A/N: I started re-watching CSI:Miami a while ago (four seasons down!) when I remembered that I had pretty much abandoned 'Don't Cry Wolfe' on here. So, I started jotting down ideas for a four chapter, when for some reason this idea took over instead. It always annoyed me how Ryan was treated, but also that it was never really addressed in the show either. I mean, after going through what he had, you would think that there would be issues! So, I found myself typing, and this is the result. Consider it as a companion piece of sorts to DCW.

I would like to say a HUGE apology to everyone who has been following DCW. I do promise that I shall continue! But you fellas are all stars. How you put up with me I have no idea! A massive THANK YOU to everyone who has read and reviewed, and to everyone who has it on their faves or alerts. I am indebted to you all!

Warning: Uh, swearing. Mentions of violence. ANGST ANGST ANGST. Enjoy.

Disclaimer: Nope, I do not own CSI:Miami, or any of the characters. What a pity.

What if I say I'm not like the others?
What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays?
You're the pretender
What if I say I will never surrender?
~ 'The Pretender', Foo Fighters ~

"You know, I'm paid for the entire hour anyway. You don't really have to say anything for me to claim my fee." The man leant back into his chair, an amused smile playing around his lips. His fingers idly played with a clearly expensive pen, whilst the notepad seemingly had been abandoned.

"I'm sure the county's taxpayers would be pleased to hear that."

Doctor Michael Blair laughed lightly at his client's sarcastic response, dropping the pen from his hands. He gazed at the young man in front of him - the young man who wasn't looking back, but rather had his head turned towards the window to his right. The young man who had been referred to him after his boss had had a whispered conversation in a silent corridor with the established psychologist.

It had been fifteen minutes into this latest session, which appeared to be following in the footsteps of the previous two. Blair would see his client walk in, the young man would sit down and then for the next hour proceed to play cat and mouse with the psychologist. He cleverly brushed off the questions he was asked, or simply refused to answer at all. Blair knew that type – he had dealt with several clients with a similar outlook before – and he knew that in order for these sessions to actually have effect, he would have to beat the young man at his own game. It would be frustrating and require a lot of patience, but the psychologist had that in spades. He was also aware that he would not have been called out had this not been deemed necessary. So his time would not be wasted in vain, he believed. It was all just a matter of waiting to see what would be discovered.

"Mr Wolfe, we have been doing this for two sessions already, you know," Blair noticed how the young dark-haired man sat up just that little bit straighter at the mention of his name, "surely-"

"Surely we should both just give this up and go back to our work?" Ryan interrupted with ease, watching from the corner of his eye as the older man scribbled something down on the notepad on his desk, "look, I don't need a shrink. I told you that two weeks ago. This is all a waste of time."

"This does happen to be my work, Mr Wolfe. And since your boss has arranged for these sessions, I don't think that they are a waste of time," seeing that the brown-haired man had snorted at his words, Blair raised his eyebrows, "I take it you disagree with Lieutenant Caine then?"

Ryan straightened up on his chair, tearing his gaze from the window to his hands. He didn't speak for a minute, before he suddenly snapped, "I've told you, and I've told him, too. I'm fine. I don't need a shrink." Ryan sighed, dragging a hand through his hair, prompting it to travel wildly in all available directions. "I don't know why I'm here. I could be working on a case or something right now."

Blair wrote something down on his notepad, before taking his glasses off.

"Your boss doesn't think that working is such a good idea for you right now. Do you know why that may be, Mr Wolfe?" he began to polish his glasses carefully, all the time studying his client. The psychologist knew all the particulars behind the young CSI's case, but he much rather preferred to hear all the details from his clients themselves. Ryan shrugged his shoulders off-handedly, yet Blair caught sight of a sudden spark of something – was it anger? – in the young man's hazel eyes. But within a spilt second that emotion had been wiped away and the younger man's elaborate façade was present once more.

"I suppose it's because I concealed evidence in a recent case," Ryan said, not taking his eyes away from his hands in front of him, "even though he knows the reason why I did, but apparently it's not good enough." Even though the additional sentence had been whispered, the older man caught most of it, and paused in the polishing of his glasses.

"So you think that this," here the psychologist gestured at the room they were both currently in, "is simply a punishment from your boss because you concealed evidence in an important case?"

Ryan snorted, a bitter smile playing on his lips. "I guess. It's probably the lesser of two evils, or so he would say. Either this, or being suspended."

"And you have been suspended before?"

"I was fired before."

