This story was originally supposed to be Ryan-centric, but I couldn't help including some Eric/Ryan friendship in there. 'The crash' refers a season 4 episode where Ryan says he got into an 'accident' while driving, so a trainee drops off the evidence he was supposed to bring back to the lab and the cause is his bad eye. He also sees an optometrist.

Based off an original story idea I had that didn't exactly go to plan, so I tried a different way of going about it. No rushing!


Ryan opened up his locker, grabbing his windbreaker jacket so he could get ready to leave. He'd never been in this situation before. He worked overtime, handed in all his paper work before the deadline, attended court, worked thoroughly and logically, was friendly with a lot of people and was good at his job. How could one interrogation end up making him look like someone who couldn't defend themselves?

Staring at his reflection wasn't easy. He could see the blood gushing down his face from where it'd been slashed. A diagonal cut that went from the side of his nose, over his eyelid and through his eyebrow. Ryan just couldn't catch a break with the eye injuries. He'd only just got rid of the small scar from where the nail had been. The CSI knew he would have to go to the ER.. but how could he let people see him like this when they thought bad of him regardless of how hurt he was?

His eye was bleary and he couldn't even open it properly. The pain had spread quite a bit although Ryan liked to pretend it wasn't bad. It wasn't going to kill him, but Horatio still wanted him to get it checked out due to the severity of the wound.

Wolfe put on his coat, slammed his locker shut and left the locker room with his head slightly dipped to avoid people asking questions until he got to the elevator. He signed out at the reception desk, mentioning a small mishap in the interrogation room down at PD just for reference when she referred to the injury status and pending charges against the suspect that did that to him. Paula suggested medical leave but Ryan insisted he'd be back the following day better and ready to get back to work.

Walking quickly to the elevator, he accidentally bumped into Jesse and Eric. "Fuck!" Ryan exclaimed, holding his face as a streak of pain zipped through his body. He'd not meant to make a scene as he was supposed to be going to hospital to get checked out. Cardoza was horrified when he saw the cut. He had heard what happened through gossip in the break room, however, he hadn't pictured it to be that bad.

Delko hastily helped Ryan back to his feet. "Alright Wolfe, lets's go."

"Where are we going?" He asked, doing his best to look at his friend. Delko sighed. "I'm taking you to the ER. You need to get that checked out."

Ryan wandered about the case. The young CSI was not expected that level of seniority being out into place. He couldn't argue as he was slightly concussed and could feel a numbing sensation on one side of his face that happened quite rapidly. Eric didn't let go of Ryan. He couldn't just let him go when he knew that he was in pain and had the risk of another crash because of his eye. Delko refused to let it happen again.

Letting him lie about his emotions was one of his biggest regrets. If he'd allowed Ryan to feel like he could trust him a lot earlier, maybe it would've stopped him from trying to avoid the impact the nail injury had on him both physically and mentally.

The elevator ride was quiet. Ryan bit his lip, attempting to shove the feeling of pain deep down. Eric hadn't looked away from him. A constant guilt fell over him whenever Wolfe was hurt. All those dangerous 'maybe if's that would probably be the death of him if he hadn't known that Ryan would fight it. He was a strong person. But he hadn't taken time to think of Ryan's feelings..

"He needs immediate medical attention, move!"

The Cuban put his arm around Ryan and guided him through the crowds that eventually paused to make way. Wolfe didn't say anything. Couldn't. Instead he just followed Eric's footsteps by hearing as he was squinting by that point. "Don't fall asleep, Ryan. Come on. Keep going." Eric said softly. Ryan blinked his other eye.

They made it out of the building. Eric didn't feel like it would be right to go all the way to the parking lot just for a car. He'd explain the Hummer situation afterwards anyway. "Is there a way I can help?!" A patrol officer offered.

"Could you open the passenger side door? I'm not sure how bad the wound is and the soon I can get him checked out, the better."

The officer opened the door as asked. Eric helped him into the seat and shut the door. He climbed into the driver's seat, turned on the engine and started driving. "How deep is it?" "It starts deep from my forehead but gets more shallow as it goes down." Ryan answered, trying to hold his eye as it was twitching.

"Are you hurt anywhere else?"

"I, um, hit my head on the table.. my head hurts.."

