A/N: I rewatched 3x19 and actually came up with an idea to elaborate on a way Ryan could deal with another mistake he'd made. And since I love swimming (being a swimmer myself) I thought I'd give it a go not only writing in a swimming scene.. but also including that Eric/Ryan friendship too. Not slash.
He never meant to cause tension with Eric. All he had wanted to do was get the evidence to Horatio as soon as possible.. and he forgot to think like a teammate. Ryan knew he had made a mistake not waiting for Eric, and maybe if he had, they wouldn't be in a position as awkward. And he was right. Swimming in the dark depths of the water was something he would never be fully capable of. That was Eric's specialty. And they were supposed to be part of a team. All he had to do was help him out of the water and go back to their boss together. But he hadn't thought about it like that, and honesty he was still trying to convince people he was a good CSI. That he could do this job and didn't need to go back to patrol where he'd be made a laughing stock for even thinking he had a chance. He was better than that and was yet to prove to everyone, including himself, that he was capable.
Ryan was a strong swimmer. You had to be to even pass police academy. But sometimes he just wasn't really sure about the whole idea of it. He had apologized to Eric before he left work, really and sincerely without letting his mouth run wild with stupid things he couldn't control. It was definitely going to take time before the tension settled.. or it might never. Either way, there was something the former patrol officer had felt compelled to do since the incident.
He starting swimming after work. Ryan didn't know why he had, or who he was doing it for, it just felt like something that had to be done. He'd learnt to swim when he was younger and had even remembered learning how to dive. Diving was something he had taken interest in, even doing it in swim trunks that weren't as tight around the skin as everyone else. He wasn't a fan of those skin tight ones and refused to wear them. Diving from heights like 25ft - 30ft was nothing like what happened the last time he had to swim.
A boat journey with some friends also in patrol. It sounded a little dumb but they were just hanging out as Ryan had finally finished his school work and could go out with them for once. But the boat gets attacked by some pirate inspired gang members with automatic rifles and the driver gets shot. Wolfe is the first one to radio in as he knew these guys were wanted by the feds for money laundering and bank robberies. Their best chance of escaping was swimming back to the land. They weren't too far away from the marina anyways. Ryan jumps in first and starts swimming back, followed by Officer Sanchez, Officer Kann and the other two. One officer died and another fell in a coma as a result.
Ryan promised himself that he would never let anyone die like that again. And it's why he didn't like boats, or cases that involved pirating. Because it brought him back to a time where the only thing he had left was the fact that he would never put himself first. Saving the lives of others was something he would give his own life for without question. The marina had a lot more meaning to him then someone who didn't know about the old case would understand.
As he swiftly glided through the crystal waters of the pool which produced small ripples with every stroke, he found himself somewhat enjoying it. Reciting the method in his head as his head darts up unhurriedly to the side as he takes a quick breather every few seconds. His stomach was in a mess with the way it felt to swim in such a relaxed way. He was used to quick movement, hectic splashing and the noise of other people all around him. But the tranquility of the empty pool was something he could get used to. His pounding heartbeats slowed down and a feeling of solace took over his entire body, replacing that intital fear.
But he couldn't have counted on his co-worker finding him there. Eric sat down at the edge of the pool, clad in his purple swim trunks, watching as the younger man swam efficient laps up and down. Maybe he had underestimated Wolfe. It took a lot of courage to save your dying friends when you easily could've left them there.. but it took even more to get back in the water after an experience like that. He was still mad about the whole evidence thing, with every right to be, yet he felt as though maybe helping him out with his swimming might make a little difference.
Finishing lap #14 was his personal achievement for that evening as he proved to himself that he was in full understanding of how to swim and his lifeguard training was still in tact. Though he'd not expected to see the Cuban sitting at the end of his lap. He rested his arms on the side as he looked up at Eric. "What- what are you doing here?"
"I came to talk to you." Eric smiled, sliding himself into the pool beside Wolfe.
Ryan merely nodded. He was a little afraid being so close to the older CSI. Eric was a considerably bigger than he was. In height and in muscle. "About what? I thought you wanted nothing to do with me.. especially after what I did."
"You're apologized already, Wolfe," Delko glanced at the end of the pool and back at Ryan. "..how about I help you out with your swimming instead?"
The younger man pursed his lips. He was unsure of what to say about it. Yes, he wanted to improve that little bit more.. but with a guy who currently hated his guts? Was that a good idea? "Ok," He might as well find out.
They spent the next hour at the pool, joking around and learning a thing or two from one another. Ryan told Eric about that time at the marina and he helped him out with his technique, also starting to understanding Wolfe a lot more than he had before. Both men had actually had a great time hanging out in somewhere other than a work environment. It was better for both of them, and they weren't fighting either like everyone assumed they would. Delko understood a lot more than Wolfe had even hoped he would. Ryan supposed that there was a deeply devoted friend inside that broken heart of his.
Even if they weren't officially friends.. didn't mean they couldn't still meet up at the pool on a Thursday for a little swim together.
The Cuban had been surprised by how they gelled so easily when they weren't in disagreement. Everybody had told him that Ryan didn't talk very often in patrol after what happened and had a tendency to speak before he thought about what he was going to say. Grief changed him in a way nobody could really understand. Delko realized that he was seeing the Ryan that nobody else that knew him had seen in a good while.