"And why were you fired, Mr Wolfe?"

The young man didn't answer for a moment, before he finally looked the older man in the eyes. Not for the first time did Blair notice the bruises and cuts that decorated the CSI's face. True, they were no longer the violent shades of purple and black that he had been sporting at their first encounter, now that they were fading, but they were still there. Still looked painful. The cuts were fading into thin, white scars now, and Blair watched as Ryan absentmindedly rubbed at a scar on his lip.

"I'm sure you know why I was fired. You've read my file, obviously."

A slow smile spread across the older man's features. "I may have indeed, but I want you to tell me about it."

"And if I don't want to?" Ryan quickly retorted, his tone taking on an edge of frustration. He had dropped his gaze back to his hands, which were now fidgeting, Blair noticed with sharp eyes.

"Then you don't have to," Blair shrugged, slipping his glasses back on in a single, fluid motion. "Like I said a few minutes ago, we could sit here in silence and I still get paid. I don't mind." He laughed lightly when Ryan sighed in exasperation, muttering something under his breath. "It's your choice, Mr Wolfe."

"Care in the community in practice," the dark-haired man snapped, "glad I get to see it in action."

Blair laughed again, picking his pen up. They had actually made a bit of progress so far, he had to conclude. That was certainly something. "That's our modern health care system for you."

There was a moment of silence, before Ryan suddenly broke it. He leant forward in his seat, and when he spoke his voice seemed reasonably cool and collected, but there was something else there. Something that Blair wasn't too sure about. But he was certain about was that the younger man was carefully controlling the entire session. He was talking when he wanted to, hence his speaking now would be something important, Blair assumed.

"I got fired because I… I paid off a debt during a case," Ryan looked lost in thought, his hands having ceased their fidgeting, "I used to be addicted to gambling. I lied to Horatio about it, but when I was filmed meeting the guy, I was forced to go. Steler had me fired the very same day." Ryan laughed yet it sounded harsh, and bitter. "What can I say, everything travels quickly here." A shrug, and then the silence fell once more.

Blair nodded as he wrote. This was consistent with the young man's file. But clearly he was still resentful of being fired, even though he understood why he had been. He nodded again, even though the younger man had ceased speaking and was rubbing a spot on his neck now, and attempting to hold back a wince of pain as he did so.

"I'm guessing you want to know how I got my job back." Ryan turned what should have been a question into a mere statement, sounding bored and… Exhausted. He raised his head slightly to peer over the desk that was facing him. "'Cause you have nothing else to do with your time, after all."

"Surprisingly, no. I am more interested in what has happened to you recently."

"Oh." The younger man sounded momentarily caught off guard, before resuming his bored façade once more. But to the trained, expert eye of Blair, he was aware that a small and fragile crack had appeared in the younger man's armour. He had rolled his hazel eyes towards the heavens with a muttered, "That again…", yet there was no escaping the fact that he now sounded hesitant, more so than what he had before.

"Yes, Mr Wolfe," the amused edge was back in Blair's voice as he leant back into his leather chair, "that again. Do you care to elaborate this time around?" He waited, noticing that Ryan was apparently absorbed with something on his rolled up sleeve. According to his file, the young CSI had obsessive compulsive disorder, so it really could be something as simple as a speck of dirt that had caught the young man's attention. But with all his years of experience behind him, the psychologist sincerely doubted that. He watched as Ryan swallowed, not taking his eyes off his sleeve. Blair caught sight of several fading bruise marks around the younger man's wrist, but as before made no comment.

"Look, I've told you all before. I'm fine," the CSI folded his arms in front of him, an exasperated look etched on his face. But the psychologist quietly suspected that the motion was more of a defensive action than a fed up one.

"Well, you have told me, and indeed all your colleagues that you are fine, Mr Wolfe," Blair spoke calmly as he turned to a new page in his notebook. Ryan watched him with sharp, knowing eyes as his lips were drawn into a thin line.

"Funny then how I'm still sent here if I've said that, isn't it?" Once again there was a noticeably bitter tone to the younger man's voice, and his dark brown eyes narrowed. "I mean, you would like to think that you have a say in the matter. Apparently not." He fell silent, his gaze again falling to his shirt sleeve, although he kept his arms folded about him. The clock in the background suddenly seemed a tad louder.

Blair regarded the CSI curiously, his glasses perched half-way down his nose. Something in his look – although he was pretty confident that his face was perfectly blank – must have caught Ryan's attention, for the dark-haired man straightened up.

