As Calleigh was pinned to the wall, she fervently pressed her fingers to the concrete, tracing out the number sixty with her fingerprints. She was taking a chance, but she had the distinct feeling that Horatio would be back, and that he would be the one to see it. He knew what police code sixty was: Two-man team.
God, please let her be right.
Please let Horatio be the one who was tracking down the men who took her. If anyone could do it, he could.
As she got the ingredients to grab the prints off the flask, she discreetly traced her finger over the paper, making sure that the grape juice and baking soda were nearby. Horatio knew the trick. She'd told him about it when she'd first joined his team. She'd shown it to him once to explain how she and her friends in high school used to pass messages among the high school seniors without anyone else knowing about them.
He'd smiled and told her that it was ingenious. Calleigh had always remembered that.
She prayed that he did, too.
Calleigh inwardly cheered as she saw Ryan, Eric, and Frank all sitting at the poker table, their weapons all drawn.
But then her fear returned as the man holding her captive pressed his gun to the base of her neck and said, "Drop the guns, or I will shoot her." God, he was going to do it, too, and none of them were close enough to not risk hitting her, too, if they got a shot.
Hold on…where was Horatio?
"You're not gonna get the chance," she heard a wonderfully familiar voice utter. She then heard his gun click as he cocked his weapon. "Now, if I were you, I'd fold. Don't you agree, Calleigh?"
And with that, she snapped around and quickly disarmed the man, her and Horatio dropping him to the ground, and she yelled out "Clear!" as soon as she was sure that her captor was no longer armed in any way, and then got back to her feet, the gun in her hand, and she held it in the man's face.
"You messed with the wrong people."
Eric came up behind her, a reassuring grip on her arm, while Ryan removed the gun from her now shaking hands.
All she could think of, however, was thank god Horatio was there. She was right that he'd come back. Never had she felt more relieved to hear his voice in her life. He had made it possible for her to be found. She knew, without even having to ask, that he was the one who had cracked the two-team code and had figured out which club they were going to by using the grape juice and baking soda.
Afterwards, Eric proceeded to not only worry about her…he offered to go home with her.
"Eric, I'm fine. I really am, I promise, but thank you."
Shit. Why was he doing this now? Of all times?
"I don't know what I would've done if something had happened to you, today."
And that was when she made one of the stupidest decisions of her life by saying one word.
Not three weeks later, Horatio was shot and killed. When she got the news, she nearly collapsed.
No. He couldn't be dead, he just couldn't…and then Wolfe had told them the truth.
As soon as Calleigh knew, she wanted to hit him, she wanted to kill him, she wanted to be a part of his life for as long as she possibly could…but, goddammit, she needed to see him. She was beyond pissed, hell, she could shoot him without even thinking about it, but she needed to see him.
When he walked into the break room the morning after the boat had blown up, she cornered him, giving him no quarter as she expressed exactly what was on her mind.
"What the hell were you thinking, Horatio?"
He tilted his head in that way of his and the urge to smack him came even stronger than before, but she held back.
"I was thinking," he said, in that deliberately slow way of his, "That I didn't want to put my team in the line of fire."
She let out an incredulous laugh and snapped back with, "Oh, really? 'Cause it looked to me like you were trying to keep us from helping you. You are an absolutely impossible man to deal with, even when you were dead, do you know that?"
He let out a low chuckle, but then his expression turned more sober as he saw her look.
"I take it the news of my death didn't go over well, then?"
Calleigh flashed back to when Ryan had told them that Horatio was dead. She had fallen apart right then and there, tears immediately coming to her eyes, and she'd had to turn away from both of them, unable to process what she'd been hearing. It had been the worst moment of her life…
…and it was in that moment that she had realized the truth.
When Speed died, it was difficult to say the least, but she and Horatio had made it through. When Eric had been shot, it had been almost as hard as Speed, but she'd pulled through. But with Horatio…god, it had felt like her whole world had started to fall apart when she'd simply heard over the police scanner that he'd been shot.
And the news of his death had broken her.
He wasn't just a mentor, a boss, or even a friend…he was something more. Something more that neither of them had ever acknowledged out loud, but they both knew it was there. They both knew that their relationship was different from everyone else's on the team.
