Four Months Later…

There she is.

Horatio watched intently as Calleigh meandered through the throngs of people out enjoying the day, the cool breeze cutting across the Atlantic holding the humidity at bay. As always, he watched her from afar unwilling to disrupt the life she'd carved out for herself since leaving him. Initially, he'd been hell bent on taking Calleigh back but as the weeks bled into months and her belly began to grow, he realized that her decision to leave him was very wise. He couldn't provide the safety and contentment a baby needed to flourish; as it were, he was vainly selfish and violent, two aspects of his character that he knew would not meld well with fatherhood. Even though his heart ached at the thought of her journeying this road alone, he simply couldn't be that selfish bastard anymore. He wouldn't subject his child to the coldness that had become his life. This new life between he and Calleigh would break the cycle and even though it pained him to tread on the fringes of her life, it was there he would remain. There was something more important between them now and as a testament to the love he held for Calleigh, he would respect her wishes. That didn't absolve him of the sense of responsibility that now prodded him to take any measure to make sure she was okay. She and the baby were his family and would always be his family. Neither time nor separation would change that.

A wistful smile surfaced on his lips as he watched, the slight movement of her hand to her belly catching his eye. He wished he could be by her side to share in every moment of her development. He longed to caress the taut skin of her belly, to feel his child moving within her, to look into her eyes and profess his undying love for her. A little piece of his heart always broke when he couldn't follow her into her home, regulating himself to merely stand on the sidelines of her life. It was the repercussions of his lifestyle that kept him away but the longing of his heart kept him coming back day after day.

As the pain faded into the deep recesses of his soul, Horatio focused more on the vision of beauty in front of him, compelled to make his presence known. For months, he remained in the background, contemplating Calleigh's reaction if he revealed himself to her. She hadn't forcibly told him to stay away; her simple note left on his pillow the last night they saw each other coupled with Speedle's stern warning had been enough to keep him in place. Horatio couldn't help but wonder if Calleigh would recoil from his touch. A part of him was willing to test those waters for just a moment with her but the bigger part of him, the part that only Calleigh knew intimately was afraid of her reaction. Horatio was scared that Calleigh's rejection would end him completely.

Just as the courage flooded through his body, Horatio's momentum was stunted at the sight that was unfolding right before his very eyes. Speedle had approached and Calleigh's face lit with warmth and expectation. Confused, Horatio placed his hand on the tree and watched as they embraced and parted briefly before Speedle cupped her cheek and stared into her eyes, his lips moving minutely. The concern in Speedle's eyes morphed into something more potent, something Horatio recognized and remembered fondly. Speedle was conveying his love for the southern beauty and she, surprisingly was reciprocating. A volatile mixture of emotion swelled within Horatio as he gripped the bark of the tree, attempting to stave the inevitable fury that was building from within. Another man possessed what was once his. Even though it was plain to see, Horatio couldn't square with the fact that Calleigh had moved on.

Horatio couldn't bear to witness what would come next and instead turned away. His heart couldn't take much more strain and he knew if he watched them kiss, he would explode violently. As it was, he ached to end Speedle and if he didn't leave now Horatio knew he wouldn't stop until he crushed the life out of Speedle's body.

Sullen, Horatio began to walk away from her even as his anguish prodded at his pride to take back what was his. It was his pride that caused him to stop walking and turn slightly back toward them but the memory of the love between he and Calleigh forced him to resume his retreat, feeling the punishing effects of his loss. Calleigh and their child would no longer be in his life and that thought forced any emotion down into the depths of his soul where they would be promptly forgotten. Love had irrevocably changed him and now that he'd lost it, in its place coldness settled. Never again would he fall prey to the indiscretions of his heart.

It was over.


A/N: I know, there is no happy ending to this but who is to say this is really the end. The possibilities are endless…

Thanks to the readers and reviewers! I have enjoyed spinning this intricate web for you and I hope you've enjoyed the ride.

A very heartfelt thank you goes out to Lieutenant Caine. Without your guidance and insight, I'm sure this story would have died long before now. Your staunch belief in the craft and in me has inspired me to continue to write, despite all of the voices that tell me to quit. Tis not over…

Not yet.