AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is set in an AU, and has appearances by the CSI (Las Vegas) team. In it, there is no Kyle, and it diverges a bit from the series. This is most definitely H/C, and is the product of a somewhat demented muse, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. Feedback gratefully and happily accepted, though flames will be stomped out and shot at close range with a .45. The characters from both CSI and CSI Miami are not mine, but borrowed and will be returned unscathed. Ian, Jason, and the occasional incidental character are mine. No profits made, and since I'm poor, please do not sue. Enjoy! :)
LOST SON OF AVALON
Chapter One: Painful Voices
"What's meant to be will always find a way."
― Trisha Yearwood
Why didn't you save me? Blood on the stone floor, dark eyes accusing as they faded from life.
Why did you let me die? Crimson flowing onto white, pain ebbing out to be replaced by the passing from life to death.
You promised to protect me. Lost, painful gaze.
Where were you? Countless eyes, empty and lost.
Horatio Caine jerked violently awake, fighting down a cry of sheer anguish.
Sitting up in the bed, he fought down a painful shudder and glanced over in the semi-darkness to his chest-of-drawers, reading the time on the glowing face of the clock stationed there.
Swinging his legs over the side of the bed, Horatio stayed there a moment, balancing his arms on his knees, head down, eyes closed.
The agony became manageable, as he forced himself to focus, forced control over his tormented emotions.
Speed. Marisol. Raymond.
All the victims, the innocents, the lives he had only been able to find some answers for, not save.
The pain welled up from within him, tore through his heart.
Still the voices whispered, asking why, tormented, lost eyes that followed him wherever he went.
Walking across the polished, deep brown, hardwood floor, he made his way to the shower, pulled off his nightclothes, and stepped in.
He turned the water to as hot as he could tolerate, and let the steam burn away the feelings of guilt and helplessness.
Head down under the water, he struggled for a few moments to be sure his control would hold.
Pain leached under his skin, and he accepted it.
It was his penance, and once more, he found the strength to endure.
When Calleigh Duquesne walked into the Miami-Dade Crime Lab, clad in dark blue pants and a comfortable white blouse, she immediately sensed something was wrong.
Frowning to herself, she looked around, found everything as it should be, and found herself puzzling over the strange dread that rose in her throat.
The Lab's hum of activity spoke of brisk organization, everyone moving about in quiet synch.
Walking briskly toward the Ballistics Lab, her own personal domain, she smiled as her co-worker and lover, Eric Delko, fell into step next to her.
"Morning." she greeted him, brightly, in her distinctive Southern accent.
Eric was uncharacteristically solemn. He also seemed nervous - and sad? His white undershirt was hidden by a light blue shirt, unbuttoned, and his dark grey pants were creased and almost messy.
"Cal - I need to talk to you. It's important." The dark-skinned young man looked into her eyes, as though pleading for understanding.
"Sure, how can I help?" she asked, feeling a sudden sense of foreknowledge as she stepped into Ballistics, the young Cuban following.
"I know, well...I mean," Eric took a deep breath. "We've been together a while, and I..."
Calleigh could almost predict what he was going to say, but what surprised her was - it didn't hurt nearly like she expected.
Eric plunged ahead. "I know we love each other Cal..." he continued, a little uncertainly. "But we don't...love one another. I don't want to hurt you, but...I've known a while now. You're my best friend, and I can't do this to you, and I can't do it to me." His eyes begged for reassurance.
"Oh, Eric..." Calleigh's eyes were filled with tears, and she wrapped her arms around him. "I'm so sorry..." She had known too. For a long time.
Why doesn't it hurt more? Why...
Eric hugged back. "Cal, I know you may not believe me, but...for different reasons, I love him too." His voice was a whisper. "You have to tell him. You deserve to be happy. And so does he."
Calleigh did cry then, holding onto Eric tightly, and feeling the tight embrace returned.
For a long time, they simply held one another, but then stepped back.
Gently lifting her chin, he asked softly, "Are we okay?"
"Yeah. Yeah, we are. Eric...thank you." The shine of tears was in her eyes, but Calleigh felt a sense of release. As if a coil deep inside her had been sprung. She did love Eric. He was a good man, a good person. Her dear friend.
He was also right.
Another man had held her heart for a very long time, one that she was not sure returned her feelings.
Someone she - treasured.
How had her life become such a mess?
Ryan Wolfe was straightening his dark red tie and the collar on his white shirt as he turned on his way into the Lab. As he settled his clothes, he heard the radio came on, receiving a dispatch on a car chase in progress. He immediately tuned in the report.
"10-57, subject fleeing on Northwest Thirty-Sixth. Speeds in excess of seventy miles per hour, in pursuit." the radio crackled.
A hit-and-run? Stopping at the light when it flicked to red, Ryan's attention was caught when a bright red Lamborghini zoomed past him with a pair of Miami-Dade patrol cars close on it, sirens blazing. The sports car was about to round the corner, there was a muffled THOOM! and it abruptly exploded, debris flying up and out in all directions.
With an inhaled, "Damn!", Ryan pulled in behind the second car and leapt out, running for the charred wreckage.
Calleigh passed by several of her co-workers and managed a friendly, "Good Morning." as she passed.
The blonde paused outside Horatio's office, trying to collect her thoughts.
She wasn't really sure what she was going to say, much less how to say it.
It had been months since she had really talked to the man, and the sudden guilt made things even more complicated in her mind.
