A Sea Change

A/N: This is my first fic, so please be gentle. It just showed up one day, pushed the others I've been working on for months out of the way, and cut to the front of the line.

Author: Lori51

Rating: T

Disclaimers: CSI: Miami and the characters belong to CBS and Jerry Bruckheimer. I'm just borrowing them for a little fun.

Category: DuCaine

Drama/Romance

Summary: With a little help from Marisol, Horatio sees possibilities in his relationship with his second-in-command that he never imagined.

Timeline: Season Ten

Prologue

Six months ago

Calleigh Duquesne found Agent Locklear standing just outside the door of Horatio's room, surfing on her phone. She shoved back the flash of jealousy that she had absolutely no right to feel in favor of relief that the woman had been able to succeed where she hadn't in getting him to go back to the hospital. "Hey," she said quietly. "How is he?"

Renee Locklear met the blonde's eyes with relief. "Pretty drugged up for now. He's lost a lot of blood and is fighting a hell of an infection. Or two." She looked at the unconscious man in the bed. "I was hoping someone would come. I need to get back, but I didn't want to leave him alone. He was pretty out of it for awhile."

Calleigh's eyes followed against her will. Damn it, Horatio. What would she do without this man? He looked so pale and lifeless lying there, the heart monitor ticking off the steady beats of his heart, his face lined and haggard, nearly the color of the sheet. He had gone beyond his usual lack of concern for his own well-being this time. Reluctantly she looked back at the agent. "Thank you," she breathed, barely a whisper, as the reality that she had almost lost him—again—washed over her with brutal force. Renee Locklear was taken aback by the intensity of the words. "It was no big deal."

Calleigh smiled finally. "It is to me."

Agent Locklear smiled in return. "I'm just glad I was there. I think the only reason he agreed was the fact that he would've passed out there otherwise. I've got to run." With a nod, she was gone, leaving Calleigh to turn back to him, walking slowly to pull up a chair and sit beside the bed, her head in her hands, memories of him flashing behind her eyes.

She woke with a start as the monitors went crazy. Horatio was thrashing, struggling to sit up, pulling at his IV line. "Marisol…" he gasped, heaving frantically to drag oxygen into his lungs. "Marisol, I…"

A doctor raced in, followed by a gaggle of nurses. "Sir, you need to lay back and relax. Lieutenant, I must insist…"

If Horatio heard, he gave no indication. His eyes were wild, sweat pouring off of him. It was clear to Calleigh that he wasn't in his right mind. "Marisol!"

"Restrain him, quickly!" the man shouted. Horatio went wild, and Calleigh knew that she couldn't let them restrain him. "Wait, let me try." She pushed the doctor out of the way and leaned over him, taking his face in her hands.

"Horatio, it's me. I'm here. Please, handsome, calm down, you're going to hurt yourself." His eyes flew to her face, and although she didn't see recognition there, he stopped fighting. Without thinking, she scrambled onto the bed and pulled him into her arms. "It's okay, breathe." His chest heaving, his heart still racing, he slowly relaxed against her, as if by instinct rather than conscious thought, and she held him as he calmed. She looked up at the doctor. "See; it's okay." They watched as his heart rate evened out, finally, and the doctor and his entourage left the room. "It's okay," she told him softly against his skin as his body still shook with fine tremors. "I've got you. I won't leave you. I'm here."

One

Horatio looked up at the clock with a sigh, running his hands through his hair and eventually down his face to steeple his fingers against his forehead, his eyes closing and his elbows sinking onto his desk. He didn't mean to stay this late, but then he never did. With Kyle away, there was no point in going home. He knew how exhausted he was and he also knew that no matter how hard he tried, he wouldn't be able to sleep. He wanted it too much now.

Since the shooting, since seeing Marisol again, it was all he wanted, those few stolen moments with her in his dreams, and they had proven elusive. He was haunted by it, by the words she had said, the way she looked, the determination in her voice. "You have to go back," she had said, and he couldn't shake the knowledge that there was more to her words, more than he could remember, more that she had wanted to impart to him than he could recall, and he was letting her down by not following her wishes. He needed to know what she wanted him to do. It ate at him. His eyes stayed closed, seeing her.

It was late when Calleigh finished her paperwork and got ready to leave for the day. She realized that late nights were becoming the norm for her and shook her head. She really needed to get a life. The rest of the team had left hours ago and had invited her for drinks, even managing to rout their newest workaholic, Sam, the newest conquest du jour, from the lab early tonight. She had to smile at that a little, remembering the feeling and yet having no trouble at all handing the dubious honor of being the one every man wanted to take home to someone else.

Calleigh had said she'd be along, but she had no intention of going anywhere but her bed tonight. She had no desire to be around people, even her friends—her family, really—as well-meaning and caring as she knew they were. Though she was over the end of things with Eric, she just wasn't in the mood to make nice, while she watched him score, or pretend that she was. It was easier to stay away. She picked up the file and grabbed her jacket. She would drop the file by Horatio's office on the way out; it wasn't like he'd have left yet. He practically slept at the lab these days.

Opening the door, she smiled sadly at the sight of him, his head in his hands, sound asleep at his desk. He looked like hell. She knew he wasn't eating or sleeping, was barely functioning since he'd gotten out of the hospital, and she had no idea how to help him. She'd tried to reach out to him—they all had—but he wouldn't open up to them. Classic Horatio—he was fine.

They hadn't spoken of her staying with him at the hospital. She had no idea if he remembered it at all. After she had gotten him calm, she had tried to ease out of his bed but he'd refused to let her go, wrapping his arms around her desperately. "Don't go," he'd rasped lowly, "please." He'd fallen asleep like that, wrapped around her, his head on her shoulder, and she had had no choice but to put her head down on his and stay. Early in the morning, when she'd awoken still wrapped up in him, the utter rightness of it had hit her hard and she had bolted for her own self-preservation. Also so that she wouldn't have to explain herself to him. She had had a feeling that she would have been a little too transparent, and neither of them wanted to go there. She doubted he remembered her being there at all. Part of her was glad of it, and if there was another part that wanted him to have enjoyed it as much as she did, she didn't admit it.