It was as if the more he heard about what happened in there, the more he wanted to punch the guy in the face. Eric knew that Ryan fought for his life in there. Even if nobody else really thought about it. A 6'4" guy picking on someone not even remotely close in size or height. How did the guard officer let it happen long enough for a knife to be brought out?

Delko drove with pace, while remaining within the traffic laws as he should. Ryan had calmed down a little more knowing that he was in good company. As far as tension went, there wasn't any when they were actually friends. He wanted to say something to the older man but didn't know how to. Wolfe had never been good at expressing his emotions in words, or body language for that matter.

Instead, Ryan pursed his lips and sighed as he relaxed back in the chair. Some other time would make better sense..


Earlier..

"You killed your ex-girlfriend, right?" Ryan placed down the post-mortem picture of the murder victim.

The man blankly stared. "She was supposed to be getting married in a couple of days and you destroyed a life in purely seconds. For what? Because you 'loved' her?" He clenched his fists, putting them angrily on the table. Ryan was used to these built up guys and their anger issues. He'd arrested tons of people much bigger than him.

There was steam could of his ears. "I loved her!" He bellowed, standing up and knocking the chair over behind him.

At that moment, it was a slightly short former patrol officer standing beneath a 6'4" murder suspect with such anger he'd never seen before. "You don't love someone to kill them." He simply said, putting the file down on the table. Love wasn't possession. It wasn't pain. It was every emotion intertwined into overall feeling of joy. Cherishing someone with everything you have. Nothing could fully describe it.

"You've never been in love, have you Officer? It's unlikely you know how it feels to lose someone you love!"

That wasn't completely true but his personal life was not to be interrogated when he was the interrogator. "I'm a trained investigator, not a psychologist. And all my evidence points to you. DNA, CCTV footage, emails.. I have proof you raped her."

"It was consented sex." The man argued.

"You raped her, and there's evidence to back it up."

The man grabbed the edge of the table and flipped it over, ripping it from it's bolts. Ryan jumped back to avoid getting hit. He'd suffered a minor hit whilst crawling but it wasn't too bad. He got back to his knees, only to see the man charging towards him with his hand in his waistline. The tip of a knife was drawn right before his eyes. A stroke of light flashed before he could reach for his gun. He'd been sliced across the face with the flat-edge knife. Ryan could feel the blood spilling down his cheek. At that moment, he was truly alone. The man was standing over him with an evil smirk on his face. He doubted the CSI would even reach for his firearm with a wound like that. The intense beating of his heart had him on edge. Wondering if he'd ever leave alive. Ryan decided that he was going to detain him. He was a police officer. It was in his blood. His handcuffs. On his turf. Wolfe positioned his feet flat out. "You're barely worth of wearing that badge. You can't even defend yourself without your bigger colleagues."

Wolfe kicked him and shoved him over as he got back to his feet. The man, hunched over on the floor, groaned unhappily. "You're gonna regret that." He muttered. Ryan grabbed his service pistol and positioned it on him. He'd be forced to shoot if anything happened. There was no back-up, no patrol officer present or any way he could settle this on his own. But there was evidence. And that's all he needed. The suspect turned around after what felt like 30 seconds and jumped at him. Ryan took him to the floor and they fought with a lot to lose on Ryan's part. People worriedly watched from the outside, others going to get the authority figures for the department. Wolfe refused to let a suspect make him look the fool when the real fool was the person who let the guy carry a concealed weapon into interrogation.

Eventually, Ryan managed to push him down beside the broken table and hold his hands behind his back with his service pistol in the other hand. He was breathing heavily. His blood was all over the place. The interrogation room looked like a crime scene; it was a crime scene.

The Captain arrived not too shortly afterwards with the Sergeant and Detective Tripp. Frank was speechless. "Take this animal away." Sergeant Harris led the suspect away to holding with Tripp following in case he tried anything. All three men couldn't believe what they'd walked in on. A complete mess. Ryan looked straight out of a thriller movie.

Captain Ramos offered a hand to the CSI that was knelt on the ground. Ryan timidly accepted it. "I'll have night shift process the room.. let's go talk, bud."

Ramos knew where sympathy was needed. That was the time. Wolfe had been victim in a crime that occurred due to the negligence of duty by two officers. A suspect was very rarely able to smuggle contraband through the pat-down at booking. Ryan hadn't even said a word. He was still in shock from what had happened.