"Your boss referred you to me, Mr Wolfe-" Blair was surprised to be interrupted by a harsh snort of sarcastic amusement, and he looked up from his notebook to look at his client.

"You disagree with his referral?" Blair questioned the younger man, watching curiously as a mutilated smile danced across the features of him.

"If you want to call it that, then sure. He just wanted me out of the way, so he sends me here. Just because he can."

"So you think that your boss is on a power trip?" the older man asked, keeping his voice neutral as he spoke, his pen flying furiously across his new page. From the way that his client was acting, perhaps they were reaching something. His behaviour was certainly new.

"H just wanted to push me around again. Once more with feeling, you could say," Ryan chuckled, but it was devoid of any real amusement. "After the last case, I think he's happy to get me out of the way."

"Which brings us back to my earlier question – are you going to elaborate this time around about what happened to you during your work recently?" Blair questioned again, raising an eyebrow. He had decided to change his tactics; now it was time to show that although he was there to listen, he also had the power to direct the flow of conversation. Not just his clients had that power. Not just Ryan. Blair could see that Ryan was on the verge of revealing something, and he sensed a potential breakthrough. From the previous two sessions Blair could see why the young CSI had been referred to him, and it wasn't just because of what he had been told by Lieutenant Caine in that deserted corridor.

Ryan simply stared at the floor for just that second too long, and Blair waited.

"I know it's an old cliché, Mr Wolfe, but talking about matters and thoughts that are occupying your mind can actually help you, you know," the older man said gently in an attempt to engage the younger man in conversation, trying to help him open up.

"I may be inclined to agree with you, but I've never really got to try that out," Ryan commented wryly, his eyes still fixed to the floor. But Blair could just see that the young CSI's hands were no longer fidgeting, but were slightly shaking instead.

"You mean to say that you don't talk to people about how you're feeling?" the psychologist jotted down another few sentences into his notebook, before looking at Ryan again. "And why is that? Do you not like talking about your feelings, Mr Wolfe?" He leant back into his chair, sighing as his neck and back muscles complained about the action.

Ryan snorted, but Blair couldn't see his facial expression.

"I may not be a huge fan of it, but… Let's just say that even when I do, people just don't… They don't listen," the younger man sighed, and instead of sounding frustrated or bored or even sarcastic as he had before, he now sounded worn out. He sounded utterly weary, as if he was close to reaching his breaking point. Blair forced his aching muscles to allow him to straighten up, peering at Ryan closely through his glasses.

"They don't listen, Mr Wolfe?" the older man's pen hovered over his notebook, just waiting.

"You wanted to know what happened during my last case? Let's just say that when I tried to explain my actions to my colleagues," Blair noticed how the younger man stressed the word, "they didn't listen. Wouldn't listen. They just talked about how I contaminated and fabricated evidence and could have destroyed the case." The younger man still did not look up, but his voice was harsh and ragged, his breathing strained as the words tumbled from his normally cold and reluctant mouth.

Blair slowly nodded, his mind analysing the words and the feeling behind them quicker than his pen could write them down. He had a feeling that he was going to see a breakthrough, considering how the attitude and behaviour of the younger man had undergone a change. Perhaps he had realised that he had to talk to someone about what had happened, or perhaps he was talking against his own wish but could not restrain himself. Either way, it was clear that he was not finished. Blair just had to tread carefully for the next few minutes and then be patient. The younger man would continue to talk when he discovered that someone was ready to listen, the psychologist was sure of this.

"You fabricated evidence, and your colleagues said you could have destroyed the case, right…" he allowed his voice to trail away in case the younger man wanted to continue, but when it became clear that Ryan wasn't going to, Blair picked up. "You seem like a dedicated and determined CSI, Mr Wolfe. I have had your boss telling me so, as well. So I believe this begs the question – why?"

"You already know why," came the dead reply.

The clock ticked louder in the background, and the sound of the wind from outside could be heard through the open window.

Dr Blair knew what had happened to the younger CSI to make him compromise the case; Caine had informed him so, but still… Still there were blanks. Ryan had apparently not told the Lieutenant everything. For Caine was certain that although he had been told a lot, and could piece together a lot more, that something else had happened.

And if Blair was to help this young man, then he needed to hear the whole story. And it had to come straight from Ryan's own mouth.

So he allowed a few quick seconds to pass before he spoke again.

"Yes, I know," he said simply, "I know what happened. But, Mr Wolfe, if I am to help you, you need to help yourself. You need to talk to me about what happened."