Finally, Calleigh got her voice back and she replied with, "If you ever do that to me again…I will shoot you, and no one will ever find the body."
He chuckled once more at that, and said, "Oh, I'm certain. However, since the news of my demise was premature, how long are you planning on holding it against me?"
The blonde CSI looked at him for a long moment before suddenly deciding to act on impulse for once. The break room was practically empty, and they were in a back corner that wasn't reached by the morning sunlight through all of the glass panels that made up the building.
She kissed him.
He was tense for a moment, obviously taken by surprise, and just as she was about to pull back, his right hand came to her waist and held her still so that he could return her kiss. His lips were softer than she'd imagined…not that she'd ever imagined…and his kiss was firm, but pliant. Calleigh felt her knees weaken slightly and she was embarrassed when he pulled back and she had to place a hand on his shoulder to steady herself to keep from falling over.
Both of them were out of breath, but then Horatio finally said, "I think…this has been a long time coming…"
At this, she did smack him, hitting his shoulder with the palm of her hand, and quipped back, her Southern drawl thicker than usual, "You don't have to sound so damn smug about it, you ass." He chuckled again, and she added, "Besides…I think IAB might look down on it."
He gave her a look, one eyebrow arched.
"Technically, they can't do anything about it. I'm a part of the Miami-Dade Police Department. You're in the Criminal Investigative Team. Strictly speaking, you're the actual head of it. I'm just for show. It's not a conflict of interest."
Calleigh rolled her eyes.
"You really think that's gonna stop Stetler?"
"Probably not," he conceded, smiling at her, and she couldn't help but smile back. His hand had moved down her waist and his thumb was now rubbing small circles on her hip, and she felt a small thrill of something that she hadn't felt in a long time. Happiness. It was a good feeling.
"I have a feeling," she said, pulling slightly back, "That you are going to make my life incredibly difficult. Am I right?"
"Depends on your definition of the word 'difficult.'"
Calleigh rolled her eyes and pulled completely out of his embrace as she saw someone walk down the hall, within eyesight of where they were standing. She gave him a quick once over and then said, "I don't know. Ever since I met you, I've learned what that word really means…"
He laughed, that special laugh just for her that she hadn't heard in years. He then tilted his head again, in that damn sultry way of his, and then pulled his sunglasses from his sport coat and tucked them into the fingers of his right hand, his thumb now tracing the frame, and she wished that hand was back on her hip.
"Don't worry, sweetheart…we'll make it work."
She grinned as he left, somehow expecting to hear epic music following his dramatic exit, but instead only hearing footsteps as Ryan Wolfe walked into the break room.
"Hey, Calleigh…did you finally talk to Horatio?" he asked as he put down his bag off to the side, reaching for a mug to put under the coffee maker.
"Yeah, I did."
She threw him a casual smile and said, "We're good."
He smiled back and replied with, "Good. It's nice to see you two finally talking again."
Calleigh had to bite back the laughter that threatened to surface at his innocent words. Oh, they were doing more than talking, but no one else needed to know that. At least, not for now.
As Calleigh walked out of the break room, Ryan smiled. He'd seen the kiss. He wasn't an idiot. Thank god. He grabbed his phone and pulled up Alexx's number. Though she didn't work in the M.E.'s office, anymore, the two of them kept in touch, and she'd want to know.
Looks like things have come full circle, he texted her, knowing that she would know exactly what he was talking about.
Who made the first move? she texted back.
Calleigh, of course.
He smirked at that, and then picked up his coffee mug, which was now full. As he took a sip, Eric walked in with a small bounce in his step.
Out of nowhere, he said, "Hey, Ryan…I'm thinking about asking Calleigh out. Do you think she'd say yes?"
Without even hesitating, Ryan replied, "She's seeing someone, actually. And, before you ask, yes, I'm pretty sure it's serious. They've known each other a long time and I've never seen her happier."
"Oh…uh, I'll let her tell you. It's not my place."
Ryan grinned. Finally. It took those two idiots long enough. Looked like things had finally come full circle.