Present time..

Alongside Eric, Ryan staggered into the hospital and they went to the reception desk. The woman (blonde haired, looked around her 30s) frowned as soon as she saw Ryan. "What happened to your friend?"

"He was attacked. The wound is deep and he may also be concussed." Eric explained, keeping tight hold of Ryan as he loosened from his grip. He was on the verge of passing out. His heart rate in combination with blood loss and a concussion wasn't the best situation for either of them.

The receptionist nodded. She made a call asking for immediate attention. "E-eric.. I feel dizzy.."

Before Eric could say anything, Ryan suddenly blacked out and fell. Delko held him in his arms but there wasn't much it would do. Then Eric saw it. A small stab wound hidden on the back of his head. It was gushing blood quicker than Eric could manage with the small cloth. "Wolfe!" He exclaimed, his hands becoming bloody with Ryan's blood.

/

For the next few hours, Eric sat in the waiting area of the hospital while Ryan was in emergency surgery. Apparently the stab to the head had not been fatal until it seeped through and created a bleed that only worsened from then on. How had he missed that?

Holding Ryan's clean jacket in his washed, yet still stained, hands didn't make things feel any better. He promised Wolfe he'd be there and he wasn't going to break that promise now. Losing his best friend had been the worst thing. But Ryan had admittedly helped him through his grief by treating him like a friend, even though they fell out multiple times over things. It was what he admired about the younger CSI. He never judged too quickly, even if it seemed that way.

"I heard what happened." Alexx said as she sat down beside Eric.

"That son of a bitch almost killed him. He had a stab wound on the back of his head that I didn't even see until it was too late."

The former medical examiner remembered the last time it was like this. A few years ago when he'd been shot with a nailgun. Alexx felt awful knowing that there wasn't anything she could do. He was even clutching Ryan's jacket. "You couldn't have known, baby. Nobody knew how bad the injuries were or what the effects would be.."

"What are the effects?"

"There is a possibility of memory loss, a coma or.." Dr. Woods didn't finish off her sentence. Delko knew what was last on the list. Death.

He held the jacket a little tighter as he examined the people surrounding him. Some crying, others cheering. Doctors and nurses going up and down. Eric couldn't help but feel like there was something Ryan had wanted to say when he was silent in the elevator. It hurt to know he may never find out what it was.

"He'll get through this." Alexx assured him. Eric gave a distracted nod. "He's been in there for hours.."

"Don't you dare give up hope now. I've got to get back to work... but keep strong for him." They shared a quick hug and Alexx was gone as if she'd never been there in the first place. This was her workplace after all. Her words were uplifting to a certain degree, but it would be better to actually see him.

Eric never really imagined getting to this point again, but he wouldn't take the last time he saw his friend for granted. Especially not when this happened infront of all kinds of department employees and not a single person tried to stop it. They wouldn't have been in this position if someone had been there to prevent the outcome.

"Mr Delko," Eric looked up from the ground at the nurse standing infront of him. "We were able to stop the bleed, but we had to put him into an induced coma in order for his body to repair itself."

"So the surgery went well?"

"Yes." She smiled. "He's going to make a full recovery. We also patched up the wound on his face.. how long has he had that?"

What this had been able intially. The cut that had been taken at him right to the face. "He got it a few minutes before the head wound." From what Ryan had told him on the way, the struggle lasted a good fifteen minutes. He had enough of a statement for a witness account to be used in court. It was going to be relevant enough for the case. Eric couldn't forget what he said when he collapsed right infront of him.

"Ok. If you could just fill out the rest of this form and we'll get back to you when he is brought back."

The cuban took the clipboard, filling out the details about Ryan. Wolfe had actually given him a form to copy if he ever needed his details. So he used that to provide a name, number, address and those personal things; his OCD for example. "Make sure to put down your number there so that we can get a hold of you when things change."

Eric wrote down his own number in the place given and handed it back to her. "Thank you.."

"Anytime, sugar. Have a good night."

He wrapped the jacket around his arm and exhaled slowly. 'Keep holding on, Ryan.' Eric thought, standing up from his seat and headed out. He'd be back soon. But for now, he had a killer to put away.