Ryan sighed, and the older man could hear him take a deep breath. He still did not look up.

"I don't get you people. You already know what happened; I then screwed up afterwards, alright? I can get through this myself, Christ; I've done that for everything else. Why the hell do you think talking is going to help?" the younger man spoke quietly, but there was something dark and ominous hidden behind the low words.

"Because, Mr Wolfe, you are a victim in all of this," the older man spoke quietly too, but forcefully. He leant forward, and slowly removed his glasses. "You don't have to be alone-"

"I don't have to be alone. Right. So when I was kidnapped and tortured for a few hours, did I have to be alone for that?" Ryan said, his voice rising noticeably. His head snapped up, and again Blair was confronted by the vivid dark bruising and painful scarring that appeared on the younger man's face. But it was Ryan's eyes that stood out the most and caught Blair's attention – they looked so dull and empty.

"That is what I am here to talk to you about, Mr Wolfe," the older man began, but was caught off by a slow shake of the CSI's head.

"Okay. You want to know what happened. I was knocked out and when I came to, I was in some dark room, and I had a smirking Russian in my face," Ryan snapped furiously, but it was a cold rage and not his usual heated anger. Blair watched as Ryan's hands gripped the arms of the chair he was seated in, and he could just catch the barest glimpse of bruising around the younger man's thin wrists. Words continued to tumble from the young CSI's mouth, and his eyes maintained that deadened, haunted look.

"At first he stuck with what he called 'the basics'. You know, just punching me everywhere as hard as he could," Ryan said freely and as easily as if he was discussing the recent football game. He kept his gaze level with the older man's as he spoke, and Blair did not look away. "After a while, he stopped. He told me that that I had to work with them on a case. I said I wouldn't, told him to go to hell." A twisted smirk formed on the pale and bruised features of the young CSI. "He didn't like that. So he hit me again. And again and again and again. Everything hurt. Blood was running down my face and he just kept going. But… Then he pulled out a pair of rusted pliers." Ryan stopped momentarily, his voice sounding hoarse. He blinked furiously.

The psychologist kept his face perfectly expressionless, his stance neutral, but inwardly his thoughts were rioting. His hands were clasped together as he leant on his desk. The notebook and pen had somewhat been abandoned as he paid all his attention to what the younger man was saying.

Ryan breathed in deeply before he continued, a faint hiss of pain escaping his lips as he did so.

"A pair of fucking pliers, would you believe it?" A chuckle issued forth, but it sounded faintly hysterical. "I just looked at them, and I couldn't believe what was happening. It was like being caught in some fucking horror movie. And again the man said I was going to help them, and again I snapped at him to go to hell. I don't know why. I think… I think it was 'cause I knew that if I got into any more trouble, I'd be out of a job. My record isn't exactly spotless, right?" Again Ryan chuckled, but Blair watched as the CSI swallowed. "And I… I couldn't let H down by giving in. He wouldn't, and Calleigh or Delko wouldn't and… I just couldn't, either." He sighed, and his eyes closed.

"You didn't let anyone down, Mr Wolfe," the older man spoke softly; "you mustn't think that. What you did was brave-"

"I fucking gave in, how the hell is that brave?" the CSI interrupted angrily, his eyes snapping open. "I gave in and carried out the orders they gave me. I nearly let them get away with everything! Hardly something to praise, is it?" he sighed, and his hazel eyes snapped shut again slowly.

"You were trying to save the life of a little boy, correct? The son of your sponsor? You took on that responsibility, as well as everything else. That is something to praise."

"Billy…" the name was whispered. "Yeah. I couldn't… I couldn't let him get hurt. He told me that…That he would hurt Billy. What he'd done to me, he would do to Billy. He's just a kid; if I couldn't take it how could he?"

"And what did he do to you, Mr Wolfe?" Blair questioned gently, watching as the younger man frantically dragged his hands through his dark brown hair. "What did he do?"

"He came at me with the pliers… And stuck them in my mouth….And he pulled out my tooth. My back molar," Ryan's eyes opened wide and to the trained and experienced view of the psychologist it was clear that the CSI was currently re-living the entire event. "He just laughed, and there was blood everywhere. It hurt… It hurt like hell. I was screaming, he was laughing and he told me he would hurt Billy if I didn't to what they asked. Then he dropped the pliers and just beat the shit out of me." Ryan dropped his head into his hands, which were violently shaking by now.