Horatio had been so withdrawn recently that no-one had really approached him on anything other than a professional level, and she suddenly felt terrible about that. If nothing else, Horatio was her friend. He had always been there for her, for all of them.
They all had dropped the ball in being there for him.
Unobtrusively, she glanced through the window - and froze.
Horatio, his dark blue shirt and deeper blue pants neat, somehow seemed - weary? He was absently holding his gun, expression thoughtful and contemplative as he turned the weapon in his sensitive hands.
Calleigh had never felt so deep a chill as she did at that moment.
His expression for a split second was almost yearning, and it terrified her.
The pain on his face was almost palpable, something that passed through the careful veneer of calm and control.
Something horrible was lurking there, something so massive that Calleigh saw it weighing down his gentle, compassionate soul.
She saw his head lower, then he placed the weapon back on his desk, and she knocked quickly on the door.
"Come in." Horatio's liquid-velvet voice rippled out with perfect control as Calleigh entered, but she wasn't fooled.
"Horatio..." she started, voice cracking involuntarily, as she came in and shut the door behind her. Not suicide. Not Horatio. The thoughts whispered through her mind, trying for calm - and instead finding a terrifying sense of doubt.
Behind the desk, his sapphire eyes met hers, a reservoir of infinite kindness and indomitable will.
His head cocked to one side, his gaze flickering with concern. "Are you all right?" he asked, tone gentle and warm.
She nodded. "Yeah, I just wanted to..." What? Tell you I'm in love with you? Tell you I just saw you - no...not you...
At that moment, Horatio's cell phone chose to ring, and he said softly, "Excuse me." He lifted the phone, listened a moment, then said. "All right, Mr. Wolfe, I'll be right there." As he spoke, the lean redhead rose gracefully to his feet, flipped the phone closed, and picked up his dark blue jacket, sliding it over his shoulders in one smooth motion. The gun was returned it's holster. He gave a faint, rueful smile that in no way reached his eyes, then opened the door for Calleigh to proceed him. "A car just exploded on the freeway." Horatio said, by way of explanation, but before he moved out of the office, he met her gaze again, then gently squeezed her shoulder. "I'm sorry." His eyes, she suddenly noticed, were so sad.
"I...Horatio, when you get back, I really need to talk to you..." Calleigh was suddenly afraid. Not for herself. For him. What kind of personal hell was he going through? And why hadn't she seen it sooner?
"Of course. You hang in there, all right?"
Seeing him retreat, fingertips on his always-shielding sunglasses, Calleigh suddenly wanted to cry.
Ryan whistled and shook his head as he examined the outer perimeter of the debris. "Damn, whatever happened, this thing really blew." he said aloud, just as another silver Hummer pulled in.
As always, he felt a twinge of relief as Horatio slid out and approached him, sunglasses perched on his nose as he glanced about once, taking in the scene. "What happened here, Mr. Wolfe?" he asked, crouching down to get a better view.
"I was on the way in, when patrols chased the Lamborghini right past me. They were clocking over seventy, according to the radio - said there had been a 10-57." Ryan explained. "I'm sure I heard the explosion just as it was taking that turn."
"As it slowed into the curve. Hmmm. Okay, let's sift through this mess and see what the evidence tells us." Horatio rose. "The victim?"
"Uniforms are taking statements from the witnesses, Loman's taken the body back to the lab."
The Lieutenant regarded the car, expression unreadable as he took in the damage in a glance.
"You see something, H?"
"See that burn pattern?" Horatio indicated a series of pitted cracks traveling along the side up to the front of the hood, almost hidden under all the charring. "I think that this explosion was planned."
"A bomb?" Ryan stared over into the remains of the car.
"Someone wanted the driver dead, and an innocent pedestrian was in the way."
The twisted, burned remains of a male was almost literally peeled from the remains, and the wreckage loaded on a waiting trailer as Walter Simmons and Natalia Boa Vista joined Ryan at the crime scene.
Natalia was dressed in a stylish, but professional blue shirt and white slacks, a stark contrast to Walter's comfortable dark pants and button-up yellow shirt.
Horatio had moved over to take witness accounts from the patrol officers, and Walter stared up into the trailer.
"Wow." he said, shaking his head.
Natalia walked over to where pieces from the wreckage lay. "This is going to take a while to process." she observed, ruefully.
"Yeah, H thinks there was a bomb." Ryan commented and shrugged helplessly. "Let's get to work."
As Horatio was climbing out of the Hummer in the Lab's parking lot, he sensed someone approaching and began to turn, just as a wave of sheer agony washed over him. He barely felt the blow that sent him reeling back against his vehicle, and was unconscious before he could reach his gun.
His body hit the pavement with a faint thud, and was still.
The attackers, one tall and thin, the other muscular and almost squat, clad in matching, slightly dingy whitish jumpsuits, worked quickly, with the speed of practice.
Staying behind the Hummer, out of line of sight, they roughly lifted the unconscious redhead and moved low to the ground.
As they moved, a van with a Miami-Dade seal emblazoned on the side pulled up, blocking the view from the lab, and the unconscious Lieutenant was loaded in.
"Blasphemer." spat the tall one, glaring at the prone form, kicking the still body hard in the side and making the sign of the cross.
"We will purify his damned soul, brother." said the other, as they climbed in and the van pulled away. "Before we kill him, in the name of God."