"Hey Wolfe, wanna go get some food someplace?" Delko inquired as they were in the showers, washing away all the chlorine.
"I don't know.. don't you have plans for tonight?"
Eric shook his head. "I haven't exactly.. had many good plans in a while." Random hookups and going to all these nightclubs were good on some days and no so good on those other days. Ryan was a much more relaxed person than Valera was and he thought that maybe he would be introduced into the calmness of his evening as opposed to what the redhead had planned.
"Ok, um, well if you're not busy.. we could go and have dinner at this burger joint..?" He shyly suggested as he came out of the shower stall with his towel wrapped around his lower body.
"Nevermind, I'm sorry for asking—" Eric fixed his towel around him and left the shower room as well. "No. Burgers actually sound.. really good." He hadn't meant to sound so surprised. It was just that he hadn't exactly had much of a variation in food with all these double shifts he was working and those dammed side effects of losing Speedle. "Right.. ok."
After they had finished getting ready and got their things together, Ryan drove them to the place he was talking about downtown as Eric hadn't brought his truck. Wolfe didn't mind driving with other people. Although some didn't agree with his slightly reckless taking of sharp turns and held on for their lives. Eric was rather amused by it. He was sure that he was definitely driving a patrol car with am attitude like this. "That was pretty crazy driving, Wolfe."
"You're the first person that hasn't shouted, passed out or held onto the seatbelt for dear life." Ryan chuckled as he pushed the door open, holding it for Eric as he walked in. "Wow. Should I be afraid?"
"Only in pursuit." He warned mockingly, seating himself down at a table that Eric sat opposite him at.
Eric chuckled too. "You make it sound like a death run." "Hi, my name is Reyna and I'll be your waitress for today. What can I get you fellas?" The two were suddenly interrupted by a waitress that practically thrust herself at their table. Ryan laughed as he could see the woman was clearly eyeing Delko up and down like prey. So he made the orders while Eric was at a loss for words.
"Bro, do you want a beer?" He questioned Eric with a smirk.
"Yeah, yeah.. get me a beer."
Ryan nodded. He added two beers to the order and told Reyna she was alright to leave. The brunette clearly didn't want to leave though, so Ryan had to create an excuse. "I think you should go get the order. My friend here is quite hungry."
Reyna rolled her eyes, sashaying away back to the kitchen. "Wolfe, you made it sound like I was looking for a hookup."
"You said it, not me." He put his hands up in surrender.
Eric scoffed. He got out his phone and began scrolling through the list of chatrooms he had with all these girls. Ryan had already figured that out though. Delko was a known bachelor it seemed. "You know.. I really am sorry?.. for a lot of things."
"I know." Eric sighed, placing his phone back in his pocket as their food soon arrived. Only it was delivered by a male waiter. Ryan held back a laugh and Delko was a little confused. "We would like to apologise for Reyna's unpleasant behavior towards you, sir. In apologises your food is on the house."
Delko and Wolfe raised their eyebrows at one another. "Thank you."
The man walked away and Ryan was still in disbelief. Eric shrugged, taking a sip of his beer. "Nice going, Delko."
"What about next Thursday? You busy?"
"I have my final proficiency next week," Ryan explained. "But if you're willing to wait.. then I should be free afterwards."
"I think I might just do that. You're not the worst swimmer in the world." Eric said as he took a few of Ryan's fries. Wolfe gave an unimpressed look. "If that's a.. compliment.. I'll take it?"
Ryan could barely take the words 'good job' without his cheeks flaring up. He didn't think that hanging out with Eric more regularly would change the things that happened in work, vs outside work yet it seemed so worth it. Coming to a mutual agreement with the older man. He had never hated Eric in the first place. Sometimes you could say.. he looked up to him somewhat. For his loyalty and dedication. Maybe that was why he had been able to open up about the shooting to him.. the real reason is something he would never be able to fully justify.
As for Eric, his anger had settled down with Ryan finally accepting responsibility for his mistakes and them coming to a worth settlement. He hadn't hated Ryan - not personally anyway. It was just because he missed Speed. He never intended to take out his frustration on the newest member of the team. Horatio needed more CSIs and he chose Ryan because he had shown that potential. And Horatio never hand-picked a team member without reason. Everyone he had on his team had assets that made up their part of the team. Wolfe was clearly still finding that part. He was CSI Level 1 still. Newbies were prone to make mistakes.
Ryan had actually done well to do his job so professionally for a newbie and probably deserved a little more credit that he got for that. It wasn't often that the newbies were able to present themselves. "It is. You're not a bad guy, Wolfe. But you need to learn to trust the rest of us.. we're a team."
"Oh.. thanks. Ever since I joined the team.. all I wanted was a chance to prove to myself that I would be a great criminalist and this coursework wasn't for nothing. I guess that I look up to you as a colleague."
"Wait.. you look up to me?"
"Yeah." Ryan smiled. "How else do you think I had the courage to swim again..? You're good at what you do, Eric, and I respect you for that. Ok?"
Delko flushed bright red. He'd never been told something like that, especially from a co-worker. But it did change his outlook on the situation. "Thanks, Wolfe."
"Don't even worry about it. I'll see you next Thursday for a swim, huh?"
"After you pass your proficiency." Delko reminded him jokingly.
"Yes," He laughed. "..when I pass my proficiency."