"I cried for him to stop. But he wouldn't. Just wouldn't. He loved it. I was tied up and couldn't fight back. Not that I could've anyway, everything fucking hurt. Then he suddenly stopped, just like that. I struggled to open my eyes and saw he was gone. Then I felt his breath at my neck…He was behind me. Whispered into my ear, 'you will help us'. Tugged at the cord around my neck and next thing I knew, I couldn't breath. I thought he was going to kill me there and then." Absentmindedly, Ryan dropped one of his hands around his bruised neck, rubbing one of the more vivid bruises. "Everything was going black on me before he stopped. He just laughed as I choked."

"Mr Wolfe-"

"He called me nothing but that the entire time," Ryan snapped, but his anger quickly evaporated. Blair saw how vulnerable the younger man was. "It was 'Mr Wolfe' this and that. Apart from before he knocked me out so I could be flung into the back of the same van that had kidnapped me and taken away. Then he put a hand on my face and stroked me and said, 'Ryan, I hope you visit me another time'. His face was so close to mine…" A strangled gasp completed the sentence as Blair's gaze softened.

The CSI was pale and shaking, and looked so young and vulnerable that the psychologist longed to put his arms around him and offer him some comfort. He would do that for any of his children. But that wasn't what he could offer a client. All he could offer was a willing ear and let his clients know that he was there for them. That he could help that overcome the struggles in their life and the difficulties that they faced.

"He's gone now Ryan," Blair spoke the younger man's name gently, knowing it would help, "and you're safe. Billy is safe. You helped with that, and your boss knows it. I know it." He watched as Ryan's shoulders began to tremble, and he could hear the CSI's breathing hitch suddenly.

"Funny how H never bothered to tell me that," Ryan muttered slowly, "and the way he looked at me whenever he found out what I had been doing throughout the investigation…"

"He's concerned about you, Ryan. He cares about his CSIs, you know that. From the way he spoke to me, it was clear that he blames himself for what you went through," Blair spoke gently yet firmly, seeing how Ryan felt about his boss.

When the psychologist had been approached by the Lieutenant it had been obvious that the man had been feeling guilt. It was probably because of those feelings that Caine had not really approached Ryan. It was indeed true – it was somewhat of a legend in the department, actually – that Caine watched over and cared about his CSIs. He was still haunted about Tim Speedle's death, even after the years that had passed since then. Since Ryan was undoubtedly the youngest, he probably felt a tad more protective of him. He just didn't show it in front of many, and Blair was certain that Ryan himself did not know this. Well, it wasn't his place to tell him, but he could certainly inform the young CSI that far from blaming Ryan, Caine was worried about him.

A silence had fallen in the room, only broken by the ticking of the clock in the background. Blair was about to speak when Ryan got there first. His voice was fragile as glass, hoarse and cracked. The raised cuts and black bruises stood out strongly on his pale face.

"I… I just wanted him to come for me. That's all I could think about. That he'll come and get me. But," and here Blair watched as a lone tear fell down the bruised and scared cheek of the CSI, "he… He never did."

"Your boss and your team never knew what was happening to you, Ryan."

"I know… I think I knew that even then, but… You just, you just hope. And, God, all I did was hope. But he never came." Ryan was openly sobbing now, his head in his shaking hands. "He just never came." A bubble of laughter escaped through his pitiful sobs. "I was crying for the Russian to stop; to leave me alone, but all the time I just wanted H to come for me.' The strange mixture of laughter and tears increased.

Blair watched, feeling nothing but compassion for the young man. He could now understand why he had had that hushed conversation in the deserted corridor; now understood why these sessions had been deemed necessary by a red-haired Lieutenant. He sighed, reached for this long-ago abandoned notebook and pen, and quickly scribbled down a date and a time for next week.

It was going to take a while, but he was hopeful that the young man in front of him would come to terms with what had happened to him. He sighed again, reaching for the recorder and turning it off. That tape would have to be stored away and its existence recorded. Blair removed his glasses and set them down onto his table.

He had discovered what Caine had been searching for; what had been the missing piece of the puzzle.

Ryan had been tortured and had been in great physical pain when his tormenter had added mental torture to the mix. Saying he would harm an innocent child if Ryan would not comply to his wishes would have been terrifying. But what had been worse was that Ryan had hoped he would be saved by his team and his boss.

But they hadn't come for him.

What the psychologist was unaware of was that there was a man standing in the empty corridor outside the room. A man who had a pair of dark sunglasses twirling between his hands. A red-haired man who had happened to hear the tears of the young CSI.

