Making Circles

Detective Ryan Wolfe distinctly remembered the first day he'd been assigned to one of Lieutenant Horatio Caine's crime scenes while he was still a patrol cop. The reason why he remembered it, however odd it was, was rather vivid in his mind. Calleigh had already been on the scene, and he'd met her a few times before, so he was familiar with how she spoke to her colleagues and her superiors…which was why this incident stuck out in his head so easily.

Horatio had stepped onto the scene, taking off his sunglasses, and had looked down at her and smiled.

The blonde had looked right back up at him and thrown him a blindingly bright smile and had said, "Hey, handsome."

Horatio had chuckled, and replied with, "Hello, sweetheart. What have you got for me?"

She had smirked and picked up a spent round from a large caliber gun and then, after that, the rest of the memory blurred for Ryan, but he remembered that conversation.

Even now, as he was a CSI and back after being fired and a thorough investigation, he had never heard anyone else call Horatio "handsome", or anyone else call Calleigh "sweetheart". He remembered that he'd stopped hearing it soon after he'd first joined the team. In fact, they had practically stopped talking all together unless it was for work.

And just now he had seen Kyle's mother. The woman that Horatio claimed was the only woman he'd ever loved…and the resemblance just about stopped him in his tracks.

He'd seen all the women before that Horatio had been attracted to. All of them had been strikingly similar to the lieutenant's sister-in-law, Yelena; Hispanic, dark haired damsels in distress. He had, of course, figured out the first time he'd seen Kyle that his mother was most likely not Hispanic, due to his coloring…but he hadn't been expecting this.

She was blonde.

Not only that, but she held herself with the same confidence that a certain forensics expert did. There was the same defiance in her eyes as she sat across from him in the court room, trying to retain custody of their son, and Ryan couldn't help but wonder about Horatio and Calleigh's odd relationship.

They had been close in the beginning, he could tell, but when Horatio had started dating Marisol, Eric's sister, things had…shifted. Just slightly, but enough that Ryan wondered if that had been the cause.

It was obvious to him that the two of them both had weaknesses for the other. He wasn't blind, after all.

But he couldn't help but wonder why they'd nothing about it, why they had never acted on it. He had plenty of theories, but nothing to prove them, only hopes that he was wrong.

It could have been because the Lieutenant was the one to hire her, after all, and their mentor-student relationship was too important to them to mess it up. And then there was the fact that they worked together…but then there was the thought that it might be because Calleigh had been hoping that Horatio would turn to her after losing their beloved best friend, Speed, but instead he'd found solace in someone else, Eric's sister, someone who had looked very much like his deceased brother's wife, Yelena, a woman he still carried a small torch for.

Then there was the painfully obvious reason:

That both of them thought the other deserved better, so they'd both decided, on their own, to not risk it.

And they were stuck where they were now.

He wondered if anyone else noticed the resemblance between Julia Winston and Calleigh Duquesne. It was painfully obvious to him, but he wasn't sure if anyone else had. As it festered in the back of his mind, he attempted to brush it off and headed down to the morgue, file in hand, to see if Alexx had anything for him.

"Hey, Alexx," Ryan said as he entered the lab, casting a glance at the nineteen-year-old boy dead on her table, gunshot wound in his neck. "You have anything?"

"Well, hello to you, too, Mr. Wolfe. There is a magic word, I believe you know it."

He quickly apologized.

"Sorry, I'm just…distracted." He glanced down at the body, and then looked back up at her and asked, not even thinking about it, "I saw Kyle's mother upstairs. H's ex-girlfriend. She's, uh…different than what I expected. More, uh…more something. I don't know…"

"More blonde?" said the M.E., arching a knowing eyebrow in his direction.

"You noticed, too?"

She nodded and put down the scalpel that was still in her hand and said, "I am not blind, and nor was I born yesterday. I have two eyes and I know how to use them, thank you, very much." She looked down at the teenager on the slab and said, "That man is so blind I want to smack him sometimes…"

Ryan chuckled, and replied with, "I think you're the only one who could get away with it."

She gave him a grim smile and shook her head.

"He's always drawn in by the damsels in distress, but the truth that he cannot deny is that he only can ever fall in love with someone that he knows is as strong and as capable as him, someone who is willing to challenge him and have enough strength to deal with his Irish temper. And they always happen to be blonde."

She shot Ryan a sharp look and he smirked and added, "Yeah, well, I don't think this was the fight that he was looking for, Alex."

"You may be right about that."

She gave him the evidence he was looking for and then, just as he turned to leave, he said over his shoulder, "We are talking about Calleigh, right?"

Alexx nodded.

"She and Horatio have been dancing around each other for so long, now, that I think they've forgotten what step they're on. They're just…in the rut. They're just meant to keep going this way, I think. Nothin' we can do about, baby. Nothin' we can do about it."

Ryan shrugged.

"I wouldn't call it a rut. More like…they're making circles. Each time one of them is out of one toxic relationship, the other one has managed to step into one…" He paused and looked away, and then put his hand on the door and gave her an inquiring look and asked, "Do you think it'll ever stop?"

The M.E. shrugged and shook her head and replied with, "Only if one of them breaks the cycle…"

He nodded.

"Yeah."

He left.