost slip like that…Just remembered something I needed to tell you. Frank got a new statement from the vic in the carjacking case from last week, and we are following that lead."

"Okay. But, Calleigh… Calleigh I already knew that before I left Miami. Frank told me. You were there, remember?"

Busted Calleigh thought and felt heat spread across her face as her blush deepened.

"You're right, Horatio…I've been so busy with you gone that I forgot what we'd already discussed before you left."

"It's not too much is it Sweetheart?" he asked, instantly defaulting into protective mode.

Calleigh almost purred as the warmth of Horatio's voice slid into her senses like a narcotic and left her slightly giddy with delight.

"No, I'm fine, Horatio, really… but I mi…we miss you Horatio. You are the backbone of this team…and we feel it when you are gone."

Calleigh tried to keep the tone of her voice professional and brisk, but the southern drawl crept in and Horatio noticed the tiny slip of pronoun when she first started to speak.

" I mi…WE miss you, Horatio." She had started to say, "I miss you, Horatio."

His smile traveled all the way through his words. "Likewise, Calleigh. I miss you too. Good night, Sweetheart. Sleep well." His voice caressed her just before he broke the connection and was gone.

Calleigh closed her eyes and savored the lingering echoes of his voice in her ear.

"I miss you, too. Good night, Sweetheart. Sleep well."

She was sure to have pleasant dreams if the sweet response of her body to his softly spoken endearment was any indication. Her coffee forgotten and cold, Calleigh wandered back to her bedroom in a happy daze. Slipping out of her robe, she settled back into bed and snuggled down into the soft sheets.

"Good night, Handsome." She whispered just before she followed the sound of his voice into sleep and dreams.