And as he continued to hear the crying, Horatio sighed. He ducked his head down, trying to somehow assuage the painful feeling that was developing in his chest. The guilt… It was aching; it was tearing him apart.

He had made up his mind, however. Once his youngest CSI's latest session was completed and he left the room, Horatio would talk to him. He would take Ryan away and he would be there for him. Just as he should have been over two weeks ago.

He was suddenly startled out of his heavy thoughts as the door in front of him opened to reveal one Ryan Wolfe. The young man looked up at his boss with bloodshot eyes, now widening in surprise at the sight. Horatio could have sworn his heart broke a little at the sight of how broken his CSI looked. Of how the dark bruises stood out against the whiteness of his face. Of how tears were still creating tracks to travel down his face, neatly running over the scars there.

Ryan swallowed, before swiftly ducking his head. Horatio gingerly took a step forward.

"Hello, Ryan," he said softly, watching as the younger man slowly raised his head to look at him. Ryan bit his lip as he looked into the gentle but concerned blue eyes of his boss. He didn't know what to do. He had wanted this man to come and save him from his torturer, but he hadn't. He had needed this man to protect him, but he hadn't. He needed this man to understand, but hell knows if he actually did or not.

So what did he want now?

"You were listening then?" the younger man spat out quickly, trying to recover his composure. Even to his own ears his voice sounded hardened and cold. He watched as Horatio sighed.

"I wasn't. I wouldn't intrude on your privacy like that, Ryan. I came by so I could catch you before you left." Horatio waited, but Ryan did not reply, so he continued, "I wanted to talk to you."

"I..." the younger man swallowed, "Why do you want to talk now? I've tried – hell knows I've tried – and you just didn't listen. I know I messed up, H, but I was trying to save a kid. I thought you of all people would understand that!"


"But you just… You just looked at me. I know I've let you down with what I did, but…" here Ryan found himself treading dangerously on the verge of tears again, "but I thought you would've understood why!" he broke off, attempting to regain his self-control. "I can take the looks and words from Delko. Hell knows, I'm used to it. I can even take them from Calleigh. But I can't … I can't take it from you-"

"Ryan," Horatio said softly, cutting through the CSI's almost hysterical talking. The older man felt simply awful. He was well aware of what had happened, and how he had treated Ryan. The truth of the matter was that he blamed himself. He should have known that the younger man was in trouble and needed help. He had failed him. And Ryan could have died, for heaven's sake! He had to show that he did care about the young man, as he cared about all of his officers.

"I'm sorry, Ryan," the red-haired man said, and watched as his junior officer stopped speaking and instead looked up at him with something akin to desperation. "I should have helped you. I didn't know what had happened to you. But I should have. You weren't answering your cell and I didn't push the matter any further. I should have. I should have helped you and instead I let you get hurt. I blame myself for that, that's why I have been somewhat distant. I just can't look at you without knowing what I put you through. I am sorry, Ryan. So sorry." The older man watched as Ryan blinked furiously, dragging a hand through his hair as he listened.

"I… I just… I…Needed to you and you weren't there and…" Ryan looked up and saw that his boss was gazing at him with such concern in his soft blue eyes. It was then that he knew that H really did care about him. He really did mean what he said, and Ryan found himself unable to finish his whispered sentence.

"I know, I know. It's okay, Ryan." Horatio spoke quietly and so gently that it was that which prompted a sob from the young CSI.

Seeing his youngest officer looking so weak and vulnerable, and knowing that it was mostly his fault made Horatio drop his glasses without a care on the floor and step towards Ryan, and with one single movement wrapped his arms around the shaking frame of the CSI. At this open display of concern and attention, Ryan sobbed freely, and the older man carefully – he knew that Ryan was still in pain from his many bruises and cuts over his body – placed one hand on the back of Ryan, and the other went on the back of the younger man's head. With the greatest care he rubbed Ryan's back soothingly.

"I… I kept hoping you… You would come but you… You didn't and I-" Ryan sobbed into his boss' shoulder, and felt Horatio sigh sadly.

"I know, Ryan. And I am sorry."

"He told me that… That no one cared and that-"

"He was wrong, Ryan. He was wrong," the red-haired man said softly, carefully tightening his grip on the younger man as he cried. "It's okay, partner. It's okay."

So they stood together in the deserted corridor. But had anyone walked down it, they would have seen a taller, older and red-haired man holding a sobbing, broken dark-haired young man as gently and as lovingly if he were holding his own son close for comfort.